Scientists believe extraterrestrial life has evolved on other planets. All life on Earth is based on carbon with water as the solvent in which biochemical reactions take place. UFO researchers do claim we are being visited by a number of alien species, but these claims are not accepted by the scientific community.
By Michele Bugliaro Goggia - last modified: April 12, 2007 11:59 PM
The word alien refers to an introduced species (also known as naturalized species or exotic species), an organism that is not indigenous to a given place or area and instead has been accidentally or deliberately transported to this new location by human activity. An extraterrestrial is an organism whose origins are outside planet Earth. Among UFO researchers, "alien" nowadays matches "extraterrestrial": both are synonyms. It's not clear when "alien" changed its meaning, nevertheless it is likely to say the strong development of both ufology and radioastronomy have played quite a role. Popular culture saw in 1979 Ridley Scott's "Alien", a movie in which a space crew finds a dangerous alien species on a planet. The movie is about extraterrestrials, yet the title is "Alien".
Extraterrestrial life's existence is still hypothetical, as there is no evidence of extraterrestrial life that has been widely accepted by the scientific community. Ufology is no exception at all: UFO researchers do claim we are being visited by a number of alien species, but these claims are not accepted by the same scientific community. Outside ufology, scientists believe extraterrestrial life has evolved on other planets. The panspermia theory suggests that life could have been created elsewhere and spread across the universe, between habitable planets. Astrobiology, or xenobiology, is a branch of biology that studies life in the universe.
All life on Earth is based on carbon with water as the solvent in which biochemical reactions take place. While carbon remains the top choice for life, there are tiny chances for silicon-based life. Neil deGrasse Tyson, of the American Museum of Natural History, writes:
"The chemical composition of Earth-based life is primarily derived from a select few ingredients. The elements hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon account for over 95% of the atoms in the human body and in all known life. Of the three, the chemical structure of the carbon atom allows it to bond readily and strongly with itself and with many other elements in many different ways, which is how we came to be carbon-based life, and which is why the study of molecules that contain carbon is generally known as "organic" chemistry."
To find life in the universe, astronomers have to locate Earth-like planets first. Earth-like planets have already been spotted by astronomers, yet no extraterrestrial life has been discovered yet. This planet must orbit around a single Sun. it's essential the Earth-like planet is located at the correct distance from the Sun, so to receive the right amount of heat. Too close, too hot. Too distant, too cold. The rocky planet needs also water and an atmosphere to develop life. Useless to say, in our own Solar System, Earth is the only planet to host sapient life. On Mars there may exist bacterial life, but surely no Venusian.
Aliens in Ufology
There are scientific projects that hint at picking radio signals from alien civilizations (SETI) or even evidence of extraterrestrial visitation on Earth (SETV). Ufology has been searching for such evidence before SETI ever started. Yet, SETI seeks for signals, ufology has stumbled upon a phenomenon.
Following UFO literature, aliens were visitors belonging to different species, each with their own scientific level, culture and plans. Almost all reports of close encounters and abductions feature humanoids: two legs, a body, two arms with hands, a neck and a head. The humanoid form can differ from Homo sapiens in many aspects, such as skin, eyes, height. In fact, UFO research teaches us the most commonly reported alien race are the Grays, the Nordics and the Reptilians.
The Tall Whites, as described by Charles Hall, look very tall but fragile. Judging from their physical look, their home planet must be a low gravity, hot desert. The Pleiadians and their friends from the DAL universe, as imagined by Billy Meier, can be considered as the ideal evolution of the human race: no more deseases and violence, but only peace and technology. Deus ex machina... The Grays are said to be clones, while the Santilli footage's dead being suggests a darker habitat with higher gravity.
Sceptics usually criticize this point, arguing that the chances for intelligent life to develop in quite a similar way to Earth are tiny. Researcher Brad Steiger, having collected reports of alien encounters, created his own classification system. The so-called "Steiger classification" is as follows:
- Alfa aliens: the small Grays from Zeta Reticuli to the Rigelians, shown in the "Santilli footage". Considered as the most diffused and somehow credible.
