The topic of Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) as viewed by the hardcore professional scientific community mixes nearly as well as oil and water. Here I examine some of the in’s and out’s surrounding that mix although the basic fundamentals seem to revolve around the truth that the Real Men In Black Pictures issue was never initially considered a scientific issue, just a national security issue. Like all of those other great unwashed, scientists weren’t welcome in to the world of the inner national security sanctum. That excuse no longer hold water.
Much of what follows was taken from a to-and-fro debate having an armchair but scientifically inclined UFO sceptic. I’ve edited my responses to the exchange to hopefully yield a reasonably coherent article.
Scientists and UFOs
While it is correct that the scientific community, generally speaking, have formally shied away from the UFO field, numerous scientists in most fields (astronomy, physics, biology, psychology, etc.) have independently behalf taken a private interest and created a study from the subject. I can and possess below name names. I also suspect, based upon some surveys of the scientific community by some scientists, that the fair number use a personal interest in the niche, but leave that interest behind their door once they go to work.
The main reason scientists stay away from the area harkens back to the first history of the Men In Black Sightings when the powers-that-be were required to reassure the fantastic unwashed that there was absolutely nothing to see here, there is no national security implications, etc. The subject was down-played, even ridiculed in order to settle down any possibility of public concern. After all the chance of aliens (or maybe the Russians) violating your nation’s airspace and the powers-that-be being totally not able to do just about anything about it may be under discussion at the highest levels behind closed doors however, not ever to get publicly admitted. The powers-that-be got a helping hand as a result of far out fringe elements that got created by people who just like to obtain their names within the papers and muddy the waters. The impression any scientists could have gotten from officialdom is the fact things are under control; there’s absolutely nothing to this; merely the nut cases see ‘flying saucers’ and meet and greet the ‘space brothers’ from Venus. What officialdom uttered behind closed doors was a significant different matter.
If readers doubt all this, I strongly advise acquainting yourself with all the CIA sponsored Robertson Panel and Report from January 1953 that was inaugurated in the direct request from the White House. We have to repeat my earlier comments that from your start UFOs (nee ‘flying saucers’) were a national security issue, NOT a science issue. Scientists do not need to apply for the positioning of UFO investigator with officialdom since they didn’t have proper security clearances or perhaps a need to find out and wouldn’t be permitted to publish their findings or give UFO lectures for their students.
So another primary reason why scientists couldn’t cope with the matter through the get-go was that they didn’t have access to the data. All the UFO sighting reports were in the hands of the USAF (along with other security agencies like the NSA) and classified. Scientists can’t investigate in the lack of hardcore data.
It is actually indeed unfortunate that scientists can’t just snap their fingers and possess UFOs appear and reappear on demand, but that pertains to other phenomena too like Transient Lunar Phenomena, gamma-ray bursts, siimkb lightning, supernovae, even SETI, etc. Somehow these other elusive, unpredictable, unrepeatable phenomena are thought worthy of science and are regarded as being in the realm of science, so that your argument there falls flat.
Scientists and the UFO Extraterrestrial Hypothesis (ETH)
Some (note: some) people (including some scientists) considered the UFO ETH (extraterrestrial hypothesis) and dismissed it as a implausible (note: however, not impossible). Other individuals (including some scientists) have considered the UFO ETH and considered it plausible, including the probably explanation.
I on the other hand remember that with all the The Real Men In Black, we have a perfect union between theory and observation. Theory pretty much mandates or requires that extraterrestrial intelligence(s) be here. Observations strongly suggest that they are here. As mentioned, a near perfect match. Isn’t science wonderful?
The Scientific Consensus on UFOs
You will find those who seriously claim that when it comes to the entire scientific community “So far as science is concerned, the whole UFO subject is surely an embarrassment”.