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Thursday, July 2, 1998 Published at 12:12 GMT 13:12 UK

Talking Point

Are UFOs a sign of alien life? Your reaction

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Despite the sincere individuals who see things and believe that they're UFOs, the UFO "industry" is over-run by wackos and unscrupulous profiteers. I suspect that there may be extra-terrestrial life in the universe, and would welcome any evidence of its existence. Of course, it's extremely unlikely that that life would evolve into the big-eyed aliens we've heard about. My problem is the hue and cry from those who have a significant stake in fuelling the UFO craze with "Chariots of the Gods"-type pseudo-science. The recent scientific interest is appropriate - let's be sure to pay attention, but when there is laughably inadequate evidence, let's make sure we laugh. I think everyone should read Carl Sagan's "A Demon-Haunted World" and spend a little bit of time welcoming reality into their lives. There are no witches, no ghosts, and no little green men kidnapping people and subjecting them to sexual probes.
Max Pruden, USA

Tony Blair knows more than he admits about UFOs. Whilst talking about the World Cup and our bid to host it in 2006 he claimed the current competition was watched by 35 billion viewers and predicted the 2006 audience would exceed 40 billion. With the current world population of about six billion there must be an awful lot of aliens buzzing about.
Geoff Cooper, UK

Perhaps the word "Unidentified" should be replaced by "Unidentifiable", since the former is prone to easier classification by the ignorant.
W Randall, UK

Why should we be the only intelligent life in the universe. I sometimes wonder if we are that bright anyway. I do think one day that we are all in for a hell of a shock. They are out there.
Peter Berrry, Scotland

I think most UFOs are optical illusions and explainable phenomena. However, there is a certain amount that can't be explained away that easily. I can't imagine why aliens would want to bother with us small fry, although their apparent failure to make any contact (unless you believe the abductees) is partly understandable as we are hardly a non-violent species. I certainly don't see any logic in a bunch of spacecraft hanging around our skies occasionally abducting people/dissecting cattle.
However, I don't think we can conclude with confidence that we have all the answers and that the laws of physics as we currently understand them are inviolable, so it does seem at least possible that some aliens may come across Earth from time to time. Who knows what they would think of us if they were truly advanced? Our scientists don't hesitate to experiment on monkeys. An advanced alien race might not see us as people at all. In their eyes, we could be the equivalent of monkeys and not even worthy of contact.
Jill, UK

UFOs. A lot of tosh. A bunch of insecure people trying desperately to be heard and cling onto something that is not real.
Darrell Cook, UK

Some 500 years ago, Columbus was told he would fall off the face of the earth. The most educated then were unaware(naive even). We cannot dismiss UFO's as a figment of our imagination. Because we cannot comprehend "how an alien being" travels here does not mean that it cannot be done.
Warren, England

UFOs are signs of alien life, but not directly. If another life form is intelligent enough to figure out how to travel all the way to Earth it will be clever enough to conceal itself. UFOs, therefore, are merely decoys to confuse and mislead us. The aliens are probably having a laugh at how seriously we study their decoys.
Peter Fothergill, UK

Utilising common sense and scientific logic it is obvious that UFOs are a figment of the imagination.
Roy, Canada

There is no reason for us not to believe in alien life. We all know that the universe is full of stars and solar systems like ours. It is very narrow to believe that ours could be the only one to have life.
So the question is not whether there is alien life but how and when can we come in contact with these so called aliens? I think once we know more about other civilisations in our galaxy these aliens won't be aliens any more. We have to keep open and broad-minded so that when we do make contact with them we can easily accept them as just another race.
Hemant Verma, India

If we look at the UFOs that cannot be explained away by scientific methods, what remains must be true.
I think the scientific establishment should approach the subject with an open objective mind that is not biased with pre-existing theories.
It is extremely naive to think that us humans know everything about the universe!
Jon, UK

