Get ready to have your mind blown

I think I might have figured out UFOs.

I’m not offering this with any degree of dogmatism or certainty. It’s just a hypothesis. So if you like it, enjoy. If you don’t, ignore it.

My hypothesis is based on three main pillars of observation.

First pillar: You know all these stories going around about sightings of flying saucers and UFOs, and people getting abducted by aliens and probed and stuff…?  Of course you do. Well, I happen to think there are too many of them, with too many common details, and from too many isolated pockets of humanity to just dismiss them out of hand. I think there’s something happening. I think there’s something to those stories. Am I saying I believe all of them without reservation or qualification? No. But I think there’s something happening to give rise to them. I don’t know what, exactly, these people are experiencing, or if the experiences are exactly as they report them, but I think there’s something going on. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and there’s a helluva lot of smoke out there where these reportings are concerned…

Second pillar: most physicists, astronomers, and cosmologists agree that if intelligent life emerged here on planet Earth, there’s a high probability that it emerged somewhere else too, given the sheer vastness and complexity of the universe. However, given the vast distances between stars and the comparative rarity and isolation of the kinds of stars and planets that could support life, it’s so astronomically unlikely that one intelligent species could find a habitable world other than their own as to be practically impossible, to say nothing of actually traveling there. And, given Einstein’s maxim that nothing can travel faster than light, and considering that the nearest solar system to us is hundreds of light years away, it would take more time than the Earth has even been in existence for another intelligent life form to travel to us, even if they knew where to look for us in the first place. So, in short, I don’t think it’s remotely possible that extraterrestrial beings could ever visit our planet.

Third pillar: it’s been 66 million years since the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event that wiped out the dinosaurs. In that time, one of the surviving species– a small, squirrely lemur-like rodent creature called a “pleisiadapis” evolved into other species of mammals, then primates, and then us– humans, the only confirmed species of intelligent life in the universe. More than twice that amount of time elapsed between the appearance of the first dinosaurs and their extinction 66 million years ago, though. There is no positive evidence for this, mind you, but for all we know, we are not the first intelligent life form to have emerged on Earth, because there was plenty of time for it to have happened in the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods. For all we know, intelligence evolved alongside the dinosaurs, but not along mammalian or primate lines, but along some other taxonomical branch– maybe reptilian or insectoid or any number of other forms of animal life that existed then. And, for all we know, this intelligent life had a civilization as prolific and as technologically and culturally advanced as our own, but all traces of it were eradicated by the extinction event.

So, my hypothesis is that these little green men in flying saucers we keep hearing about aren’t aliens from outer space. They’re earthlings who survived the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event. Maybe they saw the asteroid coming and evacuated the planet until the dust settled. Maybe they hid in the depths of the ocean, living within their flying saucer/submarines. Maybe they have subterranean lunar and/or Martian colonies. Who knows?

But, it’s entirely within the realm of possibility that an advanced civilization existed on Earth prior to the end of the Cretaceous period, and this civilization would have the means to survive the extinction event that wiped out the vast majority of life on Earth. And, in my view, along with numerous more qualified commentators, it isn’t possible for extraterrestrial beings to visit us. It also strains credulity to believe hundreds of otherwise intelligent, rational people would simply fabricate identical stories of flying saucers and personal encounters with the strange, seemingly otherworldly beings inhabiting and operating them. So, my conclusion is that these beings are an ancient species of earthlings that have kept themselves mostly hidden from us, for purposes of their own.

Again, I’m not dogmatic about the conclusion. I’m pretty well convinced of the three points of observation on which the conclusion is based, but there are other rational conclusions that could also be drawn from them.I’m just throwing this out there, though, so that when the flying saucers land on the White House lawn and the little green men introduce themselves, I want people to know that I called it first.

Peace out, homies.

P.S. Nothing I’ve written here is in any conflict whatsoever with the Book of Genesis. See my last two posts for details.

