I once attended a very peculiar conference; it was secret and yet it was supported by The National Academy of Sciences and The National Research Council. It occurred in the early sixties. The conference was called by the Director of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory at Green Bank, West Virginia, at the behest of Frank Drake, a radio astronomer, who had worked out Project Ozma. Project Ozma was a radio telescope search in a particular way for intelligent signals from some of the nearby stars, i.e., the planets around those stars.
I was startled by the invitation to this conference. There was a lack of official scientific recognition of the work that I was doing on the dolphins. I became known as the scientist most favored by the wives and children of other scientists. I was invited to be the after-dinner speaker at several scientific societies, including the Acoustical Society of America and The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, Inc.
I was asked to lecture to the learned societies under those peculiar conditions in which the members were in a state that we call in medicine "post-prandial stupor," due to filled stomachs and too much alcohol. (I am not talking about scientific papers that I proposed giving at meetings; I had no problems there. I would submit an abstract and give a short talk at the official meetings even as did my colleagues.)
I tell you this because when the invitation came to go to Green Bank, West Virginia, I was startled and surprised that a group of radio astronomers and their satellite scientists in the radio measurement game should ask me to come and talk about dolphins. I couldn't quite figure this out in advance. When I got into the small airplane that takes one to Green Bank, on board the same plane was Bernard M. Oliver, probably one of the most intelligent, energetic and broadly educated scientists that we have in the United States today. On the plane he explained how this conference had come about.
The failure of Project Ozma probably meant that the wrong methods were being used. Frank Drake had used a kind of quantitative reasoning about the probabilities of extraterrestrial intelligent communicating life forms that would use radio telescopes or laser beams or some other method (such as gamma rays) to communicate across the galaxy.
I asked why the conference was secret. He said that the National Academy did not consider this subject at that time to be quite respectable enough to publicly announce the results. They did not want to appear as fools in the public eye.
At this particular conference I was asked to speak about the dolphins. Three hours were scheduled for me in which to do this. I presented all our evidence that dolphins are another intelligent species on this planet. This was given in the midst of an atmosphere of tentative acceptance of what I was saying and great interest in the results of our analysis of the brain structure, the vocal behavior, the communicational abilities and the airborne humanoid voice outputs of the dolphins.
This was probably the most interested
scientific audience that I had had to date, even though they were functioning
in a sort of underground fashion outside the usual halls of science.
This conference was not written up; nothing was published from it until
a year later when a short summary appeared in Science magazine,
and a science editor from The New York Times wrote a book called
We Are Not Alone.
Carl Sagan, an astronomer from Cornell University, has written two books partly based on this conference. One he wrote with I. S. Shklovsky, a Russian, on the search for extraterrestrial life. It is called Intelligent Life in the Universe. The second one came out quite recently and is called The Cosmic Connection: An ExtraterrestrialConnection. In spite of the openness of these scientists, what I had to say allowed them tentatively to make the statement that apparently this planet has two forms of intelligent life, one of which uses radio telescopes and the other of which does not, i.e., dolphins.
It is rather interesting that in Carl Sagan's first book he made the usual mistake of the scientific community in general by stating that dolphins brains are almost as large as humans. We had shown convincing evidence that they are definitely 20 to 40 percent larger (see The Mind of the Dolphin). The whales are up to six times larger. Somehow Sagan did not fully accept this, and writing in his book several years after the conference, he inserted his own belief in the preeminence of man over dolphin on such a measurable point as brain size! In his next book he gives detailed accounts of his own encounter with my dolphins in a swimming pool in Miami, as evidence for their intelligence.
Thus, reluctantly and kind of through the back door, the scientific establishment has begun to accept what we have been saying for years, ever since it was first announced in 1958 that there are brains other than human worth considering on this planet. The announcements have been welcomed by people who needed support in their arguments for, and in their far-out (they think) considerations of extraterrestrial life. They needed to be bolstered up on the occurrence of intelligence, other than human intelligence, on this planet. They needed bolstering for their arguments about extraterrestrial intelligence, and yet most of the scientific establishment has not accepted what we have done. Youngsters have accepted it. There are several grade- school text readers that have been published in which a sort of sentimental fashion Dr. Lilly is featured as the Dolphin Doctor, and in some, some of his "conversations" with dolphins are paraphrased.
