The latest episode of the brilliant PBS animated lost interview series “Blank on Blank“ features the astronomer/astrophysicist/author Carl Sagan voicing his concern (in a 1985 interview with Studs Terkel) that civilization won’t have the ability to communicate with extraterrestrial life should they ever arrive here.
Look at timescales, you realize that our civilization is the most backward civilization in the galaxy that could communicate at all, because we’ve just invented radio telescopes,just a few decades ago. We had not the ghost of a chance of communicating with anybody else.So If we receive a message, it can’t be from anybody less capable than we, because anybody less capable can’t communicate at all. So it has to be somebody much in advance of us and maybe as much in advance of us as we are in advance of the ants, say, or the worms.
Sagan also addresses the conflict between science and religion – saying: “A literal reading of the Bible simply is a mistake; I mean it’s just wrong” – but notes that “the two ways of thinking are ultimately about finding answers to life’s biggest questions — answers that may ultimately be less important than the questions themselves.” Interesting guy. (via HuffPo)