Thursday, November 8, 2012

UFOs: The truth might not be out there


It might be a real disheartening situation we find ourselves in.

Perhaps, but it is far too unreasonable to say “case closed” because of it.  What I refer to is an article that appeared in the UK’s Telegraph, detailing that local chapters of UFO investigators are thinking of throwing in the towel.  Apparently, they may be leaning towards dismissing the idea of UFOs altogether.  Mr. David Woods, chairman of the Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena, made this startling assertion:

“It is certainly a possibility that in ten years’ time, it will be a dead subject.  We look at these things on the balance of probabilities and this area of study has been ongoing for many decades. The lack of compelling evidence beyond the pure anecdotal suggests that on the balance of probabilities that nothing is out there.”

I see a number of problems with that statement but more on that in a moment.  Wood does in fact go on to make one important point:

“I think that any UFO researcher would tell you that 98 per cent of sightings that happen are very easily explainable.”

Exactly.  When discussing genuine UFO sightings, that is to say cases and incidents that are unexplainable or at least leave questions remaining, they  make up a very thin percentage of UFO cases.  I would go a little bit lower than 98%, but not much lower.  The fact that these so-called “skywatchers” have not seen anything in all their time really doesn’t mean anything.  Sightings of a truly unexplainable nature are a rare occurrence.  If they were otherwise, we no doubt would have an answer to the puzzle by now.

Further muddying the waters is the matter of software.  Photoshop and other digital graphics programs render the faking of UFO pics and videos an insanely simple task.  So much so that I almost automatically dismiss current day UFO images whenever they pop up.  I have often said that I wouldn’t be able to tell the real thing even if it were in crystal clear video right on my screen.  In fact, I would probably be even more skeptical of it.

This proliferation of fake images over the Internet has the unfortunate effect of dismissing any evidential claims out of hand.  Indeed, it is quite difficult to discern the wheat from the chaff in the digital age, especially when the quid is spewed in all directions.  Unfortunately, this impedes us from finding what might be critical sightings.

Additionally, consider how many times the article uses words such as "alien" or "alien spacecraft." Again, the ExtraTerrestrial Hypothesis dominates the discussion.  If you're considering that this phenomena must be entirely alien in origin, then you are correct.  The prospects are looking dimmer.  This precludes, however, alternative explanations that are oft neglected and...I hate to consider this...not prone to testable evidence.

Will the matter be dead in ten years' time as Woods suggests?  We've been seeing these things in our skies for thousands of years.  I doubt the mystery will dissolve anytime soon.

  
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