Astrosociological implications of astrobiology (Revisited)

  • Pass J
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Abstract

Supporters of astrobiology continue to organize the field around formalized associations and organizations under the guise of the so-called “hard” sciences (e.g., biology and the related physical/natural sciences). The so-called “soft” sciences – including sociology and the other social sciences, the behavioral sciences, and the humanities – remain largely separated from this dynamically growing field. However, as argued in this paper, space exploration involving the search for extraterrestrial life should be viewed as consisting of two interrelated parts (i.e., two sides of the same coin): astrobiology and astrosociology. Together, these two fields broadly combine the two major branches of science as they relate to the relationship between human life and alien life, as appropriate. Moreover, with a formalized system of collaboration, these two complimentary fields would also focus on the implications of their research to human beings as well as their cultures and social structures. By placing the astrosociological implications of astrobiology at a high enough priority, scientists interested in the search for alien life can augment their focus to include the social, cultural, and behavioral implications that were always associated with their work (yet previously overlooked or understated, and too often misunderstood). Recognition of the astrosociological implications expands our perception about alien life by creating a new emphasis on their ramifications to human life on Earth.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Alien life
  • Astrobiology
  • Astrosociology
  • Extraterrestrial life
  • Extremophile
  • SETI

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Authors

  • Jim Pass

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