Beware Of Hungry Aliens The Next Time You Do SETI Research

Contacting aliens could end all life on earth. Let's stop trying, Op Ed by Mark Buchanan, Washington Post

"More alarming is the possibility that alien civilizations are remaining out of contact because they know something: that sending out signals is catastrophically risky. Our history on Earth has given us many examples of what can happen when civilizations with unequal technology meet -- generally, the technologically more advanced has destroyed or enslaved the other. A cosmic version of this reality might have convinced many alien civilizations to remain silent. Exposing yourself is an invitation to be preyed upon and devoured."

Keith's note: Oh no. Face-eating aliens want to "devour" us. We have all seen that movie before. See what this whole UFO report release meme is stirring up? Really, Washington Post? The op ed author Mark Buchanan seems to think that just listening for indications of other civilizations will somehow alert them that they are being listened to such they will come and eat us. How? Did they file a subpoena for our radio telescope observation records? Besides, we have been sending all manner of radio transmissions out for a centry. Its too late to call the signals back.

Even if these signals from Earth are not detectable or reecognizable by another civiilzation, there are aspects of what we have done to our planet's surface and atmosphere that they can detect. These indications are called "technosignatures" and are a subset of the overall biosignatures that instruments like the Webb Space Telescope will be searching for on worlds circling distant stars. We don't have to send ET any text messages. They can find us much more easily across greater distances by looking at our dirty air.

Also, the author is confused as to who Breakthrough Listen is paying to do their search. They buy time on various telescopes around the world. They are not paying the SETI Institute to do all of this. And the author seems to think that SETI = SETI Institute when in fact SETI - the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence - is a scientific discipline that has been undertaken over the past half century by many organizations, institutions, and individuals around the world - not just one non-profit with that acronym in its name.

The author apparently wants us to wait a while to talk to ET until (apparently) we are capable of defending ourselves against any possible invasions by hungry aliens. Remember, he said that we risk being "preyed upon and devoured". So we need to fight back the aliens at lunch time, right? I guess that means that the author wants us to develop weaponry far more devastating than the stuff we currently have - weapons that we can barely refrain from using - on ourselves - now. Somehow that plan seems to present a more clear and present danger to humanity than listening for ET.

Yes, there should be a plan for what to do if it is time to send messages to the all of the hungry aliens. Good. Let's have some meetings and draw up the plans. We can even do them by Zoom so as to get into the whole remote interaction thing. That should not take more than a few years. Meanwhile where is the harm in listening. Who knows - we might actually learn something from these older, more advanced civilizations about how not to blow ourselves up.

I can't wait to see what sort of letters to the editor the Washington Post publishes in response to this op ed.

  • submit to reddit



Kepler Communications - Aether
Baen Books - Going Interstellar edited by Les Johnson and Jack McDevitt
Wernher von Braun Memorial Symposium October 12-14, 2021






Monthly Archives

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on June 13, 2021 7:29 PM.

Let's Make Up More Busy Work For Stennis was the previous entry in this blog.

They're Talking About Space In Europe This Week is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.