Obama, Hawking and the Search for Intelligent Life in the Universe

So I spent the week pissing around with a post.  I used up hours marshalling facts, arguments and raw data, pondering over whether this phrase or that represented le mot juste, and generally parsing nothing at all.  My opus major was to be on the topic of Islam and Europe, and the hysteria contained therein, and about how various right-wing writers aren’t so much concerned about Islam in Europe as finding another stick to beat the Left with (and being misongynist and xenophobic along the way.)  It’s a topic I find deeply interesting, and yet. . . the mojo wasn’t working on this one.  Maybe next week.

In the meantime the latest meme (or idiocy, take your pick) surfacing in the U.S. presidential campaign is that Barack Obama is the anti-christ.  Yeah, the real deal, with the name of the beast tattoed on his scalp and a strange, almost devilish, ability to lure superdelegates away from Hillary Clinton.   The proof is clear. It’s in the Bible, for all to see who can  — and people gone wacko over Revelations always somehow skip over all those inconvenient bits about loving your neighbour, giving your money to the poor, visiting the imprisoned, etc.  (Google Obama anti-christ and you will see myriad semi-literate examples. It’s pathological.)

In a related story, Stephen Hawking says, “Primitive life [in the Universe] is very common and intelligent life is fairly rare. Some would say it has yet to occur on Earth.”  Ha ha.  

Prof. Hawking was actually speaking on the need for humanity to get off the planet at a conderence in Washington.  It’s a fairly common theme, incidentally, of hard science fiction writers, like Stephen Baxter.  The argument being, it’s probably stupid of us to put all our eggs in one basket, i.e. the Earth, and the solar system could provide virtually unlimited resources for humanity.  Says Hawking:

People might well have argued it was a waste of money to send Columbus on a wild goose chase. Yet the discovery of the new world made profound difference to the old. Spreading out into space will have an even greater effect. It will completely change the future of the human race and maybe determine whether we have any future at all.


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