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Are Aliens Visiting Earth In UFOs?
(Please refer to the glossary at the end of the article for help with bold, italicized terms.)
“In their public statements (but not necessarily in their private statements), scientists express a generally negative attitude towards the UFO problem, and it is interesting to try to understand this attitude. Most scientists have never had the occasion to confront evidence concerning the UFO phenomenon.”—Dr. Peter A. Sturrock[i]
Armand Delsemme, in his book Our Cosmic Origins, writes, “The questions raised by those who feel intuitively that life is a phenomenon too complex to emerge simply by chance no longer stand up…as expressed by [British astrophysicist] Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramashinghe, has proved to be totally misleading. We can in fact readily accept that ‘life’ is a very probable physico-chemical phenomenon that will appear soon after the prerequisite conditions are met.”[ii]
Though polls vary from one to the next, 65% of Americans believe extraterrestrial life exists somewhere in the Universe, and 35% believe they have visited Earth. Many UFO documentaries and other popular programs, such as Ancient Aliens on the History Channel, have attributed to the steady increase in that number.
There are many interpretations of the extraterrestrial hypothesis. If they are here, the most conceivable explanation is they are alien beings from another solar system sent here to study life on Earth. Their motives could range from benign, independent observers to hostile aggressors waiting for the right moment. The fear of the latter may be one reason some refuse to believe they exist at all.
Other interpretations include, but are not limited to, the possibility they are evolved time travelers from the distant future, are the first beings on Earth to evolve and now hide underground or under the ocean floor near the Bermuda Triangle, are the divine beings mentioned in the Bible and other religious texts, or are beings from another dimension or reality.
The Fermi paradox, an argument put forth by nuclear physicist Enrico Fermi in 1950, then begs the question, “If extraterrestrial beings are commonplace, where are they?”[iii]
[i] Sturrock, Peter A. Journal of Scientific Exploration. LawrenceKS: Allen Press, 1987, pp. 75-100.
[ii] Delsemme, Armand. Our Cosmic Origins. CambridgeUK: CambridgeUniversity Press, 1998, p. 153.
[iii] Webb, Stephen. If the Universe is Teeming with Aliens…Where is Everybody?New York: Copernicus Books, 2002, pp. 17-18.
Have You Ever Witnessed A UFO?
“I propose that true skepticism is called for today: neither the gullible acceptance of true belief nor the closed-minded rejection of the scoffer masquerading as the skeptic. One should be skeptical of both the believers and the scoffers. The negative claims of pseudo-skeptics who offer facile explanations must themselves be subject to criticism. If a competent witness reports having seen something tens of degrees of arc in size (as happens) and the scoffer -- who of course was not there -- offers Venus or a high altitude weather balloon as an explanation, the requirement of extraordinary proof for an extraordinary claim falls on the proffered negative claim as well. That kind of approach is also pseudo-science. Moreover just being a scientist confers neither necessary expertise nor sufficient knowledge. (I wish it did, sigh.) Any scientist who has not read a few serious books and articles presenting actual UFO evidence should out of intellectual honesty refrain from making scientific pronouncements. To look at the evidence and go away unconvinced is one thing. To not look at the evidence and be convinced against it nonetheless is another. That is not science.”—Bernard Haisch, astrophysicist, UFOSkeptic.org[i]
In Life on Other Worlds, Steven J. Dick quotes Oxford zoologist Richard Dawkins in regard to life on other planets: “The origin of life on a planet can be a very improbable event indeed by the standards of the chemistry laboratory, and still be sufficiently probable to have occurred, not just once but many times, all over the Universe.”[ii]
What are the habitable requirements of a solar system before biological life can develop? How far can a planet be from its sun for it to appear? Because of intense radiation from gamma rays, X-rays, and lack of metal-rich stars near the center of the Milky Way, astronomers believe life in the Galaxy will be isolated toward the outer spiral arms.
A number of chance circumstances allowed humans to evolve and harbor intelligence: the ideal tilt of Earth at 22.5 degrees; the robust size of the Moon and optimal distance from Earth; the great size and near perfect distance the “comet sweeper,” Jupiter, is from Earth; the distance within the Solar-System habitable zone Earth is from the Sun; the type of star the Sun happens to be; the location within the galactic habitable zone of the Sun in the Galaxy; that the Milky Way is an atypical, metal-rich galaxy; and the proportion of life-essential elements found on Earth plus the chance these elements would develop to allow for life to form.
Just 50 years ago, it was widely accepted that no life existed anywhere beyond Earth. Many scientists of the time dismissed any possibility. Will some of today’s scientists remain skeptical regarding the possibility other intelligent life forms exist in the Universe until definitive proof surfaces? Or should they assume otherwise, using humanity’s own improbable existence as an example, at least until a scientific determination is established either way?
Life appears to be a rare, extraordinary phenomenon. In the future, biologists will be forced to concede otherwise as better means of locating extrasolar planets are developed. The blueprint of the Universe encourages life and subsequent evolution. There is too much space and too many star systems for there not to be.
Evidence of a uniform Universe continues to mount. It is only a matter of time before astronomers discover a multitude of other star systems harbor intelligent life. Life should be the final product of solar-system evolution for most systems whether basic or complex. While intelligent life might be rare, primitive life will emerge and, over time, propagate.
There are more stars in the visible Universe than all the grains of sand on all the beaches of Earth. To assume Earth harbors the only advanced civilization throughout the cosmos is nothing short of blind egoism. How could anyone be so presumptuous to infer there are no other intelligent beings anywhere else throughout its vast expanse no matter the current lack of substantiated evidence?
A small number (one that continues to decrease as evidence of extrasolar planets mount) of scientists, evolutionary biologists in particular, argue the probability of life originating on another planet anywhere in the Universe is astronomical, in particular intelligent life. Even more improbable, they profess, is any other life would be humanoid. Their calculations and so-called expertise enable them to make nothing more than an “educated” guess. Their logical approach and deductive reasoning in this instance is flawed, if only based on the sheer number of possibilities out there combined with the blueprint of organized complexity throughout the Universe.
Many religious organizations refuse to accept the possibility of advanced extraterrestrial life because God makes no mention of them in any religious text, at least not on the surface. Such notions conflict with several other aspects of religious belief.
Others believe the Bible indeed makes reference to extraterrestrial vehicles, such as the “wheel” in Ezekiel’s vision and other suspect verses throughout Revelations. Perhaps the existence of other intelligent life throughout the Universe does fit religious criteria, and fundamentalists fail to read between the lines.
If God does exist, why would He create a vast Universe with countless star systems if Earth was meant to be the only planet destined to incorporate life? Does that not seem like a waste regardless of one’s belief? Though the Bible does not always portray God as logical or reasonable, would He in fact be that redundant?
If God created the stars for nothing more than humanity to adore, what should one make of the countless systems unobservable to the naked eye or ones we will never see with our best telescopes? Did God place them there because He could? If anything, religion should support the idea of extraterrestrial life. Perhaps in the near future, it will not have a choice.
[i] Haisch, Bernard. www.ufokeptic.org.
[ii] Dawkins, Richard. The Blind Watchmaker. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1986, pp. 146-147.
Evolutionary Biologists, Exobiologists, and Astrobiologists
“The chance that this improbable phenomenon [the existence of life] could have occurred several times is exceedingly small, no matter how many millions of planets in the universe.”—Ernest Mayr[i]
The late French Nobel laureate and biologist Jacques Monod wrote, “Man at last knows that he is alone in the unfeeling immensity of the Universe, out of which he has emerged only by chance.”[ii] Is such a statement not highly presumptuous? Man does not know this and, putting everything in perspective, man knows very little. In general, man seldom knows where he is on the planet, let alone his place in the entire Universe. How embarrassing it would have been for a Nobel laureate if his statement became verifiably false before he passed away in 1976. Perhaps Monod would have refused to capitulate in the face of apparent evidence unless an advanced civilization had landed on the White House lawn. The same could be said for any living scientist that has made a similar claim.
There is a controversial viewpoint challenging orthodox biology: complexity can emerge spontaneously through a process of self-organization. Matter and energy have an inbuilt tendency to amplify and channel organized complexity. Life, evolution, and intelligence are a part of the blueprint surrounding this overall “design” throughout the Universe.
Evolutionary biologist Jack Cohen argues a similar pattern of Homo-sapient evolution would never happen again on this planet or any other. The chance, extenuating circumstances, he insists, are too great.[iii]
Alternatively, Harvard paleontologist Andrew Knoll points out common repeats in our evolutionary past to argue most life throughout the Universe will indeed harbor similar characteristics.[iv] Repeat patterns in the fossil record provide evidence of life’s overall uniformity. Only those planets with similar characteristics to our own are to be considered in this particular argument.
John Clute, author of the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, does not believe alien beings are visiting Earth, nor are they abducting humans for scientific experiments. However, in a 1996 interview that appeared on a TLC documentary, Future Fantastic,[v] he indicates aliens would look something like what Hollywood portrays due to certain laws and patterns of evolution.[vi] The typical gray aliens with large heads and bulbous eyes are a potential reflection of future human evolution, perhaps not in all aspects but surely in some. He forgets that Hollywood’s rendition of these depictions was taken from eyewitness testimony and alien abduction accounts throughout history.
Life, like stars and planets, might reflect the overall uniformity of the Universe. If so, most life will be carbon-based and resemble what scientists know carbon-based life forms resemble. Deviations are inevitable from one environment to the next, but the overall appearance of intelligent beings should consist of similar humanoid characteristics.
Of course, not all life-harboring planets will have a similar atmosphere nor be at the ideal distance from their sun to permit the appearance of life forms like those found on Earth. But characteristics of the humanoid model may be typical of intelligent life in general.
