The Singularity and UFOs: Can ET Teach Us Anything about the Singularity?

The connections between extraterrestrial life and future technology are numerous, and have been widely discussed in science fiction literature and by physicists such as Michio Kaku. There is basic logic to the connection: if life in other galaxies is able to travel to our galaxy, it is thought, then we should assume their technology is more advanced than our own and that they have already reached their ‘Singularity.’

Recently I attended the 20th Anniversary International UFO Congress in Scottsdale, AZ, which included 5 full days of presentations, special events, and films, attracting over 700 attendants. Various theorists, physicists, former military personnel, many of whom claim to have witnessed extraterrestrial life, presented ideas and stories on a wide range of topics.

I was surprised by the lack of discussion of the technological singularity at the conference. However many of the presentations provided useful insights into what a Singularity in other galaxies would entail, if the reports presented were valid.

One consistent observation coming from those claiming to have experienced UFOs was how quiet, and many say, silent, UFO spacecrafts are. At this event, the most well-respected, and in my opinion, most believable, alien abductee, Travis Walton (best known by the film based on his story Fire in the Sky), remarked on the experience of watching the spacecraft exit his vision (back in 1975), surprised that it was an experience with no sound, especially given how fast it appeared to be traveling.

Many people notice how quiet hybrid cars are compared to combustion engines. Transportation in civilizations with advanced technology appears to be almost completely silent.

Other consistent claims were the high level of design sophistication of spacecrafts, which were consistently portrayed being able to travel at very rapid speeds and maneuver with great agility.

Lloyd Pye, the man primarily associated with the infamous Starchild Skull presented recent genetic information indicating what he thinks shows that the Starchild skull is not of human origin. He bases this claim upon (reportedly) finding that the DNA of the Starchild has vastly different mitochondrial DNA(mtDNA) from human mtDNA.  Since mtDNA in humans mutates very little, he argues, the likelihood of the Starchild being a mutation he thinks is very low.

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He suggests genetic engineering from an advanced civilization as possible explanation for the Starchild Skull. He wouldn’t name the geneticists working with him and is looking for funding of $7 million to finish the DNA sequencing and make two documentaries.

Needless to say, there were presentations at the conference that were quite obviously for the purpose of taking advantage of older, and less critical thinkers. These con artist presenters, some using very obviously Photoshopped images, combined messages of vague, new-age spirituality and abduction claims for the purpose, arguably, of media publicity, and making money through book revenues.

I myself, the band hired to entertain at the conference, and a handful of others were the only attendees under the age of 30, with the average age being around 60. The popularity of aliens was, after all, at its height between 1940-1980. The lack of technical and up to date scientific knowledge on the part of the older attendees definitely allowed con artists to get further and sway more minds than they would have in a younger crowd.

There seemed to be resentment, or at least an attempt to create resentment on the part of the crowd, by the speakers towards the scientific community. Those working in more mainstream science fields tend to reject the claims of alien encounters on rational or scientific grounds, and for that were referred to in a derogatory way by many speakers, referred to as simply ‘the scientists.’

One highlight of the conference was most certainly the presentations of James Penniston and John Burroughs regarding the Bentwaters Mystery, also known as the Rendlesham Forest Incident. It is one of the more well-known and respected UFO reports to date and many people find the case convincing.

Unfortunately, if one had knowledge of the Singularity, one was easily skeptical of the central message. They claim that their experience with aliens in 1980 was actually an experience with humans  (having perfected knowledge of physics) visiting us from 40,000 years in the future. The purpose they claim for the visit was to obtain human DNA for the sake of knowledge and other things.

Penniston spoke about the time travel message during hypnosis in 1994. So, these ideas were put forth prior to our mapping and banking the human genome. Had they foreseen our doing this they may have claimed something different perhaps. In their defense, since this information was produced through hypnosis, they may not be entirely to blame for the fiction of these claims.

Off the record, Penniston was questioned by a conference attendee regarding this discontinuity. He claimed, rather defensively, that he didn’t know how to explain the need for human DNA by these future beings since we have so much of it stored now.  “I don’t know, I don’t know” Penniston remarked nervously, trying to escape the questioners.

Having knowledge of future technology trends, and being able to understand what future technology would be required for another species able to travel all the way to our galaxy (nanotechnology, advanced computational abilities), allows one to be an effective skeptic, and makes one less susceptible to UFO con artists. One could also make up better stories about the intent of aliens as well.

But there are important things that Singularitarians can learn from discourse about aliens, even the fiction.

One interesting thing to ponder is the variety seen in the description of alien encounters cross culturally. As discussed in the “Cross Cultural Patterns in Abductions” sections of the MIT Discussions, there is very little coherence in descriptions of the experiences.

