One more belated point around the orbiting projectors theory, as it seems oddly burdensome: my objection was that if aliens can get actual craft at least as close as earth orbit, why wouldn't sightings of apparent alien craft close enough to see be actual craft, rather than fake craft created by actual craft?

I mean the following respectfully as a serious point, not snarky: I wonder if there's a near-far thing going on here. It seems (as with other scientists) like you're comfortable with the idea of aliens far away in other galaxies and star systems, and even (unlike most scientists) with aliens 100 miles up. But you resist the idea they're closer than that, like 1 mile away, or indeed directly interacting with humans (e.g. abducting them).

So I wonder if aliens that close seem too real and concrete (and maybe dangerous) to believe, and it's easier to deal with them as faraway things of which we know little - OK to do abstract reasoning and calculations about, but comfortably unreal.

Hence the extra, burdensome details in your account to keep alien craft at a safe distance, while the sightings are of fake craft. So the real stuff is far away, and the close stuff isn't real.

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Uh, did you read this sentence? "Or, relatedly, they were sent to earth originally to observe life before we were here."

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This makes a lot of sense if such powerful robust coordination is necessary to pass the great filters. There may have been intelligent aliens before these ones, also seeded by Eden, but those intelligent aliens died due to lack of coordination.

One question is how "leaky" the great filters are. If failure to a great filter usually just ends with your species dying out, but doesn't spread elsewhere, there wouldn't be much reason for monitoring. If failing later great filters have a high risk of leaking and also hurting life elsewhere, then there would be a very high incentive for aliens to monitor the situation elsewhere.

Also, if these encounters actually are aliens, we could explain them as "priming" us to expect that Aliens actually existed, without telling us outright (this could be why encounters seemed to have gone down now that we'd have the ability to easily record them, which would remove doubt). Removing doubt would pollute the experiment, giving them less useful data to prepare for far away aliens. But if no such encounters existed, we'd be less likely to have serious discussion like this, and be less prepared for the eventual inevitable encounter with them if we pass our great filters. Or maybe semi-awareness of them leads to us being more likely to discover their solution to the great filters. So it's a choice of a balance between these tradeoffs.

Personally I think UFO sightings are just unexplained northern lights-type phenomena, but I've still appreciated your careful speculation.

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"You might think that all this alien incompetence would give humans a fighting chance to defy these aliens and break out of their control. Possibly, but probably not. They probably do have their finger on the big kill-all-humans button, and that button probably does actually work. We might have a chance to sneak off and start a distant stealthy interstellar colony, but that also seems damn hard."

Yes there is a credible story about when nukes were shut down during a UFO siting, members of the military wondered whether they were threats to national and international security that ought to be taken seriously.

And another person replied that they appeared to be so much more advanced that if they wanted us gone, we'd be gone.

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It doesn't have to be aliens. There multiple possibilities, some more plausible than others. Though I'm with Robin that it appears to be something that defies conventional explanation.

Consider: It could be us from the future -- time travelers. Or even us from the past. A remnant of a lost civilization that destroyed itself, but those who remain persisted on making scientific advances, while leaving the rest of the world alone.

Like the survivors of Atlantis.

Why would they do such a thing? Technological advances lead to the splitting of the atom. In many ways technology is as much of a dangerous fire as it is a savior.

And there is some credible evidence that the UFOs are interested in our nukes and will shut them down if necessary

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Well you don't sound crazy at all but I don't tell many people about my sighting either unless the subject comes up. Also like you I know what I saw. I mentioned it here because the poking thing caught my fancy lol.

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I looked for reports as well as a place to report it but couldn't find anything. (This was early nineties.) Also, our position was in the hills so the object's distance to ground would have been greater when it got to the flat populated areas as well as where there is a lot of air traffic and light pollution. Also, while the other witnesses seemed equally astonished, the experience wore off pretty quickly. I'm not here to convince anyone btw.

When you see something that doesn't make sense, it can be as if you didn't see it at all.

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Here's what could be part of a theory - human thought process runs at an arbitrary rate relative to the speed of causality that is determined by our biological substrate. This is why colonizing a continent seems easy, colonizing a solar system seems hard but doable, and colonizing a galaxy seems impossible because of what we perceive as "travel times". There is no real incentive for an intelligent being to be on the launch of a multi-generational voyage. So for an interstellar civilization to exist, its speed of thought must run much, much slower than ours such that colonizing a galaxy feels pretty practical, and generations run much longer. From our perspective, these aliens would seem incredibly slow so their patterns are harder to detect. From their perspective, they can detect a hyper-evolving civilization, but the best they can do is create "fast" (to them) probes that run on canned, deterministic logic. Thus aliens are here, but we don't interactive with them at a thought level - we just see their data collection instruments

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Even if you don't think them sufficient, I'd still be interested to hear your best shot theory, and those of others.

