Status seems pretty central to the UFO phenomena. For example, reports have been filed on well over 100K encounters worldwide so far, but most of the books & movies on the topic focus on the same few cases. These cases are chosen in part for having more witnesses, detail, and physical evidence. But they seem especially chosen for having prestigious witnesses and locations. Seen by police or military workers, especially pilots. At military bases, especially housing nukes. These same books and movies are most eager to interview sympathetic people who are very high status, such as heads of state.
In light of your work, what would UFOs/UAPs indicate if extraterrestrial alien, and secretive? I can't help but speculate that Earth, even if early, is just a model. If aspiring but currently unqualified grabby alien neighbors (perhaps non-grabby that wants to prepare against grabby expansion or maybe early grabby tendencies themselves) discovered our already dead civilization in ruins, it would afford the chance to study artifacts and come to conclusion of the first evolution, but that wouldn't be as rewarding as a restart to observe. UFOs as peripheral phenomenon make perfect sense if Earth hosted a failed quiet alien race that washed out on a hard step towards power (went extinct). They could potentially find adequate DNA samples or blend with their own to fill in gaps.
Some of the benefits of a "restart and observe" would be documenting natural hard steps and timelines, inferring better data about both quiet and loud aliens (contrast points), experimenting with the hard steps, introduction of accelerators (technology or biological) and would be the safest way to prepare before making contact with a Grabby Civilization.
It would require the Observers to live in the peripheral of the inhabitants to not contaminate that study. It would be beneficial to accelerate progress by some method (technology, breeding, viral) as it is a race to be more competitive themselves and be prepared earlier so they would likely make secretive contact and deals with control groups (government) to accomplish. Intervention makes more sense than just hoping the restart evolves the right ways for their data requirements. It may even make sense to restart a quiet extinct race with a grabby evolutionary bias to gain direct knowledge on development while being able to pull the plug at any point. They would probably monitor weapons of mass destruction to ensure the experiment did not end early, and deny expansion to space.
They would "pull the plug" and "restart" as often as necessary to explore and document all requirements. Indicators of this may be numerous extinction events, myths about "god's" giving capabilities such as agriculture or governance and laws (an evidence of restart) and out of place artifacts that are older than we expect and are ignored for not fitting a narrative.
But what if you're getting the basics *wrong*?
I think that is a valid hypothesis. I cannot discount it. I made a personal judgement after seeing the interviews that I believed the individuals involved, but that could mean I'm being fooled.
keep in mind that military officers have a well-documented and decades-long history of actively misleading gullible people to think UFOs are aliens
"It IS hard to imagine ubiquitous civilizations visiting us and not leaving their mark on the galaxy in some visible way."
This is a bias that people have when they don't know what observations we have done or the limits of those observations.
"Waste heat, weird cooling, coherent light emission, stellar engineering—who knows?"
I suggest you read the papers coming out of the 2019 NASA Technosignatures conference.
"You need special pleading to accept that they are ubiquitous and also perfectly low impact in the environment of the cosmos."
No you don't, you need a basic understanding of our observatories and what they have looked at, and the papers written about that data.
"What’s not easy to understand is why aliens would take steps to avoid being approached closely—and perhaps hide or avoid us some of the time—but be perfectly fine with being observed on radar or with grainy infrared cameras."
You literally answer your own question in the sentence before it.
"(they never just hover over an airport or near anyone with a decent camera)"
This shows that you have not engaged with the source material in any meaningful way except perhaps finding the first skeptic video that confirmed your bias and running with it. Mick West in his recent interviews used the same tactic, not talking about the multiple testimonies, not looking at the FOIA requests that showed the deck logs of the Summer 2019 events. At the very least you should be willing to say, "These requests are fake." Or "They are lying." Likewise, if Mick West is trying to extrapolate the analysis of the videos to the veracity of the testimony and additional evidence, he should at least be willing to take a position on the proposed facts.
"why do they not care about being observed almost constantly, as long as it’s by credulous people with camera equipment that isn’t quite up to the task?"
I proposed an answer to that in my post. Maybe you could respond to that?
"There simply isn’t a single video I’ve seen that rises to the level of even bad evidence."
I actually agree with you. No video shown so far is convincing to me. I actually came to accept UAPs-as-aliens as a valid hypothesis by first understanding the path the Universe took to reach how it looks today, and how we know that information. Understanding what could be done within known physics by intelligent actors, as I mentioned in my post is described by Stuart Armstrong, is another piece of the puzzle.
