Belief in Aliens, Alternative Universes, and Gods

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2015-11-05 – Today I’m going to write about belief aliens, alternative universes, and gods. Let’s start with aliens.

Between 2009 and 2013, NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope observed a strange pattern emanating from star KIC 8462852, which is located in the sky of the northern hemisphere somewhere between the constellations Cygnus and Lyra. You know the ones I mean.

Although you can’t see the star with your naked eye, the Kepler Space Telescope can. Kepler is designed to find planets orbiting stars outside our solar system, so it is very sensitive. It finds planets by noticing fairly slight drops in the brightness of a distant star that occur when the planet transits the star. A transit is a kind of mini-eclipse that occurs when the planet passes between the star and us. Unlike eclipses we are familiar with, in which the moon blocks the sun entirely, transits block the sun only partially because the planet is so much smaller than the distant sun. The star’s brightness drops only a percent or two. But if we watch the pattern for a few orbits, we can deduce the size of the object and its distance from the star, etc.

In the case of star KIC 8462852, the dip in brightness has been much greater. And the pattern does not suggest a single object orbiting the star. It is more like the star is being orbited by a large swarm of something. Scientists have gone through a list of possibilities and ruled everything out.

One thing they haven’t ruled out is the possibility that an alien civilization constructed a ring of objects possibly to collect stellar energy (solar, but not from our sun).

* * *

Scientists at the U.S. Plank Data Center recently discovered a “mysterious glow” in a map of the cosmic microwave background.

You didn’t know the cosmos had a microwave, did you?

Well, here’s the story. You’ve heard of the big bang, haven’t you? That’s the huge explosion that is thought to have occurred to start our universe. Scientists hit on this idea by playing the movie of our universe backwards. Currently, all the galaxies we see in space are flying away from each other. Play this backwards and, instead of flying apart, they all come together. Start from the time when all the matter in the universe occupied a compact point and play the movie forward again, you have an explosion. It’s called the big bang.

Once they had this theory, scientists went looking for evidence of this explosion. It turns out that such an explosion would leave a particular type of radiation—microwaves (not an over). This is called the cosmic microwave background and is very uniform. The cosmic microwave background is the same in every direction. If you are my age, you’ve heard the cosmic microwave background. It was called “static” on our old radios. In fact, that’s how it was discovered. Scientists at Bell Labs were trying to figure out what caused it.

Well, it came from the big bang.

One of the features of the cosmic microwave background is that it is the same in all directions. But it turns out that it isn’t. It turns out that there are some bright spots. This is the mysterious glow I mentioned above.

So what is it?

Theoretical physicists have been suggesting for some time that our universe may not be the only universe. In fact, they talk about many universes. And not just many universes. Some scientists talk about the possibility of an infinite number of universes. But no one has been able to suggest a way to detect even one universe other than our own.

Until scientists at the U.S. Plank Data Center discovered bright spots in the cosmic microwave background. There’s a possibility that what they are seeing is other universes!

It’s not a sure thing yet. There’s apparently a 30 percent chance that the glow is nothing out of the ordinary.

* * *

So we have evidence of aliens and evidence of alternative universes. It’s very scientific.

Or not.

Scientists certainly play a role in evaluating and presenting the evidence. There is no doubt about that. The evidence is collected by high-tech scientific instruments. No doubt about that one either.

But the conclusion that we’ve found aliens and alternative universes—well, they are both leaps of faith. Nothing has been proven. Someone has put forth possible explanations—that’s all. There may be aliens and there may be alternative universes, but a whole lot of additional will be required. A whole lot.

Kinda like God. For now, none of these things may be called proven. You may believe in them, but don’t call it science. Call it wishful thinking.

Maybe one day we will find that there are an infinite number of universes. And being infinite, they will be of every type you can imagine and more. There will be universes without life. There will be universes with life on only one planet. There will be universes containing a double of you, but your skin will be green. There will be universes with intelligent beings throughout the galaxies. There will be universes with gods. And there will be universes without.

Or not.


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