Should We Really Tell ET Our Problems?

Article written: 21 Apr , 2009
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015
by

[/caption]So, you have a radio transmitter and you’ve been tasked to send a message into space to try to communicate with a hypothetical alien civilization. Where do you begin? Probably high on your list is to seek out the best candidate stars to send a signal to. As we only have experience of life on Earth, it’s a pretty good idea to look for Sun-like stars, as for all you know, that is the only place where Life As We Know It™ could exist.

So now you have found the potential location of an alien civilization, what message should you send? Firstly you’d probably want to make a good impression; perhaps sending directions to Earth, a universal map with an arrow pointing at the Solar System. Secondly you might want to identify what/who you are (insert some human physiology here). And third? Perhaps you’d consider sending information about our culture, civilization, history, science; all the good stuff that makes us human.

Would it cross your mind to mention there are 23 bloody conflicts going on right now amongst our own kind? Would you think about telling our potential alien neighbours about what you just had for dinner? Would it be a good idea to tell them about the political corruption in your country, the vast poverty worldwide or the ecological damage we are doing to our own home?

In a recent article written by the director of interstellar message composition at the SETI Institute, the question about communicating honestly with ET, without sanitizing the truth, is asked. Should we really tell an alien civilization about our problems?

Communication with potential alien races is a tricky business (Ian O'Neill)

Communication with potential alien races is a tricky business (Ian O'Neill)

For five decades, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) has been scouring the skies for any signal from an intelligent alien civilization. This is a painstaking task that requires much patience and lots of ingenuity. After all, what are we looking for? Assuming extraterrestrial civilizations have worked out how to transmit radio, perhaps we could listen out for that. Unfortunately, apart from the 72 second Wow! signal in 1977, it all seems very quiet out there. If the Drake Equation is to be taken literally, the Milky Way should be teeming with life, some of which should be transmitting their greatest hits right now. There are problems with this theory, as some believe that although aliens might be transmitting, radio signals might not reach us. Perhaps then a sufficiently advanced alien race might be using powerful laser beacons or moving stars to communicate with us. Alas, nothing. Yet.

OK, so let’s turn this around. Perhaps we’ll have more luck if we start transmitting radio signals to Sun-like stars in the hope of an alien race as advanced as ourselves receiving it. This program is known as Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence (METI) or “Active-SETI.” But what do we say? One of the earliest messaging attempts was the plaque bolted to the side of the Pioneer spacecraft (pictured top), even though the naked human figures representing male and female caused a stir (some groups considered the naked human form interstellar pornography). Despite a few disputes about what we should be sending into space, generally the messages have been very positive, trying to portray the human race in a very positive light.

Douglas Vakoch, from the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, disagrees with the policy of sending only positive messages into space via radio transmissions or metal plaques strapped to the sides of spaceships.

An acknowledgment of our flaws and frailties seems a more honest approach than sending a sanitised, one-sided story,” Vakoch said in a recent New Scientist column. “Honesty is a good starting point for a conversation that could last for generations.”

As the director of interstellar message composition, Vakoch obviously knows a thing or two about sending messages to our potential alien neighbours. However, the question as to whether or not we should sanitize our communications seems a little strange. Of course we should transmit the best mankind has to offer! I don’t believe sending messages of culture, science, mathematics, art and music would be setting us up for a fall. If we are indeed the new kids on the block of extraterrestrial civilizations, I think we’d need to make a great impression (depending on whether ET understands what we are trying to communicate in the first place).

The 1977 Wow! signal (SETI)

The 1977 Wow! signal (SETI)

Vakoch is keen to point out that a sufficiently advanced alien civilization is going to be savvy as to what it takes to be a a galactic race (it’s not all roses after all). If they receive a message from mankind full of positive messages, perhaps they won’t trust us. Worse still, as they get to know us, they think we were hiding our human flaws, misleading them in some way. Therefore, we need to be honest up-front. We need to send the views and opinions of as many people as possible, for good or bad, so extraterrestrial civilizations know what they are dealing with; a talented, yet flawed race.

Unfortunately, that goes against human nature. What’s the first thing you do when moving into a new neighbourhood? You might throw a house-warming party, as a way to introduce yourself to the new neighbours. You probably wouldn’t tell your neighbours about your family/money/alcohol/drug/criminal problems at the party. If you did, you might find the room emptying very quickly. It’s not that you are being dishonest, you’re trying to gain their first-impression trust and interest. This principal holds true for companies trying to sell a product (I have yet to have a doorstep sales person telling me his encyclopaedia collection is actually useless when the world has Wikipedia) and to countries forming new diplomatic ties. We know there’s more to the story than just first impressions, but first impressions are the bonds that help develop the relationship in the future.

Assimilation could be ET's solution to human problems

Assimilation could be ET's solution to human problems

So going back to being honest with messaging alien civilizations, if we send “the truth” about our race, we would actually be doing ourselves a disservice. What if the receiving alien civilization doesn’t want to be associated with us as we are considered too aggressive, cruel, greedy or weird?

We can’t second-guess how an extraterrestrial civilization is going to respond to us, there is no precedent of alien communications, so perhaps we should take the “sanitized” approach. Positive information is probably enough information; too much information could turn us into interstellar outcasts before we’ve even had a chance to receive a message from another star. (I thought it was a little too quiet out there, perhaps they received our commercial TV signals.)

And if the advanced alien race deems us “not worthy” on account of the mixed signals we are sending out, they might turn hostile sooner rather than later


75 Responses

  1. Milan Živi? says

    I think majority of world wars and conflicts come from differences in world’s religions and politics.

    If we make first contact with alien civilisation and start sharing technology and culture it could greatly downscale influences of religion and politics and allow us better progress in science, art, society and all good values.

    So, no bad news to aliens at this point of time, I am sure they are doing the same.

  2. Tony says

    I have learned that manipulating others, even if you think it is for the best interest of all; is wrong. There are too many variables involved, and therefore, you should say what is true. Furthermore, this would be a good exercise in reflecting the truth about man’s behavior on Earth. It will not be a good reflection. Who knows, maybe someone can help us be more humane to each other on Earth.

  3. tacitus says

    Briefly (since it’s way past my bedtime), I don’t think it matters what we send. The distances and time scales involved in interstellar travel and communications are so vast that it’s highly unlikely that any alien civilization would rely on any of the information we send them since it would be way out of date by the time they are in a position to act upon it (likely hundreds of years after the initial message was received).

    And once you factor in the likelihood that the alien civilization we contact is going to be far more advanced than we are, and already knows we’re here, then there really isn’t much point in worrying about the messages we send at all.

  4. Feenixx says

    @ Milan Živi?:

    I predict that influences of religion will greatly downscale themselves without any further effort required, the very moment we make contact…
    😉

  5. mrt181 says

    all this assumes that the aliens are similar to us in their tought processes.

    A message about our flaws could motivate them to invade us because we are weak or we do not deserve the planet we live on or because we could become a threat to the aliens (see: prisoners dilemma). An all positive message could also be interpreted ass a sign of our weakness (no experience in combat etc.) or a threat to their own race that is not as stable as ours. Maybe the aliens are longlived and expect to meet us as we have described ourselves once they reach us.

    The best course of action imo would be to send only messages that do not tell of our location and only contain mathematics and scientific knowledge. If we ever receive an answear we can then tell more about us, depending on the answear.

  6. Ben says

    I love SETI, it’s a great idea and it ignited so many cloud computing projects that it’s already worthwhile.

