Friday, May 14, 2010

If Aliens Existed, We Wouldn't Even Know It

You know, I should probably actually THANK the New York Times for their idiotic op-ed columns, without which, I would not have cannon fodder for my blog. So, yea, uh, thanks. For your ridiculous stupidity.

Today's rant comes from a column about extraterrestrials. (Blog link posting is giving me errors today, so just check out columnist Paul Davies from May 13th.)

This columnist is discussing how we can find alien life on other planets by first trying to recognize alternate based (not carbon/oxygen based) life on our own planet. For instance,

"Alternative microbes might, for example, have different chemical elements. One shrewd suggestion, made by Felisa Wolfe-Simon of the United States Geological Survey, is that phosphorus — crucial to life as we know it — could be replaced by arsenic. She and her colleague Ron Oremland are dredging bugs from arsenic-contaminated Mono Lake in California in search of arsenic life."

Well, that makes sense, kind of. As if any other kind of alien could guess OUR life form biology from mere guess work. And then actually find it in the most simplistic of places.

Anyway, my argument against this perspective is: If an alien life is so outside of what we comprehend constitutes life...then how will we recognize it? How do we know there AREN'T ALREADY aliens floating around our heads; life forms that we can't even sense?

This is one of the major components of my own life philosophy. I believe that the human mind/consciousness is fallible, and extremely so. I believe that there is an infinite amount of things that we simply cannot sense, understand, or be aware of in any fashion.

For instance, my favorite example is radio signals. We know they exist. But we can't sense them. They are bouncing around our homes, our offices, but if we didn't know to look for them with specific equipment, we'd never know they were there. So, it is more than likely that there are any number of things floating around out there that we have no faculty for noticing them with.

Other examples are easy, just look at other animals. Bats use sonar, which we can't sense, but it exists. Dogs can smell things we can't even imagine (can you imagine a life form based on particles that can only be detected by smell? I can.) And then there are literally thousands of species with talents that we don't even understand. Watch the Discovery channel to see what I'm talking about.

So, in conclusion, looking for alien life with our existing human paradigms is simply blind ignorance. To not even consider the alternative, that we might not even be able to recognize alien life if it was in front of our nose, is hubris.

Hubris from the NYT? Say it ain't so joe.


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