Last time around, we considered NASA’s recent attempts to build outer space communications systems, and the strange belief of contemporary Left-leaning scientists and academics affiliated with astronomical organisations like SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) that any aliens we did manage one day to contact would inevitably talk in a language every bit as impeccably woke as they themselves do.
A classic illustration of such delusion came in the newly ideologically-captured journal Scientific American in 2022. Under the headline ‘Cultural Bias Distorts the Search for Alien Life’ appeared an interview with Rebecca Charbonneau, a young SETI-linked cultural historian whose paper ‘Imaginative Cosmos: The Impact of Colonial Heritage in Radio Astronomy and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence’ had brought her to the attention of the editors.
According to Charbonneau, within sci-fi shows like Star Trek, space being “the final frontier” demonstrated how space exploration itself was filled with innate colonialist assumptions, with “first contact with aliens [acting] as a stand-in for [Western] first contact with Indigenous peoples”.
Weren’t these ideas just fictional literary metaphors upon behalf of the scriptwriters, though? No, because according to the doctrine of Critical Theory that contemporary young pseuds like Rebecca all slavishly subscribe to, words create reality: “Words and socially constructed things are real because we are a verbal, social species. Things that are socially created still have a real-world impact; they’re not imaginary.”
Two particularly damaging social constructs are the words “intelligence” and “civilisation”, these being mere fictional Western concepts which were “tightly bound with the histories of racism, genocide and colonialism”. When Westerners made contact with metaphorically ‘alien’ beings like Australian Aborigines in the past, they just enslaved or wiped them out, Charbonneau argued. “Intelligence”, she warned, is “certainly a dangerous word”, hence her principled complete lack of any such quality herself.
Rebecca was deeply worried. What if SETI found some E.T.s who didn’t seem terribly civilised or intelligent to us, and just treated them like the British once had the Aborigines? Yet the traditional accepted mission of SETI was indisputably to search for alien intelligence, or alien civilisations. This very idea was dangerous and laden with “intellectual colonial baggage” too, so could easily be “weaponised” by genocidal astronauts, feared the oversensitive academic: she seems to have confused NASA with NSDAP.
For Charbonneau, it was disappointing that so many of her fellow exobiologists “start their research from a technical search perspective” rather than by asking random Andaman Islanders what they think about all this. Some more traditional SETI scientists objected to her criticism, pointing out that the only off-planet lifeforms humans are likely to discover locally are bacteria and “you can’t offend a germ” by talk of ‘colonising’ Mars – a protestation she dismisses by saying that particular harmful word “might not hurt an alien, but using [it] will hurt people on Earth”. She even appears to disapprove of an old NASA space-shuttle being called Columbus; doesn’t Mission Control know he was an evil genocidal white maniac?
Henceforth, the whole point of SETI should be completely reformed, from listening to unknown groups on Mars, to listening to marginalised groups here on Earth instead: “SETI is designed to listen outward, but… it’s not always so great at listening inward.” It would be hard to imagine a statement better illustrating the levels of self-indulgent solipsism that have now successfully been imposed upon hitherto politically neutral sciences like astronomy. Where would Rebecca like SETI scientists to begin pointing their space-antennae instead, exactly? Up their own arseholes, like where she lives?
Game, SETI and Match?
According to science writer Lawrence M. Krauss, Dr. Charbonneau’s ilk now dominate SETI every bit as much as Daleks now dominate the Planet Skaro. He points out that she is a Jansky Fellow at the U.S. National Radio Astronomy Observatory, a fellowship supposed to fund “the most promising researchers in radio astronomy”, not woke witch-hunting ideologues. Recent SETI conferences, Krauss observes, have been dominated not by actual science, but endless debates about transphobia, homosexuality and whiteness.
Krauss has been told many proper SETI scientists despair that it is consequently growing “harder and harder to actually carry out [meaningful] SETI research”, and they fear being pushed out due to being politically incorrect. What’s more, Charbonneau seems to have got her wish, with the very word “intelligence” now allegedly banned by SETI, as it is “a white construct”. Here’s an angry Richard Dawkins, tweeting about it: