Scott Smith's Reviews > The Eerie Silence: Renewing Our Search for Alien Intelligence

The Eerie Silence by Paul      Davies
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's review
Jun 12, 12

liked it
Read in June, 2012

So I picked this up a while back and thought I'd give it a read. It's about aliens. You know, from space.
Paul is a professor at ASU that I met. He's a really cool guy, very nice, very interesting. He's sort of a big name in the physics community apparently, being friends with Stephen Hawking and whatnot. He's also a big guy over at SETI, the guys looking for aliens.
A book about making contact with aliens may sound silly, but this is actually pretty heavy duty. And ironically, especially for a guy who's job at SETI is to direct a task force of people who decide what the protocol will be in the event of actual contact, he does not believe we will ever come in contact with ET. And he explains why pretty thoroughly. A lot of very deep insights and things to consider you'd just never think about.
I'm interested in the intersection between science and pop culture, and this a perfect subject. The whole concept of alien life, even when given extensive rational scientific thought like here, is so distorted by the public image of the space alien that it is likely impossible for people to imagine it without thinking of pop culture representations. This leaks into science, and is what Paul says is the big problem with SETI. We keep thinking that are something like us, and it colors how we look for them and imagine them. In the end, he says he just doesn't think we'll ever get that phone call.

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