The meaning of the term 'UFOs' has changed dramatically over the past couple of decades. The term 'UFO' now has an attached connotation that practically invokes "beings from outer space". This is a shame! Thousands of people worldwide every year see something unexplainable to them, flying around in the sky. And many of them photograph or videotape it, but countless others don't. There seems to be tremendous evidence of SOMETHING flying around up there, but what exactly that is, is completely open for debate. There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that any of these flying objects are from elsewhere in the universe. Of course, that possibility does exist. The fact is, many of these flying objects could be weather phenomena (like sprites, jets, ball lightning, plasma vortices, etc), or they might be secret government projects - or they could be a combination of all of these things.
The idea here is that we just don't know exactly what these things are because there hasn't been enough scientific scrutiny into this area. Most scientists are chased off, afraid of ridicule and threats to their careers. All of us, especially the media (which has been completely irresponsible in dealing with the subject matter), should be more open to any possibility of something we cannot explain, and judge each hypothesis on its own individual merits and evidence.
Jeffrey M Wilson, USA

Well we won't know till we get some verifiable proof and evidence. I think there is a huge possibility that some unexplained sightings could be intelligently controlled. If we do get the evidence and proof we are seeking, how will we handle it? What will we do with this knowledge? Why would an advanced race want to come here? They just have to watch TV or listen to the radio to realise we are an insane bunch! What if they don't look human? AAAARGH!
Tracy Eggleton, Australia

I am quite convinced that UFOs are simply a sign that the government is in fact testing new, highly secret aircraft that appear to others as UFO's simply because they are so different from the aircraft we expect to see in the skies, both in shape and performance.
Matthew Hill, England

Well we won't know till we get some verifiable proof and evidence. I think there is a huge possibility that some unexplained sightings could be intelligently controlled. If we do get the evidence and proof we are seeking, how will we handle it? What will we do with this knowledge? Why would an advanced race want to come here? They just have to watch TV or listen to the radio to realise we are an insane bunch! What if they don't look human? AAAARGH!
Tracy Eggleton, Australia

How can people just dismiss the thousands of sightings each year?
Rick Davis, UK

Speaking from personal experience, I know UFOs exist. The question is: What are they?
We know the military doesn't mind hiding behind UFOs as a cover story for the testing of experimental aerospace technologies. At least some UFOs (if not most) are military in origin. We also already know how to build interferometers and telescopes which, placed in space, will be able to detect other living worlds, even other civilisations. It's safe to assume advanced ETI are aware of our existence.
Perhaps the attainment of quantum gravity at some point leads to the circumvention of the limit imposed by the speed of light. Who knows? The answer to UFO origins may be: Both military and ETI. The military, though, is the only one we're sure about.
John de Nal, USA

I personally have seen three UFOs.
Glen Clark, Canada

It would take far too long for "aliens" to come here, unless they have some kind of super propulsion for their spacecraft, the stuff of science fiction. For example, Pioneer 10, travelling at about 28000 mph, won't even come close to one of our solar system's nearest stars for 30,000 years.
William Easson, Canada

Why shouldn't there be alien life? Think of the technological developments made over the last 120 years. If a species is just 500-600 years further developed than us why shouldn't they be able to travel vast distances in little time. There are millions of galaxies out there, why shouldn't every one of them contain at least one planet with life ?
David Webb, U.K.

I'm very eager to believe in extraterrestrial intelligence that is able to reach us. Nevertheless, there are so many 'ifs, buts and whys'. For example, why are 'they' so secretive about their visits on our planet; if they are an advanced species (how would they reach us otherwise?!). Why have they not got a different approach to us humans, to our problems on earth like pollution and overpopulation and why on earth do they mostly land on US territory?
Ulrike Watts-Urbanek, The Netherlands

I find it too difficult to comprehend that ours is the only planet throughout all the galaxies that has produced life. Many planetary systems must have similar conditions and the other necessary building blocks of carbon based life. The one distinguishing point is that we would not all be at the same point of evolution and technological development. Therefore the ability to traverse large distances may not be the impossible dream that current science is trying so hard to convince us of.
Robert G Tedford, Scotland

