Thursday, March 30, 2006

EDH vs. ETH

Mac Tonnies, at his always thought-provoking blog Posthuman Blues, has been speculating lately about the relative likelihood of the two primary non-mundane explanations for the UFO phenomenon, the Extra-terrestrial Hypothesis (ETH), i.e. "they" are from other worlds, and the Extra (or Ultra) dimensional Hypothesis (EDH), i.e. that "they" are from some sort of other dimension, or parallel universe. See Mac's columns here and here for his recent columns on the subject, which seem to favour the EDH.

If the proverbial gun was put to my head, and I had to pick one of the two explanations, I go the other way. Call me a "nuts and bolts" guy, but if "they" are here, then I think it is most likely that "they" are coming "from away" as we say in the Maritimes - "away" being somewhere else in our galaxy, probably our local cosmic neighbourhood (to borrow one of Stan Friedman's favourite phrases).

Why?

Well, let me state first that I don't rule out the existence of other dimensions, or parallel universes, although I certainly don't accept them as some sort of proven reality. However, unless beings are travelling to our Earth from another Earth in some other dimension (the Sliders / Quantum Leap concept), or some other time perhaps (hello, Dr. Who), then they are by definition extraterrestrial, and so the ETH, even if it relies on the EDH or TDH for them to get here, is the most valid theory.

For me, the key thing is, the ETH is the one theory - other than the "its all explainable by terrestrial phenomena" theory - that we could actually accomplish, with our current level of knowledge (or something very close to it), should we ever decide to apply the resources necessary. If we accept that there is other life in our nearby cosmic neighborhood, which seems more and more likely with each passing year, then it is reasonably likely (at least 50/50) that they have that same technology, or better. That technology doesn't have to be thousands of years beyond our own - it may only have to be a few decades beyond our own. After all, look how far we've come in the past 100 years. Heck, look how far we've advanced in the past 10! Now, consider what we will be able to accomplish in 1,000 years, or say 5,000 - a blip on the universal clock. Michio Kaku has some interesting thoughts on this topic well worth reading.

To me, the people who seem to gravitate to the EDH are motivated by an inability to comprehend why an ET race would behave in the manner that some seem to, according to reports. Assuming those reports are true (a big assumption, but...), all I can say is "so, what makes it unlikely that they are ET?" After all, we know nothing about how an ET civilization would be structured - their social order, their behaviour, their concept of morality (if they even have one), their beliefs, etc. To assume that they would behave anything like us is the height of cultural hubris. To assume that they're coming here as a result of us, as opposed to some other reason, is also big leap. As far as "they" are concerned, we might occupy the same place on the evolutionary chain as an ant does to me when I walk down the sidewalk. I usually don't even notice them. Finally, to assume that "they" are biological entities is a big assumption as well. Odds are that "they" may be artificial life forms of some sort (here's hoping it's not an advance scouting party for the Borg, but something more along the lines of Tickle-Me-Elmo, or Jessica Simpson, pictured left, two of the more friendly artificial "life" forms on our planet).

Rather than grapple with these questions, however, the EDH supporters have basically thrown up their hands and said something to the effect of "well, aliens would never behave like that, so it must be some sort of extra / ultra-dimensional reality". Consider me unimpressed with that line of "reasoning".

It gets worse when people trot out the concept of "the Trickster" - as far as I'm concerned, you might as well be talking about leprechauns, or saying that it's all the work of Satan, because at this point you've moved beyond any real scientific reasoning, and into the land of myth, or belief. Nothing wrong with that, but just don't expect me to buy into it as a reasonable working hypothesis based on science, because it isn't. It's more suited for the Dungeons and Dragons set.

Anyway, as nobody knows for sure what UFOs are, much less where they might be from, then the debate is not much more than an interesting way to pass the time. The problem comes when one group insists, as they often do, that their "theory" is "fact". In my experience, this is usually the ETH die-hards (although I've noticed the EDH die-hards getting more vocal lately about the primacy of their view), which is where I part ways with them. I agree with them that their theory is more plausible than the EDH. But neither is anywhere near proven as a fact.

Still, when push comes to shove, I'm an ETH guy.

Emphasis always on the "H".

Paul Kimball

8 comments:

Mac said...

Oh, come on, Paul. Where's your sense of postmodernism? ;-)

Seriously: Very good points. But you haven't had the last word yet!

Cheers,
Mac

Paul Kimball said...

Mac:

Post-whazzit?

Stop usin' the high-falutin' words and terms, you show off!

:-)

Paul

Anonymous said...

