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Where do aliens come from? They won't arrive on spaceships

Aliens date from 1609. Colin McPherson/Sygma/Getty Images

Aliens date from 1609. Colin McPherson/Sygma/Getty Images


November 7, 2023   8 mins

I want to tell you where aliens come from — not which galaxy or dimension, but rather how humans, over the past few centuries, have come to conceive of extraterrestrial life. But before we start, we must briefly note that there are already a few very good reasons to be sceptical of recent reports of encounters with alien beings. This is not at all to say that such beings do not exist, but only that the presumptions behind reported encounters almost always reveal a strong terrestrial bias: an inability to imagine the real conditions, imposed by the universe itself, on any potential interstellar voyage.

The first reason for scepticism is, simply, the tremendous distance involved in any voyage from even the nearest habitable exoplanet (Proxima Centauri, about 4.25 light-years away). If such a distance can be traversed, this is almost certainly not going to happen by a means of transportation that bears any resemblance, or evolutionary connection, to the horse-cart or the school bus, as our own space shuttles still do, and as virtually all reported UFO descriptions do as well. It would simply not be fit for interstellar travel.

Even if these UFOs are often said to be operating according to mechanical principles we do not yet understand — veering off suddenly in a different direction with no apparent acceleration period, for example — they remain conventional vehicles, containers built to transport the living bodies inside them. But when it comes to traversing distances measured in light-years, it is vastly more likely that any intelligent beings that figure out how to do so will not be relying on vehicular motion as we understand it, but on the exploitation of some physical principle, such as wormholes, or some information-theoretical principle, such as one that allows them to dematerialise the unique patterns that constitute their identity, and to “beam” them across galaxies for rematerialisation elsewhere. If there are aliens among us, in short, they almost certainly didn’t come here in spaceships.

And whether they come through wormholes, or teletransportation, or some other means, it is most probable that what will count for them as “arrival” will not be an arrival in an organically embodied form. Indeed, the idea that alien visitors would come in biological bodies such as ours is, I contend, even less plausible than that they would come in artificial contraptions. Organic substrates, as the philosopher and xenobiologist Susan Schneider has argued, may well turn out to be a relatively short-lived host for intelligence whenever and wherever it emerges in the universe, soon to be replaced, wherever a technologically advanced species appears in the cosmos, by robots.

If intelligent beings are smart enough to get here, they are almost certainly smart enough to get here without dragging their bodies along. They could get around this hitch by transferring their consciousness or personal identity (whatever that is) into some more durable physical substrate — either a technological device of their own making, or, more intriguingly, a pre-existing physical system or process in the universe into which they figure out how to integrate themselves. To be clear, I have no clue how this would work. But neither you nor I have any idea how you could sit your living body down and fly a school-bus-like shuttle across interstellar distances — so the modal operator at work in both cases is not concrete feasibility, but only conceptual possibility.

Our alien visitors could also pull off such an impressive feat simply by means of what we, with our limited technological imagination, would classify as “simulations”. For us, when a high-powered telescope or an unmanned probe sends back images of objects in space, we consider that we are “seeing” and “experiencing” these objects only in a downgraded better-than-nothing sense, as mediated representations. But this may only be because our technologies of representation are still in a primitive stage, while another race of intelligent beings might well succeed in improving these technologies to the point where technologically mediated representation might count for them as “the real thing”. It might be both easier and more desirable for them to avail themselves of such representations than physically to travel and to experience that thing unmediated in a way that we ourselves, in our present technological condition, would consider “real”.

To imagine that one must go to another part of the universe, in one’s own organic body, in order to truthfully claim that one has been there, may turn out to be somewhat like supposing, circa 1920, that in order to participate in a conference with colleagues in Paris, one must actually go to Paris, rather than joining them by Zoom — a possibility that would only come onto the horizon a century or so later.

But let us suppose just for a moment that alien beings did set themselves the goal of making an “actual” voyage to Earth in their standard-issue, carbon-based, biologically evolved bodies. And let us suppose they succeeded. What might these bodies look like? There are at least some compelling arguments that any technologically advanced race of beings is likely to share certain anatomical traits with us: appendages that grasp, for example, or adaptations facilitating gravity-bound terrestrial locomotion. I have even heard it argued that space-travelling aliens would probably be equipped with exactly two eyes, and as with us, these would be found in the front of their faces, facilitating binocular vision.

