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Are we ready for contact with extraterrestrial intelligence?

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The SETI project scientists are known for tracking possible extraterrestrial signals, but now they are also considering sending messages from Earth telling of our position. A researcher from the University of Cádiz (Spain) questions this idea in view of the results from a survey taken by students, revealing the general level of ignorance about the cosmos and the influence of religion when tackling these matters.

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SINC | May 05 2014 09:34

The Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence (SETI) project is an initiative that began in the 70s with funding from NASA, but that has evolved towards the collaboration of millions of Internet users for the processing of data from the Arecibo Observatory (Puerto Rico), where space tracking is carried out.

Now the members of this controversial project are trying to go further and not only search for extraterrestrial signs, but also actively send messages from Earth (Active SETI) to detect possible extraterrestrial civilisations. Astrophysicists, such as Stephen Hawking, have already warned of the risk that this implies for humanity, since it could favour the arrival of beings with more advanced technology and dubious intentions.

The ethical and sociological implications of this proposal have been analysed by the neuro-psychologist Gabriel G. de la Torre, professor at the University of Cádiz and participant in previous projects such as Mars 500 or space psychology topical team project financed by the European Space Agency, who wonders: “Can such a decision be taken on behalf of the whole planet? What would happen if it was successful and ‘someone’ received our signal? Are we prepared for this type of contact?”

To answer these questions, the professor sent a questionnaire to 116 American, Italian and Spanish university students. The survey assessed their knowledge of astronomy, their level of perception of the physical environment, their opinion on the place that things occupy in the cosmos, as well as religious questions – for example, “do you believe that God created the universe?” – or on the likelihood of contact with extraterrestrials.

The results, published in the journal ‘Acta Astronautica’, indicate that, as a species, humanity is still not ready for trying to actively contact a supposed extraterrestrial civilisation, since people lack knowledge and preparation. For this reason, SETI researchers are recommended in this study to look for alternative strategies.

“This pilot study demonstrates that the knowledge of the general public of a certain education level about the cosmos and our place within it is still poor. Therefore, a cosmic awareness must be further promoted – where our mind is increasingly conscious of the global reality that surrounds us – using the best tool available to us: education,” De la Torre emphasised. ”In this respect, we need a new Galileo to lead this journey”.

It was deduced from the questionnaires, which will soon be available to everyone on line, that university students and the rest of society lack awareness on many astronomical aspects, despite the enormous progress of science and technology. It also revealed that the majority of people consider these subjects according to their religious belief and that they would rely on politicians in the event of a huge global-scale crisis having to be resolved.

“Regarding our relation with a possible intelligent extraterrestrial life, we should not rely on moral reference points of thought, since they are heavily influenced by religion. Why should some more intelligent beings be ‘good’?,” added the researcher, who believes that this matter should not be monopolized by a handful of scientists: “In fact, it is a global matter with a strong ethical component in which we must all participate”.

References:

Gabriel G. De la Torre. “Toward a new cosmic consciousness: Psychoeducational aspects of contact with extraterrestrial civilizations”. Acta Astronautica 94 (2): 577–583, 2014.

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Geographical area: International
Source: SINC

Comments

  • (23) Fred Bortz |Wednesday 07 May 2014 12:44:38 pm

    I don't think we have to worry about aliens with hostile intent, even if they are looking for a temperate world with an oxygenated atmosphere like ours. With a galaxy of planets to choose from, they would prefer to take over a planet where life has not yet evolved complex organisms. Otherwise, they would be up against intelligent life forms that are so well adapted to the target world that they would have a significant advantage, even if their intelligence is limited.

    In a battle between otherworldly invaders and well-adapted natives, I'd bet on the natives every time.

    More at http://fredbortz.scienceblog.com/35053/opinion-hostile-alien-invaders-are-unlikely/

  • (23) Debra Reinhardt |Wednesday 07 May 2014 9:12:11 pm

    The neuro-psychologist Gabriel G. de la Torre, professor at the University of Cádiz activated a wrong study. The question about the place that things occupy in the cosmos doesn't have an ounce of reasoning for the question as to if we are ready for an extraterrestrial civilization. A question like “do you believe that God created the universe?” has nothing to do with ones readiness for other civilizations in the universe.. Would Columbus have sent out a similar quiz about other continents among us… I think NOT.

