The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine


US Government Says UFOs are “Real”:
An Analysis of the 60 Minutes Investigation

The 60 Minutes segment of Sunday May 16, 2021 (available on YouTube), was no doubt for many people a startling revelation that the US Government has admitted that UFOs are “real” and the military is investigating them. But for me it was a walk down memory lane, a recap of the curious events of the last four years. A disappointing recap at that, as I’d hoped at least for some new nuggets of information that I could use to help solve the rather complicated puzzle of just exactly what is going on.

The segment opens with an interview with a familiar character, Luis Elizondo, reputedly the former head of a $22 million program instigated by Senator Harry Reid called AATIP: the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program. Ostensibly this was created to study possible future developments in aerospace. Elizondo claims the program was actually created to study UFOs (or, as they prefer to call them now, UAPs, or Unidentified Aerial Phenomena.) Put out to tender in 2008, the budget was awarded to Harry Reid’s friend, Robert Bigelow, a UFO and paranormal enthusiast.

60 Minutes (screenshot of broadcast)

Elizondo opens with the startling claim that “the Government has already stated for the record that [UFOs] are real.” Startling, that is, until you remember that “UFO” does not necessarily mean alien visitors, but rather something unidentified in the sky, something about which the observer lacks sufficient information to identify. Obviously, the government would admit such things are “real.” A mylar balloon floating into the range of a Navy jet’s camera is “real”, but the U in UFO and UAP does not mean extraterrestrial, or even necessarily an aerial technology beyond any known physics and aerodynamics.

60 Minutes (screenshot of broadcast)

Elizondo then goes on to describe craft exhibiting startling technologies—the ability to accelerate at a physics-defying 600g, reaching speeds of 17,000 mph in the atmosphere, or even through water. These are things that the government very much has not admitted are real.

We then are shown a series of familiar videos as evidence of this amazing technology—all of which have been in the public domain for some time (over a decade in one case) and all of which have been analyzed (by several people, myself included) and found to almost certainly not represent objects exhibiting incredible abilities, and instead more likely signify very ordinary human technology.

First, we see “Go Fast”, a video presented as showing an incredibly fast craft skimming low over the ocean. But if you do the very simple trigonometry invited by the numbers on screen, it turns out to be something far above the surface and moving at a speed that matches the wind at that altitude, making it almost certainly just a balloon. Yet the 60 Minutes host, the highly respected journalist Bill Whitaker, repeats Elizondo’s baseless claim that it’s “fast moving.”

60 Minutes (screenshot of broadcast)

Next we see a more recent video, the green flashing triangle. Initially very impressive, it shows a triangular shaped object moving across the sky, filmed with a night vision device from a Navy ship. But then you notice the flashing light that, as I demonstrated in a video posted at Metabunk, perfectly matches the pattern of blinking lights on a commercial plane like a Boeing 737. A little research reveals that some night-vision devices have a triangular aperture (see my analysis at Metabunk). When the device is slightly out of focus then a plane flying overhead looks exactly like this flying triangle. The case was effectively closed when other triangles in the scene were identified as stars. Yet we are told “the Pentagon admits it doesn’t know what in the world it is.” It’s pretty obvious what it is once you match the UAP blinking triangle to that of commercial airliners.

60 Minutes (screenshot of broadcast)

In fact, the only thing the Pentagon has admitted is that the videos are “real,” in that they were taken by US Navy personnel (and not, therefore, fake CGI-generated videos or whatever), and that they were included in studies by the UAP task force, meaning they were at least unidentified at one point.

We are then shown two other videos. “FLIR1” is claimed to show physics-defying acceleration, but careful study has shown that the supposed sudden moves are actually the result of the camera moving or changing mode. “GIMBAL” shows an impressive looking flying saucer, but again the reality seems more mundane—an infrared glare of a distant plane and a rotating gimbal mechanism explain both the rotating saucer shape, and why it was named “gimbal” in the first place.

60 Minutes (screenshot of broadcast)
60 Minutes (screenshot of broadcast)

Later we hear about the 2004 USS Nimitz aircraft carrier incident, which gave us the FLIR1 video. Two pilots, David Fravor and Alex Dietrich, repeat a story they (mostly Fravor) have been telling for over a decade. Lauded as the greatest UFO encounter of all time, it has remarkably little in terms of actual evidence. The one blurry video has been consistently misinterpreted (including by Fravor) as showing rapid motion. There are accounts of unusual radar returns showing rapid motion, but unfortunately there’s no solid evidence for these, and the account has changed somewhat since it first appeared in a bizarre short science-fiction story written by the chief radar operator in 2008.

Dietrich and Fravor describe an encounter and short dog-fight with a “Tic-Tac” shaped craft. This is perhaps the most compelling story, and one that’s difficult to explain. But their accounts don’t exactly line up, and I suspect that they saw the same thing, but both had different illusions of motion based on parallax. Unfortunately, the passage of time might mean we will never know what they saw.

We then meet Elizondo’s partner in this enterprise, Christopher Mellon, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence. Mellon seemingly shares Elizondo’s suspicion that we are being visited by some kind of non-human entity, and in 2017 worked with him to secure the release of the videos, which they then gave to the New York Times for a piece of well-timed publicity for their then employer, the To The Stars Academy, founded by rock star Tom DeLonge.

The 60 Minutes segment is capped by Senator Marco Rubio, who has somehow become embroiled in the UAP saga, presenting himself as the voice of reason, just trying to get the military to look into “this.”

But the military is not ignoring things that fly into their airspace just because they can’t identify them. Procedures exist for reporting and investigating such things—not the least of which being that incursion into sensitive airspace would be aggressively intercepted. And the supposed rationale for AATIP (exploiting UFO technology) has already been covered by a variety of Foreign Material Exploitation Program—likely with vastly higher budgets.

What is going on? I really don’t know. The simplest explanation is that there are UFO fans in government, and they get to do these pet projects because the lumbering bureaucracy has better things to do than question every little $22 million in the trillion-dollar budget. More complicated alternatives involved some kind of military smokescreen, allowing UFO stories to run rampant to distract from real secret programs. But these are speculations. I suspect the people being quoted about the videos have not considered the more mundane explanations I have offered, or considered and rejected them because the “off world” or “extraordinary technology” explanations are more appealing.

Ultimately this story has gone on for far too long because the wall of military secrecy allows rampant speculation and claims based on supposed classified knowledge. The unwillingness of the military to clear this up is perhaps understandable, as they have more important things to do. But it’s becoming a big story now, with large segments of the public thinking that there’s something to these accounts and these videos, and it’s a short path from “unidentified” to “extraterrestrial” or “foreign assets”. I do not have great expectations for the story going away, but I wish that someone high up will eventually say enough is enough, and explain exactly what is going on, what these videos show, and what the military really thinks about UFOs.

