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UFO

By Patrick Mondout

With TV programs like Project U.F.O. and a host of questionable books on the subject (and at least one that was serious), the Super70s saw more than its far share of aliens.

The Trouble With UFOs

The trouble with the term "UFO" is that it has come to be equated with "alien spacecraft." The logic is as follows: I see something in the sky. I can't make out what it is, therefore it must be a spacecraft from an alien civilization far more advanced than our own. As Carl Sagan used to say, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof." Thus far, not a single human on this planet has produced evidence of beings from another planet.

Government Conspiracy

Some in the Roswell crowd will tell you that there is a conspiracy on the part of the government to cover up the fact that they have an alien spaceship in their hands. If that doesn't seem outright absurd, forget the aliens and consider human nature. Would not the story, if confirmed, of a real alien spaceship landing on Earth, be the biggest story of all-time? Who could possibly keep that a secret? The person who "discovered" it or even just leaked it would be forever linked with the greatest event in human history. What possible motivation could they have to keep it a secret?

Alien Intel(igence) Inside™

There are also some who claim that the invention of the transistor and other advances in computers only came about because of what was learned from the "incredibly advanced" alien spacecraft. The rather obvious fact that binary math, Boolean algebra, and the electronics necessary to create a computer all existed before Roswell seems to have escaped them. The transistor was merely the miniaturization of these pre-existing ideas. In fact, many of the major evolutions in science this past century are the result of the rather innovative thinking of one man: Albert Einstein. If you're looking for an alien among us, start with him!

There is nothing wrong with searching for extra-terrestrial life. Projects like SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) are quite sane and firmly rooted in the endeavors of science: The search for the truth. More importantly, the search is being conducted using the scientific method. If the discoveries of Galileo and more recently, planetary astronomers have taught us anything, it is that our planet is not nearly as special and unique in the unimaginably-vast universe as we once believed. Mathematically speaking, it seems extremely likely that another planet similar to Earth exists out there. How many billions of Suns, for example, are similar to our own? The scientific method requires that we have proof. For now it is just a theory. Evolution was once a theory and only through the most rigorous scrutiny was it proven. No one - whatever moral authority granted them by their followers - can make a scientific truth simply by proclaiming it.

Some might find these photographs compelling evidence of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe. Personally, I find the objects on the other end of the camera far more intriguing.

 

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