SUMMARY: In this paper we argue for the possibility that even in the event of a Galaxy teeming with extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI) the probability of receiving recognizable signals from the ETIs may be very low. There are two majors factors that may limit our ability to detect other civilizations. (i) Evolutionary mismatches may cause difficulties analogous to humans attempting to communicate with lower primates. (ii) Independent evolutionary paths resulting from differing planetary/stellar environments may result in life whose cognitive processes and consequent perceptions of the universe are very different from ours. Interpreting signals from such civilizations may prove a very difficult or even futile task. Even on Earth, an example of a cognitive mismatch is that between humans and dolphins, where evolution in very different environments has led to difficulty in establishing communication between these two species. The main effect of the second factor is to limit communication while the effect of the first is to constrain what communication is possible to a ”window of opportunity”
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