Assumptions and Paradigm for Open SETI


What, then, would be a world view that would be able to comprehend some of the data presently excluded?

The reports of ETI encounters, sudden appearances of high civilizations complete with "mythologies" attributing their own genesis to "the gods", intractable problems in human evolutionary theory—these are all inconsistent with the assumptions on which the traditional SETI paradigm is based. Having done away with those assumptions, Open SETI allows the possibility that ETI has been or is now present in our solar system—either by indigenous development or by interstellar travel. It is not necessary to know how this was achieved.

Open SETI also broadens the criteria for habitability of planetary bodies, freeing them from narrow extrapolations of terrestrial conditions and human expectations. Conditions may have been different in the past and the requirements of ETI may be different from what we might expect. The existence of robust subsurface life on Earth (Gold, 1999) moots many questions of atmospheric and surface conditions, stellar radiation hazards and so forth. Clearly, at least some un-earthlike planetary bodies and natural satellites do seem to offer possibilities for habitation.

If ETI may have been or is present in our solar system, then much that we had assumed has had its genesis on our planet might in fact be diffused throughout the Galaxy (at least). This calls for a new set of fundamental assumptions which would have an impact throughout much of science, and in particular would lead to the methods of procedure for Open SETI.

Consider, for example, the following results:

    DNA is not necessarily native to Earth. It may be a galactic (at least) development. This means that ETI can resemble us (or we them) through diffusion, gene transfer (strong panspermia) and interbreeding (many scriptural references) might be possible.

    Rather than worrying about why ETI might be interested in our planet and civilization, as many have done, consider that our very humanity might have been created here by a variety of means. The evidence for this may be found in today’s difficulties with evolutionary theory.

    Not only might ETI have come to earth, but earth humanity may in the past have had a variety of means (not necessarily developed here) for leaving this planet, and may itself have diffused throughout the Galaxy. We could be seeing ourselves returning.

    Cultural forms can also diffuse. Finding objects with familiar geometries in unfamiliar places might not argue against their possible intelligent origin.

    Intervention of some form may have created human societies.

These results, then, create the paradigm. Its basic principles would be:
    Human, animal, and plant genetics should be reinvestigated for signs of possible ETI presence on Earth. This means that evolutionary "jumps" that have posed problems in the development of evolution theory should be considered possible evidence of external intervention. Furthermore, just as we are now able to insert data such as copyrights and encrypted text into DNA sequences, others may have done this before.

    Archaeology should be open to signs of ETI contact with early human civilizations. This would include an examination of all ancient technologies.

    Archaeology can be practiced off planet, either by direct physical exploration or by space probes.

    Ancient history and mythologies, creation stories, and religious documents may be fruitful fields of investigation.

    ET bases may exist in the solar system at this time. Much can be done in the way of earth-based searches and the use of robotic probes to detect them. On the next page I review proposed searches for the signature of "local" ET activity.

This basic paradigm is richly ramified throughout this website. A navigation tool giving access to many related topics can be found on Open SETI at a Glance.

In his 2004 publication Gods, Genes & Consciousness, philosopher and interdisciplinary researcher Paul Von Ward develops a paradigm highly compatible with that of Open SETI.

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