Cultural perceptions of advanced technology play a role in how alleged alien encounters play out, so we can look at the descriptions of these encounters for insight into how we as a culture perceive advanced technology.

It is well known that Japanese culture has a warmer regard for robots and futuristic technology, compared with the Western culture, which is typically more fearful of it.

Skeptics argue that science fiction since the 1930s has influenced and shaped expectations of alien encounters in the West.

A 1935 issue of Amazing Stories, which featured on its cover “an illustration of a being with large eyes and a large head who was restraining a human from entering a room where another human was reclined on a table with another large-eyed creature examining her,” for instance, is thought to have influenced and shaped expectations of what an encounter with extraterrestrials might entail.

It is a common experience for those enthusiastic about advanced technology to have their views met with pessimism by those steeped in science fiction literature and films.

Most Americans believe there is intelligent life elsewhere in the universe. Many futurists agree that there is as well. Where futurists disagree is on whether or not another species has visited earth. Ray Kurzweil, for instance, in Time’s 10 Questions for Ray, argues that there is no evidence of intelligent life elsewhere that we have so far witnessed. For this reason he thinks we are likely to be the first species to reach a Singularity.

Many disagree with Ray on this. I for one find it difficult to dismiss the abduction case of Travis Walton, especially given the consistency in witness testimony, and especially after having met him and listened to him speak on the matter. Not to mention, the prevalence of alleged alien phenomenon, and famous  UFO cases witnessed by thousands such as the Phoenix Lights lead us to believe that something regarding aliens and advanced technology is in need of explanation.

The issue of extraterrestrial life raises interesting questions for those interested in the Singularity.

Should some of the stories be true, what does that tell us about our own future?  Will we very soon be doing what aliens are now doing, travelling to other galaxies to investigate more primitive civilizations?  And if alien encounters are indeed as negative as some abductees claim, will there be an intergalactic battle for mankind’s survival post Singularity as portrayed in science fiction?

About the Author:

Nikki Olson is a writer/researcher working on an upcoming book about the Singularity with Dr. Kim Solez, as well as relevant educational material for the Lifeboat Foundation. She has a background in philosophy and sociology, and has been involved extensively in Singularity research for 3 years. You can reach Nikki via email at inikki3@gmail.com.

  • Matt

    Awesome piece Nikki.
    I was wondering if you had any thoughts on whether it would be possible for a post-Singularity civilization to somehow inspire or even prompt a Singularity here.
    Just as an aside on some Singularity message boards, skeptics think that the lack of any sign that a civilization has reached the Singularity is both a sign that alien civilizations don’t exist, or that a Singularity is possible.
    I think the detractors tend to have a limited view of the multiverse, or of the sheer size of our own universe.
    Like to hear your thoughts on this, as well.

  • http://singularityblog.singularitysymposium.com/ Socrates

    During my interview with George Dvorsky on Singularity 1 on 1 he made a point about ET that I found very convincing: “Mass extinction is the simplest explanation for why we are seeing an uncolonized galaxy.”

  • Matt

    Dr. Lanza, who wrote Biocentrism, I think offered a pretty wild explanation. Maybe alien civilizations transcend the physical universe. I mean… you move out of the ghetto, right?

  • http://singularityblog.singularitysymposium.com/ Socrates

    Interesting point Matt, it is a possibility but if I am to weigh them both and make an educated guess I personally would still go with George Drvorsky’s point..

  • Sally Morem

    I posted some responses on Facebook. Here they are:

    We can assume also that human civilization took this long to establish, because it required everything that occurred before it to happen in the time it took to happen, the Big Bang, expansion, galactic and star formation, a number of supernova explosions producing the required amount of heavy elements, planetary formation, geological processes, life formation, evolution of life, evolution of lifeforms with large brains, cultural evolution, development of radio civilizations. We may be the first, or among the first, others like us may be out there, but light speed constraints prohibit us from knowing about one another until our civilizations start spreading out among the stars.

    Now, with the concept of accelerating tech leading to a technological singularity, the idea of aliens out there visiting us in spaceships becomes more problematical. Why? Because if you think about the idea of accelerating tech continuing to accelerate AFTER the singularity, those spaceships begin to sound rather old fashioned and LOW tech. Sounds weird, but that’s where the trends seem to lead.

    Singulatarians (at least some of them) imagine the continuing acceleration of tech to lead to conversion of our Milky Way galaxy into materials and energy used to grow a vast singularity civilization, in perhaps a few hundred thousand years (faster if we can figure out a way of getting around Einstein) and then much later the conversion of the entire universe. So, if there are older, more advanced alien civilizations out there, why didn’t they do this. You can consider this the updated version of Fermi’s question, “So, where is everybody?”