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Every time I try to come up with plausible and self-consistent explanations for UFO that do contain aliens, I end up creating a web of contrived, complex, bizarre ideas that don't make much sense. Your attempt is pretty good but it's still torturing the available data to fit aliens in the picture. You had to assume that aliens that spread are extremely rare but aliens that don't spread are frequent enough that one such group happens to be so close to us (in both time and space) as to be able to travel to us and then intentionally and very widely reveal themselves but not enough for us to be sure we are seeing them. This is a lot of strangeness to fit together and yes, invoking panspermia and ideology helps to make it fit but it opens a whole new Pandora's box, or two. Why wouldn't panspermia actually increase the likelihood of grabby aliens happening, by creating a larger number of independent civilizations, so that even if most of them fall victim to the usual threat of ideologically driven stasis, some of them break out and spread? Why wouldn't ideology stimulate expansion, rather than reliably suppress it?

Alien-free explanations for UFO are still the best, since they require only the usual level of human deceit and gullibility, with perhaps a pinch of radar glitches and as yet uncategorized meteorological phenomena thrown in.

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I'll add my UFO anecdote: When I was training to be an LDS missionary in August 2008 in the suburbs of Sacramento, my companion & I went into an apartment complex & saw two men looking up. They were pointing at something."Look, it's a UFO!" One shouted. Sure enough we looked up & right there in broad daylight was a gray orb cruising in front of the clouds. A slow drift. There was a military jet approaching it. The four of us could barely speak we were so shocked. No camera phones were available to snap a pic.

The gray orb drifted for 5-10 seconds as the jet approached. It then accelerated rapidly, shooting off like lightning above the clouds and was gone. The jet continued on its course, now alone in the sky. We turned to each other, flabbergasted, saying a bunch of different things about UFOs and aliens. In the end, my missionary companion and I continued our day. I didn't tell anyone, thinking they would think I was crazy, inventing a story. I later convinced myself I saw an atmospheric disturbance of some kind, or ball lightning... a trick of the eyes. Now, years later, I think there was something real up there.

I remember looking for reports on the Internet for this UFO and don't remember finding anything online. I sent in a report to some website (I think it was MUFON), but never heard back.

I'll take a lie detector test on this one! I have no reason to lie here other than to provide some anecdotal evidence. I'm still worried about being treated as a crazy person, or dishonest... but with the UAP disclosure since 2017, I feel less worried to share my experience that day.

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This has already been accomplished, back in the 80s and 90s: https://www.newmessage.org

Or perhaps God does send Prophets to Earth to prepare them for the Extraterrestrial Intervention?

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OK, since we don't know what might be possible by advanced tech let's suppose all of that might be possible.

Since you already assume they have interstellar craft that can hide themselves from us, I don't fully understand the need for this extra assumption about orbiting projectors that can produce simulacra of craft (via light, radar, ground marks) rather than UFOs just being the actual craft they have anyway.

I think the only advantage you claim is safety. But it's plausible their craft would be safe enough against our weapons anyway - e.g. through speed & manoeuverability (which they apparently have to an extreme extent, and could well have developed for interstellar travel since they can do that), plus protective shielding (and again it's likely an interstellar craft would be well shielded against radiation, meteors etc.)

Also as mentioned below you're losing a lot of explanatory power by assuming they're not real craft, because then the only purpose of the projected, phoney craft is to poke us for a reaction to seeing them, and that doesn't seem a very useful experiment (what would it show?)

Whereas actual craft can do all kinds of things that could plausibly be useful. Take close-up readings, take samples, transport aliens, even abduct people for experiments/alteration/whatever.

It's like the difference between a cardboard police car (which police have tried putting by the side of roads in the UK to deter speeding) and an actual police car. Sure the cardboard police car serves one function somewhat, but a real one is far more useful, so why would a police force only deploy cardboard police cars? And keep the real ones in the garage? (Even though they're safer in the garage!)

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It is real and important, but not "serious".

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But if aliens behind UFOs are incompetent at understanding us and communicating with us, that sounds like bad news for our ability to learn and abide by their rules. It would be nice if they had some effective plan for integrating us into their world, beyond than pushing the button on us when we cross some line. But I wouldn’t count on that.

Do you think that termination of the human civilisation by UFO-aliens is a serious existential risk?

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Good point; I've changed the post to reflect that.

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