    I can understand how to express the size and mass of our planet, it’s population, our position in the galaxy and such. But how do you express the fact humans are in conflict and the reason for these ?

    Aren’t we getting a bit ahead of ourselves here ?

  7. Roger Levinson says

    The picture sent with the Pioneer probe was itself a disaster showing clearly that we had not even invented clothes. Not that it makes much dfference anyway because THERE IS NO INTELLIGENT LIFE OUT THERE. We are a ten thousand billion to one accident and SETI can continue to waste resources until everyone’s ship docks, it will make no difference. If in one year they found nothing then there is nothing, let alone the other fifty six years of waste. I have said it before, our job is to populate any livable space in the universe and it is about time that the human race forgot about its stupid, wasteful and pointless conflicts and got on with the job of space exploration. Look how “Star Trek” fired up the world”s interest, a real international committed endeavour would do the same and then maybe we would see our pointless conflicts for what they really are, Pointless. Roger.

  8. musthafa fag says

    We of the Taliban Space Cadets say “Death to all Aliens!” AIEEEE!

  9. Kevin F. says

    Would it cross your mind to mention there are 23 bloody conflicts going on right now amongst our own kind?

    Would they be all that surprised?

    Would you think about telling our potential alien neighbours about what you just had for dinner?

    Everything lives off everything else in one way or another. Plants eat decomposed organic matter, animals eat plants or each other. I don’t see how a race on another planet would get by on the alternative: rocks.

    Would it be a good idea to tell them about the political corruption in your country, the vast poverty worldwide or the ecological damage we are doing to our own home?

    Like they won’t have any. Heh.

  10. Sci-Fi Si says

    I think the majority of war comes from differing scientific opinion.

    Any M-Theorist that thinks there are 10 dimensions instead of 11 should be killed.

    Maybe the ony source of ununpentium comes from an Alien planet and the only way humans can escape a dying Earth is to go and kick their ass!

    I think Arthur C. Clark put it very well when he said “There are two possibilities: Either we’re alone in the Universe or we’re not. Both of these are frightening”

    The best way to avoid fear of the unknown it to nuke ’em!

  11. Sci-Fi Si says

    Religion is blamed for war, when really it is mainly about greed.

    The misuse of science is to blame for all the deaths. From the simple spear, arrows, catapults, gun powder, TNT, NUKES!!!

    Biological weapons germ warfare, gas attacks. Religion truly is a terrible thing preaching peace, love and forgiveness.

    Best see if we can melt each other’s brains from space – that would bring peace to the Earth for sure.

    🙂

  12. Chuck R. says

    Bring on the aliens, broadcast the truth, for “better” or “worse”. A species evolved enough in race & advanced in scientific capability to handle space travel as a species certainly has a phenominal liklihood of being able to assist with mankind’s troubles. You know, one way or another. If they bring peace and know-how to man’s self destructive tendencies of greed, hate, bigotry, etc, receiving such assistance while at the same time showing we’re not alone (to the small-minded that can, say, do a Google image search on the word “universe” and not understand the vastness of the cosmos – those aren’t splashes of glitter, they’re nebulae of life, galaxies of millions and millions of stars, planets galore, life as we would and wouldn’t know it abundant – sorry, you, this mudball, not unique or special, get your head out of somewhere be it the clouds (with your ego) or ‘someplace else’ (what with your empathic ignorance)) then the betterment of mankind in mind, body, soul, the goals & outlooks of a planet uniting can begin. OR, natch, they could just zap us to bits which, and I mean this (when the full view of our history and current events concerning rape, murder, patriotic murder, molestation, lies, incest, ignorance, intolerance, torture, abuse, bigotry, religion, hate, infidelity, anger, anger and more anger, mutilation, theft, etc), would probably be for the best. The human race, despite any perceived global good intentions and kind little acts performed occasionally by neighbors or friends or family, is very self-destructive & hateful to one another. We’re a cancer to ourselves, a cancer to the planet, I see no immediate reason to assume we’d be otherwise on the cosmos. ZAP!

  13. glint says

    Tony
    I think they Love you

  14. Chuck R. says

    D’oh. Went for “emphatic”, came out “empathic”.

    *palm/forehead*

  15. Dark Gnat says

    Honestly, I don’t like the idea of sending signals into space with the intent on communicating to aliens.

    Any aliens that have sufficient technology notice, visit, and investigate could probably dominate us easily.

    They may also be warlike and relegious. Their gods told them that they had to make their own way to heaven, and conquer any worlds along their path, for all we know.

    We Earthlings are like the little dork with the “kick me” sign his back.

  16. Stazdust says

    Hell,
    I’d send an SOS message. After all, humans are mucking up our planet big time. Over population, religious insanity, crony capitalism, etc…

    Perhaps we need help from an advanced civilization to survive our propensity for destroying the only home we have.

    As of now, I would not admit the human race as citizens of the Cosmos, until we get our own house in order…

  17. RL says

    I’d say, yes, tell them about our flaws…eventually. Like any good diplomatic effort or first date, you’d don’t reveal all of your flaws up front. First, you need to establish a means of communication that is understood on both sides. Who knows how long that will take? During and after that, you establish the fact that you are OK. You establish common ground and go from there. Unlike many of the posters here, I hold human civilization in high regard. Its not perfect, won’t ever be perfect, but it keeps improving. That would be my message should contact ever be made.

    Also, we don’t know anything about the imagined aliens. As we learn more through contact, we can ascertain their intentions and predispositions.

    It could be that they are a wise, advanced civilization of super beings who can show us a better way. It could also be that they are aggressive, warlike and ready to attack any weakness shown. Or they could be just like us.

    If it was in my power, at first, I would also restrict the ability of people to communicate with the aliens as much as possible. Yes, I’d keep it secret. In the beginning, first contact would have to be managed carefully. Then later, it could be opened up more and more. It goes against what many of us would prefer (free speech and all that), but I think I’ve read too many blog postings on too many sites to have confidence that everyone would act responsibly or correctly on this matter.

    When the time is right, then Universe Today could be truly universal!

  18. NoAstronomer says

    Just want to point here that any alien civilization that has the desire and the ability to read our signals and then come here and enslave (exterminate!!!) us would have done so already.

    Perhaps they already have? <— joke

    Yes we should be as open as possible. They may just have the solution to our problems – as we may to theirs.

  19. huygens says

    Any ETI only need to watch our television for a few minutes to get the real scoop on humans.

    Or all they have to do is read some of the utterly inane comments on this thread.

    Either way, there’s a good reason advanced intelligences aren’t contacting us.

  20. Molecular says

    I’m pretty much convinced that E.T. knows of our exact location, and has had knowledge of this for quite a LONG time.

    In just a short period of time we’ve already located hundreds of extra-solar planets with limited techniques, so imagine the depth of what we’ll be able to uncover about distant worlds in, say, just twenty years from now.

    So, when the day comes that we are actually able to observe E.T. up close from a safe distance, there wouldn’t be any reason to initiate any kind of dialogue until we have a good understanding of what the reply might consist of.

    Perhaps space seems like it’s void of anything intelligent beyond Earth because E.T.s are observing too much of what doesn’t fit their criteria of worthy communication here.

