Thursday, January 9, 2014

No, Virginia, There Are No Aliens... But There ARE Old Nutjobs Who Crave the Spotlight

Former Canadian defense minister, now 91, believes in aliens: LINK

Recent research proves that homo sapiens sapiens have a neural pathway that drives our beliefs in superstition, religion, conspiracy theories, aliens, angels, etc. It's genetic and related to the fact that the bonding hormone oxytocin contributes to each 'tribe' or family or culture being suspicious of and antagonistic toward 'not just like us'.  Not a choice, just 'instinct'. 

These built-in tendencies are ameliorated only with intimate exposure to other cultures/tribes (willingness and $ to travel) and education (accelerated by higher IQ). However some very smart people still believe in aliens and religions because they skew further over on the spectrum of those with very big "NEED TO BELIEVE IN FAIRIES" neural pathways. Others have a very strong need to be famous, regardless of how they get in to the spotlight (see: Jenny McCarthy and her deeply-held, ego-supported, completely erroneous belief that it was something other than her own genes and bad luck that led her child to be autistic).

The reality is that humans have been 'intelligent' for only the past 6,000 years out of the 6 million since we split from the chimps (0.1%).  As Isaac Asimov succinctly pointed out, as the development of intelligent species in the universe is random and conditions conducive to evolution were possible about 6 BILLION years ago, while it must have happened many times elsewhere, as our evolution happened at 0.1% of 0.1% of the time such evolutionary conditions might have been possible, the chances that any other intelligent beings exist AT THE SAME TIME as us is infinitesimally small.

Combine that with the fact that the nearest star system WITHOUT any planet that might support life (and only if we invented a working Ion drive), would take 81,000 years to reach, plus the fact that any star system WITH life-supporting planets are much further away AND that we must send ships to all of the tens of thousands of them in a 3-dimensional spherical pattern, and the chances of any intelligent species every finding any other IN THE SAME TIME PERIOD BEFORE THEY GO EXTINCT is less than zero.  Think about it.   If we sent one million probes that travel as fast as we are capable of propelling them toward the most densely 'populated' area of the Milky Way, in more than 5,000 human generations ALL would scatter to the point that, even if there was an intelligent species scanning for such a probe, one of the one million probes MIGHT pass them by, but at such a distance it would never be detected.  Such is the vastness of space.

Full circle: it seems that part of the fallout of our genetic neural pathway 'need to believe in fairies' is a conviction that, having become conscious, our magnificent species will somehow live forever and find others who ALSO live forever, like the gods-in-human-like-form of Mount Olympus and every other religion that so many humans cling to.  Somehow, some way, defying logic and the laws of time and space/physics, we WILL get together and party together at some point in the not-too distant future, according to these ever-hopeful nincompoops.  Get over it, folks! 

We aren't all that special, despite what your complex neural pathways and brain folds will try to convince you of.  Our human consciousness is just an accident of evolution, not some kind of predestined ultimate achievement of a 'higher power' that lead to a 'chosen people' ('species').  Yes, the thought processes our brains are capable of will lead us there time and again, but we're just a 'too smart for nature' (we are capable of killing ourselves off en masse, and most of our fellow species with us) accident that does have a 'best before date'.  We won't be here in another few million years.

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