back to article Astroboffins say our Solar System could have – wait, stop, what... the US govt found UFOs?

Our Solar System may have been born from bubbles of material hurled from a colossal Wolf-Rayet-type star, according to a theory published Friday. Scientists studying the origin of our system generally believe – no, wait, sorry. Stop. You know 2017 has been a bonkers year when the New York Times reveals a classified $22m US …

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          1. lglethal Silver badge
            Go

            Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

            If i remember correctly the UK had a program like this running for decades. Ostensibly not for UFO research but to keep an eye out for German/Russian/whoever the latest boogeyman for the government was aircraft doing research flights over the UK.

            The number of reported sightings of unidentified phenomenon dropped off a cliff after the advent and proliferation of camera phones, as now people would film what they saw and, after sobering up the next morning, realise it was a plane, a bird, or just a really cool looking cloud. Nothing to report here...

            That's always been the thing with conspiracy theorists despite the proliferation of camera phones and the advent of Youtube, which lets face it is more likely to be the first port of call for any actual footage rather than the local government or plod. Nothing has appeared that shows Alien existence. I think we can take that as writ that at least since camera phones have been around, we most certainly havent had any "visitors".

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

              "Nothing has appeared that shows Alien existence."

              The only filmed "evidence" of Nessie or Bigfoot are from the era of pretty poor and clumsy hand held film cameras, when almost no one had access to them. Now we have billions of people carrying HD camera with them at all times and multiple "expeditions" every year looking to find Nessie and Bigfoot, and yet we have no new video evidence. I think that lack of evidence pushes the odds well down towards the big fat zero end of the scale. UFOs could appear almost anywhere, but Nessie and Bigfoot have much smaller and more specific stomping grounds, Nessie especially and as you say, nothing new or compelling in the way of video or photographic evidence.

          2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

            Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

            "I disagree on principle. Reality is inexplicable."

            I disagree on principle. The concept of a god implies a conscious, omnipotent ultimate reality, which is even more inexplicable.

            This is the theologian version of "turtles all the way down"; the concept of a god leads to an infinite regress.

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

              1. Kiwi Silver badge
                Angel

                Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                Replying to myself, I just want to point out that demonstrating that the idea that a god is needed to explain the complexity of reality (aka the Divine Watchmaker argument) is self-contradictory as it leads to infinite regress is part of the 1st year syllabus in theology degrees.

                One of the fundamentalists Christians here (sometimes putting the MENTAL in fundamental, I know...).

                Just wondering if you'd mind explaining why you believe it "leads to infinite regress"?

                God created all. God exists outside of time and matter, is without begining or end. That seems pretty simple and doesn't go back any further. One of the many issues with the Big Bang - everything had to come from absolutely NOTHING, no matter no energy nothing - unless (as another poster mentioned) something from another universe did something to create/spawn our universe.

                (I've got to remember to read up on The Big Rip as well - sounds interesting...)

                BTW, I've met people with theology degrees. Seems they should spend some time reading the Bible rather than studying people's views on other people's writings on the words of someone who was the 3rd cousin twice removed from someone who once met someone whose uncle thought he once heard the word "Bible". Seems that those with said degrees are at least that far removed from having actually read the Bible! Some certainly have had great trouble understanding basic concepts!

                1. illiad

                  Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                  I guess you haven't heard of the Torah, which the bible is only a small part of...

                  1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

                    Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                    > the Torah, which the bible is only a small part of...

                    _Some_ of the bible is a part of, some is not.

                  2. Kiwi Silver badge
                    Paris Hilton

                    Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                    I guess you haven't heard of the Torah, which the bible is only a small part of...

                    The Torah?

                    You mean the writings of Moses, the first 5 books of the Tanach? The same Tanach that bears an uncanny resemblance to what Christians call the "Old Testament"?

                    What in my post makes you think that I've not heard of it?

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                      "I guess you haven't heard of the Torah, which the bible is only a small part of..."

                      Because a rewrite of the same old stuff on special paper and storing it like a toilet roll makes all the difference...so it must be true!?

                    2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

                      Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                      > You mean the writings of Moses

                      It is unlikely that Moses, even if there was such a person, wrote anything.

                      It is unlikely that any of the Torah was written down before 'First Temple' (~9th century BCE), mainly because there was no written form of Hebrew before then. Then the Torah was revised and 'unified' a few hundred years later from the various different versions.

                      https://www.haaretz.com/jewish/features/.premium-1.657492

                      But you will believe your dogma regardless.

                      1. Kiwi Silver badge
                        WTF?

                        Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                        It is unlikely that any of the Torah was written down before 'First Temple'...

                        https://www.haaretz.com/jewish/features/.premium-1.657492

                        Wow. Do you also believe what Abraham Lincoln said about believe quotes on the internet? After all someone published it on the internet so it must be true!

                        But you will believe your dogma regardless.

                        Look who's talking!

                        1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

                          Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                          > Do you also believe what Abraham Lincoln said about believe quotes on the internet?