Like Galileo, I wrote in the common language of the laity-as an educational measure. I realized that arguments in scientific societies are not the way that the ideas of a culture are changed. We have all been educated on the fantastic power of the media in changing public opinion. So, quite early in the game (about 1960), I was convinced by a well-known author to start writing popular books incorporating my ideas and some of the results of the scientific work on dolphins. It happened like this.
By coincidence, when I moved to the Virgin Islands it turned out that Herman Wouk had also moved there. He heard about my dolphin project through mutual friends of ours, Patty and Ev Birch of Saint Thomas. Patty and Ev arranged for me to meet Wouk and we finally had dinner together; he wanted to find out what we knew about dolphins. I told him the story to date and he said, "This is worth a book, you really should write a book." My answer was that I was not an author, I was a scientist. I had written scientific papers but I didn't think I was capable of writing a popular book. He said, "Nonsense, I will get my agent Hal Matson down from New York, and I will get my editor Lee Barker from Doubleday also to come down to talk with you." In subsequent weeks the editor and the agent showed up and signed me up for a two-book contract, the first of which was to be Man and Dolphin, which was published by Doubleday in 1961. At that time the second was to be a book called Solitude, Isolation and Confinement, which I had completed, but which I withheld because the data in it, I felt, were too personal for a scientist to publish at that time. Subsequently, some of the data were published in The Human Biocomputer and in The Center of the Cyclone; however, the Doubleday two-book contract was subsequently satisfied by the publication in 1967 of The Mind of the Dolphin.
Over the years I discovered who was
reading these books, especially when they came out in paperback form.
It was mostly the younger generation and the wives of scientists, not
the scientists themselves. This is rather a paradoxical situation. In
the books I gave a sufficient bibliography of the scientific papers
that we had published in rather obscure places such as the American
Philosophical Society in Philadelphia, No. 78, p. 288; The American
Psychiatric Association publications, Washington, D.C., etcetera.
My scientific voice was heard, but it was heard more in the home than it was in the halls of the universities and of the scientific societies. When the editor was friendly we were able to get papers published. For example, when we had a friendly editor at Science of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington we were invited to give two papers on our dolphin work; these appeared as The Sounds Emitted by the Bottlenose Dolphin, and Vocal Exchanges Between Dolphins.
Another scientific paper appeared in the Journal ofthe Acoustical Society of America, when Bill Fry, a personal friend from my biophysicist days invited me to write a paper for that journal. It is the Reprogramming of the Sonic Output of the Dolphin, a rather revolutionary paper published in 1968; this paper has been ignored by the scientific community at large. This paper is republished in full in Lilly on Dolphins, The Humans of the Sea, Anchor/Doubleday, New York, 1975 (as Appendix One).
My work has shown that dolphins and whales are more intelligent than we are. Their community of effort, their total dependence on one another in an extremely hostile environment is a far better example of intelligence than man's warfare upon man, both outside on a national basis and inside the structure of our society, in battles about ideas and the entertainment rip-offs.
In concert we are deadly. Those with money and power are deadly. They must be deadly to survive-ruthless and deadly. In one of my publications on a symposium of extraterrestrial communicating life forms sponsored by The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, Inc., I warned off other species from this planet.
I said, "With our depredations committed against one another and our depredations committed upon whales, making cat (and dog) food out of their bodies, I advise all extraterrestrial beings to stay away from this very dangerous planet." The bodies housing the largest brains on this planet (those of whales) go into "industrial products" including cat and dog food and, in Japan, human food. The carcasses of the whales are cut up and every bit of them used, except for the brain.
Their brains are the most magnificent structures on this planet. A sperm whale brain of nine thousand grams is six times the size of the average human brain. It is four and one half times the size of the largest of the human brains measured to tate. As I have said in other places, nature does not create such large brains for the amusement of man or for his reverence and awe. These brains are created to be used. The problem in science is to find out how they are used: something that we will never find out if we allow the industrial exploitation and murder of these intelligent beings.
