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Is SETI an “occult cult with money”?

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War-of-the-worlds-tripod.jpg
Alien tripod by Alvim Corréa, 1906 French edition of H.G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds”

Much information is offered here:

Astronomer Jill Tarter discusses the search for intelligent life (Phys.org). Jill Tarter, one of the queens of SETI, was given royal treatment in a Harvard interview. The interviewer could have asked some hard questions, but one never treats royalty that way.

“For me, after millennia of asking priests and philosophers what we should believe, I just thought it was very exciting that right then in the middle of the 20th century we were beginning to have some tools—telescopes and computers—that allowed scientists and engineers to try to figure out what is, and not have to take somebody’s belief system. I thought that was really important and I got hooked.”

Without realizing, she was being treated as a priestess herself. She created a belief system with no evidence. The interviewer was now asking her what we should believe. Tarter had inspired a movie, but has produced not a single point of data to confirm her childhood imagination: “It just always seemed to me that probably walking along the beach on some other world there was some other creature with their father, looking and seeing our sun as a star in their sky.”

To Jjill Tarter, pretending to be a scientist but having no data doesn’t matter. “Even not finding it but trying to find it is important because it helps to give people a more cosmic perspective.” That’s a faith quest. It also ignores many theists who have a ‘cosmic perspective’ without ascribing to her cult based on her feelings about what “just always seemed to me.” David F. Coppedge, “SETI: A Fact-Free Occult Cult with Money” at Creation-Evolution Headlines

Some of us would say that calling SETI a cult is a bit harsh. It has always been given the red-carpet treatment by popular media, which means that its spokesfolks are heedless of criticism.

It’s not because media believe They’re Out There particularly. Rather, media pros know from experience that the topic boosts ratings. Viewers probably believe that they have kept up with science if they spend a bit of time watching stuff about extraterrestrial intelligences that is not clearly labelled science fiction. SETI provides the needed copy and footage.

As for the science community, Coppedge also tells us,

Case in point: at JPL, when my boss accused me of “pushing religion” with intelligent design DVDs I would occasionally share with co-workers, he shouted at me “Intelligent design is religion!” In response, I asked him point-blank about SETI. I asked him, “What about SETI? Aren’t they using intelligent design to infer intelligent causes from radio signals?” I couldn’t even finish the sentence before he interrupted me. He said, “That’s different. The scientific community has determined that SETI is science.”

Well, if they said SETI isn’t science (of course it isn’t, not in the sense that the Large Hadron Collider is science), they would be smacking pop media in the face. Wrecking The Narrative. They can’t afford to do that. First, no one is asking them to. Second, too many unopened closets, too many skeletons to risk that…

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See also: SETI finds more creative ways to keep looking

SETI reacts to the study that says not to wait up for the extraterrestrials

Researchers: We have dissolved the Fermi Paradox! (They’re Not Out There.)

10 Replies to “Is SETI an “occult cult with money”?

  1. 1
    ET says:

    If Intelligent Design is true then I would expect there to be E.T.’s “out there”.

    The problem with SETI, afaik, is they are not listening to the scientists who are telling them what to look for. They need to look for a star like our Sun- that is number 1. Red dwarf host stars means they won’t find ET there so don’t bother.

  2. 2
    ScuzzaMan says:

    If Intelligent Design is true then I would expect there to be E.T.’s “out there”.

    That’s a classic error, directly akin to the “God wouldn’t design like that!” argument. There’s no particular reason to assume this, and it IS a massive (and as you correctly note, hugely consequential) assumption. It is not, otoh, a conclusion, lacking any rational basis.

    They need to look for a star like our Sun- that is number 1.

    Because the massively improbable cosmic “accident” that is life here would of course happen twice in the same way, in the same circumstances?

    Seriously?

  3. 3
    ET says:

    ScuzzaMan:

    That’s a classic error,

    That’s your opinion. In “The Privileged Planet” they offer a chapter titled “Skeptical Rejoinder” (chapter 16), in which they answer 14 possible counters to their claims. Number 14 is:

    14) You haven’t shown that ETs don’t exist.

    “This is true, but we did not intend to. In fact, ironically, design might even improve the possibility of ETs.”

    Only religious dogma says we are alone.

    “They need to look for a star like our Sun- that is number 1.”

    Because the massively improbable cosmic “accident” that is life here would of course happen twice in the same way, in the same circumstances?

    No, because intelligently designed living organisms require it. It is all outlined in “The Privileged Planet”.

