RE: seti@home WILL NOT WORK

Robert J. Bradbury (
Thu, 8 Jul 1999 10:07 PDT

> Rob Harris Cen-IT <> said:
> > You forget, negative results count in science too. Even if Seti@Home
> > firmly establishes that all the radio noise on whatever frequencies
> > they're scanning is meaningless noise, this at least gives us some firm
> > lower bounds regarding the probable distribution of technological
> > civilizations.
> >
> No way, they can't even draw this conclusion. They make the unbelieveable
> assumption that any similarly or more advanced civilisation will be using
> radio waves on a large scale (Like us). I'd like to know why everyone's so
> sure of the characteristics of entities we know squat about.

Rob is correct, the light bulb regarding optical SETI is slowly brightening (see, but they openly admit that fight is a very uphill battle. The original paper by Cocconi & Morrison on Radio-SETI and the obvious frequencies to examine was in 1959 (before the first lasers were demonstrated). High bandwidth optical communication was simply pre-empted by radio in people's minds because it got there first. An alien civilization might develop lasers before radio making them think radio was a silly thing to use.

There is a quote by perhaps Kuhn or Clarke (?) that in effect says that scientists never change their minds and that the only way new ideas are ever accepted is for the old generation to die off. [Does anyone know the actual source of this quote? Altavista seems almost useless...]