Two things used to make me angry: man's inhumanity to man, and man's murder of the whales. Each of these now cause me only grief. My compassion is aroused in the place of my former anger.
I am sorry that I complain so much. I don't want to have to complain. When I see what kind of absolute stupidities which have involved my life and have involved humankind itself in its own destruction of itself, I cry. Eventually we all die. Eventually we die naturally, if we are not killed first by the stupidities of our fellow man. I do not understand my own species. There are times and occasions in which I do not think I ever will understand them.
Let us return to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. I recommend an article to you by Bernard M. Oliver in the Cal Tech alumni magazine, Engineering and Science, for January 1975. In this article, Dr. Oliver gives the evidence for the non-economic nature of interstellar travel and the necessity for interstellar communication by new and expensive (ten-billion- dollar) arrays of radio telescopes (Project Cyclops).
Oliver here gives the quantitative data for picking the band between the hydrogen line and the hydroxyl line (OH) in the radio spectrum. Here galactic noise is lower than the "big bang background" at 3 degrees Kelvin, which permeates space in every direction. He calls this band of frequencies a "water hole" (between H and OH of H20) and says that this is the place "where water-based life forms should meet."
All of Bernie Oliver's arguments are based upon the natural sciences to date. He has an evolutionary theory of the cosmos based upon astronomy and astrophysics. He has a theory of the three and a half billion years (now raised to sixteen million years by Sandage's new work on Hubble's constant velocity of expansion of the universe-Allen Sandage, The Hubble Atlas of Gallexies) of the origin of the green hills of earth and setting the stage for animal life. He has a theory of the origin of planets, of rocky planets. He hypothesized that there are ten billion life sites in our galaxy, based upon these theories. I quote
Quoting further he says:
He does a very sophisticated analysis of nuclear space travel with the conclusion that it is impractical. The cost is prohibitive. He then applies very sophisticated methods to an analysis of what it would take to communicate across the galaxy; Bernie edited the results in a monograph, Project Cyclops, published by NASA.
The Cyclops array would be the most powerful radio telescope ever built and would permit real time images of the radio sky. Cyclops could reach out one hundred light years. We could pick up signals radiated from the planets at this distance. For powerful beacons we could probably go out a thousand light years. Of course we are up against the delays in these signals. One would not receive an answer at one hundred light years for two hundred years.
It is considerations like these that block support of such a project; however, he has a very cogent argument that Cyclops would pay for itself in very short order if we did establish communication with a super-advanced civilization willing to share its results with us. If such a super-advanced civilization were within a few light years from us, the project would be worthwhile. At a hundred light years, we are investing money of this generation that would not see a return for several generations to come, if then.
Therefore, I suggest that what Oliver has shown is the impossibility at the present level of our natural sciences of communicating with life forms that are not on this planet. I suggest that such budgets as those in the National Defense be turned over to projects other than Cyclops, projects such as devising methods for communicating with whales and dolphins; their alien bodies are available, their communication systems are directly researchable without long transmission delays.
We can see a much more immediate return on such a project than we can in trying to communicate with extraterrestrial intelligences whose existences have not been demonstrated.
The existence of whales and dolphins has been demonstrated. The existence of their complex communication system has been demonstrated. Their wish to communicate with us and their capability of making the attempt has also been demonstrated. I refer you to Man and Dolphin; The Mind of the Dolphin; and to Reprogramimng of the Sonic Output of the Dolphin for this evidence.
If we could devote a good deal less than ten billion dollars to this project, say, to begin with, a million dollars a year for ten years, for a total of ten million dollars, we could do on this planet the initial exercises required by us to communicate with a nonhuman species; even one such species is important. We need this preliminary exercise to educate us out of our arrogance, out of our assumption that our knowledge is all knowledge, that our sciences are the only sciences. Those who construct and use radio telescopes realize that radio telescopes do not look under seawater, at least in the wavelength range of interest to them. Therefore they go off-planet searching for extraterrestrial life forms.