We know from convergent evolution in widely different phylogenies on Earth that different species can come to have similar appearances (e.g., placental wolves in the northern hemisphere and marsupial “wolves” in Australia), and in principle, it is possible that xenobiological evolution could yield up bipedal, two-handed beings with eyes in the front of their heads. But wolves and “wolves” started from a common mammalian ancestor, and what you could not expect to find in any interstellar convergence of organic BauplĂ€ne is a being such as the one purportedly discovered of late in Mexico, which clearly has not just hands, feet, and a face, but also a ribcage, a spinal column, and an unmistakable pelvis. On Earth only about 3% of all animal species are vertebrates; how strange it would be if our first extraterrestrial visitors turned out to be vertebrates too!

But the really interesting question is why, in the first place, we started thinking about the beings that inhabit the world “up there” (call it the heavens, or the celestial spheres, or outer space, according to the conventions of your era) as similar to us in their bodily conformation, which is to say as organic beings.

This habit of ours has a very precise starting point in history. We could probably find some earlier examples if we tried, but I tend to date the birth of aliens, as we know them today, to 1609, the year Johannes Kepler wrote his Somnium (which would only be published posthumously in 1634). This is a peculiar work, both a proto-science-fiction reverie, as the Latin title suggests, and a work of properly modern relativistic astronomy, in which the author attempts to describe how the orbits of the other celestial bodies would appear if one were observing them from the moon. In the dream-like part of the work, Kepler relates the story not only of the transit of his hero Duracotus to our nearest satellite (evidently with the assistance of some psychoactive plants), but also the various animal-like beings he finds once he arrives there, including some creeping and slithering reptiles, and some sort of giant camel. Some decades later, in his Histoire comique des États et Empires du Soleil of 1662, the French author Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac would describe the different species of birds that inhabit the surface of the sun.

Why are we beginning to find birds, snakes, and camels in a region of the cosmos where previously we could have expected to find only spirituous beings, divinities, and angels? During this same period, natural philosophers such as RenĂ© Descartes and G.W. Leibniz were intent on arguing for the uniformity of nature. The new mechanical philosophy required its adherents to accept the principle that, as Leibniz would put it: “Always and everywhere, it’s the same as it is here.”

For Descartes, it made no sense to divide the cosmos into different ontological realms, as the Aristotelians had previously done, where different laws apply to each. On the Aristotelian model, the most significant boundary in the physical universe is the one traced by the orbit of the moon: everything below it is a “sublunar” being, subject to generation and corruption (i.e. birth and death), while everything above it is immortal. In the new Cartesian physics, by contrast, the laws that govern the motions of bodies here on Earth, from the arc of a projectile shot from a cannon, to the rising and lowering of the tides, to the generation of a foetus, are exactly the same as the laws that govern the formation of other star systems, and presumably also of the planets and of the beings inhabiting them.

In other words, the key theoretical innovations of the scientific revolution positively require that, if there are intelligent beings elsewhere in the universe, they are like us. Specifically, this would mean that they depend for their existence not on some fine homogeneous ether or quintessence (as the celestial beings were often conceived in premodern cosmology), but rather on a specific arrangement of internal organs constituting a fragile and perishable organic body. In short, the homogenisation of the physical universe, which had been such a key part of the new mechanical physics, caused a corollary reconceptualisation of the inhabitants of the world “up there”, from quasi-divine beings that were either immaterial or ethereal, to ordinary reptiles or humanoids such as those that have remained the staples of science fiction, and of tabloid claims of alien sightings, to the present day.

Nearly all the great Enlightenment philosophers presupposed that other worlds must be inhabited by organically embodied intelligent beings like us. Thus Immanuel Kant declares in his Critique of Pure Reason of 1781: “I say that it is not merely an opinion but a strong belief (on the correctness of which I would wager many advantages in life), that there are also inhabitants of other worlds.” Kant’s sometimes-adversary, the significantly less rigorous Emanuel Swedenborg, wrote extensively of his own purported voyages to Jupiter and Saturn, where he learned a great deal about the inhabitants’ agricultural methods, the techniques they employ for yoking their beasts of burden, and so on. For more than 200 years, for serious and unhinged thinkers alike, outer space was teeming with a very familiar variety of life, not so different from the sort we know here on Earth.

