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A new Netflix documentary purporting to provide proof of alien visitation fails to deliver

With its high production values and its parade of seemingly expert witnesses, Steven Greer’s film, Unacknowledged, may at first seem to provide substantial evidence of visitations by space aliens to the Earth—in particular that the Roswell incident involved an actual crashed spaceship and the bodies of its alien crew, of a massive cover-up of these contacts by the government of the United States, and the reason for the cover-up. This last is that the cover-up is part of the suppression of the science and technology of zero-point or quantum vacuum energy, which would give us unlimited, pollution-free energy and eliminate poverty and starvation throughout the world. The perpetrators of this evil conspiracy are, according to the film, those in charge of “Black Programs,” which gobble up either $40 to $80 billion a year (as it is claimed early in the film) or $100 to $200 billion (as the narrator claims later in the movie).

To anyone of a skeptical mind-set a red flag pops up early in the film when a flood of witnesses claim to have seen the crashed spaceship and the bodies of its alien crew at Area 51. I didn’t initially recognize many of the names of those witnesses. One, however stood out: Lt. Col. Philip Corso, who authored a book titled The Day After Roswell. Here is what the noted UFO investigator Stanton Friedman had to say in his review of that book:

The first part of the book, with the exception of the strange Ft. Riley, Kansas warehouse scene with an alien body being observed by Corso on July 6, seems to have nothing to do with him. He admits he wasn’t involved at all in the recovery, investigation, or evaluation of what happened near Roswell. It is almost certainly based on the many Roswell books already published by Randle and Schmitt, Moore and Berlitz, and Don Berliner and myself, but with no attempt to validate or critically evaluate anything and no credits being given.

In the second half of the book Corso seems to be taking credit for the single handed introduction of a whole host of new technologies into American industry. All this is supposedly derived from the filing cabinet of Roswell wreckage over which he was given control by General Trudeau. He is very vague about details, and there is no substantiation for any of the claims on fiber optics, Kevlar, laser weapons, microcircuits, etc.1

That the person who is taking Corso to task and implying that he is a fraud is none other than Stanton Friedman is quite telling, since Friedman is perhaps the foremost apologist for the contention that an alien spaceship crashed at Roswell and that the government is covering it up.

Another of the seemingly expert witnesses, one who also claims to have seen the bodies of the dead aliens from the Roswell crash site, is Richard C. Doty. This would seem to represent a turn-about, since Doty originally appears to have spread disinformation to lead UFO enthusiasts on wild goose chases. According to one article:

The UFO community has been familiar with Richard C. Doty, self-proclaimed “disinformation agent” who used to work as an AFOSI officer in Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico. … Most folks seem to agree that he indeed had a deep impact on the life of businessman Paul Bennewitz, owner of defense contractor Thunder Scientific Laboratories in Albuquerque located right next to Kirtland Air Force Base.2

The article quotes Doty as saying:

I do not have anything to do with UFO research or investigations. I attempted to perform certain duties which would enable our team to trap possible foreign agents working against the interest of the United States. My supervisors, however, saw my actions as being unauthorized. Therefore, I was asked to leave AFOSI, which I did voluntarily.3

Is a man who has spread deceptive information and who at one time says he had nothing to do with UFO research to be trusted when he now says he saw the crashed Roswell spaceship?

Another of the witnesses giving important testimony in the film is Maj. George A. Filer III, who claims to have chased a UFO over Stonehenge. If we were to judge the credibility of a witness based on kooky beliefs he or she might hold, Filer would not come out well. When UFO skeptic Robert Schaeffer visited a MUFON (Mutual UFO Network) symposium in 2011, he reports that Filer gave a presentation in which he made some rather startling claims about the planet Mars:

Mars, according to Filer, used to be teeming with life until it was mostly wiped out in a nuclear holocaust some 180 million years ago. He showed NASA photos of Mars that purport to contain tubes (possibly water pipes, or trains) that extend for miles, as well as underground cities. There are numerous faces on Mars, and some of them look similar to Egyptian Pharaohs. But some life still exists among the ruins. The green colors on Mars represent growths of moss and algae.4

Considering that, according to NASA, the atmosphere of Mars is about 100 times thinner than that of Earth, and that it is over 95% carbon dioxide and only 0.13% oxygen,5 one wonders what the surviving Martians are breathing.

