UFO Conjecture(s)

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Delayed Thinking or Non-thinking about UFOs (and everything else)

While reading the latest (5/20/16) TLS [Times Literary Supplement], I realized that my UFO cronies, reading and commenting here and at other blogs, such as Kevin Randles, are not up-to-speed about the current thinking and advances in areas of science that may impact the UFO phenomenon: neuroscience, astronomy, quantum mechanics, psychology, botany, atmospherics, archaeology, entomology and other disciplines.

For example, my seeming obsessions with plant life (piloting UFOs), AI (artificial intelligence, piloting UFOs or the UFOs themselves), the madness of society (and ufologists) all could factor (or do) what UFOs may be.

A new book about plants, The Cabaret of Plants by Richard Mabey [Profile, £20], reviewed by Jennifer Potter in TLS, Page 32, has this:

“ … plants have complicated and proactive sensory systems that command respect … plants can ‘learn’ to ignore repeated stimuli, and even ‘remember’ what they have learned.”

Author of the book. Mabey, wonders why Paleolithic cave paintings contain no representations of plants (as plants were not, I surmise, relevant to Paleolithic survival).

But plants have been with mankind and existed long before humans evolved from the primordial soup that brought together the ingredients from which humanity sprung forth according to Darwinian theory.

So, if the human species originated in a hodge-podge of disparate chemical agents, why couldn’t plants have done so too? And, maybe, evolved elsewhere in the cosmos, to become sentient beings with animation and high intelligence?

Quantum mechanics and its theorists are now allowing that consciousness impacts Quantum Cosmology but that “an ill-defined, nebulous, and quasi-supernatural concept such as ‘consciousness’ a central role in the formulation of a physical theory seems … to be a great backward leap toward mysticism.” [Enrico Rodrigo, in The Physics of Stargate, page 73, Larry L’s recommended book]

And ninety-two year old, polymath Nicholas Mosley, whose book Tunnel Of Babel [Dalkey Archive, PB, $14] is discussed in TLS [ibid] as engaging readers in a welter of “idiosyncratic” musings on “Darwinism, Gödel’s incompleteness theories, quantum mechanics, and astrophysics.”

Has anyone, sloughing along here, read, or will get this book? No. They will scour the internet for their edification, thinking they have received or are receiving bountiful doses of information and intellectual acumen.

As for AI (artificial intelligence) and the thinking on intelligent machines, do I believe that readers and commentary here derive from reading the latest news bulletins and book on the topic? I do not.

Nick Bostrom’s book, Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies [Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, 2014] is a must read, for anyone hoping to cope with the vicissitudes of AI thinking today.

Yet, there are a plethora of books on the topic – many noted at this blog – such as Our Final Invention by James Barrat [Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Griffin, NY, 2013] and Jack Copeland’s Artificial Intelligence: A Philosophical Introductions [Blackwell Publishing, Malden, MA, 1993] and all of the ray Kurzweil oeuvre.

But no one will get them or read them….they may read about them but the books themselves will not get a perusal.

I won’t mention the elaborate studies in ant societies and the insect world, the intelligence (non-instincts) of bugs and how they dominate the planet in many ways, and may have evolved elsewhere in the cosmos, allowing for visitations via UFOs as suggested by Gerald Heard in his discounted (by almost everyone) 1950 book The Riddle of the Flying Saucers.

As for living in The Matrix or humans being part of a computer simulation, tying the concept to theological ruminations, such as Teilhard de Chardin’s views or science fiction(s), few, if any, readers here are competent to bring forth passages from current books on the matter, instead providing snippets from the internet, that are not pithy but glib or facile.

Yet, many would presume to be intelligent or well-read, when that is not the case at all.

Go to Kevin Randle’s blog – kevinrandle.blogspot.com – to see an inordinate gathering, in the commentary, of retro-active thought and sometimes non-thought.

