how long until the ‘ancient aliens’ folks get a hold of this?

Strange formations in Gobi DesertHow long do you think it will take the Ancient Aliens folks to interpret the recent discovery on Google Earth of formations in the Gobi Desert as the work of aliens on earth?

Obviously, China is up to something, but what is it? Is it a military testing ground? Is it a street map for a major city for use in targeting practice? Is it the latest massive Christo artistic installation? Is it the future of UPC or QR codes?

I don’t know. What we do know is that within a week or so, someone is going to claim that it’s some sort of alien landing strip. Just watch.

(FTR – my guess is a satellite calibration system for part of it, and a explosives testing site for the other. Pure speculation, but with the burnt out vehicles in one of the images, I’m guessing testing site.)

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discovering new ‘life’ as we know it

It’s coming. In fact, it may already be here.

NASA has announced that it has discovered a new form of ‘life’. This is based upon NASA-funded research in Mono Lake, CA which has discovered that a microbe, GFAJ-1, can live on toxic chemicals, without one of the elements previously thought to be essential to all life. Ed Weiler, NASA’s associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, declared:

“The definition of life has just expanded…As we pursue our efforts to seek signs of life in the solar system, we have to think more broadly, more diversely and consider life as we do not know it.”

Science previously concluded that all forms of life required six essential elements: carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, sulfur. GFAJ-1 substitutes the otherwise toxic arsenic for phosphorus, redefining what we previously understood to be the necessary context for ‘life’ on Earth. Because arsenic has been shown to be a successful substitute for phosphorus in the organism’s DNA, the formula  understood to be needed for life on other planets also changes. This means that in theory, sulfur no longer needs to be present on other planets in order to sustain life, which greatly increases the number of candidates for life-bearing environments in space.

Now, before you wet your pants, stop thinking about flying saucers and Erich von Däniken, and start thinking about the chemical components and environment needed for simple, microbial life. NASA researchers didn’t find intelligent life at the bottom of Mono Lake, they found and engineered microbes. It’s not intelligent life, but life nonetheless. This means that potential microbial life and ultimately intelligent life may also be discovered on planets that we previously dismissed as candidates for life.

Robert R. Cargill, Ph.D.

So, no, this discovery does not prove E.T. and it does not confirm what these nutjobs have been saying. It just means that a similar combination of elements needed for life on this planet may also be present elsewhere.

In fact, I seem to remember a guy on a show called Ancient Aliens refuting the nonsense that aliens gave us advanced weaponry, but adding in passing this prescient oracle (see the 5:38 mark):

“I think there is life – simple life, bacterial life, microbial life – on other planets. I think we’re going to find that. And who knows, maybe one day, we’ll find some other planet that is capable of sustaining life, that has evolved people over a long period of time that are also looking up at the stars wondering, “Is there anybody else out there? Are we the only ones?” – Robert R. Cargill, Ph.D.

watch ancient aliens on history channel

Ancient Aliens

Ancient Aliens appears Tuesday evenings on History Channel beginning April 20, 2010.

if you’re looking for something to watch this evening before lost, check out ancient aliens: the series. i should appear occasionally as a debunker, that is, a scholar whose job it is to say ‘no, no, no, no, no!’ really loudly a lot of times. i do not accept/believe that aliens are responsible for technological advances throughout history. i am on the show to explain why.

here’s the ad:

Ancient Aliens: The Series
Episode 1 – “Ancient Aliens: The Evidence” Premieres – TUES. April 20 8pm.

If ancient aliens visited Earth, what was their legacy, and did they leave behind clues that exist in plain sight such as sophisticated aircraft, complex electrical grids, and intricate construction machinery? Indian Sanskrit texts, dating back to 6000 B.C., describe in varying but vivid detail flying machines called Vimanas. Megalithic stone structures in Egypt reveal evidence of precision saw work. Interpretations of the Jewish Zohar writings offer depictions of a life-sustaining manna machine, eerily similar to chlorella algae processing systems today. Are these examples of modern technology, or is there evidence that these incredible mechanisms existed on Earth thousands of years ago?

Check your local listings for times. Ancient Aliens will air every Tuesday on History for the next 5 weeks.

enjoy!

the single greatest argument against junk science i have ever seen

intelligent_aliensthis is absolutely the best argument against ‘intelligent design,’ ancient aliens, and all other forms of junk science, pseudoscience, and sensationalism i’ve seen. in this short clip, the narrator provides a satirical argument eviscerating the popular tendency of junk scientists to bypass critical method, peer-review, and all forms of scientific evidence to make an otherwise unfounded claim. the portion of the video that compares claims of alien involvement in the development of humanity’s various technologies to the present ‘intelligent design’ movement, which uses the court system and claims of academic freedom to advance non-scientific theories under threats of violation of the equal protection clause.

why produce evidence when you can claim that your ‘belief’ is free speech, and that it should be considered just as ‘possible’ as theories that have veritable support of actual scientific data?

you see, doing science is hard work. conducting original research, writing technical papers with lots of footnotes and publishing them in reputable journals where they’ll be critically examined by other highly trained scientists isn’t exactly easy. even if you are lucky enough to make it through the peer-review process unscathed, you still have to present your work at professional conferences, where the world’s experts will pick apart your assumptions and methods to find anything that you might have overlooked in your research. why would anybody voluntarily subject themselves to this madness? i can understand doing it to get some honest feedback, but if your mind is already made up, what’s the point of exposing yourself to criticism?

this is where i believe the intelligent alien intervention institute can learn a thing or two from the discovery institute, the driving force behind the ‘intelligent design’ movement. the ‘intelligent design’ movement has discovered how to effectively bypass the protocols traditionally used to weed out junk science. just think how useful such a loophole could be.

absolutely classic!

circular reasoning, public appeal, demonizing science and scientists, the use of the court system, the assistance of politicians and fundraising, and claims of freedom of expression are all tactics used by amateurs, hacks, pseudoscientists, and sensationalists to advance their claims when they possess no data to support them.

this video makes this point succinctly and in a most entertaining fashion. with thanx to michael heiser for the tip and creator gordon j. glover, give it a look.

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