Careers are quickly destroyed if one is branded a kook, and in many circles, that's what you are when you admit you've seen a UFO. I should know, I
saw one over 30 years ago and have kept it a secret for this reason.
The stakes are raised, of course, if we're talking about academic communities, and even more so among astronomers -- people who study the skies for a
Most astronomers say there's nothing of any scientific merit that could result in the study of UFOs.
If you say, "Let's pursue an investigation of UFOs so we can identify where these alien spacecraft are coming from," then I know for a fact people
go, "What? I'm not touching that with a 10-foot pole." But if you say, "Let's look at what the possibilities are that, at one time, there were
environments where life possibly could have developed on Mars and where this life is today," then everybody says, "Oh, yeah, I want a piece of
But I say why not study what UFOs are? Here we have a phenomenon that causes a tremendous amount of interest. Why not try to understand what it is?
The Ohio State University Telescope's "WOW" signal cannot be scientifically explained/debunked to this day.
A look at historical records reveals how some respected astronomers have, indeed, not only endorsed efforts to study the UFO phenomenon, but in many
cases, have themselves seen unexplained objects for which they couldn't account.
In the late 1940s, astronomer - and UFO skeptic - J. Allen Hynek became the scientific consultant to Project Blue Book. During the nearly 20 years
that Hynek was charged with explaining away UFO reports, he prepared a "Special Report On Conferences With Astronomers On Unidentified Aerial
Included in the study of 45 astronomers was a general feeling that "if they were promised complete anonymity and if they could report their sightings
to a group of serious, respected scientists who would regard the problem as a scientific one, then they would be willing to cooperate to the very
fullest extent." Interesting.
Hynek later went on to coin the phrase, "close encounters of the first, second and third kind," which described the various types of UFO reports
made by people.
Also in 1977, astrophysicist Peter Sturrock created a survey based on responses of members of the American Astronomical Society concerning UFOs. One
respondent wrote: "I find it tough to make a living as an astronomer these days. It would be professionally suicidal to devote significant time to
UFOs. However, I am quite interested in your survey."
And there you have it.
A year after Sturrock's survey, Hynek found himself addressing the United Nations on the topic of continuing global sightings of UFOs.
"If it were not worldwide, I should not be addressing ... these representatives from many parts of the world.", Hynek told the UN Special Political
Committee in 1978. "There exists a global phenomenon the scope and extent of which is not generally recognized. It is a phenomenon so strange and
foreign to our daily terrestrial mode of thought that it is frequently met by ridicule and derision by persons and organizations unacquainted with the
"Yet, the phenomenon persists; it has not faded away as many of us expected it would when, years ago, we regarded it as a passing fad or whimsy.
Instead, it has touched on the lives of an increasing number of people around the world."
Here is Hynek discussing astronomers and ufo's -
Joining Hynek at that milestone UN initiative to try and get the world body to create an internal UFO committee was astronomer Jacques Vallee (full
disclosure - I regard Vallee as the brightest mind to ever seriously tackle the subject thus far) -
"We are beginning to pay the price for the negative and prejudiced attitude with which our scientific institutions have treated sincere witnesses of
UFO phenomena," Vallee told the U.N. delegates in 1978. "Lack of serious, open-minded research in this field has encouraged these witnesses to think
that science was incapable of dealing with the phenomena.
"This attitude has led many people to seek answers outside the rational pursuit of knowledge to which science is dedicated. Only an open exchange of
information on the subject could now correct this dangerous trend."
Vallee closed his remarks at the United Nations, saying, "All the great nations of the world are represented on this committee. Let us keep in mind
that the UFO phenomenon may represent an even greater reality. It is our choice to treat it as a threat or as an opportunity for human knowledge."
Here is Jacques Vallee discussing UFOs at the 2011 Global Competitiveness Forum in Saudi Arabia.
And then there are all of the UFO reports that emerged from China in 2010, making almost daily headlines as unexplained lights and objects were seen
throughout the country, and in some cases, responsible for airports temporarily closing down until the UFOs left the area.
Wang Sichao, a most respected long-time planetary astronomer at the Purple Mountain Observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said that the UFO
reports "refer to events of credible facts backed by observation. But these facts cannot yet be explained by existing scientific knowledge or natural
In an interview published in the Beijing Review, Sichao continues -
"The reason is that a UFO only appears randomly and often disappears rapidly in a few minutes. By the time large professional telescopes are started
up, it has already disappeared. So, we can only rely on information from occasional sightings or encounters by observers," he explained.
So, what needs to happen to ultimately lend more credibility to people who want to study UFOs and eventually solve the mystery, one way or another?
The classic "provable" scenario of a UFO landing on the front lawn of the White House - is no longer valid, unless the ufo stays on the lawn for
several days allowing detailed analysis. Drones and the such have nullified this "touch and go" scenario.
The only way is if some legitimate, recognized scientific institution engages in research about these particular objects. And something that would
help it is if we change the name of what it is that's being investigated, because that immediately causes problems. As I noted in another tread, as
trite as it is true, it's often not what one says, but the way in which one says it.
If that helps to legitimize the research and makes it acceptable in a way that will bring the strength of others to bear on resolving the questions,
then that's a good thing.
Lastly - I believe the phenomena strong enough to weather fallout from any hoax. Whereas hoaxes will continue to tamp down serious study, my very
unscientific "gut instinct" tells me that the phenomena will continue. And where there is repetition, or "Frequentist Probability" aka
"Frequentism", there remains hope for scientific study.