Here's a summary of the book, in its author's own words:
"[H]ow many Carl Sagan fans know that while the renowned scientist was at Stanford University, he produced a controversial paper, funded by a NASA research grant, that concludes ancient alien intervention may have sparked human civilization?The problem with that thesis is that Sagan was not at Stanford in 1962-- he was at Harvard. I don't know whether he wrote any such paper--I can find no reference to it but of course Zygutis would say that's because it's been suppressed by the PtB. Zygutis maintains that Sagan believed that extraterrestrials "may have visited Earth thousands of times in ancient history, and may have even 'terraformed' the planet to make it habitable by humans." However, I know that Sagan had no such belief. On the contrary, in the original Cosmos PBS-TV series he stated quite the opposite belief, and in his writings and lectures he firmly advocated the position that there is no evidence of extraterrestrial visitationnote 1. UFOnuts love to cite Sagan as supporting their wingnuttery, but all Sagan ever said about UFOs is that they are worth investigating.
Recently rediscovered by the author, Sagan’s lost Stanford paper is the central theme of The Sagan Conspiracy. ... I’m thrilled and honored that The Sagan Conspiracy includes the complete and unabridged text of the breakthrough scientific paper on ancient alienism that Carl wrote at Stanford University in 1962, that the United States government has gone to extreme lengths to suppress."
Is Anybody There?
Last night Zygutis and guest-host Richard Syrett spent some time discussing the Drake equationnote 2 and the Arecibo message, and revealed significant ignorance on both topics.
Zygutis said the the Drake equation reckoned the odds of ever receiving a message from an intelligent extraterrestrial civilization, and that Frank Drake himself had solved his equation and come up with an estimate. That is not true. The equation sets out a mathematical way of estimating the number of extraterrestrial civilizations in our galaxy advanced enough to potentially communicate with us. Drake only gave an extremely wide range of possible values for his term N--from 1,000 to 100,000,000. The point about the equation was not that it could be evaluated with any precision at all, but that the value of N was probably non-zero. Sagan's estimates (see note 2 below) ranged from 0.3 to 10 million.
Syrett asked about the Arecibo message that Sagan sent from the huge radio telescope in 1974, and Zygutis made two errors in answering. First he said that radio telescopes can only receive information, not transmit it, and then he said the experiment was an obvious failure since no answer was ever received. Well, the fact is that Arecibo did transmit the 1679-digit message, and considering that it was directed toward a globular cluster at a distance of 25,000 light years, it's more than a little premature to be saying that no answer has been received. Again, fans of the paranormal cite Sagan, incorrectly, as believing in the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations. In fact, to Sagan this was a question, not an answer, and he simply felt that the investigation of it should be led by science, not fantasy or religion.
Well, speaking of religion, I see Donald Zygutis is a graduate of Corban University. Corban describes itself as "a gospel-driven community of scholars and leaders who seek to bring a biblical perspective to all areas of study and practice." OK, now we know.
Ah, I found the 1962 paper after all. Its title is Direct contact among galactic civilizations by relativistic interstellar spaceflight, and 18 handwritten pages of it are in the Library of Congress here. Sagan had a brief postdoc appointment at Stanford, in the department of biology under the supervision of Joshua Lederberg. That would have been around 1962, so I may have to concede that point too.
I found this through Jason Colavito, who covered Zygutis's ideas on 6th October this year. Well done Jason--meticulous as ever.
Colavito thoroughly refutes the idea that Sagan's paper was ever suppressed, and writes that the meat of the paper was not nearly as optimistic as Zygutis claims. In fact, it was really just an attempt to evaluate the Drake equation--Sagan wrote "For purposes of the following discussion, we adopt N=106"--but that does not mean he thought planet Earth had had a million visits. Far from it.
Colavito also points out that Sagan once said "The idea that we are being visited or were once visited by powerful benign beings who live in the sky is after a religious idea, the terminology is slightly different, we don't talk about angels, we talk about extra-terrestrials but the emotional significance is identical.” So we're back at religion after all.
 The Demon-Haunted World New York: Random House 1995 pp. 81–96, 99–104
See also Sagan's 1977 Christmas Lectures at the Royal Institution in London, esp. lecture #6
 N = R* fp ne fl fi fc L
Key, with Sagan's 1962 pessimistic/optimistic estimates in parentheses:
R* is the rate of formation of stars in the galaxy (1 per year / 3 per year)
fp is the fraction of stars that have planets (1/100 / 1/10)
ne is the number of planets per star that can possibly support life (3 / 3)
fl is the fraction of such planets that actually develop life (1 / 1)
fi is the fraction of such planets supporting intelligent life (1/10 / 1)
fc is the fraction of those that actually release radio communication (1/10 / 1/10)
L is the average lifetime of such radio-communicating civilizations (from 1000 to 100,000,000 years, yielding pessimistically 0.3 < N < 3 × 104 , optimistically 100 < N < 107)
NOTE THAT much more recent results have dramatically increased the probable value of fp.