I think UFOs are a variety of things, ranging from satellites through to optical illusions. However, I feel that a minority of sightings are truly unidentified and warrant more serious study. I do not believe governments know much more than we do, and all these conspiracy theories have undermined Ufology in recent years. No government would ever want to admit to atmospheric intrusions over which they have no control. Some cases seem to show the distortion of time and space, and I think we should consider the possibility of other dimensions, possibly inhabited by intelligent life.
Matthew Wilde, Britain

I think interpreting UFOs as alien spacecraft says more about our own psychology than it does about extraterrestrial visitations.
Chris Mcharg, United Kingdom

If not a sign of 'alien' life, then surely a sign of 'alien', something stranger-than-fiction is going on. Far too many of us have seen/heard/sensed things-beyond-the norm for all this UFO related activity to be dismissed as merely fantasy, overactive imaginings, somehow related to 'sleep paralysis' name it. This whole area needs hard, serious investigation, undertaken by those without nutty agendas or by so-called scientists (I prefer to call them scientismists) who can not see beyond their own oh-so-narrow fields of speciality.
Mike Arnold, USA

How can you say yes or no - the only answer is I don't know (unless you've had an encounter or you're part of some secret government group). Probability would suggest that in a universe of mind boggling dimensions that it's unlikely that life is confined to our planet, as pretty and vital as it is. Needless to say this idea upsets a lot of religious types - but so what. The real question is whether other life might have the capability to travel or send probes across the vastness of space to do this? If this is possible then anything is. As to a military cover up...if aliens are benign then they wouldn't be party to such a plot...if they are not benign chances are we're all screwed anyway. The caveat should be added that it could of course be little more than a combination of atmospheric phenomena meets end of the millenium paranoia.
Gary Blackburn, UK

UFOs are UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS, nothing more and nothing less. The fact that so many are recorded each year begs a REAL (mainstream) investigation. If we could determine that even one of these UFOs are something other than natural phenomena, then we could address your question with something other than uninformed passionate opinion or wishful thinking. Oh! If only wanting it to be so could make things real! Wouldn't this be a better world?
David S Miller, USA

Is sunshine a sign of the existence of a sun god? This is just superstition filtered through a modern paradigm. You might as well believe in Ezekiel's Chariot, Father Christmas and the Intergalactic Ghoul.
Steve Dempsey, UK

There are so many people out there (to coin a phrase) keen to produce evidence that "aliens walk (or fly) among us" that the lack of any reasonable evidence whatsoever surely proves that they don't. Mind you, the lack of evidence for "God" hasn't dampened people's enthusiasm to believe in that either.
Duncan Hurwood, England

What I believe is the fact that we cannot be alone out there. The drake equation has shown us that. The subject of UFOs is one of great debate but my belief is that they are live, but as the programme says, "not as we know it".
David Bradley, United Kingdom

The people who say they're waiting for a radio signal: Rubbish - because an advanced ET civilisation will have moved WAY beyond the slow and primitive standard of radio waves a long time ago. The people who say they "always contact farmers in the US": Again, rubbish. This is a truly worldwide phenomenon. It happens in Africa, China, Russia, Spain, Brazil... Everywhere in fact. When you run into highly convincing examples with people who don't have access to a TV or know what the term 'UFO' stands for - let alone know about aliens and science-fiction, then the 'psychological argument falls flat on its face!
The people who say that people who see these things must be mentally unbalanced: Sorry, doesn't wash. They're seen by astronomers, high-ranking military personnel, PhDs, professors, physicists, US presidents, doctors, judges, business people, bankers... In fact just about EVERY spectrum of society there is. In fact these people have been tested for mental problems - needless to say, with negative results. Therefore they are NOT 'stupid' or 'mentally ill'. It amazes me that the erroneous concept of mental delusion is still believed by people, even today.
Those that say there's no evidence - go and do some research. Realise, please, that simple 'lights in the sky' won't convince anybody. The thing's moved WAY beyond this a long time ago. The professional investigators spend most of their time investigating far more important things than PURELY that! UFOs are tracked on multiple radars (both air- and ground-based), confirmed on infra red, seismograph, video (which has been analysed and proven to be genuine) and electro-magnetic sensing equipment; in fact just about ever recording device you can think of. I'm not bothered about lights in the sky. However, I am bothered about clearly physically structured craft, which have been regularly proven to fly over our military bases. This is a real problem. Deal with it. Don't take the word of people at face value, but if it's subsequently proven to be true, then it's true.
E Adams, UK