The few scientists who predict intelligent life will look humanoid have more of a concrete model to base their assumptions on than do some exobiologists. Let us permit them and other astrobiologists to concoct ridiculous renditions of extraterrestrial beings if they prefer since, after all, it is good entertainment. Some of the depictions look like monsters out of some cheesy horror flick.
Theoretical mathematicians proclaim the possibility of another planet enduring a similar evolutionary process to that of Earth is highly improbable. Those same mathematicians use similar logic to argue against our own implausible existence, yet here we are. Perhaps they need to devise a more indicative set of mathematical criteria. Just because x is not equal to y does not mean the initial premise was relevant in the first place. What they intend to calculate formulates initial biases and adversely influences results. Scientists call this fudging the data. For this specific instance, one could call it “fixing the data.”
Just because some biologists refuse to incorporate depictions of small gray aliens with big heads and large eyes into their models does not mean it is an invalid rendition. Had cases of alien abduction not arose with such frequency over the past 30 years, those same biologists may have provided depictions of future human evolution that resemble the standard “gray” model since a handful of exobiologists predict we shall evolve into something similar.
[i] Mayr, Ernest. The Growth of Biological Thought. CambridgeMA: Belknap Press, 1982, p. 584.
[ii] Monod, Jacques. Chance and Necessity. New York: Vintage Books, 1972, p. 167.
[iii] Cohen, Jack; Stewart, Ian. Evolving the Alien: The Science of Extraterrestrial Life. London: Ebury Press, 2002.
[iv] McMaster, Joe. “How Did Life Begin?” Nova (online article), (May 3, 2004): Interview with Andrew Knoll.
[v] Future Fantastic, Sam Starbuck, TLC and BBC, 1996.
[vi] Clute, John. “Future Fantastic.” The Learning Channel (TLC), 1996: Interview with John Clute.
Do You Believe Some UFOs Are Extraterrestrial Spacecraft?
The S.E.T.I. Search
“…we believe that exactly the same presuppositions that justify SETI can be used to justify an extended range of searches, possibly including a form of scientific ufology…we [also] believe that visitations (at some distant time in the past or at some time in the future) are genuinely possible, and a significant enough possibility to be worth scientific consideration…we [also] believe that scientists should favor a genuine science of ufology as part of an expanded notion of what constitutes SETI”.—Physicist Andrew J.H. Clark and David H. Clark, Ph.D.[i]
Inside the Milky Way, about one star in 20 or 25 billion is a suitable candidate for supporting life. That says nothing about the possibilities for the multitude of galaxies out there.
Frank Drake is a Harvard graduate and, though now retired, was Professor of Astronomy and Physics at the University of California, Santa Cruz. In 1959, while searching for extraterrestrial radio waves, he organized Project Ozma under the S.E.T.I. (Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence) program.
SETI’s roots began in 1959 with the Cocconi and Morrison paper, which outlines a worthwhile possibility in searching for and finding extraterrestrial signals. In 1960, Project Ozma carried out the first radio-telescope experiment listening for unearthly radio waves. A new age in radio astronomy was born.
Earth was not detectable until 1939 when television sets were gaining popularity. Atom bomb detonations were other beacons, which started with the Trinity test in 1945. Any civilization within 57 light years in all directions should have detected some of Earth’s earliest radio signals. Though the likelihood of any of these stars supporting life is negligible, advanced aliens may have discovered a means of amplifying such signals and do not have to be as close as we might think.
Drake is worried one reason civilizations are no longer detectable is because they become so advanced, radio waves are used only for a short time. Since they no longer expend this type of energy, signals from them cease and no longer make their way into space.
Advanced extraterrestrial communication may rely on some type of localized fiber-optic technology or signals transmitted and received as a quantum function. If that is so, we would never receive signals from them no matter how long we listen. Some believe pulsars are used as calculated beacons for interstellar travelers as a form of extraterrestrial communication hidden as a natural phenomenon.
Russian astronomer Nikolai Kardashev and Princeton physicist Freeman Dyson developed the Kardashev scale in 1964. It calculates the level of energy an intelligent civilization has access to and how advanced they are. Those range from Type I to Types II and III. An information-based version of the scale was developed later by Carl Sagan and outlines advances for civilizations from Types A through Z. (See Figure 12.1 for a graphic and where we fit on these scales.)
A Type I civilization is a true planetary society having mastered all forms of terrestrial energy. Such technology is 100 to 200 years ahead of us, which puts us at Type 0 status, more specifically Type 0.7 since we still use fossil fuels like coal and oil.
A Type II civilization would be capable of utilizing energy from its star after all terrestrial energy is exhausted. A Dyson sphere placed around a system’s star could harness its total energy output. Scientists predict it will take anywhere from 800 to 2,500 years for Earth to reach this status. Nothing in nature could destroy a Type II civilization. They might scramble their television and radio signals across the entire radio band before unscrambling them at the receiving end. This could be another reason SETI is unable to detect Type II civilizations. Their signals would appear as nothing more than static to astronomers here on Earth.
Type III civilizations are able to utilize energy from multiple star systems throughout the Galaxy. It could take anywhere from 100,000 to one million years for Earth to reach Type III status. Such beings might develop the ability to harness the Planck energy and tear the very fabric of space and time. Technology like this would promote space travel across great distances if it enables them to alter the space-time continuum. Mastery of quantum physics would allow them to compile an Encyclopedia Galactica containing all information about every star system throughout the entire Galaxy.
Kardashev and Dyson should have included the possibility of a Type IV civilization, or one that has mastered and utilizes energy from multiple galaxies throughout the Universe, maybe as a quantum function. Such beings could have evolved from some of the first habitable star systems in the Universe. They would have mapped and cataloged, possibly populated various regions of the cosmos. One could imagine several devices, in particular Von Neumann machines, left at various coordinates throughout the Universe placed by them in a number of galaxies. These devices would be responsible for cataloging every event of every life form and moment within each system down to each quantum event. This information could be stored in a virtual, three-dimensional world indistinguishable from reality or an ultimate, interactive, universal, Encyclopedia-Cosmologica reference guide.
If there is a multitude of universes floating in hyperspace, one might assume the next logical step for a civilization is Type V status, or mastery of the multiverse. Such beings would appear God-like. Aspects of their technology would involve mastery of all quantum properties, in particular those involving hyperspace, black holes, and wormholes. Considering the age of the Universe makes it permissible, it is possible the first civilization to gain intelligence has now reached Type V status. Perhaps a Type V race of beings from another universe had a hand in creating this one.
Those who believe in UFOs anger SETI scientists, arguing they lack enough evidence to support such a claim. Among them are Jill Tarter, Frank Drake, Paul Horowitz, and Seth Shostak. Since there is indeed evidence in many forms; eyewitness testimony, photographs, videos, and more; whose job is it to determine either way? If just 1% of all cases remain unexplained, perhaps the onus should be on those now searching for evidence of alien beings. Scientists hold the proper investigative tools and are the ones that should be researching any legitimate claim.
Paul Horowitz does not think flying saucers are a good way for aliens to make contact. In a 1992 UFO documentary, he said, “I’ve never seen one of those and I don’t think it would be a good way for them to establish contact.”[ii] Is there a bad way provided their intentions are benign? If extraterrestrial beings discover a way to make it to Earth in flying saucers and are willing to share some of their technology, nobody could deny it would be a good way for us. It would be an irrefutable method of establishing first contact and much better than receiving a distant signal.
Jill Tarter, now holding the esteemed Bernard M. Oliver Chair for the SETI Institute, made the following statement during the same program: “It makes me sad that the public confuses [UFOs with scientific exploration], because it’s an indication of our lack of critical thinking skills as a nation.” She further claims, “The burden of proof isn’t on [the skeptic] but rather on [the believer].”[iii]
Why must validation or proof be established a posteriori? Is the quest for the truth not at the heart of scientific investigation? Reliable eyewitness accounts and unexplained footage of UFOs are pieces of evidence to be analyzed. Most will have a mundane explanation, however a small percentage will not. Completely dismissing such evidence offhand because of personal career implications or the giggle factor is nothing short of making an uneducated excuse and turning a blind eye. Aside from hoaxes that are now easy to establish, there remains a significant body of unexplained video evidence. This leaves one with the conclusion some of these objects are either top-secret, military dream machines or of extraterrestrial origin. There is no other explanation for some of the evidence out there to account for the maneuvers of these objects.
Senior SETI astronomer Seth Shostak argues if aliens ever do visit, they will resemble artificial intelligence in the form of Von Neumann machines and “not some soft, squishy, little gray guy with big eyeballs.”[iv] His logic may be a little skewed here. If we were advanced enough to dispatch artificial beings to other star systems, would they not resemble human beings? If an advanced civilization had to utilize artificial beings to traverse the stars, is it not plausible to assume they would resemble their manufacturers?
SETI scientist David Blair of the University of Western Australia is convinced there “is no super science out there by means of UFOs to get here from another planet.” At least somebody has the limits of science and technology figured out. Perhaps he should share his unrivaled knowledge with the rest of the Universe so all intelligent beings may know when technology will discover its limits and stop advancing. It seems some scientists believe technology has restrictions. Here on our planet in the early twenty-first century, science and technology must have somehow reached those limits. Blair goes on to add, “Radio transmission is the only way to explore the Galaxy.”[v] Perhaps he believes his job title allows him to make such a thoughtless statement.
The biggest problem with SETI is its avoidance of viable subject matter, such as ufology, that presents a conflict of interest to its own field of study. Why look for extraterrestrial radio signals if the aliens are here already? Because of this, SETI proponents avoid the topic of UFOs as if it were a plague. Is such a position fair to the public or even scientific?
