Yesterday's Light

Images in Space and Time

Naked in Roswell

Naked in Roswell (011, iphone)

Why is it that when aliens (allegedly) visit us here on our little blue planet they’re always in their birthday suits?  Or pictured that way, anyway.  If I remember correctly, ET had no clothes on when he arrived, either.  Fortunately, these extraterrestrials also seem to be without the usual sexual equipment, so maybe it doesn’t matter.  If there’s nothing to conceal, why wear pants?  Or maybe their ship’s air conditioning didn’t work very well.  Who knows.

These particular aliens, by the way, can be found in the Roswell UFO Museum AND Research Center.  Research Center?  Strangely, nobody who I talked to on the inside  of the place could tell me what exactly they were “researching”.  But it was clear that they all believed.  Maybe that’s a requirement for working there.  I don’t know.  I do know, though, that you don’t have to believe to buy a T-shirt or a book or a plastic alien.  In fact, we bought a T-shirt for one of our grandsons (who, at the ripe old age of 11, seems to be a full fledged conspiracy theorist).

UFO Museum (018, iphone)

Personally, I still have a few questions about these little green men.  Like why they have those “bug eyes”, with no eyelids.  Or why they all seem to look alike and always appear to be frowning.  Or why they happened to land (or crash) in Roswell, NM in 1947 instead of here in Webster, NY.  Apparently no one told them that Webster is “where life is worth living” (or maybe that’s why they’re frowning).  Didn’t matter, though.  They all conveniently died soon after arrival and their bodies were hustled away by the government.

UFO’s and aliens.  It’s hard not to laugh.  Even harder, actually, when you find out how many “believers” there are.  A recent poll done by PPP (Public Policy Polling) asked this as one of their questions concerning conspiracy theories: “Do you believe a UFO crashed at Roswell, NM, in 1947, and the U. S. government covered it up, or not?”

21% said yes, they believed that that was true.  47% did not believe it.  And 32% weren’t sure.

Amazing.  That means that 53% of the respondents were either already “sure” that it happened or were at least open to the possibility that it happened.

These same folks, by the way, also think that climate change is a hoax, that evolution never happened, and that John F. Kennedy was killed as part of some massive conspiracy.

And I thought I was a cynic.

7 Responses to “Naked in Roswell”

  1. Cedric Canard

    I admit to liking the idea of aliens and UFOs (I’m somewhat of a Sci-Fi fan) but on the matter of Roswell and Area 51 and such things I have no opinion one way or the other. If pushed I would agree that it would seem unlikely that Earth is the only planet in this great big universe where this accident we know of as “life” could have happened.
    Climate change is no hoax but I suspect there are still a lot of people out there with personal agendas which is a shame because those agendas are what muddies the waters and makes some people sceptical.
    JFK? Does it matter at all what happened? I’m more amazed that there are people who believe that the moon landings were all done in a secret back lot in Hollywood; my brother-in-law being one such person.
    And evolution, well, it’s not called the Theory of Evolution for nothing. I’m not a Creationist by any stretch but after doing a lot of research on the matter (many years ago) it is quite clear that there are still a lot of unanswered questions where evolution is concerned.
    By the way, I like the retro look of the UFO Museum. Quaintly appropriate I would say.

    • Paul Maxim

      I agree with you that it’s very likely that other life exists on other planets. In fact I’d say that it’s damn near a sure thing. If space is infinite, with billions of stars and galaxies, then the chance of other intelligent life is very, very high. But that’s not the same as believing that they’re visiting us. That’s a whole ‘nother story. You have to first ask how they managed to get here. Last I heard, travel at or near the speed of light is physically impossible. For us or anyone else. Star Trek’s “warp speed” is fun to contemplate and watch on the big screen, but it’s never going to actually happen.

      So how’d these little green guys get here in their teeny tiny ships? Where’d they come from? How many thousands of years ago did they leave “home”? And why the hell would they want to visit us in the first place? We aren’t, after all, what I’d call an advanced civilization.

