Who is more terrified by the possibility of disclosure of alien life? Societal truth-keepers contend that it is the public at large which risks loss of social order under the existential tumult of such a discovery. However, increasingly it is the open-minded and curious public who regards the fake skeptic as the agency at risk of such duress. What will so-called skeptics do with their endless plagiarized articles and investments into denial? In what ways will they adjust their propaganda in order to preserve their power? In short, we deal inside this article with the critical question of disclosure: What happens after?
The term ‘disclosure’ is one of those rare instances wherein a single word suffices to embody an entire composite of endeavor surrounding a single idea – the validation of alien life as a fact based and accepted reality for mankind. Journey with me for a while down the path of contemplation regarding this subject of disclosure. One hinging upon speculation to be sure; but also one of actual sponsorship science method. A pathway irrationally shunned by the typical consumer of Shermer, Nickell or the Skeptical Inquirer – the comic posturing of such celebrity dispatch, standing as decisive rationale supporting the idea to undertake consideration of the very journey itself.
No other subject in the entire litany of human existence, aside from sex, elicits so much visceral reaction from various agencies of mankind. It is as if we built a gigantic box in the middle of town square, fully clad in yellow police line tape, and placed a crier with a sounding bell on top of it, exclaiming ‘Don’t look inside this box!’ Disclosure. If experts in the martial art of cynicism rank a subject as their number one target of evisceration, then you should probably look into it and find out why. How does that old adage go?
It is said that a secret not worth sharing, is a secret not worth keeping. In this same vein perhaps, a disdained topic not worth studying, is also a topic not worth embargoing.
And should you agree to partake here along my suggested per hoc aditum sojourn of reason, you may find the comforting compartments of your mind slightly broached from this point forward. This is a healthy thing. The key to intelligence resides in the ability to stay grounded, but most importantly also not be afraid of what you may find.
If skeptics have invested so much effort into mandating that a subject is not worth knowing, then perhaps it behooves the ethical skeptic to investigate that which is not worth knowing, so that he can know exactly what it is he is supposed to not-know.
And so, this is what we as ethical skeptics do. When everyone says that ‘you can research anywhere you please, but the windfall-of-truth does not reside in there’ – that ‘there’ is indeed often the first place he or she should look. In keeping with such philosophy then, consider with me for a moment the possibility that mankind will sooner or later detect and/or be forced to disclose, the existence of extraterrestrial life inside our galaxy – and very possibly even, ‘nearby’. Inside this journey we will apply our study on the existential natures of mankind, and how those might both impact, and be impacted by discovery of life in our local universe. If you are part of the Cabal of critical thinkers who now regard me as a ‘believer’, for the mere sin of undertaking such contemplation, then stop reading right now and go elsewhere. There are thousands of regurgitated echochamber ‘articles’ though which you may comfort your self (again). I am not a believer in aliens. I do not pretend to know any particular truth about either the potential nor nature of any exceptional life form. Rather, as you will find herein, I am an observer of man – his foibles, power lust, avarice and tendencies towards self-deception.
The Two Types of Disclosure
An article by Yasemin Saplakoglu, former intern for Scientific American, published in an editorial from February 2018, partitioned the topic of discovery/disclosure of alien life into two macroscopic buckets: One entitled for our purposes ‘Threatening Disclosure’, and the other entitled ‘Less-Threatening Discovery’.1 ‘Threatening to whom?’ is of course the critical question. The only parties threatened by the disclosure of alien life are larger governments and those heavily invested into an a priori conclusion on the topic; i.e. fake skeptics. The common person kinda already suspects the reality; therefore, I suppose the public at large will not be as threatened as will be those skeptics who seem to have the most emotional investment in the right answer regarding this issue. A shift of blame as to who is actually threatened most, from fake skeptic to public-at-large, is expressed no better than by Seth Shostak in that very same Scientific American article.
“There’s this feeling amongst the public—a very large fraction of the public—that the discovery of intelligent life at least would be kept secret by the government because otherwise everybody would just go bonkers,” says Seth Shostak, an astronomer at the SETI Institute who was not involved with the study. Perhaps it might make sense for our brains—tuned by millions of years of evolution to be wary of predators—to freak out over immensely powerful alien beings arriving on our cosmic doorstep from parts unknown.
But let’s say the situation hasn’t gone full “alien invasion” yet and malevolent starships aren’t sailing toward Earth, but rather we have read news of a definitive discovery of extraterrestrial life. How might we react then? Psychologists at Arizona State University (A.S.U.) used language-analyzing software to gauge feelings associated with 15 news articles about past discoveries that could have potentially been attributed to extraterrestrial life—reports covering items such as newfound Earth-like planets, mysterious astrophysical phenomena and possible life found on Mars.