  • Andrekashic

    All ETs are saying is: “be careful with nano! keep some tech to space”! We cannot afford to take our exponential increase in tech lightly. Social evolution must closely follow tech evolution, or else… well, look at the Greys!that which does not kill us, only makes us strangerintegratedneuro.comAndrew RamseyAkashic Records

  • 77pop7

    The reason Singularity’s may not happen with to regard for UFO’s existing would be that they have no desire to convert all mass of the universe into computers.

    Should it be that only civilizations with ethical considerations of all life forms are the ones to reach peak technical progress, Greed is eliminated as motives for such creatures pertaining to the reason for sentient existence. (Buddha’s are at peace with all that is)

    Ironhide: Why are we fighting to save the humans? They’re a primitive and violent race.

    Optimus Prime: Were we so different? They’re a young species. They have much to learn. But I’ve seen goodness in them. Freedom is the right of all sentient beings. You all know there’s only one way to end this war: we must destroy the Cube. If all else fails, I will unite it with the spark in my chest.

  • UFOExaminer

    This blog is a critical step forward. The UFO/ET/AB studies field has been traditionally ignored by exactly the kinds of bright minds that might bring something meaningful towards a solution because of the social stigma and taboo associated with the material. Granted, the field has attracted more than its fair share of hopelessly uncritical thinkers over time, but the deliberate imposition of an information policy on the US population in 1953 has done more to make the issue un-discuss-able by the very minds that need to be brought to bear than anything.Understanding that the US has prosecuted a program of ridicule combined with denial to effectively brainwash a couple of generations is the first step toward rational examination of such evidence as merits examiation — Pye’s skull is high on the list.When a casual observer such as Kurzwell says there is ‘no evidence’ for advance intelligence, it simply means he has either not read the literature or not really seen what he is looking at. When Neil Tyson Degrasse discounts a Travis Walton on the basis that he, as a scientist, needs more than eyewitness testimony to believe, he glosses over the fact that eyewitness testimony can get you convicted of murder and a peer reviewed paper is a condensed form of eyewitness testimony.Kudos to Ms. Olson for the even-handed consideration of the issues presented by the fact that — if you know where to look and what to look for — there is ample evidence that the planet is, and has been for a long time, being covertly observed by an advanced intelligence of some natureAnd this intelligence may be more than just visiting.http://c-realmpodcast.podomati…target=”_blank”

  • Nikki Olson

    Hi Matt.

    Thanks for the great questions.

    “I was wondering if you had any thoughts on whether it would be possible for a post-Singularity civilization to somehow inspire or even prompt a Singularity here”

    Well thats certainly in line with what some of the ET believers propose; that advanced civilizations visit us in order to offer guidance. Some even propose that some advances in science that have already occured thus far were due to contact with ET. Lloyd Pye, for one, tows that line.

    I am a skeptical of claims of this nature since I don’t think there is any real reason to believe this has occured. There is no reason to think it is not a possibility in the future however.

    “skeptics think that the lack of any sign that a civilization has reached the Singularity is both a sign that alien civilizations don’t exist, or that a Singularity is possible.”

    I think it is reasonable to think that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe. However, one’s premises in this argument, if one is to dismiss ‘personal testimony’ as ‘evidence’ (and hence Travis Walton), are based entirely on estimations and probabilities. Inductive claims based on theoretical physics. Its easy to dismiss the ‘intelligent life elsewhere’ thesis on the basis of lack of hard, ‘observable’, ‘repeatable’ scientific evidence, but the idea wasn’t put forth based on this kind of evidence in the first place. Socrates is right, the lack of a ‘repeatable’ occurance in UFO sightings and alien abductions does go a long way in discounting any ‘evidence’ in the form of ‘I saw a UFO’. But I’m not so sure there haven’t been ‘repeats’. There is some reason to suspect there have been government cover ups. I still don’t know where I stand on that issue.

    Could one dismiss the Singularity on the same grounds? Yes and no. The proposal of the Singularity is based primarily on two kinds of claims; observation of past trends, and ‘in principle’ features of the world such as the possibility of smart nanotechnology. So the burden of proof lies in a different realm.

    Kurzweil talks about how critics focus on arguing that the law of accelerating returns can’t possibly continue to the point he predicts it will. Problems with software, problems with overheating circuit boards are often given as reasons. I’m sure you’ve heard these lines of criticism a million times. The point is that given what we know about physics, chemestry, etc. there is no reason ‘in principle’ one can give that these trends coudln’t continue to a Singularity. Now whether those same physics and chemistry principles that will allow us to utilize that ‘room at the bottom’are the same in other galaxies is another question. This would be a question for expert physicists I suppose.

    So I see how the two claims are related (lack of alien evidence=’s lack of possible Singularity), but I woudn’t be so skeptical about either. The nature of the claims are different in some important ways.

