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Harvard Astronomer Stands By His Alien Theory

by Dugan Arnett                     April 3, 2019                     (bostonglobe.com)

• ‘Oumuamua’, a mysterious celestial object that hurtled close to the Earth in 2017, is the first known object to come here from outside the solar system. Rob Weryk, the person who initially spotted Oumuamua at the University of Hawaii, says that there isn’t “any reason to believe that it’s anything but a natural object.”

• But Professor Abraham ‘Avi’ Loeb (pictured above) of Harvard’s Center for Astrophysics noted that the object did not behave like a typical comet or asteroid. If it were a comet, Loeb said, its excess acceleration would have likely been apparent in the form of a tail of dust or gas. Also, its elongated shape is unlike any asteroid or comet observed before. Loeb said he is simply using the available data to draw an evidence-based conclusion. “Let’s put all the possibilities on the table,” Loeb said. Perhaps, Loeb reasoned, the object had been an artificial object sent from an extraterrestrial civilization. “If someone would show me clear evidence that it’s natural in origin, then I would admit it and move on,” he said.

• Loeb’s speculation has drawn the ire of the scientific community. Astrophysicists from across the country have spoken out against Loeb’s theory, painting him as a sensationalist and worse. Some think that Loeb’s assertions will damage the field’s long-term credibility. “[P]eople think that astronomers are just hunting for aliens,” said Paul M. Sutter, astrophysicist at Ohio State University. “The next time we go out to Congress or the public asking for money, there’s going to be a lot of people shaking their heads saying, ‘Oh, you guys are just nutballs.’”

• But Loeb has refused to back down, digging in his heels against what he considers unjust appraisal. His work, he insists, is not the result of some half-baked sci-fi fantasy. The researchers whose opinions Loeb does value have offered support for the idea — even if they’ve been wary of putting their names to it publicly. Loeb argues that scientific study has become far too conservative — avoiding controversial or unpopular examinations in favor of safer subjects that might earn a scientist an award or induction into a prestigious society, but are not necessarily conducive to substantial scientific advances.

• Irwin Shapiro, the former longtime director of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, called Loeb “brilliant.” Stephen Hawking once dined at his home. In 2012, Loeb was named one of the 25 most influential people in space by Time Magazine.

• Loeb was raised in an Israeli farming village. He passed his days reading philosophy books and writing notes to himself. He didn’t move into the field of astrophysics until the age of 26. “The reason I’m different from my colleagues,” he said, “is because I was different from the beginning.”

• In spite of the backlash, Loeb has been happy to field calls from media outlets across the world, and is close to signing a deal for a book on ‘Oumauamua’. Seven different filmmakers have reached to him out about the possibility of doing a film.

 

Like a lot of people, Avi Loeb, the chairman of Harvard University’s renowned astronomy department, does his best thinking in the shower.

It’s where he has hatched ideas for papers on black holes and the future of the universe, and where, last year, he spent some time pondering a notion that would eventually make him — in some circles, at least — the subject of considerable ridicule.

artist’s rendering of ‘Oumuamua’

He’d been thinking about the phenomenon of ‘Oumuamua, a mysterious object that hurtled close to the Earth in 2017. It had become an instant sensation in the scientific community, the first known object from outside the solar system, and astronomers and astrophysicists had jumped to analyze and explain the anomalous object. Theories were developed. Papers were published.

Loeb had a theory, too, and late last year, he detailed it, along with co-author and postdoctoral researcher Shmuel Bialy, in an article for The Astrophysical Journal Letters. Perhaps, he reasoned, the structure had been an artificial object sent from an extraterrestrial civilization.

Almost immediately, the piece ignited the kind of firestorm rarely, if ever, seen in the buttoned-down world of modern-day astronomy.

In the months since the paper’s publication, astrophysicists from across the country have spoken out against Loeb’s theory, painting him as a sensationalist and worse. The researcher who first discovered ‘Oumuamua — Hawaiian for “messenger from afar arriving first” — via telescope has called Loeb’s suggestions “wild speculation.” Another compared Loeb’s logic to that of flat-earthers.

But even as criticism has continued to pour in, Loeb — who is short and slight and wears a near-constant half-smile — has refused to back down, digging in his heels against what he considers unjust appraisal.

He has brushed off much of the negative feedback as the jealous or prejudiced grumblings of scientists he doesn’t respect, adding that the researchers whose opinions he does value have offered support for the idea — even if they’ve been wary of putting their names to it publicly.