UPDATE: It has since occurred to me that if they had the means to survive the extinction event, they would have likely had the means to prevent it in the first place, assuming it was an asteroid, as is commonly believed. But, that’s not necessarily the case, since our actual knowledge of how to avert asteroid strikes is limited to Michael Bay movies. For all we know, it’s a lot harder than Bruce Willis makes it look.

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18 Responses to Get ready to have your mind blown

  1. Chris says:

    Interesting theory. Why do you suppose these creatures would not reveal themselves? If they had the technological means to escape extinction they must be pretty advanced, and be able to benefit from and benefit modern humans , to say nothing of conquering us. I suppose their pyscology

  2. Dunno. We have a hard enough time understanding the mindsets of foreign human cultures, much less an advanced “alien” psychology. But, just shooting from the hip– maybe they have some kind of Starfleet-like “Prime Directive” to let less advanced civilizations develop according to their own devices without interference? In fact, maybe they had a hand in our own evolution?

    To address your other point– I’m skeptical that an advanced intelligence like that could have any meaningful exchange with humans, any more than an infant could offer any stimulating conversation with an adult with a dozen or so advanced degrees.

    On another note, though.. For all we know, they’re the “gods” and “sons of God” mentioned in the Book of Genesis (and the religious texts of umpteen other ancient civilizations). After all, the Greek word from which the Anglicized “angel” is derived means simply “messenger”: it identifies a function, or a vocation, rather than a species or lifeform in its own right. And besides their function as messengers between God and man, what else do we know about angels, once we strip away all the folklore and artistic license of the Middle Ages?

    • Chris says:

      So if they are ‘angelic,’ what message would they want to communicate? It seems like with their technology, they would have no difficulty authenticating their message – whatever that may be- thru scientific miracles. Just seems like this answer to UFOs creates more questions than it solves. I.e it fails Occam’s razor. And the effects of sin on their species has to be considered, seeing how they would dwell in our world.

      • If (and this is a big “if”) they are the beings referred to as “angels” or “devas” or “gods” in ancient writings, they are merely the messengers, not the originators of the message. And I’m not trying to argue the point with any conviction or certainty. It’s just a hypothesis.

        How does it fail Occam’s razor? What would be a simpler explanation for the proliferation of stories about alien abductions and reports of UFO sightings?

        Regarding the effects of sin on their species… Let’s turn that around and ask the same question with regard to scriptural angels…

      • Chris says:

        I think the simplest explanation involves facts we already know- people are unreliable witnesses, prone to the influence of suggestion, want attention, and will convince themselves the truth is a lie – or vice versa- if they repeat it enough. Throw in aircraft, weather balloons, heavenly bodies- including angelic and demonic beings as well as stars, planets, comments, etc- and you have something entirely more plausible than an advanced civilization living in our solar system.

        With respect to sin, it is possible that they could be as we should have been, and not suffering the effects of Adams fall. And it could be that God commanded them to remain hidden from us. But these are pure speculation, consistent with a biblical worldview but unsupported and probably unsupportable by any means of discovery possessed by humanity. And the question remains- why? Why remain or stay hidden?

      • Yes, that should all be taken into account, but I don’t think that fully accounts for the proliferation of UFO and abduction reports. After all, if the measure we use to dismiss those accounts is measured to us, how would we fare? Just about 99.9 percent of everything we believe and know about the universe, the earth, and human civilization comes to us through the accounts of people who are or were closer to the events or information than we are, with limited ability on our part to verify it ourselves, and that’s how Christianity itself arose– because the people who knew Jesus claimed to have encountered him risen and alive after his public execution and burial. In both cases– the resurrection and “alien” encounters– the reports came from people who gave every indication that they honestly believed what they were saying, and there aren’t any plausible scenarios by which so many people could be so thoroughly mistaken about such similar experiences.

        But, WHY is it so implausible that an advanced civilization could exist in our solar system without us knowing about it? I agree that it’s counterintuitive, but so are prophets and angels and messiahs rising from the dead… Most, if not all of the answers we can arrive at about the origins and nature of the universe, the earth, biological life, and consciousness itself defy our intuitive preconceptions. There’s nothing we *know* with any certainty to preclude it, and much that we know to suggest, at least, the possibility.

