I recently appealed to President and CEO of the SETI Institute, Bill Diamond, to launch an investigation of the Sagan Signal. In a personal email, I made my case to Bill that with the completion of the Center for Inquiry investigation that resulted in confirmation of my Bible code claim, SETI should launch its own comprehensive inquiry.  

In my email I attached a portfolio of every skeptic study conducted to date, all confirming my claimed discovery of a non-predictive, non-algorithmic code of uncertain origin in the Old Testament.

My phrase “uncertain origin” leaves open the possibility that the code might be extraterrestrial, which gives me confidence that Bill will take my request seriously. If the Sagan Signal is a code, as all indicators to this point suggest that it is, attributing its origin to ET could be the simplest and most logical explanation.

I also told Bill about positive interactions I have had in the past with SETI Chief Investigator Paul Shuch, and with SETI senior advisors, physicist Paul Davies and anthropologist Kathryn Denning. Though none of these exchanges resulted in formal investigations, all three gave me positive input, recommendations for vetting the data in other venues, and encouragement to continue on. With the Sagan Signal’s unqualified success among skeptics, including a thumbs up from the Center for Inquiry, plus its high rating on the Rio Scale, now would seem an appropriate time for SETI to get involved.

In pivoting away from skeptics to academics, I know that scholars from a variety of disciplines would join me in encouraging SETI to test the data. SETI scientists, knowing that any electromagnetic signal from ET would likely be encrypted, have access to the best human and technical code identification resources in the world.

The SETI Institute, as with all science-based organizations, places a premium on mathematics. SETI scientists will take note that a statistical probability study produced by math professor Sean Rule is compelling evidence that the Sagan Signal is a code. More than any other factor, it is the math that elevates the Sagan Signal on the Rio Scale to a level that justifies SETI getting involved.

There are three stages in code science: identification, attribution, and decryption. My request to Bill relates only to the first metric, are the sequences a code? I have asked him to have SETI scientists input the data in and see what comes out the other side. To honor its mantra that SETI will leave no promising stone unturned, it’s hard to imagine that he would not act on an opportunity to turn over what is currently the biggest and brightest stone on the SETI landscape.

There are, however, some caveats. First, SETI’s post-detection protocols dictate that if an ET encoded signal is received, before releasing the news to the public it would need to be decoded. If its contents were deemed overly disruptive, or possibly even dangerous, its existence would be kept secret until such concerns were addressed and resolved. No question, the Sagan Signal will raise eyebrows.

But keeping its discovery a secret is no longer an option. The cat is already out of the bag. People around the globe know about the Sagan Signal, meaning that the best SETI could do would be to not investigate. While that might slow things down a bit, it would not block media dissemination or deter non-SETI scientists and scholars from conducting their own investigations. One way or another, sooner or later, the truth will come out. In my opinion, it would be a far better look for SETI to participate than to obfuscate.

The second caveat is that within the largely secular SETI community there is a decided bias against the Bible. How motivated would SETI be to investigate a claim that, if confirmed, would establish the Bible as unique in human literature?

My counter is that, along with its expertise in code identification, it is this anti-confirmation bias that makes SETI the perfect institution to test the data. To “kill the code,” its cryptologists would apply the kind of rigorous critical analysis I seek, and that scholars and scientists around the world have come to expect from this world-class institution.

My concern is not that SETI won’t conduct an investigation. It surely will. But will there be transparency? Will Bill publicly announce an investigation before it begins, and, once it begins, will the public be kept abreast of the proceedings?

Keep in mind that while it’s theoretically possible that the Sagan Signal might involve aliens, my claim has nothing to do with typical Bible code stuff like prophecies, algorithms, supernaturalism, or ET. It’s honest, old-fashioned, brick and mortar code science.

Finally, Bill Diamond and his staff can, and do, take great pride in the fact that, over the course of its existence, research generated by SETI Institute scientists has often benefited scholars working in fields unrelated to space or to the search for ET. Should Bill honor my request and authorize an investigation of the Sagan Signal, and should it confirm the existence of a hidden code in the Old Testament, then, even if there is no ET connection, it would still be a priceless gift to the world that would advance knowledge in a variety of academic disciplines.

So, please, Bill, do the right thing and approve the investigation. Let your team do the science, crunch the numbers, and let’s see what happens.  

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