by Peter Franklin
Monday, 17
May 2021
Idea
15:00

America takes UFOs seriously, so why don’t we?

There are a few distinctly American factors at play
by Peter Franklin
Even the US government are beginning to take UFOs seriously

UFOs are back — or at least they are in America. Ezra Klein, writing for the New York Times, is the latest public figure to give this issue the time of day. 

That’s not to say he’s become a full-on believer in flying saucers, but rather that there’s enough evidence out there for sensible people to take seriously:

The most curious subplot in the news right now is the admission, at the most senior levels of the United States government, that the military services have collected visuals, data and testimonials recording flying objects they cannot explain; that they are investigating these phenomena seriously; and that they will, in the coming months, report at least some of their findings to the public.
- Ezra Klein, NYT

To reiterate, these aren’t the words of some attention-seeking toad-licker, but a public intellectual with every reason not to trash his reputation. And, as I say, he’s not the only one. Other sober-sided types openly discussing the possibilities include the hyper-rational economist Tyler Cowen, the former CIA director John Brennan and the former Senate majority leader Harry Reid.   

Furthermore, the most importance evidence in this matter comes from the US military — specifically pilots who will have been carefully vetted before being put in charge of the most deadly and expensive aircraft ever built.

However, it is interesting that this appears to be a mostly American affair. Certainly, it’s hard to imagine a similar debate taking place over here. Any British public figure of any standing who went on about this stuff would be ridiculed. Remember the mockery unfairly aimed at the former Lib Dem MP Lembit Opik — and all he warned about was the scientifically established threat from asteroids. 

So why the difference between the US and UK on UFOs?

Maybe it’s because the American military, including its airborne component, is so much bigger than ours — and thus more likely to have collected evidence of unexplained phenomena. Or perhaps the British authorities are better at keeping such material under wraps. Alternatively, we could theorise that interest in UFOs is an outlet for collective psychological stress — specifically the stress experienced by a superpower that is once again under challenge from a foreign rival (21st century China taking the place of the post-war USSR).  

Then again, the difference may lie in the fact that America is a more religious society than ours. Klein makes a fascinating point in which he contrasts his own materialist worldview with that held by the majority of mankind throughout history, which is that we share “the cosmos with other beings — gods, spirits, angels, ghosts, ancestors.” The idea of a “crowded universe where other intelligences are interested in our comings and goings” is not, um, alien to people of faith. 

Indeed, what would really freak out a secular society is not UFOs proving the existence of visitors from another planet, but of beings that have always been with us — in our world, if not quite of it.

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J Bryant
J Bryant
1 year ago

We are so devoid of mystery in modern life. Real, spiritual mystery; a sense there might be something greater than ourselves, that the universe might work according to principles we haven’t begun to understand.
Following the US lead, the Chinese have now landed spacecraft on the moon and Mars. Pretty soon these celestial bodies will resemble base camp at Everest, filled with junk left by rich people paying for the privilege of being guided to the roof of the world.
NASA has provided some remarkable images generated by its latest Mars probe. An impressive technical achievement, for sure. But now the mystery of the red planet is lost. It’s not the red planet anymore but clearly the dead planet covered with dust and rock and the worn down remains of mountain ranges.
I hope there are UFOs or, better yet, the universe really is a dream in the mind of God. I wish I could gaze up at the moon and think of it as Sister Moon rather than just a lump of lifeless rock where nations compete to send increasingly pointless space missions.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

The China Mars landing was filmed in a remote bit of Sinkiang. In one shot, for a split second, you can see some barbed wire in the lower left corner. As far as UFOs lets all remember that most famous line from ‘”To Serve Man”‘ in The Twilight Zone:
“Patty cries: “Mr. Chambers, don’t get on that ship! The rest of the book, To Serve Man, it’s… it’s a cookbook!””

David Hartlin
David Hartlin
1 year ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

A great short story by Damon Knight,read it years ago.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Wasn’t the 1969 Moon Landing filmed in a shed/hangar in Arizona?

Susannah Baring Tait
Susannah Baring Tait
1 year ago

I worked in Libya from 1969 to 1971 and this is what the Libyan population truly believed. Because the moon to them was sacred so, by extension no human could possibly. land on it.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Well spotted!

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

Nothing will ever equal the terror of Mekon. Leader of the Treens.
Not even Quatermass.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

Yes, but much greener!
Funny how Green used to be the colour of evil.

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Nick Whitehouse
Nick Whitehouse
1 year ago

Still is!

Geoffrey Simon Hicking
Geoffrey Simon Hicking
1 year ago

“Our words are backed by nuclear weapons!”

Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler
1 year ago

I’m a newcomer (furriner) to Quatermass, watched them only last year for the first time. Thoroughly enjoyed. The last series (IV) could have been written just about today’s “Planet People”.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
1 year ago

If it was written now, people would insist it was a sly caricature of Dominic Cummings!

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

There is a resemblance, certainly in the physiognomy.

Ray Ward
Ray Ward
1 year ago

GANDHI, not Ghandi!

Geoff Cooper
Geoff Cooper
1 year ago

I thought the Mekon looked like a green William Hague.

George Bruce
George Bruce
1 year ago

It is a dubious premise that more religious people like Americans would be more likely to believe in aliens. After all, some of them do not seem to believe in dinosaurs.
Unless of course one assumes that someone who believes in God is someone ready to believe anything.

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
1 year ago
Reply to  George Bruce

Noah took dinosaur eggs onto the Ark. Hadn’t you heard? And at the Creation Museum in Kentucky, you can witness how dinosaurs roamed the earth alongside us six thousand years ago.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ian Perkins
Tom Krehbiel
Tom Krehbiel
1 year ago
Reply to  George Bruce

GK Chesterton thought the reverse, that non-belief in God meant that a person would believe in anything. BTW, just this last Sunday, 16 May 2021, the American news show “60 Minutes” had a segment on this very matter. They called them UAP or “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena”, presumably to satisfy those who suspect they aren’t solid objects. I missed the program, but it might be worth checking out for those interested. We Americans characteristically put the month before the day, so 5/16/2021 might be the way to go if you use the date of the show in your search.

Dave Smith
Dave Smith
1 year ago

Surely the goings on in Area 51 and the UFOs associated with it were encouraged as a cover for the testing of the Blackbird and the rumoured Aurora.
On another matter I saw in the 70s a U2 land and refuel at a very quiet RAF airfield in the South Country. . Of course that never officially happened and RAF police on the gate laughed and told me I was actually imagining the whole thing. About 100 yards from where we were standing. It took off and was quite something to see. Of course it could not be mentioned to anyone .

Jake Jackson
Jake Jackson
1 year ago
Reply to  Dave Smith

Bit of trivia. Nevada named its state Hwy. 375 “the extraterrestrial highway.” It’s on the signs. It runs past Area 51, albeit off in the distance, not visible from the road. I once drove 375, which is in the Yonder. Parked the car, turned off the engine, grabbed a cigar, went to the centerline, lit it, and waited. 45 minutes later, a Wal-Mart truck came by. LOL

Peter LastSpurrier
Peter LastSpurrier
1 year ago

I expect most UFO reports have mundane explanations but I’ll confess to being puzzled by some of them. If someone has a good, mundane explanation of the reports of lots of tic-tac shaped objects near the US navy, I’ll be quite happy. Personally, I’m inclined to suspect they are actually craft being secretly developed by the US.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
1 year ago

Occam’s Razor applies.
UFOs being alien or time-travelling craft requires one to postulate and accept some pretty far-fetched assumptions.
UFOs being the science project of some bit of the US defence complex that the rest doesn’t know about, like for example the Manhattan Project was, requires no new thing at all because it is already known to happen.
The V173 “Flying Pancake” of 1942 was a constructive flying saucer, the 1958 Avrocar was an actual flying saucer, the HL-10 that The Six Million Dollar Man crashed in the opening credits was a wingless “lifting body” aircraft where the fuselage provided the lift, the X36 looked like two Xs in flight with no obvious wings or tail, and if in the 1930s you had only ever seen conventional aircraft as often as most people had, I can’t imagine what you’d have made of the various Focke-Achgelis prot-helicopter efforts of the late 30s and early 40s.

Karl Schuldes
Karl Schuldes
1 year ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Your first sentence says it all. There is only one thing we know with absolute certainty about them, and that is that they are on THIS planet. To conclude that they are from another planet is throwing Occam’s razor into a black hole.

Susannah Baring Tait
Susannah Baring Tait
1 year ago
Reply to  Karl Schuldes

The point is in the name. UFO. It’s an object in the sky that is unidentified. There is no claim in the name that these are in any way extraterrestrial. That they may be is another subject entirely.

I undertook an aeronautical structural engineering sandwich course apprenticeship, (the first and only girl) in what is now BAE systems, back in 1961 to 1964 and was working on the Concord design (the ‘e’ was added later to appease the French). There was a lot of serious discussion then about extraterrestrial object sightings amongst very senior engineer designers and RAF higher-ups. Much information was classified. This is not new.

