While most scientists would welcome conclusive evidence of life on other planets, the scientific consensus maintains that it is unlikely that aliens have visited Earth, a Pittsburgh astronomer says.
"If their technology is so advanced, why would aliens have to sneak around and keep their presence a secret?" asked John Radzilowicz, an astronomer at the Carnegie Science Center. "They could do anything they wanted with us ... And why would they be crashing their spaceships all the time?"
A 22-year study by the Air Force of nearly 13,000 claimed sightings of UFOs ended with three no's:
The Project Blue Book report, based on 12,618 UFO sightings reported between 1940 and 1969, remains the federal government's final word on the subject.
"Since the termination of Project Blue Book, nothing has occurred that would support a resumption of UFO investigations by the Air Force," according to a government fact sheet on the matter.
Mr. Radzilowicz said UFO enthusiasts too often confuse the separate issues of the likelihood that life exists on other planets and that the Earth has been visited by aliens.
"Most astronomers think the chances of life existing elsewhere in the universe are very high," he said. "Some even believe it is likely intelligent life is out there. The physical and chemical laws that apply here appear to be the same everywhere."
- No unidentified flying object evaluated by the Air Force was ever found to threaten national security.
- No evidence submitted concerning UFOs represented evidence of technology or scientific principles beyond modern knowledge.
- No evidence indicated that any of the sightings was of an extraterrestrial vehicle.
"It's a very different thing to believe aliens are visiting us," he said. "There is no conclusive evidence that they have tried to contact us and no evidence that they have visited us."
"I, and many other scientists, would be jumping up and down [with joy] if we had confirmed evidence," he said.
He scoffed at the notion of a conspiracy to keep secret proof of visits and abductions. "I don't see how the scientific community and the government could keep information known by thousands of people secret," he said. "They couldn't keep Watergate a secret and that was known only by a handful of people."
He was referring to the Watergate scandal, which involved a small group of White House aides and campaign officials that began in June 1972 with a bungled burglary at the Democratic National Headquarters and ended with the resignation of President Richard Nixon.
Mr. Radzilowicz estimated that about 90 percent of the many thousands of UFOs sightings have been explained. He said investigators commit a logical fallacy when they point to the unexplained 10 percent as evidence of UFOs.
More than 30 percent of murders remain unsolved in the United States, he said. That means no one being arrested in the suspicious deaths of about 6,000 people annually.
No one ever argues that those people have been killed by aliens, he said. "The logical thing is to assume that the 30 percent of unsolved murders were committed in the same way as the 70 percent that were solved," he said. "It's just that the police don't have enough evidence to bring charges."
The same logic should apply in the case of unexplained UFO sightings, he said. "The logical thing to conclude is that the unexplained 10 percent were caused by the same things as the other 90 percent. The events should be investigated, but you don't jump to the conclusion that the explanation must be aliens."
First published on September 16, 2007 at 12:00 am
Len Barcousky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-772-0184.
Source : Post Gazette