Why SETI is a waste of time

Posted by Starr Keshet

So the Allen Telescope Array is back online, courtesy of the SETI Institute and wealthy American philanthropists like Paul Allen, Larry Niven and Jodie Foster. But here's why SETI is an utter waste of time.

Yes, it is likely the galaxy is filled with intelligent life forms of various shapes, sizes and capabilities. And it is probably equally likely alien races want absolutely nothing to do with planet Earth until we Homo sapiens grow the frack up.

Why SETI is a waste of timeSo SETI is searching the skies for nothing. Nada.

There really isn't much of a need to cite specific examples of our completely immature behavior as a species.

Just take a look around and ask yourself "If I were an alien, what would I think about this place and the way things are going?"

Probably not very much, right?

In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if most aliens viewed planet Earth as one big reality show - with each moment more painful to watch than the next. As Shakespeare once said: "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players."



Yes folks, we suffer from definite issues - if not utter delusions of grandeur - as a species. Unfortunately, we have yet to experience our Zefram Cochrane moment

Let me explain the reference for those non-Star Trek fans in our midst. In the (fictional) Trekkie universe, the alcoholic and curmudgeonly Cochrane was the first human to invent and successfully test the warp drive. 

He fired it up reluctantly in 2063, which drew the attention of the nearby Vulcans and prompted the first contact with an alien race. 



Now 2063 is a long way off, but something tells me we won't be meeting any Vulcans or other intelligent alien life forms anytime soon - unless it is on the big screen in a movie theater.

Then again, maybe I'm being terribly cynical, but somehow, I doubt it. Let's hope we can get our act together before we are relegated to the footnotes of some galactic encyclopedia in the archeology section under "extinct species."