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How the Increasing Belief in Extraterrestrials Inspires Our Real World

by D.W. Pasulka                  March 11, 2019                     (vice.com)

• It used to be that mainstream scientists such as Stephen Hawking would describe believers in UFOs and extraterrestrials as fringe “kranks”. But today, many respectable scientists not only believe in ET and UFOs, but claim to have been in communication with them, or have even had a close encounter. The article’s author, Diana Walsh Pasulka, has written a book entitled: American Cosmic: UFOs, Religion, Technology, which reveals how the increasing belief in nonhuman intelligence inspires our science and entertainment.

• Jacques Vallée is a computer scientist who has long been open to the reality of the extraterrestrial presence on and around the earth. He consulted on Steven Spielberg’s movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and he paved the way for other Silicon Valley scientists and biotechnologists to draw from alien technology, using technology from alien spacecraft crash sites and information from mental downloads.

• Technology entrepreneur Rizwan Virk claims to have spoken with top researchers at Stanford, MIT, and Harvard who have actually seen alien “artifacts”. Virk also says that he accompanied several research scientists to an alien spaceship crash site in New Mexico, which was not the Roswell crash.

• Pasulka maintains that religions are social phenomena that emerge from their environments. Today’s digital environment (through films, phones, and computers) is producing new forms of religious beliefs which take for granted that extraterrestrials are in regular communication with humans on earth. The difference between these “religious” beliefs is that traditional religions require blind belief without real proof. The belief in extraterrestrial intelligence interacting with earth humans, however, is something that will be proven true.

• Until now, scientists and researchers have shied away from expressing their belief in an extraterrestrial presence, due to what Pasulka calls “the John Mack Effect.” Dr. John Mack was a Pulitzer Prize winning research psychiatrist working at Harvard University. In the 1990s Mack began a study of people who believed that they were in contact with extraterrestrial intelligence and found that they were not delusional, but were perfectly normal. Still, Harvard University questioned his motives in an internal investigation, and portrayed him as a ‘kook’. This produced a chilling effect related to the study of UFOs as scholars became unwilling to risk their reputations to study the phenomena.

• However, a recent presentation by Garry Nolan of Stanford University at the Harvard Medical School’s Consortium for Space Genetics, argued that the people who would be best equipped to explore space would be those whose brains were attuned to nontraditional forms of knowledge, and who have the ‘hyperintuition’ – the ability to know things beyond normal means, like a sixth sense. These are the types of people who should be chosen to investigate extraterrestrial destinations, says Nolan.

• For her book, Pasulka interviewed a biotechnologist named Thomas, who works in the field of cancer research. Thomas has introduced ‘implant technology’ to the field, using implant devices etched with a laser and coded so that human tissue recognizes and adapts to them. But he made a point not to reveal to his fellow scientists that he got the idea of an implant from alleged extraterrestrial technology. Says Thomas, “It would have been so far removed from their own belief systems that it would have been impossible for them to implement my vision. So, I keep that part secret.”

• The potential of almost unimaginable space infrastructures has created a new form of religion based on possible realism. Given the ways in which religious and spiritual beliefs develop, the emerging connection between Silicon Valley technopreneurs and alien technology is not surprising. As Vallée said, ‘the apparent absurdity of the claims does not mean they are not true’.

 

I first met Thomas* through a mutual friend. By most societal standards, Thomas would be considered “normal”—he’s a successful biotechnologist with a partner and kid, he enjoys long walks on the weekend and eating out. In his work, he helps create technologies that help people recover from illnesses, such as cancer. But the inspiration for some of Thomas’s most successful technologies—such as implant devices that are etched with a laser and coded so that human tissue recognizes them as itself, and not a foreign agent, or the use of an ancient stem cell that appears to help alleviate pain associated with cancer—is not something he openly shares. Why? Because, he explained to me, the implants were inspired by “nonhuman intelligence.” In other words, it wasn’t his own brilliant idea, nor was it another human’s. He believes that it came from a supernatural source, perhaps extraterrestrial.

His research protocol was, to be blunt, not transparent. He never told any of the scientists he recruited to his team where he acquired the idea for the new technology, because, according to Thomas, “First, they would have thought I was really weird, and second—and most importantly—it would have prevented them from being successful in implementing the necessary steps to create the technology. It would have been so far removed from their own belief systems that it would have been impossible for them to implement my vision. So, I keep that part secret.”

     Diana Walsh Pasulka

It has long been the case that people who believe in UFOs or extraterrestrials are characterized, as Stephen Hawking has described them, as “cranks” or fringe dwellers. Despite that association, some of the world’s brilliant, Nobel Prize–winning minds, among them the mathematician John Nash and the biochemist Kary Mullis, have had experiences they perceive to be close encounters. The University of Oxford’s Richard Dawkins, famous for his advocacy of Darwin’s theory of evolution as well as his disbelief in God and religions, nonetheless has suggested that human civilization may have been seeded by an alien civilization.

