February 6th, 2010

forums, me, non blog

[FORUM] What do you think about extraterrestrial intelligence?

Last night's link post to Centauri Dreams' recent post on looking for megascale alien artifacts describes yet another phase in humanity's increasingly active and subtle search for extraterrestrial civilizations. The people looking, it goes without saying, are happily anticipating the idea of finding some signal, some artifact, something that would signal we're not alone.

I hope we don't find anything. I especially hope that we aren't found by anyone. The consistent theme of my posts on extraterrestrial life and intelligence has been my sincerely expressed desire that human beings are alone, at least within a few hundred light years if not a few thousand (or tens of thousands) light years, since quite frankly the human history of contact between more and less powerful civilizations has been at best the less powerful civilization's subjugation, at worst its annihilation. Any communicative civilization is likely more advanced than us (or it may not be, why take the chance?), and if some sort of interstellar travel is possible and they decide to visit us, I fear for my species' future.

We have very little idea what's out there. Why risk everything? It would be nice if there were extraterrestrial civilizations nearby and they were as friendly as (say) the Vulcans, but I'm not at all inclined to place that bet.

And you? What do you think about extraterrestrial intelligences? Do you think that they're common, or that they're rare? Why? If you believe in a theory, do you wish it was true or not?