Chris McKay, a planetary scientist at NASA Ames Research Center, reviews Paul Davies’s latest book, The Eerie Silence: Renewing Our Search for Alien Intelligence/Are We Alone In The Universe? , which argues that we should expand the hunt for intelligent life:
McKay considers why we should look closer to home — perhaps even in our DNA.
Although supporting the current quest, Davies recommends bold and sometimes bizarre avenues of exploration. For example, if migratory Galactic civilizations passed this way some time ago, they might have posted an alien message in our DNA or depleted our region of the Universe of some resource, such as (undiscovered) magnetic monopoles. Perhaps they left a device in the Solar System as a calling card, and are patiently waiting for us to discover and activate it. There are many places to look, many ways to expand the search.
Davies devotes pages to what will happen if a signal is received and how we should respond. Most readers will find these questions remote and hypothetical — not least because once a signal is received, events are likely to be quickly taken out of the hands of the astronomers.
The greatest joy of The Eerie Silence is the ending, in which Davies gives his own perspective. He splits his personality into three: scientist, philosopher and human. As a scientist, he is sceptical that we will detect extraterrestrial life, yet he finds that possibility plausible as a philosopher and longs for it to be true as a human. Read at least this page, even if you do not have time for the rest of this excellent book.
– Chris McKay, Is there anybody out there? (Nature, 464, 34 (4 March 2010) doi:10.1038/464034a)
Why does all this remind my of a woman wittering alone at home by the telephone (Why doesn’t he call? Why doesn’t he text?) waiting for a familiar knock on the door and checking her e-mail every two minutes. No one can cure anyone else of this romantic disorder just by talking sense to them. Usually, women cure themselves when they are ready by asking a simple question: What would happen if I just forgot about him and lived my life and was happy?
Well, he’s already forgotten her, so ….
But she, at least, knew for sure that he existed.
So, now, what’s the matter with Paul Davies? SETI? Why can’t they just let go?
And don’t tell me that this is all just about finding bacteria on another planet. That’s like the lonely, pacing woman claiming she’s really only worried about him. Sure.
Here’s more on extraterrestrial life:
Extraterrestrials: The recent pilgrimage to Darwin’s shrine
Does our solar system occupy a unique position in the universe or just an ordinary one?
Rare? Solar systems like ours are rare?
Astronomer argues that we can test whether Earth is fine-tuned as a science lab
Serious push to find more exoplanets
Exoplanets: Will intelligence be common or rare?
10 Replies to “Extraterrestrials: They’re not there, but they must be !”
One thing is certain-
There is more evidence in support of ETs than there is in support of the theory of evolution.
You know Joseph, I’ve always told evolutionists that other life just may be possible in the universe, it is just not possible in the materialistic/Darwinian framework to account for ET’s in this universe. i.e. For one to reasonably qualify other life in the universe one is forced to concede that the only reason we should find other life in the universe is if God originally put it there in the first place. Indeed pretty much all Origin of Life probability calculations consider the entire universe as the base for making such probability calculations! Here is a clue for how SETI could expand their search for ‘intelligent life’:
SETI – Search For Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence receives message from God,,,,, Almost – video
As a sidenote. yesterday I was sighing about the History Channel going through yet another of their ‘UFO days’ (or is that daze?), since I have yet to see any compelling evidence for UFO’s, and since I am somewhat biased towards the philosophical position of God having this planet be fairly unique in the universe. And yet, in yet another ‘coincidence’ it seems God wanted to stretch my mind a bit, for in my Bible reading, which happened right after I sighed about the UFO programs on the History Channel, took me to the first part of Ezekiel,, reading particularly this part:
Which made me think that the technology we will see in the ‘higher dimension’ of heaven (which is where I think the ‘UFO’ of Ezekiel came from) is absolutely going to make what we have done here on this earth seem like child’s play! 🙂
@1 : Joseph
It’s an established fact that evolution happened, now read what you wrote…
Bravoman you state:
‘It’s an established fact that evolution happened,’
Do you know what site you are on?
@3 & @4
I think one must be careful in distinguishing between evolution and evolutionary theory – the phrase Joseph used. Firstly because evolution covers a great many things and secondly because the the argument is really about what can naturalistic processes produce.
I can easily imagine a designer including systems which would allow creatures to evolve in response to stimulus as a survival mechanism. Especially if the designer had the foresight to know the creatures must survive in a changing environment.
Mutation and natural selection alone don’t constitute a limited designed evolution(change) system. I think ID is about looking at the systems in life and showing these systems / mechanisms were designed. Those who believe no designer was involved must show how these systems / mechanisms could have occurred naturally. It is not enough to show evolution. One must show how the mechanisms in evolutionary theory are themselves products of natural forces. The mechanism currently proposed in evolutionary theory are purely naturalistic products but as Joseph has stated completely inadequate to show how evolution might have occurred.
Andrew, To be very careful in ‘distinguishing terms’ for Bravoman,,, there is no evidence that even the much heralded micro-evolutionary events, of say antibiotic resistant bacteria, have violated the principle of genetic entropy! i.e. all ‘beneficial adaptations’ away from a parent species for a sub-species are always found to come at a cost of preexisting information/complexity.
This is the closest I’ll ever come to following pop culture/celebrities:
Alicia Keys obsessed with biology
Quote from article:
I agree 100%, Alicia Keys!! But watch your language…don’t say “machines”. They’re blind kludges of atoms
I thought this comment was interesting:
How is it that even theistic evolutionists, let alone the atheistic brand, say that the Designer (God) wouldn’t interfere with the “laws of nature”. Then it is proposed that this is exactly the method to be used by aliens that they might be detected. These logical inconsistencies don’t seem to occur to them.
One more thing, Jesus is the Second Person of the Trinity. He is both God and man. He became Man. He remained God, and as God worked miracles to confirm this divinity. Isn’t it, then, nonsense to assert that God doesn’t interfere (what more interference can there be than becoming man and living among us?) in our world, nor does he violate the laws of nature (then what are miracles? If natural laws can explain them, then they’re not miracles, are they?).
This is the kind of argument to be made if the world were completely like the pagan Greeks, or even Hindu or Buddhist. But this is complete nonsense to the world of Judaism (I remember something about the Red Sea parting, or something like that) and Christianity.
Why are these kinds of arguments even countenanced?
Well it ain’t established that blind, undirected chemical processes produced the diversity of living organisms on this planet starting from some unknown population(s) of single-celled organisms.
And that is what the theory of evolution posits.
Anything else I can help you with?
I’m pretty sure I’m the lone visitor here convinced that not only does life exist elsewhere in the universe but that it has visited the Earth in the past, and continues to visit the Earth int he present. However, I do think all the SETI people aren’t really looking for extraterrestrial life. They’re may be a disinformation campaign, but are likely just debunkers who say “see, we didn’t get a signal so they don’t exist!” Or maybe they just have colossal egos. “ET better call me on my telescope or he’s not real!”
Assuming extraterrestrials do exist and that they can do what the hundreds of thousands of eye witnesses say they can, why would a civilization that possesses faster-than-light travel use radio signals to communicate when they can get to their destination before the signals do? The whole grounding assumption of SETI seems to be a red herring.
From the interviews I’ve seen with SETI people I don’t believe for a second they believe in extraterrestrial life or would ever want to recieve a signal. If they ever did it would completely shatter their worldview that they’re the pinnacle of intelligence, much much smarter than the great unwashed masses of humanity. Why would someone who fancies themselves a supergenius ever want to hear from someone a million times smarter than they are? And science forbid the aliens might believe in God! They can’t be accepting signals from them!