Tonight, my special is Dr. Lynn Kitei who's here to discuss why she stopped practicing medicine to research the largest mass UFO sighting in United States history.
Historically, ufology has not been considered credible in mainstream science. The scientific community has generally deemed that UFO sightings are not worthy of serious investigation except as a cultural artifact.
Allen Hynek (left) and Jacques Vallée
Studies of UFOs rarely appear in mainstream scientific literature. When asked, some scientists and scientific organizations have pointed to the end of official governmental studies in the U.S. in December 1969, following the statement by the government scientist Edward Condon that further study of UFOs could not be justified on grounds of scientific advancement.
Status as a pseudoscienceThis section is an excerpt from Ufology § Status as a pseudoscience.
Despite investigations sponsored by governments and private entities, ufology is not embraced by academia as a scientific field of study, and is instead generally considered a pseudoscience by skeptics and science educators, being often included on lists of topics characterized as pseudoscience as either a partial or totalpseudoscience. Pseudoscience is a term that classifies arguments that are claimed to exemplify the methods and principles of science, but do not in fact adhere to an appropriate scientific method, lack supporting evidence, plausibility, falsifiability, or otherwise lack scientific status.
Some writers have identified social factors that contribute to the status of ufology as a pseudoscience, with one study suggesting that "any science doubt surrounding unidentified flying objects and aliens was not primarily due to the ignorance of ufologists about science, but rather a product of the respective research practices of and relations between ufology, the sciences, and government investigative bodies". One study suggests that "the rudimentary standard of science communication attending to the extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI) hypothesis for UFOs inhibits public understanding of science, dissuades academic inquiry within the physical and social sciences, and undermines progressive space policy initiatives".
Jacques Vallée, a scientist and ufologist, claimed there were deficiencies in most UFO research, including government studies. He criticized the mythology and cultism often associated with UFO sightings, but despite the challenges, Vallée contended that several hundred professional scientists — a group both he and Hynek termed "the invisible college" — continued to study UFOs quietly on their own time.
UFOs have become a prevalent theme in modern culture, and the social phenomena have been the subject of academic research in sociology and psychology.
This section is an excerpt from Ufology § Current interest.
In 2021, astronomer Avi Loeb launched The Galileo Project which intends to collect and report scientific evidence of extraterrestrials or extraterrestrial technology on or near Earth via telescopic observations.
In Germany, the University of Würzburg is developing intelligent sensors that can help detect and analyze aerial objects in hopes of applying such technology to UAP.
According to reports, the partly-public 2022 United States Congress hearings on UFOs after the 2021 UFO report 'Preliminary Assessment: Unidentified Aerial Phenomena' by U.S. intelligence agencies (or the ODNI) and the 2021 Pentagon UFO videos may result in the UAP issue being studied. In 2022, NASA announced a nine-month study starting in fall to help establish a road map for investigating UAP – or for reconnaissance of the publicly available data it might use for such research.
A 2021 Gallup poll found that belief among Americans in some UFOs being extraterrestrial spacecraft grew between 2019 and 2021 from 33% to 41%. Gallup cited increased coverage in mainstream news and scrutiny from government authorities as a factor in changing attitudes towards UFOs.Sturrock panel categorization
Besides anecdotal visual sightings, reports sometimes include claims of other kinds of evidence, including cases studied by the military and various government agencies of different countries (such as Project Blue Book, the Condon Committee, the French GEPAN/SEPRA, and Uruguay's current Air Force study).
A comprehensive scientific review of cases where physical evidence was available was carried out by the 1998 Sturrock panel, with specific examples of many of the categories listed below.
- Radar contact and tracking, sometimes from multiple sites. These have included military personnel and control tower operators, simultaneous visual sightings, and aircraft intercepts. One such example was the mass sightings of large, silent, low-flying black triangles in 1989 and 1990 over Belgium, tracked by NATO radar and jet interceptors, and investigated by Belgium's military (included photographic evidence). Another famous case from 1986 was the Japan Air Lines flight 1628 incident over Alaska investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
- Photographic evidence, including still photos, movie film, and video.
- Claims of physical trace of landing UFOs, including ground impressions, burned or desiccated soil, burned and broken foliage, magnetic anomalies[specify], increased radiation levels, and metallic traces. (See, e. g. Height 611 UFO incident or the 1964 Lonnie Zamora's Socorro, New Mexico encounter of the USAF Project Blue Book cases.) A well-known example from December 1980 was the USAF Rendlesham Forest incident in England. Another occurred in January 1981 in Trans-en-Provence and was investigated by GEPAN, then France's official government UFO-investigation agency. Project Blue Book head Edward J. Ruppelt described a classic 1952 CE2 case involving a patch of charred grass roots.
- Physiological effects on people and animals including temporary paralysis, skin burns and rashes, corneal burns, and symptoms superficially resembling radiation poisoning, such as the Cash-Landrum incident in 1980.
- Animal/cattle mutilation cases, which some feel are also part of the UFO phenomenon.
- Biological effects on plants such as increased or decreased growth, germination effects on seeds, and blown-out stem nodes (usually associated with physical trace cases or crop circles)
- Electromagnetic interference (EM) effects. A famous 1976 military case over Tehran, recorded in CIA and DIA classified documents, was associated with communication losses in multiple aircraft and weapons system failure in an F-4 Phantom II jet interceptor as it was about to fire a missile on one of the UFOs.
- Apparent remote radiation detection, some noted in FBI and CIA documents occurring over government nuclear installations at Los Alamos National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 1950, also reported by Project Blue Book director Edward J. Ruppelt in his book.
- Claimed artifacts of UFOs themselves, such as 1957, Ubatuba, Brazil, magnesium fragments analyzed by the Brazilian government and in the Condon Report and by others. The 1964 Lonnie Zamora incident also left metal traces, analyzed by NASA. A more recent example involves a teardrop-shaped object recovered by Bob White and was featured in a television episode of UFO Hunters but was later found to be accumulated waste metal residue from a grinding machine.
- Angel hair and angel grass, possibly explained in some cases as nests from ballooning spiders or chaff.
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