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At the Guardian: Why are UFO sightings on the decline?

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War-of-the-worlds-tripod.jpg
Alien tripod by Alvim Corréa, 1906 French edition of H.G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds”

Could it be that people just don’t care anymore?

This month, the two major online sites for reporting UFOs – the National UFO Reporting Center and the Mutual UFO Network – both documented steep drops in worldwide sightings. The declines started around 2014, when reports were at a peak. They have since reduced drastically to 55% of that year’s combined total, many UFO interest groups have folded, and numerous previously classified government documents have been disclosed.

Do people just not care any more? Have they lost their faith?

Perhaps though, the declines in reported sightings may signify only an end to current trends in ufology. After all, from the 1940s aliens were originally characterised as saviours who could help humans transcend the cold-war paranoia of nuclear annihilation; especially marked at the time, after two world wars. But after events like Watergate and the Vietnam war fuelled distrust in government, UFOs came to be viewed more as a possible threat, and some came to believe their existence was verified in secret military documents. Philip Jaeckl, “What is behind the decline in UFO sightings?” at The Guardian

Maybe it is as simple as this: If a person is paying any attention to research on what’s out there, they soon become aware that we re indeed finding exoplanets and such. But they are just the sort of exoplanets and such that we can account for in a world that doesn’t feature intelligent aliens. In other words, the field of research has itself become normal and many people will feel the need to look elsewhere for non-traditional religious themes.

Note: Ottawa, the source for your UD news service, was hit by a tornado yesterday, which is why there was no service. Service is being restored slowly; thanks for patience. 

See also: Atlantic writer loses his faith in aliens

Fixing the unfixable Drake equation

Obituary column: By the time we hear from the space aliens, they will be dead

ET still hasn’t phoned Frank Drake

and

Americans don’t fear the discovery of alien life. So why do some commentators insist they do?

25 Replies to “At the Guardian: Why are UFO sightings on the decline?

  1. 1
    daveS says:

    I think there are a few factors at play.

    Most people have cameras with them all the time now, yet no compelling photographic evidence for extraterrestrials has emerged. At least not enough to support “ufologists” as a going concern. A majority of us have decided that UFOs just aren’t out there.

    Perhaps related is the fact that interest in space exploration is at a lull. It seems the most ‘exciting’ discoveries these days are about how liquid water might have existed on Mars or the Moon in the distant past. We’re nowhere near sending humans to Mars, or even returning to the Moon. We’re just not that interested in what’s happening beyond low Earth orbit currently.

  2. 2
    Latemarch says:

    daveS@2

    Most people have cameras with them all the time now, yet no compelling photographic evidence for extraterrestrials has emerged. At least not enough to support “ufologists” as a going concern. A majority of us have decided that UFOs just aren’t out there.

    Your “everyone has cameras with them all the time” theory is most intriguing. I like it.

    Don’t think space exploration is at a lull with a Japanese robot currently hopping about on an asteroid. That and more exoplanets being discovered almost every day.

  3. 3
    daveS says:

    Latemarch,

    It could very well just be that my interest in space exploration is at a lull. To clarify, I do enjoy hearing about things such as the Japanese asteroid mission, Mars rovers, the New Horizons spacecraft that was sent to Pluto, etc. And I hope that these relatively modest efforts continue.

    I’m not that keen to see, for example, a “manned” mission to Mars, in part because of the great expense (meanwhile, we can’t even maintain the roads in my town). Exoplanets are cool, but so distant that I doubt we’ll know very much about them in my lifetime.

    On the other hand, if someone laid out a clear, inspiring vision for space exploration including multiple Neil Armstrong-type moments, that could draw us Earthlings together, I might be convinced.

  4. 4
    R J Sawyer says:

    It would be interesting to see if the belief in other conspiracy theories have increased. Maybe the decrease in UFO sightings are just the result of people shifting their attention to other crazy theories. Things like the Deep State, or media conspiracies.

  5. 5
    polistra says:

    Looked at the pics from Ottawa. Damn, that’s SERIOUS! Especially bad when people don’t know what to expect and don’t know what to do. Okies are ready, with a well-established warning system and preparation system. Canadians are ready for snow but not for tornadoes.

    The lady who was watching it through her picture window is extremely lucky.

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    Of note:

    Don’t Believe in God? Maybe You’ll Try U.F.O.s
    By CLAY ROUTLEDGE JULY 21, 2017
    Excerpt: People who do not frequently attend church are twice as likely to believe in ghosts as those who are regular churchgoers. The less religious people are, the more likely they are to endorse empirically unsupported ideas about U.F.O.s, intelligent aliens monitoring the lives of humans and related conspiracies about a government cover-up of these phenomena.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/21/opinion/sunday/dont-believe-in-god-maybe-youll-try-ufos.html

    Look Who’s Irrational Now – 2008
    Excerpt: “What Americans Really Believe,” a comprehensive new study released by Baylor University yesterday, shows that traditional Christian religion greatly decreases belief in everything from the efficacy of palm readers to the usefulness of astrology. It also shows that the irreligious and the members of more liberal Protestant denominations, far from being resistant to superstition, tend to be much more likely to believe in the paranormal and in pseudoscience than evangelical Christians.
    http://online.wsj.com/article/.....54585.html

  7. 7
    random.dent says:

    Indeed, RJ, maybe UFOs are down but QAnon is up 😛

  8. 8
    random.dent says:

    Most people have cameras with them all the time now, yet no compelling photographic evidence for extraterrestrials has emerged. At least not enough to support “ufologists” as a going concern. A majority of us have decided that UFOs just aren’t out there.

    Probably a lot of wannabe liars are now keeping silent because they can’t answer the inevitable “So why didn’t you get video?”