[i] Clark, Andrew J.H.; Clark, David H. Aliens. New York: Fromm International, 1999, p. 189.
[ii] Horowitz, Paul. SETI Physicist, Electrical Engineer. 1992 UFO documentary.
[iii] Tarter, Jill. Director of the Center for SETI Research. 1992 UFO documentary.
[iv] The History Channel. “Can We Live Forever?” Through the Wormhole. Season 2, Episode 8. (July 27, 2011), Seth Shostak interview.
[v] Blair, David G. SETI scientist, University of Western Australia, Director of the Australian International Gravitational Research Centre. 1946-.
The Drake Equation
“…there is a deep skepticism among many scientists over the possibility of interstellar travel. Frank Drake has been particularly vehement in his criticisms of supposed sighting of UFOs, as was Carl Sagan…However, we believe their cynicism is misplaced in terms of relating the fundamentals of science to the possibility that ETI [extraterrestrial intelligence] will have the capability to travel between stars.”—Physicist Andrew J.H. Clark and David H. Clark Ph.D.[i]
Two years after the upstart of SETI in November 1961, the Space Science Board of the National Academy of Sciences invited a group of 11 prominent scientists to the Green Bank Observatory for a discussion on intelligent extraterrestrial life. Frank Drake was among the group, which called itself The Order of the Dolphin. A few of the prestigious attendees included astronomers Carl Sagan and Su-Shu Huang, Nobel laureate Dr. Melvin Calvin, and Hewlett-Packard Vice President of Research Barney Oliver. In secret, they called themselves the Order of the Dolphin for fear of publicity regarding a taboo subject matter.
It was during the initial meeting of the Order Drake presented his famed Drake Equation, an educated, mathematical determination of how many technologically advanced, communicating civilizations there are in our Galaxy. The estimated number represents N in his equation and the “dots” between each are called interpuncts, which are used to replace the standard multiplication symbol, x:
N = R* ∙ fp ∙ ne ∙ fl ∙ fi ∙ fc ∙ L
Drake estimates there are about 10,000 advanced alien civilizations in the Milky Way, alone. Carl Sagan once estimated the number to be around a million.
R* is the number of new stars formed each year in the Galaxy, or about one to ten stars per year.
fp is the number of stars with planets, estimates ranging from 10% to 50%, or 0.1 to 0.5, or 40 billion to 200 billion.
ne is the number of planets suitable for life, or one for each star system with planets at 100%, one for every 10 systems at 10%, or four billion to forty billion.
fl is the number of planets where life appeared, or about 10%, or 400 million to four billion.
fi is the number of these planets where intelligent life has developed (estimating the odds are 100:1, it would be four million to forty million star systems).
fc is the number of species where technology for interstellar communication has developed, or about one in 10, or 400,000 to four million.
L is how long these civilizations survive and remain detectable (some estimate an average of 100 years but could be anywhere from one to one million; original estimates were 10,000).
N represents the number of civilizations in the Milky Way that may be sending out radio signals, or 10,000.[ii]
Using Drake’s calculations, each of the 10,000 technologically advanced civilizations would be about 600 light years apart.
According to Sagan, N equals 0.01L. That means if one million stars held sophont races, only one-thousandth of a percent of eligible stars in the Galaxy would be habitable to intelligent, thinking beings.
Biologists insist astronomers should add many more factors to the equation: fpm equals fraction of metal-rich planets; ng equals stars in a galactic habitable zone; fm equals fraction of planets with a large moon; fj equals fraction of solar systems with Jupiter-sized planets; and fme equals fraction of planets with a low number of mass-extinction events. One could devise any number of negligible factors until human existence is impossible.
According to xenologists, colonization of the entire Galaxy by one advanced civilization should take no more than 60 million years in a 13.8-billion-year-old Universe. Self-replicating Von Neumann machines of an advanced species could populate every single star system in the entire Galaxy this moment. They would do everything in their power to remain anonymous, so the ability to discover one in our Solar System with present technology is negligible. Any scientist that feels otherwise is delusional and giving too much credit to current earthbound technology.
Life on Earth could have been brought here on purpose, or our natural evolution been interfered with as part of an alien science project. Perhaps Homo sapiens resemble other advanced aliens or will after a million years or so of evolution, because we share a portion of their DNA. To them, human beings would be their intellectual infants. This idea of directed panspermia was first introduced by anthropologist Francis Crick and chemist and molecular biologist Leslie Orgel in 1973.[iii]
John Ball, author of Zoo Hypothesis, feels it is possible extraterrestrial beings are here, observing life on Earth without making their presence known. Zoo hypothesis claims we have a difficult time proving extraterrestrials are here since they would make every effort to remain anonymous.[iv] This allows for a natural development to our evolution and technological development. The concept is similar to the Prime Directive on Star Trek.
Any government with access to physical extraterrestrial evidence would keep that information from the public. Not only would they do it to avoid panic and mass hysteria, there would be obvious military applications for reverse engineering their technology. Proof of the ETH would shake the very foundation of life on the planet.
Advanced extraterrestrials may have seeded many planets throughout the Galaxy with microorganisms. Perhaps only one civilization in the entire Galaxy was fortunate enough to rise in intelligence without outside help. They may have felt compelled to seed the rest of it with life.
If one considers the possibility of interstellar mobility, new factors need to be included in Drake’s equation. For example, V equals velocity at which an advanced civilization expands throughout space and A equals approach-avoidance factor, or decision to make contact or remain anonymous.
Drake is a staunch opponent to any idea of interstellar travel. He believes it would be an unfeasible method of establishing contact since the cost would be too high. Perhaps a more appropriate assumption would be limited resources. Aliens might be unfamiliar with the human concept of money. A desire to sustain and expand upon the rarity of life in the Universe might outweigh the bother of any monetary loss or gain. His position relies on the assumption aliens would be capitalists or ever used money. It is another example of scientists devising an excuse to preserve research limited to exclusive interests and provide them with a pass to ignore the ETH altogether.
[i] Clark, Andrew J.H.; Clark, David H. Aliens. New York: Fromm International, 1999, p. 199.
[ii] Drake, Frank. Is Anyone Out There?London: Souvenir Press, 1993, p. 52.
[iii] Crick, Francis; Orgel, Leslie. “Directed Panspermia.” Icarus. Vol. 19, (1973): pp. 341-346.
[iv] Ball, John A. “The Zoo Hypothesis.” Icarus. Vol. 19, (1973): pp. 347-349.
If Some UFOs Are Of Unearthly Origin, Where Do You Think They Originate?
A Brief History of UFOs
“…if one accepts a scientific basis for SETI, which we most certainly do, then it is surely as equally valid to accept the existence of a scientific basis for a ufology.”—Physicist Andrew J.H. Clark and David H. Clark, Ph.D.[i]
Since the dawn of recorded history, people have witnessed strange aerial objects and unexplained lights in the heavens. Many of these objects were meteors, comets, flocks of birds, or other mundane phenomena. However, some remain unexplained to this day.
Timothy Good, UFO researcher and author of many books on the subject, says he is not a conspiracy freak but believes there is a certain degree of government cover-up regarding UFOs.
A series of government projects are responsible for the Air Force’s original investigation of flying saucers. Project Sign was the first of such reports and resulted from the 1947 UFO crash at Roswell, New Mexico. It was a secret report at the time, kept hidden from the public. Mark Rodeghier, Scientific Director of the Hynek Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS), stated Sign’s final report, “The Estimate of the Situation,” concluded UFOs were interplanetary vehicles piloted by extraterrestrial beings. Rodeghier said this conclusion “did not go over well with the Pentagon.”[ii]
In December 1948, Project Sign was renamed Project Grudge. The Air Force hired astronomer J. Allen Hynek of Ohio State University to weed out reports of conventional phenomena. Hynek, at first a staunch opponent to such unearthly explanations, became a believer, himself. He concluded there was too much viable evidence to dismiss it offhand as nothing more than of mundane, earthly origin.[iii]
In early 1952, Project Grudge reorganized into Project Blue Book and UFO replaced the term flying saucer. Major Hector Quintanilla was in charge of the Blue Book staff. Project Blue Book’s conclusion was UFOs posed no threat to national security and held no promise for technology as indicated in the project’s final assessment of the topic, the Condon Report. The Air Force terminated the project in 1969 allowing them to ignore further UFO reports and downplay any military interest in the phenomenon[iv].
The following list is a brief summary of some of the most popular modern sightings and flaps through 1995, most of which are accounts documented over the US. The information is a brief synopsis of various reports Timothy Good outlines in his book, Above Top Secret.[v]
1) Ghost Aircraft 1933-34: Mysterious, unmarked aircraft witnessed over Scandinavia, the US, and Britain. These objects circled at a low altitude, made no noise, and projected bright searchlights onto the ground.
2) The Los Angeles Air Raid 1942: In February 1942, groups of unidentified aircraft over Los Angeles caused widespread panic. The military fired 1,430 rounds of antiaircraft shells yet brought nothing down. There are detailed eyewitness accounts of the crafts highlighted by military searchlights, all of which remain unexplained.
3) UFOs 1942: In August 1942, Sgt. Stephen J. Brickner made the following account: “…the formation was huge; I would say over 150 objects were in it. Instead of the usual, tight “V” of 25 planes, this formation was in straight lines of 10 or 12 objects, one behind the other. The speed was a little faster than Jap [sic] planes, and they were soon out of sight…A few other things puzzled me: I couldn’t seem to make out any wings or tails. They seemed to wobble slightly, and every time they wobbled they would shimmer brightly from the sun. Their color was like highly polished silver…”
4) Foo fighters 1943-44: Aviation pilots reported small, spherical objects, red or orange in color, which seemed to throb or vibrate. They appeared remote controlled, performing impossible maneuvers close to the airplanes they circled. It was determined that ball lightening and combat fatigue were possible causes for the sightings.
