Author Touches On The Flaws In SETI
By James Donahue
A book by George Basalla, Civilized Life in the Universe:
Scientists on Intelligent Extraterrestrials, includes some interesting thoughts about why the author believes the SETI
program is flawed.
SETI, for those who do not know or need a reminder, is a
name for Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. This is a privately funded multi-million dollar research project that involves
positioning giant radio antennas that are constantly listening for signals from intelligent life in space. The program has
been operating since the origins of the American space program, in the 1960s.
To date, no messages from space have been recorded.
The root of the problem, Basalla writes, is that the science
behind SETI is flawed. That is because there is a religious sanction that populates the heavens with superior beings, and
something called anthropomorphism. The latter is the tendency to perceive and understand aliens in human terms.
We laud Basalla for touching upon these two important failures
in contemporary science.
He claims that those who believe that intelligent civilizations
exist in the universe are invoking, consciously or otherwise, religious beliefs that support the existence of life on other
worlds. These beliefs point to “superior celestial beings.” While celestial beings certainly exist, they are not
what most people perceive them to be.
Basalla argues that SETI is predicated on a number of assumptions
that extraterrestrial civilizations would develop and behave the same as our own culture, and thus would broadcast and receive
radio signals into and from the cosmos. He wrote that SETI scientists conclude that alien societies are little more than advanced
copies of ourselves.
This assumption is deeply flawed. What is especially troublesome
about the expenditure of so much money and effort into radio listening devices is that while these “professionals”
are out there, with their ears tuned to any unusual “pings” and “squeaks” that might be coming at
us from out of the cosmos, unidentified lights from alien craft are passing over our heads on an almost regular basis.
While they have been regularly seen, photographed and even
chased by military aircraft, the U.S. government has refused to acknowledge the possibility that these craft are alien ships
from other worlds.
We might suggest that something is wrong with our thinking
in this matter. On one hand we have a band of dedicated people listening for radio signals, expecting to someday find evidence
of life on other worlds. Yet when craft that obviously come to Earth from other worlds pass overhead in the night sky, we
refuse to acknowledge that we even saw them, let alone consider what they might be.
We also have the testimony from many people who say they
have not only been taken aboard these craft, but have come face-to-face with the entities operating them.
What better proof can there be that we are not alone in
It is obvious that aliens did not evolve like humans and
they have never utilized simple radio transmissions to communicate. From what we know of them to date, alien communication
is so advanced, they do it telepathically, possibly from billions of light years away.