Originally Posted by atari 2600
Your last point is of particular interest to me. I feel that most people that (via a wish fulfillment fantasy) are into the whole aliens nonsense do so because of a rabid hatred of religion.
I agree with this; I'd also extend it to say - the belief in aliens, and more loosely, 'conspiracy theories' manifests precisely the same psychological impulse towards the grand 'Other' of God - that is, a being, or beings, who are 'in control', a father-figure whose presence remains felt but eternally tacit.
This in turn relies upon another personal understanding of mine, that of the spiritual domain (itself in a precarious relationship with the post-enlightenment notion of intellectualism manacled to Aristotelian logic) being firmly distinct in sort and type to what is understood (but invariably not practised) by 'science'. Atari is right to point out that a great many 'great men' were theists with issues with religio-political organisations; it is my belief that they understand that the spiritual domain and the scientific domain are not, primae facie
[sp?], commensurable. This by no means
is synonymous with the idea that either dialogue (the religious or the scientific) is sovereign (which is where I draw myself in line with Derrida's criticism of Hegel, but that's a much, much longer post) but that each must carefully observe the edicts, the benefits, the frauds and the other contingencies of the (small-o) other. Religion is certainly flawed, but that does not mean that science is without its difficulties (anyone with a passing awareness of Popper, Feyerabend, Lakatos etc will know what I mean here).