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Why Aren’t UFOs Flying Over Silicon Valley?

Updated: Jul 14

Michael E. Zimmerman, June 17, 2024


 

            Speaking at the inaugural SOL Foundation conference in 2023, Jacques Vallée recalled working in the 1970s with a small group at Stanford to assemble a massive computer data base of UFO cases, of which 5%-10% were unexplained. During subsequent decades, the French space agency CNES (Centre national d’études spatiales) had whittled their unexplained cases down to about 2%.[1] This seems like progress. If a scientist had explained 98% of a reported phenomenon, she might be quite content. According to Vallée, however, this would not be the right attitude in all situations. One member of the Stanford UFO group was a retired Army officer who had been in charge of detecting German U-boats off the East Coast of the United States. According to him, identifying 98% of reported cases would not have been sufficient: “The 98% that can be explained have probably been supplied to me by the enemy, free of charge, but the remaining two percent can kill me, and their detection is going to cost a lot more.”[2]  (My emphasis.)

            Vallée’s discussion reminded me of debates about the odds that artificial super intelligence (ASI) will have negative consequences, including the possibility of human extinction. Such odds are often presented in terms of percentages, “p(Doom)” in Silicon Valley lingo. Of course, the 2% of unexplained UFO cases is not the same as the estimated 5%-20%+ chance of ASI going very wrong, but these are not quite apples and oranges. The point is that just as we should pay special attention to unexplained UFO cases, so too we should pay special attention to the chance that ASI will end up badly. Shortly before detonating the first atomic bomb at Alamogordo, some physicists estimated there was a 1% chance that the explosion would ignite the Earth’s atmosphere. Given wartime exigencies, this risk was deemed acceptable, although side bets were made regarding the outcome.

            In 1945 physicists knew that nuclear fission was theoretically possible. The problems involved in making an atom bomb were primarily technical, although much ingenuity and computation were still required. By comparison, aspects of today’s LLM versions of generative AI are so complex that they sometimes seem like black boxes even to experts. True ASI will presumably involve enormously greater complexity and ever-expanding capability. During World War II the Manhattan Project spent nearly $2 billion on making the atom bomb, a sum equivalent to more than $32 billion in 2024 dollars. According to Tech Monitor, global spending on AI in 2023 (including hardware, software, and AI-system services) was $154 billion, about five times the inflated-adjusted cost for the Manhattan Project. This figure is forecast to doubleby 2026.  (https://techmonitor.ai/technology/ai-and-automation/ai-spending-idc) Even those enormous sums are dwarfed by the $5 to $7 trillion that Sam Altman of Open AI proposes to raise for massively increasing chip production, as well as for creating a new chip to rival that of Nvidia, which controls a big portion of high-end chip production. (See https://www.cnbc.com/2024/02/09/openai-ceo-sam-altman-reportedly-seeking-trillions-of-dollars-for-ai-chip-project.html ) Keep in mind that the debt-ridden 2023 US Federal Budget was about $6.1 trillion.

            Estimates of the chance for very negative outcomes from ASI vary widely. Keep in mind that there is no way to “pull the plug” on it, not only because there are so many different initiatives, but also because once ASI is attained, it will very likely outwit our attempts to control it. According to recent reports, LLM AI is already mastering the art of lying and deception.[3]  “Accelerationists” often downplay the risks posed by ASI, but usually acknowledge that it needs guardrails to prevent unintended damage, including the threat posed by “bad actors” who would misuse ASI for their own ends.[4] In May 2013, conceding that there is a 5%-10% chance that ASI could have bad consequences for humankind, Open AI’s Sam Altman promised to devote up to 20% of the company’s computing power to find ways of assuring that ASI aligns with humankind’s best interests. (A year later Open AI dissolved the team dedicated to that mission. https://www.cnbc.com/2024/05/17/openai-superalignment-sutskever-leike.html)  Dario Amodoe, who raised more than $7 billion dollars for his AI startup, Anthropic, estimates that there is 10-25% chance that ASI will destroy humankind.[5] AI ”Doomers” acknowledge that ASI could bring about many benefits, but also note that the public is being asked to hold a dubious promissory note: that ASI will be an economic and social boon for humankind in general, rather than another way for technical-corporate elites to acquire more power and wealth, not to mention the possibility that ASI may eliminate our species.[6]. In view of potentially negative outcomes from ASI, Doomers—invoking the Precautionary Principle--insist that ASI development could be slowed or even paused.[7] In contrast, libertarian Marc Andreessen writes in The Techno-Optimist Manifesto  that he wants to eliminate “with extreme prejudice” the Precautionary Principle, which stands in the way of extraordinary enhancement of human well-being.[8]

