David and I have since cleared things up via email, but for the sake of furthering this discussion I thought I'd reproduce parts of our conversation here.
[RE: Brin's article, "Shouting at the Cosmos: ...Or How SETI has Taken a Worrisome Turn Into Dangerous Territory."]It appears, much to my surprise, that I made incorrect inferences about his particular position as it pertains to the Active SETI approach and his motives for wanting to generate discussion. In my response to Brin I asked him to be more explicit in the future about what he is and is not saying. To which he responded,
... you wrote: "Brin is vehemently opposed to this idea, as he believes it could put humanity in great peril. For all we know, he argues, some malevolent ETI is lurking in the neighborhood waiting for less advanced civilizations to draw attention to themselves."
I would be very interested in the provenance of this lurid and somewhat demeaning quasi-quotation.
My position is simply that narrowly dogmatic communities should not plunge into activities that commit humanity down paths that have low probability but high potential impact outcomes, without at least first engaging the wider world scientific community in eclectic discussion.
The only "vehemence" has been to ask for open discussions, which should be enjoyable and illuminating to all.
There is a general principle here. It is simply wrong to arrogate peremptory moves that bet human posterity, based upon cult-like and unchallenged assumptions.
The Lifeboat article, I thought, was clear enough, never once mentioning alien badguys, in any way shape or form, and repeatedly stating the goal of open discussion -- something that the small and increasingly cult-like SETI/METI community has strenuously avoided.Comments welcome. I'd be curious to know how my readers have interpreted Brin's writings on the subject.