        Why hide? Again– all I have is speculation, but there are plenty of reasons I could come up with off the top of my head. For starters– why reveal themselves? Why initiate contact? What would we have to offer them that they couldn’t just take? That’s like asking why humans don’t initiate contact and make treaties with a pack of wolves or a troop of chimanzees…

      • Chris says:

        It is a bit huge stretch to compare UFO experiences with historical events. What we have here is pure speculation, not an attack on Christ.

        History is always corroborated by physical evidence and usually multiple witnesses. By your logic, Joseph Smiths ‘encounter’ is just as believable as Moses’s encounter.

        I guess what I am saying is that it is a fun theory, but not one based on any evidence and in fact it requires dismissing other more probable theories to arrive at.

  3. I don’t think you’re fully attending to my logic, Chris.

    Those events are comparable in that it is a matter of historical fact that 1) hundreds of the original followers of Jesus CLAIMED to have encountered Jesus risen from the dead; 2) multiple– perhaps in the hundreds– people who have never met from different backgrounds, countries, and cultures CLAIM to have close encounters of the first through fifth kinds, with various similarities of detail can be found in many of their accounts; 3) Joseph Smith CLAIMED to have encountered the angel Moron and been golden tablets and magic decoder glasses and other paraphernalia, the content of which the Mormon religion is now based, with Smith as its central figure.

    The historicity of Moses claiming to encounter God is a little harder to argue empirically, but the above examples will suffice for discussion purposes.

    But, I wouldn’t say history is “always corroborated by physical evidence.” It’s hard to argue the case that there’s physical evidence of the life of Christ. The historicity of Christ stands on the multiple witnesses, though, just like most history is. And, even when there is physical evidence, the value and meaning and narrative context of that evidence is supplied by witnesses. Without the witnesses, the artifacts mean nothing.

    I digress, though. To reiterate– it’s a matter of historical fact that the above people CLAIMED those things. I’m not saying, necessarily, that their claims are true, but that immutable fact that the claims were made warrants further investigation into those claims.

    As in any claim about objective facts and events (“The prophet Muhammed was just a super great guy– and he’s SUCH a great guy that I’m willing to die for him and his message” is a subjective opinion, and so it can be neither refuted nor investigated. “The prophet Muhammed said he encountered the angel Gabriel when he was alone in a cave,” OTOH, is an objective statement: either Muhammed claimed that, or he didn’t, which means either it happened, or it didn’t.), there is only one of three possible conclusions to draw from the fact that the claim was made: 1) the claimants didn’t believe it themselves, but lied for some reason; 2) the claimants honestly believed what they were saying but were mistaken somehow, or 3) the claimants said it because it actually happened.

    Of course, you and I have been through all this before, both in person and in previous blog entries, so I know I’m not telling you anything new…

    But, the same logic that compels me to look into the historicity of Jesus’ resurrection also compels me to do the same with regard to Close Encounters, and with Muhammed and Joseph Smith. The claims of Muhammed and Joseph Smith are easily accounted for by fraud. I don’t think it’s quite so simple or easy in the case of Close Encounters… unless we’re just going to jump to the most appealing conclusion, because it accomodates us in what we’ve already decided we believe.

    On that note– With what other more probably theories does my hypothesis conflict?

  4. And, by the way, I’d be careful about the mentality of “This conflicts with my religious convictions, so any seemingly credible evidence for it must be from the devil.”

    That was a common objection to the evidence of Jesus’ miracles and wisdom, after all, so it’s probably dangerous to make that our default dismissal of anything not dreamt of in our philosophy.

  5. Chris says:

    Sorry, I just wrote a more eloquent response that somehow got lost in posting (damn required email field).

