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von Neumann probe

Why UFOs are not studied scientifically


When we are discussing about UFOs we should never ever forget how emotionally loaded this topic is. In fact it is really hard to find any issue comparable. Only one debate resembling this comes to my mind. It is the introduction of evolution theory by Charles Darwin and subsequent quarrel (which continues even today, althought on smaller scale). The reason seems quite obvious: the idea that humans are relatives of apes rather than direct creations of God was (and still is) so insulting and painful for some people that it is impossible to accept.

I'm afraid also discussion about UFO phenomena is riddled with our own expectations of alleged visitors, our more or less conscious fears and hopes towards them. I'm not saying I can handle this subject completely rationally. But at least I'm admitting the existence of my hopes and fears.and I did my best to remove them from these articles.

Even thought hardcore ufologists and hardcore skeptics are often acting like cats and dogs, they also have something in common. They both considers the UFO phenomena as a one big entiity that is true or false. Whether it is all true or all wrong. If you believe in one flying saucer sighting you have to believe them all. If you believe in flying saucers you have to believe in UFO abductions. And vice versa. I'm maybe exaggerating but not very much. I consider this as rather universal human feature: it is always easier to do generalizations and see things as unconditional truths or lies, instead of carefully examining all characteristics of topic and deciding their individual value.

How mainstream science has failed to investigate UFO phenomena

It is normal for intelligent and esteemed scientist to react UFO claims with this kind of remark: "Sure, there might be extraterrestial spacecrafts flying around but show me the evidence!".

To who is he/she referring? Who should show the evidence? As far as I can see the only people with adequate education, equipment and funding to study alleged flying saucers are members of scientific community. If every professional scientists reacted the way our example scientist did, there will be little or no scientific research on UFOs. And if there are no research, there can't be evidence.

In other words, our example scientist fails to understand that his/her request above is simultaneously the ultimate reason for a lack of evidence, in case "flying saucers" are really visiting Earth.

But for example scientist lack of concrete evidence is a proof that the UFO research must be pseudoscience. And because it is pseudoscience most of those scientists who would like to study the phenomena fail to do so, since they are afraid of reaction by their peers.

An excellent example is here : Hale, even thought great astronomer, considers himself and other scientist as members of a court whose mission is to judge the evidence brought in front of them. Again, he doesn't mention who he expects to collect the evidence, althought I have to give him a credit for mentioning what he considers as an acceptable evidence (a living alien).

But let's get back to our example scientist. How he/she should have reacted to UFO claim, then? A far more mature way to make his/her remark would have been: "Sure, there might be something extraordinary flying around but we don't have enough evidence to justify the claim. So how about making some more research on subject? I'm all for it."

Or it could have been: "No, I am sure there is nothing extraordinary flying around. The reported phenomena doesn't require any further study because it can be adequatly explained with our current knowledge."

Both of these answers would have been significantly more mature and scientific than "show me the evidence".

A typical mistake many UFO skeptics do is to think like this: "If I manage to debunk even one case that (any) ufo believer claim to be convincing, I have proven that there is nothing extraterrestial or exotic in UFOs."

So, our example UFO skeptic starts to carefully search for a single UFO case that somebody has claimed to be an evidence of a extraterrestial spaceship BUT later proved to be something else, a meteorite for example. When he finds a suitable example, he puts on a gloating smile, lean back in his armchair and says: "I rest my case. There is nothing extraordinary in the so called UFO phenomena."

That was pretty much what happened on only large scale university study of UFO phenomena, the Condon report. The study allegedly found reasonable explanations to most of the sightings it studied: therefore, it concluded UFO phenomena doesn't deserve further research.

The problem our example scientist and Condon report scientists does not understand is that hitting the softest spot convince hardly anyone. As physicist Stanton Friedman ironically put it: "The false reasoning is incredible. Since most sightings can be explained, therefore all can be."

As far as I see, the only way to truly convince there are no real "flying saucers" would be finding even remotely plausible explanations for the most baffling cases.

Other possbile reasons for lack of study is that it needs a lots of funding (if you are going to try to detect alleged flying saucers with sophisticated equipment), fear of ridicule from other scientists, uncertain results: you can finally end up with nothing if you fail in your search, fear of something completely unknown etc.

Notice outside context problem: we have no knowledge how to handle this kind of situation, no scientific branch for this etc.

Also, alleged behavior of flying saucers doesn't match with expectation of mediocre contemporary human how to deal with other civilization.

How ufologists have failed to investigate UFO phenomena

If scientific and logical flaws are commonplace in thinking of loudest UFO skeptics the situation is even worse among loudest UFO believers.

For me the worst failure is that many ufologist take proof of extraterrestial visitation as granted in spite there are very few evidence of it. Also, in cases where something strange have really taken place, there are also many other explanations than little green men or something other extraterrestial.

Instead of choosing a handful of most convincing UFO sightings and , they tend to treat every reported case with same enthuasism. They often treat pretty much all UFO cases equally. When a Brazilian farmer claims to have been in sexual intercourse with alien, they take it as credible evidence. When a group of top scientists report of extraordinary objects on sky they consider the credibility of this comparable to former incident

They are not making clear distinction between organisations that study UFO's scientificallly and organisations/individuals whose attitude can be best described as religious or commercial.

They only seldom do statistical analysis of sightings.

They don't try to reproduce the sightings with automated detection stations for example.

Endless demands that goverment should release it's secret knowledge of phenomena. We don't seem to have any proof they have this knowledge: it's entirely possible they are as buzzled as anyone. Or mostly not interested at all. In any case, decades of should have convicted people that whatever knowledge "goverments" might have they are most likely not going to release it.

Unnecessary flirting with other phenomena that hasn't been proved scientifically, for example remote viewing.



What is von Neumann probe

Von Neumann probe is a hypothetical robotic space probe. It is programmed to search space for raw materials and energy in order to build copies of itself. It can be considered as a mechanical bacterium or virus. Besides self-replicating, von Neumann probes will execute tasks they are programmed to do. You can read more about von Neumann probe on Wikipedia.