Science, Religion, and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence

Author: David Wilkinson

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 019166961X

Category: Science

Page: 240

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If the discovery of life elsewhere in the universe is just around the corner, what would be the consequences for religion? Would it represent another major conflict between science and religion, even leading to the death of faith? Some would suggest that the discovery of any suggestion of extraterrestrial life would have a greater impact than even the Copernican and Darwinian revolutions. It is now over 50 years since the first modern scientific papers were published on the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). Yet the religious implications of this search and possible discovery have never been systematically addressed in the scientific or theological arena. SETI is now entering its most important era of scientific development. New observation techniques are leading to the discovery of extra-solar planets daily, and the Kepler mission has already collected over 1000 planetary candidates. This deluge of data is transforming the scientific and popular view of the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence. Earth-like planets outside of our solar system can now be identified and searched for signs of life. Now is a crucial time to assess the scientific and theological questions behind this search. This book sets out the scientific arguments undergirding SETI, with particular attention to the uncertainties in arguments and the strength of the data already assembled. It assesses not only the discovery of planets but other areas such as the Fermi paradox, the origin and evolution of intelligent life, and current SETI strategies. In all of this it reflects on how these questions are shaped by history and pop culture and their relationship with religion, especially Christian theology. It is argued that theologians need to take seriously SETI and to examine some central doctrines such as creation, incarnation, revelation, and salvation in the light of the possibility of extraterrestrial life.

Extraterrestrial Intelligence and Human Imagination

SETI at the Intersection of Science, Religion, and Culture

Author: John Traphagan

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 3319105515

Category: Science

Page: 110

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The search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) represents one of the most significant crossroads at which the assumptions and methods of scientific inquiry come into direct contact with—and in many cases conflict with—those of religion. Indeed, at the core of SETI is the same question that motivates many interested in religion: What is the place of humanity in the universe? Both scientists involved with SETI (and in other areas) and those interested in and dedicated to some religious traditions are engaged in contemplating these types of questions, even if their respective approaches and answers differ significantly. This book explores this intersection with a focus on three core points: 1) the relationship between science and religion as it is expressed within the framework of SETI research, 2) the underlying assumptions, many of which are tacitly based upon cultural values common in American society, that have shaped the ways in which SETI researchers have conceptualized the nature of their endeavor and represented ideas about the potential influence contact might have on human civilization, and 3) what sort of empirical evidence we might be able to access as a way of thinking about the social impact that contact with alien intelligence might have for humanity, from both religious and cultural perspectives. The book developed as a result of a course the author teaches at the University of Texas at Austin: Religion, Science, and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence.

Beyond UFOs

The Search for Extraterrestrial Life and Its Astonishing Implications for Our Future

Author: Jeffrey Bennett

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 9781400838486

Category: Science

Page: 248

View: 1649

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The quest for extraterrestrial life doesn't happen only in science fiction. This book describes the startling discoveries being made in the very real science of astrobiology, an intriguing new field that blends astronomy, biology, and geology to explore the possibility of life on other planets. Jeffrey Bennett takes readers beyond UFOs to discuss some of the tantalizing questions astrobiologists grapple with every day: What is life and how does it begin? What makes a planet or moon habitable? Is there life on Mars or elsewhere in the solar system? How can life be recognized on distant worlds? Is it likely to be microbial, more biologically complex--or even intelligent? What would such a discovery mean for life here on Earth? Come along on this scientific adventure and learn the astonishing implications of discoveries made in this field for the future of the human race. Bennett, who believes that "science is a way of helping people come to agreement," explains how the search for extraterrestrial life can help bridge the divide that sometimes exists between science and religion, defuse public rancor over the teaching of evolution, and quiet the debate over global warming. He likens humanity today to a troubled adolescent teetering on the edge between self-destruction and a future of virtually limitless possibilities. Beyond UFOs shows why the very quest to find alien life can help us to grow up as a species and chart a course for the stars. In a new afterword, Bennett shares the most recent developments in extrasolar research, and discusses how they might further our quest to find alien life.