More strikingly, according to research by psychologists, belief in extraterrestrials is increasing in unprecedented ways. I myself found this to be the case, especially among contemporary technopreneurs (entrepreneurs who use technology to make an innovation or fill a need), just like Thomas. A belief that was once on the fringe now appears to be the new black. Spending a day with high-functioning believers—as I have done several times in the past few months as research for my book American Cosmic: UFOs, Religion, Technology—reveals a lot about how the increasing belief in nonhuman intelligence inspires our real world as well as our entertainment.

                 Riz Virk

Perhaps the first technopreneur who has long been “out” concerning his belief in UFOs is Jacques Vallée, who worked on ARPANET (the proto-internet), a program funded by the military. In fact, he was working on this new technology while experimenting with telepathic phenomena, what some would call “woo-woo” science. Vallée was so well known for his study of UFOs that Steven Spielberg asked him to consult on the set of Close Encounters of the Third Kind (the French scientist played by François Truffaut in the movie is based on Vallée). He was one of the first vocal technologists to advocate for the study of UFOs, and he paved the way for a slew of other Silicon Valley scientists and biotechnologists who believe that the secret to their success is alien technology—in other words, artifacts found at alleged alien spacecraft crash sites or information provided to them through mental downloads.

                            Garry Nolan

The gaming expert, technologist, and investor Rizwan Virk confirms this new direction in the belief and practices associated with UFOs. In an article on the website Hacker Noon, he wrote, “I can say that I have personally spoken to researchers from top universities (Stanford, MIT, Harvard) who have seen the “artifacts” that the article references, and other similar ones that are even more secretive (and perhaps more functional).” In my own research, I have also met scientists who believe in these artifacts; I’ve even accompanied several of them on an expedition to an alleged alien crash site in New Mexico, which, I was told, was “not Roswell.” But I couldn’t tell you where, exactly, we were, as I was blindfolded so I wouldn’t be able to identify the location.

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Fear of What’s Out There Causes Big Split Among Space Scientists

by Peter Fimrite            February 25, 2019                   (sfchronicle.com)

• A faction of the San Francisco-based SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) has split off to form METI, or Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence. While SETI traditionalists believe humans should only look and listen for extraterrestrials to avoid tipping off evil aliens, the METI group intends to broadcast messages to space aliens. The clash is the first major division in the tight-knit community of astronomers, astrophysicists, philosophers, psychologists and science fiction writers who are convinced intelligent beings are out there somewhere.

• SETI has been searching in vain for radio signals or some other sign of life beyond Earth from its Bay Area Mountain View headquarters for 35 years. Astrobiologist Douglas Vakoch, who split with the METI group, says, “What if [the ET’s] position is, ‘No, you are the ones who are new to this game. You send us a signal first.’” METI will employ radar and laser technology to beam more powerful multi-directional messages into space.

• SETI astronomers are worried that less-then-friendly extraterrestrials might be more inclined to enslave Earthlings and mercilessly plunder and destroy Earth. “We wonder whether the galaxy that we are in is maybe a dark forest, where it is dangerous to scream because there are creatures out there unhappy with new life forms,” said astronomer Andrew Fraknoi. “You don’t want to advertise your presence in a dark forest.” Stephen Hawking was among those who warned that aliens “may not see us as any more valuable than we see bacteria.”

• Vakoch formed METI after a vote in 2014 by the SETI Institute board rejecting his plans to broadcast messages. Vakoch and his supporters reason that any predatory civilization would probably have detected us by now, since our radar, radio and television signals would long ago have signaled our presence. They began sending active signals into space in 2017. “We may have to target hundreds and thousands and maybe millions of stars before we find anything.” Says Vakoch. “I view this as a reflection of the natural growth of SETI.”

• Using Earth’s current technology, it would take 80,000 years for an astronaut to reach the closest star, Alpha Centauri. Fraknoi speculates that self-replicating civilizations could travel through space for thousands of years and still be alive to tell about it when the trip is over.

• Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer at the SETI Institute who supports Vakoch’s work, says that given the enormous distances, we may never find intelligent life if we don’t get out there and look for it. “No transmissions into the sky because there might be nasty aliens out there.’ That’s just paranoia. Paranoia is not a good long-term policy.”

