Is the truth out there … or right here?

“Don’t talk to strangers” apparently applies to strange aliens too, at least according to Dr. Stephen Hawking. Last month the British astrophysicist warned the world that seeking contact with extraterrestrials could be hazardous to our health. Although most life on far-flung planets will probably be bacteria-sized, he notes that other life may be larger, intelligent and primarily interested in conquest.

Hawking said: “If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans.”

His remarks touched off a firestorm of controversy. For every one who thinks it’s perfectly sensible to think twice before inviting E.T. home for dinner, there are many others who feel Hawking is dead wrong to suggest that we lay low. One in particular is former Canadian defense minister, Paul Hellyer, who feels that Hawking is spreading “misinformation”.

Of aliens, Hellyer said, "The reality is that they've been visiting Earth for decades and probably millennia and have contributed considerably to our knowledge." He attributes microchips and fiber optics to alien technology.

Paul Hellyer is part of the 20 percent of the world’s population who believes that aliens are already among us. That’s right – a recent Reuters News Poll placed it at one in five. (http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/One-in-Five-20-Global-Citizens-Believe-That-Alien-Beings-Have-Com-1144745.htm)  Out of 22 countries surveyed, India and China have the highest percentage of believers (45% and 42% respectively). Belgium, Sweden and the Netherlands tied for lowest with 8%. Sixteen percent of Canada’s population – including Mr. Hellyer – are convinced that aliens walk among us, and 24% of Americans agree that aliens are already here and are disguised as human.

In other words, forget about hiding. It seems that reality is a little more like Men in Black than Independence Day. As Tommy Lee Jones said to Will Smith, “All right, kid, here's the deal. At any given time there are approximately 1500 aliens on the planet, most of them right here in Manhattan. And most of them are decent enough, they're just trying to make a living.”

Humor aside, if extraterrestrials are already here then most of us (the 80% apparently kept in the dark) have a helluva lot of questions. On all those episodes of X-Files, was art imitating life?

Perhaps the truth isn’t out there. Maybe it’s been right here all along. And maybe it’s been here a very long time.

The History Channel has been addressing some of these questions with a recent mini series on Ancient Aliens. With episodes titled The Evidence, The Visitors and The Mission, they’re examining not only the question of "Did extraterrestrials come to earth?" but "What purpose did they have?"

One of the most thought-provoking ideas to come out of the HC program is that perhaps, just perhaps, those of us who would like to meet an alien have only to look in the mirror. That the snippet of DNA that separates us from primates has its origins off-planet.

As long as the donor doesn’t show up wanting it back…

Dani Harper
http://www.daniharper.com/

Your turn – do you think extraterrestrial beings exist? Have they visited earth in the past? Are they here now? Your comments are welcome.

About the photo - This is a radio telescope. As of this month, there have been 453 exoplanets discovered since 1995 (Note - an exoplanet orbits a star other than our own sun). That’s a lot of worlds in a short time, and major breakthroughs are predicted in the next five to ten years. By 2020, advances in radio telescopes will be able to tell us if the nearest hundred exoplanets are home to intelligent life.

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