5) Ghost Rockets 1946: More than 2,000 sightings of rocket-like, cigar-shaped objects with fiery exhausts were reported performing high-speed maneuvers over Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Portugal, Italy, Greece, and India.
6) Kenneth Arnold 1947: On June 24, pilot Kenneth Arnold sighted nine disk-shaped, light-reflecting objects while flying over the Cascade Mountains in Washington. The press coined the term flying saucer based on Arnold’s description. This event marked the modern era of the UFO phenomenon.
7) Roswell, New Mexico 1947: The most notorious case in UFO lore involving the crash and alleged government cover-up of the retrieval of an alien spacecraft in July 1947. There were many eyewitness accounts, many of who never told their story until the late 1970s through the 1990s. Stories range from strange metallic debris to the recovery and autopsy of dead alien bodies. It is the most detailed account of a crashed UFO, producing a few alleged secret documents relating to the case and later becoming a pop icon for the subject matter.
8) Project Sign (Saucer) 1947-1948: The earliest of the Air Force’s Project-Blue-Book reports, which was signed into action on December 30, 1947. Of the 147 reports filed, all but 12 were explained. The Estimate of the Situation was issued in 1948 based on the report’s findings, and its conclusion was some of the sightings were not of this world.
9) July 1952 Flap: A large number of sightings over the nation’s capital made headline news all over the world. They were reported to move along at 100 to 300 miles per hour and then accelerate at phenomenal speeds of 200 miles per minute. Some of the one-hundred-foot-diameter, glowing discs were reported to hover over the city performing impossible maneuvers.
10) Project Grudge 1949: Reactivated from Project Sign on February 11, 1949, it was shut down eight months later. Of the 273 reports filed, 23% were classified as unidentified.
11) Project Blue Book 1952-1969: The Air Force’s final investigative report on the subject of UFOs. Of the 12,618 cases reported, 701 remain unexplained. The Condon Report summarized the project in 1968 and determined UFOs were not a threat, nor were they from another planet. Many believe this was an intentional cover-up on the part of the Air Force.
12) Mansfield Ohio 1973: In October 1973, Army Reserve Captain Lawrence Coyne and his crew witnessed a close encounter while flying a Bell Huey helicopter near Mansfield, Ohio. While en route from Columbus to Cleveland, flying at an altitude of 2,500 feet, the reported sixty-foot-long, cigar-shaped, metallic-gray object, glowing green and red on each end, approached the helicopter in excess of 600 mph on what appeared a midair collision. According to the passenger eyewitness reports, they descended to 1,700 feet to avoid an apparent impact. The object maintained its course and hovered several feet above the helicopter for a couple minutes. This gave the witnesses plenty of time to view it up close. Other eyewitnesses on the ground reported seeing an object that looked like a blimp and was hovering as big as a school bus above the helicopter.
13) 1980s Abduction Boom: There was a significant increase in the number of cases reported during the 1980s. As UFO eyewitness testimony rose, so did reports of alien abduction. Books by authors Budd Hopkins, Missing Time[vi] in 1981 and Intruders[vii] in 1987, and Whitley Strieber, Communion[viii] in 1987, fueled the abduction fire. The real question is whether the books helped create hysteria or instead brought to light formerly suppressed reports.
14) 1991 UFO Flap: 1991 was the year of the UFO. Not only were video cameras capturing images at an astonishing rate, but reports surfaced all over the world to include in Earth’s orbit. Perpetual eyewitness testimony and supporting evidence resulted in a large number of television documentaries surrounding the topic.
15) 1995 Alien Autopsy: One of the most controversial pieces of evidence related to the 1947 Roswell report was aired by the Fox Network in August 1995. Though many, including various UFO researchers, believe it was a hoax, there remain unanswered questions regarding the footage. It has yet to be substantiated as a fake. A few years ago, Ray Santilli, the person who first obtained the footage, admitted he recreated the document based on the actual film he received. There are several inconsistencies to his story and allegations he was threatened by government agencies. In order to protect himself and the cameraman, he may have felt compelled to distort the story.[ix]
Bruce Maccabee, an optical physicist employed by the US Navy, has analyzed several photographs of UFOs taken by the public. For Maccabee, the most convincing set is a 1950 series of two pictures depicting a daytime UFO taken by Paul Trent on his farm in McMinnville, Oregon. According to Maccabee’s analysis, the object is at a great distance from the camera, is not suspended by anything, and shows no evidence of a hoax. It is a classic saucer-shaped object with some type of projectile protruding from the top. The set ranks among the top 10 most credible pieces of photographic evidence for the existence of interstellar extraterrestrial spacecraft.[x]
Another series of photographs no researcher can explain was taken in Trindade, Brazil in January 1958. A Brazilian naval photographer snapped five photos of a large, Saturn-shaped UFO just off the coast of Brazil. Other eyewitnesses on the boat were part of a geological survey team. Dozens of witnesses both on the boat and on shore indicated the sighting lasted for almost two minutes as it maneuvered and then hovered off in the distance. They claimed the object approached a nearby island before disappearing behind a mountain. It reappeared once more before moving off at a high rate of speed toward the sea. Michael Swords of the Department of Natural Sciences at WesternMichiganUniversity insists people should take the sighting seriously. Swords gives merit to the report not only because of the unexplained nature of the photographs, but because it is a multiple-eyewitness account by scientists, a professional photographer, and other eyewitnesses from a separate location.[xi]
Aviation journalist and UFO investigator Don Berliner is keeping an open mind about alien spacecraft located at the Air Force’s top-secret installation near Rachel, Nevada, otherwise known as Area 51, but says it would be difficult to distinguish between them being of extraterrestrial origin as opposed to advanced government aircraft. Berliner believes Project Blue Book was not a serious investigation of UFOs by the Air Force but a cover-up to pacify the public.[xii]
Reporter George Knapp, KLAS television Las Vegas, conducted an interview with former alleged Area-S4 employee Robert Lazar on WLAS radio in May 1989. Lazar claims the government secretly hired him to work at Area S4, which is near the Area 51 installation at Groom Lake, Nevada. According to Lazar, unidentified military personnel debriefed him and presented reports of antimatter reactors believed to run gravity amplifiers for some type of special aircraft. He flipped through the manual and claimed to see autopsy reports of dead alien bodies. There is evidence supporting Lazar’s claim of employment at another top secret facility, Los Alamos, though it appears someone strove to cover it up. According to Knapp, Lazar passed the second lie detector test he took regarding these claims. He said Lazar’s story does not contradict itself, remains the same, and is very intricate.[xiii]
There are two possibilities for these reports. Either Lazar is a pathological liar, or we are being visited by otherworldly beings and the government knows about it. Knapp says he has video tapes of strange aerial objects over the base where Lazar took him. Lazar knew the exact time and location of these alleged test flights. Many UFO investigators do not believe him and think he may be a government plant to turn attention away from the projects actually taking place near Area 51. Knapp responded to this claim by stating if he is lying, the plan backfired since it is responsible for bringing tens of thousands of curious people to the area.
Science-fiction writer David Bischoff says any government agency contacted by alien beings would cover it up and use the information for their own good. This is a plausible claim since studying their technology would be any military organization’s top priority.
Serious UFO investigators agree 80% to 90% of all sightings have a mundane explanation. Only the 10% to 20% of cases that provide no other probable interpretation should be investigated. For qualified scientists to turn a blind eye to even the best 1% is unconscionable and unfair to science in general.
[i] Clark, Andrew J.H.; Clark, David H. Aliens. New York: Fromm International, 1999, p. 209.
[ii] Berliner, Don. UFO Briefing Document: The Best Available Evidence. New York: Dell, 1995, p. vii.
[iii] Hynek, J. Allen. The UFO Experience, A Scientific Inquiry. CambridgeMA: Da Capo Press, 1972, p. 2.
[iv] Condon, Dr. Edward U. Final Report of the Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects. HialeahFL: Dutton Press & University of Colorado, 1968 (1969).
[v] Good, Timothy. Above Top Secret. New York: Quill William Morrow, 1988, pp. 13-23, 253-257, 269-271, 302, 303.
[vi] Hopkins, Budd. Missing Time. New York: Richard Marek Publishers, 1981.
[vii] Hopkins, Budd. Intruders. New York: Random House, 1987.
[viii] Strieber, Whitley. Communion. New York: Beech Tree Books, 1987.
[ix] Alien Autopsy: Fact or Fiction, Tom McGough & Robert Kiviat, 1995.
[x] Wilson, Jim. “Six Unexplainable Encounters.” Popular Mechanics. (July 1988): p. 63.
[xi] Swords, Michael; Powell, Robert. UFOs and Government: A Historical Inquiry. San Antonio: Anomalist Books, 2012, pp. 463-465.
[xii] Berliner, Don. UFO Briefing Document: The Best Available Evidence. New York: Dell, 1995, p. 29.
[xiii] Knapp, George. “Dreamland (aka Area 51).” KLAS-TV. Las Vegas: Nov. 13, 1989.
