First, there is a bit of news from Nolan. Banias asked him about the infamous alien “metamaterials” that have quietly disappeared from the forefront of To the Stars’ research despite dominating the company’s first year. These pieces of scrap metal had been claimed to possess properties that made them impossible to fabricate on Earth, but I discovered that previous research had concluded that at least some were pieces of industrial waste. Now Nolan concedes that the some of the unusual properties they thought indicated that the metal had fallen from flying saucers in fact have “very conventional explanations.” Nolan also cautioned the remaining UFO metamaterials researchers to tread carefully or risk being made a fool. Nolan said that he and Jacques Vallée intend to release a “simple” scientific paper that will describe the chemical properties of the metal without making claims for space aliens. “It has nothing to do with alien nothing and otherworldly anything,” he said of the paper. “Chemistry and physics have not caught up” with the isotope ratios in the samples being studied.
Nolan, however, believes that the metal samples were created intentionally, and he doesn’t know why anyone would engage in the huge cost of altering metal isotopes only to dispose of the metals in the desert. He declines to speculate about how the metals were created but instead believes the correct question is to ask how the particular metal could be used in technology. This fails the smell test because you can’t assume intentionality. An early analysis from the 2000s suggested that the properties were accidental, the resulting byproduct of industrial processes. You can’t claim that these metals are purpose-built “ultra-materials” (in Nolan’s terms) or used for spacecraft until you eliminate the distinct possibility that the lumps of metal are accidental. The right question isn’t “what could this possibly be used for?” as Nolan says, but “was this artificially and intentionally developed?”
I don’t like the fact that Nolan makes a lot of assumptions without realizing that his assumptions aren’t self-evident truths but representations of his own biases.
“Maybe these things are just being left as gifts,” he said that he and Vallée speculated. He compares this to laying out a puzzle to test the intelligence of monkeys. This, again, assumes a creator and that assumption connects back to the biases that are coloring their approach to the metal fragments.
In the interview, Nolan gave a rather interesting answer to the question of UFO “disclosure” that I think is worth sharing in full:
I try to tell people who are frustrated about this: Look, you need to stop waiting for somebody else to give you permission to know what you know. Right? I mean –I hate the term—it’s very patriarchal that we’re waiting for the government to give us permission to know something we already believe. […] I know what I know. I don’t need anybody else to give me permission.
It’s interesting that he frames the issue in postmodern terms that emphasize a distrust of authority and presuppose that everyone possesses his or her own truth, which is not a representation of objective reality as much as it is a subject belief. I’m not sure how I feel about a scientist arguing that reality is something of a personal construct or that we should use our own ignorance (confusion over “strange” experience we personally don’t understand) or our own gullibility (“trust” in other people who may be confused, mistaken, deluded, or lying) as a measure of what is true.
Nolan also said that he believes in an “immaterial” element of reality and therefore believes that there are what laymen might call a spirit world that manifests in and influences that physical world. Underneath his scientific veneer, Nolan advocates something of a Gnostic vision of reality, and he even admits that the discussion becomes “spiritual” very quickly.
I found this particular passage to be particularly illuminating because it reveals quite a bit about the underlying motives of researchers on the edges of the weird. When Nolan says that he no longer feels compelled to convince other people to accept his beliefs (note—not “truth” and not “conclusions”), it speaks eloquently to the fact that UFO culture has become a kind of faith operating under the rules of religious belief rather than scientific investigation.
Nolan speculates about what he sees as problems in the standard model of physics that he thinks indicate that reality isn’t real, and he said that he thinks that it’s “freakin’ amazing” that God or something similar may have designed our reality.
And there you have it: The hunt for the Fortean is really a search for God, through the medium of demons that fly through the sky and pelt us with chunks of heavenly metal.
5/4/2019 08:36:21 am
Only the Annunciation was the real extraterrestrial contact between aliens and mankind.
Pope John Paul III
5/4/2019 10:15:03 am
Thou speakest the truth, O Blessed Incarnation commenter!
5/5/2019 12:33:00 am
And remember that a previous 19th century Pope enshrined Papal infallibility in the C. Church's teaching. It's very convoluted and can best be described as a Moebius Uroboros con. The master of the M.U. in the modern era is of course Scott Wolter.
5/5/2019 05:00:29 am
family planning is rejected in Eastern Europe because the Vatican says so, Eastern Europe takes the Vatican seriously to that extent (pun intended)
5/4/2019 11:21:15 am
What a waste of money. If, they really wanted to test extraterrestrial metal, I would suggest tracking down the samples of meteoric iron used in the Great Pyramid.