Similar to the assertion above by George Filer is the claim by Sgt. Karl Wolfe, another of the film’s witnesses, that he saw photos taken by the Lunar Orbiter of a base on the far side of the moon. In an online article titled “3 Dumbest Dark Side of the Moon Conspiracy Theories” Harrison Preston says of this claim:

Another prime candidate for our plain dumb category is one Karl Wolfe, a former sergeant in the United States Air Force. According to his own testimony for the Disclosure Project before the National Press Club in Washington DC in 2010, Wolfe claims to have been assigned to HQ Tactical Air Command in Langley, Virginia.

One day in “1965, mid-1965”, whilst assigned to the Lunar Orbiter Program, Wolfe says he saw “clear structures, buildings, mushroom shaped buildings, spherical buildings, towers” in a series of photographs of the far side of the moon shown to him by an airman in a lab he was working in.

He also stated the other airman told him “we’ve found a base on the far side of the moon.” Wolfe is very clear on the year this supposedly happened, and also the project he was a part of. It is this clarity which also serves to show why he couldn’t possibly be telling the truth.

The Lunar Orbiter Program ran from 1966 through to 1967, but the first images of the far side of the moon weren’t captured until the Lunar Orbiter 4 mission in May 1967—a full two years after Wolfe claims to have seen the structures and buildings! Lunar 4 photographed 9% of the far side, with Lunar Orbiter 5 imaging the rest in August that same year.6

A NASA report on the Lunar Orbiter missions notes that a total of 419 high resolution and 127 medium resolution photos were taken by the Lunar Orbiter missions, covering over 99% of the lunar surface.7 For all that, no alien bases show up in these photos.

Not all of the witnesses in the film can be dismissed as fraudulent or part of the lunatic fringe. Edgar Mitchell, the sixth astronaut to walk on the moon, believed that aliens had contacted us and that the government had covered it up.8 However, he also believed in remote healing, specifically that a young psychic in Canada named Adam Dreamhealer had cured him of kidney cancer, as reported by Julie Neimark:

Edgar Mitchell, one of Adam’s strongest proponents, told me quite openly on the phone that he never had biopsy-proven cancer. “I had a sonogram and MRI that was consistent with renal carcinoma,” Mitchell recalled when I interviewed him, “which is about the best they can do without a biopsy. I didn’t have the biopsy.” Adam worked on Mitchell from December of 2003 until June, when the “irregularity was gone and we haven’t seen it since.” But he didn’t have the biopsy. Is Mitchell convinced it was cancer? Sure. Is there any definitive proof? No.9

Thus, even respected and intelligent persons can hold beliefs that are irrational.

Another astronaut who would seem to support the film’s assertion of widespread knowledge of alien visitors, at least to our solar system is Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon. The movie shows a clip in which Aldrin says of the Martian moon, Phobos:

There’s a monolith, a very unusual structure on this little potato-shaped object that goes around Mars once in every seven hours. They’re going to say, “Who put that there? Who put that there?”

It would seem, from this clip, that Aldrin is saying that this is an artificial structure placed on Phobos by extraterrestrial beings. However, when one views Aldrin’s actual video, the inherent dishonesty of Unacknowledged is dramatically highlighted. Here is Aldrin’s actual statement, with the material edited out in Unacknowledged shown in italics:

There’s a monolith, a very unusual structure on this little potato-shaped object that goes around Mars once in every seven hours. They’re going to say, “Who put that there? Who put that there?” Well, the universe put it there. If you choose, God put it there.10

Skeptics are familiar with this tactic of deliberately quoting someone out of context to make it seem like they are advocating the opposite of what they are actually saying. It is a common ploy used by creationists to attempt to discredit evolutionary biologists. Here it has been used to falsely make people believe that Buzz Aldrin is saying there’s an alien artifact on Phobos. The “monolith” Aldrin refers to, by the way, bears no resemblance to the monolith in the move 2001: A Space Odyssey. While it is strange looking—a thin, vertical piece of rock—it is irregular enough to plainly be a natural object.

It might, at this point, seem as though this review is nothing more than an attack on the character of the witnesses. However, there is really nothing of substance to the film except the testimony of these people, many of who show evidence of questionable veracity. Despite claiming there are “Black Programs” secretly controlling information about extraterrestrial contacts and suborning the scientific establishment and the press, Greer and his associates give no evidence to support this assertion beyond the witnesses. In this regard, the film asserts that, since mainstream media has been suborned, the truth about UFOs has been forced onto the pages of the tabloids. This is almost comical, since this was one of the gags of the movie Men in Black.

