On Saturday, March 25, 2006, I presented the final lecture of the day at the Aztec, New Mexico, Annual Crash Anniversary Conference The reality of the March, 1948, crash, about which I had initially been quite skeptical, has become more and more believable thanks primarily to the fine research by Scott Ramsey. I had spoken about Roswell and MJ-12 at some earlier Aztec UFO conferences, but this year the title of my program was “UFOs vs. SETI: Science vs. Pseudo-science.” In my lecture I contrasted the enormous amount of evidence indicating some UFOs are extraterrestrial spacecraft and the total absence of evidence provided by the SETI community to justify both their neglect of the UFO evidence and their strange reasoning that listening for radio signals from ET is somehow a scientific endeavor. A psychologist I once knew would probably explain their behavior as projection on to others of their own failure to provide evidence.
It is not that SETI Specialists don’t mention UFOs. It is that they just about always claim that there is no evidence or no convincing evidence or no physical evidence. One thing is for sure, they don’t reference the solid scientific studies in their books or papers or TV appearances. In Aztec I noted 5 large scale scientific studies which I normally discuss at the beginning of my “Flying Saucers ARE Real” college lectures. I usually ask, after showing a slide of each one and discussing its contents: “How many here have read this volume?”. On a good night I will get 1-2% who have read one of the five.. Once in Phoenix, Arizona, I was very pleased that Judy Varns, an active MUFON member and a civil engineer, had read all five. None of the SETI literature references these studies. Dr. Seth Shostak of the SETI Institute heard my lecture on board the Queen Elizabeth 2 during a cruise in 2003. He hadn’t raised his hand after any of the 5 and in a later debate on Coast to Coast Radio, it was clear that he had “forgotten” all 5. Surprisingly these academic types typically also ignore the dozen or so PhD Theses about UFOs that have been published and also ignore the many papers presented by professional scientists at the annual MUFON symposia and included in the Symposium Proceedings. There are literally hundreds of such papers.
The SS seem to take the approach that absence of evidence in their hands is evidence for absence of such evidence. I quoted a comment from Shostak in a recent article “It is a common canard that the SETI community’s skepticism is simply due to their failure to be open to the idea (UFOs). That’s wrong. Their skepticism is rooted in the lack of good evidence”. It is strange how neither Shostak nor any of the other SETI cultists ever discuss the evidence they say isn’t good.
I quoted Carl Sagan from the enormously successful COSMOS TV series seen by 600 million people in 60 countries. On the Encyclopedia Galactica segment (1980) he stated. “What counts is not what seems plausible, not what we would like to believe, not what one or two witnesses claim, but only what is supported by hard evidence. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”. Really?? So why was Carl’s next statement “There must be other civilizations far older and more advanced than ours.” None of the SETI cultists have provided any evidence, no less extraordinary evidence, of any such civilization. Certainly worldwide UFO reports provide evidence of more advanced civilizations. The SETI community ignores this evidence.
I defined cult as “a sect adhering to a common ideology or doctrine when such adherence or devotion is based on fanatical beliefs or dogmas”. Sounds right to me for SETI. Sagan, for example, in Scientific American, in 1984, gave this definition: “SETI is an attempt to use large radio telescopes, sophisticated receivers and modern data analysis to detect hypothetical signals sent our way by advanced civilizations on planets around other stars”. Notice this leaves out Optical SETI which is searching for brief, very powerful, laser signals from other stars. It leaves out evaluation of photographs of UFOs, physical trace cases including reports of beings associated with extraordinary vehicles sitting just above the ground., abductions. It ignores multiple witness visual and radar observations of manufactured objects behaving in ways that Earth-originated flying objects, observed by experts concerned with things flying within the atmosphere, cannot duplicate. It leaves out examination of wreckage from crashed alien saucers. Most astronomers are not well acquainted with evaluation of witness testimony, radar measurements, or pilot observations. Atmospheric Physicists such as the late James E McDonald are well acquainted with such phenomena. Note well: “Hypothetical” signals.
Carl compounded his false reasoning with this claim “the search for alien civilizations retains its importance despite the striking failure of the UFO evidence…. There are reliable sightings that are not interesting and interesting sightings that are not reliable, but no interesting and reliable sightings”. This is unequivocally false. In Project Blue Book Special Report 14 the quality distribution shows that, the greater the reliability of a particular case, the MORE likely to be unexplainable. 35% of the Excellent cases could not be identified. “Only” 18% of the poor cases couldn’t be identified. Obviously one saucer landing in the middle of the World Cup would do it. Carl talks of sightings. What about radar visual cases, photographs, physical trace cases that leave behind evidence that can be examined and tested later? .Furthermore, SETI is not the search for alien civilizations, according to Carl’s definition. It is a very restricted search for radio signals. The sending device could originate from a long dead civilization.
Along these same lines, I also noted Dr. Jill Tartar’s comment in February, 2006 “SETI is the only research program looking for life beyond the solar system. It is the way we are going to understand where we are coming from and how we are going to survive as a species.. the search could yield headlines within a few decades.” One expects cultists to have a strong sense of how important they are to the survival of the species. Does anybody really believe that detecting, and interpreting a signal from a distant civilization will help us survive here? Hardly, especially, as noted below, when they think there may be one signal sending civilization within 1000 light years? Descendants of SETI leaders will be asking for help and get an answer 2000 years later…
As if in response to my talk, there was an article by Dr. Shostak in the May issue of Discover Magazine entitled “Drake’s Brave Guess”. He waxed poetic about the Drake Equation, originated 45 years ago by radio astronomer Frank Drake (now co-director of the SETI Institute) which supposedly is a scientific approach to determining the number of civilizations in the galaxy capable of sending radio signals. The idea is that, if we just keep listening, we will make the great discovery that man is not alone in the galaxy. The reasoning is a great example of pseudo-science. The primary reason for the article was the fact that the new Allen Telescope Array with 42 dishes, each 20 feet in diameter, is just going on line at Hat Creek in Northern California.
Eventually there will be many more dishes. He really seems to believe the quaint notion that our best systems are on a par with alien civilizations’ best capabilities apparently assuming they would not have improved in what could easily be the billion years during which such systems have been around. I was using a slide rule 50 years ago. I don’t anymore. A laser printer is not just a better IBM Selectric Typewriter. Atomic bombs are not just bigger 10 ton block busters that were used earlier in WW 2.
Of course Shostak doesn’t mention that Hat Creek can’t tune into Southern sky alien radio transmitters,even assuming they are still transmitting using very old, for them, technology. In the “Zeta Reticuli Incident” by Terence Dickinson, which discusses Marjorie Fish’s very exciting research on the Betty Hill star map, it is noted that many sun like stars in the neighborhood can only be seen from below the equator.
Shostak presents the Sacred Drake equation and then plays dartboard physics to try to come up with values for such things as on what fraction of planets life develops; on what fraction of those intelligence develops; and on what fraction of those the ability to send radio signals develops and perhaps most important, the lifetime of a civilization.. Considering that we have data for some of these factors from one planet around one star in a galaxy of a few hundred Billion stars, one can see that this is just a mite of a stretch, a rather huge extrapolation. The galaxy may be 13 Billion years old and the sun is only about 4.5 billion years old. But Zeta 1 and Zeta 2 Reticuli, just 39 light years away, are a billion years older than the sun and just down the street.
Unlike us, they each have a neighboring sun-like star 1/8th of a light year away. What if a civilization colonizes a number of nearby planets and what if each of those, in turn colonizes others, and on and on?. No consideration of this possibility is taken into account. Shostak assumes 10,000 years for a lifetime. A dynamic colonizing group may last for millions of years.
Shostak reviews how our thoughts of several of the factors have changed. “When Drake and his compatriots plugged their best guesses into the equation, they came up with an answer in the Thousands- meaning that intelligent life is common enough that there should be a technological civilization within about 1000 light years”. I find it impossible to be excited by such false reasoning. This computation of course assumes uniform distribution which is a little like assuming that a 6 foot man can’t drown in a pool whose average depth is only 3’. He can, if he falls in the wrong end. The distribution of major cities in North America is hardly uniform. Shostak thinks Drake had it right in 1961. He does allow “When a technological civilization develops rockets, the colonization of nearby space will likely follow”. Sounds like he means within a solar system. He might have pointed out that nuclear fusion was discovered to be the source of the sun’s energy within a couple of years of the use of the first dish radio telescope. Fusion rockets can provide 10 million times as much energy per particle emitted as can be provided by a chemical rocket. Fusion is also used in H-bombs. But SETI never takes note of the fact that governments have a very strong interest in using the technology of flying saucers for military purposes and, therefore, in covering up what they have learned using our sophisticated tools here. He acts as though SETI people can speak for the planet!!
Nowhere in the article is it noted that within that 1000 light years there are over 5 million stars. Only one other advanced civilization? Surely makes us special, doesn’t it?
A quick thought as to why the opposition to UFOs is so strong in the SETI community. If aliens are visiting, than who needs radio telescopes? Buggy whips weren’t of much use once people started driving automobiles. Discover has a comic book style cartoon with a Jill Tartar saying “But Carl, we’ve been listening...and we don’t hear ANYTHING”. The cartoon Carl Sagan replies “Jill, there are BILLIONS and BILLIONS…”. I must agree with Carl. But they aren’t sending old fashioned radio signals. They are sending visitors. That is what the evidence shows.
See Also: UFO Propulsion Systems By Stanton T. Friedman