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What Hillary Clinton Says About Aliens Is Totally Misguided

A flying saucer hovers over downtown Ithaca*. Have we been visited by aliens? Hillary Clinton is going to find out. (N. Drake)
A flying saucer hovers over downtown Ithaca*. Have we been visited by aliens? Hillary Clinton is going to find out.
Photograph by Nadia Drake

In the spring of 1999, a UFO flew over downtown Ithaca, New York. I was standing on the roof of a house near the Cornell University campus and managed to snap a few characteristically crappy pictures of the alien object, which vaguely resembled a flying saucer wearing a top hat.

It hovered above the Ithaca Commons for a minute before turning east and soaring over the Cornell University clock tower. As it flew, the craft made a sound that resembled bacon sizzling in a frying pan. Then, just as quickly as it had appeared on that sunny Saturday afternoon, the UFO vanished. The whole encounter lasted maybe a few minutes.

I would later learn that it wasn’t the first time Ithaca had been visited by a UFO. In fact, sightings were pretty common in the area during the latter half of the 20th century—just as they are in some UFO hotspots around the world, like Area 51 in Nevada, the Welsh Triangle, and Wycliffe Well, Australia. Witnesses tend to use similar language when describing spacecraft shapes, sounds, and the aliens themselves, which ostensibly lends credibility to their testimony. After all, how could so many people be wrong?

Even Hillary Clinton appears reluctant to doubt the sightings.

“There’s enough stories out there that I don’t think everybody is just sitting in their kitchen making them up,” Clinton said during a recent interview.

Clinton, it seems, has at least one foot inside the UFO spacewagon, and in recent weeks has promised to get to the bottom of what’s really going on at Area 51. She says that if she’s elected in November, she’ll open up as many of those documents as she can (some are already available) and reveal the truth about possible extraterrestrial visits to Earth. Meanwhile, John Podesta, her campaign chair, appears to be piloting that spacewagon. A rabid X-Files fan (as am I, no shame), Podesta tweeted, “Finally, my biggest failure of 2014: Once again not securing the #disclosure of the U.F.O. files. #thetruthisstilloutthere,” when he left the Obama White House last year.

It’s disappointing that influential people are helping fan the flames of conspiracy theories that refuse to wilt beneath the weight of truth. One hopes it’s just a campaign stunt, meant to increase Clinton’s popularity among a group of people who might be inclined to vote somewhat more conservatively. Yet given Podesta’s and Clinton’s track records on the topic, it seems more likely the pair really believes there might be something to expose.

Perhaps those documents are tucked into a cardboard box stashed in an old railway car, waiting for Clinton and Podesta to arrive with their flashlights. But I’d wager much more than my house that there’s exactly zero credible evidence supporting alien encounters with this planet—and I’d love for warp drives and battlestars to exist as much as anyone would.

After a few minutes, the spacecraft turned east and flew over the Cornell campus*. (N. Drake)
After a few minutes, the spacecraft turned east and flew over the Cornell campus*.
Photograph by Nadia Drake

Wait. Didn’t I see a UFO over Ithaca?

Yes, I did see a UFO over Ithaca. I can even tell you exactly what it was made of: an upside-down frying pan with a saucepan lid on top, some fishing line, and a big stick. A classmate and I had manufactured the photos for a course we were taking on the search for life in the universe. Our goal was to win a classroom debate about whether aliens had visited Earth, and step one was proving just how easy it is to fabricate evidence.

Sorry to disappoint. (Not really.)

Step two involved addressing the volumes of eyewitness claims, and explaining why such testimony can be unreliable. If you’re skeptical, check out the decades of research that have been done on the reliability of witnesses testifying in court. In these situations, our brains often fill in or edit details based on preconceived biases or post-encounter information—and then we subconsciously convince ourselves that our memories are accurate when in fact, they’re not.

This is where Clinton’s reasoning about people sitting in their kitchens making stuff up falls apart. Beliefs are potent. The brain is a powerful tool, and it can lead us to some incredibly wrong recollections and conclusions. And in these situations, assuming there’s safety in numbers is foolish (for more on that topic, start with the Salem witch trials).

During high school, I spent a few summers working alongside my father at the SETI Institute. One of my jobs was to answer letters. This was back in the day when people stuffed paper into envelopes, so I’d start by sorting the letters into two piles. One pile was for correspondence that requested scientific information; the other was for claims of UFO sightings. I’d read these with interest, wondering what it was people thought they saw. Many were convinced that my family had aliens buried in our basement (I’m not saying we do, I’m not saying we don’t**). Often, the reports were incredibly detailed, with one particularly colorful account unfolding over 10 handwritten pages describing how beeping robotic space balls followed a family around.

There’s a familiar saying that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and that evidence—or any proof, really—was never there.

It never is.

So I’d respond with a standard letter explaining what SETI actually does, and include a brochure about the scientific search for extraterrestrial life, which I think is as interesting as the fantasy.

That search began in 1960, when my dad pointed a telescope in Green Bank, West Virginia at a pair of sunlike stars. He was listening for telltale signs of technology broadcasting itself across the cosmos. All he heard was silence. And all we’ve heard since then is silence. But in the intervening half-century, the search for life beyond Earth has moved beyond straining to hear distant cosmic murmurs to looking for evidence of microbial life much closer to home, in our own solar system. Eventually, we’ll take a close look at the atmospheres of faraway planets and keep an eye out for the signatures of living, breathing, biological ecosystems.

And that’s science, which is step three in evaluating alien encounters. It’s true that we don’t know everything there is to know about propulsive technologies, or how the universe works. But we do know that the distances between the stars are so vast, and the energetic requirements for space travel so monumental, that visiting an alien world is far from trivial. It’s not nearly enough to say that alien civilizations might be using technologies we’re completely unaware of. Science demands verifiable proof.

And “proof” of flying saucers and crashed alien spacecrafts amounts to little more than unverified anecdotes.

This is why it’s unhelpful and irresponsible for Clinton and Podesta to be teasing the public as they are. Go ahead and open up the Area 51 files (or at least the ones that don’t compromise national security), but do it in the name of true government transparency rather than uncovering aliens.

* Not really. Please don’t reuse this image without that important caveat.

** We don’t have aliens buried in our basement.

209 thoughts on “What Hillary Clinton Says About Aliens Is Totally Misguided

    1. Hi Stephen — I can handle being called a fool (though I don’t agree), but I’ve edited your comment to remove the bits that were unnecessarily personal. Please consider whether it would be appropriate for me to reference your family in this reply. I’d also point out that I’m not promoting whatever propaganda you’re referring to but simply asking, “Where’s the evidence?” — ND

      1. Nadia, I would highly suggest you visit SiriusDisclsure.com. True and real life evidence is available if you look in the right place. I also think you should share this with NatGeo, in effort to push formal disclosure.

      2. Nadia

        THIS IS FROM A NASA ASTRONAUT WITH MORE CREDIBILITY THAN MOST. This is just one clip. There is so much more from credible people. People with credentials and not a voice blogging on the Internet.

        1957, Gordon Cooper was one of an elite band of test pilots at Edwards Air Force Base in California, in charge of several advanced projects, including the installation of a precision landing system.
        “I had a camera crew filming the installation when they spotted a saucer. They filmed it as it flew overhead, then hovered, extended three legs as landing gear, and slowly came down to land on a dry lake bed ! These guys were all pro cameramen, so the picture quality was very good. The camera crew managed to get within 20 or 30 yards of it, filming all the time. It was a classic saucer, shiny silver and smooth, about 30 feet across. It was pretty clear it was an alien craft. As they approached closer it took off.”
        When his camera crew handed over the film, Cooper followed standard procedure and contacted Washington to report the UFO ­ and “all heck broke loose,” he said. “After a while a high-ranking officer said when the film was developed I was to put it in a pouch and send it to Washington. He didn’t say anything about me not looking at the film. That’s what I did when it came back from the lab ­ and it was all there just like the camera crew reported.”
        When the Air Force later started Operation Blue Book to collate UFO evidence and reports, Cooper says he mentioned the film evidence. “But the film was never found ­ supposedly. Blue Book was strictly a cover-up anyway.” Cooper revealed he’s convinced an alien craft crashed at Roswell, N. Mex., in 1947 and aliens were discovered in the wreckage. “I had a good friend at Roswell, a fellow officer. He had to be careful about what he said. But it sure wasn’t a weather balloon, like the Air Force cover story. He made it clear to me what crashed was a craft of alien origin, and members of the crew were recovered.”
        Why has the government kept its UFO secrets for so many years ? “It started in World War 2, when the government didn’t want people to know about UFO reports in case they panicked,” said Cooper. “They would have been fearful it was superior enemy technology that we had no defense against. Then it got worse in the Cold War for the same reason. So they told one untruth, they had to tell another to cover that one, then another, then another . . . it just snowballed. And right now I’m convinced a lot of very embarrassed government officials are sitting there in Washington trying to figure a way to bring the truth out. They know it’s got to come out one day, and I’m sure it will.

        1. Hi, David. I’ve spent a bit of time trying to find the original source for this recollection and can’t. All I see is the same text reproduced over and over. For all I know, it’s an embellished re-telling of an apocryphal tale. — ND

          1. Thanks, Gary. Sounds like Cooper has had more than his fair share of otherworldly sightings*. Quick q: What on Earth is that super creepy whisper at 6:12? Related questions: Who is doing the interviewing here? Who else is in the room? Is there an unedited version? (There’s a cut right after Cooper recounts the saucer story, which…is troubling. What did he say that got chopped?) And lastly: Has anyone ever bothered to track down those cameramen? Surely they exist. — ND *Description does not imply I believe him…and this video doesn’t solve the apocryphal problem

          2. Hi Nadia,

            I have seen the video online of Gordon Cooper himself retelling this story. I remember his story matched the one told above exactly.

            Mike

          3. Nadia, you’re fantastic. cheering you on as you systematically address all of these comments. I grew up outside Ithaca btw, lovely place (during the warmer months). Carl Sagan was spot on with his views on ETs

    2. According to former CIA life sciences official and DIA TIGER committee member Dr Kit Green, the visitaion is referred to as the CORE STORY. The level above TOP SECRET is called CORE SECRET according to leaked NSA documents. CORE refers to level of information sharing between select senior government officials. Green would not go on the record, because the story he heard had been passed verbally from the most senior officials he had knon, including, according to some accounts, his boss, Director Richard Helms.

    3. I have seen three UAP’s over 50 years. The first was a blue plasma ball in my bedroom. It was 3 feet in diameter, caused all the hair on my head and arms to rise. It hovered for about 3 seconds at the bottom of the bed, then slowly moved across to the wall where it seemed to pass through the wall. It was 20 years before I read anything else about this phenomenon. The same thing happened to a plane full of engineers. It was then that I realized that perhaps I had seen some kind of electric phenomenon. These are regularly reported these day.
      Two weeks ago over Oak Bay BC Canada 10 pm in evening I saw the Aurora TR-3B. This is the classic triangular, silent classified aircraft, most famously seen over Belgium years ago. As it headed towards Seattle crossing the USA border, a super narrow bright white lazer light appeared to shoot at it as it crossed the USA border just miles from Port Townsend in the Salish Sea.
      But then there was my third sighting which I am 90% certain was an ET vehicle. I will hold back what I saw to maintain some credibility. I am a retired scientist/engineer and do believe that Dr Stephen Greer and Stephen Bassett are right on when they argue that the Zero point energy/ZPE, anti-gravity technology they likely utilize should be declassified and used for the betterment of mankind. Not just USA. I would make the technology open source as Greer is advocating. The revelation of advanced ET’s (latest Kepler results say there are 10 Billion earth like planets around sun-like stars in just our Galaxy alone) and this technology might be what is needed to stop the religious wars that plague our world. If it was revealed that “visions” like had by Moses, Jesus and Mohammad were explainable ET communications, then surely this idea that my god is better than your god would be seen as obsolete.

      1. Hi, William. Just noting that the enormous number of potentially Earth-size planets in the Milky Way in no way implies they’re inhabited — not even by microbes, and especially not by advanced civilizations. It is definitely exciting that they’re so common, though. One of the most interesting next steps will be learning more about what exoplanets are like and whether they are capable of hosting life as we know it. For now, we don’t know that. — ND

  1. Although there may be no evidence and there might not be a govt. conspiracy, this does not mean they don’t exist. I saw one in Arizona that is on video and is unexplained and witnessed by thousands. I also saw one in Illinois years ago that was seen by at least 10 people. Was it aliens? I don’t know but it was a UFO and it was extremely advanced technology. For you to imply that your UFO mockup proves that UFO sightings are all fabricated is a ridiculous assumption. Abraham Lincoln said you can tell the extent of a man’s ignorance by listening to him talk for 5 minutes. Btw your UFO pics looked nothing like the things I have seen.

    1. Hi, Joshua. I’m happy for you to share your opinions, but let’s please try and keep it polite. I’ve edited your comment to remove the rude bits that were completely unnecessary. — ND

    2. Tou just implied advanced technology with absolutely
      No explanation if this “technology”. Huh? Doesn’t make sense either. Just another “opinion”. No fact, just a belief.

  2. welp, at least you correctly pointed out that most people who tend to believe this nonsense are conservatives. i guess Murdoch hasn’t completely ruined NatGeo.

