Apologies for the long silence on this here blog. I’m back in the saddle, and so these posts will come with better regularity now.
Today is World UFO day. You can see a video summarizing the history of this day, as well as a summary of the UFO phenomenon in general here.
It’s always interesting to see what happens when the UFO subject goes public, as it were, beyond the realm of the specialty blogs and into the mainstream media. Generally, there is X-files music and lots of puns about things being out of this world. That’s why today, when I saw this article, I was pleasantly surprised.
In that article, Cambridge University Professor Simon Conway Morris suggests what I was postulating in an earlier post myself. Namely, that the concept of humanoid aliens isn’t necessarily all that far fetched, because evolution works via principles of efficiency and physics. When you take that into consideration, a lot of the same patterns come up over and over again. He puts it well when he says:
Certainly it’s not the case that every Earth-like planet will have life let alone humanoids. But if you want a sophisticated plant it will look awfully like a flower. If you want a fly there’s only a few ways you can do that. If you want to swim, like a shark, there’s only a few ways you can do that. If you want to invent warm-bloodedness, like birds and mammals, there’s only a few ways to do that.
In other words, if a creature is evolving the ability to fly, odds are likely that it will evolve a symmetrical wing system. There are other possibilities, of course, but the point is that we shouldn’t be surprised when we see it. This is a phenomenon called convergent evolution; the idea that various complex characteristics can evolve independently and in a nearly identical form in different species.
Contrast this with Carl Sagan, famed astronomer and author of the book Cosmos, in which he says:
But the Darwinian message is clear: There will be no humans elsewhere. Only here. Only on this small planet. We are a rare as well as an endangered species. Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another.
An amazing sentiment from an amazing thinker. And curiously close in many ways to the Contactee message, which I think is fascinating because he is in that short quote rebuking the notion that humanoid aliens could exist elsewhere in the universe while simultaneously saying something that could have come out of Orthon’s mouth.
So who is right? I don’t think it’s important if there is a convergent line of human evolution somewhere out there in the cosmos. What is important is that wherever it is and whatever it is, it is precious.