About the Author

Mick West is the author of Escaping the Rabbit Hole: How to Debunk Conspiracy Theories Using Facts, Logic, and Respect and the host of the podcast: Tales From The Rabbit Hole. Both focus on developing tools for understanding and helping people who have been sucked into conspiracy theories. He’s a retired videogame programmer who helped make the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater Franchise. Mick also runs the website Metabunk.org, where he investigates conspiracy theories, debunks pseudoscience, and analyzes UFO videos.

This article was published on May 17, 2021.

 

81 responses to “US Government Says UFOs are “Real”:
An Analysis of the 60 Minutes Investigation

  1. Gary says:

    Good job, Mick West, but then, why waste this much time on it? UFOs, Bigfeet and Ghost Stories have been debunked popularly since Arthur Conan Doyle. Do you honestly believe this is any different? This stuff is not evidence, it’s unexplained video of unusual sights. Interesting, but so what?

  2. Edward Kowal says:

    A warning to all “professional” skeptics – be very careful with these rediculous “explanations” offered. If any of these objects are shown to eventually be true “unknowns” to us, you truly stand in danger of losing all of your credibility,, except maybe in the cult like followings of others who cannot accept we do not know or understand what the unexplained truly is.
    This is simply what happens when “professional” skeptics get a slap in the face. Yes. UFO’s are real. The government and ex-Presidents have explained there are unknown objects in our skies that do some incredible things, and we simply have no explanation for them.
    If the information about these events have reached the Presidental level, you know it is serious. Combine that with Navy pilots eye witness accounts (unless you believe experienced fighter pilots flying some of the most advanced fighter jet technology in the world are idiots or have really poor judgement and / or eyesight) then something is happening and no one has any true sense of what it is.
    I am, however, very happy the government switched to UAPs for the phenomena, as UFOs has become a term inseparable from alien technology.
    All of that said, these things are NOT birds or some type of camera glitch, unless you yourself simply refuse to believe there are unknowns in our skies that we simply do not understand yet. Remember, even a skeptic can rightfully state that “we do not know yet what they are, but we are looking into it” without saying it is alien. But to go against radar returns, pilot reports, and what some of the most advanced cameras are recording of the same objects, sounds more rediculous than almost anything anyone who has ever concocted some strange story simply for attention – and to clarify, I am in no way grouping all UFO / alien / or UAP reports into that group, nor am I stating they are, in fact, alien.
    If anything comes from this, I truly hope it is that respectable scientists will begin to look into these things with an open mind and without facing any ridicule from their peers – and not simply looking for anything to latch onto in order to offer obviously rediculous explanations, so that they can pitch to us that the extraordinary is actually ordinary. We do need to commit to actually researching these things, and we need the brightest minds from around the world to examine them, again with a truly open mind.
    On a completely random side note – something to ponder – one of the more interesting explanations for these objects that I came across was that these things, with their odd looks and movements, may POSSIBLY, be the evidence of the existence of additional spacial dimensions some theoretical physicists are searching for. The example given is to imagine a two dimensional world, on the very top of a lake for example, with intelligent life living in it. If we were to take our finger and slowly pierce the surface of that lake with it, how would it be viewed by that two dimensional intelligent life? It would essentially be a circle that continues to expand, composed completely of warm, unknown material that behaves strangely to them….interesting thought?

    • Caznac says:

      *Ridiculous, not “rediculous”. Just as you should be ridiculed, not rediculed. If you wish to be taken seriously, learn to spell in English.

      • Michael Jones says:

        That is all you got out of Edward’s comment? You should volunteer to tutor English at public school instead of a discussion website.

        Edward, I agree, denying the encounters of military pilots is completely different than, from a mere citizen.
        I have no doubt these encounters are real and it should be a priority to determine what they are, where they are based, and can we communicate with them. I don’t believe they are alien’s from another planet, beyond that, one opinion is as valid as another, in my opinion.

  3. kurt says:

    GO fast is not a balloon- the video is off a pod which is used to lock targets for air to air combat. The system is composed of lens so it has a focal length. Note you can see the waves so its focusing on something like 12 nautical miles away if you do basic trig based of the fighters altitude . The fighter is going at .61 mach as the fighter is in purist. So that is not a weather balloon at all and its not parallax as the top of waves can be seen as the camera system has a focal length. If it was parallax everything in the background would be a blur.

  4. Mary Goetsch says:

    As author Alan Steinfeld related to M. Shermer, considering alien life is an exciting, very human quality. It is sort of like soap opera and tabloid magazine gossip. Interesting. Yes, worth the investigation. That’s science. We fly to Mars and the Moon, so why not investigate these old and new UAP reports?

  5. John Sanbonmatsu says:

    This is what happens when skepticism becomes dogmatism. Although I agree that 60 Minutes did a poor job, and should have included interviews with experts to evaluate some of the claims that were made, I don’t agree with the author’s glib dismissal of the Nimitz incident:
     
    “Lauded as the greatest UFO encounter of all time, it has remarkably little in terms of actual evidence. The one blurry video has been consistently misinterpreted (including by Fravor) as showing rapid motion.”
     
    No, Fravor has addressed that (https://lexfridman.com/david-fravor/). The author doesn’t appear to understand the technical specifications of the system involved. In any event, I call four credible expert eyewitnesses and confirming radar data to be “actual evidence.”
     
    “There are accounts of unusual radar returns showing rapid motion, but unfortunately there’s no solid evidence for these….” 
     
    I agree that we should hear from radar operators and see the recorded evidence. However, it defies belief that Fravor and Dietrich and Graves and others are lying when they maintain that radar operators did see these things. So this is a weak objection.
     
    “Dietrich and Fravor describe an encounter and short dog-fight with a ‘Tic-Tac’ shaped craft. This is perhaps the most compelling story, and one that’s difficult to explain. But their accounts don’t exactly line up, and I suspect that they saw the same thing, but both had different illusions of motion based on parallax.”
     
    What doesn’t “line up” in their accounts? The author doesn’t say. Meanwhile, it’s unreasonable to claim that four experienced Navy fliers–remember, there were two weapons officers involved too who also witnessed this object–saw an “illusion” of motion over the course of several minutes, from multiple different altitudes. It’s the kind of statement that only someone who doesn’t really understand flight expertise could offer. These are top notch fliers sitting in the most advanced aircraft on earth. And they have thousands of hours of flight experience between them. Did all four of them, for minutes, see an “illusion,” one whose movements were confirmed by radar? Of an object that was later photographed by a different pilot? Absurd.
     
    The author admits: “This is perhaps the most compelling story, and one that’s difficult to explain….” Yes, it is difficult to explain. Very difficult to explain. And the author offers no plausible explanation for it, except to suggest, lamely, that it was all an “illusion.” But what kind of “illusion” behaves in that way or appears in that way? How did the object–apparently–leap 60 miles in a few seconds? How can a large object with no visible means of lift or means of propulsion fly through the air and jet suddenly out of sight?
     
