Lunchtime Social Science

Aliens and UFOs in the Social Sciences with Robin Hanson

February 16, 2021 Denvil Duncan, Justin Ross, and Coady Wing Season 3 Episode 1
Lunchtime Social Science
Aliens and UFOs in the Social Sciences with Robin Hanson
Chapters
Lunchtime Social Science
Aliens and UFOs in the Social Sciences with Robin Hanson
Feb 16, 2021 Season 3 Episode 1
Denvil Duncan, Justin Ross, and Coady Wing

2020 was so wild that it was easy to overlook the news that the US military is taking the possibility of our being visited by advanced extraterrestrials very seriously.  Simultaneously, a prominent Harvard astrophysicist has released a new book arguing that an advanced alien object carried by a solar sail was observed passing through our solar system. This is a good time then to take stock of what the social science literature on interstellar civilizations tells us, and we are joined by the wonderfully creative Robin Hanson, professor of economics at George Mason University.  Professor Hanson has several papers in this area, and the hosts discuss with him how one makes advancements on a topic where so little about "society" can be known. They discuss his new model of "Grabby Aliens" to explain why the universe appears so empty, why Robin thinks "Dark Forest Theory" is extremely unlikely, what the recent sightings imply about  the prospects for Panspermia and alien religion. We also follow up with a discussion of how to use tenure to explore undervalued ideas in academia. 

Resources:

Show Notes

2020 was so wild that it was easy to overlook the news that the US military is taking the possibility of our being visited by advanced extraterrestrials very seriously.  Simultaneously, a prominent Harvard astrophysicist has released a new book arguing that an advanced alien object carried by a solar sail was observed passing through our solar system. This is a good time then to take stock of what the social science literature on interstellar civilizations tells us, and we are joined by the wonderfully creative Robin Hanson, professor of economics at George Mason University.  Professor Hanson has several papers in this area, and the hosts discuss with him how one makes advancements on a topic where so little about "society" can be known. They discuss his new model of "Grabby Aliens" to explain why the universe appears so empty, why Robin thinks "Dark Forest Theory" is extremely unlikely, what the recent sightings imply about  the prospects for Panspermia and alien religion. We also follow up with a discussion of how to use tenure to explore undervalued ideas in academia. 

Resources: