By Toby Maloney
Well, is there?
Based on all the evidence now assembled, it is the author's clear, unshakeable and unequivocal opinion that he doesn't know.
The cases both for the affirmative and negative are so bereft of adequate, sufficient, or even detectable relevant evidence, that any intelligent author would cease writing immediately.
I shall continue.
Now a curious thing to observe is that a day never passes without top-ranking journalists and prime time major media speculating on the subject of our inquiry. At the bottom of all this, and perhaps the cause of it, is another question. One much more urgent, immediate, and close to hand, but thus far wholly neglected.
"Is there intelligent life on Earth?"
Throughout the millions of diversified terrestrial life forms, the universal consensus is a resounding "No", but for one exception.
The difficulties that arise for this singular exception in answering the question are many.
At any trial conducted to decide upon the intelligence or otherwise of the species, the prosecutor, the defence attorney, the judge and jury, and all the witnesses, can be none other than the defendants.
Bias is beyond possibility - it's a certainty.
Everyone at the hearing is under extreme duress to contribute to a finding favourable to the allegedly unintelligent.
No intelligent being would give the least credence to any outcome in these circumstances. Yet the one contender for intelligence is wholly convinced of the veracity of its verdict.
It is true that some Homo Sapiens, when asked if they are intelligent, will answer, "No". This, however, is due to a stupid misunderstanding of the question.
Their answer is only "no" in the sense that they believe themselves without intelligence relative to others.
Asked in the sense of, "Do you have any intelligence at all, even the least modicum whatsoever?", who can say "No" with sincere resolve?
So here we are, human beings, contemptuous of intelligence in other known life forms, confident in our own, speculative of a distant other intelligence, and [although without any prospect of an objective assessment of our own] at least one idiot is at last prepared to attempt to explore the possibility that there is no intelligence anywhere, utterly convinced that he is not clever enough to do so, but knowing that if he succeeds he can only triumph if he has too little wit to be able to do it.
In arguing this cause, I suspect that the best prospects exist in changing the subject, and I have no hesitation in doing so.
What seems to be required is some topic with which men are fully obsessed, of which they exhibit no discernible comprehension, but sufficient nous to be brought to realize it. Fortunately one such is ready to hand; money.
Now money is not existent in nature, but is created by Man. It is, of course, no more a product of intelligence than is havoc created by a herd of elephants stampeding testimony to theirs.
Having created it, there is not a single human being who will admit to having done so. All proclaim that theirs was earned, that is, was acquired legitimately from already existent supplies.
Thus all insist upon money's creation and none will admit to it.
However, none can name any human association (entity) which claims the benefit of creating it, and can sustain the argument. The most popular, unsustainable explanation is that of "The Mint", which produces notes and coins.
Here we must introduce, briefly, another human creation which all find unintelligible: statistics.
The Reserve Bank of Australia's Bulletin (June 1998) insists that the total currency in existence (notes and coins produced by the Mint) amount to $21 billion. In the same chart they give the amount of money deposited in the Banks, as $314 billion
So the Mint has produced $21 billion, which we have deposited in the Bank so often that we've achieved deposits of $314 billion. Each $1 deposited 15 times?
To do this we need 14 withdrawals of $1, which come off our deposits, and would reduce them to $21 billion again.
So far we agree:
Money is created
Nobody but the Mint is known to be creating it
The Mint has only printed or coined 7 of every 100 dollars that exist.
Since this 7% of our money (the notes and coins) is numbered and authenticated, we discount counterfeiting to supply the balance.
We may know why we want it, but we don't know how we got it. 93% of it, anyhow.
Now there are, actually, some people (very few indeed) who claim to understand both that all money is created and how it is all created, and also who is creating it.
They say it is done by the banks’ lending money that doesn't exist, and when this loan money is spent, it creates deposits which then (but didn't previously) exist. In the absence of any other explanation at all, it is sometimes given a grudging acceptance, and a growing number believe it.
A growing number believe the theory of relativity, too, but who can say that they really understand it?
Belief is, however, no testimony to intelligence. Only understanding evidences intelligence, and this, if it did exist amongst small numbers, would more readily be explained as the mutually agreed vanity of an elite for exploiting our universal stupidity and denying theirs.
While belief is no evidence of intelligence, a lack of belief can sometimes affirm our soaring stupidity.
The capitalist sector of the human race has decided to believe that a farmer who creates a cabbage, a weaver who creates a basket and an author who creates a novel, should have the ownership of them. The socialist sector disputes this is an acceptable belief.
Curiously, neither has ever believed that those creating all our money keep its ownership for themselves. We know that they don't give the stuff away, but we can't believe that they would keep it for themselves.
They neither give the ownership of it to us or anyone else, nor keep the ownership of it for themselves.
Now after all this, if anyone still owns an uneaten hat, let's experiment with it. Let Bill own the hat, and lend the use of it to Jack.
Who now owns the hat? Bill, you say!
What if Bill owns a cloakroom, and Jack deposits "his" borrowed hat with Bill and gets a receipt from Bill for one hat. This receipt is negotiable and is traded by Bill to Tom for a shirt.
Now Tom has the right to claim the hat, but it is a cloudy day. Furthermore, without a shirt he has no pocket in which to keep his receipt safely. He decides to store the receipt for the hat in Bill's cloakroom, and Bill acknowledges Tom's deposit in his Hat Bank to the value of one hat.
Then Harry, who has never had a hat, and doesn't want one either, desires an umbrella. He finds just the one he wants. Alas, it is priced at two hats at Bob's shop. An impossible sum, since only one hat exists. He consults Bill at his cloakroom.
Bill realizes that only he knows how many hats exist in his cloak room. He assures Harry that he will lend him two hats, if he will agree to repay him three hats in 5 years time (an increase of one tenth of a hat per hat per annum). Harry agrees, signs a mortgage over his pants, and anticipates his two hats.
Has Bill got a problem?
No problem. Harry gets his choice of hats. Bill says "You can either have two receipts for a hat, or alternatively, I will allow you to overdraw your present deposit of nil hats by two, by using a hat-cheque.
"See the hat-cheque girl on your way out. Good day!"
"But, hang on!" says Harry, "Bob wants two hats for his umbrella, and you have given me no hat at all!"
"Listen, Harry," says Bill. "Bob no more wants two hats than he has two heads to wear them. Bob wants only the ownership of two hats with which to pay his way in life.
This I have given you. You'll see. Bob will accept the two-hat cheque (or receipt) more eagerly than real hats."
"Give him real hats and he'll only bring them back into the cloakroom this afternoon, and demand receipts or a credit on his Hat Bank deposit account. Do him a favour, he's a busy man."