Saturday, March 6, 2010

Coffee!!: Favourite local quote from yesterday, on ETs

By Gleaner here at Rob Sheldon’s story on extraterrestrials:
If for some reasons the aliens are actually interested in us, I think they are probably already here, and given a certain level of technology, if would probably be easy to hide from us, even on a daily basis.

Yes, I should think so. Termites do it all the time. So do the rats at a nearby dumpster. (That’s why the rule of thumb is, for every rat you happen to spot, there are a dozen.)

Now, what I’d be interested to know is, the ETs never phone, they never write. Why do we assume they exist?

Most of the reasons I have heard are based on attitudes, values, and beliefs, not science.

For example, why can’t we be alone in the universe? Maybe we just are. One can interpret that fact in various ways.

The least plausible explanation I hear is that we can’t be alone because that would imply we are special. Why? If we don’t know why there isn’t anyone else out there, it’s a meaningless assumption, unless our tradition of thought offers other lines of reasoning as well.

Suppose I am out hiking in the far north, and the proposition is put to me that I cannot be the only human being within a hundred kilometre radius. I protest that that is impossible. “They” must be out there.

As a matter of fact, in Canada’s far north, it is quite possible that I am indeed the only human being currently within a hundred kilometre radius, and there is no They there.

Of course, it would be boring if there are no ETs. But we can’t rule it out. There are no other high intellect creatures on our own planet, despite overblown claims made for great apes.

Well, to riff off Marlene Dietrich, I don’t want to be alone, but must be prepared to get used to it, if it is true.