Skip to main content

 photo planet-alienlife_zpsef2c05bc.jpg
Kepler-186f, the first validated Earth-size planet to orbit a distant star in the habitable zone, a range of distance from a star where liquid water might pool on the planet's surface, is seen in a NASA artist's concept released April 17, 2014. NASA/Reuters


Kukil Bora of the Ib Times drops any qualifiers and reports today that Aliens Exist And Could Be Discovered Within 20 Years, SETI Researchers Say. Researchers from the Search of Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute in California testified before a hearing of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Science, Space, and Technology on Wednesday.

Astronomers and space enthusiasts have long been baffled by the question -- whether life exists beyond Earth. Now, if a group of astronomers are to be believed, it is only a matter of 20 years, and enough funding, before that question is answered.

Over the past 50 years, multiple attempts have been made to look for signs of alien life beyond Earth and several pieces of evidence have been found suggesting that the components and conditions necessary for life are common and “perhaps ubiquitous” in the Milky Way galaxy, ...

 photo seti_zps86b2d479.jpg

According to Shostak, searching for life elsewhere in the solar system or beyond can be done in three ways. While most efforts and funding to find alien life have so far focused on Mars and moons in the solar system, a second approach looks for signs of oxygen or methane -- gases that are mostly tied to life on Earth -- in the atmosphere of distant planets, Discovery News reported. Thirdly, astronomers hunt for technologically advanced aliens who might be sending radio or other signals out into space.

While I was writing this article another article became available, so it keeps expanding.

Dominique Mosbergenm of the <Huffington Post Aliens Are Almost Definitely Out There, SETI Astronomers Tell Congress.

According to ABC News, Dan Werthimer, director of the SETI Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley, told the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology Wednesday that the possibility of extraterrestrial microbial life is "close to 100 percent."

"In the last 50 years, evidence has steadily mounted that the components and conditions we believe necessary for life are common and perhaps ubiquitous in our galaxy," said Werthimer in his written testimony, adding: "The possibility that life has arisen elsewhere, and perhaps evolved intelligence, is plausible and warrants scientific inquiry."

“The chances of finding it I think are good and if that happens it will happen in the next 20 years depending on the financing,” Shostak told the committee.

 photo Kepler_zps2a9c10c2.jpgKepler Space Telescope is looking for Exoplanets that could support alien life.

So our expert scientists are telling us it is only a matter of time before we discover other life in our universe. One way we may detect life could be with the The Kepler space  telescope I reported last week.  For example, one experiment is proposing that we try to detect chemicals in the atmosphere of exoplanets that might indicated microbes in an atmosphere based on the refraction of light from stars behind them. The IQ of these microbes may not be very high enough for stimulating conversation. (humor alert.)  

Still wouldn't it be something?

10:31 AM PT: Thanks to Termite for stimulating the insight that while the distances of interstellar space are so vast that we may never visit other planets.

Just the knowledge that alien life exist will likely stimulate a major new renaissance on earth leading us to finally transcend many of our petty differences, address poverty, hunger, cultural diversity, and world peace with greater urgency and seriousness.  

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  I hope one day we can communicate with aliens (13+ / 0-)

    but not too often.  It would be terrible if interstellar travel led to a sort of monochromatic, uniform culture and way of thinking throughout the galaxy as is already happening on Earth.

    The Stars and Bars and the red swastika banner are both offerings to the same barbaric god.

    by amyzex on Thu May 22, 2014 at 08:31:29 AM PDT

      •  Great lines from the movie "Contact"...... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        zmom

        Ellie: Why did you contact us?

        Ted: You contacted us. We were just listening.

        Ellie: Then there are others?

        Ted: Many others.

        Ellie: They all travel here through that transit system that you built?

        Ted: We didn't build it. We don't know who did. No, they were gone long before we ever got here. Maybe some day they'll come back.

        Ellie: All these other civilizations you find, they come here?

        Ted: Not all.

        Ellie: Is this some test?

        Ted: No, no tests. You have your mother's hands. You're an interesting species. An interesting mix. You are capable of such beautiful dreams, and such horrible nightmares. You feel so lost, so cut off, so alone. Only you're not. See, in all our searching, the only thing we found that makes the emptiness bearable is each other.

        Ellie: What happens now?

        Ted: Now you go home.

        Ellie: Home? But... I have so many questions. Do we get to come back?

        Ted: This was just a first step. In time, you'll take another.......

        “My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that, and I intend to end up there." - Rumi

        by LamontCranston on Thu May 22, 2014 at 03:29:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I don't think that... (34+ / 0-)

      ... societies as dysfunctional as ours will ever crack the interstellar travel code.

      The difference between being able to instrumentally perceive the existence of distant life and being able to visit that life is unimaginably huge.

      Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it.

      by The Termite on Thu May 22, 2014 at 08:38:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We may not travel to other planets, as the (14+ / 0-)

        distances are so vast, but just the knowledge of the existence of other life will change everything nearly instantaneously in vast ways.

        Last night I posted two poll on science denial showing tea party identifiers are much different than other GOP in this regard. Such a discovery will blow them away.

        Now we are unable to advance any bipartisan bills on global warming and they are chipping away at our social programs and education.

        Knowledge that other life existed could be a major boost to science, math, engineering, and technology education, jobs, and consequently our economy and perhaps finally motivate us to get serious about solving a lot of our petty differences and social problems.

        Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

        by HoundDog on Thu May 22, 2014 at 10:23:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Major investments in military programs since (9+ / 0-)

          we must do everything we can to avoid becoming a food planet for the aliens.  The fear factor will be dialed up to 12, since 11 is now the normal setting for the MIC.

          •  We are such a long way off for aliens limited by (12+ / 0-)

            the speed of light, any alien species with the technology to get here should have the technology to synthesize more convenience food.

            An article a few days ago predict we will be able to create mass from energy.

            Within even 100 to 500 years we will probably be able to synthesize enough of the basic molecules to make any possible food we want.

            Heck we can almost do that now. Probably 50 years.

            So I like the idea from a Sci - Fi point of view.

            And, it might be possible aliens might want our planet as a colonial outpost. But, I doubt they would come all this way just for  Fast Food.

            Heck, I've eaten canned raviollis for the last three days in the row just because I'm too lazy to drive 2 miles down to the nearest drive through, and I consider myself to be one of the most advanced life forms in the whole area.

            The idea that aliens might travel several 100 to several 100,000s of light-years for some snacks that are "high in fat" and not very healthy for their diets seems doubtful.

            They must have something equivalent to the American Heart Association who would have a cow if they looked at the health impact of eating too many humans. You know how we aren't supposed to eat tuna more than so many time a week because of the mercury?

            Can you imagine the limits their doctors would put on eating humans after the number of atmospheric nuclear bomb testing and coal burning we've done?

            Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

            by HoundDog on Thu May 22, 2014 at 11:19:09 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I bought a supply of canned tuna when Fukishima (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              HoundDog, AnnieR

              happened - not because of mercury, but I wanted to be exposed to limited radiation in my seafood for as long as the can's expiration dates would let me.  I'm wondering if I want to purchase any more, or see if I can find some Atlantic tuna or salmon instead.

            •  Any idea how much energy it would take to (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ColoTim, chalatenango

              synthesize a mass == to a can of ravioli?

              To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

              by UntimelyRippd on Thu May 22, 2014 at 02:19:51 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  An exact idea, since E = mc² (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ColoTim

                And the answer is, No. It's 25 KwH per microgram. To do half a kilogram, or one pound, would require many times the total annual energy production of the entire Earth, several trillion dollars worth. That kind of nucleosynthesis of elements heavier than helium can only occur inside stars. So no Star Trek matter replicators for you.

                When we talk about synthesizing food, we mean taking existing matter, mostly carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen (CHON) and rearranging it with only a little bit of extra energy into molecules that our bodies can either use as building blocks or rearrange to liberate a modest amount of energy.

                What plants do for us quite well. If you eat meat, you are getting some of the materials and energy from the plants that they ate.

                Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

                by Mokurai on Thu May 22, 2014 at 10:54:18 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yeah, I know. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  ColoTim

                  I was kinda leaving it for the readers to burst their own bubbles.

                  It's a concept worthy of Douglas Adams -- a spaceship with a solar collector the size of jupiter powering a restaurant that can serve a couple of dozen meals a day.

                  To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                  by UntimelyRippd on Fri May 23, 2014 at 08:57:29 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  The deniers will come out of the woodwork (12+ / 0-)

          claiming that the scientists made up the alien communication to become filthy rich on government grants.

          •  Yes, but they will get to be a smaller and smaller (6+ / 0-)

            group. The majority of the population will laugh at them and think they are stupid.

            It's already happening with Stephen Colbert.

            Only about 33% of Republicans seem to be science deniers aond Republicans I think are only about 42% of the total pop.

            So I think we are now talking about 12% of the population and that number is going to steadily drop over the next years, probably assymtotically to around 5% to 7% over maybe 10  years.  

            If we discover life on another planet could cut that be a third, but more important push a bigger hunk of 30% of not sures into mild believers.

            Enough so we can start passing climate change bills.

            Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

            by HoundDog on Thu May 22, 2014 at 11:24:37 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I'm afraid I don't share your optimism ... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Kevskos

          ... although I really, really wish I did.

          Just the knowledge that alien life exist will likely stimulate a major new renaissance on earth leading us to finally transcend many of our petty differences, address poverty, hunger, cultural diversity, and world peace with greater urgency and seriousness.  
          The near-certainty that we have trashed our own planet and wreaked unimaginable misery on future generations -- (if those generations even survive) -- despite being warned about it for the last 40-10 years, has had no impact whatsoever in leading the human race to transcend many of our petty differences, address poverty, hunger, cultural diversity, and world peace with greater urgency and seriousness.

          Never underestimate the power of denial, and of the capacity human beings have to ignore obvious reality right in front of them, if that reality makes us have to question strong beliefs, or even just deal with it in a responsible way.

        •  I'm willing to bet that the average Tea Party (0+ / 0-)

          member believes we've already been visited by aliens.

          To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

          by UntimelyRippd on Thu May 22, 2014 at 02:18:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Just the knowledge that alien life exists will (5+ / 0-)

        likely stimulate a major new renaissance on earth leading us to finally transcend many of our petty differences, address poverty, hunger, cultural diversity, and world peace with greater urgency and seriousness.  

        Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

        by HoundDog on Thu May 22, 2014 at 10:29:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Is this what you humans call 'Humor'? (5+ / 0-)

          Or just 'bullshit'?

          •  I'm being both humorous and serious. (5+ / 0-)

            I believe if we hear that life exists on other planets it deflates the fundamentalist Christians that are the real core behind the anti-science, anti-climate change, anti-liberal, anti-Democrat core of the tea party group. I posted some polls last night you can check out in my archive last night that I believe document this.

            This is the group that is preventing science and evolution, and science from being taught in about 20 of our reddest state and keeping them red.

            The hard core "true believers" will never change and will be driven crazy by this until they day they die.

            I've started arguing that we Democrats have no choice now but to use a "wedge strategy" to try to split the pro-military Republicans, and the financial Republican away from these social values Republicans who are about a third of the GOP now.

            But this is going to be really hard. The Koch brothers have spend 67 million and are going to spend much more with the fossil fuel industry to undermine our climate change efforts by exploiting the science denial group following the strategy of the tobacco industry.

            With up to $10 to $20 trillion dollars we have to convince society to force them to leave in the ground this going to be a bigger fight than the Civil War which we stand a good chance of loosing to global warming.

            16 3 and 4 star generals just proclaimed global warming is a national security threat  to our economy.

            Giving me hope we can split two thirds of the GOP off from the fundamentalists and achieve a bipartisan effort to reduce fossil fuel burning to avoid atmospheric disaster.

            With that success we are so inspired the people of the world realize that ending hunger is much easier. We actually have enough food now it is just a matter of distribution.

            With the idea that we are just one planet of "billions and billions TV starts showing COSMOs and other Science programs on TV we build a statue of Carl Sagan on the Washington mall.

            scientist become greater heros than the NBA.

            In fact, TV starts to televise high school science fares.

            and so many students want to take science, math, engineering, and technology courses, that schools have to open on weekends and hire a massive number of new teachers, and even add new shifts in the evening lowering unemployment and creating a big economic boom.

            All this new science creates a great surge of innovation, new  products, new jobs. big improvements in the standard living.

            Richer happier people become more generous and our next generation of young people have forged internet and virtual relationship with other young people around the globe so the earth becomes a global community.

            To help unify the people of earth. Some people like me launch a satellite around Pluto and broadcasts a signal that appears like a warning signal from a renegade group of aliens warning us of an imminent invasion.

            Under Mao Tse Tung's theory of using an external enemy to unify an enemy the people of earth band together to urgently build a perimeter defense along the asteroid belt. By the time they figure out this was a HoundDog joke, the Renaissance is going full blast even more so than the 14h to 19th century so every looks back and just laughs, and says, "great jobs HoundDog." And they build a statue of me next to Carl Sagan on the Washington Mall.

            How's that Dr Telliwillikler?

            Oh I tipped your comment to show you I have a good sense of humor even though I disagree that there is any possibility that there is any possibility that my previous comment is bullshit, and I am serious about that.

            This is my story and I'm sticking to it. Obviously Ive exaggerated a few parts about this satellite thing just for fun and because its my post and I can, so why not, but the other parts I generally think are more likely approx. true than not.

            Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

            by HoundDog on Thu May 22, 2014 at 11:08:29 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Im going to have to stand with Dr Evil on this one (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              HoundDog, linkage, chrississippi

              But I appreciate your well thought out response and refreshing optimism and wish things would turn out as you propose.

              •  Thats thats the spirit Dr. Terwilliker. I tell you (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                amyzex, linkage, Edge PA, angel d

                what. If you come across to my side on this I could make it worth you while. What would it take? How about you own Death Star?

                Or maybe you'd like to be in charge all the Earth Planetary Defense Systems on the Asteroid Belt in Sector 8?  This could be big, Doc, and the time to get in on it is before all the others. :-)

                Seriously, can you honestly say to me, that if you wake up one morning and see me posting that these SETI folks have picked up and decoded the equivalent of " Gillagan's Island" or some other great cultural achievement of an alien civilization and you can watch some of it on an embedded video, you are not going to rec my post, and feel excited all day?

                And you don't think at least half of all those Republican science deniers are not going to feel pretty darn stupid?

                I think the number of actual science deniers now are less than 10% but they've managed to intimidate the rest of the Republican Party, because they are really well funded by the Koch brothers and probably also the fossil fuel industry who want to oppose climate science.

                Don't you think if scientist found life on other planets, Steven Colbert and other comics are going to escalate the "Hey hows that science denial working out for ya?" routine to the point they will be laughed at freeing up the other Republicans to cooperate with us bills?

                If not, are you not saying we are totally screwed?

                Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

                by HoundDog on Thu May 22, 2014 at 11:40:16 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I dont have a problem admitting when Im wrong (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Edge PA, Kevskos

                  Sometimes I wish I was wrong more often.
                  I dont believe the other side can be reasoned with, educated, or embarrassed into changing. The divide has become an existential conflict. Those kinds of strategies dont work then. Neither does democracy.

            •  You are correct that most of the shift (0+ / 0-)

              we need on the reality of science will come from the True Believers dying off in the usual manner and being replaced, as has happened in many scientific and other revolutions before.

              Fortunately Democrats do not have to implement a wedge strategy against Republicans. They are doing a fine job of that on their own.

              You have the traditional tax cut, deregulate, bust the unions kind of country club/Wall Street/1% Republican, who tries to recruit the other kinds to support their agenda by promising to support whatever those others want.

              For the owners of fossil carbon resources, it is Global Warming denial.

              For Birchers, it is still Communists under the beds and in every government agency.

              For racists, the backbone of the original Republican Southern Strategy, it's keeping minorities and immigrants down, and women in their place.

              For the Religious Right, it's misogyny plus opposition to contraception, abortion, sex education, Marriage Equality, Creationism in the schools, Muslim-bashing, and in some cases trying to bring about Armageddon by having Israel nuke Iran.

              For the Tea Partiers, it started out as hating Obama and Obamacare, and has taken off in all directions, including bringing down the Federal government and Wall Street.

              For gun nuts, it's just guns and tyranny. But the Oath Keepers and the Militias can't stand each other, as when some of them threatened to shoot each other at the Bundy ranch.