From time to time Greer does read from what appear to be redacted secret documents released through the Freedom of Information Act. However, their headings are never shown. One reason we might doubt their authenticity is that they are coupled with yet another statement dishonestly taken out of context. Victor Marchetti, former Special Assistant to the Executive Director of the CIA is quoted as saying:

We have, indeed, been contacted—perhaps even visited—by extraterrestrial beings, and the U.S. Government, in collusion with other national powers of the Earth, is determined to keep this information from the general public.

The quote is from a 1979 article by Marchetti in a no longer published magazine called Second Look, titled “How the CIA Views the UFO Phenomenon.” While that magazine is defunct, the article is available on a number of websites. In it Marchetti first admits that he has no firsthand experience with UFOs, has never seen one, and has no empirical or physical evidence of their existence. He then says the following, and here the material edited out in the quote above is added in italics:

My theory is that we have, indeed, been contacted—perhaps even visited—by extraterrestrial beings, and that the U.S. Government, in collusion with other national powers of the Earth, is determined to keep this information from the general public.11

So the filmmakers grossly misquoted Marchetti by removing the statement that it was his theory that we have been contacted by extraterrestrial beings, dishonestly quoting him as saying that extraterrestrial beings have definitely contacted us and that he knows definitively that our government is covering it up.

Earlier in the film, Greer says that Carl Sagan originally supported the idea that UFOs were real and had said that it was clear Earth was not the only inhabited planet. Greer then says:

After he was threatened by the intelligence community, and blackmailed, he then began to debunk the issue.

So, was Sagan originally a UFO believer, silenced and cowed by those running the Black Programs? Here’s what Carl Sagan actually said about extraterrestrial intelligence:

It now seems quite clear that Earth is not the only inhabited planet. There is evidence that the bulk of the stars in the sky have planetary systems. Recent research concerning the origin of life on Earth suggests that the physical and chemical processes leading to the origin of life occur rapidly in the early history of the majority of planets. The selective value of intelligence and technical civilization is obvious, and it seems likely that a large number of planets within our Milky Way galaxy—perhaps as many as a million—are inhabited by technical civilizations in advance of our own. Interstellar space flight is far beyond our present technical capabilities, but there seems to be no fundamental physical objections to preclude, from our own vantage point, the possibility of its development by other civilizations.12

Here Sagan is merely running a thought experiment extrapolating the possible number of extra-terrestrial civilizations based on the number of potential planets in our galaxy, a very common theme in SETI literature. In any case, there is no evidence that Carl Sagan was threatened by the government or that he was ever anything other than a skeptic concerning reported contacts by UFOs.

Unacknowledged is divided into three acts. The first act, titled “Embarrassment of Riches,” asserts that the evidence of extraterrestrial contact is overwhelming. It isn’t. The second act, “Down the Rabbit Hole,” claims, but does not substantiate, a grand cover-up conspiracy. Act three, titled “The Lost Century,” begins with the assertion that Nicola Tesla had found an inexhaustible source of energy and that, upon his death, his files were confiscated by the powers that be. The energy source in question is called zero point energy or quantum vacuum energy. In the film, Mark McCandlish, military aeronautic illustrator says of this force:

The amount of energy in a cubic meter of space-time is 1026 power. That’s ten with 26 zeros behind it. That’s enough energy in a coffee cup to boil all the oceans of Earth completely away into steam.

This would certainly be an impressive energy source—if we could use it. The problem is that we may never be able to use it. The film never really explains what zero point energy is. A physics website points out that, while it is abundant it is also diffuse:

Zero-point energy is the energy that remains when all other energy is removed from a system. This behaviour is demonstrated by, for example, liquid helium. As the temperature is lowered to absolute zero, helium remains a liquid, rather than freezing to a solid, owing to the irremovable zero-point energy of its atomic motions. (Increasing the pressure to 25 atmospheres will cause helium to freeze.)13

Can this energy actually be accessed? The website goes on to say:

As to whether zero-point energy may become a source of usable energy, this is considered extremely unlikely by most physicists, and none of the claimed devices are taken seriously by the mainstream science community. Nevertheless, SED interpretation of the Bohr orbit (above) does suggest a way whereby energy might be extracted. Based upon this a patent has been issued and experiments have been underway at the University of Colorado (U.S. Patent 7,379,286).14

That research into extracting zero point energy is being performed at the University of Colorado belies the movie’s claim that the government is keeping this free energy source from us.