By the late 19th century, just at the dawn of the era of rocket science, with actual space exploration finally within reach (Konstantin Tsiolkovsky would publish his “ideal rocket equation” in 1903), institutional science entered a sort of “alien winter”. I deploy this term in conscious allusion to the “consciousness winter” that hung over brain science for the better part of a century, scaring researchers away from any acknowledgement of the self-evident reality of internal subjective states of the mind.

In the same fashion, for most of the 20th century — notwithstanding Carl Sagan’s enthusiasm and the small budgets allocated for programmes like SETI — sober-minded experts placed a high premium on the public expression of scepticism about non-terrestrial intelligent life. Naysaying became part of the system of values and presuppositions by which the public identity of an expert was confirmed. In the same period, preoccupation with aliens mostly became the monopoly of fantasists of various sorts, either the creators of fictional entertainments or people who were unbothered by the social stigma of holding beliefs perceived to be “fringe”.

Why exactly this “winter” set in when it did has much to do with the broader cultural history of science and of the perception of expertise, and indeed seems not entirely separate from the long banishment of consciousness as a category of inquiry. Throughout the 20th century, for the most part, excessive interest in extraterrestrials was the telltale mark of a crank. This attitude had much to do with the reigning positivism of the scientific community, and the general consensus that speculation about things happening beyond the sphere of direct observability is ipso facto unfalsifiable and therefore unscientific.

But this era has decidedly come to an end in the past decade or so, as vast social, economic, and technological transformations have fundamentally realigned the public’s perception of expertise, and of who gets to claim to have it. After the crisis of epistemic authority that experts brought upon themselves throughout the Covid pandemic, and after the replacement of our old media ecosystem by one in which authoritativeness has become more than ever a sort of popularity contest, we are now in a period of history in which extraterrestrials are important if the masses of internet users think they are important, scientific consensus be damned. Under these conditions, the 20th century’s “alien winter” comes to look to many like a government cover-up. The truth is far more banal.

The cultural position of aliens has changed radically in the 21st century, both as a result of changes in the cultural position of science, but also as a result of real and promising scientific breakthroughs. Notably, since the Nineties, there has been a tremendous revolution in the way we observe, catalogue, and estimate the number of habitable exoplanets, and significant discoveries have also been made in astrochemistry, favouring the theory of so-called “soft panspermia”, according to which the chemical compounds that brought about the first life-forms on earth are by no means rare in the cosmos. Given these scientific advances, and given our new information ecosystem, it is safe to say that we will be hearing a lot more about aliens in the coming years. But we would be foolish to believe that this is the result of an actual uptick in sightings, or that our own most recent cultural representations of intelligent life beyond Earth get something uniquely right about the heavens that our ancestors failed to notice.


Justin Smith-Ruiu is the author of The Internet Is Not What You Think It Is. He also writes on Substack.


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Simon Neale
Simon Neale
8 months ago

“Our experimental attempt to set up a short-lived religion focused on the deification of a convicted drug-addicted violent criminal resisting lawful arrest seems to have been successful. It is with some regret, therefore, that we are deeming the dominant life-form on this planet to be insufficiently advanced to justify contact and help. All further exploration in that sector is hereby prohibited, pending a further two million years of unenhanced evolution…”

Crazy Zine
Crazy Zine
7 months ago
Reply to  Simon Neale

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Newt Carbon
3 months ago
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John Riordan
John Riordan
8 months ago

Very interesting essay. There is one omission though, which I consider curious – no mention of evolution. The article above refers to the likelihood that intelligent alien life would have emerged biologically before transferring itself into more durable forms based upon technological advancement, but the crucial importance of what first led to that biological step is glossed over, referring only tangentially to the convergent evolution we observe on this planet, and then not even by name.

This is important because it means that the popular conceptualising of aliens as being structurally similar to humans isn’t quite the parochial failure of imagination implied: it is entirely likely that life evolves elsewhere as carbon-based because carbon-based chemistry is the only conceivable form that offers sufficient complexity, and it is highly likely that only planet surfaces offer environments where sufficient stability combines with sufficient energy and matter to make evolution possible.