I suggest that instead of killing off
the intelligent species of this planet, we attempt to break down the
communication barrier right here on the planet. It's a good deal less
expensive than the extraterrestrial search as it's promulgated.
I have other suggestions to make much further out-that we try to find means much faster than light and radio for communication. That we search for influences of these advanced civilizations upon us by using methods far more advanced than those conceived of by Dr. Oliver. There is some evidence from my personal experiences, and those of certain of my colleagues willing to use the methods that we have used, that such influences are being brought to bear upon us. The evidence is of a peculiar sort, not generally allowed in the halls of respectable consensus science, on this planet at least. It is the result of inner searches for sources of information not brought to one through the usual five senses. This information can be brought to one in meditative states, brought to one floating in the silence and darkness in the flotation tank in isolation. As far as I and others in this area can find out, our planet is subject to influences from beings far more intelligent than us, far more advanced, far more knowledgeable and not just in the consensus science of this planet, but in sciences we have yet to discover.
There is a cosmic limiting velocity to miracles. The "miracle speed limit" is administered by cosmic traffic cops. We are not allowed to make discoveries (so-called) any faster than the stage of evolution of this planet allows.
The overall evolutionary rate to which we are subject here, is regulated by influences beyond our present understanding. Yes, we may need Cyclopean arrays and radio telescopes for effective communication beyond the solar system, but we should devote at least some of our research money to methods other than radio telescopes, to methods using our own detection systems of which we are not yet fully aware, within our own bodies. If one spends sufficient number of hours, totally isolated from the distraction of one's own species, such as Admiral Byrd (see his book Alone, first published in 1938) did in the South Pole for months on end, one comes up against certain kinds of revelatory experiences having to do with the content of the universe.
I have had such experiences in the Chilean desert; I have had them in the isolation tank. Sufficient number of persons using the same methods I have used have had similar experiences to convince me that there is something worth investigating here. Once again we are on the edge of the Unknown. Once again we have no guidelines from previous science, we are breaking into new fields, new areas of interest. Apparently only the young are sufficiently unbiased, sufficiently able to change their belief systems to investigate this region, even as they are with the dolphins and the killer whales.
At least once a week I get inquiries from youngsters who are dealing with dolphins or orca the so-called killer whale. There are now enough dedicated youngsters working in this area so that we may be able to make a breakthrough on interspecies communication on this planet.
There are also enough youngsters beginning to spend enough time in isolation tanks so that we may make a breakthrough in another area of methods of communication beyond our present science.
At Green Bank, West Virginia, in the early sixties, The Order of the Dolphin was founded; subsequently this order was to be composed of those interested in extraterrestrial communication. The Order subsequently died a nice quiet death. There should be a younger Order, a younger society to pursue these matters. It should not be a science-fiction society. This one should be founded by the youngsters as a respectable scientific organization that is searching for means of communication with extraterrestrial life forms including those on this planet. We should say not "extraterrestrial" so much as "extrahuman," outside of the human species; "nonhuman intelligences" is a more proper term for what we are trying to define.
I feel that the large brains of the elephants, the whales and dolphins contain aufficient anatomic, physiological and behavioral evidence to encourage such a scientific society to proceed to organize and to seek support for its own research projects.
Without organization individuals are
going to be shot down right and left by the organized establishment.
They are going to be discredited.
The way that most scientists in the past have gained credence in the community is by organizing with one another and creating a new society.
For example, I was a charter member of the American Biophysical Society and an early member of the American EEG Society. In both of these cases the biophysicists and the electroencephalographers were not considered quite respectable by other societies, so they founded their own. I think it is time that those interested in nonhuman intelligence and in communicating with it, form their own society and thus gain more credibility and respectability.
Whether we like it or not, credibility and respectability are needed for financial support both of the private and government types. Imperfect as scientific societies tend to be, they are better than isolated individuals when it comes to support: unless one can find money either of one's own or of a dedicated wealthy person or family, one must still raise funds for one's efforts in this area.