Skeptophilia (skep-to-fil-i-a) (n.) - the love of logical thought, skepticism, and thinking critically. Being an exploration of the applications of skeptical thinking to the world at large, with periodic excursions into linguistics, music, politics, cryptozoology, and why people keep seeing the face of Jesus on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Alien round-up

Yesterday's post, which involved fact-free speculation about UFOs being a "macro-scale quantum effect," made me realize that it's been a while since we looked at what was happening in the world of UFOlogists and alien aficionados.  So I did some research, and I'm glad that I did, because there are three stories that certainly merit a closer look.

First, we have an article over at the wonderfully loony website Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal called "Chatting With the Axthadans," in which we learn about an extraterrestrial species that I, at least, had never heard of.

The Axthadans are sometimes confused with the "Greys," we read, although there are some significant differences.  The "Greys" are much shorter, the author tells us, and come from a planet only thirty light years distant.  The Axthadans, on the other hand, are benevolent aliens from the Andromeda Galaxy.

Upon reading this, I immediately thought, "How can you be from a whole galaxy?"  I mean, it's bad enough that some woo-woos think that there are life forms that come from a constellation, given that this is just a loose assemblage of a few stars that are all at varying distances from the Earth, and only seem to be near each other when viewed from our vantage point.  But an entire galaxy?  Made up, according to recent studies, of one trillion stars?

How could that possibly work?

Also, there's the little problem that the distance from the Earth to the center of the Andromeda Galaxy is 2.5 million light years.  In other words, so distant that even at the speed of light, it would take 2.5 million years to get there.  I seem to remember that even the writers of the original Star Trek recognized that the Andromeda Galaxy was kind of far away -- in one episode, evil aliens try to hijack the Enterprise and take it there, for some reason that escapes my memory at the moment, and they convert almost the entire crew into little geometrical solids for the duration of the voyage, which saved not only on upkeep but also on salary for hiring actors to portray Red Shirts who were just gonna die anyhow.  But fortunately, the un-converted members of the crew save the day, and prevent the ship from being taken on a voyage Boldly Going Where No One In His Right Mind Would Ever Attempt To Go.

So, however unlikely it is that we've been visited by beings from another star system, it's orders of magnitude less likely that we've been visited by beings from another galaxy.  The distances are simply prohibitive, even presupposing some kind of super-advanced technology.

(Much) closer to home, we have a woman in Wales who thinks that the aliens are abducting Welsh people because of their superior DNA.

Hilary Porter, "UFOlogist and public speaker," says she herself has been abducted so many times that she's lost count.  The first time was when she and her husband were on their way to visit a friend in Llanelli, and had a time-slip after which they found themselves near Cardiff with no memory of what had happened for some hours previous.

"It was damned frightening," Porter said.  "We just blacked out and had no idea how we got there.  I didn’t feel well at all.  My husband thought we must have gone to sleep, but that didn’t explain how we got there...  When we got home I got changed and found triangular suction marks on my stomach, blood suction marks. I thought 'flipping hell, look at that.'"

Which is a fair enough response, I suppose.  As far as why they abducted her, and why that area of road is an "abduction hotspot," Porter speculates that it's because the aliens want DNA from "the Celtic tribes" because their "DNA is of more interest" and is "compatible for creating human/alien hybrids."

I suppose I should be concerned, given that I'm a quarter Scottish by ancestry.  I'm not sure if the other 3/4 (which is mainly French) outweighs the Celtic-ness, though.  I can understand it if the aliens aren't interested in French DNA, given that a human-alien hybrid that was only interested in sitting around in the intergalactic cafĂ© drinking red wine and looking smug probably wouldn't be much use.  But if a quarter Scottish is sufficient, I want to invite the aliens to abduct me.  I would love to see the interior of a spacecraft.  Also, meeting an extraterrestrial intelligence is high on the list of things I want to do.  I'd be happy to roll up my sleeve and give them a vial of blood, if that's what they're after, although I'd appreciate it if they'd give me a pass on the whole body-cavity probe thing.

Last, we have word from none other than Pope Francis himself that if aliens exist, he'd not only welcome them, he'd baptize them.

I'm not making this up.  The Vatican has taken a great interest in astronomy in recent years, probably out of guilt feelings over what they did to Galileo and Giordano Bruno.  And the pope himself is deeply intrigued by the possibility of extraterrestrial life.

In his weekly homily, given on Monday, Pope Francis said, "If – for example - tomorrow an expedition of Martians came, and some of them came to us, here... Martians, right?  Green, with that long nose and big ears, just like children paint them...  And one says, 'But I want to be baptized!' What would happen?...  When the Lord shows us the way, who are we to say, 'No, Lord, it is not prudent!  No, let's do it this way'... Who are we to close doors?  In the early Church, even today, there is the ministry of the ostiary [usher].  And what did the ostiary do?  He opened the door, received the people, allowed them to pass.  But it was never the ministry of the closed door, never."

So that sounds pretty open-minded, although I do have to wonder why exactly the aliens would want to be baptized.  I mean, if the pope is right about god and salvation and the whole shebang, presumably the aliens already know about it.  There's no particular reason why they'd have to go to the trouble of coming all the way to Rome (Italy, Earth, Solar System) to get access.

And then, there'd be the inconvenience of the aliens having to fly their spaceships to Mass every Sunday, and sending their kids to catechism classes and all.  Nah, I'm pretty sure they'd just prefer to stay home and keep whatever religious beliefs (or lack thereof) they already had.

But that's the whole problem, isn't it?  According to the UFOlogists, we have all of these aliens, coming here all the time.  To listen to people like Hilary Porter, Earth is a regular Stellar Grand Central Station.  And the people who believe in the Axthadans think that they came all the way to this tiny, insignificant little speck of rock, 2.5 million light years away, to "guide our development" and "prepare humans for possible integration into the universal culture."  And they've been coming for a while, too; apparently the biblical book of Ezekiel, which reads like almost as much of a Bronze-Age bad acid trip as the book of Revelation, was a chronicle of a visit from the Axthadans.

It all seems pretty unlikely to me -- given the distances involved, and the how generally unremarkable our planet and Solar System seem to be.  So sad to say, but I think we probably haven't been visited.  Meaning my DNA and yours (if you have Celtic ancestry) is reasonably certain to be safe from extraction.


  1. It's always seemed odd to me that within all these alien races, the individuals are so indistinguishable. They all seem to look the same. Never any fat ones, never any jewel-toned in among the greys, no tattoos... whereas humans are very diverse in shape, size and color, and likely to become more so. After all, the more control we have over our form, the more our physical selves can become an expression of our individuality. Who would want to look just like everybody else? Especially a whole galaxy's worth? (Which, on reflection, is really creepy. What'd the owners of Andromeda do with everyone else who grew up there?)

  2. Fast forward 10,000 years and the "extra-terrestrial" stalkers skulking around Earth will be human, returning home from one of the many, forgotten, extra-planetary migrations of millenia past.
    What will 100's of generations of existence away from Earth do to human evolution? Maybe then the "greys" will be a legitimate phenomenon.
    Speculation is all we'll ever have.

    "All the Kings & Queens who have ever lived would give all their power and wealth, to be able to see the world through my eyes."

    If I had 300k lying around I would totally pay to be frozen in nitrogen.