December 2003


“Yaw, do you remember the story about a UFO crashing at Roswell, New Mexico?”

“Wasn’t that a weather ballon found on some sheep rancher’s meadow in 1947? At least that’s what the American government said it was. Why do you ask, Mog?”

“Well it’s a vast universe out there, Yaw. I think we can safely say that somewhere in the galaxies, there is a right mix of elements to enable life. It’s hard to believe that life cannot be found anywhere else but on Earth.”

“Do you know what the Earthlings call aliens from another planet, Mog?”

“Martians?”

“They call them Intelligent Life. There are some serious scientists probing the universe in search of intelligent life.”

“So that’s why those unidentified flying objects just whiz by our planet with nary a word to us, Yaw. They couldn’t find intelligent life down here. They must be far more advanced than we are if they have travelled this far. We’ve only been to the moon…”

“You know Mog, some people claimed to have been abducted by aliens. Perhaps after being examined by those extraterrestrials, they must have concluded that it wasn’t worth the spittle.”

“But those crop circles might have been their way of saying ‘ciao” or giving us a map to their location in the galaxies.”

“That design does look nice on a tee-shirt, huh, Mog–far more creative than a flag.”

“Poor moonies…they only have a crummy flag on their tee-shirts.”

What Does a Martian Look Like?

The British naturalist, Charles Darwin, believed that all plants and animals had evolved from a few common ancestors. But because there is a constant struggle for existence, Darwin explained that those who do survive are those that are better adapted to the environment. From this idea, he developed the theory of natural selection.

Darwin’s theory of natural selection is different from the French naturalist Lamarck’s theory of acquired characteristics. Where Darwin believed that it is the environment that acts on the organism, Lamarck believed that it is the organism that adapts to the environment.

Let’s take the example of the giraffe. Lamarck theorised that the giraffe developed long necks because of the constant stretching to reach for the leaves on the trees. Darwin believed that the early giraffes had necks of various lengths and the ones with the longer necks were the ones that survived.

Millions and billions of years have seen the gradual evolution of plants and animals. Hundreds of thousands of years are necessary to produce a noticeable change in the genetic make-up of organisms. In this struggle for life, it is therefore the favourable traits that enable an organism to survive.

Did we say favourable traits? So, how in the world did the brainless (who somehow find themselves in public office or in administration) and the idiots (who are given driver’s licenses) survive evolution? Worse still, why are there more intellectually-challenged beings in this world than geniuses? What an odd quirk it is of natural selection or acquired characteristic if brawny-and-brainless matters more than smart-but-gunless.

With the way things are, everyone will just manage to kill each other off and the meek will inherit the Earth. In that case, there could be something to that One born in a barn…