Tue. Sep 17th, 2019

What does one of the best known scientific disseminators in the world do in a ufology congress? | Science


What does a prestigious scientist like Michio Kaku do at a congress on UFOs? The question was recurring among those who saw the well-known popularizer as headliner of the Ufology World Congress, an event held in Barcelona this weekend in which extraordinary claims abounded without even mediocre evidence. Bolivian Antonio Portugal, one of the speakers, says he has come into contact with aliens who have asked him to tell his experience. Another participant in the congress, Jaime Maussan, has a long history of phenomenal ads refuted or without possible verification. This Mexican presenter has disseminated photographs of aliens of undemonstrable truthfulness or has publicized the existence of an alien bracelet that was able to teleport whoever wore it. Later, Daniel Muñoz, a collaborator of his who also attended as a speaker at the congress in Barcelona, ​​recognized in a recording with hidden camera that the device was a fraud.

The explanations of the presence of the American scientist in the congress can be several. First, it is a well paid job. Their fees reach tens of thousands of euros. And then, Kaku has never felt uncomfortable playing in the boundaries between science and fantasy. In an interview that he grants to EL PAÍS at the congress and to which he arrives more than an hour and a half late, as a true rock star, he insists that he is “a physicist” and as a scientist he always seeks that the statements be “verifiable, reproducible and refutables. ” In reality, most of his fame as a disseminator is built on speculation that does not meet any of these conditions. In books like The future of humanity, The future of our mind or Physics of the impossible He makes predictions that can only be checked when Kaku and even many of his younger readers are already dead. Some may also say that string theory, an attempt to unify the physical theories that explain the world and of which Kaku is a reference, does not meet those conditions either. As with other predictions, it is unlikely that they can be tested in the near future.

The Hesperia Barcelona Tower hotel, with its rooftop saucer, was the place chosen for the congress


The Hesperia Barcelona Tower hotel, with its rooftop saucer, was the place chosen for the congress

Kaku says he decided to attend this congress because, just as before the UFO believers were the ones who had to show solid evidence that their sightings were actually extraterrestrial ships, now "the burden of proof rests with the governments, which have to prove that the images are not true. " “We have high quality photographs in which we can measure the speed of these objects. They travel between 5 and 20 times the speed of sound, much faster than the planes we know. And they also zigzag in such a way that, at that speed, if they had a pilot, it would be crushed by centrifugal force. So basically we know they are mechanical objects, ”he says. Kaku does not make it clear how he jumps from that argument to the alien explanation. In fact, he offers a thesis that is easier to believe, pointing out hypersonic drone projects in Russia and China that could coincide with the observations he mentions.

Later, he is open to the possibility of extraterrestrial civilizations remembering the millions of habitable planets that must exist in the cosmos. "Assuming that we are the only civilization is probably incorrect," he says, supported by that data. But the American physicist seems to shy away from the question that in the congress he leads, there is not only the possibility of other intelligent beings in the universe. Many leading representatives of official science They accept this possibility, but one of the premises of this meeting is that there are chilling truths that the powerful hide from us. A lecturer, Roberto Pinotti, suggests that we live in a kind of Indian reservation under an agreement between the governments of the Earth and the aliens he calls The big game. Gradually, the leaders of that conspiracy want to accustom us to the idea of ​​alien contact so that we accept it without mounting a revolution. Another congress assistant from Barcelona, ​​Alfred Webre, a world ufology reference, says that on Mars there is a civilization that lives in the subsoil because the surface is too dangerous. The reason, he explains in this video, it would be that, as Mars did not receive the impact of an asteroid To end the dinosaurs, as happened on Earth, the planet is full of dangerous predators. According to Webre, this has not prevented the US from setting up a secret Martian base to which, since the 1970s, it takes its agents through a teleportation mechanism.

Existential questions

The fundamental question of the congress, and the one that can explain the appeal of such crazy ideas, may not be what Kaku was doing at that meeting but what are we doing here? The science of the last two centuries has achieved achievements that seem incredible in the understanding of the physical or chemical world, but it has not ended the anguish that causes death or lack of vital meaning nor has it settled the fundamental questions about our origin . Carmen Domenech, one of the collaborators in the organization of the meeting, remembered how she entered the world of ufology when her sister died of cancer. In his affliction, he prayed for her, and one day he felt a call to go out to the balcony of his house. There he saw a dazzling light that pushed him to investigate the UFO phenomenon for the rest of his life. His sister was saved.

Kaku says he decided to attend this congress because, just as before the UFO believers were the ones who had to show solid evidence that their sightings were actually extraterrestrial ships, now "the burden of proof rests with the governments, which have to prove that the images are not true "

Josep Guijarro, in a speech halfway between creationism, archeology and science fiction, spoke at the presentation of the event about a necessary outside interference that allowed the appearance of humans with the ability to create civilizations. Doubting the possibility that evolution could have given rise to our species, he said that at some point in the past someone manipulated human evolution to convert a small-brain apes into beings with sufficient intelligence to invent quantum physics or to organize congresses ufology world Scientific explanations, with their need for evidence beyond circumstantial data, are insufficient for the most avid imaginations.

Kaku ended up asking those who claim to have been abducted that the next time they live such an experience they steal something from the aliens to show it to the skeptics and to believe them. Listening to some of the attendees at the congress, it was perceived that the paranormal story is too attractive to demand reliable evidence that it is true as well as exciting. That may be the main teaching of a ufology congress for someone with scientific inclinations. It is an extreme laboratory in which to observe how bias blinds. After laughing at others, you can question the quality of the evidence you need to support your own beliefs.

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