SAUCERS: SHOT DOWN IN FLAMES
Our planet, our sun, our solar
system, our galaxy, other galaxies and, in fact, the whole universe,
contains strange, bizarre, unsolved mysteries to fascinate and astound
us. A few of these mysteries have finally begun to reveal their
previously unattainable secrets, forced into submission by the cutting
edge of modern physics.
Flying saucers and
extra-terrestrial ‘unidentified flying objects’ are, however, most
definitely not among them. It is now time, once again, to terminate this
tedious, farcical and frankly lamentable reversion towards mysticism and
also to eliminate from all scientific journals any mention of a subject
which has its origins in the unstable and emotionally insecure
imaginations of psychologically disturbed individuals who, once they
sight a flying saucer, should be made to see a psychiatrist or attend a
drug rehabilitation unit rather than pester poor Patrick Moore or any
rational scientific publication. If my stance appears unequivocal then
it is not without justifiable cause.
We call these mythical objects
‘flying saucers’ and not ‘unidentified flying objects’ (UFOs)
because the protagonists of this ludicrous notion insist that the said
objects originate from alien star systems; if that is so then logically
these examples of aerial crockery are no longer ‘unidentified’.
In any case, ‘flying
saucer’ is an obviously more pejorative term and by implication, the
acolytes of this absurd belief are treated with the disdain they so
richly deserve. However, it is to this apparent ‘identification’ we
shall now turn. After a few basic scientific facts have been supplied,
it will readily be appreciated that where ever these strange oddities
originate (should any such objects exist at all), it is most
emphatically not from the depths of uncharted space.
In order to pursue this matter
with at least some semblance of logic, we need to speculate on the
probability of the frequency of other life forms spread throughout the
cosmos from whence such spacecraft may derive. Since the nearest galaxy
to our own, the huge spiral in Andromeda (classified as M31 after the
French astronomer Charles Messier who compiled a most impressive chart
of many of the galaxies, star clusters and nebulae that can be seen from
the northern hemisphere), is 2,200,000 light years from us, we can be
forgiven if we confine our study of possible alien life forms to our own
galaxy for the present time.
There are quite sufficient
viable solar systems from which to choose within the Milky Way without
recourse to the invention of exotic new methods by which we may violate
the laws of relativity in order to provide a rationale for how alien
spacecraft can traverse the cosmos via hyper-light speed velocities.
Since light takes 2,200,000 years to travel from M31 to us, any alien
UFO that elects to travel from it to Earth is destined to take rather
longer than that. Give me British Rail any day.
In our galaxy there are at a
conservative estimate about 135,000,000,000 stars; this provides us with
a theoretical 135,000,000,000 planetary systems of, if we assume our
solar system to be typical, about 9 planets and 20 major satellites to
This assumption possesses one crucial flaw, of course: many stars are absolutely unable to support a planetary system, or at least one on which there can exist any planets
which there can ever have evolved any form of life: eclipsing binaries,
red giants, white dwarves, neutron stars and pulsars, for a start.
Therefore we have to concentrate upon G class stars not unlike our own
Sun to provide eligible bodies.
If we also assume that life
may only develop on planets of similar orbital properties and
atmospheric conditions to that of Earth - a possibly spurious assumption
but which I believe to be entirely justified - then these criteria must
immediately be applied in order to eliminate other unsuitable
too near to, or too distant from, their sun;
with rotation periods which are too erratic or eccentric to allow the
formation of stable weather patterns to develop;
that orbit stars which are too cool for the necessary nuclear reactions
to occur that give rise to warmth upon which the genesis of life
that orbit stars which are too hot and therefore possess stellar cycles
that are too brief to accommodate the duration of time required for life
that orbit unstable systems such as variable stars, multiple stars and
These considerations leave us,
after we have made the necessary calculated estimation, with a possible
640,000,000 planets that possess attributes similar to Earth in mass,
temperature, chemistry, orbit, revolution and sun. This is the same as
to say that 1 out of every 210 stars in our galaxy, or 1 out of every
4,000 planets, are eligible candidates for a scrutiny of our erstwhile
flying saucer hunters. There are other considerations to be added but
for the moment, let us continue with this actually rather optimistic set
of parameters. Two linked questions arise at once.
