The Myths Surrounding Alien Life Forms

The Myths Surrounding Alien Life Forms

Bookmaker Paddy Power is offering odds of 16-1 that the existence of extraterrestrial life will be confirmed this year.
Maggie Aderin-Pocock, There IS life out there: Space scientist says there could be four intelligent alien civilisations in our galaxy, Mirror News, 2 July 2012

Note the dates: “confirmed this year” and “July 2012”. Apparently bookmakers know little more about extraterrestrial (aka alien) life as the scientists who study the cosmos looking for it. That’s not much.

Let’s put a little perspective into this. Scientists who believe they know about such things as life on earth claim that the chances of life happening on a chunk of rock at just the right distance from a relatively small and remote star as our sun would be about the same as you or I winning a big lottery each and every day in the coming year.

They would be primarily biologists and others who have studied the intricacies of life on earth and its relationship with the respective environments of each. The odds against us being the way we are seem staggering.

Over on the physics side of science we have those who look at where earth is relative to the rest of the Milky Way galaxy and the universe and say there must be countless planets similar to ours. They conclude that the components that are necessary to generate living things (call them chemicals) exist in abundance in the universe, so there must be thousands, even millions, of planets like ours with life already growing and evolving.

With odds like those, it’s no wonder bookies can offer grand looking odds to those who believe they have a decent chance of winning a big lottery.

Scientists claim that it’s likely that life on another planet somewhere must be more evolved than we are, thus they have figured out how to travel astronomical distances (literally) in a relatively short period of time. They never explain why this could have happened faster elsewhere than it did on earth. Nor how the aliens could have found us amongst billions off possible locations.

Light from the nearest star system to earth takes over four years to reach earth. Scientists have not even imagined a way to travel faster than a tiny fraction of the speed of light. Indeed, most still believe Einstein’s claim that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. Even at the speed of light, the stressors on life forms inside a vessel would likely be greater than their bodies could withstand.

Meanwhile science fiction writers have so influenced real scientists that the latter now believe that alien life forms coming to earth will want to destroy it, or at least turn humans into slaves. They never explain how a few alien life forms would manage to conquer and overcome an entire planet. Or why, as they would not come in massive numbers as they would only be explorers and adventurers anyway.

We know that distances between earth and other planets that could be somewhat like earth are so great that it would require propulsion systems far advanced of anything science could conceive of today in order to make such a trip in fewer than several successive lifetimes.

Think about that for a moment. Would you send your astronaut son or daughter into space knowing they would (could) never return and that their children and grandchildren and even generations beyond that would be born and live their entire lifetimes on a vessel moving through uncharted space? Never to set foot on land. That doesn’t make sense.

If one of our space vessels made it, over several generations of humans, to a distant planet that could sustain life, what are the chances that the vessel could turn around and make the trip back to earth without a problem that would destroy it? Remember, two of those very dependable American shuttlecraft were destroyed right here on our own planet.

Protection against space debris, wandering space litter such as rogue asteroids and radiation science has not even discovered yet–to say nothing of living in cramped quarters for decades at a time, with resulting muscle atrophy–would present problems beyond what science today can address with confidence.

Other small questions should enter the picture. We know that unmanned space vessels are the way to go when exploring beyond our own atmosphere, so why would an alien vessel travel with a complete crew (including earth-shattering weaponry) for generations, only to return home generations later to say “Hey, we found one!”?

If we were to send out an exploration vessel today, which direction should we go? Science has no evidence from decades of watching and listening to space that suggests there could be life anywhere else in the universe. A “shot in the dark” would have a much greater possibility for success than a probe with no known or prescribed destination.

We have sent out messages into space and listened for incoming messages for decades, but heard nothing. The SETI (Search  for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) had to be shut down after decades of searching for lack of evidence of any kind.

This is not to say that there is no life out there, be it microscopic or even more advanced that we are on earth. It is to say that the effort may not be worth the cost, at least at this point.

In other words, finding a distant planet to which we could send a sampling of life from earth, in order to preserve what we have today, will not likely be feasible in the foreseeable future. Maybe never, as the universe itself is expanding at a horrendous rate, making everything in it farther apart.

We had better get busy cleaning up our own backyard before we have nothing left to send out into space in order to preserve life as we know it.

We allow some 300,000 chemicals to be poured into our waterways from factories and half a million chemicals to be whooshed into the air from smokestacks. We know very little about what effects they have on life right here on our planet. Yet our governments and our industries want us to worry about the temperature of our atmosphere warming by half a degree.

Of course industries want us to be concerned over global warming, it will take our attention away from the countless chemicals they put into our food, our medicines and our vaccines (dozens of which are now given to very young children, by law, with no evidence of their effectiveness or their long term effects on health, but an increasing body of evidence telling us they do more harm than good).

If you were an intelligent species that had travelled for hundreds of years through space, would you want to adopt homo sapiens as slaves?

Bill Allin is the author of Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today’s Epidemic Social Problems, a guidebook for parents, teachers and governments who want to make the future of our planet livable.
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Albert Einstein: Behind The Scenes With Science’s Superstar

Without doubt, Albert Einstein stands as the only true superstar of science. Most educated people admire Socrates, Plato, Copernicus, Isaac Newton and others, but no one can dim the glare of fame that has developed around the name Einstein. It’s known in every culture of the modern world.

