Conspiracy theories and UFOs. You've definitely heard about the alien debate before. What are your thoughts on these extraterrestrials?
by Sindu Vipparthy
It’s likely that you’ve heard of an “alien” before. They’re quite popular in the film industry, starring in Sci-Fi and Action movies, conjured up as mysterious, pale creatures that roam among humankind, undetected. However, when it comes to real science, humans know next to nothing about aliens. Scientists are progressively sending objects out into the universe to find the existence of life, yet, we turn up with almost nothing every time. We’re hardly close enough to find out if aliens even exist.
However, where science fails is where conspiracy theories come into play. By looking past what’s scientifically known, these theories play a crucial part in providing a new perspective: “is everything we know a lie?”
In this case, many conspiracy theorists have identified what are thought to be UFOs (Unidentified Foreign Objects) on Earth, either elusively flying around in the sky or landing on the surface of the Earth. They take a real look into the question that we’ve been asking for ages: “Are we alone?”
And that’s where the trilemma lies. Should humankind advance with what modern science tells us? Or should they take a step forward and be skeptical like these theorists? Or is there a neutral perspective? Let’s find out.
Modern Science perspective:
Modern science employs a very statistical and pragmatic approach, using what was already known and countering the possibility of intelligent life on Earth (which is us) to billions of other planets in the universe.
In fact, according to Nick Longrich, a senior lecturer in paleontology and evolutionary biology at the University of Bath, said that other intelligent life is so unlikely that it’s basically impossible (cr: Metro UK).
Longrich describes this scenario as a lottery, except in this case, extremely less likely. He starts off explaining how every step in evolution took an extremely long time to happen, even in terms of the universe. Photosynthesis evolved 1.5 billion years after Earth’s formation. Complex cells at 2.7 billion years. Complex animals after 4 billion. And finally human intelligence after 4.5 billion years. Every step of our evolution is crucial to our existence—we wouldn’t be here without them—however, on top of taking billions of years to evolve, each step was extremely improbable. “Our evolution wasn’t like winning the lottery. It was like winning the lottery again, and again, and again,” Longrich stated.
Intelligent life as we know it is dependent on this chain of 7 unlikely innovations: the origin of life, photosynthesis, complex cells, reproduction, complex animals, skeletons, and finally intelligence. Each step has a 10% chance of evolving, so put together, a single planet out of 10 million habitable ones would pass this 7 step chain. But wait, there’s more: photosynthesis needs multiple proteins, pigments, and membranes to occur. Complex animals need all the essential organs. Reproduction requires meiosis, genes, and DNA. With all these extra minor aspects only likely to evolve 1% of the time, intelligence is likely to be on 1 of 100 trillion habitable worlds. That’s crazy.
The universe is a never-ending spectrum of space and with these enormous statistics, it’s unlikely that aliens live among us. Heck, they might not even live in our galaxy! And with this, Longrich describes our existence as winning the lottery of the galaxy, being the one among trillions: “the improbable result was us.”
Alien Conspiracy Theorists perspective:
First of all, the average person without scientific knowledge would acknowledge the fact that it’s likely that there is other life on habitable worlds, as the universe is infinite—never-ending you could say.
It’s a known fact that the universe is very vast. The Milky Way, itself, has more than 100 billion stars. There are trillions of galaxies in the visible universe. And that’s just what we can see. As per the Fermi paradox, habitable worlds like Earth might be rare, but countering that to an infinite number of planets and space matter in the universe denotes the fact that it's improbable that humans are the only ones here.
Proof-wise, people, for centuries, have reported sightings of UFOs and unusual foreign activity. It even dates back to 1440 BC Ancient Egypt when the scribes of the Pharaoh Thutmose III reported fiery disks floating in the skies. Titus Livius, an ancient Roman historian, had recorded “vanadium specimen de caelo adfulsisse'' directly translating to “phantom ships had been seen gleaming in the sky” in 218 BC. Since then, witnesses have reported saucer-shaped, vertically moving objects zipping around in the skies and even landing on the earth’s surface.
Bob Lazar, an infamous alien conspiracy theorist, was interviewed in November of 1989 by George Knapp: Lazar confirmed that the government possesses remains of extraterrestrial vehicles.
Lazar worked in the S-4 unit of Area 51 where he, reportedly, read that the government had been researching an “anti-gravity reactor” for propulsion systems. Lazar reported that the craft had used the 115th element, Moscovium, which he claimed was basically unknown because “it’s impossible to synthesize an element that heavy on Earth”. Additionally, no use has been found for Moscovium due to its extremely short lifespan. On top of that, Lazar was even further astonished when he discovered 9 flying discs “of extraterrestrial origin” in the base’s hangar.
Many believe that Lazar’s tales are bogus. However, new evidence states that the Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force, which was thought to have disbanded, is still fulfilling its purpose to locate UFOs under the supervision of the Office of Naval Intelligence. Furthermore, the former director of the task force reported that the UFOs had been retrieved to study by the Pentagon. This means that Lazar’s stories might have been true. We’ll never know.
Bob Lazar wasn’t the last of his kind: another conspiracy theorist and known UFO-hunter, Scott Waring, strongly disagrees with what’s already known and believes that aliens have not only found Earth but have been living here for a long time. He reported earlier this May that he believed to have located an alien base underneath the sheets of snow in Antarctica, claiming that the UFO and base were uncovered as global warming melted the snow.
Moreover, that wasn’t the only discovery he made. Waring frequently records claimed UFO sightings on his webpage, fulfilling his reputation as a strong believer of aliens living among us. The evidence is there. It could be true.
Aliens have been a controversial topic since the beginning of time. Humankind has always wondered whether we were the only ones out there, and as we become more and more self-aware about how small we are, we wonder this more and more.
To bring into perspective what the average person might think, we singled out Reddit users that expressed their opinion about this “trilemma”:
“The universe is too big for there not to be [aliens]. The universe is also too big for them to show up here.”
“I think it would be extremely naive to assume they don’t exist in some capacity.”
“We have to stop thinking about them in terms of what WE need to live. Just because we need oxygen and water that doesn't mean whatever alien lifeform that might be out there does. We used to think that nothing could live without sunlight. But what did we find deep in the ocean where no light can reach? Life.”
“Most likely [they do exist], but I doubt humans have ever interacted with them in any way.”
While they might not exist in life forms of slender green men, it’s widely believed (contrary to modern science) that “yes, aliens do exist”. And while they might not be living among us on Earth, it’s highly likely that they do exist.
The statistics for intelligent life might be highly improbable, however, it’s a known fact that in trillions and trillions of possibilities, one exists. One proves that it can happen, and could happen again. What is that possibility you might ask? Well, it’s the fact that you’re reading this. The fact that you’re able to understand what I’m saying. The fact that you were able to route your way to our website and consider reading this article. Your entire existence proves that intelligent life could exist somewhere else among trillions and trillions of planets in our vast universe.
“The improbable result couldn’t have only been us.”