There is an interesting continuity between the explanations of those liable to a certain hysteria, I mean those who give credence to extraterrestrials, and those typically found in academe, the ivory tower billed birds.
The first group crave a certain gross excitement in their mechanical mental lives, nothing too subtle. Flying saucers serve a purpose in their imagination, satisfying a unviversal craving for an exciting edge, but one which can be oh so concretely described. At one time angels were seen in the heavens, now it is household utensils. This coarse profanity serves other purposes---one of these functions is to explain human development, and human origins. The visits of extra terrestrials have been used to explain both the advance of man's civilization and the origin of humanity itself. The idea is that visitors either produced a new species, and or, helped along an extant one, to produce the world we know. The question of the ET motives is left open. The illogic behind the E. T. scenario is unrecognised. Illogic in the sense that an explanation is produced which actually does not answer the basic questions for which the explanation is put forward. A visit from people from other planets does not explain the origin of life----one is just pushing back the question---from where did the life on other planets derive??? And what promoted the developments in civilization, the technological superiority, on these other planets? The popularity of stories of extraterrestrials fills a gap left by the declining interest in traditional religious explanations of such questions.
These objections to the E.T.answer to life's mysteries seem obvious once outlined. How is this kind of thinking related to the typical thinking of the academic writer of books? We will return to this question soon.