                          I am not sure that Abraham Lincoln said _anything_ about "quotes on the internet", let alone to believe them.

                          But the problem might just be your inability to construct and punctuate a sentence.

                          The proposition that Moses did not _write_ anything is based on the fact that no such written Hebrew language existed at the time.

                          Textural evidence for Moses not being the author is such as:

                          http://www.mesacc.edu/~thoqh49081/handouts/torahclues.html

                          1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

                            Re: Flat Earth stuff

                            Totally agree that comment sections on Flat Earth video's are scary :)

                            Howver, in my travels through the odd corners of youtube I have seen some stuff that really does bear closer inspection, and in some cases, a good old fashioned experiment or two.

                            Stuff that I found compelling: Evidence of fakery on the part of NASA (astronaughts on wires, blue-screen oddness on the ISS, no genuine photo's of Earth from high orbit etc.) ; gyroscopic anomalies that could indicate The Earth is not rotating.

                            Now, one thing I would really like to do is perform a proper experiment to measure the curvature of the planet, because some people seem to have done experiments that appear to show there is a lot less than one would expect.

                            I'd like to devise an experiment that is as simple as possible and doesn't rely on a large number of inputs, so as to reduce error. I've considered one experiment that, whilst not measuring the curve, would at least provide enough evidence to disprove/prove some limits of what we can see.

                            For example: Find a long lake on a calm day. Set up a laser at one end (as close to the surface as possible, say 20cm). Mount a large white board at the other end, stick a powerful torch on top and aim it at the shore where the laser is. Using the torch as a guide, aim the laser at the board until you can see the laser hitting the board.

                            Then you lower the angle of the laser until it can no longer be seen on the board, measure the height of that point above the water. This, in my opinion, should give you a reasonable indication of how much curvature is present between the laser and the board (after taking the extra 20cm into account).

                            Now, not knowing much about lasers and the effects of the last bit of air above a body of water, can anyone tell me if this would be a valid experiment, and if not what would be?

                            I'm going to assume a total laser-board distance of at least three miles, as I believe curvature to be (miles squared*8 in inches, so 3 miles should be 72", or 6ft). There is a website on the net that can help me calculate the effect of the laser being 20cm above the water.

                            If The Earth is curved as we are informed, then the laser *cannot* appear on the board below 6ft (minus whatever the 20cm height of the laser effects are). If the laser appears to hit the board well below this point is it safe to conclude that The Earth's curvature is a lot less than our current model predicts?

                            I'm serious here, totally prepared to spend money on a laser and getting some people together who can independantly witness the experiment and controls etc. I'd like it to be of sufficient rigour to write a paper on it and have it peer reviewed. You can't go round basing beliefs on youtube video's after all ;)

                            1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

                              Re: Flat Earth stuff

                              > Stuff that I found compelling: Evidence of fakery on the part of NASA (astronaughts on wires, blue-screen oddness on the ISS, no genuine photo's of Earth from high orbit etc.) ;

                              Certainly there are videos and photos of experiments, training, trials and simulations done by NASA and other agencies. Did you think they just put on a suit and went to space without training ?

                              Many images of Earth are taken from low orbit and are assembled from photo mosaics. These images are intended to show such things as weather patterns, they are not intended to be a representation of what the Earth would look like from, say, the moon, at a particular point in time, but are to convey the progress of clouds and storms. Taking images from low orbit means better resolution but must be assembled because each photo is only of a small area (in the thousands of square km).

                              What _is_ faked is by the Moon landing deniers. There are videos of the Moon lading that have had a rabbit added.

                              > gyroscopic anomalies that could indicate The Earth is not rotating.

                              https://www.metabunk.org/debunked-gyro-experiment-proves-motionless-earth.t7413/

                              > Now, one thing I would really like to do is perform a proper experiment to measure the curvature of the planet, because some people seem to have done experiments that appear to show there is a lot less than one would expect.

                              I live a few minutes walk from a beach and cliffs where there are offshore islands. I could do experiments every day with different sea, tide and atmospheric conditions, but even casual observations and simple calculations show that the Earth, and the sea, is not flat and is entirely in line with what has been known, in terms of size, for over two millennia.

                              As I live in the southern hemisphere and near the sea it is readily apparent from even casual observation that their flat-earth model fails in _every_ claim. This may not be clear to those that are land locked in the northern hemisphere, nor to those determined to believe in biblical 'truth'*.

                              > Now, one thing I would really like to do is perform a proper experiment to measure the curvature of the planet, because some people seem to have done experiments that appear to show there is a lot less than one would expect.

                              It may be useful for you to do that to satisfy your own curiosity, but you won't convince any flat-earther because they will claim that gravity bends light (even though the bending would be a) indistinguishable from none and b) would be in the wrong direction) or 'perspective' (used incompetently because they don't understand it).