  4. 4
    polistra says:

    I agree that SETI isn’t science in the same way that LHC is science. The purpose of LHC is to obliterate the universe. That’s why LHC gets billions of dollars. SETI only wants to understand the universe, which will never get any grants.

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    ET, you hold that, in spite of the tremendous odds against another planet ‘accidentally’ being able to host life in this universe,,,

    Linked from Appendix C from Dr. Ross’s book, ‘Why the Universe Is the Way It Is’;
    Probability Estimates for the Features Required by Various Life Forms:
    Excerpt:
    Requirements to sustain bacteria for 90 days or less:
    Probability for occurrence of all 501 parameters approx. 10-614
    dependency factors estimate approx. 10^-303
    longevity requirements estimate approx. 10^22
    Probability for occurrence of all 501 parameters approx. 10^-333
    Maximum possible number of life support bodies in observable universe approx. 10^22
    Thus, less than 1 chance in 10^311 exists that even one such life-support body would occur anywhere in the universe without invoking divine miracles.

    Requirements to sustain unicellar life for three billion year:
    Probability for occurrence of all 676 parameters approx. 10^-859
    dependency factors estimate approx. 10^-303
    longevity requirements estimate approx. 10^22
    Probability for occurrence of all 676 parameters approx. 10^-578
    Maximum possible number of life support bodies in observable universe approx. 10^22
    Thus, less than 1 chance in 10^556 exists that even one such life-support body would occur anywhere in the universe without invoking divine miracle

    Requirements to sustain intelligent physical life:
    Probability for occurrence of all 816 parameters approx. 10^-1333
    dependency factors estimate approx. 10^-324
    longevity requirements estimate approx. 10^45
    Probability for occurrence of all 816 parameters approx. 10^-1054
    Maximum possible number of life support bodies in observable universe approx. 10^22
    Thus, less than 1 chance in 10^1032 exists that even one such life-support body would occur anywhere in the universe without invoking divine miracle
    http://d4bge0zxg5qba.cloudfron.....3_ver2.pdf

    ET, you hold that, in spite of the tremendous odds against another planet being able to host life in this universe, God, as you conceive Him, could design as many planets as he so desired that would be able to host life.,, I think you may even be able to find a Roman Catholic Priest of two who will agree with you:

    Jesus loves aliens: Vatican joins quest for extraterrestrial life,,,
    https://www.express.co.uk/news/science/595760/Jesus-loves-aliens-Vatican-joins-quest-for-extraterrestrial-life-after-Earth2-discovery

    Whereas I, as a Christian, (a Christian who ‘fundamentally’ holds the resurrection of Christ to be the reason why the universe exists in the first place), hold that God designed this universe, and designed this planet specifically, so as to defeat death on the cross.,, The fact that the second law is universal and therefore death would also be universal for any other supposed intelligent life on some other planet, is, IMHO, one point of evidence that supports my ‘earth is special’ position.

    After all, if we are talking about God creating worlds that are able to host life, then God, of course, could just as easily create a universe with worlds that are not subject to entropy and therefore could easily create worlds in other universes that are not subject to death.

    So as to further support my position that the earth is unique in this universe in its ability to support intelligent life, I refer to anomalies in the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR):

    There are anomalies in the CMBR that simply cannot be explained by atheistic inflation models:

    Planck reveals an almost perfect Universe (Disconfirms inflationary models) – video
    Quote at 2:00 minute mark: “What’s surprising in Planck’s latest findings and is inconsistent with prevailing theories, is the presence of unexpected large scale anomalies in the sky. Including a large cold region. Stronger fluctuations in one half of the sky than the other. And less light signals than expected across the entire sky.”
    Planck spokesman: “When we look at only the large features on this (CMBR) map you find that our find that our best fitting theory (inflation) has a problem fitting the data.”
    “Planck launched in 2009,, is the 3rd mission to study the Cosmic Microwave Background to date. While these unusual features in the sky were hinted at the two previous US missions, COBE and WMAP, Planck’s ability to measure the tiniest of fluctuations in the Cosmic Microwave Background has made these so called anomalies impossible to ignore.”
    Planck spokesman: “Because of these features that we are finding in the sky, people really are in a situation now where they cannot ignore them any more. ,,, We’ve established them (the anomalies) as fact!”.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2CWaLU6eMI

    What is curious about some of these ‘anomalies’ in the CMBR (that cannot be explained by the ‘simple’ inflation model of materialists), is that these ‘anomalies’ in the Cosmic Background Radiation also strangely line up with the earth and solar system.