No investigation of UFO sightings is ever likely to prove the existence of extraterrestrial life, simply because anyone with the technology for interstellar travel will be able to avoid revealing concrete proof that he exists, ie getting captured.
John Ryan, Russia

When I was 10 I remember my father telling me about how he and my mother had seen a UFO in 1947. It had been a spinning silver egg that had been floating in the sky above Blackheath Common, south London. It had been a sunny day with clouds, it was early afternoon, and the object could be seen by the naked eye. My father got out his binoculars and took a look and what he saw confirmed the shape and spinning nature of the object. Now at the time I remembered the story but didn't really think about it. A few years later he recounted the story. I was 13 or 14 and this time I was very interested. But I thought he was joking. However what leads credence to the story is the fact that my mother was there as well and when I asked her she said that was exactly what had happened and that my father had given her the binoculars to see for herself. My mother wasn't deadly serious about it but rather matter of fact.
What is particularly interesting about this story, in addition to the partial corroboration (my mother would not be considered an independent witness I imagine) was that the egg, or whatever it was, hung in the air until it was occluded by a cloud (not a big one in my father's memory) but a minute or so later when the cloud had passed it had gone. My father was an RAF trained navigator. He had just been demobbed and would have recognised it as such if it had been a meteorological or barrage balloon etc. I assume that my father practically knew the shape and characteristics of practically everything flying at that time as he had been on Dacota7s right up to that year. The egg's spinning nature? My father's later assertion was that it must have been a UFO in the pure definition of the sense. Actually I don't know if UFO mania had hit England in summer 1947. I suspect if it had, my father might have been in some way caught up in the hysteria. That's something I will never know as he died over a decade ago.
I never paid this that much attention however and had not been particularly interested in UFO phenomena until May 1998 when I saw something I can only describe as a UFO myself; a purple glowing triangle moving very rapidly across the lower third of the sky one early evening, again in south London. I am not going to go into this story as I probably saw a stealth bomber or something, but all I can say was that it looked to be about 10 or 15 kilometers away, was huge, silent, with bright glowing lights at each of the points and then suddenly stopped, hovered and disappeared. I got the feeling that its real behaviour was such that it couldn't have been a standard aircraft. I was completely fazed by the whole experience and, well, I cannot help but think that what I saw and what my father and mother apparently saw need rational explanation.
What finally unsettles me is that neither what I saw or my parents saw fits into the loony saucer, cigar, or whatever sightings which are supposed to be what you see when you see a UFO. But as far as my eyes and first and second hand experiences guide me I cannot but help think that visitors come to Earth to check us out.
Paul Kallender, Ex-UK now in Japan

Why would an alien species make all the effort to travel light-years across space and then spend its time abducting trailer trash and putting on pretty light shows? Alien minds may mean alien motivations, but come on! How likely is this scenario really? I'm quite prepared to believe aliens exist somewhere (the odds favour it), but any civilisation clever enough to cross interstellar distances is frankly not going to waste its time on us. We orbit a very insignificant star, and we've only just started making enough noise to be heard in the last 80 years (so unless these aliens can travel faster-than-light they probably wouldn't BE here yet!). Sorry, but any way you look at it, aliens are probably the LEAST likely explanation for UFOs.
David Evans, UK