The film also claims in passing that a car that can run on water, invented by Stanley Meyer, was also suppressed. Cars that can run on water are a recurring theme in pseudoscience. Writing in Nature, Philip Ball says of this car:

We're not alone. We never were. Unacknowledged: An Exposé of the World’s Greatest Secret

And then there is poor Stanley Meyer, inventor of the “water-powered car.” Meyer just wanted to give people cheap, clean energy. But the oil companies clearly couldn’t have that and so harassed and intimidated him (the internet says so it must be true). In 1996 he was found guilty of “gross and egregious fraud” by an Ohio court. He died in 1998 after eating at a restaurant; the coroner diagnosed an aneurysm, but the conspiracy web still suspects he was poisoned.

It’s not easy to establish how Meyer’s car was meant to work, except that it involved a fuel cell that was able to split water using less energy than was released by recombination of the elements.15

And so, with zero point energy and cars that run on water the film descends into the realm of perpetual motion machines.

One question that is never even posed in the film, let alone answered, is why the space aliens, who Greer says are probably concerned by our warlike tendencies, haven’t used their immense energy resources and advanced technology to overwhelm the evil perpetrators of the Black Projects by, for example, simply commandeering the air waves and the internet to expose the cover-up and give the information to everyone on Earth. It would seem that despite their vaunted technology, they can’t do what Edward Snowden did. END

About the Author

Tim Callahan is religion editor of Skeptic magazine. His books include Secret Origins of the Bible, and Bible Prophecy: Failure or Fulfillment? both published by Millennium Press. He has also researched the environmental movement, and his article “Environmentalists Cause Malaria! (and other myths of the ‘Wise Use’ movement)” appeared in The Humanist. He has co-authored UFOs, Chemtrails, and Aliens: What Science Says.

  2. Hayakawa, Norio. “Did Richard C. Doty ruin the life of Albuquerque businessman, Paul Bennewitz?”
  3. Ibid
  4. Schaeffer, Robert. 2011. “A Skeptic does the MUFON Symposium—Part 5 of 5.” Bad UFOs: Skepticism, UFOs, and The Universe. August 13.
  6. Preston, Harrison “3 Dumbest Dark Side of the Moon Conspiracy Theories”
  8. ”UFO UpDates: Edgar Mitchell On The UFO Cover-up” October 11, 1998. Archived from the original on January 28, 2007.
  9. Neimark J. 2005. “The Big Bird, the Big Lie, God and Science” Skeptical Inquirer November 29.
  11. Marchetti, Victor. 1979. “How the CIA Views the UFO Phenomenon” Second Look vol. 1. No. 7, May.
  12. Sagan, Carl. 1963. “Unidentified Flying Objects.” The Encyclopedia Americana.
  13. “Zero Point Energy” Calphysics Institute
  14. Ibid.
  15. Ball, Philip. 2007. “Burning water and other myths” Nature (published online) 14 September.

This article was published on January 16, 2018.


34 responses to “Unsubstantiated:
A new Netflix documentary purporting to provide proof of alien visitation fails to deliver

  1. Dennis W says:

    John H:

    Ha! You misspelled “doomed” as “domed!” Therefore, your post is incorrect and meaningless!

  2. John H says:

    Why do these eruptions of imagination (and corrupted quotes) appear periodically to frustrate the educated and scientifically minded?

    One simple answer is that there is money to be made, and no one can argue that Netflix hasn’t been good at that!

    But,for me, the more abiding answer is that it seems to be a fact that human beings (including some otherwise intelligent people) are always prone to seek answers to the unexplained and in a vacuum of information those answers often defy known facts and are are based on pure speculation. It’s part of our human nature. Once one has ventured into this kind of speculation (plus a little fabrication and misquoting now and then), getting it reinforced builds a community which, as social animals, is also highly rewarding. So these eruptions are humans being humans. One could hope that good education (which includes critical thinking) could short circuit these outbursts, but I fear that we are domed like Sisyphus to keep struggling against this human foible.

  3. Loren Petrich says:

    You might find this interesting: — Willy Ley on Pseudoscience in Naziland. He focused on three kinds: Pendelforschung (“pendulum research”), Hohlweltlehre (“hollow-earth theory”), and Welteislehre (WEL: “cosmic ice theory”).

    Pendelforschung was essentially a form of dowsing with objects on handheld strings swinging back and forth, seems like a circus sideshow act, but some officials took it very seriously.

    Hohlweltlehre was just like Cyrus Reed Teed’s Koreshan Universology: the Earth is hollow and we are living on the inside of it.

    Welteis­lehre was an elaborate quasi-Velikovskian cosmology developed by Austrian engineer Hanns Hoerbiger and schoolteacher Philipp Fauth. It stated that the Milky Way is a ring of ice blocks orbiting the Sun beyond 3 times the distance to Neptune. Some of these ice blocks spiral inwards and collide with the planets, covering their surfaces with ice. HH’s first “evidence” for this theory was being struck by how bright the Moon looks through a small telescope and concluding that the Moon was covered by ice.