                              https://www.physics.smu.edu/pseudo/FlatEarth/

                              * While Kiwi seems to imagine that the Bible presents, or at least hints at, a heliocentric system and a 'ball' earth, flat-earthers claim that the bible _proves_ the universe is geocentric with a flat earth and a domed, impenetrable 'firmament'. This merely demonstrates that the bible can be used to support _anything_ that you want it to, making it completely useless.

                            2. Alistair Silver badge
                              Windows

                              Re: Flat Earth stuff

                              @SRS:

                              I'd suggest either Lake Michigan or lake superior. Canada has some wonderful water. Mind you the torch/laser thing wont make it very well as the LOS part ...... oh well you'll figure it out.

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                  "God created all. God exists outside of time and matter, is without begining or end. That seems pretty simple and doesn't go back any further."

                  Ok, I can't believe I'm taking the bait, but here goes:

                  Your reply imagines a situation that avoids the original question; you 'solve' the problem of how everything started by saying there wasn't a start, that the origin was 'without beginning or end'.

                  Aside from being a cop out and also arbitrarily claiming you know that God exists acausally whilst claiming him as a cause, on your terms it could equally be applied to a universe without a god:

                  1. The universe has no beginning or end; it has and will oscillate forever between big bangs and big crunches. Job done.

                  2. The universe was seeded from another universe orthogonal to ours, and so it's time does not flow for us. This one can also imply a vast profusion of universes bring the side effect of quantum effects in parent universes. Again, this can be argued as turtles all the way down. Crisis averted!

                  Ultimately, a slightly asymmetric explosion+the effects of gravity then creating stars and eventually all the rest are a much easier and more believable and more observable thing than the spontaneous existence of a superbeing with the knowledge and ability to create a universe at will; and any fudge you apply to justify him can also be applied to the Big Bang, still making the God proposition seem ridiculous in comparison.

                  There. I've been hooked and reeled in. Must be those beers.

                  1. Kiwi Silver badge
                    Pint

                    Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                    "God created all. God exists outside of time and matter, is without begining or end. That seems pretty simple and doesn't go back any further."

                    [..]

                    Aside from being a cop out and also arbitrarily claiming you know that God exists acausally whilst claiming him as a cause, on your terms it could equally be applied to a universe without a god:

                    Would love to know what makes it a "cop out". Should I disbelieve a basic truth just because it is basic? Lots of other stuff could be called a "cop out" but that doesn't stop them being true.

                    I don't break the speed limit because I don't want any more speeding tickets. I believe the limit of 100km/hr to be arbitrarily set and I believe I can quite safely negotiate most highways and many other sections of road in NZ at speeds up to (and maybe over) 180km/hr, and my still being alive means I have safely travelled at such speeds on NZ roads (not saying I was the driver, not admitting to any such driving). Saying I limit myself to the speed limit or less because I don't want tickets is, to many, what could be called a "cop out" especially when I have been challenged to a race on public roads. It may be a "cop out" but it's also true. So what? Truth is truth.

                    1. The universe has no beginning or end; it has and will oscillate forever between big bangs and big crunches. Job done.

                    The "big crunch" has long ago been debunked. There is no mechanism by which the universe could collapse (short of Mantrid sending all of his arms into the same general area). Current theory (semi-quoting a New Scientist article I haven't seen yet) suggests that the universe is now actually increasing the speed of expansion, and will reach such a point that the very fabric of matter will start to break up (interestingly something else hinted at in the Bible - talk of the very elements breaking up!) in something called the "Big Rip" (and yes, I did just learn of this in the last week or two and long to get to read more on it). So no, no oscillating between bangs and crunches. No crunchbang for you!

                    2. The universe was seeded from another universe orthogonal to ours, and so it's time does not flow for us. This one can also imply a vast profusion of universes bring the side effect of quantum effects in parent universes. Again, this can be argued as turtles all the way down. Crisis averted!

                    Aye, it could be. Does "cop out" of the whole "beginning" thing though (like the "life was seeded from another planet" since all the theories thus far about abiogenesis(sp) on Earth falling flat). I have seen some weird stuff that could suggest a parallel universe or few..

                    Ultimately, a slightly asymmetric explosion+the effects of gravity then creating stars and eventually all the rest are a much easier and more believable and more observable thing than the spontaneous existence of a superbeing with the knowledge and ability to create a universe at will; and any fudge you apply to justify him can also be applied to the Big Bang, still making the God proposition seem ridiculous in comparison.

                    You claim everything came out of nothing. I claim everything came out of something. Mine seems the more logical and sensible. It is your proposition that seems "ridiculous in comparison".

                    Must be those beers.

                    I guess another wouldn't hurt you then... (I have no problem with people drinking alcohol, but I have a different view on beer)

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                      "would love to know what makes it a "cop out". Should I disbelieve a basic truth just because it is basic?"

                      But it almost certainly isn't "true" that there is a god. There is no evidence whatsoever. It's just a made up story that you were gullible enough to believe. Just like many of the ~ 2999 other religions on the planet that have some sort of magical sky fairy. The FSM or the IPU are just as credible and likely to be the one true god - and just like your religion they were invented by humans.

