Rendlesham Incident – here we go again

It was only yesterday, that I was doing a piece for the Discovery Channel explaining that people’s testimony is not science, many people want to believe the unbelievable, you can’t prove the non-existence as a logical fallacy and of course, David Hume’s classic (later attributed to Carl Sagan) “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” I was asked if beliefs will ever go away in the modern era and I replied, probably not. Once you have gotten rid of one crazy belief, along comes another. It’s almost as if people need their to be mysteries in the world that not be explained.

Today we learn of another set of papers released and one particular UFO sighting that has all the hallmarks that makes this one likely to run and run. There were credible witness and better still, there is conspiracy. Intelligence papers on a reported UFO sighting known as the “Rendlesham incident” have gone missing from the National Archives according to the BBC website. Clearly the authorities have something to hide. It is Mully and Sculder all over again.

The incident in 1980 relates to reports from a group of servicemen who said they saw strange lights in the trees near the RAF Woodbridge base – at that time being used by the US Air Force.  Upon investigation, they reported finding marks on the ground and damage to  the vegetation.

The BBC article goes on to describe other examples of UFO sightings from credible witnesses. I am sure they are and I can believe that they believe what they saw. But credible or not, for alien spaceships to travel light years that would take many generations of a human lifespan to travel from beyond our solar system, only to play catch me if you can with the local life forms in a cheeky “now you see” intergalactic game is more incredible than the credible witnesses. I am not saying that it is impossible, just highly implausible and plain daft.

6 Comments

Filed under General Thoughts, In the News

6 responses to “Rendlesham Incident – here we go again

  1. I just want to say that not all of us take UFO to mean aliens from space, just unidentified flying objects. I am sure there are credible accounts of those – I have seen some myself. Now whether there is credible evidence of space aliens piloting them is a totally different question and I think the answer is probably no.

  2. Rendlesham is ultimately, like most famous UFO cases, a mix of confusing and contradictory subjective accounts of ‘lights in the sky’ amplified by frequent retelling of the tale until it has acquired some kind of ersatz ‘ truth-by-virtue-of-legend’. Ian Ridpath’s deconstruction of the affair (even if you don’t agree with it) shows how easily these things get blown out of all sensible proportion:

    http://www.ianridpath.com/ufo/rendlesham.htm

    • And actually, if I was going to place money on where the ‘missing’ papers have gone, I’ll put it on some UFO buff. Let’s see if I’m right…

  3. @Bruce – Yes, but I always feel the need to point out that not everyone that believes in UFOs necessarily believes in space aliens.🙂

  4. for alien spaceships to travel light years that would take many generations of a human lifespan to travel from beyond our solar system

    I presume that the vast majority of those who believe in this stuff are assuming the aliens in question have some sort of faster-than-light travel technology.

    One of the more disillusioning things I have encountered in learning more about physics, etc., is that I am now fairly confident that FTL is really truly impossible, that no new phenomenon will be discovered to make it possible, that no engineering feat will get around the problem, etc. Considering we are also living on the outskirts of the galaxy, this makes contact extraordinarily unlikely, even if life is relatively common in the universe. Alas…

    If life is really super common, which I don’t rule out, I could see there being a “galactic community” of sorts in near the center of the spiral, where solar systems are close enough together that, with some real engineering wizardry, independently evolved races could be within a few decades of practical travel time from each other (and of course far less than that in subjective time). There’s a whole lot of “ifs” in believing such a scenario — but I don’t think it’s entirely implausible.

    For Earth to ever be part of such a “galactic community”… not a prayer. If we ever even establish the existence of an intelligent alien race during the lifetime of our species, I would consider it an incredible stroke of luck.

    Now that’s depressing…

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