57 Alien Species are we alone in the Universe

Upon first hearing that that there were (allegedly) 57 alien species which had been clandestinely catalogued, I couldn’t help but wonder who had been abusing ketchup. (That would be Heinz – 57 varieties.) Still, it is always fair to hear an argument out.

This revelation came to us from one Clifford Stone, under the auspices of the “Disclosure Project” (http://www.disclosureproject.org/).
The credentials here are sorely lacking.
The project itself is a branch of privately run CSETI (Center for the Study of Extraterrestrial Intelligence – http://www.cseti.org/) which has its nearest link to the scientific community only in the similarity of its name to the academically and publicly supported SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence – http://www.seti.org/), which has never endorsed the claims of discovery of even one alien life form.

That Sergeant Stone refers to all 57 varieties as “enemies” is telling. That we would discover sophisticated enemy races more readily than friendly races seems unlikely, as friends would present themselves openly rather than needing to be rooted out. For 57 hostile races to be cavorting about the Earth without one friendly (albeit unfamiliar) face in the mix is exceedingly improbable. For each of the 57 (and presumably there would be repeats of some species) to not only be discovered, but successfully concealed from the public as well – that verges well beyond probability and into the realm of fantasy.

Stone does credit his audience with some modicum of intelligence. While claiming that many of the alien species are humanoid – even indistinguishable from humans in appearance – he admits that this is surprising from a scientific viewpoint, as one would expect varying evolutionary pathways between planets. He maintains that there are small differences, such as one species which can discern colors in a room which is too dimly lit for the typical human to see. With such small distinctions to work on, one could muse whether humans with small, favorable mutations were being mistakenly counted as “aliens”. On the whole, however, Sgt. Stone carefully refrains from divulging any great detail on the characteristics of any species. His excuse was that it would take too long, as there were so great a number, but by avoiding specifics, he also leaves the shroud of doubt and plausibility that is necessary to perpetrate a lie.

Going forward, let us suppose that Sgt. Stone and CSETI have nothing of substance. This leaves the question of whether we truly are alone in the universe. While dismissing Stone is easy enough, the “whole of creation” is another matter entirely.

We do suppose that other intelligent life would be as noisy as we are. Since the advent of radio, humanity has broadcast its presence to the stars. The presumption that other species would have done the same is a foundation of SETI’s program. Sadly, radio waves are light, and travel slowly when compared to the distances between stars. We have been monitoring long enough to suggest that there is no radio-capable life within the most local of stars. Nor have we detected signs that intelligences at a greater distance (and therefore older and presumably more advanced by now) exist. The caveat is that the sky is enormous, so it is possible that something has been missed. This is a part of the reason for the SETI@home project (http://setiathome.ssl.berkeley.edu/), which uses personal computers to help in processing the vast reams of data collected by radio telescopes.

In spite of eager, paranoid or misguided enthusiasts, the hope does still remain that there is a possibility for intelligent life elsewhere. If once extraterrestrial life is found, it will imply that there are a near-infinite number of life forms out there. As we are, as Asimov observed, a mere “Pebble in the Sky”, there is a great vastness left to search in, and the only possible answers to the question of whether there is an ET to be found are “Yes” and “Maybe”.