Extraterrestrial life

At Scientific American: We need a treaty with space aliens

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To avoid a “cosmic catastrophe”:

The Harvard physicist who claimed the first interstellar visitor in 2017 was an alien craft, although the object has been determined to be a rock, says Earth needs to form treaties with extraterrestrial civilizations in order to keep the peace in space.

The stark warning comes from Avi Loeb in a new Scientific American op-ed, who believes an advanced civilization could create powerful machines that send particles and energy speeding through space that would burn everything in the galaxy – including our own planet.

Stacy Liberatore, “Harvard physicist suggests Earth needs treaties with extraterrestrial civilizations to avoid ‘a cosmic catastrophe’” at Daily Mail (May 25, 2021)

Here’s the op-ed:

In the long term, the need to sign a treaty is only pressing within our galaxy, the Milky Way, and its nearest neighbor, Andromeda; it does not extend beyond the Local Group of galaxies. Even without a treaty signed or honored on extended intergalactic scales, the accelerated expansion of the universe will ultimately save us from the risk of a Planck collider catastrophe. All galaxies beyond “Milkomeda” (the result of an eventual merger between Milky Way and Andromeda, which my colleague T.J. Cox and I named in a 2007 paper) will eventually recede away from us faster than light. As I showed in a 2002 paper, once all other galaxies leave our cosmic event horizon, nothing happening within them could affect us because all causal signals propagate at most at the speed of light. Once the universe ages by another factor of ten, Milkomeda will only be surrounded by dark space.

Avi Loeb, “How to Avoid a Cosmic Catastrophe” at Scientific American (May 23, 2021)

How be someone show us a fossil bacterium on Mars first?

This is part of the big new Trust the Science program, right?

Hat tip: Ken Francis, co-author with Theodore Dalrymple of The Terror of Existence: From Ecclesiastes to Theatre of the Absurd

2 Replies to “At Scientific American: We need a treaty with space aliens

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    Loeb is frustrating. He has a wonderfully clear view of the basic problem of orthodoxy, but some of his unorthodox beliefs don’t really help the cause.

  2. 2
    doubter says:

    Loeb seems to be remarkably dense when it comes to simple matters of practical common sense. For instance, even just a few millions of years from now when the local Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies merge (a tiny fraction of the time for expansion recession to move all other galaxies beyond the visible horizon), it is extemely likely that mankind will be a very distant fading memory if a memory at all. It baffles me why we should care about such remote events. These events certainly don’t relate to our immediate concerns about survival in an age of anthropogenic global warming and a host of other looming catastrophes.

    Secondly, proposing treaties with extraterrestrial intelligences is ridiculous given that the most likely age of these ET civilizations is millions of years. It would be like suggesting that a tribe of Bonobo monkeys suddenly understand the needs for a treaty to protect the local planetary environment and to promote trade and information exchange beween the two species. Absurd of course, because such concerns are fundamentally way beyond any possible comprehension by the Bonobos.

    Some scientists seem to have a really exaggerated view of their position in the galactic and extra-galactic heirarchy of intelligence, comprehension and knowledge (assuming such ETIs do in fact exist). It would seem to be a sort of overweening arrogance and pride in their knowledge and wisdom.

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