I just joined. I hadn’t paid much attention to the question of UFOs in quite a few years but in the last week or so looked around at what’s on the Web to do a quick catch-up. I’m not a ufologist or debunker. I don’t like the common assumption that people are either believers or nonbelievers. Let me just list some possibilities, even silly ones:
1. Some UFOs really are ETCs. On the plus side, there are plenty of main-sequence stars within 100 light-years of Earth, some as much as a billion years older than the Sun, meaning that alien astronomers could have been doing what we do now to look for exoplanets many millions of years ago and already known of Earth when not yet even 100 years ahead of our current level of technology. Two such stars, by the way, are only three light-weeks apart, making early interstellar robotic missions relatively easy for a civilization inhabiting one of those planets. Also, the SR rule about trying to exceed light-speed wouldn’t apply to a vehicle capable of canceling inertial mass and/or significantly interacting with ZPR for the purpose of FTL travel, perhaps using a torus containing highly compressed hydrogen in a superfluid state rotating at high speed. Scientists have a variety of terms for what could be the same thing: zero-point energy/radiation, virtual particles, the ether (stupidly assumed to be static in 19th-century physics but more likely dynamic like air molecules but faster [speed of light, probably], making even modern versions of the Michelson–Morley experiment meaningless), gravitons, etc. At least we have our inability to freeze helium, the Casimir effect (including weird variations demonstrated at Harvard), and gravity itself (which seems but is not conclusively proved to react at many trillions of times the speed of light, which would make sense if it’s already next to the object acted upon, a kind of unseen atmosphere of this stuff, whatever you like to call it, but dynamic rather than static, such that a planet or black hole would shield an affected body in one direction, creating the illusion that gravity is a virtually magical pulling force, as suggested by the Casimir effect), and various experimental results to show that there is something there. Anyway, even clearly doable things like positron rocketry for space travel (with positron fuel produced in space by collecting sunlight with large sausage-shaped balloons reflective on one inner surface and transparent on the opposite side to concentrate energy on an central collecting rod to power a laser to zap 1-mm gold plate [which is well known to produce a shower of antielectrons]) have little chance of being funded, let alone something so exotic, unless it’s done in a black project and only if it’s known that someone out there has already done it. If this scenario turns out to be true, perhaps I was wrong to dismiss some of the seemly crazy witnesses out of hand, but I’d still rather cohabit with targs than believe Bob Lazar.
2. All UFOs that people actually see are failed (therefore secret) Soviet manned space shots, still-secret U.S. planes, weather balloons (which, in an old newsreel, were claimed to flatten out to saucer shape at high altitude), blimps (especially when the array of advertising lights is on the fritz), searchlights (some people really are that stupid), ball lightning, sun dogs, weather balloons, Chinese lanterns, high-altitude hailstorms, meteors, planets, stars, satellites, Hiller flying platforms (which did actually fly a little and look like flying saucers), balloons intentionally designed to look like flying saucers (like the Balloon Boy thing and the small helium-filled things sold at amusement parks), helicopters (the OH-6 can be modified [albeit, with custom-made parts] to be surprisingly quiet), oncoming airplanes (especially when one is exiting a cloud and really looks like a flying disc), kites or hot-air balloons (which can take virtually any shape the maker desires) birds, Avrocars (unlikely), other hoaxes perpetrated on witnesses (one could literally die laughing towing a full-sized saucer-shaped balloon tied to a car on a road next to a crowded beach), etc.
3. There are no real ETCs in our neighborhood, the so-called cover-up is perpetrated by the U.S. government to promote the ETC myth, and other governments, possibly in some cases as a favor to the CIA for cooperation in other matters (like the drug war, etc.) or for other reasons go along with it or are fooled by U.S.-perpetrated hoaxes. Why would some groups of U.S. conspirators do this? Perhaps to get some projects funded, to scare potential enemies, as a cover for black projects, to hide some mistakes, etc. The following page of UFO quotes could be interpreted (twisted?) to support this almost certifiably inane scenario, even though the straight take on it would, of course, strongly favor item No. 1 above. http://www.netscientia.com/ufo_quotes.html
One story, which has to be taken as hearsay, unfortunately, that falls in with this item (although it more readily lends itself to No. 1), though, is a case in which an Air Force officer was said to claim that a certain sighting was a hoax perpetrated on a group of reporters (including Walter Cronkite) by the U.S. Air Force. http://www.ufoevidence.org/cases/case1178.htm
4. Flying saucers (UFOs clearly observed to disobey basic physics are time machines from the future. (No comment, other than that I prefer to think of time dilation as merely slowing of physical processes when accelerating mass, rather than distortion of time itself, and that any FTL travel would not result in going back in time, since it would be done with what in Star Trek terms is called a warp bubble (but not exactly what Alcubierre envisioned), perhaps produced as I suggested with item No. 1 above, canceling inertial mass and blowing Einstein a kiss). This item also doesn’t explain observed ET away teams or bodies.