Peter Scott
Peter Scott
1 year ago

The reasons why I don’t take UFOs seriously are as follows.-
They are not like ghosts. Every part of recorded history has recorded sightings of dead people. So almost certainly ghosts have existed. Not so with objects which could remotely be supposed UFOs.
[1] Each age in the world’s history has sightings of unearthly phenomena which accord with people’s interest in such things at that period.
For instance, round about the time of the Renaissance, people were much interested in fairies; and fairy sightings cropped up all over the place.
We have had almost no claims of anyone seeing fairies for a long time.
With the development of modern astronomy people have speculated about other worlds in the cosmos and the possibility they are inhabited.
Ding dong! UFOs appear; and occupy the place in public fascination and converse which fairies used to take.
[2] How do I explain actual photographs and films of bizarre phenomena for which our state of knowledge (and technology) can give no account?
Satan.
As a Christian, I am aware that one of the tricks the Enemy of Mankind is concerned to play is distraction of us from our real predicament, our real needs and our real duties.
The more that Lucifer can bamboozle humankind with doubts about the veracity of Holy Scripture (suggesting we are not at all living in the kind of universe there specified but some altogether other organum), the better he is pleased.
He is delighted to keep us merely bewildered and agnostic about everything until he can get us to a place where there will be no doubts about the veracity of Holy Scripture. For ever.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

You were doing so well with your rationalist debunking of UFOs, until you posited Satan as the real explanation.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Unfourtnately Evil is real. I have been about a great deal and from that I have come to believe, evil, and good, do exist. I think a visit to Auschwitz II-Birkenau site is really important if you get the chance. It is a horrible experience, but one you learn so much by it is very worth doing. The feel of evil lays so heavy on the site you can feel it right to your core. You will never be the same again, I think it was an important part of my life expierence to see it – but I have been in other places of great horror in my travels, and the actual ground can still retain the evil which happened, if it was that great.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Did you ask what happened to the bones on your visit to AW-B?

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago

No, should I have?

Dave Smith
Dave Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

I visited the Plasov camp on the edge of Krakov many years ago. The locals said no birds ever sang there. It was a vile place. I remember looking down across the parade ground ( the whole place was derelict) and seeing the golden arches of a brand new MacDonalds on the other side. That was very strange indeed. If you had told one of the people there in 1944 that this fast food joint was going to be built it would have been beyond their comprehension.

Susannah Baring Tait
Susannah Baring Tait
1 year ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Of course evil exits. Perpetuated by man. (Humans).

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago

yawn…

Toby Josh
Toby Josh
1 year ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Yes. I rather fear that the ‘place’ so ominously referred to in the ultimate sentence, is in fact Peter Scott’s soundproof dungeon.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Why would any advanced society ever bother with a primitive dump like Planet Earth?

Dave Weeden
Dave Weeden
1 year ago

You are Zaphod Beeblebrox and I hereby claim my pan-galactic gargleblaster. Although, I thought you went by the alias “Phil.”

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
1 year ago

Good question. Not for the resources, that’s for sure. Minerals are obtainable from zero-gravity asteroids for a lot less hassle than from Earth, against whose gravity you’d have to haul them into space. If you somehow had free energy to do this, why would you even still need minerals?
So no, I can’t see any reason for aliens to visit another planet unless it’s idle curiosity, or they’ve wrecked their own, or are in search of interesting specimens to ornament their homes on Zargon 3.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Yes I suspect your are correct.
Probably a navigational error by a Zaragoza 3 Intergalactic Battlecruiser, bound for some remote Penal Control.

Rather like the accidental discovery of St Helena, Tristan da Cunha etc.

Karl Schuldes
Karl Schuldes
1 year ago

You seem to have knowledge of other, better places. Perhaps you could tell us about them.

Francis MacGabhann
Francis MacGabhann
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

No following this. How do UFOs bamboozle us with doubts about Scripture? And, for clarification, I’m also a Christian and I’m having a little difficulty tracking the logic of Satan firing up the Millennium Falcon and running the USAF all over the map.

David Hartlin
David Hartlin
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

You don’t need a Satan, the human brain is quite capable of bamboozling, hence so many religious beliefs.

Waldo Warbler
Waldo Warbler
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

Where’s Gabriele Amorth when you need him???

Simon Newman
Simon Newman
1 year ago

Plenty of evidence of UFOs. No evidence they’re of intelligent origin, as opposed to weird natural phenomena.

