By Douglas A. Vakoch

Extraterrestrial Altruism examines a uncomplicated assumption of the quest for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI): that extraterrestrials might be transmitting messages to us for our profit. this query of even if extraterrestrials may be altruistic has develop into more and more very important lately as SETI scientists have all started considering transmissions from Earth to make contact.

Technological civilizations that transmit signs for the advantage of others, yet with out quick achieve for themselves, definitely appear to be altruistic. yet does this make organic experience? should still we predict altruism to adapt in the course of the cosmos, or is that this in simple terms wishful considering? Is it harmful to ship messages to different worlds, as Stephen Hawking has steered, or may possibly humankind take advantage of an alternate with intelligence in different places within the galaxy? might extraterrestrial societies be in accordance with assorted moral rules, or might we see commonalities with Earthly notions of morality? Extraterrestrial Altruism explores those and similar questions about the motivations of civilizations past Earth, delivering new insights which are severe for SETI.

Chapters are authored by way of prime students from diversified disciplines—anthropology, astronomy, biology, chemistry, laptop technology, cosmology, engineering, background of technology, legislation, philosophy, psychology, public coverage, and sociology. The ebook is punctiliously edited via Douglas Vakoch, Director of Interstellar Message Composition on the SETI Institute and professor of medical psychology on the California Institute of critical reports. The Foreword is by means of Frank Drake.

This interdisciplinary booklet will gain all people attempting to comprehend even if evolution and ethics are particular to Earth, or whether or not they are outfitted into the cloth of the universe.

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Additional info for Extraterrestrial Altruism: Evolution and Ethics in the Cosmos (The Frontiers Collection)

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Presumably, members of an extraterrestrial civilization capable of reaching Earth would be highly curious— a quality that would be necessary to practice the science that led to their advanced technological development (Webb 2000). After all, curiosity is a sine qua non of science. On Earth, human scientists are intensely interested in lower life forms, such as insects; it would logically seem to follow that aliens would be interested in other life forms as well. In fact, some scientists have even speculated that our solar system has been cordoned off and functions as a ‘‘zoo’’ in the natural development of our planet is allowed to occur (Webb 2000).

Then, in ‘‘The Precautionary Principle: Egoism, Altruism, and the Active SETI Debate,’’ Adam Korbitz discusses the Precautionary Principle. Applied to SETI, this principle suggests that since we really know nothing of other civilizations that might be ‘‘out there’’ the wisest strategy is to protect ourselves by remaining inconspicuous. We should avoid transmissions to distant stars, and, if we should receive a message, we should not respond. Korbitz 18 A. A. Harrison questions the value of the Precautionary Principle, at least in its strong form.

To advance beyond Type I status, Freeman Dyson (1960) theorized that a hypothetical megastructure could be employed to encompass a star as a system of orbiting solar power satellites to capture most of a star’s energy output. Constructing such a device—a Dyson sphere—would be a gargantuan engineering undertaking, but theoretically possible. Dyson conjectured that an alien civilization could tear apart planets and asteroids to use as the material to build the necessary structures (Davies 2010). A Type III civilization might also be able to harness energy by building a device around a spinning black hole, which would release far more energy than a star can through nuclear fusion.

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