Seriously! STOP IT! It’s not healthy. It’s not good for us.
Look, science is great. It really is. It’s awesome. We’re entirely in agreement there. But, scienTISTS are NOT science. They’re people who do science. They’re related to science. They’re NOT science. Science is a methodology. ScienTISTS are not methodologies. They’re people. And, while science is super-awesome, scienTISTS run the gamut from being absolute uber-geniuses to being incredibly small-minded, thick-headed, sometimes down right stupid, stunted thinkers who just happen to have some degree of training in a particular field sufficient enough to land them a job. Just because someone happens to be employed in the sciences it doesn’t mean that they’re not, in fact, a moron.
I’m sorry, but I’m just getting sick of this idiocy. I see it all the time now — people deferring absolutely to any old thing anyone who has a couple of letters after their name happens to say — even if they happen to be speaking in terms of pure supposition and expressing mere opinion on a subject in which they have absolutely no training, and crying ‘heretic!’ at anyone who dares to say that particular scientist might actually have their head planted firmly up their own ass.
Here’s the truth, Bucko: Some scientists are idiots who are more than capable of saying, and believing, excruciatingly idiotic things and holding excruciatingly idiotic opinions. That’s just the way it is. And, in the real world, just what academic station any particular scientist happens to have been able to rise to is not an infallible indicator that everything they say must not be entirely imbecilic in nature. I’m quite aware that big, long academic titles sound impressive. But, it’s bullshit. It’s just a title. It doesn’t necessarily mean anything.
Take for example this incredible braniac: Dr. Karen L. Masters. She holds a Ph.D in Astronomy from Cornell, an M.S. in Astronomy, also from Cornell, and a B.A. in Physics from Oxford — where she graduated 1st in her B.A. class. She’s currently a ‘senior lecturer in the institute of cosmology and gravitation at The University of Portsmouth‘. Sounds impressive, huh? There’s no way that anyone so credentialed and of such achievement is at all capable of uttering idiocy, right? Well, actually… wrong.
I’m sure that Dr. Masters is a finely trained astronomer, no doubt. However, in a recent article written about a recent event in which a peculiar object was sighted and photographed flying through the skies over Portsmouth, Dr. Karen Masters was quoted as saying this:
“The distances in space are so vast that it’s just not possible for aliens to be visiting Earth, so any interpretation suggesting this is an alien spacecraft is clearly wrong.”
Holy hell on a hockey stick, Batman! Yes, the person who uttered the above quoted statement is actually employed as a scientist. She’s a graduate of both Cornell & Oxford, for crying out loud!
Now, I’m going to explain why the statement quoted above is so mind-blowing moronic. But, let me first say that I’m explaining this for the benefit of those readers who might require it. And, if you are one of those, I would advise you to stop reading immediately, find a nice, quiet corner somewhere where you wont be disturbed, and flog yourself viciously until you draw blood, in an attempt to exercise the stupid from your being.
Ok, now that we’ve got that out of the way, here’s why the quote from Dr. Masters above is so mind-blowing idiotic. First of all, this woman holds a freakin’ degree in physics from fucking Oxford! Yet, she’s apparently clueless to the fact that physics tells us that we — us — human beings — right now — today — if we only had a propulsion system capable of it, could accelerate a ship to 99.99% the speed of light and make a trip to the absolute farthest reaches of our galaxy and back in well less than a human being’s adult life-span, crew-time. Hell, at that speed, the crew-time spent to send a human being on a one-way trip to the Andromeda galaxy would be less than the average human’s lifespan.
But, that’s just unthinkable right? A universal impossibility. To accelerate a ship to 99.99% the speed of light? Can’t be done. Well, what if I told you that accelerating a ship at only 1G of force (which, in so doing, would accurately mimic earth gravity for the occupants of the craft) for just 12 months would be all that is required to achieve a speed of 99.99% the speed of light?
Think about that! The average, regular ol’ production sports car is capable — with pedal to the metal — of producing very close to 1G of acceleration. So, imagine that you somehow had a limitless supply of fuel on-board your new Chevy Corvette. You could wedge the accelerator wide-open and about 12 months after you began your journey, you’d be travelling at 99.99% the speed of light. But, obviously, there is absolutely no other species anywhere in this galaxy of well more than a hundred-billion stars who has been able to develop a means of sustaining a craft at a constant 1G for a year. Even though it’s entirely possible that alien civilizations might exist in the galaxy that are MILLIONS of years older than our own civilization — with MILLIONS of years of more technological advancement than we have. I mean, Jesus! Less than two HUNDRED years ago we were completely incapable of heavier than air flight. With just about a measly eighty years of technological advancement, we went from not being able to fly, to sending probes out into inter-stellar space, for cryin’ out Pete’s sake!