Vast Universe

Extraterrestrials and Christian Revelation

Author: Thomas F. O'Meara

Publisher: Liturgical Press

ISBN: 081468047X

Category: Religion

Page: 104

View: 4154

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If we have learned anything from recent advances in cosmology and astronomy, it is that we have only barely begun to comprehend the vastness of our universe and all that it contains. For Christians, this raises some fascinating questions: If there are intelligent beings out there, what would be their relationship to what Christianity claims is a special history on Earth of life with God? Would the fact of persons on other planets banish or modify our understanding of God? Would it reduce the importance of Jesus? What role might goodness and evil play in extraterrestrial civilizations? Might God have incarnated himself among other races of creatures, as he became incarnate as Jesus among us? Respectful of the sciences that disclose the reality of the universe, Thomas O'Meara wonders about good and evil, intelligence and freedom, revelation and life as they might exist in other galaxies. In this book, one possible aspect of the universe we live in meets the perspective of Christian revelation.

Is Anyone Out There?

The Scientific Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence

Author: Frank D. Drake,Dava Sobel

Publisher: Delta

ISBN: 9780385311229

Category: Astronomers

Page: 272

View: 3747

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The leader of NASA's controversial multimillion-dollar transglobal search for signs of extraterrestrial life pulls fact from fiction in this accessible and entertaining book. Essential reading for anyone concerned with the stirring prospect that We are not alone'.--Carl Sagan. Illustrations. 16-page photo insert.

Astrotheology

Science and Theology Meet Extraterrestrial Life

Author: Ted Peters,Martinez Hewlett,Joshua M. Moritz,Robert John Russell

Publisher: Wipf and Stock Publishers

ISBN: 1532606400

Category: Religion

Page: 502

View: 2301

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Astrotheology: Science and Theology Meet Extraterrestrial Life looks at both ends of the telescope: the unfathomable reaches of cosmic space and the excited stirrings within the human psyche. It takes a scientist to explain what we are looking at. It takes a theologian to understand who is doing the looking. This book's scientific authors update readers on astrobiology's search for extraterrestrial life. Theologians add to the science a theological analysis of the place of space in understanding God's creative work, the prospects of sharing God's creation with extraterrestrial neighbors, and the question of whether one or many incarnations are required for cosmic redemption. Finally, these scholars lay the foundations for an ethic of space exploration. This book introduces a comprehensive astrotheology with an accompanying astroethic.

Religions and Extraterrestrial Life

How Will We Deal With It?

Author: David A. Weintraub

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 3319050567

Category: Religion

Page: 234

View: 9452

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In the twenty-first century, the debate about life on other worlds is quickly changing from the realm of speculation to the domain of hard science. Within a few years, as a consequence of the rapid discovery by astronomers of planets around other stars, astronomers very likely will have discovered clear evidence of life beyond the Earth. Such a discovery of extraterrestrial life will change everything. Knowing the answer as to whether humanity has company in the universe will trigger one of the greatest intellectual revolutions in history, not the least of which will be a challenge for at least some terrestrial religions. Which religions will handle the discovery of extraterrestrial life with ease and which will struggle to assimilate this new knowledge about our place in the universe? Some religions as currently practiced appear to only be viable on Earth. Other religions could be practiced on distant worlds but nevertheless identify both Earth as a place and humankind as a species of singular spiritual religious importance, while some religions could be practiced equally well anywhere in the universe by any sentient beings. Weintraub guides readers on an invigorating tour of the world’s most widely practiced religions. It reveals what, if anything, each religion has to say about the possibility that extraterrestrial life exists and how, or if, a particular religion would work on other planets in distant parts of the universe.

The Eerie Silence

Renewing Our Search for Alien Intelligence

Author: Paul Davies

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

ISBN: 0547488491

Category: Science

Page: 256

View: 4335

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One of the world’s leading scientists explains why—and how—the search for intelligent life beyond Earth should be expanded. Fifty years ago, a young astronomer named Frank Drake first pointed a radio telescope at nearby stars in the hope of picking up a signal from an alien civilization. Thus began one of the boldest scientific projects in history, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). After a half-century of scanning the skies, however, astronomers have little to report but an eerie silence—eerie because many scientists are convinced that the universe is teeming with life. Physicist and astrobiologist Paul Davies has been closely involved with SETI for three decades and chairs the SETI Post-Detection Taskgroup, charged with deciding what to do if we’re suddenly confronted with evidence of alien intelligence. He believes the search so far has fallen into an anthropocentric trap—assuming that an alien species will look, think, and behave much like us. In this provocative book Davies refocuses the search, challenging existing ideas of what form an alien intelligence might take, how it might try to communicate with us, and how we should respond if it does.