“…the prospect of there being IMETI [extraterrestrial intelligence capable of interstellar mobility] is something SETI needs to include in future search strategies. It is no longer appropriate for SETI to turn a blind eye to the Fermi question. It is a legitimate scientific question, demanding serious scientific consideration, and if the SETI exponents wish to convince us with their arguments in favor of ETI, they must accept that those same arguments can be extended to IMETI.”—Physicist Andrew J.H. Clark and David H. Clark, Ph.D.[i]
One of the most provocative pieces of UFO footage ever recorded is a video filmed by George Bennett during a high-school football game in Bradford, Connecticut on October 18, 1991. A beautiful sunset caught his eye during halftime, so be began filming it. A glowing or light-reflecting, oval-shaped object shoots up from the ground, stops abruptly, hovers for a moment, and then radically changes course at a near-ninety-degree angle. The object dashes across the sky at an unprecedented speed, much faster than any conventional aircraft. There was no exhaust and no sound emanating from it. The footage is not a hoax of any sort, is not of any known conventional aircraft, and is not attributed to any natural phenomenon. There are two possible explanations to account for its uncanny maneuvers, notwithstanding abrupt halt and subsequent rapid acceleration. The object is either an advanced, remote-controlled aircraft considering no human pilot could withstand such maneuvers, or it is of extraterrestrial origin. No other possible explanation exists for this piece of evidence. It remains unexplained.
Another compelling bit of footage was filmed by two people in Kanazawa, Japan, also in 1991. It is a daytime sighting witnessed by a male and female speaking Japanese. The light-reflecting, metallic object descends rapidly from above, just off the nearby coastline. It stops abruptly and, with remarkable speed, performs an impossible looping motion before hovering long enough for the cameraman to zoom in. It then disappears from view. No explanation can account for the object’s maneuvers or characteristics, and hoaxes of this magnitude were impossible in 1991.
Dr. Jack Kasher, former head of physics at NebraskaUniversity and expert in electromagnetic theory, did research with NASA in 1991 and the application of electromagnetic components for various government projects. At the time, he held a Secret, restricted-data clearance. He had to get special permission to read a paper he wrote based on the research. Kasher believes extraterrestrial beings are visiting Earth, and the government is covering up this evidence. He carried out extensive work on the NASA Moon footage of a UFO and the Space Shuttle “ice-debris” footage from September 1991. Kasher is convinced the Shuttle footage is an object of extraterrestrial origin. It appears to coast across Earth’s horizon, comes to a complete stop, and then makes an abrupt, ninety-degree turn before shooting off at impossible speeds into space. Its sudden maneuvers coincide with a projectile fired from the surface of the planet toward the same location where it first stopped, but misses the object and continues moving off into space.[ii]
NASA and other debunkers insist it was nothing more than a piece of ice debris that appears to change direction due to the attitude thrusters on the Space Shuttle. That interpretation does not account for the projectile fired at it, or that it looks nothing like the other obvious ice-debris particles in the foreground.
Robert Oechsler, Nasa Mission Specialist from 1974 to 1977, is quoted as saying, “I am convinced, based on my research and the individuals whom I’ve had contact with in the US intelligence community, that the US government does indeed have craft that meet the description of many of the UFO reports.”[iii] The remaining question is whether they were extraterrestrial spacecraft retrieved and back-engineered or top-secret dream machines designed by the U.S. government.
A January 1991 video of a daytime, luminous object was captured performing impressive dance-like maneuvers over a mountaintop near Groom Lake, Nevada. At first glance, one might assume it is an earthbound spotlight off the surrounding clouds. Upon further examination, the object clearly crosses the backdrop of the mountain. Whatever it was, it was something in flight and not a reflection of light. Such maneuvers are impossible for any conventional aircraft since it performs several high-speed, three-hundred-sixty-degree loops and curves. No pilot could withstand such abrupt turns and, to this day, no known technology exists to account for them.
City locals filmed similar metallic, disc-shaped objects from the 1991 flap during a solar eclipse over Mexico City. Multiple eyewitnesses from different locations throughout the city captured videos of the same object while it hovered in the sky, stationary. The entire city was at a standstill. People were stopping in the streets and getting out of their cars to witness this miraculous event. Was it a show performed by extraterrestrial beings, or was it a gigantic, remote-controlled vehicle maneuvered in place by some local hoaxer? Either way, someone or something knew all eyes would be toward the sky during this rare event.
The most interesting aspect of all the objects filmed during the 1991 flap centers around their similar, overall appearance. Different eyewitnesses of various nationalities observed the same type of craft all over the world. Many of them are videos of similar-looking objects. Coincidence?
John Pike is a leading expert with the Federation of American Scientists, which study black budget projects secretly run by the government. Their estimated allowance is between $30 and $35 billion per year. During the 1960s, as a reporter for the Air Force, Pike witnessed many government-manufactured, saucer-shaped objects. Each of these craft had a tail section, engine, and exhaust. He was permitted to ask questions about them but was told they were part of a top-secret project. His story was never proven, but a few documents of preliminary blueprints regarding a 1955 project, called Silver Bug, later surfaced. They refer to similar disc-shaped objects and seem to corroborate his story. Pike was told the aircraft he was allowed to witness were the reason for many reports surrounding the Roswell crash of 1947. The general he interviewed told him there had been some accidents. He told Pike these objects were the cause of many UFO sightings around the world since they were used as government spy planes over Russia. Pike swears the general stated he was not supposed to be telling him of these accounts.[iv]
The story sounds like a complex disinformation campaign, in particular if Pike’s accounts are true? Why would the Air Force allow him to interview this general, let alone witness the craft in the first place, if the vehicles were supposed to be so secret? Not only that, but Silver Bug’s vehicles were unstable and could rise only a few feet off the ground, so they could not have been responsible for any UFO reports.
Are some of the preceding cases examples of physical evidence worthy of scientific investigation or analysis? There are several UFO agencies around the world that fund serious studies, but scientists that study the potential for alien life in the galaxy should lend a hand. Could the validity of such evidence be determined in a court of law if such an established method of criteria existed? Based on the plethora of valid evidence, a judge or jury would have a difficult time dismissing some, if not all, of those particular reports. While courts do make mistakes, are not scientific, and sometimes convict innocent people, the fact remains many cases would side in favor of alien beings visiting the Earth. The real task would be locating a scientist willing to put his reputation on the line to do the necessary research.
[i] Clark, Andrew J.H.; Clark, David H. Aliens. New York: Fromm International, 1999, p. 233.
[ii] Kelly, Michael. “Ex-UNO Prof. Believes in God, UFOs.” World Herald, OmahaNebraska. (March 27, 2012).
[iii] Birnes, William J. The UFO Magazine UFO Encyclopedia. New York: Pocket Books, 2004, p. 238.
[iv] Hansen, Terry. The Missing Times: News Media Complicity in the UFO Coverup. Bloomington: Xlibris Corp., 2001.
Do You Believe In Alien Abduction?
“It is a great pity that serious scientific consideration of this possibility has not been undertaken—in large measure because the topic of alien visitation has been hijacked by the pseudoscience fringe”—Physicist Andrew J.H. Clark and David H. Clark, Ph.D.[i]
There are three main types of potential contact with an advanced alien civilization. One is by radio signals, two is for NASA to discover a way to get to an alien star system, and three is for an alien civilization to arrive here.
Colonization of the entire Galaxy, which is 100,000 light years across, should take no more than five million years for any advanced civilization capable of traveling at 10% the speed of light to navigate. Full galactic colonization, comparing Earth’s historical leap in technology, should take no more than 50 million years, a blink of an eye on the cosmic timescale.[ii]
Extraterrestrials could have seeded Earth with life or visited us at some point in our past. In answer to the Fermi question, it is possible they continue monitoring us and, for obvious reasons, choose to remain anonymous. They may have brought the seeds of life here based on Earth’s prime location and potential to evolve, and then left us alone to develop an independent, unique culture on our own. Occasional leaps in human evolution may have been assisted to speed up the process, which would explain some of the missing links in our evolutionary tree.
If warp-drive technology does exist somewhere in the Universe, what would motivate aliens to come here in the first place if we are not the result of directed panspermia? One could argue that question is valid only if there is no such technology. Otherwise, they would have more time than not to visit every star system in the Galaxy and beyond. Upon detection of humanity’s rise in technology, they might want to ensure our responsible use of it without making their presence known. Aliens might find it imperative to keep an eye on us if only to protect their own interests.
If a technologically advanced civilization discovers how to create a false vacuum of space with the ability to expand into an independent, three-dimensional bubble of existence, the repercussions of this rogue universe could have an adverse effect on the entire space-time continuum. They would spare no expense to ensure the prevention of such a catastrophe.
Being infants in the field of quantum mechanics, scientists cannot be certain there are no potential dangers we are unaware of, ones that might affect the very fabric of the Universe. Particle physicists claim there are no such risks, but the fact remains they do not know. Not knowing and admitting as much is at the heart of any scientific approach. Physicists perform experiments that suggest distant parts of the Universe are connected at the quantum level. If that is the case and advanced civilizations are keeping an eye on us, perhaps they would prevent any such catastrophe from occurring in the first place. Nevertheless, science must trudge on.
Two things would happen if we established direct, physical contact with an alien civilization. UFO buffs would feel vindicated, and skeptics would find a nice, quiet place to hide from the media. The liberation of scientific possibilities would abound. Religious fanatics would avoid discrimination for their initial skepticism by declaring these beings are either angels or demons, perhaps sent by God or Satan.
Politics, the economy, morality, religious beliefs, and much more would be affected as a result of such an encounter. Many aspects of daily life would be altered on a global scale. News broadcasts, documentaries, and day-to-day conversations would revolve around this momentous event for years to come. It would be the most historic, influential event in human history, short of a catastrophic global disaster.
Humanity would be forced to redefine its basic moral principles to encompass not only human perspective but that of all potential life throughout the entire Universe. A restructuring of any belief system, including many scientific concepts once thought of as fringe, would become imperative, especially if the beings share some of their technology with us. Such an event would appear surreal to most people. Our entire existence would be altered, forever.