    These are great questions that one could think about from many different angles. Thanks!

  • Nikki Olson

    Or that only evil life forms were left in the physical world, explaining the often hostile and cruel nature of the alleged ‘greys’ :P

  • Nikki Olson

    Hi Sally,

    Thanks for the lenthy response!

    “Because if you think about the idea of accelerating tech continuing to accelerate AFTER the singularity, those spaceships begin to sound rather old fashioned and LOW tech”

    -I agree. That’s exactly the point I was trying to make in claiming that having knowledge of the Singularity offers enormous protection from UFO con artists. The limitated knowledge of futuristic technology on the part of con artists really puts a dent in their UFO stories.

    I would point out, however, that some propose that aliens visit in a more discrete way that we are not aware of because nanotech etc. allows them invisibility etc. This is more frightening and harder to argue with. Maybe the ones that people end up seeing are the ‘screw ups’, or the ‘tech malfunctions’, or ‘the bad seeds’. The ghetto dwellers of the cosmos.

    “So, where is everybody?” is a good question. Is there such a thing as ‘too far away’ post Singularity? Maybe we can’t know the answer to this until we reach the Singularity.

  • Nikki Olson

    ‘Greys’= Singularity gone badly wrong! Hahaha :)

  • Nikki Olson

    77pop7,

    It is thought that as we approach the SIngularity that many of the things that inspire greed, crime, etc. would become less prevalent. Not to say that humans (without genetic engineering) would not still have those ‘unethical’ dispositions, but the things that trigger their prevalence would in theory no longer be operating in as much force. I wouldn’t go as far as to propose a ‘utopia’ future, but definitely I think we can expect more equality and abundance.

    Yet to see Transformers. Maybe I should now :)

  • Nikki Olson

    UFOExaminer,

    I wish some reputable geneticists would just look at the Starchild DNA and get it over with. But even then we may not have much of anything, since I think ‘mutation’ will probably still be the best explanation. It is definitely the occam’s razor explanation at this point. I’m suspicious of Pye myself. He was a fiction author before he started the Starchild stuff.

    Kurzweil’s dismissal of alien stuff is interesting isn’t it. Given the ridicule he goes through with the press one would think hes not dismissing UFO stuff altogether to save his image.

    But I have to agree with Kurzweil at the end of the day. If I had to come down on one side or the other, while having a scientific, critical and skeptical mind, I would have to agree with him and say that there isn’t any ‘evidence’. However, like I said, its very hard to dismiss some of the ‘witness testimony’ claims (Walton in particular). And I do think its likely that there is intelligent life elsewhere.

    Thanks for the encouraging words!

  • Nikki Olson

    I just re-read what Socrates wrote and realize that he argues that there hasn’t been any ‘non-disputable’ evidence, not that there wasn’t any ‘repeated’ occurrence, as I said above. I agree there is no ‘non-disputable’ evidence.

    As I wrote further down to UFOExaminer;

    “I have to agree with Kurzweil at the end of the day. If I had to come down on one side or the other, while having a scientific, critical and skeptical mind, I would have to agree with him and say that there isn’t any ‘evidence’. However, like I said, its very hard to dismiss some of the ‘witness testimony’ claims (Walton in particular)”

  • http://singularityblog.singularitysymposium.com/ Socrates

    I agree with you Nikki.

    If I am to oversimplify my position, it will be to say that I am an ET optimist in general, though highly skeptical of most, though, not all specific cases…

  • Anonymous

    Nikki,

    I also had the opportunity of attending the 20th Anniversary International UFO Congress outside of Scottsdale Arizona in Fountain Hills. This congress, consisting of nearly 1000 attendees, certainly had its large assemblage of older and less critical thinkers.

    Moments of the conference I consider highlights of the congress were the meeting the infamous Travis Walton, who I truly feel is sharing a legitimately, sincere and honest story (See book: “Fire in the Sky: The Walton Experience”) of his experience outside of Snowflake Arizona 35 years ago (November 5, 1975) in Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest.

    I’ve wanted to meet Travis for 15 years, and so meeting him face to face, seeing his first-hand account, on stage was truly remarkable. His quiet, and clearly disturbed demeanor – similar to someone experiencing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – and very well spoken recollection of that encounter, was truly beyond words. The only way I can describe this experience; haunting. As a skeptical, and critical thinker, his eerie recollection made perfect sense to me, and sans the typical distortion I found in other speeches. The witnesses, the polygraphs, and additional polygraph examinations the loggers, which were all passed (besides Dallis who had not completed his exam), collaborated their innocence. After all the polygraph tester, Cy Gilson’s official report stated: “These polygraph examinations prove that these five men did see some object they believed to be a UFO, and that Travis Walton was not injured or murdered by any of these men on that Wednesday”. The loggers all agreed to resubmit to an additional polygraph examination which they passed, corroborating their innocence.

