Extraterrestrial life Intelligent Design Science fiction

At Mind Matters News: What if extraterrestrials can’t afford to take chances with us?

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That’s the Dark Forest Hypothesis, riffing off the title of one of famed Chinese sci-fi author Liu Cixin’s novels: “In recent months we’ve been looking at science writer Matt Williams’s coverage of the many reasons (links below) people have advanced as to why we do not see extraterrestrials except at the movies… Another hypothesis that Williams has examined is the Dark Forest Hypothesis.”

The Dark Forest Hypothesis assumes that we can use sociology to figure out what extraterrestrial intelligences might be like or might want. But can we? What’s become of sociology these days?:

● Sad to say, sociology today isn’t performing well even with humans on Earth. Some readers may be aware of the Sokal hoaxes that have been perpetrated on sociology journals in recent decades: Intentionally meaningless papers are accepted and published as the famous Grievance Studies Affair revealed in 2018:

The paper that was published in Gender, Place and Culture seems downright silly. “Human Reaction to Rape Culture and Queer Performativity at Urban Dog Parks in Portland, Oregon” claims to be based on in situ observation of canine rape culture in a Portland dog park. “Do dogs suffer oppression based upon (perceived) gender?” the paper asks.


Mounk adds, “If certain fields of study cannot reliably differentiate between real scholarship and noxious bloviating, they become deeply suspect.”

Fortunately, The Dark Forest and the hypothesis named after it can stand on their own, as a plea for realism about what we may expect to encounter if we, in Star Trek’s terms, boldly go.

Some of us were staggered by the shrill defenses in thinkmags of the sort of periodicals that publish Sokal hoaxes. Have they never heard of Marie Antoinette and the French Revolution?

One Reply to “At Mind Matters News: What if extraterrestrials can’t afford to take chances with us?

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    The “discipline” of sociology was active and objective around 1920, but passed its pull date in the ’60s. Very few people notice or listen to sociologists any more.

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