I glanced at a table near the bathroom in the local Borders store and found an Illinois MUFON application staring back at me.
I was in the mood for a laugh, so I snapped one up. It turns out for twenty bucks, I too can join the search for little green men in flying saucers. I wonder if there’s a membership card and a secret handshake. I’m half tempted to join just so I can find out if the majority of the membership is comprised of Stanton Friedman types or if they’re just your garden variety, mouth-breathing, basement-dwelling dweebs. (One may may be indistinguishable from the other from a distance, but at least you can hold a conversation with someone like Mr. Friedman.)
While it does make sense to me that there could be life on other planets, perhaps even (now or in the past) on other planets in our own solar system, I find most people are too quick to assign extraterrestrial origins to anything they can’t otherwise explain.
For example, an ex-governor of Arizona claims he spotted a UFO. The article has the following quote:
“As a pilot and a former Air Force Officer, I can definitively say that this craft did not resemble any man-made object I’d ever seen.”
That’s often enough for most people to tag him as an expert on the subject. However, when was his Air Force experience? What was his job? What was his security clearance? Engineers can conceivably be working on all kinds of strange and unusual technologies that he wouldn’t be privy to.
Consider the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber. I don’t doubt when it was first under development, many pilots would never have recognized it, much less your average Joe who spotted it flying high overhead. I wouldn’t be surprised if a number of UFO reports could now be attributed to the B-2. In fact, some say many of today’s UFO sightings may be attributable to the hypothetical Aurora or other deltoid aircraft with exotic propulsion systems like external burn.
Are there unexplainable events out there? Sure. But does that automatically make them the result of visiting aliens? Of course not.
2,000 years ago, people thought the Earth was flat. They explained things they couldn’t understand as the work of gods and monsters, including things like thunderstorms, which we now take for granted. They thought tornadoes and hurricanes were divine punishment (hell, we still refer to them as “acts of God”) rather than natural weather phenomena. People today have a much better grasp on science, however, so they instead conjure up science-based strangeness to explain the unexplainable. They replace Zeus and Hera with Martians and Greys.
On another side of it, the UFO chasers are very much a cult. I think so many of them so badly want to believe that they latch on to anything they can’t easily explain and call it alien rather than fully investigating the object or event in question. The Haitian UFO video is a perfect example of people disregarding the obvious because it contradicts their faith.
How odd it is to see a hybrid of faith and science when the two are so often mutually exclusive. Does anyone else think it’s funny that both divine creation and alien genetic engineering both site a Missing Link as a proof? They can’t both be right, and something that simply may not have been found yet is a flimsy piece of evidence anyway.
So I think I’ll take a pass on joining the great space cult. While UFO’s, extraterrestrial life, and spacecraft are, and always will remain, a fascinating subject for me, I’m not sure there’s such a big difference between alien abduction claims and the Virgin Mary appearing as a water stain.