- In a recent exchange with a 'UFO lawyer' I was assured
that he could prove the existence of UFOs in a court of law. This brings
up a very important point regarding the history of UFO investigations that
raises questions about the rules of evidence used to judge whether UFOs
are a real phenomenon or not. The lawyer could justifiably make that claim,
however, scientists routinely say there is not enough evidence to prove
the existence of the phenomenon. What gives?
- The problem has to do with the way the phenomenon has
been classified and defined or rather not clearly or correctly classified
or defined. Most of the time UFO's have been studied as if they were a
natural phenomenon and the rules of evidence that apply to the physical
sciences have been applied. Those rules are stringent as they involve such
subjects as chemical and atomic structures. When placed in this category
the UFO phenomenon fails to meet the criteria of "scientific proof",
for obvious reasons. The phenomenon is not a natural one. We have no control
over it and scientists cannot perform repeatable experiments to ascertain
- It is a matter of classification and that is why a lawyer
can accurately make the claim that sufficient evidence does exist to prove
it in a court of law. Physical scientists do not consider things like eyewitness
reports and circumstantial or anecdotal evidence. A court of law does.
There is no single set of standards that can be applied across the board
to define what "scientific evidence" is. Physical scientists
cannot deny the veracity of sociological or psychological theories simply
because the evidence to support them is based upon a different degree of
- There is an acknowledged division between the "hard"
and "soft" sciences, for example, chemistry and sociology. You
don't approach the two disciplines in the same way.
- Now, let us compare apples to apples instead of apples
to oranges to gain some insight into why there is such a divergence of
opinion about the UFO phenomenon. First we have to ask, would it be fair
to let a chemist evaluate the credibility of a sociological theory using
the standards of evidence and protocols that he normally uses in his chemistry
investigations? No, that is apples and oranges. That is exactly what has
happened in the history of UFO investigations. Skeptical scientists have
consistently claimed that the phenomenon cannot be proven and by their
standards they have been right.
- But those are the wrong standards to apply because UFOs
are not natural events or processes and the preponderance of evidence suggests
this is the case. So we have this historical split and ongoing ambiguity
with highly credible witnesses reporting sightings and encounters with
UFOs that are followed by routine dismissals from scientists that are reported
in the media in a variety of UFO articles. What is the general public's
reaction? The public is quite naturally torn and confused.
- Most people do not want to think of pilots, policemen
and radar operators as well as various military personnel as being incapable
of distinguishing between a UFO and swamp gas or a UFO and a weather balloon.
These are trained professionals that we depend upon for our safety. Yet
thousands upon thousands of reports by such individuals have been rejected
or downgraded because there is no "scientific proof" and therefore
they must be treated as nothing more than anecdotal reports.
- As we noted above, hard scientists do not have much use
for such evidence and yet these are the kinds of factual observations made
by credible witnesses that legal cases and sociology are built upon. People
also want to have confidence in science and as we have seen scientists
have not been wrong. But neither have they made it clear just what they
mean by "scientific proof" in the context of UFOs and the media
has not picked up on this subtle, confusing issue.
- No, there is not enough physical "hard" science
evidence to prove the phenomena is real in this context. Yes, there is
enough legal and 'soft" science type evidence to prove the phenomena
is real in this context. How do we resolve the resultant ambiguity and
ascertain the ultimate reality of the phenomenon? Put it in its proper
classification and definition as an unnatural phenomenon under the purview
of such disciplines as sociology, cultural anthropology, social psychology,
- While the skeptical scientists and debunkers have been
correct, to a degree, their assertion that there is no "hard"
evidence is incorrect. Radar operators have observed them, photographs
and video clips containing recorded sound have all been documented and
they corroborate UFO sightings. This is hard evidence that substantiates
the reality of the phenomenon.
- Does it matter? How we classify the phenomenon makes
all the difference in the world. Accepting that it is an established scientifically
proven reality under the less stringent rules of "soft" science
would remove the stigma from witnesses. Removing the stigma is important
because as Stanton Friedman has pointed out it is a "taboo" subject
in academia. But more importantly classifying it correctly as a non-natural
phenomenon allows investigators to start focusing on the right questions
instead of looking for "hard" evidence among the ever-increasing
amount of data that they have accumulated.
- 911 taught us a lesson about not connecting dots and
not making the cogent inferences and acting on them. The data was there
and several analysts were correctly interpreting it. But the executive
part of the organizational brain of the FBI and CIA did not cooperate with
the data collection and analysis part, which resulted in an intelligence
- We have to take the UFO phenomenon seriously until we
have ascertained whether it poses a threat or not. We cannot allow the
government to withhold important information and we cannot continue to
come at the phenomenon from the wrong angle. Individual UFO investigators
and organizations need to cooperate and share information just as much
as government intelligence agencies do because there is no official (overt)
investigation being conducted into the phenomenon at present, which could
be the biggest intelligence blunder of all!
- If debunkers want to argue against these propositions
they should do so using a cost/benefit scenario. What do we have to lose
by accepting the premise that the evidence proving UFO's is real? I submit
we have nothing to lose. But what do we have to lose by accepting the premise
that it is not real? We have nothing to gain and everything to lose if
we are proven wrong and the worst case scenario emerges and UFOs turn out
to be real and hostile. Even if they are benign we would still be in a
state of "culture shock" and unprepared for the event if we deny
they exist and they suddenly make their presence known en masse.