Why SETI is doomed to not succeed, and why we should keep at it anyway

Over at Space.com, Stuart Atkinson is thinking about SETI, and wondering whether we’d actually recognise or understand a signal from an alien civilisation if we found one. After all, our concepts of meaning are pretty tied up in our own conception of the universe, and what is or isn’t possible – perhaps the lightshows of distant stellar and galactic events are themselves a form of communication.


George Dvorsky thinks we should keep looking, even though he’s skeptical of us ever detecting another sentient species. The trouble is that the Drake Equation doesn’t take into account all the factors that could derail a species before it makes the leap to interstellar civilisation – and the more we refine our hunt for ‘the others’, the more likely we are to realise how close we are to falling down before the first hurdle.