ET: Who wore it better?
We’ve all heard, seen or read about those Sci fi stories about communicating with the aliens.
Depicted more realistic than others, the aliens range in appearance from dangerous reptilian like
monsters like in Aliens to cute little talking and walking teddy bears like in Star Wars. The aliens in these
stories most of the time take over our planet and threaten human existence, while few depict very
opposite storylines containing peace. In “What does a Martian Look like” by Jack Cohen and Ian Stewart,
the authors try to achieve a more realistic viewpoint on alien life and to un-Hollywood-ize the prospect
of other life in our universe. The fact that there is no evidence supporting the theory of other life,
doesn’t faze Cohen and Stewart at all. In fact, they mention the lack of evidence and argue that the lack
of evidence doesn’t support either side of the argument for or against the prospect of alien life
argument. While the authors analyze the prospect of alien life, they look at everything from the
definition of alien to the definition of life and life on other planets.
In truth, the book can be summed up in one sentence: we don’t know; therefore we can’t tell
you. However, that truly wasn’t the point of the book-to answer the question posed in the book’s title.
The point of the book was to theoretically lay out the findings of what is or can be considered an “alien”
and truly analyze what society deems an “alien.” The book starts by laying out a fine foundation of the
whole prospect of looking for alien life, Astrobiology versus Xenoscience. The authors first laid out a very
unbiased description of Astrobiology, showing that it is both the thinking of astrology and biology, the
study of stars along with the study of life. However, as soon as they lay that out, the authors turn
around and refute it. Xenoscience is the most probable option and better of the two to go about
analyzing alien life. Xenoscience is the study of aliens, and alien life. While there’s not much to go on,
the argument against Astrobiology is the biology part. While biology is about the study of life, it is about
the life on Earth. While Earth is a place to start learning about life and how to define what is alive, there
are so many possibilities that can qualify as life and not be deemed by what is alive or could work on
Earth. However, Xenoscience (Xeno meaning strange in Greek, therefore strange science) broadens the
search of alien life horizons (6). The definition of life is changing daily. How can something be alive
without any sun? Yet that is possible, even more, possible on Earth, therefore, there are so many
combinations that can be made and yet still have alien life.
Continuing on, the authors freely admit their perceived knowledge and their assumptions on the
reader to have at least some knowledge on the subject. Both Cohen and Stewart have PhD’s
respectively, and both have...