    As ice blocks pass, we see them as meteors, and when one of them collides, it makes a lot of stormy weather. When one of them falls into the Sun, it makes a sunspot.

    The Earth’s present moon is only the latest of several moons that the Earth has had. All the rest have spiraled into the Earth, and the most recent of them, the Cenozoic or Tertiary Moon, was remembered in a variety of myths and legends. Its infall was remembered in the Book of Revelation and other stories of how the world will end. Then the Earth captured its present moon, and that capture sank Atlantis.

    After WWI, the Hoerbigerites formed a pressure group for making people accept their theories. They even heckled astronomers’ meetings, demanding “Out with astronomical orthodoxy! Give us Hoerbiger!” In the early 1930’s, they associated themselves with Nazism, saying that Hanns Hoerbiger was a successful Austrian “amateur”, just like Adolf Hitler. The Nazis’ Ministry of Propaganda ended up stating that one could be a good Nazi without believing in the WEL.

    After WWII, Hoerbigerism dropped out of sight, though it revived in the 1950’s and 1960’s. But it has no Internet presence that I have been able to discover. This is despite all the crackpottery that one can find online.

  4. Loren Petrich says:

    As to Nazis and UFO’s, a curious notion has emerged among some UFO buffs. It is that Nazi Germany was working on flying saucers with some super high-tech propulsion system like antigravity. Or whatever ET’s supposedly use in their flying saucers. The program was supposedly codenamed “Haunebu”.

    I find that totally absurd, because such vehicles would have been a valuable addition to their air force. Furthermore, the Nazis were working on several advanced weapons and vehicles, and using them when they were ready. Like their V-1 “buzz bomb” cruise missile, their V-2 rocket, and their Me-262 jet fighter. So why not a vehicle that would have made the Me-262 seem like a paper airplane?

    Furthemore, none of the rocket engineers recruited by the Nazi regime’s conquerors knew anything about this technology, and they would have been in a position to learn about it, if it had existed. No sense going through all the trouble of developing the V-2 rocket when one can drop bombs from superfast flying saucers.

    • Tim Callahan says:

      Yeah, the Haunebu is part of an elaborate mythos to some degree created by Neo-Nazi groups, such as the Tempelhoffgesellschaft (“Temple Court Society”). This involves the assertion that the original Aryans came from a planet orbiting the star Aldeberan and that they established a colony on Earth — the Sumerians — who were the ancestors of the modern Germans.

      Part of this mythos involves Maria Orsitch and the Vril Society, supposedly the evil geniuses behind Hitler’s rise to power. Though Maria and the Vril Society were the creations of Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier in their 1960 book “The Morning of the Magicians,” the so-called History Channel ran a documentary about the centrality of the Vril Society and their influence of Heinrich Himmler.

      In point of fact, the only historical basis for the Vril Society was a passing reference in a 1949 article by Willy Ley titled “Pseudoscience in Naziland”, to a society in pre-WW II Germany that was searching for vril (a supposed source of great psychic power invented by Bulwer Lytton in his novel “The Coming Race”). Maria Orsitch (also spelled Orsic) seems to have been invented out of whole cloth by Pauwels and Bergier.

  5. Dr. Strangelove says:

    “Nicola Tesla had found an inexhaustible source of energy and that, upon his death, his files were confiscated by the powers that be. The energy source in question is called zero point energy or quantum vacuum energy.“

    No historical evidence that Tesla found vacuum energy. Casimir found experimental evidence for vacuum energy in 1947 which is called Casimir effect.

    “The amount of energy in a cubic meter of space-time is 1026 power. That’s ten with 26 zeros behind it. That’s enough energy in a coffee cup to boil all the oceans of Earth completely away into steam.”

    Nonsensical statement. “Power” is not a unit of energy.

    “Zero-point energy is the energy that remains when all other energy is removed from a system… Can this energy actually be accessed?”

    Casimir accessed it in 1947. It doesn’t mean it is practical and cheap.

    “with zero point energy and cars that run on water the film descends into the realm of perpetual motion machines.”

    Zero point energy does not violate the laws of thermodynamics. But as a practical source of energy, it is more improbable than alien visitation.

    • Bob Pease says:

      My experience with saucer folks is that disputing what they say is evidence of insanity and that saucer guys on earth are zapping you with magick energy to delude you from realizing the REALTROOTH to which they are privy.

