Extraterrestrial Intelligence and Human Imagination: SETI at by John Traphagan

By John Traphagan

The look for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) represents probably the most major crossroads at which the assumptions and strategies of medical inquiry come into direct touch with—and in lots of circumstances clash with—those of faith. certainly, on the center of SETI is identical query that motivates many attracted to faith: what's the position of humanity within the universe? either scientists concerned with SETI (and in different parts) and people attracted to and devoted to a few non secular traditions are engaged in considering most of these questions, no matter if their respective ways and solutions range considerably. This publication explores this intersection with a spotlight on 3 middle issues: 1) the connection among technology and faith because it is expressed in the framework of SETI study, 2) the underlying assumptions, lots of that are tacitly established upon cultural values universal in American society, that experience formed the ways that SETI researchers have conceptualized the character in their exercise and represented principles in regards to the capability effect touch may have on human civilization, and three) what kind of empirical facts we would be ready to entry as a fashion of puzzling over the social effect that touch with alien intelligence may need for humanity, from either spiritual and cultural views. The e-book constructed because of a direction the writer teaches on the college of Texas at Austin: faith, technological know-how, and the hunt for Extraterrestrial Intelligence.

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The conceptual geography of the Earth shrank with new technologies like radio and air travel, and along with it the conceptual geography of the universe shrank as it became possible to imagine a universe in which alien intelligences might travel to Earth and, eventually, we might travel to their worlds as well. World War II, of course, accelerated the pace of technological innovation via the creation of jet airplanes, V1 and V2 rockets, and nuclear bombs, among many less visible innovations generated out of necessity during the conflict.

And von Braun himself was occasionally accused of being a nutcase due to his insistence on the idea that humans would travel into space. 1 38 3 Are We Alone? The Emergence of SETI humanity. It is striking when one watches movies from this era the extent to which Americans, at least, were unaware of the truly daunting challenges involved with space travel—rarely are the kinds of distances involved in travel to other planets in the solar system, let alone other stars, accurately represented, usually being vastly under-estimated, with aliens arriving at earth from planets 10, 20, or 100 million miles away, but clearly not from our solar system.

1 The launch of Sputnik, as well as earlier technological achievements such as breaking the sound barrier in 1947 by Chuck Yeager in the Bell X-1, provided evidence in the public discourse that the stars might be within reach of This is not to say that everyone thought humans would, or should, travel to space. Bob Ward (2005: 88–89), in his biography of Wernher von Braun, notes that many Americans thought that it was either impossible to go to the Moon or that it was somehow contrary to the Bible and, thus, against the wishes of the Christian god for humans to depart the planet.

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