  21. mrt181 says

    it is also possible that a civilization advanced enough to reach us or to find a way to communicate with us just does not want to do so. maybe they do not want to risk that we could get some of their tech and destroy them or ourselves

  22. huygens says

    Really advanced beings, like the kind that can turn the solar systems into Dyson Shells or manipulate an entire cluster or galaxy of stars, can also build telescopes large enough to monitor this planet without having to leave home.

    We puny humans have feasible plans to build space telescopes that could image continents on Earthlike exoplanets, so guess what some superior aliens could do.

    We need to get off the old view of aliens coming to Earth in spaceships in organic form.

  23. Roger Levinson says

    To express an opinion about alien life is justified and has nothing to do with bigotry. My view based upon current evidence. If there is any intelligent life then where are they? It is presumptious even to suggest that there is any life anywhere outside of this planet since there is no evidence of that either just guesswork based upon the numbers of stars etc. The salient fact remains and this, as the pregnant woman said, you cannot deny.
    1. SETI in 57 years of searching has found no evidence of even a possibility of intelligent life. FACT.
    2. IF there is alien life then why have they not visited, why have they not made themselves known. Nearly every post here has stated that they want to contact alien civilisations, Why would the aliens have different desires and wishes? Answer me that anyone. Sensibly
    3. Any intelligent alien lifeform existing with 27 light years that sent a reply to SETI would know that we would have received it. Yet there is nothing.
    IF I am wrong I will be the first to admit it and I could be ofcourse. If that is the case then we are making a big mistake in presuming without doubt that alien lifeforms would be benelovent.

  24. Matt says

    I for one welcome our interstellar pornography reading overlords…

  25. David R. says

    ET is smart enough to figure out that we have problems without us telling him/her/it.

  26. huygens says

    Yes, Roger, because the Cosmos has not bothered to talk with us, it means that there is nobody else.

    And yes, searching for 49 years (Ozma was in 1960) in a Universe 13.7 billion years old and not finding anything – that too means we are alone.

    The Universe doesn’t know or give a flying fig about humans or Earth. If we get anything from a real intelligence, we should consider ourselves extremely fortunate. But just because we haven’t found them in such a short time in such a huge reality does not mean they do not exist.

  27. Qev says

    @Roger Levinson

    “1. SETI in 57 years of searching has found no evidence of even a possibility of intelligent life. FACT.”

    Fair enough, though I’d argue that our very existence is evidence of the possibility of intelligent life. The more we learn about the universe, the less remarkable that which makes up the Earth seems.

    “2. IF there is alien life then why have they not visited, why have they not made themselves known. Nearly every post here has stated that they want to contact alien civilisations, Why would the aliens have different desires and wishes? Answer me that anyone. Sensibly”

    – They don’t know we’re here.
    – They know we’re here, and don’t care.
    – They know we’re here, and can’t get here from there.
    – They’ve messaged and we’ve missed it.
    – They’ve messaged and it’s not got here yet.

    Also, just because we want to talk to them doesn’t say anything about their desire to talk to us. Just because you like something doesn’t mean I do. Applying human cultural sensibilities to alien civilizations is dubious at best.

    “3. Any intelligent alien lifeform existing with 27 light years that sent a reply to SETI would know that we would have received it. Yet there is nothing.”

    All that means is that there’s nobody within 27 light years who is capable of detecting and replying to us, or that anyone who is capable within that distance hasn’t noticed or isn’t interested. And generally, SETI is a passive search, it’s not sending anything. Our typical broadcast signals would be tremendously weak by the time they get to even the nearest stars.

  28. Bosco says

    Yes ! Let’s announce to the universe what sniveling whiny crybabies we are. Self-loathing is always an attractive quality. Take our Prez for instance. Now that he’s badmouthed America on every world venue everyone loves us!
    Otherwise, we aren’t likely to have a conversation with ET so it’s not like a question that needs to be answered.

  29. REM says

    My observations over many years is that humans seem to invent/develop solutions as they are required.

    Deep down I suspect that there is intelligent life somewhere in this universe or other universes.

    If our past is an indicator we would find methods to communicate with other intellignet life when that becomes a priority.

  30. Bosco says

    Sooo… uh … Chuck R. … uh … how long you been off your meds? Seriously dude, get help. Well you would fit into the WH Goon Squad, or Obama’s Brown Shirts, Acorn or the Unions.

  31. Tyler Durden says

    ———————
    tacitus Says:
    April 21st, 2009 at 2:57 am

    “it’s highly unlikely that any alien civilization would rely on any of the information we send them since it would be way out of date by the time they are in a position to act upon it (likely hundreds of years after the initial message was received).”

    Not necessarily. It’s true that * we * would not rely on information received hundreds of years after it was sent. But to assume an alien civilization wouldn’t either is wrong, because it relies on two assumptions:

    1) The alien race has a similar, short-lived lifespan.
    2) The alien race has a rapidly changing, volatile civilization similar to Earth’s. This does not have to be the case – a stable, relatively unchanging civilization is entirely possible, and has occurred in Earth’s history.

    Stability in human civilization is reached when certain problems like a lack of natural resources (hindering technological advances), a Dark Age where advances are no longer sought after, or even a religious or cultural taboo inhibiting change.

  32. Joe says

    Imagine this, our existence is a freaky accident of nature or God or what ever you believe. The question is how often is this type of accident occurred on other planets. Given the vast distance of space, I doubt we find any life in the near future close enough to Sun. Life could exists in our Galaxy given the number of stars and number of planets around them. But how close to the Sun can it exist (except Earth of course).
    Keep searching hope to hear from ET one day.
    if they aggressive towards us, I welcome them hope they will put an end to our political crap that’s causing tons of conflicts around the world.
    If they are peaceful, even better maybe they’ll teach us to better ourselves.

    Joe.TO.

  33. Tony says

    Here are a few links about astronomy that may get you curious about our cosmos.

    1970 – Pioneer 10 containing information on gold plaque.
    http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap960630.html

    1974 – Message sent by the Arecibo Observatory.
    http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap000123.html

    1977 – Voyager sent containing an information disk.

    1999 – Radio telescope message sent by the Cosmic Call Project
    http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap010109.html

    Carl Sagan
    http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap961226.html

    S.E.T.I. – Become part of the race to find intelligence in space.
    http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap990517.html

    Maria Mitchell
    http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap991016.html

    A.P.O.D. Archive
    http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/archivepix.html

    A.P.O.D.
    http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/

    feed://www.acme.com/jef/apod/rss.xml

    Most sensitive x-ray picture of the sky to this date.
    http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap000819.html

    A slice of the universe spanning only ten billion light years.
    http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap980623.html

    Hubble space telescope showing thousands of young galaxies formed 8 billion years ago.

    Von Braun
    http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap980328.html

    Galileo is perhaps the first to clearly state that the laws of nature are mathematical.

    Tony

  34. Tony says

    Whoops, forgot one of the links.

    1977 – Voyager sent containing an information disk.
    http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap960629.html

  35. Chuck R. says

    “Bosco Says: Sooo… uh … Chuck R. … uh … how long you been off your meds? Seriously dude, get help. Well you would fit into the WH Goon Squad, or Obama’s Brown Shirts, Acorn or the Unions.”

    ???

    Dude, WTF.

    Now that you’ve managed to prove at least one point about the treatment of men by other men with this unfounded (and lame) ‘insult’, care to elaborate on wtf YOU’RE talking about? Eh?

    What irked you exactly?

    Was it that I think we should broadcast the truth about ourselves as a species to the rest of the universe instead of editing?