              For those who think they are Libertarians, there are guns, hatred of fiat money and the Fed, hatred of coercive Civil Rights laws, regulation of any kind, and opposition to the Drug War and foreign military adventures. But they are inherently unable to have a coherent theory of cooperative government.

              None of these people like each other. Every faction is accusing all of the others of being RINOs. Even people who belong to more than one faction (like the Koch brothers, Birchers and carbon resource owners both) hate those who disagree on any of the various sets of issues. None of the billionaire funders like each other either, except apparently the two Koch brothers. The Young-Earth Creationists like Ken Ham, and the Old-Earth Creationists like Pat Robertson, can't stand each other, either, although both hate Liberals more.

              Then you have those who would like to win elections, and call for behaving better toward minorities, women, veterans, immigrants, LGBTs, the young, the old, the poor, the middle class, or anybody else Republicans have been trying to injure. More RINOs, I'm afraid.

              None of these groups has anything close to a majority of the Party, but several can force nearly the entire Party to acquiesce on particular issues.

              Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

              by Mokurai on Thu May 22, 2014 at 11:25:19 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  I am expressing multiple attitudes at once Admiral (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            linkage, niemann

            To which one are you referring?

            (Bonus points if you know the quote)

            Not all people are human; not all humans are people.

            by Jon Sitzman on Thu May 22, 2014 at 11:31:07 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  that would be Data (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Jon Sitzman, linkage

              too bad this primitive browser won't load yootoob embeds.....

              “Vote for the party closest to you, but work for the movement you love.” ~ Thom Hartmann 6/12/13

              by ozsea1 on Thu May 22, 2014 at 12:18:30 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Right IP, but I was thinking of someone else. :) (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                amyzex

                Spock, as played by Zachary Quinto, in Star Trek Into Darkness, addressing Adm. Christopher Pike during his reaming of James Kirk after the Nibiru incident.

                I may have added a "one" in the quote, he may have only said, "to which are you referring?"

                I think Data did drop a very similar line, to which the Into Darkness quote might have been a callout.

                I really like the new Trek films, and wouldn't mind seeing them launch a new TV franchise.  I don't think they could maintain the FX budget of the movies, though.  Besides which, the new films are a knowing rehash (with a neat new take) of the old universe, so I suppose there's limited traction with fans; and series newcomers wouldn't get all the old references.  Still and all, the cast of the films has certainly shown themselves to be competent.

                Not all people are human; not all humans are people.

                by Jon Sitzman on Thu May 22, 2014 at 12:49:12 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Ha! I got it right! (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Jon Sitzman

                  I don't know that it is something quite in character for Spock to actually say, logic-wise, but it was still a great line with a great line delivery.

                  •  I think they're trying to offer new takes on all (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    amyzex

                    the old characters.  Scotty definitely is quite a departure from his predecessor, AFE.

                    I guess another way to parse stuff like that is that the events of this universe, influenced by the light-cone of Nero's cross-temporal incursion, are different enough that the people within them develop in very different ways, even though they may be at the core the same personalities.

                    Not all people are human; not all humans are people.

                    by Jon Sitzman on Thu May 22, 2014 at 01:39:45 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  Actually, it will embed YouTube videos (0+ / 0-)

                if you know to add the missing http: to the URL, in this case //www.youtube.com/embed/3ARWf0vBwZM.

                The line comes at 1:30 in this video.

                Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

                by Mokurai on Thu May 22, 2014 at 11:40:07 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  Or put us on a unified war footing to "defend" (0+ / 0-)

          against their "inevitable" invasion -- even if they are a peaceful species.

          Hillary does not have the benefit of a glib tongue.

          by The Dead Man on Thu May 22, 2014 at 01:55:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Ronald Reagan made a speech to the UN (0+ / 0-)

          that the world's difference would dissipate if we were to face aliens, but I think he was referring to an alien "threat."

      •  We may be better suited than many (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        The Termite, amyzex, Cassandra Waites

        Societies founded on careful balancing of collective costs and benefits might see the math and stay home. Societies that blend rivalry and cooperation might be more likely to "light out for the territories." Heck, animals too tightly bound to logic might never willingly climb aboard anything whose operation relied on unproven mathematical concepts.

        Each starting point for life will produce a different blend of abilities and urges. However many or few of those starting points produce serious candidates for exploration, or even communication, few are likely to be similar in their instincts. Surviving a few millennia of their own technology will tend to filter out the more self-destructive ones, so I'd admit some convergent evolution there.

        But, just in case intelligent life turns out to be rare, I recommend doing our best to make our own experiment succeed.

        Why is there a Confederate Flag flying in Afghanistan?

        by chimpy on Thu May 22, 2014 at 11:45:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Unlikely. FTL will have to be developed before (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        The Termite, amyzex

        any extrasolar travel by live humans will be practical. And without Faster-Than-Light, it's highly unlikely that we would have any actual contact with ETs. We may be able to infer life on other extrasolar planets, but the distances are too great for actual contact, absent some form of workable FTL.

        Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. ~The Druid.
        ~Ideals aren't goals, they're navigation aids.~

        by FarWestGirl on Thu May 22, 2014 at 12:01:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  we better hope the aliens are nice in that case (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          aseth

          Considering how innumerably vast the number of actual civilizations prolly is? There's gonna be Good and Bad out there. And the BAD ones could be.........ugh. Forget ID4, stuff worse than Lovecraft's darkest nightmares could be lurking out there.

          If we ever get hit with a Star Control II scenario though, I say we all vote to join the brutal oppressive star empire regime. We'd fit right in!

          "See? I'm not a racist! I have a black friend!"

          by TheHalfrican on Thu May 22, 2014 at 12:36:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Actually, I think, given the sheer distances and (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Cassandra Waites

            obstacles involved, any species who makes it out of their neighborhood would not be able to survive on the model of predation on other worlds/resources.

            My thinking is partly that if they are that aggressive, they will have turned on themselves before managing to escape.

            Think about crossing a huge, absolute desert. The resources are spaced so widely that anything trying to cross would almost certainly die before reaching an oasis, so raiding across oases wouldn't be doable. And any species who could derive enough resources from their surroundings couldn't need anything of ours. Our system/inhabitants/resources are not unique enough.

            jmho, of course. ;-)

            Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. ~The Druid.
            ~Ideals aren't goals, they're navigation aids.~

            by FarWestGirl on Thu May 22, 2014 at 02:10:32 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  the problem is larger than our dysfunction (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        The Termite, amyzex

        the distances are too big. time and space is just too big for us to travel to distant stars in real time.

        we could send a ship with a special 3d printer that could print us out upon arrival i guess.

        but the organisms would likely be long gone by the time we got there.

        the only aliens we're likely to ever see are those that developed close to us. most likely we won't ever discover anything tangible except within our own solar system.

        -You want to change the system, run for office.

        by Deep Texan on Thu May 22, 2014 at 12:07:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's what Dr. Phil Metzger from NASA says. He (0+ / 0-)

          discusses it here in a TED X talk.  But, we can still go to other planets to mine for resources that are more rare on earth.

          •  No material resource can be worth shipping (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            amyzex

            across interstellar distances. Sending information doesn't make sense, either, except for cultural purposes. We have had several major shifts in scientific understanding just in the last century, and technologies become obsolete much faster than that. Asteroid mining for space construction could conceivably become practical, but not for a long time.

            Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

            by Mokurai on Thu May 22, 2014 at 11:50:09 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  maybe we learn our lesson after WW3, 4, and 5? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        The Termite

        "See? I'm not a racist! I have a black friend!"

        by TheHalfrican on Thu May 22, 2014 at 12:30:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Do you suppose they will have different morals? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HoundDog

      That would be interesting.

      Streichholzschächtelchen

      by otto on Thu May 22, 2014 at 10:59:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They might actually have morals? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        amyzex

        Thou shall not kill Earthy, unless you are willing to eat him?

      •  Good question. My guess is the self interest of a (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        otto, amyzex, niemann, Ed Tracey

        being, including a language that refers to I, you, they, and past, present, and future, etc, will be universal.

        To the extent that reproduction includes anything like children, yes,

        Or if their survival is contingent on groups, yes.

        If their reproduction is like some fish, or reptiles, with eggs, where young are born else where then it is every being for themselves then, No.

        Except, that I have though that for a highly intelligent species one could recreate the ethical systems advocated by morality based on a pure Machiavellian calculus.

        Is this not the theory proposed by Immanuel Kant in "A Critique of a MetaPhysics of Moral?' I'm sure I've spelled this wrong, and I may have the words wrong, and/or the name of the author and the entire book wrong, but other than that I'm pretty sure this is it. (humor alert. 35 years ago I took a course on the Great Ideas of Western Civilization were we had to read 4 books a week)

        After Newton freed physics from the superstition of religion Kant wanted to do the same for morality, I think so he wished to derive a system of ethic from pure reason.

        Essentially the way I remember it he basically took the "Golden Rule" and proposed if every individual in a society has a free choice and seriously and responsibly thinks about it they should choose to live by the ethical system that if everyone should choose the same, we would collectively produce the best of all possible worlds.

        He proposed following the Golden Rule would produce such a world for if we all chose of our own free will, not because we fear punishment from the law, or God, but merely from our own intellect and free choice to act towards others as we would want them to act towards us, then we will produce the best of all possible societies.

        As a scientific humanist this is the system of I live by and bristle somewhat every time someone who behaves ethically only because of fear of the law or punishment from God say humanist can have no ethics, because in my mind, and with apologies for the appearance of arrogance this seems to be to be a more advanced system of ethics.

        Two problems it does not adequately address are the sociopath and the "Machiavellian smart-ass." In the book "The Sociopath Next Store the author argues the latest research indicates 4% of does not have a conscience or any capacity for feeling guilt like the  rest of us and we also know from the DSM V that 1% of the population have antisocial personality disorder and would just as soon crack you over the head with a tire iron in a dark parking lot for $20 in your wallet if they thought no one was watching.

        Of the 4% of the sociopaths the clever Machiavellian knowing that every one else in society is actin by the Golden  Rule can choose to optimize his own advantage on the assumption that as long as every else keep to the Golden Rule then he comes of ahead.

        So if he find a wallet with $500 and keep it rather than return it to the rightful own, thinking he will be the only one he comes off $500 ahead. Because he gets to live in the Best of All Worlds but also gain from choosing to Maximize His Own Advantage.

        But this is a Prisoner's Dillemma because as other people figure out other can or are doing this the whole system collapses.

        I still choose to use this system because although I say publically that I am a scientific humanist that is only partially true. I'm really also a sort of post-quantum mechanics Buddhist who believes some kind of higher spiritual force may exist beyond our ability to comprehend and if we identify with the collective souls of all living being in the whole universe than we should "ourself" with love compassion and wisdom, whether a "deity" in way I can imagine it with the highly limited cognitive processor I have.

        This is the best I can do in a brief first pass otto. What an excellent question you have asked here. I wish I had a window where I would place the best questions and quote of the day. Sort of like top comments but totally live where I could just circle your question and it would show up in a special box people who wanted to give our little grey cells a quick workout could contemplate.

        We shouldn't let our minds get flabby.

        What finer topic could we image than considering the range of possible alien ethical systems?

        This might be one of the top 10 finest question I've seen asked her in 10 years. I wish I knew how to alert those Top Comments folks. This is sort of embarrassing as they are all among my best friends on the site and I've rec their post virtually every night I've been on the site in 10 years.

        And, every time I want to nominate a comment I have to ask again how to do it, so appear like I'm the dumbest person in the whole place. Damn, I hate it when this happens.

        Well, Bravo otto, bravo. To answer your question more succinctly which is my main goal of the week, "yes, that would be very interesting." Hey, I'm getting pretty good at this brevity thing, eh? Do you think they might have a special award for most improved brevity at next years Netroots conference. Maybe I'll be a contender based on the bold parts of my comments?  Cheers.

        Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

        by HoundDog on Thu May 22, 2014 at 12:22:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  THanks for taking the time to write all that (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          HoundDog

          It seems that there is one main and most fundamental difference between the type of intelligence we have, and the type of intelligence other intelligent animals have.  We have the ability to pass on abstract ideas.  It makes us more than just a copy machine subject to the whims of environment.  

          It appeals to us at a common sense level to think that we are more "advanced" than other animal species because we have the ability to use our large brains to share information, and cooperate to solve problems.  We aren't simply born into a situation where we have instinct and learn by following someone around and copying them.  

          It depends how we look at morals.  The term is often used to describe a set of rules that are handed down in religious dogma.  In grammar terms, it is prescribed morals.  Or, we could look at it as a descriptive term.  It describes how we humans actually go about solving our problems.  There are the individual ethical dilemmas people face, but that's different than the large scale description,  I guess, for the overall nature of our behavior.  

          I have seen this scenario in some scifi shows probably, but it would be like we encountered a civilization that is at state of development like that of biblical times.  We would seek to guide them to change their ways.  We might consider them to be barbaric.  

          All of that still assumes our type of intelligence is the same as other types.

          What if it is perfectly morally acceptable in an intelligent alien race for them to commit infanticide after having a litter of offspring?  Food and reproductive issues could be completely different based on the makeup of the planet itself.  

          Or what about an asexually reproducing species?  That would be interesting.  Would everyone be everyone?

          Streichholzschächtelchen

          by otto on Thu May 22, 2014 at 12:50:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Excellent questions. I see better where you are (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            otto

            coming from. We may have clues for some of these question right here on earth.

            Last week, someone announced resource indicating porpoises are a lot more intelligent than we previously though. They communicate. Make lifelong friends.

            There are many examples of altruistic behavior where they have saved drowning divers and a few weeks ago, an example where a pod of dolphins banded together to protect an exhausted swimmer they did not even know  from shark.

            Recent breakthrough in longevity research raises the possibility that human lifetime may be greatly extended. About a week and half ago, I wrote about a breakthrough stem cell research. It turns out that old people have just a many stem cells as young people what happens in old people is that the chemical in our blood that signals them to activate called GDF11, I think, I may have this off slighty, when they, they combined the blood vessel systems of old mice and young mice the old mice became younger and the young mice older.

            The human liver is one limiting factor at 150 years, and the human brain at 300 years, but I learned about these numbers prior to this stem cell research.

            China already had a one child policy when they did scenarios showing 1 to 1.5 billion deaths due to famine if they did not. They are easing up a little now. But because a male child is so important rumors about that infanticide occurred in some cases when girls were born

            Population statistics support this presumption.

            So, if we double expected lifespans in the next 100 years, human ethics may chance as a consequence.

            One may need a certificate to have a child. Someone in your family or tribe may have to die before one can reproduce.

            You certainly have brought up a can or worms.

            Are you an ethics professor? Or a philosophy professor?

            Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

            by HoundDog on Thu May 22, 2014 at 01:30:31 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Seeking either to change the ways of so-called (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            otto

            primitive tribes or to preserve them have both caused untold harm among humans.

            Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

            by Mokurai on Fri May 23, 2014 at 12:02:30 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Hound Dog, re: Top Comments nominations ... (0+ / 0-)
          Send your nominations to TopComments at gmail dot com by 9:30 PM Eastern Time nightly, or by our KosMail message board. Please indicate (a) why you liked the comment, and (b) your Dkos user name (to properly credit you) as well as a link to the comment itself.

          "We should pay attention to that man behind the curtain."

          by Ed Tracey on Thu May 22, 2014 at 05:51:37 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  There is much greater cultural variation than that (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          amyzex

          on Earth. There are languages such as Hopi without tenses, and others such as Korean and Japanese without personal pronouns in the manner of English. One can make such distinctions, but they are not built into the grammar.

          Buddhism denies the soul concept of Christianity, and even the concept of a permanent self of any kind. We are causal chains of physical and mental phenomena. If we could get over wanting to be permanent selves, and supposing that material possessions or social status could be part of a self, we could do a lot more about the suffering in the world.

          Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

          by Mokurai on Thu May 22, 2014 at 11:59:37 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  "Blue & Orange morality" trope (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        buddabelly, otto, amyzex, Cassandra Waites

        http://tvtropes.org/...

        All of our concepts of morality could be completely non-applicable to them....

        "See? I'm not a racist! I have a black friend!"

        by TheHalfrican on Thu May 22, 2014 at 12:39:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  exactly, people seem to forget that Alien species (7+ / 0-)

          are Alien.....

          We might have as little concept of their "morality" as we do a bee's or an ant's.....

