Thursday, September 02, 2010

On the Subject of UFOs

Poster from Agent Mulder's wall
There are a plenty of different views on the subject of Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs). Most skeptics dismiss claims of sightings as gullible people mistaking explainable things for the unexplainable (The planet Venus, military aircraft, weather balloons, etc.) On the opposite side, there are a wide range of UFO believers. Some of the more cautious just say there's a small percentage of UFO reports that don't have sufficient explanations to dismiss them. They don't make a claim that what people are seeing is alien spacecraft. Others claim to have been abducted, and a few even claim to be communicating with E.T. via Telepathic messages.

So who's right and who's wrong? Astronomers (who tend to be more skeptical) study the sky every night so they can do a pretty good job of sorting out what's what in the sky. Something like 97% of reported UFOs have been explained as either naturally occurring phenomenon or man-made aircraft like the stealth bomber.

Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit

There are still a few unexplained sightings by credible eyewitnesses.
At approximately 4:30 p.m on Tuesday November 7, 2006, federal authorities at Chicago O'Hare International Airport received a report that a group of twelve airport employees were witnessing a metallic, saucer-shaped craft hovering over gate C-17.
According to eyewitness reports, the strange object was first spotted by a ramp employee who was "pushing back" United Airlines flight 446 which was departing Chicago for Charlotte, North Carolina. The ramp worker then apprised the flight crew of UA446 of the existence of the spinning, metallic object above their aircraft, and it is believed that both the pilot and co-pilot of this aircraft also witnessed the object at that time.
According to Jon Hilkevitch of the Chicago Tribune in an interview on Fox News' Glenn Beck program: "The disc was visible for approximately two minutes and was seen by close to a dozen United Airlines employees, ranging from pilots to supervisors, who heard chatter on the radio and raced out to view it." The UFO was then seen to suddenly accelerate straight up through the overcast skies. Witnesses reported that the object left behind an open hole of clear air in the cloud layer and that the mysterious hole disappeared or closed within a few minutes. So far, no conclusive photographic evidence of the UFO has surfaced although it was reported to Hilkevitch that one of the United Airlines pilots was in possession of a digital camera at the time of the sighting and may have photographed the event.
Source Wikipedia

Personally, I think we should be open to the possibility that some UFOs are real but also approach it with a healthy dose of skepticism. Some of the claims are just too far-fetched to be believed. A small number sightings are interesting enough to warrant further investigation.

1 comment:

  1. "there's a small percentage of UFO reports that don't have sufficient explanations" That's the problem. Just because no explanation has been found doesn't mean there are beings from another world. To say "We can't explain it, therefore a spaceship" is just a bad way of thinking.