  • (23) Joe Zanetti, Sr |Wednesday 07 May 2014 9:12:25 pm

    I am a believer in the creation of this world including the entire universe by a supreme being and I believe the Holy Scripyures touch on the issue.
    The scriptures tell us that this universe was created for the pleasure of the creator Rev 4:11
    The only aliens told of in the scriptures are called angels and demons which are different from the human race and are able to transport from one location to another in an instant. Some scenes in scripture are found in Ezekiel where Ezekiel had a vision of these strange beings. It is throughout the book of Ezekiel.
    According to scripture the universe was created for God's Glory and that man was created in his image, Genesis 1:26-27 so I believe that any other creatures we may incounter in this universe would be God created and would be used for his glory and not some type of incounter with Star Trek fantasy.
    It is amazing what can be found in the ancient writings of the Bible concerning this universe and what part we as humans play.
    This of course is the belief of this writer who is aware that not all consider the Bible as an inspired writing, so please know that I respect that.

    .

  • (23) George Wise |Wednesday 07 May 2014 9:12:35 pm

    I agree, mankind is not ready. If we as a global village cannot get a handle on the numerous human rights violations that occur daily, how can we form relationships with extra-terrestrial citizens? Until we stop the killing, enslaving, exploitation, and selling of human flesh, we will never be ready. As long as the various religions divide us, and are blamed for the cause of most wars past, present, and future, I don't see it. I personally, would not like to see what would happen if an extra-terrestrial being actually materialized on this planet today. We, as the human race, would need to open up some serious inter-global dialogs and conferences before anything of this nature happens. Scientists should stop sending out radio signals into space - which could be a very real threat to our survival as a species.

  • (23) marmot |Wednesday 07 May 2014 9:12:45 pm

    I disagree. Considering that humans have only recently entered the technological age, we are almost certainly far behind a race that has the ability to travel here. The fact that this planet is thought to be the "property" of humans, gives us no technological advantage, and probably no hereditary advantage either. My guess would be that any race possessing the technology to get here would very quickly overwhelm us if they wanted to. Therefore, my thoughts are: keep our "mouths shut" for the next 1000 years or longer, until technology catches up with probable aliens. Why would we deliberately broadcast our presence to the rest of the galaxy? Yes, we do this daily, but why further it intentionally?

  • (23) Digoms |Wednesday 07 May 2014 9:13:00 pm

    We are not yet ready from many perspectives. Language as we know it may be for earthlings, with other intelligent life forms from outer space possessing high levels of awareness to necessitate a different kind of communication strategy like telepathy. When we send signals of whatever form we are basing our hopes on the fact that technology evolves and extraterrestrial beings may understand the protocols we use in our modern communication systems. This universe and other universes out there are filled with "noise" of variable wavelengths and different kinds of light (white light, red light, etc.). I may receive signals and not know what they are. This might be the case with other intelligent life forms existing in other areas of the many universes.

  • (23) DiGoms |Wednesday 07 May 2014 9:13:20 pm

    We are not yet ready from many perspectives. Language as we know it may be for earthlings, with other intelligent life forms from outer space possessing high levels of awareness to necessitate a different kind of communication strategy like telepathy. When we send signals of whatever form we are basing our hopes on the fact that technology evolves and extraterrestrial beings may understand the protocols we use in our modern communication systems.

    This universe and other universes out there are filled with "noise" of variable wavelengths and different kinds of light (white light, red light, etc.). I may receive signals and not know what they are. This might be the case with other intelligent life forms existing in other areas of the many universes.

  • (23) Tineke |Wednesday 07 May 2014 9:13:37 pm

    Ready ore not i,am.but when the people world wide know and hear abauth ore real history the become in shock when all the things comes out abauth the cabal illuminatie and 9/11 and whe slowley tels abaut ore space Brothers and Sisters it,s brings no fear the are maby angry way the have us now not helping.

