by Jay Johansen | Jul 14, 2022
It always grates on me when someone that I agree with makes a poor argument for a position that we share. I don't want to attack an ally. But I also don't want to let others get the impression that this is the best argument that can be offerred for our side. So in this article I discuss an example of my allies making a weak argument.
I sincerely doubt that Unidentified Flying Objects are alien spaceships and that aliens are regularly visiting Earth. But one very weak argument I've heard for this position is, "If aliens were really visiting Earth, why would they go to isolated rural areas? Why not land on the White House lawn and make contact with the president?"
The problem with this argument is that it assumes that if aliens really are visiting Earth, that their only possible motive is that they want to establish diplomatic relations with our government.
But ... who says? Maybe they are coming to engage in scientific research and contacting our government would just be an inconvenience and a distraction. Or maybe they're coming to search for raw materials. Or ... who knows?
When an oil company sends a team to a remote jungle searching for new sources for oil, they are not primarily interested in contacting the chief of the local tribe. They might do so because they want to be nice people, or because the law requires them to. But mostly the local tribe and its leadership are just an inconvenience that might get in the way of what they want to accomplish.
Would the oil company seek to establish formal diplomatic relations with the tribe? Would their team include government representatives authorized to engage in negotiations? And would they recognize the tribal leaders as having any sort of sovereignty requiring negotiations and diplomatic recognition?
If the aliens are crossing light years to get here, their technology must be far more advanced than ours. Maybe they don't think of any government we form as having any significance. Maybe a suggestion that they establish contact with our government would be like telling the president of the United States that he should send an ambassador to establish formal diplomatic relations with the class president of Mrs Murphy's third grade class. It would sound like a joke.
Do the aliens even have a government? Maybe the idea of "government" is something that never occurred to their civilization, or that they think of as something belonging to a long-past era. And so making contact with our government isn't something they even think about.
Even if the aliens wanted to contact our government, how would they know where to go? Presumably they could intercept our radio and TV communications. But they don't speak the language. Maybe they have advanced techniques to translate it. And maybe not.
If aliens are visiting the Earth, maybe they're not here for any formal purpose, like establishing diplomatic relations, scientific research or prospecting for resources. Maybe they're just a family here for a picnic or a group of friends seeking out a remote place for an adventure camping trip.
Maybe aliens have truly alien minds, and their motives for coming here wouldn't even make sense to us.
Let me repeat, I sincerely doubt that UFOs are alien spaceships or that aliens are visiting the Earth. But I find the argument, "If aliens really were visiting, they would make contact with the president of the United States" extremely weak. It makes all sorts of assumptions about the nature of alien civilization and their purpose in coming here, and we have no way of knowing if any of those assumptions are correct.
© 2022 by Jay Johansen
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