Life on Other Worlds

The 20th-Century Extraterrestrial Life Debate

Author: Steven J. Dick

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 9780521799126

Category: Science

Page: 290

View: 2542

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Lucid and accessible, this otherworldly guide chronicles the history of the 20th century obsession with extraterrestrials.

Life as We Do Not Know It

The NASA Search for (and Synthesis of) Alien Life

Author: Peter Ward

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 1440628564

Category: Science

Page: 320

View: 6754

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An engrossing and revelatory first look at the search for alien life—on Earth and beyond For the past twenty years, Peter Ward has been at the forefront of popular science writing, with books such as the influential and controversial Rare Earth. In Life as We Do Not Know It, Ward, with his signature blend of eloquence, humor, and learned insight, vividly details the latest scientific findings, cutting-edge research, and intrepid new theories on the subject of alien life and the possible extraterrestrial origins of life on Earth. In lucid, entertaining, and bold prose, Peter Ward once again challenges our notions of life on earth (and beyond).

Alien Universe

Extraterrestrial Life in Our Minds and in the Cosmos

Author: Don Lincoln

Publisher: JHU Press

ISBN: 1421410737

Category: Science

Page: 208

View: 3719

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If extraterrestrials exist, where are they? What is the probability that somewhere out there in the universe an Earth-like planet supports an advanced culture? Why do so many people claim to have encountered Aliens? In this gripping exploration, scientist Don Lincoln exposes and explains the truths about the belief in and the search for life on other planets. In the first half of Alien Universe, Lincoln looks to Western civilization's collective image of Aliens, showing how our perceptions of extraterrestrials have evolved over time. The roots of this belief can be traced as far back as our earliest recognition of other planets in the universe—the idea of them supporting life was a natural progression of thinking that has fascinated us ever since. Our captivation with Aliens has, however, led to mixed results. The world was fooled in the nineteenth century during the Great Moon Hoax of 1835, and many people misunderstood, with calamitous results, Orson Welles's 1938 radio broadcast, The War of the Worlds. Our continuing interest in Aliens is reflected in entertainment successes such as E.T., The X-Files, and Star Trek. The second half of Alien Universe explores the scientific possibility of whether advanced Alien civilizations do exist. For many years, researchers have sought to answer Enrico Fermi’s great paradox—if there are so many planets in the universe and there is a high probability that many of those can support life, then why have we not actually encountered any Aliens? (Apologies to those who are sure we have.) Lincoln describes how modern science teaches us what is possible and what is not in our search for extraterrestrial civilizations. Whether you are drawn to the psychological belief in Aliens, the history of our interest in life on other planets, or the scientific possibility of Alien existence, Alien Universe is sure to hold you spellbound. -- Jocelyne DiRuggiero, Johns Hopkins University

Aliens

The World's Leading Scientists on the Search for Extraterrestrial Life

Author: Jim Al-Khalili

Publisher: Picador

ISBN: 1250109655

Category: Science

Page: 224

View: 2926

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In these lively and fascinating essays, scientists from around the world weigh in on the latest advances in the search for intelligent life in the universe and discuss just what that might look like. Since 2000, science has seen a surge in data and interest on several fronts related to E.T. (extraterrestrials); A.I. (artificial intelligence); and SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence). The debate has intensified over whether life exists outside our solar system, what that life would look like, and whether we’ll ever make contact. Included here are essays from a broad spectrum of the scientific community: cosmologists, astrophysicists, NASA planetary scientists, and geneticists, to name just a few, discussing the latest research and theories relating to alien life. Some of the topics include: If life exists somewhere in space, what are the odds that it evolves into something we would recognize as intelligent? What will space travel look like in the future, and will it all be done by cyborg technology? How long until we are ruled by robot overlords? (This is actually a serious consideration.) Are we simply a simulation in the mind of some supreme being, acting out a virtual reality game? For those who have ever wondered, Is there anybody out there? here are the latest theories and evidence that move us closer to answering that question.