                      1. Kiwi Silver badge
                        Boffin

                        Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                        "would love to know what makes it a "cop out". Should I disbelieve a basic truth just because it is basic?"

                        But it almost certainly isn't "true" that there is a god. There is no evidence whatsoever.

                        We exist, despite the odds of it. That's evidence (not proof, but evidence).

                        It's just a made up story that you were gullible enough to believe.

                        You believe that nothing created everything by magic.

                        I believe that someone created everything by the use of knowledge.

                        You believe a bunch of chemical reactions that, despite decades of trying by some extremely intelligent minds, have not been able to be replicated in labs beyond very basic levels (one out of hundreds (if not thousands) of reaction needed) - reactions that are absolutely necessary to happen in life but absolutely cannot occur in nature.

                        I believe someone used knowledge and "tools" to make those necessary reactions.

                        You believe that a bunch of impossible events happened to create stars and planets etc - yet it is now believed by a number of physicists that the forces involved in the spinning of a clump of dust would cause it to fly apart long before it could have the force of gravity needed to draw enough material to itself. And you believe that despite it being utterly impossible for stars to form naturally (at least within our current physics knowledge) that somehow somewhere a single star formed, ignihted, went super-nova, the shockwave of that being the necessary start to cause other stars to ignite which later going nova caused more new stars - despite the initial one being impossible and the shockwaves not actually being big enough.

                        I believe someone used knowledge to work around these issues and build the planets, stars, and other bodies we see (and many we don't).

                        You believe in a pile of magical asteroids that "just magically happened" to hit things in the right way at the right time to create the solar system that we have, doing some pretty neat magical tricks like changing the orbit of planets and their moons.

                        I believe that the reason we see so much evidence of design and creativity in these things is that someone exceptionally creative used their abilities to design and build these things for us.

                        You believe that I can take a 1 byte file, copy it over and over and over, and get a full OS, application suite after a while.

                        I believe that information needs intelligence.

                        Hell, you even believe that dinosaurs died out millions of years before the first man came along despite abundant proof (cave drawings, figurines, carvings, eye witness accounts etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc) that man and dinosaurs lived together.

                        I believe that man and dinosaurs lived at the same time.

                        No, the gullible ones are the people who buy all the big bang and evolution nonsense, who believe in lots of impossible reactions and other events that came about by convenient magical asteroids and other such nonsense. The ones who won't take some time to look over the evidence and apply some real thought to such matters, and challenge their beliefs rather than the intellectual equivalent of a child sticking their fingers in their ears and shouting "I can't hear you" (take a look at the language you choose to use if you want evidence of your doing that in your own post). These are the gullible ones.

                        Just like many of the ~ 2999 other religions on the planet that have some sort of magical sky fairy.

                        At least they have the starting point of believing in something as a point of creation, rather than the logical fallacy of believing that absolutely nothing suddenly turned into a vast multi-verse.

                        1. Anonymous Coward
                          Anonymous Coward

                          Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                          "We exist, despite the odds of it. That's evidence (not proof, but evidence)."

                          That's not evidence of a god at all. Current best estimates are that there are likely at least 10000 advanced civilisations around in the universe at a point in time. However average distances between them are so vast that we are unlikely to ever meet or hear from any of them.

                        2. Anonymous Coward
                          Anonymous Coward

                          Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                          "Hell, you even believe that dinosaurs died out millions of years before the first man came along despite abundant proof (cave drawings, figurines, carvings, eye witness accounts etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc) that man and dinosaurs lived together."

                          No such evidence exists. And just LOL at "eye witness accounts" Someone is feeding you bs. I'm guessing you must be an American...or otherwise exceptionally gullible. Or trolling.

                          1. Kiwi Silver badge
                            WTF?

                            Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                            "Hell, you even believe that dinosaurs died out millions of years before the first man came along despite abundant proof (cave drawings, figurines, carvings, eye witness accounts etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc) that man and dinosaurs lived together."

                            No such evidence exists. And just LOL at "eye witness accounts" Someone is feeding you bs. I'm guessing you must be an American...or otherwise exceptionally gullible. Or trolling.

                            Ah, you must be one of the "They were tripping and drawing monsters they dreamed up" that just happen to bear an uncanny resemblance to dinosaurs?

                            IIRC as recent as the 1950s there were some interesting stuff out of some African and other areas. And of course there's the whole "dragon" thing. A look at many of those and you can see they've taken on all sorts of fanciful things, but there are "dragon" stories that don't involve the creatures breathing fire flying. Many of the descriptions bear an interesting resemblance to known dinosaur forms. The word "Dinosaur" only came to us I believe in the mid 1800's (1860-something?), and the concept of "dragon" does in most respects very closely resemble a "terrible lizard" in most tales. Many IIRC even refer to dragons as "Lizard".