• The issue moved to the forefront in 1989 when SETI scientists published a declaration of principles on how international leaders should be consulted before anyone replies to an ET signal. A committee of the International Academy of Astronautics took it a step further in the 1990’s, urging consultations with world leaders before anyone attempts to broadcast a powerful message into space that is likely to be detectable by alien life.

• “Human history is littered with examples of societies disrupted by direct contact with others, even when it was led by idealistic missionaries,” Says Michael Michaud, former director of the State Department’s Office of Space and Advanced Technology. “Ignore the Hollywood scenario of reptilian aliens landing on Earth’s surface to conquer our planet. They would not need to use futuristic weapons; the correct pesticide would do.”

[Editor’s Note]  Could the real purpose for these “scientists” to labor in vain for decades be to simply to create a disinformation campaign to make people believe that ‘smart people’ are actively looking for alien beings, and since they haven’t officially found any, then we can presume that there are no aliens out there?  Mainstream science willfully denies the ample proof that dozens of different extraterrestrial species have visited the Earth over the past seventy years. Some alien species are positive and some are negative. The positive ones abide by a galactic law of non-interference with a low-level developing species such as we humans on Earth. The negative ones however, which do include the Draco Reptilians, couldn’t give a hoot about galactic law. But their M.O. is not to wipe us out and take over the planet. They prefer to keep us mind-controlled, determining what we are allowed to know, and using us as slave workers to generate an economic and industrial resource that they can exploit to continue to build out their own secret space program, off-world bases and colonies. Also, the system is set up so that humans must perpetually endure emotional fear, confusion, hardship, conflict and war, in order to create a form of energetic sustenance called ‘loosh’, which the higher negative Archon beings require. If we all woke up, turned to the loving Creator, and denied these negative beings all of this negative energy, this perverted system would collapse virtually overnight.

 

A cosmic rift has opened between Bay Area astronomers and a splinter group of San Francisco stargazers who are hell-bent on contacting space aliens, hang the consequences.

       Douglas Vakoch

The schism pits the traditionalists, who believe humans should only look and listen for extraterrestrials to avoid tipping off evil aliens, against a rebel faction that wants to broadcast messages to intelligent beings, assuming they are altruistic.
The battle is so heated that one prominent scientist quit the Mountain View group known as SETI, or Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, to form METI, or Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence.

    Andrew Fraknoi

“We’ve always assumed the extraterrestrials were looking for us,” Vakoch said. But “what if their position is, ‘No, you are the ones who are new to this game. You send us a signal first.’”

SETI has been searching for radio signals or some other sign of life beyond Earth from its Mountain View headquarters for 35 years, but with nothing to show for its effort, Vakoch and other restless alien hunters are insisting on a more active search, including employing radar and laser technology to beam more powerful multidirectional messages into space.

The problem, many SETI astronomers warn, is that, instead of an intergalactic kumbaya, intelligent extraterrestrials might very well be more inclined to enslave Earthlings and mercilessly plunder and destroy Earth.

Those who adhere to this dark theory imagine humanity as a childlike form of life lost in an Amazonian jungle crawling with skulking predators, said Andrew Fraknoi, a SETI Institute board member.

                  Seth Shostak

“We wonder whether the galaxy that we are in is maybe a dark forest, where it is dangerous to scream because there are creatures out there unhappy with new life forms,” said Fraknoi, an astronomer who will be teaching a course in April called Aliens in Science and Science Fiction at the University of San Francisco’s Fromm Institute. “With every strong signal we send out, we advertise our presence, and you don’t want to advertise your presence in a dark forest.”

The clash represents the first major division in the traditionally tight-knit community of astronomers, astrophysicists, philosophers, psychologists and science fiction writers who are convinced intelligent beings are out there somewhere.
Vakoch and his supporters, including some astronomers at SETI, call the dark forest analogy silly. Any predatory civilization would probably have detected us by now simply by analyzing our atmosphere, they reason. Humans, Vakoch said, have been using radar, which can purportedly be detected 70 light-years away, since World War II. Television and radio signals would long ago have signaled our presence to malevolent space ruffians, he said.

          Michael Michaud

Unconcerned about an invasion of intergalactic invertebrates who are out for our heads, Vakoch adapted a transmitter and used a Norwegian observatory in late 2017 to send a message 12.4 light-years away to Luyten’s Star, a red dwarf with a large planet in the constellation Canis Minor.

He spent years developing the message, combining mathematics and the fundamentals of language that he believes even a blind alien could understand. It was the first of what Vakoch hopes will be many signals sent by his group.
“Our goal is to say we are interested in making contact,” Vakoch said. “We may have to target hundreds and thousands and maybe millions of stars before we find anything. I view this as a reflection of the natural growth of SETI.”

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