      Correct prayers to Fashionable saucer gods can get the Broncos to do better next year if the Jesuits and Bavarian Illuminati also approve.

      Sic transit gloria mundi !
      ( Gloria got sick on the RTD last Monday )

    • Andy says:

      “The amount of energy in a cubic meter of space-time is 1026 power. “Power” is not a unit of energy

      Clearly, he means 10 to the power of 26 (Joules, I guess). No point picking holes in a simple mistype or misunderstanding. There are bigger fish to fry than this.

  6. Bob Pease says:

    It seems time for the UFO fad recycle after 60

    Lotsa bux for a few from Internet doofi.

    antique observations follow

    1. there are a jillion civilizations capable
    of Space travel

    2. Santa Claus cannot visit all households on earth in 24 hours

    3. They might think we are too uninteresting to contact

    4. The Bavarian Illumanati are behind this hoax

    5. Treasure of Sierra Madre
    ” Evidence ?
    Evidence ???
    We don’t got to show you no steenkin’
    evidence !!

    5. Go Broncs 2018

  7. aqk says:

    Erich von Daniken and Uri Geller meet Space Nazis, and are now promoting cold fusion and quantum flapdoodle.

  8. Gigmaster says:

    “And so, with zero point energy and cars that run on water the film descends into the realm of perpetual motion machines.”

    Cars can run on water. It’s called ‘steam’. Not really efficient, but possible.😀

    Actually, a car is under development that really is pollution-free and and runs on unlimited fuel. It is powered by hot air….but it only works in Washington DC. 🤪

    Great article.

    • Bad Boy Scientist says:

      Awwww. I thought you were going to say:

      Cars can run on water – they’re called boats

    • Mike says:

      @Gigmaster —
      “Cars can run on water. It’s called ‘steam’.”
      They’re not really running on steam.
      They still require an energy source to produce the steam.

  9. Tim Callahan says:

    MacNamara was admitting to a verifiable truth – that the Viet Nam war was a huge mistake. Doty, having spread disinformation in the past, is now claiming he saw the spaceship that allegedly crashed at Roswell, as well as the bodies of its alien crew. This is an extraordinary claim that remains unsupported by the extraordinary evidence of the Roswell non-incident. I remain skeptical of Doty’s conversion, particularly in light of the film’s misquoting of Aldrin and Marchetti.

    As to quantum vacuum energy, it remains an unlikely energy resource. Any country that was able to use it would hardly be likely to still depend on foreign sources of fossil fuels, which could be easily cut off and amount to a serious drain on the economy.

  10. ahansen says:

    A few thoughts:

    “. . .Is a man who has spread deceptive information and who at one time says he had nothing to do with UFO research to be trusted when he now says he saw the crashed Roswell spaceship? ”

    This is not inconsistent. Robert McNamera, for example was a major architect and proponent of the war in Viet Nam who later tried to redeem himself by publicly admitting his culpability. John La Carre made a career of it. Late life turnarounds are certainly nothing out of the ordinary.

    “. . . Considering that, according to NASA, the atmosphere of Mars is about 100 times thinner than that of Earth, and that it is over 95% carbon dioxide and only 0.13% oxygen,5 one wonders what the surviving Martians are breathing?”

    Um, an atmosphere that’s 95% CO2 and .13% oxygen? Or perhaps “they’re” not respiring at all? Or maybe life on Mars, if such a thing exists, is not matter based? Or. . . .

    This is a nonsensical argument which presumes “alien” life somehow resembles life as we know it on earth.

    As mentioned, vacuum/quantum energy *is* being actively researched, but it tends to be financed by government/military agencies that keep pretty close tabs on the findings and their release as a condition of funding. NDAs are rife in the science.

    As someone who’s been marginally interested in the topic ever since my high schools days and Erich von Däniken’s “Chariots of the Gods?” I’m willing to consider the possibility that our planet has had contact with extraterrestrial entities. I’m also willing to consider the possibility that it has not, and that there is much hyperbole and wishful thinking (and money to be made), surrounding the topic.

    This article, however, did nothing to convince me one way or the other– and I’ve not seen the documentary– thus, I remain. . . skeptical.

    • Bad Boy Scientist says:

      The issue with the Martian atmosphere is that there is nothing that protects the surface from UV light – which breaks up big bio-molecules which are necessary for biochemistry and hence biology. Note: NASA’s Astrobiologists do not rule out sub-surface life on Mars – some are cautiously optimistic on the prospects of subsurface life on Mars.