Once we allow for these restrictions on where life can evolve, we’re also saying that broadly similar selection pressures will apply to the development of life elsewhere in the universe compared with what applied here on Earth. That doesn’t mean that aliens will turn out to be the hopelessly-badly imagined Star Trek aliens which are just funny-looking humans (and in any case only ever intended as grotesques for the narrative purpose of describing certain types of human anyway), but it does probably at least imply things like bilateral symmetry, alimentary canals, binocular vision, hearing, locomotion and musculature etc.

My own view is that the argument upon which the Drake equation is based is broadly correct, but either way I agree with another observation by someone whose name I forget, which is that humans might share the cosmos with other intelligent life or we may be alone, but either thought is terrifying.

Last edited 8 months ago by John Riordan
UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
8 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Arthur C. Clarke – “Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.”

Chris Bradshaw
Chris Bradshaw
8 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Arthur C. Clarke, I believe.
Excellent addition to an excellent essay.

Cheryl Benard
Cheryl Benard
8 months ago

I sometimes think that dogs and cats are actually aliens, who have found a way to insert themselves into human society for purposes of their own – to study us at close quarters? as a kind of public service to bring companionship to a different life form?

Cris Porper
Cris Porper
8 months ago
Reply to  Cheryl Benard

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William Shaw
William Shaw
8 months ago
Reply to  Cheryl Benard

I thought that was the white mice, who are involved in performing deviously subtle experiments on us in labs around the world.

Jacqui Denomme
Jacqui Denomme
8 months ago
Reply to  Cheryl Benard

Oh, wow, I have often had this thought, too! My own cat is incredibly intelligent and has ‘trained’ me on how to understand his attempts at communication. The incredible importance of the fact of consciousness and agency and intelligence of other earthbound species let alone extraterrestrial is a whole avenue of study that doesn’t get enough time in the academic or public sphere. We are definitely not alone ‘.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
8 months ago

What i find more interesting than the current state of debate around the question of the existence and potential visitation of our planet by aliens (in whatever form, whether biological or technical) is the phenomena discovered of both alien-like creatures (depicted by many ancient civilisations) and also artefacts that couldn’t possibly have been manufactured by those ancient civilisations: indeed, couldn’t be manufactured or built by ourselves in the present day.
These finds remain inexplicable, except by reference to a far more advanced civilisation than we can account for stretching into pre-history. Aliens? Well, we just don’t know; but there’s one other thing. Accounts of so-called “miraculous” events in early historical texts read very much like misunderstood technology, the same way someone in the year 1023 might misinterpret the jet plane, the drone, the mobile phone of 2023.
Food for thought, with no conclusions drawn.

John Riordan
John Riordan
8 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

My own pet theory – well more of a baseless conjecture actually – is that Stonehenge and other similar ancient constructions are actually evidence of the cargo-cult phenomenon seen on the Pacific islands during WW2, except caused by alien landings prior to the start of human recorded history.

Jacqui Denomme
Jacqui Denomme
8 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Oxford University Press published in 2019 a great exploration of this topic by D. W. Pavelka called ‘American Cosmic’ that explores in a unique way the idea that the UFO phenomenon has similarities to organized religion broadly or spiritual experience in general. Very interesting.

Alan Gore
Alan Gore
8 months ago

What changed in the leadup to the turn of the century was astronomers discovering that planetary systems are common, not rare. This finding brought Fermi’s paradox back into discussion: if the resources and locales that life needs are so common everywhere, where are the aliens?
If we make the most conservative assumption, that Kim Stanley Robinson was right in hypothesizing that biology is just too fragile to transmit over interstellar distances, it follows that our first contact with aliens will be with their machines. As a corollary, that contact will also be most likely by our own machines.

Andrew R
Andrew R
8 months ago

It could be viewed in an entirely different perspective. For the most part the universe is a very inhospitable place. Maybe we are alone, perhaps the universe is so vast in order to increase the chances of any kind of life to form and evolve, a paradox.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
8 months ago

It’s interesting how the rise of the Internet and the democratization of media and information has caused us to question expertise, governments, and even facts. Some have even begun to refer to a ‘post-truth’ society. The entire notion of objective truth, held sacred since the Enlightenment, is under attack as never before.