    Was it the hypothesis that an advanced alien race might likely be able to assist our world in our troubles?

    Was it that looking at any snapshot from hubble paints a picture of a universe so vast we don’t even register as a blip?

    Or maybe it was merely noting the fact that mankind’s history, current societies and likely future ones are, indeed, ripe with deceit, hate & other destructive tendencies?

    Or possibly did it somehow bother you the apathetic remark about things being better off if we got collectively whacked by an alien invader?

    Really, I’m just asking. I strung some thoughts together after lunch, posted it, and you come back with the above? Buh?

    Given that lame-o remark about about the current White House administration being “goons” (did you miss the last eight years of ‘W’s reign or something?), the jab at Obama, the non-scandel ‘scandel’ involving people volenteering to gain signitures for a nonessential gathering of signees since they got paid to collect, and the offhand remark about unions; Perhaps it was the throwing of ‘religion’ in there?

    If that’s the one, I withdraw my inquiry. I don’t really care what you have to say on the matter.

    😉

  36. Yael Dragwyla says

    There are a lot of assumptions, implicit as well as explicit, about what aliens are like, whether or not there will be radical new discoveries in the sciences and technological applications, etc. in the posts here. Many of them are untested/untestable, at least so far; others could be tested, at least in general ways, by aid of nonhuman Earthly creatures, but haven’t been so far. There’s also the problem of whether our electromagnetic signals — e.g., radio, TV — will have any strength or coherence to them after they’ve gone farther than about 10 light years beyond the solar system; if not, then of course no creatures on worlds living farther out than that could ever have picked them up. Maybe there are aliens using communications technology based on non-local quantum mechanical phenomena — they wouldn’t be interested in mere radio or TV signals, and if they did send us a “hello” signal, we’d never pick it up because we have no idea such a thing could exist. They could be water creatures, confined to water, and therefore unlikely ever to leave their planet. They could be just about anything not particularly resembling us, and we’d never know they were there, because we aren’t looking for them. I will say that life is probably found everywhere in the universe — if it could happen *anywhere*, you can bet it could happen just about *everywhere*. But there’s no guarantee exactly what forms it takes on a given world, other than having to fit within a certain range of temperature, pH, and so on. There’s an old story about a policeman who, on his nightly round, happens to run across a gentleman fumbling around on the ground below a streetlight. The cop asks the man what’s wrong, and the man, obviously intoxicated, says, “I’m . . . lookin’ for m’ keysh.” So the cop tries to help him find the wayward keys, but after about 20 minutes with no keys in sight, the exasperated cop asks the man, “Sir, where did you drop your keys?” The man points to a row of bushes up against the front of the house at the edge of whose lot the streetlight has been erected, and says, “Over there . . . shir.” The cop explodes, crying, “Why aren’t you hunting for them over there?” The man explains, “‘Caushe . . . the *light’sh* . . . over here!” I think maybe we need to start hunting for answers to our questions about ETs where they’re likely to be found, rather than where the light of so many of our long-time assumptions about them is.

  37. Lawrence B. Crowell says

    I doubt that ET can get here. Manned spaceflight in our case appears to have a bleak future. Further, at the end of the day all of us simply make garbage. Everything all of us make, buy, borrow or steal ends up in the landfill — including ourselves, as cemetaries are a type of landfill. I think that technological intelligent life will do the same. They probably end up rubbishing up their home planet and implode, which is the most likely future for the human species. If we get a message from ET out there it might assume various forms:

    HELP!

    W’ere F***ed!

    Are you stupid like we are!

    and so forth. It’s a mess down here, and I suspect heaven is no different.

    Lawrence B. Crowell

  38. Layman says

    Lawrence- So Optimistically Pessimistic ! You are taking the fun out of this discussion.

    Read the above posts- read the news-so many folks- not just the ones here- dream every day of their lives that an alien race will come to Earth and solve all of our problems. Peace-Health-Wealth and answers to questions that we all long to know.

    Sorry to say but as much as I respect your knowledge and admire your intelligence- I hope that you are incorrect- I want utopia. Bring on the Aliens I say-Humanoid aliens who speak English would even better!

  39. Ted C. says

    We give them AK-47’s and they give us the cure for death…mmmm right.

  40. Tony says

    Thought the question was asking what would you say if we could send a message. If so, what would you reveal about humanity.

    Do you think we all could behave; that is, if we did have a chance encounter. And if we were foolish, and clumsy; would they have anticipated this.

    If the shoe were on the other foot, I would probably hang out in space beyond our reach, and observe. And most definitely, I would welcome a thoughtful, non-violent message from the loud critters on Earth.

    Someone said that the human race was just smart enough to realize just how ignorant we really are. I might be wrong here, but I think I got this from an article about what message would most scientists agree on when sending to outer space.

  41. Lawrence B. Crowell says

    Any living system requires energy and produces entropy. This might include structures which are self-adaptive and sentient, but maybe not biological. Intelligent life which is capable of manipulating its environment will do so to increase its energy input, which by necessity involves an increased entropy output. There is no way out of that: Politics, religion and our most cherished hopes do not get around thermodynamics.

    With humans the process began about 3 million years ago with australiopithicus when they figured out how to take themselves off the menu (throwing rocks at leopards etc) and started put more on their menu. Other ETs probably start out much the same way. Intelligent life is then always able to acquire more energy from their environment and to remove constraints imposed on them. As such they have few negative feedback loops on their energy use and populations. That about sums up our situation.

    If ETs did come here doubtless they will want lots of resources and energy. They might study us some before they exterminate everything and satisfy their enormous energy appetites. It can’t be any other way. But, … don’t worry, they are not coming. They all die off before hand, and further I doubt there are more than one intelligent life form per galaxy at any given time.

    Lawrence B. Crowell

  42. Ryan says

    I do not think we need to tell them about our problems for the following reasons.

    a) If they have a pre 20th century level of technology they will not hear us.

    b) Even though it is not likely, if they are around our level of technology they will not be in a position to do much about our signal except reply (or not). To me, this possibility represents the greatest amount of unknowns simply because it is easy to imagine how different a society like this could be.

    c) If they are much more advanced than us then they are probably going to be able to infer a ton of stuff about whether we want them to or not. They’ll know about evolution, spaceflight, likely paths of technological development, and etc… They’ll know, or be able to figure out the ways that we are messed up and there is not much we’ll be able to do about that either way.

  43. Tony says

    STAR TREK – The Prime Directive dictates that there can be no interference with the internal affairs of other civilizations.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prime_Directive

    Tony

  44. Frank Glover says

    One might as well be honest.

    It’s difficult to say what parts of our history and behavior would impress someone else the most, anyway. No matter what we choose to conceal, there’s always the possibility that it’s something that they would most want to know. Whatever we hype, could be the thing that makes us most undesirable. Why second-guess?

    And as noted by others, if they can monitor and observe us in sufficient detail, they’ll know pretty much anything they’d want to know, anyway.

  45. Ron Mexico says

    I’ll preface this by noting that I think any contact with alien civilizations is unlikely to ever occur, but if we’re going to try for it, we might as well discuss the best method.

    Actually, I think we should be much more specific about particular problems for which the information from an advanced alien civilization might actually be useful. We could explain, for instance, the cellular structure of life on earth, and how our own cells sometimes go awry and proliferate uncontrollably. Might you kind sirs have any suggestions about stopping this proliferation or disrupting the resultant masses?