On how many of these 6×4
x 106 Earth-like planets has an intelligent species of life
developed? On how many of these same planets has an intelligent species
evolved a civilisation? The two questions are similar but possess that
significant difference. It can be argued with justification that
gorillas are intelligent but do they possess a technological
civilisation? Since we currently possess insufficient criteria upon
which to base direct inference we shall have to resort to the use of our
own planet as a reference source.
Life has been in existence on
Earth for approximately 3 x 109 years; we have had
civilisations for no more than 10,000 years so that we can say the
ratio of the duration of time bereft of civilisation to that with
civilisation is 300,000 : 1. If we assume Earth to represent a
general rule with regard to the typical evolution of life and subsequent
civilisations then we may take it to be a typical, or average, example.
Beware: we have just made an assumption for which there currently exists
no empirical evidence and may therefore turn out to be completely
With these data it is
reasonable to assume that out of 300,000 life-bearing planets at any
given time, 1 should contain a society that has evolved a civilisation.
Therefore, in our galaxy there could be 2,150 civilisations extant on
various planets. However, the Ionians of 600 BC provide a perfect
example of a civilisation yet
they were 2,557 years away from the technology required to send vehicles
We have had an industrial
civilisation, then, for approximately 200 years so the ratio of the
duration of time bereft of an industrial civilisation to that with
industrial civilisation is 50 : 1.
If we now assume (based on a
reasonable, if optimistic, supposition) that 1 out of every 50
extra-terrestrial civilisations has reached the stage of industrial
technology then there are perhaps 43 civilisations
extant within our galaxy which display an industrial technology.
Now let us suppose that our
industrial technological age represents a typical case - again, a
dangerous assumption since it cannot presently be verified. Based on
this assumption it is reasonable to assume that half of these
theoretical civilisations will be less advanced than that of Earth while
the other half will be more advanced and, by implication, will utilise
Therefore we can say that
about 21 space-faring civilisations could reasonably be said to exist
in our galaxy. At this point a flying saucer enthusiast could lift
up the hood of his anorak and demand to see the credentials upon which
my scepticism is based. I can reply in just a single word - distance.
If our hypothetical 6×4
x 106 life-bearing
planets are scattered equidistantly throughout the galaxy, each
life-bearing planet would be (on average) 45 light years away from the
next one; therefore, our 21 planets with space-faring civilisations will
be 13,500 light years apart from each other. What do you believe to
be the likelihood that we shall receive regular visits from
extra-terrestrial spaceships from a ‘neighbour’ 13,500 light years
Consider also the bizarre
notion that none of these ‘craft’ ever seem to land upon our halcyon
shores, that they choose instead, like so many celestial flying
Dutchmen, to wander the skies above our planet after they have travelled
such an immense distance.
In order to try to appreciate
the sheer scale involved, Pluto, the most distant planet from our sun,
has a mean orbital diameter of 11,800,000 kilometres. Multiply that
figure by 4, add a few hundred thousand kilometres and you have the
approximate distance in kilometres equal to just 1 light year. Now
remember that our nearest extra-terrestrial space-travellers are
13,500 light years away, or 13,500 x 47,200 kilometres from us!
Since light travels at 300,000
kilometres per second (186,282 miles per second), then that is the
limiting speed for any alien spacecraft that tries to traverse the
celestial highways between neighbours; even if we assume that our aliens
possess a technological profligacy sufficiently advanced to enable them
to travel at almost the speed of light (and there are in fact objections
to this which I shall describe later) then the journey from their world
to ours and back again will take them no less than 27,000 years.