Paul, you wrote:

"It gets worse when people trot out the concept of "the Trickster" - as far as I'm concerned, you might as well be talking about leprechauns, or saying that it's all the work of Satan, because at this point you've moved beyond any real scientific reasoning, and into the land of myth, or belief. Nothing wrong with that, but just don't expect me to buy into it as a reasonable working hypothesis based on science, because it isn't. It's more suited for the Dungeons and Dragons set."

I am curious as to how you can so easily dismiss this. At what point in time, if they are here, do you hypothesize they arrived here? And if they have been here awhile, might they not have been perceived throughout the ages in the context of the amassed knowledge at any given time. Elementals, Trickters, Pookahs - these "mythological" characters all demonstrate the same sorts of behaviors as todays Greys, Mantis and little Blue Doctor entities, as reported.

Just wanted to throw that out there and again, just curious as to your thoughts. One other thing, have you ever heard of the 17th century theosophist, Jane Lead? If so, what did you think of her writings? If not, boy do I have a story to share with you. It won't take much to get you interested.

~C

Ray said...

Paul:

I hope you don't mind crossposting. I posted the following at Mac's blog and I wanted to get yor reaction here at your blog.

= = = =

When it comes to UFOS/ETs, why does One Answer Fits All? It's like that stupid concept they tried to foist on consumers years ago with clothing: One Size Fits All. Like one wag observed, One Size Fits No One.

Why not overlapping explanations? Isn't it possible that there's more than one cause for events that appear to be the same? For example, maybe there are extraterrestrial objects in our skies and sometimes the government allows the stories of such sightings to cover up test flights of experimental aircraft. So a weird nocturnal light could be an ET probe or a new top-secret aircraft. Maybe it's a natural phenomenon like the northern lights, but more isolated and rare. (Nocturnal ball lightning.) Or just an advertising blimp seen at a deceptive angle. Why pigeonhole every event into one tidy explanation?

I think the word "unidentified" in UFO should be stressed.

Ray X

Paul Kimball said...

Ray:

You are correct - the various theories are not mutually exclusive. It is possible that both the ETH and EDH are true (just as it is possible that neither are true). However, what we are discussing are the relative merits of each, and the relative likelihood of them being true. My point is that I find the ETH to be the far more likely explanation for UFOs, when compared with the EDH.

Look at it this way - in a civil case in a court of law, the issue is judged on the balance of probablities, meaning is it more likely or not that A happened as opposed to B (A being the explanation offered by one side, and B that offered by the other). That is the standard that it relevant here, as we are still just dealing with theories, none of which can be proved anywhere near the standard of beyond a reasonable doubt.

However, as I stated in my column, this is, or at least it should be, an intellectual exercise more than anything else, as UFOs remain exactly that - unidentified.

Paul

P.S. Never worry about cross-posting. I'm always happy to have any comment (well, any intelligent comment). The more well-thought out views, in the more places, the merrier.

Thanks for stopping by!

Paul Kimball said...

C:

You wrote:

"I am curious as to how you can so easily dismiss this. At what point in time, if they are here, do you hypothesize they arrived here? And if they have been here awhile, might they not have been perceived throughout the ages in the context of the amassed knowledge at any given time. Elementals, Trickters, Pookahs - these "mythological" characters all demonstrate the same sorts of behaviors as todays Greys, Mantis and little Blue Doctor entities, as reported."

The same way I dismiss anything else - easily, without any real thought, and glibly, with a sneer on my face.

:-)

Hmm... seems like I was briefly possessed by Alfred Lehmberg there for a second. [Shudder]

Seriously...

I don't dismiss the EDH. However, the "Trickster" concept, which I always find pretty ill-defined by those who propose it, strikes me as based more on myth, and wishful thinking (in some cases) than on serious scientific reasoning. Really, I have never seen a coherent, reasoned, thoughtful argument in favour of the Trickster concept. That doesn't mean that one doesn't exist, I suppose, but if it does then I have not been made aware of it.

The ETH is grounded in science - the science of physics, biology, space travel, life on other worlds, and so forth. That it why I favour it, as opposed to an explanation which is more fitting, in my opinion, with Bullfinch's Mythology.

Of course, the EDH has a scientific component as well, parallel universes and so forth being a valid scientific theory. I just think it's far more speculative than those that underpin the ETH.

As for whether ET (or whatever) has been here throughout the ages, of course that's possible. UFO reports didn't magically begin in 1947, after all (one of the great flaws amongst the ETHers, in my opinion, is that they tend to use this as their starting date). Perhaps it is just our perception of them that changes - fairies (or whatever) hundreds of years ago, aliens today. But that cuts both ways - Old Hag / succubus hundreds of years ago, and alien abductions today. The point isn't what label we put on it, but rather what the cause is, and here I see no valid argument in the "Trickster" vein that can explain the modern UFO phenomenon. I think it's a cultural artifact from an earlier, more superstitious era that retains a following among the more "New Age" elements of ufology.

