Saturday, May 22, 2010

"It's a Godawful small affair, to the girl with the mousy hair..."

The BBC in it's best, 1950's "Do you have a message for the nation, sir?" mode with Professor Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking warns over making contact with aliens
Aliens almost certainly exist but humans should avoid making contact, Professor Stephen Hawking has warned. In a series for the Discovery Channel the renowned astrophysicist said it was "perfectly rational" to assume intelligent life exists elsewhere. [‘Perfectly rational’ to NOT to believe it, too]
But he warned that aliens might simply raid Earth for resources, then move on. [Bet they'd offer to tarmac your drive, too, and run off without finishing the job... Do ya like dags?]
"If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn't turn out well for the Native Americans," he said. [Well, Ok paleface, but I see no evidence that the natives would have built the Kennedy Space Centre or the Hubble Telescope, which might have put your work back. So not all bad, eh?]
Prof Hawking thinks that, rather than actively trying to communicate with extra-terrestrials, humans should do everything possible to avoid contact. [Yeah, they come over ‘ere, stealin’ our planets. I don’t want nuffink to do with ‘em. Green b******s]
He explained: "We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn't want to meet." [Speak for yourself, mate]
In the past, probes have been sent into space with engravings of human beings on board and diagrams showing the location of our planet. [Turn left at Alpha Centauri – just keep going, you can’t miss it]
Radio beams have been fired into space in the hope of reaching alien civilisations.
Prof Hawking said: "To my mathematical brain, the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational. [Well that’s that settled then. We’ll just take your word for it Prof., you being so clever an’ all]
"The real challenge is to work out what aliens might actually be like." [Big lizards like David Icke says? Moving statues like on Dr Who? Big bitey things like in Alien? Oh, I don’t know, you could just make it up, couldn’t you? Hey, Prof, you didn’t just make...No! Surely not?]
The programme envisages numerous alien species including two-legged herbivores and yellow, lizard-like predators. [David Icke it is then]
But Prof Hawking conceded most life elsewhere in the universe is likely to consist of simple microbes. [Whatever, as my eldest would say (*makes hands into 'W'*)]
In the recent BBC series Wonders of the Solar System, Professor Brian Cox, a physicist from the University of Manchester, also suggested life may exist elsewhere within our solar system. [Yeah, just like the other guy says. So, that’s two clever blokes. Scientists. Must be right, yeah?]
He said organisms could be present under the ice sheet that envelops Europa, one of Jupiter's moons. [But then again...]
Professor Cox added: "Closer to home, the evidence that life could exist on Mars is growing. [Growing? Lots of speculation but evidence?]
"We will only know for sure when the next generation of spacecraft, fine-tuned to search for life, are launched to the moons of Jupiter and the arid plains of Mars in the coming decades." [That’s right. Finances completely up the spout and you want a big shiny space programme. Dream on.]

So there you have it. Two clever blokes assert that there must be alien life in the universe:

(1)Because the numbers are awfully big
(2)They’ll be big lizards...ermmm...because I say so.
(3)It could be under the ice sheet on Europa – using the same reasoning behind the idea that there might be a cream cracker under my sofa.

I'm not saying there isn't life out there, just that we should be sceptical. That's the default position of a scientist, non?

I don’t know what is the more appalling. Two distinguished academics having a public discussion in serious terms that belongs in the pub at about 10.30 on a Friday night (“No, no. Hear me out, right? I think there’s aliens, right? Must be. Shtands to reason. Your round? Brilliant. Pint of Deuchars, mate. Cheers. Oh, and some pork scratchings.”) or the supine, gullible BBC journalist without an ounce of scepticism or curiosity who took this stuff down verbatim and never questioned a single assumption or assertion, but would presumably scoff at the notion of a rational basis for religious faith.

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Blogger Mark said...

I once came up with a theological argument against space-aliens more sophisticated than ourselves. It was to do with salvation, and how if they were as sophisticated as us, or more so, why didn't our Lord assume an alien form - "for us Aliens and for our salvation" - etc., but I can't remember enough of it anymore!

9:13 AM  

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