That a few seemingly intelligent ufologists or UFO buffs would indulge, redundantly, themselves on old UFO minutiae (mostly about Roswell) without considering the UFO phenomenon itself, is not only sad but pathetic.

Sure, Roswell should be cleansed of its errant biographies and hear-say, but to do so, over and over again, is a waste of brain power and time, when UFOs need new, interesting theories of explanation, as the phenomenon is as cryptic today as it was back in 1946 or even earlier.

Yet, the wastrels will not move forward, locked into a nostalgic, perhaps, aura of flying disks that sated their adolescent imaginations.



  • > No. They will scour the internet for their edification

    A little hard on your readers, Rich! But you make a valid point about the wider world of the UFO commentariat.

    The foundational problem of UFO analysis is arguing from ignorance: "I can't explain it, ergo, aliens!" Keeping up with the fields you listed would go a long way to solving that problem -- and would result in people applying some modesty to their positions.

    I thought reading up the material of the Hill case would take less than a year, but I've been at it more than five. I was appalled at how few UFO buffs challenged the claims made about memory, functional amnesia, and hypnosis, so I felt compelled to read up on it -- the opinions of the time as well as the current science. I have also branched out into the philosophy of science (Popper has helped me sort the fatally flawed logic of David Jacobs and other abductionists). I have a small mound of books and journal papers to get through, with no end in sight. But I have yet to read any work about atmospheric phenomena or the appearance of the stars in the night sky. And 10 other subjects that would illuminate some of the details of the Hill case.

    My point is...maybe an informed approach to ufology is just too damned hard for we regular folk. Investigating one case requires the skills of several university departments.

    By Blogger Terry the Censor, at Friday, May 27, 2016  

  • I'll keep this short. I received Copeland's book yesterday in the mail. I am underwhelmed. Why? Because so far it is not much more advanced than my readings of other things dealing with AI, Consciousness, and so forth... from the 1980s [I'm surprised you missed "Godel, Escher and Bach" by Hofstadter in your list since self-reference is essential to understanding / knowing "I"-ness as the root of consciousness].

    Copeland's book is 23 years years old. The book has code samples that are written in BASIC with line numbers [a la the original MS-BASIC from... the 80s]. It remains to be seen if the "philosophy" part is "more advanced". Where as the Matrix books essays I have previously mentioned are only 10 [or so] years old and they talk of Kant, Socrates and his cave, and other things concerning what might hold value if this is a simulation [One essay even postulates that Cipher's choice to go back to the Matrix was valid (One might wonder if Cipher's Choice is not a new version of Sophie's Choice)]

    To my mind, from what I have read and heard of Kurzweil's "beliefs", I am not persuaded to put any of my meager income to read his version of a tech-bourgeois 1%-ers 'wet-dream about machine immortality and AI assistants' [which by the way you will find at the heart of Fredrick Pohl's Heechee series of SF novels Pohl began publishing in... 1977... nothing new, eh?]. Does that mean an AI won't be created? Maybe, maybe not. Kurzweil is Google's AI guru but if they do find an AI, it might not be the one they were looking for.

    You also might add some of the papers at MIRI [Yudkowski's AI think tank] https://intelligence.org/research/ Especially the papers on "Error Tolerance" and "Value Specification". I may be an idjit but I do know those are the two things that could blind side humans when faced with an "alien intelligence" we have created in the form of an "intelligent machine".

    To quote Arthur C. Clarke, " It may be that our role on this planet is not to worship God but to create him." Isn't that what Kurzweil is after?

    He also said: "Two possibilities exist: Either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying."

    Now back to our regularly scheduled onset of a tropical depression which should be a tropical storm sometime this evening.

    By Blogger Joel Crook, at Saturday, May 28, 2016  

  • JC...

    The Hofstadter books have been discussed here a few posts back.

    You dismiss Copeland too readily I think.

    You need to access Bostrom, all of Kurzweil, and others cited above.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Saturday, May 28, 2016  

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