5. Flying saucers, and presumably any occupants, are extradimensional. Hm.
6. Each and every person who has ever reported a UFO that clearly exhibited characteristics beyond conventional explanation was lying. Many seem able to casually plop this one into the cart, but . . .
7. Flying saucers/triangles that demonstrate performance indistinguishable from magic are made by Skunk Works. Two Skunk Works CEOs have claimed they had made such things but also gave the impression or said outright that they were inspired by or reverse-engineered real ETCs. Okay, but wasn’t Tesla trying to imitate UFOs 100 years ago? And what about the Great Airship Mystery of the 1890s, the Miracle of the Sun in 1917, etc.? I believe Fifi La Fume but not Ben Rich, although that’s not very scientific.
8. People are just crazy or high on something. Yeah, yeah.
9. Nazis, ghosts, Hollow Earthers, Ferengi, deities, the Engergizer Bunny, etc. I just thought of dolphins then checked to see if I was the first—a doer, not a me-tooer. No such luck. They already have a following.
10. There are only two alien craft, both robotic and unremarkable except for advanced AI. Working in concert, they project holographic images of wondrous craft with impossible performance characteristics their makers could never hope to duplicate.
So the whole question has become so polluted that even if you saw with your own eyes something zipping around in the sky that could dodge Superman, you might have to wonder.
What’s the best evidence? If there is any ET hardware in human hands, even a sitting president doesn’t get to see it upon request or by simple executive order. The only physical evidence those of us not in on any such cover-up could, if we wanted to, look at seems to be vitrified sand (like that seen by police officers and one FBI agent while it was still warm in the Lonnie Zamora case) and bent nodes in the few crop circles not made by John Lundberg and his cohorts (which some have tried to duplicate but none successfully, as far as I know).
If that only leaves cases, well, the Belgian triangle thing sounds good. I hadn’t seen any mention of helicopters before looking at this thread. I think that theory requires an additional claim about some Belgian holiday during which everyone gets plastered, plus citing of some triangular beer logo. In this case, we have the word of the Belgian government, more than 13,000 witnesses (over 2,600 of whom filed detailed written descriptions), radar data from four airports and two F-16s, and the word of some 12 police officers. And that business about flares in the Phoenix Lights case sounds silly. I don’t know what the arguments are against the 2006 O’Hare case, but if I were to build a chart and assign scores, I would at this point expect that one to do very well. Hoax perpetrated on witnesses with a light-weight mock-up suspended by a helicopter hiding in the clouds and then yanked straight up with a two rockets supporting a crossbar to prevent burning the line, followed by an explosion to punch the hole in the cloud cover, sounds almost doable but astronomically far-fetched. That leaves a debunker with premeditated conspiracy among all witnesses. I would at least give Lonnie Zamora high marks. These pilots in Ecuador seem sincere:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zp4-VSdj36A
Someone asked upthread about passengers in the JAL 1628 case. It was a cargo flight, with only three people on board. I personally wouldn’t want to question the veracity of JAL cockpit crew. And the FAA guy said he made backups before turning over the materials and stashed them under his desk and is now willing to testify before Congress. And how could anybody fake this one, with flight crew and multiple radar confirmation?
I don’t know what arguments there would be against the Washington, D.C. flap of 1952. The official story (about a temperature inversion) sounds silly. The U.S. Weather Bureau didn’t buy it. D.C. has lots of hot air in summer (even with Congress in recess), not to mention awful humidity. If that ever caused the city lights to be seen flitting around the sky, there would be photographic evidence of that for debunkers to flaunt.
But I remain skeptical of all ten (are there more?) sides of the issue. I’m skeptical of witnesses and debunkers alike. I read a well-written article promoting the Project Mogul story the other day, probably the only thing in which I noticed nearly perfect grammar and punctuation, but I can’t believe that the octagon would be smashed into a million pieces, that the wind would have left much to pick up, or that the military would pick up every last scrap if that’s all it was. There was a severe thunderstorm the night before the debris was discovered. Stan Friedman’s claim of an accident between two ETCs made me choke a little, but not as much as the claim by the Skunk Works guy who said our guys shot an ETC down. Besides, I took him for a loony, despite his impressive credentials. And I have no trust in the photos. Videos are easy to fake, but the NASA footage of Challenger that zooms in on a UFO right after the explosion wouldn’t be fake, just whatever U stands for, since it wasn’t clear enough to make a good ID. But there shouldn’t have been anything there. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3XhVzay ... re=related
This could be photographic evidence of swamp gas. Or has this video been doctored to add a UFO and NASA guys talking about it?!!
So maybe, even though some things I mentioned look pretty good, the best evidence for now is the page of quotes I linked above. Here it is again:http://www.netscientia.com/ufo_quotes.html
Skepticism is good. If a rusty tower collapsed after dry-ice blasting, I wouldn’t want to say that the rust had been contributing to its structural integrity.