This fact alone makes a
mockery of the notion that ship after ship buzzes across our skies,
night after night, especially as the vast majority of them don’t even
take the trouble to land!
But I can imagine a disgruntled UFOlogist bray as his last desperate hope fades into the sunset, just because on average the closest extra-terrestrial neighbour to us should be about 13,500 light years away, that does not mean that, perhaps by sheer serendipity, there is not just one such alien
say, 50 light years away, does it? Certainly not; I am able to accept
that as a feasible proposition.
However, I offer the same
response to that as I would to all these contenders for ‘neighbours on
our cosmic doorstep’ propositions: an advanced industrial civilisation
may have colonised other planets and built outposts which are still
nearer to us; maybe they have learnt how to circumvent the speed of
light without violation of relativity laws - perhaps the laws of
relativity are themselves incorrect?
My answer to all these
queries, then, is simply this: if any of these propositions are valid
then why has not one interstellar envoy ever landed upon Earth and
greeted us? ‘Maybe they want to observe us without actually landing
here.’ This bizarre sentiment was actually expressed to me in all
sincerity by a typical ‘rainbow sticker Renault socialist worker and
non-sexist kiddies books’ individual but it tends to be the last moan
of any stubborn saucerite who clings with delicious tenacity to any
whimsical idea that may enter his head.
But if the ‘aliens who
observe from a distance’ proposition is true then what possible
motives can they have for their journey here in the first place? Surely
if these erstwhile extra-terrestrials adhere to a strict policy of
non-interference with primitive life forms (such as we would no doubt
appear to interstellar travellers), then they would also be clever
enough to carry out their observations in a manner that ensured we
remained utterly oblivious of their presence?
To blatantly buzz around in
circular spaceships in plain view of all and sundry, especially
incest-ridden Utah farmers, surely amounts to interference of a kind
that is hardly negligible? They cannot be afraid of us, for to have
constructed craft able to span light years or to have evolved sufficient
technical expertise and sheer knowledge to evade the light speed
barrier, it is unthinkable that any of our mightiest weaponry would be
of the slightest import to them.
The situation would be akin to
that of a stone age tribe being visited by NATO troops. It pleases me to
believe, however, that our extra-terrestrial visitors possess a somewhat
different set of beliefs and attitudes to those that prevail among most
government soldiers of Earth!
I referred earlier to the fact
that to travel close to the speed of light would in reality create
extreme problems for the space travellers concerned. First: as Albert
Einstein revealed in his special theory of relativity, the faster one
travels, the greater is ‘the time dilation effect’.
This factor concerns the
nature of the relation between mass and velocity such that as ones’
speed approaches that of light, an intriguing effect upon ones’
perception of time occurs: on the spaceship you may experience a year
pass; but on the planet you have left, the further away it is, the more
time will have elapsed so that many of thousands of years will have
passed on a planet many light years away during the single year which
passed on your spaceship.
Our alien travellers, should
they manage to travel at, say, 250,000 kilometres per second, will
return to their own planet perhaps only to discover that it no longer
exists because their sun went supernova, or that while their planet
still exists, their race died out aeons earlier.
Second: as you increase your
velocity to approach the speed of light, there is a proportional
increase in your mass so that in effect your mass (and that of the craft
in which you travel) increases with a magnitude that directly
corresponds to the increase of velocity such that velocity is converted
The implication of this is obvious: whatever energy system you adopt to propel your ship through space, the system will
to move a mass that ever increases, so that more energy will be required
to move your craft the faster it travels. Thus for this purely
mechanical reason, speeds that approach the speed of light, while
possible in theory, are highly improbable in practise. Therefore it will
take considerably more than 13,500 years for our alien friends to travel
from their planet to Earth.
At the risk of incessantly
irritating those of you in possession of a scientific training, I shall
briefly enter into a matter which may perhaps be considered relevant by
those most stalwart members of the Flying Saucers From Fomalhaut
fraternity, simply to prevent, in advance, any possible correspondence
along this line of argument. I have clearly indicated the total
improbability that an alien spacecraft will travel immense distances at
speeds close to that of light.