5/4/2019 02:07:31 pm
Care to save us some time and substantiate that (without relying on a book you don't remember)?
5/4/2019 02:19:57 pm
Try books by Immanuel Velikovsky & Alan Alford
5/4/2019 02:21:44 pm
5/4/2019 02:34:24 pm
Yes, I already read that. It concludes that the iron under discussion is of late medieval origin and not part of the pyramid's construction. Anything that supports your position rather than contradicts it?
Here's a beauty
5/4/2019 02:36:03 pm
5/4/2019 02:39:52 pm
This article is about beads. Beads weren't "used in the Great Pyramid".
G. A . WAINWRIGHT
5/4/2019 08:26:31 pm
The article was by Egyptologist Gerald Avery.Wainwright, (1879-1964), who wrote about meteoric iron in pyramids.
5/4/2019 09:56:30 pm
True as that is, and the "by G.A. Wainwright" is kind of a giveaway, the article is still about trinkets. If one of the workers pooped would you say that coprolites were "used in the Great Pyramid"?
5/5/2019 04:55:48 am
Hey, I can write what I like and you are not some infallible Pope.
5/5/2019 10:17:52 am
"The hunt for the Fortean is really a search for God"
5/5/2019 03:58:04 pm
And if it's stillborn is it really a fetus?
5/6/2019 01:15:54 pm
Hear, hear! Well spoken David Evans. A better statement might be: The hunt for the Fortean is sometimes a search for God.
5/6/2019 12:02:40 am
You have no comment whatsoever, Jason, regarding Nolan's remarks on "Fortean phenomena and their connection to genetics"?
5/6/2019 05:52:33 pm
"I don’t like the fact that Nolan makes a lot of assumptions without realizing that his assumptions aren’t self-evident truths but representations of his own biases."
5/7/2019 03:31:43 am
I'm back friends, by poopular demand no less.
5/7/2019 06:08:43 am
Pseudo-babble connected with mainstream right & left wing politics
5/7/2019 03:12:22 pm
Famine in Ethiopia, not "poverty in Africa". Africa is a shithole (and beautiful at the same time) for a multitude of reasons ably outlined by Thomas Sowell in Conquests and Cultures. Many Africans have followed Sam Kinison's advice to "MOVE TO WHERE THE FOOD IS!!"
5/8/2019 12:30:46 am
Chalky white people died of starvation and suffered from malnutrition in droves in various areas of Europe, for example in Ireland and Scotland. If one can figure out why it happened in those places then figuring out how it happened in various parts of Africa shouldn't be all that hard.
5/7/2019 07:00:06 pm
"Black African countries are without the know-how to build an economic successful state like Whites."
5/8/2019 12:52:15 am
STOP PRESS !!!
5/7/2019 06:26:12 am
Is Band Aid really the most cogent example of white supremacy you can find?
5/7/2019 07:21:16 am
Au contraire, are you joking....?
5/10/2019 10:00:43 am
"Because of its very rarity some have been inclined to doubt the authenticity of this piece of iron but professor Flinders Petrie rightly defends it.-'The vouchers for it are very precise and it has a cast of a nummulite on the rust of it, proving it to have been buried for ages beside a block of nummulitic limestone (which forms a large part of the core masonry of the pyramid), and therefore to be certainly ancient. No reasonable doubt can therefore exist about its being a really genuine piece used by Pyramid masons.'"
5/10/2019 10:16:22 am
Sorry. I got ahead of myself.
5/10/2019 05:34:19 pm
So this is your lengthy way of saying you've got nothing?
5/10/2019 07:22:32 pm
"Any Geologists want to explain "Nummulite"?"
5/10/2019 08:36:13 pm
"Do they not have Google where you live Anthony? Seriously are you trying to be an idiot?"
5/10/2019 09:13:14 pm
They don't. Jesus Christ you're an idiot.
5/10/2019 09:23:29 pm
Improperly worded. How long does it take to form a "cast of a nummulite on the rust"?
5/10/2019 11:19:36 pm
As I said before...
5/11/2019 01:24:18 pm
So...You don't know.
5/14/2019 03:22:24 pm
As Carl Jung said, it's a religion. The fact that it's mixed with poor science fiction and aggressive LARPing increases marketability but adds even more incoherence.
10/21/2020 04:33:05 am
"Nolan suggests that the evidence for a UFO phenomenon is “overwhelming,” which is surprising since there remains not a single shred of demonstrable evidence for the presence of space aliens or interdimensional demons on Earth."
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I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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