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.

Friday, July 28, 2023

The first step

The UFO community -- and, honestly, a great many other people -- are buzzing today because of the U.S. congressional hearing on Wednesday about what we are now supposed to call "UAPs" -- "unidentified aerial phenomena."

While I still do tend to agree with Neil deGrasse Tyson's comment that "if they're unidentified, that means you don't know what they are... and if you don't know what they are, that's where the conversation should stop," I have to say that even I and other folks who are accustomed to giving the side-eye to the hype are paying attention.  What strikes me about the people who testified are that they are not your stereotypical wild-eyed "I saw it in my back yard and no one believes me!" types.  They're staid military men with excellent reputations, who have now put those reputations on the line to bring to the attention of Congress -- and the public -- that there has been a coverup for years not only of sightings of UAPs, but recovery of material from downed craft.

Including what one of the whistleblowers, David Grusch, called "non-human biologicals."

It's kind of amusing how reluctant they are to use the "A" word or the "E" word, because as my wife pointed out, our dogs are "non-human biologicals."  But it was abundantly clear what -- or, rather, whom -- he was talking about.

I have to admit that some of the testimony was pretty eye-opening.  Navy pilot Ryan Graves, one of the people who testified, said that he and the people in his squadron had "frequently encountered objects... dark gray or black cubes inside a clear sphere," and that "if everyone could see the sensor and video data I witnessed, our national conversation would change."  Graves said he saw himself one of these cube-within-a-sphere objects hovering perfectly still -- in hurricane-force winds.  Another, David Fravor, said the craft he had personally seen were "far superior to anything that we had at the time, have today or are looking to develop in the next ten years."  

The members of Congress who attended the hearing all seemed to be taking the testimony completely seriously, which is itself a little shocking considering the partisan rancor accompanying damn near everything these days.  These craft -- whatever they are -- are being treated as a serious security concern, which I have to admit is accurate enough even if they aren't extraterrestrial in origin.  

I'm not ready to say we're being invaded by the Daleks or Skithra or Slitheen or what-have-you, but I have to admit that if what these people saw is of human make, the reports are downright peculiar.  Assuming the multiple sightings aren't simply fabrications or misinterpretations of natural phenomena -- and there are so many detailed accounts and records like radar and video footage that I don't see how you could discount them all -- the only other option is that they're advanced human technology (presumably not from the United States).  But it's a little hard to imagine some other country (China and Russia are the two whose names come up the most frequently) having technology that much more advanced than ours.

If I'm right about that, and I hasten to state that I'm no expert, we're thrown back on two possibilities.  Either these are some combination of glitches, misinterpretations, and lies, or they really are of non-human origin.

See?  Even I don't want to use the "A" word or the "E" word.

But unfortunately, a lot of the details -- including the hard evidence, like the pieces of downed craft and the "non-human biologicals" Grusch mentioned -- are still classified, and all three of the men who testified were very elusive about giving details in public.  And, of course, therein lies the problem; until we actually have material (biological or not) of extraterrestrial origin available for scientists to study, and written up in peer-reviewed journals, there aren't many of us skeptics who are going to be convinced.

Still, it's definitely grabbed a lot of people's attentions, including ones who ordinarily scoff at claims of UFOs and aliens and so on.  I hope that whatever comes out of this, we can drop some of the secrecy and bring out into the open whatever actual evidence there is.  If we really do have alien spacecraft buzzing about and keeping an eye on us -- if even some of the claims, going back to 1947 and the Roswell Incident are true -- then it seems like the public has a right to know.

So as a first step, the hearing was great, but it can't just stop there, or worse, conclude inside closed doors.  All that fosters is The X Files-style conspiracy theories, wild speculation by people who don't honestly have any solid facts, and more frustration from us skeptics who would just like to see, once and for all, whether there is evidence, and if so, what it actually is.


No comments:

Post a Comment