Any study of potential detection or disclosure of alien life, as it turns out, constitutes merely a pretext for a deeper study in the character of man. The more we look into the cosmos, the more in a sense, we see ourselves staring back. This Nitzschean insight might very well happen well before we, and especially our science communicators, are fully prepared with ready-explanations for such an event. In the celebrated 1970’s western High Plains Drifter we find a related key existential question being posed. Set upon by the burden of anticipating an upcoming deadly conflict between citizens of the mining town of Lago, and three marauding gunfighters, one of the town folk (played by Billy Curtis) inquires of the gun-slinging hero (played by director Clint Eastwood), as to what happens after the big day of the battle is over. (Photos above and to the right property of Universal Studios, Fair Use employment – 17 U.S.C. § 107)2
Mordecai: What happens after? What do we do when it’s over?
The Stranger: Well, then you live with it.
Within this article we contemplate, not simply the visceral and immediate reactions on the part of various factions inside mankind, such as were outlined in the infamous Brooking’s Institute Report,3 but rather – the long term chronic existential stress involved and how such realization will express itself inside mankind’s institutes and durable social fabric. Accordingly, the ‘Brooking’s Report’ briefly touched on the danger of just such a discovery with regard to those who ‘have their minds made up as to how things are’, thusly.
Societies (agency) sure of their own place in the universe have disintegrated when confronted by a superior society, and others have survived even though changed.
How will we as a collection of societies react to various scenarios of detection or disclosure? Who will change and who will disintegrate? How will various factions live with such knowledge? How will various agency respond; and in particular, heavily invested fake skeptics – so sure of their near-total grasp of the natural realm? How will they adjust their propaganda in order to preserve power (and no doubt they will)? In short, given their past embargoes and nefarious activities, what can we anticipate to hear from social skeptics, once the reality of (nearby) alien life has irrevocably impacted our perception of our relationship to the cosmos at large?
My fear is that, once disclosure occurs, people will react so viscerally to mainstream skeptics – that actual skepticism may be tossed to the wind. I almost fear the opposite therefore – that we may enter a conspiracy-laden dark age wherein every event or thought will be suspected as being of alien in origin. We will need real open minded skeptics and scientists – and not this cabal which has misled us for decades.
What We Can Expect to Hear from Skeptics Threatened by Detection or Disclosure
Thus in keeping with the framework outlined by Scientific American’s Saplakoglu, we will divide the potential response by social skepticism into two groupings. First, their response talking points under a context of Post-Detection Protocol (Saplakoglu’s ‘Less Threatening’ scenario), and then secondly, their response under the more visceral condition of Post-Disclosure Protocol (Saplakoglu’s ‘Threatening’ scenario). Given the more orderly and power-preserving path of the former, one would anticipate this to constitute the pathway of choice on the part of professional skeptics. But you know, the universe, or a higher form of intelligence therein, might just have a different agenda in mind. Should the process of disclosure be forced from a government or an outside influence, expect three phases of denial to be undertaken by social skepticism: Pseudo-Skepticism, which progresses on to Exculpatory Apologetica and/or an Appeal to their Authority as Skeptics.
A. Fake Skeptics’ Post-Detection Protocol (Less Threatening Scenario)
Any kind of post-detection protocol will involve two categories of incremental scientific discovery, as outlined below:
Subjacent Life – technological detection of viral, microbial, plant or animated lower life forms nearby to Earth
Passive Superordinate – observation in the cosmos: intelligent signals, technological signatures, device noise, macroenergetic activity, purposeful beacons, war, transportation effects
You can expect skeptics to fight tooth and nail against any potential disclosure of life on the surface of Mars, or inside an ancient space rock for instance. Even though social skeptics posture as if they are looking for signals from space, such activity merely constitutes Nelsonian Inference and Cultivated Ignorance. It is a way of saying ‘look ma’ there’s nothing here!’. In such a circumstance, we have already seen – not a parsimonious defense of science – but rather a religious and angry reaction to any and all speculation that testing for signs of life might be warranted in the case of a planetary surface sampler or inside a collected meteoroid artifact. Expect such policy to exhibit stickiness, especially as regards institutions which are most highly connected to, or influenced by, fake and celebrity skeptics.
The Subjacent or Passive Superordinate Response
Skeptics will fight (often right alongside Bible-thumpers) to squelch the disclosure of detection of any form of subjacent life. Post-Detection quotes, many which are also correct, but only stand as exculpatory rhetoric in the case of bullying skeptics, will include:
These fossils originated from Earth in an ancient meteor strike, casting life-containing rock into space.
