How SETI and other programs on your computer help science and battle ignorance

How SETI and other programs on your computer help science and battle ignorance

Washington : DC : USA | May 21, 2012 at 10:42 AM PDT
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BOINC - Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing

There are some subjects that have fascinated me since I was a little kid. I like science. I like history. I like to know the history of how we became the nation that we are today. The founding of our nation from the time of the Jamestown Colony to the time of the Revolution and to today. Americans history is more interesting than any television show. I also like science a lot. I like to know how and why things happen in our grand natural world.

I loved answering the questions of my nephews and nieces when they were small children when it comes to nature. I am not religious so I don't take anything on faith, but wish to see the evidence for any belief.

I've always wondered why so many people would rather believe the supposed answers in a religious text than in what our observations, experiments and analysis, of the world and the greater universe, can show us.

Now, since I lack a PhD in science myself, there isn't much I can do in terms of scientific experiments and analysis. I might be able to advocate for a greater understanding of evolution in society, but that isn't directly furthering science. What I can do though is run through my computer, as I am doing at this very moment, that analysis data from these experiments.

For example, I am currently running SETI, which stands for the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. It's the most famous of the scientific programs that run BOINC middleware on your computer.

BOINC, stands for the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing. There are various other BOINC programs, some of them which I ran on my computer in the past. There are programs to help determine the shape of the universe, how proteins fold in our body and even climate change prediction.

Unfortunately, we live in a time where many people harbor a strange disdain for science. Where evolutionary biologists are ignored for their work.

Where politicians boast about how they don't believe the evidence of climate scientists and would rather take the word of some talk show host. Presidential administrations have had censored the works of government researchers. Indeed, President Nixon had censored a report that favored the legalization of marijuana, for political reasons.

We live in a time where faith is more important than reason. Where belief for the sake of belief, if held devoutly enough, is more important than the tireless work of understanding how our brains, bodies and the universe works. I have never understood intellectually this desire in others, but I know that it exists.

The question is, do we want to have the answers to the universe told to us even if wrong, or do we want to know how our world and everything else, really works?

Jerome McCollom is based in United States of America, , United States of America, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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