    1. William Ferrell,
      Please tell me where in Nadia Drake’s piece we can find “at least you correctly pointed out that most people who tend to believe this nonsense are conservatives.”
      I read it three times and couldn’t find the reference to conservatives.
      Thanks
      Rob

    2. William Ferrell, I don’t know a single conservative voting for Hillary who is promoting the UFO disclosure angle, so not sure where the idea conservatives are the majority here…and if they were, how does having an open mind on an ongoing phenomena impugn them…

  3. Dear Nadia —

    Trying to remember — I think one of your Phenomena colleagues wrote a piece about stratospheric life. Specifically, particles from Earth’s surface were lofted into the air and literally blown higher and higher. These particles were, or were attached to, microbial life that was able to sporulate (or were spores) and remain airborne virtually indefinitely. So, I began thinking. I remember an article published by the US Navy office in London, England, in the early 1970’s discussing how hydrogen molecules were ripped from methane and escaped into space. (And the carbon atoms combined with atmospheric oxygen to make CO2 which stayed behind. [GASP — sudden thought! Maybe THAT is the cause of the carbon dioxide build-up in the atmosphere!!!!!]) Anyhow, I asked myself, “If hydrogen can do it, why not spores?” Yes, I know that we are talking about structures many orders of magnitude larger than H2, but aside from that, why not? What I’d like to see is for someone to put hi-tech “flypaper” on the outside of the ISS and see if anything sticks. Just think, Nadia! If some is found THERE, maybe there are microbes scattered throughout the universe.

  4. this article is dumb. statistics alone tells us that we are not alone in the universe but to dismiss it completely because we haven’t found any “warp drivers or battlestarts” is just bleh. From the government’s point of view, such information is best kept secret as it can incite public unrest or disturbances. As for Clinton saying if there is something there, she will do what she can is misguided only in a sense that people are too dumb to process that information. If such information do exist and is kept from the public, i think it is time for us to see it. As far as evidence goes, what is there to say other than “I saw a ufo and it looked like…” unless you were actually out looking for it and came prepared. The best an unsuspecting person can do in a ET encounter is to snap a photo or record a video IF they have the equipment. It is not like these ufos are just flying around dropping bits and parts off of itself (Does your car drop parts and pieces of itself as you drive? If so, you probably need a newer car lol) You can be a skeptic about anything but don’t be a dismissive skeptic burro. Otherwise, this just looks like an attack on Hillary from supporters of her competing candidates. Boring article.

    1. So boring you commented, eh? I don’t disagree at all with your point about statistics suggesting we’re not alone in the universe. But your argument about the government’s point of view is pure conjecture. And as for “the best an unsuspecting person can do…is to snap a photo or record a video” — are you suggesting people aren’t walking around glued to smartphones that are more than capable of capturing decent images? I’m continually astounded at the lack of clear, unambiguous photos of UFOs despite the fact that nearly everyone (in this country, at least) is tethered to cameras that are vastly superior to the point-and-shoots from two decades ago. If UFOs are buzzing around as frequently as people say they are, there should be some totally foolproof images by now. And yet, there aren’t. — ND

      1. What smart phone camera do you have that can capture clear photos/video of a 50-100 foot that is several thousand feet in the air??? And do you also know of a smart phone that can withstand electromagnetic pulses??? You are ignorant of the real research and evidence aren’t you??? Some journalist…pfffft!

        1. Hi, Lawrence. Are UFOs now emitting EMPs? That would be truly problematic, as I think EMPs are one of the more pressing security concerns for developed nations. To date, though, I’m unaware of any such incidents — and they surely wouldn’t remain hidden. My job as a journalist is to evaluate the evidence that exists, and so far, I’ve seen nothing convincing. That doesn’t indicate ignorance, it’s a sign of thinking critically and refusing to treat anecdotes as verified data. — ND

      2. I don’t believe a UFO would be able to be caught on camera very often. If any race of E.T. out there has the knowledge to be able to make it to planet Earth then imagine the technology they would have applied to be undetected. Say… a giant LCD like flexible material thin enough to mold onto any structure shape. Maybe tiny video cameras that capture the images around them and then project them very clearly throughout the entire UFO. It would literally camouflage with the sky while traveling. If it were to present itself it would be the decision of the ones who occupy it.
        Also, there are many strange experiments and projects started from Cornell University and based out of. I could see how Ithaca, NY became the topic of this discussion. I lived there once. I won’t go into detail of what I know happens/ has happened there so if you know, Nadia, good for you.
        Thanks for the very end of the article. I always enjoy intelligence and slight humor. It was a good read.

        1. Why are you assuming they’d want to remain undetected? Seems like a giant leap of logic. And Ithaca only appeared because that’s where I went to school, not because of any nefarious dealings. It’s a wonderful town, and I miss it dearly. — ND

      3. I’m astounded at the amount of video evidence on YouTube, the amount of images, and the amount of information provided by contactees from all corners of the globe, even before we had the Internet, the implant removals, the citizen hearings, the disclosure project testimony, the radar signatures, the CE5 initiative field work, UFO summoning work, etc. You want to see a clear UFO without all the hype music, effects, or click baiting? Visit my YouTube channel. Write me and I’ll give you all the evidence you would need to rethink this uneducated article. It’s amazing how people can still live in a world where they keep claiming there’s no evidence, all while the evidence is readily available and not a secret by any means.

      4. Even with the fantastic cameras in smartphones trying to capture an image at night is still dicey. Even when someone says it should be easy to capture an image of lights at night omg lol blah blah blah….it’s not so easy. Unless conditions are great, trying to get lights way up in the sky to come out in the pic like you saw them is hard. You have to deal with light pollution from the ground, the light of the stars and moon, any odd occurrence in the atmosphere which can cause a disturbed picture. Even getting a nice pic of a full moon that looks like what you saw yourself is difficult at best in a suburban setting. And this thing is likely orders of magnitude less luminous than the moon and conceivably moving very fast.

        1. From what I understand, the aliens don’t only show up when it’s dark. So. — ND

    2. Why does “statistics alone tells us that we are not alone in the universe” ? What statistics? I’ve seen the Drake equation*, but without any sound rationale for estimating those numbers, it’s all just a guess anyway. On a lark, I plugged in some numbers I pulled out of my nether regions, but which seemed reasonable to me (R* = 7, fp = 1, ne = 1, fl = 1, fi = 0.000001, fc = 1, L = 100,000), and got an N of a little less than 1, which would be us. But even that’s just a guess, because there’s really no way of knowing some of those probabilities (incidentally, I’ve seen others come up with even smaller numbers). So, to repeat myself, I don’t see how statistics can imply that we’re not alone, at least if we’re referring to intelligent technological life.

      As far as photographic evidence, Nadia Drake already pointed out the big issue. There are tons of smart phones with built-in cameras all over the world. There are dash cams running constantly in countless vehicles. Meteors and other astronomical events are now routinely captured. But the evidence for UFOs remains just as sketchy as it was before the proliferation of video recording. If there was really something there, you’d expect there to be a bit more evidence by now.

      *Oh wow, I just put two and two together. I’ve been reading all these NatGeo blogs for a while now, but never read any of the bios.

  5. Generally mocking those who have an interest in this subject by talking about ‘battlestars’ and
    ‘warp drives’ while ridiculing witnesses as either fools or frauds is not science in any sense but the habitual way that some intelligent people think about ‘lesser people’ as ignorant knuckle draggers.
    It is quite sad to lump all these people into a mix and play ‘space music’ over them but while I don’t believe there are little green men there very well may be probes 1000s of years in the traveling that may have in Earth’s long past looked down at this small blue marble and saw life. That we have not heard from them yet (if they exist) has everything to do with time. Has the race died out before we existed or are they not up to us technologically and so much more.
    Funny thing is if there are little green men (and women) they will get the last laugh

    1. Hi, Tim. I disagree with your first statement (quite a bit) but am happy for you to share your opinion. That being said, I have removed the portion of your comment that I found to be unnecessarily rude. Your point about interstellar probes sailing through the galaxy is interesting — indeed, we have launched many such probes of our own. And your point about timing is a great one; it’s one of the most persistent, frustrating variables we have to deal with in the search for communicating civilizations. — ND

    2. Tim, you have no more evidence for “probes 1000s of years in the traveling” than I have evidence for turquoise teapots in orbit around the moon. I support anyone committed to a sincere, rigorous search for truth accompanied by the sober acknowledgment of the possibility that the truth may be that there are no visitors from beyond as yet. Unfortunately I have never witnessed a believer admitting the possibility that they may be wrong. Instead I see statements of personal epiphany, loaded language, the tautological “I know what I saw”, conjecture, conspiracy theories and more blurry photos. This is not science but it is very much like religion. And the evidence? In reporting objects of every imaginable size, shape and color, there is no consensus among believers – except the belief that there is a cover-up. As ND tried to explain, human sight is designed to track animals within the distance of a throwing spear or discern a limited set of signals on a distant hilltop. Beyond that, our eyes are pathetic at resolving detail, depth or geometry of any kind, which is partly the reason pilots learn to trust their instruments with their lives. The UFO community is certainly well-intentioned. I know several members including my own family and even a professor of physics who can cite where, when and what they saw. However, until they can come to terms with human fallibility and objective standards of evidence then the investigation we all deserve, and Hilary wants, remains where it began: in 1947.

      1. I have a result lovely turquoise teapot that’s gone missing. I hope very much that it’s orbiting the moon, seems a nice change from the cupboard.

    1. Haha OK, fine. I wasn’t really sure how to edit your comment for civility, but I think we can agree on the last point: “J. Allen Hynek you are not.” Truth. — ND

      1. HI Nadia

        I found your article to be purposefully biast with the views of national geographic.
        Intended only to persaude skeptical members of the public to take up you ignorant ideas.
        I’ve never read such an uninformed and unresearched piece of writing. I am a qualified biologist and have studied physics and chemistry heavily. My research into u.f.o”s and unusual aria phenomena is extensive. Unlike yours it seems who has just randomly written a piece with no proper research whatsoever.
        If you have read the thousands of military, pilot, public and navy accounts and interviews that I have you would know full well that your article has no Base for truth whatsoever. You have discredited your own writing by not researching the subject properly.
        And by the way it is people like yourself making top hats and frying sizing pans making a mockery of probably one of the most important subjects addressing the human race.
        Furthermore it is actually obsurd to say other races are not visiting other planets and have not developed advanced technology, just because we haven’t invented it yet ( so we are told).
        Unfortunately because you know absolutely nothing on the subject you cannot be taken seriously. Please stick to your normal day job and don’t comment on things you don’t know about. Your nievity I just read is astounding and iresponcible.
        If you really want to know if other alien races are visiting us or have ever visited us please do some proper military research. As a journalist you have let yourself down by writing national geo propaganda set by nsa/cia to convince people that nothing is happening. Well I tell you know as a scientist and phylisofical free thinker I find your writings to be ignorant and without any scientific bases

        1. Hi, James. I agree that the question of whether we are alone in the universe is profoundly important. It just hasn’t been answered yet. — ND

        2. James, I’ll trade credentials with you anytime. But that isn’t the point. Nadia’s article demonstrates that politicians often pander to potential voters’ superstitions, to their conclusions — logical or otherwise — and to their biases. So far, there really has not been real “evidence” of alien visitation to Earth. All of the anecdotes are interesting and many of us — me included — “want to believe,” but the truth is “still out there.” Based on the number of responses to Nadia’s article — far more than the typical “Phenomena” article — she has hit on a point that stirs people deeply. It is really unsavory for Clinton to pledge to investigate Area 51, for example, without foundation. It would be the same if Donald Trump swore to find “proof” that the moon landings were actually staged on Paramount Studio’s back lot. Nadia has nailed it!

          1. Oh, the moon landing is an interesting analogy! Going to think about that some more… — ND

  6. Thanks, we all disagree on one point or another and with more or less effort but I appreciate the nod about time. Its that time and time pretty much alone will determine any real visits from
    our neighbors. 1960 to now is not really measurable on a galactic scale. There is so much
    more for us to know that I think perhaps a 1000 years from now Earth probes entering another
    star system may very well find intelligent life but we, the Earth probe creators, are long gone
    from disease, war, or natural disaster leaving nobody to listen for the probes signal its discovery.
    If I remember Arthur C Clark already wrote about that…in a story many years ago.

  7. Is this article about ufo’s?
    This is a piece about alien flying objects…
    That actually makes all your points invalid.
    Now it just feels like a attack against hilary. I dont mind that, but it kinda makes this whole article ‘misguided

  8. I enjoy your well written articles on astronomy and the sciences, but I have been studying and doing observations of the heavens for 50 years. The last 48 years I have been in the position that is so well portrayed by Richard Dreyfuss in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Your analogue with the frying pan reminds me of that scene with the Air Force, Dreyfuss and the the Bigfoot story teller, and that has been where we have been stuck for the last forty years! Two things that could help with this three body problem:
    1. Do a anonymous polling of professional Astronomers to see if any and how many UFO’s have been seen by them. (With an emphasis on possible alien propulsion info).
    2. Do a scientific study of long duration with professionals (money problems!) like the French group; http://www.ufo-science.com/wpf/?lang=en. The main emphasis on Zeeman splitting of spectral lines of UFO’s high magnetic fields in their surrounding plasma.
    With high resolution and wide angle, cheap astrophotography cameras now available this would be inexpensive to do, all you would need is some professional volunteers.

    1. Thank you, I’m always looking for more evidence to try and find out what makes UFOs go, and to see what can be gleaned from people’s observations of them.

    2. Also, you know all those reports of telepathy, and just happening to be at the right place at the right time to see a UFO? They do that with implants that they probably give people during abduction. Somehow, the implants are linked to a computer out there somewhere and it serves out the thoughts to another person/entities mind. There was a book that foreshadowed the Texas Tower shooter called “Open Square” which also got the name of the investigating police officer correctly… using relativity and/or a fleet of UFOs launched in the past, as well as quantum entanglement, it would be possible to send information time-traveling to people who had these implants.

