Floating around the interdumb: UFOs are real zomg!!!
Senior government officials and lifelong UFO researchers are pretty difficult to ignore, aren’t they?
Except, no, they’re quite easy to ignore, because all they’re presenting is anecdotal evidence. Where’s the alien body? The piece of alien technology? The actual hard physical evidence that proves that these as-yet-unexplained anecdotes are anything more than anecdotes? Until something concrete is forthcoming, it’s easy to dismiss this nonsense as nonsense out of hand. The burden of proof is always — ALWAYS — on the extraordinary claimant.
If there are sentient aliens capable of interstellar travel, that would be wonderful news. To know that we are not the only sentient life forms in the universe would turn dogmatic religions on their ear, open whole new avenues of physics research, and provide humankind a chance to show its true stripes. While we still don’t know what those stripes are — we as a species are still in our infancy — I have faith in humankind enough so that the majority of us will do the right thing and act the right way in the face of such a momentous event as First Contact. I recognize, at the same time, that some of our intellectual backwash will consider aliens an automatic threat, or a chance at spreading their particular dogmatic religion virus to another race of beings; and I strongly hope that these elements will be quelled before an interstellar political incident has us cordoned off as dangerous by the other sentient beings in the galaxy.
But all of this is mental masturbation, without evidence. I want to believe in alien life, especially in sentient life that could pay us a visit. I really do. It would mean so much to the development of the human race, and it would mean there are aspects of physics we have as yet not learned to unlock. It would mean the world of Star Trek is actually, legitimately possible. But you can’t make that kind of assumption based on anecdotal evidence!
Human brains can be easily fooled in any number of ways, and we’re exceptionally good at fooling ourselves into seeing agency where there is none (again, look no further than the dogmatic religions I’m worried will give us a bad name). Just because a small subset of all the anecdotes ever made about UFOs can NOT be explained by weather balloons, swamp gas, etc., doesn’t mean the de facto, null hypothesis, fallback position is that the phenomenon is an alien spacecraft. That is a reach too far for me. The null hypothesis is that if you can’t prove definitively what it is, you should assume it’s natural, because every other event we’ve ever seen (in basically every field of human inquiry) has turned out to be natural. Every mystery throughout history has turned out to be not magic.