    This array of nonsense and badly Photoshopped UFOs now referred to as “UAP’s” images as presented by Nancy Talbott, Stan “Starseed” Romanek, a con-artist who allegedly had been abducted, had robotic voice mail recordings left from so-called hybrid alien/human being “Audrey” (See: AT&T Labs Natural Voices(R) Text-to-Speech Demo of Audrey (UK English) for) who had been following him from his childhood to adulthood, certainly delegitimized a lot for me, making me walk away as less of a believer.

    It is one week tonight since I had the opportunity to meet with Jim (James) Penniston, as Nikki Olson referenced in this article. I was actually the individual who questioned him. I had to catch Penniston in the back area of the conference because he, in my opinion, purposely went over the permitted time for Q&A with the main presenter, Linda Moulton Howe. Perhaps this was done because Penniston and Howe may have wanted to avoid any sharp witted attendees and skeptics debunking their claims on-the-record (recorded and witnessed by almost 1000 people). When I approached Penniston to ask him these questions, he was indeed defensive and arrogantly dismissed me.

    To paraphrase my interaction:

    Me: “Mr. Penniston, pleasure to meet you.”

    Penniston: “Hello.”

    Me: “Yes, so in your speech you mention that these beings, allegedly from -”

    Penniston: “No, wait a minute. Beings? I didn’t say anything about beings.” [arrogant demeanor]

    Me: “Well, alleged humans from 40,000 years in the future.”

    Penniston: “Yes…”

    Me: “Well, if these alleged humans from 40,000 years in the future came back to take our DNA and chromosomes, why would they do this when we’ve already mapped the human genome? Would they not have any use for this DNA information? 40,000 years in the future is a long time, and one could assume almost everyone would have their DNA mapped by this time.”

    Me: “Look, I don’t know, I don’t know…”

    He retorted, and quickly and nervously I might add, rushed away.

    With no understanding of the oncoming Singularity and exponential growth, little understanding of current technologies, it is clear that Penniston, Nancy Talbott, Stan Romanek and the majority of the speakers and attendees are simply in the dark, with so many suffering from what I like to call True Believers Syndrome. Critical thinking, a healthy dose of skepticism while maintaining an open mind, and (no exaggeration) a well tuned b.s. detector was absolutely necessary for this event.

    Spouting pseudo-intellectual theologian views is the antithesis of science. It is not only important, but our duty as Singularitarians to expose the charlatans and help educate people while being careful not to dismiss legitimate abduction and sighting cases like those of Travis Walton and Betty and Barney Hill. After all, as the famous saying goes; the truth is out there.

    Regards,
    Anonymous

  • Matt

    Great, Thanks for the reply, Nikki.

  • http://twitter.com/CMStewartWrite CMStewart

    ” . . imagine the continuing acceleration of tech to lead to conversion of our Milky Way galaxy into materials and energy used to grow a vast singularity civilization, in perhaps a few hundred thousand years (faster if we can figure out a way of getting around Einstein) and then much later the conversion of the entire universe.”

    Perhaps the universe as it exists here and now is the result of an infinite number of Singularities, each Singularity triggering a fundamental universal transformation.

    Where are the ETs?- Who’s to say we have the senses or sensibilities to perceive them? I do not discount all the eye witness testimonies of alien spacecraft, alien visitors, and alien interaction / abduction of humans as 100% deliberate falsehoods. My best friend claims to have been abducted by an other-worldly entity. I don’t believe she is deliberately lying, and I don’t believe what actually happened to her is entirely attributable to her imagination. I just don’t know, as I wasn’t there. But while I find the existence of the popularly recognizable “alien spacecraft” forms plausible, and the humanoid “alien visitors” a bit less plausible- but still well within the realm of serious consideration- I tend to speculate advanced ETs and their methods of travel would be far more fugitive.

  • http://twitter.com/CMStewartWrite CMStewart

    “Is there such a thing as ‘too far away’ post Singularity?”

    I vote YES. But I would amend “too far away” to “dimensionally and/or perceptually incongruous.”

    Excellent review of the International UFO Congress, Nikki. I felt like I was there!

  • http://twitter.com/CMStewartWrite CMStewart

    “And this intelligence may be more than just visiting.”

    I agree. How do you think we humans got into the sorry state we’re in? We just don’t fit properly here on Earth, IMO.

  • Nathan Wosnack

    Great article, Nikki. It sounds like you had quite the experience out there in Arizona at this conference.
    Were there any discussions from the younger and/or “in the know” younger people concerning the Singularity at all, or perhaps the existential risks of nanotechnology by chance?