    3. Nadia, what is your opinion on optical Seti and the projects to do a wide field survey for laser signals from other civilizations?

  9. UFO researchers must exercise caution when people, essentially, may be lying to them, for the sake of their credibility. Personally, having seen UFOs pull off maneuvers that would be impossible for aircraft I have absolutely no doubt about their reality. The things I have seen them do also match and mirror things which others have reported seeing them do. Right angle turns, extreme speed and acceleration, movements which seem to defy gravity, appearing, disappearing and reappearing. The government has a long history of observing these sorts of maneuvers and hushing up the UFO issue. There are many credible people, trained observers, who have witnessed them, and there is a long history of these reports by people who are trained at recognizing air craft and have it as a part of their job. Do some more research, you might be surprised.

    1. “Trained observer” is a credible job title?

      Question: What’s the training for that look like… is there a credentialing organization, or do you just buy a pair of binoculars and a notebook from Walmart?

      1. ERS,

        It’s like people in the military who record things like ballistic missile, air planes, or nuke tests. People who are also trained to make observations from things like satellite photos and videos of said missile and plane tests to get valuable intelligence (hence another reason the military/government has focused on making underground bases to be away from prying eyes though they sometimes hide things in plain sight, like Manhattan Project storage or in this case the Extraterrestrial reality).

        A quick search of google, rather than your imagination, will yield better results. Search for: military observation. You’ll find things like reconnaissance and observation post as wikipedia entries. Lo and behold; search for: military observer ufo. Myself, I would imagine there are numerous credentialing methods for determining if you have people properly trained for things like photo and video reconnaissance. I would also imagine that they probably use state-of-the-art equipment, not “binoculars from Walmart.”

        So, for example, these people would be trained to recognize all sorts of air craft and flight characteristics through the intelligent use of their eyes on and through various mediums. Law enforcement also receive training to hone their abilities of observation.

        In my first post, I said “Do some more research.” Let us exercise our skills of analysis.

  10. If anything I think she’d much rather people focus on make believe aliens than some of the all too real toxic waste issues her husband helped squelch while he was in office. Do a search for “Robert Frost area51”. In fact Bill famously said “There’s a secret government, inside the government…and I don’t control it.”… referencing the powerful groups deep within our government that don’t face re-election every 4 or 8 years (see black budget). Area 51 has plenty if secrets, unfortunately they have more to do with human and environmental destruction than Independence Day aliens.

  11. even though I entirely agree with your premise (well perhaps not entirely .. okay, to be honest “partially”), but I do find your article is quite a bit confrontational. In my opinion, for a Government/Body/Authoritative Individual to expend such statement is not without a ground. No smoke without fire, they say. But okay, Politics aside, more to Alien Life. Even though I dismiss the idea about the UFO, I couldn’t say the likewise about the Alien life. As an amateur (wannabe) scientist myself, I try to keep an open mind. The lack of evidences doesn’t necessary mean nonexistence. Perhaps we haven’t find other way. To generalize alien technology using our own standard is somewhat anthropocentric. like you said, space is vast .. perhaps we haven’t been here long enough. well “perhaps” is the best I can offer right now, sorry for not being verifiable. I also long for the day, when proofs are popping like Kepler discovers new exoplanets, when Fermi could finally smile in his eternal rest.

    1. Hi, Ichsan. I completely agree with you about the possible existence of alien life. It seems rather unlikely that life only evolved once in this vast, majestic universe. But there are light-years between that, and proving aliens have visited Earth. — ND

  12. Dear Nadia,
    My very heartfelt congratulations for your clear vision and bright intelligence. I also liked the humor with which you lead the readers to realize how easy it is to get misled by urban myths.
    Don’t worry if 99 percent of people don’t understand what you mean when you talk about distances. The capacity of most peoples’ imagination to really get an idea and feeling of what a light-year really represents is just too limited, too tiny. The closest neighbor of our sun, (proxima centauri) is more than 3 light-years away from us, which means a spaceship would have to travel as many times Earth-Moon (the same distance which separates the Moon from Earth) as there are seconds contained in the time-span of three years. Traveling at the crazy and unrealistic speed of half the speed of light a rocket it would pass by the orbit of the moon already 2 seconds after blast-off and then continue for 6 and a half years at this speed. After arriving near Proxima it would try to call mission control at Houston for a very slow chat with a 7 year waiting time between each sentence, because radio waves also travel at the speed of light.
    Which means each message needs 3 and a half years to travel from there to Earth and another 3 and a half years backwards for the answer. (makes a funny time-frame for galactiv warfare:”officer, shall we shoot the missile ? with the answer arriving 60 years later “no, its too late, come back , see you in 300 years” ,
    But lets not forget that there aren’t any inhabitable planets near Proxima centauri so if we are extremely lucky there might be some microbe-bearing planets orbiting suns at distances like 40 or more lightyears, but to get there would take us thousands of years even at speeds thousands of times our actual capacity of acceleration.
    When it comes to awareness about the reality of cosmic distances most people simply cannot imagine and prefer to belief in myths and gossip. In this sense they ressemble the naive Indonesian villagers who found an Angel by the beach, venerated it, dressed it every day with a new hijab, until plice told them the truth= that it was an inflatable sex doll (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3570702/Excited-villagers-thought-blessed-angel-heaven-doll-washes-beach-Indonesia-discover-inflatable-SEX-TOY.html

    1. Dear Nadia,
      Please you astronomers do something (very urgently) to educate humanity about the totally false concepts poured massively into the collective subconscious and imagination by all those star-war movies and SCIFI novels. There is not any more ridiculous idea on this planet than the concept of interstellar or intergalactic warfare.
      In my first post I forgot to mention that I am convinced (like many biologists and astronomers) that the probability of a zillion life forms coexisting in space is more than overpowering, all constantly evolving, transforming themselves and partly disappearing in the cosmic space-time miracle. To doubt this would be like finding some life forms on one tiny island and then to doubt that there are any other similar forms on other islands, continents and in the oceans..
      The big problem to find any, or even to communicate with other life-forms is the abyss of distance, i.e. the unimaginable vastness of space, because all we observe or hear out there up in space is coming from the past. If we get a signal coming from our sister- galaxy (Andromeda) it has been sent from there 2.5 million light-years ago and our answer will arrive there only in another 2.5 million light-years. Because the max speed for any signals is the speed of light, which needs 2,5 mio years to get there.
      If we, or individuals from other planets, want to travel from solar system to solar system we have to become spirits first, like angels, because our bodies will always be subject to the limits of Einsteins relativity-findings, which stipulate that the faster a material body accelerates, the more its mass (weight) increases. And when it gets close to the speed of light its mass becomes infinitely big.(as heavy as the whole universe)
      Then there is the problem of the warping of time, with time slowing down or running faster according to the speed with which we travel. So an astronaut who comes back after some ultrafast spacetrip could be only a few years older at his return, while his friends and family back here might have become 100 years old in the meantime.
      So the only plausible explanation for UFO phenomena could be that those alien beings are body-less spirits, (able to travel faster than light) ,but those things belong to the domain of religion and spirituality and should be left to the priests and exorcists,

      1. oups, I forgot to delete the word “light” from this sentence, above),
        please rather read as follows =
        if we get a signal coming from our sister- galaxy (Andromeda) it has been sent from there 2.5 million.(..)years ago and our answer will arrive there only in another 2.5 million(.)-years.
        sorry

  13. I saw a UFO once. It was quite unexplainable. A bright light near the horizon that silently went quickly straight up, stopped, and then went straight down again. There was no reasonable explanation! This happened again and again. And then the buzz of an airplane engine approached and the crop duster flew over head. If it were not for that, I would still be wondering what it was. But this is exactly why I would never have been convinced of alien visitors by one mysterious citing that I could not explain. It would be enormous hubris to believe that I could think of every possible ordinary explanation. It would be hubris to conclude that just because I had no obvious explanation, the least likely and most extraordinary explanation had to be true. That would be just plain stupid. It’s sad that there are so many delusional people in the world–people who are not equipped to comprehend their own human failings. The dead certainty of every UFO believer is the biggest tip off that their logic cannot be trusted.

    One thing you didn’t touch on that is central to all conspiracies is the idea that people can and will hide the truth. I can’t think of one astronomer whom I know, and I know a lot of them, who would, having found actual evidence of a UFO conspiracy would keep their mouths shut. Not one. Yet the mind of the conspircist sees this as not only possible, but likely. It is a deeply ignorant and bizarre view of the world. Not ignorant in the technological sense, but in the social sense. Ask Edward Snowden if it is possible to tell the truth and get away with it. Ask him if the truth matters enough to some some people to tell it no matter what, and it only takes on person. Somehow all of the astronomers of the world are either lying or missing the action? How absurd.

    When a Presidential candidate says we should look into these claims she is either pandering to the audience or not using her brain to think things through. We can only hope its the former.

    1. Fred, Arthur C. Clarke describes a similar experience with the same conclusions – a personal false alarm, and a dose of humility.

  14. First off, who cares what Hillary thinks about anything. She should be arrested any day now. Seti is a government run psy-op. There is overwhelming evidence of ufo/et presence on this planet. Why don’t you visit the eceti ranch at Mt. Adams in Washington for a few days and see with your own eyes. Ill wait for your report.

  15. Ms. Drake,
    Please watch Robert Hastings’ recently released documentary “UFOs and Nukes: The Secret Link Revealed” which is available at Vimeo On Demand. The film references the type of evidence you may be looking for in the testimony of two USAF military men, Ike Barker and Jim Carrey, who were in the control tower during the December 1980 “Rendelsham Forest UFO Incident”. They both testify that they personally witnessed an object on their radar screens moving at incredible velocity, covering 120 miles in 3 sweeps of the radar screen, while simultaneously making a sharp, right angle turn. One of those men then saw the object stop above their tower, describing its color and the porthole-like structures on its surface.
    Dr. Jesse Marcel, now deceased, was a medical colleague and a friend. Dr. Marcel told me, face to face, that the material he held in his hands and closely inspected at the time of the Roswell UFO Incident” was from an extraterrestrial UFO “not of this Earth”. I knew Dr. Marcel very well. I KNOW that he would not have lied about this to me, or to anyone else.
    The derisive tone of your article implying that myself and many others on the “spacewagon” who have become convinced there is something important happening in our skies is offensive and devoid of any information that would help to enlighten others about what is actually a very serious and important subject. That the UFO (UAP) is finally and appropriately being addressed by a serious Presidential candidate is a good thing, and I applaud John Podesta and Hillary Clinton for their courage in speaking out about a subject so often ridiculed by the press. At present, that would be you.

    1. Hi, Richard. Yes, this is an important subject. The answer to whether we are alone in the universe will have profound implications either way. What I don’t understand is why everyone is so eager to rush to an answer, when the available evidence is less than convincing and doesn’t hold up to rigorous evaluations. Why risk being wrong about something so fundamental? If we are not alone, and surely life cannot have evolved once and only once in this vast universe, then science will find out soon enough. — ND

      1. Nadia,
        There have been no “rigorous evaluations” of UFOs, primarily because there is no funding available to make this happen. Why? Could it be because people do not take the UFO subject seriously? Why is that? Could it be because they don’t want to be labeled as one of those who are riding on the “spacewagon”?
        Once again, I ask that you watch Robert Hastings film “UFOs and Nukes: The Secret Link Revealed”, available at Vimeo On Demand. The film leaves no doubt that UFO occupants have tampered with our nuclear weapons in ways that seem to indicate that they have, over and over and over again, admonished us to cease and desist in our unconscionable production of these weapons of mass destruction. Do you not think this debate should be brought to public attention, and soon? Do you think that we have forever to figure this out? What about the potential remedies that might be discovered through our serious, well-funded study of the energy/propulsion systems of UFOs. Might they not be afford us important new insights that we could employ in our battle against global climate change? These are some reasons, and there are many others, that I believe the very real subject of UFOs needs to be brought into the light of public awareness.
        P.S.: I would not call 70 years of cover-up (“The Truth Embargo”) as “rushing into” the subject of UFOs.

        1. Wow oh wow… I am not sure I can read much further, ND. You are a saint for putting up with all the tinfoil whackiness with patience, politeness and good humor. OMG, we have SOOOO underfunded education on this planet. And irony of ironies – the article about *how brains lie to us*. Folks, pay attention; datum is not the plural of anecdote! ‘Testimony’, from anyone (or even from *everyone*) is still NOT scientific evidence. 100% evidence is a fuzzy thing at best, of course, but at a minimum requires multiple, independently verifiable sources, preferably from different modes and collection sources, to be considered extraordinary enough to match the magnitude of the claims. Show me raw radar tracking data (bits and bytes please, not YouTube tinfoil hat fantasies). Show me multispectral analog and digital sensor data from recordings with timestamps and chain-of-custody seal. Show me high res images and millimeter wave radar returns, from independent points of view – military, civilian, private citizens; whatever., etc. all pointing to the same basic conclusion; oh look, that’s an alien starship, clearly demonstrating a not-invented-here propulsion characteristics and power system! – The Earth is now literally covered in sensors like this, public and private, and yet not a single shred of unimpeachable evidence exists, anywhere, over decades and decades, and hundreds of countries – billions of them, and yet… NOTHING. In order for the UFO crowd to be right, these alien visitors have to be deliberately using super-stealthy near-magical technologies AND subject to incredibly implausible government cover-ups (over and over and over again, in every major and minor country, for 75+ years). Not surprisingly, the number of UFO claims have gone steadily DOWN since the appearance of ubiquitous video recording, high definition radar coverage, orbital telescopes, etc. oh what a surprise. Shave with Occam’s Razor every day, folks. ND – thank you again.

