Sgt. Clifford Stone claims he was privy to secret information about extraterrestrials. Husky built and middle-aged, Stone still retains much of the bearing if not the physique of a military man. He asserts to a packed room of fascinated UFO believers that not only are aliens real there are 57 different species cataloged by the U.S. government. When questioned about this clandestine assignment for the military, Stone asks us if we want a believable story or the “truth”. He should understand these days that some of us have to respond with a heartfelt “both please”.
For some of us even the number 57 might sound suspiciously familiar. Especially, if you remember that when Henry Heinz invented the viral catch phrase “57 different varieties” to label his bottled catsup he just liked the heft and sound of the number; the term itself had nothing to do with his product. It’s a strange coincidence at best.
A 2001 interview with Stone available on youtube.com shows the Sgt and other UFO claimants dealing with an impatient voiced UPI reporter asking the speakers to produce some evidence that aliens are sharing technological information with us. The reporter’s frustration is no doubt in part due to her hearing a few too many wild stories. In the last few years far too many individuals have sought the public’s attention while showing a sinister lack of regard for its trust. When a law enforcement officer manufactures a home-made Big Foot body, writers peddle bogus tales capable of fooling Oprah, and the rich and famous lose their fortunes to a confidence scheme run by a well connected financial leader we should learn that relying entirely on any one person’s integrity isn’t safe.
The best solution when faced with testimony and no proof is to weigh the statements against the only other credable witnesses, those being science and logic. Unfortunately, for Sgt. Stone, recent and reliable scientific theory doesn’t jive with his story particularly when it comes to his odd number.
Dr. Frank Drake the American astronomer and astrophysicist who founded SETI also set down the Drake equation, the defining word in theories of extraterrestrial life for several decades. If you were a fan of Carl Sagan you’ve heard Drake’s theory perhaps without even realizing it.
As Sagan so skillfully phrased it there are billions of stars in the Milky Way and billions (and bi-l-l-l-lions) of galaxies similar to our own. From this perspective Drake thought it defied common sense to assume at least a few of those planets wouldn’t produce the ever popular “life as we know it”. A 50 plus species count would then seem a possibility.
However, Sgt. Stone doesn’t stop there, he states many of his 57 species are humanoid in appearance and admits, almost under his breath, this has scientists involved baffled. Indeed, any science guy asked to explain such an implausible scenario would soon be pulling out his hair or popping handfuls of anti-anxiety medication straight from the bottle considering what we now believe was necessary to produce the complex and intelligent life found on planet Earth.
Drake’s theory counts only about 6 constants contributing to life prospering on our planet namely a comfortable distance from the sun: not too hot but not too cold environment , oceans and rivers capable of supporting life, low radiation, and a large roomy land mass. In their book “Rare Earth: Why Complex Life is Uncommon in the Universe”, published in 2001 Peter D. Ward and Donald Brownlee don’t necessarily disagree with Drake as much as they speculate that he over looked complicated but necessary factors for life such as mammals to have evolved to an advanced state.
Ward and Brownlee point out simple life forms like bacteria would certainly thrive on a Drake-like world, but complex life developing on Earth counted on so many diverse but specific factors it boggles the mind and would be impossible to list here. If even one planet managed the same trick of yielding complex life it would be awe-inspiring;another planet producing humanoid life would be miraculous, but to think of 57 unique worlds all churning out near duplicates stretches credability too far. Perhaps Sgt. Stone can explain why the aliens were willing to share technology and science, but didn’t provide an explanation of this one crucial scientific impossibility regarding their own existence.