The Design of Life

Today at the Design of Life blog …

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Why SETI hasn’t found any space aliens yet:

Excerpt: Gonzalez and fellow astronomer Hugh Ross have pointed out,

Over the last four centuries the CP [Copernican Principle] has evolved from a simple claim that the Earth is not located at the center of the solar system to an expansive philosophical doctrine that the Earth, and particularly its inhabitants, are not special in any significant way.

It is worth noting that the Copernican principle is not testable. It is simply an assumption. If right, it will aid research, but if wrong, it will impede research.
Suppose it is wrong? Could that be one reason why the SETI search for extraterrestrial civilizations has not turned up any results for forty years, despite early optimism? Visit SETI and see for yourself.

Plus: “Anti-science” and the mind-body problem

Excerpt: Is knowing reasons why materialism isn’t true “anti-science”?

What should scientists do if they find evidence that does not confirm materialism? There is quite a lot of that in neuroscience, including the hard problem of consciousness and the placebo effect.
[ … ]

Under promissory materialism, scientists are expected to ignore or explain away evidence that doesn’t support materialism.

5 Replies to “Today at the Design of Life blog …

  1. 1
    Webwanderer says:

    Denyse, appologies in advance for this off topic reference, but it is an enlightening revelation into the role of brain hemespheres – and possibly the origin of life – from a neuro-anatamist in the psychiatry department of Harvard Uniniversity.

  2. 2
    tfoo says:

    instead of searching for extraterrestrial civilizations the way they are doing now, SETI (if they are interested in finding non-human intelligent life) should actually investigate the UFO phenomena. some scholars out there have a hypothesis that the intelligent beings involved in genuine UFO accounts are actually interdimensional rather than extraterrestrial. one guy whose work i found interesting is Michael Heiser, a Hebrew scholar.

  3. 3
    tfoo says:

    indeed the materialists completely ignore the subjective feeling of an individual person. even if there was a way to obtain complete information about the brain of a person, for example, if one could list every possible neurotransmitter and for each neurotransmitter, obtain the exact quantity of that neurotransmitter existing in the brain at that moment, there is no way to map each vector of neurotransmitter levels one-to-one to subjective human feelings.

  4. 4
    Frost122585 says:

    As I understand it SETI only searches radio waves on a very narrow bandwith. What i mean by this is that I heard that SETI is only looking for particular kinds of waves but that in fact other waves that are not being picked up could be the ones used by extratterestrials.

    Dont know if this is correct or no.

  5. 5
    DaveScot says:


    Narrow bandwidth doesn’t refer to the amount of the spectrum they are searching but rather is a characteristic of certain kinds of radio sources. Natural sources tend to be broad band. For example turn on an AM radio during a lightning storm and listen along various places on the dial when a lightning bolt strikes. You’ll hear interference all across the dial. That’s because lightning generates radio waves at many different frequencies simultaneously. So do stars and other natural radio sources in the universe. On the other hand artificial radio transmitters concentrate their energy onto a tightly constricted frequency range. That’s why as you dial your radio you can tune to individual radio stations and they don’t interfere with each other (unless they are powerful stations located close together on the dial).

    So SETI searches for narrow band signals as those are characteristic of artificial radio sources. SETI does restrict how much of the “dial” they search through looking for narrow band signals. Some frequencies are quieter than others and it makes sense that someone or something trying to be heard over the noise would choose a frequency that has less natural sources of radio noise on it. There are also some particular frequencies that make more sense for an intelligence to choose. 1420mhz for example is the resonant frequency of neutral hydrogen atoms so that’s one frequency they listen to more closely than others as they scan the spectrum.

    Presumably any extra-terrestrials purposely sending a signal would consider all these problems and use the same logic we do in order to be easily recognized amid the natural radio noise.

    An interesting thought about signs of extra terrestrial intelligence is in a phenomenon called gamma-ray bursts. These are exceedingly high energy short duration bursts of electromagnetic energy. The odd thing about them is they come at random times from all directions. The pat answer on why they’re spread evenly in every direction is that they originate in other galaxies. If they originate in other galaxies the origin has to be so powerful it’s thought that only things as violent as a star collapsing into a black hole could produce them. Another explanation that is seldom voiced is that the sources are much less powerful and located much closer to us – the tailpipes of spacecraft with anti-matter propulsion. If they happened to be pointing towards the earth when they were lit up we’d see them as intense gamma-ray bursts and if there were a galactic civilization surrounding us we’d see them coming at random from every direction.

    Another thing about SETI is it’s suspected that extra-terrestrials wouldn’t be using radio transmitters for communication across vast distances but instead would use lasers as those are much more efficient and highly directional so when you have a particular receiver you want to send a message to you point the laser at it. It’s so directional that anyone who wanted us to see it would almost have to purposely point it at our planet. There’s some work being done on “optical” SETI but I haven’t kept up on it.

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