  9. 9
    Seversky says:

    Perhaps the Vogons have just completed surveying for the hyperspace bypass and moved on to the next section of the route.

  10. 10
    Latemarch says:

    Sev@9

    Only in a universe where the Infinite Improbability Drive exists.

    Just don’t start reciting Vogon poetry. That might get you banned.

  11. 11
    daveS says:

    Indeed, RJ, maybe UFOs are down but QAnon is up 😛

    Ugh, that’s depressing.

  12. 12
    kairosfocus says:

    News:

    Maybe, we need to refocus on the privileged planet, fine tuned cosmos themes.

    PS: Ouch on tornado.

    DS, RJ et al:

    Just maybe, the Vogons have drawn the conclusion — for cause — that we are terminally, suicidally mad and not worth the expense of further interstellar trips. (Especially, if we are not a convenient node in a wormhole network.)

    Oh yes, on Trump’s alter ego in disguise doing his other tweet stream, AKA Q, we shall see. Even more depressing, too much of the major media are not discernibly different from cultural marxist agit prop operations and linked conspiracist sites.

    Sober, responsible journalism is dead. Long live the agit prop attack narratives and media lynch mobs.

    (If you doubt, consider how the “accusation plus piling on is all we need for proof” mob rule principle has been gaining traction. So much for due journalistic process, sober-minded editing etc. And if you need proof that US defamation law is utterly broken and desperately needs reform, look at the drumbeat headlines.)

    KF

  13. 13
    daveS says:

    Another possible reason for the decline: All the cheesy hoax photographs which were taken around the mid-to-late 20th century (example). I can confirm that photos such as these were easy to create given access to a cheap camera and a friend chucking a garbage can lid into the air. From the perspective of our era, it’s hard to believe such things were ever taken seriously.

  14. 14
    ET says:

    daves:

    Most people have cameras with them all the time now, yet no compelling photographic evidence for extraterrestrials has emerged.

    Yeah, cuz everyone has their phones on camera ready all of the time and UFOs wait for photographers.

    Yesterday a family of deer crossed the road right in front of us. All three people in the car had smart phones and yet no one got a picture. Perhaps the deer were never there.

  15. 15
    daveS says:

    ET,

    Wow, actual deer crossing the road? Nobody’s going to believe that without a picture …

    😛

  16. 16
    ET says:

    There are pictures and plenty of eye witnesses to UFO’s- expert eye witnesses at that.

  17. 17
    Latemarch says:

    ET@16

    Have to agree with daveS.
    Deer crossing the road, common. Why take a photo.
    UFO, uncommon. Must take photo.

    Might not get to camera app before UFO disappears but will surely try.

    Pictures with alternate explanations. Eye witnesses, notoriously unreliable.

  18. 18
    ET says:

    A family of deer crossing the road- very cool and Instagram worthy.

    Squirrels doing the same, not so much.

    Not all pictures have alternate explanations. Not all crop circles are explained by humans. And again expert eyewitnesses have credibility.

  19. 19
    random.dent says:

    UFOs happen all the time. That’s just something you can’t identify. Visits by aliens in spacecraft are what never ever seems to happen with evidence worth anything.

    Which makes sense. You can’t seem to get an object with much rest mass anywhere near the speed of light, and the distances are vast and the interstellar space physically hostile.

    I believe there have been countless extraterrestrial civilizations. I just don’t think it’s possible to do much travelling.

    And other civilizations, also having evolved with short-term instincts, probably don’t survive very long after they develop technology sufficient to wreck their home planet.

  20. 20
    random.dent says:

    Ugh, that’s depressing.

    I find it amusing! I eagerly await the “explanations” when nothing happens, because it’s a silly, obvious set of lies. They never say, “Folks it turns out I’m kinda dim and believed an obvious irrational hoax. I apologize.” They’ll make up some excuse for how they really wen’t wrong, but, like, the date has been postponed because [blah blah blah].

  21. 21
    mike1962 says:

    Lots of people who claim to have been abducted by aliens, pass polygraph tests. So it must be true. /sarc

  22. 22
    random.dent says:

    To get a single human being’s weight to 99.99% of light speed would take about roughly all the energy humans use today on the entire planet over a period of 100,000 years. Then double that to slow down once you get somewhere.

    There are basic physics reasons we don’t see interstellar travel. It’s fun on tv, but that’s about as far as it will go. And if your counter argument is you found some smushed barley in a field at Stoughton Down, please, please don’t ever stop talking. That is delightful.

  23. 23
    Seversky says:

    kairosfocus @ 12

    Just maybe, the Vogons have drawn the conclusion — for cause — that we are terminally, suicidally mad and not worth the expense of further interstellar trips. (Especially, if we are not a convenient node in a wormhole network.)

    Oh, I really hope we are near a node in a wormhole network, otherwise it looks like we’re going to be stuck in our little corner of the Universe for an awful long time.

  24. 24
    Seversky says:

    random.dent @ 22

    To get a single human being’s weight to 99.99% of light speed would take about roughly all the energy humans use today on the entire planet over a period of 100,000 years. Then double that to slow down once you get somewhere.

    I remember Lawrence Krauss performing a similar back-of-the-envelope calculation in The Physics of Star Trek. The Enterprise’s impulse engines used for sub-lightspeed propulsion are fusion reactors which use hydrogen as fuel. He estimated that to accelerate the Enterprise to half the speed of light and then slow it to a stop at the other end would require 6642 times the entire ship’s mass in hydrogen. It’s as absurd as the idea of doing a quick hop from the ice planet Hoth to the Dagobah System in a tiny, single-seat X-Wing fighter.

  25. 25
    ET says:

    random.dent:

    There are basic physics reasons we don’t see interstellar travel.

    Perhaps to our meager understanding.

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