Paul Hayes
Paul Hayes
1 year ago

That’s not to say he’s become a full-on believer in flying saucers, but rather that there’s enough evidence out there for sensible people to take seriously: […] Other sober-sided types openly discussing the possibilities include the hyper-rational economist Tyler Cowen

Rational people understand that a sensible discussion should be concerned with the relative plausibilities of various possible explanations for UFOs, not just the possibilities themselves. [And an informed discussion is necessary for a sensible assignment of relative plausibilities.]

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
1 year ago

Do I believe in UFOs?
Of course.
“What is that object up there in the sky?”
“I don’t know”
“Nor do I”
That is, definitionally, a UFO.
But do I believe that there is a Govt conspiracy covering up the existence of alien life forms sophisticated enough to make interstellar journeys and then joy-ride through our airspace?
No.
It’s not beyond belief that such creatures exist, but I find it quite impossible to believe that Govt’s – of any stripe – could keep the matter secret. Why would they? Contact with aliens would be any politician’s dream ticket. All other problems would become insignificant overnight.

Last edited 1 year ago by Paddy Taylor
Jon Redman
Jon Redman
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

“Earthlings, we come in peace. We bring you a gift of our technology: this device turns social justice warriors and Twitter bullies into clean, free energy.”
Boris’ majority would go up to about 150.

Susannah Baring Tait
Susannah Baring Tait
1 year ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Thanks for a welcome giggle.

Susannah Baring Tait
Susannah Baring Tait
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

See my earlier post.

Ferrusian Gambit
Ferrusian Gambit
1 year ago

There is plenty of evidence that many UFOs stories were planted in the US as a way to stop people asking to many questions about the very real secret weapons programs that were (and undoubtedly still are) being developed.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago

I hope this opens the Cryptozology field some more. When I tell my Yeti story people sometimes kind of roll their eyes a bit – even wiki dismisses it as :”Cryptozoology is a pseudoscience”. I never had anything to do with UFOs much, although I have heard many people tell me their UFO stories, but most of them were kind of suspect kinds, but not all, I also have heard stories from military men.

David Icke may gain from all this, his Lizard theory, which is a theme throughout the past from Heinlein to Hunter S Thompson, and that picture of Biden showing a bit of a tail which has disappeared from the internet, are so much smoke there may well be fire.. It would finally make sense of what the Democrats are doing.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

I see some Lizard Wumao has down voted my comment.

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
1 year ago

It sounds to me like propaganda for the new US Space Force, which will no doubt be wanting a huge and ever-expanding budget and enough weaponry to take on the Intergalactic Star Fleet – or ensure full spectrum dominance of this planet. After all, “the most importance evidence in this matter comes from the US military.”

Ernest DuBrul
Ernest DuBrul
1 year ago

So why the difference between the US and UK on UFOs?

In addition to the above mentioned differences in the size of the two militaries and the differences in security, perhaps the U.S. military has invented all kinds of objects that they have flying and/or orbiting up there, and they think that other countries might also have done so. It would make perfect sense to keep all of these sightings under cover, just as they would protect any new weapons or security system. Even when the flying objects become known, it is not a smart military move to broadcast what they are and what country put them up there.

rawshark65
rawshark65
1 year ago

It is still worthwhile to study what the USAF is seeing and detecting, there’s something there it would appear.
It’s almost certainly not aliens though, because, well, what are the odds?
That alien life exists somewhere in the universe is almost certain, if not common.
That intelligent alien life exists somewhere in the universe is probable but bound to be less common.
Intelligent, industrialised life AND close enough to us in what is a very, very big universe to hang around bothering US air force pilots? Really?
I’m no statistician but that doesn’t seem very likely.
My feeling is that there’s probably some insight to be had into how helium party balloons behave at high altitude or drones or some other prosaic thing. Pity, as I love Sci Fi, “I want to believe” as they say but I’ll stick to Iain M. Banks who I heartily recommend.

Last edited 1 year ago by rawshark65
Josh Milton
Josh Milton
1 year ago

Interesting

Joe Donovan
Joe Donovan
1 year ago

Have you not heard of Nick Pope? He investigated these phenomena while working for the British Ministry of Defense, and he is a true believer, very compelling. I invite all of the snickerers to read works by the French computer scientist Jacques Vallee. Disclosure is near at hand, so it’s time for all serious people to confront the reality of it.

Susannah Baring Tait
Susannah Baring Tait
1 year ago
Reply to  Joe Donovan

See my earlier post.

Waldo Warbler
Waldo Warbler
1 year ago

Don’t forget that it is not that long ago that we heard a wonderful debate on UFOs in the House of Lords. I have the published transcript – I do not refer to it often.

Jake Jackson
Jake Jackson
1 year ago

Brits believe in ghosts, while Americans believe in UFOs.