      Regarding the issue of non-material life: Sure, OK. If you’re willing to accept imaginary life as non-material life, then the Universe is chock full of it: thriving everywhere from the singularities of Black Holes to the voids in the large scale structure of the Universe. Since it is imaginary it has no limitations or restrictions – it can do and be anything – and that makes it boring to anyone who really thinks about it.

      The thing is, without any evidence, non-material life _is_ imaginary life.

  11. Tim Callahan says:

    Note: I copied what “Yeah, Right” said to have it in front of me while writing my rebuttal, after which I deleted his remarks. Unfortunately, I failed to delete the material from “Yeah, Right” below:

    The author knew the full history Carl Sagan, who concluded in his seminal book with the Russian scientist Shklovskii that Earth is likely to have been visited by space faring civilizations at least “every 10,000 years.” And this was decades before we knew earthlike planets pervade the universe.

    • Saltier Bit says:

      We apologise again for the fault in the subtitles. Those responsible for sacking the people who have just been sacked have been sacked.

      • John says:

        Thank you for this. Made me laugh out loud. Did you have to consult the source, or do you know this by heart?

        • Saltier Bit says:

          I knew it, except I threw in an extra “just” for the last “have been sacked.” I always check transcripts before I post something like that, though. So when when I did, I saw the error, and left it out.

  12. Tim Callahan says:

    In response to “Yeah, Right”:

    I did not denigrate “witnesses of significant stature.” The only such witnesses I mentioned were Victor Marchetti – who was grossly and – I have to assume – deliberately misquoted by the film makers; astronaut Buzz Aldrin, whose words were edited to make it seem as though he was saying the monolith on Phobos was artificial, when in fact he said quite the opposite; and astronaut Edgar Mitchell. I don’t think that pointing out that Mitchell believed in psychic healing denigrates the man. It merely points out that he had some weird beliefs. Thus, we might want to take his belief in alien contact with a grain of salt – particularly in light of the lack of supporting evidence.

    Regarding Carl Sagan, the assertion in the film was that he had been intimidated and blackmailed by the government. Hence his skepticism about UFOs was false. In fact, the film in no way backs up this claim.

    In fact, the film is not only lacking in support for its assertions, the misquoting of Marchetti and Aldrin point to gross dishonesty.
    The author knew the full history Carl Sagan, who concluded in his seminal book with the Russian scientist Shklovskii that Earth is likely to have been visited by space faring civilizations at least “every 10,000 years.” And this was decades before we knew earthlike planets pervade the universe.

  13. Bad Boy Scientist says:

    I was surprised to read comments arguing against this review. Especially that first one.

    Thanks to awful science fiction people have no appreciation for how vast the distances between stars are (it takes light years to make those treks). Hence, interstellar travel is incomprehensibly difficult – and it would rely upon technology so advanced we might as well call it magic. Once we enter the realm of magic, why not go back to our traditional explanations of UFOs are gods, witches, demons and Harry Potters? (Heck, why not say they’re Space Nazis – the UFO craze really picked up after the war)

    BTW: the lack of an atmosphere on Mars pretty much rules out surface life because of UV. UV is ionizing radiation and breaks down biochemical molecules readily. Without Ozone and O2 to block the Sun’s UV the surface of a planet will be sterile. If you recall the timeline of life on Earth it didn’t leave the oceans until a substantial Ozone layer developed.

  14. Agamemnon says:

    The use of personal testimony in pro-UFO films and literature shows why science almost never uses testimony to find facts -testimony is fraught with falsehoods.

    It also shows how troubling it is that the legal system depends so much on testimony. In this regard, when DNA evidence became available this further confirmed the failures in testimony.

  15. Ron says:

    Thanks for taking one for the team; I’d charge Netflix a tidy sum to sit through such clap-trap.
    I guess they left out the man on the grassy knoll and Elvis’ alien love-child since they didn’t want to stretch the credulity of the audience?

  16. Bruce Byrne says:

    I’d be interested in Tim Callahan’s “bulletproof” explanation (s) for so many UFO sightings. It’s not very difficult to poke holes in arguments, one way or the other. I for one am unconvinced either way but find these films very interesting.

  17. Bob Jase says:

    It is amazing that the world’s governments who can’t agree on much of anything somehow all agree to hide the ‘truth’ about aliens (who possess technology we can’t even imagine) even though said aliens WANT everyone to know they exist. Mind you, I have seen ufos though by that I mean I couldn’t identify them positively (pretty sure the best one I saw was someone pulling a hoax).

    There have been water powered cars, the most famous being the Stanley Steamer but I doubt that’s what Mr. Meyer means.