    What Is Evil About The Axis Of Evil? – February 17, 2015
    The Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) Radiation contains small temperature fluctuations.
    When these temperature fluctuations are analyzed using image processing techniques (specifically spherical harmonics), they indicate a special direction in space, or, in a sense, an axis through the universe. This axis is correlated back to us, and causes many difficulties for the current big bang and standard cosmology theories. What has been discovered is shocking.
    Two scientists, Kate Land and João Magueijo, in a paper in 2005 describing the axis, dubbed it the “Axis of Evil” because of the damage it does to current theories, and (tongue in cheek) as a response to George Bush’ Axis of Evil speech regarding Iraq, Iran and, North Korea.
    (Youtube clip on site)
    In the above video, Max Tegmark describes in a simplified way how spherical harmonics analysis decomposes the small temperature fluctuations into more averaged and spatially arranged temperature components, known as multipoles.
    The “Axis of Evil” correlates to the earth’s ecliptic and equinoxes, and this represents a very unusual and unexpected special direction in space, a direct challenge to the Copernican Principle.
    http://www.theprinciplemovie.com/evil-axis-evil/

    At the 13:55 minute mark of this following video, Max Tegmark, an atheist who specializes in this area of study, finally admits, post Planck 2013, that the CMBR anomalies do indeed line up with the earth and solar system

    “Thoughtcrime: The Conspiracy to Stop The Principle” – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=0eVUSDy_rO0#t=832

    And here is an excellent clip from “The Principle” that explains all of these ‘anomalies’ in an easy to understand manner.

    Cosmic Microwave Background Proves Intelligent Design (disproves Copernican principle) (clip of “The Principle”) – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htV8WTyo4rw

    Moreover, these anomalies in the CMBR are not some fringe finding that can be easily ignored. The following article shows how opinions towards these anomalies have shifted post Planck:

    4 Anomalies in The Big Bang Afterglow: – Jaime Trosper – August 13, 2014
    Excerpt: Now, here’s where it gets super weird. The CMB data seems to indicate that not only is there is some kind of a preferred direction for light in space to travel in — a conclusion based on the fact that certain galaxy clusters are speeding off at more than 2 billion kilometers per hour, all traveling toward an expanse of space that, relative to Earth, is merely 20 degrees in size (see above) — but this direction appears to correspond with the curvy “line” dividing temperature lobes in the CMB (and interestingly, it also seemingly coincides with the ecliptic plane of our solar system )

    pre-Planck opinions

    ”See How Opinions Have Shifted over the Years:”

    APRIL 11, 2007 — ‘Axis of evil’ a Cause for Cosmic Concern?
    “Some astronomers have suggested straightforward explanations for the axis, such as problems with WMAP’s instruments or distortions caused by a nearby supercluster (New Scientist, 22 October 2005, p 19). Others doubt the pattern’s very existence. “There’s still a fair bit of controversy about whether there’s even something there that needs to be explained,” says WMAP scientist Gary Hinshaw of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.”
    [Reference: EurekaAlert]

    SEPTEMBER 16, 2009 — Cosmic Cold Spot Just a Trick of the Light
    “We trace this apparent discrepancy to the fact that WMAP cold spot’s temperature profile just happens to favor the particular profile given by the wavelet.” “We find no compelling evidence for the anomalously cold spot in WMAP at scales between 2 and 8 degrees.”
    [Reference: MIT Technology Review]

    FEBRUARY 9, 2010 — Seven-Year WMAP Results: No, They’re NOT Anomalies:
    “Since the day the first Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) data were released, in 2003, all manner of cosmic microwave background (CMB) anomalies have been reported; there’s been the cold spot that might be a window into a parallel universe, the “Axis of Evil”, pawprints of local interstellar neutral hydrogen, and much, much more. But do the WMAP data really, truly, absolutely contain evidence of anomalies, things that just do not fit within the six-parameters-and-a-model the WMAP team recently reported? In a word, no.”
    [Reference: UniverseToday]

    post-Planck opinions

    MARCH 12, 2013 — Planck Shows Almost Perfect Cosmos – Plus Axis of Evil:
    “Planck reveals that one half of the universe has bigger variations than the other. Planck’s detectors are over 10 times more sensitive and have about 2.5 times the angular resolution of WMAP’s, giving cosmologists a much better look at this alignment. “We can be extremely confident that these anomalies are not caused by galactic emissions and not caused by instrumental effects, because our two instruments see very similar features.”
    [Reference: Newscientist]

