Are we alone in the universe?
It's one of those fundamental questions which caused us to send satellites to the distant corners of the galaxy and unmanned rovers tracking across the surface of Mars; looking for, among other things, evidence of life out there.
Here on earth many wonder why there is still any debate about the existence of Extra Terrestrial life. They will argue that we already have all the evidence we need here in our own backyard so to speak.
After all, thousands around the world report having seen UFO's. A growing number claim to have been abducted by aliens, some, multiple times. There are reports from reliable witnesses, thousands of photographs of craft and hours of video footage.
The raw truth is that, no matter what evidence is offered, it can be hard to know what's real and what's not. Even extraordinary evidence will not convince disbelievers that ET's might actually exist.
As an example consider the following:
The "Disclosure Project" describes itself as a "nonprofit research project" working to fully disclose the facts about "UFOs, extraterrestrial intelligence, and classified advanced energy and propulsion systems".
On Wednesday, May 9th, 2001 "The Disclosure Project" arranged a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington D.C.
At that conference, before scores of national and international media, twenty people from the military, intelligence, government, corporate and scientific communities openly discussed, evidence they have, that Extra Terrestrials and UFO's are real.
One of the 20 featured speakers at the event was Sergeant Clifford Stone, US Army (ret). During the conference Sgt. Stone stated that he has spent 22 years, from 1969 to 1990, in the military in a special elite group.
According to Stone this group was established to function as a rapid repose team specifically to recover crashed alien craft, debris, artifacts and living or dead alien entities.
Stone stated bluntly that, to his knowledge, over many years of direct contact with "extra terrestrial entities", to date as many as "57 individual species have been cataloged".
Hollywood has made the existence of "little gray aliens" seem plausible to many. However Sgt. Stone's claim of "57" species might seem over the top even for committed supporters.
Sgt Stone has been acknowledged for his pioneering efforts, using specific requests though the US Freedom of Information Act, to bring forth documentary proof of the existence of classified programs to recover alien craft such as Project Moon Dust and Blue Fly.
According to information published by the "Disclosure Project" Sgt Stone and the 19 other panelists at the press conference are only 20 of 400 witnesses they are working with to uncover the truth, suppressed to date by a cover-up.
No doubt the information Sgt Stone offers is, to say the least, incredible; but, some might also ask, is it simply credible? and there's the rub.
Believers may take all that Stone says on faith alone. For them, Sgt Stone's declarations confirm what they already accept as fact; that "previous government denials about UFO's and extra terrestrials are a huge ongoing lie".
Skeptics of course discount such evidence as being nothing more than unreliable, antidotal and unsubstantiated, perhaps self-delusions or worse, self-promotion.
What's really going on out there? Are witnesses just misinterpreting natural phenomenon as UFO's? Do some people, primed by media reports, confuse so called "waking dreams" for abductions? Is the military using UFO sightings as a disinformation cover story to disguise testing of secret projects?
Is it possible, as the disclosure project claims, there is a huge ongoing government cover-up, perhaps even in cooperation with ET's.
Could we be under alien mind control?
In video interviews Sergeant Stone has said that, as part of his job during his time in the military, he routinely had direct contact with some of the ET's held in captivity by the military; even helping one to escape.
It would be nice then if, to return the favor, the ET would turn up in his UFO and land on the White House lawn for a photo-op, putting all arguments to rest.
Until the day such an event takes place the debate will certainly continue. Even then, skeptics might still argue that it was merely all a Hollywood special effect.