Nikolai Kardashev, a Russian astronomer, published in 1964 a paper that received little attention by the general public at a worldwide level but was nevertheless, pretty significant; the astronomer established a scale to measure the advancement of civilisations by measuring their energy consumption. This method is useful to study the most primitive of our Earth-based civilisations as well as ours at the present day and any other civilisation in the universe that might strive to conquer the cosmos. In other words, the scale of Kardashev, as it is known now, can be used to measure our degree of advancement in science and technology as compare to any other life forms that might be lurking out there, in space.
It is not a contraption coming from some sort of science-fiction universe, neither it is a tool used by non-scientific researchers of paranormal or occult phenomena or UFO hunters. Kardashev's scale is a strong, well funded scientific theory that has its limitations indeed, and has been also used by authors of different kind in their literary works but doesn't lose its seriousness or solidity because of that. In fact, the deeds of science-fiction writers have served to make it more popular and understandable for the public.
As we said, this scale has its limitations and is far from perfect and one of its softest spots resides in the fact that since there has been no scientifically-accepted evidence found indicating with absolute certainty that life exists outside our own planet, Kardashev's ideas might easily turn into pure speculation. It is not that the scale or other related ideas lack scientific grounds; they do have them. However, since they provide enticing ideas about alien life forms, there are a lot of people eager to grasp them no matter what. The existence of life outside Earth seems highly probable but has not been yet confirmed, much less intelligent life or developed civilisations. So such theories easily become make-believe arguments for pseudo scientists and people who prefer to believe rather than to think rationally.
The quest for extraterrestrial life in general and intelligent, alien life, there are two separate tendencies going on: One is that of the pseudo scientific enthusiasts, and the other is scientific research. There are lots and lots of people who simply believe in the existence of alien life for one reason or another, with variable degrees of rationality and even dishonesty, and that has led to prejudice: Many scientist believe that while it is very likely that life exists out there in space, they will not bet their own careers to the matter just for the sake of not being ridiculed. However, over the years since the space age began, several solid scientific endeavours have evolved, like the SETI program or initiatives to research into still far-fetched technologies like faster-than-light (FTL) like the Greenglow project or the BPP program developed by NASA.
The pseudo-scientific world has caused and is still causing great damage to the serious attempts to research in to the matter of the probable alien life because for people not fluent with the scientific method and its undertones, it is very hard to discern between pure, non-scientific speculation and actual, serious research. Hopefully, the scale of Kardashev falls right into the realm of science and while its concepts are indeed debatable and it is very likely that in the future this theory will be perfected or superseded altogether by better ideas, at least it gives us a roadmap to continue this quest.
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If we cannot understand the importance of things like this, we may not be able to avoid the destruction of other worlds.