Re: Contacting God

Scott Badger (
Tue, 21 Apr 1998 23:13:19 -0500

>The book was quite a bit different. There was a team of travelers, no
>terrorists, no second machine, and the group was sequestered after their
>return for fear of what they would tell the world. I guess since Carl Sagan
>was dead, they had greater 'artistic license'...
>Chuck Kuecker

I don't have the book right here to refer to, but as I recall there was in
fact more than one nation attempting to build a machine and get "there"
first. The coolest thing that was in the book that wasn't in the film was
near the end. We were instructed to run out the value of pi (sp?...22 / 7 =
3.141........) out as far as we could. As all of you recall, it is a
non-repeating decimal. A program was designed to monitor the run for any
non-random deviations. After pi was calculated out to millions or billions
of places a binary sequence of numbers suddenly started appearing (1's and
0's) creating a message. The idea being that "God" had chosen to provide us
with irrefutable evidence of his existence by placing a message inside of a
geometric constant that any advanced civilization would discover. That's
heavy. To think that there's a message from a superior being hidden
somewhere in the fabric of the universe for those advanced enough to
discover it. Too heavy for the film version, I guess. Actually, I'm a bit
surprised to see this plot point given Sagan's book, The Demon Haunted
World. How could he summarily reject superstitious nonsense and retain some
belief in a supernatural being that creates puzzles for us to solve?

One of the latest stories on the news is about the Hubble's discovery of a
group of planets forming around a star and how this will affect our
expectations that extraterrestrials exist. I, personally, have sided with
Robin Hanson and have grave doubts that there anyone else is out there.
There may, in fact, be no one to contact. It may well be us who are
eventually "contacted" by others. If we make it.

Scott Badger