While the rational analytical thinkers in the field of ufology were fighting for a modicum of scientific legitimacy over the last few decades – and slowly but surely gaining some ground via the Kepler Mission findings and a few key advancements in theoretical physics, a subculture of folks who are mostly scientifically illiterate decided to abandon the scientific method entirely and posit an alternative supernatural explanation that kneecaps all of our efforts at gaining mainstream scientific credibility, which is the first step toward an actual scientific investigation of this subject. It’s referred to by a variety of loosely related phrases (and sometimes employs meaningless non-words like “ultraterrestrial”): The extradimensional ultraterrestial hypothesis the co-creation hypothesis* the multidimensional intelligence hypothesis the cosmic trickster hypothesis the virtually omnipotent demon hypothesis *Note: this usage of the phrase turned out to be a perversion of its progenitor’s intentions (see: Greg Bishop), entirely attributable to ignorance and wishful thinking. Greg’s own understanding of his “co-creation hypothesis” boils down to perceptual psychology. Not some magical process where the human mind interacts with an unseen supernatural force to manifest physical objects in the sky, as others such as Gene Steinberg have repeatedly claimed. The general idea is the same: rather than manifestations of advanced nonterrestrial technology operating in our airspace, these folks are suggesting that anomalous aerial vehicles (AAVs) aka unidentified flying objects (UFOs) are instead the product of some kind of supernatural entity which is intentionally deceiving us to make us believe that we’re being visited by advanced alien civilizations. If that sounds absurd to you, then you’re right – it is absurd. But people are actually saying this. And the people who believe in this medieval-style supernatural explanation are extremely patronizing and self-righteous about it – they want you to believe that your faculties of reason and scientific understanding are blinding you to the “one true supernatural reality” behind this phenomenon. At first I listened to what these people had to say and tried to find a scientific model that would reflect their idea, without being BS. And some of the words they were using sounded like they might have some physical validity: words like “extradimensional” and “multidimensional” sounded akin to concepts in superstring theory, and M-theory, and the many-worlds interpretation of quantum physics. So I started digging through the scientific literature to see if I could find some way that these folks might be right – to see if there could be hidden physical dimensions of reality for some inscrutable cosmic trickster to be hiding in, beyond the veil of human perception. Here’s what I found. While superstring theory and M-theory postulate additional spatial dimensions beyond the three that we know and love, all of those additional dimensions are compactified down to the size of the Planck length, 10^-35 meter, which is 10^20 times smaller than a proton. Obviously that’s vastly too small for any kind of matter or complex systems of any kind to exist. Also, there’s still zero evidence that superstring theory, M-theory, or Brane theory, reflect any physical reality; they remain entirely theoretical ideas bereft of supporting empirical evidence of any kind. Predictions of new phenomena offered by these theories, such as the production of microsingularities in high-energy particle collisions, have been tested at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and they’ve all failed. And deviations from the inverse square law of gravitational attraction at very short-range scales, which were predicted by some of these theories, have also been experimentally tested and they’ve failed as well. So we find no evidence of small extra dimensions. What about large ones? Physicists can explore the dynamics of higher physical dimensions very easily with the exquisitely reliable tools of mathematics. We covered one such paper which addresses precisely this subject in the Physics Frontiers podcast that we just recorded this weekend. It’ll be a few weeks before that episode is edited and uploaded, but here are the key findings: In spacetimes with >3 spatial dimensions, no stable structures can exist: there are no stable orbits for bodies like planets to orbit stars because the force law becomes inverse-cubed or greater, and those force distributions don’t permit stable dynamic configurations. With higher spatial dimensions, an electron cannot stably orbit a proton, so even hydrogen cannot form. No system can exist in bound dynamic equilibrium, so no structures can exist, which rules out complexity. So obviously our region of the universe doesn’t possess any macroscopic higher spatial dimensions beyond the three we know. What about higher dimensions of time? It turns out that with more than one dimension of time, there are two big problems. One, particles can’t achieve bound states because their energy carries them off in different directions through time; they can pass one another, but they can’t bind together because they’re always moving in different directions through time as well as space. And the second problem is even stranger: it’s impossible to make any predictions in a universe with more than one dimension of time. The result of every experiment