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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Astrophysicist sends dingbats into orbit

British astrophysicist Steven Hawkings has UFOers spinning around the moon.  People who discuss UFOs, aliens on earth, and space abductions crowded the talk radio airwaves in recent days to vilify Hawkings for saying that he believes there must be life on other planets in the universe, but we should not attempt to contact them.

"We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn't want to meet. I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet. Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonise whatever planets they can reach."
He concludes that trying to make contact with alien races is "a little too risky". He said: "If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn't turn out very well for the Native Americans."
The reason the dingbat caucus is so enraged is because Hawkings' statement implies that no one has met a space alien in reality up to this time, despite the fact that some spend so much time recounting their encounters.  His statement suggests that they are telling stories.
But some people are offended about this characterization of the human race.  He is not the first to suggest that we might not want to encourage visits by space aliens because they might be just like us.  One of the myths (used in its perjorative sense) they circulate is that space aliens came centuries ago and taught humankind to build the pyramids in Egypt, the temples in Maya, and crawler tractors in Peoria.  They see space aliens as a superior species that came to earth and attempted to raise the human race out of its primordial muck.

Of course, the same might be said of Jesus Christ, whose life-story fits the pattern of space creatures who invade the earth by adopting human form.  Whatever story one prefers to believe, the main idea is that humanity needs to acquire some redeeming virtues.  The teachings of Christ called for a total revision of the precepts of condemnation and vindictiveness on which humankind did and continues to operate.  His teachings are, indeed, alien to the principles that humankind prefers.

One of the things that distinguishes American literature from other world literatures is its sardonic take on the nature of humankind.  The protagonists in most of America's better literature are what is sometimes called anti-heroes.  They refute the notion that mankind, even at its most pretentious, is noble.

Mark Twain was less than subtle when he confronted "the damned human race."  He thought that when a person was called an animal, it was a complement because it was likening a person to a behavioral superior.  No  other species, he claimed, was as malicious, perverse, cruel, and obstinately stupid as the human.  A lot of  people do  not like Mark Twain because he makes fun of humanity and its pretenses toward superiority.

One of my correspondents made the point that if there are space aliens out there who are actually superior to humankind, why would they want anything to do with us?  Do you find virtuoso musicians and poets hanging out in biker bars?  He reverses Hawkings comments a bit.

But he also asked if space creatures observed the mass killings taking place on earth under the name of Islam, or drug cartels, or even read the kind of thought--actually the lack of it--in blog posts and the comments following them, why would advanced creatures not do everything to avoid getting involved with humanity?   If they coveted the earth's resources, they might just wait until humanity has destroyed itself with its own malicious foolery.  Then they can take over, if there is anything left.

Ironically,it may be those orbiting dingbats who survive and carry on the traits of the race. 

1 comment:

larry kurtz said...

Socath, his eyes uncovered! Luwani under two moons. Rai and Jiri at Lunga. Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra.

Darmok and Jalad on the ocean. Mirab with sails unfurled.

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Aberdeen, South Dakota, United States