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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Prometheus, SETI, and Alien Messages...

Russian Fox Domestication
Tidbit: Here is an interesting test on how well you are able to mentally focus: NY Times (note the NY Time will only allow you to read ten free articles per month instead of twenty - at least that's what the focus-drawing pop-up on the same page as the test told me).

Tidbit: If you want to own a time-share now is a good time to buy one.  According to this blog people are now selling them for $1 USD or even paying others to take them off their hands (though there are monthly maintenance fees).

Tidbit: Then there are the new, three thousand pound feathered dinosaurs recently found in China.  The best evidence so far that dinosaurs were feathered rather than scaled.

I recently discovered the new Ridley Scott movie Prometheus.  Scott produced the original Alien movie.  While tame by today's standards this was a big deal in the late 1970's - particularly with the H. R. Geiger-based artwork.  It looks interesting.  Here's the official preview:

Then there is Journey.  A new video game from Sony.

Link here.

Getting back to Scott and Aliens for a moment, no pun intended, Mrs. Wolf and I were recently watching Contact.

Like "Pop Up Video's" from the 1980's AMC has little "Notes" that appear at the bottom of the screen telling you about the movie.  At the end it notes that Jodie Foster invested in keeping SETI alive (the Search for Extra-TerrestrIals).

Now I wonder why SETI is so unsuccessful?

Certainly there must be billions of "beings" in the galaxy - just like sciences tells us.  Who can forget the old Carl Sagan "billions and billions."

Yet we don't here a thing.

I've often wondered about this.  For me the most likely explanation is, well, unusual...

For one thing, our "science" is telling us where to look - in terms of radio waves, spectrum, kinds of information we might receive (just like in Contact which Sagan wrote).   Does it know something we don't?  I don't think so...

Instead the "science" of SETI is on our part just "wishful thinking" - aliens communicating with us just as we would communicate with ourselves - via radio waves.  This is even worse on some cable TV shows depicting alien contact - giant solar sails (I guess they are eco-friendly aliens...)...

In a limitless universe why would everyone else do exactly what we do?

No, I think here that science has led us all astray.

The movie Contact makes it clear that belief in all things that are not concrete is an act of faith - be it science or religion. 

Though some will argue its clear that as humans we rely on comforting systems of belief to organize our world into very human structures.

I ask why this does not blind us from what is really there?

Clearly science, as I have posted here before, does not allow us to understand everything.  We can organized it, sometimes predict it, but as often as not, say as in the case of something so common as photosynthesis or consciousness, we have no clue.

Think of it this way.  I sit writing this blog surrounded by dogs.  Lesser intelligent beings than myself.  What can the comprehend of my existence? 

While they know I am here and follow me around do they strive to discover more about me or humanity?  And what about the dogs relation to, say, ants in an ant hill outside.

While some will argue I claim the dogs are conscious like us.  Yet there is a significant gap between us and them.  From their perspective we are probably unfathomable.  And, though we believe ourselves significantly more "intelligent" what do we really know about what  they are thinking?

Similarly, save for occasionally playing with an ant as it crosses the floor what do dogs know of ants?  How would we describe ourselves to ants or to dog in terms they could understand?

To me this is the real problem of presented by Contact.

And science, while attempting to quantify all this with numbers and radio telescopes and other geeky stuff fails to grasp the fundamental problem:

If I cannot communicate about myself to a dog why would I expect an advanced alien race to be able to communicate to me about itself?

Quite honestly we are looking in all the wrong places - outward instead of inward.

We take our simple science rules and declare them as the lingua franca of the Universe.

Listen - see - no one is there.

Why would aliens care about us?  Certainly I care about my dogs because they are my pets.  But what about dogs in general?  Do you think they really "care" as a species about humans?  If we all vanished would they really notice (save for pets who would forget as soon as they were hungry enough).

We're like ghosts to them - we cross paths but as a race our existence is probably completely meaningless to them.

Yet think about this.  In my lifetime man has domesticated foxes (see this).  Simple breeding and selection in nine (count'm nine) generations.

When science can tell my why this is so and why there is such a relationship apparently built in and readily accessible between foxes and man (or dogs and man) I will be more interested.

If I were looking for an alien message that might be a good place to start...

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