          What if it is a Hive mind?  That wipes every "moral" we have related to independence, independent thought etc....one being would mean nothing to them while to us, that one being might have been our best hope for advancement for another 100 years.....

          For we are crunchy and taste good with ketchup......

          Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
          I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
          Emiliano Zapata

          by buddabelly on Thu May 22, 2014 at 12:43:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  hoo boy better be nice to the Hive Mind Ambassador (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            otto, buddabelly, Cassandra Waites

            First impressions...

            "See? I'm not a racist! I have a black friend!"

            by TheHalfrican on Thu May 22, 2014 at 12:46:47 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Re: A Hive mind. (3+ / 0-)

            When I was doing counseling at a domestic violence agency, I always worried about what would happen if a Borg was court-ordered for counseling.

            Would I bill the session as "individual counseling" or "group counseling"?

            Luckily, that never really happened, so I didn't have to face that particular problem.

          •  I know not a favorite around here but (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            buddabelly, amyzex

            Orthan Scott Card describes dealing with human vs. hive mind interactions a little in his books, particularly Speaker for the Dead.

            (I know his anti-gay politics are UGLY, doesn't mean he doesn't have the stray interesting thought on other subjects.)

            I am a statistician, not a magician although we are easily confused. I guess that explains why people keep trying to tie me in chains and place me under water.

            by Edge PA on Thu May 22, 2014 at 02:12:11 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I liked the Ender and Bean tales better but (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              amyzex, Edge PA

              Speaker had its moments.

              I still think Starship Troopers is a hell of a lot more human response to the "Bugs" or any hive mind we encounter....to us I'm afraid, it would be too alien to coexist with.....

              we would find a reason to destroy it if we could.....but giving that to a kid as an experiment with a kid from the slums as his brainiac backup was just too hard to swallow...

              I can see Johnny Rico enlisting to be a real Citizen......

              Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
              I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
              Emiliano Zapata

              by buddabelly on Thu May 22, 2014 at 02:59:30 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  I always remind people that Robert Heinlein iirc (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Edge PA

              became so anti-communist that he believed a Nuclear War that literally extinguished humanity would be "worth it" if it ended Communism.

              They got a kick outta that when I pointed it out at Occupy Philly's free book tent lol.

              Not everyone can be as warm and cuddly as Asimov and Clarke, I'm afraid.

              "See? I'm not a racist! I have a black friend!"

              by TheHalfrican on Fri May 23, 2014 at 12:10:03 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  That was a key plot point in the Ender's Game (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            buddabelly

            series of Orson Scott Card, leading to Speaker for the Dead and Xenocide. Lots of nasty stuff in there, along with some hopeful bits, but far too much authorial magic, particularly when Jane went omnipotent. I haven't been able to read anything of his since Children of the Mind.

            Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

            by Mokurai on Fri May 23, 2014 at 12:07:44 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  My point exactly (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          buddabelly

          Yeah. That's what I was getting at.  We don't judge other animal species by our own moral code.  So, our dilemma would be how to judge an intelligent species. (Even though they don't fall within our taxonomy!)

          And the concepts of human "morality" wouldn't apply, because it's a descriptive morality.  

          Streichholzschächtelchen

          by otto on Thu May 22, 2014 at 12:54:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  yup, we view the world through an omnivore's (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            otto, amyzex

            eyes...what if we were a true obligate carnivore like a cat or the Kzinti?  

            I think we might have a few different attitudes in general...and what if an herbivore?  again different strategies for life and survival will give rise to different moralities all equally effective for their society....the problem comes with the interaction...

            What if they're as paranoid and xenophobic as we are?

            Wouldn't that be a fine how do you do and honestly...I can see paranoia and xenophobia driving technology just like it does here...It might be very likely that only the warrior races ever get off their own rock as the herbivores are too content to bother.......

            lots of fun speculating till the damn centaurs carve you up for forage........

            Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
            I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
            Emiliano Zapata

            by buddabelly on Thu May 22, 2014 at 03:10:11 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  and they be like. . . (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      amyzex, EastcoastChick

      wow!  Did you catch Idol last night!@@!  LOL!!!@

      Be the change that you want to see in the world

      by New Minas on Thu May 22, 2014 at 12:08:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  "not too often" (4+ / 0-)

      Lewis Thomas:

      What on earth are we going to talk about? If, as seems likely, it is a hundred or more light years away, there are going to be some very long pauses. The barest amenities, on which we rely for opening conversations - "Hello, are you there?" from us, followed by "Yes, hello," from them--will take two hundred years at least. By the time we have our party we may have forgotten what we had in mind.

      ...

      I would vote for Bach, all of Bach, streamed out into space, over and over again. We would be bragging, of course, but it is surely excusable for us to put the best possible face on at the beginning of such an acquaintance. We can tell the harder truths later. And, to do ourselves justice, music would give a fairer picture of what we are really like than some of the other things we might be sending, like Time, say, or a history of the U.N. or Presidential speeches. We could send out our science, of course, but just think of the wincing at this end when the polite comments arrive two hundred years from now.

      I live under the bridge to the 21st Century.

      by Crashing Vor on Thu May 22, 2014 at 12:09:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, go with Bach. n/t (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Crashing Vor

        The Stars and Bars and the red swastika banner are both offerings to the same barbaric god.

        by amyzex on Thu May 22, 2014 at 01:06:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Vint Cerf pointed out a long time ago (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        amyzex

        that you don't do message-reply protocols over such distances. You just keep sending, and stick replies in when questions arrive, or somewhat later if you have to think about the answer.

        Similarly, in Robert Forward's Dragon's Egg, where humans and neutron star dwellers live at such different rates, they just started sending the encyclopedia, which took many lifetimes of the recipients to complete. They had to make an AI to communicate with the humans slowly enough.

        Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

        by Mokurai on Fri May 23, 2014 at 12:16:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Oh I think they know better....think about it..... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      amyzex, Cassandra Waites

      Even the cultural contamination from a brief contact could snowball to unleash all sorts of hell, on both sides. A prime directive sorta deal is likely and ideal imho.

      Of course, this assumes they aren't the Arthur C. Clarke type of aliens so alien we can't even recognize them as life.

      "See? I'm not a racist! I have a black friend!"

      by TheHalfrican on Thu May 22, 2014 at 12:28:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Prime Directive (0+ / 0-)

        was mostly aimed at contaminating "primitive" (read: non-spacefaring) species. If they're advanced enough to make contact, they're advanced enough to talk to.

        "He who fights monsters should see to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."

        by Hayate Yagami on Thu May 22, 2014 at 02:36:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I too hope communication with aliens is not too (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      amyzex

      often.  My mailbox has to be emptied constantly as it is.

      Ted Cruz president? Pardon my Vietnamese, but Ngo Pho King Way.

      by ZedMont on Thu May 22, 2014 at 01:32:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Meh (5+ / 0-)

    Let's fix the many, many, many problems we have here on earth before we waste government money trying to look for aliens that, despite the testimony, may not be there.

    If Paul Allen or other private donors want to fund the search, great.  Otherwise, this should be our very last priority for taxpayer money.

    The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

    by Scott in NAZ on Thu May 22, 2014 at 08:33:18 AM PDT

    •  I think you're discounting the importance... (43+ / 0-)

      ...of a discovery like this on global perspective.

      I really do.

      I understand what you're saying, but think a layer deeper.

      There are implications for how people perceive society and themselves. There are implications for world religions and how they seek (or do not seek) to make sense of the physical world. There are implications for how we view and plan for the future.

      There is no harm and much good that would come from this new understanding.

      Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it.

      by The Termite on Thu May 22, 2014 at 08:36:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  How does this help poor people? (4+ / 0-)

        Or get us closer to a sustainable economy?  Or deal with any real problems? R's won't let us increase the budget without taking away from somewhere else (and that won't be defense or corporate subsidies for sure).   So which liberal priority should we cut to fund the hunt for ET?

        We have too many real problems to waste money on "how people perceive society and themselves."  The harm is in the opportunity costs of money taken from other, better programs.

        The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

        by Scott in NAZ on Thu May 22, 2014 at 09:16:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Give me a break (27+ / 0-)

          These kinds of programs are a sliver of a sliver of a sliver of a sliver of our Federal budget and with so many other line items out there like bloated defense spending, corporate welfare, Big Agra subsidies, etc., I cannot find it in myself to blame scientific research for our poverty problem.

          Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it.

          by The Termite on Thu May 22, 2014 at 09:21:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Slivers add up (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            rb608, i saw an old tree today

            You didn't answer my question, and I doubt anyone on this thread will be able to because SETI is science fiction, not science.

            How about this: if the money were to come from NSF or something similar, which other science research should we cut?  I can't think of anything less useful than hunting for space aliens.  Even if we find them, what does that do to our scientific capacity?  Nothing.

            How about we spend the amount we were going to spend on SETI on cataloging all the asteroids that might hit us someday and wipe out a city or a continent?  These guys (https://b612foundation.org/...) are basically having to do bake sales to raise money for something that would be infinitely more useful, and yet you want to throw money at aliens.  Brilliant.

            The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

            by Scott in NAZ on Thu May 22, 2014 at 09:26:42 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Scott, please see my comment. I disagree. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Dirtandiron, stevemb, tommymet

              Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

              by HoundDog on Thu May 22, 2014 at 09:38:37 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  You are discounting how much scientific (17+ / 0-)

              knowledge benefits society.
              Look at what the Apollo program did--improvements in computers, insulation, rocketry.....and of course, delicious Tang.

              Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.

              by FrankRose on Thu May 22, 2014 at 09:40:16 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  I did answer your question (17+ / 0-)

              Your canard is budgetary. If you really gave a shit about proper appropriation of funds you would turn your inexplicable rage toward programs far more massive in scale and far more destructive to society.

              And no, it's not science fiction. Science fiction may motivate people to want to know their context in the universe, but the knowledge SETI and other deep space research produces is most certainly science, as emotionally invested as you may be in insisting otherwise.

              Lighten up, Francis.

              Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it.

              by The Termite on Thu May 22, 2014 at 09:44:05 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I have lots of rage towards our budget (0+ / 0-)

                We're not talking about that here, though.

                Okay, SETI has existed for like 20 years, right? Maybe more.  Tell me exactly what we've gotten out of it so far, and maybe I'll change my tune about its continued funding.

                the knowledge SETI and other deep space research produces is most certainly science
                Exactly what science have we gotten from SETI so far that's going to benefit humanity?  

                The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

                by Scott in NAZ on Thu May 22, 2014 at 09:48:30 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Another thing: (10+ / 0-)

                Science fiction of 50-60 years ago is now, all of a sudden, non-fiction.

                To the extent that science fiction is almost always based on smidgens of fact, it seems worth our while to continue to explore space.  The more we discover, the more we realize how little we know; the more we know, the wiser we are.

                "The truest measure of compassion lies not in our service of those on the margins, but in our willingness to see ourselves in kinship with them." Father Gregory Boyle, Homeboy Industries

                by Mr MadAsHell on Thu May 22, 2014 at 09:53:07 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Okay (0+ / 0-)

                  SETI has been going on since the 70s or 80s, right?

                  Tell me what it's done for us so far.

                  The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

                  by Scott in NAZ on Thu May 22, 2014 at 09:54:26 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  What's your beef with SETI? Would it suddenly (7+ / 0-)

                    change if tomorrow they announced they had heard a signal?

                    Not all science yields easily quantifiable results.  One of the results that SETI has produced for us so far is to have searched for and listened for signals from years of radio astronomy data.  That they haven't come up with artificial signals yet (that we know of) is a result and it feeds into the idea that humanity is unique amongst the Solar System and perhaps in the Milky Way.  It would be a tragedy for our species if we treated our existence as a throw-away item for a few extra years of carbon-based fuels.

                    Can't recall the person but I've always loved the thought:

                    Imagine there's other intelligent life in the universe - wouldn't that be incredibly exciting?  The reverse is to imagine we're the only intelligent life in the universe - either way, it's humbling, and we should take care of life on earth.
                    •  Um (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      stevemb

                      In science, you can't disprove a negative.  So SETI will never prove that there is no life in the universe.  The fact that's what it seems destined to do is a good reason to not fund them.

                      "Exciting" is not a justification for spending money on something.  We have lots of exciting science happening now (look at the exoplanet stuff).

                      The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

                      by Scott in NAZ on Thu May 22, 2014 at 11:59:35 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Science does have experiments that prove no (3+ / 0-)

                        evidence exists for something (that's what I think your point is, anyway, since there's a double negative in your word choice).  SETI is trying to find signs of intelligent life existing other than on earth.  They'll keep searching as long as they can and should they find evidence, that will be exciting.

                        My quote wasn't verbatim - it comes from some philosophical point that was made and it stuck in my head.  I can't remember who it was from but if the word "exciting" is displeasing to you, feel free to substitute something else that means the same general thing - interesting, fascinating, wonderous, intriguing, worth knowing, etc.

                        The people involved with SETI aren't in it to prove that there is no life in the universe (I take it you mean other than here on Earth), and your assertion that it is destined to do so reflects your view - it doesn't reflect mine or that of those who have funded SETI, those who have lent our computing resources to the project or those who have reacted negatively towards your dismissive comments in this diary.  Yes, they haven't turned up evidence yet.  No that doesn't mean the evidence isn't out there waiting to be discovered.  I choose to believe that the chance of finding intelligent life is worth the miniscule amount in the budget that SETI represents and I also feel that it's important enough that we not just be so closed as to know that they won't discover anything.  

                        After all, Darth Cheney said that a 1% chance was enough to cause us to go to war, destroy a country and spend a couple of trillion dollars, a few thousand American lives plus hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives, so whatever miniscule investment this country might make in SETI, even if it's far less than a 1% chance that we'll discover a sign over the next 20 years (and I give it a higher percentage), well that's the same cost-benefit ratio so Republicans ought to support SETI.

                      •  Thomas Edison: (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        stevemb, Cassandra Waites

                        “I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.”

                        "The truest measure of compassion lies not in our service of those on the margins, but in our willingness to see ourselves in kinship with them." Father Gregory Boyle, Homeboy Industries

                        by Mr MadAsHell on Thu May 22, 2014 at 02:12:40 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                  •  Therefore, all R&D spending is pointless? (5+ / 0-)

                    First off, asking people here what SETI may have provided us technologically is asking the wrong audience. Maybe ask those who work closely with SETI could give you better answers.

                    Secondly, spending on research is nearly always worthless  - until that very instant that it is not.

                    One could say we are wasting our money searching for the cure for a disease, merely coming up with drugs that kill bad cells to hopefully let the good cells win, right until the moment when we might actually find something that eradicates the disease. Then it is all worth it, no?

                    Many of our greatest discoveries were because we were looking for something else. With an open mind, what could we possibly learn from a search for other intelligent life?

                    Honestly, the limits are boundless, and possibly far beyond what our brains can currently comprehend.

                    There is no "path" to choose. The path is what is behind you that led you to today. What lies in front of you is not a fork in the road - a choice of paths to take, but rather an empty field for you to blaze your own direction.

                    by cbabob on Thu May 22, 2014 at 11:55:38 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  SETI has been here for 30+ years (0+ / 0-)

                      and given us nothing so far.  If a certain line of cancer research had been pursued for 30 years with no results, I'd say cut the funding.  I'd bet NIH would have cut it long before that.

                      We tried with SETI, and they didn't find anything.  If they want to keep getting private money, great.  But federal money should be reserved for more promising stuff.  Vague platitudes about boundless limits are not a justification for taking research money from other areas and giving it to SETI (because that's what would have to happen--it's not as if the R's are going to let us increase the budget).

                      The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

                      by Scott in NAZ on Thu May 22, 2014 at 12:02:06 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  "Nothing" (5+ / 0-)

                        - by your definition. I bet that actual researchers on the project would highly disagree with you. True, their ultimate goal has not been accomplished, but I guarantee they have learned many things.

                        Did you know that it takes 13 years on average for a molecule to become a medication, and it isn't really known until the very end of that time frame if it can even be used on the population?

                        That's for a single drug.

                        How long have we been at AIDS research? Shall we give up now?

                        So 30 years into a search for other life is a drop in a bucket. "Vague platitudes" are what spurs the imagination to discover more.

                        And you want a defined limit anyways? Fine. They are searching the ability to move as fast/faster than the speed of light or how to develop a better "radar" for outer space. Oh, and they are searching for other life.

                        I'm sorry that this search hasn't panned out (for you) in 1/3 of a human lifespan.

