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Why are scientists “terrified” to do SETI research?

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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”

We are told that there is “anti-SETI” stigma:

That’s according to scientists who spoke to Undark about how SETI research is dismissed and associated with conspiracy theories, especially after recent high-profile stories about the interstellar space rock ‘Oumuamua, thought by some to be a spacecraft, or the newly-rewritten military guidelines for UFO sightings.

Dan Robitzski, “Scientists Are Terrified of Seti Research” at Futurism

The Undark article is nothing if not imaginative:

Theoretical physics may have determined alien life is likely, but that’s still just a theory.

We may be finding nothing because we’re doing it wrong, researchers posit. In a 2018 conference paper, Colombano suggests the search for alien intelligence is based on “cherished assumptions” that could be holding it back: that interstellar travel is unlikely, that alien civilizations use radio waves, that other life must be carbon based, and that UFOs have never visited earth. He makes a case for discarding these dusty beliefs and for sociologists to imagine how alien societies might evolve, physicists to do more speculative work on space-time, and energy and technologists to model ways in which technology might evolve in other civilizations.

Diane Peters, “The Pitfalls of Searching for Alien Life” at Undark

We need more “speculative work”? No, we don’t. It seems as though the enthusiasts don’t understand that people can just lose confidence in a failing program and there is nothing wrong with them on that account.

See also: Tales of Oumuamua: Why are we still talking about the space cigarillo, oops, the Oumuamua alien sighting panic?

What? Oumuamua Was Just A Comet? After All The ET Hype?

Astronomer: We’re too dumb to think space object Oumuamua was an extraterrestrial lightsail.Hmmm. In the real world, when you are an only child so far as you know, it is hard to compare yourself to your siblings. Few readily accept criticism for failure to measure up to the standards of imaginary beings.

Conventional Non-ET Explanations For Oumuamua

Astronomers: Solar System Object In Transit, Oumuamua, Might Be A “Light Sail Of Extra-Terrestrial Origin”

Why Some Scientists Saw Asteroid Oumuamua As ET

Why can top scientists get away with extraordinary claims?

Did Interstellar Object Oumuamua Normalize Space Aliens As Science In 2018?

and

Astronomers: Solar system object in transit, Oumuamua, might be a “light sail of extra-terrestrial origin”

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8 Replies to “Why are scientists “terrified” to do SETI research?

  1. 1
    Fasteddious says:

    “He makes a case for discarding these dusty beliefs and for sociologists to imagine how alien societies might evolve, physicists to do more speculative work on space-time, and energy and technologists to model ways in which technology might evolve in other civilizations”.
    We have been doing that for a hundred years. It is call Science Fiction: exploring alternative realities, possible alien cultures, futuristic technology, human interactions under strange conditions, and so on. The science fiction writers did not get grants for their “studies”; they relied on good writing (OK maybe not so good in some cases) and a good story line to get their ideas across.

  2. 2
    vmahuna says:

    I can’t quite get this. They WANT there to be other planets with intelligent life on them so that the “uniqueness” of Humans can be denounced.
    But they DON’T want any normal Humans on Earth to believe in UFOs or ETs because that’s, um, “not Scientific”? Why do I keep getting the idea that the Science-ists really just want to be In Charge, issuing edicts every month or so on what they’ve decided we should believe?

  3. 3
    Seversky says:

    Vmahuna @ 2

    Why do I keep getting the idea that the Science-ists really just want to be In Charge, issuing edicts every month or so on what they’ve decided we should believe?

    I thought that was what Christians wanted. All those good ol’ evangelicals who think the country was set up to be run by good, white, Christian men and always should be. Anybody who don’t like it can go right back where they came from. Except for the Indians, of course. They’re already where they came from. Well, in the parts that immigrants allowed them to keep.

  4. 4
    doubter says:

    Colombano suggests the search for alien intelligence is based on “cherished assumptions” that could be holding it back: that interstellar travel is unlikely, that alien civilizations use radio waves, that other life must be carbon based, and that UFOs have never visited earth.

    I think Colombiano is right on. Concerning UFOs:

    Some of the theoretical arguments against the extraterrestrial hypothesis (ETH) for UFOs, like the zero knowledge of other life much less other intelligent life, or if it actually exists the apparent impossibility of getting here, or the apparent ridiculousness of some of the phenomena (like alien abductions, brilliant “advertising” lights), seem persuasive.

    But real data, evidence, always trumps theory in my opinion. These cases were real events in the world, in space-time, occurring to real people that presented as described. The testimony and other evidence can’t reasonably be dismissed just because they appear fantastic or theoretically preposterous. Especially with good observers like pilots and police officers (sometimes multiple) whose testimony would otherwise be accepted in a court of law. The burden is on the skeptic to credibly demonstrate how these cases are actually misperceptions, hallucinations, errors, hoaxes, useless anecdotes, etc. And on the skeptic of the ETH to come up with a more credible general explanation for the many cases of physical interaction with physical apparent vehicles.

    Some people have observed strange apparently structured material objects in the atmosphere that give the strong impression of being vehicles.

    The best cases stand on their own merits as evidence that on some rare occasions what seem to be alien vehicles appear to humans, sometimes producing physical effects including radar returns, radio interference, ground traces and leaving images preserved on photographic film or electronic media. In my opinion the extraterrestrial hypothesis remains plausible as the explanation.

    For a detailed summary scientific review and analysis of the various types of physical evidence related to UFOs, there was the Sturrock panel report, see https://ufoscoop.com/physical-evidence-related-to-ufos/.

    The relatively recent (in 2004 and 2015) sightings and radar trackings of small UFOs shadowing US Navy carrier battle groups, featuring multiple pilot and ship radar reports and HUD video display recordings amount to some of the best data. Some of these HUD videos were released by the Defense Department a few months ago.