    I have no idea whether this object was of terrestrial or extraterrestrial origin. But it clearly does appear to have defied the laws of physics. So it remains a genuine mystery, one that raises some pretty serious metaphysical questions about the nature of our universe.
     
     

    • Mick West is an Idiot says:

      Exactly! Again, no one of any significant expertise has stated, ‘this is evidence of alien life.’ and yet this dolt uses his limited technical knowledge to try to say, ‘It’s nothing.’??? If you do even rudimentary homework you will discover he has no clue what he is talking about and is simply trying to explain things away that he simply doesn’t understand (someone typically wants an example – okay – on the gimbal video he claims its an afterburner of another aircraft rotating – except what he doesn’t seem to get (as he probably is not a pilot) is that would mean the (other) aircraft is turning, and that would CHANGE IT’S ASPECT TO THE VIEWER. Does it? THAT is why the pilot states it is ROTATING versus, ‘Look, he’s turning.’. ANY military pilot that has been presented MWs explanation simply chuffs, ‘No, I know exactly what an airplane moving away from me in AB looks like, I see it in training all the time.’…

      Maybe more concerning is the willingness of the people flocking here (age?) to lap up what he is pitching. See! See! It’s just normal stuff, MW said so! That isn’t all that different from someone going to Corbell’s Facebook page and saying, See! See! It is for sure ET! 

      I encourage the youth of the world to EXPLORE the subject on your own. There is MUCH reason to be concerned about what is happening/has happened. If your only experience with our military and how they operate is from the msm (or MW) then you are starting far, far, behind. Go out on Google and search for ‘MC-12W’ and start there. What’s that for? What do we do with it? Why? You may come to the determination (correctly) that if you are our adversary or potential adversary we want to know EVERYTHING about you and your capabilities and one way we do that is we WATCH AND LISTEN (record all RF transmissions), again, to EVERYTHING. The scary thing about this rabbit hole may not be WHO is observing our military’s capabilities, but WHY…

  6. John says:

    A prime example of a lazy analysis which choses to ignore a chunk of the data and play the man not the ball. This episode and countless other lead us to a question. Can we pick apart every airline pilot, air force pilot, air craft controler anqd other credible witnesses, who number thousands by trick of light, venus, air baloons. Camera tricks don’t show radar returns. Now I know for most skeptics, it is scary to have a universe which you can’t predict nor understand. But silly explanations or half attempts at explanations with this tired old swamp gas senarios is just insulting to those professionals who are brave enough to come forward with what they witnessed. I suggest this little boy , now I’m playing the man or boy should go and read project blue book and actually study some of these accounts an encounters. Swamp gas and balloons and other aircraft just don’t explain what is going on.

  7. Philoscribe says:

    Excellent analysis, Mick West. You are lone voice of calm reason in a sea of hysteria. I can’t imagine all the grief you must get from the community of UFO conspiracy adherents.Thank you for the time and effort you have put into debunking this sorry subject. It’s a true public service.

  8. Daren says:

    Elizondo, Mellon and a host of other players…all part of the new “Aliens as Entertainment” industry.
    I’ve seen Elizondo hype a pending news release by “the debrief” (or whatever it’s called), by suggesting that the website was going down because, well, the government… instead of the more likely reason being, everyone and their brother trying to get on the site at once. You showed your hand Lue.

  9. Frank Rizzo says:

    What people fail to realize (aside from 60 Min NEVER said this was ‘proof of aliens’) is Mick West attempting to spin information he clearly knows nothing about (actual military sensors and their capabilities for example) comes off as EXACTLY like someone trying to PROVE the data provided IS evidence of UFOs. All ANYONE with any skin in the game (and relative intelligence) has claimed is the objects shown in various clips are ‘unknown’. All Mike West has done is proven that in fact IS the case as he has no idea what it is either…

  10. PenTo says:

    I don’t think the military will ever do as you’re hoping. It’s a security problem in and of itself (and a PR problem of course) for the public to have confirmation that pilots and other DoD observers are so easily fooled. So they simply say nothing either way.

    If they confirmed the “flying pyramids” were bokeh, that makes the cameraman look like a complete idiot for (1) not being able to use his equipment and (2) reporting the resulting footage as UAP (if in fact he did). Who wants a complete idiot defending our shores?

    • Jeffrey R Lewis says:

      That’s exactly the same thought that dawned on me. Of course the military isn’t going to want to call out their own service members publicly for incompetence that makes the military as a whole look bad. Better to leave all these things ‘mysterious’.

  11. RedMotor says:

    It’s all snakeoil and that moron Jeremy Corbell is part of it surely raking in the money from his stupid website and merch. It’s designed to distract people and dumb people down with silly UFO nonsense. Obama even commented. Next, he’ll say the aliens are inclusive and support civil rights.

  12. Tzindaro says:

    There have been countless speculations on what an extraterrestrial culture would be like. Almost all of them have started with the assumption that however different from the cultures of earth, they would follow the same basic trajectory in their history. And there is an assumption that if they are capable of getting here from another planet, they must be farther along that path than we are. 

    So, let us examine some aspects of our own history and see where our own culture came from and where it is going. 

    The story we were told in school is simple: humans started out as simple hunter-gatherers, living in a state of nature, then, after some millions of years, suddenly changed to peasant-farmers, using metal tools instead of stone, growing food instead of searching for it wherever it migfht be, and living in large dense concentrations under kings and religious rulers. Since then, we are told, it has been a steady march to ever-greater technological mastery over the environment, interupted only by wars and ocassional natural catastrophes 

    The story is simple in it’s outlines and most people believe it. In fact, enormous peer presure is exerted upon anyone who expresses any doubt. But the whole story is wrong. Nothing of the kind ever took place. 

    As is agreed by almost everyone, humans originated ( however that may have been, and for whatever reasons ) a long time ago. For most of the time since then they lived as hunter-gatherers. They have only begun to use metal implements, organize into large-scale communities, fight organized wars, use most forms of technology, and countless other inovations, within the last 10,000 years. Indeed, most of the main inovations are as recent as only the last 5,000 years or so. 

    If you backtrack the earth and other solar system objects by computer, you find that starting around 12,000 years ago the earth intercepted a swarm of meteors in space. These interceptions have recurred every seven or eight centuries since, though with diminishing intensity each time. And each time they occur, changes take place in human history. 

    There were repeated and drastic changes in the global climate. There were mass extinctions, especially of the largest and most important members of most continental ecosystems. There was massive desertification. And humans began to change from hunters and gatherers to farmers and city-dwellers. 

    Cities depend on farming. Large organized empires depend on farming. To fight a war, an empire must have both a large enough population and a surplus of food to feed non-productive soldiers. Nothing we would call ciivilization could exist without farming. What does farming depend on? 

    You can dig up enough ground with a digging stick to grow a little extra food to suplement gathering wild foods, but you cannot plough a large enough field to feed yourself and several other people that way. Farming had to wait for the invention of the plough. And you cannot plough up much land with a plough made of wood. The plough had to wait for the use of metal. 

