Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Persuasive argument for space aliens

NY Magazine reports on an Israeli-American physicist pushing a new book:
In November 2017, an object passed by our planet that was unlike anything astronomers had ever seen. Spotted by a telescope in Hawaii, this strange thing was dubbed ‘Oumuamua. It moved too fast for it to have come from our solar system, its orbit was unusual, and it didn’t have any of the traditional markings of an asteroid or comet. All this led Dr. Avi Loeb to hypothesize that ‘Oumuamua was artificially made, perhaps a piece of technology or some debris from a faraway alien civilization. Before you discount Loeb, you should know that he isn’t the average UFO-spotting kook you might see on a rerun of Unsolved Mysteries. He’s an astrophysicist who has been teaching astronomy at Harvard since 1993, and chaired its astronomy department for nine years. In his new book, Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth, which comes out on January 26, Loeb makes a persuasive scientific argument about ‘Oumuamua’s otherworldly origins, and delves into why his peers have been so hostile to the idea of life outside of Earth.
No, it is not a persuasive scientific argument.

Remember the big story about the discovery of phosphine on Venus, as a sign of life? The discovery was not reproduced, and is probably bogus.

This belief in extraterrestial intelligent life is just another religious belief. Some people really want it to be true. It would validate their worldview somehow. I don't know why. It is one of many bizarre beliefs that are fashionable among academic physicists.

They are all atheists. They would never admit to believing in God, or Trumpism, or the soul. But tell some goofy story about a rock being sent to our solar system by space explorers from another planet, and they eat it up.

In interviews, Loeb aggressively argues that Bruno was burned at the stake in 1600 for teaching about the logical necessity of human life on other planet, and that Bruno was right. No, Bruno was a nut, and he was convicted of religious heresy.

Some physicists are not content with dreaming up alien beings in this universe. They want others too. A new Quanta magazine article starts:

What lies beyond all we can see? The question may seem unanswerable. Nevertheless, some cosmologists have a response: Our universe is a swelling bubble. Outside it, more bubble universes exist, all immersed in an eternally expanding and energized sea — the multiverse.
Too bad these modern cosmologists cannot be put on trial for heresy.


  1. “When men choose not to believe in God, they do not thereafter believe in nothing, they then become capable of believing in anything.”

    ― G.K. Chesterton

  2. To put this question to a remotely competent scientist should provide an answer along the lines of:

    INTERVIEWER: "What lies beyond all we can see? The question may seem unanswerable."

    SCIENTIST: "There actually is an entirely accurate answer, As a scientist, If I lack measurable evidence I must admit I DO NOT KNOW, and until I can observe AND measure something, I have no way of knowing."

    INTERVIEWER: "Can't you just guess?"

    SCIENTIST: "Anyone can say without knowing 'HC SVNT DRACONES'. I am not anyone, and I am utterly skeptical without credible data."

    “In God we trust; all others bring data.”

    ― W. Edwards Deming

  3. Okay, fine. Let's hear your take on the Drake Equation.