Sunday, May 29, 2011

More water on Moon than thought and false claims of ETI contact

Welcome! "Alien Life" tracks the latest discoveries and thoughts in the various elements of the famous Drake Equation. Here's today's news:
g Abodes - Scientists have discovered that the Moon has much more water than previously thought. The research could change concepts about how the Moon formed. Water on the Moon could also be an important resource for future explorers. See article.
g Message - Non-professional involvement in SETI science, which is encouraged by the nonprofit SETI League, Inc., increases the opportunity for the perpetration of hoaxes. The SETI League has already been peripherally involved in three separate false claims of ETI contact. Two were simple cases of mistaken identity, easily rectified. But the third was an elaborate hoax perpetrated by an Internet hacker who broke into a closed signal verification e-mail list. Such claims call for a prompt but measured response, so as not to subject the SETI community to charges of complicity in conspiracy or cover-up activities. In this presentation SETI League Executive Director H. Paul Shuch explores the dilemma of encouraging grass-roots participation, while avoiding association with fraudulent and pseudo-scientific claims See article.
g Aftermath - The scientific discussion of the evolution of life in the universe raises some key philosophical and theological issues Will life and intelligence be found throughout the universe, or will it turn out to be exceedingly rare? Will intelligent life be capable of both rationality and moral agency? Will evolutionary biology determine its moral content or will it merely bequeath intelligent life with moral capacity, leaving moral content to be determined independently of biology? If moral agency evolves, will these species inevitably exhibit moral failure, or is our generic human experience of moral failure strictly the result of our particular evolution, leaving us to expect there to be other civilizations that are entirely benign? The discussion of these issues, though largely hypothetical, can offer insight into the theological and cultural implications of the discovery of extraterrestrial intelligence as well into a better understanding of the human condition. See article.

Get your SF book manuscript edited