    In the times before the meteors hit the earth, the earth was much more highly charged than it is today. The meteor storms discharged a lot of that charge and it has never recovered to what it was before that. And the use of metals had to wait for the reduction in charge because until then metals could not be used. It hurt to touch anything made of metal. A touch would cause a painful shock every time. 

    So the discharging of a large part of the global charge was the needed pre-condition for development of a civilization that uses metals in it’s technology, gets most of it’s food from farming, and has a large enough population to have urban populations that do other things instead of gathering food for a living. And if there had not been a swarm of meteors in the right orbit to hit the earth, we wopuld all still be hunter-gatherers with a stone-age technology. 

    So any extraterrestrials we encounter in space will not have a modern-type technology unless they too have had a similar experience in their history. Civilizations do not happen inevitably. They happen because of a specific set of environmental conditions and while the laws of biology indicate there could be, indeed probably are, many planets with humans more or less like those on earth, even possibly many that are identical to the degree we can detect, they are almost certain to be hunter-gatherers, not urban engineers.

    But there will be other difference also. The same meteor storms that made possible development of metal-using technology also caused certain changes in the behavior of the vast majority of human culutres. Maybe a few rainforest tribes escaped the devastation and environmental changes enough to remain sane, but the majority of humans did not.emerge unscathed. Almost all human cultures literally went insane from the trauma and have remained so ever since. 

    And all the cultures that have developed since the meteor storms are dependent on that insanity. To give only one example, no healthy person, feeling alive and aware of his own body and emotions, would consent to spend his working life deep in a mine,.digging for coal or iron. So in a society of sane people, coal and iron would not be dug. People brought up free and capable of independent thinking would not join a regimented army. So large empires would not exist. People would not live in large cities unless they were out of contact with their biological instincts. So there would be no large cities. 

    So any extraterrestrial civilization that becomes able to make ships able to carry them from there to here will have to suffer from the same mental illness that prevails on earth. If they do not, they will remain hunter-gatherers and not develop a technology able to bring them here. 

    This means that any extraterrestrial culture that visits us will almost certainly resemble our own. Not in all details, just as there are some minor differences between the cultures of China and Europe, but in the essential matter of being insane.

     There may be some like the Klingons, violent and agressive, and some like the Vulcans, cold and detached, and some like the Bajorans, mystical, and some like the Frengi, aquisitive to an extreme, and some like the Romulans, regimented with rigid disciplne, and some like the Borg, all individuality submerged in a collective mind.

     But there will be none who are emotionally healthy; if they are able to get into space, they will have to be a neurotic race, suffering from the same constellation of emotional illnesses that mankind has suffered from for the past several thousand years. Otherwise, they will not be in space; they will be hunting for food in a vast wilderness on a planet that remains almost entirely in it’s natural condition. 

    And all this is true regardless of any minor differences they may exhibit from humans of earth. It is true of all mammals on earth, not just humans. It will be true regardless of if a species is telepathic or not, even to the extent of being a Borg-like collective mind. Unless a species is too different from us for us to be able to comunicate, their basic psychological functions will be the same. 

    And since the root cause of human insanity is a cosmic accident, one not likely to have happened anywhere else that human life has arisen, there will be no aliens coming here to contact us. We will have to go to them. 

    • thelaine says:

      Mental illness indeed.

    • Wonderful says:

      So … what you are actually saying is that *someone* put those meteors there in the path of Earth in order to create this pattern of bombardments … 🤔

      • tzindaro says:

        No. I think it was just an accident. There is no reason to suspect anyone did it for any reason. Meteors just happen. No “someone” involved.

    • rhymnosaurus says:

      Why does alien life capable of space travel have to be identical to that of humans?

  13. BillG says:

    Navy pilots – and some astronauts, are not exactly the humblest among us. David Fravor seemingly brags about his training and experience without a hint that he could be fooled.
    It’s the typical “arguement from ignorance” case.
    Paraphrasing Mitch Hedberg: ‘pictures of bigfoot are fuzzy because he’s actually fuzzy!’
    Perhaps aliens too;)

  14. Dave says:

    …I like xkcd’s take on why all these sorts of questions are pretty much settled these days: https://xkcd.com/1235/

  15. David Halperin says:

    Actually, there was something new in the “60 Minutes” segment: Alex Dietrich. I can’t recall ever having heard of her before in connection with the “Nimitz” incident–somebody please correct me if I’m wrong on this.
    She’s important, because until she spoke up Fravor seemed to be the only person who reported seeing something with his own eyes, and Mick has provided good evidence for doubting his reliability (https://www.metabunk.org/threads/commander-david-fravor-faking-ufo-encounters-in-california-desert.10947/). But then what shall we do with Dietrich? Even if, as she herself suggested in her interview with Anderson Cooper, her memories have become distorted with the passage of time, she clearly saw *something,* and her recollections confirm that Fravor did too.
    Unless she’s lying no less than Fravor. Does anyone want to make that argument?

    • PenTo says:

      None of these witnesses needs to be “lying”. Eye witness testimony is frequently and notoriously poor quality.

      • Jeff says:

        Yeah. I’ve been involved in flight test for an R&D company. No crazy new technologies, but there are still incidents (often as minor as a subsystem not working properly and wanting to debug it). And when those happen, first you get the pilots’ side of things written down, then you go back and look over the data and video. And the pilots’ recollection frequently doesn’t match the data. Of course, you don’t dismiss pilot reports, but you take what they say with a healthy dose of skepticism, and always prefer hard data over pilot reports.

    • Asimo says:

      IIRC wasn’t she featured alongside Fravor in Elizondo’s first “Unidentified” TV series last year, wanting to remain anonymous but very poorly ‘hidden’ in silhouette that could be defeated by just turning the brightness up?

  16. George Kanakaris says:

    ‘What is going on? I really don’t know. The simplest explanation is that there are UFO fans in government, and they get to do these pet projects because the lumbering bureaucracy has better things to do than question every little $22 million in the trillion-dollar budget. ‘
    Really ?That is your conclusion ?Debunk at all cost.

    • Robert Bouillon says:

      This article strikes me as written by someone more interested in proving others wrong (and being right himself) than a sincere interest in facts and science.

      Starting with a conclusion and searching for evidence is the root of confirmation bias. This is a fallacy and remains true whether you’re trying to prove UFO’s are real or trying to prove that UFO “evidence” has a mundane explanation.

      Science is about letting the facts tell the story and about controlling for known human biases. Skepticism is about checking pseudo-science with real science, not about proving others wrong.

      A red flag for any claim is when the author’s evidence is a link to more of the author’s work, forcing you down a rabbit hole in search of facts (pun intended).

      More science, please, and fewer arguments from authority. I understand that YouTube is the preferred medium for this type of content, but this article was a missed opportunity to provide a scientific rebuttal to the latest UFO mania.