                            Around the world creatures survive very much unchanged since the age of the dinosaurs. There's bacteria that are the same as their forms found in fossils, some fish, and larger creatures such as IIRC crocs and/or gators. An event that wipes out so much of life but leaves such a broad range of life around - creatures that appear not even slightly fazed by the changes to the environment? A large range of cold-blooded creatures at that who'd be among the first to die in an environmental catastrophe?

                            You buy all this stuff and swallow it without even the slightest bit of thought or tiniest application of logic to see that not all the material matches, yet you call me gullible?

                            Then again, your "I'm guessing you must be an American" comment indicates that you may have difficulty seeing even the extremely obvious when it goes against your views.

                        3. Richard Plinston Silver badge

                          Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                          > We exist, despite the odds of it.

                          In what way did you calculate the 'odds'? How many worlds did you examine in order to estimate the probability of life existing? Your assertion about the odds cannot be used as evidence - it is just an assertion.

                          > I believe that someone created everything by the use of knowledge.

                          And you have nothing to offer about how that 'someone' was magically created, nor how he got 'knowledge'. You have simply replaced a complex problem (how did the universe start) with two larger, more complex problems, first: how did 'someone' start?, second: how did he create the universe and from what?.

                          > someone exceptionally creative used their abilities to design and build these things for us.

                          Now there is the ultimate misrepresentation: _NOTHING_ is created, designed, made, or exists _for_us_. We are not, and have not been, the goal of any creation or evolution. The world exists as it happens to exist and life on it has had to evolve to suit the world as we find it and as it has changed. If the conditions had been different we may have been purple cuttlefish discussing how some greater being made the world that so perfectly suits us. This is the flaw in the 'made in our image' (note the plural) that leads biblical literalists to think that evolution _must_ have humans as its goal, and thus the 'odds against it'. There is NO goal. We are here at this time by entirely arbitrary mechanisms, the outcome was never assured.

                          > Hell, you even believe that dinosaurs died out millions of years before the first man came along despite abundant proof (cave drawings, figurines, carvings, eye witness accounts etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc) that man and dinosaurs lived together.

                          Complete nonsense, except in the loose meaning that avians are the descendants of early dinosaurs. There is no evidence of living dinosaurs (except avians) in the last 60 million years. You have been conned.

                        4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                          Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                          "Hell, you even believe that dinosaurs died out millions of years before the first man came along despite abundant proof (cave drawings, figurines, carvings, eye witness accounts etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc) that man and dinosaurs lived together."

                          Whoa! Verified citations please!

                        5. Alistair Silver badge
                          Windows

                          Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                          @ kiwi:

                          I can let you get away with a fair bit of your "faith" but the following are incorrect:

                          " reactions that are absolutely necessary to happen in life but absolutely cannot occur in nature."

                          The above conclusion is an *assumption* not a proof. That we cannot replicate the reactions involved precisely lies on two lines - one that we do not have precise values for the state of the planet at the time it happened and we humans have not existed for the length of time over which that set of reactions happened

                          " yet it is now believed by a number of physicists that the forces involved in the spinning of a clump of dust would cause it to fly apart "

                          I think you might find that the 'number of physicists' involved there are a) from the late 19th century and b) all members of a jesuit order. Oddly, the treatise you reference I used to dismantle a pivot of catholic faith when I was in tenth grade. It looks wonderful if you ignore the misuse of basic energy equations.

                          "magical asteroids that "just magically happened" to hit things in the right way "

                          Oddly, if one steps back just one or two steps, once you look at the numbers, there is no magic here, it becomes inevitable, given the number of available solar systems out there, that the unique set of circumstances were likely to happen, based purely on random chance.

                          "first man came along despite abundant proof (cave drawings, figurines, carvings, eye witness accounts"

                          This depends *absolutely* on what one qualifies as a "dinosaur". According to *some* folks, we here on this forum are seeing a dinosaur called Kiwi. Yes, it is rather quite clear that the pyramids existed (and were likely completed) before the last of the wooly mammoths died off. However I very much doubt there are any cave paintings of a hominid taking down any of the saurians. I can go to my local zoo and observe at least three creatures that are typically referred to as dinosaurs.

                          Oddly, I can substantiate the *reason* for any religion quite simply: Humans need to have things explained to them, and need to have a reason for the order and structure that they will live. Until knowledge and education came along the oral history accompanied by religion was the most effective method of keeping humans organized, and socialized. Otherwise there was no purpose to their lives, and no reason not to take anything they wanted from others, no reason not to rape everything that moved, no reason not to kill off anyone that got in their way. For many the above holds true today.

                          1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

                            Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                            > religion was the most effective method of keeping humans organized, and socialized.

                            Added to which: those who weren't with you were against you. Anyone who didn't worship and pray to the 'dear leader' was banished, or worse. This still happens in many parts of the world: North Korea, 'Islamic State', parts of southern USA ;-), ...