      2. Dear Ms. Drake,

        Billions of people believe in something they’ve never seen and have no proof of. We are barely out of our dark wombs when it comes to understanding the workings and realities of our universe. Suspend your disbelief for a bit and go looking for evidence other than a body or a craft. We can convict people in court based on their testimony. Why can’t you accept the possibility that they’re here based on the testimony of highly credible witnesses over many, many decades. Notice I said possibility! When you work from a position of refusing to accept any such possibility, your mind is made up and closed to some pretty compelling evidence. In my opinion that’s your loss. I have seen 4 “things” here in West KY that I simply cannot explain. I admit I don’t know what they are. But as I cannot find a rational, human explanation, I at least admit the possibility that they are from off our planet. We simply don’t know what’s out there. I do suspect that someone does, however. Too many events have taken place to discount them.

        Mike

        1. Because legal proof and scientific proof are different things. Go back to your high school and tell your science teacher to up their game; they didn’t teach you about the importance of empirical evidence or confirmation bias, and about a dozen other logical fallacies. Here, this will help: http://bfy.tw/5li0

  16. UFOs that appear and disappear suddenly, make “impossible” turns, accelerate at an “impossible” rate remind me SO much of the effects of laser light shows. Why couldn’t there be an advanced technology that uses a form of laser (or some wavelength of light) to get here and move around our planet? That can make light do things we haven’t figured out how to do yet? I’ve been told photons are massless, so the apparently physically impossible moves they are seen to make and their other uncanny attributes and actions could be coming from a light-based technology.

  17. My goodness, another journalist who simply can’t bothered to do his homework.

    We have had hundreds of high ranked government personal (including 5 presidents and at least10 astronauts who confirmed the seriousness of the phenomena.
    We have had hundreds of declassified documents, including multiple witness -radar cases and physical traces, video and photo cases. (all can be found at http://www.bestUFOevidence.com)

    It’s a shame most people often just don’t want to see past the cultural bias.

    1. Hi, David. I actually identify as female, so that would be Nadia, Ms. Drake, or even Dr. Drake, if we’re bothering to do our homework. — ND

  18. Your blog was quite disheartening Nadia. While there is no doubt that there are thousands of UFO claims that are either faked or misinterpreted, there is likely an equal or greater number that are legitimate. Your demonstration, though it did make your point, looked to be straight from a 1950s Sci-fi movie and didn’t look very credible and would be quickly de-bunked by UFOologists. But when someone with such a credible reputation like yourself lumps everyone who has seen a UFO into the crazy/hoax category it destroys the credibility of a legitimate sighting and furthermore causes those who have seen UFO’s to be come more reluctant to report a sighting. Regardless of this however, there have been several thousand documented sightings, that would seem like substantial evidence if you ask me. While what Hilary Clinton is claiming to do is surely a vote grab, but if all known UFO records are from civilian sources, it would be interesting to see what the records the government and the military have. Seeing is believing though, Miss Drake, and based on your blog, I would say you haven’t yet seen. I hope someday you will, and when you do I think your mindset will change dramatically.

    1. Hi, Evan. Believe me, I would like nothing more than convincing proof of alien life. How awesome would that be? It would answer one of humanity’s biggest and most persistent unanswered questions — are we alone? But that answer requires something better than Bigfoot-quality photos (which, despite all advances in technology, are still the norm in UFO sightings…) and anecdotal observations. I’m not saying everyone who’s seen a UFO is crazy (though some people surely are), just that observed phenomena are not necessarily what they seem, and that it’s more than possible to be convinced a memory is 100% accurate when it’s not. How do you sort the credible from the in-credible, when there’s no hard evidence to work with? And as I mentioned above, there’s no safety in numbers here. Thousands of people can be wrong…it happens every day. — ND

  19. Nice polemic… But flying saucer crashed in Roswell or it didn’t. Roswell citizens and Air Force base airmen who picked up the craft all said it did. Ok, so you don’t believe them.

    Several Astronauts flying to the moon says they were tailed by alien craft. They’re lying or they are not. You argue no.

    Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. They did or they didn’t. Government said they did but they lied.

    1. Hi, Patrick. I don’t necessarily believe that people are intentionally lying (though some probably are, let’s be honest); if you look at the work I’ve linked to about the veracity of testimony, you’ll see that it’s completely possible to be absolutely convinced a memory is 100% accurate and true, even when it’s not. That’s why adhering to an objective standard of proof — especially in the case of extraordinary claims, of which UFO sightings are — is so important. — ND

  20. Wow! Nadia, you appear to have touched a nerve judging by the comments pouring in. A few of your readers (including me) realize that whether real or not, discussion of “conspiracy” theories in a political campaign is pandering to a subset of voters absent anything to back up the claims. Good for you! (BTW, wish you could write about ghosts too: I saw one once and it is hard to reconcile the vision with my disbelief! )

  21. I don’t understand what this article is doing on NatGeo?? And why on Earth are you editing everybody’s post??? We would like to read full comments. Please don’t respond to mine as I disagree with your opinions. And they are just that; personal opinions.

    1. Ah sorry, Nikki, but you’re getting a reply. Just trying to keep this little cocktail party as polite as possible, which means zero tolerance for personal attacks. The subject matter is open for debate, not the people making arguments. I’m sure you understand. — ND

  22. I’m from Portugal and I saw once a dark and cilindric object with no light. In first, it was just standing still, than it made some ziguezague movements and for last, it went soo high that desapear.
    It was just possíbil to see it, because it was a full moon. If I’ve taken a picture (unfortunatley there was no mobile fone in time and the only camera thit not had no roll, it look like a New Moon.
    This happen in 1987 above Lisbon and above Rio Tejo.
    I believe in life on other planet’s, but I doubt about space ship’s…

  23. I live 5 minutes from NASA and know people there. They have unwritten policy of denying UFO even when they show up on their shuttle and space station videos. They are in YouTube. You are all wet.

  24. I guess the people in this video compilation have been spending too much time sitting at their kitchen table making stuff up– including the 3rd director of the CIA Hillenkoetter, Pope John XXIII, astronauts Gordon Cooper and Edgar Mitchell, (former) heads of state or government leaders Mikhail Gorbachev, Dmitri Medvedev, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, Paul Hellyer, diplomat Alberto Perego, scientists Lachezar Filipov and Ervin Laszlo, etc: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U78n64c8K7A

  25. What I have to say to Nadia is: “How can we be so sure that aliens don’t exist or do?” Currently, not enough information is available to the general public to draw any dogmatic conclusions. However: 1.We have spaceships mentioned in the ancient religious texts from India—-the Vimanas. 2. We have over 30,000 eyewitness accounts made of observed UFOs to law enforcement agencies every year world wide. 3. We know it’s possible to build a spaceship which can travel close to the speed of light. Dr. Carl Sagan covered this in his TV show Cosmos by discussing how Ramjet Engines could be forged to accomplish that. 4. Also, NASA is currently doing research on electromagnetic engines, and ways to develop either a space warp, or a hyperspace jump engine. 5. Their scientists believe faster than light speed travel is reachable. NASA has an excellent webpage on advance space engine research—if anyone wants to read about this on their own. 6. If ships like this could be built theoretically, then yes, we could run into aliens. 7. Many of the historians and scientists quoted in the History Channel show “Ancient Aliens” are top notch in their fields, and do believe ET life is plausible. 8. As far as conspiracies, if Nadia and I were to discover a legitimate UFO, and then try to report this to the News Media, what does she think National Security agencies in the US would do to us? 9. We’d probably end up like a sanctioned character from a TV episode of the X-Files.

    1. Hi, Brian. I don’t think dogmatic conclusions are in order here. The presence or absence of UFOs on this planet is not a question of belief or faith. It’s a question that is answerable with evidence. — ND

  26. Hi Nadia,

    Your article alternates between objective reason (your goal I presume) and sarcasm – “Perhaps those documents are tucked into a cardboard box stashed in an old railway car, waiting for Clinton and Podesta to arrive with their flashlights” – designed to inflame sensitive passions of true believers. I myself am skeptical but open minded I feel. Show me the evidence, but if there is evidence, in all likelihood the government does cover it up and not in an old railway car…

    Therefore the statement as if it’s a nail in the coffin that, “And “proof” of flying saucers and crashed alien spacecrafts amounts to little more than unverified anecdotes,” though arguable, is circular logic that there is no proof they do not exist, but we don’t know if there is proof or not that we don’t have access to…there may be, but it may be covered up. It goes both ways. As you say, SETI is not part of the government, so you would not know what the governments of the world are up to…nor do I…

    It does seem to me, of everyone mentioned in the article, the one most likely to “know” would be Hillary, having been the first lady in the white house for 8 years, as well as Secretary of State, with security clearance beyond yours. If she is promoting this, then perhaps she does have information…or perhaps she is pandering for votes knowing either that: there is nothing there, or that the government cover up will keep her from revealing what is there, so her promise is most likely meaningless either way…

    1. Hi, Greg. The flashlights and railway car were an X-Files reference. As I said, I’m a fan of the show. — ND

  27. Hi Nadia,
    Thank you for your thoughtful article. I thought you made some excellent points. You actually had me going with the first photo, before you made the big reveal. While I really do want there to be other intelligent life in the universe (and I think the Yeti and Loch ness Monster issues are fascinating as well), it has not been proven yet. I’m more struck by how sad it is that so many people who responded made this personal. The anonymity of the internet makes it too easy to be rude. The insanity of the current Presidential election is also showcased as the presumptive Democratic nominee makes Area 51 a campaign issue to pander to those interested voters. I would like to see some meaningful, informed debate on important issues from both parties. I think we have to remember that a few people will believe anything they read just because it’s on the internet. Finally, like religion and politics, there is no reasoning with the small group of people who are zealous believers. I recommend you don’t write any articles about space exploration history; that will bring our historical revisionists out, and will again result in a barrage of rude comments.
    Keep writing your articles. They are always a pleasure to read.

    Bob

  28. Well, this is quite sad. It was too much to hope that National Geographic would remain ethically pure and out of politics when Rupert Murdoch bought it. Now it’s just another political outlet for the conservative right wing. RIP National Geographic, you were once a big part of my heart.

    1. Danielle. I’m getting tired of deleting comments like this, so let me just post this one as an example. This comment, plus the others like it, are the very definition of the danger of making assumptions. You know that old saying about how assuming something makes an “ass” out of “u” and “me”? These comments are exhibit A. This story has nothing to do with Murdoch (it would have appeared regardless), and furthermore, (READ CAREFULLY:) doesn’t imply anything about my or National Geographic’s political leanings. Politicians in all parties are more than capable of making stupid statements, as we have seen and will undoubtedly continue to see for months and months and months. Now, to anyone considering posting a similar comment, please save your time and spend it on something else. — ND

      1. Nadia thank you for your response to Danielle’s nonsense. I sincerely belief the credibility of the National Geographic is un-questionable. Thank you for the excellent work by Nat. Geo. online, in print and on TV.

      2. Agree with Nadia. So annoying how regardless of topic of article, commentators attack political position, religious beliefs, personal attacks, etc…rather than simply responding thoughtfully to points made in article – as if that is too difficult or beneath them. It is a sad statement on the superficiality permeating society, and lack of social grace…

        I’m bewildered how Nadia’s skeptical stance on presence of UFOs is “conservative right wing.” Wasn’t it Ronald Reagan who promoted the concept of threats from alien races uniting the human population together? I don’t agree with all Nadia says, but argue on point at least…

  29. No argument that eyewitness testimony is unreliable. I guess the problem I have is that UFO’s have been caught on radar, on multiple occasions. So radar’s unreliable? Here’s one link with a bunch of those cases, there are tons of others:

    http://listverse.com/2013/06/06/10-mysterious-ufo-incidents-confirmed-by-radar/

    I grew up in NE Ohio. There was an incident there where multiple eyewitnesses called the police. These calls were all recorded. When the officers investigated, they saw the same thing. One of them reported that the UFO flew over his car and when it did the electronics shut off in his car as it hovered above him. But good point, eyewitness testimony from multiple police officers responding to reports by multiple eye witnesses is totally unreliable.

    I love how you trotted out the extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof bullshit. What that means is, we have an enormous confirmation bias, so regular proof won’t do. But hey, we can contact aliens by sending radio signals into outer space. Except, we’ve done that, and it hasn’t accomplished anything…at all. Extraordinary claim, zero proof whatsoever.

    1. Hi, Thad. No, there’s no confirmation bias here. Just vastly different standards of proof. One is objective, the other is not. Show me something, anything, that would stand up to a rigorous evaluation and could not possibly be explained by anything else. As for large numbers of people believing they saw the same thing? Well. I’m reluctant to trust the wisdom of the masses, which is subject to all kinds of biases and misinformation. We’ve already mentioned the Salem witch trials. For a much more innocuous example, check out this list of movie quotes that most people would SWEAR they’re quoting correctly, but which were never actually uttered. Think “Beam me up, Scotty” and “Play it again, Sam” are real lines? Think again. — ND

  30. I often wonder what the Commander In Chief is told about aliens when he assumes the office as President. Maybe Bill let it slip with Hillary. Mrs. Clinton the answer is the first thing I want you to address during your first speech to the country.

