UFOs: The Stellar Rainbow Connection

A senior SETI (Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence) astronomer recently posted an essay on UFOs in the Huffington Post where he first stated:  “Allow me to first note that this is a phenomenon worthy of attention. If aliens are really hanging out in our ‘hood, it’s hard to imagine any other fact more worthy of study.” Then he concludes with: “The fact is, if you’re certain that our planet is hosting alien visitors, the way to gain acceptance for your point of view is to prove it, not insist that the problem lies with third parties. The blame game is a cop-out.”

WTF is this guy saying? UFOs are important but it’s up to others to do all the hard yards and prove that UFOs and aliens are related. You can just about hear the writer scream out WE REQUIRE PROOF as long as the burden is on others to come up with the smoking gun!

WE REQUIRE PROOF! That’s all fine, well and good in theory, an in an ideal world, except the average member of the great unwashed doesn’t have the name-brand, academic bona-fides or resources required. No matter what ‘proof” the great unwashed offer up, the WE REQUIRE PROOF demands of the many (scientists) outweigh the abilities of the few (the great unwashed) to proved the required goods. If I ring up a top scientist at a top university and say I have a piece of an alien spaceship, do you honestly think they will listen to me or slam down the phone uttering “another bloody wacko wasting my time”! So the ‘blame game’ is perhaps more a plea for those with the scientific bona-fides, and the resources and the credibility and respected home institutions to take the great unwashed a tad more seriously when it comes to UFO experiences and get their hands dirty studying the subject.

I play the blame game. I put blame on those who could, but won’t get their hands dirty. It’s intellectual cowardice pure and simple. The fairly obvious if unstated message is I’m interested in ET, I’m a SETI scientist by profession, but I’m not interested in UFOs unless someone else provides the proof that there is an actual alien connection. I’m not interested in UFOs because I won’t get external funding to study them. That’s because I’ve got too much on my plate already. That’s because I’d rather sit on my ass and let the great unwashed do the dirty work. That’s because someone might make fun of me, like my professional colleagues. The sociology (office politics) of the science community usually runs something along the lines of don’t stray beyond the mainstream; don’t think out of the box; don’t rock the boat or you’ll end up like Jonah and tossed overboard without a whale in sight.

So holier than thou essays like that posted by ‘Mr. SETI’ aren’t really helpful; relevant scientists need to put up some legit science or shut up since if they are clearly not part of the solution, they are part of the problem standing in the way of a solution!

Let’s forget the great unwashed for the moment; let’s talk nerdy talk and deal with evidence, not proof, just evidence, that something strange is afoot via observations from astronomers,  professional colleagues of SETI scientists, and their reported anomalous observations that are in the scientific literature. Now albeit it’s ‘colleagues’ from several generations ago and way before modern SETI times, but that doesn’t alter their academic bona-fides nor what they reported in the professional literature.

I refer to the numerous historical sightings of Neith (reported satellite of Venus) and the intra-Mercurial planet Vulcan along with numerous other sightings of alleged planets inside the orbit of Mercury. Not one, or two but multi-dozens of reports are in the scientific literature for both. That’s in addition to those multi-dozens of sightings of unpredicted by uncharted and unknown objects that made unexpected transits of the Sun and Moon. So, professional astronomers are on record as having seen, for all practical purposes, unidentified ‘aerial’ phenomena. Now we know there is no Neith and there is no Vulcan, etc. so exactly what did scientists in the astronomical profession observe? A UFO by any other name is still a UFO. Okay, that’s just evidence, not proof. Still, UFO observations are not exclusively the property of the great unwashed.    

WE REQUIRE PROOF! Okay, even if scientists don’t want to actively participate, their demand WE REQUIRE PROOF (lay it on the slab in my lab) sounds reasonable, until you realise that those same scientists accept the reality of many other things that they equally can’t study on a slab in the lab, things that only can be seen or photographed.

An obvious case in point is those stars in the night sky. You see them; you can photograph them, but to date you can’t study the physical object in the laboratory! You can’t put a star on the slab. So, if stars are acceptable, why not UFOs? Well, stars can be therefore they are; UFOs can’t be therefore they aren’t*.

Scientists have a readymade excuse for not being able to verify the bona-fides of stars as laboratory specimens; they are out of reach – way too distant to grab hold of. But they still argue that stars aren’t illusions or misidentifications or all-in-the-mind or hoaxes because astrophysical theory supports stars being what scientists believe they are. Of course in a manner of speaking starlight can be ‘captured’ and analysed in the lab, and at least stars have the decency of making their appearance on schedule. Still, you cannot examine up close and personal the physical star itself.

So as a generality, in defence to an anti-UFO stance, scientists will say there are theoretical reasons for accepting the reality of things they can’t put their mitts on, implying that there are no theoretical reasons supporting the UFO ETH (ExtraTerrestrial Hypothesis). Alas and alack, as an additional counterattack, as stars (and rainbows – see below) are supported by astrophysics’ theory, there is also an actual theoretical scenario that nearly demands that there be UFOs and that UFOs be extraterrestrial spacecraft – it’s known as the Fermi Paradox. That just basically says that even if there is only one advanced technological civilization ‘out there’ with the ability to “boldly go”, then the time it would take to explore (even at low sub light velocities – say 1% to 10% the speed of light) and colonize end-to-end our galaxy is but a tiny, tiny fraction of the age of our galaxy. So where is everybody? They should, if they exist at all, by rights be here. Why would they pay special attention to the third rock from the Sun? While stars and planets are dimes-a-dozen, abodes with biospheres are probably as rare as hen’s teeth – that’s why. Planet Earth is a hen’s tooth! Alas, while astrophysical theory passes their muster, the Fermi Paradox doesn’t cut their mustard apparently.

