NASA, the NY Times and most intelligent human beings apparently believe that it is possible to communicate across space – i.e., to detect signals that can be distinguished from natural causes and “noise”, which give evidence of other intelligent beings! e.g., Beatles songs vs quasar pulses and lightning pulses.
. . . NASA will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of its first space mission — the launch of the Explorer 1 satellite — by using the system of huge antennas that usually listen for inbound signals from space to send one outbound instead: the Beatles’ song “Across the Universe,” which as it happens was mostly recorded exactly 40 years earlier, on Feb. 4, 1968. . . .
NASA doesn’t often send outgoing mail this way; the last high-profile American broadcast meant specifically for extraterrestrial ears was also the first, dispatched by Professor Frank Drake of Cornell University in 1974 during the dedication of the upgraded Arecibo radiotelescope in Puerto Rico. (No reply, at least so far.) But Seth Shostak of the SETI Institute, which has been looking for signs of life beyond Earth since 1984, noted in an e-mail message to our colleague Dennis Overbye today that other groups in Ukraine and Canada have been sending signals in recent years.
Of course, vast amounts of electromagnetic signals flood out from the Earth every day as a side effect of ordinary human-to-human activity, from TV and radio broadcasts, radar stations, satellite uplinks and other sources, and the leading wave of that stuff has an eight-decade head start.
“Proof of our existence is already out there,” Dr. Shostak noted, “that’s simply a fact.”
For the first time ever, NASA will beam a song — The Beatles’ “Across the Universe” — directly into deep space at 7 p.m. EST on Feb. 4. . . .
“Amazing! Well done, NASA!” McCartney said in a message to the space agency. “Send my love to the aliens. All the best, Paul.”
Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, characterized the song’s transmission as a significant event.
“I see that this is the beginning of the new age in which we will communicate with billions of planets across the universe,” she said.
The SETI Institutet apparently strongly objects to any hint that Intelligent Design is scientific.
“If the ID folks aren’t allowed to claim intelligent design when pointing to DNA, how can we hope to claim intelligent design on the basis of a complex radio signal? . . . We’re not looking for intricately coded messages, mathematical series, or even the aliens’ version of “I Love Lucy.” . . . An endless, sinusoidal signal – adead simple tone – is not complex; it’s artificial.”
Yet SETI’s Dr. Shostak has proclaimed:“Proof of our existence is already out there, that’s simply a fact.” (referring to the “vast amounts of electromagnetic signals flood out from the Earth every day”)
Does that now make ID’s Explanatory Filter (that distinguishes specified complex signals from necessity and noise) “a fact”?
Or will the SETI Institute now argue that any detection of NASA’ broadcast of the Beatles, will not be scientific evidence of intelligent agents because it is “not complex”?
I wonder when NASA will formally acknowledge that it can distinguish signals from intelligent beings from background noise.
Or will some advocate that the Beatles songs cannot be distinguished from “noise”?
(Does that mean that the Beatles were intelligent?)