Tuesday, June 1, 2021

About Those Space Alien Discoveries

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Solar System, Cosmology, Astrophysics, Earth & Space Science, History of Science, Nature of Science

Ed Hessler

Sabine Hossenfelder has a post, a video and transcript, on the "history of supposed (space) alien discoveries" (including Oumuamua--from which "we have now...all the data we will ever have.").

" So, in this video we’ll look at the history of supposed alien discoveries. What did astronomers see, what did they think it was, what did it turn out to be in the end? And what are we to make of these claims? That’s what we’ll talk about today."

And Dr. Hossenfelder closes with some of her usual clear-headed advice on the nature of science.  "When new discoveries are made it takes some time until scientists have collected and analyzed all the data, formulated hypotheses, and evaluated which hypothesis explains the data best. Before that is done, the only thing that can reliably be said is 'we don’t know'."  She acknowledges that "'we don't know' is boring and doesn't make headlines.

"But 'we don’t know' is boring and doesn’t make headlines. Which is why some scientists use the situation to put forward highly speculative ideas before anyone else can show they’re wrong. This is why headlines about possible signs of extraterrestrial life are certainly entertaining but usually, after a few years, disappear."

Don't forget to take a glance at the comments, too.

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