    Let me summarize it –
    1) I have no religious issues with your theory. But it is not analogous to Christ’s life in anyway nor is accepting/rejecting it indicative of spiritual condition. In fact it is a bit disturbing that it is even part of this discussion. I think the people points are more salient to the argument.
    2) UFO sightings are almost always explainable by known objects – aircraft or stars or weather conditions. These might have more than one witness of the same event, but don’t need supernatural/extra-natural explanations
    3) Alien abductions normally occur at night, during sleep, and contain many elements that are part of our collective consciousness (flying saucers, bright lights, grey heads, big eyes) about aliens. They occur to solitary individuals that never seem to be missing for any length of time. Nightmares and dreams can be very real and have lasting emotional impacts. The mind is a troubled thing sometimes, and with millions of people sleeping each night, it stands to reason many people every night might have a vivid dream about aliens. In general, I would say that events at night are in general less trustworthy than events during the day. I suggest the vast imagination and trauma of the human mind, esp at night, as probable explanation 1.
    4) Angels and demons do exist, and would certainly be shocking to behold. Demons, in particular, seem possible candidates for the fear and helplessness that seem to attend these abduction events. Confusion and distraction seem entirely within the purpose of demons, so I submit them as explanation 2.
    5) On the aliens themselves – please don’t dismiss my attempt to understand their motivations, as that is crucial to developing your explanation. I understand a child might not understand why their diaper needs changed, and a fish might not understand catch and release. They would be confusing and they could not articulate their experience. But these seem categorically different than the standard alien abduction case. No child questions the existence of their parent, though they may not understand them.
    6) Furthermore on aliens – all created being posses a spark of their creator, and to be sufficiently advanced to stay hidden, they must be adept at expressing this. If they dwell with us in time and space, why waste time probing (pardon the straw man) people for knowledge of the human condition readily available in any newsstand or television program. Surely their methods would be more effective and undetectable than what they seem to be employing, and they would have bigger dreams of creative acts. And if they exist on a different plane of existence than us in some way, would that not just bring us back to angelic/demonic beings as a more probable answer?

  6. Chris says:

    edit – item one should be ‘below points’, not ‘people points’

  7. “Disturbing”? How so?

    And, those are all valid points. I don’t know that they settle the issue, but they should definitely be considered.

    Regarding angels and demons, though… while I don’t disagree with you in principle, I don’t like that as the automatic go-to explanation. Should it be on the table for consideration? Sure. But, that shouldn’t be a license to just dismiss as “demonic” everything that challenges our current paradigm, any more than “God did it” should be the answer to every unexplained phenomena in the universe: “How did DNA come about?” “God did it.” “How did we get here?” “God did it.” Etc.

    While *true*, that answer is neither scientifically useful nor intellectually satisfying, nor an accurate summary of the biblical account of the universe’s creation. If humanity had contented itself with that explanation, we would have no knowledge of physics, cosmology, genetics, biology, or any other science. We would have no Scientific Method, and we’d be stunted, intellectual dwarfs only a little better than bonobos.

    Likewise, “Demons did it,” while potentially true, is also too easy, too lazy, and too dangerous to our intellectual, philosophical, and spiritual wellbeing. To reiterate, when Jesus challenged the paradigm of the religious elite, rather than accept the challenge and grow to know the God they claimed to worship, they dismissed the works of the Holy Spirit as those of “Beelzebub, the prince of demons,” which occasioned Jesus’ warning about the one and only Unforgivable Sin: blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. When Young Earth Creationists are confronted with fossil evidence of transitional species, they like to argue that the Devil placed those specimens in the earth to deceive us when, in truth, God Himself was the Engineer of their placement there. I could go on and on. *Maybe* demons are masquerading as alien space travellers, sure. Or, maybe the current paradigm we have that excludes them as a possibility needs to be reworked in favor of a better one– one that refines and stretches our understanding of God and His creation.

  8. chris says:

    I am not sure what argument you are arguing anymore. Yes, we should not cavalierly dismiss ideas we are not comfortable with or that challenge our paradigm. Yes we should consider science as the best way to behold and understand our physical universe. But it sounds like you are really wanting to substitute aliens, for which there is very little credible evidence, with other more likely explanations. It seems as if the ‘Demons did it’ explanation you are uncomfortable with is a better answer than ‘Aliens did it.’ You are arguing against yourself with these rebuttals.

