OK, I realize it's a bit dated now, but I finally just has to say something about it. NASA is at it again, it would seem; this time, Dr Richard B. Hoover claims he has found life in a meteorite:
And now the comedy begins... how many times have we seen this opera before?
Act One: Aria from a NASA scientist who publishes evidence for alien life
Act Two: A chorus of other scientists denounce the finding for various reasons: the paper was published in a less-than-respected venue, the reasoning is flawed, the scientist in question didn't consult the Agency, the data/sample was corrupted, there wasn't adequate peer review, etc etc blah blah blah, da capo a fine.
Act Three: ... the opera dissolves in a fantasia of confusion and lack of resolution in a kind of Wagnerian dissolution and we all go back to our business and forget about it.
Well, having heard this opera so many times before, I have a gnawing problem, and it's not whether Dr Hoover or his detractors are doing bad science or good science. My problem is a philosophical one.I'm beginning to wonder exactly what the criteria would be for scientists to accept any evidence of fossilized alien life?
My second problem is this: why are we being treated to this same opera over and over again? It's as if there's something more going on here than pure science and squabbles between this and that point of view within it. Of course, those in the alternative community will immediately say it's all because of the "D" word (disclosure is immanent, this is another indicator!). I just can't shake the suspicion that these types of "disclosures" are more than just cases of this or that isolated scientist sharing his data, and I just cannot shake the idea that the response from the rest of his peers, is also some part of a vast theater.
It's one more reason that I never liked opera.