This transformation Davies talked about would be easier on scientists if the ETs were located far from Earth, so that to exchange a single question and answer by radio signal would require decades or even centuries. The transformation would be much harder on scientists if ETs were found here on Earth where they could instantly share enough science and technology to invalidate entire careers. Here is what the Brookings Institution wrote about this, as quoted on page 167 of The McDaniel Report by Professor Stanley V. McDaniel (North Atlantic Press, Berkeley, California, 1994):
"It has been speculated that of all groups, scientists and engineers might be the most devastated by the discovery of relatively superior creatures, since these professions are most clearly associated with the mastery of nature, rather than with the understanding and expression of man[kind]. Advanced understanding of nature might vitiate all our theories at the very least, if not also require a culture and perhaps a brain inaccessible to earth scientists."
Ted Koppel asked Davies why he thought so many people felt a need to believe in ETs. This question is interesting for two reasons. First, his question presumes without justification that the idea of the alien presence is a story contrived to fulfill a psychological need. Second, by asking a physicist a question about psychology, Koppel showed that his motive was not to reveal the truth about the UFO phenomena, but to reiterate the mainstream position, which holds that aliens probably do exist somewhere out there, although they have never visited Earth and never will. While this position undercuts traditional theologians, it avoids challenging the supreme authority of scientists to articulate the nature of reality. Koppel probably knew beforehand what response he would get from Davies, whose opinions on the UFO matter are widely known.
The interview closed with Dr. Tiger saying this about the belief systems he had earlier described as foolish delusions: "This doesn't mean that one doesn't respect these belief systems. One doesn't have to be scornful of them."
Here is a full transcript of the interview:
KOPPEL: Paul Davies is a professor of physics at the University of Adelaide in Australia, and joining us from New York, Lionel Tiger is a professor of anthropology at Rutgers University. And just by way of orientation, Professor Tiger, maybe you would just tell us, what do you believe when it comes to alien beings or the existence of intelligence in some other universe?
TIGER: The evidence is extremely poor, and I actually don't believe that there isóI think that we're a peculiar and elegant accident in nature. The other signs of life are at a very low level of chemical stasis. And basically it seems to me that humans beings make up these wonderful fairy tales and then pay attention to them. But there seems to me an absolute absence of any serious evidence that would cause you to change how you go about your day.
KOPPEL: Professor Davies, let me begin at the same point with you. Do you or don't you believe in some kind of intelligence out there?
DAVIES: We have absolutely no evidence one way or the other. It's not enough to simply say that the Earth is one possibly among countless trillions of planets and therefore life must have arisen elsewhere. We simply don't know how life arose, and we don't know that even if life does get started elsewhere it will, so to speak, progress towards intelligence and consciousness. These are just suppositions, but we must leave open the possibility that there is intelligent life out there. I think the problem is that people don't understand the enormous distances that lie between the stars, so that even if there is life elsewhere in the galaxy, supposing for example there is intelligent life 100 light years away from Earth, that would be a sort of optimistic estimate, the chances of a species from a planet that far away coming to Earth I think are extremely remote.
KOPPEL: Let me take you then to a question that is perhaps a little more germane. Why is it that so many of us seem to believe in the existence of some form of other life?
TIGER: Well first of all, you know, whatever one thinks about organized religion, most people believe in some sort of supreme being, for which the evidence also is often frail and frequently reduced to a book. So human beings have, I think, a need somehow to identify with large forces which give them some sense that they're in a known place. And organized religion is one such need which is reflected in the day-to-day lives of people. And it is obviously very important for the conduct of communities. The UFO business and all of that is a kind of fringe group of people who are otherwise able to see things that other people can't see and treat these religious experiences seriously but not bother too many people by threatening them with spaceships landing on their barbecue.
KOPPEL: Professor Davies, what is it do you feel that causes so many of us to have a need to believe in something somewhere else?
