Sagan's Positive View of Advance Alien Civilizations

It is at this point that the ultimate significance of dolphins in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence emerges. It is not a question of whether we are emotionally prepared in the long run to confront a message from the stars. It is whether we can develop a sense that beings with quite different evolutionary histories, beings who may look far different from us, even "monstrous," may, nevertheless, be worthy of friendship and reverence, brotherhood and trust. We have far to go; while there is every sign that the human community is moving in this direction, the question is, are we moving fast enough? The most likely contact with extraterrestrial intelligence is with a society far more advanced than we (Chapter 31). But we will not at any time in the foreseeable future be in the position of the American Indians or the Vietnamese – colonial barbarity practiced on us by a technologically more advanced civilization – because of the great spaces between the stars and what I believe is the neutrality or benignness of any civilization that has survived long enough for us to make contact with it. Nor will the situation be the other way around, terrestrial predation on extraterrestrial civilizations – they are too far away from us and we are relatively powerless. Contact with another intelligent species on a planet of some other star – a species biologically far more different from us than dolphins or whales – may help us to cast off our baggage of accumulated jingoisms, from nationalism to human chauvinism. Though the search for extraterrestrial intelligence may take a very long time, we could not do better than to start with a program of rehumanization by making friends with the whales and the dolphins.


We need to understand animal minds as practice for understanding alien ones.

Folksonomies: biology theory of mind xenobiology aliens dolphins whales

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/science/social science/history/prehistory (0.413795)

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American Indians:Organization (0.793418 (positive:0.340978)), Sagan:Person (0.596870 (positive:0.742571)), rehumanization:City (0.479589 (neutral:0.000000))

Extraterrestrial life (0.983515): dbpedia | freebase
Life (0.955894): dbpedia | freebase
Planet (0.944433): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Fermi paradox (0.920678): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Astrobiology (0.839868): website | dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
SETI (0.831237): dbpedia
Kardashev scale (0.791891): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Extrasolar planet (0.778067): dbpedia | freebase | yago

 Carl Sagan's cosmic connection
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Sagan , Carl (2000-10-23), Carl Sagan's cosmic connection, Cambridge Univ Pr, Retrieved on 2012-01-01
  • Source Material []
  • Folksonomies: science