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             S cience Fact or Science Fiction
Aliens & UFOs
DO YOU BELIEVE?
Fact or Fiction?
       
Among countless stars, is Earth the only planet blessed with life? Is this some miracle by chance, never to be reproduced on another world? In 399 b.c., the great philosopher Socrates was accused of not believing in the gods in which the state believed. He was tried and found guilty of corrupting Athenian youth and religious heresy. He was sentenced and put to death by the use of a poison he chose to ingest. Galileo was warned not to defend Copernican Astronomy because it went against the doctrine of the church. In 1616, the Roman Catholic Church demanded that Galileo stop teaching his theory that the sun was the center of our universe and everything revolved around it. The belief at that time was that the Earth was the center and the sun (and everything else) revolved around the Earth. Galileo was eventually hauled before the Catholic Inquisition and was condemned to house arrest, for life. After 10 years, he died while still under house arrest. We know today of course, that Galileo was indeed correct. Thoughout history people have been unjustly ridiculed, harassed, and even severely punished for their views and ideas that didn't seem to quite fit in with the currently accepted beliefs. Are we arrogant to assume that man is the only intelligent life out there? We think so. We are Chris and Mary Herring of Russells Point, Ohio. Over the past 7 years we have spent much of our time privately researching this subject, (a hard subject to research when most people keep their experiences to themselves for fear of public ridicule).

We believe that possibly as much as 60 percent (or more) of the population already believe that the government is hiding what they know about worldly visitors. Whether for our own protection or their own abuse of power, the reason for this secrecy is unclear. If only the slightest percentage of the hundreds of reported cases are true, then this is something the people need to know about. It would be the single most important discovery of all time. We would have to change many of our views on our place in the universe, religion, and our entire social structure. Of course, many initial reactions would probably be those of fear and suspicion. Most of the reports could probably be overlooked if it not for the amount of credible witnesses. If it were just people of little intelligence and unreliable witnesses making the hundreds of claims of UFO sightings and alien visitation, then we could all laugh it off. But unfortinately it's not. Often reports come from more reliable witnesses then you or I. Reports come in from doctors, lawyers, teachers, police officers, military personnel, pilots, etc. from all over the world. Sure, there is a large percentage of claims that can be explained away, often as a simple misidentification. But unfortinately there are also a lot of claims that can't be explained away and remain true unknowns. Much of the evidence that can't be explained is in photographic and video evidence, as a persons credibility is too easy to question or discredit when dealing with personal accounts. Even when there are multiple witnesses, an event is sometimes explained as no more than mass hallucination. Now let us play a little game which will require some imagination on the part of the reader. Assume for a moment that it's about 150 years in the future and you are an explorer among the stars. Now also assume that you have just discovered a young earth-like planet, inhabited by primitive lifeforms similar to early man. Would you then reveal yourself and all your advanced technology to those inhabitants? You would of course be looked upon as a god, so to speak, and as for the technology....it would probably be like giving guns to children. Would it be right to introduce your own beliefs, culture, and morals? Would you allow yourself to interfer with the natural evolution of a primitive culture or species of another world?