Mild mannered, shy and, like many highly intelligent people, socially fairly inept, Einstein was more at home with his equations in his study than with people.

Mention the name Einstein and the first thing that pops into everyone’s mind is his most famous equation e = mc2

Yet Albert wasn’t the first to publish the equation. That dubious honour goes to Austrian physicist Friedrich Hasenöhrl.

So why isn’t Hasenöhrl a household name, like Einstein? Hasenöhrl failed to connect the equation with relativity. In other words, in Hasenöhrl’s hands the equation went nowhere.

Speaking of relativity, Einstein didn’t. He disliked the word. In his 1905 paper On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies he never used the word “relativity,” instead preferring to call it “invariance theory” because it looks the same to all observers, no matter where they may be. Nothing relative there.

Einstein had his own ideas about relativity. In his words: “Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity.”

Albert was photogenic from his earliest photographs. Even in his elder years girls were attracted to his pictures. He described himself as a young man to his cousin, Elizabeth Ney, as having a “pale face, long hair, and a tiny start of a paunch, In addition an awkward gait, and a cigar in the mouth..But crooked legs and warts he does not have and so is quite handsome.”

His first paper about special relativity, published in 1905, may have had undisclosed help from his first wife, Mileva. He wrote “I need my wife, she solves all the mathematical problems for me.” Some believe Mileva even did the heavy lifting for the theory. She was known for her brilliant mind as well as for her beauty.

By 1914 his feelings toward her had changed. He ordered her to “renounce all personal relations with me, as far as maintaining them is not absolutely required for social reasons.” Albert and his second wife, Elsa, didn’t have children, but they stayed together until parted by death. His offspring, all with wife Mileva, all had problems with social or emotional adjustment.

Another term associated with Einstein is space-time continuum. That’s not his either. The concept of time as the fourth dimension began with Hermann Minkowski, one of Albert’s professors, who once called him a “lazy dog.” That may have been because he skipped so many classes, borrowing notes from his friend Marcel Grossman so he could pass the tests.

Einstein scribbled many of his notes for his 1905 paper while working in the Swiss patent office as a clerk. He wasn’t exactly a lazy clerk because his mind never stopped. He crammed his notes into his desk whenever his supervisor came by.

Though Einstein was a lifetime teetotaler, when he completed his 1905 paper he and wife Mileva drank themselves into a stupor, at least enough to mess with their own concepts of space and time.

Albert was unhappy with the consequences resulting from his theories. Though he believed them to be true, he didn’t like what they forecast. He said that nothing could go faster than the speed of light, yet immediately after the Big Bang whatever was expanding must have gone faster than light for at least a short period of time in order that the universe be as big as it is today.

He also didn’t care for what came of his work with quantum mechanics. Nothing, he thought, should be able to be in more than one place at a time, then choose to be in another place when someone wants to look at it. “God doesn’t place dice with the universe.” However, quantum mechanics predicts some pretty strange stuff that would have Newton rolling over in his grave. Black holes, an expanding universe and entangled particles among them.

Speaking of graves, Einstein didn’t have one. The pathologist who autopsied Albert Einstein’s body removed the brain and the eyes. The rest was cremated and the ashes spread in an “undisclosed location,” at Einstein’s request. Thomas Harvey kept Einstein’s brain for years, taking it with him on his travels in Tupperware so he could show special friends.

In recent years Harvey sliced off and distributed more than a thousand portions of Einstein’s brain for scientists to study. The results? He had a thinner than normal cerebral cortex, a greater density of neurons than normal, decreased “interneuronal conduction time,” which might have allowed him to think faster. Within each parietal lobe he seemed to be missing the parietal operculium, which may have accounted for his having more interconnections in the inferior parietal region.

The inferior parietal lobes–the areas related to visual imagery and mathematical thinking–were about 15 percent wider than a control group. In the part of the brain that managed language and mathematical skills he had 73 percent more glial cells per neuron than average.

However, Einstein’s total brain weight tipped the scales at a mere 2.7 pounds, notably less than the normal weight of 3.1 pounds, indicating “that a large brain is not a necessary condition for exceptional intellect,” according to neuroscientist Sandra Witelson, of McMaster University, who did a major study of her portion of the brain.

Einstein’s eyes had features that may have allowed him to see and understand things quicker than average.

Special relativity, the central theme of Einstein’s 1905 paper, deals with objects moving at a constant speed. General relativity, the focus of his paper a decade later, deals with accelerating objects and it explains how gravity works.

At the time of Einstein’s death in 1955, science had little evidence to support his theories, at least general relativity. However, so much evidence has accumulated in the past 50 years that it’s now used to calculate the mass of galaxies and to locate distant planets by the way they bend light passing around them.

Finally, that famous picture of Albert with his tongue stretching down over his chin was taken on his 72nd birthday. A photographer asked him for a “birthday pose.” That picture along with the rest of the Einstein iconography earn his estate an estimated US$18 million per year, making him the fifth highest paid dead celebrity in the world in 2007.

Bill Allin
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today’s Epidemic Social Problems
, a handbook for parents and teachers who want to understand child development and to know what to teach kids and when.
Learn more at

[Primary source: Discover, March 2008]