    If the claims from high up ex-military, NASA, NSA, CIA employees and others at the National Press Club Conference 2010 – who are willing to testify to Congress under penalty of perjury – that alien beings were indeed captured and were/are alive at Area 51 (along with their ship anti-gravity propulsion technology) are true, I do wonder if there are advancements that we are not aware of.

    Advancements that, if the specs were released would garner positive results and a democratization of knowledge, speeding up innovation. The help of extraterrestrial life with technology advancements, voluntarily or against their will, is one way humanity may be able to reach the Singularity faster than the 2045 date.

    – Nathan Wosnack

  • Nikki Olson

    Thank you for the additional information and content.

    I think its great that you questioned Penniston. Its too bad that it was off record in the hall rather than on stage and on film.

    As you will recall, he made it seem as though he was going to take questions from the audience, and many people lined up at the front in anticipation. But then they ran out of time because a question coming from Linda Howe (the co-presenter) dominated the last 5 minutes. I personally think it was a ploy to avoid questions that would show the weak points of their claims.

    Yes, meeting Travis was quite an experience for me as well. ‘Fire in the Sky’ is one of the scariest films I’ve seen.

    Did you get anything out of the Betty and Barnie Hill presentation? I find their case too difficult to follow so I chose not to write about it.

  • Nikki Olson

    Hi Nathan,

    Some of the younger people were aware of the Singularity. They didn’t attend much of the conference however since they were part of the entertainment aspect of the event. The person taking care of lighting knew quite a bit about the Singularity.

    With regards to advancements in technology by way of alien encounters, you would note that the subject is very much discussed in studies of colonization and imperialism. Stanislaw Lem, one of my favorite science fiction authors, explores this notion to some extent in ‘Solaris’. One has to remember the obstacles that ‘communication’ present when 2 different cultures interact, by which I mean, encountering artifacts from another species may not be as enlightening as one might wish due to breakdowns in communication. By ‘communication’ here, I mostly mean ‘understanding’.

    If you are familiar at all with the Bentwaters Mystery, Penniston foolishly claims to have brought humanity a message in the form of ‘binary code’. Stan Romanek and others write down math equations that they claim were inspired by contact with ET. There is reason to be highly skeptical (if not completely dismissive) of these claims, but its interesting that they have been put forth on a number of levels.

    Those of us who know where technology is going, however, would know enough to realize that machine language translators will be perfected in the near future, and so language barriers need not ever be a problem between advanced civilizations.

    Like I said in a comment above to Matt; I don’t think there is any evidence that this has already occurred, but it remains a possibility in the future.

  • Anonymous

    Nikki,

    You are most welcome. I am honored to have given you my detailed review of the conference from my perspective, and to have presented you with additional content.

    When Linda Howe and Jim (James) Penniston went into their wasting dialogue, discussing back and forth the “binary code” topic, even though no one waiting to ask questions had even brought that up, I knew precisely what was unfolding in front of me.

    I can safely assume they discussed this because they saw all the people waiting to ask them questions, and this was done to filter out on-the-record question and answers. This behavior was truly a shame and only served to tarnish their credibility. It is no wonder the scientific community has long avoided investigating alien abductions and UFOs (besides 1992’s “MIT Abduction Conference: Alien Discussions: Proceedings of the Abduction Study Conference Held at M.I.T.”) when behaviors like this emerge; all the evidence, testimony and facts become essentially academically moot.

    Questioning Penniston was very important. Insofar as it can be ascertained, Penniston’s lack of concise communication (and brush off), his uncomfortable body
    language when showing my open-minded skepticism, about the topic of DNA and chromosome collection (as well as the aforementioned behavior of him and Linda Howe) leads me to conclude this Bentwaters Mystery case is not open to any debate from the public. Looking back to last week, I’m somewhat surprised he didn’t give me a response of “buy my book, attend my next speech for a detailed explanation”.

    “The Betty and Barney Hill Case: Setting the Record Straight”, as presented by Kathleen Marden, their niece, on the Thursday was well done in my opinion. Kathleen’s presentation did manage to correct many erroneous statements made by writers concerning this sighting and abduction case. Although she, like other presenters, had particularly irritating diatribe against the scientific community (she even has a book out called “Science Was Wrong”), the way she presented the evidence and offered corrections to misinformation seemed solid.

    I have followed the Betty and Barney Hill abduction case for some time and what I’ve always found convincing were the way Betty and Barney’s descriptions of the abduction were quite similar; both in regular sessions as well as hypnosis sessions. The hypnosis session recordings of Betty and Barney hill were most disturbing, especially those recordings of Barney in which you can hear him screaming from absolute fear.

