UFOs Or Self Delusion?

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Pablo Edronkin

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Several governments have recognised the existence of unidentified flying objects but are we trying to see more than really is there?

So far no one has been able to prove scientifically the existence of intelligent life outside our planet. Many scientists do thin that it is a likely occurrence but until incontrovertible poof arises, no one can seriously confirm such a fact; high probability doesn't mean certainty.

The confirmation of the existence of planets outside our solar system by analysing the oscillations of starts and more recently, the direct observation by optical means of a planet in the Fomalhaut system, tens of light years away from Earth increase the odds that we will one day find intelligent beings out there. Now we are scientifically certain that our solar system is not unique in that aspect but can we make a generalisation and assume the same for life? Probably yes, but we must exercise certain caution when thinking about the issue.

Recognition of various encounters with confirmed UFOs by several governments is interesting but only means that their representatives or forces have encountered things for what they don't have any explanation. This is enough to fuel interest in studies like exobiology o astrobiology, as well as projects such as the SETI program, but it is not an implication of the confirmed existence of intelligence life out there. After all, something that is unidentified is not known, by definition; it could be anything, including natural phenomena.

A lot of people claim to have seen UFOs and there are a few that even claim to have had contact with alien beings; unfortunately, there is no way to independently confirm those claims. Of course, there are also the absolute skeptics that refute every argument as soon as they find it, not necessarily by taking a good look at alleged evidence but just for the sport of refutation and denial.

Recognition of the existence of an unidentified flying object operates in two different ways: Some people assume that as proof enough of visits by beings from elsewhere, and then others understand the acronym UFO as some sort of mystery. Something that is given for a fact without knowing the fact itself and without making any inference about its nature.

Some conspiracy theories have merged in recent decades pretending to explain the lack of proof on the basis of cover-ups by governments around the world regarding alien technologies. However, this argument finds some contradictions:

The incorrect interpretation of the value of testimonies: To say that something exists but proving its existence is impossible because someone has hidden such proof is not a valid argument in a logical sense. It is akin to saying that Snow White dwarfs exist but we can't see them because they are invisible. If you join together a million persons saying that they saw a pink unicorn sitting on top of Nelson's statue in Trafalgar Square, in London, doesn't make it true and doesn't make it happen. And saying that you can't provide proof of that because the British government has hidden all proof is not an acceptable argument, scientifically speaking. This doesn't mean that testimonies should be discarded flatly, but they should be placed where they belong: As part of any demonstration process they are necessary but not sufficient.

The overestimation of gubernamental capabilities in covering things up: So far it has been impossible to prove that governments around the world are able to maintain such a state policy for decades. Governments are not to be trusted; they lie indeed but because of their own nature it is highly unlikely that they would be able to keep going such supranational policies. Why would the governments of Israel and Iran or the United States and North Korea suddenly agree in this point?

Scientist are not a dogmatic species; by definition science is innovation and has been so for centuries, even against dogmatism of religious and political nature. Indeed, scientists are subjected to the same frailities than other humans and there are stubborn and overly orthodox researchers that may not accept things easily. But science cannot be judged for its individual parts because it is a system of thought, something that is even more than the sum of its parts, and in the long run it always accepts new theories and ideas if they are proved correct. The creation in recent years of news sciences related to the study of the cosmos and even possible extraterrestrial life is proof enough that there is a genuine and rational interest in finding life in other parts of the universe, among other things. Moreover; It is highly likely that scientist s in general would be among those most interested in such possibility and among those who would benefit the most from a possible contact. But we have to make a difference between proof and self-delusion.

So far, there has been no tangible, irrefutable proof of the existence of alien civilisations. Even if what happened to some alleged witnesses is true, its positive side is that such stories serve to raise the interest in the subject enough for qualified detectives - scientists - to study the matter, but testimonies are simply that, and nothing else.

So, are we trying to see more than what is apparent when we deal with UFOs? According to what we know, most certainly we do. However, it is this activity the one that should change this because the topic is interesting, suggestive and it would be dumb - to say the least - not to pay attention to hat is allegedly happening or even what could happen. Ufology will gain much more credibility and respect from the scientific community the day after it will purge alleged, but not qualified researchers and at the same time, submit its hypotheses to authentic peer reviews made by scientists from various disciplines, even when the expected results won't agree with their verdicts. Ufology should evolve from something that today looks like alchemy to something more like chemistry. That is, from the plainly curious, intellectually speaking, to the authentically investigative, from pseudo-science to science.

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