Monthly Archive: January 2008

Jan 31 2008

Extra Terrestrial Intelligence-4: What if we get a signal?

One of the big problems with ETIs is that it is very unlikely that we can make actual physical contact with them. One reason is just statistics, as I said earlier. While the odds of life existing elsewhere in the universe need not be too small, the chances that any one ETI will cross signals …

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Jan 30 2008

Extra Terrestrial Intelligence-3: The most likely contact scenario

What is likely to be our reaction if we did receive an unambiguous signal that there existed ETI somewhere else in the universe? The reaction would be hard to predict because it is not a topic that is not publicly discussed much. This is a bit surprising because it is not such a stretch to …

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Jan 29 2008

Extra Terrestrial Intelligence-2: The chances of ETI existing

I thought of ETIs because of recent sudden reports of their appearance. About 40 residents of the town of Stephenville in Texas reported seeing a UFO a few weeks ago. And then the website Machines Like Us highlighted the reception of a mystery signal by a radio telescope in Puerto Rico. Nothing definitive has been …

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Jan 28 2008

Extra Terrestrial Intelligence-1: Getting a signal

In the years 2002 and 2003, during the peak of the intelligent design creationism (IDC) movement, I was invited to a few meetings of that movement to provide the opposing view. This was the time when the IDC side was promoting such debates as a means of increasing visibility for IDC ideas. During those meetings …

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Jan 25 2008

Anniversary reflections on this blog

Today’s post will mark the completing of three years since this blog began. Although I tend to ignore anniversaries of any kind, they do provide convenient points at which to step back and look at the big picture, to reflect on what was achieved, what was not, and where one should be going. I have …

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Jan 24 2008

Review: God Is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens

I finally got around to reading Hitchens’ book debunking all forms of religion. I must say that I found it curiously unsatisfying. It is hard to put my finger on the reasons since I agreed with almost all the things he said. The book seeks to show that religions (he focuses mainly on Judaism, Christianity, …

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Jan 23 2008

Our inner fish and other evolution fun facts

Even though I am not a biologist, I find evolution to be an endlessly intriguing subject, constantly throwing up intriguing new facts. Here are some recent items that caught my eye. Stephen Colbert has a fascinating interview with evolutionary biologist Neil Shubin, discoverer of the fish-land animal transitional fossil Tiktaalik, about how much of our …

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Jan 22 2008

Religion and gullibility

Here are some video clips of people claiming to have supernatural powers. In the first, magicians Penn and Teller debunk a person who claims that she can talk to dead people. (Language advisory) Notice how, when she interviews the black man at the end about whom she has no inside information, she resorts to inferences …

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Jan 21 2008

The later Martin Luther King

(Today is the official day to commemorate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I am reposting (updated and edited) something I wrote two years ago.) In reflecting on the life and message of Martin Luther King, I feel there is a need to resurrect an essential aspect of his message that he articulated …

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Jan 18 2008

The candidates that corporate executives like

In my two posts titled Meet the Villagers (see here and here), I argued that the oligarchy that runs the US decide early on who they approve of to be political leaders and then use the media to make sure that everyone else is eliminated from the race early. The high-handedness of the media in …

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