SETI: A project of fools or charlatans?

Discussion in 'Astronomy, Exobiology, & Cosmology' started by Dinosaur, May 29, 2012.

  1. Pete It's not rocket surgery Registered Senior Member

    Seriously? Where's your curiosity?

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    More unanswerable questions.

    From what I can tell, no US tax dollars have been invested in SETI since 1993, and the budget before that was miniscule ($2 million/year).

    Voyager Golden Record
    "...the record is best seen as a time capsule or a symbolic statement rather than a serious attempt to communicate with extraterrestrial life."
    Last edited: May 31, 2012
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  3. Boris2 Valued Senior Member

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  5. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

    Pete: The following questions are easy to answer.
    Could we hope to decode meaningful information from an ET signal? Could we engage in a conversation with ET?​
    The answers are No & No if you are referring to signals from an ET many light years way from us.
    Seriously? Where's your curiosity?​

    My curiousity is directed toward cosmology, relativity, Quantum Theory interpretations, history, consciousness, & a few other subjects like what are the thought processes of theists, judges, economists, & . . . .

    BTW: I do not claim to be an expert in any of the above subjects.
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  7. Boris2 Valued Senior Member

    maybe. and probably not. but then no one thinks that we will have conversations with and ETI, unless one visits.
  8. Pete It's not rocket surgery Registered Senior Member

    I don't see that either you or I are qualified to hold an opinion about people who know nothing about, but it would not surprise me if they held (and still hold) the genuine hope that the search might find something wonderful.

    I think we already established that expectations aren't that relevant.
    You ask a girl to dance with the hope that she'll say yes, even if you expect rejection.

    This seems irrelevant.
    Pretty much all researchers are mostly motivated by the desire to receive salaries. People have to earn a living.
    A lot of science (also engineering, arts, sports, trades, etc) is partly fueled by the desire to play with the relevant toys. There's nothing wrong with enjoying your job.
    And "publish or perish" is another way of saying "do your job or get fired", which is not a bad thing.

    Anyway, why don't you read up on some of the actual people who do this work?
    Do you have any reason to think that these researchers are not genuinely curious, and doing what they do in the genuine hope that they might discover something wonderful about the universe?
    SETI Institute - Our scientists
  9. Pete It's not rocket surgery Registered Senior Member

    I suspect you are using questionable assumptions to reach such definite conclusions.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2012
  10. keith1 Guest

    Could we hope to decode meaningful information from a wifi signal? Could we engage in a conversation with forum members?
    Not if we poo-pooed the signal arrays, banned their costs, demonized the practice of their expense....

    Ham radios, Signal fires.
    We transmit. We receive. In some ways subliminally. We love the stuff.
    A bigger eye. A bigger ear.
    Even a blind man will not sit endlessly in a dark closet. At whatever cost.
  11. Epictetus here & now Registered Senior Member

    It doesn't matter if we could decode it! Sure, it would be great if we could, but think of finding some ancient human artifact in the desert: we cannot read the writing, or understand the symbolism but the object was obviously made with intelligent design - making it far more interesting than a natural chunk of rock.
  12. Neverfly Banned Banned

    Which was not made by intelligent design.
  13. Epictetus here & now Registered Senior Member

    Drat! I knew I had better avoid that phrase.:bugeye:
  14. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    I wrote:

    Why do you believe that there's "very close to a zero probability" that humans can "detect and recognize" electromagnetic emissions from extra-terrestrials?

    What "knowledge of hard science & technology" do you possess that you believe justifies your "very close to zero probability" conclusion?

    In order to make your views persuasive, you'll need to actually explain what your argument is, not just assume that somehow it's obvious.​

    I'm not a physicist or an engineer, but I've seen calculations that a typical radio or television broadcast station probably isn't detectable outside our solar system.

    A lot apparently depends on variables like bandwidth. A radar carries a lot farther. When the Arecibo radio telescope is in radar mode, I'm told that its signals should be detectable hundreds or even thousands of lightyears out.


    Who knows? They might suspect that something's happening here and might be trying to attract our attention.

    I think that it's more likely that any signals we might detect from an extraterrestrial civilization wouldn't be communications signals directed at us at all, but rather radio noise generated by unknown energetic processes that they might be using in the course of their other activities.

    That in turn suggests that if those kind of low bandwidth, non-repeating signals are arriving here, separating intelligently generated noise from all the naturally created noise might be a difficult task.

    Your views aren't without merit. But you are overstating them way too aggressively, and way too insultingly. You run the risk of turning yourself into a caricature and of alienating people who might otherwise have agreed with some of the things you're suggesting.

    The view that many people on the street have, that alien signals from outer space should be all over the radio dial, indeed may not be realistic. So the fact that SETI hasn't been successful yet (at least that it's aware of) in detecting emissions from extraterrestrial intelligences probably shouldn't be all that surprising. It certainly doesn't imply that extraterrestrial intelligences aren't out there.

    Having said that, I don't think that putting some effort into listening, just to find out what there is to hear, means that somebody is a "fool" or a "charlatan". There are very competent and thoughtful astronomers interested in this stuff. And nobody's getting rich off it. That's just foolishness.
  15. Neverfly Banned Banned

    A fact for which we should all be grateful.
  16. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

    I know. Parallel worlds with Rush Limbaughs yammering about how to close the borders to aliens.
  17. kwhilborn Banned Banned

    What about the aliens broadcasting from the dark side of the moon.

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