UFO Sightings from a Critical Thinking Perspective

UFO SightingsIt seems like every few months or so there are reports of Unidentified Flying Objects in the news and that these reports are generally associated with alien visitations. There were recently such reports from multiple sources across California and in reading the comments I was struck by how many people had their own story to tell. In addition a new crop-circle has generated much interest.

The study of these various reports comes under the category of UFOlogy and a lot of people, including various governments, have spent a great deal of time and tax dollars in trying to determine the nature of these events.

Many people claim to have seen aliens or UFOs and there is no chance I will be able to change the minds of those who are convinced that alien races are visiting our planet;  what I’d like to do is to make a critical examination of the general idea.

First a disclaimer. I do not think alien races are visiting our planet. I think all UFO sightings have logical, non-alien, explanations. Most of them have to do with the limitations of human vision and the plethora of natural events that can fool our eyes.

For the sake of argument, let us suppose there are alien races visiting our planet.

Sheer Volume of Sightings


The enormous number of sightings in which people are absolutely convinced they witnessed an alien craft indicates that these aliens visit frequently, have been here for a long time, and are actively interested in our world.

My Thoughts

If aliens are frequently visiting our planet, if they are putting on shows in the atmosphere regularly, if they are kidnapping, speaking to, and otherwise engaging the people of our world; well, we’d have hard evidence by now. There is no plausible explanation of why they would engage in such a plethora of activities and yet supposedly want to keep their presence a secret. It’s illogical. Either we would know they are here because they communicated broadly and indisputably, or they are not here at all.

Behavior of Visitors


The aliens kill farm animals to examine them and kidnap people to examine them.

My Thoughts

Any species that can master interplanetary travel could easily tap into our vast communication network and gain whatever anatomical information they desire. Why would they do things so overtly if they want to keep their presence secret? It makes no sense.

Fleeing Authority


Many of the stories we hear depict the alien vessels fleeing at the first sign of military or government intervention.

My Thoughts

These aliens can clearly avoid detection. If they have been hanging out in the solar system for centuries, which reports indicate, they clearly can avoid detection from modern probes which are constantly looking at the sky. It makes no sense that they would have to flee when they are clearly capable of easily avoiding detection.

The God Delusion


People generally want to feel in control of their lives but there are many things that are completely beyond our ability to change. It comforts us to think there is a guiding hand orchestrating events. This has historically taken the form of all-powerful gods.

People need an explanation as to why something happened. They want a reason. They assign a mystical being as this explanation.

My Thoughts

Aliens make perfect fodder for unexplained events. If you see a strange light in the sky, the easiest and most comforting explanation is that it was an alien or a god, same difference. A more intelligent creature guiding us is a soothing idea for many people.



There isn’t a lot of evidence as to why the aliens are visiting but speculation runs from wanting to use humans as a food source, to conquest for slaves, to friendly alliances.

My Thoughts

If the aliens had any of the motivation as suggested above they would simply make them happen overtly. What possible motivation could they have for centuries of subtle contacts, crop-circles, or abductions? There is no rational explanation for why aliens would be hovering around for so long, making their presence known in little fits and starts, and yet not do anything.

Imagine you are completely superior and want something from a technologically inferior species. You would simply do whatever it is you wanted and be done with it. There would be no need for games.

This for me is the most compelling reason I do not think aliens are visiting us. What reasonable motivation could such a vastly superior race have for behaving in the manner they do?

I understand people can come up with explanations but they don’t resonate with me.

That the aliens feed off our confusion or irrationality is probably the one I’ve heard the most. I call it The Matrix explanation; that the world is not what we suppose it is. That aliens or robots or gods are feeding off us, without us knowing. It seems self-evident to me that they could get the same result without all the nonsense.


I’ve gone on too long here I suppose. I just find the obsession with aliens to be irrational and it bothers me. I appreciate that your think you saw an alien space ship. You didn’t.

I also realize that I’m not going to change your mind. Please feel free to comment with your irrational explanations about why aliens are real and I’m an idiot. I had my say, you’re entitled to yours. Know that I won’t try to argue with you.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Spear of the Hunt
Next Release: The Broken Throne

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