    • Drew K says:

      This is the problem with UFO believers. You simply don’t know how to say “this is all we know for now”, so you jump to conclusions. Then, since you don’t understand the concept of intellectual honesty, you assume everybody else jumps to conclusions the same way you do.

      The part of the article you quoted says “What is going on? I REALLY DON’T KNOW.” Nowhere does it say “debunk at all costs”. It means when we have something more than blurry images, we can believe aliens are here. Until that time, the best we can say is “I don’t know what it is”.

      But yes, we can also consider different scenarios. Occam’s Razor says the simplest answer is usually the right one. Either people are confused, people are lying, or aliens are here darting around the atmosphere. I’m not saying the conclusion of aliens is impossible, but the conclusion that people are mistaken is much more likely to be true.

      Answer me this: if some alien race has the ability to reach our planet without being detected, why would they be flying around randomly inside our atmosphere? If they possess some technology that allows them to remain invisible on approaching Earth, surely they would be able to evade detection from our primitive instruments. If they wanted to look around, they could do that from orbit, tap into our satellites, etc. Even if we don’t know exactly what the “tictac” is, there is little or no reason to believe it’s an alien craft.

      Again, none of this is to say that the “aliens” conclusion is impossible. Just letting you know why a few blurry images aren’t enough to convince people who aren’t already dying to be convinced.

      • Frank Rizzo says:

        Realizing this is dated and you probably wont see this, I will comment anyway. You being absolutely certain that you know what <something> ISN’T is not appreciably different than someone saying they’re certain what it IS. Do you get that? You CAN’T claim you can explain WHAT is in some of those stories (All the Nimitz folks were confused, tricked, and/or lying? Really? That’s your intellectual opinion?) because you (or Mick West) DO NOT KNOW… See how that works? You’re exactly the same as someone who says, ‘That is an alien because X, Y and Z.’ The FACT of the matter is, whatever is depicted on those videos, the military (if it is not them) SHOULD be concerned as to its existence. As Cmdr Fravor stated, ‘I don’t know what it was or whom it may belong to, I just know it was much, much more capable than my aircraft, which should be one of the preeminent fighter jets in the world.’ That’s enough for me…

  17. Mitch says:

    If the military goes out of its way to deny the existence of alien technology in our skies, that will just be confirmation of alien technology in our skies for the pseudo-skeptics.

  18. Shane K. Bernard says:

    Thank you for posting this detailed criticism of the “60 Minutes” segment about UFOs: I find it dismaying (but unsurprising) that so highly esteemed a news program would air such an uncritical piece. Rather than consult skeptics and look for reasonable explanations for the recorded images and visual observations in question, the segment seems to jump to the conclusion “No one can explain these phenomena, therefore they must be something extraordinary!” Perhaps worse, the very fact of the piece appearing on “60 Minutes” lends this conclusion a legitimacy that other news outlets, among various other sources such as UFO blogs, are echoing and embracing. I sincerely hope the airing of this slapdash segment is not more evidence of the general “dumbing down” of America or the long-term residual impact of Trumpian “post-truth” delusion.

  19. Garry says:

    I think we are not aware of the limitations of our eyesight, and the way the brain processes information from the eyes. Possibly in the same way that we can only hear a certain range of sounds, due to the limitations of the way our brain processes audible information. Add this to our ego, and wish to feel important amongst our burgeoning population, and anything is possible…. ? Add to this mix our inherent wish to believe “ We are not alone “ and the mystery will go on and on.. just my thoughts, not criticising anyone else’s beliefs.

    A perfect personal example of my own is out walking at dawn or dusk, when familiar objects are often misinterpreted as something else, only to be perceived for what they really are as I get closer, or daylight reveals true identities.

    My brain makes things up, about what I’m seeing if it isn’t sure, which may be some sort of self preservation device, to protect me against what might be a genuine threat… I.e. Is it just a breeze creating the rustling grass, or a venomous snake moving in the grass which could kill me…?

  20. Ron says:

    What a ridiculous attempt at gaslighting…

    Pilots – Navy, Air Force and commercial pilots – radar operators, and Pentagon officials are on record saying, in short:

    “There’s a TECHNOLOGY up there invading our air space.

    It IS NOT OUR technology.

    It IS NOT any human technology.

    But we’re not saying it’s aliens…..”

    DO THE MATH!

    • skeptonomist says:

      People have always seen the “evidence” for non-human “technology” – it has been taken to prove the existence of gods. By the way, why not take these supposed phenomena as manifestations of angels, devils, etc?

  21. River says:

    I find that you have some points but your skepticism is more cynicism or that one could call a debunker. You mention using trig and other things in order to calculate the speed when the pilot was watching it and listen to it on the radio.
    It may not be aliens but your belief that it isn’t operating against known physics seems presumptuous especially when there is no plum or wings on either videos. It would be good if you wrote what you thought the speed was since you are so good with the math. I am not being sarcastic there, it would lend credibility.
    You are assuming your interpretation of their encounter is inaccurate. Then taking your interpretation as the actual event that happened.
    The Nimitz even shows a unknown craft in the sky. Have you seen a aircraft with wings or a helicopter with the FLRI1. It seems you are being biased again here as it represents no known aircraft if you can call it an aircraft spinning around.

    It may not be Aliens. What I find with skeptics like yourself as your description really hints at is that your message is “It can’t be aliens”
    Or else you would have spoken to other issues and not so flippantly dismissed what they have seen.

    • Luis Cayetano says:

      It can be aliens. There’s just no reason to think so.

    • Bob Bunsen says:

      It can’t be aliens because it’s Bigfoot. EVERYBODY knows that, we just know better than to talk about it.

    • Drew K says:

      You need to read the article again. And actually read it this time, don’t just skim it.

      The author did write what they thought the speed was. “A speed that matches wind speed at that altitude”. They also addressed the lack of visible wings. Learn to read.

      You also need to learn what the word “skeptic” means. It doesn’t mean “deny/debunk”. It just means you don’t jump to conclusions without sufficient evidence. This article does not say “it can’t be aliens” anywhere. It’s just offering different explanations that may be more likely.

  22. Dr Michael W Ecker says:

    This issue illustrates the dire need for human beings to learn healthy skepticism. I don’t mean cynicism, either. Skepticism is the best set of tools for dealing with the overwhelming, expanding array of the gullible beliefs found in superstitions, religion, hyperbole, wishful thinking, and pure nonsense of human beings.

    UFOs, astrology, numerology, magic crystals, Bigfoot, New Age religions (and older ones for that matter), Loch Ness monster, Bermuda Triangle, tarot cards, communicating with the dead, levitation, mind reading, and so on, ad nauseum. Why don’t people get it that such extraordinary claims absolutely require extraordinary evidence? Such evidence must be testable, falsifiable, repeatable, and compelling in the support provided.

    How often must these be debunked? Indoctrination may be at work here as well… The point is not that we are saying they are all nonsense, but we are saying that it is irrational to believe such a thing until there is sufficient evidence to warrant belief, to compel belief – at which point where evidence proves the case, these then become phenomena within science & reason.

