Uncle Seth’s “Cult of SETI”

After reading Paul Gilster’s post today on Centauri Dreams,  I felt I had to blow off some steam and out of respect for Paul at the risk of getting carried away with myself,  I decided to write a little piece here concerning Seth Shostak’s op-ed in the New York Times instead of commenting there.  Here’s the item that got my short-hairs lit-up:

IT’S a birthright proffered by science and prophesied by “Star Trek,” “Battlestar Galactica” and a thousand other space operas: We’re destined to go to the stars. Our descendants will spread beyond this nondescript solar system and seek adventure and bumpy-headed pals in the stellar realms.

Well, cool your warp jets, Mr. Scott, because we’re not about to breach the final frontier. Piling into a starship and barreling into deep space may long remain — like perfect children or effort-free bathroom cleaners — a pipe dream.

The fastest rocket ever launched, NASA’s New Horizons probe to Pluto, roared off its pad in 2006 at 10 miles per second. That pace would be impressive in the morning commute, and it’s passably adequate for traversing the solar system, something we’ve done and will continue to do. Combustion rockets, like New Horizons, can deliver you to the Moon in a matter of days, Mars in a matter of months, and the outer planets in a matter of years. But a trip to Proxima Centauri, the nearest star beyond the Sun and 100 million times farther from us than the Moon, would consume a tedious 800 centuries or so. You’ll want to upgrade.

First of all, what makes this guy think that we’ll still be using chemical rockets to launch space probes by the end of the 21st Century?

Unless he’s pretty certain that research into advanced propulsion systems won’t be funded. Not very heartily anyway. He does concede that some form of nuclear rocket is needed to launch nano-sensors in order to have his ‘Google-Interstellar.’

And what of the weight of technical advances itself?

Granted, government funded enterprises like the ‘civilian’ NASA might come to an end because of no more printing press money, but certain individuals like Branson and Elon Musk will put money into research for advanced propulsion technology, simply because not everyone is tied to funny money like us slaves are.

No, Uncle Seth’s reasons for down-playing manned space exploration beyond the Solar System is economic IMHO. He may make logical arguments that sound real good to his true believing green-tech, human caused global warming, Gaia worshipping, the Google-Plex will save us crowd, but I’m not buying into it.

SETI requires funding that may soon become real scarce. And competition for the resources will be fierce.

Get the picture?

But hey, I can’t blame the guy and the others that work with him, this is a dog-eat-dog world man!

And he might actually believe his memes.

But I’m reminded of this quote by the late, great Sir Arthur C. Clarke:

If a[n elderly but] distinguished scientist says that something is possible, he is almost certainly right; but if he says that it is impossible, he is very probably wrong.

Sorry Seth, Sir Arthur gets my vote here.

And besides, why not Star Trek?

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Note: The term “Cult of SETI” is attributed to Stanton Friedman, nuclear physicist and UFO researcher.

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2 responses

  1. “Here’s the item that got my short-hairs lit-up: ”

    LOL Seems like having a closed mind is a prerequisite for being a msm urinalist. Seth doesn’t even seem to have a handle on existing technology let alone have concepts of an existence unhampered by the bounds of time. Personally, I like to immerse myself in Gaia, but keep an open mind on things. Green tech is, i believe, an oxymoron, and when i think of we, it’s about life in the universe instead of whats making my head itch. 😆

  2. Seems like having a closed mind is a prerequisite for being a msm urinalist.

    I don’t think Shostak is as close-minded as he sounds at times, he just does as you said, feed the MSM organ grinder’s monkey.

    He’s smart, he knows he can get his SETI radio telescopes funded because it’s comforting; it keeps aliens at a nice, safe distance because if we don’t have star travel, neither can they.

    A nice anthropocentric conceit that doesn’t scare the sheeple.

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