- Beta aliens: Nordic aliens, human-like, beautiful, adored by contactees. For example, Adamski's Orthon or Meier's Semjase. The existence of such race is still questioned.
- Beta-2 aliens: human-like, dark skinned with oriental shaped eyes. Also known as "Men in black". They're said to be in conflict with Beta aliens. The existence of such aliens is not proved at all.
- Beta-F aliens: enlighted women, who introduce themselves as the Virgin Mary. Indian mythology calls such entity "Kumari". They hold a globe of light in their hands. Religion has given a mystical meaning to such appearences.
- Gamma aliens: yetis and monkey-like entities.
- Delta aliens: the strangest, most unusual, monster-like entities. A weird, unusual "alien dog" seen in 1958 at Niagara Falls is just one sample taken from this class. Very isolated, rare sightings.
The humanoids are still here. The whole humanoids issue is not free from doubts, though. Ufology has somehow evolved by following the advancements of astronomy. During the 1950s, contactees reported the Space Brothers came from Venus, Mars and Jupiter. Sci-fi depicted Martians as monsters. As our knowledge revealed why in our Solar System no other planet can host life, UFO reports have somehow adapted. Nowadays, aliens come from the Pleiades, planet Iarga, Zeta Reticuli and other distant stars. Is it the witnesses or the intelligence behind the UFO phenomenon the one to have adapted their stories? Good question.
Jader U. Pereira studied in 1974 some hundreds of cases involving aliens from 1946 to 1969. Beyond a few rare cases, the aliens reported belong to two or three kinds: little humanoids (1.20 m to 1.60 m), dark or gray skin, big eyes, large brain, hands with four, five or rarely with six fingers. In 1979, Eric Zurcher published another study from 202 cases, his results confirming Pereira's.
Conclusion: reports showing the same patterns do not depend only on the personal culture, nor on the psychology of the witnesses! Evolutionary theorist Oliver Curry, of the London School of Economics, expects a genetic upper class and a dim-witted underclass to emerge in 100'000 years. Interestingly, in ufology we find similar examples.
UFO reports sometimes indicate the aliens were speaking a language the witness was unable to understand. Tall Whites are said to sound like dog barking, while in the Rosa Lotti Dainelli case the tiny aliens were speaking a Chinese-like language. Billy Meier even provided the Pleiadian alphabet. Communication plays an important role for a technologically advanced civilization. The transmission of complex ideas and concepts is more efficient through language, meant as a symbol.system. Dr. Sheri Wells-Jensen, assistant professor specializing in linguistics at Bowling Green State University, points out that:
"living in a technologically sophisticated civilization may not require language but the construction and maintenance of such a civilization requires cultural transmission of complex, abstract ideas. 'Telling' takes less time than 'showing'. I could explain how to perform a complicated task (especially one involving several steps and branching options) much more quickly and efficiently than I could demonstrate that same task without accompanying words. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a few hundred words can tell the picture's history, detail the motivation of its painter and explain exactly where you should hang it when you get home. Language allows you to abstract away from your physical surroundings, refer to things that are not physically present and produce counterfactual or hypothetical ideas. Crucially, language is handy for making plans and setting goals."
Earth cultures can teach us more about what to expect from xenolanguages. Even though no alien alphabet has ever been studied, it's logic to expect two kinds of symbol-systems:
The first is the common alphabet (A, B, C, ...). The second is more complex: logograms (which represent morphemes or words) and syllabograms instead of an alphabet (like Egyptian hieroglyphs). In Star Trek Enterprise, sci-fi even imagined an echolocation language for the aquatic Xindi.
Language means interaction. In spite of UFO reports, no extraterrestrial race has ever shown interest in a public contact with us. On the contrary, they have kept an evasive behaviour. Why no one knows. It's possible they wish to avoid a cultural shock. For us.
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