Chapter

Trio of Ideas

George Basalla

in Civilized Life in the Universe

Published in print February 2006 | ISBN: 9780195171815
Published online September 2007 | e-ISBN: 9780199786862 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195171815.003.0001
 Trio of Ideas

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Since ancient times, three key ideas have dominated the search for extraterrestrial civilizations (SETI): an infinite universe, life on distant planets in the universe, and advanced civilizations in the universe. All of these ideas are rooted in ancient philosophical and scientific thought, and all of them have shaped the modern search for extraterrestrial intelligence. For example, modern scientists replaced the old religious notion that the heavens are filled with gods and spirits with current claims that any alien civilization we might encounter will be superior to our civilization and able to help us resolve problems we face on earth.

Keywords: alien; civilization; extraterrestrial; religious; SETI; terrestrial; infinite universe

Chapter.  4327 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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