After contact: the human response to extraterrestrial life
Albert Harrison examines in detail the psychological, sociological, political, and cultural dimensions of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. By so doing, he firmly establishes that the behavioral and social sciences are as integral to the search as are the physical and biological sciences that have dominated the field up to now. This book offers a useful conceptual framework for rational discussion of extraterrestrial life forms, and provides a detailed analysis of likely human reactions to the detection of extraterrestrial life. Among the many examples that Harrison develops are: how psychological, social, and cultural factors shape people's views about the likelihood of intelligent extraterrestrials and the value of undertaking the search; how our understanding of life on Earth provides a useful framework for thinking about life elsewhere in our galaxy; how historical precedents give us a basis for forecasting human response to "contact"; how agencies such as the CIA inadvertently strengthen the impression of "government cover-up"; and why there is little risk that we will run afoul of an "evil empire." Harrison sketches our responses to the discovery of extraterrestrial intelligence as individuals, as nations, and as humanity, and concludes that we have good reason for cautious optimism about the progress of the search and the aftermath of contact.
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abduction alien animals artifacts assumption astronomers behavior believe biological Boontling broadcast Carl Sagan carrier wave century communication creatures culture detect develop discovery Drake equation Earth energy ET's evidence evolution evolved example expect experiences explore extrater extraterrestrial civilizations extraterrestrial intelligence extraterrestrial life-forms extraterrestrial societies Frank Drake Frank Tipler Galactic Club galaxy human identify individual intelligent extraterrestrial interstellar interstellar travel involved least light-years Living Systems Living Systems Theory matter-energy microwave nations orbit organisms percent perhaps person physical planets possible probes problems psychological radio telescope reactions reports require response restrial result scenario science fiction scientific sense SETI scientists signal social solar system spacecraft spacefaring species speed speed of light stars strategies suggests supranational system survive tend terrestrial theories tion transmission types UFOlogists understand universe unlikely