Just the other day I was reading a book about SETI and the author committed the error of appealing to an authority… which means he didn’t have a good argument other than to say that these prestigious people and organizations have weighed in and they say UFO phenomenon is all hogwash.
Sure, I know you’re confused so I’ll expand. He was writing about UFOs, which, if you’re going to discuss SETI you need to address, even if it is to dismiss the idea of alien visitation. He wrote that the Air Force began to study the problem with Project Blue Book in the 1950s and then with the University of Colorado study now known as the Condon Committee which ended official research.
Overlooking the fact that the Air Force investigation began in January 1948 (officially), and had the name changed a couple of times until they settled on Blue Book in the 1950s, anyone who has reviewed these files find them filled with inaccuracy, half-truth, smears of witnesses, explanations that are completely wrong (Portage County UFO chase began with the sighting of a satellite that, according to all records including those in the Blue Book files proved were not visible at the time) to documentation showing exactly what the mission evolved into and it wasn’t investigation of UFOs. To suggest that the Air Force investigated and found there was nothing important in the sightings was to miss the point. The real point of the Air Force investigation was to ensure that National Security was not compromised. It did not prove there was nothing important to UFO sightings and that nothing important would be learned by continued study.
There is documentation that shows the Condon Committee was a put up job. Condon had the conclusions written a year and a half before the end of the project. Those conclusions did not match the information contained in the research and in one case they “identified” the UFO as a phenomenon so rare it had never been seen before or since. If nothing else, the various investigations conducted by the Condon scientists suggested that something of scientific value could be learned through additional research.
Here’s the real point. The author of the book shouldn’t have dismissed UFOs for the reasons he cited. They are not valid. Had he looked into the UFO phenomenon himself, studied a few of the cases, and determined through that investigation that UFOs have nothing to do with SETI is one thing. To reject it because of the obviously biased research of someone else is something else.
Oh, you want to know what should be done. Easy. The SETI crowd should conduct an investigation into UFOs and decide for themselves if there is anything of value in the reports. They may well decide UFOs will provide nothing to further their research, but they shouldn’t allow the biased research color their thinking. There are other studies that have concluded the opposite.