Monday, April 09, 2012

zombies VS aliens?

no, this post is NOT about a really bad/good/bad comic or movie (though apparantly it's already a game). it's an [attempted] legitimate scientific argument. the term "scientific" is used loosely.

fair warning - my opening, tangential salvo may offend  some sensibilities (if so, please skip the next 2-3 paragraphs), but frankly, it's funny, and i enjoy observing/talking about religion. hopefully, further down are also some good points to make you think.

zom·bie [zom-bee] noun  
1. the body of a dead person given the semblance of life by a supernatural force.
2. a great Cranberries song.
al·ien [ey-lee-uhn] noun
1. a person who has been estranged or excluded.
2. a creature from outer space.
3. one residing under a government or in a country other than that of one's birth without having or obtaining the status of citizenship there.
4. a great Fountains of Wayne song.

i chuckle to think this post might have been more appropriate yesterday, given the religiously-observed occasion (the original sequel).

what do i mean? well the big guy with whom many are obsessed was - when you think about it - either a zombie or an alien. seriously, just re-read the standard definitions above in said context. if you are a believer (relgiously, walking dead-edly, extra-terristerially, or pop-musically), truth really IS stranger than fiction.

(---the easily-offended may now resume reading---)

ignoring my controversial (albeit inspirational-to-this-post) tangent though, it begs the question: zombies or aliens...which will we first encounter? below is the net of a heated discussion i had with another member of the ramancoke team this past holiday=weekend.

the case against aliens:
phone home?
space is big (i've recently become re-obsessed with it). but seriously, space is really, really BIG (how big?). let us assume some future encounter with aliens would be one with an evolved, intelligent Alien Life Form (not the discovery of micro-organisms like space-algae or cosmic-bacteria), and assume that intelligent life in the universe likely comes from another planet. other planets outside of our solar system are really far away (the nearest star beyond our sun is Alpha Centauri ...4.24 light years away, and most conventional means of transport don't even get close to light-speed). i'm not saying intelligent life isn't likely to exist (given the universe is a BIG place, it IS possible), but if so, they are going to be far, far away. 

AND, the universe is a really OLD place (how old?). our so-far brief tenure as an intelligent, barely-space faring species is but a blip in not just mankind's history, or even a smaller blip in the earth's existance, but a really, really, REALLY tiny blip in the universe's existance. if you assume another (alien) species' intelligent tenure is just as small a blip in the time-span of the univese - the chances of our brief existance intersecting theirs (nevermind the time it would take for us to journey to or communicate with eachother) are INFINITESIMALLY small. so it might happen, but not anytime soon. or perhaps they find out about us after we are long gone. unless, of course, the aliens are omnipotent/omnipresent beings like Q and/or the Silver Surfer, but come on, now you're just being silly.

the case FOR zombies:
at it's simplest, zombies are people. to be sure, mostly-dead people, driven by the carnal, un-evolved desire to feed on meat of any kind (not necessarily humans or brains). so higher-brain function doesn't exist. their bodies are (re?)animated and driven by an insatiable appetite. well, we already have a lot of people on earth...China and India aren't really helping out here. we already have lots of crazy evolving viruses, and we're dabbling a LOT with the brain (in our quest to cure all sorts of neurological disoreders) - whether it's stem-cell research, cloning, virus-destruction/mutation, etc. it's a bit doomsday-esque, but we're playing with godly-things here, unlocking the building blocks of creation/intelligent life (hooray for science!). but given our past track record, we could easily unleash something as unexpected/horrible as the walking dead. the pandora's box is waiting to be opened. hell, even the CDC has an official POV. coincidence?

in conclusion
while both the aliens and zombies are HIGHLY (i hope) unlikely, zombies are more so, and aliens less so.

that being said, we'd better start planing for either worst-case scenario, however unlikely or likely. which means  i probably need to watch/read a lot more about aliens and zombies. darn.

even though we didn't even mention robots (who are already ready and waiting), 

you're welcome.

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