In 1633, Galileo was put before the Roman Inquisition to renounce his support for the unacceptable idea that the Earth revolves around the sun. It wouldn’t be until 1822 that the Catholic Church permitted this idea of heliocentrism. Today, it is unthinkable to suggest that the Sun revolves around the Earth, given the overwhelming evidence.
The Overton Window is the range of acceptable topics that can be discussed in a group. When someone openly discusses a topic that is outside this range, they are shunned or cast out for publicly expressing an unacceptable view.
When speaking of UFOs, the Overton Window has been opening more widely in recent years, as evidenced by a growing list of news stories concerning UFOs and aliens.
A growing assortment of sources, including the Pentagon, US Navy Pilots, a Harvard professor, the New York Times, the former Senate Majority Leader and the former Israeli Space Security Chief have made public statements on UFOs. These statements range from acknowledging the existence of UFOs to asserting that humans are currently in contact with aliens.
You no longer have to wear a tin-foil hat to discuss governments holding classified meetings on UFOs and alien spacecraft recovery, because people in government have openly admitted it in interviews with the New York Times.
What are we to make of this?
Authorities in media, military, academia and politics are increasingly acknowledging UFOs, evidence of alien technology or outright contact with aliens. What was once intellectually taboo has become mainstream.
The Overton Window has opened.
There is a quiet discomfort when confronted with a freshly discarded taboo. As of yet, there isn’t definitive proof of alien life, or intelligent alien life for that matter. What has changed is the public conversation regarding alien life. Rational, intelligent people with good social standing can publicly assert their belief in intelligent alien life and in alien visitations to Earth.
The reality is that this particular Overton Window has been creeping open for decades.
The first planet outside our solar system (aka exoplanet) was confirmed in 1992, since then there have been over 4,000 exoplanets confirmed and that number is growing. The increasingly frequent discoveries of multi-planet star systems suggest that our 8-planet solar system, with multiple terrestrial planets in the habitable zone, may not be particularly unique.
Given the hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy, the trillions of galaxies in the universe, and the 13 billion-year age of the universe, it is well within reason to assume that life, or even intelligent life, exists beyond the Earth.
The Drake Equation attempts to quantify how many intelligent civilizations there may be in our galaxy, expressed as N. By estimating values for the variables needed for an alien civilization to arise, one can arrive at varying results for N, ranging from 1 to over 100,000,000 alien civilizations.
This extremely wide range is due to the fact that many of the variables remain unknown, and can only be speculated. Do 1% of planets have favourable conditions to support life or 0.001%? Do all planets with life inevitably give rise to intelligent life or only a minuscule fraction? You can plug in your own numbers in this calculator to make your own guess.
In any case, a rational thinker can concede that there is a real possibility that intelligent life is out there, and that there has been sufficient time for that life to spread across the stars, including to our own.
Currently, astronomers use radio telescopes to search for signals from other star systems in hope of finding intelligent life on other planets. They also use a transit spectroscopy to examine the light spectrum from exoplanets to determine atmospheric contents, since the presence of oxygen or methane would be potential indicators of life.
Seeing as our planet has had measurable levels of oxygen for more than 500 million years, any intelligent species within a 500 million light year radius could see that our planet hosts life. Similarly, since humanity has been broadcasting radio waves for more than a century, any listener within 100 light years could be aware that Earth hosts intelligent life.
Essentially, alien astronomers in our galaxy and beyond could be aware that Earth is a host to life for millions of years, providing incentive to visit if possible.
There are relevant implications to a galaxy that contains multiple intelligent civilizations, which are in contact with one another: interspecies communication, technological development, trade or conflict. Promoting discussion about alien contact and its implications are in our collective interest.
Any strangeness that you may feel about discussing alien visitations to Earth is the remnant of a bygone Overton Window that is now open.
Yes, aliens may exist.
Yes, they may have visited or are currently visiting Earth.
Yes, talking about alien contact is socially acceptable and relevant.
Yes, this is perhaps one of the most important revelations in history.
Get on board.
If aliens are already here, they will certainly have access to the Internet.
In that case, greetings.
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