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Study: Earthlings Not Ready For Alien Encounters, Yet 453

astroengine (1577233) writes "The people of planet Earth would be wise to raise their cosmic consciousness prior to contact with an extraterrestrial civilization, a new study shows. 'The scientific community now accepts to some degree that this contact may occur in the next 50 to 100 years,' said Gabriel De la Torre, a clinical neuropsychologist and human factors specialist at the University of Cádiz in Spain. 'Consequently, we are becoming more concerned about this possibility and its aftermath Certainly the topic of contact with extraterrestrial civilizations raises a number of questions that are not easy to answer. We estimate that this type of event will have not only a social effect, but also on both consciousness and biology as well.' Although we may not have the necessary social skill set to deal with an encounter of the third kind, scientists or astronauts might make the best candidates for the first alien conversation."
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Study: Earthlings Not Ready For Alien Encounters, Yet

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  • by rubycodez ( 864176 ) on Thursday May 08, 2014 @08:07PM (#46954945)

    based on scanning we are doing of star systems out to thousands of light years? even if we find a sign of ET intelligent life, we have light-centuries to light-millennia of speed-of-light buffer time to protect ourselves after "they" discover our presence, before "contact" of any kind could be made

  • Study? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Irate Engineer ( 2814313 ) on Thursday May 08, 2014 @08:08PM (#46954949)
    What was this based on? Did the PI rent Independence Day from Redbox last week and suddenly get an idea to spin a humanities degree into notoriety?

    Stuff that *might* happen *might* lead to other stuff that *might* happen.

    Slashdot makes me want to throw my laptop against the wall and punch people. Gahhh....
  • by Rinikusu ( 28164 ) on Thursday May 08, 2014 @08:15PM (#46955013)

    And where are they getting their data?

  • by TheNarrator ( 200498 ) on Thursday May 08, 2014 @08:24PM (#46955063)

    That assumes that we know as much physics as they do. They might be using some medium to communicate that we haven't even discovered yet.

  • by Lost Race ( 681080 ) on Thursday May 08, 2014 @08:29PM (#46955095)

    The human race is incapable of being second fiddle to any other life form,

    Nonsense. Look back at history and see the millions of humans who allowed themselves to be enslaved, subjugated, or otherwise oppressed. Humans are excellent at playing second fiddle.

    And much of that oppression / subjugation / slavery was based on race or religion, so it doesn't particularly matter if the new overlords are some new kind of "alien", and it doesn't matter what our gods tell us about them. If they stomp their boots on our necks hard enough we will kneel before them.

  • Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cascadingstylesheet ( 140919 ) on Thursday May 08, 2014 @08:44PM (#46955213)

    'The scientific community now accepts to some degree that this contact may occur in the next 50 to 100 years,'

    Based on .... what, exactly? The complete, utter, absolute, comprehensive lack of any previous contact?

  • by swell ( 195815 ) <jabberwock@ p o> on Thursday May 08, 2014 @08:50PM (#46955245)

    - The scientific community now accepts to some degree -
    - a clinical neuropsychologist and human factors specialist -

    While some may prefer citations
    and some may prefer credentials that include some basic science skills,
    others will be happy to forge ahead with imaginative fantasies.

  • by sinij ( 911942 ) on Thursday May 08, 2014 @10:06PM (#46955703)

    We are not going to encounter any aliens until we are ourselves are past great filter. If we make it past great filtering, than social, evolutionary, and environmental factors imposing change on humanity over time-frames involved in below-speed-of-light space travel will produce plenty of "aliens". They will be our descendants but they will be nothing like us.

  • by Ironlenny ( 1181971 ) on Thursday May 08, 2014 @10:09PM (#46955717)
    How can “The scientific community now accepts to some degree that this contact may occur in the next 50 to 100 years.” be true if we haven't even established that there is life outside of Earth!

    Then you have this tripe: "'Further, by means of self-consciousness, man becomes capable of treating his own mental states as objects of consciousness. The prime characteristic of cosmic consciousness is, as its name implies, a consciousness of the cosmos, that is, of the life and order of the universe,' De la Torre writes in a study published in the journal Acta Astronautica."

    I am very disappointed in you Slashdot.

  • by Wycliffe ( 116160 ) on Thursday May 08, 2014 @11:47PM (#46956193) Homepage

    If FTL travel is possible then FTL communication is possible and they would presumably be using some
    form of FTL communication channel which we have no knowledge of and therefore can't detect.

    If FTL travel is not possible then we are stuck on this rock and they on theirs and it doesn't really matter
    much if we discover another civilization 1000 light years away as interaction will be minimal.

    Anyone sufficiently advanced to communicate in any meaningful way we should be very very scared of
    because that means they are far far more advanced than we are. They either have FTL travel or some
    means of traveling great distances while we have neither.