    We are pattern-seeking animals who crave answers. Skepticism would help people learn to accept “I don’t know” instead of the usual jumping to unsupported conclusions such as “it’s a UFO”, “it must be God”, and “my mom got better because we prayed”. People who subscribe to this kind of unskeptical thinking, alas, tend to become the people who can be drawn in to passing horrible laws and even committing atrocities. It is for such reasons that skepticism is desperately needed in every age.

    • Shane K. Bernard says:

      Yes, it’s always puzzled me why some people confuse “skepticism” (the view that belief should rest on sufficient evidence) and “cynicism” (the view that human nature and human motives are contemptible).

    • Jon says:

      The thing that I find funny, is that the professional skeptics (and I say that to mean those whose careers or identities are based around debunking, not just those who practice skepticism in their lives) are unwilling to say “I don’t know”. When there are extraordinary claims being make by our fighter pilots, for example, rather than coming up with several potential hypotheses, but leaving it an open question as to which one is correct, many in this community feel it’s appropriate to “jump to unsupported conclusions” such as “it’s a balloon”, and “it’s IR glare of a distant plane”.

      It certainly could be those things! Depending on the credence you give to statements made by former Navy personnel, those things may even be the most likely hypotheses. But clearly we don’t have enough evidence to say with certainty. The Navy isn’t willing to say with certainty, and they have access to more information than us! The true skeptical response, as you point out, though you don’t mean it the same way, is to indeed accept that we don’t know, and wait for more evidence.

      And another point on epistemology – we should be using Bayes theorem to evaluate the world around us, rather than having a black and white “things are false until they are true” mentality. According to you “it is irrational to believe such a thing until there is sufficient evidence to warrant belief, to compel belief – at which point where evidence proves the case, these then become phenomena within science & reason.”. But if you operate in this way, then we would be stuck as we would never collect the evidence necessary to compel changes in belief.

      Take something like plate tectonics – it was proposed far before there was compelling evidence to support it. According to your epistemology, we should refuse to believe such an extraordinary claim until there is extraordinary evidence. And that’s why it took 50 years for it to be accepted as correct in the scientific community.

      I’m proposing that instead, we are willing to say, “whoa, that hypothesis seems very unlikely, but I will now keep it in my bag of hypotheses with a low prior probability and be willing to re-evaluate my beliefs as more evidence on this topic is discovered”. Skepticism means not believing without evidence. It doesn’t mean not even considering the possibility of things outside the current paradigm.

  23. Suzanne Bredlau Turgeon says:

    A huge library can and has been written on the pro’s and con’s over UFOs, UAPs, aliens and related topics, far too much to even scratch the surface here. If people spend the time to research it, they will find out there is far more information supporting the subject than against it. The “60 Minutes” segment was a tiny snippet of the entire reportage on this particular event. The “Fermi Paradox” — a throwaway comment by the late physicist: “Where are they?” — is a useless argument, as are all the counter science/math discussions which are rationally sound if you want to poo-poo flying saucers and aliens. The fact is the phenomenon is real and has been occurring long before man took to the skies.

    I have seen UFOs of various kinds, as have my husband and members of both our families, as well as many people we know. We don’t do drugs, drink, or hallucinate, are sane, rational and logical individuals. These were not misidentified aircraft, planets, stars, moon, atmospheric conditions, etc. Some of us have had up-close-and-personal encounters and events with non-human entities related to this reality. You don’t want to believe it? Fair. Doesn’t matter. It still goes on, unabated, for unknown purposes. They, whoever “they” are, don’t play by our rules. They don’t have to. However irritating that is to our human ego, the takeaway is that this elusive phenomenon is real and not of our making, and there is nothing we can do about it.

    • Dr Michael W Ecker says:

      Oh, here we go again… Yes, this is well-written, but it is still just a variation of the kind of post that illustrates the dire need for human beings to learn healthy skepticism. I don’t mean cynicism, either. Skepticism is the best set of tools for dealing with the overwhelming, expanding array of the gullible beliefs found in superstitions, religion, hyperbole, wishful thinking, and pure nonsense of human beings.

      UFOs, astrology, numerology, magic crystals, Bigfoot, New Age religions (and older ones for that matter), Loch Ness monster, Bermuda Triangle, tarot cards, communicating with the dead, levitation, mind reading, and so on, ad nauseum. Why don’t people get it that such extraordinary claims absolutely require extraordinary evidence? Such evidence must be testable, falsifiable, repeatable.

      How often must these be debunked? Indoctrination may be at work here as well… The point is not that we are saying they are all nonsense, but we are saying that it is irrational to believe such a thing until there is sufficient evidence to warrant belief, to compel belief – at which point where evidence proves the case, these then become phenomena within science & reason.

      We are pattern-seeking animals who crave answers. Skepticism would help people learn to accept “I don’t know” instead of the usual jumping to unsupported conclusions such as “it’s a UFO”, “it must be God”, and “my mom got better because we prayed”. People who subscribe to this kind of unskeptical thinking, alas, tend to become the people who can be drawn in to passing horrible laws and even committing atrocities. It is for such reasons that skepticism is desperately needed in every age.

      (Dr. Mike Ecker has a Ph.D. in mathematics from the City Univ. of NY, 1978. He retired from teaching in 2016 after a 45-year career as a frequently published math professor, mostly with Penn State U’s Wilkes-Barre Campus. He remains an active mathematician, a computer collector, a skeptic, and an occasional professional reviewer.)

    • Bob Bunsen says:

      Got any photographs of those non-human entities?

    • Ray Sutera says:

      And still all you’ve got is stories.

  24. pat says:

    We can’t all be responsible thinkers. You must admit though it keeps the fear of the “Other” alive and well fed in the corners of our tiny little minds and all but guarantees public support for expensive space exploration to prepare Earth for visitation by the other. boogity boo!

  25. Herb says:

    I’m here to tell ya that I have personally witnessed a real UFO. It’s called the Spook Light or the Hornet light and it can be seen along a little patch of road in the Tri-State area of Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Over the years, it has been studied by the government and researchers alike but has never been satisfactorily explained. The ‘light’ was first documented in 1881 and is still visible today. It is a true UFO.

    I grew up in the 50’s in Joplin, MO. When I was in high school, we used to drive out to see the “Hornet Light.” For your consideration, here is an article from the Joplin website and a video which shows exactly what I saw when I was there.

    Over the years people have seen thousands of unidentified flying objects. Unfortunately, some folks amplify their confirmation bias to see what they want to see. They assume these “objects” are flown by intelligent beings and anthropomorphize them as ET’s. From that false premise, they invent motives for them to buzz around our planet. Sadly, none of these UFO’s never land and the occupants don’t ask to see our leader (in perfect English of course.) Carl Sagan famously said, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.”

    https://www.joplinmo.org/575/The-Spook-Light

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ueIUMigTfC4

  26. Steve James says:

    Thunderf00t did some very interesting “busted” videos on this on youtube.