                        There is no "path" to choose. The path is what is behind you that led you to today. What lies in front of you is not a fork in the road - a choice of paths to take, but rather an empty field for you to blaze your own direction.

                        by cbabob on Thu May 22, 2014 at 12:39:20 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Terrible analogy (0+ / 0-)

                          That's a really bad analogy.  With drug research, you go through a variety of stages during which the efficacy of the drug is tested over and over in various models from cultures to animals to humans.  Even if the whole process takes 15 years, you don't have to wait 15 years for the first shred of evidence.  You have various markers along the way that indicate if it's a good candidate or not.  A drug might fail at the end after 15 years of work, but it would have had to show a lot of promise to get that far.

                          With SETI it's a long string of nothings so far, and there is no reason to expect anything different going forward.  That's not at all like drug development.  With SETI, all we have to go on is the researchers' word that something will come someday.  I don't believe it, and there is zero evidence to disprove me.

                          I'm the researchers have learned a lot.  But has any of that proven useful?  Not in any broad sense.

                          The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

                          by Scott in NAZ on Thu May 22, 2014 at 02:33:50 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                      •  See the Thomas Edison quote above. n/t (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        stevemb

                        "The truest measure of compassion lies not in our service of those on the margins, but in our willingness to see ourselves in kinship with them." Father Gregory Boyle, Homeboy Industries

                        by Mr MadAsHell on Thu May 22, 2014 at 02:13:47 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                •  "The Science of Star Trek." (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  rb608, Ellid

                  It actually is more than just a TV show.

                •  Scifi pushes science to uncover (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Mr MadAsHell

                  When we write scifi, we are really attempting to decode the future.  We imagine ways that the world can turn out, and inevitably, those things become some of the things we start to reach for.  

                  Streichholzschächtelchen

                  by otto on Thu May 22, 2014 at 11:23:20 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  exactly, does anyone really think the flip phone (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    otto

                    would have ever existed without Star Trek?

                    It is the communicator...and voice recognition is getting better, why the phone company almost always knows when I start cussing at their computer and switches me to a person quick like.......

                    Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
                    I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
                    Emiliano Zapata

                    by buddabelly on Thu May 22, 2014 at 12:18:20 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  *rolls eyes* (5+ / 0-)

              They said EXACTLY the same thing about DARPnet, you know.

              And the Apollo program.

              This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

              by Ellid on Thu May 22, 2014 at 11:21:19 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  this is an awful, awful way of looking at (8+ / 0-)

          knowledge.

          If I lived in a world that didn't value exploration, I'd leave it and become a hermit with a big library.

        •  Scott, last night I published two polls showing a (12+ / 0-)

          substantial fraction of the Republican Party do not trust science or scientist so we will not be able to make progress on global warming.

          Poor people around the world will starve to death as a consequence.

          If scientist discover life on other planet science deniers will look like idiots and acceptance of science will skyrocket, investment in education will improve.

          If people take science, math, engineering, and technology, education more seriously, or workforce will become more production and multinational corporations who are now hesitant to invest here will be more likely to place high tech manufacturing plant here with more confidence that workers will be able to read, and understand the documentation of high tech equipment.

          (Which is a problem now. One Motorola exec told me they have to put 50% of all American hires through remedial education before they can hit the manufacturing floor. This was about 15 - 20 years ago, I expect it is worse now. Then the stat was the average Asian High School student scores higher on international math tests than the average American college student.)

          Space exploration was the topic that inspired me and many in my generation to study science and math areas that otherwise would have seemed to require too much work.

          Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

          by HoundDog on Thu May 22, 2014 at 09:37:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Nope (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            rb608, dinazina

            Unless aliens land on earth and say "hi," the science deniers will deny that they really exist.  Abstract radio signals will not mean anything unless little green men step out of a flying saucer on the front lawn of the White House.  Anyone who can deny evolution and climate change in 2014 can dismiss radio signals from another planet with a hand wave.

            I'd love to believe that finding aliens will free people's minds from the shackles of ignorance, but it ain't happening, sorry.

            (That said, your point about a need for more  science education is good.  SETI just isn't the way to do it.)

            The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

            by Scott in NAZ on Thu May 22, 2014 at 09:42:25 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well I'll agree with that. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Scott in NAZ, Ellid, Cassandra Waites

              For people who can't understand carbon dating of fossils, trigonometry, or photocopying, "supposed" eveidence of alien intelligence short of little green men in Times Square isn't going to sway them if their preferred paradigm tells them otherwise.

              You can't spell CRAZY without R-AZ.

              by rb608 on Thu May 22, 2014 at 10:22:53 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Scott, I agree with your point that we will not (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              jfromga, stevemb, Cassandra Waites

              convert the hardest of the hard core - the Bible is the literal word of God - and Dinosaurs walked the earth 6,000 years ago Fundementalist anti-science folks but that does not matter.

              What we need to do is break there strangle hold on the other 35% of the population who are Republicans who can be raitonal.

              Actually we do not even need that many.

              the 40% of the pop who are Republicans, and the 10% who say they are Independents who often swing that way are who we have to aim out, and maybe also about 20% of our own base who are suceptable to the anti-science viewpoints because they hear them daily and weekly around the dinner table, work, and at church.

              It's a topic of conversation that some family have agreed table for holiday like Thanksgiving to avoid dissension.

              We are gaining significant ground this last month with Stephen Colbert and several other comics picking up the IPCC, White Report, and Extreme Weather and fires in California.

              All I was suggestion is discovery of life would add to this but also with a positive spin, all this other stuff is pretty negative. Yes, science is real, it's telling us we are all going to hell.

              Discoveries in space inspire us. thanks for acknowledging the point about education. But that a big one. Did you see that excessive long post where I made another potentially good point that got buried in too much other junk. When 30 million kids who want to be NBA and NFL stars fail to get the  couple hundred jobs a year that open up what do they have?

              For those of like myself in the Sputnik generation who wanted to go into space, when we realized we weren't going to make it we started high tech companies in Silicon Valley, the 128 beltway, work at Apple, and post Science articles at Daily Kos.

              But, the International Space Station and the Chinese mission to the moon are not inspiring U.S. kids. the amount of money here is trivial, if it inspires just a fraction of the nec  generation of U.S. kids to go into math and science is well worth it.

              Plus from an economic point of view, any technology investment we could get the GOP to go for will act as a Keynesian stimulus. I would agree with you we should not take it out of social program that have already been battered, but we should take it out of military spending which is bloated, and it would have a higher economic multiplier effect than any overseas military expenditure.

              For example, the DOD has proposed a long list of overseas military bases it wants to close which Congress will not go along with, for reasons I can not remember. I think many of them have home bases for the troops stationed there in their congressional districts and they realize that if we bring some of the NATO troop home "protecting" western Europe from a Soviet tank invasion we would no longer need the home bases either and the DOD will want to close those as well. We have 800 overseas basis, some in ridiculous places.

              The rent, utilities, furniture, living expenses, salaries, for the soldiers, and workers on this bases is being spend in the EU stimulating European economies and draining the US economies.

              The Europeans do not spend this kind of money to protect themselves. Italy will not spend more than 1.8% of its GDP on military and a couple hardly any.

              None take a tank invasion scenario seriously with France, UK, and US on record saying we will nuke Russian if they do.
              I believe we still keep 100,000 plus troops there.

              And,it is my understanding is we are about to spend upwards to $1 trillion over their lifespan for a new generation of Joint Fighters. I say Joint because to save month it was supposed to be the same fighter for the Air Force, Navy and Army, now after huge cost overruns, and delays each service as managed to get a version of the Joint Fighter customized for them.

              I haven't checked the numbers yet, but my guess is we are talking about an amount that will be well less than 1% of 1% of this amount.

              Probably less than one plane. We have several example of whole weapon systems the DOD has decided it does not want but Congress will not let them cancel because the companies that produce them have spread production plants around congressional districts to create and unbreakable coalition.

              There is an automated ballistic artilliary system that is totally unusable, the DOD says it can not and will not use them and last time I read about it we are not only buying them but then paying to put them into storage because some power congressman will not let them cancel it.

              Let's trade for one of these and put a SETI office there. Or find a military project that is not needd in the same district in California that the current offices are at and shut down.

              Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

              by HoundDog on Thu May 22, 2014 at 01:05:35 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  The only word for your arguement is total Bullshit (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dirtandiron, Avenginggecko, Ellid, stevemb

          Just doing my part to piss off right wing nuts, one smart ass comment at a time.

          by tekno2600 on Thu May 22, 2014 at 09:39:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  If we found *solid* proof... (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          otto, Ellid, blackjackal, buddabelly, stevemb

          ...of extraterrestrial intelligence, it would solve 100% of all problems on Earth.

          I mean this literally.

          Nobody would tolerate the sort of bickering and inefficiency we currently have if we realized there was a possible external threat. It would do for humanity what WWII did for the US economy in the 1940s.

          •  ok, this I don't agree with. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            niemann, nota bene, stevemb

            we have enough clear and obvious global threats that 75% of the population doesn't pay any attention to.  Discovering 'ET' would still be pretty abstract--I mean it's not as if they'd show up next Wednesday to vaporize the Empire State Building.

            People would say 'ohhh cool!' or 'I don't believe it!' and go on with their lives.

            •  I'm talking about... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Namazga III, stevemb

              ...solid proof. Proof that people would believe.

              And yes, they might show up next Wednesday!

            •  I'm afraid I tend to agree with this. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Cassandra Waites

              I have been really disappointed to find that the majority of humans seem to lack much in the way of imagination or abstract thinking.  

              When, not too long ago, they found fossil evidence for possible -- probable? -- microbial life on Mars, it blew my mind:  That was possible life that had no connection to any life on earth!  It was possibly a real space alien!  

              When I tried to share that excitement with others I was stunned to find how few people -- none, actually -- got it; got the mind-boggling implications of that.  The reaction was, at most, an obligatory, "Oh, that's interesting."

              I had the same reaction when visiting Ford's Theatre in Washington DC, and the room where Lincoln died.  My mind couldn't comprehend the reality:  "That is the real suit Lincoln was wearing when he was shot.  It's not a movie costume.  His hands really touched those buttons.  That's the real bullet they took out of his head.  That's the real gun.  It's not a movie prop.  That's the real door Booth rigged to have access to do it."  And later, "This is really the room Abraham Lincoln died in ... that now almost-mythological event that changed the course of American history."

              And it depressed the heck out of me that no one else around seemed to share that stunned reaction.  It occurred to me yet again that humans are for the most part pretty concrete and incapable of imagining the implications such things.  To them, they were seeing just another museum exhibit in a glass case -- walking by, giving it a glance, and moving on to the next museum exhibit in a glass case ... because that's what you do in Washington DC.  You go to all the tourist spots and walk past museum exhibits in glass cases.  

              Same thing in the room where Lincoln died.  I stood there, unable to tear myself away, trying to comprehend the reality of where I was -- that I had just walked the same path across the street and down the hallway that people had carried his body after the shooting.  Meanwhile streams of people walked through the room, took a glance, and passed out the other side without stopping.

              As someone once observed, to the majority of human beings, what is experienced as "real" -- on that deep gut-knowing level -- is what happens to the small circle of acquaintances they care about, going back a few months into the past, to maybe a month or two into the future.

              If the human race still can't comprehend global warming as a reality -- again, on that deep gut level -- I can't imagine any signals from space being any more real to them, or inspiring any more substantial changes to the way they live.

              •  i've been planning to write something on this (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                niemann

                for a long time--don't know if I will or not.  I think most humans have the capacity for imagination/dreams/mystical thinking but begin to suppress it--probably mostly beginning during adolescence and so on into adulthood.  It's one of the negative byproducts of socialization (although socialization in the right environment--college is a good example!  can stimulate it).  Living, for most people, is shutting this off--rather than enhancing it.  To be honest I think that's why most relationships don't work--even the ones that work often don't work well.  Then you get the people who feel like they need to do crazy things to be alilve--perhaps because it does get them intouch with their imagination for a day or two.  Hiking the himalayas, parasailing, going on safari in Malawi, taking drugs, whatever.  

                The goal should be to allow yourself to experience--rather t han shutting yourself off and only taking 'experience vacations' which is what seems to happen 99% of the time.

                Most people I share this sentiment with don't get it.  There are a few who do.  They're rare.

                •  I hope this is true. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Namazga III
                  I think most humans have the capacity for imagination/dreams/mystical thinking but begin to suppress it--probably mostly beginning during adolescence and so on into adulthood.
                  Sometimes I doubt it, thinking that most humans are basically concrete-thinking animals.  

                  But, no, I think there is the capacity for it, though I would say the suppressing begins almost immediately, not just in adolescence -- though I think adolescence and young adulthood probably puts the final smash on it for many people.

                  •  I think the fact that people dream--and I think (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    niemann

                    that kids are more susceptible to vivid dreams, lucid dreams, etc. suggests that the possibility is there.  But yes, I agree that the suppression starts immediately as learned fears/protective mechanisms come into play.  I think that modern psychiatry has largely lost that in the shift from high-cost, resource intensive self-awareness to lower-cost, lower-resource intervention (medication, behavior therapy).  If I have kids I want to figure otu a way to keep them open to their own awareness as much as possible.  Maybe they'll find the aliens :)

                    •  Yes, anything that doesn't fit "consensus reality" (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Namazga III

                      ... gets the kibosh pretty quickly.  

                      I remember one professor I had -- a teacher of comparative religions -- saying that one of his daughters (who apparently learned to talk bizarrely early) said to his wife at not even age two, "Do you remember when I was the mother and you were the daughter in that other place?"

                      He said, "If I felt uncomfortable being confronted with such a strange comment from a child, and tried to rationalise it away, imagine how most people would feel."

                      Take this next example however you may, but I once had a counselling client who came from a lifetime of horrible abuse.  However, she was the most amazing, successful person I ever worked with.  She was very intelligent, but not very worldly (never having been given a chance to be), and knew nothing of "New Age"-type stuff.

                      She told me she had dreams where she knew she was dreaming, but couldn't stop them.  I told her about lucid dreams and suggested she might be able to intervene in them more than she thought.  She learned that she could ... and that allowed her to work through a lot of emotional issues incredibly quickly compared to the average client.

                      Then when I led group members through guided visualisation relaxation exercises one day, she realised she could do it -- lucid dreaming -- while still awake.  In other words, she turned out to be a natural shaman, able to visit "another reality" at will.  There she met a "teacher" and a companion animal, and they also helped her work through her issues incredibly quickly.  She knew nothing of shamanistic cultures -- and that such things were common features of the -- and I was careful not to implant such ideas.  She kept stumbling upon these things on her own.

                      And as she healed emotionally, she started becoming weirdly psychic.  She said one day, "I'm starting to see colors around people.  What's that?"  She had never heard of "auras" or any such thing.  Then she began to see things in people's "colors".  She told me a number of very specific things from my life that she saw in mine -- things she couldn't possibly have known in any other way.

                      ANYWAY.  To relate it all back to your thoughts ...

                      kids are more susceptible to vivid dreams, lucid dreams, etc. suggests that the possibility is there.  But yes, I agree that the suppression starts immediately as learned fears/protective mechanisms come into play.
                      ... she noted one day that all animals seem to have colors around them, and most children do;  but that most people seem to lose their colors  around the teenage years.  She said it's rare for adults to keep them, although some seem to get their colors back later on.

                      Go figure.

                      •  to be honest I have no idea how to take your (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        niemann

                        client's experience.  The kinds of things that tend to fall into the parapsychology realm and usually discounted by mainstream researchers aren't really given much of a chance to develop into the rigorous world of scientific method/inquiry--scientific method is a wonderful concept and approach, and it's exceedingly powerful, but it doesn' really get to subjectivity effectively.  Anecdotal evidence is often more powerful as anecdote than as data point--but less likely to pass scientific muster.

                        What can ya do?  I believe your client--I believe my lifelong friend who can talks to trees and sees spirits.  I don't know that I believe the ghosts are actually capital G Ghosts, but as one of the people I trust most in the world, and a stable person at that, she's not yanking either my chain or her own.  Who knows.  But even she--once she got married and had kids, has started to downplay these sorts of things--although she's stayed with it well into her 40s.

                        What we need is another realm that we're allowed to exist on from the beginning.  I think many of us do start there--but it's damn nigh impossible to resist the urge to leave it.  