    Alien civilizations at whatever level of advancement have practically no rational motive for harming us. The universe is so vast in every direction that if they needed any resource that could be found here, they could just as easily find it somewhere closer in some other arbitrary direction.

    Despite the totally specious platitudes about religion bandied about on this website, dutiful study of history shows that the primary root of human conflict is scarcity of resources. That’s natural, because it’s just about the only reasonable motivation for conflict of any kind. Scarcity of the kind of resources that would be needed by a star-faring civilization that might pose a threat to us is so unlikely to be alleviated by a visit to our little planet that it’s hardly worth contemplating. The only reason aliens would do anything to our detriment would be pure malice.

    Now, we don’t know the character of aliens, but we have ourselves and rationality as points of reference. Human civilizations, even when committing atrocities, very seldom act on a grand scale out of pure malice. Malice has no basis in rationality. Therefore, there’s no reason to presume that aliens are malicious.

  46. JJ says

    Just the fact that this question is being asked leads me to believe humans are not yet an intelligent species. We don’t know a think about the alien entities that might live in the universe. We don’t have a clue what they look like, what their nature is, their technological level. Would they even have any equivalent of human morality? We humans have a moral system but we ignore it daily in the most severe way.

    Taking all these unknowns into consideration, why would we even contemplate “telling ET our problems”? I can’t even understand the question.

  47. McRude says

    If there are civilizations out there, they are most likely much more advanced, and have visited us many times before – in millions of years intervals. Periodically checking up on THE PLANET to see how this planet has evolved. The fact that humans are now here would not concern them at all, because by now they would simply consider this planet a zoo. Something to visit now and then just to see what is out there. They wouldn’t need or want anything from us and could really care less what we are doing because they know we will not be around for any significant period of what they deem as real time.

    Planet Zoo…………………..

  48. huygens says

    Kirk violated the Prime Directive whenever he felt it was necessary.

    Who’s to say that an ETI will not do the same regarding us? Or we to them?

  49. Member
    John in Missouri says

    If evolution is the tool that the Creator uses to shape life in this universe, then I am hard-pressed to imagine a race that has not gone through all the travails of civilization-building that we have gone through/are going through. So tell them or not; they will have similar histories. Their opinion of us will undoubtedly be shaped on how we behave after “meeting” with them more than the bloodiness of our history, since they will have similar histories.

    P.S. If some of you have a coronary over my use of the phrase “the Creator” you may substitute the word “Nature” for it–the principle will remain the same.

  50. JJ says

    Hey John, you make an interestnig point: “So tell them or not; they will have similar histories.”

    I can see why it’s tempting to think that, but I would offer this point: Just on Earth alone, there are millions of species, only 1 of which has become intelligent enought to build a global technological civilization. Humans come from the primate mammal group of Earth life forms, and in this group alone there many forms of species, each with their own temprarment and varying penchant for violence.

    It appears we and our closest relatives, the chimps, both come from a particularly intelligent and violent ape ancestor which was fiercely territorial. But if the very peaceful Urang-utans by chance had become the intelligent species, maybe we would not have wasted thousands of years and countless lives in wars over land, religion, and everything else?

    My point is, even on Earth there’s nothing to ensure that our history had to turn out the way it did. So if we take it to the level of extraterrestrials, we are clueless! They could be pacifists, they could be many times more violent than us, they could have a way of thinking we cannot understand. No assumptions can be made.

  51. Mauro says

    The Fermi paradox has not been solved. Only guess work.

  52. Roger Levinson says

    Huygens, QEV. You may well be right, time will tell. I hope and wish you a long life. Long enough for the question to be definitely resolved.

  53. Frank Glover says

    “STAR TREK – The Prime Directive dictates that there can be no interference with the internal affairs of other civilizations.”

    There is no guarantee that real extraterrestrials will use that particular ethic however, and no idea just how much they would depart from it. (plus, ‘non-interference’ could come not from explicitly intended ethical behavior, but from utter indifference)

    Indeed, many people *hope* ETs will share some of what they know with us. You can’t have it both ways…

  54. Tony says

    Although the universe may seem vast at 93 billion light years, it is believed that there are many. The fire works with the Big Bang is only a small part of the show. We are all star dust, in the greatest sense of the word.

    I think a greater amount of credit should be given to nature, and not our idols. And if our beliefs prevent us from being the most we can be; then we should evolve to something better.

    Tony

  55. Ted C. says

    I have a stupid question, but first let me state for the record I still have not made up my mind as far as Gods existance. Having said that, the question is, how did everything we know of come to being? If not a creator then how? We can trace everything back to a spec of dust, fine then where did the dust come from? Maybe our god is an alien but he may have a boss too. Honestly I would like to here from some of the people on here because I think there are some very smart people on this site. (Not you oils) just kidding, even you.

  56. Chuck R. says

    While personally I don’t believe in a god, gods or goddesses, or whom/whatever any individual might consider a religion-based ‘The God’, thereby being athiest on the matter (which is not a religion, its a lack of religion), I can grasp the limited knowledge of the universe and its ways we can fathom as a species at this moment in time. As such, by the guiding results of science, should logical and methodical science somehow prove someday that there is a form of entity streaming throughout the universe, guiding the winds of fate, enforcing karma, affecting gravity, etc, I would happily accept proof positive as fact. I don’t see that happening, but I remain open to the possibility regardless. But such a being would naturally function wholely with the universe we see & know, it would not be an individual as described in any holy text you could find. None of this rulebook nonsense (as was written by, chosen by, and pushed by man) that contradicts itself in events, intent and nature itself. Any description of ‘God’ and text claiming his mindset and authority, any being written of in any religion past, present and future (the Bible included, natch) that speaks, that punishes with eternal damnation, that has no trouble with hypocrisy when it comes from his rulebook, that has no apparent compassion, foresight or true power in modern day, the one that is used to promote ignorance & intolerance by the book-thumping followers of his related religion; He cannot exist, he does not exist, he is an impossibility. He’s simply not an option.

    In other words; I don’t know what preceded and initiated the Big Bang, but I know it doesn’t care about evil snakes getting supposedly perfect people to eat off-limit velvet rope apples, didn’t first create the Earth before everything else, and doesn’t givahoot if the wife & I had sex before marriage. But whatever it was, I bet it was freakin’ awesome.

  57. Layman says

    Chuck I agree with you- whatever it is- it does pay particular attention to us.

    Ted- What I have decided after many years of discussing and contemplating this subject is that there must be something greater than ourselves. Call it God or the Creator or whatever you wish. Then you come to the next dilemma, this powerful entity also had to have been created by something- and that entity by something else- gosh this keeps going on forever…… I just have a problem with the possibility that the Universe blinked into existence out of nothing from nothing one day billions of years ago. There will never be an answer for my question or your question and you will change your mind many times over the years-

  58. Ted C. says

    Thanks guys, I thought everyone would be afaid to touch this one. Chuck, I think if there is a creator he or it or whatever may not care much about us earthlings. I don’t believe in God, but maybe a creator. Layman, I am 43 and yes, I have changed my mind several times. I too have a big problem with nothing becoming everything. I also have a huge problem with the known universe being all there is. Show me a map of the universe and i’ll ask, so what is over there,? and point to a spot many feet from your map. Then i’ll say, or 1000000 miles from the map.? These questions drive me crazy! It’s a good kind of crazy though…I think i’m not the only one.

