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Why SETI Doesn't Work

Seth Shostak reviews the common objections. I think the third proposed answer is the most interesting:

The aliens don't want to communicate with us. Look at what we're doing to the planet!

That one has some legs, but I'm not sure the aliens' reticence is necessarily caused by our lack of environmental hygiene. Let's explore some alternate explanations:

  1. The aliens don't want to communicate with us. They've been monitoring Jerry Springer and Montel for years and feel that they know us well enough.

  2. The aliens don't want to communicate with us. It's our hairstyles (and shoes.) If only we knew enough to be embarrassed.

  3. The aliens don't want to communicate with us. They're miffed at the way they're portrayed in films and on TV, especially all those weird ears and facial ridges on Star Trek.

  4. The aliens don't want to communicate with us. They were just about to, but then we re-elected George Bush.

  5. The aliens don't want to communicate with us. And we should know why they're mad. They shouldn't have to tell us. That is just so typical of us.

Other possible reasons are welcome.


They tried to communicate with us by sending a friendly greeting on all subspace frequencies. The fact that we haven't responded proves just how stuck up humans are.

Comedy aside, I find this sort of comment annoying because the writer/speaker is making the assumption the world, in its current form, is a Bad Place.

I would bet if you dug a little deeper, you would find the motivations of this comment stem from the "feeling" that we are despoiling the planet and that "unbridled" capitalism is the reason.

Or, that we are unapologetic warmongers and don't deserve the enlghtenment contact with an alien society would bring.

I get annoyed because the personalities behind these comments are misanthropic and self loathing. We pay far too much attention to them.

How about:

The aliens think we're just amateurs at war, and not worth bothering with.

They're disgusted by this 'morality' thing we have, and want nothing to do with us.

They've got a food allergy for human meat.

They think anyone who hasn't paved over their planet is just a useless dead end primitive with a biosphere fetish.

"Better All the Time".

Many don't realize just how good we have got it. Could we improve - absolutely!

But the self-loathers have no constructive ideas to add and take pleasure in attempting to drag us all down.

BTW, Paul, I would wager your first point is probably the closest to the truth. If there is a spacefaring civilization out there, their warmaking abilities probably put ours to shame.

Jasperpants is telling you what I have tried to tell you, albeit more generally, in my previous comments.

I guess we'll just have to wait and see if you're willing to hear it from another source.

However, considering your patent display of BDS, I find myself rather less than hopeful towards the possibility.

Acksiom --

BDS = Bush Derangement Syndrome, I take it?

I think I see the problem, now. My writing style is simply too obfuscatory. If you can come away from that post thinking I have some huge issue with President Bush, there's no hope. Lord knows what I might be accidentally implying in all my other entries.

This blog is just not worth your time, Acksiom. It's too badly written.


For your own sake.

Stop reading The Speculist.

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