Re: seti@home and scientists

Daniel J. Boone (
Thu, 8 Jul 1999 13:17:51 -0800

-----Original Message-----
From: Sasha Chislenko <> To: <> Date: Thursday, July 08, 1999 12:15 PM
Subject: Re: seti@home and scientists

<snip Kuhn quote>

>If scientists - the people who are supposed to be best in subjecting
>theories to rational unbiased scrutiny - are guilty of that, what can you
>expect from the rest of humans?

No more, no less. Most people are stuck in their ruts, scientists or not.


>The value of science is also in choosing the most promising theories to
>pursue. The idea of God is also plausible, it just seems to be not
>sufficiently probable, given available evidence, and thus not good
>for investigation.

But choosing promising theories is, ultimately, a guess, guided by intuition as well as by the existing body of knowledge. If the Seti@home folks have chosen a theory that seems less promising than another theory dear to extropians, we may think them misguided in their assessment of probabilities, but we really don't know they have chosen poorly until they do their experiment and someone else does the one extroprians deem more promising. Refusing to waste one's effort on their seeming folly is one thing; deriding it as utterly pointless is quite another, more apparently arrogant thing.

>Why don't they support transhumanism if they want to understand what the
>advanced intelligence may be, instead of looking for something they are
>not likely to find, and not interested in understanding.

Couldn't tell you. Perhaps they dunno transhumanism from transisters? It's not exactly a fully-entrenched meme, plus it seems to suffer from a lunatic fringe that gets more attention than the serious transhumanist thinkers.

Seriously, I would guess the experimental design of most SETI projects is constrained by the Proxmirish "these looneys are looking for Bug-Eyed Monsters!" reaction they always get in the press. Traditional SETI has a well-developed set of answers to this sort of sensationalist reporting. A SETI program informed by the conclusions of transhumanism would, to the general populace not so informed, seem even more loony, and would find it harder to attract and keep the attention of "serious" (i.e., leery of association with the unusual) scientists.