View Full Version : There is a shift in thinking on the way

2006-Jun-23 Fri, 13:29
Experts weigh UFO facts and fiction
Are there new anomalies, or are researchers just rehashing old tales?

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• Do UFOs exist?
Aug. 22: Tucker Carlson interviews Peter Davenport of the National UFO Reporting Center.

By Leonard David
Senior space writer

Updated: 1:05 p.m. ET June 22, 2006
For decades now, eyes and sky have met to witness the buzzing of our world by unidentified flying objects, termed UFOs or simply flying saucers. Extraterrestrials have come a long way to purportedly share the friendly skies with us.

UFOs and alien visitors are part of our culture — a far-out phenomenon when judged against those "low life" wonders Bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster.

And after all those years, as the saying goes, UFOs remain a riddle inside a mystery wrapped in an enigma. Why so? For one, the field is fraught with hucksterism. It's also replete with blurry photos and awful video. But then there are also well-intentioned and puzzled witnesses.

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Scientifically speaking, are UFOs worth keeping an eye on?

There have been advances in the field of UFO research, said Ted Roe, executive director of the National Aviation Reporting Center on Anomalous Phenomena, or NARCAP, based in Vallejo, Calif.

"The capture of optical spectra from mobile, unpredictable luminosities is one of those innovations. More work to be done here, but [there are] some good results already."

NARCAP was established in 2000 and is dedicated to the advancement of aviation safety issues as they apply to what they term unidentified aerial phenomena, or UAP.

Roe said that a decade from now, researchers should have even better instrumentation at their disposal and better data on UAP of several varieties. His forecast is that scientific rigor will prevail, demonstrating that there are "stable, mobile, unusual, poorly documented phenomena with quite unusual properties manifesting within our atmosphere," he told Space.com.

Paradigm shifting
NARCAP has made the case that some of these phenomena have unusual electromagnetic properties. Therefore, they could disrupt microprocessors and adversely effect avionic systems, Roe explained. For those reasons and others, UAP should be considered a hazard to safe aviation, he said.

"It is likely that either conclusion will fly in the face of the general assertion that UAP are not real and that there are no undocumented phenomena in our atmosphere," Roe continued. That should open the door, he said, to the realization that there's no good reason to discard outright the possibility that extraterrestrial visitation has occurred and may be occurring.

"Physics is leading to new and potentially paradigm-shifting understandings about the nature of our universe and its physical properties," Roe said. "These understandings may point the way towards an acceptance of the probability of interstellar travel and communication by spacefaring races."

Sacred cows to the slaughter
On his Web site, UFO debunker Robert Sheaffer proclaims that he's "skeptical to the max." He is a fellow of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal and a well-known writer on the UFO scene.

Being an equal-opportunity debunker, Sheaffer notes that he refutes whatever nonsense, in his judgment, "stands in the greatest need of refuting, no matter from what source it may come, no matter how privileged, esteemed, or sacrosanct … sacred cows, after all, make the best hamburger."

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In regard to the cottage industry of UFO promoters, Sheaffer told Space.com that there's a reason there are still so many snake-oil sellers.

"It's because nobody, anywhere, has any actual facts concerning alleged UFOs, just claims. That allows con men to thrive peddling their yarns," Sheaffer said. "UFO believers are convinced that the existence of UFOs will be revealed 'any day now'. But it's like Charlie Brown and the football: No matter how many times Lucy pulls the football away — or the promised 'disclosure' fails to happen — they're dead-certain that the next time will be their moment of glory."

CONTINUED: Trash from the past
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