Alien Life

I presented the following to a Mensa conference on the paranormal (at Malvern) as a sort of icebreaker, tongue-in-cheek fun discussion.  It turned into the most popular (unofficial) discussion at the conference and created more than two years of follow-on discussions.


January 11, 1998

Sometimes is it fun to reverse-engineer something based on an observation or description.  This can be quite effective at times because it not only offers a degree of validation or contradiction of the observation, it also can force us to brainstorm and think outside the box.

As a reasonably intelligent person, I am well aware of the perspective of the real scientific community with regard to UFO’s.  I completely discount 99.5% of the wing-nuts and ring-dings that espouse the latest abduction, crop circle or cattle mutilation theories.  On the other hand, I also believe Drake’s formulas about life on other worlds and I can imagine that what we find impossible, unknown or un-doable may not be for a civilization that got started 2 million years before us – or maybe just 2 thousand years before us.  Such speculation is not the foolish babbling of a space cadet but rather the reasoned thinking outside the box – keeping an open mind to all possibilities.

In that vein as well as a touch of tongue in cheek, I looked for some topic to try my theory of reverse-engineering on that would test its limits and to test the limits of Plato.  (Plato is the name of my automated research tool)  With all the I hype about the 50th anniversary of Roswell and the whole UFO fad in the news, I decided to try this reverse-engineer approach on UFOs and the little green (gray) men that are suppose to inhabit them. 

What I found was quite surprising.

Who are the Aliens and Where do they come from? 


1.      I began this by first verifying that the most common description of aliens (GREYS) has a high probability of being accurate.  I collected data from all over the world using key word searches of newspaper stories going back for several years and then ran some cross checks on those that did the reporting.  I discarded any eyewitnesses that had any previous recorded sightings or were connected to any organization that supported or studied UFOs.  Of the 961 left, I ran a Monte Carlo analysis on the statistical chances that they had contact with or communicated with other UFO people or with each other.  I then did a regression analysis on their descriptions and the circumstances of their sightings.  All this filtering left me with a small sample size of only 41 descriptions but I was much more confident that I had as credible a group of “witnesses” as I could find.

2.      The surprising result was a 93% correlation of data (coefficient of correlation) that what they described was the same or very similar and that they were reporting the truth, as they knew it to be.  The truth, in this case, can be compared to a baseline or reference description of the classical or typical aliens.  When I did this, I found that I had a group that was so consistent as to have a collective 91% reliability factor as compared to the baseline or reference description.  That is very high ‑ just ask any lawyer.  The assumption here, is that the reference description and the eye witnesses are telling the truth.  If we consider that these 41 descriptions came from countries all over the world and in some cases from areas that did not have mass media news services, it would be more implausible to imagine that they all had conspired or collaborated rather than told the truth.

3.      I also believe in evolution and that its basic concepts are common throughout the universe.


 Now back to the most common description of aliens (GREYS): whitish gray skin; large eyes; small nose, ears and mouth; small in stature (3‑4 ft), large pear‑shaped head, small, thin and fragile body and hands; bi‑pedal (two legs).  Less reliable (74%) is that they make noises that don’t sound like speech or words and sometimes don’t talk at all.

OK, this may or may not be true.  It could somehow have been a descriptions that was dreamed up years ago and has somehow become so universally known that all 41 of my witnesses have heard and repeat the exact same description.  Unlikely but possible.  But let us proceed anyway – as if this was a valid description of real aliens from reliable witnesses. 

 From only this data, I deduced that:

 Their planet is smaller than Earth, heavy atmosphere and further from their sun or circling a dimmer sun than ours. They evolved from life on a planet at least 5 million years older than ours.   And I think I know why they are here.


OK Sherlock, WHY?

 Eyes: The eyes are big because the light where they evolved is weak, i.e., dim or far away from their sun.  They need big eyes to see in the dim light.  That’s a normal evolutionary response.  This might also account for the pale skin color.

 Nose: The nose is small because the atmosphere is heavy.  A small intake of their air is enough to get the air they need to breath.  This also accounts for the small chest.  How big would your lungs be if we had 60% oxygen in our air instead of 21%.  This can also account for how a large brain can survive in a small body.  The head is 10% of the body weight and volume but it uses 40% of the blood oxygen.  A very small creature cannot have a very large head unless the blood carries a very high content of oxygen.

 I say oxygen is what they breath because witnesses seem to agree that they have been seen without helmets or breathing apparatus.  This would also imply that they are carbon-based creatures like us.

 Mouth: The mouth can be small for three reasons.  The body is small and they may not have to eat much.  The air is thick and they can make noises with little effort so they don’t need a big voice passage.  If they have evolved direct mental telepathy, the mouth is not needed to communicate.

 Head: The large head obviously relates to a large brain.  The large brain in that small a body equates to a long evolution.  It might take a long evolution and large brain to figure out how to travel long distances in space.  The triangle or pear‑shaped head is simply a match of large brain to a small mouth and body.

 Morals: If they have evolved to the point of a large brain and extended space travel, they probably have a very different social order than we do.  We tend to compare them to how we would act if we were them and that just doesn’t work.  They are not going to view us the way we would if we were in their place.  The stupid idea that all they want to do is conquer us and dominant the Earth is our projection of our own ideas and fears onto them.  If you had the technology to travel the universe, what possible gain would there be to dominating a primitive society?  .  Why? What for? 

Use of our planet and its resources?  Not when there are 100’s of billions of planets out there.  If you had the technology to travel the universe, wouldn’t you also have the technology to do terra-forming on any planet you found?  We already know how to do this so it is easy to imagine that  futuristic beings would know how.

Slave Labor?  Not likely.  We already have robots that can do fantastic things.  In 1000 years we will have robots to do almost anything we want.  Why use reluctant and technically inferior slaves when you can whip up a robot to do the work.

There is virtually no technical or social problem that we can imagine that a society that is 1000 or more years advanced from us could not easily resolve.

 These aliens are also very non‑aggressive.  Psychologists have long since discovered that learning plays a role in the development of aggressive behavior.   This is observed in all races of mankind as well as in lower animals.

As IQ goes up, all 13 different kinds of aggressive behavior goes down.  If they have hurt people in their explorations it is inadvertent or unintentional.  The same way we don’t set out to harm the primitive tribes that we study in social and medical experiments.

 Eating: They may have very different physical requirements also.  If our health food fad were to really take hold, we might get to a point of being able to separate the pleasure of eating from the need to.  If the pleasure of eating were satisfied in some other way, such as a pill or some sort of external stimulus, then only the nutritional need would be left as an excuse to eat.  Even today we can substitute pills and artificial supplements for real food.  It might even be possible to evolve food and people so that you take in food that entirely metabolizes and in just the right quantity that there is no waste.  The end result would be that we would eat very little and we would have no human waste product at all. The digestive system would change and the elimination parts (bladder, intestines and kidneys) would shrink.  The effect would be to reduce the size of the pelvis and lower body ‑ much as we see in the typical description of a GREY.

 Behavior: They probably also have evolved different requirements for mental existence and thought.  For instance, if you extend Maslow’s Hierarchy of Prepotency above “Self‑Actualization”, what’s next? Altruism? Spontaneous and Total Empathy? Adaptive Radiation? If you have satisfied the motives for power and security and can do anything with technology, what’s next? Perhaps it is to study another planet, the same way we are fascinated by a primitive culture in the Brazilian jungles.  Perhaps they would study us the way we study ants in a colony or bees.  We might be that relatively primitive to them.

 We have recently gained insight into how much damage we do when we inject modern society’s thinking and technology into primitive cultures.  If we evolve for another 500 years and can go explore space and come across a primitive culture that is still warlike and cannot go out into space, wouldn’t we just observe.  If we are trying to do that now, in 500 years we would not only be committed to that concept but our technology would be good enough to allow us to observe without being obtrusive.  Imagine what we would think and would be able to do in 25,000 years.

Now imagine what “they” are thinking as they visit us.

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