    While I am hard pressed to believe only the hypnosis sessions since they are not admissible nor considered reliable evidence; and there are plenty of criticisms that hypnotism can facilitate memories, and create false memories (sometimes through the use of leading questions by the individual performing the hypnosis session), the story about the mapped star chart was very fascinating. I was disappointed that Kathleen Marden did not have time to get into this, because it was the most interesting part of the entire abduction case. For those unfamiliar; it was reported that, while under hypnosis, Betty Hill drew a star chart that she recalled seeing when aboard the ship years before scientists had any way of identifying or mapping out star systems: Zeta 2 Reticuli System, the area where these beings were supposedly from. I’m definitely more skeptical of this case than Travis Walton’s case, due to the lack of witnesses, but I do think something strange happened to this couple.

    – Anonymous

  • Nikki Olson

    Thanks CMStewart! :)

    I will probably go back for the 25th Anniversary, in 5 years.
    Many people attending go every year and know one another. You get the sense that the US alien community is closely tied. Definitely an experience! Lots of really ‘out there’ people. One evening, at a dinner table of 8 for instance, I was the only one without an abduction story or a story about strange lights lol.

  • http://twitter.com/noodlebar James Wallace

    Hi Nikki!

    Loved this. I saw a UFO in my early teens that changed my life and its perspective. Realm of Impossiblity, EVERYTHING is possible. Pondering on my experience over the years, I wondered if what I saw was from our future. For some reason I believe it was. My experience was unarguable, different from anything I’ve read re: sightings. It started out resembling a comet (it was in our atmosphere) with a long tail trailing. Then I thought it was possibly a warhead. The flames disappeared, the craft changed directions, slowed down and flew over us (it was three of us). I saw lights, vaguely its shape, made NO SOUND. My description at that time was “it was like a snake in the sky”, not by it’s movement, but because of how it blended in with the night sky and how quiet it was. The craft SLOWED DOWN.

  • Nikki Olson

    Hi James!

    Its testimonies from people you trust (like how CMStewart reports her having a friend who she believes, that make it really hard to ignore witness testimony on this stuff, even though ‘witness testimony’ doesn’t go very far is rigorous scientific methods.

    Thanks for sharing your experience! Yes, the ‘no sound’ aspect of UFOs is a very very consistent observation coming from the more believable cases.

    This evening I received an email from the person operating this site: http://strangehorizons.blogspot.com/ who discussed my blog. Its very hard to find people who are interested in discussing the Singularity-UFO cross-over in an intelligent way, but Jon seems to be one of them and as you can see, devotes a blog to the relation between the two subjects.

    Thanks James :)

  • http://singularityblog.singularitysymposium.com/ Socrates

    Here is an interesting link that I just discovered at Discovery News: Has Evidence for Alien Life Been Found?

  • http://twitter.com/CMStewartWrite CMStewart

    Yes, and that should be *HUGE* news! I wonder why it’s not.

  • Nathan Wosnack

    Thanks for posting this, Socrates. I actually read about this yesterday afternoon and sent the Journal of Cosmology article to Nikki and others. Fascinating stuff, particularly in the official statement by Dr. Rudy Schild: “No other paper in the history of science has undergone such a thorough analysis, and no other scientific journal in the history of science has made such a profoundly important paper available to the scientific community, for comment, before it is published. We believe the best way to advance science, is to promote debate and discussion.”

    – Nathan Wosnack

  • Nikki Olson
  • Nikki Olson

    Hi CMStewart!

    In the Robin Hanson article I linked to (http://www.overcomingbias.com/2011/03/alien-life-info-but-not-status-found.html) he argues that from an ‘information’ standpoint, this new information should lead us to adopt a ‘strong likelihood ratio’, “now accepting the claim as more likely than not”

    He puts forth that the reason the information isn’t ‘exploding’ is that it lacks a person with status behind it.

    He points out that the journal is looking for such a person: (from the article)

    “Members of the Scientific community were invited to analyze the results and to write critical commentaries or to speculate about the implications. These commentaries will be published on March 7 through March 10, 2011.”

    And then goes on to say;

    “I’d bet these commentaries will mostly say this is interesting but doubts remain, that this evidence is too ordinary to support its “extraordinary” conclusion, and yet they’ll refuse to bet on the subject. How sad is that?”

  • http://twitter.com/CMStewartWrite CMStewart
  • http://twitter.com/CMStewartWrite CMStewart
  • Nikki Olson

    Harsh words about the ‘Journal of Cosmology'; ha ha ha

    “It doesn’t exist in print, consists entirely of a crude and ugly website that looks like it was sucked through a wormhole from the 1990s, and publishes lots of empty noise with no substantial editorial restraint. For a while, it seemed to be entirely the domain of a crackpot named Rhawn Joseph who called himself the emeritus professor of something mysteriously called the Brain Research Laboratory, based in the general neighborhood of Northern California (seriously, that was the address: “Northern California”), and self-published all of his pseudo-scientific “publications” on this web site.”