However, is it not conceivable
that a sufficiently advanced technological civilisation may have
developed a matter transmitter, that is to say, a device that may focus
onto a distant point (perhaps Salt Lake City in America on Earth) as its
prime objective, and then proceed to ‘lock onto’ this co-ordinate
and ‘beam’, particle by particle, their respective spacecraft
complete with multi-tentacled crew, to that objective virtually
The idea is hardly novel, as
any glance at a few science fiction stories from the 1950s (and of
course those interminably awful editions of the sadly popular serial
‘Star Trek’, one of the many examples of facile garbage exported to
our shores from America) will reveal. Well, obviously it is conceivable;
the previous paragraph proves that. The question I should have asked was
this: is it possible?
Now I am quite familiar with
the work of Sir William Preece who stated, emphatically, that
‘subdivision of the electric light is an absolute ignis fatuus’;
evidently, that gentlemens’ fatuousness was not in the ignis. I am
also familiar with the astronomer Simon Newcomb who stated that flying
machines were impossible. William Pickering stated that aeroplane speeds
equal to that of locomotives were impossible, while A W Bickerton said
that spaceflight was impossible and even our own astronomer royal, Dr
Richard Van Der Riet Wooley, retorted in no uncertain terms that
‘space travel is utter bilge’ even though, by some bizarre quirk of
fate (or maybe economics), he later became a leading member of the
government committee that dealt with space research.
So while I hesitate to say
that matter transference is ‘impossible’, (far be it for me to
follow in the carpet slipper steps of the less than illustrious
gentlemen listed already) the teleportation or instantaneous
transference of complex, sentient organisms appears to me to be such
wild fantasy as to be eligible for dismissal even for consideration.
In case, mentis gratissimus,
this sounds stubbornly parochial to you, I should like to now consider
carefully the implications involved in the proposition that an alien
civilisation may send their spaceships and sentient crews through
immense vistas of space by the diligent application of teleportation or
matter transference. I suggest that an equally diligent application of
logic will despatch this notion to the oblivion it deserves.
Since with even our own crude
technology we are able to send sounds and images from one country across
oceans to another, it is surely then not unreasonable to suggest that
within a few decades or centuries we shall have reached the stage where
we shall be able to transport people with equal ease?
Forgive me but I deliberately allowed an erroneous statement to be made in the previous paragraph, simply to
a most cardinal misconception that frequently occurs among many people
today who are bereft of a basic scientific education, no doubt due to
the lamentable number of Marxist teachers who contend that it is better
to give children ‘peace studies’ than a basic awareness of physics.
You see we do not in fact
‘send sounds and images’ anywhere! What we actually send is
information in the form of electrical waves from the broadcasting
station to the receiver, be it a wireless set or a television. There the
electrical signals are processed in order to recreate a copy of the
original source from which the electrical signals were initially
Once the sound or image has
been created, it dies a fraction of a second later so of course is never
‘transmitted’ anywhere even if we possessed the technology to send
actual sounds and actual images through the air to receivers in other
countries. It is therefore the electronic code used to identify the 9th
Symphony of Robert Simpson which leaves the BBC and ends up via the
World Service in Hong Kong, not the actual symphony itself.
Since we can understand, once
we have learnt the basic concepts behind cathode ray tubes, transistors,
valves, speakers and so forth, how television and radio works then the
fundamental operation could surely be repeated with a more complex
source, such as a formation of spacecraft?
However, this leads to the
absurd notion that reptilian beings from Sirius 4 wish to entertain
themselves by transmitting colour three-dimensional holographic motion
light and sound reproductions of their spacecraft through the cosmos,
perhaps to indicate to us how clever they are, or maybe because they
have managed to contact (via telepathy of course) our suffering flying
saucer fanatics and, as an act of contrition, vindicate their otherwise
vain vigils for aliens in the skies above Warminster?
