Sunday, November 27, 2005





Canada Defense Minister in UFO Shocker

Hellyer said, "The United States military are preparing weapons which could be used against the aliens, and they could get us into an intergalactic war without us ever having any warning." He also stated, "The Bush administration has finally agreed to let the military build a forward base on the moon, which will put them in a better position to keep track of the goings and comings of the visitors from space, and to shoot at them, if they so decide."


Good fucking grief. Firstly, Hellyer's use of the word "intergalactic" is suspect; if ETs are here, why assume they're from another galaxy when it seems more likely they'd be from another star in our own Milky Way?

Secondly, the presumption that we're on the verge of some sort of military conflict with space visitors not only assumes we're worthy of the envy of "intellects vast, cool and unsympathetic," but implies that we could expect a fair fight. If an interstellar foe indeed wanted to wage war, I doubt we'd have a chance. (Of course, this begs the question of why we haven't already been overrun by marauding aliens.)

If a truly intergalactic civilization wanted (for whatever reason) to engage us in a George Lucas-style conflict, we'd likewise be at its mercy. We might not even recognize an intergalactic intelligence in our midst for the simple reason that it would belie even our best science fictional portrayals; it would probably seem less threatening than simply alien -- and loaded with all the existential implications that implies.

I am, of course, biased. I expect that confirmation of nonhuman intelligence -- should it occur -- will be a subtle, enigmatic process. The "first contact" scenario in "2001: A Space Odyssey" -- or even those in "Close Encounters" and "Contact" -- strike me as more "realistic" than some shock-and-awe assault from the depths of space.

Maybe I'm simply erring on the side of optimism. After all, the unseen aliens of "2001" and "Contact" have a vested interest in humanity's survival, and I'd certainly prefer to think beings more advanced than ourselves could bypass the all-too-human inclination for tribal warfare.

Someone like Hellyer could argue -- not entirely without justification -- that my predisposition to expect benevolent ETs is merely a way of dismissing fears of H.G. Wellsian conquest while elevating our own importance in the galactic hierarchy. And perhaps he'd be right.

But when I look at the night sky I'm not afraid -- at least, not in a xenophobic sense. And while I think the UFO phenomenon poses genuine challenges to our perception of life and intelligence in the Cosmos, I think it's childish and premature to equate the unknown with something as simple as an impending invasion by trigger-happy alien warlords.

16 comments:

Boogey_Man said...

When it comes to ETs, sometimes you're Spielburg, sometimes you're Lovecraft.

I kinda envision Earth as a nature preserve. Home to some rare plants and animals but also home to equally valuable resources. Depending on the economy and politics either one can win out.

I have no faith in the idea that ETs hold us so precious that they would never do us harm. No matter how advanced they are there will always be an economy and politics. If either of those dictated it we and our planet would be used and abused in an instant. If gas went to $5 a gallon and someone found a way to run a car on lumber the redwoods would be stripped in a month. If ET is out there the only reason we havent gone through an Independance Day/War of the Worlds smack down is because it is politically/economically inconvient to do so.

If they want resources from Earth (heavy metals, human DNA... ect) then Im sure they know what France, Russia and China found in dealling with Saddam during the Oil for Food scandal. Its easier and cheaper to get natural resources from back water nations by paying kickbacks rather than invading them.

JEFM said...

WTF?

Mac ... I personally don't think aliens are benevolent by nature.

Expansion requires violence, even if there are good wills, we will end up absorbed (culturally) or dominated (if not annihilated).

Jon

W.M. Bear said...

Good fucking grief. Firstly, Hellyer's use of the word "intergalactic" is suspect; if ETs are here, why assume they're from another galaxy when it seems more likely they'd be from another star in our own Milky Way?

Definitely. I've noticed that most people confuse the terms "galaxy" and "solar system" and use the former when they mean the latter. So we can substitute "interstellar" for "intergalactic" passim. Still, otherwise....

Interesting about the rationale for a Moon base. I'm actually inclined to believe that the idea may well have been sold to Bush in these kinds of terms. Since the man knows very little about anything, certainly anything technical or scientific, it would be easy to sex up a marketing campaign base on this kind of xenophobia. BTW, the Strieber page has an excellent link to a Web site that lists astronaut sightings of UFOs.

As to aliens' intentions towards us, I'm inclined to believe that they're so far ahead of us that they're basically godlike as in 2001 or Contact. Who can guess the motives or actions of such entities? But I imagine that "invading" us in any recognizable sense is probably WAY beneath them. They're not so much "benevolent" (again, in any sense we'd recognize as... well, who knows? (But I doubt, for instance, that they'll ever suffer a molybdenum shortage or such.)

Paul Kimball said...

Mac:

Hmm... seems like I tried to warn people within ufology about Hellyer some time ago. The man is a Grade A flake. He and exopolitics deserve each other.

It's always nice to be right.

Paul

P.S. With the election writ about to drop here in Canada (later today), I'm sure Hellyer and UFOs will be a huge issue in the campaign. Or, just perhaps, people up here have more important things to worry about - just like people south of the border.

Parrish Baker said...

yeah, i couldn't believe that i was reading that. your comparison of them to the contactees of the 1950s was spot on. i'm surprised the guy didn't bring up reagan's off the cuff thoughts about star wars and alien invasion.

my general take on aliens is that (a) they are developed beyond and interest in space travel and expansion, or are (b) extinct for very human reasons.

a very sophisticated and non extinct species would more likely develop von neumann machine-like probes, and wait for the information to come back. endagering your nearly immortal self by heading off into the boonies would seem unwise to such a species; niven speculated that the effect of his 'boosterspice' would be a more cautious, lesk risk-taking humanity, and i think he's right.

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