  59. Layman says

    Ted- Talking about a creator on this site does not seem to make peoples heads spin around as if the are possessed by the devil himself like it does in casual conversation in your office or at home (personal experience). I think that this is because people with an interest in science are usually an open minded group and most of them do not put themselves into a closed box.
    If we ever get to meet an alien race it will be interesting to hear their thoughts of who GOD might be- Let just hope that their Gods do not want to take out our Gods.

  60. Chuck R. says

    @Laymen; Hmm, I don’t know about such an entity I described (which at this time I do not believe does) would actually have a mindful investment in us any more than it would the life of an asteroid or the fate of a star. Ted pretty much summed up what I was getting at with “Chuck, I think if there is a creator he or it or whatever may not care much about us earthlings. I don’t believe in God, but maybe a creator.” While everything does seem to work in cycles, giving the chance for a creator (an intelligent design at work within the universe as it would be a part of said universe) to guide the winds of fate and karma (the whole what goes around comes around bit), that’s mere speculation, which is why I stressed at only such possibilities for this entity while denouncing the man-made gods and their authority over the life of men. Until science can prove it, I’m sticking with the atheist route. The one that allows for logic, learning, and real understanding of the universe, our planet, and our people without trying to dictate behavioral do’s & don’ts with condemning authority since its all really socially acceptable and socially unacceptable behavior at work in our current civilization. I don’t believe in a creator at this time, but remain open to the possibility of a non-relgion-associated intelligent designer, pending evidence. Sorry if that all wasn’t clear, I do tend to pour out the ramble when saying something.

  61. Vagueofgodalming says

    Here’s what went wrong:

    July 2006, the aliens intercept Pioneer correctly decode the message, and set off in the right direction.

    August 2006, the IAU declassifies Pluto.

    September 2006, the aliens turn up, take a look, see that there’s one less planet than on the Pioneer plaque, decide this can’t be the right place, and zoom right on by.

    IAU, what have you done?

  62. Bosco says

    Chuck R. Yes to all the above. You are absolutely certifiably off you meds. Get over being an atheist. Get over your leftwing guilt ideology. Quit the drugs before posting. Get professional help, all you are doing is self projecting your self loathing onto the entire human race. You think you are an atheist but … you are still angry about it, you are STILL praying for God to come rescue the world (you). It’s an alien God but a God none-the-less.
    Most of your post was illogical and barely rational. For instance, you, rightly insist the universe is incredibly vast, then we are a nothing special, insignificant mudball, then we are going to infect the cosmos like cancer. So what is it? Is the universe smaller or we are indeed so special we can infect the entire cosmos?
    And you incredibly negative view of humanity. Geebus guy. Who pissed in your Coco Puffs? Twice, you seemed to suggest the ending of humanity wouldn’t be a bad thing. And you wonder why there are wars? Gosh do you think that kind of thinking might be part of it?

  63. Chuck R. says

    How about you get over yourself? It seems you’re reading my words with some imagination of a man sitting there screaming this stuff. Don’t. Relax, read slowly, imagine kicking back in a lounge chair in the living room having a beer with the guy saying these things in a thoughtful, conversational voice with the game on in the background. I could get into the fact no I don’t take medication, but that’s always been such a pathetic jab for one stranger to take to another with no actual personal knowledge of one another. I, given yes I’m an atheist and do pay attention to people & the things they do as well as give attention to world events, do see quite clearly how humanity treats itself daily. And that treatment, like – say – someone actually taking time out of their personal life to use false claims and personal insults in a sad attempt to do nothing more than denounce an individual’s personal view on a subject, pans out into a building hurricane of self destruction as time for our species goes on. Absolutely. I can appreciate the good in life with the best of them and do. I find the good in everything from my marriage to a good meal out, from the joy of my son to a good laugh with some stand up comedy special, from walks through the park to the honor of helping a person in need. But just because there is good doesn’t somehow negate the bad in life or humanity, nor should it make one willingly blind to it. But, perhaps I’m wrong and there is no such thing as war, or rape, or murder, or falsehoods throughout or world from the dawn of our history. What a wonderful reality you must live in be it that the case.

    The idea of aliens coming to save us is fiction. Hypothetical fiction in relation to the subject of the article at hand. I pray to no one and nothing, never been a hope for the best after asking thin air for favors kind of guy, no. I do sincerely apologize if my ideas have offended you, or if in your haste to scan through my typings you skipped here & there thus making the text seem illogical & irrational (which it obviously isn’t on either account). But I would like to point out that with your confirmation of “Yes to all the above” you’re stating that you are bothered (to a disturbing degree) that we should (or that someone thinks we should) broadcast openly about or world to the far reaches of space for better or worse, that it would be a likely possibility (or that someone thinks it would be a likely possibility) that a race of beings advanced enough in their technology to travel through space with ease might have the technology to solve a number of crisis on Earth be it biological, environmental or social, that the universe is (or that someone thinks the universe is) BIG enough for the Earth to at best be a grain of sand on a beach by comparison, and that humanity is (or that someone thinks – rightly – that humanity is) a destructive species.

    I am glad we seem to agree that the universe is vast (even though that prior mentioned all of the above would seem to indicate otherwise, but I get it, you were just attacking blindly, it happens – especially on the internet). Very vast indeed. The epitome of the word it would seem. But, given the track record of man’s use of resources, exhausting them before moving on to the next with some worry but rarely an action toward consequence, yes I imagine that were man to ever spread somehow beyond our Earth, to other stars, such behavior would continue. I don’t think it a threat to the entire cosmos, only what we would eventually come into contact with. But, then again, I don’t see such a scenario as a liklihood at all given the limitations set on space travel.

    Truth be told, I don’t think humanity will ever experience alien contact of any kind, certainly not face to face. Were we to run with the idea that life (as we might recognize it and compare it to ourselves similarly) is so low in its chance at occuring, given there are billions of stars in our galaxy alone, and that the universe are accumulated into many layers of organization beginning with star clusters, which coalesce in galaxies, which are members of galaxy clusters, which are in turn members of superclusters, which are in turn members of super-superclusters, all the way up to one of the largest features in the universe, a galactic supercluster, and taking into account that all we’ve seen from images taken in space is merely what visible light is available to us at our position in the cosmos, a worst case scenario would put any low estimate of other life out there into numbers that could still wow us. Yet due to the limitations on space travel, the distances we’re talking to the next star much less another system that would house intelligent life, even a high number of possible other civilizations would probably be forever out of our reach, and vice versa.

    This whole article and (what should be) discussion on the matter is a logical consideration on an improbable imagining. My original post in this commentary section was meant to be insightful, challenging, and honestly grim, but done so humorously. Since you’ve taken it the wrong way, as though it’s some praying to an alien God to come kill us all and meant quite literally – its sole purpose for existing to be an offense against you to the point of you posting commentary like “seriously dude, get help” & “who pissed in your Coco Puffs”, again I apologize. With that said, cram it.

    And for the record, I prefer Cookie Crisp. Piss free.

  64. Tony says

    The first post on this forum was mine. I ended my thought with the hope that a visitor may have understanding of us, and may even pitch in to help. Nothing wrong with that. It is not a dream or anything, just an imagination based on the revelations science has given us.

    We are not here by chance, or mistake. The ingredients for life are everywhere, and not just on Earth. We are finding life here on earth in the strangest, most hostile enviroments.