    Just a sampling of some of the better older data:

    – The 1947 Kenneth Arnold sighting
    Except for the WWII “foo fighters”, this begins the modern era of UFOs. A good analysis is at http://www.martinshough.com/ae.....lysis2.pdf . There do not seem to be any valid optical, geometric, geographical, psychological or other reasons to doubt the major features of Arnold’s sighting as reported and they are internally consistent. The analysis results in a range of 16-20 miles, a minimum length of 70-90 feet, and a speed of 890 to 1200 mph. Arnold described the objects as trimmed-off in the rear thin shiny “saucer-like” discoids reflecting sunlight blindingly like metal at certain angles.

    – The Chiles-Whitted Case – Montgomery, Alabama, United States – July 24, 1948
    – The Nash-Fortenberry Sighting (aircraft encounter with formation of UFOs) – Virginia, United States – July 14, 1952
    – The RB-47 UFO Encounter – Gulf Coast Area, United States – July 17, 1957
    – Socorro / Zamora UFO Incident – Socorro, New Mexico, United States – April 24, 1964
    – Coyne Helicopter Incident – Mansfield, Ohio, United States – October 18, 1973
    – “Dogfight over Tehran”, the 1976 Iranian Air Force Incident, a multiple pilot/ground/radar/visual/EMI signal case. Details at http://www.nicap.org/760919tehran_dir.htm.
    – The Cash-Landrum Case – Huffman, Texas, United States – December 29, 1980
    – Japan Air Lines Flight 1628 Over Alaska – Alaska, United States – November 17, 1986
    – Belgium Triangle UFO Sightings – Belgium – October, 1989
    – Illinois Triangle UFO Sighting (by multiple police officers) – Illinois, United States – January 5, 2000

    The 1999 French Cometa committee report, summarized at https://www.ufocasebook.com/cometamain.html. This was an in-depth study of UFOs, covering many aspects of the subject, especially questions of national defense. The study was done over several years by an independent group at the Institute of Advanced Studies for National Defense, or IHEDN, and by other qualified experts from various fields. They took the extraterrestrial hypothesis very seriously when considering the many of the best French cases.

    For an exhaustive analysis of electromagnetic effects generated by UFOs, see Fifty-Six Aircraft Pilot Sightings Involving E-M Effects – Haines (1992), at http://www.nicap.org/papers/92apsiee.htm.

    My view is that this phenomenon is complicated, being composed of several different types of phenomena that interact in various ways. Both the modern “zeitgeist” and real physical alien vehicle encounters stimulate subconsciously generated fantasies like alien abductions and subconsciously generated fantastic or apparently ridiculous “occupant” encounters (like the Betty and Barney Hill case). The phenomenon is probably composed of many different components or levels, of disparate fundamental natures. Humans and their psychological and parapsychological nature, and also the physical universe including very advanced ETs from other planetary systems, are very extremely complicated and intertwined. So as to the question of which potential explanation is the real nature of the UFO phenomenon, it is probably “all of the above”.

    The final observation is that this phenomenon involves a quintessential cognitive dissonance, that simply can’t be resolved at our level of knowledge and wisdom. This is reminiscent of the cognitive dissonance involved in the reductive materialism versus spiritual reality debate; in this latter case there is also a strong body of evidence on both sides.

  5. 5
    vmahuna says:

    Doubter @ 4

    The strongest argument FOR the existence of UFOs remains Roswell. THOUSANDS of real weather balloons are launched EVERY DAY. It’s the standard method for direct measurement of the atmosphere. And every single one of these weather balloons eventually falls from the sky. The instrument packages are cheap throw-aways. So NONE are recovered intact. Except at Roswell.
    The Incident near Roswell is the ONLY occasion in the history of the world where the “recovery of a weather balloon” was the subject of a classified briefing to the President of the United States and what would become the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
    Information about the insane Project MOGUL (launching balloons from the continental US [not Norway, not West Germany, not Turkey, not Iran…] to drift EASTWARD to measure the air over SIBERIA???) has been declassified. But information about the incident at Roswell has NOT. So what Secret could possibly exist from 1947 that is still too scary to tell American taxpayers in the 21st Century?

  6. 6
    ET says:

    “Dear John, Because the War in Space race is heating up, I felt you should be aware of several factors as you and I schedule our Skype talk. Remember, our nonviolent ETI from the contiguous universe are helping us bring zero point energy to Earth. They will not tolerate any forms of military violence on Earth or in space. The following information in italics was shared with me by my colleague Carol Rosin, who worked closely for several years with Wernher von Braun before his death. Carol and I have worked on the Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space, attached for your convenience.”- from Apollo 14 astronaut and 6th man to walk on the moon, Dr. Edgar Mitchell to Johan Podesta, the head of Hillary Clinton’s campaign and long time politician

    and

    There is another way, whether it’s wormholes or warping space, there’s got to be a way to generate energy so that you can pull it out of the vacuum, and the fact that they’re here shows us that they found a way. – Jack Kasher, Ph.D, Professor Emeritus of physics, University of Nebraska. (bold added)

    Reading “The Privileged Planet” there is good scientific reasoning why any extraterrestrial life would be carbon based. And that if we encounter silicon-based aliens hey were crafted by carbon-based organisms. That is unless there is another atom we are unaware of that has the properties that carbon does that allows it to form the macromolecules life requires.

  7. 7
    ET says:

    Scientists are terrified of SETI research because they don’t want to end up like James Forestall…

  8. 8
    kairosfocus says:

    Sev, you need to revise and rebalance the oppression thesis-tainted cultural marxist view of the history of our civilisation you have absorbed. This 101 on the sins and blessings of that civilisation formerly known as Christendom (until quite recently) or as Churchill put it Christian Civilisation might be a good start point. KF

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