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Space The Almighty Buck Science

SETI Finds Funds For the Allen Telescope Array (For Now) 137

Posted by timothy
from the for-all-time-is-a-little-loftier dept.
Ransak writes "It looks as if SETI has met its short term funding goal to restart the Allen Telescope Array. Is crowdsourcing the long term future of pure research projects?"
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SETI Finds Funds For the Allen Telescope Array (For Now)

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 07, 2011 @01:38AM (#37012546)

    It certainly indicates that there is a very healthy support on the ground for scientific research endeavours such as this. Could the same thing be said for research projects that are a little dryer? Who can say...

    Despite that I am very happy for SETI to have received this funding and I am looking forward to seeing more fresh data coming from this project. Even more so that they did not need to shut down the cryogenic components.

  • by 7-Vodka (195504) on Sunday August 07, 2011 @03:22AM (#37012788) Journal
    Welcome to the libertarian viewpoint. We do away with income tax and you get to spend your money on things you care about. Put it to use where it's most efficient.

    Fund a telescope array, feed the needy, keep non-profit hospitals open, invest in the local electric car startups, go part time at work and volunteer at the local EFF. I'm willing to bet you can spend your money better than the government can. Crowdsourcing could be the way of the future of the government would just get off your backs.

    No more bridges to nowhere and tax refunds for G.E.
    No more occupations, murder and wars.

  • by Arlet (29997) on Sunday August 07, 2011 @03:44AM (#37012832)

    I'm willing to bet you can spend your money better than the government can

    Yes, for some things. The free market is excellent at solving some problems. Government is good at solving other problems, and usually government programs are created after people notice that the free market isn't taking care of it.

  • Riiiight... and if we took your profound advice, every stretch of road would be owned by some corporation, there would be no "highway neutrality", and we'd wind up paying multiple tolls to drive anywhere... because the government wouldn't be allowed to tax anyone to collectively buy off the builders of the roads for the ownership (and CONTROL) of them. Who do you suppose paid for all the roads you traverse every single day for free? The government... WITH TAXES. Exactly how would you propose crowdsourcing our streets and national highway system?

    Why do you think we're having these endless debates about "network neutrality" now? It's precisely because the government - WE - didn't insist on retaining ownership of all the telegraph, telephone, and telecommunications wires that companies like AT&T have been laying for more than a century. It's shared infrastructure, just like highways, and it should have been our government - us - paying to retain ownership (and control) of those wires... with taxes If we had done that, we wouldn't be worrying about network neutrality now because the wires would be TRULY neutral.

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Sunday August 07, 2011 @04:56AM (#37013050) Journal

    SETI is perfectly scientific. You have a hypothesis ("There is intelligent life in the universe trying to communicate with us."), and conduct an experiment to test it.

    So, if SETI is scientific, what outcome of the experiment would falsify their hypothesis? It is equally scientific to hypothesise that God exists and is watching us and test it by the experiment of staring at the sky and trying to spot him.

    A real scientific theory makes predictions that can either be supported or contradicted by experiment. SETI makes no falsifiable predictions, and is therefore faith, not science.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 07, 2011 @06:02AM (#37013216)

    A real scientific theory makes predictions that can either be supported or contradicted by experiment. SETI makes no falsifiable predictions, and is therefore faith, not science.

    I think you have an overly black and white view of the way science works. It's rarely as simple as "we run experiment X and if we see (do not see) Y then we accept (reject) theory Z.". Often you can only make statements like "given assumptions A, B, C we can excluded this region of parameter space of theory Z at the 95% confidence level." That doesn't mean theory Z is unscientific or that the experiment is worthless.

  • by grumbel (592662) <grumbel@gmx.de> on Sunday August 07, 2011 @08:49AM (#37013736) Homepage

    And yes, SETI is about as scientific as Intelligent Design.

    That's bullshit. SETI does not proclaim that alien live exist, it doesn't proclaim anything. SETI is simply looking for it and they aren't exactly hiding the fact that they haven't found anything. In so far its not much different from a biologist or archaeologist running through a jungle or desert looking for interesting things, he might find something or not.

    Intelligent Design is vastly different, as they proclaim to already have the answer and then try to support it with fraudulent evidence, ignoring a far better theory that already explains everything they try to explain.

    The whole fundament of SETI is a belief that something must be out there, with no better theoretical basis than the Drake Equation.

    It's not a believe, its an assumption that there might be something out there and you can't know how false or true it is until you start looking. Also the Drake Equation isn't the theoretical basis for SETI, its not even a theory in the first place, its just a fancy why of saying "I wonder how likely intelligent live would be?". It was meant to foster discussion on a conference some decades ago, not hard science.

  • by denzacar (181829) on Sunday August 07, 2011 @08:57AM (#37013756) Journal

    Shouldn't the "invisible hand of the market" have fixed this?

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