This is the comment I left on his article, which he will probably delete:
@ Phil Plait – Well done for following up the piece with KDVR and the entomologist, but I think your skeptical analysis is flawed.
Firstly, you discount the aviation expert as he declares that the objects are not insects – in other words, you take his assumption that these are distant objects to be false. We don’t have an explicit explanation of why he believes them to be distant, non-insect objects, so let’s assume he’s wrong and you’re right, so far.
Next, you discount the opinion of the entomologist, as she also declares that the objects are not insects. Your reasons for discounting her opinion are that she a) “only saw a few clips” and b) “was told that the objects were far away”.
As for a) – the few clips are all the evidence we have, but between them they show enough consecutive frames of aerial objects to attempt an informed analysis.
But it’s your argument involving b) that really sounds incredibly specious! And it’s surprising to hear such a weak argument from somebody who classes himself an “astronomer” and therefore a scientist. You are basically suggesting that this entomologist was asked to look at the footage and attempt identification of the objects as insects, but that because she was told that the objects were “distant”, she therefore got confused and tried to imagine them as – what? – gigantic insects seen at a distance?
The point is that the very fact that she was called to identify them as insects means that she had to assume that they WERE in fact at close range – otherwise they would not be visible, because they are insects and therefore SMALL.
Or are you suggesting that despite her professional qualifications, that she couldn’t resolve this simple conundrum herself? Would it take an astronomer to work that one out, do you think?
The fact is, there are plenty of frames of video showing objects in the air, with a reasonable definition of outline, and depiction of movement. An insect expert examined the key pieces in question. If the objects could have been interpreted as insects, it is reasonable to assume that she would have offered such an opinion.
I find your position as a “skeptic and astronomer” to be less informed but more biased than that of the experts consulted in the report – largely due to the speciousness of your argument.
“Extra-terrestrial Life and the Future of Humanity”
Steven J. Dick, former NASA Chief Historian
AUDIO of Lecture:
“Societal questions raised by the detection of extra-terrestrial life”
Great panel debate, moderator: Steven Dick, former NASA Chief Historian
AUDIO of Debate:
Here is an interesting quote from Martin Dominik and John C. Zarnecki :
So if there are alien civilizations at a comparable stage of evolution, one might expect that they do not differ that much from our own (cf. ). However, with the Sun just about half-way through its lifetime as a main-sequence star, with about 4.5 billion years remaining, that ‘comparable stage’ might constitute a rather short transient episode, and advanced extra-terrestrial life might be inconceivable to us in its complexity, just as human life is to amoebae.
In a cheeky move, presumably to try and pre-empt the upcoming structuredcraft.com global sightings database, the Grimsby Telegraph in northern Lincolnshire has made this impressive little resource available:
This is an account of a close encounter which took place in July 1976, involving a British Airways flight from South Africa to Portugal.
The pilot and flight crew were alerted to the unknown objects by air traffic control, which they then confirmed both visually and by radar, as did another plane in the area. Many passengers witnessed the objects as well.
I found his discussion of whether or not to publicise this sighting very interesting.
This was on the Today Programme, BBC Radio 4 in the UK, on August 17th 2012.
Richard Deakin is Head of National Air Traffic Services (NATS), the British agency responsible for national Air Traffic Control and national air safety.
He was being interviewed about general air safety practices – and then, before he goes, the interviewer Simon Jack asks a tangential question (apparently prompted by his children as a favour) about UFOs. Deakin confirms on air that Air Traffic Control routinely tracks objects that do not “conform to normal traffic patterns”, with a frequency of roughly “one a month”.
(Note: He was not talking about balloons, birds, insects or chinese lanterns: unsurprisingly, Air Traffic Control radar systems do not track these)
CO3K = Close Encounter of the Third Kind, ie object witnessed at close range includingoccupants
In 1959, an Australian priest, Reverend William Gill, was working as a missionary for the Australian Anglican Church in Bolonai, Papua New Guinea. On the evening of June 26th, he and thirty-eight witnesses saw a UFO hovering above the mission. The disc-shaped craft stayed for hours, during which there was even some basic communication between the craft and the witnesses: when “figures” appeared on the top “deck” of the craft, Gill and others waved to them – and the figures waved back. When one of the boys tried making waving gestures with a torch, this too was reciprocated by the craft waving in tandem. After moving off hours later, the craft returned the next evening. Again, the craft stayed for a lengthy time, so much so that the Reverend decided to conduct the evening service as usual at 7:00 pm – despite the fact that a UFO was hovering overhead!
This incident was extensively investigated both on site and over a period of many years by the best and most rigorous researcher in the field, Dr. J. Allen Hynek, and others. He interviewed multiple witnesses, and reconstructed the conditions of the event in great detail. The conclusion was that this was a real event, and took place as described. The most effective debunking of the event has come from Philip Klass, whose best effort was to suggest that Reverend Gill was not wearing his corrective glasses (which in fact he was).
This stands as one of the most strange and reliably-reported events in UFO history.
Watch this short piece of interview with Reverend William Gill himself:
“Behind the scenes, high-ranking Air Force officers are soberly concerned about UFOs. But through official secrecy and ridicule, many citizens are led to believe the unknown flying objects are nonsense.”
Admiral Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter, February 28, 1960 Director of CIA 1947-1950