Obviously I dismiss this as
fourth rate science fantasy melodrama. If an alien civilisation was able
to construct such a ludicrous (and frankly pointless) device, they would
evidently possess the means by which to send real spaceships here so the
concept is ridiculous.
The actual codification of
signals from a source of sound is fairly simple, especially since the
human ear is unable to perceive sounds above 20,000 vibrations a second.
A limit is thus set upon the amount of information the bandwidth (i.e.
the sound channel) needs to carry. For images the situation is more
complex since here we deal with a two-dimensional pattern of light whose
configuration constantly changes as a function of time.
The method employed is
actually closer to that of a surveyor than a simple camera-person since
the image is fragmented into 250,000 picture elements - pixels. This
information is reported to the receiver apparatus which then uses these
data to relay the corresponding light values onto the cathode ray tube.
Thus it will be appreciated
that a television broadcast system actually only transmits an electrical
signal of one minuscule point of light at any given instant but because
about 250,000 points of light are flashed across the screen of the
television receiver in much less than one second, the human eye and
brain are deceived into a perception of a continuous picture.
The swiftness of the cathode
ray tube deceives the eye! The whole scan and relay process is in fact
repeated 30 times a second. Therefore in 1 second a vast amount of
information has passed from the transmitter to the receiver: 30 x
250,000 or 7,500,000 individual signals per second.
For transmission of an actual
object itself (say, a computer) rather than the electrical conversion
into wave data of the object, we require a device which utilises x-rays
to scan the three dimensions of the object so that it scans the subject
to be transferred in a manner so as to produce a set of electrical
impulses which state that here is an atom of carbon, here a billionth of
an inch away is nothing and here a billionth of an inch further along is
an atom of oxygen and so forth.
Such a device would then have
to recreate the object, atom by atom, in its desired location in the
reverse manner that it first deconstructed the object into electrical
impulses. To transmit this computer from Edinburgh to New York would
therefore involve the transmission of billions of bits of information.
How long do you think it would take for such a device to achieve this?
Also, since what we would in
fact have done would be to construct a copy of the original rather than
send the actual subject, we would have built not a matter transporter
but a matter duplicator. Do we want the world to be cluttered up with a
surfeit of computers?
Take the implications of this
further: we can now send human beings across the globe in this manner,
so San decides to visit his friends in Belfast; he then decides he will
pay his respects to Wong Fei Hung in China and later..., after a few
journeys, there are now fifteen identical copies of San who wander
around different areas of the planet. What happens when he meets himself
in Tangier, perhaps?
The opportunities for crime,
warfare and political manipulation are fearful should such a device ever
be constructed and made to successfully operate. A note of interest for
Buddhists: do you suppose that such a machine, even if it was able to
recreate each and every atom and molecule of a human body exactly, could
this wonderful machine also manage to faithfully transmit (that is,
duplicate) the spirit or soul of a person as well as the skin, flesh,
bones, blood corpuscles, chemical constituents, cells, molecules and
I personally do not believe in
spirits or souls but this in no manner affects the argument in any way.
Could we ever conceivably achieve this monumental task in a practical
manner? A simple mathematical investigation will reveal the actual
magnitude of the problem and, as a consequence, the probability of an
Bear in mind that the atoms
and molecules in a human body are all in constant motion all the time.
Now think about the transmission of a person from Edinburgh to London as
the Star Trek machine deconstructs the body atom by atom and converts
the body into electrical impulses or digital code, then reconstructs the
body at the receiver station. What exactly will be recreated in London?
The human body contains 5 x
1027 atoms or, if you would prefer to see it as a more
traditional number, that is 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
multiplied by 5! This is rather more than the mere 250,000 elements
transmitted by a television station.
It takes 1/30 second to
transmit 250,000 elements so, with the use of similar equipment, how
long will it take to transmit 5 x 1027 elements? I shall save
you the calculation. The answer is impressive: 2 x 1013
(or, if you prefer, 200,000,000,000,000) years. I think
I’ll take the bus, thanks. Obviously with a little technical ingenuity
a few noughts could be knocked off that figure but not so many as would
make any real difference to just how unfeasible the problem remains.
