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Wednesday, March 28, 2012
"UFOs Don't Exist Because ET Doesn't Exist"
"UFOs Don't Exist Because ET Doesn't Exist"," They advocate not just a 'rare Earth' hypothesis, but a 'unique Earth' hypothesis. A few UFO skeptics do tone down that argument by acknowledging that extraterrestrial life forms exist as in extraterrestrial microbes, plants and multi-cellular animals but that extraterrestrial intelligences don't exist. Even if extraterrestrial intelligence exists, only humans have invented technology, and even if aliens have invented technology, well those dumb alien bastards exterminated themselves within a short time frame after discovering chemical, biological and radiological warfare technology. So are we alone in the Universe? That's a question that's been asked by millions of philosophers, scientists and the general public over the eons, without, to date resolution. We want to get to know our neighbours across the street, not their pets, or their plants. There's unfortunately one slight flaw in that statistical approach. Depending on whom you talk to, that chain can be extremely long indeed. If any one factor is as close to zero as makes no odds, then the overall answer will also be as close to zero as makes no odds. That's relative to biologists (being life scientists), who considerably hedge their bets and who it must be said are presumably better qualified to pass judgments. 7 billion years to play with since the origin of our Universe (that Big Bang event); with billions and billions of stars in our own galaxy alone; with billions and billions of galaxies scattered throughout the cosmos each with billions and billions of stars therein, with extra-solar planets (potential cosmic real estate for E. ) being discovered around many of those stars in our own galaxy at a rapid rate of knots, (and by implication planetary systems should exist in other galaxies as well); with the chemical elements required for life commonplace throughout the Universe; with the principles of Darwinian evolution given as universal, what odds that we are really the proverbial 'It'? And what are the implications for UFOs being the manifestations of extraterrestrials? When it comes down to the UFO extraterrestrial hypothesis (ETH), it's only our own Milky Way Galaxy we need concern ourselves with. Interstellar travel, travel within the confines of our own galaxy however, is quite another matter. It would be a very brave scientific soul to suggest, given those sorts of statistics, that we are, even in our own galaxy, the proverbial 'It'; not just the new kid on the block, but the first and only kid on the block. So in summary to that first objection that only terrestrial life exists: 1) The Universe is a bio-friendly Goldilocks Universe - we're here after all. 3) The appropriate chemicals, organic chemicals, and biochemicals; appropriate life producing and sustaining chemistry full stop, are present throughout the cosmos. Ultimately, what this all boils down to are three key points: 1) whether or not extraterrestrial intelligence exists, and if so, 2) does extraterrestrial technology, technology that can get E. from there to here, evolve of necessity? 3) Lastly, having evolved a sophisticated advanced boldly going technology, how long do you have it for? Translated, we need to answer whether or not Darwinian evolution, natural selection, will favor intelligence, technology and long-term survival. Translated, they adopt the more religious point of view that humans (and human intelligence) were created in the image of God and therefore no other intelligences can exist. An answer to that issue, that extraterrestrial life exists, but not extraterrestrial intelligence (for religious reasons or otherwise), is yet again that not even respectable SETI scientists would propose this as an objection to the UFO ETH since again that would undermine their own work. The Earth provides a practical example of that. It is possible to evolve extremely high levels of intelligence. If Mother Nature can evolve one biological highly intelligent species, She can do it again, and again, and again on other worlds. Once you have multicellular critters (like ferns and cows) that have survived and thrived in a reasonably stable part of the Universe over many generations, will they evolve intelligence? I mean finding an extraterrestrial equivalent of a trilobite is all well and good, but we want to find neighbours more like ourselves. The issue now is having evolved to a multicellular stage (like trees and magpies and buffalo), will organisms develop some higher brain function? Is there any further evolutionary advantage towards increasing one's intelligence? By going back to our sample of one, if Earth is any guide, the answer is roughly 'not likely'. There are apparently only a very few species that have evolved something beyond the minimum level of brain power required for their day-to-day survival. By far and away, most multicellular critters just operate on pure instinct and don't (can't) stop to figure things out (far less stop to smell and appreciate the roses) - but, there are a few exceptions. I mean I adore my cats, but neither is a little furry Einstein. In the invertebrate kingdom, the octopus is pretty smart - by invertebrate standards (and then some if one is honest). Take my cats. Clearly brain-power has survival-of-the-fittest attributes. However, it would be illogical to say that developing intelligence, the ability to figure things out, isn't valuable and doesn't have any survival value; it's just that if you were to list all the multicellular animal species on Planet Earth, very few would have an IQ of even one (the human average is 100). That's a rather 'have your cake and eat it too' position. Here on Earth, just about all mammals and birds, and some exceptional invertebrates (the cephalopods like squid and the octopus), have reasonable IQ's at least when compared to bacteria, plants, insects, fish, etc. But, the fact remains, the ability to think, to figure things out, can only increase your odds of survival and leaving behind more offspring. Since we assume your intelligent alien neighbours are fairly far away and you want to discover them, and then maybe communicate with them, that poses a problem. In a terrestrial analogy, you have a barrier like an ocean or vast desert or mountain range separating you from them so it's difficult to hike or swim the distance. Once you do establish 'first contact', you'd like to keep in touch. That introduces one additional complication for the UFO ETH; it's not enough to just be intelligent. Then, and only then, will the 'are we alone?' question be answered to our absolute