archive: Re: [ASTRO] SETI- Our chances (LONG)

Re: [ASTRO] SETI- Our chances (LONG)

jerry and judy ( )
Sat, 26 Dec 1998 15:07:54 -0700

>My conclusion is- SETI is only good for the sake of our children, not
>for us....
>Asaf Shtull-Trauring, Amateur Astronomer
>...Yes, I agree with this but it still, in my opinion, does not mean we
>should stop our research. Remember try and think long term. Just because
>something does not have immediate benefits does not mean it should be
>stopped. We have to think about our long term future as well as the present!
>Jonah Asher
>Astronomer in training

I agree. We had better try to figure out what other intelligences are up
to, at least in our region of the galaxy.

If our part of the Orion Arm is a very dangerous place for a young tech/civ
to mature, the sooner we find that out, the better our (slim) chances will
be. On the other hand, if the Milky Way is filled with extremely helpful
and magnanimous intelligences, we could use all the advice that we can get!

Even if we find out, by default, that we're one of the highest forms
around, that's definitely worth knowing! and it might teach us to be more
careful and reverential of 'all things'.

Are there other possibilities, other than these three?:

1. The 'relevant/nearby' universe is very dangerous. Organic evolution
usually produces selfish and self-satisfied brutes that even their
development of artificial intelligence can't do much to mollify. Or maybe,
it's simply that the less ruthless tech/civs get 'selected against' and are
commonly eliminated in the hot crucible of galactic competition.

2. Our 'relevant/nearby' universe is a wondrous and self-developing
community that awaits our faltering emergence. As civilizations mature,
they become much more curious, accepting and wise. Their continuously
developing AI depends a great deal upon the discovery of other sources of
complexity and so they seek it out, try to nurture it, or at least regard
it highly. Life is universally considered to be the rarest and most
valuable of 'substances'.

3. We are such a fluke that the only recognizable life we ever find is on a
few distant planets with something like higher vertebrates (but they're not
highly sentient), and most planets only have simple life -no imminent
potential for intelligence. As a survival advantage, intelligence isn't
worth the investment -the trade offs are too high, except under very
special circumstances. We are unique, alone, unrestrained and