Religious organizations might notice a significant increase in attendance during Sunday mass as many would fear invasion or Armageddon. Those more rational would discard organized religion altogether and support a belief system tolerant of all life throughout the Universe. Buddhism would be a fitting alternative and would gain popularity since it is already a universal religion.
If aliens are here, they are aware of how official contact would affect society on a global scale. Just watching the evening news any given night is enough to convince many we are nowhere near prepared to receive such a revelation. Perhaps they avoid contact on purpose and skeptics are not giving them enough credit. In addition, any government agency would spare no expense to ensure we were not aware of their presence.
The true motives of any advanced civilization would be well beyond human comprehension, and any attempt to pinpoint them would be highly presumptuous. Their minds would be so evolved we could not begin to imagine what they might want with us, if anything. This is one reason why this hub presents a lot of woulda, shoulda, coulda’s and avoids making absolutions. While there is nothing wrong with speculating, claiming certainty is not something we have the right to assert.
[i] Clark, Andrew J.H.; Clark, David H. Aliens. New York: Fromm International, 1999, p. 11.
[ii] Crawford, Ian. “Where Are They?” Scientific American. (July 2000): p. 42.
“I don’t think the human race will survive the next thousand years, unless we spread into space. There are too many accidents that can befall life on a single planet. But I’m an optimist. We will reach out to the stars.”—Stephen Hawking[i]
The year is 2525. Scientists have developed a spacecraft capable of traveling at near the speed of light. Its source of energy is an ion-propulsion system utilizing small bursts of energy at an 85% efficiency rate. A number of wealthy organizations with similar interests support funding for the trek.
The occupants destined to pilot this spacecraft are biomechanical beings created in a lab. Their physical makeup is a combination of synthetic biology and mechanical alloy designed to replicate a human being in every manner possible.
During a mission to a nearby solar system believed to harbor a planet with intelligent life, these beings utilize programmed resources to develop potential advances in science, medicine, and other related fields. Such research not only keeps the androids productive but is an excellent way for scientists to optimize their use while en route. The remainder of time is spent in a kind of cryostasis.
Moral and ethical codes based on exobiological protocol are a necessary part of their programming. Anonymity to any intelligent civilization they might encounter prevents contamination and avoids potential culture shock. Only would a later mission incorporate official contact. The current is to observe and collect biological and chemical samples for shipment back to Earth. The androids may tranquilize a small portion of any alien beings they encounter and bring them aboard the ship for further analysis. An established Prime Directive ensures anonymity, and they return them to the same location after acquiring any necessary biological data. They also record and bring back to Earth any social or historical information collected for further study.
During the trip back to Earth, the androids analyze and interpret all amassed data. Upon arrival, scientists assimilate the acquired information to historical record and evidence of an advanced civilization outside our Solar System is no longer conjectural. Design for the second mission would commence, and assimilation of information obtained from the first allows scientists to incorporate any final observations needed for first contact. Historical, social, and other retrieved cultural data permit sufficient communication with the advanced civilization on that planet.
Now imagine an advanced civilization from a nearby star system studying Earth in a similar manner, gathering and assimilating data for a future day of established contact? Is such a notion out of the realm of possibility? Even if no scientific method of bending the space-time continuum for space travel exists, direct contact by an advanced alien civilization remains a possibility, never mind the human concept of cost to get here. We may be unwilling hosts for a similar experiment, and their technology prevents us from discovering them or understanding their true motives.
How might an advanced civilization discover a remote planet like Earth? Consider Earth has been a radio, television, and nuclear beacon for over 50 years. Also recognize that current “medieval” technology enables astronomers to locate planets orbiting distant star systems. Perhaps a number of advanced civilizations in the Galaxy have perfected the design of a super interferometer, enabling them to determine distant planets that support life. A type of quantum supercomputer might scan every star in the Galaxy and determine any life-harboring planets in a relatively short period of time. To any distant astronomer, the Sun would be a candidate for harboring such intelligent life. Advanced methods of detecting signs of intelligence from distant star systems might be common knowledge for them. In this possible scenario, faster-than-light travel is not a necessity for interstellar mobility and subsequent contact.
Technology will soon permit astronomers to determine any potential life-supporting star systems in local proximity, and, in the future, engineers will design advanced spacecraft that utilize unconventional fuel to get there. In the distant future, they may design ones capable of manipulating the space-time continuum. Human beings, if not their android counterparts, will trek the Galaxy in search of life and bring back any physical evidence. Distance will no longer be a barrier, only time a potential obstacle. Some theoretical physicists believe time will no longer be a hurdle as science learns to warp the space-time continuum.
Science revises its findings with each new generation. Scientists who claim to have a reliable working knowledge of what is impossible should suspend such premature assessments. They have been wrong before and will continue to be so in the future. Science is a continuous process of obtaining, assimilating, and retranslating data. Never will it acquire an unchanging, obsolete set of working knowledge, which is why scientific law is so difficult to establish. In the distant future, nearly anything will be possible.
[i] Highfield, Roger. The Telegraph. UK: Daily Telegraph interview with Stephen Hawking, Oct. 16, 2001.
The Happy Medium
"No one of us ought to issue vetoes to the other, nor should we brandy words of abuse. We ought, on the contrary, delicately and profoundly to respect one another’s mental freedom: then only shall we bring about the intellectual republic; then only shall we have that spirit of inner tolerance without which all our outer tolerance is soulless, and which is empiricism’s glory; then only shall we live and let live, in speculative as well as in practical things…”—William James (1897)[i]
People have witnessed strange unidentified phenomena in the heavens for as far back as man could record it. Theories abound as to their true origin. Some argue alien visitors are evolved humans from the future, but previous arguments against time travel suggest that view is not consistent with reality. Others indicate they may have brought us here, at the very least interfered with our evolution and development. Some UFO researchers point to structures and ancient texts like those debated on Ancient Aliens as potential proof. (If life was brought here, the beings responsible would be our corporeal “God,” which would explain many passages found throughout various religious texts.) Still others feel we were not the first intelligent beings on the planet to evolve, and Earth endured multiple periods of evolutionary development. Our predecessors may have been forced to find refuge on the Moon or Mars to avoid a major cataclysm like the one that killed off the dinosaurs. Some believe legends surrounding the lost city of Atlantis were based on such a civilization. There are photographs of purported structures and pyramids found on the Moon and Mars first introduced by Richard Hoaglund in the 1990s. While his research is interesting and claims incredible, it is a topic for a later publication.
Provided the ETH is a valid hypothesis, it appears one or several Type II or III civilizations had the technology to discover Earth harbored intelligent life and came to investigate. If they mastered aspects of quantum non-locality or entanglement, discovering what planets harbor intelligent life would be common knowledge.
Today, claims of UFO sightings and alien abductions are too numerous to record. Videos of alleged extraterrestrial spacecraft plague the internet. Cases of purported alien abduction surface almost daily. A certain level of gullibility clouds the judgment of many who accept such cases at face value. At the same time, the public should not discount reports that incorporate valid evidence or credible eyewitness testimony without further scientific analysis.
Astrophysicist Armand Delsemme is optimistic for the possibility of interstellar extraterrestrial life. In his book, Our Cosmic Origins, he writes, “Could a first contact be made by a visit from our or their astronauts rather than a message?” He then asks, “Why do scientists remain skeptical?” and answers with, “Because, so far, no evidence has withstood scientific examination.”[ii] So why is the best evidence discounted at every turn? Their position is nothing more than an excuse, one that goes against the very framework upon which science is built.
Do scientists ignore evidence of UFO accounts on purpose, in particular those which cannot be explained by conventional means? It is easy for them to cry no evidence while ignoring any at the same time. Perhaps giving it a shred of attention would influence their credibility or reputation and present a conflict of interest. There exists no direct proof of alien visitation, so why should they waste their time and resources? Meanwhile, other scientists postulate wild claims of parallel universes, wormholes, and time machines, ideas that make sense on paper, but ones having less of a potential to authenticate. Alien visitation, on the other hand, does since it is a direct, physical phenomenon. Based on those comparisons, one could argue their methodology is flawed. This suggests the ETH is more plausible than claims of a multiverse by theoretical physicists. Lack of funding for serious UFO research is nonexistent, so perhaps that is the primary motive for not doing so.
Many scientists find comfort in denial when it comes to the existence or interstellar mobility of advanced extraterrestrial beings due to the negative impact it might have on their reputation or career. Intellectual cries of no physical evidence are fair arguments though if ever established to the contrary could be self-defeating. Many would demand to know why it was a topic they never took seriously.
SETI astronomers, Frank Drake in particular, answered the Fermi question by announcing interstellar travel would be too costly for any advanced civilization. How valid is an argument against the ETH that relies on the human concept of money or limited resources? Alien civilizations might advance and perpetuate independent of any monetary system or economic structure. A Type III civilization may have access to resources we could only dream of. Do scientists expect people to remain so narrow-minded or shortsighted? Cost is not a legitimate answer to the Fermi question.
Seth Shostak wants to know why thousands of university researchers are not busy studying UFOs, if only in their spare time, if such reports appear authentic.[iii] One answer is because of the embarrassment among their scientific peers surrounding the topic. Whether Dr. Shostak admits it, he knows any professional researcher would jeopardize their career if they studied any aspect of potential alien visitation, spare time or not. Because science lacks the technology or information to explain the phenomenon, it leaves room for wisecracks and plausible deniability. For most scientists, it is not in their best interest to study something of which they might never make sense. Does this mean the best 10% to 20% of unexplained sightings is, beyond any reasonable doubt, not of extraterrestrial origin? How can they justify such an argument without taking a legitimate closer look? Using the same logic, are the 0% of sightings by physicists and cosmologists of other dimensions, dark matter, multiple universes, time machines, and wormholes equally as baseless to study?
