UFOs exist, in the sense that there are frequently objects seen in the sky that cannot be identified. But are there spacecraft from other worlds in the skies over New Mexico, or anywhere else? No. And it pains me to say that because I’ve always wanted there to be, ever since I was a small child.
The first problem we have is that the amount of evidence that can be relied on is tiny. Much of the photographic and video evidence that once seemed compelling has been debunked. From the Adamski footage, to the Gulf Breeze flap (see http://www.theironskeptic.com/articles/gulf/gulf.htm), to the Roswell autopsy footage, over the past fifteen years computer analysis has shown much of the visual evidence to be faked.
The Roswell autopsy saga is illustrative of the whole UFO subject. Ray Santilli, the man who claimed to have bought this footage from the cameraman himself, insisted for over ten years that it was genuine – even when asked directly on TV. He refuted claims he was a liar repeatedly. Then, a couple of years ago he admitted that it was faked but that he’d done that because he’d lost or destroyed or whatever the original, “real”, footage: then he made a film (Alien Autopsy) about the whole process, starring two light-entertainment celebrities from here in the UK. What a shambles, from start to finish.
Then there is the physical evidence: people with burns. People with “implants” – tiny hunks of metal they claim were inserted into their abdomens. RAF or USAF documents detailing the encounters of pilots with “something unidentified”. Only this third category is worth anything. However, we have seen the MJ-12 documents, which were held for many years to be genuine, debunked, and much of the Air Forces’ documentation on this subject consists of transcripts between high-altitude pilots and ground staff. They are evidence of nothing except that the pilot saw something he was not sure about.
The amount of evidence to build any case on is therefore laughably small. The Trent Farm photo of 1950 is still one of the best UFO photographs around, in that it hasn’t been conclusively debunked. It’s still blurred, dark and difficult to tell where or how large the object is.
Unless you want to take this whole subject on faith, it just falls apart. There is simply no strong evidence that the strange things people do see in the skies have anything other than natural or man-made explanations. Frankly, there is precious little weak evidence either.
But the real problem is physical and philosophical. Firstly, interstellar travel is unfeasible. To cover the immense distances between stars, you need to travel at approaching the speed of light, for which you would need a massive and easily stored energy source. UFOlogists (a laughable word in itself) refer knowledgeably to antimatter drives, antigravity drives and wormholes: but these are either purely theoretical or downright nonsensical and in any case cannot get over the speed of light problem – that nothing can go faster than it.
So there is no reason for us to believe that this kind of travel is possible. Let us assume for a moment that it is, however, and that flying saucers, piloted intelligently, have been coming here since at least 1947.
This means that if an alien civilisation has managed, somehow, to harness antimatter or the structure of the universe itself, and has covered the trillions of miles to visit earth. It has then behaved in a downright perverse way, by only making contact with individuals, or letting their craft be seen only in blurred form, or mutilating cows. What is the point of that? Truly, is it worth any rational species’ time and effort, to come all this way and show themselves to a lonely guy with a camera on an isolated country road?
At the very least they could take over the earth or make contact with the UN or something. It is all just so implausible without referring to arcane or labrynthine conspiracy theories. So many times I’ve heard UFOlogists say “Oh well of course you won’t have heard of that, the government keeps it secret” – begging the question how do they know and why haven’t Men In Black had them shot by now?
I think there is life elsewhere, there is bound to be: however, the notion that it has been stealthily and secretly visiting us all this time is ludicrous. The problem is that like any subject we need to analyse things rationally and to accept the extra-terrestrial hypothesis for UFOs means that we have to abandon this rationality and start wildly speculating about areas of hitherto unknown science or the bizarre motives of creatures we have never met.
Yes, there are odd things in the skies. But not anti-gravity powered craft from Zeta Reticuli.