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Created by Simpo PDF Creator Pro (unregistered version)          UFOs – Unidentified Flyi...
UFO: Ufology, as Falsified by Occam                                       Curtis Belmonte                      Massachuset...
Adhering to Occam’s razor, a truly scientific mind can find far simpler explanations forthe phenomenon of unidentifiable a...
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  1. 1. Created by Simpo PDF Creator Pro (unregistered version) UFOs – Unidentified Flying Objects Ufology – is a neologism coined to describe the collective efforts of those who study reports and associated evidence of unidentified flying objects (UFOs). Ufologist – A ufo investigator is called a ufologist Ufo Sightings- Some eye witnesses to the UFOs Roswell Incident- called the Roswell UFO crash 1947 UFO Conspiracy – Worldwide UFO cover Ups and related theories Alien- An extra-terrestrial being is called an alien
  2. 2. UFO: Ufology, as Falsified by Occam Curtis Belmonte Massachusetts Academy of Mathematics and Science In the philosophy of science, Occam’s razor refers to a philosophical principle stating thatwhen searching for an explanation, a scientist should be thinking as simply as possible. Beingdesignated as a razor, its foremost purpose is shaving away unnecessarily and overly complicatedscientific theories. According to Occam’s razor, rather than forming radical hypotheses andmaking complex suppositions about a given topic, investigators should draw the simplestinferences and make the fewest assumptions possible. As an example, if an individual were tofind a letter in a trashcan, he could assume the complex and remote possibility that the trashcanmay have spontaneously come into existence around the letter. Occam’s razor, however, insiststhat such an unlikely notion be disregarded in favor of the much simpler possibility that anotherperson had simply thrown the letter away. It is this general rule that guides all serious scientistsin their pursuit for answers and understanding. UFO researchers define ufology as the study of unidentified airborne crafts and theimplications these unexplained objects may hold for the existence of extraterrestrial life(“Ufology,” 2010). Among the dogmas of this purported science are that alien life forms havelikely engineered these spacecrafts and use them to visit Earth, that world governments conspireto cover up such visitations, and that the field as a whole deserves further scientific study(“Ufology,” 2010). A major promulgator of the tenets of ufology is Dr. Steven M. Greer. Aphysician and self-proclaimed UFO authority, Greer is a frequent speaker at ufologyconferences. He is also known for founding the Center for the Study of ExtraterrestrialIntelligence and has authored several publications on the topic of UFOs and their supposedimplications (“Steven M. Greer,” 2010). Although he is a licensed physician, he is largelyscorned by the greater scientific community and is frequently paranoid to the point of accusingthe U.S. government and Air Force, which discredit his claims, of a large-scale conspiracy tohide evidence of alien visits to Earth (“Steven M. Greer,” 2010). All of these signs point toGreer’s isolation from main-stream scientific research, designating him as a hermit scientist(Gardner, 1952). Upon examining its principal tenets in light of Occam’s razor, an individual can clearlysee just how little weight ufology holds as a legitimate science. First and foremost, the field islargely built around the belief that UFOs are built and piloted by extraterrestrial beings. Thisdubious notion is already predicated on a number of wild assumptions: that alien life forms existwithin a traversable distance of Earth, that they possess advanced technology which allows themto construct their mysterious spacecrafts, that they know of the existence of life on this planet,and that they have reason to visit it in the first place. The razor, were it applied to this so-calledscience, would have all of these unnecessary postulations trimmed away and replaced by muchsimpler and naturally explainable theories. Skeptics and the government both behave in such afashion upon refuting UFO enthusiasts’ claims in favor of simpler explanations (“UFO FAQ,”2007). However, instead of accepting these less radical alternatives, ufologists merely raisefurther dubious claims and accusations of conspiracy, thus complicating the issue and irreparablydamaging the validity of the field.
  3. 3. Adhering to Occam’s razor, a truly scientific mind can find far simpler explanations forthe phenomenon of unidentifiable airborne objects. Firstly, it is quite possible that many of theUFO sightings which are reported come from unreliable sources. The individuals that cite apersonal encounter with such crafts or even with extraterrestrials themselves may not bementally sound, they may spread false information for the sake of publicity, or they may evenhave a psychological desire to believe which causes them to manufacture false memories aboutthese experiences (“UFO FAQ,” 2007). Additionally, these unidentified airborne objects may bethe result of a simply explainable natural or manmade occurrence. Countless UFO reports couldbe explained away by an errant meteor; an orbital satellite; or an experimental and highlyclassified, but decidedly human, aircraft (“Hynek’s Classification System,” 2007). Each of theabove, witnessed by a layperson with little knowledge of what he or she is seeing, could easilybe mistaken for some unearthly phenomenon. The latter possibility could even explain why thegovernment may be unwilling to release information regarding such investigations, lest its top-secret projects become public knowledge. Many ufologists dismiss such comparatively reasonable explanations and insteadcontinue to profess the theory that extraterrestrial beings are behind the existence of UFOs. Thiscontinued insistence on the improbable is a direct affront to the principle of Occam’s razor. Inlight of its disregard of this essential scientific tenet, the field cannot be considered a legitimatescience by any means. When a supposed scientific field clings to an unlikely notion, it can beconsidered no more than a pseudoscience, one that contributes little to furthering scientificknowledge and understanding. It is the desire of its followers and supporters to find evidence forthe improbable rather than to find a true explanation, whatever it may be, that fuels much UFOresearch. Hence, ufology is clearly no more than a misguided and tenuous field ofpseudoscience, far removed from the legitimate scientific community. Literature CitedGardener, M. (1952). Fads and fallacies in the name of science. New York: Dover Publications.Hynek’s classification system. (2007) Retrieved September 22, 2010, from M. Greer. In Wikipedia. Retrieved September 22, 2010 from Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia: FAQ. (2007). Retrieved September 22, 2010, from P2.html#cyberUfology. (2010). In Wikipedia. Retrieved September 22, 2010 from Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia: