Monday, May 24, 2010

Alfs or Evil Alf Doppelgangers?

Considering the universe’s unfathomable sprawl, and the fact that scientists believe it is literally expanding, it should come as no surprise that many highly intelligent life forms here on Earth—and not just crazy insomniacs—believe in the existence of extraterrestrials. It takes an awful lot of chutzpah to unequivocally hold that our little existence here on this petite planet in a tiny solar system in a sprawling galaxy—one among multiple billions observed—is the sum and substance of thinking beings.

Renowned physicist and best-selling author of A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking, recently commented on the prospect of life beyond our cozy orb, which revolves around a somewhat average star called the sun—one of a guesstimated 70 sextillion, or 7 followed by 22 zeroes, stars in the ether. “We are certainly not alone,” he said. Hawking warned, too, that any evolved creatures in the celestial heavens might just be “looking to conquer and colonize whatever planets they could reach.” This is, after all, what intelligent beings have a long history of doing.

Professor Hawking did, however, supply us with a wee bit of comforting salve when he added that “primitive life is very common and intelligent life is fairly rare.” It sort of makes one feel that dumb and dumber outer space civilizations would be to our benefit. Hawking’s portrait of potentially smart aliens from the recesses of space are more the Twilight Zone's  "To Serve Man" types than the warm, fuzzy, and inquisitive kinds that Karen Carpenter so melodiously kibitzed with. The latter crew wanted to Facebook-friend our entire planet; the former wanted to have us for dinner. Food for thought....

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