  31. Dear Nadia,

    This is indeed a great article. I am a little puzzled as to why the government would want to cover up the presence of extraterrestrial life? Also, what makes us sure that the flying saucers is not man-made technology? I am more than convinced that there are many lives and species in the universe that we do not require scientific evidence. Since the universe is so large, it is impossible to derive scientific evidence and to conclude that because there is no proof there are no aliens would be completely misleading and incorrect. We exist on planet earth and if the take the zillions of zillions or zillions cubed of stars, then it is only correct to conclude using basic probabilities that there is alien life. And if there is alien life, it is very well likely that they have visited earth. It is useful to connect these studies with ancient Egyptians. I am sure we would get more answers.

    1. Hi, Crystal. Indeed, re your q about covering up the presence of ETs on Earth. Doesn’t make a lot of sense. And I often wonder why NASA would bother spending $billions looking for any sign of past habitability on Mars if proof of advanced civilizations already existed. Sure, it’s a bit of a different question, but it’s not unrelated. — ND

    2. I agree with you and Dr. Drake on the government’s motivation for a cover-up. What would be the reason? Plus, it’s not like I’m anti-government, but I can’t imagine them being that competent to maintain that scale of cover-up for that many decades. Hell, the government had issues just trying to set up some websites for the ACA, but I’m supposed to believe they’ve been able to keep secret one of the most important issues in human history.

      As for the possibility of UFOs being man-made technology, there may be something to that, but I think the main culprit is people misinterpreting what they’re seeing. It’s not so much that things are moving in ‘impossible’ ways, but that our brains don’t have enough information to build an accurate mental model of what’s going on, like the commenter above (Fred) who saw a light moving in an extremely odd manner, only to have it turn out to be a cropduster that he just wasn’t seeing properly initially.

      As far as the probabilities of alien life, while my gut feel is that there’s other life out there, we just don’t know enough to really say anything about the basic probabilities. Even if there are ‘zillions’ of stars out there, what if the probability of multicellular life is 1 in a zillion? After all, life on this planet did fine for a few billion years without evolving multiceullularity. And what if the probability of an intelligence like ours is also 1 in a zillion? I mean, out of the hundreds of millions of years that animals have been around, only one, us, has evolved to be capable of developing advanced technologies, and we’ve only developed those advanced technologies in the past few centuries. And if the tape of life were to be replayed, it’s not at all certain that something like us would evolve again. Personally, I feel single-celled life is almost a sure thing. I wouldn’t even be shocked if we were still to discover single celled life on other bodies in our own solar system. But multi-cellular life is a whole ‘nother step entirely, and the ability to develop advanced technology a huge step beyond even that.

    3. People keep repeating, “I am a little puzzled as to why the government would want to cover up the presence of extraterrestrial life? ” There are so many reasons, just a handful: 1. Could cause panic and lack of faith in our government’s ability to protect us because any extraterrestrial race able to travel here would by definition be so beyond our technology we’d be defenseless against them. 2. Could upset people’s religious beliefs, creating social chaos within their ranks. 3. We may have reversed engineered their technology and be using it as part of your top secret military program, requiring continued denial. 4. The extraterrestrials could have been here for generations, manipulating our species’ dna and using our planet as their own laboratory, in which case the governments not only would want to maintain that secret, but may be required to by them. 5. If we’ve reverse engineered alien technology to create advanced weapons, then likely so have other countries not friendly to us, and this could create panic if made public. Etc. etc… I’m not saying I believe any of the above, but to say you’re puzzled and can’t understand why this may be kept secret is either disingenuous or naïve in my opinion…

      1. “A cover-up to keep knowledge of extraterrestrial life or alien abductions almost wholly secret for forty-five years, with hundreds if not thousands of government employees privy to it, is a remarkable notion. Certainly, government secrets are routinely kept, even secrets of substantial general interest. But the ostensible point of such secrecy is to protect the country and its citizens. Here, though, it’s different. The alleged conspiracy of those with security clearances is to keep from the citizens knowledge of a continuing alien assault on the human species. If extraterrestrials really were abducting millions of us, it would be much more than a matter of national security. It would affect the security of all human beings everywhere on Earth. Given such stakes, is it plausible that no one with real knowledge and evidence, in nearly 200 nations, would blow the whistle, speak out and side with the humans rather than the aliens?” — Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World (published in 1995, hence the 45-year time interval there)

        1. Senior government officials have blown the whistle. (Tom Drake, former NSA, Kit Green, former CIA, Dr Ron Pandolfi, ODNI, and others.) The information is at CORE SECRET level and is possibly only shared directly, verbally, between select senior officials.
          In other words, the public and the majority of the government have “no need to know.”

          1. A game of telephone does not equal reliable information. And I’m not quite sure what you mean by “blowing the whistle” — has this information appeared anywhere dependable? Is it coming from dependable sources? Reporting unverified rumors falls far short of blowing the whistle…– ND

          2. On national 500-plus radio stations, NSA whistleblower Tom Drake, who had been charged under the espionage act, confirmed that the American intelligence community had been given anomalous information detailing planes targeting the World Trade Center, PRIOR to Sept. 11, 2001.

            The source of the anomalies may or may not be related to the topic of Mr Bassett’s interest (ET) but the community of intelligence officials and advisers are the same.

            There were several attemts to elicit information, including contact from a physicist from Iran who had been posting papers at the Los Alamos preprint archive. This was passed to a contact then allegely at DIA but using OSD e-mail credentials.

            Mr Drake’s source, a foreign national, sought recruitment by US government officials and was directed to Chris Mellon at the Office of the Secretary of Defense under Donald Rumsfeld.

            Merely crumbs from a much larger trail of espionage in which ordinary civilians were sometimes snared by competitive intelligence agencies testing their cyber espionage methods (we were told by Ron Pandolfi then at ODNI methods always trumped sources).

          3. Is this meant to be a reply to my questions? “The source of the anomalies may or may not be related to the topic of Mr Bassett’s interest (ET) but the community of intelligence officials and advisers are the same.” If so, you’ve just made my point for me. Seems the trail of crumbs linking this testimony to *anything* ET-related is very sparse indeed. — ND

          4. My point is the ET story, the CORE STORY, is exactly that: a story shared as a covering of real core secrets. What has been confirmed, in officially declassified documents in the US and the UK, is offcial government involvement to acquire unexplained phenomena for national security purposes. This effort involved various clandestine methods to recruit persons of interest, some of whom claimed contact with an ET source. That much is now in the open public record.

  32. Nadia, I love clicking a space article and seeing your name on the header. This article is no exception. “I want to believe” is definitely still a thing. No surprise that people aren’t enthused for someone of your stature to stand up and say, “Sorry, given existing evidence, I can’t.”

    Keep up the great work. Looking forward to your next article!

  33. Please keep your politics off of National Geographic. It’s where I come to escape from all of that

    1. Hi, Jim. a) Please see response to Danielle. b) If that’s not clear enough, I’ll try again: This is not about politics. It’s about people in positions of power promoting uncritical “scientific” thinking. I don’t think I should have to explain how dangerous that is. — ND

  34. I wasn’t going to leave a comment… But after reading some- it’s now a duty. I believe the article was written with the intent to express concerns regarding political rhetoric. With so many issues around the world- for UFOs to be at the top of any politicians list- is just simply comedy. HOWEVER, I will say that the article was written in a way that felt- uninspiring to dream.

    1. Hi, Joshua. That last part makes me a little sad. There’s nothing wrong with dreaming. Dream away! — ND

  35. What Hillary Clinton Says About Aliens Is Totally Misguided, but what Donald Trump Says About Aliens Is EVEN MORE Totally and Disgustingly Misguided.

  36. It’s weird how mean spirited people get when you doubt the existence of the as yet unproven. This was a great read – among many other things, it concerns me that Clinton seems to list this as some kind of serious issue.

    And as for extra terrestrials – I don’t doubt there’s life all throughout the universe, but it just seems highly doubtful that we’ve been visited by alien life forms. I’m much more intrigued by Astrobiology and the potential for life (albeit simplistic) to exist in the backyard of our own solar system.

    1. The implications of aliens and their gadgets are literally out of this world. What it would make possible for humanity go way beyond plain old reincarnation, ie cloning, and into areas like say making a complete 3D map of a persons brain and resurrecting them by 3D printing a replica of their brain. World’s energy problems. Solved. A society staring us in the face proving to us that a world with no war and high technology capable of amazing feats is quite obviously possible. Do you have a problem with criminal psychopaths running around killing people? Give them an implant to keep them from murdering people. Whenever it detects the precursor area of the brain’s neurons firing, it fires others instead. Solved.

      Instead we decide that it must be a good idea to fill the media with people saying these things are all impossible, that it’s a good idea and perfectly safe to run around fracking and causing man-made earthquakes, polluting God only know how many water tables, killing millions every year with air pollution that people in the military and intelligence communities know is totally unnecessary. And I’m sorry but it’s silly to assume the aliens are going to make radio antennas to talk to us when they could just abduct us and put an implant for instantaneous communication into our brains. Maybe they will and tell you about tea parties they have been having on the moon. I sure as heck want to join them instead of being stuck watching this slow motion wreck of a planet.

      1. That first paragraph reads like a nice bit of fiction…and, thinking about it for a sec, wouldn’t it be way easier for aliens to stay home and send messages via radio (at the speed of light, no less) than to risk coming all the way over here so they could take a few people and then put them back? — ND

        1. Honestly, I don’t know the answer to that. That they don’t do more in a more obvious way does irk me. Then again, I can understand not really wanting to get involved with us too deeply because of all of the negative things that would come along with it for them. I do however know that all of the UFOs and the high quality sightings are clearly indicative of a civilization more advanced than ours. I don’t think that people would have been able to even imagine air craft doing some of the things that they saw them do, enough to think of hoaxing the existence of aliens by claiming to see something do the observed maneuvers, like right angle turns. From my own experience, I never imagined I would see a triangular star-like formation rotate around and then have the “stars” zoom off in different directions… one that turns out to be fairly common.

  37. I’m sure she does not claim to be an expert on the matter..and those americans all keep secrets..even from each other!

  38. The popular stance to take, and socially acceptable, is one that is victim to the social approprium and “tin-foil” mockery put out by the same people who suppressed the findings of Tesla and helped the US government fund and arm the very people they are at war with today. They want you to think that the top rung of the ladder is the government, but the government is just another victim – the government is in a tough position, yet we still need to hold their feet to the fire. There is a history and explanation that is highly complex and clearly cannot convince the writer in a single comment. All I will say is that people have common experiences with ET people, and these experiences are very spiritual and emotionally on par with ego-death. These people are able to have these contacts because they already see the ETs as brothers and sisters, as we are all one people. Therefore, it would be highly inappropriate, and virtually irrelevant with modern CGI to snap a photo in the middle of a personal engagement. Luckily most of the media is turning toward the right direction, and leaning toward the truth on this matter. Please continue paying attention to this developing story in the days and weeks to come, and I wish you best on your own personal journey.

  39. Ubiquitous cell phone use has proven many things true that many people previously doubted: law enforcement attitudes towards people of color, fast food drive-thru windows are a hotbed of man’s inhumanity to man, kittens are wicked cute, etc.

    I’ve been waiting patiently for a credible phone video of an alien visitation for over a decade. At this point I have more faith in the possibility of seeing YouTube footage of rude, racist, feline cops ordering Taco Bell.

  40. I now realize that I won “the lottery” with my very lucky experience 40 years ago. Stood under a very low altitude (~100 ft AGL) very slowly traveling black triangle close enough to see the hardware inside. I recall the shock when it stuck me that “they have hands” in order to manufacture the “hardware” that I could clearly see through what I would now recognize as a “dome”. The dome material was at least 6 inches in width on the sides and perhaps 12 inches wide on the blunt “tip” and possessed internal imperfections that I could clearly see. The dome had streamings of some black substance on the exterior that looked like soot that ran along the length of the craft that made it appear like it had experienced entry into the earth’s atmosphere (an assumption). The material of the craft’s body after the “dome” was smooth but appeared like “burnt metal” of some type (at the time I thought slightly rusted and discolored like it was burnt). No rivets at all. No joints. No writing. No sound. No E or M-field at least that affected the running car that we were standing on top of with headlights on and radio playing. Appeared to weigh at least several tons. Was an 18 yr old kid then but 40 years later now an aerospace engineer. Of course am not saying that my experience is scientific proof of anything nor would I expect anyone to be convinced by my experience. But would offer some free advice that may be worth a little more than its cost: You seem like a very nice and intelligent person so don’t bet your house that these things haven’t visited our planet. I can guarantee you they have.

    1. Hi, Jeff. I’ve been told I would have been better off wagering a good bottle of Scotch (that way I actually win something if I’m right!). I’d still bet my house, though, and if I have to live in my car for a few weeks because Clinton finds definitive, iron-clad proof of ET visitations to Earth, then I will be the happiest car camper you’ve ever met. — ND

      1. Nadia, All I said was that alien craft has defintiely visited earth and that I have personally observed them. In no way did I intend to infer that Hillary Clinton would reveal the truth about anything to the american people. I’m not crazy.

  41. UFOs exist. That’s plainly obvious given the hundreds of detailed accounts of sightings by multiple independent witnesses, including military pilots, police officers, and other trustworthy eyewitnesses, sometimes corroborated by radar. Many of these accounts include sketches, detailed descriptions of shapes, forms, lights, patterns and movements seen at close distance and photographs. There are recordings of pilots captured in real time as they describe their sightings, which sometimes last for several minutes. All this stuff is easy to find online of course. Mass delusions is not a convincing explanation.