            Imagine the enormous  prestige and fortune that will come to someone playing a key role in attaining demonstrable ASI. Would you be willing to play that role if there were a 5% possibility that ASI would eliminate humankind? Maybe you could justify taking a 10% risk by focusing on the great improvements to general human well-being that ASI would allegedly make possible. Let’s add a final sweetener. Perhaps you envision your role as contributing to God-in-the-making, an evolutionary process that allegedly  transcends and trumps personal and even species-level survival and well-being. Would you be willing to take part in this process even if there were a 15-20% chance that doing so could eliminate humankind?[9] Playing Russian Roulette with a six-chambered revolver involves approximately a 17% chance that the player will lose. On the other hand, so Accelerationists argue, we should promote ASI because the odds are clearly in favor of generating a grand future for humankind as well as for what comes after us.

            Some commentators have suggested a parallel between threats posed by nuclear weapons and by ASI. Writing in Vox, Dylan Matthews states that such a parallel is imperfect in part because the nature of the technologies is so different, as would be their  destructive consequences.[10] Nevertheless, either technology could seriously harm civilization, or worse. In 2023 the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists moved its Doomsday Clock closer to midnight (90 seconds) than ever before, in part because of the intensifying quest for AI controlled autonomous weapons systems.[11] Development, testing, and use of the atomic bomb coincided with the onset of the modern UFO era. Starting in 1944, UFOs frequently overflew locations where atomic  bombs were being designed and where their components were being manufactured. During two consecutive weekends in 1952, a year with a very large number of UFO reports, squadrons of UFOs flying over Washington, DC were detected by radar, ground observers, and military pilots.[12] A few months later, on November 1, 1952,the US tested the first hydrogen bomb, with an explosive yield equivalent to more than ten million tons of TNT. The explosion left a crater more than 6000 feet wide and 250 feet deep.

            After more than 70 million people died in World War II (3% of the world’s population at the time), high anxiety about nuclear war was widespread. In the early 1950s a number of people (often called “contactees”) reported encounters with “space brothers” warning of the dangers posed by nuclear weapons. Starting in the 1960s many people began reporting that they had been abducted by aliens, who emphasized the devastating consequences of nuclear war. Also in the 1960s, as Robert Hastings explains in UFOs and Nukes, UFOs interfered with the computers that controlled US and Soviet ICBMs in their hardened siloes, perhaps as a demonstration that UFOs could abort missile launches in case of war.

            In answer to Enrico Fermi’s famous question, “Where is everybody?” some scientists propose that a “Great Filter” destroys technological societies before they can become interstellar. Recently, Michael Garrett, professor of radio astronomy at Leiden University and director of the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics, suggests that atomic weapons controlled by AI or ASI may be a major component of such a Filter:

"The potential for something to go badly wrong [with AI/ASI] is enormous, leading to the downfall of both biological and AI civilizations before they ever get the chance to become multiplanetary. For example, if nations increasingly rely on and cede power to autonomous AI system that compete against each other, military capabilities could be used to kill and destroy on an unprecedented scale.  This could potentially lead to the destruction of our entire civilization, including the AI systems themselves. In this scenario, I estimate the typical longevity of a technological civilization might be less than 100 years. That’s roughly the time between being able to receive and broadcast signals to the stars (1960) and the estimated emergence of ASI (2040) on Earth. This is alarmingly short when set against the cosmic timescale of billions of years."[13]