  • Nikki Olson

    Harsh words about the ‘Journal of Cosmology'; ha ha ha

    “It doesn’t exist in print, consists entirely of a crude and ugly website that looks like it was sucked through a wormhole from the 1990s, and publishes lots of empty noise with no substantial editorial restraint. For a while, it seemed to be entirely the domain of a crackpot named Rhawn Joseph who called himself the emeritus professor of something mysteriously called the Brain Research Laboratory, based in the general neighborhood of Northern California (seriously, that was the address: “Northern California”), and self-published all of his pseudo-scientific “publications” on this web site.”

  • Nathan Wosnack

    “I’m looking forward to the publication next year of the discovery of an extraterrestrial rabbit in a meteor. While they’re at it, they might as well throw in a bigfoot print on the surface and chupacabra coprolite from space. All will be about as convincing as this story.”

    LOL.

  • http://twitter.com/CMStewartWrite CMStewart

    For what it’s worth, wiki describes the “Journal of Cosmology” with “While the journal describes itself as peer-reviewed, several people have questioned the integrity of the process.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Journal_of_Cosmology

    And the journal is described as “fringe.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudolph_Schild

    But that’s wiki.

  • http://twitter.com/CMStewartWrite CMStewart

    Myers can be a bit over-enthusiastic in his attempts at ridicule, IMO. Read his bashing of Kurzweil for an example. But that’s another story.

    I would be also be thrilled with a space-rabbit in a rock. ;)

  • Anonymous

    http://www.sentientdevelopments.com/2011/03/remembering-robert-bradbury.html

    Sad news as reported last night by George Dvorsky, Canadian futurist and ethicist about an individual and highly influential SETI researcher and scientist, Robert Bradbury who died quite young…

    “While Robert Bradbury, who died at the age of 54, may not have had the most recognizable name in the various scientific communities he was involved in, his impact to future studies, and in particular its relation to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, cannot be overstated. Bradbury was a giant in this area, a creative and unconventional personality who paved the way for other like-minded thinkers and enthusiasts.”

    “… Nobody more than Robert insisted on the simple fact that the correct resolution of Fermi’s Paradox—the fact that we do not observe any presence of Galactic extraterrestrial intelligence—will provide us with crucial insights into humanity’s future. It was this particular notion that has personally driven me to pursue SETI studies as a means to predict humanity’s potential developmental trajectories. Simply put, if you can predict, or even observe, how advanced extraterrestrials operate, we stand a better chance of understanding our own future.”

  • UFOExaminer

    If you want ‘repeatable’ evidence, then one must consider the July, 1952 overflight of Washington, D.C by a number of silver disk shaped objects of phenomenal performance. Over the course of a weekend they were witnesses by ground and airborne observers (including police, air traffic control and pilots) and ground and airborne based radar.

    And just to make sure that the presentation was not casually dismissible as a one-time temperature inversion (an explanation that does not make technological sense, although it sounds as if it does to lay ears) the phenomenon repeated the performance a week later.

    The extended appearances in the Hudson Valley and repeated appearances in Belgium also qualify.

    One of the things that tends to bother those researchers in the field of UFO studies is the casually tossed assertion that there is “no evidence”. There is enough evidence to prove the existence of the UFO phenomenon to the extent that if it were a murder case being tried in a court of law a conviction could be assured. (Peter Gersten).

    However the implications of this evidence and the fact that it falls outside the box of context of the existing official paradigm are enough to make many discount it out-right, if they ever come across it at all.

    I can’t help but draw a comparison between the position western technological civilization finds itself in now with the situation immediately prior to the copernician revolution when evidence that we might be orbiting the sun rather than the opposite, which was the prevailing paradigm at the time was discounted by the existing power structure at the time. If I remember my history correctly, some in the church refused to even look through Galileo’s telescope at his evidence on the basis it could not possibly exist.

    Denial is a powerful mechanism when the status quo is at stake.

    If we are to understand the phenomenon, dialog must displace dogma as the basis of discussion.

    http://tinyurl.com/4cy7z55

    Which is why I find your work so heartening.

  • http://singularityblog.singularitysymposium.com/ Socrates

    UFO sightings have been made public by the FBI: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-13081831

  • Jeda

    Advanced extra terrestrials and the singularity do not fit in the same universe. The singularity will ultimately encompass the known universe in the search for more energy which includes our galaxy, solar system and planet. If an extra terrestrial species existed that were more advanced, evidence would surely exist by now as we ourselves are not far off achieving the technological singularity. The mere fact that no cold hard evidence is available to us suggests that it does not exist in the first place. Mathematical odds indicate that we are not alone in the universe, however, we just may be the oldest and most advanced, which is a scary thought.