    MARCH 21, 2013 — SIMPLE BUT CHALLENGING: THE UNIVERSE ACCORDING TO PLANCK
    “Other anomalous traits that had been hinted at in the past – a significant discrepancy of the CMB signal as observed in the two opposite hemispheres of the sky and an abnormally large ‘cold spot’ – are confirmed with high confidence.”
    [Reference: European Space Agency]

    MARCH 09, 2014 — Is the Lopsided Universe Telling Us We Need New Theories?
    “I think the alignment, in conjunction with all of the other large angle anomalies, must point to something we don’t know, whether that be new fundamental physics, unknown astrophysical or cosmological sources, or something else.”
    [Reference: ARS Technica]
    https://futurism.com/4-anomalies-in-the-big-bang-afterglow/

    Moreover besides the earth and solar system lining up with the anomalies in the Cosmic Background Radiation, Radio Astronomy now reveals a surprising rotational coincidence for Earth in relation to the quasar and radio galaxy distributions in the universe:

    Is there a violation of the Copernican principle in radio sky? – Ashok K. Singal – May 17, 2013
    Abstract: Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR) observations from the WMAP satellite have shown some unexpected anisotropies (directionally dependent observations), which surprisingly seem to be aligned with the eclipticcite {20,16,15}. The latest data from the Planck satellite have confirmed the presence of these anisotropiescite {17}. Here we report even larger anisotropies in the sky distributions of powerful extended quasars and some other sub-classes of radio galaxies in the 3CRR catalogue, one of the oldest and most intensively studies sample of strong radio sourcescite{21,22,3}. The anisotropies lie about a plane passing through the two equinoxes and the north celestial pole (NCP). We can rule out at a 99.995% confidence level the hypothesis that these asymmetries are merely due to statistical fluctuations. Further, even the distribution of observed radio sizes of quasars and radio galaxies show large systematic differences between these two sky regions. The redshift distribution appear to be very similar in both regions of sky for all sources, which rules out any local effects to be the cause of these anomalies. Two pertinent questions then arise. First, why should there be such large anisotropies present in the sky distribution of some of the most distant discrete sources implying inhomogeneities in the universe at very large scales (covering a fraction of the universe)? What is intriguing even further is why such anisotropies should lie about a great circle decided purely by the orientation of earth’s rotation axis and/or the axis of its revolution around the sun? It looks as if these axes have a preferential placement in the larger scheme of things, implying an apparent breakdown of the Copernican principle or its more generalization, cosmological principle, upon which all modern cosmological theories are based upon.
    http://arxiv.org/abs/1305.4134

    Thus ET, though God very well could have created as many life hosting worlds as he so desired, it appears, from the scientific evidence itself, that God had a very special plan for this earth in particular.

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    Further note:

    Copernican Principle, Agent Causality, and Jesus Christ as the “Theory of Everything”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NziDraiPiOw

    Verse:

    Colossians 1:15-20
    The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

    Of humorous note as to establishing communication with ‘extraterrestrial life’

    Tyson: “Their (SETIs) goal is the ultimate prize in the life finding game. Someone out there we can talk to.”
    Shostak: “Nothing to do but sit here and wait for them to call.”
    (And exactly at that moment the phone rings right behind Shostak).
    Shostak: “And on cue they’ve called.”
    – quotes as stated at 11:22 minute mark – Where are the Aliens Origins Nova Neil Degrasse Tyson – video –
    https://youtu.be/t1ReViBCDOs?t=667

    As a Christian who has seen a few answered prayers during my life, I find it strange, and humorous, that the SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) organization spends millions of dollars vainly searching for signs of extra-terrestrial life in this universe, when all anyone has to do to make solid contact with THE primary ‘extra-terrestrial intelligence’ of the entire universe is to pray with a sincere heart.
    God, who created heaven and earth, certainly does not hide from those who sincerely need and seek Him.

    Verse:

    Isaiah 45:18-19
    For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens, who is God, who formed the earth and made it, who established it, who did not create it in vain, who formed it to be inhabited: “I am the Lord, and there is no other. I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth; I did not say to the seed of Jacob, ‘seek me in vain’; I, the Lord speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.”

  7. 7
    ET says:

    bornagain77:

    ET, you hold that, in spite of the tremendous odds against another planet ‘accidentally’ being able to host life in this universe,,,

    What is wrong with you? If Intelligent Design is true then it isn’t an accident that there are other habitable planets and ET civilizations.