                            While the religious today mostly regard the term 'god' or 'gods' to refer to supernatural beings, there is no reason to think that is what people a few thousand years ago thought. In recent times some religions had 'gods' that they could see in the street: Herohito, Rastas, Phil the Greek, Kim Jong x, Trump, Jesus, ... There is no reason to think that this is not how it was in the past: Exodus 25:8 has Jehovah require that temples be built 'so that I may dwell amongst you'. He wanted palaces in each town so he didn't have to be put up in some shack when he went visiting.

                            'Gods' are either entirely fictional, as some most likely are or were, or are or were just tribal leaders: Pharaohs, Emperors, Kings, Warlords (ie The Lord as in 'House of Lords').

                            Exclude or slaughter those who don't worship and pretty soon they all seem to conform. Do the same to local communities who have a different religion/leader (eg the Midianites, Canaanites, Cathars, Huguenots) and you soon have a majority religion.

                            1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

                              Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                              "Exclude or slaughter those who don't worship and pretty soon they all seem to conform."

                              Yep... here's an example. This was the fate of the Babylonians when they refused to accept the "lord".

                              "Every one that is found shall be thrust through; and every one that is joined unto them shall fall by the sword. Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished." (Isaiah 13:15-16)

                    2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

                      Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                      > at speeds up to (and maybe over) 180km/hr, and my still being alive means I have safely travelled at such speeds on NZ roads

                      It means no such thing, it means that you are deluded.

                      Please send me a tweet when you are about to go driving so that I can stay off the roads.

                      While you may have survived so far, what you have failed to notice is that other road users will tend to treat you, in terms of making a prediction as to your future position, as if you were were at the speed limit or slightly above. They will estimate, for example, on seeing you that they have, say, 5 seconds before you arrive at their position. When it only takes 3 seconds they will still be in your way.

                      1. Kiwi Silver badge
                        FAIL

                        Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                        at speeds up to (and maybe over) 180km/hr, and my still being alive means I have safely travelled at such speeds on NZ roads

                        It means no such thing, it means that you are deluded.

                        You have read stuff into the message that was not stated.

                        I said that I have travelled at these speeds, I did not say I was driving.

                        That no one was involved in a crash proves that it was done safely . I know of people who have driven in residential areas legally at speeds over 200km/hr without driving police cars. Remember when we used to have the Mobil 1 (IIRC was a long time ago!) in Wellington? The Hamilton V8 street racing? (and no I am not claiming I was involved in any of these)

                        Please send me a tweet when you are about to go driving so that I can stay off the roads.

                        Ah, you must be one of those who have downvoted me for talking about having done driver training and taking time to know the limits of my vehicle, taking into account things that could influence my driving and so on.

                        Are you one of those people who thinks that "nothing bad will happen if you drive at the speed limit" rather than driving to the conditions? One of those people perhaps who believes they should rely on airbags and other stuff to protect them in a crash rather than using their brain to see a problem coming (eg stopped cars) and to slow down/take action before they run into a bunch of stopped traffic?

                        I keep my vehicle maintained, I practice braking and other emergency manoeuvres (in a safe area, like an empty car park) so if something happens I don't get surprised by how my vehicle reacts, and I keep my eyes on the road and the users around me. What, in all of that, makes me dangerous?

                        Oh. Because I know that our speed limit is arbitrary (that's why the government has just voted to raise it in certain areas!) and because under some unknown-to-you circumstance I have travelled at a speed above that and survived. Perhaps I was involved in some legal street racing, or I could've been a passenger in a cop car or other emergency vehicle in an emergency. Maybe I was in a light plane that landed or took off from a NZ road way (we used to have light planes used as emergency transport and they used to land and take off from nearby roads before we got the Westpac etc helicopters). Maybe I was a passenger in a prime minister's car on the way to a sports event.

                        Travelling at, above, or below the speed limit is no guarantee of what will or won't happen to you, nor is it proof of safe driving. Travelling at a speed appropriate for the conditions is. A well-trained driver taking someone to meet a rescue helicopter at speeds above the posted limit is perfectly fine, especially when the road they are on is in good condition and closed to other traffic.

                        what you have failed to notice

                        What you have failed to notice is that I have not said half of what you imagine.

                        1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

                          Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                          > That no one was involved in a crash proves that it was done safely .

                          No it does not 'prove' that it was done safely at all.

                          > I know of people who have driven in residential areas legally at speeds over 200km/hr without driving police cars. Remember when we used to have the Mobil 1 (IIRC was a long time ago!) in Wellington? The Hamilton V8 street racing? (and no I am not claiming I was involved in any of these)

                          That was in very controlled conditions and only by drivers that were rated for those conditions. That is a very different thing than driving fast where other drivers of variable skill may appear. For those races the road was aligned and resurfaced with a special mix that was rated for the speeds of those cars and it was levelled to ensure safety. No other roads in NZ are made to those standards.

                          > Ah, you must be one of those who have downvoted me

                          Actually, no, I have never downvoted _anyone_, nor upvoted.

                          > Are you one of those people who thinks that "nothing bad will happen ...

                          > One of those people perhaps who believes ...

                          No. No.

