Skeptophilia (skep-to-fil-i-a) (n.) - the love of logical thought, skepticism, and thinking critically. Being an exploration of the applications of skeptical thinking to the world at large, with periodic excursions into linguistics, music, politics, cryptozoology, and why people keep seeing the face of Jesus on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Happy World UFO Day!

Well, allow me to be the first to wish you a happy World UFO Day.

I'll bet most of you didn't even know it was World UFO Day.  It is, and this event, like many wacky things in this world, has its own website.  And on this website, we learn what this international event is all about:
There are several reasons why this day has found it's [sic] way into the world.
On [sic] of the first and foremost reasons is to raise awareness about the undoubted existence of UFO's and with that intelligent beings from outer space.

Also this day is used to encourage governments to unclassify their knowledge about sightings throughout the history. Many governments, the US government for instance, are believed to have gained exclusive information about UFO's through their military departments. A subject that still raises a lot of curiosity is the Roswell incident in 1947 when a believed UFO crashed in Roswell New Mexico.
And on this day, here's what we're supposed to do:
It is encouraged for individual believers to organize their own parties during World UFO day. People are known for looking at the sky together during this day and doing other UFO themed activities. For instance watching UFO movies together even meditate in groups on the subject. The most important thing is that people collectively open their minds to the subject for one day and send out the message mentally that UFO's are welcome on this earth.
I'm not so sure how I feel about the last bit.  I mean, don't these people generally believe that the aliens are hostile?  Seems to me that whenever I have watched a UFO movie, humans end up being abducted, and it usually results in a wince-inducing scene involving an examining table, restraining straps, and various types of probes.  And call me a wuss, but I really don't feel much like meditating on that.

Apparently, though, there are a lot of people who do.  On the list of "participating groups," I found that just the "Dubai Research Congregation" alone has 2,500 members.   In fact, 21 groups are listed, each with their own website or Facebook page, for a total of over 158,000 members.

If meditating on UFO movies doesn't appeal, though, there are suggestions on the website for other ways to celebrate this holiday.  These include:
  • Watch the sky together and spot strange object [sic] flying around.
  • Wear or create your own UFO/alien t-shirts.
  • Share knowledge (books, videos, etc.) with proof that UFOs exist.
  • Create original looking UFOs out of frisbees or perform other creative actions. 
And all of this is to move forward with their vision statement, to wit:
Our main vision is to take a worldwide celebrated holiday and make people aware of the UFO phenomenon during this day. We see a future in which UFOs aren't speculations anymore, but part of daily life.
I'm not so sure I see that future, myself.  I'd love to think that there is alien life out there, and it'd be flat-out awesome if there was some science and technology humans haven't discovered yet that would allow us to travel over interstellar distances.  But these people are making Earth sound like Grand Central Station, with the UFOs arriving daily in such numbers that it's a wonder they don't end up in giant traffic jams over our airspace.  Now, no one would think it was cooler than me if a spaceship landed in my back yard (provided I wasn't right earlier about the restraints and probes).  And especially with the recent discovery of thousands of exoplanets, I think that the likelihood of a good many of them being homes to life is quite high.

But still.  Why the hell would they want to come here?  I mean, I like it here, but you'd think that if you could whisk your way across the galaxy, there would have to be more interesting places to go.  A superintelligent alien race coming to Earth is a little like some teenager finally getting his driver's license and a car, and his parents tell him he can take a road trip anywhere he wants during the summer, and he thinks, "I know!  I'll drive... to Newark!"

Be that as it may, there are some very intelligent people who think there might be something to the whole UFO thing.  Most famously, Michio Kaku said, in an interview on Larry King Live, "95% of these sightings can be dismissed, but 5% of them really give you the willies.  5% of them can't be explained easily with the known laws of physics...  We’ve looked at all the alternatives. These are multiple sightings by multiple modes. That is, pilots, eyewitnesses (on the ground), radar, visual sightings. These are very hard to dismiss, this handful of sightings...  We’re talking about generals, Air Force pilots, governors of states that claim, 'Hey, this is beyond our understanding of the laws of physics.'"

So, maybe my inclination to scoff is ill-founded.  If Kaku, with his training in the principles of scientific induction, not to mention his general good sense, can be this open-minded about the whole issue, who am I to say he's wrong?  So, in that spirit, I will wish you all a happy World UFO Day.  Enjoy your movies, meditations, and "creative actions" such as making a UFO out of a frisbee.  And I especially want to give a cheerful wave to our friends in the "Dubai Research Congregation."


  1. The problem with alien t-shirts is that they generally don't fit and have too many openings.

  2. I'll get the neighborhood kids together and we'll setup an Anal Probe Stand. Only 25¢!