satisfaction. We need technology if we are to find (maybe communicate with) extraterrestrial intelligence(s); and/or extraterrestrial intelligence(s) will need technology to find us. There's also a hidden assumption here - you actually want to seek out new civilizations. Curiosity and associated intelligence, or intelligence and associated curiosity are two sides of the same coin. There's the human species of course, and though while we're not quite a sample of one, there having been other hominoid species with some IQ capacity (like Neanderthals), its pretty close to being a sample of one. Alas, most intelligent species lack the anatomy and/or the right environment to manipulate objects. So, developing technology has to be rated, judging from our terrestrial sampling, as rather low; otters using rocks to break open clams not withstanding. The evolution of technology isn't inevitable and have a lot of just-so factors attached. ) than can be turned into useful tools, and of course most important a suitable supply of energy sources. Water worlds are out of the running since it's difficult to discover and utilise fire in that sort of environment. Birds have wings that are off the ground, but since wings aren't good at making tools, that seems to rule out wings, and all birds of a feather, pretty much as well as tool makers. It might be conceivable that you can build up a technology using your mouth parts and/or using a tail (if you have one) to manipulate and build things, but we don't have obvious terrestrial case studies, although you might argue that bees, wasps, termites, ants and birds can build elaborate structures using just their mouths. Technology is also a double-edged sword. You wouldn't be hard-pressed to come up with dozens of technological inventions that have enabled us to survive longer and thrive better and be ever more fruitful and multiply. Longevity Third Lastly, there's the issue of longevity. But if you're both on the block for twenty years, that allows lots of time for afternoon teas, philosophical chats, bridge games, etc. But if you're an optimist, then the sky's the limit. Lots of technological advancements have, like controlling energy sources such as fire, developing a sustainable food supply via agriculture, the rise of modern medicine and food preservation technologies. Toxic this, pollutant that, nuclear the next thing; then throw in a bit of global warming; the rise of urban city living with overcrowding and in general overpopulation; chemical, biological and radiological warfare/terrorism; instruments of warfare in general, like guns; the overuse of antibiotics hence the rise of antibiotic resistant germs; exposure to electromagnetic fields - well, the list of horrors or potential horrors keeps on keeping on and on. Assuming humanity as a collective whole doesn't end up going the way of the Dodo within the next several generations, even centuries - whether it actually morally deserves to go extinct is another question - then what?. If you could come back 1000 years hence, would you indeed find a human civilization, indeed find recognizable 'humans' at all? Once you have evolved to the stage of being a multicellular critter with intelligence and advanced technology, then physics, chemistry and plain everyday evolutionary biology are no longer in control of your evolution. The age of the designer baby is already here, albeit still in its infancy (pun intended). In fact, it's possible that in 1000 years time there could be two humanoid species on Earth. The first is not too difficult a swallow. ). Do you wear glasses or contact lenses? What about a hearing aid? Perhaps you have an artificial joint(s) or a heart pacemaker. Then there's artificial skin and all manner of other internal or external types of technology that have replaced your failed flesh-and-blood - like kidney dialysis. What further artificial bio-bits will be available in another 20 years, another 50 years, or another 200 years? The era of ""RoboCop"" or a real life ""Six-Million Dollar Man"" (and ""Woman"") is getting close to fruition. Why? Well, does the word 'immortality' (or as close to immortality as makes no odds) suggest a possible reason? You don't think anything of endlessly replacing worn automobile parts for new parts to extend the useful lifetime of your car. Replace it - transfer it to a more durable technology. In fact, one might create a mega-mind or super-mind by merging into an 'iron-and-silicon' body containing a lot of minds (in much the same way as computer hardware can have a lot of operating software programs. Once your mind is contained in an 'iron-and-silicon' 'head', just attach that to an all 'iron-and-silicon' 'body'. Immortality indeed! All of which leads to a future Earth inhabited by a humanoid robot species, artificially evolved from today's human species. Research into artificial intelligence is ever ongoing. Think of those robots from ""Westworld"" or the ""Futureworld"" sequel where nothing can go wrong, go wrong, go wrong, go wrong, go wrong. It might be just science fiction today - could it be science fact tomorrow? There doesn't seem to be any violation of physics involved. But I suspect it will happen. Quite apart from immortality (well quasi-immortality anyway) arguments, its nice having more indestructible bodies and bodies that can be more easily repaired. Presumably, your mind will be able to absorb 10, 100, 1000 times the amount of experiences, memories, knowledge, etc. You might be able to explore environments now closed to you, like taking a stroll across the sea bottom - many kilometres down - in your 'iron-and-silicon' robotic 'birthday' suit. What's the hardest part of going to Mars? - it's the flesh-and-blood frailty of the human body - the need for gravity, oxygen, organic food, water, space suits, and that you can't carry spare flesh-and-blood parts along. Even if you don't want to go yourself, well, there's artificial intelligence housed in perhaps nanotechnology bodies, spreading throughout the cosmos like so much a cancer analogy. So, overall, UFOs might not be alien spaceships right here and now, because it's 1) somewhat relatively hard to evolve multicellular organisms (but obviously not impossible); 2) will intelligence tend to have evolutionary survival? 3) Associated advanced technology isn't inevitable and might even be counterproductive. Thus, Earth, with its multicellular critters and humanity with its technology, might be quite the rare planet within the Universe - according to some. There's always a catch. Few pundits would like to bet against that ONE, given, in the immortal words of the late Carl Sagan, a statistical possibility of 'billions and billions'. TRY SOMETHING NEW JUST CLICK HERE