That said, no, I don't think we have established with any certainty that we have yet found evidence of such life, either here visiting or elsewhere. I admit there are things we don't know how to explain, but I (personally) am leery of drawing conclusions; we just don't know. I'd rather say I don't know that claim I do (based on cultural perceptions & biases) and be proven wrong, or worse, let my claims blind me to clues that might point to a different answer.
So, yes I believe it is likely there is other life out there, but no, I don't believe in UFOs per se, because I do rely on empirical proof.
I know, it's been said all over my f-list. But given a wrangle I got into with a pair of particular idiots, I needed to say it again!
What follows is the text of an article, written by NYU Physics Professor Alan Sokal, and accepted for publication by an academic cultural criticism publication. The article is utterly meaningless, and was intended to be meaningless. It was submitted as a hoax, to see how far one could push the incomprehensible verbiage of postmodern criticism, and still be found credible. (titles are links to full articles)
"Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity"
This is the original "parody" article, published in Social Text #46/47, pp. 217-252 (spring/summer 1996)
"A Physicist Experiments with Cultural Studies"
This is the article in which the author revealed the parody, published in Lingua Franca, May/June 1996, pp. 62-64.
My favorite quote:
What concerns me is the proliferation, not just of nonsense and sloppy thinking per se, but of a particular kind of nonsense and sloppy thinking: one that denies the existence of objective realities, or (when challenged) admits their existence but downplays their practical relevance.There are volumes more about both articles and the experiment itself, but these will get you started.
Social Text's acceptance of my article exemplifies the intellectual arrogance of Theory — meaning postmodernist literary theory — carried to its logical extreme. No wonder they didn't bother to consult a physicist. If all is discourse and "text," then knowledge of the real world is superfluous; even physics becomes just another branch of Cultural Studies. If, moreover, all is rhetoric and "language games," then internal logical consistency is superfluous too: a patina of theoretical sophistication serves equally well. Incomprehensibility becomes a virtue; allusions, metaphors and puns substitute for evidence and logic. My own article is, if anything, an extremely modest example of this well-established genre.
Also of interest: The Postmodernism Generator This page will create, fresh for you, a completely meaningless, but very high-minded-sounding essay, employing postmodern criticism in a manner frighteningly similar to how it is done with sincere intent. Now you, too, can participate in the questionable endeavor of postmodern epistemological critique! Enjoy!
- I once rewired an ethernet connection through the walls of the office I worked in using a paperclip, a disassembled ball-point pen, string and some tape.
- I have also repaired a car engine (alternator, actually) using a crowbar, a hacksaw, and a nut and bolt scavenged from an old dining room table.
- I have wired an electric circuit using pennies when making a battery-powered Statue of Liberty out of a Barbie doll, a Christmas light and a cut and shaped plastic comb for a switch.
- I replaced a jewelry box hinge with an old pin-back and a straight pin.
- And repaired a plaster-and-lath overhang with paper towels, coat-hanger pieces and spackle.
That's all that come to mind at present, but there are countless others. This is a long, and time-honored tradition among the women in my family, in fact. We even have a word for it:
fa-HUM-mich* verb, etymology unknown. To jerry-rig, fabricate, fix, hot-wire, or otherwise finnagle something out of unlikely bits and parts.
(*That's a phonetic spelling, since I don't think I have ever before in my life actually written it out before!)