  • (23) Blanca Padron-Delgado |Wednesday 07 May 2014 11:51:15 pm

    I believe that most humans have little or no knowledge of the universe because our society's awareness is controlled by our governments ,religion and media.
    Has no one here heard of Professor John E. Mack? He researched hundreds of patients recounting the same incidents know as alien abductions and verified that they were not mentally unstable and in fact that there was something very real happening to these people. He was convinced that actual contact was being made and that governments, scientists and doctors should investigate further. His patients told him how they were removed from their earthly environment, medically examined and some even had telepathic communication with the extraterrestrials. Unfortunately his life came to screeching stop when he was hit by a car while walking from a conference in London. Read the books!!

  • (23) Moedji Raharto |Thursday 08 May 2014 9:39:56 am

    To improve our readyness to contact with ETI, I agree through education, but it is also to improve our personality or character for better life due our population on the earth will be incease up to several billions in the coming several years. Our SETI project spend more time and resources which may compete with our basic need for a life. It will degrade our present situation into more chaotic situation. War and war again among the nation or group of society will be happen in near future.

  • (23) Kemal Gencay |Thursday 08 May 2014 10:58:26 am

    Maybe this will broaden the outlook

    www.rael.org

  • (23) Carol Drummond |Friday 09 May 2014 9:43:05 am

    The general population is not ready to communicate with extraterrestrials yet. We cannot communicate with each other without violent disagreement. We are far to primitive. A large proportion of the world still believes in Iron Age writings and myths. Can you imagine how Christian and Muslims would react to something so incredibly threatening to their belief that MAN is not the ultimate creation of THEIR particular deity...... The extraterrestrial would be a target for all the nutters out there!!! I am sure we will not be visited for many thousands of years until we are mentally and socially more developed.

  • (23) Lisofby |Saturday 10 May 2014 11:27:25 am

    ThiIng is...all these comments above are from intelligent people, who care about decency and dare I say it, righteousness. Not in the religious sense. Don't let your eyes glaze over! Perhaps the plebs put there are not ready, ok definitely not! But they never will be! Like a mussel that will not open to let in the light. You may need a screw driver lol! But you guys sound more than ready to me, and are not alone!
    Seriously, I'm sure that aliens walk among us. In many forms. Some have come recently, others Hundreds or thousands of years ago, staying and reincarnating as earthlings, still others just the descendants thereof.
    The stupid thing is, if an intelligent life form comes from faraway, they have the technology and power to override government issue weapons. That is a given. Most likely the intellectual and emotional advancement to know better than to rape and pillage. Many assume violence on the part of " invaders" because of their own impure hearts.
    It's also prety presumptuous to think they want the same resources as are commodities here, and who is to say they are not using the slag left from what is mined for their own projects for example, or some aquatic algae as rocket fuel?
    It's stupid for earth dwellers to place the same petameters on another race that they themselves are limited to.
    I for one would welcome some intelligent, compassionate beings who could scare the shit out of those who think they can run roughshod over you, my cat, the environment and not have any consequences.
    Only one slight criticism carol, what makes you think ETs threaten Christians and Muslims etc? Have you not heard of the burning, bush, god in the sky clouds, the guiding star of Bethlehem, Mary's assumption?
    Lots of reference to aliens, IMO, in a lot of religious stories.

  • (23) Jimmy Swindell |Monday 27 October 2014 7:41:49 am

    It is more likely they have already found us, by tracking the thousand plus radioactive isotopes that have been released at Fukushima. From what I have observed, it appears we are being visited through a process of interdimensional physics. For the most part, there is no F involved with this new breed of UFOs. They simply appear, then they depart. The only flying I've been observing has been limited to that of peripheral support craft, and not at all from the primary host craft.
    http://phoenixufos.wordpress.com/ http://arizonaufos.wordpress.com/ http://myufos.wordpress.com/

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