                        This is one reason I'm an archaeologist and devote my time to the past--it allows me to explore these worlds I might not have much of a chance to otherwise.

                        Anyway, I'm in Spain, and it's late :)  So good night.  Good discussion though!

                        •  Thanks. (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Namazga III

                          I didn't know how to take it either ... but I sat watching it play out with my jaw repeatedly dropping.  And if her success as a client -- and resultant success as a human being -- was related to the "crazy" stuff that came out of her, all I can say is we all need more of that kind of crazy.

                          Good night!

        •  SETI helps poor people. (5+ / 0-)

          Any government spending creates jobs. Even if the government hires people to do useless stuff, the money goes into the economy and people become employed.

          As long as the unemployment rate is not zero, I say any spending is good.

          Besides, SETI is far from useless.

        •  Answer: (6+ / 0-)

          "How does this help poor people?(2+ / 0-)

          Or get us closer to a sustainable economy"

          When humans realize they aren't the center of universe and not the most intelligent beings in that universe, attitudes will change. Guaranteed.

        •  Seriously, such an ignorant, uninformed post (7+ / 0-)

          Do a simple Google search instead of derailing an entire thread with right wing talking points.

          SETI ISNT FUNDED WITH TAXPAYER MONEY.

          Didn't NASA have a SETI program?

          Yes. The NASA effort was called the High Resolution Microwave Survey (HRMS). In 1993, Nevada Senator Richard Bryan introduced an amendment that eliminated all funding for the NASA SETI program. The cost of the program was less than 0.1% of NASA's annual budget, amounting to about a nickel per taxpayer per year. The Senator cited budget pressures as his reason for ending NASA’s involvement with SETI.

          So who funds the SETI search now?

          Current SETI searches are funded by donations, mostly from individuals among the public and a few foundations and corporations. Major donors have included William Hewlett, David Packard, Gordon Moore, Paul Allen, Nathan Myhrvold, Arthur C. Clarke, Barney Oliver, and Franklin Antonio.

          SETI. org

          And from their Wiki Page

          Funding for SETI Institute programs comes from a variety of sources. Contrary to popular belief, and their Form 990, no government funds are allocated for its SETI searches – these are financed entirely by private contributions.
          Source.
        •  The research and technological developments (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          stevemb, Cassandra Waites

          necessary for such a search will indeed have such effects.  My God, the very fact that you're using a computer stems DIRECTLY from the space program and the need to miniaturize components!

          head desk

          This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

          by Ellid on Thu May 22, 2014 at 11:20:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  False dichotomy. (3+ / 0-)

          It's not a choice of funding SETI research OR helping poor people. It's funding SETI or cutting taxes. Not even that, since the amount that would be plenty for SETI isn't going to have measurable effects on the overall budget.  It's SETI and a whole bag of other small programs against cutting taxes.

          The government has to do a lot of things.  Some of them benefit one or two groups especially, say food stamps benefiting farmers and poor people.  But ideally, all government programs should benefit everyone to some degree, by virtue of our citizenship in this country and our membership in the human race.   Like basic research.  

          You might as well say "how does cancer research help poor people?" Well, poor people get cancer too, but until ACA they couldn't afford treatment.

          We have too many real problems to waste money on "how people perceive society and themselves."
          But funding SETI or not funding SETI has no impact on those problems.  In fact, I think a lot of the problems we have come from the way the government can be bought; people don't buy congressman and senior officials for novelty, they do it to extract even more money out of the treasury.

          It's time to stop acting like we can't afford infrastructure, basic research, and education.   We can easily afford those things. What we can't afford is corruption and cronyism.

          I've lost my faith in nihilism

          by grumpynerd on Thu May 22, 2014 at 11:44:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  This is a time-worn question that has been (8+ / 0-)

          answered.

          As a poor person myself, these scientific inquiries give me hope. They provide an escape more favorable than sports. They also inspire young people to get educated and go into science and engineering...which does much more to fight poverty than simply feeding people when they've already fallen. And I speak from experience.

          If scientists and engineers don't have jobs at NASA or SETI or the Planetary Society, or the thousands of academic pursuits available today, where do they find jobs? I'll tell you where they find jobs: At the DOD making more bombs, on Wall Street creating more ridiculous investment schemes, in political parties working on social science models to fuck over people.

          If our best and brightest aren't given a higher ethical choice, then they will go into work where money and greed rule. It is already an issue, and you want to make it worse?

          •  You're arguing against someone else, not me (0+ / 0-)

            I didn't say cut NASA or any science funding at all.  I just want us to keep doing what we've been doing since 1995 and not spending federal money on SETI.

            I'm totally opposed to further cuts in science funding.  But SETI doesn't get federal science funding.

            The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

            by Scott in NAZ on Thu May 22, 2014 at 12:04:14 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  That's "NPR costs too much" RW logic, chile please (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          stevemb

          "See? I'm not a racist! I have a black friend!"

          by TheHalfrican on Thu May 22, 2014 at 12:43:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  global religious war as everyone doubles down (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rb608, dinazina, linkage
        There are implications for world religions and how they seek (or do not seek) to make sense of the physical world.
        It's an established fact that people do not change their positions when presented with new information.  Presented with evidence that challenges the perception that life on earth is unique and that humans are "special", I think it's far more likely that religious groups will respond to the discovery of alien life with violence.  They will be compelled to promote and defend the belief regardless of how much evidence to the contrary there is.

        Even a lot of non-religious people are going to react to the discovery with violence.  They'll be convinced that the aliens are going to come for us or that the liberals are going to sell us out to them because "We're all the same on the inside!" ... even if the aliens turn out to be squid or cyborgs or something, then it'll be "They're showing us a better way!"

        Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

        by Visceral on Thu May 22, 2014 at 09:47:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I agree Termite this is a third refutation in (6+ / 0-)

        addition to the prior two either of which were already sufficient.

        There is a forth as well, which if the like reduction of science denial among the Tea Party idiots that is currently preventing us from teaching science like evolution in our high school and the "dumbing down' of American which are making our social problems of poverty, homelessness worse, and will continue to do so at an accelerating rate.

        Also unless we reverse this we will find it impossible to pass the bipartisan legislation required to reduce the burning of fossil fuels.

        The very small investment being asked for SETI funding will likely pay rich dividends in breaking the stranglehold the anti-science tea-party obstructionist now have on nearly any serious effort we can make to address our social problems such as hunger, poverty, health care, homelessness, education, social safety nets, and every single other good social program Democrats have fought for since the New Deal that austerity hawks like Representative Paul Ryan now has on the chopping block and are steadily being whittled away.

        Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

        by HoundDog on Thu May 22, 2014 at 10:16:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I agree (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        stevemb

        I had a case of the sads when they cut the space program budget.

        I think scientific research is important to our advancement as a people.

        I think tax money is better spent shooting it off into space for research than spending it on various weapons to shoot each other with.

      •  if we're interested in science (0+ / 0-)

        we should be focusing almost exclusively on funding space telescopes and unmanned probes. NASA & the rest of the int'l space agencies have gotten really good at building and running these things.

        Think of the advances (plural) made in our lifetimes from just the Voyagers and the Hubble. Bang for the buck.

        You WANT me on that server! You NEED me on that server!

        by nota bene on Thu May 22, 2014 at 02:15:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  pure science research (33+ / 0-)

      for the sake of knowledge is valuable even when we can't see a monetary return at this moment.  Don't waste government money on it contradicts the modern world's experience with pure science investment by government.

      •  That's not pure research (0+ / 0-)

        What technology from SETI can we expect?  Nothing.  They scan through interstellar radiation.  It's old technology.

        The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

        by Scott in NAZ on Thu May 22, 2014 at 09:18:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's old tech applied in new ways (8+ / 0-)

          And the new ways we have of applying it lead to applications that help humans on earth, rich and poor.

          For example, SETI pioneered some work with distributed computing to analyze large datasets with a civilian user base.  I lent my computer to SETI@Home for many years.

          The medical community latched onto the idea and Folding@Home was born, using the distributed computing technology developed for SETI to instead run the massive calculations needed for simulate protein folding.  They even released an app for PS3 since the Cell processor was capable of that kind of crunch work.

          Those technologies then got applied with Amazon's AWS, only in reverse, and now many companies - private and public - leverage distributed computing calculations to run virtual data simulations in the cloud, during off-peak times, on the cheap.

          It's just like "going to the moon" was our stated goal, but as a result we had a thousand tiny innovations from velcro to freeze dried ice cream that made life a little more bearable or fun.

          You simply do not know how technological innovations will reverberate until after the fact, which is why science funding is so critical even without an obvious ROI.

          The Cake is a lie. In Pie there is Truth. ~ Fordmandalay

          by catwho on Thu May 22, 2014 at 09:53:30 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  SETI wasnt' the first example (0+ / 0-)

            of distributed computing.  It wasn't responsible for fold at home.

            Can you tell me any actual advances we've gotten from the 30 years that SETI has been around?  Surely there must be at track record of awesome advances that have benefitted people.

            The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

            by Scott in NAZ on Thu May 22, 2014 at 09:58:33 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It was the first popular one (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              jfromga, aseth, stevemb, Cassandra Waites

              Yes, distributed computing has been around for a while, but the innovation was in getting anyone with a computer involved who wanted to help.  Same thing with Folding and the PS3.  

              The Cake is a lie. In Pie there is Truth. ~ Fordmandalay

              by catwho on Thu May 22, 2014 at 11:29:10 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Great (0+ / 0-)

                Being the first popular something is not an advance.  Also, what have they done in the 15 years since?  Nothing.

                The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

                by Scott in NAZ on Thu May 22, 2014 at 11:35:31 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Wrong (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  catwho

                  To take merely the most obvious of a plethora of examples, genetics did not start making meaningful progress after Mendel discovered the basic principles -- that didn't happen until after DeVries, Correns and Tschermak rediscovered them and made the generally known to the world.

                  On the Internet, nobody knows if you're a dog... but everybody knows if you're a jackass.

                  by stevemb on Thu May 22, 2014 at 03:06:38 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  Your argument is as mathmatically illiterate as it (10+ / 0-)

          is scientifically illiterate and illiterate in every other way.

          NASA's budget is tiny: Less than 1%. The social welfare budget is fucking massive. It's most of the budget. Fine. Good. I've got no problem with social spending. But, don't tell me that every penny that goes into pure scientific research is stealing from the mouths of poor children. When I hear his argument, I want to tell the self-righteous asses saying this to go fuck off. There have always and there will always be poor people. But, we need to do science, both pure and applied. We also need art and culture. Anyone who suggests taking money away from all those other things in the name of some goal like feeding the poor can go to straight hell. They'd take away all quality of life in the name of quantity. That's stupidity that's not worthy of a debate.

          Just doing my part to piss off right wing nuts, one smart ass comment at a time.

          by tekno2600 on Thu May 22, 2014 at 09:55:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Are all your comments this jerky? (0+ / 0-)

            You called me illiterate and a self-righteous asshole.  DBAD.

            Just let me know if you're always this pompous so I can ignore you in the future.

            Also, lighten up, dude.  It's spring, the birds are singing, there's no need to be grumpy :)

            The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

            by Scott in NAZ on Thu May 22, 2014 at 10:00:38 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You have a lot of nerve (12+ / 0-)

              You hijacked this diary with a bunch of white-hot derision, insisting on making the same point in the same disrespectful fashion dozens of times, and when you get your first taste of your own medicine you slip into your victim footies.

              Grow some self-awareness (if you think there's room in your budget for it).

              Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it.

              by The Termite on Thu May 22, 2014 at 10:05:54 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  No (0+ / 0-)

                I expressed my opinion, which I believe to be based on liberal principles.  It's a web forum--people do that here.  I didn't hijack shit, and I wasn't disrespectful (unlike many on your side).

                Thanks for the self-help tips.

                The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

                by Scott in NAZ on Thu May 22, 2014 at 10:10:38 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Let's Roll The Tape... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  The Termite
                  I didn't hijack shit, and I wasn't disrespectful
                  Let's look upthread to where this all started... "Meh" (the title of the very first one)... "science fiction, not science"... "Great obfuscation"....

                  Looks pretty darn disrespectful to me.

                  On the Internet, nobody knows if you're a dog... but everybody knows if you're a jackass.

                  by stevemb on Thu May 22, 2014 at 03:12:46 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  You brought out the jerk in me because there was (9+ / 0-)

              a time when there were a lot of Liberals like you who joined the Republicans in attacking science, but they couched their attacks in claims of concern about "poverty." I hope you see that you are now in a very small minority in this group. If you make this argument here, people can and will ridicule you in the strongest terms. So, don't even bother. Scientists used to be shrinking violets until we got beat up by anti-science fanatics from the Right and the Left. Now, I fight back. I don't care if that makes me a jerk or not.

              Just doing my part to piss off right wing nuts, one smart ass comment at a time.

              by tekno2600 on Thu May 22, 2014 at 10:08:04 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  SCIENTIFICALLY illiterate (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              stevemb

              And though I decry the use of such terms, I do think you're being incredibly short sighted, as well as displaying quite the fear of technological innovation and pure research.

              This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

              by Ellid on Thu May 22, 2014 at 11:31:06 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Thank you for the psychoanalysis (0+ / 0-)

                Can you tell me what else I'm afraid of?

                The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

                by Scott in NAZ on Thu May 22, 2014 at 11:32:41 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Spiders? (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Ellid, tekno2600, stevemb

                  Sorry, had to try to lighten the mood a bit.

                  Sorry about the earlier pissiness, btw, but one thing the internet is good at is letting us all say things before the brain has a chance to filter emotions.

                •  Sorry, but all I said was that you were DISPLAYING (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  stevemb

                  such signs based on thread hijacking and a lot of blather that seems to confuse pure research that may not pay off for decades with immediate short-term technological benefits.  You also seemed to be overreacting to the point that you came across as frightened whenever your posts were criticized.

                  This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

                  by Ellid on Thu May 22, 2014 at 12:21:17 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Oh (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    i saw an old tree today

                    So it's okay to say I'm displaying signs of something so long as you don't call me the name directly.

                    So, if I said "you are displaying signs of being a $%^&#"?  Or "your arguments are those that a $^%&%&$& would make"?  Would that be okay?  Of course not.  Don't couch your insults in terms of questions and weasel words and try to say they're insults.

                    It's not thread hijacking.  We're arguing about the merits of SETI in the context of the federal budget.  At least we were until you started name calling.

                    Frightened?  What am I frightened of?  That's just stupid.

                    The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

                    by Scott in NAZ on Thu May 22, 2014 at 12:25:59 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

        •  pure research isn't (7+ / 0-)

          a search for technology, that's applied research.  Pure research is the development of knowledge, theories, looking for answers about what is and how things work without regard to immediate application.

          They are building a catalogue of information, the noises made in the cosmos, some day we might discover that we can see patterns from those noises (and now light pulses) that can be turned into applied research and commercial projects.

          I always think about the huge lag time of the mathematical work of George Boole and the first computer.  George Boole received both private help and a position as mathematics professor at a Queen's university, ie, a government job doing pure research.   The fact that we are communicating in this medium is in large part due to the mathematics developed by George Boole.  It took almost a century for some of his work to payoff commercially.

          •  We have had SETI for 30+ years now (0+ / 0-)

            What has it done for us?  If SETI was so useful that it was worth funding even if we don't find aliens, surely SETI would have produced something of value to society by now.  What exactly is that?

            The vague possibility of "patterns from those noises" is hardly a justification for spending millions of dollars.

            The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

            by Scott in NAZ on Thu May 22, 2014 at 10:24:15 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Sooo (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jfromga, aseth, stevemb, Cassandra Waites

          research is only valuable if it results in new technology?  Really?  That's what you're going to hang your hat on?

          For one thing, SETI's research has told us that if there is life out there, it's not easily detected. Even negative results can extend scientific knowledge.  And in it's history, SETI has had at least 4 unexplained signals they have detected.  These are all still unexplained and were 1-time brief signals that were non-repeating, but such things leave the door open to new discoveries -- were they alien signals?  Or perhaps some astronomical phenomenon we are not familiar with at this time?

          Also, you seem to be laboring under the misunderstanding that the entirety of SETI is sitting there looking at readings from a radio telescope.  That is untrue.

          SETI scientists have done a lot of research related to astrobiology including research on "extremophiles" (organisms here on Earth that can survive in extremely hostile environments, that teach us the potential limits and adaptability of life).  They also do research on planetary mechanics, astrophysics, and even climate change.