  • by asifyoucare ( 302582 ) on Thursday May 08, 2014 @11:51PM (#46956207)
    But if they are to us as we are to slugs, how much empathy would they have then? I don't go out of my way to kill lower life forms, but I don't particularly care when I do. Probably an advanced life-form would be scientifically curious about life on earth, but if we were their hundredth similar planet and they wanted something from the planet, they'd just take it.
  • by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Thursday May 08, 2014 @11:59PM (#46956251) Journal

    With the number of stars in the sky, it's pretty clear that the number of intelligent civilizations out there has to be infinite.

    Nonsense. That's purely wishful thinking.

    We have precisely ONE example of abiogenesis. That's statistically insignificant, so we have NO POSSIBLE WAY to extrapolate out how likely or unlikely it is to happen anywhere else.

    We do not have any evidence that it happened a second time in the history of Earth, otherwise we'd see crazy branches in DNA trees. We have not made it happen in a lab, so that we'd have the faintest concept of how difficult it would be.

    We similarly have only one example of higher life-forms developing from the lower life-forms... Again, no sign in the DNA tree that it happened, independently, twice, so that might be a pretty rare and difficult thing, itself.

    And finally, we have just one example of those higher life-forms becoming sentient beings, in the form of humans. As smart as dolphins may be, they're not building radios or space ships. Same goes for millions of years of dinosaurs. Why don't we see left-over buildings constructed by smart, pre-human animals? Probably weren't any other sentiences on Earth.

    So there you've got 3-in-a-row long-shots... If each is a billion-to-one shot, the combined odds would be a stretch of happening more than once, even with trillions of planets out there. But that's just as much of a wild-assed guess as yours...

    It seems to be wishful thinking that people WANT to have, not just life, not just higher life-forms, and not just sentient life out there, but sentient life that's much more advanced than us. Creatures that are going to swoop in, give us advanced technology, and solve all our problems for us. No matter how little we know of the odds, many people will just keep assuming they're out there, because they WANT it to be true.

    Meanwhile, nobody has solved the Drake Equation, to actually give us the correct odds of either extreme.

  • by JRV31 ( 2962911 ) on Friday May 09, 2014 @12:15AM (#46956293)

    Our messages are transmitted over a carrier signal that is very obvious, even if the data is encrypted.

    It's more than just the encryption, you also need to figure out the alphabet. Even if you figure out that 01000001 means "A" what does "A" mean?

  • by Zebai ( 979227 ) on Friday May 09, 2014 @12:40AM (#46956375)

    I think I have to comment on this one. Say your right, there is 1 in 1,000,000,000 chance of even micro organisms being on another planet, and another 1 in billion of it being intelligent. That would still leave chances of life to be in the BILLIONS and we can't even see all of it because the light takes so long to travel the birth of distant stars from billions of years ago hasn't even reached us yet. As long as the chance is not 0% which it is not because we are here then some where in the universe there are other intelligent life forms however our chance of ever being able find them are equally infinitesimal.

  • by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Friday May 09, 2014 @01:03AM (#46956459)

    A SETI scientist said in a talk (and I've seen this in articles since) that our deployed SETI listening technology is still nowhere near sensitive enough to pick up signals even from as close as the nearest star (Proxima Centauri, 4 light years away), if a planet there was broadcasting RF at current Earth levels.

    It isn't the technology, it's just the hardware. Not the same thing. Saying you don't have a big enough wrench is not the same as saying you don't know how to build a bridge.

    In theory, if we can capture coherent pictures in the visible spectrum from many billions of light years away, we should be able to do the same with RF. It's not exactly the same but the basic principles are. It's just that nobody wants to spend the money. That's why we have things like the Very Large Array: nobody has the money to build a telescope that big so we find a cheaper way. That's different from not knowing how.

  • by amorsen ( 7485 ) <> on Friday May 09, 2014 @02:46AM (#46956831)

    Communications are likely to be point-to-point, and we only get to catch the signal if it randomly points at us for a moment.

    We emit lots of radar, and we could be easily detected that way, but military radar is going spread-spectrum or passive and civilian radar is relying more and more on active transponders. If we fixed our light pollution as well, intelligent life on Earth would be quite well hidden.

  • by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Friday May 09, 2014 @02:54AM (#46956857) Journal

    The Universe is NOT infinite. It is unimaginably, astronomically ginormous, but decidedly finite. If it was infinite, the Big Bang theory couldn't work.

    And since the Universe is finite, it's absolutely possible for odds to be so long, that something (or a series of interdependant somethings) is unlikely to have happened more than once. Whether that's true of advanced life remains to be seen, but is entirely possible.

  • by dnaumov ( 453672 ) on Friday May 09, 2014 @04:09AM (#46957117)

    You are looking at this in precisely the wrong way: there are countless and countless planets in the universe, as such, the odds of our planet being the only one to have civilization are extremely poor.

"Call immediately. Time is running out. We both need to do something monstrous before we die." -- Message from Ralph Steadman to Hunter Thompson