    Nevertheless, there is no evidence I’m aware of that these objects are alien spacecraft. All we can really say for now is that there are in fact mysterious aerial phenomenon that trustworthy people witness fairly regularly, but we don’t know what they are.

  42. There are millions of people who will only consider “solid concrete evidence” of extraterrestrial existence. Over the past several years, I’ve given this much thought and have concluded that this concept of solid concrete evidence would probably have to meet one of the following criteria to satisfy these people:

    1. A large scale event whereas giant UFOs hover over every major city on Earth (like in a movie).
    2. A large scale event whereas a single giant UFO hovers (or crashes) over a major city or site (White House, etc.) and is covered by mainstream media (like in a movie).
    3. A large scale event whereas “aliens” take over some or all of our communications systems (TV, radio, internet, etc.) and broadcast a message to the world (like in a movie).
    4. An intelligent alien is interviewed and broadcast via mainstream media (like in a movie).
    5. The POTUS breaks into our regularly scheduled mainstream media programs (like in a movie) and announces that we are being visited by aliens (approximately 49% of the American public would declare it to be a lie).

    Meanwhile, those of us who already know and or believe have taken into account hundreds, thousands or millions of encounters and unexplained history, architecture and eyewitness reports from sources well beyond credible and realize that all of this circumstantial evidence is more than enough to satisfy our opinion of reality.

      1. In addition, it’s interesting to note that (watch Foster Gamble’s “Thrive” as it’s free on Youtube) most of the wealthy power brokers of our world have known and believed for generations, and have used this knowledge for their own benefit. There are some who believe (like me) that they have carried these knowledge down through thousands of years of generations via secret societies.

        Those of us who already know and believe are catching up to them. Meanwhile, go ahead and wait for your solid concrete evidence. We’ll be patient and fill you in when you’re ready ; )

        1. OK. I’m happy to wait. Ironically, it’s the many people who vehemently insist that we have all the proof we need who aren’t being exceptionally patient… — ND

  43. 1. It’s unbecoming for an author to get into contentious disagreements with her readers; one would expect a blogger to behave that way, not a writer for the National Geographic.

    2. To claim there are no credible witnesses to unexplained arial phenomena is disingenuous – there are literally hundreds (if not thousands) of credible commercial and military pilot testimony, as well as from law enforcement and other reputable members of the community the world over. Does that mean we’ve been visited by aliens? No, but to deny that good, reliable, and irreproachable eye-witness accounts don’t exist is to ignore reality.

    3. More than one astronaut has made statements about the legitimacy of UFO phenomena; Cooper, Mitchell, and Aldrin (though he has vacillated about the nature of the Apollo 11 sighting) have all stated that alien life is real and has visited Earth. These are men who were trusted with some of this country’s most expensive and important technology, and who went through a vetting process that only a handful of people have passed. Are all of them lying? Did they all fabricate their experiences? Why are you more confident in your theory than they are of theirs? What is your security clearance? Which Apollo mission did you command? What rank did you hold in the US military?

    To claim that governments can’t keep secrets or don’t invent and promote conspiracies is to be wholly ignorant of large parts of this country’s – and indeed, humanity’s – history.

    1. Hi, Asuka. If you think this is me being contentious, yikes. No one is saying governments can’t keep secrets (that would be incredibly naive), just that it’s foolish to continue insisting a vast ET coverup exists in the face of overwhelmingly dubious evidence. — ND

  44. “** We don’t have aliens buried in our basement.”

    Aha! What about the shed in your backyard?

  45. Hi Nadia, I’m sorry for all your efforts trying to make people figure out how much unreliable are the so called proofs about ufo sightings. The weird side of the reality is that as long as people can believe in an incredibly powerful God (seems that there are different copies speaking different languages) which was so smart to create the entire universe, without even the further proof (aside a book), you know that in the 20th century (and so on in the 21st) is so much easier to believe in alien’s encounters, thanks to the tremendous amount (and availability) of informations (we all know that books, documentaries, TV shows, dvds, magazines, etc are not intended to make money huh?).
    Everyone should be free to believe in whatever they wish, even in what they’d saw (would it be God, angels, or ufos as well), I would never negate this to anyone. But I think that everyone without any kind of proofs which can be physically reliable (aside repetitive words or fake photos), should only shut they mouth in public and keep their beliefs for themselves, for the good of the humanity.
    Sorry if I made any language mistake, I’m totally self-taught at English.
    Cheers from Italy

  46. Hi Nadia Drake Ive been asking how old are when you caught this Ufo maybe this flying object is some of the US MILITARY’S equipment or tools because they are HICH TECH and maybe there controling it by checking the place or guarding the place so it will be safe it could possibly because in the bible alien does not exists and GOD just created humans not aliens because aliens is not important we are important to GOD and it is nonsense think about it why GOD create aliens see nonsense because aliens does not give good life or make us happy or get rich nothing it is just people thinkings. Thank you for reading and answering my question NADIA DRAKE ….

  47. I’ve archived a lot of alt-science folklore at http://www.stealthskater.com over the years. One particular fascinating story was that of UNITEL, NW whose CEO claimed to have witnessed a close encounter with a UFO on a hiking trip in the Cascade Mountains with two others. He likened it to more of a intentional demonstration. It led to him filing a generic patent to create a “quantum laser lens” which was the basis of the craft’s Macroscopic Quantum Tunneling propulsion (almost like “blinking” instantaneously to a new location). If nothing else, it makes for some interesting out-of-the-box reading => http://www.stealthskater.com/UNITEL.htm .

  48. Hi Nadia

    I have two questions for you:

    i) I am curious as to what would constitute acceptable “scientific evidence” to you? Would you need to personally experience this evidence with your own eyes, or would you accept it’s validity based on the reputation of people that you trust as being credible?

    ii) Do you believe in a supernatural world, or only in things that can be measured and categorized by the tools and principles that are used in what we call “material science”?

    Take care

    1. Hi, Dave. I’m actually going to refer you to a chapter called “The Dragon in my Garage,” in Carl Sagan’s The Demon-Haunted World (the whole book is fantastic, by the way). It very clearly lays out the problems with pseudoscientific thinking while demonstrating the importance of falsifiability and scientific reasoning when evaluating theories and evidence. — ND

      1. Hi Nadia

        Like you, I have read quite a bit of Sagan, however I was posing the questions to you, not him.

        Here’s another:

        Does Siberia exist? I can almost hear you rolling your eyes reading that question, but bear with me for a moment: How do you actually know that Siberia exists if you have never been there yourself to experience it with your own senses? You likely believe it because you learned about it in school, have seen pictures that look convincing, and perhaps even met some people who originate from there. In other words, there was enough compelling “non-scientific” evidence for you to also believe it exists without any actual “scientific” evidence. This applies to just about everything that you haven’t personally experienced, but believe to be true.

        With this in mind, how many first-hand stories from credible people on the topic at hand would it take for you to believe that there is something quite real going on, even though you haven’t personally experienced anything? And again, what evidence would you require?

        If you really are interested in UFO’s, I suggest that that you go to Peru for a at least a month, talk to people and ask them to take you places. They will, and your your views on this topic will never be the same. I did this, and trust me, it’ll be much more satisfying than a few summers at SETI.

        Happy travels

        1. David, I’m out of time for replies right now, but Peru, huh? Turns out I’ve spent months of my life there… — ND

  49. Sorry Nadia, there’s no reply button to your comment about the Gordon Cooper video so I’m posting it down here. The person conducting the interview is Dr. Steven Greer of the CSETI and the Sirius Disclosure project. I have no idea who was shooting the video and I can’t make out what that creepy whisper is. If I have time I’ll pull it into Ableton Live and have a play with the sound and see if I can isolate it. Very odd. I’m sure Dr. Greer could tell you was behind the camera other than himself and whether there is an uncut version (http://www.siriusdisclosure.com/ or http://new.cseti.org/). It may not solve the apocryphal question but at least you’ve heard the story straight from the horse’s mouth and not with anyone else’s potential embellishments.

  50. Nadia,

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! Wonderful post! As a Tour Guide at AMNH, I rarely see either UFO’s or UFO believers in our halls but it will be useful to have your post at hand in case I do. As the saying goes, the plural of anecdote is not data. You make the excellent point that aliens on earth would imply that they have found a means to overcome the known laws of relativity and the universe and surpass the speed of light. Evidence to support this is not merely lacking, it would have to be entirely beyond our present knowledge of testable cosmological hypotheses.

    It is extremely disturbing that Hillary Clinton is willing to buy into the possibility that UFO’s are real. UFO belief is a form of science denial that she has not demonstrated in any other sphere, notable climate change.

    1. “Evidence to support this is not merely lacking, it would have to be entirely beyond our present knowledge of testable cosmological hypotheses.” And this means what…merely that we still have much to learn. I am always fascinated by our species’ arrogance, that at whatever tier of knowledge we are momentarily at, we are so confident of ourselves, and yet a mere decade or two later, in hindsight we realize – what were we thinking?!! How foolish and wrong we were. But then we repeat the same mistake of arrogance. There was one scientist decades ago who famously stated something to the effect of “we’ve learned all there is to learn” paraphrasing -don’t remember the exact quote. In a related field, just 20-30 years ago the AMA demonized ALL fats as causing cardiac disease and began the carb campaign, that resulted in our current obesity epidemic, and only in hindsight realized the difference between good and bad fats, and of course, it is so much more complicated than even that – pitfalls of reductionist science. My point is, just because something is beyond our “present knowledge” does not make it impossible, nor even unlikely. A mere 100 years ago much of what we achieve today would seem impossible. Knowledge expands exponentially. 100 years from now, we may have mastered wormholes, inter-dimensional travel, teleportation, or who knows what… Any civilization that is even a few hundred years older than ours in technological maturity would be able to achieve what to us is presently impossible. And considering the age of the universe, if other civilizations exist, there are billions of years in which they could have evolved, died out, or propagated the universe, and likely transitioned into a higher state of existence, one of virtual existence such as uploading consciousness in an eternal quantum computer, or who knows what undiscovered technologies remain to be…discovered. These arguments against alien civilizations visiting earth are as meaningless as the anecdotal evidence for aliens visiting earth…

      1. Greg,

        Evidence. There is no evidence. Imagining what other putative civilizations might have discovered is not evidence. Arguments against aliens that demand evidence are not meaningless, they are merely applying the rules of science.

        1. No evidence you have… What the governments have we cannot know… Nor do I claim to know either way. I’m not a proponent of Aliens visiting earth, I just find the skeptics certainty foolish.

          1. What the “governments” may or may not “know” is therefore unknown and is not evidence. The certainty of skeptics is the certainty that evidence is required. This is not “foolish”, it is scientific method.

      2. Great comment. I couldn’t agree more. We have come such a long way to understand more of our position in the universe is not geocentric. When in grade school in the 60’s I was ridiculed by people for saying that our sun was a star and other suns could have planets around them. They would say that we have no proof and give me that who, who, ha, ha laugh just by the mention of space, Mars, or aliens with some comment about what I brand I was smoking. Now if we can just get to the place of not being egocentric with our science maybe even more will be revealed. The stories of space beings are found throughout most cultures of the Earth and has been around for thousands of years. I don’t get it that there is a pervasive belief that any being beyond the Earth is a god, devil, demon, or angel. While any alien race could be friendly, hungry, or power craving en-slavers that is where the rubber meets the road and a reality check would caution us to be prepared for either as more discoveries are made.

        1. Hi, Steve. The nice thing about science is that, at its best, it’s objective and completely ego-free. Either the data are there, or they aren’t. As for stories of space beings existing in most cultures on Earth — sure. But that’s not proof. Most cultures also believe in a variety of deities, and argue among themselves (sometimes bloodily, and for centuries) about which are real and which aren’t. There are some very strong parallels between how people think about gods and aliens/UFOs; raising the issue does seem to incite an almost religious fervor among many believers. — ND

        2. I feel impelled to comment on this one! Back in the late 60’s I was enrolled in Pepperdine College. This is before it became a university and prior to its move to (what is now) the gorgeous Malibu campus. I was required to take religion classes which, for an atheist was tantamount to sticking needles into the laugh center of my brain — painful, but amusing. The religion teacher was an old-timer and I know I frustrated him. Anyhow, for my term paper I wrote how ancient people would have been unable to distinguish between alien visitors and deities. The instructor grudgingly gave me an “A” on the paper and in the course! Face it; a primitive person who can only make fire by striking flint or using a fire drill would consider a Zippo or Bic lighter as “magic.” Even if alien visitations occurred, ancient people who had no concept of other planets, other star systems, etc., would have no frame of reference to consider the visitors as anything else but “gods.” As an example, consider the biblical story of Ezequiel’s wheel.

  51. Dear Nadia,

    Thank you for being three things this world is in dire need of: (a) an exemplar journalist, (b) a woman with a deep interest in and comprehension of science and (c) someone pushing for the application of reason, no matter how psychologically satisfactory other explanations may be. As Neil deGrasse Tyson has repeatedly pointed out, we humans are faulty data-taking devices. Only though the light of science can we break free from the chains of our senses.

    As a now graduate student in the US and former government officer in Costa Rica in a science agency, I believe that scientific literacy has a deeper meaning that knowing facts about the accessible portion or reality before us. The true purpose must be to show that no matter how comforting our wishes are, nature always rules.