                          > Oh. Because I know that our speed limit is arbitrary (that's why the government has just voted to raise it in certain areas!)

                          The speed limit is set based on the state of the road, its surface, its camber, curves, sight lines and many other issues. NO road is New Zealand is safe to be driven on at 180kph, not even by emergency services. You would be hard pressed to find tires that are rated to do 180kph, especially on the road surfaces found in NZ.

                          Two roads have upped the limit to 110kph because they are new roads specifically engineered for faster speeds than has been the practice in the past.

                          > What you have failed to notice is that I have not said half of what you imagine.

                          What you failed to notice is that I haven't imagined anything, I have only responded to exactly what you _said_. It is you that imagines things, such as me down voting, what you think I believe, or you being safe.

                  2. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

                    Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                    "Your reply imagines a situation that avoids the original question; you 'solve' the problem of how everything started by saying there wasn't a start, that the origin was 'without beginning or end'."

                    Furthermore, your hypothesis can be defeated by scripture itself...

                    "In the beginning was the word....", So there's a beginning then.

                    "I am the Alpha and the Omega...", So, that's a beginning AND an end.

                    Therefore, using the same data source as your argument, your theory is invalidated.

            2. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge
              Alien

              Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

              "This is the theologian version of "turtles all the way down"; the concept of a god leads to an infinite regress."

              Unless, of course, God is an atheist. After all, surely he doesn't believe that anyone created him, right?

          3. Teiwaz Silver badge

            Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

            I disagree on principle. Reality is inexplicable. No way it got like that by accident. ;-/

            Careful, that line of thought can only end with tragedy at a zebra crossing,.,

          4. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

            Alien UFO's are Real - and AIMenace to Perverted Script Vehicles

            Reality is inexplicable. No way it got like that by accident. ;-/ .... Big John

            Hmmmm? That is conflicted, Big John, and contradictory.

            Would you like reality explained? Even if it blows minds ... and immediately practically fcuks up all existing status quo systems?

            And would that be classified terrorism?

            RSVP .... GCHQ/NSA/FSB/AQ/Titanic Rain Makers/GIP/just where do you stop when so many imagine they have answers which question the nature of existence?

            Do you like making snowballs for others to fire, Big John?

            2018 is going to be a spectacularly year .... Happy New Year Everyone ... Worthy and Deserving of Such Cheer.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Meh

              Re: Alien UFO's are Real - and AIMenace to Perverted Script Vehicles

              amanfromMars1 asks:

              "Do you like making snowballs for others to fire, Big John?"

              Yes, yes I do. It's a form of meta-commenting. Trouble is, I'm having difficulty controlling it.

          5. GrapeBunch Bronze badge
            Thumb Down

            Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

            We are sorry. That Deity is no longer available. He / she / it was downvoted by the wultures. Please choose another myth.

            1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

              Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

              I pick Shinto!

              1. Dagg
                Devil

                Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                If I had to have a god it would be Loki

          6. TheVogon Silver badge

            Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

            "Reality is inexplicable. No way it got like that by accident. ;-/"

            Correlation does not ensure causation.

            Not to mention that there are plenty of gullible suckers on the planet...

          7. Alistair Silver badge
            Windows

            Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

            " Reality is inexplicable. No way it got like that by accident. "

            And yet Big John, here you are.....

        1. nagyeger

          Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

          Not a solid scrap of evidence to say that no god exists either. Of course there's lots and lots of circumstantial, hear-say and personal non-revelations, not to mention fingers-in-ears 'I can't hear you' arguments that get repeated often enough that they're assumed to be incontrovertible fact.

          Which God don't you believe in? There are an awful lot of awful ones, and a lot of awful people who use their awful misconception that 'My friend says we're doing it for God so God must approve' as an excuse to do awful things. Politics-dressed-as-religion and hatred-dressed-as-religion and ambition-dressed-as-religion, etc. just tell us that religion is a powerful social force.

          My own opinion is they tell us quite a lot about human nature (<sarcasm>deep down there's good in everyone, yeah, it shows</sarcasm>) and basically nothing about why the one who keeps the electrons spinning would decide to get born in a stigmatised way into a despised minority group with a well-proven history of rejecting him. Oh yeah, it was so that he could spend about 3 years as preaching to people who mostly didn't listen and then get tortured to death, that explains it.

          Have a very happy Christmas everyone. Don't get so merry you get stupid.

          1. GrapeBunch Bronze badge
            Angel

            Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

            We are sorry. The Great Mouse you clicked has already been chosen by another user. Please select another large mouse.

            We are sorry. The large mouse you selected has been eaten by an ancient Egyptian cat Deity. Please consult your Anubis. Your après vie has been truncated.

            We are very sorry. There's cakes in the oven, there's cheese on the shelf. If you want any more, you can sing it yourself.

          2. DavCrav Silver badge

            Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

            "Not a solid scrap of evidence to say that no god exists either. Of course there's lots and lots of circumstantial, hear-say and personal non-revelations, not to mention fingers-in-ears 'I can't hear you' arguments that get repeated often enough that they're assumed to be incontrovertible fact."