Perhaps not believing the ETH is possible is as much of an illegitimate approach as believing wholeheartedly. Leaving the question open based on the viable evidence that does exist is a reasonable approach since concrete evidence could surface in our lifetime. Why should the burden of proof be on the believer if, backed by enough potential evidence, the possibility remains?
Steven J. Dick, in his book Life on Other Worlds, sums up the position French astronomer Jacques Vallee held regarding the subject of UFOs. According to Dick, after Vallee met J. Allen Hynek, “Vallee took up the subject of UFOs and in 1965 offered his own appraisal of the subject in ‘Anatomy of a Phenomenon.’ Vallee challenged the scientific method of [Donald] Menzel and [other scientists], finding the prevailing attitude too limited, the data sample too small, and the techniques too narrow. Vallee believed one should ‘not invoke a new natural phenomenon to explain UFOs if the extraterrestrial hypothesis was plausible…’”
Dick makes reference to the statement made in 1967 by atmospheric physicist and member of the National Academy of Sciences James McDonald that “[UFOs are] the greatest scientific problem of our times.” He, like Vallee, believed the ETH was the best, most logical explanation for UFOs.
Dick indicates even the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), made up of 25,000 professional scientists and engineers, turned its back on Condon’s conclusions. They determined it was “difficult to ignore the small residue of well-documented but unexplainable cases which form the hard core of the UFO controversy.” AIAA asked, “Are we justified to extrapolate from 0.99 to 1.00, implying that if 99% of all observations can be explained, the remaining 1% could also be explained; or do we face a severe problem of signal-to-noise ratio…?”[iv]
Even Carl Sagan admitted the ETH was possible, however improbable. But just because the UFO phenomenon is surrounded by clutter does not mean the ETH is an implausible explanation. Perhaps if scientists devoted legitimate time to the study, they might help cut down on some of the aforementioned clutter.
Another possible reason for denial is some scientists would feel threatened, perhaps devastated, by proof of the existence of super-intelligent beings, particularly if they cannot comprehend most aspects of their technology.
Gregory Benford poses some interesting ideas about visits from alien beings. In First Contact, he writes, “I think it is worth the time to seriously, dispassionately look into the possibility that intelligent beings may have visited Earth, or ventured into the Solar System at some time in the distant past…After all, any extraterrestrials who visited Earth possessed technology (and perhaps wisdom) far beyond our own. We should be properly humble about what such beings could do. This demands mental flexibility, to say the least.”[v] Benford is not suggesting Earth was or is being visited by aliens, just that scientists need to keep an open mind and consider the possibilities.
SETI astronomers deny any possibility of alien visitation. Three main arguments are endorsed in their defense. First, distances between star systems are too vast for an occupant to make such a trip within any being’s lifetime. Second, to date, no evidence of alien visitation has been verified. (Those points do have merit and are valid arguments.) Third, if SETI admitted visitation by aliens were possible, financial support for their research would dwindle. Why look for signs of life out there if the suggestion they might already be here remains a possibility?
Folklorist Dr. Thomas E. Bullard says aliens have replaced society’s mythological need for such tales since a person can no longer maintain a rational belief in fairies, demons, angels, and ghosts. The aliens, according to Bullard, have taken the place of these myths with their technology resembling magic.[vi] Ancient astronaut theorists contend this remains their argument, and some of these mythological accounts were aliens misrepresented by primitive cultures. In other words, we had no ability to interpret their likeness for what they were until as of late. Misinterpretations of fairies, demons, and angels by primitive man were these aliens.
Three basic elements outline the various positions people adopt with regard to the question of alien visitation: skepticism, gullibility, and rational open-mindedness based on a happy-medium approach. There is a misleading tendency for some to embrace an extreme viewpoint, be it for or against the ETH. Taking the high road or not committing to one side or the other appears the safest bet.
Skepticism is at the heart of science, for better or worse. It is a healthy method of observing the Universe, but too much of it can get in the way of valid science. The skeptical effect can have negative consequences for anyone expressing excessive criticism toward a valid, conceivable phenomenon. A scientist must consider the negative repercussions this approach might procure when making absolute claims to the contrary of a taboo subject matter. If not, he risks embarrassment and ridicule, much worse than what he may receive from his peers for at first considering the topic. It could be detrimental for a prestigious scientist to find himself on the wrong side of history. A forced about-face might harm his credibility since reporters and the general public would put him on the spot and demand a statement. Concerning the ETH, it would give UFO fanatics reasons to criticize the scientific community in general and take advantage of such premature assessments to support their own agenda. After all, if aliens are here and they ever make their presence known, the ETH would skip an ETT (extra-terrestrial theory) post haste and become the ETL (extra-terrestrial law), which, technically, would be more concrete than the theory of evolution.
Acceptance of a phenomenon based on wanton belief is another presumptuous approach and an indication of naiveté. The gullibility effect results from the consequences of adopting the opposite extreme to a phenomenon that might turn out as a hoax. While it is okay to believe in something you feel adamant about, accepting a case at face value without considering alternative possibilities can have equal negative consequences. Staunch believers receive significant criticism as it is. Adhering to a particular sighting that turns out to be a hoax or have a mundane explanation could be as embarrassing as what a skeptic might face in the previous example.
Either position is misleading, dishonest, and, to some extent, unscientific. Both methods are evasive to the real answer. So whatever happened to a neutral position for both skeptic and believer, instead adhering to a happy-medium approach? If one refrains from making absolute convictions for or against a particular viewpoint and remains open to either, real progress might become possible. It seems both scientist and believer sometimes dismiss logic, reason, and common sense in exchange for extreme empirical skepticism or gullibility.
It is just as easy for a UFO believer to state, “This unexplained video footage provides proof for the existence of intelligent extraterrestrial beings,” as it is for a skeptic to say, “But where is the concrete evidence?” Both answers, essentially, are right and wrong. One, the believer cannot provide validating evidence said object is no doubt of extraterrestrial origin and two, the skeptic cannot explain what the object might be to the contrary. If a video of a UFO is not a hoax and appears to defy physics as we understand it, should a scientist feel obligated to develop a case-by-case theory or hypothesis based on the available evidence?
Proof of anything is subject to conjecture or point of view. Do people require visual proof before they accept the existence of atoms and subatomic particles, or should they rely on indirect experimental evidence and scientific deduction?
Many scientists argue there is no physical evidence to back up any claim of the ETH, even when extensive analysis of a video showing a purported alien spacecraft allows for no other viable conclusion. First, one must establish a clear definition of what physical evidence is. Second, one must establish a fair and reasonable approach to an unsubstantiated claim that might merit some credibility.
An example of irrefutable physical evidence regarding alien visitation would be if their spacecraft landed in New York City tomorrow, and the beings walked out for an interview with Scott Pelley. This standard of irrefutable evidence is the only kind to which a skeptic would concede. Any other form of physical evidence will remain suspect no matter the eyewitness testimony, video or photographic depictions, or other physical evidence provided. Artifacts from an alien spacecraft and proven by experts as not of this Earth would still not be considered irrefutable physical evidence of alien visitation due to the implications it would have on society. Since it would have such an everlasting effect, skeptics argue, established proof must be unquestionable. Therefore, the ETH demands more evidence than would, for example, the idea of string theory, or else it is dismissed as a possibility altogether. Scientists who adhere to the status quo adopt a similar approach with theoretical physicists, and they argue how unfair it is. Does a ufologist have the right to feel the same way?
A multitude of video evidence exists in support of such unexplained phenomena. Some images depict objects that cannot be explained by conventional science following extensive analysis. The maneuvers of these objects make it difficult to claim they are of this Earth. If so, there remains one other possible explanation: they are top-secret, remote-controlled, super aircraft utilizing a technology most scientists have only dreamed of. Since there is little possibility any secret government agency harbored comparable technology prior to the 1970s or 1980s, only post-modern videos should be considered a possibility for this potential explanation.
Documented eyewitness testimony from reliable sources is another standard that should be counted as a type of evidence, though not as significant as a video or photograph. Such evidence is not irrefutable but could stand up in a court of law were the general public not biased in their beliefs or pressured by social acceptability. Instances of unexplained phenomena are not to be believed or not believed, but presented and deduced to a judgment of whether or not, in all likelihood, they are what they appear to be. Mistakes do occur in the judicial system, and its method of deducing the truth is not an exact science, but it remains a standard nonetheless.
Looking at all the evidence from an unbiased position and making a logical determination of whether said sighting is or is not of terrestrial origin is the remaining viable option. Incredible claims do require incredible evidence, but evidence that appears incredible should gain some credibility, at the very least viewed as a possibility for interstellar mobility.
One might suspect there are some scientists out there that do believe in the extraterrestrial hypothesis but refrain from making that belief public. How many are hypocritical enough to believe in the existence of an unverifiable God while denying any possibility of a verifiable ETH?
Though most of this chapter is based on logical speculation, humanity owes it to itself to remain open to the possibility of alien visitation in case incontrovertible evidence presents itself in the near future. Both scientist and believer should refrain from making absolute convictions either way, because these facts remain—we do not know if extraterrestrial beings have visited Earth and nobody can say, with any certainty, they have not.
[i] James, William. “The Will to Believe.” New World, (June 1896): p. X.
[ii] Delsemme, Armand. Our Cosmic Origins. CambridgeUK: CambridgeUniversity Press, 1998, p. 243.
