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View Full Version : Beliefs: SETI Success vs. Anthropocentrism



lpetrich
2002-Jan-30, 08:05 PM
This article, http://www.space.com/searchforlife/seti_survey_020124.html

discusses research on the question of anthropocentrism vs. belief that there may exist ET's. This survey was done by asking several questions that indicate the level of these beliefs, and the answers were analyzed for correlations.

The result: a strong negative correlation between anthropocentrism and belief in the likelihood of ET's. Those who believed that our species is the most important species in the Universe tended to be unlikely to believe that other places in the Universe are inhabited by sentient beings.

I'll post the survey questions here if anyone's interested.

SeanF
2002-Jan-30, 08:45 PM
On 2002-01-30 15:05, lpetrich wrote:

Those who believed that our species is the most important species in the Universe tended to be unlikely to believe that other places in the Universe are inhabited by sentient beings.



Not to belittle your decision to post this info here, lpetrich, but statements like this would've warranted a "No s**t, Sherlock" in my younger days. Was this a taxpayer-funded study, by any chance?

Now, after I typed the above, I went and skimmed through the article. It looks like the question was whether humans were the most important species on Earth, not in the universe.

Still, I would call the findings singularly unsurprising.

odysseus0101
2002-Jan-31, 12:18 AM
Not to belittle your decision to post this info here, lpetrich, but statements like this would've warranted a "No s**t, Sherlock" in my younger days. Was this a taxpayer-funded study, by any chance?


While I certainly agree that the results of this study are not massively surprising to people who think about such things, I'd like to mention two other issues. The first is that surveys like this serve to provide conclusive data to prove what people who think about these things already suspect. This sort of research is done all the time, and usually the results are not completely ho-hum. Then, occasionally, when a study comes out that simply re-confirms what many people already figured, people extrapolate from that to make the claim that all such research is worthless. Not that that's what you did, but it's what many people do. Second, surveys like this are great for bringing the issue at hand into the forefront of the minds of people who do not think about such things, thus actually changing attitudes. Example: Go around asking people if they ever check books out of the public library, and usually the library will see a short spike in patronage. Obviously the effects can more varied and interesting than that, but that's just a quick example.

Chip
2002-Jan-31, 11:27 PM
On 2002-01-30 15:05, lpetrich wrote:
This article, http://www.space.com/searchforlife/seti_survey_020124.html

discusses research on the question of anthropocentrism vs. belief that there may exist ET's...The result:...Those who believed that our species is the most important species in the Universe tended to be unlikely to believe that other places in the Universe are inhabited by sentient beings.


Switching momentarily to the standpoint of hypothetical aliens: What if the aliens have no concept of important? /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif

But seriously, this also offers insight into why some (not all) "fundamentalist" religious people give no thought to the importance of all Earthly non-human species let alone possible extraterrestrials. To admit that Earth's human and animal life forms all have an intelligence or some kind of spirit would run counter to the dogma.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Chip on 2002-01-31 23:47 ]</font>