    I’d like to believe, but T.f00t makes a very compelling case.

  27. Jason says:

    “ it first appeared in a bizarre short science-fiction story written by the chief radar operator in 2008.”

    What’s this a reference to? Can you please share a link to the short story?

  28. Dean Myerson says:

    I think the distances involved is why most of us start out from a skeptical viewpoint even before we see specific debunking theories to explain away tantalizing visuals. But we can’t ignore the slight possibility that there is in fact a way to travel those distances. Even so, they would probably be robotic vehicles like we are already sending out into the solar system. So I still leave out that tiny fraction of one percent chance they are extra-solar system in origin, but await actually examining one for physical evidence to give it more chance than that. I suppose that’s the difference between a skeptic and a contrarian?

    • Brian Zaugg says:

      Ignore the staggering distances for a moment (just for a moment). What about the deceleration necessary from those interstellar speeds to not just fly by any planets? One would think deceleration would be long, energetic, and visible long before an interstellar craft could achieve orbit, let alone enter our atmosphere. We see very small rocks exhibiting no forceful deceleration. How would it be possible for this not to be blinding obvious for the months or whatever it would take to sufficiently slow down?

      • Roderick says:

        You are applying current human knowledge on the topic of space travel, but what if another civilisation would be 10 thousand years further developed than us, or a 100 thousand years? Even even a million years? This is highly plausible IF they are out there, considering the age and amount of stars and planets out there. Our civilisation is so incredibly young yet we tend to think we’ve achieved and know a lot already, but we as a species should remain more humble towards what an older civilisation might know and achieved compared to us. It is actually incomprehensible what their technology would be like, just like our technology would be to hunter gatherers. Too many people and scientists are going for the ‘it’s too far away to travel to us’ argument, meaning we know all there is to know about physics and the cosmos so there’s basically not much more to learn. Well that’s a boring prospect. That’s not exactly the mindset that has been pushing science forward through the centuries.

  29. Richard says:

    In my view, the author removes the shine of this otherwise well-written article when he inserts his own conclusions rather than simply report the facts.

    For example, the author says: “… the highly respected journalist Bill Whitaker, repeats Elizondo’s baseless claim that it’s ‘fast moving.’” Whether or not Whitaker is “highly respected” or Elizondo’s claim is “baseless,” is not for the author to tell us and detracts from the objectiveness of the article. 

    • Ray Sutera says:

      “Inserting his own conclusions” is called analysis. Read the title of the article. Also read the “About the author” part.

  30. Fred Beloit says:

    I’ve been aware of the saucer scam since 1947. Fuzzy, out-of- focus photos, but never one piece of physical evidence to actually examine. A new generation of the gullible all excited about the “evidence.”

  31. Colin Meyer says:

    UFOs are real, meaning there are some objects flying around that we cannot identify. That doesn’t equate to evidence of little green men from Mars or Betelgeuse.

    Illusions, drones, balloons, chunks of ice that form in clouds, meteors, the list of possibilities goes on and on.

    • Ann Kah says:

      I lived at the foot of a mountain that sometimes had lenticular clouds that looked like a stack of pancakes …images that I have seen reported as “UFOs”. I was unable to determine if the authors were duplicitous or just plain naïve.

  32. Joe says:

    Is there life on planets around other stars? Probably. It there intelligent life currently? Maybe. (what does “currently” mean anyway?) Can the distance between the stars of these alien civilizations be crossed? No way.

    The milky way is about 100,000 LY across. We are in a low-density spiral arm. We can make up a distance to the closest intelligent life, say 10,000 LY. That is a LONG way. People who believe alien life has visited earth have no comprehension of this distance. Pick 1,000 or 50,000, the answer isn’t going to change.

    The physical barrier is time or energy. At non-relativistic energies, time is far too long. To reduce the travel time (of the traveler), one would need to accelerate close to c, and then decelerate. The energy required to do that for a ship is technologically impossible, even if one had a sun as its engine.

    • Oscar says:

      Agree

    • Hominid says:

      Correct. Life in interstellar space is also an impossibility for any organism that evolved in accordance with the selection pressures of its planet. Moreover, the exposure to cosmic radiation in interstellar space would kill any biological organism in short order. The notion that sapiens will “find a new planet” on which to survive the death of Earth is nonsense.

    • Bob Bunsen says:

      Your arguments have been made numerous times, only to be dismissed by believers in the ET hypothesis, who claim that ET has technologies we can neither comprehend or explain. It’s pretty difficult to logic someone out of a position they didn’t logic themselves into.

    • Roderick says:

      You are applying current human knowledge on the topic of space travel, but what if another civilisation would be 10 thousand years further developed than us, or a 100 thousand years? Even even a million years considering the age and amount of stars and planets out there? Our civilisation is so young, yet we tend to think we’ve achieved and know a lot already, but we as a species should remain more humble towards what an older civilisation might know and achieved compared to us. It IS actually incomprehensible what their technology would be like, just like our technology would be to hunter gatherers. Too many people and scientists are going for the ‘it’s too far away to travel to us’ argument, meaning we know all there is to know about physics and the cosmos so there’s basically not much more to learn. Well that’s a boring prospect. That’s not exactly the mindset that has been pushing science forward through the centuries. There are plenty of examples in our history where someone with an open mind had to prove everybody wrong with new laws of physics or technology deemed impossible.

      Seems to me like a collective ego or religious construct that there can’t possibly be someone more special and knowledgable than us out there, which is probably quite often the reason for overly heavy skepticism and the urge to debunk without looking at all the data. Not saying skepticism is bad though. When I first saw the recorded triangular shaped craft flying over a navy ship I couldn’t help but link the flickering lights to commercial airplanes and this vid I think is successfully debunked.. probably most can be debunked, but various incidents like the Nimitz case have classified radar and sensor recordings (likely because the military doesn’t want their technological capabilities be made public) that back up the claims made by the pilots. Radar operators and commanding officers aboard those ships (Gary Voorhis, Jason Turner, P.J. Hughes, Ryan Weigelt, and Kevin Day) have also done interviews, claiming visuals on radar, through binoculars and from the flight deck. 

      They also confirmed there were fleets of them over the course of days, where some objects on radar would drop from tens of thousands of feet to sea level in less than second and continue hovering again. A public peer reviewed paper done by credible scientists (Kevin Knuth is ex NASA) estimated the acceleration to be above 5000g, the max. speed to be 46000 mph and the required power for that would be 1100GW, which exceeds the yearly nuclear power production of the US by a factor of 10. They calculated that if a craft could continue this acceleration in the vacuum of space they could reach alpha centauri in a matter of days. Of course they claimed it’s all estimates and more raw data is needed, but it does paint a picture that space travel doesn’t seem all that difficult for these craft IF all witness reports and data are correct. They concluded either it’s highly fabricated, huge errors were made or we might be looking at tech and physics we humans don’t yet understand. The title of the full report was something like ‘estimating flight characteristics of UAP’s’

      None of these people or me is definitively saying this is otherworldly tech, but it is not an impossible theory if the data checks out. More radar recordings are coming out lately that could possibly clear things up for this topic so I guess it all comes down to patience. If all the high ranking military witness reports spanning decades of incidents around nuclear missile launch sites could be backed up by radar data as well it would make it even more unlikely it was just human made by Russia or China.