    So, if the purpose of your post is to present the possibility of advanced earth aliens being part of the fabric of our existence, then mission accomplished. I like the idea, and kind of want it to be true. But if the purpose is to present it as the best explanation of the known facts (unsupportable abduction stories being excluded from the fact bucket), I think it fails. But maybe you could convince me if you advanced your theory further instead of throwing up smokescreens over existing approaches.

    What you are offering as ‘science’ in this case is at best science fiction. Let’s at least make it exciting by trying to address items 5 and 6 of my previous post.

  9. *sheesh* Somebody’s cranky today, huh?

    Actually, my purpose is more playful than my usual postings… I don’t really care if anybody accepts this or not, while I think a great deal more hangs on whether people accept the arguments in my other posts. Maybe I should have been clearer about that. But, I do happen to think there are facts at work here: eyewitness testimonies of close encounters, the vast distances of space and the physical law that nothing can move faster than light, and the vast stretches of time between the emergence of life on earth and the extinction of the dinosaurs, and between the extinction of the dinosaurs and the evolution of intelligent life. And, I happen to think my hypothesis is the best explanation for those facts. I don’t really care if anybody agrees with me, though. It’s just a thought game, not a manifesto.

    I guess the point on which we disagree is whether abduction stories should be dismissed out of hand. I’ve read enough of them, and enough about them, that I don’t see them as unworthy of attention.

    Maybe they are “unsupportable” in that, so far, no one has offered physical evidence in the form of an alien corpse or an artifact from a ship to corroborate their stories. But, as I’ve argued before– other people’s testimony is all we have to go on for most of what we know, including and especially the resurrection of Jesus Christ. One could just as easily argue that their claims of close encounters with the risen Christ are “unsupportable” by physical evidence. But the fact of their claiming it remains, and the best and only possible conclusion to draw from the other evidence from the early Church is that they claimed it because they were telling the truth.

    In the case of “alien” close encounter accounts– I’m open to the argument that they are all either lying or mistaken, but I’m not persuaded that they are. I could be, but I’m not. From what I’ve read, I have a hard time believing either of those conclusions, which leaves the third alternative. Again– I’m not dogmatic on it. So far, though, I haven’t seen any compelling evidence that they’re lying or mistaken, and if I just assumed out of hand that they are, logical consistency would demand that I dismiss the apostles on those same grounds.

    As for Items 5 and 6– I guess I don’t follow why those are so important to the argument. Are you trying to argue that, unless we can make a compelling guess at their motivations for staying hidden, the hypothesis is automatically disproven? Because I have offered guesses, but since that’s all they are, they don’t add to or detract from anything…

  10. Chris says:

    With it clearly stated – although assumed from the beginning – that this is just a fun thought exercise, here is how it sits in my mind:

    1) there are different levels of ‘eyewitness’ testimony. I reject that we can consider the eyewitness accounts of historical events – say Jesus or Caesar or Honest Abe – to be equivalent to alien abduction accounts. Maybe this is false, but this is my premise.
    2) The speed of light in a vacuum is the fastest speed theoretically possible. But other methods of faster than light speed travel have been proposed. It’s your blog, so you get to decide what stays in the box and what we can take out, but it seems like you are not giving ultra-intelligent alien life very much credit.
    3) UFO’s, if they exist, I want them to be more than petty kidnappers. If they have nothing to teach us about ourselves and the universe, then why do we want to know them, and why would we want to postulate reasons for them. I am not saying stick our head in the sand and ignore facts, but I think if we are trying so hard to believe in something because we want to, then at least make them something worth believing in.

    I wouldn’t say I am cranky, you are just taking all the fun out of this by not ever talking about UFO’s.

  11. Matt says:

    While this is an old discussion, I am curious as to why Chris believes that the question of “why don’t they reveal themselves”? Is the question that must be answered. Couldn’t Occam’s Razor be reversed to ask, “Why should they reveal themselves”?

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