By: John Prytz
OBJECTION: UFOs, if alien owned and operated, can only be here, on-site, in response to the modern human presence. That's actually advocated by many pro UFO ETH buffs that how can it be a coincidence that aliens have arrived just at the same time we started playing around with dangerous toys nuclear weapons; going into space; and reeking environmental havoc upon ourselves. Skeptics counter that for humans to be known by those out there, they can only know of us via our electromagnetic (EM) signals, which propagate outwards out there at light speed. Thus, our EM signals (nuclear blasts, radio/TV broadcasts, radar emissions, etc.) haven't had much time to get very far out there, because prior to say 1900 Earth was pretty quiet in giving off human technological EM noise. Even our atmospheric pollution, potentially detectable from way out there via spectroscopic analysis, wasn't really at highly abnormal levels prior to 1900. It's only in the 20th Century did it really kick into high gear.
So, if you take 1947 as the start year of the modern UFO eraÂ their arrival date and assuming they left home as soon as they detected our EM signal then their home has go to be so close by to Earth as to be statistically unlikely in the extreme. Since ET's home is certainly not within our solar system, then by elimination, that leaves nearby stars. But only subluminal interstellar travel is possible, and even interstellar velocities of say 10% light speed are pushing the envelop. Our closest stellar companions are over four light years away, so it would take ET over forty years to reach us from the closest stellar abode. Add to that the four light years it took our EM signal to reach them in the first place, well that's about 44 years all up. Subtract that from 1947 Ã¢Â€Â“ well, 1903 isn't known for our high intensity radio broadcasts, and radar, TV and nuclear lights are still future technology. Therefore, ET didn't arrive in 1947 due to any human activity, and since obviously only human activity would attract ET to travel here in the first place therefore UFOs can not be anything alien!
ANSWER: The basic assumption here is so anthropomorphic (human centered) as to be laughable. Firstly, even if the aliens arrived out of concern to post-1900's human activities, that doesn't mean they weren't already here, if not on-site, in the immediate solar system area, like having a lunar base, or even an orbiting space colony ship as base of operations. One doesn't have to postulate them being a minimum of over four light years away. Secondly, let's forget the human element as per the above argument, Planet Earth has been noted and logged in a galactic database for a minimum of millions of years, more likely as not an order of magnitude greater billions of years. It's an egocentric inspired, but just coincidence, that alien UFOs are around when humans dominate Earth's environment.
OBJECTION: There's little or no credible evidence that any UFO event can be interpreted as an alien spaceship doing its alien flying thing.
ANSWER: Okay, so multi-tens of thousands of eyewitness accounts count for nothing, especially when many of those sightings were by trained observers, and multi-witness cases at that. Eyewitness cases are often backed up by a radar tracking or ground traces or physiological effects or (electromagnetic) EM effects or motion pictures or still photographs. Radar, ground traces, EM effects also exist by their lonesome. UFOs are a global phenomenon that cuts across all age, sex, racial, cultural etc. boundaries. If UFOs were just the province of one country or region, or only witnessed by those with an IQ less than 90, well that would be suspect. UFOs have been taken seriously enough to be an official part of government programs from around the world, unlike say poltergeist events which aren't, and expert military and scientific analysis can not explain, depending on where and time, between five and ten percent of all UFO reports.
The fact that there exists such a thing as the UFO ETH must suggest that there is some suggestive evidence in support. The UFO ETH only exists, post early 1950's, is because for the first three to four years of the then flying disc' or flying saucer' phenomena, late 1940's, saucers' or discs' were assumed to be terrestrial in origin secret Soviet devices (to the Americans); secret American devices (to the Russians). When those ideas became untenable, the obvious conclusions were that it was all in the mind; misidentifications, hoaxes, hallucinations etc. But that became as equally untenable as solid case after solid case came in and proved to be unexplainable by any and all terrestrial possibilities. By eliminationÂ well according to Sherlock Holmes, when you've eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth one was forced to at least consider the ETH a plausible alternative. But the illogic of the scientific mind was made crystal clear in the ultimate debunking of the UFO ETH, the University of Colorado Scientific Study into UFOs [the Edward Condon study] which concluded it was all a lot of rubbish except for the fact that that very study, that very report, couldn't explain away, with any terrestrial phenomena known, over 30% of the UFO cases it studied. It's like a jury stating 1/3rd not guilty; 2/3rds guilty well the majority ayes have it let's carry out the execution. So, what part of the word evidence' don't you understand?