Alien Life

The Search For Extraterrestrials And Beyond

Author: Barry Parker

Publisher: Basic Books

ISBN: 0786750405

Category: Science

Page: 264

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"Parker has done an outstanding job of pulling together the current scientific understanding of life on Earth and the possibilities of life elsewhere."--Christopher P. McKay, Research Scientist, NASA Ames Research Center

Seti Pioneers

Scientists Talk About Their Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence

Author: David W. Swift

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9780816514083

Category:

Page: 434

View: 6590

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Civilizations Beyond Earth

Extraterrestrial Life and Society

Author: Douglas A. Vakoch,Albert A. Harrison

Publisher: Berghahn Books

ISBN: 0857452126

Category: Social Science

Page: 240

View: 4082

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Astronomers around the world are pointing their telescopes toward the heavens, searching for signs of intelligent life. If they make contact with an advanced alien civilization, how will humankind respond? In thinking about first contact, the contributors to this volume present new empirical and theoretical research on the societal dimensions of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). Archaeologists and astronomers explore the likelihood that extraterrestrial intelligence exists, using scientific insights to estimate such elusive factors as the longevity of technological societies. Sociologists present the latest findings of novel surveys, tapping into the public's attitudes about life beyond Earth to show how religion and education influence beliefs about extraterrestrials. Scholars from such diverse disciplines as mathematics, chemistry, journalism, and religious studies offer innovative solutions for bridging the cultural gap between human and extraterrestrial civilizations, while recognizing the tremendous challenges of communicating at interstellar distances. At a time when new planets are being discovered around other stars at an unprecedented rate, this collection provides a much needed guide to the human impact of discovering we are not alone in the universe.

SETI 2020

A Roadmap for the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence

Author: Ronald D. Ekers,D. Kent Cullers

Publisher: S E T I Press

ISBN: 9780966633535

Category: Body, Mind & Spirit

Page: 549

View: 3084

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If you are interested in how researchers plan to search the heavens for signs of intelligent life, you should have this book. SETI 2020 is a new, and remarkably comprehensive study of how scientists busy with the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) should direct their efforts between now and the year 2020. Distilling the work of dozens of top SETI experts, astronomers, and technology mavens, this book gives an overview of the problem of finding evidence for extraterrestrial technologies, and how to best address it. New radio telescopes consisting of large arrays of relatively small antennas are proposed and detailed. So are new types of antennas that can survey the entire sky at once. Of particular interest is the extensive treatment of optical SETI -- the search for signals beamed our way using high-powered, pulsed lasers or their equivalent. A book that's interesting for both the layman and the technically sophisticated, SETI 2020 is the definitive publication in this fascinating field.

Sharing the Universe

Perspectives on Extraterrestrial Life

Author: G. Seth Shostak,Seth G. Shostak

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9780965377430

Category: Science

Page: 206

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Examines recent scientific discoveries that suggest there may be other life forms in the universe

Contact

Author: Carl Sagan

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 0671004107

Category: Fiction

Page: 434

View: 3793

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In 1999, a multinational team of astronauts ventures deep into outer space, where they come face to face with an advanced alien civilization, in a tie-in to the new blockbuster film. Reissue. Movie tie-in.

Waiting for Contact

The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence

Author: Lawrence Squeri

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9780813062143

Category: History

Page: 233

View: 2049

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Why do we pursue the quest for alien life? "A cogent, engaging history of humanity's most ambitious quest--seeking outward for other minds."--David Brin, author of Existence "A fascinating perspective on humankind's obsession for knowing if there is anyone else out there."--Gerrit Verschuur, author of The Invisible Universe: The Story of Radio Astronomy Imagine a network of extraterrestrials in radio contact with each other across the universe, superior beings who hail from advanced civilizations quadrillions of miles away, just waiting for Earth to tune in. Some people believe it's only a matter of time before we discover the right "station." Waiting for Contact tells the story of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) movement, which emerged in 1959 as new technological developments turned what once was speculation into science: astronomers began using radio telescopes to listen for messages from space. Boosted by support from Frank Drake, Philip Morrison, and Carl Sagan, the SETI movement gained followers and continues to capture imaginations today. In this one-of-a-kind history, Lawrence Squeri looks at the people, the reasons, the goals, and the mindsets behind SETI. He shows how it started as an expression of the times, a way out of Cold War angst into hope for a better world. SETI's early advocates thought that with guidance from technically and ethically advanced outsiders, humanity might learn how to avoid horrors like World Wars I and II, the Great Depression, and the threat of nuclear annihilation. Squeri also describes the challenges SETI has faced over the years: the struggle to be taken seriously by the scientific community and by NASA, competition for access to radio telescopes, perpetual lack of funding, and opposition by the government. Yet--lest readers be tempted into similar skepticism--he points out that if, against all expectations, the embattled SETI movement finally succeeds, the long-awaited first signal picked up by its radio antennas would usher in the greatest shift in human history.