DAVIES: I think you're quite right to stress this religious dimension of the UFO experience. I think when you look at the language people use, their hopes and fears, what we're seeing is a sort of space-age replay of what in the old days would have been choirs of angels or visitations from the sky. There is a deep-seated need for people to believe that we're not alone in the universe, and I think the reports of alien beings and so on are very much like the reports in the Bible of angels, that is, intermediaries between human beings and some supreme intelligence.
KOPPEL: And yet I think a great many religious people would be terribly offended if you told them that their belief in some of these religious manifestations are essentially the same thing as a belief in extraterrestrials?
DAVIES: I think it's part and parcel of the same set of beliefs.
TIGER: This doesn't mean that one doesn't respect these belief systems. One doesn't have to be scornful of them. It's just a question of acknowledging that human beings' cognitive capacities are very imperfect. And we consistently create exit clauses for ourselves ranging from gods to the lottery in order to figure that somehow what we see isn't what we get. And the UFO is actually a lot more attractive as something to think about than the endless, banal discussions of celebrities that populate much of the mass media. Why not create a genuinely interesting creature with 95 feet?
KOPPEL: Professor Tiger, Professor Davies, let me thank you both very much.
The final segment of the program focused on the search for ETs using radio telescopes. Michael Guillen began this segment saying, "Hold on, everybody, because the real-life scientific survey is about to take off at warp speed." In other words, Guillen's view is that radio telescopes provide the only legitimate method for detecting ETs. This was the longest segment of Guillen's report, and the most respectful of the on-screen participants, who in this segment were all scientists.
This episode of Nightline is an example of UFO propaganda. The journalists mentioned aliens often enough to attract and hold an audience, but they did not acknowledge the reality of the alien presence, which would have offended their sponsors and corporate owners. The scientists presented the story that best serves their interests and those of the military and the ruling elite, who for various reasons are not ready to acknowledge the alien presence. No one on this program could articulate anything other than the extreme view that beings from other planets have never visited Earth and never will. The program tried to persuade the viewer that those who claim to have seen aliens are delusional, and those who might believe such claims are fools.
The journalists and scientists did not "conspire" to deliver this propaganda. The mechanism at work on this program was described by Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky in the preface of their book Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (Pantheon Books, New York, 1988):
"Institutional critiques such as we present in this book are commonly dismissed by establishment commentators as 'conspiracy theories,' but this is merely an evasion. We do not use any kind of 'conspiracy' hypothesis to explain mass-media performance. In fact, our treatment is much closer to a 'free market' analysis, with the results largely an outcome of the workings of market forces. Most biased choices in the media arise from the preselection of right-thinking people, internalized preconceptions, and the adaptation of personnel to the constraints of ownership, organization, market, and political power. Censorship is largely self-censorship, by reporters and commentators who adjust to the realities of source and media organizational requirements, and by people at higher levels within media organizations who are chosen to implement, and have usually internalized, the constraints imposed by proprietary and other market and governmental centers of power.
"There are important actors who do take positive initiatives to define and shape the news and to keep the media in line. It is a 'guided market system' that we describe here, with the guidance provided by the government, the leaders of the corporate community, the top media owners and executives, and the assorted individuals and groups who are assigned or allowed to take constructive initiatives. These initiators are sufficiently small in number to be able to act jointly on occasion, as do sellers in markets with few rivals. In most cases, however, media leaders do similar things because they see the world through the same lenses, are subject to similar constraints and incentives, and thus feature stories or maintain silence together in tacit collective action and leader-follower behavior."
 ISCNI*Flash is the twice-monthly electronic newsletter of the
Institute for the Study of Contact with Non-human Intelligence. For a
trial subscription, send the message "Try Flash" to
 McDaniel, Stanley. The McDaniel Report: On the Failure of
Executive, Congressional, and Scientific Responsibility in Setting
Mission Priorities for NASA's Mars Exploration Program. North Atlantic
Press, Berkeley, California, 1994.
 Chomsky and Herman. Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy
of the Mass Media. Pantheon Books, New York, 1988.
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