UFO believers went bananas this week after Donald Trump told Reuters that the three Navy videos depicting unidentified flying objects had amazed him, prompting him to wonder if they were “real,” by which he presumably meant that he wondered if they depicted alien spacecraft. Even though the three videos have plausibly been explained as footage of two airplanes and a balloon, UFO believers insist that they are an important element in a putative Pentagon UFO disclosure movement that they now believe extends to Trump himself. It’s all too much really, but I have no trouble believing Trump had his mind blown by the videos. Many wondered why Trump hadn’t been aware of the videos until now (he had said in a previous video he had been briefed on them and saw no evidence of anything unusual, but he seems to have forgotten that), or if he were confirming that the military had no explanation for them, but ufologists seem to forget that he gets his information from Fox News, where the videos were prominently covered this week. His mind was blown because Tucker Carlson blew his mind, almost certainly not due to any unread Pentagon briefing. Then, just for maximum irony, pro-UFO Russian propaganda channel RT used one of my tweets in their coverage of the situation.
On a similar note, many of you reading this will remember Deep Prasad, the young man who hopes to use Silicon Valley solutions to investigate UFOs. He recently advised NORAD on ways to identify hypersonic UFOs, and afterward posted an article on Medium explaining his views on alien life. We have previously seen how he draws uncritically on popular but evidence-free claims from ufology, but it was disconcerting to see that Prasad’s article was grounded in conspiracy theories and long-debunked science fiction ideas about space aliens. He confidently mistakes his own lack of critical thinking for impressive conclusions.
First of all I believe that Alien spacecraft crashed on Earth in different countries around the world from the 1940s onwards. Some of these crashes could not stay under wraps, hence embarrassments like Roswell. At first the generals involved had no idea what to do with the bodies or technology involved. All they knew was that this had to be kept absolutely top secret, and the nature of the situation immediately led to the greediest and most fearful but powerful of the bunch taking control. Overtime, it became well known fact in upper echelon military and tech circles that Aliens exist and sometimes bring technology to Earth that can also be theoretically reverse engineered for military/tactical purposes.
There is no evidence of any crashed flying saucers anywhere on Earth. The Roswell Incident was invented in the late twentieth century, largely from whole cloth. (The “flying discs” referenced in the original Roswell military and newspaper reports in 1947 appear to have been referring to the then-popular—and humorous—use of “flying disc” in the media, not a serious effort to describe an alien spacecraft. This cultural context has been obscured by time.)
The “greediest” general took control? Let’s see some bank statements to back that up.
The United States may be powerful but it is not now nor has it ever been the only power, or so dominant as to be able to control the entire world. How is it that no other country, not even America’s enemies, ever leaked a word of this? Surely the aliens don’t confine themselves solely to rural America. Do they not enjoy Suriname or Equatorial Guinea or Laos?
I have a hard time conceiving of a technology to transport you instantly to another location on Earth. It isn’t clear whether Prasad means that the craft travel at speeds that would generate gravitational forces that would crush any known living being or if he imagines them teleporting, which creates its own confounding challenges in accounting for the Earth’s rotation and revolution on the fly, and ensuring that you don’t beam yourself into a bird or a mountain or an airplane.
Incidentally, he believes—for no good reason—that aliens, who somehow speak English, are providing American officials (but, again, apparently not those from the Congo or Poland, those discriminatory bastards) with limited technological expertise. “It seems to be a Universal agreement that no one is allowed to know what it takes to go beyond quantum mechanics for example and discover more accurate physics that would take us closer to Alien science,” Prasad speculates. Says who?
But these amazing aliens are also somehow janky space rubes who tool around the cosmic backwoods in their equivalent of a redneck jalopy held together with duct tape. “Some ETs that are only slightly more advanced than us often get here in super worn down spaceships which need repair or can’t function well enough for a return trip.” Now, that’s just poor planning. Would you trust your life to a spaceship that might fall apart in the vacuum of space? And just to anally probe some hillbillies? If that’s the case, though, it makes you wonder who’s paying for these journeys to Earth. Aliens never seem to be interested in profit, but unless they are all dispassionate intellectual voids, too, it would seem that there has to be some incentive for them to waste enormous resources to come here and mutilate a cow or two. Seventy years of visitation with no demonstrable results must make the bean counters on Zeta Reticuli quite upset. Who is paying for these spaceships?
Prasad claims that the internet was “planned” by aliens to facilitate “disclosure,” which is an insult to the real people who actually developed the internet and, frankly, to the aliens, who are simultaneously all-powerful master manipulators and such morons that they genuinely think that the small audiences for Ancient Aliens, Tom DeLonge, and Twitter memes are the best way to reach Earth’s 7.8 billion people.
In his Medium piece, Prasad makes dozens of other claims taken over from Ancient Aliens and online memes, none of which have any evidence to support them. He claims, for example, that Earth hosts many alien species, that humans are not native to the Earth, and that aliens serve a godlike function, capable of non-material manifestations in dreams, for example. He laughably argues that aliens have a base on the moon than Space X will somehow find, even though the aliens are supposedly masterminding a conspiracy to suppress the truth. He claims alien are the “end goal of evolution,” which is both a depressing display of teleological belief and a demonstration of his shallow understanding of science beyond his own expertise in physics. Evolution, as currently understood, cannot have an end goal because it is random, in response to changing environmental conditions. Prasad hints that he sees some sort of spiritual purpose and structure hidden beyond the veil of reality, and as always, the hunt for aliens becomes little more than a quest for spirituality cloaked in the language of science.
It’s good to see what Prasad really professes to believe, so that we don’t have to listen to him until he learns critical thinking and how to distinguish between evidence and anecdotes.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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