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Philosophy prof: Our theories steer us away from finding ET


Every so often the people searching for extraterrestrial life that just never seems to turn up need a pep talk. It often takes the form of “You know, we could be on the wrong track”:

Studying the universe largely unshackled from theory is not only a legitimate scientific endeavour – it’s a crucial one. The tendency to describe exploratory science disparagingly as “fishing expeditions” is likely to harm scientific progress. Under-explored areas need exploring, and we can’t know in advance what we will find.

In the search for extraterrestrial life, scientists must be thoroughly open-minded. And this means a certain amount of encouragement for non-mainstream ideas and techniques. Examples from past science (including very recent ones) show that non-mainstream ideas can sometimes be strongly held back. Space agencies such as NASA must learn from such cases if they truly believe that, in the search for alien life, we should “expect the unexpected”.

Peter Vickers, “Alien life is out there, but our theories are probably steering us away from it” at The Conversation

See also: Tales of an invented god: The most important characteristic of an AI cult is that its gods (Godbots?) will be created by the AI developers and not the other way around

It isn't so much that our theories steer us away from finding life, it is much more accurate to say that our theories blind us to the life that surrounds us. The data is truly plentiful, here's a small sample: a) amino acids found in Lunar soils; b) amino acid glycine found on Titan lander; c) complex hydrocarbons found in the s/c impact on comet p/Tempel-1; d) complex hydrocarbons found in the steam escaping from Enceladus; e) complex hydrocarbons responsible for "purple" streaks in the ice of Europa; f) exponential CO2 growth curves for Martian soils doused in nutrient broth match perfectly Antarctic/Atacamba Earth soils; g) unique microwave signatures in Trifid nebulae match only diatoms on Earth; h) all families/phyla of cyanobacteria have been seen as fossils in extinct comets that landed on Earth, plus one unique diatom; i) Pluto was found to have amino acid darkened ice. So what do our theories say about this data? Robert Sheldon
E.T. has found us. ET
We need to abandon theories because theories are evil. That's all. Theories lead us to genocide and omnicide every time. However, if this small trivial reason HELPS some scientists to abandon theories, I'm all for it! polistra

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