  52. The topic of extraterrestrial life has been an interest of mine since high school in the 70’s. I then tried to reach out to people that may have had a connection to the Roswell crash. Most were not willing to even speculate on what had happened and warned me to stop asking questions. One elderly lady had told me that it was something Hitler had built and there was some agreement that it was an alien craft from a person claiming their father was with the military removal of the debris. I went to Roswell in the 90’s to find people that could have some direct connection and to look into their eyes to see their sincerity. I wanted to know if they are only commercializing the story or do they believe it to be truly alien.
    Some of my comment disappeared even before it was posted and I know probably why but samples of the debris were said to still be held privately.
    Samples had been sent to the radio talk show host Art Bell which was analyzed by laboratories. The analysis suggested the material was manufactured by processes unknown for 1947 and were not of Earth’s isotope count.
    I did all of this for my own interest and not some universal disclosure. Knowledge of life beyond the Earth would be the greatest event to my life before I have to leave this world myself. Look around you there are very few centurions and certainly no millennials so we all have to leave eventually. It is easy to just keep our head in the sand and hope it all works out for the truth but these stories do seem to be millennial which makes it hard to understand why our time period is still in the dark. By the way I have never seen a UFO but others have told me of their experience.

    1. Hi, Steve. I would love it if credible evidence for life beyond Earth showed up in my lifetime as well. It just hasn’t yet. — ND

  53. An unsurprisingly close-minded and denigrating blog post on (UFOs) from National Geographic. People have very real experiences, I’m not sticking up for loonies or people waiting for their ride to the Pliedes. A number of anomalous occurrences have happened to groups and individuals throughout recorded history. Observers error can’t catch all anomalies, especially,mass hallucinations, which, brings up more questions than answers and is by far one of the funniest explanations put forth by skeptics. Too think that our species is in such control of what’s around it and assume we have a grand view of the carnal nature of reality is beyond arrogant. My observations of people seems to show that most can’t see outside of their little egocentric bubble. I love science and the wonderful convenience and comfort it has brought to our lives, but I’d have to agree with that grand scion of Ithaca college himself Carl Sagen on some of his opinions in his book A Demon Haunted World. Mostly his references to how most people are mindless consumers, completely ignorant of the technology around them, but they can minimally interact with it and for all intents and purposes may as well be magic to them. I don’t believe he used the word mindless but he left a fairly bitter tone in that book and he was nearing life’s end when he wrote it. Many say such a colossal conspiracy couldn’t possibly be true, I invite them to look at all the “leaks” throughout history but also I invite them to think that perhaps the real truth is so insidious they can’t bring themselves to divulge it out of their love for humanity. Many who have been in the ufology field for a long time, and indeed many researchers decades ago, came to the conclusion they were dealing with something decidedly non-extraterrestrial.

    1. You’re right — we can’t assume to know everything there is to know. That’s why objective standards of proof are so incredibly important. Why make up explanations that can’t be proven or disproven? Don’t you want to know how it all *really* works? Since you have a copy of The Demon-Haunted World, I’d point you toward the chapter called “The Dragon in my Garage,” where Sagan discusses the importance of falsifiability at length. I think you’ll find it relevant. — ND

  54. Hello,

    I appreciate that you are tackling this issue and responding to comments, many of which are unnecessarily hostile, in such a professional manner. Looking at some of the comments, it seems there are many credible witnesses you were not aware of. Granted, anecdotal information is not scientific evidence, if the sources are of a level of credibility that is recognized and accepted by the public, then politicians, legitimately, may feel the need to respond to their inquiries. Hillary is not a scientist, she is a politician. Science does not dictate all aspects of life or government, for better or worse.

    The UFO issue includes many incidents that have been reported by military personnel, some of them are frustrated that there has been no follow-up. I believe, it is more unjust that they be ignored than their experiences be acknowledged, and a search for answers be conducted.

    I have written about the experience of two such men in this article: http://www.openminds.tv/documentary-provides-new-evidence-for-famous-military-ufo-case/37152

    Many more can be seen in the documentary I reference here:

    37258

    The entire interview: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leslie-kean/is-there-a-ufo-coverup-a-_b_9865184.html?1462831807

    He agrees the scientific approach should be taken. He also agrees that the concerns of the many military witnesses need to be acknowledged and addressed.

    Thank you,

    Alejandro Rojas

    1. Hi, Alejandro. The trouble here is in how we evaluate “credibility.” It’s certainly not enough to say that if someone is publicly accepted as being credible, then we’re all good. Look at Donald Trump, who’s somehow managed to convince large portions of the population that he should run this country… 😉 — ND

  55. Nadia,

    You seem to be coming at this from the ‘I worked at SETI so I know what’s up’ angle. You may or may not already be aware of this, but, SETI is a ruse. Of course their going to need irrefutable proof. Their very existence is based on denial. Why look for something out there when it’s already here? They’re happy to keep looking and never find anything.

    Let’s say, hypothetically, that you witness something you are absolutely sure is not of this world. Or (more of a longshot, granted) what if you’re abducted? If you go back to them and say ‘Hey guys remember me? You won’t friggin’ believe what happened!’ They’re going to tell you to get lost and never come back.

    If you acknowledge the Drake Equation why would it be so hard to believe that there is a distant civilization that is 100,000 or 1.000.000 years ahead of us?

    If the proof you’re waiting for is a spaceship landing on The White House lawn you may be waiting awhile. But there is definitely enough proof for those actually interested in the subject to work from. It’s basically a statistical impossibility that everyone who thinks they’ve seen a ship from another world is either lying or mistaken.

    Milan

  56. Nadia…there are actually numerous cases with evidence. Please see the JAL 1628 reference below. There are radar tapes correlating to the aircraft Captain Terauchi and his flight crew witnessed. I’m not saying they were extra terrestrial in origin, but this evidence would be good enough in a court of law.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japan_Air_Lines_flight_1628_incident

    Official FAA report filed by Callahan confirms:

    http://www.educatinghumanity.com/2012/04/jal-flight-1628-ufo-case-pictures-video.html

    Additionally, there are countless military personnel who have come forward with plenty of material. Robert Hastings is a great example, please review his work (http://www.ufohastings.com/) and please don’t ridicule this subject because you are not informed. Based on your article, you only reference popular culture cases and have not truly dug deep to do serious research. I wonder if you know that there were official government agencies, on record, in the 1950s and 1960s whose sole purpose was to debunk UFO sightings to make those who came forward appear crazy. This ridicule continues to this day.

    1. Hi, Rob. How can this evidence be “good enough” if it doesn’t conclusively prove an extraterrestrial origin? — ND

        1. Yes, Jan. And that is a major problem. I’m also completely unsure how this analogy proves anything except that rigorous evaluation and objective standards of proof are maximally important. — ND (Edited to add: I see many comments from you awaiting moderation; your tone is overwhelming disrespectful toward other commenters and me. Please try and be polite, as the majority of other commenters have done, and perhaps your comments will be posted.)

  57. There will never declassify documents to be released because they are nowhere to be found.

    Take for example the cattle mutilations that happened in New Mexico years ago. There is strong evidence to support the idea that it was a classified back project of the government but so far no trace of any documents to verify.
    Silent black helicopters, gas mask and high tech to display ufo as a cover but no documents.

    What about the Cash family that got severe radiation burns from a diamond craft in the sky with helicopters all around. If we can’t even get documentation on these events then we have no chance on more sensitive material.

  58. 146 comments and counting! Possibly a new record for a Nat. Geo. blog. And think about the comments. Most go off on a tangent taking issue with Nadia’s demand for “evidence” of alien visitation to Earth rather than her thesis that politicians shouldn’t go around demanding investigations of things that have dubious or slim connections to political and leadership issues. Even so, one of the comments was gold. It asked what constitutes acceptable proof of alien visitation. As I haven’t yet seen any relevant responses — maybe they are there, but I missed them — I’m taking the liberty of suggesting the following examples of “acceptable proof.”
    1. Unique, “exo” DNA.
    2. Non random radio transmissions not from planet Earth nor any of our satellites, rovers, etc.
    3. Recovered materials with isotope composition unlike anything Earth-like.
    4. Credible demonstration of multiple dimensions, other “advanced” phenomena, or artifacts from prior visits, if any.
    5. And, of course, Superman.

    1. I read the reference you suggested. It say nothing about testing. It does contain a lot of “he said the other guy said” stuff, non of which appears credible. Do you have anything else that might be verifiable?

  59. “It shouldn’t be a source of embarrassment to discuss it,” said Christopher Mellon, a former intelligence official at the Defense Department and the Senate Intelligence Committee. “We should be humble in terms of recognizing the extreme limits of our own understanding of physics and the universe.”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/11/us/politics/hillary-clinton-aliens.html?_r=0
    I think Clinton will use the “national security” argument if Trump tries to call her out as a whack-job on it.
    As in, since they’re turning off our nukes at will (and presuming all these colonels and other senior officers aren’t hallucinating or lying), it would be a threat to National Security NOT to investigate. Interesting times, no?

  60. Following up on what Jay Stern wrote above, I am Dr. Horace Drew who did the first x-ray crystal structures of DNA on Earth with Dick Dickerson at Caltech in the 1970’s, then later worked in the MRC LMB with Aaron Klug in the 1980’s. My co-authored textbook “Understanding DNA” went to three editions at Academic-Elsevier Press, London. After moving to Australia, to work for the national science lab here CSIRO, I learned from Bill Chalker, a local food chemist and UFO investigator, that a hair sample of possible ET origin had been obtained in the Peter Khoury case 1992. In collaboration with Bill, I put together an expert team (the other members of which must still remain anonymous to protect their jobs) to do a forensic DNA investigation on the hair shaft and root by PCR methods. Those results were reported in Bill’s book “Hair of the Alien” on Amazon. I wrote the technical appendices for him. Everything written there is 100% true. Our results did not provide “completely non-human DNA”, but did show that the DNA HVI sequences obtained could not possibly have been “made up” by Peter as a fake sample. Also the long head hair of 18 inches was thin and clear like nylon fishing line. It had no melanin. Our results were completely consistent with Peter’s eyewitness testimony and other physical evidence. To deny this is like denying the “moons of Jupiter” or “phases of Venus”. Thus Jay’s first criterion has already been met, in part, but due to prior intellectual bias, you are unable to “see” it, because the experimental data do not match your limited perception of reality. Our team also tested a dozen other “putative” ET samples, none of which showed unique rare DNA sequences, as controls. Betty Hill, for example, sat on a New Hampshire land spider in her new dress that night. The green stain was not “alien blood”. The testing of anomalous samples, in private labs at our own cost, with open minds, represents the essence of true science. My doubts about the scientific objectivity of Nat Geo remain very serious indeed. Best, HRD

  61. I read your article and was not surprised in the least by your opinion, reflects that of the entire academic establishment… sad to say. I won’t bother offering up any more examples of possible evidence or proof as they would likely fall on death ears. I think it is regrettable that not unlike the fossil fuel industry there are vested interests in academia, maintaining the paradigm as it is is of paramount importance, though unlike the former who are concerned with their incomes, all the later require is relevance. Just imagine all of these learned men and women who have devoted their lives to their careers, only to realise it is all a lie, everything they have held sacred. There is so much at stake for them. Unfortunately for them and journalists such as yourself the momentum that is building on this issue is unstoppable. I should close with some condescending remarks like ‘beam me up scotty’ or ‘to infinity and beyond’ otherwise I might feel out of place.

    1. Hi, Aaron. I’m really not sure what the “academic establishment” has to gain by denying the presence of a verified phenomenon — that would run completely counter to the principles of science. And wouldn’t it be grand to open up an entirely new field of scientific inquiry? Imagine the questions we could ask, and the stories the data might tell. Trouble is, alien visits to Earth haven’t been verified. To borrow from Carl Sagan (again), “I don’t think anyone could be more interested than I am in whether we’re being visited. It would save me so much time and effort to be able to study extraterrestrial life directly and nearby, rather than at best indirectly and at great distance.” Think about it. And also remember that the line, “Beam me up, Scotty” was never actually said. It’s one of those great examples of how many people can think something happened, when in fact, it didn’t. — ND

  62. Hello Nadia
    You’re not in a position to make the statement ” Hillary is misguided”.

    You don’t know what she does or doesn’t know about this subject. You’re writing style is pretentious and condescending.

    I have a few questions for you.

    1) Have you ever held a security clearance of top secret with in the department of defense?

    2 ) Have you ever flown military aircraft?

    3) Have you ever worked as a radar operator within the USAF?

    4) Have you even held a career as a scientist? If so please list 10 peer reviewed science journal articles. Not stories about “science” please.

    I’ll leave it at that for now.

    1. Hi, Dave. I’m afraid we might have a bit of a pot and kettle situation with your comments regarding style and tone (irony!). As for your questions, I’ll answer the first three as I have done for the other similar remarks on this thread: One does not need a security clearance/pilot’s license/experience with radar/your other favorite standard here to think critically and evaluate existing evidence. That can be done for free, with zero qualifications other than a working brain. Re your last question: In fact, yes, but that’s irrelevant. — ND, PhD

      1. You are assuming the real information is in the public domain. It most certainly is not. The history of the US government STAR GATE program — an archive of more than 90,000 documents — shows how information was both leaked and contained over 25 year period on a topic more esoteric than ET and UAP phenomena. Secret recruitments, covert spying on researchers and more is laid bare.

          1. Everything I am reading here misses the point! What is the motivation behind Clinton’s offer to investigate what the government knows? Very senior government officials have been told by even more senior officials (including CIA Directors) there is something real behind the core story of intelligent intervention in human affairs. Indeed, in real declassified STAR GATE files of the Defense Intelligence Agency, there are references to extraterrestrial aliens in our solar system. At a minimum, you should obtain and study the 90,000 pages of real government documents, which provide a paper trail leading to the political and military leadership funding the search for new physics, as well as the intelligence and counter-intelligence aimed at similar efforts in foreign nations. My source on the core story, Kit Green, and his associate Dr Ron Pandolfi at the ODNI MASINT, were involved in briefings presented to US Presidents. No doubt the Clintons, aware of the story, were also curious enough to attempt to track down the source(s).

