By R.W. Sanders
Picture added by Mac (credit Google Images)
It seems every time I peruse a website addressing the UFO subject, I see articles from skeptics that usually begin with a title such as "Is this a UFO, or a tractor?" This just seems like shooting fish in a barrel. Of course it's a tractor. Or a balloon. Or Jupiter. Or swamp gas!
The fact is that most all who are interested in the subject would agree that all but a few percent of sightings reported are explainable as some kind of natural object or phenomena. So do we really need an article that exemplifies that well known fact? Of course it is a tractor. It's just a tractor that looks a lot like a space ship when seen in the right light.
Let's Get Serious
Most agree that about five percent of sightings are unknown. That being the case, the believers are beginning this struggle with the odds looking pretty bad for our side. Of all UFO cases, skeptics can write about 95 percent of them, while believers are stuck with a measly five. Doesn't seem fair, somehow. Nevertheless, the result of this inequity is that the believers research the hell out of their five percent, while skeptics just point out tractors and planets and swamp gas and usually act superior.
Stanton Friedman has a very good formula that defines skeptics at his website. And though the "Father of Roswell Ufology" is pretty savage in the way he treats skeptics, they are usually no less so in their treatment of believers. But Stan can site decades of research on one incident, which obviously leads to expertise. Most skeptics spend very little time researching one incident, comparatively speaking. But then, that's what happens when you only have five percent of the total with which to work.
But seriously, with all the new science happening and the building consensus that we will find life outside this planet, isn't it time to quit talking about swamp gas? A good first step in this process would be if the mainstream media would become less snarky on the subject. Is it any wonder that true experts tend to avoid mainstream news shows? James Fox, an otherwise well respected UFO researcher, learned this lesson when he agreed to star in Chasing UFOs on the National Geographic Channel. He seemed more surprised than anyone at the final cut made by the network, which as usual made a mockery of the entire subject. James found out that he was appearing in just one more show where people run around at night with fancy equipment, but this one just features more profanity. How many more "___ Hunter" shows do we need anyway?
This Subject Deserves Better
Don't get me wrong, skeptics are valuable and being skeptical is usually wise. But, being skeptical just for the sake of it, is just foolish. Ditto with believing beyond reason. Just as with any subject, there are extremes on both ends of the spectrum. But at this time, and probably due to good disinformation campaigns, most Americans seem to view the subject with embarrassment. They fear being perceived as a UFO believer. And they feel this way even though many polls find that a majority of Americans believe UFOs exist.
What a weird paradox. We have been trained well by the mainstream media, who cannot broach the subject without wearing smirks on their faces and acting as if the whole subject is beneath them and worth derision and ridicule. Yet these are the same media who devoted weeks to coverage of Anna Nicole's death and whether or not to tube-feed Terri Schiavo. The same media who spent all day watching O.J. Simpson being driven in his getaway car at a blazing 35 mph, puts something as potentially life changing as extraterrestrial visitation at the end of the newscast with the puppy stories and other weird news. In fact, The Huffington Post will publish this under "Weird News." My question is, why is this subject "weird"? It seems to me that it is of extreme national security concern that unknown objects are invading our air space, messing with our nukes, and our military seems powerless to intervene. If people really are being abducted and experimented upon, is everyone alright with that?
These are questions that deserve serious, well-funded study. But presently, it is a very rare scientist who does not do his research on UFOs by paying his own way. Virtually no one receives grants for funding, like those who study more traditional subject matter. And while there is no doubt in my mind that greenhouse gasses will gravely wound civilization if left unchecked, it will take years. And that can be seen as a serious research project, ergo the funding. But if ET really can make nukes malfunction and fly through our space unchecked, that is a bit more immediate to my mind. Surely the government should throw some money that way.
Perhaps They Do
Many believe our country and others have a secret space program. Let's hope so! Perhaps serious money is being thrown at the investigation. We are simply unaware. Maybe that is where some of the billions of dollars in the government's "black budget" go. Who knows? But I believe that is just the point, who knows? Why the secrecy? Our government produces millions of classified secret documents each year. Why? How can so much need to be kept secret? Do the people actually own the government, or vice versa? Is the military/industrial establishment sitting on technology that could solve our energy problems?
These are the questions that need to be answered. And there is no room for ridicule in the search for answers to these very important questions. And we all owe a great debt of gratitude to those who have spent their lives researching this subject with very little if any compensation. And still somehow, coming up with answers to questions that the mainstream simply will not address seriously. And it is a shame that anything written regarding this very serious subject is published under some classification labeled "weird." It is my hope that someday I won't feel compelled to write about these things, as the ridicule will have disappeared and answers will have been found. But in the meantime, when dealing with skeptics, I find the following mental exercise helps illustrate this point.
Let's Do the Math
Even mainstream scientists agree that the earth is approximately four and a half billion years old. That is 4,500 million years. Also well known and recently accepted is that we are finding planets are absolutely thick throughout the cosmos. Where we thought the odds extremely stacked against finding another planet like earth, we have already found a few that are very similar. And that leads one to believe that there will be not only one earth twin, but perhaps many. Yet, for the purpose of keeping this example simple, lets assume we find only one. But that one is just a bit older than us. In fact, one million years older. It sounds like a huge difference, but remember one million years is only 1/4500th of the entire history of both planets.
So assume an exact twin of Earth and our human society, except theirs is 1/4500th older, or one million years older than us. Look at what our technology has done in only one hundred years, from 1900 to 2000 c.e. What a humongous difference this has made in our daily lives. One hundred years ago, men barely could imagine traveling in space. Young people today just yawn at the thought of going to the moon -- been there, done that. So we go from riding horses to riding rockets in only one hundred years, what might we do in a million?
So, if there is only one civilization exactly like ours but just one million years older, who is to say what kind of technology such a civilization might possess? Michio Kaku thinks they could probably control at least all the energy in their star system, and perhaps their galaxy. So, if technology develops exponentially, as it seems to do, then this hypothetical planet that is so nearly identical to our own in age would be unrecognizable in technology. We can barely imagine what they might be able to accomplish. So why is it so difficult for a skeptic to accept this scenario? After all, mainstream science is proving the existence of new planets daily. And though barely even started on this search of the heavens, they have already found hundreds of planets, including some pretty similar to our own. Why would it be unreasonable to assume that a civilization a million years older than our own, already knows we're here as well as everything else about the Milky Way?
Rather than exalted and singular in our existence, I tend to believe we are insignificant in our commonality. I think it more likely that extraterrestrials have not made themselves more apparent to us due to indifference, rather than secrecy. Someone so far advanced might not even notice us, the way we do not stop to introduce ourselves to every ant or insect we encounter. So it seems the primary problem that prevents a skeptic from endorsing the reality of extraterrestrial civilization, is egoism. Face it guys, we're just not that special!