  33. sir says:

    I don’t think it’s aliens either,. However, the second least likely case is that these pilots and a multitude of sensors were fooled by a baloon or an optical illustion. The way I see it, it’s either:
    1) A hoax – to help fund gvt contracts, to hide a black project, or just to help some former military guys earn a living as tv stars
    2) An object/objects with an unusual flight profile. If we go into speculation (because we have no data other than pilot testimonies and some vague clips), I can imagine a combination or experimental drone and radar spoofing that could explain all of this. An advanced drone would possibly fool pilots, and the radar spoofing would give false signals to operators (like the fact that it’s moving so fast and at such a high altitude). Now this would be very advanced tech, probably something no country has currently developed, but more plausible than intradimensional beings.

    We should not entertain the ideas of these debunkers that, out of a sense of decency, refuse to call it bs and try to find mundane alternatives for extraordinary claims. If you entertain the idea that time has past and it’s impossible to find the truth, then whatever it is behind this whole story has won. Data should be shared with the public.
    This country has, in very recent history, declared war on another country based on false intel. It would be a shame for the gvt to say there are ufo’s without sharing data with the public.

    • Gary H says:

      sir,

      I’m guessing you’re not a pilot. I am, and I’m telling you that the atmosphere is a strange place. Pilots (and their aircraft’s sensors) frequently see things that they cannot initially identify. We get more familiar with them over time, but after hundreds of hours of flight time it still happens to me regularly.

      If you really care about this, go to a small airport that offers flying lessons, buy an aviation instructor lunch, and ask questions. I’m pretty sure you’ll change your mind and agree that neither hoaxes nor advanced technology are as likely as sensors and pilots mis-recognizing atmospheric phenomena and other aircraft.

  34. Steve W. says:

    Why is there no mention of the Fermi paradox? Has it been solved by some one? Also, a Kardashev Type III civilization capable of this type of travel has not been detected in our part of the local universe. So, these other worldly craft came all this way over thousands of years, just to hide from us? The pilots were such bad witnesses, it’s no wonder the stayed quiet all these years. Such shabby reporting with no skeptical viewpoint at all gave this story the sensational angle these news shows are now leaning towards. So sad to think that people will now be further deluded by this former respected news show. Who wants to hear somebody debunking their cherished hope in aliens curing our earthly problems? No ratings in that. People want to believe this so bad, without the slightest consideration of the whole impossibility of it. I predict more fuzzy photos and second hand accounts of UAP’s from a lot more people looking to make a quick buck from the gullible. Book tours and conferences will be the next big thing for all these enthusiasts. Unfortunately these grifters gotta grift, and in the predicted demon haunted reality we now live in, that’s getting easier by the day. People just want to believe!😂

    • sir says:

      Why are the pilots bad witnesses? I’d say the TV format is bad for this type of investigation. Now that we have podcasts and you can see these guys talking at lenght about the subject, some snippets from an interview don’t do it justice and seem clickbaity.

    • Bad Boy Scientist says:

      @Steve, Aliens visiting the Earth in such a fashion is one of the proposed solutions to the “Fermi Paradox” (which really isn’t a paradox).
      You are right through, the technical obstacles to interstellar travel are so vast that it is hard to appreciate how hard it is. Just getting to the Centauri cluster (4.3ly) in 1,000 years using rockets would be either impossible or not feasible (depending on the rocket technology).
      When people speculate ‘warp drive’ or some such, I think to myself “100 years ago they’d be talking about using magic to get here.”

      • Roderick says:

        Like I said somewhere else here there’s no telling what a civilisation might know or achieved if they are even 10 thousand years older than us. Try to imagine a million years older, which is not very unlikely considering the age and amount of stars and planets. We so far have discovered like what? 1000 earth like planets? And we think we already know there are no type 3 civilisations out there. Us humans have a history of overestimating our capabilities and knowledge of things and it always took a few individuals with an open mind to come up with new tech or laws of physics deemed impossible.

        Why would they hide from us or not make themselves known? Would you go to the zoo and start having a convo with the monkeys too? That’s probably what we’re like to them. Maybe we’re just entertainment to them like some alien national geographic who knows. We should stop claiming we can know their motives. We’re not even a type 1 civilisation yet and from how we’re treating each other or our flora and fauna can’t exactly consider ourselves highly intelligent yet. We might actually not be that special in the vastness of the cosmos. There is not evidence yet to claim that, but we need to stop talking in the sense these things are impossible when we don’t know that either yet.

  35. Brian says:

    I honestly cannot understand why intelligent folks like the author of this article have such a hard time understanding what is going on and why this stuff is getting so much attention.

    Two words for you… Space Force.

    We’ve created an entirely new branch of the military that must now be fed. These bullshit stories are meant to open up the funding spigets by taking advantage of people’s natural belief that there must be something else out there.

    Take a look at the people in Congress who push this stuff and you’ll see folks who are trying to steer trillions in new spending to their states and districts.

    Do some digging and see where Space Force spending is happening and you’ll see exactly why Congress and the Media are more than happy to report these one-sided stories as if they aren’t easily debunked. It’s always about the money.

  36. Robert Sheaffer says:

    Yes, Mick, exactly. There was nothing new about UFOs (or UAPs) in the CBS piece, just a repeat of claims made already by the Usual Suspects. And not the slightest attempt to include a skeptical viewpoint, as if the entire world were standing in awe at these amazing things. Lots of critical thinking about claims of ‘Pentagon UFOs’ is out there: See Metabunk, Bad UFOs, Blue Blurry Lines, the Black Vault, etc. Too bad the CBS reporters were interested only in making sensational claims, and not in investigating facts.

    And the UFO and paranormal enthusiast Robert Bigelow is more than “Harry Reid’s friend.” He was a major campaign contributor to Reid.
    https://badufos.blogspot.com/2017/12/delonge-overload-and-secret-federal-ufo.html

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how Akismet processes your comment data. Comments are closed 45 days after an article is published.

Donate
For those seeking a sound scientific viewpoint

Newsletter

Be in the know!

Subscribe to eSkeptic: our free email newsletter and get great podcasts, videos, reviews and articles from Skeptic magazine, announcements, and more in your inbox once or twice a week.

Sign me up!

Copyright © 1992–2022. All rights reserved. | P.O. Box 338 | Altadena, CA, 91001 | 1-805-576-9396. The Skeptics Society is a non-profit, member-supported 501(c)(3) organization (ID # 95-4550781) whose mission is to promote science & reason. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Privacy Policy.