Some people think that microwave technology comes from reverse-engineering debris salvaged at alien crash sites. These are often the same people who believe that a race of evil reptilians are dominating world politics, that the moon landings were all a big hoax, that the Earth is only 6,000 years old and humans walked side-by-side with dinosaurs, that “the government” is poisoning the populace with airborne chemtrails, that Barack Hussein Obama II is an Islamic fundamentalist from a foreign country, that Nazis retreated to the hollow Earth from a base in Antarctica when their WWII defeat was imminent, that climate change is a sham, that time travelers have been captured on film using cellphones decades before their invention (I hope they had reasonable data plans), and that the Illuminati pulls all of our strings like some shadowy puppet master from the other side of a curtain behind which we dare not peek (though anyone who watches The Simpsons knows that it’s actually the Stonecutters who rule the planet). Probing such people further, you might also be shocked to discover that Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Michael Jackson, and Kurt Cobain are all jamming together on a private island somewhere off the grid after faking their own deaths.
I’m not going to pretend that I have all of the answers. Maybe some of the above notions aren’t as crazy as they seem at first glance. Or maybe they all are. And, sure, we humans are supposed to be inquisitive about the big picture and the curious world on which we reside. There’s just too much going on around us that has to be filed under “unexplained” for the time being. On the other hand, drawing a far-out conclusion based on shaky “evidence” that’s usually circumstantial (if at all tangible) is a surefire way to bring the inquisitive process to a dead end. People who are positive that their world view is the only one that’s valid will usually gather information — along with misinformation — that supports that view rather than examine the possibility that their initial conclusions may have missed the mark. In such situations where Occam’s razor might be generously applied to shave away the unlikely, the conspiracy theorist would prefer to let weird whiskers of supposition and superstition thrive.
Hey, I understand the appeal of preserving and pursuing a mystery. I also love science fiction. The power of human imagination can be awe-inspiring, but not when it’s used as a tool to stunt the intellectual progress of our species with outlandish hokum. Is the microwave an alien invention? I suppose it’s possible. But isn’t it more feasible that some brilliant earthling scientists just got tired of waiting for lunch and figured out a way to get things cooking in a fraction of the time once possible? Impatience, after all, seems like a very human trait. Shouldn’t we give our species the benefit of the doubt before we assign credit to otherworldly forces who are apparently really good at preparing food quickly while being simultaneously horrible at driving across the galaxy without crashing into our humble little rock in space?
In other news: Dinner!