Perhaps the scientists could take a look at some of the nose camera footage from US planes trying to close in and ID the craft. Also science says that there could not be life anywhere else as so many parameters are needed that they felt it will not happen anywhere else. Just look at the variety of life on our planet alone. Life survives in the harshest environments on earth, so why not in the vast space of the universe.
Robert Snow, England

Why should an unidentified flying object be a sign of alien life? The majority of people just seem to assume any unidentified flying object must be a spaceship. If you were unable to identify a car type on a motor way would you assume it was a space buggy?
UFOs ARE NOT proof of anything other than the fact we cannot explain or identify all objects spotted in our skies.
Roy Matthews, England

The reports of alien spacecraft only show Man's need to explain the unknown or a man's need to explain where he was last night.
Brian Hedley, England

It's back to the age-old process of blaming something that isn't fully understood on a mysterious god-like power, in this case aliens. It is highly likely (in my mind) that there is intelligent life out there somewhere, but I think it is very unlikely that it is of the humanoid variety.
Some other thoughts: If such a civilisation wished to investigate Earth, one would think that they could gain all the data they needed by intercepting our communications - why go to all the expense of visiting? If they were to kidnap people and experiment on them, why put them back to tell all about it? Why don't they contact the mainstream media? I'm sure all the major TV news stations would be falling over themselves to tell all if they had exclusive rights.
Peter Gordon, Australia

I identify 46 alien forms and regularly sight 11 types.
Rodney Neumann Thomas, Pretoria, RSA

There is no difference between UFOs and other items, eg ghosts and ESP; just a way for someone to make a fast buck. Any real ETs would be obvious, and would most probably be discovered in space by scientists.
Greaeme Legg, Bahrain

UFOs are more likely a sign of alienation from reality by some people desperate to escape from our mundane everyday life. I think the fact that we evolved from nothing and have consciousness is a far more exciting area worth investigating than the UFO phenomenon.
Tom Bowshall, Australia

I first realised that UFOs were not the result of "crazy Yank hysteria" when I was approximately 9 years old. I developed an avid interest in the subject, and although I have no doubt of the existence of UFOs, I agree with Arthur C Clark, they just can't be alien spacecraft. Finally, the scientific community seems to have removed its head from the sand, stopped giggling, and battling for funding at any cost, and finally realised that we have a phenomena that has cried out for over 50 years to be investigated.
Keith Davies, US previously UK

The existence of aliens - that is, life on other planets, and I suppose, in this context, life forms capable of interplanetary travel - does not seem to me improbable. But that such life forms would content themselves with appearing irregularly as glowing blobs or trails in the skies of the Midwest does beggar belief.
Crispin Owen, Australia

In our increasingly pagan society maybe UFOs are a replacement for God. Both are unbelievable but so many believe.
Tim Pearce, UK

The trouble lies in the fact that 80 to 90% of "UFOs" are explicable through the likes of weather balloons, unusually shaped aircraft and various weather effects. This means that the remaining 10 to 20% are of unknown origin. This might suggest extraterrestrial activity in this planet's vicinity or some covert testing of military aircraft. This is not exactly something that governments are going to reveal to the general public and are probably quite happy to use extraterrestrial activity as a front for their operations.
Like many people, I do believe that there is extraterrestrial life, but the simple fact is that the universe is too large to make any proof of their existence easy.
PJ Hughes, UK

I don't believe that UFOs are proof of alien visitation. It is hard to believe that no regime in any country in the world would not have admitted it otherwise. I don't believe that an international conspiracy of silence could have held for so long. Whilst I happily admit that life is probably quite abundant in the universe why are we so arrogant to assume that other races are all rushing to visit the earth? I would readily admit that some governments probably abduct and experiment on their own people though.
Barry Tregear, England

No. Aliens with the advanced technology (propulsion, lifespan extension and protection from radiation) needed to undertake interstellar travel approach Earth. They can (most of the time) avoid detection by radar and (most of the time) cannot be seen. They can (some of the time) perform time distortions. Do they attack or invade? Do they communicate friendly intentions? Not these aliens, they worry people in remote areas by imitating early sci-fi films!
Ian B, Britain

