Hello Pluto! You were discovered in the year I was born. Were you named after my imaginary childhood friend, Mickey Mouse’s dog – or was it the other way about? I really would like to know!
Funny thing, the human imagination. I see already that one of the dark areas of Pluto’s moon has been designated ‘Mordor’ by our scientist friends. Are we planting human hang-ups into other parts of the solar system? The same way that we assume any interstellar interaction to be a copy of the way we behave on planet Earth?
As Anthony Duncan remarks in his recent book “To Think Without Fear” :
‘We project our own problems upon others and we project our own hostilities and insecurities upon everything strange or alien. Our mental images of inter-planetary travel are demonised by our obsession with “Star Wars”. Being children of Adam and Eve, we take it for granted that Cain will always kill Abel. Our first instinct (faithfully manifested in our fictional literature) is to call in the military!’
‘I refer, of course, to that phenomenon generally known as the Unidentified Flying Object, or more popularly, as The Flying Saucer.
‘This phenomenon carries with it something of a blessing in that it throws all our learned disciplines into an equal measure of disarray. It challenges every respectable world-view and is, needless to say, the subject both of silly official “cover-ups” and of the consequent – and increasingly threadbare – “disinformation” campaigns that accompany such activities.
‘We are bound, sooner or later nevertheless, to ask ourselves at least a minimal number of the questions these phenomena suggest.
‘What is it that appears, and disappears, both from our sight and from our radar screens and appears to defy all known laws of flight and aerodynamics?
‘What is it that defies our present knowledge of astronomy, of physics, of astrophysics and all the rest? Where do these things come from, and how, and why do they come at all?
‘What is this that, by its very nature, must constitute a challenge to the religious insight and theological thought of every kind? What might its relevance be, in the context of such insights as we have? Why is this challenge unheeded and why does the theological mind remain firmly and comfortably buried, ostrich-like, in the sand?
‘What of the ever-growing multitude of reported encounters with human-like, or humanoid, beings connected with U.F.Os? What of the considerable number of reported abductions and return, or men, women and children? What of their examinations by curious and evidently interested – but essentially benevolent – humanoids, clearly anxious not to cause harm?
‘Our world-views are challenged and, as a consequence, the challenge is either ignored or denied. We retreat into compartmental thinking and, at best, give this kind of experience a watertight compartment of its own. Witnesses are usually said to have been the victims of hallucination, suggestion – almost anything as long as they don’t have to be taken threateningly seriously. Seldom does “the scientific” reveal itself as being so subjective and essentially unscientific as – in some at least – of its dealings with those who claim encounter with persons who would appear to be extra-terrestrial.’
Anthony Duncan speaks not without some personal experience: ‘Some two or three years ago we became aware of being “visited” in some way, usually at night, by persons who we came to understand as alien to our own Earth and humanity....’
As a consequence his book ‘To Think Without Fear – the Challenge of the Extra-Terrestrial’ came to be written in an endeavour to answer some of the questions – both scientific and theological – thus raised.