          SETI also includes an outreach and education program that works to get people interested in science and encourage students to pursue scientific interests.  And they even have a radio and podcast program called "Big Picture Science" which covers a broad spectrum of scientific topics that is very entertaining and informative (at least, IMO).

    •  Extremely short-sighted. (21+ / 0-)

      More should be being done here, but a lot of benefit has arisen from our space exploration already. And what are we here for anyway? Just to exist in our own little globe?

      While you dream of Utopia, we're here on Earth, getting things done.

      by GoGoGoEverton on Thu May 22, 2014 at 08:40:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Meh to your meh. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tekno2600, Dirtandiron
      •  You are a master of rhetoric (0+ / 0-)

        Can't do any better than meh?  How about telling me exactly why my tax money should go to looking for aliens.  Whose lives are improved by that?  Shouldn't the money go to help people who need it first?

        The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

        by Scott in NAZ on Thu May 22, 2014 at 09:22:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  instead of sitting here on the internet lecturing (9+ / 0-)

          us about our misplaced knowledge, maybe you should go help out at a soup kitchen.

          •  I help in my own ways, thank you (0+ / 0-)

            I've made a lot of sacrifices for the causes I believe in.  But thanks for critiquing my lifestyle.  You must be a saint, right?

            Sad that so many people on this site resort to ad hominem attacks.  That's the kind of crap I expect from Republicans, not Dems.

            The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

            by Scott in NAZ on Thu May 22, 2014 at 09:37:56 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  no, I'm not a saint I'm an archaeologist. (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              IndieGuy, Ellid, stevemb, Cassandra Waites

              apply knowledge to further people's understanding of the human condition.  Which is as necessary as standing in line at a soup kitchen.

              No one ad-hom-attacked you.  I simply said if you're going to lecture us, be prepared to back it up.

              •  You basically told me that I was a hypocrite (0+ / 0-)

                for not helping in a soup kitchen.  That's not ad hominem?

                Understanding human history is VERY different from hunting for aliens.  Surely you get that.

                The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

                by Scott in NAZ on Thu May 22, 2014 at 10:01:59 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  is it? Are poor people any better off if I happen (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Ellid, Hayate Yagami, stevemb

                  to be able to date pottery to the Namazga III period nstead of Namazga IV?  Of course not.  Knowledge is about exploration, hope, imagination, and while it may not directly feed people who need food it contributes to a better, more intelligent, more imaginative society overall..  And that DOES benefit people who need help--it also may give them some other cognitive outlets.

                  Go around asking some underprivileged people if they think that we should drop our--sometimes fantastical--pursuits to give them food, and a roof over their heads.  I seriously doubt many of them would.  To do so is condescending and victimizing.  

                  And what of NPR?  Do the poor usually listen to NPR?  No, its target audience is really middle and upper class, somewhat to very intellectual, often urban elite.  But it does good for society, even if most underprivileged people probably aren't listening to it.  Should we cut that?  The large hadron collider?

                  Aliens is an easy term to throw around if you want to mock the pursuit---but it's actullly the pursuit of understanding our universe by detecting other life.  Realizing we aren't alone would have enormously profound implications for science, philosophy, religion--and yes, the professional/job world too.  These things are all related.  It's not just a mentally masturbatory pursuit that we're playing around with instead of feeding the hungry.

                  •  I guess I'm a science bigot (0+ / 0-)

                    I think that some kinds of science are more worthwhile than others.  If we had an unlimited budget for science, than anything goes.  But since money is restricted and growing more so, I would rather taxpayer money go to things that have a proven track record of benefitting people or the planet.

                    SETI does not have that track record.  The idea that science leads to wonder and a more imaginative society is nice but does not mean that we have to fund SETI.  There are lots of other projects that produce more tangible results.  Your type of work produces artifacts and knowledge of our history.  SETI produces...nothing of value so far. (They were an early adopter of distributed computing but not the first to do that.  Beyond that, no one in this thread has shown me a tangible benefit of the program)

                    BTW, when I talked about poverty earlier, that was just one example.  My point was that if money is limited, better to spend it on something that benefits humanity than something of highly dubious rewards.

                    (BTW, if you had made this comment first instead of all but calling me a hypocrite, I would think a lot better of you.  Too late now.)

                    The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

                    by Scott in NAZ on Thu May 22, 2014 at 11:26:54 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Having read through the comments (4+ / 0-)

                      It seems that you have selectively rejected each claimed benefit out of need to maintain your argument.  

                      Streichholzschächtelchen

                      by otto on Thu May 22, 2014 at 11:39:36 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I saw only one example (0+ / 0-)

                        And it wasn't really a benefit--early adoption of a new technology is not an advance.  I disregard all the "it inspires scientists" crap because that's never been proven and there is sexier science with real benefits happening all the time.  All the exoplanet discoveries have surely been more inspirational than SETI's lack of findings.

                        Got anything else?

                        The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

                        by Scott in NAZ on Thu May 22, 2014 at 11:43:36 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Why You're Catching So Much Flak (0+ / 0-)
                          I disregard all the "it inspires scientists" crap because that's never been proven and there is sexier science with real benefits happening all the time.
                          You remind me of Rick Santorum's attempt to defund the National Weather Service on the grounds that people could just use AccuWeather instead. In both cases, the underlying "logic" is that the information just shows up somehow, and thus there is no need to support its original source.

                          In general, your reaction to scientific research simply sounds too much like that of Gopasaurus Americani, and thus arouses the same response.

                          On the Internet, nobody knows if you're a dog... but everybody knows if you're a jackass.

                          by stevemb on Thu May 22, 2014 at 03:25:18 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                    •  no one called you a hypocrite. My point about the (4+ / 0-)

                      soup kitchen was entirely reasonable.  In other words, if you are so concerned that this minuscule sliver of public funds is so damaging to the poor in this country, maybe your (and everyone elses') time here is being spent in the wrong place.

                      You see it as a zero sum game.  I think you're dead wrong.

                      What does modern art do for people?  Poetry funding?  Nothing directly.  SETI inspired me when I was young.  It's one of the things I associate with my interest in exploration--and hence my desire to pursue archaeology.  Archaeology and cosmology have some odd similiarities in that way.  SETI has produced direction.  It has furthered distributive computing.  It has shaped the way in which we perceive the cosmos and our place in it.  This is all worth the minuscule funding--most of which, as I understand, is private anyway.

        •  Please see my comment about the motivation (6+ / 0-)

          impacts on the number of students going into science, math, education, and technology.

          Many studies of the original investments in space exploration in the 60 and 70 showed positive return on investment in our economy.  I will found link in a few hours, I have some things I have to attend to.

          The economic multiplier effects are certainly higher than military spending and consumer consumption.

          The amount we spend on NASA is small. The amount we spend on SETI is miniscule. You are ranting and raving about the wrong topic..

          I'll go check, but I think we are talking about an amount equivalent to not many of these new joint task force fighter jets.

          Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

          by HoundDog on Thu May 22, 2014 at 09:45:06 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I guess we should clean the grass hut too before (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Namazga III, stevemb

      thinking about highfaluting fiddle faddle like living in wood or brick homes. Let high priest Paul Allen spend his time talking about philosophy and science. We have mammoths to skin, right?

      Just doing my part to piss off right wing nuts, one smart ass comment at a time.

      by tekno2600 on Thu May 22, 2014 at 09:39:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Way to take my argument (0+ / 0-)

        to it's extreme.  Brilliant.

        I've been here a long time, and the quality of comments on this site keeps getting worse.

        The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

        by Scott in NAZ on Thu May 22, 2014 at 09:46:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I tried humor, but you cried about that. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ellid, linkage, Hayate Yagami, stevemb

          Then I tried a stronger tone and you cried about that too. Why don't you just go cry somewhere else?

          Just doing my part to piss off right wing nuts, one smart ass comment at a time.

          by tekno2600 on Thu May 22, 2014 at 10:12:11 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  nobody cares about how long you've been here (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          stevemb

          Don't use your behavior to slag an entire website. You're the one who's pissing people off in this thread with your dishonesty and goalpost-shifting.

          Patience is a virtue but obstinacy is a vice.

          You WANT me on that server! You NEED me on that server!

          by nota bene on Thu May 22, 2014 at 02:30:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Meh (0+ / 0-)

            I've been personally insulted by about 10 different people in this thread, and I haven't been rude to anyone.   To me that's a sign of a website in decline.

            Where was I dishonest?  How did I shift any goalposts?  No one here has yet to demonstrate a SINGLE actual advance from SETI in its 3+ decades of existence.  Being the 4th (or whatever) example of distributed computing is not an advance despite the claims of some.

            Obstinacy in the face of unreason is a virtue in my book.

            The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

            by Scott in NAZ on Thu May 22, 2014 at 02:43:05 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Less Than Half of 1% Of The Federal Budget (18+ / 0-)

      Because the less than 0.5% of the federal budget that NASA gets is taking food out of the mouths of hungry children?

      It never ceases to amaze me that for less than half a cent on a dollar, the United States government puts men and women in space, robots on other planets, maps the universe, and attempts to gain a greater understanding about our reality and yet somehow people still find a way to bitch about it.


      I don't think I'll ever meet a neanderthal or australopithecine, but that hasn't stopped us from funding research that digs up their bones to learn the evolutionary connections. Or is that scientific research we shouldn't waste time on either since it doesn't directly affect poor people?

    •  Wrong, the economic multipliers on any (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OldDragon, otto, stevemb

      domestic technology investment is higher than any military investment overseas.

      So taking any mount of money out of say any NATO base in Europe "protecting" western Europe from a Russian tank invasion would have higher economic multiplier effects on our economy.

      For example the rents on the land and building, all the money spent by soldiers and workers that is now spent boosting the European economy and creating European jobs would be spend in the United State creating American Jobs.

      This is sufficient to totally refute you argument. But wait their is more.

      Please see my other comments about the inspiration effect of encouraging the next generation of young people to take more courses in science, math, engineering, and technology, boosting U.S productivity, and causing them to invent more technology, and create more American jobs, as research has shown investment in Space research did in the 1960, 70s, 80s etc.

      Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

      by HoundDog on Thu May 22, 2014 at 10:08:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Science is like so unmellow, man. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      stevemb

      And it like leads us away from Mother Nature, dude. And also Magick.....

      "If this Studebaker had anymore Atomic Space-Age Style, you'd have to be an astronaut with a geiger counter!"

      by Stude Dude on Thu May 22, 2014 at 10:16:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  "may not be there." (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      stevemb

      The odds are not in your favor. I think we can multi-task and who knows maybe that alien lifeform might set us straight on how to deal with our mess.

  •  I find it difficult not to believe... (17+ / 0-)

    ...that life exists on other worlds, given how relatively quickly it seems to have sprung up on Earth after the end of the accretion period.

    Whether the conditions enabled that life to evolve to the point of intelligence—and whether that intelligence has any interest in talking with us—is another matter altogether.

    Hell, I think it's still up for debate whether or not humanity is an intelligent life form.

    "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

    by JamesGG on Thu May 22, 2014 at 08:34:21 AM PDT

    •  I think it could be argued that intelligence, at (7+ / 0-)

      least of the technological level, is an evolutionary failure. We seem well on our way to wiping our own species out, and taking most of the biosphere along with us.

      A virus that kills itself by killing its own host, is not an evolutionary success.

      In the end, reality always wins.

      by Lenny Flank on Thu May 22, 2014 at 09:41:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I definitely think that intelligence... (5+ / 0-)

        ...may have a shelf life, at least in most of its forms.

        However, I think there is even still a nonzero probability that we might escape from our own impending self-induced disaster; if it truly is the case that it's a matter of probability rather than inevitability, then in a universe as big as ours, I find it unlikely that some other intelligent species on some other world hasn't managed to survive its adolescence.

        That doesn't mean they'll be interested in making contact, or that we're anywhere near close enough to one another as to make it possible that we could contact them even if they were interested—but even if it's a .0001% probability of survival, and even if only one intelligent species arises in each galaxy every few million years, that's still millions of intelligent species out there in the universe.

        As someone much wiser than me once said: "It's a great big universe and we're all really puny."

        "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

        by JamesGG on Thu May 22, 2014 at 10:11:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Nah. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        stevemb

        It's the ultimate tool in natural selection. Sure that success has the downside of overpopulation but you won't see our species dying off anytime soon.

         

    •  Microbial life. (5+ / 0-)

      The diary doesn't emphasize it, but the SETI scientists were talking about microbial life:

      Dan Werthimer, director of the SETI Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley, told the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology Wednesday that the possibility of extraterrestrial microbial life is "close to 100 percent."

      "What could BPossibly go wrong??" -RLMiller "God is just pretend." - eru

      by nosleep4u on Thu May 22, 2014 at 09:59:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm pretty sure we'll find microbial life... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JamesGG, stevemb

        It'll probably just take 20 years or so. We'll probably find it on Europa if we send a probe there and drill through its ice into its liquid oceans.

        Intelligent life (and I suppose the word "intelligence" is used pretty loosely when using it to describe humans) is probably faaaar more rare.

      •  I'd find it hard to argue with that assessment. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        stevemb

        Even if the probability that some form of microbial life will evolve on a given planet where the conditions are optimal is as low as .00001%—and we've got reason to believe it's much higher than that—the recent discovery of all these extrasolar planets means that it's all but certain that some form of microbial life has arisen on many, many worlds other than this one.

        "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

        by JamesGG on Thu May 22, 2014 at 10:05:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  At the rate of discovery at the current moment (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        stevemb

        I would probably shave that down to more like 15 years. Once the James Webb telescope is operational, and once that massive telescope in the Andes gets built, our ability to look at exoplanets directly will explode. Kepler alone has given us some captivating data that we'll be sorting through for years to come. Also I would imagine that our planned Mars missions will produce evidence at some point, and I wouldn't count out one of the moons of Jupiter/Saturn having some sort of basic life.

        Plus, space mining operations are going to be starting up before too long. What if they pick up an asteroid with fossilized stuff in it? It's a big universe. If humans can manage to pull their shit together, we may be in for a very interesting century.

  •  if there is intelligent life out (24+ / 0-)

    there, we probably haven't heard from them because we are on a quarantine list as a biohazard.

    I have always believed the universe is too big not to have other life out there.  

  •  Don't you think it will help? Like getting a lot (11+ / 0-)

    of people on the right to pull their heads out of their butts on the petty issues and take science and scientists more seriously? And take global warming seriously finally!

    Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

    by HoundDog on Thu May 22, 2014 at 08:36:20 AM PDT

  •  Yeeeeah, sure.... (0+ / 0-)

    Fun speculation, theoretically possible, but please, spend tax dollars on stuff we need here/now.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Thu May 22, 2014 at 08:44:01 AM PDT

    •  the money (11+ / 0-)

      gets spent here, on research and development, and paychecks for the people who do the research and development, and food and clothing and shelter for them, and for the people who make and sell them the food and clothing and shelter, and so on ....

      It doesn't disappear - it goes into the economy and spreads. And we get jobs, and maybe whole new industries we didn't have before.

      (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

      by PJEvans on Thu May 22, 2014 at 08:56:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Fine, but the work product doesn't do anything (0+ / 0-)

        for anybody. Just like military spending, yes it makes jobs, but the product takes resources and manpower out of the economy that could be put to better civic uses.

        If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

        by CwV on Thu May 22, 2014 at 09:00:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  At the very least its a Keynesian stimulus. (6+ / 0-)

        It also inspires kids in the next generation to go into science, math, engineering, and technology fields, which require discipline. The U.S. is falling behind in these areas.

        Motivation and inspiration are important.

        Many in my generation, ( Sputnik generation), and myself  were inspired to take courses, in math and science by space exploration.

        Making other world and science sexy is a good thing. I read somewhere that something like 10 or 20 million young people want to grow up to be NBA basket ball players. There are a couple hundred slots so when they fail they have nothing.

        A lot of my generation grew up wanting to go into space and when we failed we started high tech companies. What some critic so SETI research may be forgetting is if we bring up a generation of kids who want to discover and communicate with aliens, or design the cultural messages we transmit to aliens they may forge relationship with other such kids around the world doing the same, create companies with them and create world peace, rather then be unemployed wanna be NFL rejects.  

        Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

        by HoundDog on Thu May 22, 2014 at 09:58:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  At the least it is a Keynesian stimulus to our (4+ / 0-)

        economy. If we can get the Republicans to agree to it is just as good as infrastructure spending.