How can we be conceited enough to believe that we are the only life in the galaxy? Maybe Earth is just a small mote not yet worth looking at from a galactic point of view. I've not seen a UFO as such so I cannot really answer the question above, but I do believe in other life on other planets.
Steve Hughes, UK

One important step in any study on UFOs would be the US government's release of the data they have collected domestically and via their global military presence. Such a widespread force cannot help but notice and study these things.
Robert Adams, USA

They're out there,just think about it.
Levi McClain, USA

UFOs are nothing more than a sign of Man's ignorance, as the acronym states 'unidentified flying objects". If they were a sign of alien life then we would have to call then IFO or "identified flying objects". I do feel that proper investigation is needed to discover the truth of these matters, but I do object to the way that rational debate seems to disappear whenever the paranormal is mentioned. It seems that scientists are terrified of something that questions their dearly held theories and otherwise rational people become totally irrational in their desparation to attribute everything to ET. If this is the future of mankind then I'm glad that I have faith in God.
Tim Clark, UK

It's hard to say that UFOs are the direct evidence of alien life. While there is a great deal of anecdotal evidence, and certainly a large body of provacative film and video, we cannot say with certainty that these craft come from another planet. Although I personally believe that intelligent life exists somewhere out in the great expanses of the universe, I cannot automatically assume that UFOs are direct evidence of its presence. The issue needs to be studied systematically and critically before any final pronouncement about UFOs and their "operators" can be made.
Kamil Skawinski, USA

To accept the reality of aliens from UFOs one must also accept that there is governmental cover-up of them. This would require the co-operative secrecy of various people and that is just too outlandish to reasonably accept.
John Bodenstab, USA

UFOs exist physically, but there are no proofs they are aliens.
Windey, Belgium

As a physicist I am skeptical about UFOs. We need physical evidence that shows the landing of extra terrestrial aircrafts or beings.
Mesgun Sebhatu, USA

I certainly think that UFOs demontrate a possibility of life out in deeper space. It's just a great pity that governments tend to cover up so much. So what if human kind reacts in strange ways to the truth, at least we'll know what's out there. Would you like to wake up one morning to find war waging on your planet human-to-alien style and realise the governments had not kept you up-to-date. Bit late then though. We have a right to full disclosure. We need to be prepared, informed and aware!
Gys de Beer, South Africa

UFOs are a phenomenon of the imagination. People often see what they want to see. Little useful knowledge may be gained by following random lights in the sky, and even less by speculating about what they may mean.
David Mathews, U.S.A.

It amazes me how we in our "scientific" era will gladly deny the existence of things without proper scientific inquiry, simply because their existence would refute the fragile paradigms with which we live. Scientists who refuse to study this phenomenon because it contradicts their understanding do not deserve to be called scientists. Those people who suggest that UFOs are only seen by country bumpkins and rednecks in Alabama are obviously ignorant themselves, since a great many of the reported UFO sightings come from pilots, both commercial and military (see Rob Lilly's message), as well as from police officers, clergy, military intelligence officers etc. In fact, three of five former US Presidents admit to having seen UFOs. As did Senator Barry Goldwater - these are not exactly toothless hillbillies. If you have read Dr Hynek's book, it is clear that the US Military, through Project Blue Book, reported only those sightings by unreliable witnesses that were easy to ridicule, but covered up more reliable sightings by trusted and respected witnesses, including members of the US Air Force. For those who say there is no photographic evidence - you need to view the hours of videotape taken over Mexico City at the time of the last solar eclipse, when hundreds of thousands of people viewed and filmed multiple UFO sightings. It is said that, as a result, something around half of the people in Mexico have either seen a UFO or know someone who has. That is far too many people to dismiss casually. Healthy skepticism is a good thing, but willful ignorance is a curse of our species.
Mark L, USA