Paul

Paul Kimball said...

C:

I only have a passing familiarity with Lead, from my grad school days. However, as a student of Henry Alline, I have a great deal of interest in mystics, so I'll have to do a bit more research into Lead. You have piqued my interest! :-)

Paul

Anonymous said...

Thanks Paul...I agree. Which is why I find Lead and her writings fascinating.

As a rebuttal to Clancy's published work last fall, at least to the "Cultural Influence" argument regarding abductions, I thought if I could show that the basics of the phenomenon could be found in history, this could at least scuttle that argument. I recalled a post I had read on Rense (ugh) regarding Lead and her writings. That post can be found here:

http://www.rense.com/ufo5/lead.htm

Jesse Glass published this in 1999. In 2003, the entire works of Lead were transcribed and published here.

http://www.passtheword.org/Jane-Lead/

Please note I am with Glass when he writes:

"Jane Lead's visions, though expressed in quaint and archaic English, and obscured in part by theosophical terminology, nevertheless escape the strictures imposed upon them by time and point of view, to inhabit their own region of the numinous. No matter how Jane Lead struggles to force what she sees into the Procrustean bed of conventional theology, the strangeness and specificity of her visions, call us back time and again to wonder over the real import of their message."

I have discovered she had more in common with todays abduction scenarios than not. Some examples:

March the 22d, 1677.

In the Night, as I was waiting in my wonted solemn Retirement, what might further be administered. I was cast as into a magical Sleep, where I saw my self carried into a Wilderness; where I saw only pleasant, pastoral Walks and Trees, which much suited with my Mind and Inclination there to walk; where I found nothing to disturb my superiour Meditations. In which place I promised my self opportunity, as not willing that either my Name, or Place should be known to any, saving One. But while I was thus pleasured in my reserved state, I suddainly did see one, that was known to me, walking very strait and upright, with a Book reading in his Hand: He seemed to be as one, that would not look awry. But it was said presently, that this Person was a Spy: then presently two more did appear of the Female Sex, both which did make a kind of Assault upon me; but one of the Females was more fierce, and did give my outward Skin a prick, as with a sharp Needle. Upon which I called for Angelical aid to succour me, or else too hard they would be. Whereupon I was parted from them, and saw them in that place no more: A voice, saying, None here shall henceforth come, but such as can agree to walk with thee perfectly. And so the Vision broke up."

Several days later she writes:

"Some Days after I did further enquire into the more full meaning of this Vision, why such should so conspire against my solitary reserved Life: but especially that one, who was in my Eye of more value, because of a known Life of Truth, and Integrity?

I found this written upon my Heart, Their Eyes must for a while be with-held; they will not you know, till ye can get the new Name engraven, as of precious Stones upon your Forehead. For it was secretly whispered to my Spirit, that in some there might be a refined and spiritual Emulation, as in others a more Gross and Sensual. Both of which I had councel, and caution, how to walk with; so as no occasion of stumbling might be given justly to the gainsaying Spirits: Whose pryings were to see how we would walk, while in the Wilderness state."

In this passage, Jane describes a presentation:

March the 11th, 1677.

In my first Sleep, in the Night time, many magical Workings and Ideas were presented to me. As first, a Figure of a Woman, with a Crown upon her Head, who seemed to me to be but of a small Stature, but her Visage was bright as the Sun, and clear as the Moon, with a White loose Garment girt about her with a seeming White Silken Girdle, who came near to me, saying, Behold and see, what ye may arrive to be in me? And so passed away.

Then after a while, there was a Child all Lovely and Fair put into my Arms; it was all naked, of a smooth shining Skin; I could not see who it was that disposed it to me, but it was unexpectedly let down into my Arms. I thought it to be very Weighty, though but little; so passing to go away with it, it suddainly slipped through my Arms unto the Ground, at which I gave a great Screek, and with great Fear and Concern, took it up again without much Damage."

These are but a few of the passages I discovered and although I know it is impossible to accept as proof of anything, in my mind, I have come to believe that whatever is here, it has been here a long time. I have one more, one specific to me that is most interesting. It revolves around an experience I had that Martin Jasek has posted at his UFO*BC website. My account was written -prior- to my reading of Kevin's account. You will see how this all comes together in connection with J. Lead in my next post.

http://www.ufobc.ca/Beyond/asimilarencounter.htm

I share this with you because I need your eye. I have read you for awhile, both on The List and elsewhere, and suspect from this post you have tangled with the good Dr. Wu, as have I in the past....:rolleyes:...LOL

Cheers,

~C