The skeptic can pose many arguments like -"where's your proof or physical evidence" or "even if there was life out there, the distance between stars is too great for us to ever be visited". Yet, who can say what technologies a race hundreds or even thousands of years ahead of us might have. Just look what man has accomplished in the last hundred years with science, computers, space travel, etc. Now imagine a race with technology a thousand years ahead of us. Many will argue that man as a species, is still very young and so is our science, so there may be many ways to overcome the vastness of space that we don't even know about and have yet to discover. As for the proof, it may well be out there, to anyone with eyes open enough to see it. In light of possible government cover-up conspiracies and disinformation efforts, we believe that some of the best proof may currently be found with the abductees. Whether you believe or not matters little to them. They truly believe it to be real. You don't just wake up one day and say- "Oh, I think I'll be abducted by aliens today". This is a horrifying experience to those who have not yet come to terms with it. Many believe they are loosing their minds at first. They don't want it to be true. It can't be true. Many would also prefer that they were crazy or delusional. We are not here to say, "Yes, all these people are being abducted by aliens". The fact of the matter is that something is happening to hundreds of people all around the world that doesn't quite add up. If all these people are crazy or just seeking the spotlight for a short time, then why such a topic of unbelievable proportions? We can think of at least a dozen more believable stories one could tell to get noticed. There also seems to be a genuine fear of something within a majority of the people involved in the abduction experience. Fear of what? What could be responsible for the unbelievable feelings or emotions that seem to stem from some incredible experience that has literally shaken the foundation of that persons belief system? Science has yet to discover a mental disorder that could be even partially responsible for abduction claims. After all, do we not assume the role of the alien abductors when we go out and track down an animal we are interested in studying? First we locate a specimen, then we put the animal to sleep. We capture it and then run whatever test or experiments we wish. Then we tag the animal for monitoring, tracking, etc...and release it back into its enviroment. Sounds a little familiar to most abductees. Those that have moved past the fear stage, usually seem to be very intelligent and spiritually enlightened individuals. Often, such people develop a deep concern for how we live and interact with our environment and each other. According to certain ufologist, such as Stanton Friedman, the polls show that the majority of people do believe in UFOs and in fact they often show that the higher a persons education, or perhaps intelligence, the more likely one is to believe. One problem that hinders getting at the truth, are the frauds that have been exposed. Why one would choose to fake such an extraodinary claim is unclear. It does nothing short of discrediting the real evidence that may be out there.
Science Fact

There are as many photographs of UFOs as there are of the Loch Ness Monster, and they are of equal quality: blurs and forgeries. Other physical evidence, such as alleged debris from alien crashes, or burn marks on the ground from alien landings, or implants in noses or brains of alien abductees, have turned out to be quite terrestrial, including forgeries. The main reasons for believing in UFOs are the testimony of many people, the inability to distinguish science fiction from science, the willingness to trust incompetent men telling fantastic stories, the ability to distrust all contrary sources as being part of an evil conspiracy to withhold the truth, and a desire for contact with the world above. Belief in aliens in UFOs is akin to belief in supernatural beings.

"UFOlogy is the mythology of the space age. Rather than angels...we now have...extraterrestrials. It is the product of the creative imagination. It serves a poetic and existential function. It seeks to give man deeper roots and bearings in the universe. It is an expression of our hunger for mystery...our hope for transcendental meaning. The gods of Mt. Olympus have been transformed into space voyagers, transporting us by our dreams to other realms." ---Paul Kurtz

Attacking an opponent's arguments or motives, instead of presenting positive evidence in defense of one's own view is common among defenders of the claim that UFOs are alien spacecraft. Of course, there is nothing wrong with attacking an opponent's argument and exposing weaknesses and faults thereby. But refutation is no substitute for support. It is simply faulty logic to assume that because an opponent’s reasons are flawed, one’s own reasons are valid. One’s own reasons may be just as flawed as an opponent’s, or even more flawed.

Another common tactic of UFOlogists is to claim that the skeptic cannot prove that what was seen was not an alien craft. One is supposed to infer from this fact that the perception probably was of an alien craft. This kind of reasoning is known as the argumentum ad ignorantiam. A claim does not become true or reasonable if a contrary claim cannot be proved to be true. With arguments for UFOs there are two distinct moves here. One is to claim that no logical explanation is possible because some scientist, pilot, Air Force Colonel, or Ph.D. cannot think of one. The other is to point to the lack of contrary evidence: no counter-testimony of other eyewitnesses, no proof that there were not aliens or alien spacecraft. Here, too, there is a logical error. The fact that some genius cannot come up with an explanation for something is irrelevant to deciding whether the correct explanation should be couched in terms of visitors from outer space. The choice is not either (A) we know this conventional explanation is correct , or (B) we must conclude that aliens have visited us.

