UFO Conjecture(s)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Theories of life (and UFOs?)

The July 9th, 2015 edition of The New York Review of Books provides reviews of two books that show brilliant scientific speculation and resolute methodologies that increase our knowledge of microbial infused evolution (one with a very indirect connection to UFOs):

Life’s Engines: How Microbes Made Earth Habitable by Paul G. Falkowski [Princeton University Press, 205 pp., $24.95]

A New History of Life: Radical New Discoveries About the Origins and Evolution of Life on Earth by Peter Ward and Joe Kirschvink [Bloomsbury, 391 pp., $30.00]
The article/review by Tim Flannery, How You Consist of Trillions of Tiny Machines, presents the view (by Falkowski) that “we … consist of trillions of electrochemical machines that somehow coordinate their intricate activities in ways that allow our bodies and minds to function with the required reliability and precision. As we contemplate the evolution and maintenance of this complexity, wonder to grows to near incredulity.” [Page 30]

“ … our cells are comprised of a series of highly sophisticated “little engines” or nanomachines that carry out life’s vital functions, [ibid]

“The most primitive living entities are known as archaea … [and they] seem to have exploited almost every energy source available on the early Earth. [ibid]

“Microbes control the Earth … They created it in its present form, and maintain it in its current state by creating a global electron marketplace that we call the biosphere. Falkowski argues that we can conceive of our world as a great, unitary electrical device, driven by the myriad tiny electric motors and the other electrochemical nanomachinery of cells. Viewing the world this way reveals hitherto unappreciated dangers in some modern science.[Page 31]

“Some molecular biologists are doing research on ways of inserting genes into microorganisms in order to create new kinds of life that have never previously existed. [ibid]
Falkowski writes “rather than tinker with organisms that we can’t reverse engineer, a much better use of our intellectual abilities and technological capabilities would be to better understand how the core nanomachines evolved and how these machines spread across the planet to become the engines of life.” [ibid]

Flannery writes “Just how far we are from obtaining a understanding of the evolution of the nanomachines is conveyed in [the] Peter Ward and Joe Kirschvink [book]. Both authors are iconoclasts, and their book is at times breathtakingly unorthodox.” [ibid]

“Joe Kirschvink argues that Earth’s rocks are the wrong place to look for the nanomachines’ origins. He is a leading proponent of the seemingly radical theory that the nanomachines, and perhaps, life itself, originated on the ice caps and glaciers of ancient Mars.” [Page 32]

The process that brought about life here on Earth, stems from “meteorites originating from Mars [that reached] Earth without being sterilized.”

“But if the nanomachines did originate on Mars, where might they have crossed the ‘Darwinian threshold’ and become truly living things?” [ibid]

The Nobel laureate Christian de Duve, Flannery writes, believed “life would have emerged from nonlife very quickly, perhaps in minutes. Safe behind its lipid cell walls, the RNA could enter the ocean, finding the rich trove of nutrients that exist …From then on, Darwinian evolution would have ensured the survival of those that operated most efficiently in a hot environment.” [ibid]

And while “This story is, of course, almost entirely unsupported by evidence. It is a scenario – a vision of how things might have been – rather than a fleshed out scientific theory. It is nonetheless useful because it provides a target for future researchers.” [ibid]

Fascinating speculation, but where do UFOs come in?
The U.S. incarcerated psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich theorized that an energy force he called “orgone” imbued human beings and flying saucers with a kind of life force.

He thought that the atmosphere contained “Deadly Orgone Radiation (DOR)” and he created a “weapon” he called a “cloudbuster” to dissipate the radiation.
Obsessed with UFOs, or "energy alphas," (as he called them)...

He and his son would spend their nights searching for UFOs through telescopes and binoculars, and when they believed they had found one would roll out the cloudbuster to suck the energy out of it. Reich claimed he had shot several of them down. Armed with two cloudbusters, they fought what Reich called a "full-scale interplanetary battle" in Arizona, where he had rented a house as a base station while his cloudbuster cleaned up the desert. He wrote in Contact with Space in 1956 of the "very remote possibility" that his own father had been from outer space. [Wikipedia]

(To read more about Reich see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilhelm_Reich)

It seems that Reich, in his odd, insane-like way, had understood, at some level, the idea about microbial nanomachines that Falkowski has developed in his thesis.

The problem is that Reich’s orgone is a metaphorical construct whereas Falkowski’s nanomachines are based in substantive scientific speculation based mostly on what we know from studies of the formative evolutionary processes, enunciated by Darwin and concretized, in part, by scientists of various disciplines.

Reich was being intuitive; Falkowski is being “scientific.”

Both books, noted above, should be accessed by those who think they are UFO researchers.

They will be disabused of that sobriquet by reading the books referred to here.


The ripple of societal and ufological psychosis

That vast elements of human society are askew is obvious.

(The Roof killings in South Carolina, the ISIS onslaughts, the ongoing daredevil feats that go awry, and overall behavior by humans, noted in news accounts, are a few examples of human activity that is off-kilter.)

Members of the UFO community have always been askew, but in a harmless way generally.

One can see examples of a psychotic-like underbelly at blogs, such as Kevin Randle’s, and by viewing the content gathered by Frank Warren’s UFO Chronicles web-site or commentary at Isaac Koi’s “Above Top Secret.”

Listening to UFO podcasts, such as The Paracast or Greg Bishop’s Radio Misterioso, elicit queasy examples of something wrong, not from the amateurish hosts, but from the music chosen to open such shows: eerie, bombastic “melodies” that usurp the shows intent, at the very outset of broadcasts.

The Anomalist, once a hallmark of notations for paranormal sites, using volunteer hunters to find offball fringe sites, blogs, and news items, is corrupted by the bias of the volunteers, who eschew material and venues that don’t favor their queer predilections.

Are such deviances really psychotic? No, they are footnotes to the unique psychotic nature of human beings that has been chronicled by historians and artists (writers, and painters mostly) since time immemorial.

An academic friend of mine sees poetry and artist products as inherent to humanity since time immemorial.

But painting on cave walls, handprints and abstract configurations, when survival was paramount, seems more than quirky to me.

With the vicissitudes of living at a constant breaking point, taking time out to create a handprint on a wall appears to be irrational, as I see it.

And, taking a look at the UFO postings and the comments that follow (Randle’s blog is a prime example) shows that persons who are UFO enthusiasts seem inclined to skirt the methodologies or thinking that might encapsulate rational scrutiny of reported UFO sightings or events, replacing perceptive inferences with contested asides about minutiae in UFO accounts, old and new.

The time and effort utilized or wasted by UFO followers strikes me as neurotic more than psychotic, but neuroses are a gateway to psychosis if not stemmed by psychotherapy, as Oliver Sacks outlines in his recent memoir.
There are two new books about evolution and microbial influences of evolution which I will address here shortly because those books show how scientific examination and thought pursue truths and facts needed to understand what lies at the heart of a mystery.

The commentary at Mr. Randle’s blog or the conversations heard at The Paracast belie any sense of rationality or intellectualism.

It’s all sound and fury signifying nothing, much as is the case with this blog. (I’m as guilty as anyone, for casting pearls before swine, hoping to get responses of a cognitive kind.)

Let’s not continue to fool ourselves: ufology is the catch-all for bizarre, psychotic-like commentary, and always has been.

That’s not going to change, unless and until persons like Mr. Randle, Isaac Koi and the Anomalist gang queue up the rational few left in UFO-land and deep-six the nutty people.

But don’t hold your breath…