            I'm not sure what you are trying to say at this point. You cannot prove that unicorns don't exist either.

            So, there are a few different categories of noun:

            1) Elephants. Lots of physical evidence, many people say they have seen them, I have seen them.

            2) Dreams. No physical evidence, many people say they have seen them, I have seen them. (Dots on an MRI is proof of something, not proof of dreams.)

            3) Tigers. Lots of physical evidence, many people say they have seen them, I have not seen them.

            4) Bigfoot. No physical evidence, many people say they have seen them, I have not seen them.

            5) Unicorns. No physical evidence, many people do not say they have seen them, I have not seen them.

            So in this sort of classification, God fits somewhere between dreams and bigfoot, which is fair enough.

            1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

              Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

              > "Not a solid scrap of evidence to say that no god exists either. ..."

              Many so called 'gods' most likely did exist. "Rastas" (Ras Tafari), the god of the rastafarians, certainly did exist - I have a photograph of him sitting next to my grandfather. Of course, like most 'gods', he was a powerful tribal leader, in fact he was later Emperor of Ethiopia. Many other 'gods' were the result of ancestor worship.

              There is no reason to suppose that Jehovah, the god of the Jews and of the Bible, was any different. Forget Genesis, which is just a collection of stories, fables and myths adapted from other, earlier, religions and you are left with this tribal leader who met Moses up on a hill somewhere and granted him and his followers some land as long as they followed the rules, including only following him. They then went and slaughtered a few neighbouring cities because he was a warlord.

              Usually, ancestral gods are replaced every few generations by later tribal leaders, but in the case of Jehovah there was a contract, the Covenant, that would grant the Jews their promised land. Changing to a later 'god' would break that.

              In fact the previous generation of 'gods' in that part of the world was El, the god of the Canaanites and most likely the 'God of Abraham'. El had many sons or princes that were named Bael (or Baal) and often had the territory they ruled as part of their name, eg Bael-Zebub. In fact the Bible refers to the Elohim. This is a plural term that is usually taken to refer to 'gods' but may specifically refer to 'the family of El' indicating that Jehovah was another descendant of El*.

              So, yes, 'gods' existed and, in some communities may still exist (as living people)**, but there is no reason to believe that any of them were supernatural.

              * Israel is usually taken to mean 'God prevails' but in fact refers directly to the god El, Jehovah's predecessor.

              ** Phil the Greek, for example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_Philip_Movement

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                >>Forget Genesis, which is just a collection of stories, fables and myths adapted from other, earlier, religions

                And ditto Christianity which is largely built on those foundations - and then Islam - which was basically a straight rip-off of early Christianity plus a bit of spicing up to suit.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

            "Not a solid scrap of evidence to say that no god exists either"

            But there is overwhelming observable evidence to disprove many core beliefs of most religions. For instance evolution over creationism.

          4. TheVogon Silver badge

            Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

            "Which God don't you believe in?"

            The imaginary ones. So all of them.

        2. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
          Holmes

          Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

          @Paper

          It's not so far fetched if you think about how many people, probably including readers on this very site, who believe in god because of so many circumstantial, hear-say and personal revelations. Yet not one solid scrap of evidence to show that a god exists.

          The existence of God can only be deduced. If for example you believe in the Big Bang theory you must hold contradictory beliefs. Every other quantum fluctuation that we know of results in the particles annihilating each other very quickly. So the Big Bang was either a miracle or perhaps the universe willed itself into existence. Prior to the BB, spacetime did not exist. So how could there be any quantum fluctuations in the first place? Did some being poke a hole through from some other dimension? If so, that being must be our god.

          Merry Christmas to the ElReg staff and all the commentards :)

          1. tfb Silver badge
            Boffin

            Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

            You are confused about what 'believing in the big bang' entails. What it entails is believing two things: firstly the universe was, long ago, much hotter and denser than it is now, and secondly that the density & temperature increased very rapidly & without apparent bound as we go further back towards some limiting time. Both of these beliefs are strongly justified both by experimental evidence and by our theoretical model of the evolution of the universe. There is nothing inconsistent about these beliefs.

            What we definitely don't understand is the 'without bound' bit: as the density and temperature increase we know that we do not have theories which work any more. So we can predict things backwards only to the point where the theories we have fail: beyond that point we must wait for a theory which works.

            In particular any talk about 'quantum fluctuations' giving rise to the universe is just speculation: we don't have a theory that works at that point and so there is not very much we can usefully say.

          2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

            Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

            > Prior to the BB, spacetime did not exist.

            It is impossible to say anything about "prior to the BB". Space-Time may have existed, or it may have been something quite different, or there may have been no 'prior'. Making a claim, as you have done, requires evidence - and there is none and there may never be.

            > If so, that being must be our god.

            Why _must_ it be your 'god' ? (it certainly isn't mine). Why must it be any 'god' ? The universe is not limited by your lack of imagination.

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