  63. Hi Nadia:

    First off, I’d like to say I did enjoy your blog, even though I don’t entirely agree with it. In coming to this debate, I do have a feeling—given your resume and pedigree—that I’m stepping way out of my weight class. Even so, I do feel a need to put my two cents in, so here goes:

    First, let’s review SETI’s own foundational argument, the cornerstone of which is your dad’s famous equation. As you would certainly know, this holds that there’s a vast, incalculable number of stars and planets. (One estimate I read posited some 10,000 stars for every grain of sand on every beach and desert on earth.) Since the presence of humans on earth confirms that the universe does support intelligent life, we can reason that even the most minutely conservative number of planets would still mean the universe should be teeming with uncountable billions of worlds with intelligent life forms.

    So far, so good. Next, I would submit that, given the age of the universe—some 13 billion years old—we can further calculate that a vast number of those alien civilizations would be far more advanced than ours, by millions, and maybe even some billions, of years.

    This conclusion leads to the great complementing corollary of your dad’s formula, namely, the Fermi Paradox. Actually, this is just a simple question once posed by the great physicist: “Where is everybody?” The idea being that, if the universe is lit with the light of advanced alien intelligence, as it surely must be, then why hasn’t the earth been visited?

    The upshot of all this is that there seems to be at least some scientific expectation that the earth should have been visited by some other intelligence.

    And so, in turning to the points in your blog, we agree that, from any perspective, deep space travel would not be a trivial matter. But space travel is not time travel. While daunting, it doesn’t seem wholly immutable. Indeed, humans, even in the infancy of our technological stage, can imagine some ways deep space travel might be possible (the use of wormholes, for example).

    Thus, if one were to ask the scientific community for a definite “yes-or-no answer” to this question—whether, some three million years hence, humans, or whatever we’ve evolved into, would be traveling to the stars (assuming that we hadn’t exterminated ourselves beforehand)—I’m guessing the consensus answer would be yes.

    After all, three million years ago, an australopithecine gazing into the night sky at the moon could never begin to imagine how its descendants would one day land there. And so it shouldn’t be completely without merit to propose that some advanced civilization, maybe three million years older than ours, would find some way—unimaginable to us now—to overcome the astronomical distances of deep space, and become star voyagers.

    As for the question of whether any such voyagers could have actually visited the earth: Of course, you’re right to say that eyewitness reports, even in courts of law, are highly unreliable. On the other hand, not every eyewitness report ever given has been wrong.

    This would precisely track the findings of serious investigators of this subject: that a vast majority of sightings are simple mistakes—tricks of the eye or mind—or plain hoaxes. But a small minority—maybe 5 percent—do appear truly unexplained or, even more intriguing, would seem to have only one game-changing explanation.

    Naturally, even the most credible eyewitness sightings do not constitute actual proof. But the best evidence—detailed accounts from military officers, police, or pilots and other airline employees, sometimes supported by photographs or even radar data—while not proof, is also not nothing.

    Given this evidence, it’s more than a little interesting that science, which has investigated some truly exotic, reality-shaking concepts—general relativity, quantum mechanics, string theory, parallel universes—would still refuse to even consider whether Fermi’s Paradox has already been answered.

    Extraordinary claims do require extraordinary proof. Yet how can any claim, extraordinary or not, be proven if no one bothers to take a look? You’d think that the momentous magnitude of Fermi’s challenge, and the equally mountainous level of career prestige for the person who could positively answer it—Nobel Prizes, Presidential Medals of Freedom, a prominent place in the history books—would invite some deeper scrutiny. But the curious incuriosity of professional scientists on this subject has largely abandoned the field to the amateurs, the crackpots, the cranks, and the hoaxers.

    In light of this vacuum, I’m glad Hillary Clinton agrees that there’s at least enough material to warrant a closer examination. If she’s elected, it will be fascinating to see what, if anything, she might find.

    Lol! I think my response is actually longer than your post. I’ll close now. Thanks!

    1. Hi, Michael — Thank you for this well-written response. I appreciate the time you took in crafting it, and indeed agree with much of what you’re saying. The parts I find problematic are first, the scientific expectation that in a universe stuffed with civilizations, some must have visited Earth. Science expects nothing, and there’s a big leap in logic between acknowledging that life could be common and assuming it would visit this little, blue, watery planet that orbits an extremely normal star (regardless of our how awesome our wine, spiders, and mountains are). Second, I wouldn’t say that scientists haven’t bothered to investigate reports. They sure have. They just weren’t convinced. And if we’re using the courtroom analogy, I’d argue that the burden of proof doesn’t rest with the scientists here. They don’t need to prove a sighting false. The burden of proof rests with the observers, who need to offer reliable, convincing evidence that their story is true. That just hasn’t happened yet.

      Lastly, I’m totally with you in hoping that in three million years, humans (or whatever we’ve evolved into) will be a truly interstellar species. — ND

      1. Nadia,

        Terrific response! The burden of proof is certainly with those who claim that supposed alien sightings are real. Another point is that there is no unified explanatory framework for the proposed visitations other than obstinate scientists and conspiracy theories. The aliens seem to appear in many different guises and with extremely varying natures and capabilities. Is Earth the Times Square of the universe? Does every sentient being on the Grand Tour of the galaxy feel obliged to stop by the Mos Eisley Cantina on 42nd St.? Earlier in this thread I mentioned the principle of parsimony, old Occam’s razor. Misapprehension, illusion, error and deceit are all more parsimonious than mysterious time-traveling, super-intelligent entities whose faster-than-light space ships and gravity-defying saucers are the least of their tricks and whose existence has been covered up by an incredibly far-reaching conspiracy involving virtually every agency of the government and countless scientists, not to mention a host of societies so secret that no evidence has ever been found of their presence.

        The irony of this whole exercise is that the focus of your original post was that a sane, rational, experienced politician, in the fight of her life for the Presidency, should not have unnecessarily involved herself in the world of the X-Files, alien sightings and limitless conspiracy theories. Yet 99% of the responses have been from those who do believe in aliens and conspiracies, not from those disturbed by the impact of Hillary’s words on her election campaign.

        1. You wrote: “99% of the responses have been from those who do believe in aliens and conspiracies, not from those disturbed by the impact of Hillary’s words on her election campaign.” – if you read the responses, I believe your math is wrong… Further allow me to pose a question: Are Hillary and her advisor Podesta really that naïve, stupid, or gullible as to believe in far out conspiracy theories and ufos, and so ignorant as to not understand the obvious scientific fact that UFOs are nothing more than anecdotal nonsense?

          If that is the case, then she is totally unqualified to hold the office of president, and how on earth has Podesta been working at top levels of government all these years… Or perhaps, they DO know more than we do, having both been involved at top levels of government for nearly two decades, and that is the reason they have even brought the subject up? Their interest is likely more than a blind fishing expedition, or truly how foolish would it be from two seasoned political strategists…

          As stated previously, I’m neither pro nor con, rather open-mindedly skeptic waiting for more solid proof. Yet, the fanatical certainty of the extremes is what I find bewildering, as if their narrow knowledge extrapolates to omniscient knowledge.

    2. “Naturally, even the most credible eyewitness sightings do not constitute actual proof. But the best evidence—detailed accounts from military officers, police, or pilots and other airline employees, sometimes supported by photographs or even radar data—while not proof, is also not nothing.”

      It’s either “proof” or “not proof” so what you’re clutching at really is “nothing.” Appeals to the authority of one’s job title doesn’t prove anything. There are police officers (and other professionals) who cannot identify the simple lights of an air-crane helicopter. A job title doesn’t make one an aviation expert.

      “Given this evidence, it’s more than a little interesting that science, which has investigated some truly exotic, reality-shaking concepts—general relativity, quantum mechanics, string theory, parallel universes—would still refuse to even consider whether Fermi’s Paradox has already been answered.”

      If theories and paradoxes are all you have, then you still have no proof. All you have is an inductive hypothesis.

      And most pseudoscience believers try to hide behind quantum physics, parallel universes, and other scientific-sounding things to try to give pseudoscience a shred of credibility. It doesn’t work that way. If you doubt that, go watch physicist Leonard Mlodinov of CalTech absolutely SHRED Deepak Chopra’s “understanding” of quantum physics that he trots out to suit his crackpot theories. It’s no different with the UFOlogists.

  64. Hi Nadia

    Wow, lots of replies. Just wondered what you would consider to be sufficient evidence of UFOs?
    What would convince you?

    I do enjoy reading your posts

    Kind regards

    Paul

  65. UFO’s and God. Believed to exist by many but never a single source of irrefutable evidence proving either exist. Oh what tangled webs we weave.

    Mr R

  66. Interesting article. I do not believe in LGM (Little Green Men). As for Earth sized planets and life, they are most likely mutually exclusive unless when orbited by ‘one large natural satellite’. As well, there may be evidence that the Moon helps to keep the core active. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160401075118.htm

    As well, there may be a belt of hard radiation expanding from the center of the Galaxy, inhibiting the ascendancy of life to LGM. But who really knows…

  67. Here’s a simple thought: maybe we were visited by aliens at one time, but perhaps they lost interest in us when they discovered other planets had beings that were more fascinating than us. Perhaps they simply lost interest in us.

  68. “There’s a familiar saying that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and that evidence—or any proof, really—was never there.”
    ___________________________________________________________________________________

    One persons extraordinary, is another persons ordinary, Nadia.

    Your personal definition of what constitutes “extraordinary claims” is based on your prior beliefs and experiences. But that in now way means that everyone agrees on whether or not a claim is extraordinary or ordinary.

    It is possible for something to exist without leaving behind collectible evidence. For example, planes, radio waves, electromagnetism, and light move around without leaving “hard evidence” yet they exist. Therefore, extraordinary phenomena can exist without leaving behind extraordinary evidence.

    1. Hi, Chip. Are you suggesting that aliens visiting Earth could be considered “ordinary”? That one of the most persistent mysteries of our time — are we alone? — is just another everyday question? If yes, well, that’s a first. If not, well, the available “proof” falls far short of extraordinary (or ordinary, even). — ND

  69. Hi Nadia,

    Thanks for this article. Loved it. I know what you’re up against–I spend lots of time debunking astrology to people, and they just double down and insist it “works.” Even when it fails right in front of them.

    RE: UFO’s. I agree w/NDGT’s stance on it. (http://www.haydenplanetarium.org/tyson/read/quotes-by-neil-degrasse-tyson/alien-quotes). The best:

    “On how to prove an alien abduction:
    Grab something off the shelf that’s on the spaceship—an ashtray, it doesn’t matter what. Because I can tell you, if they flew here from another galaxy, no matter what you’ve pulled off the shelf, it’ll be unlike anything we have on Earth.” –NDGT, The Amazing Meeting, Keynote Speech, 2008

    Your photo reminds me of all the “pseudoscience” people fervently believe in that has since been thoroughly debunked: Sasquatch (no corpses or bones ever found; none hit by cars; people on deathbeds admitting faked photos); Loch Ness Monster (people on deathbeds admitting faked photos). People were certain the Nazca lines were definitive proof of aliens, until a guy in Kentucky flawlessly reproduced them using stone age technology in a field. (http://www.csicop.org/si/show/nazca_drawings_revisited)

    The best UFO debunking was the Gulf Breeze sightings, which were nothing more than a glammed-up spaghetti colander at photo distortion. But we only found that out after the multi-million book deal by the perp was signed and the check long cashed. 🙂

    The problem isn’t the question or existence of UFOs–its people’s need to believe them in spite of the overwhelming evidence, and dodging behind “Oh, science doesn’t know everything yet” to keep the belief (and denial) alive.

    I sympathize with you and the reactions you’re getting from the conspiracy theorists. I deal with with the same tortured logic from the astrologers every day in my debunkings as well.

    Best to you!

    PS: re: the commenter who felt your article made it “uninspiring to dream”, I agree there’s nothing wrong with dreaming, but deliberate self-delusion is a bit much.

    1. The level of anthropic bias exhibited by the skeptics and believers is astonishing.

      Clinton isn’t going to hunt down UFO files about sightings made by human observers. This is not about real, material objects in the sky. This is about the misappropriation of observation and belief, and the human mind, among other things, by intelligence services, beginning in the early 1950s, for the purpose of concealing various secretive activities. Some of those activities include monitoring new and speculative physics for communication and propulsion, thus the ET/UFO connection.

      The stories Clinton refers to involve whispered confirmation of otherworlders shared between senior goverment officials, which have been associated with anomalous events (that at times appear to violate known laws of physics).

      From a FOIA document we know it was Richard Helms, in Dec. 1963, who relaunched a paraphysical program at CIA TSD, for clandestine purposes. The CORE STORY of contact from “out there” was also said to have been confirmed through Helms. True, or false? We need to see the document trail. Perhaps some of this will eventually come to light if Clinton makes good on her promise. We won’t know until we see the currently classified document trail.

      1. And until then, what’s the point of speculation and continued arguments based on whispers, rumors and undocumented programs? Wait and see. — ND

  70. Dear Readers:

    After consulting with my editors, I have decided to close the comments on this story. Many are veering off-topic and I’m reluctant to let this discussion continue forever here. I hope we all can keep our minds and eyes open, and remember to think critically and challenge our own beliefs.

    Cheers,
    Nadia Drake and
    Erika Engelhaupt, Senior Editor, Digital

Comments are closed.