Okay, for terrestrial scientists, physical star-stuff can’t be placed on the lab’s slab. But there are parallels much closer to home where that excuse of extreme distance falls far short. Now here’s a parallel. The rainbow is the case in point. If scientists can play UFO skeptic, I can play the role of rainbow skeptic.

If you say you’ve seen a rainbow, you can’t prove that to me since you can’t bring the rainbow, or any part of it (like say the associated pot-of-gold), into my lab and place it on the slab for me to hammer away at or put under the microscope. You obviously believe in the reality of rainbows, yet you can’t put the one you see in the sky on your lab’s slab either. Okay, you know and I know that rainbows exist, but the critical point is that you cannot prove to me (or anyone) that you saw a rainbow. We all know eyewitness testimony, ain’t worth the price of spit in a bucket. As for photographs, being the grand skeptic I am, no doubt your photographs of rainbows are fakes, pure and simple. I REQUIRE PROOF of rainbows and you can’t provide it.

Can you capture and put an actual rainbow in the sky into a laboratory environment and subject it to cruel and unusual punishments?  You can artificially create one in the lab, but that’s not quite the same thing – it’s not the real McCoy. And what about that associated physical trace – the pot-of-gold at the end of the rainbow? I’ve yet to read of any laboratory analysis of that pot and that gold. How do we know it’s really gold without slab-in-the-lab analysis? Maybe its fool’s gold! And just like Pandora’s ‘box’ is really a jar and not a box, maybe the ‘pot’ is really a bowl! Of course the scientists can’t quite get at the pot-of-gold since it’s guarded by a leprechaun, and no scientist is going to admit being thwarted by a little green man (or abducted by a little grey one either for that matter).

Okay, I would be foolish not to believe your observation and to deny the reality of rainbows, yet its okay for scientific skeptics to ignore the rainbow parallel when it comes to UFOs. Eyewitness testimony regarding UFO sightings isn’t worth the cost of the paper it’s printed on; photographs of UFOs are indeed pure Photoshop fakery.

But in fact, UFOs offer up way more physical evidence than the rainbow. Despite that pot-of-gold at the end of a rainbow legend, rainbows leave behind no physical traces; no physiological effects, and no electromagnetic effects; they make no sounds, etc. UFOs are not so hampered. So, if crunch-comes-crunch, the reality of UFOs have a lot more going for them in terms of physical evidence than the reality of rainbows. Of course no scientist in their right mind would exhibit scepticism of the existence of rainbows even without any physical evidence backing them up, but when it comes to UFOs, that’s a different horse of another colour – but is it really a different horse, and is it really of a different hue?

Of course one reason physical scientists accept the reality of the rainbow is that they’ve seen one themselves (many most likely) and seeing is believing as long as it’s they who are doing the seeing. If they themselves had witnessed a UFO event they (and their colleagues) could not identify then I’m sure they would be much more open and inclined to accept another’s eyewitness testimony. A bit of a double standard there of course but that’s human nature and scientists aren’t exempt from that weakness. Unfortunately, UFOs tend to be a rarer commodity than rainbows and therefore witnessed way less often, including viewings by scientists. 

While UFOs have a higher physical evidence quota than rainbows, they also have a higher strangeness quota too, which is not to say that rainbows don’t have a strange mythological aura about them. I wonder if the scientist who accepts the reality of the rainbow also accepts that the rainbow is a bridge to heaven (Asgard) according to Norse mythology and made famous in the conclusion to Richard Wagner’s first “Ring Cycle” opera “Das Rheingold”. Christian mythology has the rainbow as a sign that at least the next time God lays waste to the world it won’t be via the Big Wet, though I doubt you’ll find that in any textbook on optical and atmospheric phenomena. And if you’re into cryptozoology, the Australian aborigines have a Rainbow Serpent (which doubles as a creator deity), but then again, scientists aren’t noted for their curiosity into the actual existence of unknown mega-fauna or polytheistic creator deities** either for that matter. In fact, you name the culture; you’ll find a rainbow mythology contained within. Rainbows are associated with spirits and demons and all manner of omens from the good, to the bad and the ugly that scientists will reject as part and parcel of their belief system.

So, where do scientists draw the line? Rainbows – yes; rainbow serpents and rainbow bridges – no. And this distinction is rightly so, IMHO. But when they reject out of hand a phenomenon that actually has more and better evidence than say rainbows (auroras and sprites would be other cases in point) then eyebrows must be raised and questions asked – like please explain your logic.

While on the subject of things mythological, let’s go harking back to the stars and planets and other celestial objects. There’s a massive mythology from many ancient cultures that usually goes hand-in-hand with how those celestial objects and night sky patterns came to be. Astronomers don’t support those tall tales either since they have other more scientific theories that explain the origins of stars and constellations. Still, its two competing theories of how to account for say, the Pleiades star cluster. Once upon a time it was Zeus. Today it’s astrophysics. Who’s to say since neither scenario can be subjected to a definitive WE REQUIRE PROOF slab-in-the-lab test.

By the way, as a final counterattack, I haven’t yet seen any SETI scientist come up with proof positive on ET, so IMHO it’s still a tied ball game. But rather than have two opposing teams, SETI scientists may as well study UFOs as well since SETI to date has a batting average of zero. Perhaps that’s what comes from scientists putting all their ET eggs in just the SETI basket. 

*And the Sun can’t have sunspots since we all know that the Sun is perfect; meteorites can’t exist since we all know stones can’t fall from the sky;

**Though faith in the reality God is hardly unknown to exist in some physical scientists, though like stars and rainbows, they can’t put God on the slab in their lab either. Somehow the WE REQUIRE PROOF criteria don’t matter in this case.


Source by: John Prytz


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