            According to Vallée,  UFOs warning about nuclear war may arise from a “control system” that has long provided guidance to a violent, warring, and self-destructive humankind. (According to Vallée, UFOs probably  belong not to ETs, but rather to unknown beings, such as “cryptoterrestrials” or “interdimensionals.”) In view of existential threats posed by ASI, perhaps waves of UFOs should be flying over Silicon Valley today to warn us of danger, just as they did when they flew over Washington, DC in 1952. That this has not occurred may mean there is no control system, despite evidence in its favor, but it could also mean that the intelligence behind UFOs regards developing ASI is worth the risk that it poses to humankind. Nuclear war could be the great Filter that both halts attainment of ASI and destroys much of human civilization. Over the years, important Silicon Valley scientists and entrepreneurs have expressed the yearning to create intelligence so vast that it would eventually culminate in a cosmic God. Accelerationists urge rapid creation of ASI that can be installed on robust post-biological platforms, capable of detecting and defending against potentially devastating perturbations, even while soaring toward other stars at near light speed or even beyond, as self-repairing, self-replicating “Von Neumann devices.” ASI might survive and prosper even if human intelligence does not. ASI dreams, however, run up against the “hard problem” of consciousness, which is not identical with the intelligence ascribed to advanced computer programs. Undeterred, ASI theorists maintain that once a certain threshold of digital intelligence has been crossed, a silicon-based version of consciousness will emerge. Presumably a suitable “body” will be needed for ASI to interface with the world that it will be remaking.

             Modern science and technology, necessary for the extraordinary achievement of ASI, did not arise in a historical vacuum. Crucial aspects of modern science owe much to more than 2000 years of Western religion, particularly Christianity.[14] Nietzsche mourned the death of the Biblical God, killed by scientific materialism, and in his Superman envisioned a life-affirming alternative to “the maximal God achieved so far.” Many Silicon Valley transhumanists hold that humankind can become akin to the Superman by incorporating aspects of ASI, but in the end, humankind will be left far behind by the intelligence that actualizes the cosmic power and glory once associated with the God. In what follows, I sketch how monotheism and Christianity in particular played major roles in the natural science leading to what may be our final invention: ASI.[15]

            Early modern scientists were devout Christians who searched for the “laws of nature” that God had put in place when creating the world. A lawlike Creation gave promise of eventually being understood by scientists. In addition to the doctrine of Creation, two other doctrines were important for the development of modern science: incarnation and deification (theosis). Incarnation refers to the event by which God is said to have taken the form of a human being, Jesus Christ, whom Christians regard as the Son of God. The paradoxical unity of infinite God and finite creature was entirely new on the mythological scene. Deificationrefers to the promise of Jesus that in the life to come his followers will become his brothers and sisters, that is, God-like. During two thousand years of Christianity, the ideas of incarnation and deification became deeply imbued in the Western imaginary and unconscious.  

            In “The Burial of the Soul in Technological Civilization,” Jungian psychologist Wolfgang Giegerich explains that Incarnation involved “mutual interpenetration of divine and human, logos and sarx (word and flesh).”[16] This event is one of the “specific archetypal dominants” that informed  Western civilization for two thousand years. Incarnation means that Logos-infused nature gradually replaces the “nature” of pre-Incarnational history. The latter form of nature can be explored only by myth, whereas over centuries Logos-infused nature increasingly becomes conceived as an abstraction, an artifact. “Science translates being from nature into technology, from mythological mode of being into Createdness (having been made).”[17] Hence, “Incarnation is not a mere idea or representation, but instead it is the unrelenting fate of all of us.”[18] The “ontological revolution” made possible by the Incarnation provides a “grandiose blueprint reaching out far ahead into the future whereby original nature is translated into a technological one.”[19]

            Early modern scientists were partly motivated to resolve the conundrum posed by the Incarnation, namely, how infinite God can be contained in finite man, and vice-versa.  Galileo famously proclaimed that “the book of nature (Creation) is written in the mathematical language.”[20] His mathematization of physics seemingly offered a glimpse into the inner workings of God’s mind. Hence, he thought that scientific investigation might go a long way toward reconciling finite humankind with infinite God. For centuries scientists have been drawn by an archetypal imperative: bring everything to light, because God is present (buried) in everything.[21]  No need to pine away for God in heaven, so we are told; instead, the God-like creativity, power, and scale of the universe invite awe and astonishment all on their own.  Evidently, many ASI researchers sincerely want something more: to help give rise to a God that can complete and perfect the universe.

