When some people wrote privately to protest that this ET>Big Bang stuff is all just one space bunny too far down the cosmic path, I (O’Leary for News) pointed out in response that Neil deGrasse Tyson (here), Martin Rees (here), and Elon Musk (here) have also suggested that very thing.
Tyson and Musk have great name recko. And yet non-theistic ID is not endangering their careers?
Well, now theoretical physicist Rob Sheldon writes to offer some thoughts on the new-found popularity:
Avi Loeb is a product of post-1947 Israel, where ideology was always important. Enlightenment principles were not going to motivate you to farm the Negev. So instead of the monoculture of scientism, Avi learned how to frame his argument in the ideology du jour to maximum effect. His recent foray into alien ID is a calculated move, and related to his tenure at Harvard. You might say it is a flanking move on the Woke mob.
Neil de Grasse Tyson is far less creative than Avi. He was a “new atheist” when that was in vogue, he’s switched to “alien ID” when that came up. I think he has a desire for the limelight, and instinctively moves where the lights are brightest.
Martin Rees could have been a solid astrophysicist with high profile graduate students. But his promotion to president of the Royal Society, Royal Astronomer and then to the House of Lords, means that his astrophysics must take secondary precedence to his politics. About the time that all these political posts fell to him, he started publishing pop-sci books:
- Cosmic Coincidences: Dark Matter, Mankind, and Anthropic Cosmology (co-author John Gribbin), 1989, Bantam; ISBN 0-553-34740-3
- New Perspectives in Astrophysical Cosmology, 1995; ISBN 0-521-64544-1
- Gravity’s Fatal Attraction: Black Holes in the Universe, 1995; ISBN 0-7167-6029-0, 2nd edition 2009, ISBN 0-521-71793-0
- Before the Beginning – Our Universe and Others, 1997; ISBN 0-7382-0033-6
- Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape the Universe, 1999; ISBN 0-297-84297-8
- Our Cosmic Habitat, 2001; ISBN 0-691-11477-3
- Our Final Hour: A Scientist’s Warning: How Terror, Error, and Environmental Disaster Threaten Humankind’s Future In This Century—On Earth and Beyond (UK title: Our Final Century: Will the Human Race Survive the Twenty-first Century?), 2003; ISBN 0-465-06862-6
As you can see, they range from the ID-friendly to the Politically-Correct. In all cases, they attempt to make the argument that science is relevant to politics and even can act as a savior for politics. Then in my view the alien-ID schtick is cynically a rhetorical method of getting a platform with the public to exploit for political causes.
Elon Musk has made a career out of selling his genius. For one example, his Tesla motor company has not yet broken even, and would not exist but for government subsidies. And the government subsidizes it because he is a great salesman, and he works his engineers to the bone, discards them, and recruits more engineers. As a salesman, it is important to be on the cutting edge of every movement. Like BitCoin. Not to stay there, but to make a bundle and move on. For Elon to support alien ID, means it is cutting edge right now, and of course, his support means it will soon be passe. Not because it doesn’t work, but because it’s been milked and there are other cows in the pasture.
All these men saw an opportunity. And the opportunity is the Fall of Modernism. It is the same opportunity we IDers have seen for 20 years now.
(All these views are mine, and are not to be construed as support for any individual. I have not received funding from any of these people.)
You may also wish to read: At Mind Matters News: Harvard astronomer: Advanced aliens engineered the Big Bang. Avi Loeb writes in Scientific American that when we humans are sufficiently advanced, we will create other universes as well.