There is an additional factor
here when we consider this machine which is basically a replication
device: if a copy is to be made of a human being at the receiver
station, from what is this copy to be made and how are the materials to
If we desire to go a stage
further and rather than build a replicator, we go for the big one and
construct an actual teleporter (or, more accurately, a matter
transferor), what we actually propose is a machine that will decompose
us, atom by atom, until we are in a physical state conducive to being
sent perhaps as a beam of digital impulses to a destination on the other
side of the world, where we shall be reconstituted, perhaps in the
manner of adding water to dehydrated powdered milk, atom by atom, into
our original form.
Now imagine one of these
machines develops a worn motor or a burnt out capacitor so that it
behaves in the manner of a typesetters’ block which, through continual
use, has begun to blur around the edges...or, better still, imagine a
person is sent along the route to his destination and, by sheer chance,
encounters the atomic or digitised beam of a person being sent somewhere
else and the two beams meet so that elements from both decomposed people
mix and mingle...just what, in both cases, would emerge at the other
I could now suggest as a
proposition that the enormous distances involved in interstellar travel
may be circumvented by such intrepid extra-terrestrials as those who
have discovered ‘loop-holes’, ‘hyperspace’ and ‘curvatures’
within the universe.
Perhaps a flying saucer can
travel along one of those celestial strands of cosmic string that silly
Stephen Hawking postulated in that curiously contrived concoction of
absurdities which feebly masquerades as a science textbook, ‘A Brief
History Of Time’. I think not. These ideas, although popular among the
lunatic fringe of astrophysicists and mathematicians, possess little
scientific foundation and certainly even less empirical evidence.
There is in fact absolutely no
tangible proof that any such exotic entities exist outside the equation
littered notepads of these scientists who would do us all, and
themselves, a service if they returned to actual science rather than the
mystical realms of metaphysics.
I refuse to entertain the
notions as loop-holes, worm-holes, hyperspace or, especially, cosmic
string, although I do not refuse to believe that such entities within
the universe may not eventually be discovered, verified and ultimately
used but until that time, owing to the wildly hypothetical nature of
these concepts, I prefer not to consider them as a viable avenue for
discussion since further speculation is futile. The ‘what if’
protagonists may huff and puff with indignation for the rest of the
millennium but I deal where possible in facts, not fantasy. Worm-holes
in space? Bah - humbug!
The ‘what if’ propositions
of the UFO enthusiasts become increasingly more arcane and,
subsequently, weak. To combat the problem of the vast distances involved
in interstellar space travel, we have to assume our aliens possess an
advanced industrial and technological civilisation and have somehow
managed to discover a method to break or circumvent the speed of light.
To combat the problem of motivation, we have to assume they find Earth a sufficient source of interest and fascination to frequently pester us and yet possess some mysterious objection to an actual landing to meet us personally, even after they have travelled many light years across the vast empty vistas of space. Even if our atmosphere was perhaps
to these erstwhile alien visitors, they would surely be able to send
messages to us via radar, radio or similar means?
Now let us study the
‘evidence’ which exists for the presence of flying saucers. After
even the most exhaustive search, however, we discover that there is
scarcely any evidence at all. Consider ‘eye-witness’ accounts. They
are, to all intents and purposes, quite worthless. Stories of spacecraft
sightings by small numbers of people uncorroborated by any other
evidence are just that - stories.
Any drunken tramp can tell you
his mother was seduced by a multi-tentacled monster who stepped out of
an over-sized metal ashtray and he will no doubt be able to persuade
some of his equally intellectually challenged pals to support his tale.
Does that mean we are expected to believe such a wheen o’ blethers? I
should say not.