Descartes is often called the father of modern rationalism and is probably my favorite philosopher. He tried to arrive at true knowledge by beginning with his famous tautology, ‘I think, therefore I am’. Unfortunately, he understood the basic unreliability of his senses and the limitations of his perceptions. He could be mistaken. He could see things that weren’t there, as in dreams. He could be deceived by some malevolent actor. In other words, he could not easily escape the famous Socratic solipsism, all I know is that I know nothing with any certainty. In order to resolve this dilemma, and to justify enlightenment thought and modern science, he relied on a ‘proof’ of the existence of God. Most philosophers then and since have regarded this proof as faulty and as circular reasoning, a claim which he disputed but never satisfactorily answered. Modern scientific empiricism has long since dispensed with any proof of a deity and simply takes the material universe as real objective truth and our inner thoughts and experiences as something of an illusion. The universe and the rules that govern it are real, with or without us, and everything in it, including ourselves must be subject to those rules which we reason out through the scientific method.

This all seems reasonable, but ultimately suffers from the same flaw as Descartes’s original proof of the divine. The tool we use to detect, measure, and understand this ‘real’ universe and the ‘real’ scientific laws that govern it is the same one Descartes used to prove the existence of God, that is the human mind. We cannot escape the self-referential nature of our existence by any art we naturally possess, and since all our tools , gadgets, and methods are ultimately derived from the same source, ourselves, science, and all Enlightenment philosophy is really just walking the same circle Descartes identified and coming up with new names for everything each time we circle round again.

The Enlightenment is at its end, and it has landed us in a philosophical cul-de-sac. I suspect advanced aliens that have existed or do exist eventually found a way out of this cul-de-sac, using some other way of thinking that we haven’t yet conceived of and maybe never will, or inadvertently discovered other aspects of the universe which we are not aware of. This would also explain why we haven’t detected them in the way we expect, using our scientific gizmos to detect their scientific gizmos. I believe we are reaching the end of what Enlightenment ideas can give us. What comes after, if anything, remains to be seen.

John Riordan
John Riordan
8 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Very interesting, though I must disagree with your conclusion. What may be ending at present is merely the role of the West as the torchbearer of Enlightenment progress. The progress itself has not stopped and will not stop. That is going to be sad for us in the West of course, made painfully so by the knowledge that it was a wholly unforced error on our own part, but the rest of the world will not be going back to superstition just because westerners do (we can see this in the amused contempt with which the politicians in developing nations greet the suggestions of Western environmentalists that developing nations should restrict their energy systems to renewable technologies, for instance).

I’m confident in this position for one very obvious reason: the pace of global technological development and discovery has not slowed: it is accelerating. Humanity has not run out of things to discover and invent, nor the ingenious techniques for making those discoveries and inventions. It is true, I grant you, that the meddlers and fools of the West’s identitarian movements have succeeded in partly damaging the open aspects of academia, media and politics necessary to maintain the West’s primacy in this respect, but I predict that this can last only until the next major surprise, which sadly might take the form of a potential or actual military conflict in which the West must surrender global reach, or might take the form of China inventing the next globally transformative technology (something like cheap clean nuclear power etc). When this happens, the West will come to regard post-truth politics as a dangerous and expensive indulgence and there will be a welcome reversion to sanity.

On the matter of Descartes and how the associated tradition of thought filters into modern thinking, if you haven’t read David Deutsch on this, you might try the Fabric of Reality. He manages to argue that despite the ontological challenges presented by quantum theory and the more traditional philosophical difficulties with the nature of existence, the assumption that there is such a thing as an objective reality is nonetheless safe.

Last edited 8 months ago by John Riordan
Hypnopomp
Hypnopomp
8 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Your naive belief that the society that these wonderful, never-ending technological achievements has produced is actually sustainable is as touching as it is comical. As for David Deutsch, you can have him. I’ll continue to side with Nietzsche, as those who have read him are well aware that the assumption that these is such a thing as an objective reality is not safe, at all.

