More Challenges to the Old Paradigm

In the appendix page, I review a bit of the literature which can provide an introduction to the idea that ancient civilizations may have experienced intimate contact with ETI. (Evidence of present-day contact is very strong. This is after all the UFO issue and more. Although Open SETI leaves the usual UFO-related issues to the "UFO community", the deeper issues are definitely treated here, plus an occasional outstanding case, such as that of Charles Hall and the Tall White Extraterrestrials.)

There has also been interest in possibly-anomalous phenomena and structures on the Moon and Mars. See for example publications by Carlotto (1997) and McDaniel (1993) in connection with the "Face on Mars". These individuals boldly examined what might be elements of arts, technology, and geometry common to human civilization. It is noteworthy that the researchers were willing to consider this without having any ready explanation as to how these things could come to exist in such an apparently inaccessible location. This open-minded approach is precisely what characterizes Open SETI. 26

What would be the implication of the finding of intelligently-created structures in such a location? It might suggest some universality in aspects of "intelligent" activity, or an ETI origin in aspects of our own early societies. A third possibility would be that human cultures have in the past been able to travel and live off-planet.

Any of these eventualities would create a shattering challenge to our present-day world view and the scientific paradigm that has governed SETI research.

Thomas Kuhn, in his classic Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1996), seems to have introduced the idea of paradigms to modern science historiography. He sees paradigms replacing one another in wave after wave, through scientific achievements "sufficiently unprecedented as to attract an enduring group of adherents away from competing modes of scientific activity, [and] sufficiently open-ended to leave all sorts of problems for the redefined group of practitioners to resolve".

We may now be living in the final days of an old paradigm for understanding life in the universe. There is much evidence turning up that presents a challenge to it. However, in accordance with the pattern described by Kuhn, data inconsistent with the old paradigm are not being admitted for consideration.

Examples of this exclusion of data are at every hand. Perhaps the most blatant is the rejection of pulsars as an ETI artifact. The pulsar evidence is actually supported by everything required in a court of law to prove a case: the method, the means, and the motivation have been demonstrated by Dr. LaViolette. (See discussion above in The Forgotten Challenge: Pulsars.)

A particularly poignant instance was Dr. Carl Sagan's rebuff to Dr. John Brandenburg, a physicist and independent Mars investigator, who had just sent Sagan a draft copy of a report on the persistence of facial features in a second image of the "face" on Mars: "It's not whether you're right or wrong, sir. You have not even entered the discussion." (Brandenburg, 1984)

Recalling Ben Zuckerman's question "Extraterrestrials. Where are They?" meaning "If there are such, why don't we see them?", we must reply that the answer lies in ourselves.

Which brings us to our next topic.

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