The Death & Rebirth of UFOlogy – Telegraph’s Report on UFOlogy’s Demise Could Be Its New Beginning

Neil deGrasse Tyson is talking panspermia from Mars, Richard Dawkins mentions ancient aliens as a possible candidate for development of complex biological processes, Jacques Vallee presents at a business forum on physics breakthroughs possible through studying UFO phenomena, Michio Kaku develops a theory of social evolution based on space…and the Forteans give up on UFOs? What is happening here?

According to an article on The Telegraph:

“Enthusiasts admit that a continued failure to provide proof and a decline in the number of “flying saucer” sightings suggests that aliens do not exist after all and could mean the end of “Ufology” – the study of UFOs – within the next decade.

Dozens of groups interested in the flying saucers and other unidentified craft have already closed because of lack of interest and next week one of the country’s foremost organisations involved in UFO research is holding a conference to discuss whether the subject has any future.

Dave Wood, chairman of the Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena (Assap), said the meeting had been called to address the crisis in the subject and see if UFOs were a thing of the past.

“It is certainly a possibility that in ten years time, it will be a dead subject,” he added.

“We look at these things on the balance of probabilities and this area of study has been ongoing for many decades.

“The lack of compelling evidence beyond the pure anecdotal suggests that on the balance of probabilities that nothing is out there.

“I think that any UFO researcher would tell you that 98 per cent of sightings that happen are very easily explainable. One of the conclusions to draw from that is that perhaps there isn’t anything there. The days of compelling eyewitness sightings seem to be over.”

He said that far from leading to an increase in UFO sightings and research, the advent of the internet had coincided with a decline.”

Earlier this year, on the U.S. side, Lee Spiegel reported an increase of over 67% in unexplained aerial phenomena sightings over the last 3 years.  The news must not have reached his fellow UFOlogists across the pond.

It’s rather disappointing to see a “scientific body” dismissing a phenomena as soon as it starts to move out of the realm of urban legend and become scientifically viable. Many of the more sober UFOlogists have been saying for years that the phenomena does not fit well with the extraterrestrial hypothesis, but with the reports of sightings, and in some cases the physical evidence, not to mention the sociological effect of the phenomena, there is still something to look into. In fact the analysis of the Baylor Religion Survey conducted by Baylor University sociologists Christopher Bader, F. Carson Mencken, and Joseph O. Baker, in their book Paranormal America: Ghost Encounters, UFO Sightings, Bigfoot Hunts, and Other Curiosities in Religion and Culture, shows that these phenomena continue to have a profoud effect on the cultural dialogue.

One of the telling statements from the article is that “the days of compelling eyewitness sightings seem to be over,” which points to a kind of cavalier adventurism that really doesn’t fit with the serious investigation of anomalous experiences. A “normal” explanation is no less an answer to a mystery, and one of the things that has held back research into anomalies for years is this strange pseudo-transcendentalism and hope for “paranormal” revelations. Perhaps it’s better if the ET enthusiasts get bored, so that more sober minds can take the helm in investigating the unknown.

To read more about Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena’s thoughts on the slow death of UFOlogy head over to The Telegraph U.K.

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  • feint_ruled

    Forteans have not abandoned UFology, but it is now looked upon more as a psychological phenomenon. The whole idea of hyper-advanced aliens come here to stick probes up our bums or slice up cows just didn’t hold to scrutiny, but the reasons that people believe they do are certainly worth looking at.

    • Matt Staggs

      That’s pretty much my stance on everything odd The question of whether said phenomena exists or not is secondary to my interests. That being said, the UFO issue is a pretty complicated one, and shouldn’t be dismissed with comments about butt-probes and cattle mutilations.There’s a well-documented history of Air Force disinformation efforts, for example. While I maintain that this was done as part of a smoke screen to hide real experimental aircraft and throw Soviet intelligence gatherers off the trail, there are compelling anecdotes that could cause one to question what exactly is going on here. Still, I’m happy just researching the culture of UFOs and alien abductions versus busting myths and attempting to take away things that have given some people a fuller, happier vision of the world and their place in it.

  • The_Phil_Is_Out_There

    I find it interesting that the level of “nuts and bolts” sightings seems to track the prevailing popular culture view of UFOs and aliens. The likes of Close Encounters and Star Wars saw a whole generation grow up with the notion of aliens as physical beings in physical craft, whereas the 80s and especially the 90s saw people growing up with a backdrop of Area 51, the X-Files and “the truth is out there”. The rise of the internet and wider conspiracy “movement” (Icke, Jones et al) has just amplified the shift in what people want to see. They’re no longer projecting aliens on to sightings, they’re projecting the NWO, Illuminati, FEMA drones or what have you.