Member Commentary

Scientific American Article on ETs

Jim Deardorff writes:

There's another opportunity to try to get a letter into a scientific journal dealing with our topic. In the July 2000 issue of Scientific American, a group of three back-to-back articles under the heading of "Searching for Extraterrestrials" appeared. The first, by Ian Crawford, an astronomer in the Dept. of Physics & Astronomy at University College London, deals with the overall picture, and mainly on how to resolve Fermi's Paradox (If they exist in our galaxy, why don't we see them here?). It is entitled "Where Are They?" The second, by Andrew J. LePage, is entitled "Where They Could Hide," and deals with SETI and its lack of success so far. The third, by George W. Swenson, Jr., is titled "Intragalactically Speaking," and also deals with SETI.

Crawford's article seems the most relevant for comment, because he dared to use the UFO word, once, in this sentence: "Whatever one thinks about UFOs, we can be sure that Earth has not been taken over by an extraterrestrial civilization, as this would have put an end to our own evolution and we would not be here today."

With that sentence, all the UFO evidence is ignored or dismissed.

He presented several possible reasons why ETs could exist but not be here (below not necessarily in the order he presented them):

(1) They all destroyed themselves before discovering us;

(2) Interstellar flight is infeasible;

(3) They all have no interest in colonizing (or exploring) the galaxy;

(4) They _are_ around Earth, but have strong ethical codes against interfering with primitive life forms like us.

He concluded that (1) and (2) are implausible if the number of ET civilizations in the galaxy is large, as many suspect. He trotted out the "easy-colonization" concept, that even with space flight at a speed that's a small percentage of the velocity of light, one ET civilization, whichever was first, would have colonized the whole galaxy within about 5 million years, while they could be up to a billion years advanced over us; so why indeed have they not taken us over unless... . (3) was also deemed implausible, judging by our own (supposed) scientific curiosity to learn and explore.

That left (4), which Crawford struck down because:

(a) Not all the ETs involved would agree on the same set of ethical rules for treating our primitive civilization, and

(b) we ourselves our not especially reticent about interfering with other living things, and so ETs shouldn't be, either. But since they're not interfering with us, they're probably not around in Earth's vicinity.

With (a), I think there could be several reasons why his argument is inadequate. One could be that a particular ET civilization, or coalition of them, could have taken charge of overseeing Earth, and would not allow other ETs who stray in to upset their strategy of dealing with us.

With (b), we may note that in one or two centuries mankind has learned to try to preserve the diversity of species on Earth to a considerable extent. It seems quite likely, then, that ETs who are a thousand or more centuries in advance of us would have learned much more about the value of preserving the diversity of planetary life. Or, it could be pointed out by abductees that the ETs involved have _not_ refrained from interfering with us, on the individual level.

Crawford concluded by listing scientific programs that scientists should support: SETI, exploration of Mars, and development of even better space-based telescopes. Notably absent was anything about the UFO phenomenon.

So, to send them an e-mail letter to the editor, address it to:

Their website

Printed letters I noticed in that issue were just one paragraph long and around 125 words, so as usual it will be tough to write anything meaningful in that small space. They retain the right to edit/shorten your letter if they publish it. There's no need to be concerned about what to call the UFO occupants, because they don't mind calling them ETs, since "ET" occurs within their SETI acronym. If several of us send them e-mail letters, the odds will increase that one might be published in the August or September issue.

Be sure to send them full identifying information about yourself at the end, including address and daytime phone number.


The PAG Network
Sedona, AZ 86339

Phone: 520-203-0567

The PAG Network 2001.  All Rights Reserved.
Portions Copyright CAUS 2001.   All Rights Reserved

Send CAUS Comments and Reports to: CAUS@CAUS.ORG