These findings have not been reviewed by real scientists (antagonistic peers).
The publishers feared or refused to use the scientific method (peer review by antagonistic peers).
They published the report in a minor or questionable journal.
Experts have not certified that the signals contain any form of recognized intelligence or structure.
These findings need to undergo replication, which they have not.
The evidence was ‘contaminated’ (not understanding what that even means).
This is simply one anecdote.
The authors are believers and/or are not credible.
If anything of merit existed therein, scientists would be all over this (see Myth of the Excited Scientists)
The Lyintific Method: Ten Commandments of Fake Science
The New Debunker: Pseudo-Skeptic Sleuth
Myth of the Excited Scientists
Only conspiracy theorists or anti-science shills bring up these myths of our refusal to acknowledge this.
Where are all the old articles? We need recitation (pretending that the old wives tale paradigm never existed).
“The science arrived right on time” baloney.
Scientists always scoff at the first introduction of a new or unproven idea.
The discovery was accepted right on schedule, and only after appropriate initial skepticism.
The history of denial and pseudo-skepticism cited is mythical.
The lacking number of consensus citations did not merit the idea’s consideration at the time.
Even the discoverers had some doubts and conflicting evidence early on.
The ‘scientific method’ and standards of progression were not followed or took time to execute properly and by the right people.
It had to be replicated (ignoring the decades of refusal to do so).
Time was required to ensure that the discovery showed as reliable and repeatable.
Peer review was a necessary task which could not be rushed.
This was not a simple task.
A case for absolute proof needed to be established.
B. Fake Skeptics’ Post-Disclosure Protocol (Threatening Scenario)
This more visceral scenario of disclosure or even worse, forced disclosure will not only serve to destroy the 1972 fake skepticism movement, but moreover the psychologies of the individuals within those affiliated movements. Any form of Post-Disclosure scenario will involve either a disclosure on the part of a social institution of authority, or the forced disclosure by the subject entities themselves. Either evolution will shake the foundations of the smartest people in the room. This will transpire as one of the following two speciations of event.
Local Superordinate – Admission by a leader of a nation that direct contact, interplay, engagement or competition with extra-terrestrial life, present on Earth, has been, is, and/or will be ongoing.
Supernumenal or Other – A unilateral and unequivocal action on the part of some form of higher intelligence, results in purposeful disclosure of its presence to the majority of the planet.
These are the scenarios we speak of when we as ethical skeptics talk about ‘a disdained topic not worth studying, is also not worth embargoing‘. These topics are heavily embargoed, and an enormous amount of resource is input into their suppression. Yet, the curious and non-threatening existential nature of the actual topic exposes the ludicrous psychology wound up therein. In that light, let’s take a look at a magazine article in a key science and skepticism publication of a future in which a Local Superordinate event has transpired.
The Local Superordinate or Supernumenal Response
Fake skeptics, feel free to copy and paste as you need – and advertise as if this were your own original thinking. You guys are really good at that. The following is extracted from Skeptic Eurmerican magazine, March 2033. Celebrity editorialist Seth Shermer has returned from retirement, inspired by his disgust over announcements of ‘alien contact’ and the like – in order to strike some sense into wayward and credulous voters and their equally credulous elected anti-science officials.
Appeal to Skepticism (Authority)
Bottom Line: The battle against cultivated ignorance will not end, with Disclosure. Skeptics will apply their appeal to authority under 95% of its scenarios. What follows, is an example of the cheap pulp editorial one should anticipate; the shallow Appeal to Skepticism (Authority) drivel which will follow such an Event. This is what happens after.
Does the article above look familiar? It should, its ilk is lazily promulgated daily in compliance enforcing tabloids worldwide. The articles target 756 subjects, many linking back to a common theme – which threatens their religion, sol-nihilism. What the ethical skeptic should infer from this process outlined under the two forms of threat-disclosure above, is that the progression from 1. Pseudo-Skepticism, to 2. Exculpatory Apologetica and finally to 3. Appeal to Skepticism (Authority) – when purposed to squelch, obfuscate and stall – are indeed hints that the ‘skeptic’ is not a skeptic at all. Our prior engagement with Abrahamism proved to mankind that such a process of activity, stems from existential terror alone. We crafted gods from our terror of being alone, and now we are terrified of not being alone? …or maybe, someone is terrified of the plans those agencies have in mind?
They are employing techniques of methodical cynicism in order to screen specifics from their reality; specific Nelsonian knowledge of which someone is enormously terrified.
Such Existential Skeptic-Terror Broaches the Question: Is Mankind Then Ready or Perhaps Even Sustainable?
