FIRST CONTACT: COPERNICAN MOMENT OR NINE DAY'S WONDER?
Charles T. Rubin
Department of Political Science
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15282
Copyright: Stuart Kingsley
The vast uncertainties of SETI require caution in discussing the impact of discovery of extraterrestrial intelligence. Despite the awareness of some SETI scientists that such scenarios can easily reflect wishful thinking, popular discussions of the topic are flawed by failure to present speculations regarding impact that are consistent with basic assumptions that make SETI plausible in the first place. A more self-conscious attempt to deal directly with the ethical issues raised by the impact question would aid in creating more rigorous efforts.