  18. Professor Ferrel Christensen says:

    Alas, UFO-mania is far from being the sole modern nonsense dressed up in high-production-values “documentaries”–and played on supposed “educational” TV channels, not just on the Internet. The “History” channel, for one sad example, runs rubbish-programs on everything from “Hunting Hitler” (supposed to have not died in his bunker after all) to one claiming to have blood from the Shroud of Turin and hoping to test it for DNA (it is so dishonest that it conflates John the Baptist with Saint John to run its DNA claim). Would that the latter were credible; we might find out what God’s Y-chromosome looks like! Given how much this genre is surging, skeptics have a lot of work to do.

  19. kenneth kirby says:

    … response to the command, “show me … ‘alien’ …” that a binafide alien, and many others like him, are verifiable. All speculatiom, though, is just that … mere speculation.

  20. kenneth kirby says:

    Great article. Personally, I don’t think any ‘evidence’ can be assumed for alien existence until one single fact occurs: An alien is demonstrated to many reputable people through pictures (not another ‘man in a suit’, of course) whrre the evidence is incontrovertable, and we can all say, in tesponse

  21. Kevin Brady says:

    Being sceptical of seemingly outrageous stories isagood thing as long as the authors realize they have their own inherent biases. Because one counterintuitive claims is wrong does not mean all are-it seems many scientists are materialistic when it comes to consciousness, which on the surface appears logical-until you examine the evidence, which seems to point to something other than consciousness being produced by the physical brain- something non local. We know that our conscious choices change matter, at least at the submicroscopic level.

    I’d like to see more analysis in this area.

  22. Yeah Right says:

    It would be easier to take this article seriously if:

    1) The author didn’t misspell the names of the people he’s talking about. It’s George Filer. (“Filir”? Really?) Also, Ed Snowden, not “Snowdon.”

    2) The author didn’t denigrate witnesses of significant stature who would be trusted as impeccable sources if they offered opinions on something other than UFOs (multiple NASA astronauts, highly placed intelligence officials, former heads of state, NATO commanders…you know, people who just might possibly know a *tad* more about the subject than the author)

    3) The author knew the full history Carl Sagan, who concluded in his seminal book with the Russian scientist Shklovskii that Earth is likely to have been visited by space faring civilizations at least “every 10,000 years.” And this was decades before we knew earthlike planets pervade the universe.

    Then again, nobody would come to expecting anything but blind skepticism toward subjects that are already ruled off-limits by professional pseudoskeptics like Michael Shermer.

    • Yeah but says:

      1. misspelling happens….

      2. Methinks ’tis Argument from authority.
      Having said that, I read the review (haven’t seen the documentary) and I counted 2 (not multiple) astronauts of which one, it seems clear, was deliberately misrepresented.
      Of the “highly placed intelligence officials” I could only find one potential candidate and he, again, was misrepresented. I found no “former heads of state” or “NATO commanders” cited in the review.

      3. That Carl Sagen speculated that “the earth is likely to have been visited by space faring civilizations” does nothing to show that this review is erroneous or that it should not to be taken seriously.

      I’m not sure what “blind skepticism” is … and, as far as I know, absolutely no subject is “off-limits”. However, if someone wants to be taken seriously on a subject such as UFOs, they have to bring something new to the table because the “proof” provided so far has not stood the test of skeptical scrutiny.

    • Agamemnon says:

      Reply to: Yeah Right

      I found your claim of what Sagan had written in one of his books to be curious. I suspected it was some throwing numbers at the Drake equation.

      I tried to find a quotation of Sagan’s passage from this book on-line and could not find anything. However the entire book is free on-line in pdf format.

      Doing a text search of passages of “every 10,000 years” (once in the entire book) or “10,000 years” (3 times in the book) there is no relationship to these terms and visitations on Earth.

      So your claim as to what Sagan and his co-author had written is false.

    • David says:

      1) So if a name is misspelled, you can argue the credibility of the author? How about the actual content of the article itself? Wouldn’t that be more important? So if Greer’s book or documentary has a misspelling or mispronunciation, we can go ahead an invalidate the content, right? ’cause credible authors never misspell names….

      2) Please point to where a witness was ‘denigrated’. Identifying inconsistencies isn’t denigration, it’s more information. Criminally leaving out the context of a statement is disingenuous, interesting that you are not bothered by the omissions.

      3) If you knew the actual history of Carl Sagan, then you would know that his statement was speaking to the likelihood of alien civilizations, the math, not any evidence that aliens had actually ever visited earth.

      It’s so strange that published an almost 3000 word article on something “already ruled off-limits”. Believer logic…

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