    To me it is a given they are out there…

  8. 8
    bornagain77 says:

    ET, you clipped out my first comment, but neglected to read my second comment where I further clarified my point:

    ET, you hold that, in spite of the tremendous odds against another planet being able to host life in this universe, God, as you conceive Him, could design as many planets as he so desired that would be able to host life.,, I think you may even be able to find a Roman Catholic Priest of two who will agree with you:

    Thus, I fully understand your position. i.e. “If Intelligent Design is true then it isn’t an accident that there are other habitable planets and ET civilizations.”

    ET you further went on to state:

    “To me it is a given they are out there…”

    And yet, the rest of my post laid out the exact scientific evidence for why your position is NOT a ‘given’.

    Namely, the CMBR itself indicates that the Earth is far more unique in this universe than is presupposed by the atheist’s model, (which basically ignores the tremendous probabilities against another life hosting world happening by chance in this universe, and still declares that intelligent life can happen anywhere in the universe).

    Moreover, the CMBR also indicates that the Earth is far more unique in this universe than is presupposed by your model, i.e. ‘God can create as many life hosting worlds as he so desires in this universe’.

    Specifically, the Christian who believes that the Earth was specifically created by God within this universe for the sole purpose of the Creator of the universe coming to the Earth so as to defeat sin and death is well justified, scientifically, via the CMBR anomalies, to hold that his belief is true, whereas the competing models have no scientific evidence to substantiate their claims.

    Verses:

    Colossians 1:15-20
    The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

    Genesis 1:1-2
    In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep.

  9. 9
    ET says:

    Your Holy Bible reads like an ET visitation guide.

  10. 10
    bornagain77 says:

    If by “ET” you mean unearthly angelic beings that come down from heaven to visit earth, then yes you are correct:

    For example:

    Genesis 1:12-13
    He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. There above it stood the Lord, and he said: “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying.

    2 Kings 6:17
    And Elisha prayed, and said, “Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

    Matthew 17 1-3
    After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.

    And again, our best science, specifically from Special Relativity, supports the Christian’s claim that there is a heavenly eternal dimension above this temporal realm:

    Quantum Mechanics, Special Relativity, General Relativity and Christianity – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4QDy1Soolo

    Shoot, our best science from quantum biology also now supports the Christian’s claim that each of us has a eternal soul that is capable of living past the death of our material bodies.

    Darwinian Materialism vs Quantum Biology – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHdD2Am1g5Y

    Verse:

    Luke 20:36
    Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.

    The fact that our best modern scientific findings support a Christian view of reality should not be all that surprising. After all, it was the Christian worldview itself which gave us modern science:

    Jerry Coyne on the Scientific Method and Religion – Michael Egnor – June 2011
    Excerpt: The scientific method — the empirical systematic theory-based study of nature — has nothing to so with some religious inspirations — Animism, Paganism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism, Islam, and, well, atheism. The scientific method has everything to do with Christian (and Jewish) inspiration. Judeo-Christian culture is the only culture that has given rise to organized theoretical science. Many cultures (e.g. China) have produced excellent technology and engineering, but only Christian culture has given rise to a conceptual understanding of nature.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....47431.html

    The Christian Origins of Science – Jack Kerwick – Apr 15, 2017
    Excerpt: Though it will doubtless come as an enormous shock to such Christophobic atheists as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and their ilk, it is nonetheless true that one especially significant contribution that Christianity made to the world is that of science.,,,
    Stark is blunt: “Real science arose only once: in Europe”—in Christian Europe. “China, Islam, India, and ancient Greece and Rome each had a highly developed alchemy. But only in Europe did alchemy develop into chemistry. By the same token, many societies developed elaborate systems of astrology, but only in Europe did astrology develop into astronomy.”,,,
    In summation, Stark writes: “The rise of science was not an extension of classical learning. It was the natural outgrowth of Christian doctrine: nature exists because it was created by God. In order to love and honor God, it is necessary to fully appreciate the wonders of his handiwork. Because God is perfect, his handiwork functions in accord with immutable principles. By the full use of our God-given powers of reason and observation, it ought to be possible to discover these principles.”
    He concludes: “These were the crucial ideas that explain why science arose in Christian Europe and nowhere else.”
    https://townhall.com/columnists/jackkerwick/2017/04/15/the-christian-origins-of-science-n2313593

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