    Seems that some of us believe that there is no sense asking the question of what we should say if we have an encounter. Mostly because of the distance. This may be an issue for our minds today, but what about other being who decided to spend their energy not building weapons and crap consumer products; instead they focused on more meaningful persuits.

    If math is the key to unlocking the universes, then maybe they have math way beyond our selfish thoughts. Maybe, our communication makes us appealing to another more curious world.

    And far as religion getting in the way of this conversation, it is scary to have to rethink your whole life with beliefs in God. I know several clergy, and they have admitted that they are the most sceptical to God because they are the closet to the topic. One told me it is just a bussines. Personally, if what I see with my own eyes does not fit and look symetrical; then I move on to a better topic for my curiosity. To further put this into context, I am named after my great uncle, an Italian priest. But the schools I attended was very progressive, unlike my parents catholic private school.

    When one gets all emotional about this yopic, it is because people are scared. It is schocking to learn that everything you know is wrong. There is denial, anger in lashing out;. We build walls up around us that are so high, we never get much practice with good communication with each other. Furthermore these walls prevent us from seeing our environment either. This is why when one is forced to deal with a large trauma, often other hidden things in our closet come out at the same time.

    If you can grasp these human behaviors, you would either make a very great bussinesman, or a even greater political activist. For me, this is how I became an activist, after many years of running from family abuse, I decided to stop and see what the deal was. Alchool addiction, and domestic abuse offer a great window into seeing how we behave, and enable each other; and denial. When someone crams an idea down your throat, it is usually because they themselves feel uncomfortable with the idea. A person becomes a phychologist because they had such a hard time dealing, they made a proffession of it. This is not healthy behavior.

    I would prefer we all argue, instead of be quiet and pretend with each other. At least this is movement.

    Tony

  65. Tony says

    This is how I imagine it. The visitors see us with special telescopes from far beyond. They use time in a way we do not understand, and are now within our television transmissions from our first broadcasts. They get cold feet, and decide to hang out at the edge of our reach. The last person they would want to talk with is our public servants. They pick some homeless person, and focus a radio transmission to the TV in the store window as this person passes by. No one believes this person when he/she tells others. So they move the spaceship just above earth, with shields up. Send a small team to pick up this homeless person to be brought to the ship. Here the truth comes out. They learn about our emotions, who we are really deep inside. They then find out that our children are pure, and good; that is before we adults make them bitter. The aliens see our condition as a disease. They give us truth in slow doses, and the people here on Earth begin to see again. Some of us are asked to go back with them; while some of them stay. We find a better way to use our energy here on Earth. We evolve by use of this symbiotic relationship as all nature evolves.

    Then you look at the clock, and see it is late. You turn off the TV.

    No serious, this is a great exercise for humanity. How would you judge yourselves. Would you change if hope was tangiable.

  66. Layman says

    Ok I hereby withdraw my comment that talking about “GOD/Creator” on this site would not make peoples heads spin. I stand corrected and admit the error of my ways!

  67. Ted C. says

    Thanks for your thoughts guys, oh and just for the record, I prefer, hearing voices puffs, no piss, with handfuls of meds washed down with a tall glass of crazy juice. haha.. This is a touchy subject but the questions are the greatest of all questions. It’s the 900 lb. gorilla in the room. Leave it to us humans to think we are at the center of the question.

  68. Bosco says

    Your ideas don’t offend me, I simply recognize them as the ranting of a lunatic. Denying you asked for Aliens to come and judge Humanity is simply a lie. You said, it’s in black and white. Now you lie about it. Either you are a moron, think I am, or you are friggin nuts. Whatever the case is it gives anything else you might have said zero value. Come back when you grow up.

  69. Chuck R. says

    Of the two of us, very honestly, you’re the troll that hopped into a topic with nothing to offer but offense to someone, so if you feel the need for one of us to go, get lost yourself. Fantastic how you ignore more and more what was said, whittling down to less and less to complain about. I’m very serious when I say that you have issues. I’m not nuts, nor a moron, or a liar, and yes I’m believing more and more that you are, unfortunately.

    No, indeed, I did not in black, white nor any other color call out to the heavens saying “Please alien Gods! Come and judge us!”

    I said, in black & white, “OR, natch, they COULD just zap us to bits which, and I mean this (when the full view of our history and current events concerning rape, murder, patriotic murder, molestation, lies, incest, ignorance, intolerance, torture, abuse, bigotry, religion, hate, infidelity, anger, anger and more anger, mutilation, theft, etc), would probably be for the best. The human race, despite any perceived global good intentions and kind little acts performed occasionally by neighbors or friends or family, is very self-destructive & hateful to one another. We’re a cancer to ourselves, a cancer to the planet, I see no immediate reason to assume we’d be otherwise on the cosmos. ZAP!”

    Which was “meant to be insightful, challenging, and honestly grim, but done so humorously”. I cannot help but wonder if you realize the nature of the subject in this topic, and of the presence of other posts on the matter. It seems you wandered onto a website at random, ignored the article, glued eyes on a few words of a random post without actually reading it and attempting to get the tone, took it too literally (perhaps a bad perception of reality on your part, especially what with the whole apparent thing about you not being able to acknowledge the evils of the world as said prior) and commenced to spend your personal time typing up ignorant, unfounded, dimwitted insults that have zero comprehension concerning the posts they’re attacking.

    You want a liar? Check the nearest mirror.

    Chuck R.: What irked you exactly? *examples given*

    Bosco: Yes to all the above.

    *later*

    Bosco: Your ideas don’t offend me.

    In just a few posts I see quite clearly you’re quite ignorant, socially inept, contradictory, quick to offense & offend, and have little grasp of reality, maybe even a reading deficiency. While your prior “get help” jab was a lame attempt at an attack, I offer the same advice back, but as actual advice.

    And since we’re quoting ‘old’ stuff, here’s one for the road. “Since you’ve taken it the wrong way, as though it’s some praying to an alien God to come kill us all and meant quite literally – its sole purpose for existing to be an offense against you to the point of you posting commentary like “seriously dude, get help” & “who pissed in your Coco Puffs”, again I apologize. With that said, cram it.”

    Freakin’ nutter.

  70. Lawrence B. Crowell says

    The space alien is a modern version of an anthrotype, or projection of ourselves onto the world or universe. Flashing light in the sky were thought to be angels in the medieval world, now people see UFOs. The space alien is basically a space-aged version of a demiurge or god. They come in both benevolent forms (Speilberg’s ET) and malevolent forms (the Geiger alien or HG Well’s martians), just as there are angels and demons in prior ideation along these lines.

    As such the whole matter of ET’s is semi-religious, which while SETI is sort of astronomy the same holds. Religion brings about heated disagreements, because nothing can be settled or determined by reason. We have zero data on ETs, and I suspect chances are fair to decent data will remain zero permanently. It is then interesting to not the acrimony which has developed over this matter.

    Lawrence B. Crowell

  71. Chuck R. says

    “We have zero data on ETs, and I suspect chances are fair to decent data will remain zero permanently.”

    Exactly. In the end I don’t believe what any individual might feel we should broadcast, given any estimation of distance for a hypothetical alien world I doubt any signal produced by man would ever reach them, period.

    “The space alien is a modern version of an anthrotype, or projection of ourselves onto the world or universe. Flashing light in the sky were thought to be angels in the medieval world, now people see UFOs.”