There are stars in our galaxy that are several BILLIONS of years older than our own Sun. Such star systems could house civilizations hundreds of millions, if not billions of years old. We went from no-heavier-than-air-flight to the beginnings of inter-stellar space exploration in less than the single life-time of a great many people. But, according to the good Dr. Masters, there’s just no way there could be any civilizations out there who, given a possibility of hundreds of millions of years of technological advancement, could have possibly figured out a way to get significantly beyond where we are now? And, why? Well, because, for reasons… I guess.
You would think someone holding a degree in physics from Oxford would be instantly aware of all of this, no? Jesus, man! I’m sorry. But this kind of ridiculously stunted thinking is absolutely inexcusable — especially from an academic.
Now, think about this — Given a capable propulsion system, we could make a one-way trip to the Andromeda galaxy in well less than 70 years, crew-time. The Andromeda galaxy is more than TWO-MILLION light years away — TWO-MILLION. You got that? Less than 70 years crew-time to travel / TWO-MILLION light years. Well, guess what? Within just 50 light years of us there’s almost fifteen hundred other star-systems! So, how long would it take a crew to travel to one of those star-systems and come back? Months — a couple of months. That’s it. Weeks, even, for the closest of them.
Dr. Karen Masters KNOWS that whatever that thing was flying through the skies of Portsmouth, it didn’t come from another star system. Her a-priory proclamation is absolutely sacrosanct, to be sure. Because, of course, people with such expertise in astronomy are entirely infallible when it comes to their opinions on what sort of technological advancements some possible alien species may or may not have achieved?!?!? Oh yes! They spend a great deal of their academic careers thoroughly studying such things. So, they know… they know.
Why is an Astronomer even being consulted for such an article, anyway? What in the holy-hell do astronomers know about such things? Nothing! That’s what. An astronomer is no more qualified to tell me whether or not some object may, or may not, contain members of an alien species than my plumber is. It is, in itself, such a stupid way of thinking — ‘(1) Aliens come from space. (2) Astronomers spend a lot of time looking at things that are also in space. (3) Therefore, an Astronomer’s opinion on the matter would be a good thing to have. ?!?!? … (1) Cancer is a disease that affects people. (2) Fashion designers spend a lot of time designing clothes that go on people. (3) Therefore, I should seek medical advice from a fashion designer about my cancer. ?!?!?!? Stupidity irks me, man! It irks me! To no end it irks me.
So, yeah. Consulting an astronomer about such things makes little sense. Astronomers are not, in any way, qualified to offer expert opinions on the habits and abilities of possible alien species and their doings. Excepting, of course, the eminent Dr. Karen Masters, obviously. She knows, by golly! She knows that no propulsion system capable of accelerating any craft to near the speed of light has been developed by any species which might exist in our galaxy. Or, that a system of travel capable of getting around our current understanding of the complications and limitations of long-distance space-time travel is a universal impossibility. She’s studied such possibilities and potentialities, at great length, I’m sure. Astronomers do, don’t they? Or… no… wait… they don’. They spend all of their time trying to figure out how fucking stars work and behave.
I suppose her relentless and lengthy scientific experimentation has also revealed to her that any and every possible alien species that might exist could also absolutely not have what we would consider to be exceedingly long life-spans? Because, if it turns out that the absolute quickest we could ever possibly make a trip to, say, the Andromeda galaxy, is around 70 years, we wouldn’t be very likely to make that trip — too much of an investment in time. It would, however, likely not be of such little attraction to a species who enjoyed an average lifespan of, say, ten-thousand years. Don’t you think? But, I guess Dr. Masters has done the work and been able to prove conclusively that no such thing is at all a possibility. She’s an expert on exactly what technologies any possible alien species might have at their disposal, what they may be using it for, and/or what their motivations may be. After all, she IS an Astronomer?!?
But, Dr. Masters is just one example. I could fill up multiple articles with statements of such jaw-dropping, abject stupidity that have been uttered by respected scientists and academics like Neil deGrass Tyson, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Lawrence Krauss, and many others.
Just because a scientist says something, it doesn’t mean it’s not an idiotic thing to say — much less, a correct thing to say.
UPDATE: Dr. Masters has published a blog posting expounding on her ideas regarding the impossibility of long-distance space travel. You can read it here. Be forewarned of what should be of absolutely no surprise, however — that new article really only serves to expose her much further as an obviously clueless dimwit, incapable of any sort of novel thought.