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.