Photo: Courtesy NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center

Ever heard of the SETI Post Detection Taskgroup?  With its Thunderbirds esque title it sounds awfully official. This “taskgroup” is essentially a thinktank comprised of various astrobiologists and SETI scientists. It’s ultimately a toothless entity which is setup to  discuss what on earth we’re all supposed to do if we’re suddenly confronted with a signal of  alien origin.  So what are their objectives?

  1. The SETI Post-Detection Taskgroup exists under the authority of the SETI Permanent Study Group (SPSG) and will report to it annually.
  2. The purpose of the taskgroup is to prepare, reflect on, manage, advise, and consult in preparation for and upon the discovery of a putative signal of extraterrestrial intelligent (ETI) origin.
  3. The Taskgroup is empowered to call upon other consultants for specialist help.
  4. The membership of the Taskgroup shall be interdisciplinary and international.
  5. Membership of the Taskgroup will be as deemed necessary by the chair.
  6. The chair of the Taskgroup will be appointed by the SPSG, and the chair may appoint one or more deputies as he/she sees fit.
  7. The Taskgroup aims the raise the profile of SETI

The chairman Paul Davies, is a physicist, cosmologist, and astrobiologist at Arizona State University. He’s also the author of a new book – “The Eerie Silence: Renewing Our Search for Alien Intelligence“. Davies, along with a growing number of commentators agree that SETI is more or less a waste of time, hoping that somehow a signal on a narrow band traveling with limited power and speed would ever be intercepted and decoded by other intelligences. We agree on this at least.

 

In an interview posted to his Amazon page he responds to a question in UFOs:

 

“Do you dismiss all the UFO stories?” -  A: “I am not casually dismissive of the UFO stories. Most reports are not made by crackpots or liars, but by people who have had a genuinely puzzling or frightening experience. I have studied the subject very closely over many years. My conclusion is that although the experiences are real enough (in the minds of the witnesses at least), they have nothing to do with alien intelligence. There is no reason that aliens should be visiting Earth now, as opposed to at any other time over the last few billion years, and none of the stories I hear about today differ much from those I personally investigated 40 years ago. Ufology is stuck in a rut too!”

 

If Davies has indeed studied the subject “very closely” over many years as he says, then it’s impossible to understand how he appears to be so out of touch by arriving at the frighteningly absurd conclusion that “they have nothing to do with alien intelligence”. A statement Michio Kaku would have been proud of.

 

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