[iv] Vallee, Jacques, “UFO: An Appraisal of the Situation.” Astronautics and Aeronautics AIAA Journal. (November 1970).
[v] Bova, Ben; Preiss, Byron; Benford, Gregory. First Contact. New York: Plume, 1990, pp. 165, 166.
[vi] Bullard, Thomas E. UFO Abductions: The Measure of a Mystery. AlexandriaVA: Fund for UFO Research, 1987.
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(*Terms devised or uniquely interpreted by the author)
Android A synthetic being manufactured in the lab. An android is different from a mechanical robot since, on the surface, it appears human. One may be composed of grown biological components, others synthetic. In theory, it can be programmed to perform various duties like a robot.
Area 51 A top-secret, government facility in the desert near Rachel, Nevada. There are warning signs of authorized deadly force and landmines placed throughout the area to deter trespassers. Some believe top-secret, government aircraft are developed and tested there. Conspiracy theorists argue they are testing and back-engineering alien spacecraft involved in some accident or crash on Earth. The government has always denied its very existence and only recently acknowledged it was there.
Condon Report 1966 to 1968 report filed by Edward Condon. It was the Air Force’s final word on the study of UFOs and concluded no significant scientific discoveries would result from the phenomenon. A couple of independent, civilian UFO agencies were involved in the study, but many feel it was an intentional disinformation campaign.
Drake Equation Established in 1961 by SETI astronomer Frank Drake to determine the likeliest possible number of advanced civilizations in our Galaxy. Estimates were negligible, ranging from 1,000 to one million potential civilizations but settling upon 10,000 as the likeliest number. Additional factors were added later to the equation by biologists, some versions making our existence seem equally as impossible.
Dyson Sphere Postulated by Freeman Dyson in 1960, a Dyson Sphere is an object of immense scope manufactured by a Type III alien civilization to investigate the potential for life in the Galaxy and harness energy from any given star. Energy demands will increase for any civilization, so these entities might be necessary for continued progress. It is an artificial-intelligence network that can evolve on its own.
*Gullibility Effect The consequences of adopting a naïve or unsophisticated approach to any unexplained phenomenon. Those who adopt a gullible approach to something unconfirmed usually believe in something they wish to be true, such as UFOs, ghosts, or Bigfoot. This approach does not utilize either science or logic. Adhering to a specific case at face value, which is later confirmed as a hoax, can be as embarrassing as what a skeptic might experience for adopting the opposite extreme. See also skeptical effect.
*Happy-Medium Approach The approach to an unexplained phenomenon that considers the evidence for what it is, without making a rash determination for or against. It is the safest approach to a potentially valid or invalid phenomenon. This method applies to both verifiable and unverifiable anomalies. An example of something verifiable is the extraterrestrial hypothesis and unverifiable is the existence of God or a divine being. Since the ETH has a chance of becoming verified in our lifetime, people should treat it as such. Adopting the same position with regard to the possibility of a divine being is for manner’s sake since it is something that remains forever unverifiable.
Planck Energy Developed by German physicist Max Planck, originator of quantum theory. A theoretical portion of energy which represents an amount concentrated on a small scale necessary to influence or bring about strange quantum properties.
Prime Directive Developed by Gene Roddenberry in the 1960s for his television show, Star Trek. The Prime Directive is a set of rules the captain of a starship must obey to avoid contaminating developing worlds. A civilization must be permitted to grow, evolve, and develop on its own apart from outside influence by a more advanced one. Will the morals and ethics of future space-faring generations adhere to this directive or be too anxious to establish first contact and, instead, influence them with our own morals and beliefs?
Project Blue Book The Air Force’s final and most notorious study of the UFO phenomenon, which succeeded Project Sign and Project Grudge. The study began in 1952, its goal to analyze the data “scientifically” and determine if UFOs were a threat to national security. The Air Force ordered it shut down in 1969 after the Condon Report concluded there was nothing significant to the phenomenon.
Project Grudge The second official study of the UFO phenomenon by the Air Force, which lasted for less than a year from February to December 1949. It was supposed to utilize an unbiased approach to the phenomenon, but operated under the premise UFOs could not possibly exist. It was a debunking campaign formulated in response to Project Sign’s favorable findings to the existence of extraterrestrial spacecraft based on the evidence.
Project Ozma The first radio-telescope project for SETI, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Formulated by CornellUniversity astronomer Frank Drake in 1960. Radio telescopes have been searching for signs of intelligent radio signals ever since though, to date, none have been discovered.
Project Sign Active from 1948 to 1949. It was the first official study by the US government into the phenomenon of UFOs. The study concluded valid sightings were aircraft of some kind, but there was not enough evidence to determine origin. Prior to the report’s final analysis, most scientists on the team favored the extraterrestrial hypothesis as to their origin. No other explanation could be drawn from the amount of credible evidence. This opinion was forced out by the Air Force before it was published.
S.E.T.I. The Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence. SETI astronomers search the heavens for radio signals of intelligent origin. Some astronomers believe it is a waste of time since most Type I or above civilizations would use a different form of communication. The window from Type 0.5 to Type I status is too narrow for any civilization to leave their footprint in the cosmos. Opponents to the program argue it is like searching for a needle in a haystack. It could be argued they are wasting time and resources since the extraterrestrial hypothesis may be valid, so they should be devoting their resources elsewhere. One thing is clear; at least they are searching for what would be the greatest discovery of mankind.
*Skeptical Effect The consequences of adopting a rigid position by criticizing certain fringe scientific concepts and denying any possibilities thereof. Examples include string theory, parallel universes, warp-drive technology, and the ETH. It is the safest, most conservative approach to a topic, idea, or hypothesis but can have negative consequences for anyone that adopts it. Some argue such strict methodology can limit functional ideas. If a valid study, for instance the extraterrestrial hypothesis, is proven one day as scientific law (they hover over Central Park and make their presence known), how might that affect the skeptic’s reputation? How would the staunch opponent to any idea of interstellar mobility backpedal with any dignity and retract his previous statements to the contrary? Would it open the door for other questionable phenomena, and what impact would gullible fanatics that support such ideas have on public perception? Their argument then would be, “If a scientist can be wrong about aliens having ‘impossible’ technology to visit Earth, he can be wrong about anything, and any other unexplained phenomenon could be true.” This approach can backfire and have negative repercussions on society’s outlook for science.
Type 0 Civilization Type I through III civilizations are based on the Kardashev scale, which outlines the level of energy a society has mastered. A Type 0 civilization is one that still utilizes planetary fossil fuels for energy. Estimates put current civilization and technology at Type 0.7.
Type I Civilization Based on the Kardashev scale, a civilization that masters all forms of terrestrial energy. It will be another 100 to 200 years before Earth develops the technology to do this. Mastery of solar power utilizing satellites in orbit may become the most efficient method of obtaining such energy.
Type II Civilization Based on the Kardashev scale, a civilization that masters the energy output of an entire solar system, or its sun. Construction of a Dyson sphere in orbit around the Sun would be the most efficient method of harnessing such energy. It will be between 800 and 2,500 years before we attain Type II status.
Type III Civilization Based on the Kardashev scale, a civilization that masters the energy output from the entire Galaxy. In addition to several Dyson spheres placed in the orbit of various stars throughout, other forms of energy, such as from a supermassive black hole at the center of the Galaxy, might provide a limitless supply of power. It will take between 100,000 and one million years before Earth reaches Type III status.
*Type IV Civilization A later addition to the Kardashev scale since the next logical step is mastery of energy from the entire Universe. Proficiency of quantum mechanics and bending the space-time continuum for faster-than-light travel are other possible accomplishments of a Type IV civilization. One of them could dispatch Von Neumann machines to various galaxies throughout the Universe in systems that support intelligent life, cataloging all information in each. It would take about one billion years for us to attain this status and, by then, we would no longer resemble our human ancestors.
*Type V Civilization A God-like civilization having mastered energy and mobility throughout the multiverse. It would take billions of years for a civilization to attain this hypothetical status. Since our Universe is 13.8 billion years old, it is not out of the realm of possibility at least one has already done so. (Scientific calculations suggest the oldest possible civilizations in the Universe could be up to four or five billion years ahead of our present state!) It is possible a Type V civilization could create universes on a whim having mastered the quantum realm. Our Universe might be nothing more than one of their many science experiments. Their primary realm would be a utopian universe since they could predict all possible outcomes of every potential event. They would reside in and oversee paradise. If the mind, or soul, is found to be a quantum function, they may grant all beings an afterlife in one of their many paradise universes or in one of their automated, virtual-reality, quantum programs. Nearly anything would be possible for a Type V civilization.
Von Neumann Machines Futuristic, self-replicating machines constructed by a Type II or III civilization. These large-scale, artificial machines would be programmed to evolve on their own with time and self-learning neural networks on their side. It is a logical method of searching for life in the Galaxy. A self-sufficient, independent explorer could gather information and send the results back to its home planet. Each orbiting machine could use the resources from any star or planet it comes in contact with. Von Neumann machines might exist now throughout the Galaxy, utilizing principles similar to the Prime Directive in order to remain anonymous.
Xenologists Scientists that study all aspects of potential alien life to include intelligence, civilization, and biology. At this point, the study is based on speculative data and inference since we have yet to verify a single extraterrestrial microbe.
Zoo Hypothesis Similar to the Prime Directive in Star Trek. The reason we have yet to make contact with intelligent extraterrestrials visiting Earth could be because they, like us, would feel it is imperative a civilization be permitted to develop its own culture, technology, and beliefs. Until one is “cosmically prepared” to receive such knowledge, it is best to leave it alone and develop on its own.