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A Challenge to Believers in UFOs & UAPs
If you are so confident that contact with aliens has been made & the government is about to disclose what it knows, how about putting your money where your confidence is? A $1000 wager by 12/31/2024?
I have been interested in UFOs, the SETI program (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), and the concept that we’re not alone in the cosmos ever since I started reading Carl Sagan in the 1970s, when the late great Cornell University astronomer and science communicator legitimized the topic as no one before or since. And, of course, it was in the episode on aliens in his 1980 PBS documentary series Cosmos that Sagan made famous the ECREE principle: Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence. (There were predecessors to the concept and wording, but as with most quotes this one migrated up to the most famous person who said it.) My own position is that there are two questions on the table: (1) Are they out there? (2) Have they come here? My answers: (1) Probably yes. (2) Probably not.
The topic is now back in the news as never before, with considerable excitement over a handful of blurry photographs and grainy videos going by the new acronym UAP, or Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, a less baggage-loaded term than UFOs. Not only has the New York Times—the “paper of record” no less—been covering this story, but the august CBS news series 60 Minutes gave it considerable air time. If you’ve been abducted by aliens or migrated early to Mars and missed this story, you can read my analysis of the UAP phenomena, including (as in the screen shot below) the quote from Luis Elizondo, featured on the show as having headed up the government’s UAP program, in which he states that not only does he think “they’re real,” but he thinks the government thinks that as well.
That word “real” is doing a lot of work here, as what the government means is that the videos are real—as in not deep fakes or CGI effects—and most certainly not that they represent real alien spaceships (or Chinese or Russian drones or aircraft). In my analysis I also explain why I am highly skeptical that either hypothesis—extraordinary extraterrestrial (aliens) or extraordinary terrestrial (Russian or Chinese advanced technology)—are true, and that it is much more likely that they represent ordinary terrestrial phenomena.
Here I would like to issue a challenge to UFOlogists and UAPists: put your money where your confidence is. I will put up $1000 if any of you will as well, deposited with a neutral third party, the winner to be determined by an agreed upon third party tribunal with a set date of, say, December 31, 2024, so more than a year and a half from now, giving ample time for said disclosure to be made. We would also need to agree on a set of criteria that constitutes a “hit”, namely that there is unmistakable, irrefutable, undeniable evidence of what would arguably be the greatest discovery in the history of humanity: contact with aliens.
It cannot be, as in the screen shots below, more grainy videos, blurry photographs, and breathless stories about mysterious things in the sky. As I say, if you want to name a new species in biology you need a holotype, a type specimen that other biologists (and anyone else) can see, examine, photograph, analyze, etc. Physical evidence would be ideal, but lacking an alien body or spaceship, something along the lines of what Carl Sagan proposed in his novel and film Contact: a signal that could not be produced by natural phenomena, such as a sequence of prime numbers. SETI scientists have had deep discussions of this Signal Detection Problem, and they have criteria of what would constitute a “hit” response. We need something like this for UFOs and UAPs. I can imagine a “disclosure” event in which, say, the Pentagon, backed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Congress, and the President himself, announcing that contact with aliens has been made, or evidence of alien visitation has been discovered, and then presenting it to the public and the scientific community for everyone to see for themselves.
I promise this challenge is not an attempt to troll the UFO/UAP community. I’m serious about this. What do you say Luis Elizondo, Nick Pope, Jeremy Corbell, Steven Greer, the entire team of Ancient Aliens (Giorgio Tsoukalos, Erich von Däniken, David Childress, William Henry), To the Stars Academy (Tom DeLonge, Harold E. Puthoff, Jim Semivan), Jacques Vallee, the researchers at MUFON, NUFORC, UAPTF, CUFOS, NICAP, NIDSci, BUFORA, and anyone else who has been publicly stating that disclosure of alien contact is imminent? Perhaps we could even set up a “betting market” open to the general public to wager money on disclosure by our set date.
If nothing else, it would be a useful exercise in establishing a set of evidential criteria, for this most certainly is a Signal Detection Problem, and that signal—evidence of alien visitation—would unquestionably be an extraordinary one indeed.