People don't want to believe that this is all there is. This belief in UFOs comes from the same human longing to not be alone as some people's belief in GOD.
John Shaw, USA

Call me a sceptical person, but until one parks itself in a major city or populated area, until absolute proof is obtained beyond photographs or second hand "eyewitness" accounts, I tend to believe that UFO's are more likely of Earthly origin and of explainable (and far less exotic) human origin than of alien origin.
S. Kenney, USA

UFOs are tracked on radar, confirmed on Infra-Red, seen by multiple witnesses of high calibre, change - and on occasions activate - the launch codes of nuclear missile silos... All of this is well documented and proven 100%. See what happened in Iran 1976, for example (in the released Defence Intelligence Agency documents - which were previously denied as existing!). Against this background, you can no longer say there's any doubt as to their reality. Before anybody talks about the bungled 'Project Blue Book', I suggest you get the newly re-released edition of 'The Hyneck UFO Report', by Dr J. Allen Hyneck, which shows exactly how, where and why Blue Book was completely unscientific and little more than a Public Relations exercise.
Eric Adams, UK

Hearsay, photographs (blurred or potentially doctored) and rumours do not constitute proof. I could accept that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe, but as yet there is no plausible explanation as to how (or even why) they would visit us. This does not rule out the possibility completely, of course, but just because we can't completely disprove something doesn't mean that it must be true!
Brian Ritchie, UK

If UFOs are sign of alien life, why would they conduct themselves in such a clandestine manner? No, UFOs are used by governments as a cunning source of misinformation.
Julian Enticknap, UK

I need solid verifiable evidence from reliable sources before I accept any of these claims, and so far such evidence seems suspiciously absent. We as a species habitually make false and insane claims as a result of error, ignorance, the search for profit and for fame. Why should I accept that we are being visited any more than I should believe in the infallability of the Pope, that Elvis is alive, that a soap powder is the best on the market or that walking under a ladder is bad luck? Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. The processes adopted by the legal and scientific communities are not designed to obstruct but to provide us with the tools to distinguish fact from fantasy and falsehood, or admit that we just don't know. UFOs are undoubtedly seen. They might be ball lightning, meteors, aliens, angels or swamp gas but we have to distinguish the possible from the probable. When I see live pictures of a UN envoy beaming aboard the mother ship, I will believe. Until then, they remain lights in the sky and blips on the radar. Flying objects that cannot be identified.
Paul Sidnell, UK

I think that most UFO-sightings (perhaps around 80-90%) are misidentifications of aircraft and other conventional phenomenon. However, there remains a body of cases which have single or multiple witnesses describing craft or lights performing flight characteristics which do not appear to be governed by accepted physics (example: right-angle or more turns in mid-flight, made famous by the footage from Shuttle Mission STS-48 but have actually been reported here on Earth since the early fifties, and are included in the Project Blue Book report).
Furthermore, strange objects and weird meteors in the sky have been reported by every civilisation since the dawn of Human existence. The phenomenon exists.
Christian de Coninck Lucas, Denmark

UFOs are exactly what they say they are: 'Unidentified' Flying Objects. To be proof of alien life we would have to KNOW what they are, in which case they would consequently be 'IDENTIFIED' Flying Objects. An unexplained phenomenon can NEVER be proof of anything else than its own 'unexplained' existence.
Kees Beerepoot, The Netherlands

Throughout the 50's and 60's the US and the UK researched nuclear powered planes. Better to call them UFO's than mobile time bombs? They have active submarines 24 hours a day, why not active planes?
John Everitt, UK

I think most UFO sightings are hoaxes or simple mistakes. However to think we are alone in the universe is ridiculous self importance, considering the number of stars out there...
Laurie Knight, England

