Today is going to be one of those days when my blog post will be brief, as I mentioned yesterday. I’d like to highlight a logical fallacy that has been making the rounds since the recent disclosure that the U.S. Navy will make it easier for its pilots to report sightings of aerial phenomena that they do not recognize, a move characterized in the media as a new UFO reporting program, though it isn’t quite that. Anyway, Micah Hanks presents the fallacy in unalloyed form in a recent Mysterious Universe posting piggybacking on the Navy announcement. He starts by saying that he doesn’t know what UFOs really are.
However, if they are apparent enough to our military that they continue to be studied, that alone should say something. Further, I worry about ideological skeptics who might dispute such apparent phenomena, based mostly on lingering stigmas of the past rather than information being conveyed in a serious manner at the governmental level. At least in any official capacity, there appear to be few making any claim to the fact that these things are “alien” technology… not our spokespeople at the Navy, nor the Air Force, nor those journalists at The New York Times, Washington Post, Bloomberg, and Politico who have all been gradually inching toward career suicide in order to report on a “forbidden” subject that, based on the military’s aforementioned attitude, should absolutely be taken seriously.
It's cute, really, that he has such faith in the U.S. government to determine what is true and false and to delineate what subjects are important and which are not. Hearing him claim that skeptics are wrong to doubt the “existence” of UFOs—by which I assume he means the claim that various lights in the sky, radar blips, etc. represent a single unified aerial phenomenon—simply because the government and the military take them seriously makes me laugh. This is the same military that wasted millions of dollars pretending that supposed psychics could remotely view Soviet facilities and even the planet Mars with the power of their minds. This is the same military that attempted to kill goats by staring at them to shoot psychic power beams into their hearts. This is the same military that currently, according to ufologists’ own reporting, has a contingent of evangelical Christians who believe that demons pilot flying saucers and that the government may be opening a portal to Hell. This is the same military that pursued the concept of a “gay bomb” to turn enemy soldiers gay in the hope that they would have an orgy rather than fight.
Forgive me if I don’t automatically equate a government program with reality. That goes double when realizing that the government spent forty years working with Hal Puthoff, whose research into psychic phenomena, interdimensional UFOs, and space poltergeists has yielded, as of today, absolutely nothing. It goes triple if we believe Jacques Vallée when he lamented that military officials were getting some of their UFO information from his books, which meant that they didn’t know any more than he did. And we know that he doesn’t know much.
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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