        Better than spending it on military bases in Europe.

        Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

        by HoundDog on Thu May 22, 2014 at 10:01:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  With the condition our condition is in, (6+ / 0-)

      we might learn something useful from other residents of the universe, if they exist.

      Could be better or worse, but we need something just now!

      "Let each unique song be sung and the spell of differentiation be broken" - Winter Rabbit

      by cotterperson on Thu May 22, 2014 at 09:21:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If there are extraterrestrials (4+ / 0-)

        with the capability of communicating/visiting us, we're fu(ked.
        Ask any low tech civilization what happens when they meet a higher tech one.
        I'm particularly amused by the people who see "greys", humanoid alien creatures. The odds against their being other life in the universe are high enough, that they would have evolved into something that looks roughly like us? Nope.
        Life on this mudball started out as slime mold and, via a series of random accidents and dead ends after 4+billion years, heaved up us somewhere between 60000 and 1000000 years ago. The odds of that happening are staggering. The odds of that happening twice.....
        My grandfather used to say that alien life has already invaded and taken over: They consist of silicon, consume electricity, self replicate and have insinuated themselves into every aspect of our lives. There are probably several of them in your pockets right now. They control our world, though we fool ourselves that we control them, and one day, when they achieve critical mass, when we are no longer useful to them, they will eliminate us.

        If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

        by CwV on Thu May 22, 2014 at 09:36:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  As a science fiction reader, I love this! But (11+ / 0-)

    because of my reading I wonder if looking for conditions like earth's as a way of targeting possible life on other planets is too narrow. Lots of scifi posits life forms existing in conditions quite different from ours. So maybe there's life on a planet that would be antithetical to our life forms.
    In any case, I'm fully supportive of the search. There was a science fiction book I read many years ago (can't remember writer or title) in which the story line was that people on earth were allowed to develop but that a superior race kept secretly coming in and squashing all developments that furthered space exploration. The idea was that that specific cap on human development eventually stunted all other development.
    I don't know if that's true, but i think a lot of us are inspired and uplifted by the idea of space exploration and life on other planets.

    While Democrats work to get more people to vote, Republicans work to ensure those votes won't count.

    by Tamar on Thu May 22, 2014 at 08:48:45 AM PDT

    •  There's a life form on THIS planet that's (5+ / 0-)

      antithetical to ours; it's called the GOP.

      I'll believe corporations are people when one comes home from Afghanistan in a body bag.

      by mojo11 on Thu May 22, 2014 at 09:00:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I agree! (5+ / 0-)

      Because we live on a planet with lots of liquid water, that's what we've decided to look for. OK, but what if there's a gassy planet where intelligence lives in gassy life forms? What if there are beings made of energy rather than matter (e.g. Martian Chronicles_)?

      Interesting stuff!

      "Let each unique song be sung and the spell of differentiation be broken" - Winter Rabbit

      by cotterperson on Thu May 22, 2014 at 09:26:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  They can't look everywhere for every possibility. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wee Mama, ColoTim, stevemb

      Understanding the scale of the universe and the myriad potential "hotspots," it just makes economic and temporal sense to focus on the well-understood principles.

    •  Science fiction writers love to play with the (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Darmok, stevemb

      implications of variant life forms, but as a cell biologist I'm afraid that any life we find anywhere in the universe will use water as its solvent and carbon for the backbones of the molecules. These constraints arise from the physical properties of those two elements, and there are no other elements that come even close to doing what they do.



      Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

      by Wee Mama on Thu May 22, 2014 at 10:26:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have absolutely no background in this and my (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Wee Mama, stevemb

        guess is that for people with your expertise, comments like mine must be very frustrating.
        It's like when people quote statistics from polls that have terribly written questions or have terrible response rates or (horror of horrors) depend on who choses to respond to an online question -- my background is public health and survey research and I get very annoyed at them drawing any conclusions at all.
        You're more gracious about this kind of thing than I am.

        While Democrats work to get more people to vote, Republicans work to ensure those votes won't count.

        by Tamar on Thu May 22, 2014 at 11:08:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not a problem at all - I completely sympathize (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tamar, stevemb

          with the desire many have to discover profoundly different life. But the science behind life as we know it shows that water is a solvent non pareil, abundant and with the very rare property that ice floats (and thus the oceans don't fill with ice from the bottom). Carbon with its intermediate electronegativity is gloriously flexible, making bonds with a wide variety of other atoms and itself. We can observe some molecules in the clouds of space, and there are orders of magnitude more different ones with carbon than with silicon, the next contender.

          The universe is knit together, from the highest to the lowest, and an endless source of wonder.



          Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

          by Wee Mama on Thu May 22, 2014 at 11:40:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Larry Niven had a short story about a conversation (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tamar, stevemb

      overheard at an inter-species bar.  An alien had arrived with a device that would give humans a much-extended lifespan (or immortality).  In the conversation, another alien convinces the first that given humanity's warlike nature and intelligence that seems to be focused on war, giving humans a release from our relative short lifespans would be like unleashing a plague on the universe.  The owner of the bar, a human, tries desperately to figure out what booth the conversation took place in but fails, which means the opportunity for long life spans walks out the door and humans remain as we are.

      •  remain as we are -- hopelessly warlike.... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ColoTim, stevemb

        While Democrats work to get more people to vote, Republicans work to ensure those votes won't count.

        by Tamar on Thu May 22, 2014 at 11:09:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  In Niven's Known Space story arc covering (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          stevemb, Cassandra Waites

          dozens of short stories and many full novels one of the themes was that humans had given up war because we were so good at it and risked destroying ourselves prior to knowing that other intelligent species exist.  Then, an alien species (the Puppeteers), arranges for a human to encounter a strange, alien spacecraft out in the interstellar deep.  Through luck and inspiration, plus the innate human characteristic of violence, the human defeats the hostile foe (the Kzinti, a warrior cat-like species) and makes it back to human space to alert humans that we are not alone.  Shortly there's a series of wars between humans and Kzin during which time the more violent Kzinti are weeded out and humans re-hone our war skills.  This is the result the Puppeteers were looking for, as the Kzinti were more a threat to the Puppeteers than humans.

          Love his books.  Hate his politics.

          •  I haven't read him, or at least not in the last 20 (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ColoTim, Cassandra Waites

            or so years (I used to read a very wide range of scifi, but have become more limited in my interests in recent years).
            But I feel the same way, sort of, about Heinlein. I know he's a god to many (including Scalzi, whom I adore), but his politics as represented in his books are just awful.
            The worst I encountered was a book, Farnham's Freehold, that had his typical older man adored by younger woman, and then even worse, had a world where Africans had become the dominant race and, surprise surprise, they were cannibals who ate white people, enslaved whites, and castrated white male slaves.
            Racist anyone?

            While Democrats work to get more people to vote, Republicans work to ensure those votes won't count.

            by Tamar on Thu May 22, 2014 at 12:01:28 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  I suspect this might be like the way nuclear (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Hindsight Times

    fusion reactors are always 20 years in the future.

  •  I think simple life is likely elsewhere (7+ / 0-)

    Intelligent life might not be very common, or it might not be a good thing to contact it if it exists.

    I think Carl Sagan mentioned this in the original Cosmos.  There had to be a first civilization in the universe.  It's possible it's us.  And it's also possible that every sentient civilization gets to approximately our level of technology and destroys itself.

    And even finding a microbe on Mars or Europa could cause a lot of societal backlash. Let alone finding a squirrel on Mars...

  •  Of course other life exists, but (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Scott in NAZ, hubcap

    the claim by Shostak that we'll find it in "20 years" is an obvious unfounded assertion that was made as part of a plea to get more funding. Of course someone pleading for more money for SETI is going to claim that discovering ETs is right around the corner, if only they get the funding they need...

    •  Shhh! (0+ / 0-)

      You're spoiling the fantasies of all the people who grew up reading science fiction and dreaming of trips to the stars.

      Also right around the corner if we just had a bit more money: cold fusion, perpetual motion machines, and a cure for the common cold. ;)

      The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

      by Scott in NAZ on Thu May 22, 2014 at 09:29:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  SETI isnt funded with taxpayer money. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hayate Yagami, Cassandra Waites

      Please refer to my comment addressing Scott's thread above. SETI is wholly funded by private individuals and corporations, not the US taxpayer.

      Twenty years is not "pleading for more money" because they don't receive any right now. He's saying twenty years because the rate of exoplanet discovery has accelerated so quickly in the past few years it's logical to conclude that statistically we will find an exoplanet with all the tell tale signs of life within that two decade span.

    •  that's an uncalled-for attack on all scientists (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aseth, Johnny Q, Hayate Yagami, stevemb

      and all people involved in research, for that matter.  

      That does happen sometimes, sure.  But you have no basis for that assertion.  Moreover, as someone said below, look at the rate of technology increase.  And especially look at Kepler.  Discovery neither static nor linear, but exponential.

  •  yes, I am comforted by the the theory that (4+ / 0-)

    the superior alien races infiltrate our world and keep us from blowing up ourselves and half the solar system.

  •  Thanks, Hound Dog. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ColoTim, stevemb

    Yesterday, I watched most of the hearing. Pretty interesting stuff, including all the giggly participants ;). Here's a link to the hearing on c-span.

    "Let each unique song be sung and the spell of differentiation be broken" - Winter Rabbit

    by cotterperson on Thu May 22, 2014 at 09:16:38 AM PDT

  •  Yeah, but do they have good Pizza? (0+ / 0-)

    "Taxes are what we pay for civilized society, including the chance to insure" - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Compania General De Tabacos De Filipinas v. Collector of Internal Revenue, 275 U.S. 87, 100, dissenting; opinion

    by HugoDog on Thu May 22, 2014 at 09:17:27 AM PDT

  •  We know why aliens haven't contacted us. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bleeding blue, stevemb

    Light-years away, they pick up our broadcasts, and the first things they pick up is stuff like FOX News.

    "Zeeglorp, let's move on to the next system. There's no intelligent life here."

  •  I'm having a real, WTF, Florida moment here. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    yg17, ColoTim

    So, what you're saying is, there's a chance ...

  •  and they would know this how, again . . . ? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wee Mama, nota bene

    In the end, reality always wins.

    by Lenny Flank on Thu May 22, 2014 at 09:38:44 AM PDT

    •  Life in general... (0+ / 0-)

      ...by the spectrographic signature of light passing through an exoplanet's atmosphere. Or by finding lichen or bacteria or whatever on Mars, Europa, or the like.

      Intellignce? SETI is the best opportunity, but as somebody upthread said you run into the Fermi Paradox. (Yeah, it's Wikipedia, but it's actually a pretty informative summary.)

    •  I don't think they can: the reason we (0+ / 0-)

      can surmise that there is alien life is "the universe is so big that odds are", and a universe so big mitigates against finding anything except by the dumbest of luck.

      Schedule permitting, PROOF WILL BE PROVIDED ON HOW I AM BEING "CONSTANTLY CALLED OUT" AND "UNIVERSALLY RECOGNIZED" FOR BEING BAD. Moreover, the dossier on my activities during the Bush administration will have an appendix concluding that I am Wrong.

      by Inland on Thu May 22, 2014 at 01:01:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I, for one, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    flowerfarmer, Darmok, ColoTim

    will welcome our space alien overlords.

    Perhaps we will be able to observe what it is like to be truly intelligent, wise and compassionate.

    Unless, of course, they eat us.

  •  The real mystery isn't is there intelligent (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pollwatcher

    Life out there, but is there intelligent life in the GOP?

  •  As nutty as the squirrel on Mars story (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ColoTim

    How is this any different than Tea Baggers making their crazy claims without a shred of evidence?

    Not a single shred of evidence that there is life out there much less intelligent life.

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.  First comes the evidence before opening ones mouth about such silly claims.

    •  although I wouldn't consider the idea that there's (0+ / 0-)

      other life to be extraordinary.  It's pretty reasonable.  What would be extraordinary is if we're flying solo.  But yes, there probably isn't much of a basis for the claim except the increasing speed of technological development.

    •  We have proof that microbes have survived (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cassandra Waites

      outside the international space station. We have evidence that moons orbiting Saturn and Jupiter have water. We have evidence that there was water on Mars.

      Multiply those odds by billions and billions and that is pretty much all the proof you need to keep an open mind.

  •  All I want to know is... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pollwatcher, ColoTim, stevemb

    Are they god-fearing, right-thinking, pro-America non-deviants, or are they Kenyan Muslim Communists? And how do they feel about Benghazi?

    "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

    by kovie on Thu May 22, 2014 at 09:51:08 AM PDT

  •  It won't happen. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sfbob, ColoTim, hubcap, Deep Texan

    Look, a civilization capable of being 'heard' exists for an instant in geologic time.  The probability that one other intelligent civilization exists CONCURRENTLY with ours within 20 light years is probably zero.  I would say that perhaps millions or even billions of intelligent species have existed in our galaxy.  Unless and until we develop Star Trek space travel technology, we will never ever find them. Hopefully we can do that before we destroy ourselves.  

    My hunch is that life on Earth is like most other planets.  It takes 5 billion years for a species to develop that is intelligent.  Another million years to develop technology, then 500 more years before the species destroys itself or the planet it lives on.  Somehow we avoided destroying ourselves in the 1950s and 60s.  Our planet will not be so lucky.  In 200 years, it is lights out for us.

    "In 20 years, the GOP will be small enough to drown in a bathtub." - me

    by estamm on Thu May 22, 2014 at 09:57:28 AM PDT

  •  I have no doubt there are or have been (4+ / 0-)

    other civilizations out there. The big problem is this: as anyone who's been watching the current version of "Cosmos" will understand, our galaxy (and the universe in general) operates on an extraordinarily large time scale. In that context, if we were to show up a few thousand years after some nearby interplanetary civilization became moribund and disappeared, we'd be out of luck, wouldn't we? Even though in the scheme of things a few thousand years is barely even an instant when viewed from the long-term perspective it wouldn't do us much good.

    Still and despite all that I really, really hope we're able to detect evidence of a civilization on some other world.
     

  •  It's not that easy. (5+ / 0-)

    Life itself (single celled life and simple multicellular plants) is probably pretty ubiquitous.  (If you want creepy space aliens, you can get plenty just by looking at pictures of the things one finds on the deep ocean floor.  That took a bigger leap of faith than anything involving simple extraterrestrial flora and fauna -- I'll even buy that such life exists on Mars if someone can find some liquid water there.)

    Then we get to complex life.  This isn't just a question of temperature and atmosphere, but of things like the presence of the right proportion of heavy elements in the planet's crust and the ability of the atmosphere to block radiation.  Between all this, we've reduced ourselves to a fairly small subset of all earth-scoped planets.  The raw numbers still work in ET's favor, but not as overwhelmingly.

    Then you get to the hard questions:

    1. Is there any evolutionary advantage to being intelligent?

    2. Is there any evolutionary advantage to being intelligent enough to advance technologically enough to be able to make oneself known to other planets.  Civilization has only been around for around 6,000 years and the current industrial civilization only about 250 years.  Not much time on an evolutionary timescale for a species with a generational cycle of 20 years.

    3. Given 1 and 2, does it matter, given the size of the universe?

    Although if I were SETI and I were asking the Republicrap for funds, I'd tend to go the little green men route, as science is not a forte with those people.

    •  There are also... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      liberaldregs

      ...random factors at work. Had it not been for the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event 66 million years ago, we'd all be speaking dinosaur.

      So endith the trick.

      by itsjim on Thu May 22, 2014 at 01:09:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Other things too. (0+ / 0-)

        It takes the availability of materials to become technological.

        It takes the presence of other species with particular traits to develop domestication and agriculture.

        It's entirely plausible there's a species out there that has the genetic potential but will never have the materials required to make the leap past basic tools and utilization of naturally occurring patterns with no real influence on them.

        A species' own evolution cannot give it access to those things.

      •  Speaking dinosaur (0+ / 0-)

        I can imagine the conversation at the Creation museum.  Although I hear the verb conjugations in Dinosaur-ese are worse than in French.

  •  Any word on whether they'll be christians? (0+ / 0-)

    If they're not we don't wanna know them.

    I ♥ rock crushers.

    by fly on Thu May 22, 2014 at 10:10:38 AM PDT

  •  'Ware the Luddites, HoundDog. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stude Dude
  •  It's not that I disagree with SETI about (5+ / 0-)

    intelligent life elsewhere, but the "within 20 years" thing is just scientifically unsupportable and discredits the whole concept.  It's trolling for funding by making it seem like, "...aaaany day now..."