would appear to be random. So if the same initial conditions yield random results, it’s hard to see how cognition could evolve in a spacetime with more than one dimension of time – there are no intelligible relationships to observe which can yield predictions about events, even when the initial conditions are identical to begin with. Obviously we don’t live within a region of the cosmos with more than one dimension of time. But it is possible, according to some theoretical physics models, that our region of the universe is fundamentally different than other regions of the universe which are beyond the cosmic horizon of the observable sector of the universe. And perhaps our considerations of higher dimensions are flawed, and intelligent life of some kind could arise in those regions somehow. They’d still have to travel from those regions beyond the horizon of our observable universe, to get here. So that hypothesis is still an extraterrestrial hypothesis. And the distances traveled are vastly greater than the interstellar or even intergalactic distances that are the key to the extraterrestrial hypothesis (ETH), so the prevailing form of the ETH is extremely conservative by comparison. Alright, so we’ve basically ruled out microscopic and macroscopic extra dimensions - but maybe there’s some kind of entity here on Earth that we can’t perceive for some reason. Let’s consider that. Given that such a life form would have to exist within our 4D spacetime, it would have to evolve in some manner, just as we evolved from simple chemistry to organic matter to highly complex organisms. Here’s the problem: we see no signs of any unexplained evolutionary processes in the geological record. We have a reasonably complete record of our own evolutionary process, and those of the other life forms on the Earth. But we see no evidence of either unexplained organic evolutionary beings, or any kind of exotic signs of other forms of evolution such as electrical beings or acoustical beings, or anything else that makes geologists or archaeologists scratch their heads and say “that’s odd – this weird pattern in the rock strata or preserved residue of some kind, seems to change over geological timescales and grow more complex during such-and-such period.” We see no signs of evolving and unexplained organization. So if we’re sharing this planet with some kind of parallel-evolving entity of some kind, there are no signs of it. In other words, the geological record stands as evidence that such a thing does not exist. That really only leaves us with one last unexplored possibility: that some humans figured out a means of spaceflight before we did, and left the planet for some reason, and now they’re coming back to check up on us from time to time. Technically, that falls under the extraterrestrial hypothesis because they’re now visiting us from a region beyond the Earth, even though they originated here. This hypothesis is actually impossible to rule out entirely at this point, because there could be a number of reasons why we might not have discovered evidence of their pre-exodus society yet – perhaps they hid it so well that we haven’t found it and may never find it, akin to Gobekli Tepe. Or perhaps some geological disaster sent their city to the bottom of the ocean eons ago, and nature did the rest to wash it away. It seems very unlikely though. It took the massive industrial base that we had available in the 1960s to put astronauts on the Moon, and obviously there’s nothing like that in the archeological record. But the Egyptians built the pyramids without anything even remotely resembling the sophistication of our modern industrial infrastructure, so we can’t be 100% sure that there isn’t some way to escape the Earth’s gravity using some clever technique that has somehow evaded modern scientific understanding. And I’ve heard stories about ancient texts from India that are said to describe strange flying vehicles. Maybe one day we’ll discover some lift principle that could be exploited with fairly primitive technology, and ferry some humans out of the Earth’s gravity well. It seems extremely implausible, but I wouldn’t have believed that the ancient Greeks had built a form of analogue computer, if we hadn’t discovered the Antikythera mechanism. So I try to keep an open mind. Alternatively, maybe some of our ancestors made friends with some visiting extraterrestrials, and went off to explore the universe for awhile, and now they’re coming back to see how we’re doing. But there again, we’re back to a variant of the ETH. This was all much longer than I would’ve liked, but I wanted to be thorough, because it’s notoriously difficult to kill a bad idea once it gets going. Sorta like gangrene. Notice how people are still talking about Ronald Reagan’s absurd “trickle-down economics” idea 40 years later, even though it’s a well-proven hoax because economics does not now, nor has it ever, actually worked that way. This thread stands as a challenge to the humanoidlord’s and the Gene Steinberg’s of the world, who are now set upon to offer some variant of this “extradimensional ultraterrestrial trickster” idea that does not grossly contradict all logic and reason and the wealth of empirical data at our disposal. Shows us a way that this idea can actually work, without contradicting what we know to be fact. Or admit that you have no idea how your own theory works, and then stfu about it until you do.