Monday, March 18, 2013

Reports of UFO Sightings are Down

Charles Nevin for Intelligent Life:
Ian Ridpath, a science writer and UFO sceptic, was opening a conference organised by the Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena (ASSAP), an agnostic body which has reported a sharp drop in sightings of UFOs, together with a significant fall in the popularity of groups dedicated to studying the proposition that we are regularly being visited by inquisitive aliens. Could it be, we are asked to suppose, that the truth isn’t actually, after all, Out There?

Ridpath gave an assured performance, received with applause. He stressed that there had been no classic UFO sightings since the advent of the new generation of technology, and, especially, the mobile-phone camera, whose ubiquity, it might have been thought, should almost have guaranteed convincing photographic evidence of the inquisitive green men and their conveyances. This leads to a further, hopeful, thought: could it be that the advance of technology and information-sharing is finally, after several thousand years, making us less gullible and credulous?
Ridpath thinks the prevalence of skeptical geeks on the Web is part of the reason for the decline, since all online UFO claims are met with robust rebuttal or outright mockery. Perhaps our growing understanding of how easy it is to doctor photographs is another factor. But maybe we've just gotten bored with UFOs and move on.

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