Sunday, March 8, 2009

Paving the way?

I don’t pay much attention to the UFO debate, as it doesn’t seem to accomplish anything. Rarely though, someone does come up with something interesting to add. I do enjoy the website for even though it does stray into the conspiracy end of the spectrum, the author and contributing writers make some good points. First, here are a few of the problems I have with UFO theories:

1. If the objects truly are extraterrestrial craft, what are those extraterrestrial pilots doing? Flying wildly through the atmosphere doesn’t seem to have much purpose.

2. Why would an extraterrestrial craft have lights or be lit? The purpose of lights on aircraft is to warn other aircraft. There is no advantage to an aircraft having lights unless someone wants you to see the craft.

3. How can they have the advanced level of technology needed to reach Earth and not have a better way of cloaking their craft?

This UFO Skeptic article makes a pretty good argument. The author fully admits that the general idea has been around for some time. Still, it is the only idea I have heard that answers the above questions.

The theory says that UFO activity has been visible in Earth atmosphere to help prepare humans for the idea of extraterrestrial life. The concept is that extraterrestrial beings have planned visible flights, over a number of years and in rather innocuous ways, to prepare humans for First Contact. UFO sightings may have indeed helped to increase the number of people who believe in extraterrestrial life. The main problem with this theory is the harm that UFO sightings have also caused. If an extraterrestrial civilization wished to make contact with us they would probably want to make sure humans remained calm and were not threatened. The UFO issue may have helped people believe that extraterrestrial life could exist, but also caused the public to latch on to a whole host of conspiracy theories. In 1997 a CNN/Time poll showed that 80 percent of Americans believe that the government is hiding evidence of extraterrestrial life. Half of those polled thought extraterrestrials have abducted human beings. This isn’t very good PR for extraterrestrials, if in fact they haven’t been abducting human beings. True 54 percent of those polled said they believed that there is extraterrestrial life (I don’t know about the 26 percent that apparently believe the government is hiding evidence, but don’t believe in extraterrestrial life). But if they are truly making visible flight through our atmosphere, doesn’t the mystery of those flights, and the threat anxiety they have caused, make it not worth the trouble?

The number of sightings is another issue. It would take some really motivated aliens to produce the number of flights to match the millions of reported sightings. You could argue that the extraterrestrial flights have been very limited, and the weather balloon/atmospheric condition answers account for the rest.

No matter what the truth concerning UFOs the sightings pose a real problem for First Contact. Extraterrestrial visitors would have to find ways to deal with the public suspicion and provide enough answers to forge a level of trust needed to have a productive relationship between civilizations.

I suppose there is another possibility: the extraterrestrials may be technologically advanced and rather ignorant when it comes to other civilizations. Yes, I raise the specter of dumb-ass aliens. Perhaps they do blunder around, crashing aircraft from time to time, abducting cows, rednecks and hippies and performing strange operations? It would seem unlikely that a civilization capable of interstellar travel could be so stupid. But then perhaps we should look at home for a good example of such a thing. Let’s see, a technologically advanced society, able to do amazing things with science, which also blunders around the world making terribly stupid decisions. Uh, oh.

First Contact Extraterrestrial Alien Proposal Idea Hello Introduction Space Visitors

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