So, given our well-evidenced and abject resistance to this subject, the inability of our smartest people in the room to ‘live with it’? – Regardless of the evidence to the pro or contrary (I am not rating the quality of such evidence here in this article), what does this portend for us as a species and what does this communicate to any erstwhile aliens who might be monitoring us from nearby?
1. Visceral reaction versus chronic existential stress
Mankind is ready to handle the visceral reaction of a Supernumenal Disclosure event; however socially we are not yet mature enough to handle the chronic existential stress which might result. In other words, we won’t destruct a mere week after such an announcement – rather we would implode from psychotic denial and crises of competence, a couple decades or even a century after the disclosure event. We would lose our unique soul as a species.
The fear exhibited by our arch skeptics, very visibly inside the media, should make any erstwhile species out there who is pondering an involuntary disclosure, think twice or three times before considering such an event.
2. We are a religious people
We tend to adopt gods like a cat lady adopts cats. We thirst for gods. Even in the circumstance where we pat ourselves on the back for having only one of them. They do not even have to be personified – we adopt them. We appoint them. We crave them. Any ethical civilization knows that – to pretend inside a role as god, to a lesser being – is probably one of the most heinous acts which can be committed by a creature or society. For this reason at the very least, they must refuse to interact with us.
3. Grief does not fade, only our perception of it
We know ourselves much less accurately and deeply than we believe. Grief never fades, it simply grows less intense in comparison to what has transpired since. Just like the days seem shorter and shorter as we age, yet they are not – so too, permanent is our grief. Grief over our dethroning as the Apple of God’s eye. Grief as to our apparent non-parity in the universe. Grief over our having to depend upon another race, in order to propel ourselves to the stars. Grief over the inevitable loss of our genetic identity in the ensuing eons. Grief over the loss of primacy of our Tolstoy, Joyce, Pauli, Dostoevsky and Einstein – and most of all the celebrity of being the smartest person in the room.
No, the aliens (per hoc aditum) are a full two orders of magnitude smarter than are you, and they could care less about you ‘skeptic’. What a sound dethroning that will be.
Perhaps a grief they know well from experience, experience derived from a hundred civilizations who have come this pathway before (including their own). You see it is a formula after all.
Perhaps a grief of which we are already subconsciously aware inside ourselves. Perhaps a grief, long ago a memory of an edifice building mankind.
“It’s what people know about themselves inside that makes them afraid.” ~The Stranger, High Plains Drifter
Ethical Skepticism, it is all about courage. Courage of method. Courage of existential need, of which one may not even be fully conscious.
The Ethical Skeptic, “What Happens After?”; The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 22 Mar 2019; Web, https://wp.me/p17q0e-9u8
- Yasemin Saplakoglu, “Is Humanity Ready for the Discovery of Alien Life?”; Scientific American: Space, editorial; 18 Feb 2018; https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-humanity-ready-for-the-discovery-of-alien-life/
- High Plains Drifter; 1973, Malpaso Company and Universal Pictures; IMDB https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0068699/
- Michael, D.N.; Proposed Studies on the Implications of Peaceful Space Activities for Human Affairs: A Report Prepared for the COMMITTEE ON LONG-RANGE STUDIES of the NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION THE BROOKINGS INSTITUTION, Washington, D. C.; December 1960; https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19640053196.pdf
Incredible Christmas Eve coincidence to share with y’all. I both printed out this article and watched “High Plains Drifter” for the first time yesterday — completely independently! I never had heard of the movie. I hadn’t read the article yet. I just hit play on Netflix for a little Christmas Eve cheer (?!) and then Christmas morning I pick up TES’ work and there it is, “Then you just live with it.”
Loved This Certainty Or How Aliens Reject We ‘ Skeptic ‘.
I Even Did Not Ask About The EthicalSkeptic View & Opinion !
Sure When Aliens Too Purely Think Through Rational Way & Judging.
nice one ES. particularly enjoyerd yr dissecting of the “alien life” shell game that skeptics like to play. I wish you would include a reference to neil deGrasse tyson as I suspect he’s a major frontman for this blizzard of confusion.
Agreed Alex, Yes, the Fermi Paradox and the Kardashev scale (both NDGT favorites) are just two the most celebrated examples of how we spin deception with regard to how an extraterrestrial intelligence might exist or manifest itself. I have developed a counter to the Fermi Paradox called the Parce-Ames Probability (https://theethicalskeptic.com/2018/10/02/the-fermi-paradox-is-babysitting-rubbish/). The dramatically large odds are that they will contact us, well before we contact or find any evidence of life in the cosmos. The dramatically large odd are also, that they have already done so. In similar fashion, your show and website have indicated that advancement with regard to… Read more »