All mystical and religious
doctrines are ‘supported’ by eye-witness accounts, i.e. by people of
an emotionally disturbed and over-imaginative frame of mind. The few
people we have ever encountered who have been interviewed with regard to
apparent encounters with extra-terrestrials, who, they would have us
believe in all seriousness, have even been taken on board these
spaceships, have without exception been mentally unbalanced, emotionally
fragile or otherwise incapacitated.
Note also that every report so
far received from a flying saucer enthusiast who claims to have been
taken for a joy-ride in one of these legendary craft is, in almost every
detail, taken from Star Wars, Close Encounters, Alien, 2001 or Doctor
Who. Is it also not rather bizarre that not one of these people ever
remembers to ask the aliens for some small item which they could take
back to their friends and newspaper reporters back on Earth to add at
least some token of credibility to their account?
There is, finally,
‘eye-witness evidence’ for ghosts, levitation, sea serpents,
spirits, abominable snowmen, were-wolves, fairies and all manner of
other spurious and utterly fictional entities. If that constitutes
‘evidence’ then this is some new meaning of the word of which I was
In reply to the notion that
flying saucers ‘must be spaceships for they can be nothing else’, I
offer by way of explanation the chief difference between theory and
practise. In mathematical models, we may present a finite and known
number of factors and definitions, eliminate all but one and then state
that this remainder must represent the truth provided we have proved
that it is not also possible for none of them to be true.
This does not apply to
experimental and observational disciplines where the total number of
factors may be indefinite and not all the factors known. The lack of
logic and paucity of clear thought among flying saucerites is rife:
usually the stories, accounts and reports are so confused, jumbled and
incoherent that it is in fact impossible to ascertain what was seen, if
Every extra-terrestrial UFO
sighting is a mistake, a hoax or a hallucination.
Now let us consider some other
factors which have probably resulted in the mass hysteria and self
deception that prevails among so many people in the latter half of the
20th century. In the middle ages, for example, people of
disturbed mind and unstable character ‘saw’ angels and demons appear
from the skies, and from out of the ground and often vanish into thin
Today, people ‘see’ flying
saucers which reveal themselves to be remarkably similar in appearance
to those bizarre examples of aerial crockery which became a regular
feature of those badly acted, poorly made 1950s ‘science’ fiction
films from America, often known as ‘B’ films. (I suggest the ‘B’
stands for ‘bad’.)
No doubt if we can rely upon
the human condition whereby self delusion and mindless slavery to
superstition and mysticism persist, in a few decades from now, our
visitors will be hyper-intelligent shades of fizzy pop with compact disc
to match, ‘hands-on workability’ and other computerese influenced
insults to grammar.
The UFOs people ‘witness’
are merely a symptom of their culture, background and history such that
monks see heavenly ambassadors, primitive tribes see gods and spirits
while the progeny of industrial technology see spaceships, the very same
fleet-flighted metal discs anticipated by science fiction films decades
Also, as a contributory factor
to the depressing resurgence of mysticism and occulture over the past
decade, it must be recognised that in a society which has dehumanised
the individual to rob him even of his identity, where each human being
is encouraged to be merely an insignificant producer of wealth for a
tiny elite minority, a consumer and a mindless statistic, it is hardly a
surprise that those of a weak and undisciplined disposition fall prey to
the reptilian R-complex component of their brains and conjure up UFOs
along with tarot cards, ouija boards, ghosts, palmistry, feng-shui,
monsters in Scottish lochs and on Tibetan mountains, gods, devils and
other superstitious, mystical balderdash.
If a society desires to rid
its people of such immature and desperate fantasies, build a healthy
intellectualism and accrue strength in its education then it must first
relinquish its worship of economics, consumerism and political rhetoric,
then learn to restore respect for the individual. What, I hear as the
last desperate wail of the anorak brigade, of the very small number of
UFO reports that seem to be neither hoaxes, mistakes nor hallucinations?