I make one defense however for the UFO ETH since scientists counter that each of the threads of ETI having been then or now on Earth are weak-in-the-knees when it comes to solid evidence? Roswell is weak; UFO abduction cases are weak; the UFO conspiracy or cover-up case is weak; UFO photographs and videos are weak; UFO radar cases are weak; the case for Erich von Daniken's ancient astronauts is weak; the ghost rocket sightings (1946) are weak; contactee claims are especially weak; UFO eye-witness reports are unreliable, etc. But, put them (and much more besides) all together and like all good detective stories combine/integrate all the clues into one composite whole (after separating out the wheat from the chaff and eliminating the red herrings) then the whole is more than the sum of the parts. You get a fairly consistent pattern that emerges; not the radio signal patter-of-little-dots-and-dashes the SETI scientist wants but a nuts-and-bolts and a here-and-now pattern.
Now admittedly any one of a hundred different and independent threads might in itself be not all that convincing, but then all 100 or so threads are woven together that's a different duck of another color. It's like if it looks like a duck it may not be a duck. If it flies like a duck it may not be a duck. If it walks like a duck it may not be a duck. If it swims like a duck it may not be a duck. If it quacks like a duck it may not be a duck. But if it looks, flies, walks, swims and quacks like a duck then it's a duck!
What the UFO ETH debunkers are confusing here is the concept of evidence' vs. the concept of proof'. There are massive amounts of evidence for the UFO ETH as noted immediately above. For example, I'd consider as part of legit evidence documents released under the FOI Act that show that in 1947, the then Army Air Force (AAF) requested the FBI to assist in investigating flying disc' reports all as part of the developing Cold War hysteria at the time. The FBI (Hoover) responded that they would cooperate only if they were granted access to the "crashed discs", something the AAF refused. That's evidence; it's not proof.
In fact there's more than enough eyewitness testimony and physical evidence that would satisfy any court of law; any judge; any jury in just about any other set of circumstances to render a verdict of guilty. But the UFO ETH can not yet be rendered guilty, because though there's not yet to date a smoking gun. There's no absolute under-the-microscope, on the lab's slab, proof positive of the UFO ETH. If any UFO ETH buff says they have proof, tell them to put up or shut up'. If however they say they have evidence in favor of the UFO ETH, ask them politely what it is.
OBJECTION: If the UFO ETH is correct then obviously the land on the White House lawn and a take-me-to-your-leader' scenario would be the obvious course of action for ET. That hasn't happened; therefore the UFO ETH is ridiculous.
ANSWER: An alien by definition would have to have an alien mind, and alien psychology, and alien motives. We can't hold them to our standards, our motives, our behavior patterns. Half the time I can't figure out why my cats do what they do!
According to hundreds (probably thousands) of sci-fi writers and of course Hollywood (and equivalents around the world), alien invasion is even more a viable scenario as entertainment anyway. But that hasn't happened either, but again that's no argument to suggest that because there's been no alien invasion that UFOs can't be alien technology. The U.S.A. hasn't invaded Canada anytime lately and America has appropriate technology to do so if it wanted.
That leaves other motives scientific, economic, etc. Let's examine human equivalents. Humans have explored ever since we had the ability to explore. We've boldly gone, in person or via machine surrogates, to the depths of the ocean, to Antarctica, to the Moon, and to all of the planets (actual, or in the case of Pluto, on route). All this exploration for all practical purposes has been for the sake of just science, pure science, and nothing but the science. Of course there's usually an ulterior motive in the back of the mind exploration leads to exploitation. We explore, we like what we see, we colonize, we exploit, we build resorts for R&R, we migrate to escape various forms of environmental/political pressures, we mine for resources, and we farm for food and do more besides. Today the Moon is for science; tomorrow we may exploit its resources. Why should the ET-Earth relationship be any different?
