Re: Fwd: Pigliucci responds to Miller

Moorad Alexanian (alexanian@UNCWIL.EDU)
Fri, 03 Apr 1998 08:35:56 -0500 (EST)

At 02:02 PM 3/30/98 -0600, Paul A. Nelson wrote:
>The following apparently failed to post to the list [it hasn't shown
>up in the archive, at any rate].

Pigliucci wrote in answer to Keith B. Miller:

>I am sorry to enter this debate, which so far I have monitored only from
>a distance thanks to people copying entries to me, but I would like to
>point out something that keeps occurring to me any time I see a posting
>by Miller. For example, he says:
>> The evidence for
>> God's presence in creation, for the esistence of a Creator God, is
>> prescisely those everyday "natural events" experienced by us all. The
>> trees, the animals, the seas, the storm, the very rocks all proclaimed
>> God's reality to anyone who desired to see. It is for this reason
>> that
>> Paul declares that all humanity is without excuse. That is natural
>> revelation. To reduce it to gaps in our scientific explanation does,
>> I
>> believe great disservice to the witness of God in creation. I see
>> design in _all_ of creation, don't you?
>No, I don't, Keith. Furthermore, I don't see how anybody *could* see it.
>It's pretty clear that the messy and slow history of the universe and of
>life in particular smacks of chance and necessity, or of an *incredibly
>poor* designer.
>What I sense from many of your postings is exactly what you accuse
>atheists of: intellectual arrogance. I do not mean to be offensive, but
>it is really hard to stand by being accused of being blind, not
>perceiving "superior" or "larger" truths, and so on, while in fact you
>don't have a leg to stand on!
>The evidence for the existence of god is pretty much the same as the
>evidence for the existence of elfs, witches, the sun-god, astrological
>forces, and Santa Claus. No more, no less. It is only because religion
>has a long (and bloody) history in our society that you feel you have a
>claim to some sort of intellectual respectability. But let us not fool
>ourselves: the burden of proof is *entirely* on the theist position, and
>it is intellectually dishonest to pretend otherwise.
>God cannot be seen by everybody, and even when you say you saw him/her,
>all you're saying is that you are interpreting perfectly natural
>phenomena according to a particular mythology you happened to have grown
>up with. That, of course, is entirely your right and prerogative. To
>pretend to accuse others of blindedness because they don't follow you in
>your fantasies, however, is an entirely different matter.
>Massimo Pigliucci

Dear Massimo,

I enclose the first seven statements of the Declaration of Principles
Concerning Activities Following the Detection of Extraterrestrial
Intelligence by the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) program.

We do not know the precise nature of the signals that may be detected but if
such signals are evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence, then my
question to you is: What are we to make of all the evidence that we
experience every day, when studying nature, which presents a considerable
more wealth of "signals" indicating intelligence? Surely a human eye is
more complex and sends more "signals" than a mere coded electromagentic
wave. Some of us take that as overwhelming evidence for an Intelligent Designer.


Moorad Alexanian
Professor of Physics
University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

1. Any individual, public or private research institution, or governmental
agency that believes it has detected a signal from or other evidence of
extraterrestrial intelligence (the discoverer) should seek to verify that
the most plausible explanation for the evidence is the existence of
extraterrestrial intelligence rather than some other natural phenomenon or
anthropogenic phenomenon before making any public announcement. If the
evidence cannot be confirmed as indicating the existence of extraterrestrial
intelligence, the discoverer may disseminate the information as appropriate
to the discovery of any unknown phenomenon.

2. Prior to making a public announcement that evidence of extraterrestrial
intelligence has been detected, the discoverer should promptly inform all
other observers or research organizations that are parties to this
declaration, so that those other parties may seek to confirm the discovery
by independent observations at other sites and so that a network can be
established to enable continuous monitoring of the signal or phenomenon.
Parties to this declaration should not make any public announcement of this
information until it is determined whether this information is or is not
credible evidence of the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence. The
discoverer should inform his/her or its relevant national authorities.

3. After concluding that the discovery appears to be credible evidence of
extraterrestrial intelligence, and after informing other parties to this
declaration, the discoverer should inform observers throughout the world
through the Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams of the International
Astronomical Union, and should inform the Secretary General of the United
Nations in accordance with Article XI of the Treaty on Principles Governing
the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space,
Including the Moon and Other Bodies. Because of their demonstrated interest
in and expertise concerning the question of the existence of
extraterrestrial intelligence, the discoverer should simultaneously inform
the following international institutions of the discovery and should provide
them with all pertinent data and recorded information concerning the
evidence: the International Telecommunication Union, the Committee on Space
Research, of the International Council of Scientific Unions, the
International Astronautical Federation, the International Academy of
Astronautics, the International Institute of Space Law, Commission 51 of the
International Astronomical Union and Commission J of the International Radio
Science Union.

4. A confirmed detection of extraterrestrial intelligence should be
disseminated promptly, openly, and widely through scientific channels and
public media, observing the procedures in this declaration. The discoverer
should have the privilege of making the first public announcement.

5. All data necessary for confirmation of detection should be made available
to the international scientific community through publications, meetings,
conferences, and other appropriate means.

6. The discovery should be confirmed and monitored and any data bearing on
the evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence should be recorded and stored
permanently to the greatest extent feasible and practicable, in a form that
will make it available for further analysis and interpretation. These
recordings should be made available to the international institutions listed
above and to members of the scientific community for further objective
analysis and interpretation.

7. If the evidence of detection is in the form of electromagnetic signals,
the parties to this declaration should seek international agreement to
protect the appropriate frequencies by exercising procedures available
through the International Telecommunication Union. Immediate notice should
be sent to the Secretary General of the ITU in Geneva, who may include a
request to minimize transmissions on the relevant frequencies in the Weekly
Circular. The Secretariat, in conjunction with advice of the Union's
Administrative Council, should explore the feasibility and utility of
convening an Extraordinary Administrative Radio Conference to deal with the
matter, subject to the opinions of the member Administrations of the ITU.