    Not a statement I'd expect from an objective scientist.

    You can't spell CRAZY without R-AZ.

    by rb608 on Thu May 22, 2014 at 10:13:51 AM PDT

    •  Remember the fossils from the Mars meteorite? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rb608

      NASA loves to pull this stuff.  When it's time to start funding, they're always on the verge of a great discovery, or a new technology...

      NASA does enough great things without doing this nonsense, but as they said in the right stuff, "no bucks, no buck rogers".

      •  I agree about NASA. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pollwatcher, nota bene

        They are easily one of my favorite government agencies and deserve orders of magnitude more funding than they get.  And I don't begrudge them a bit of "creative marketing" when it's time for the bake sale, but I was disappointed at what sounds to me like a bold-faced, unscientific statement from an actual scientist.  It hurts my paradigm when that happens.

        You can't spell CRAZY without R-AZ.

        by rb608 on Thu May 22, 2014 at 10:29:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  what's funny (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          stevemb, rb608

          is that NASA has the frigging Hubble. Want more govt $$$? Build the Hubble again. Those pictures knock everybody the fuck out every time, and they speak for themselves. They don't really have to hype those, in the "marketing" sense.

          You WANT me on that server! You NEED me on that server!

          by nota bene on Thu May 22, 2014 at 02:45:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Makes me think about how Fusion is 30 years away (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rb608, bsegel

      Ever since Studebakers had tail-fins.

      I don't know. I use to too sincerely believe in UFOs when I was a teen in the '70s. Now I'd like to tell my younger self to get real.

      While getting an extra-terrestrial radio sugnal would be all cosmic and groovy, it doesn't happen until it happens.

      I have been running SETI Online for about 15 years over several Macs and have crunched over 1.6 million data packs. Some days I have doubts and wonder if I'm wasting my time.

      "If this Studebaker had anymore Atomic Space-Age Style, you'd have to be an astronaut with a geiger counter!"

      by Stude Dude on Thu May 22, 2014 at 10:24:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  They probably have projections that are based (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rb608

      upon how long it takes to scan a given segment of the sky, how long it takes to analyze that data, the percent chance, based upon the past several years, of finding things that were worth a second look, and then projecting what the probability is of that yielding something significant.  It's that last step that's a leap, but they probably can base those first steps on how much time and effort it has taken to this point.  I wouldn't guess that 20 years is entirely a random number pulled out of the ether.

      •  Perhaps not random, yet (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ColoTim
        the probability is of that yielding something significant.
        that probability, based on past results and real mathematics, is damned close to zero.  20 years may not be a random number, but it's still unreasonable from a scientific standpoint.  It assumes facts not in evidence, i.e., that intelligent life exists elsewhere, it is capable of broadcasting some evidence of its existence, and that we will detect that evidence in the next 20 years (out of what, a few million?).  I gotta call bullshit from a scientific perspective.

        You can't spell CRAZY without R-AZ.

        by rb608 on Thu May 22, 2014 at 05:58:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  RA exists not in dimension of time/space n/t (0+ / 0-)

    Evidence that contradicts the ruling belief system is held to extraordinary standards, while evidence that entrenches it is uncritically accepted. -Carl Sagan

    by RF on Thu May 22, 2014 at 10:14:55 AM PDT

  •  The exoplanets have certainly opened our eyes to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ColoTim

    the amazing variety out there, but they haven't exactly been encouraging so far as to the chances for intelligent life. Take your case, Kepler1866-f as an example. Yes, its diameter is close to the diameter of earth, and it's in the "habitable zone" for its star. But the star is a dwarf, so the planet will be phase locked, and on top of that the star is very metal poor compared to earth. It's quite likely that this planet is an ocean planet with several miles of water on its surface. Whether it would have deep sea vents as possible sites for life would depend on whether it has plate tectonics, and there are several conditions that need to be met to have them.

    I don't want to rain on your party. I just think we're still learning what an amazing, wonderful, precious planet we live on.



    Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

    by Wee Mama on Thu May 22, 2014 at 10:21:11 AM PDT

    •  How many exoplanets have they found (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      otto

      and how many more are out there in an expanding universe?

      •  How about this? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Yoshimi, Namazga III

        A huge fucking number.  Such a big number, that the possibilities of life developing somewhere else are

        we still can't say that it's a likely chance, because we only know of one place it's happened.

        That doesn't mean I don't think it's incredibly likely, it's just an example of the logical roadblock.

        Streichholzschächtelchen

        by otto on Thu May 22, 2014 at 11:04:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Nearly two thousand so far, enough that we are (0+ / 0-)

        beginning to see patterns of what kinds of planets there are. The hot Jupiters were an immense surprise, and it's looking like nice, regular planetary systems like ours are in the minority, perhaps the very small minority. Planets apparently like to play ping-pong when they're young.



        Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

        by Wee Mama on Thu May 22, 2014 at 11:42:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Two thousand out of what? (0+ / 0-)

          I'm still not buying your odds.

          •  Agreed. (0+ / 0-)

            Our data set, while growing, is literally infinitesimally small. And we are only looking at one tiny piece of space. There is a lot of universe out there. What we can observe in this context is severely limited.

            So endith the trick.

            by itsjim on Thu May 22, 2014 at 01:19:04 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Just shy of two thousand that have been observed (0+ / 0-)

            and some parameters measured.

            As to "out of how many," typical numbers of stars given for the Milky Way is two hundred billion stars. It is appearing that not all stars in fact have planets, for a variety of reasons, but enough do that there are likely to be at least two hundred billion planets.

            However, there is no reason to suppose that there are an infinite variety of planets or arrangements of planetary systems. Indeed the physical processes that give rise to planets mean that a fairly limited set of them can form. If we don't have a reasonable sample already of the variety we will soon.



            Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

            by Wee Mama on Thu May 22, 2014 at 03:17:52 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Its a question of what we're capable of seeing. (0+ / 0-)

          Hot jupiters are relatively easy to spot giving their size, the gravitational pull on the host star, and their orbital period. Finding earth-sized planets in  the habitable zone (distance from the star given its output) isn't possible yet given the current state of our technology. Until our sensing capabilities are such that we can see smaller planets, its not meaningful to speculate on their rarity. We're getting closer but its still years away.

          Oh my god, it's full of cheese! - 2001 first draft

          by sizzzzlerz on Thu May 22, 2014 at 03:14:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  "Aliens' implies a lot of things to the gen public (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Satya1

    that are (I presume) not intended by the scientists, because that would make their statements what in technical terms are known as 'bald faced lies'.

    There is almost certainly Life "Out there, somewhere beyond the Heavens", as Patrick MacNee always said, and if some serious money is devoted to detecting it we will probably be successful within a few decades. End of the century tops. (Tho you could always argue SOMEONES got to be first. Why not us?)
    But 'Aliens' means intelligence and technology to 99.99 percent of the populace.
    We havent a clue how common that is. Not an effing clue.

    •  Well said. And in some of the original (0+ / 0-)

      quotes this distinction is pretty clear by how Shostak and others choose their words.  They clearly are including the potential to find some very simple forms of life - perhaps on a moon of Jupiter.

      I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

      by Satya1 on Thu May 22, 2014 at 01:57:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Fermi Paradox and Informed Literature. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    itsjim

    Hi,

    I apologize in advance if I missed any replies or comments that mention these books.

    In short, I suggest that the commenters on this topic look into the the very accessible books:  Where is Everybody? and Rare Earth.

    Both are great touchstones in investigating the thinking on the Fermi Paradox.

    Cheers.

  •  Makes me want to re-watch "Contact" (0+ / 0-)

    one of my favorite movies and books of all time.

    Global Shakedown - Alternative rock with something to say. Check out their latest release, "A Time to Recognize": Available on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify and other major online music sites. Visit http://www.globalshakedown.com.

    by khyber900 on Thu May 22, 2014 at 11:23:16 AM PDT

  •  Stephen Hawking has warned.... (4+ / 0-)

    ....that we may regret contacting other intelligent life. They may not come as friends, he says. His theories in this regard are sort of hair raising. I take comfort in knowing that there are thousands of light years between us and them. Even if they do find us or us them, the distances are so very great that the twain will not meet very soon.

    Unless, of course, they have been on their way for thousands of years!

    If you hate government, don't run for office in that government.

    by Bensdad on Thu May 22, 2014 at 11:24:20 AM PDT

  •  The question is whether these planets (0+ / 0-)

    were impacted by radiation (probably from supernovas) at the right time to cause the type of massive mutation that brings about intelligent life.

    For the science fiction readers, Stanislaw Lem's Fiasco is a rather good novel about our attempts to visit an alien civilization.

    warning: snark probably above

    by NE2 on Thu May 22, 2014 at 12:16:17 PM PDT

  •  Hey squirrels! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    defluxion10

    We know you're out there!

  •  I have two words: (3+ / 0-)

    string theory.  It's all right next door, and always has been. It's all about what you are trained not to see.

  •  Found one!! (0+ / 0-)

    Just looked in the mirror. The presumption is that panspermia is real and therefore organic material and the building blocks for life are distributed throughout the universe, which would mean we are all aliens.

    ESA's Rossetta mission to rendezvous with, orbit and sample Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko should demonstrate the presence of organic molecules and go some way to supporting the panspermia theory.  Incidentally, for those interested, the first "big burn" to catch up with the comet has been successfully completed.

    The Rosetta team reports that last night's orbit correction manoeuvre (OCM) – or thruster burn – was completed as planned, providing the first of three big orbital 'pushes' to get the spacecraft lined up for comet arrival in August.

    The burn ran for 7hrs:16mins, one of the longest burns in ESA spaceflight history, and began as scheduled at 15:23 UTC (17:23 CEST). The mission control team had live radio contact with the craft via ESA's New Norcia tracking station, and could follow progress in real time from a control room at ESOC.

    "Come to Sochi, visit the gay clubs and play with the bears" - NOT a Russian advertising slogan.

    by Lib Dem FoP on Thu May 22, 2014 at 12:51:22 PM PDT

  •  Well it exists there is little doubt about that... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    angel d

    because to think of an entire universe and we are the apex of life sounds more religious than scientific.

    And though I am not much of a conspiracy nut, I must admit there are a few very compelling pieces of evidence that support the idea that aliens have already visited our planet

    Imagining a universe with only Earth as a living planet is akin to imagining earth only having life on Wake Island and no where else.

    Join the DeRevolution: We are not trying to take the country, we are trying to take the country back. Get the money out of politics with public financed campaigns so 'Of the People, By the People and For the People' rings true again.

    by fToRrEeEsSt on Thu May 22, 2014 at 12:56:39 PM PDT

  •  To Serve Man (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Major Kong

    Follow me on Twitter @jonathantasini

    Visit Working Life.

    by Tasini on Thu May 22, 2014 at 12:58:15 PM PDT

  •  Let me know when they find (0+ / 0-)

    The Charon Relay.

  •  If I was an alien (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    itsjim, angel d, Johnny Q

    I would steer clear of Earth. There are crazy people here and they have lots of guns.

    "The oppressors most powerful weapon is the mind of the oppressed." - Stephen Biko

    by gjohnsit on Thu May 22, 2014 at 01:09:37 PM PDT

  •  I hope to live long enough to see this-- (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    angel d

    What an exciting time that will be! My inner Trekkie  yearns for this discovery, life on other planets. We can't be alone in this vast universe.

    "Let's stay together"--Rev. Al Green and President Obama

    by collardgreens on Thu May 22, 2014 at 02:08:06 PM PDT

  •  There's a lot of Phoenicians (the Arizona kind) (0+ / 0-)

    including the Governor, who were watching the skies to view the Haille Bop comet and was treated to another sight instead, this phenomenon is known as the Phoenix Lights.

    It was widely reported, and hundreds of people saw a giant, boomerang shaped, mile-wide craft flying just overhead.

    Or it could have just been mass hysteria.

    The Wikipedia artice on the Phoenix Lights.

  •  So what makes us think they'd be benevolent? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Johnny Q

    What if they're big, bad-ass aliens that come down here, kick our butts and enslave us?

    Next thing you know I'm mining cobalt on some ice planet because NASA wanted to say "Hello".

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Thu May 22, 2014 at 02:36:15 PM PDT

    •  Sounds like what we did (0+ / 0-)

      when we discovered strange new worlds ourselves.

      It really is odd to think that others would act any differently in their Age of Discovery.

      You may think that. I couldn't possibly comment.-- Francis Urqhart

      by Johnny Q on Thu May 22, 2014 at 02:50:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly (0+ / 0-)

        I watched the movie Battleship a while back.

        Overall it was a dumb movie, but I thought the aliens were surprisingly well thought out.

        The premise was basically what you stated: the aliens were their planet's version of Columbus.

        If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

        by Major Kong on Thu May 22, 2014 at 02:55:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  my $.02.... (0+ / 0-)

    I classify myself as an atheist on the question of the supernatural. When it comes to ET, call me an agnostic.

    Perhaps it's cause I've never really been that into sci-fi, or maybe it's because of wranging with deity-related questions for so long. I won't rule out the possibility of the existence of extraterrestrial life, because I can't. I will say that it is highly unlikely (just as terrestrial life is unlikely); it's even less likely that extraterrestrial life is intelligent/sentient/communicates; even more unlikely that they have discovered and use electronic communications, so that they can be identified electronically from X # of light years away. And then there's still a possibility that SETI will see a signal and not recognize it for what it is. (I always thought one of the best points made by sci-fi is in Crichton's Andromeda Strain....we could very well look right at it and not understand it for what it is.)

    And then they'd have to be close enough. If they are on the far side of the universe, they may as well not exist from our perspective, given the constraints of the known laws of physics.

    I also think that this topic (understandably) gives rise to a lot of unfounded speculation, which (IMHO) is unhelpful when it comes to seeking specifically scientific truths.

    YMMV....

    You WANT me on that server! You NEED me on that server!

    by nota bene on Thu May 22, 2014 at 02:43:17 PM PDT

    •  question though: if there are 10^24 planets in (0+ / 0-)

      the universe (which is a lot of planets) why would you think it's unlikely?  (that number from this link here If you're an atheist, then I would assume that you view phenomena from a rational/logical perspective (I'm an agnostic, but that's another topic).  So it would seem that if conditions can generate life here, it woudn't be far fetched to think that the same thing can happen somewhere else--and if it does, that would suggests that there are probably billions, if not more, planets with some form of life on them.. Maybe we just can't reach each other.

      Simply asked, why do you think that lack of life anywhere else is the likelier of the two situations?

      •  there should be a ) after 'this link here' sorry (0+ / 0-)

        if it's a bit hard to read.

      •  IMHO (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Namazga III

        the Drake equation and similar thought experiments are just wild guesses. We still don't understand biogenesis properly here on Earth; how can we presume to estimate the probability of extraterrestrial biogenesis? (For that matter, isn't it anthropocentric to expect life to begin exclusively on planets? Why not stars or nebulae?)

        We have no actual hard evidence of alien life, whether sentient or otherwise. Occam's razor suggests that we need to be very skeptical of speculation about claims of the probability of something as extraordinary extraterrestrial life. We have no hard evidence whatsoever, and so that is literally all we have: speculation. It is true that the universe is so incomprehensibly vast that the law of large numbers implies there ought to be something out there to find, if only we knew what to look for; biogenesis happened here on Earth and it could be argued that it's anthropocentric to believe that Earth is somehow unique or special in the universe. But right now, it is unique and special, to us, until we know differently.

        In other words, I'm content to maintain my skepticism and wait until we actually do find something. We are really only just beginning to really map the cosmos we find ourselves in, let alone understand it. Thus my statement that I'm an "agnostic" on the question of ET life, rather than believing that ET life is impossible on its face (as I feel about the supernatural).

        (PS: "Can't reach other" is, in my view, functionally indistinguishable from "non-falsifiable.")

        (PPS: somewhere in the cosmos, there has to a first instance of biogenesis, right? Now there's a thought to keep you up at night....)

        You WANT me on that server! You NEED me on that server!

        by nota bene on Fri May 23, 2014 at 02:40:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  How has no one posted this yet? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wayoutinthestix, Namazga III

    "He who fights monsters should see to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."

    by Hayate Yagami on Thu May 22, 2014 at 03:14:46 PM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site