The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists shifted the Doomsday Clock to 90 seconds to midnight at a news conference in January 2023. From left, Siegfried Hecker, Daniel Holz, Sharon Squassoni, Mary Robinson and Elbegdorj Tsakhia (Photo credit: Patrick Semansky).
Topics: Astrobiology, Civilization, Existentialism, Science Fiction, SETI, Space Exploration
A few weeks ago, I posted “Wine of Consciousness” on Friday without commentary. There were many directions I could have taken. I did want to see how readers would react. As I postulated, the viewership was limited. There were many directions that I COULD have taken the post. Still, I decided every iteration was getting a little too “pop science” for my taste, and that can quickly cross over into pseudo without critical thinking.
Avi Loeb is popularly known for his hypothesis that Oumuamua (“scout” in Polynesian) wasn’t a meteor or comet but a possible extraterrestrial probe sent by an intelligence with a similar understanding of physics and the limitations of intergalactic travel: without something like 99% the speed of light (warp velocity is still the providence of science fiction), such journeys are not possible within the normal span of lifetimes. Dr. Loeb is a theoretical physicist in the Department of Astronomy at Harvard.
I’m from the generation that grew up hearing about “UFOs” (unidentified flying objects), “flying saucers,” and “little green men.” Green succumbed to gray, grey, or “the grays/greys” (E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial), and now we’re discussing UAPs (unidentified aerial phenomena).
Another theoretical physicist has tackled the challenge by publishing another book: “UFOs: Unidentified Aerial Phenomena: Observations, Explanations, and Speculations (Paperback)” in what appears to be a lucrative cottage industry.
When someone asks me if I believe there is life elsewhere in the universe, I will say yes. Amoeba is life, bacteria is life, viruses: the jury is still out on whether or not they are alive in the biological sense.
I have often wondered if intelligence is its own Entropy: that the very systems any sentient species would create for itself in governing resources, governments, commerce, and space exploration would be its undoing, which might answer The Fermi Paradox.
The hope of extraterrestrials existing and interacting with Earth mortals might be a cultural wish: a hope that despite our alarming tendency to screw things up, we either might survive our boundless hubris, or SOMEONE will save us from our stupidity, Deus ex machina, or benevolent Vulcans.
Homo Sapiens is Latin for “wise men.”
Homo Stultus (“stupid men”) seems more apropos.
Is a More Advanced Civilization an Oxymoron? Avi Loeb, Medium