Religion in SETI Communications

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R. Pay (2014), JBIS, 67, pp.193-199

Refcode: 2014.67.193
Keywords: Extraterrestrial, civilization, religion, creation, SETI

The prospect of millions of civilizations in the Galaxy raises the probability of receiving communications in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). However, much depends on the average lifetime of planetary civilizations. For a lifetime of 500 years, an optimistic forecast would predict about 65 civilizations in the Galaxy at any one time, separated by 5,000 light years. No prospect of communication. For a lifetime of 10 million years, over a million civilizations would be spaced 180 light years apart. Communication among them is feasible. This indicates that extraterrestrial communications depend on civilizations achieving long term stability, probably by evolving a global religion that removes sources of religious strife. Stability also requires an ethic supporting universal rights, nonviolence, empathy and cooperation. As this ethic will be expressed in the planet-wide religion, it will lead to offers of support to other civilizations struggling to gain stability. As stable civilizations will be much advanced scientifically, understanding the religious concepts that appear in their communications will depend on how quantum mechanics, biological evolution, and the creation of the universe at a point in time are incorporated into their religion. Such a religion will view creation as intentional rather than accidental (the atheistic alternative) and will find the basis for its natural theology in the intention revealed by the physical laws of the universe.

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