And get government grants:
[Jason] Wright, a cheerful, apple-cheeked, forty-two-year-old professor with wispy brown hair, is at the vanguard of a new movement in SETI. Its goal is the rationalization of a speculative endeavor. “We’re trying to formalize it,” he told me. “We’re trying to get a canon of papers that my peers have read and understood.” In a number of articles published over the past five years, Wright and his collaborators have tried to build frameworks and standards that could provide a more objective basis for SETI. In one paper, a table enumerates “Ten Anomalies of Transiting Megastructures That Could Distinguish Them from Planets or Stars.” In another, Wright and his co-authors show, by making a series of calculations, that “galaxy-spanning civilizations” may be easier to detect than those that remain clustered around a single star—a finding that has implications for how astronomers might search for aliens in the future. By approaching SETI in a more rigorous way, Wright hopes to make it more respectable. His aim is partially earthbound: he wants to win the search for aliens the government funding that it’s long been denied.Adam Mann, “Intelligent Ways to Search for Extraterrestrials” at The New Yorker
The thing is, we do not actually have any evidence-based reason to believe that ET is out there. Why should government fund a search for ET as an alternative to, say, health care and affordable housing, for which we needn’t search very hard to see the need?
Episodes like the “extraterrestrial light sail.” uproar don’t really help either.
See also: Why Are Scientists “Terrified” To Do SETI Research?
Tales of an invented god
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