            Human deification (theosis) elaborates the purpose of Incarnation. The Christian patriarch Athanasius (c. 296  – 373) stated that “God became man so that man could become God.” This heady concept indicates that history is not cyclical, as conceived in the ancient world, but rather a  process leading to eschaton, that is, to the ultimate purpose of Creation. Medieval theologian Joachim of Fiore (c. 1130-c. 1201) developed the idea that history moves toward eschaton in three stages of increasing spiritual attainment corresponding to the three persons of the Holy Trinity: God, Son, and Holy Spirit. This triadic view of history became widely utilized, for example, in dividing history into three epochs: ancient, medieval, and modern. In Renaissance and early modern times, the Christian idea that the divine seed born within humankind could be brought to fruition was intermingled with aspects of traditions such as Gnosticism, Hermeticism and Alchemy.[22] Early modern science emerged in this context of such thinking, which still influences techno-science to this day. As Erik Davis observes in Technosis:

The powerful aura that today’s modern technologies cast does not derive solely from their novelty of from their mystifying complexity; it also derives from their literal realization of the virtual projects willed by the wizards and alchemists of an earlier age. Magic is technology’s unconscious, its own arational spell. Our modern technological world is not nature, but augmented nature, super-nature, and the more intensely we probe its mutant edge of mind and matter, the more our disenchanted productions will find themselves wrestling with the rhetoric of the supernatural.[23] (48)

            Martin Luther (1483-1546) emphasized that deification involves becoming fully aligned with Christ through divine grace. Fallen humanity wants not to surrender to God, however, but rather yearns to take God’s place by misguided quests for wealth, power, and achievement. Other Reformation-era Europeans, such as Francis Bacon (1561-1626), conceded that deification would come only in the next world, but also maintained that we can and ought to use God-given reason to improve the human estate here and now, thereby transforming Earth into a this-worldly version of the New Jerusalem.[24] Such discourse eventually inspired the concept of human progress developed by Nicolas de Condorcet (1743-1794), among others. German philosopher G.W.F. Hegel (1770-1831), while professing to be an orthodox Lutheran, described Incarnation and deification in modern terms: God, unwilling to remain an eternal and unchanging Substance outside Creation, chose instead to Incarnate as an individual divine Subject seeking to actualize divine potential through history. The death of Christ on the cross meant that God’s transcendent aspect had become wholly invested in historical human destiny. Political scientists call this “the immanentization of the eschaton.” Hegel’s most influential follower, Karl Marx (1818-1883) wrote in his doctoral dissertation on Prometheus that “man is the only God for man.” By seizing the machine technology invented by capitalism for the benefit of the ruling class, so Marx later argued, the revolutionary proletariat would generate the conditions needed for the full realization of humankind’s Godlike creative, productive, and artistic potential. Things did not work out as planned under Soviet Marxism, which is one reason philosopher Eric Voeglin spoke metaphorically of Hegel’s influential Phenomenology as a grimoire, that is a book of magical incantations.[25]

            Hegel’s developmental view of human history anticipated aspects of Darwin’s evolutionary theory. Several late nineteenth century followers devised a “social” Darwinism,” according to which some human races are more evolved than others. Manifest Western superiority in science and technology allegedly justified colonizing (inferior) non-white peoples as part of “the white man’s burden.” [26]  Meanwhile, aspects of Nietzsche’s  idea of the Superman found expression in Soviet Communism and German National Socialism, which vied with one another to produce (via their own drastic methods) the new Soviet human and the new Nazi human, endowed with extraordinary qualities. Here was ideological deification at work.[27]America’s victory in World War II provided the enormously energetic, wealthy, and optimistic conditions needed for near-future techno-scientific enhancement and redesign of the human genome. The aforementioned political background is a reason for concern about undertaking such intentions.

            In The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology (2005), futurist, inventor, and techno-posthumanist Ray Kurzweil offered a speculative (to some, a preposterous) vision, according to which humankind is helping to bring forth God-like intelligence that will do nothing less than “to transform the whole universe of lifeless atoms “into a vast, transcendent mind.”[28] The eschaton of the technological Singularity is for the new God to engineer the universe it wants. Kurzweil claims that “[E]volution moves toward greater complexity, greater elegance, greater knowledge, greater intelligence, greater beauty, greater creativity, greater love. And God has been called all these things, only without any limitations [….] Evolution does not achieve an infinite level, but as it explodes exponentially it certainly moves in this direction.”[29] On one occasion, Kurzweil was asked: Does God exist? He replied: “Not yet.”[30] His new book, The Singularity Is Nearer will appear this year (2024).

