Science and Culture Looking at ETs more Closely

Opening logo to the E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial...

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First it was Steven Hawking, then the Catholic church, now The Royal Society.

In the February 13th, 2011 edition of The Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society they published papers from a discussion which took place among them last year sometime where they considered the serious possibility of extra terrestrial life, how it might be discovered and the implications of such a discovery on Earth, its cultures, and its religions.

It will take me a long time to read all the way through this very lengthy publication, but I thought I’d post the link here now, while it’s still news.  Here is a list of the topics… 

  • Martin Dominik and John C. Zarnecki: The detection of extra-terrestrial life and the consequences for science and society
  • Baruch S. Blumberg: Astrobiology, space and the future age of discovery
  • Charles S. Cockell: Life in the lithosphere, kinetics and the prospects for life elsewhere
  • Pascale Ehrenfreund, Marco Spaans, and Nils G. Holm: The evolution of organic matter in space
  • Simon Conway Morris: Predicting what extra-terrestrials will be like: and preparing for the worst
  • Michel Mayor, Stephane Udry, Francesco Pepe, and Christophe Lovis: Exoplanets: the quest for Earth twins
  • Malcolm Fridlund: Extra-terrestrial life in the European Space Agency’s Cosmic Vision plan and beyond
  • Christopher P. McKay: The search for life in our Solar System and the implications for science and society
  • Colin Pillinger: Chemical methods for searching for evidence of extra-terrestrial life
  • Christian de Duve: Life as a cosmic imperative?
  • P. C. W. Davies: Searching for a shadow biosphere on Earth as a test of the ‘cosmic imperative’
  • Frank Drake: The search for extra-terrestrial intelligence
  • Ted Peters: The implications of the discovery of extra-terrestrial life for religion
  • Albert A. Harrison: Fear, pandemonium, equanimity and delight: human responses to extra-terrestrial life
  • Kathryn Denning: Is life what we make of it?
  • Iván Almár and Margaret S. Race: Discovery of extra-terrestrial life: assessment by scales of its importance and associated risks
  • Mazlan Othman: Supra-Earth affairs

After a quick read of the copyright, I’m not sure if it’s appropriate for me to link directly to these articles, so click HERE and then click on what interests you.  For myself, I’ll be reading “Predicting what extraterrestrials will be like: and preparing for the worst” and “The implications of the discovery of extra-terrestrial life for religion” first, as they interest me on several levels.  Something I’ll look for, as a science fiction writer, are hypotheses which push back the borders of modern thinking and take a few risks for a change, like the science of old.  I don’t think you can expect an embrasure of UFOs or alien visitations or abductions or anything like that from the likes of these people though; I’d faint outright if I found anything that close to the edge.  😉

Feel free to share your thoughts here if you like.


~ by Bill Housley on January 10, 2011.

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