OBJECTION: Every cubic inch of the sky is monitored from above and below 24/7/52 by highly sophisticated electronic surveillance equipment, always on the lookout for sneak attacks and to track satellites and space junk. The orbits of thousands of bits of space junk are known with high precision, even if that bit is no larger than a ham sandwich! Any alien spaceships that large or (obviously) larger that's up there, well, we'd know about it.
ANSWER: Advanced stealth technology rules; okay anyone? It's a major and ever ongoing R&D into stealth technologies are of interest to the military, the intelligence community and law enforcement agencies on Earth. What might an advanced alien civilization 1000, 10,000 years in advance of our have in the way of such camouflage? They'd obvious use that technology to prevent being shot at by trigger-happy generals! In Star Trek' terminology, we'd call this sort of technology something akin to a cloaking device'.
OBJCTION: If ET is, or was here, there would be artifacts left behind, even if it's just ET's garbage and little.
ANSWER: Unless we humans start launching our garbage into space, say the ultimate incineration in the solar furnace; well let's just say that option is going to increase waste disposal rates several thousand fold and therefore isn't a realistic option. Therefore, we have little option but to use Planet Earth as a garbage dump much to the delight of archaeologists who base much of ancient human history on just such detritus. But of course time, natural forces and biological agents ultimately deal with most forms of human waste solid, liquid and gaseous.
Those same natural forces and biological agents would also strut their natural recycling and breakdown stuff on ET's waste. But, in addition, ET can and does have the option of removing their detritus off planet. Secondly, would we of necessity recognize and distinguish ET's rubbish from all other forms of human rubbish especially without any obvious differences that would suggest such rubbish is somehow different and should be subject to complex analysis that would be required to confirm that this rubbish isn't ordinary rubbish but extraordinary rubbish? Ã‚Â Lack of ET's garbage is not evidence of a lack of ET.
There's yet another solution. A technologically advanced ET is probably equally advanced in recycling technology. If you undertake interstellar voyages you'd better be damned efficient at recycling. Anyway, I don't recall anyone in Star Trek' for example leaving behind their litter an artifact, maybe like a book on Chicago's gangsters yes, but not rubbish! But speaking of artifacts related to ET, there have been lots of authors, quite apart from Erich von Daniken, who have made careers out of pointing out archaeological evidence suggestive of ET. Now clearly much of that is embellishment and wishful thinking and often plain nonsense, but, as most of life's little mysteries are, this isn't an either/or situation. There are many shades of gray here and I've sen quite a few artifacts that are quite suggestive of an ET in our past, and of course if past tense, why not present tense? Now throw in some mythology.
FINAL FALLBACK OBJECTION: The UFO ETH can't be therefore it isn't; alright it might be but it still isn't; don't bother me with facts, my mind is made up; and in any event it's all pseudoscience and I just deal with real science. Trust me on this I'm a scientist!
FINAL ANSWER: Once upon a time Galileo Galilei and Nicolaus Copernicus would have been considered pseudo-astronomers; Heinrich Schliemann (of Troy fame) someone who dabbled in pseudo-archaeology; Charles Darwin was a pseudo-naturalist; and Alfred Wegener, obviously put forth a theory (continental drift) that could only be described as pseudo-geology at the time. Even originally Albert Einstein was so far out in left field that his scientific seniors and superiors could easily have described his physics as pseudo-physics. Only time and history will be the judge whether or not the UFO ETH is or was pseudoscience or real science. The jury IMHO is still out on that issue.
CONCLUSIONS: Scientists rally against the UFO ETH and perhaps they are right or maybe not. Scientists aren't all-knowing. They too are human with all the accompanying baggage that implies and they can, and do, make mistakes.
John Prytz - About the Author:
Science librarian; retired.