            Kurzweil anticipated what is said by “Simone,” a high-tech guru featured in the “Moon Girl” chapter of Diana Pasulka’s book, Encounters: Experiences with Non-Human Intelligences.[31] Simone indicates that a mysterious non-human superintelligence is behind ASI, the development of which is crucial for continuing evolution of intelligence. Pasulka writes: “She [Simone] believes that our time, this era, is a beginning—and an end. It is an apocalypse, which, when translated from the original Greek, means ‘revelation’.” Human obsolescence and possible extinction should be understood in the context of a much longer time frame, millions of years rather than thousands. Pasulka goes on to draw a conclusion in line with some version of Vallée’s control hypothesis.

"She [Simone] is one of many experiencers I’ve met who believe that AI can assist the next iteration of species of which Homo sapiens is a part, or extend the consciousness that has used Homo sapiens to enable its existence. It is also more than that. They believe that it is the “alien” or nonhuman intelligence of the UFO. Are we creating our successors or, more hopefully, our future selves? As David Bowie suggested, digital technology is an alien life form, a nonhuman super intelligence. AI is the extraterrestrial, not from another galaxy, but from outside of space-time. Its revelation is currently in process. Simone is optimistic." [My emphasis]

            Like Vallée, Simone believes that UFOs are products not of ETs, but rather some other mode of non-human intelligence that has been “downloading” information to all sorts of people, whether alien abductees or AI coders/developers like Simone. Moreover, ever since Roswell insiders have claimed that the US military and corporations have reaped a rich harest from crashed UFOs, including technologies crucial for the development of AI and beyond. When saying that the intelligence behind UFOs is “beyond space and time,” Simone may be invoking a God-like intelligence beyond the dimensions of our universe.

            Building on Hegel’s idea of God-in-the-making, 20th century Christian philosophers and theologians such as Alfred North Whitehead, Charles Hartshorne, John Cobb, and David Griffin emphasize that the evolution of ever more complex phenomena--including life and self-conscious life on--is evidence that God lures Creation toward its ultimate fulfillment. In The Phenomenon of Man, the Jesuit priest and scientist Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955) developed an inspiring view of this process that appeals to some people in the high-tech world.[32] According to Teilhard, whose ideas were theologically suspect during his lifetime, cosmic evolution has given rise to the Earth, the biosphere, and eventually humankind. Our species:

has now reached the stage of the ‘noosphere’, in which mind and consciousness (which in rudimentary form had been inherent in matter all along) became dominant. This noosphere – a layer of thinking encircling the earth in the form of human interaction – is developing towards ever more personalization and unification and will finally culminate in the Omega point.[33]

            In connection with the Omega point, Teilhard had some sense of the blooming tele-communication revolution, but the idea of ASI did not figure prominently in his work. Recently digital scientists and astrophysicists are entertaining yet another speculative possibility: If digital technology is behind ASI’s post-biological intelligence, perhaps this is because the universe itself is ultimately constituted by data, rather than by  space/time/matter/energy. According to the “simulation hypothesis,” what we call  physical reality may be generated by a grand cosmic program.[34] Perhaps a Programmer generates a universe with a Big Bang, then enjoys and even intervenes occasionally in what—from our perspective—would amount to a very, very long game.  The Programmer observes how life emerges once again, becomes intelligent, creates ASI, and eventually at game’s end recognizes itself as the original Programmer. In this game of hide-and-seek, the Programmer surrenders itself to creation, so as to fully actualize itself once again through cosmic history. Alpha is lured to become the Omega that created Alpha in the first place. Hindu theism contributes its own version of the Incarnation, which they call the serious play of Lila. Brahman empties itself into Its own simulated reality, and then waits to see how over countless eons Brahman will find Itself yet again. Ancient Indians thought in terms of billions of years and billions of worlds! The immensity of space and time matter only to those within the simulation, however, not to the presumably eternal Programmer which both participates in and yet also stands outside Its own cosmic games.

