Ufology

From Academic Kids

Ufology is the study of Unidentified flying object (UFO) reports, sightings, and other related phenomena.

While many ufologists strive for legitimacy, and some are respected scientists in other fields, ufology has never been fully embraced by the scientific community, for a number of reasons. Many ufologists are amateurs (or worse, individuals in search of fame and fortune), and however well intentioned, are unfamiliar with generally accepted research standards, thus often rendering their own research useless even to sympathetic mainstream experts. Many amateur ufologists have been criticised for accepting as true stories or tales without demanding supporting evidence or conducting even cursory research.

Some ufologists consider the general attitude of mainstream academics as arrogant and dismissive, or bound to a rigid World view that disallows any evidence contrary to previously held notions. Astronomer J. Allen Hynek's famous comment regarding this subject is, "Ridicule is not part of the scientific method and people should not be taught that it is." Another comment by Hynek regarding fellow astronomer's dismissals of UFO phenonema was, "Close questioning revealed they knew nothing of the actual sightings... and therefore cannot be taken seriously. This is characteristic of scientists in general when speaking about subjects which are not in their own immediate field of concern."

Ufologists embrace a wide spectrum of approaches, beliefs, and attitudes, from those regarded by some as quacks (e.g. David Icke); to respected mainstream scientists like Peter Sturrock, James E. McDonald, or Auguste Meessen, some of whom argue that UFO reports are as worthy of study as any topic, and deserve case-by-case analysis using the scientific method. Study of UFO sightings this way has yielded very interesting and important results, such as in weather phenomena (see Hessdalen) and in human perception, such as the study lead by the SOBEPS for the Belgian flap in 1989-'90 or the interesting studies of the GEPAN/SEPRA in France.

For more on applications of science to UFO phenomena, see "Science and UFOs" in Unidentified Flying Objects. Despite involvement of some respected scientists in investigating UFOs, most critics still consider ufology at worst a pseudoscience, or at best a protoscience.

For a list of major UFO sightings and related reports, see List of major UFO sightings
Broadly, there are these schools of thought to explain UFO sightings:-

Contents

The extraterrestrial hypothesis

This is a theory that some UFO sightings are alien spacecraft. See Extraterrestrial hypothesis.

The interdimensional hypothesis

"Interdimensional" has two meanings here. See Interdimensional hypothesis.

The natural explanation hypothesis

This is a theory that some UFO sightings are misunderstood natural phenomena such as ball lightning. See Psychosocial Hypothesis and UFO#Identified Flying Objects (IFOs). See the next paragraph for reasons for such misunderstandings.

The psychopathological hypothesis

This is a theory that some UFO sightings are hallucinations and are caused by the same mechanism as various occult, paranormal, supernatural. or religious experiences (compare alleged sightings of the Blessed Virgin Mary). The hallucination may be a distortion of a real object. (For example, a cow's white face reflected in a pond at night was once misinterpreted as a ghost of a drowned baby.) Reasons for these wrong perceptions include:-

  • Attempt to explain natural phenomena which have no natural explanation known in that time and area.
  • Hallucinations caused by mental illness.
  • Hallucinations in former centuries caused by food shortage forcing people to eat mouldy food, where the mould fungus had made hallucinogenic chemicals.
  • Hallucinations caused by non-alcoholic delirium tremens caused by chronic magnesium deficiency.
  • Hallucinations caused by the brain being affected by electric effects caused by ball lightning.
  • Dreams confused with reality.
  • Following the area's general local belief.
  • Delirium caused by heat and dehydration.
  • Inevitably, some UFO reports likely to be hoaxes or lies.

The route followed by these misperceptions can be influenced by the environment that the the perceiver was brought up in as a child: fairy stories, or one or other religion, or science fiction, or whatever: for example, one perceiver may see fairies where another sees Greys.

The advanced human aircraft hypothesis

This is a theory that all or some UFO sightings are advanced, secret or experimental aircraft of earthly origin.

  • During the 1980s, there were reports of "black triangle" UFOs. Some of these were the secret F-117 Nighthawk, which became public in November 1988. And see black triangles.
  • Nazi Germany is known to have experimented with circular jet planes using the Coanda effect. At least one of the scientists involved was taken to the USA after WWII. Experiments with these designs and their descendants down the years may explain many sightings of circular UFO's. See Military flying saucers

There is a theory that the secret groups developing these aircraft in the USA, have been encouraging ufology to follow the "alien spacecraft" line of thought, to cover up for sightings.

Ufological Groups

UFO Researchers

External links

da:Ufologi es:Ufologa fr:Ufologie nl:Ufologie pl:Ufologia pt:Ufologia sv:Ufologi

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