Justin Clark
Justin Clark
8 months ago

Our planet is but one pebble, on a very large beach

Last edited 8 months ago by Justin Clark
J B
J B
8 months ago
Reply to  Justin Clark

An overestimation. More like a single grain of sand amongst the entire beaches of the planet. :-0

N Satori
N Satori
8 months ago

On 26 July 2023 David Grusch, an ex-Pentagon officer, testified to Congress that the U.S. had recovered a crashed craft with “nonhuman pilots”. The sooner they produce this craft and its nonhuman pilots the better. That should put a stop to the endless dreary and plodding speculation by public intellectuals such as Justin E H Smith about whether there are aliens or not.
Have these people never read UFO studies by Jacques Vallée, John A Keel or Whitley Strieber? The whole subject is far deeper and stranger than some pedestrian debate about what sort of chaps might be visiting us from outer space.

William Tallon
William Tallon
8 months ago
Reply to  N Satori

I agree. I’ve always felt that the nature of this phenomenon is something more weird than we can possibly imagine. I think it’s somehow tied to consciousness and the nature of reality, and currently we’ve barely scratched the surface in terms of our understanding of both.

Last edited 8 months ago by William Tallon
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
8 months ago

As an alien being I say the author is talking b*ll**ks

William Shaw
William Shaw
8 months ago

Given interstellar distances and the speed of light, humans will almost certainly never encounter aliens. Our species will be dead and gone in a galactic blink of an eye. At best we will “evolve” into androids who will then “live” on after we are history.
A vanishingly small possibility exists for an encounter with another race of androids.

Last edited 8 months ago by William Shaw
Matthew Waterhouse
Matthew Waterhouse
8 months ago

Like many such articles, the writer skirts over the thousands of sightings, reports and recordings (including radar) from military and pilots, of craft massively outperforming our own and – yes – making right degree turns at ridiculous speeds with no sign of traditional propulsion. Recent revelations to Congress under oath bear witness to the reality of this phenomenon.

Dumetrius
Dumetrius
8 months ago

Read a very recent UFO story where a key part of the proof bolstering the claims was that they were presented in ‘Congress’.

Of course, the ‘Congress’ turned out to be one in Mexico, not the one in Washington which was what they wanted you to think.

It’s funny how quickly the impostures start with these things.

Almost like the whole thing might be a bit of an errrr, delusion?

James Kirk
James Kirk
8 months ago

I forget the ratio but if, if, the lifetime of Earth, 4.5 billion years or so, is a one year calendar then the human race has been going for the last few minutes before midnight on the 31st December. Many stars in the night sky are supernovae millions of years gone by. No shame but hardly time for perspective to be gained. Don’t mention it to religionists or physicists, the former which doesn’t suit, the latter clever enough to measure things, the results of which are of little use in this case bar discounting the likelihood of UFOs from far galaxies. Even if aliens came from our own solar system, a denizen of any ‘local’ planet would find Earth’s surface a hostile planet indeed as would any Earthbound subsea, sub ice or subterranean creatures. I suspect there may be answers in the quantum sphere but our metaphysics is still in its infancy.

Colorado UnHerd
Colorado UnHerd
8 months ago
Reply to  James Kirk

Could you ask Spock?

James Kirk
James Kirk
8 months ago

Do you do séances?

Colorado UnHerd
Colorado UnHerd
8 months ago
Reply to  James Kirk

Sadly, another useful skill I lack …

Mike MacCormack
Mike MacCormack
8 months ago

The Universe is aware of itself, because we are aware of the fact that we are not imaginary and what we are seeing and understanding, while incomplete as yet, is surely the Universe regarding itself – how else could this be described?

Alex Colchester
Alex Colchester
8 months ago

Jesus was probably an alien. Most people find this idea preposterous. But what is more likely? That our insignificant planet (one of trillions) was visited by the son of the God of everything, or a super intelligent alien took a wrong turning on his way to the galactic minimart


Last edited 8 months ago by Alex Colchester
James Kirk
James Kirk
8 months ago

Would explain the transfer of a quantum foetus into a peasant woman’s womb. A more likely target would have been the wife of a Roman dignitary maybe?

Alex Colchester
Alex Colchester
8 months ago
Reply to  James Kirk

Ah yes- the immaculate conception. Damn it! You got me.

Rachel Welsh
Rachel Welsh
8 months ago

Sorry to be pernickety but the birth of Jesus was The Virgin Birth, not The Immaculate Conception. The immaculate conception refers to the fact that Mary was born without original sin, so SHE was immaculate.