In 1969, the USAF-funded "Condon Report" was published. The report recommended that UFO study be discontinued since there could be no scientific value in continuing with it. At least, this was the conclusion of the report's editor, Edward U Condon. But he made almost no use of the studies in the body of the report, whose authors (professional scientists) came to directly opposing conclusions. Not only were UFOs worthy of study, but 18 months' scientific examination of UFO reports resulted in conclusions that real, intelligently-controlled craft were involved, of unknown origin and with operational parameters outside of current known technology. But Condon's "Summary and Conclusions" was what everyone read and the only part of the report referred to by this new "panel" of scientists.
I don't pretend to know whether UFOs are alien visitors, or time travellers, or significantly new natural phenomena, but I wonder again at the ability of people who have made no real study of the subject (the new panel apparently studied ufologists rather than UFOs!) to make dogmatic pronouncements about it.
Don Mills, New Zealand

Given there are 10 to 11 galaxies like ours, each of which have 10 to 11 stars in them, and that our solar system is young by comparison to the age of the universe there have to be other life forms, and there is good reason to expect some of them to be more advanced than ours.
Scott, UK

How many billion stars are there? How many trillion planets orbiting these stars? Surely we can't be the only life form? There is more "evidence" of extra terrestrial life than for many of the things we believe in. Can we prove there is/was a God? Do we therefore doubt his existence? Major religions rely on faith, not proof beyond a reasonable doubt. I want to believe... I want to believe...
Garry Rayner, UK

I have often wondered why a spiritual interpretation has never been regarded as acceptable in the mainstream view of this phenomenon. I believe this is where we will find the answers to the UFO subject and of life outside of the human existence.
Wallace Tait, Canada

That lights in the sky and crop circles are signs of alien visitation are extraordinary claims, but where is the extraordinary evidence in favour of this interpretation? There isn't any. That's why I say "No, UFOs are not aliens". However, as the US study found, there are a lot of interesting non-alien things going on that are worth investigating.
Sean Ellis, UK

We cannot possibly be the only beings in the solar system. It is about time that someone took the lead and investigated these sightings/stories. The Military should open the files that they have for all to see.
Steve, England

The universe has no beginning, and I think has no ending... I suppose there are a lot of civilisations out there in different stages of evolution. I believe some advanced people can travel faster than light and visit some planetary systems to study other civilisations as a way to understand their own history.
Diogenes Braga, Brazil

It could be very naive to believe that we are the only masters of the vast universe! I think there is another dimension of knowledge we have to consider looking at.
Aol, Canada

Really amazing the number of folks going to church the weekend - and debating UFOs the rest of the week! Which is it, God or science? Biblical teaching claims God made the Earth, created Man, who fell through disobedience, and was redeemed by the life and death of Christ. Did other worlds fall also, causing them to wait for the second coming of Christ, and to occupy their time with space travel and such? OR, is there really no God, and only random evolution is reality? Does a God powerful enough to create a universe, or his angels, need a spaceship for travel? Would sinless, unfallen beings want or need to get a closer look at us? God or science, you can't cling to the hope and comfort of an afterlife through Christ on Sunday, and then scan the skies for a flying saucer the rest of the week - which will it be?
Gary, USA

I have no idea about UFOs so far because I've never seen one. But it is obvious if we think logically that intelligent ET life exists somewhere. If we can live on Earth, why can't others live in the entire universe?
I do also believe that supercivilisations will probably have no logical reason to encounter and disturb poor ones. So whatever the case for an alien visit it will not make sense in the near future, at least.
Od, Mongolia

Your question kind of supposes that the existence of UFOs has been definitely proved. Until someone can show definite proof for their existence, all we can definitely say is that human beings have an extraordinary imagination. It seems to me, that as religion is declining in popularity, the human imagination is finding something else to focus on instead.
Paul Stancer, Hong Kong

UFOs are very real and hopefully in my lifetime we will find out if there is something else out there.
Riaz Noor, USA

A UFO is an UNIDENTIFIED flying object. There is no doubt that many UFOs have been sighted over the years. However there is no evidence that "unidentified" means "alien," unless one wants to take the word of the legion of alleged contactees who themselves suggest that the major alien preoccupation lies beneath human underwear.
Therion Ware, Malaysia

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