God, Aliens and Evidence
I have a friend of whom most writers here know, who believes in God. Not only does he believe in God, but he asserts he has good evidence for that position. He’s also aware of the arguments from the atheist/skeptic side and his position is that the burden they demand of theists is unfairly and unreasonably high. He likened it to demanding the believer invite you over to his kitchen and show you God, right there in the kitchen cabinet.
You have probably seen the news of Harry Reid’s 20 million dollar project to study these strange things that have been observed in the sky. For the past few years, I’ve taken note of these sightings and the way in which skeptics have responded. I’ve often noted that the skeptics who demand God in your kitchen cabinet also demand something similar with UFOs.
If we can see that mothership hovering over the White House and staying there for long, semi-permanent periods of time (or hovering over Big Ben and Parliament, in the words of Clark Griswold, “look kids, Big Ben, Parliament, mothership”) that would satisfy the skeptics. But the way in which this game apparently works, these things, after being observed for brief instances, zip away. Thus, in a game of cat and mouse, we may be dealing with something so much more advanced that it’s destined to win and therefore not give the evidence that would satisfy the skeptics’ scrutiny.
By the way, I’m a Gemini which means I have a split personality. Part of me wants to believe, the other side — the skeptical side — thinks it’s horseshit. So you can call me “1/2 a skeptic.”
I was pleased to see how atheist and skeptic Neil deGrasse Tyson handled the matter in part because it confirmed my earlier analysis about skeptics and burdens of proof. He was confronted with evidence. He didn’t try to deny or discount the evidence. And he didn’t try to explain it away. When it comes to the “intelligent alien” hypothesis, he basically noted, like demanding to see God in your kitchen cabinet, contact me when I can go out to dinner with the intelligent alien. Bring it into Times Square for everyone to see (just not during Comicon where it would blend in).
So what were these things then? Tyson gave the right answer: I don’t know. It’s a mystery. I hope to get more evidence on the matter in the future. He didn’t shoot too far and say, “it wasn’t aliens, it was weather balloons.”
I myself will not commit, as it were, to any position other than interested agnosticism on the matter. The skeptical side of my personality demands this.
What about burdens of proof? It seems to me the person making the affirmative claim has the burden; though, in fairness, burdens should be shared jointly by both sides. The person who asserts either, “it was aliens” or “it wasn’t aliens” each has a burden. I get out of it easier because I make no such affirmative claim.
To analogize to debates over belief in God, we often see claims about providing negatives. And we know absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. But we don’t have absence of evidence here! Rather we have evidence. Just that which isn’t sufficient to meet the professional skeptics’ demand for proof.
But I do like to speculate. Aliens from outer space are a possibility. Or perhaps from another dimension. Or perhaps it’s us from the future — time travel. Some religious fundamentalists think they are demons. And if so, it might stand to reason, they are the good angels too. That’s how they “get around.” Or as I have speculated it could be us, but a remnant that lives on from a past advanced civilization that destroyed itself. The Atlantis Hypothetical. The fact that advances in technology lead to nuclear weapons is reason itself to explain why such a remnant would opt NOT to do what the inventors of technology from Western Civilization have: Publicize it; expand it; spread it; attempt to universalize it.
This is just a fraction of the endless possibilities. Some of the possibilities are seemingly inconceivable or not yet conceived. But there is the question of Occam’s Razor. And let me deal with a common response along that line: These are things that are explainable by currently existing, known human technology. Military air crafts, drones, weather balloons.
But the former director of the government program has shot down that claim:
“These aircraft — we’ll call them aircraft — are displaying characteristics that are not currently within the US inventory nor in any foreign inventory that we are aware of,” [Luis] Elizondo said of objects they researched.He said the program sought to identify what had been seen, either through tools or eyewitness reports, and then “ascertain and determine if that information is a potential threat to national security.”“We found a lot,” Elizondo said.The former Pentagon official said they identified “anomalous” aircraft that were “seemingly defying the laws of aerodynamics.”“Things that don’t have any obvious flight services, any obvious forms of propulsion, and maneuvering in ways that include extreme maneuverability beyond, I would submit, the healthy G-forces of a human or anything biological,” Elizondo said.