    Perhaps. I do feel the subject of theorizing on extraterrestrial life has its place in science & logic, with religion being anything but. Still, given the limitations on any possibility of transversing the galactic expanse for us or another imagined species, that would make those UFOs just that. Unidentified flying objects and not space aliens visiting n’such, which would make one wonder if another ideal will be imprinted on such & similar unexplained phenominon in, say, another thousand years, and what that ideal would be.

  72. Covenant says

    Eloquent, Tony, to say the least. 🙂

    “Ben – Aren’t we getting ahead of ourselves here?”

    Yuppers. I think many are looking at this the wrong way. Provided all these signals being sent, and all these hopes of ones being sent from other areas of the universe, are all actually able to not die out in transit and fade into background noise before disappearing entirely, limited info is best. It’s not editing the truth of ourselves as a people, not withholding bad info on us at all, but in the small chance something we send out gets picked up, I’d sure as heck think it better we inform them on things like our location, our biology, not our obvious and very real downfalls. Chances are we’ll never meet face to face, not even with millions of years advancement I’d guess, so if we’re to send a message to fellow beings out in the cosmos let’s be informative and positive eh?

    “Lawrence B. Crowell – The space alien is a modern version of an anthrotype, or projection of ourselves onto the world or universe.”

    I can’t agree with that fully. When speaking of pure science fiction for entertainment, sure, but minds that tend to ponder over actuality in these matters I think tend to stay a bit more open-minded. I forget whom but once, when asked about sketches of supposed aliens that were claimed to have visited Earth with their skinny grey bodies, big heads and large black almond eyes, his response was, “This is the what the universe has to offer? How boring,” or something damn near exact to that effect. The point is, methinks the folks that truly get a kick out of this stuff not only understand but are secretly hopeful that life to be found beyond Earth would be something far different from us. I see it more a social grouping inevitability that would arise no matter the species or its conditions. Animals herd, humans gather & populate, either way its community or civilization. It takes little imagination to assume anything living, out there in the stars, evolving as an entity & species would have some semblance to us, if not in form (likely not, in fact) than certainly in function. Now don’t crucify me for that, as I will acknowledge there’s plenty of loonies in our modern society that think they’ve been abducted, probed, been in contact with extraterrestrials here for us. And that they have their own oddball social groups that hope for some kind of saving from the world of today, no in fact they believe they’ve been told such will happen. Now that’s the fairest comparison to the delusional fairy tales of religion. But then I don’t see such people here at all. And personally speaking, in the half of one in a bazagilliontrillion chance they are being abducted and probed, methinks its really just so the aliens can keep their machinery warm. ba’dum, ting!

    Chuck R., can’t help but agree with you on most points, as usual.

    And Bosco? Dear fark are you the biggest troll I’ve seen in some time. Did CHUCK piss in YOUR Coco Puffs or something? I mean really, musthafa fag says “We of the Taliban Space Cadets say “Death to all Aliens!” AIEEEE!”, friends says “They would only want to know whether we taste better broiled, raw, or roasted”, and SciFi Si jokes “The best way to avoid fear of the unknown it to nuke ‘em!” but you single out Chuck heavily, with no provocation, and zero intelligence or maturity. You have no points to make, nothing to add to the discussion, you’re just a jerkoff, so STFU already.

  73. Mars A. Saurian says

    Bosco: Whatever the case is it gives anything else you might have said zero value.

    LOL, what a pathetic cop out to owning up to everything else he poignantly said. You took something in the wrong light and continue to do so for little more than the sake of throwing some immature fit directed at someone you don’t even know. Going back reading the four or five posts of yours here it seems like your just a reprehensibly whiny douche. I hope you’re nicer to people in your offline life since I can’t see anyone putting up with you otherwise. YOU grow the hell up man, or woman, who the hell knows or even cares.

    Tony: How would you judge yourselves. Would you change if hope was tangiable.

    Farfetched as your scenario is, I think anyone’s honest judgement of themselves or their fellow man would be harsh. I did say “honest judgement”. But hellz yeah, if their were a TANGIBLE hope at hand I think anyone would jump at the chance for change, for something better than what they have.

    Speaking of which, while I love the SETI program and what it hopes to achieve, I will be amazed if the human race ever lives to see a signal, period. Our own piddly radio transmissions are, what, one hundred light years out by now? You know how friggin ginormous THE UNIVERSE is?? Yeah I totally think theres life other than our own out there. In fact I think the universe is teeming with it. TEEMING! But the small radius our signals will achieve? Yeah don’t hold your breath. Even if our signals are flying out there in every direction, strong as the day they were broadcast and totally discernible from any other detectable “noise” the universe is putting off, the odds of those signals hitting something that WILL detect it are nil. Of all the stars our very first radio signals may have had a chance to reach by now, there’s a low chance any of those few just happen to be habitable. But let’s say eight of them are, right? Just for example, nothing more. Eight of them. Fine, so three of them bear favorable planets for life, but its all still in a primordial state when our signals begin passing. Well, they’re more than a few millions of millions of years away from being estimated to even have the possibility of technology and mind to LOOK for our signals. We could all be dead by then, then they’ll wonder if there’s anyone out there and why they can’t hear their signals if there were. Then you got a couple of opposites going on. One, the species entirely destroyed themselves and their surface world with war the likes of which I hope mankind will never see. THEY ain’t looking for radio signals. Then there’s the other one of those couple where famine and plague are just about done rendering their race extinct. Maybe it was something they created that got out of hand, maybe the planet just wiped them out with a new strain of biological toxin, who the hell knows. All I know is they aren’t searching for a “WOW” signal like we are. One of the last remaining three is in their stoneage, signals just passing on by a sentient species never to be detected because Aungerasok the three armed green barbarian is busy hitting Lanuth mongrels with rocks. And the last two? One, advanced to the point of us but either not looking, or not listening in the right spot. Maybe they swung their “ears” in just the right direction at just the right time one day to catch a faint remnant of one of our stronger signals, had THEIR own “WOW” moment, and somewhere on their worldwide communications system there’s fellas talking just like us, doubting our existence and that of Aungerasok as well, wondering what they should say back to us should the chance ever come. Hell, maybe the “WOW” signal was theirs? And the last one? A highly advanced culture. They were visiting the other worlds of their solar system while T-rex was still chomping dinomeat here. They’ve come up with technological advances our science fiction can only dream of. They detected our first signals the moment they made their way into their system. And they don’t even care. They have themselves, they have balance, they have each other, why would they care about us?

    Food for thought.

  74. Lawrence B. Crowell says

    Covenant: When speaking of pure science fiction for entertainment, sure, but minds that tend to ponder over actuality in these matters I think tend to stay a bit more open-minded.
    ———————-

    The spatial extend of the universe might be infinite. as it is asymptoting to a de Sitter configuration. This means that anything which is not strictly forbidden is manditory. So ETs are out there I would imagine.

    The question is what is the average density, say ETs per galaxy? I suspect this is not too high. I partly base this on some analysis I did of extrasolar systems and chaos to estimate how many life bearing planets similar to Earth there might be in our galaxy. The bayesian analysis on Lyapunov exponents gave ~ 1-10 thousand. Now heap onto this the probability that one or more of them might on the time as defined by a spatial frame (Hubble frame) has intelligent life. I suspect the probability is pretty low.

    If there are ET in our galaxy we will probably contact them via radio. I doubt that interstellar travel is likely, at least not outside of sending probes to nearby stars. The SETI people are then making a huge gamble for the payoff of the century in finding ET, but where I suspect the odds are stacked against them.

    Lawrence B. Crowell

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