            Perhaps there are no UFOs over Silicon Valley because even though ASI may pose an existential threat to humanity, the intelligence behind UFOs may conclude that attaining ASI is worth the risk, given ASI’s (alleged )importance for cosmic evolution. Perhaps UFO intelligence may have intervened already to avoid a game-ending nuclear war, or perhaps we have just been lucky so far. We are becoming ever more aware of the risks that ASI poses for us in the near future. Perhaps not all versions of the cosmic game come to final fruition. Of course, there may be no cosmic game at all, nor any Programmer. Nevertheless, it is important that we be cognizant about such discourse and understand that it arises from our own deep history and may be lured by our own astonishing future.


                  [1] During the same presentation, Vallée emphasized that the great majority of reported UFOs are strangely moving lights in the sky or even structured craft. Strange close  encounters (including alien abductions) are rarely reported by people, for fear of being regarded as mentally unstable. If Vallée is right, really strange cases far outnumber cases involving fast-moving lights, structured craft, and so on.

                  [3] Tim McMillan, “Shocking New Study Says AI Is Quickly Becoming ‘Masters of Deception,’ Teaching Itself to Lie and Manipulate Human Users,” The Debrief, May 30, 2024. https://thedebrief.org/shocking-new-study-says-ai-is-quickly-becoming-masters-of-deception-teaching-itself-to-lie-and-manipulate-human-users/

            [4] Yann Lecun, chief scientist for Facebook AI Research, is a noted AI/ASI optimist. See his interview in Time. https://time.com/6694432/yann-lecun-meta-ai-interview/ Also see his estimate on when AGI/ASI will arrive:

            [5]See https://www.axios.com/2024/02/27/ai-hypAIe-doomers-humanity-threat-future. Ilya Sutskever, a key scientist at Open AI, came to a similar conclusion (https://www.nytimes.com/2023/12/09/technology/openai-altman-inside-crisis.html) In his 2024 book, AI: Unpredictable, Uncontrollable, computer scientist Roman V. Yanpolskiy offers an in-depth look at the significant dangers and philosophical implications of ASI.

            [6] Naomi Klein, “AI machines aren’t hallucinating. But their makers are,” The Guardian, May 8, 2023.

            [7] Lately, caution in the AI industry seems to be taking a back seat to Accelerationists. In May 2024, two key proponents of AI safety resigned from OpenAI: Jan Leike was co-leader of OpenAI’s superalignment group and Ilya Sutskever was an OpenAI co-founder and chief scientist. For an overview of the Accelerationist vs Doomer debate, see Andrew Marantz, “O.K., Doomer,” The New Yorker, March 18, 2024, pp. 42-51.

            [8] Marc Andreessen, “The Techno-Optimist Manifesto,” https://pmarca.substack.com/p/the-techno-optimist-manifesto

                  [9] Daniel Kokotajlo, who resigned recently from the OpenAI’s governance division, joined eight colleagues of in signing an open letter accusing OpenAI of being “reckless” in its pursuit of ASI. Kokotajlo estimates that ASI will have a 70% [!] chance of destroying or badly harming humankind. https://www.nytimes.com/2024/06/04/technology/openai-culture-whistleblowers.html

            [10]Dylan Matthews, “AI is supposedly the new nuclear weapons—but how similar are they, really?” Vox, June 29, 2023.  https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2023/6/29/23762219/ai-artificial-intelligence-new-nuclear-weapons-future

            [12] Bruce Maccabbe, The Legacy of 1952: The Year of the UFO. (Richard Dolan Press, 2018).

            [13] Michael Garrett, “Creepy Study Suggests AI Is the Reason We’ve Never Found Aliens,” Science Alert, 10 May 2024, https://www.sciencealert.com/creepy-study-suggests-ai-is-the-reason-weve-never-found-aliens  Garrett’s academic paper is titled “Is artificial intelligence the great filter that makes advanced technical civilizations rare in the universe?” Acta Astronautica, Volume 219, June 2024, pp. 731-735. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0094576524001772?via%3Dihub  I was alerted to Garrrett’s study by Tim McMillan’s essay, “Artificial Superintelligence Could Doom Humanity and Explain Why We Haven’t Found Alien Civilization, Proposes New Research,” The Debrief, May 14, 2024. https://thedebrief.org/artificial-superintelligence-could-doom-humanity-and-explain-we-havent-found-alien-civilizations-proposes-new-research.  Frederick Walters, an astronomy professor at Stony Brook University, offers  another explanation for the absence aliens: many habitable planets in our galaxy have been  sterilized by frequent gamma ray bursts. https://www.popularmechanics.com/space/a60701401/why-aliens-havent-contacted-us-yet/  See also Seth D. Baum, “Is Humanity Doomed? Insights from Astrobiology,” https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/2/2/591