That of course does not
‘prove’ they are extra-terrestrial spaceships; rather it proves that
we do not know yet what they are, if it can be said to prove anything at
For example, you may not know
who composed ‘Rule Britannia’ but if I tell you it was Robin Banks,
the fact you may know nothing to the contrary does not prove my
statement. (It actually comes from an opera called Alfred by the 18th
century composer Thomas Arne - check it up in the Groves Dictionary of
Music if you doubt this!) Reports of flying saucers are infested with
cranks, eccentrics and practical jokers bereft of a genuine sense of
Remember also that there are a
few scientists (such as the astronomer Joseph Allen Hynek) who
systematically endeavour to study UFOs but they are at a considerable
disadvantage: the scientific method is efficacious when concerned with
systems readily available for observation, experimentation or both - the
Andromeda galaxy is usually available for telescopic study; the Tetse
virus is generally available for microscopic scrutiny and so forth. UFOs
are unheralded, unannounced, unpredictable and utterly irregular in
their brief ‘appearances’. (The fact that they are also completely
fictional probably has some bearing on the problem too, of course!)
I suggest these few UFOs so
far unexplained by known phenomena will all turn out to be, like ball
lightning and showers of frogs, natural freaks of nature but of no less
interest because of that. Such sightings abound with, and are perhaps
inevitably related to, unusual circumstances,inaccurate information and
heightened emotional states of the observers in all cases.
On these criteria, is it any
surprise that no reliable accounts of flying saucers currently exist? I
can give perfect examples of what I mean: a strange, glowing object is
seen, totally unexpected, to move in an odd way across the sky one
night; the observer becomes rapidly too excited to scrutinise the source
in a manner that is sufficiently calm to extract all the necessary
information. On other occasions, bright moonlight interferes with
accurate observation and thus obliterates the star background against
which weather balloons and our own artificial satellites may be tracked.
It is also impossible to judge the angular movements of objects which
appear to be vertically overhead.
Finally, I stated earlier that
I was required to qualify - in fact amend - the figure derived for the
number of Earth-like planets in our galaxy, that is, 640,000,000. The
considerations implied are crucial if certain theories with regard to
the central hubs of spiral galaxies (of which ours is a fine example)
are later found to be accurate.
It looks likely that the
central nuclei of nearly all spiral galaxies are the vast stages upon
which violent scenes are enacted: black holes and immense stellar
eruptions on a gigantic scale. These attributes are not conducive to
stability or calm evolution, both of which are factors essential to the
formation and development of life.
Since 90% of the stars in a
spiral galaxy (with the inclusion of our own) are located within this
central nucleus, the figure derived with utterly desperate optimism
earlier should hereby be amended to just 64,000,000 at the very most.
This, you will now appreciate, knocks off many zeroes from our later
calculations and decreases by a significant degree the number of
possible worlds upon which advanced industrial technological
civilisations may exist.
In conclusion, the whole
subject of UFOs deserves a few decades of either complete neglect or at
least quiet, unobtrusive scientific and academic study by people of a
stable, thorough disposition; UFOs may well reveal themselves to be
natural phenomena presently unexplained by contemporary science, should
they be shown to exist at all.
I am inclined to this same
belief on alternate pancake days but usually I dismiss them as the
products of mentally unbalanced, malicious, over-imaginative or simply
mistaken people who leap to conclusions on a subject about which they
are ignorant. To say that UFOs are spaceships is naïve, geocentric and
I predict that, like the
witches and angels of the middle ages, UFOs will come to be regarded, in
fifty years time, as bereft of substance, a quaint fashion once
entertained by unstable, gullible people in the second half of the 20th
century who, reluctant to face reality and unable to approach logic,
chose instead to immerse themselves in superstition.
There is, however, one final
lesson to be learned from flying saucers and the many hundreds of people
who claim to believe in their existence as the interstellar vehicles of
extra-terrestrial ambassadors: they tell us nothing at all about the
possible intelligence on other planets but they do prove how rare it is
Andy Martin ã 2005 Unit.