In response to Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb denying free will and all that, neurosurgeon Michael Egnor points out, “Logic and reason aren’t laws of physics and therefore they transcend physical properties.”
Sagan was denied tenure at Harvard for being, according to Zabel, a little too “out there.” But today, Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb openly discusses his thoughts on ETs and UFOs in popular science venues. And, in what sounds like a helpful move, NASA is seeking standards for ET life claims, rather than just denying or avoiding them altogether.
Guidelines are certain to be disputed but they would at least provide a basis for reasonable discussion. That might lead to more and better public education on the issues.
How be someone show us a fossil bacterium on Mars first? This is part of the big new Trust the Science program, right?
The remarkable thing is that we haven’t found so much as a fossil bacterium in recent Mars samples. The belief that whatever’s weird out there must be aliens is a sheer act of faith. The same people who would dismiss massive evidence for design in the universe and life forms believe in ET with no evidence at all. That’s probably because, at heart, their commitment is one of the few types of religion that naturalism permits.
Fazale Rana: Loeb’s work affirms a point that I (and others) have repeatedly made. Science has the toolkit to detect the work of agency in nature. To put it another way, Loeb’s thesis demonstrates that detection of intelligent design in nature is legitimately part of the construct of science.
Avi Loeb has come up with a very reasonable idea for searching for evidence of other civilizations in our galaxy: Look for alien debris on our still, lifeless, atmosphere-free Moon.
Okay re the importance of reproducibility but it was never clear why Oumuamua was supposed to be ET anyway. More Oumuamuas would not make it more likely.
Specified complexity is what we should be looking for in signals from intelligent beings — orderly patterns that hold meanings not found in inanimate nature.
At Smithsonian Mag: Siraj and co-author Avi Loeb concluded from their analysis that Jupiter’s gravitational field was strong enough to bump many such long-period comets from the Oort cloud off course, bringing them very close to the Sun.
Michael Egnor: Both an intelligent designer (assuming we’re talking about God) and a black hole are supernatural, in the sense that they are not objects in the natural world. This may not surprise you about God, but it is also true of black holes.
Maybe the people at SciAm are getting a crash course in the design inference?
Some of us still think Loeb is way off the beam about Oumuamua but at least he is talking about how you would know that something is designed. If anyone is interested, it is called the design inference.
He ends up, we are told, sounding like an ID type.
“Nature does not produce such things”