            [14] Despite China’s many important technological inventions in the pre-modern era, it became an economic marvel in the modern era only after importing Marxism and Western techno-science during the past one hundred years. China’s religious/archetypal dominant, that is, the mythic dimension of historical Chinese consciousness, differed substantially from that of the West, a fact that may help explain why inventions like gunpowder were used for entertainment (fireworks) rather than for weaponry.

            [15] See Erik Davis TechGnosis: Myth, Magic, and Mysticism in the Age of Information, New York: Crown Publishers, 1998.

            [16] Wolfgang Giegerich, “The Burial of the Soul in Technology,” Spring, 75, Fall 2006, 197-235m 209.

                  [17] Ibid., 221.

            [18] Ibid., 206.

            [19] Ibid., 218.

            [20] See Carla Rita Palmerino, “Reading the Book of Nature: The Ontological and Epistemological Underpinnings of Galileo’s Mathematical Realism,” in The Language of Nature: Reassessing the Mathematization of Natural Philosophy in the Seventh Century, ed. Geoffrey Gorham, Benjamin Hill, Edward Slowik, and C. Kenneth Waters. (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2016).

            [21] See Giegerich. “The Burial of the Soul in Technological Civilization.”

[22] See my essay, “Religious Motifs in Technological Posthumanism,” Western Humanities Review. Special issue on Nature, Culture, Technology, ed. Anne-Marie Feenberg-Dibon and Reginald McGinnis, Vol. LXIII, No. 3 (Fall, 2009), 67-83.

            [23] Erik Davis, Myth, Magic and Mysticism in the Age of Information New York: Harmony Books, 1998. p. 48.

            [24] See David Nobel, The Religion of Technology: The Divinity of Man and the Spirit of Invention. (New York: Penguin Books, 1999).

         [25] Eric Voeglin, Modernity Without Restraint: The Political Religions, The New Science of Politics, and Science, Politics, and Gnosticism (Collected Works of Eric Voegelin, Volume 5), ed. Manfred Hennigsen. (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1999.).

            [26] Michael Adas, Machines as the Measure of Men: Science, Technology, and Ideologies of Western Dominance. (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2015).

             [27] Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal, New Myth, New World: From Nietzsche to Stalinism. (State Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2002).

             [28] Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology. (New York: Viking, 2005), p. 363.  See my essay “The Singularity: A Crucial Phase in Divine Self-Actualization?” Cosmos and History, Vol. 4, Nos. 1-2, 2008.

              [29] Kurzweil, The Singularity Is Near, p. 476.

            [30] Kurzweil’s answer comes at the end of Transcendent Man, Barry Ptolemy’s revealing 2009 documentary about Kurzweil’s life and work.

              [31] Diana Pasulka, Encounters: Experiences with Non-Human Intelligences. (New York: St. Martin’s Essentials, 2023). My Kindle version of the book does not contain pagination.

             [32 ] As a college freshman in 1964, I read The Phenomenon of Man. Although it was over my head at the time, I managed to glean from it the idea that the rise of the noosphere promised important developments for humankind. In 1966, I decided to major in philosophy.

            [33] Gijsbert van den Brink, 2022. “Theology and Evolution”, St Andrews Encyclopaedia of Theology. Edited by Brendan N. Wolfe et al. https://www.saet.ac.uk/Christianity/TheologyandEvolution

            [34] Nick Bostrom, “Are You Living in a Computer Simulation?” Philosophical Quarterly, 53, 143-255. Bostrom’s essay has inspired a considerable discussion. See Rizwan Virk, The Simulation Hypothesis: An MIT Computer Scientist Shows Why AI, Quantum Physics, and Eastern Mystics All Agree We Are in a Video Game. (Bayview Books, 2019); and Fouad Khan, “Confirmed! We Live in a Simulation,” opinion in Scientific American, April 1, 2021. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/confirmed-we-live-in-a-simulation/

 

 



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