It seems more reasonable to believe that the only reason we cannot explain these sightings by conventional means is because we do not have all the evidence; it not because these sightings are probably due to alien visitations. If we had all the evidence, we would probably be able to explain the sightings by some conventional means. The fact that we cannot prove that Mr. and Mrs. Barney Hill were not abducted by aliens, does not support the hypothesis that they were abducted by aliens.

Many UFOlogists think that if eyewitnesses such as Whitley Strieber, Betty and Barney Hill, or other alleged alien abductees are not insane or evil, then they cannot be deluded and are to be trusted with giving accurate accounts of alien abduction. Yet, it seems obvious that most sane, good, normal people are deluded about many things and not to be trusted about certain things. While it is generally reasonable to believe the testimony of sane, good, normal people with no ulterior motive, it does not follow that unless you can prove a person is deranged, evil, or a fraud that you should trust his or her testimony about any claim whatsoever. When the type of claim being made involves the incredible, additional evidence besides eyewitness testimony is required. Would it be reasonable to convict a paraplegic of a crime on the basis of the testimony of ten pillars of the community who said they saw the defendant flying naked with angel's wings and snatch the purse from a little old lady? It is much more reasonable to believe that good people are doing evil things, or that they are deluded, than to believe a paraplegic could sprout wings and fly.

UFOlogists would rather follow their faulty logic than accept the conclusions of Project Blue Book, the U.S. Air Force report which states that "after twenty-two years of investigation...none of the unidentified objects reported and evaluated posed a threat to our national security." (It was in this Blue Book that Edward Ruppelt coined the term "UFO.") UFOlogists are unimpressed with the Condon Report, as well. Edward U. Condon was the head of a scientific research team which was contracted to the University of Colorado to examine the UFO issue. His report concluded that "nothing has come from the study of UFOs in the past 21 years that has added to scientific knowledge...further extensive study of UFOs probably cannot be justified in the expectation that science will be advanced thereby."

It is assumed by UFOlogists that the government, especially the CIA, is lying and covering up alien landings and communication. However, there is no evidence for this other than a general distrust of the government and the fact that many government officials have lied, distorted the truth and been mistaken when reporting to the general public. The CIA, however, has shown little interest in UFOs since about 1950, except to encourage UFOlogists to believe that reconnaissance flights might be alien craft. UFOlogists prefer another kind of lie to the government lie. They support the work of NBC, for example, which produced two dozen programs called "Project UFO," said to be based on Project Blue Book. However, unlike the Air Force, NBC suggested that there were documented cases of alien spacecraft sightings. The programs, produced by Jack Webb of Dragnet fame, distorted and falsified information to make the presentation look more believable. No UFOlogist took NBC to task for lying. To the skeptic, NBC was pandering to the taste of the viewing audience. Government agents lie for all sorts of reasons, but covering up alien landings does not seem to be one of them.

Most unidentified flying objects are eventually identified as hoaxes or astronomical events, aircraft, satellites, weather balloons, or other natural phenomena. In studies done by the Air Force, less than 2% of UFO sightings remain unidentifiable. It is more probable that with more information those 2% would be identified as meteors, aircraft, etc., than that they are alien spacecraft.

The reason no logical explanation seems credible to UFOlogists is probably because those making and hearing the reports either do not want to hear a logical explanation or they make little or no effort to find one. In any case, the fact that some pilots or scientists claim they cannot think of any logical explanations for some perceptual observations is hardly proof that they have observed alien spacecraft.

Finally, it should be noted that UFOs are usually observed by untrained skywatchers and almost never by professional or amateur astronomers, people who spend inordinate amounts of time observing the heavens above. One would think that astronomers would have spotted some of these alien craft. Perhaps the crafty aliens know that good scientists are skeptical and inquisitive. Such beings might pose a threat to the security of a story well-told.

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