‘But…but…it’s the best available explanation!’ Part 3

October 12, 2016


We’re amazingly prone to ‘see’ things that are not really there. One of my favourite examples involves a strange object seen over the building site of a new U.S. nuclear plant back in 1967. Police arrived. One officer confirmed that ‘It was about half the size of the moon, and it just hung there over the plant. Must have been there nearly two hours.’ The County magistrate said he saw ‘a rectangular object about the size of a football field’. There was even a rogue radar blip reported by air traffic control!What on earth could this amazing object be?

We know, pretty much for sure, that what was seen by those police officers and the magistrate was the planet Venus. Journalists arrived on the scene, were shown the object, and chased it in their car. They found they couldn’t approach it. Finally, they looked at it through a long lens and saw it was Venus. That radar blip was just a coincidence.

What does this show? Every year there are countless amazing reports of religious miracles, alien abductions, ghosts, and so on. In most cases, it’s easy to come up with plausible, mundane explanations for them. But not all. Some remain deeply baffling.

So, given this hard core of ‘unexplained cases’, should we believe in such things, then?

No. For, as my UFO story illustrates, we know that some hard-to-explain reports of miracles, flying saucers, and so on will likely show up anyway, whether or not there’s any truth to such claims. That 1967 case could easily have been such a baffling case if the journalists had not investigated and found the truth.It could easily have gone downin the annals of UFOlogy as one of the great ‘unexplained’ cases. UFO enthusiasts would have said: ‘That is hardly likely to be an hallucination, or a lie, or just a normal aircraft, surely?’

So when people say:

‘The best available explanation of these amazing reports is that witnesses really did see an alien spacecraft (or a resurrection, or a miracle, or an angel, etc.) – for it’s just implausible that they could have all hallucinated, or been tricked by an illusion (what explains that radar blip?!), are lying (they’re police officers and a magistrate – and independent witnesses!) etc.’,

remember: such cases are going to crop up every now and then anyway even if there aren’t any alien spaceships visiting us, are no resurrections, etc. But then such reports are not evidence for the existence of such alien craft. Our mere inability to come up with a plausible explanation of such reports shouldn’t lead us to conclude that there probably was an alien spacecraft, a resurrection, or whatever.