Alex Colchester
Alex Colchester
8 months ago
Reply to  Rachel Welsh

My mistake- gosh, you’ve got me twice!
And there I was going on about how it was far more likely to be the result of a far higher alien intelligence, and the real truth was staring me in the face. It was simply because the God of all reality chose to come to our planet, one of trillions, and choose our vaguely advanced humanity as the chosen people of all the universe.

Last edited 8 months ago by Alex Colchester
Micael Gustavsson
Micael Gustavsson
6 months ago

You are confusing size with importance. An infinite God might Rey well consider our little planet more important than the entire universe, but might also consider an subatomic particle on our planet more important than the whole planet.

M J Craig
M J Craig
8 months ago

While the author’s enquiry is rational, and covers most of the base for how to assess the reality or not of visiting aliens, it is missing three major factors I think:
1.The sheer volume of evidence supporting actual visitation accumulated over the past 60+ years, and currently being investigated at the U.S. Congress enquiry on UFOs. Few have truly probed this mountain of data, and if you do, you will thereafter be in little doubt that visitation from superior technological beings has, and continues to take place.
2. Historical records going back to ancient India/South America etc. citing flying vehicles and visitations by ‘teachers’ ‘gods’ and ‘educators’.
3. The probability that if Earth humans are NOT the most advanced technological race in the neighbourhood, then we are more likely to be part of a colonisation program of a more advanced race – just as we are ourselves are envisaging with our plans for going to Mars. The implication being that reports of human-like ETs may therefore not be such a big surprise, if they just happen to be our ancestors visiting and checking up on us.

Dumetrius
Dumetrius
8 months ago
Reply to  M J Craig

If as you assert, the evidence indeed has the property of volume – something that takes up space – could you please produce a spaceship ?

I am okay with it being gaseous, liquid or solid.

I am not too picky.

M J Craig
M J Craig
8 months ago
Reply to  Dumetrius

If you have studied the matter, or even the recent U.S. Congressional investigation, you should know that such things are deemed ‘highly classified’ and are not open for inspection by the public.
However, you might also interrogate the multiple witnesses and study the testimonies of those who claim to have had encounters with these craft. I haven’t seen one myself, but neither have I seen a black hole, a quasar, or an exoplanet. One can only assess the weight of evidence, and hopefully come to a reasonable conclusion.

Dumetrius
Dumetrius
7 months ago
Reply to  M J Craig

Funny, that in this area, whatever the explanation given, it always leads to the same outcome : no spaceship

Elizabeth Hamilton
Elizabeth Hamilton
8 months ago

I have never understood why it is assumed that extraterrestrial life must be carbon based.
So, I just looked that up. https://www.quora.com/When-we-talk-about-extraterrestrial-life-why-do-we-only-look-for-carbon-based-life-forms
This is the paragraph of this article that I found the most interesting:
“In other words, the key theoretical innovations of the scientific revolution positively require that, if there are intelligent beings elsewhere in the universe, they are like us. Specifically, this would mean that they depend for their existence not on some fine homogeneous ether or quintessence (as the celestial beings were often conceived in premodern cosmology), but rather on a specific arrangement of internal organs constituting a fragile and perishable organic body. In short, the homogenisation of the physical universe, which had been such a key part of the new mechanical physics, caused a corollary reconceptualisation of the inhabitants of the world “up there”, from quasi-divine beings that were either immaterial or ethereal, to ordinary reptiles or humanoids such as those that have remained the staples of science fiction, and of tabloid claims of alien sightings, to the present day.”

Last edited 8 months ago by Elizabeth Hamilton
Erik Hildinger
Erik Hildinger
8 months ago

The essay raises many good points. For an amusing read about conventional UFO conspiracies and what has become conventional academia, let me shamelessly suggest a humorous mystery novel by my wife and me: Plan 9 for Murder from Cozy Cat Press. I apologize to the commentariat, but I just can’t resist plugging it in view of the article.
https://www.amazon.com/Plan-9-Murder-Academic-Mystery-ebook/dp/B0CGF7N19M/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=plan+9+for+murder&qid=1699368567&sr=8-1

Evelynn
Evelynn
3 months ago
Reply to  Erik Hildinger

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