Is there Anyone Out There and Does It Matter?

TREND #5 Residents of the OECD who grew up with a steady diet of Star Trek and Stars Wars intellectually acknowledge that these are just contemporary fantasy. They recognize that Klingons and Jedi Knights are no more “real” than Hobbits and Orcs. And just as research on the paranormal is marginalized and privately funded, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (or SETI) operates mostly at the fringes of mainstream science. On the other hand, well-funded astrobiologists tirelessly search for any sort of life that may lie beyond Earth. And the imaginations and wishes of billions of people around the world are used to justify space research which is not of immediate commercial or defense value. This seems like a small price...

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