In my writing, I have never pulled any punches in regards to my disdain for our modern incarnation of S.E.T.I. On the surface S.E.T.I. seems logical and possibly successful. But if you devote more clock cycles to ponder the Universe and the vast unknown. The dynamics of deep time, the nearly infinite possibilities of how communication could occur a thinking person must by logic realize that S.E.T.I is doomed to failure from the start.
Don’t worry your tax dollars are not paying for Shostak’s folly. S.E.T.I has not been publicly funded since the 1990’s.
S.E.T.I makes too many assumptions that are based on our Earth centrist bias. Even listening to millions of frequencies simultaneously is infinitesimal in breadth. I understand the scientific reasoning for how and why they operate. You can only look for what you know. They have to try (I guess).
SETI had outlived its usefulness given modern knowledge, the success metric was that a civilization more than 400 light years away – because we know there is no good candidates closer – would have to have sent low-tech radio signals to a planet that lacked the technology to receive radio signals when they sent them. The aliens basically would have needed to know the future, which means they didn’t need radio waves.
If communicating with other civilizations takes and must take centuries then it will be interesting and may have value over time but it will lose immediacy. Time waits for no one and no being. Doesn’t matter how long you live… a lot of things happen in between intergalactic tweets. While I’m sure we answer we’d not sit waiting on the phone for the next word.
I think that if there is real dialogue going on between civilizations it has to have a purpose. Knowledge is one… if we can talk back and forth then we can exchange meaningful knowledge. If we can talk back and forth then the communication is functionally travelling faster than light.
Is that possible? Well, maybe. Since inflation did and does occur… And/if entangled particles started in the proximity of each other and have ended up evenly distributed across the universe they might be useful for communication. Instant chat across the universe. But of course, you would need to know which particles to fiddle with. Beyond our current scientific knowledge.
Any method of faster than light (FTL) communication that an advanced technology develops would likely become their preferred method of communicating over interstellar distances, and would be beyond our ability to detect at present.
Maybe that is why we don’t hear anything. They are all talking over our heads. Not to mention that fact that we will never understand the meaning of the message. Just hearing anything artificial would be a winning outcome.
There are undoubtedly forms of energy that our primitive science has not yet discovered. We could be in complete alignment with a galactic telephone trunk line and never know it. Maybe they do something analogous to our Internet packet switching. Their discreet packets may not look like anything unusual unless you intercept the whole message. All the cosmic background radiation may be packets of data appearing as normal energy until the message is reassembled. Just an idea but it illustrates the futility of our understanding.
Our science is a powerful weapon to be used to wipe away ancient superstitions and beliefs but it is still in its infancy. We, humans, are the new minds on the block. Anybody that is reasonably aware of the current state of Universal understanding must conclude that we already have enough reliable data to make a well educated guess that we are not alone in the Universe. As more and more life-sustaining earth-like planets are found our certainty of our non-uniqueness is confirmed.
We are not special in the Universe, we are just one among many. Humans may someday get past the emotional need to think that we are more than we actually are. At that time we may not need to look for extraterrestrial life it may come to us.
Knowledge is simply cool beans.
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