Recently I was accused by someone (who obviously does not read this blog) of being closed minded when I dismissed the whole domain of so called “ufology” with an indignant scoff. Am I a closed minded person guys? I mean, look at this blog. Half the stuff I talk about is related to science fiction. I am obsessed with the concept of singularity, I am a transhumanist who believes that the baseline homo sapiens will become an obsolete model in the next 4-5 decades… But I’m closed minded because I don’t believe in UFO visitations and I don’t subscribe to the alien conspiracy theories.
I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy this whole idea that diminutive gray humanoids visit us on alternating Tuesdays and Thursdays to administer rectal exams to a select group of gentlemen of the redneck persuasion. Like we are some hole-in-the-wall pit stop by a run down intergalactic highway, and ass-probing is the alien equivalent of cow tipping or some equally juvenile pass-time. It just seems so… Silly.
Yes, I used to love reading about this shit and watching the UFO shows on TV when I was a kid. It fascinated me so much that I absorbed everything UFO related I could find. Eventually I consumed enough of it to notice it was all inconclusive, counter-productive circle jerking. Every UFO related show or an article was almost exactly the same. Not detail wise, but structurally and conceptually they where identical. They would interview some witnesses, show some blurry pictures, have supposed experts analyze them, come up with inconclusive results, talk a bit about conspiracy and cover-ups and then close the hour with a “we may never know the truth” sign-off. If you don’t believe me, try watching one of these UFO investigation shows yourself. They all pretty much take an hour to tell you that their months long investigation haven’t actually uncovered anything new or interesting.
I don’t actually mind throwing around ideas, and theorizing. I like that kind of stuff. I’m all about coming up with plausible scientific answers to questions such as: How would aliens get here? What propulsion would they use? Would they try to avoid detection, and how? How would we communicate with them? Hell, I’m all up for discussing the Femi paradox with these people. Problem is, that I have yet to meet a UFO fan who has head about it.
Sadly, that’s where the whole discussion hinges for me. The reason why we haven’t heard from any potential alien civilizations probably involves multiple factors, chief amongst which are the distance, prohibitive costs of interstellar travel and singularity. Personally I think that the window in which an intelligent species can go exploring and “boldly go where no man has gone before” is short and fraught with socio-economical roadblocks. I’m of course assuming that most sentient life is probably singularity-bound. By the time the reach technological level required for interstellar travel, they are already on the cusp of it. Once this transformative game changing event takes place, they are most likely to busy disassembling their solar system, building Matrioshka brains and doing stuff that weakly god-like intelligences do for fun. At the initial stages, post singularity civilizations probably huddle around their star where the bandwidth is high and the latency is low allowing for uninhibited exchange of ideas. They are not inclined to travel because their mere thought processes consume vast amount of energy and computing power – both being plentiful in the core of their Marioshka Brain but not very portable. By the time they solve their latency and bandwidth issues and transform themselves to a interstellar civilization, they no longer have anything to talk about with hairless apes like us. In fact they may not even notice us, just like you don’t notice the bacteria that line your intestinal track.
Let me give you an example. Have you heard about the Boötes Void? It is basically a hole in the sky – a at nearly 250 million light year region inside of a supercluster where there are virtually no galaxies. Occam’s Razor says that it is probably just a coincidentally empty region, but sometimes I like to imagine that there is a Kardashev Type III or IV civilization out there. Just think about that – a civilization that has potentially swallowed thousands of galaxies, millions of stars and converted all that matter and energy into computrionium to run their thought processes. The sheer scale of such an undertaking boggles the mind. Would beings that advanced would even notice a pre-singularity fledgling race huddled on a single planet rotating around a naked sun without even a rudimentary Dyson swarm around it? Probably not.
But that’s not what most UFO enthusiasts are interested in. They want to talk about conspiracy stories and blurry pictures. They honestly believe that aliens are parked in our orbit right now, and they are anally probing people as we speak. Of course we can’t detect them because they have “super advanced alien technology, like you don’t even know, man”. Also, apparently I can’t prove that aliens are not visiting but there are like millions of inconsistent, inconclusive blurry photos, shaky video recordings and unreliable first hand accounts that say otherwise.
It is almost like a religion. It has all the trappings of it – it involves incomprehensible magic (alien claktech), faith based reasoning and adherents becoming agitated and angry whenever someone dares to question their beliefs. Especially those who believe they had a close encounter because they saw something weird in the sky one night. Talking to them is like talking to someone who believes they had a religious revelation – they know the truth, and you are a jerk if you even dare to use logic and/or science to try to analyze it. This pseudo-religious aspect just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
To me UFO folklore is at the very best just a low caliber science fiction for the small minded people. You know, the kind of folks that would die out of embarrassment if they were saw in public reading a science fiction novel. Or any novel for that matter. But they are somehow inexplicably drawn to the UFO crap because it is so mainstream these days. That and it allows them to add yet another crazy conspiracy theory to their collection. At it’s worst it is like a secular religion.
What do you guys think? Do you believe in UFO’s? I probably won’t judge you if you do.