Astronomy

What Constitutes UFO Evidence



Tweet
Currie Jean's image for:
"What Constitutes UFO Evidence"
Caption: 
Location: 
Image by: 
©  

The prospect of finding an example of life evolved in another solar system, completely separate from humans, yet similar enough to communicate with us, fills the mind with wonder: just imagine what we might learn from our new friends! The experience would be sublime, transforming, even spiritual. Alternately, aliens could wage war and wipe us out of existence in a blink, but that's just pessimism.

A great many of us want to believe, just like Fox Mulder, but few of us are quite as desperate or gullible. How do we know which evidence to count, and how much to count it for? Outlined below are the most popular mediums of UFO evidence yet used, and just how well they measure up to scrutiny.

Eyewitness reports:

Written, first and second-hand accounts of UFO sightings are the most common and most traditional form of UFO evidence, stretching back to the earliest days of recorded history and reaching across human cultures. Thutmose III, who ruled Egypt from 1504 to 1450 BCE, witnessed a silent ball of fire in the sky at nighttime; in 1133 CE, Japanese farmers reportedly saw a disc-shaped craft nearly touch the ground, then fly away. Despite this, eyewitness reports are also the weakest form of evidence we have.

Humans couldn't have developed into such massively social beings without a tendency to trust one another. We couldn't function properly if we demanded concrete evidence of every word uttered. Combined with overconfidence in our senses, this has given us an overwhelming tendency to take our own eyewitness accounts, as well as those of others, very seriously. When it comes to the strange and extravagant, however, the usefulness of our trusting nature starts to crumble.

Eyewitness accounts of UFOs are falsely considered to be highly reliable by many, but in fact, our eyes can deceive us, especially when looking at things in the sky: the location of the object disables our ability to judge size and distance, and sometimes stationary objects can appear to be moving. Even trained airline pilots have trouble with this! To test this fact, you only have to notice how the moon seems larger at the horizon than when high in the sky, despite remaining the same size and the same distance away the entire time.

Additionally, we must admit that people can lie, and probably do it more than we'd like to think. More documentation than eyewitness accounts is needed, then, to give weight to our collection of UFO evidence.

Photographs:

Pictures can easily be faked, and for some reason (like the excitement of the photographer, or the erratic movement of the subject), usually come out blurry, with the UFO in question lacking any detail. While a UFO photo can be almost impossible to prove fake, not knowing what it is doesn't make a UFO an alien spacecraft: it just means that the truth is unknown. To concretely believe anything else is fallacy.

Video:

Videos make much better evidence than photos. They open up the evidentiary arena to the exact movements and shapes of UFOs, keeping some human errors out of the equation. It's best to have something stationary in the foreground of the video while the UFO is filmed, as it allows for differentiation between the movement of the UFO and the movement of the camera itself, adding more weight to the evidence.

Still, even videos of UFOs can be faked well. In the last year or two, people proficient in computer imaging software have created UFO videos that look breathtaking at first glance. Of these kinds of videos, the "Haiti" and "Dominican Republic" youtube clips are the most popular. They have been, without a doubt, proven fake: the palm trees in the videos are perfect clones of one another.

If a video looks too good to be true, it probably is. That doesn't mean it's necessarily a fake, only that it requires investigation. After all, the medium is accessible to practically anyone, opening it to all sorts of faking attempts.

The SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Program:

Extraterrestrial radio signals can't be accessed by the general population, as sensing them requires advanced equipment. Pranksters can't gain access to the tools they would need to fake a SETI signal. The people who study the tiny, distant sounds of space are scientifically trained, and are thus more credible and less likely to stain their careers with a hoax, or even a mistake, than an average citizen. In other words, they care very, very much about being level-headed and accurate.

So far, only one interesting signal pattern has been sifted from the space noise that earth's many satellite dishes pick up. Called "The Wow Signal," it was recorded in 1977 by the Big Ear observatory in Ohio, USA. Compared to everything else the Ear had been 'hearing,' the signal was like a shout in a silent room. The area of the sky from which the signal emitted was studied with favoritism for years after the Wow Signal was discovered, but sadly, Earth never got a repeat performance.

An extraterrestrial signal like this actually hitting not only Earth, but one of Earth's observatories, could be compared to a penny landing on an inch-wide bullseye after being dropped from the top of Toronto's C.N. Tower. That's a made-up example, but it helps move things into perspective: even picking up a tiny signal from outside the solar system is immensely lucky - unless that was the very intention of the signal's senders, but that's incredibly wishful thinking.

Due to the scientific scrutiny that SETI undergoes, as well as the practically unmistakable nature of the signals it receives, this single Wow Signal is considered the most conclusive evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence that human beings have yet gathered, no matter how many eyewitness accounts, photographs, and videos amass. Due to SETI's reliability, a signal is worth a thousand pictures, not to mention a great many goosebumps.

More about the Wow Signal:
http://www.damninteresting.com/?p=318

Tweet
More about this author: Currie Jean

From Around the Web




ARTICLE SOURCES AND CITATIONS