      Yeah, I’ve met some of those people who think the moon landings were “faked”. It’s always the same story – they read an account on the internet that quotes some “source” who was actually involved and for some reason decided to blow the whistle. So that the whole world will know the “truth”. Right.

      A Scientific Theory isn’t the same as a simple “hypothesis”. It’s not like someone saying that they think (they hypothesize) that the world is really a small piece of fluff floating around inside something that looks like a snow globe. That would be unverifiable. A Theory, on the other hand, is backed by hard evidence. There are areas where the evidence may be missing or incomplete, but the overall theory is believed to be true. Like the Big Bang. Nobody actually saw it. Like evolution, it’s a “Theory”. But all of the available evidence says that it happened. Or Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. It’s not some off the wall hypothesis. It’s real. Still called a “Theory”, but very real.

      • Cedric Canard

        It is said that all knowledge, when broken down into its parts, is based on assumptions. There isn’t a single, solid factual point from which we can start building knowledge. But that’s ok and there is no doubt that scientific theories are real, the question is: are they true? Pop culture often declare them to be true once the theory is popularised but scientists always remain dubious. I talked to a biologist once who was a staunch advocate of evolution but only as a theory, not as fact. He felt it was important to remember that because it was the only way to remain open to other possibilities.

  2. Paul Maxim

    Cedric: No, the question is not, and never has been, “Is the Theory true”? Scientists leave the question of “Truth” to the philosophers. They know that absolute truth is unobtainable, partly for the reasons you mention. There is no measurement system in the world that generates what you’re calling “solid factual” data.

    A “Theory” is a model. A model that can predict future (or past) outcomes in the physical world. It’s not a theory in the same sense that the word is used by the rest of us. It requires stringent experimental rules and replication. You can’t obtain a single set of outcomes and tell the world that you have a new “theory”. Doesn’t work that way. In the case of the Big Bang, for example, you have to be able to say that if you look at a certain point far out in space you’ll record specific observations and if you look some place else you’ll record a different set of observations. If what you actually see is within measurement error of the predicted values, then you can say that the model “worked”. And you have to be able to do this over and over again. That’s the crux of a “Scientific Theory” (including evolution). The model works. That’s not to say that it can’t be improved or modified. It can. But that doesn’t mean that the model was wrong. It just means that it was incomplete.

    If the model doesn’t work (and it often doesn’t), then you start over. The whole process, though, is nothing more than model building. “Truth” is not the objective.

    I think your biologist friend was doing nothing more than echoing this idea. If you want “Truth”, don’t go to the scientists. That’s not what they do.

    • Cedric Canard

      Ah, you are correct. A poor choice of words on my part. That will teach me to write a response on such a topic at the end of a long-mind-draining day. This “conversation” would be much better had in person so you could have caught me out as soon as I said “true” and saved me from looking like a fool.
      You are right, measurements and observations support a theory thereby making it a realistic model. But I will then say that in this respect, the theory of evolution is by far the weakest. In my humble (and quite likely foolish) opinion.

  3. John - Visual Notebook

    Given the distances involved I doubt we’ve ever been visited by any alien culture, much less had a flying saucer crash in Roswell, NM. Still, it makes for great sf (X-Files is still my all-time favorite tv show). While I don’t believe we’ve been visited, I’m as positive as one can be without proof that the universe has plenty of life elsewhere. I’d love for that to be proven before I leave, but it’s been 60 years and I’m not sure we’re any closer now.

    • Paul Maxim

      I’m sure, then, that you remember the last episode, John. Where Mulder has been accused of murdering the “super-soldier” but manages to escape with Scully’s (and others) help? And then they wind up in a motel room in Roswell discussing the hopelessness of it all? I’ve always wondered why they picked Roswell……..

      I’m with you – I wish one of these listening stations would pick up some hard evidence of life elsewhere. I’m not a conspiracy theory guy, either, but I wonder if they’d release that kind of information to the general public. It would change so many things.


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