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SETI and Altruism: A Dialogue with Keith Cooper

18 Sep 2020, 17:48 UTC
SETI and Altruism: A Dialogue with Keith Cooper
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Keith Cooper’s The Contact Paradox is as thoroughgoing a look at the issues involved in SETI as I have seen in any one volume. After I finished it, I wrote to Keith, a Centauri Dreams contributor from way back, and we began a series of dialogues on SETI and other matters, the first of which ran here last February as Exploring the Contact Paradox. Below is a second installment of our exchanges, which were slowed by external factors at my end, but the correspondence continues. What can we infer from human traits about possible contact with an extraterrestrial culture? And how would we evaluate its level of intelligence? Keith is working on a new book involving both the Cosmic Microwave Background and quantum gravity, the research into which will likewise figure into our future musings that will include SETI but go even further afield.
Keith, in our last dialogue I mentioned a factor you singled out in your book The Contact Paradox as hugely significant in our consideration of SETI and possible contact scenarios. Let me quote you again: “Understanding altruism may ultimately be the single most significant factor in our quest to make contact with other intelligent life in ...

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