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If we trip across life that's not of this world, do we blast it or befriend it? What impact would it have on our society?

This was the topic of a two-day symposium held at the John W. Kluge Center of the Library of Congress last week. Several dozen researchers -- astronomers, philosophers, theologians, biologists, historians, and other tweed-jacketed specialists -- opined on what might happen should we find we're not alone.

A lot of the discussion, unsurprisingly, was about discovering life that's intelligent. This prompted a symposium leitmotiv that was dished out repeatedly: when thinking about aliens, beware of anthropocentrism. In other words, don't assume that they will be similar to us ethically, culturally, or cognitively.

Shostak is obviously in denial about the reality of the ET presence on Earth. To read more, click here.