UFO week on Doug’s Darkworld
As promised on last week’s post, this week I’m going to cover UFOs. There’s a number of reasons for this. For one thing it’s a popular topic and it’s been in the news lately. Secondly, since my sea change in January, I’m reviewing everything I once knew, since in some cases turns out the new Doug sees things the old Doug didn’t. And lastly, a secret admirer wanted me to look into the subject more. So with all that in mind, I’m going to cover a few famous cases, UFOs in history, alien abductions, conspiracy theories, and crop circles. Suggestions are welcome.
I think the first thing that comes to mind when I think about aliens, is that how most people envision them is so incredibly anthropomorphic as to be ridiculous. When humans get out there and start exploring the galaxy, I’m willing to bet we are going to find all sorts of utterly mind bending stuff that no one imagined in their wildest dreams. I mean, even our categories may be way off. One of my thoughts along these lines is that maybe life on Earth isn’t even actual life. Maybe DNA was invented by real life, which is based on something incomprehensibly different than DNA. Or maybe Earth and the Solar System are extremely unusual, and not only will we find the Galaxy incomprehensible, maybe it will be so different from what we are used to that the idea that we can colonize other star systems may be ludicrous. We just don’t know until we get out there and look.
Another codicil, which I mentioned in my last post, if alien intelligence is ubiquitous in the galaxy, and interstellar travel is reasonably practical, then the aliens are already here. And on that note, another anecdote about aliens among us. Some year back an acquaintance described to me an experience they had. They were out and about and someone walked by them on the sidewalk. And the sidewalk shook as if the person walking by weighed far more than a normal person. My friend even checked after they went by, and the sidewalk was solid. Well, a couple years back, I had the same experience. A person walked by who literally made the ground shake, yet to all appearances they were just a normal person. And I did the same thing my friend did, I stomped around on the sidewalk after they left to see if maybe there was loose concrete or something. Nada, solid as, well, a sidewalk. Could aliens be wandering around in the guise of super-heavy probes disguised as humans? Beats me.
Which brings us to the heart of the matter, when it comes to aliens and UFOs, anecdotes are pretty much all we have. I have no problems with anecdotal evidence, many of history’s greatest discoveries were preceded by anecdotal evidence. The big problem with them is that they are easy to dismiss, if not actually ridicule. A sceptical-on-crack attitude I try my best to avoid. The biggest problem with anecdotal evidence is that humans are terrible witnesses. Most people think that their eyes are little cameras sending images to their brains, and that’s quite simply not the case at all. The world we see around us is an incredibly processed image, just as one very rudimentary example, how many people see the “blind spot” in their visual field? It’s actually pretty big, but the brain fills it in with data from the other eye. There’s a nice demonstration of it here. The point here is that when people see something that their brain can’t easily understand, the brain will literally make up information to try and fit what is being observed into a category they can understand.
A wonderful example of this are early UFO reports from the fifties. In the USA the ball got rolling with sighting of “flying saucers.” And for years, even to today, many people report seeing flying saucer type objects when they report a UFO. In Brazil, however, the term was translated as “flying disk” … and that’s what people started reporting seeing! Is this proof that UFOs don’t exist? Of course not, but it is proof that UFO reports are highly subjective and it would be wise not to take them too literally.
In any event, I aim to have a bit of fun with this as well. You have been warned!
(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s been reproduced in so many places over the past sixty years that for all practical purposes it’s public domain. It’s long been exposed as a hoax, a crude manipulated photograph. The original has apparently been located, but I wasn’t able to run it down on line. Forgetomori does a an outline of the history of the photo, known as Die Fälscher Alien. I chose it becasue it is kind of a creepy picture, that’s always impressed me about it. And sadly to show just how ubiquitous UFO hoaxes are, they have muddied the waters since the very beginning. As esteemed reader Pyrodin pointed out, the more chaff we sort through, the more likely we are to find wheat. Let’s get sorting.)