Exposing PseudoAstronomy

October 14, 2008

The Dangers of Believing that Our Technology is Reverse-Engineered from Aliens

Sorry that I haven’t posted in awhile, I’ve been bouncing around between two conferences and one consulting job in the last few weeks.

Anyway, this post is going to be a quickie, and, as the title suggests, I want to address why it’s “dangerous” to believe that all/some/parts of our “advanced” technologies are either given to us by aliens or reverse-engineered from alien technology, such as from crashed ships.

First, I want to very briefly address the logic behind aliens crash-landing on Earth with this simple scenario:  You have an incredibly advanced and intelligent race of creatures.  They have mastered space travel and either by getting around Relativity they can travel faster than light to other stars or they have built crafts that can travel and sustain generations of them for the thousands or tens or hundreds of thousands of years required to travel between stars.  So they’re really advanced (did I already mention that?).

They’ve managed to get to our pale blue dot of a planet, and then suddenly, they just crash.  They can navigate interstellar space, they can get off their own planet, yet for some reason they just crash land on Earth.  And not just once.  Many many times if you believe all the reports of crashed “saucers.”  It simply doesn’t make sense from a logical standpoint.

Anyway, I was just listening to the Sept. 23 2008 episode of Coast-to-Coast AM (a 4-hr radio show that I sometimes listen to to get ideas for this blog), and the guest, Dr. Shelley Kaehr, who is a person who advocates the apparent power of gem healing (that’s for another blog, I’m not going to address the pseudoscience of gem healing), was talking during the third hour of the show about extraterrestrials and her own views of cosmology and earth changes and frequencies around our planet changing (which is the whole mechanism for her energy/gem healing).

But what really stuck out above all this was when she was discussing how her 92-year-old grandmother had grown up on a farm and now she was able to send e-mails and text messages.  In this context, she stated, “The rapid changes that we’ve had are just — it’s unbelieveable.  You have to know there’s reverse-engineering from alien intelligence going on and you have to think that the planet must be speeding up or … the frequency of the planet getting higher and different and time speeding up …”

From there it really just deteriorates into such a lack of understanding of physics that I really don’t want to get into it.  What I want to address is, as I stated above, the idea of reverse-engineering alien technology.

As I stated earlier in this post, first off, the idea that we actually have technology from an extra-terrestrial civilization is very highly unlikely.  I will not say that it’s impossible, it is simply improbable (see my post on CERN about scientific certainty).

But there is a real danger to believing this:  If you believe that many or all of our technological advances are not actually the result of human ingenuity, but rather they are simply handed to us, then your expectations of humanity and of yourself diminish greatly.  Put more simply, you lose faith in your own ability to solve problems.

Think of this from the standpoint of a math homework:  A teacher only assigns even problems for a math assignment.  It just so happens that all the answers to the even problems are in the back of the book.  The student then, rather than actually figuring out how to solve the problems themselves, simply looks in the back of the book for the answers.  They have the answers, but they have no idea how to actually get them.  They may then go through life simply doubting their own ability to discover the answers to things and just wait for someone to show them the back of the book.

Admittedly, this is a small stretch to connect this situation to reverse-engineering alien technology.  Perhaps an example from psychology will help illustrate it better:  It’s been said by someone in the Vatican that Hitler and all of the Nazis were possessed by either Satan or multiple demons (I can’t actually find the quote at the moment).  They say that is the only explanation for the great evils of the German Holocaust.  The harm in believing that is you have now taken the human component out of it.  You now have a reason NOT to think that humans are actually capable of genocide, and rather than realize that about the human condition, you are relegated to a happy land where all people are good, and anything bad that happens is the result of some demonic influence.  This removes any personal responsibility (can you imagine if courts accepted that as a defense against murder?).

It’s the same idea here:  If you no longer think that humans can come up with this technology on their own, then you will be constantly waiting for some alien to hand you the next technological advance instead of going out there and doing the research and testing to find it yourself.  As someone in a basic science field, this idea is both dangers and disappointing to know that people hold.

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