Why is “Extraterrestrials!” always the answer?

Because “Nature abhors a vacuum”. This is an old Latin proverb that can be first attributed to François Rabelais (c. 1494-1553) . Our minds can’t stand unanswered questions. So we populate the emptiness with answers like “Exterrestrials!”. Like the old maps of the world – men couldn’t leave the unknown parts empty and added “Here there be monsters!” or actually drew a few.

What has this got to do with biology? I could wave my hands and say of course behavior is driven by biology. Said and done. Moving on, I must confess, there is no direct link. I was  happily reading science news online and came across the headline:

Man looking for missing cat stumbles on buried ‘UFO’

Of course I was sucked in. I always am. I find it fascinating that the first explanation is always aliens. Even when there is clearly an obvious, logical explanation. There was in this case as well, but you can read the article for yourself if you’re interested.

I just don’t get it.

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About Dr.B.

I teach upper and lower level biology course at CCBC and UMBC.

Posted on March 18, 2012, in I just couldn't help myself! and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Slightly related, here’s an interesting video talking about recent discoveries of DNA building blocks in meteorites and an argument that life on earth may not have been possible without a certain kind of extraterrestrial “kick” in the pants:

    Not exactly aliens building the pyramids, but pretty cool in it’s own right!

    Jeff

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