This leads to two reasonable scenarios, one in which intelligent aliens are far away and outside our light-cone, or two that they're already everywhere and highly advanced. Hanson does a great job of modeling the first scenario in his Grabby Aliens series, but I tend to lean towards the other based on Kepler data and habitable planet inferred statistics (among other reasons).
If the extent of your argument is that the videos are bad, I think you may congratulate yourself. I haven't heard anyone say they're great. If you're trying to use abductive reasoning to justify other extrapolations, I suggest a stronger knowledge of the foundational material.
From a quick look at the charts I think 50x is more realistic for quantity (people probably replace smartphones more often than they replaced film cameras), and quality isn't relevant because digital cameras aren't higher resolution than film; it's just that early digital cameras were much lower resolution.
So why not a 50x increase in UFO photos/videos? I'm not sure. Though I note that UFO sightings tend to come in 'flaps' (i.e. clusters with years in between), so it might be we haven't had one of those for a while.
And it could perhaps be that UFOs are reacting to increased capability of being photographed by hiding more. Assuming they are trying to avoid being seen (but it doesn't matter enough, or it's too hard, for them to be invisible all the time).
The above analysis documents a 20-year increase in deployed imaging capacity of at least 10,000X. So if UFOs are real, we should have expected to see a 10,000X improvement in the combined quantity and quality of UFO imagery.
So where is it?
The common claim is that there are high-quality photos, videos, radar recordings etc. - often by military - but governments retrieve and classify them. I've briefly met Col Charles Halt who was at the centre of the Rendlesham Forest incident, when UFOs near a US military base were seen by many personnel for hours over two nights, and extensively photographed/filmed. He says that's what happened in that case. Film and radar recordings were taken away by order of higher-ups and never heard of again.
Also, taking clear photos and videos of objects in the sky has been very difficult for amateurs until recently. Try taking a photo of the moon with your phone and see how well it comes out. (And the moon is stationary, it didn't suddenly appear for a few seconds and then shoot off at 10,000 mph.)
You list signalling their awareness, intelligence, abilities, and status stance as motives for lack of communication. But we can infer all of these merely by sighting UFOs (if it's apparent they're alien), whose existence shows they are far superior; no need for them to allow attacks in order to easily deflect them, or refuse to communicate as a show of strength, rather than just not want to.
Also, I'm not sure what they would gain by signalling their superiority. Or indeed, down a meta level, by deliberately letting a few of us glimpse them. (Except, in the latter case, perhaps what some think governments are doing, viz. gradually letting us get used to the idea of visiting aliens without civilisation collapsing from the shock.)
It seems more likely, as I've mentioned before, that UFOs are akin to bird watchers: it doesn't matter if birds occasionally see them and fly away, as long as most of the time birds can't see them. And maybe it's more trouble than it's worth to be completely invisible all the time.
Which, if true, suggests UFOs are here either to observe us in our natural state (as bird watchers do), or to do something else (perhaps to us) that we would otherwise interfere with, if enough of us thought they were here.
When the facts change, I change my mind.
Keeping an open mind means considering all the evidence. It doesn't mean giving equal weight to all evidence.
How is the truth of a fact at all evidence against creatures wanting to signal that fact?
I have long learned that if someone is set in their belief there will be little I can do to convince them.
You are convinced that because the videos are bad (and I agree with this), that the observed phenomena cannot be UFOs of alien nature.
You are convinced that because you can't see them, they don't exist.
I understand the parameter space and the nature of the observations we have made so far (Wright, Carrigan). Maybe you think that their papers support your position, but they don't.
I will continue to keep an open mind to the possibilities, and will continue to weigh the testimony of military officers against opinions on the internet.
Incidentally, re perceived credibility of higher status people, the UK still has an official list of trusted professions you must use to get passport applications witnessed. Essentially middle class. Journalists and (oddly) pub owners are officially trustworthy, cooks and cleaners aren’t.https://www.gov.uk/counters...
Re aliens not talking to us so as to signal their higher status, i.e. acting as if they don’t care what we might say, to imply we’re very inferior: more likely surely that they actually don’t care what we might say, because we’re actually very inferior. Signalling doesn’t come into it.
Of course it would be amazing to learn about intelligent life—or any life—in our galaxy or others.
It helps to think about the issue of visitors to Earth using the thought template: if this was happening, what else would be true? It’s not hard to imagine that advanced civilizations were ubiquitous enough that they could visit us. It IS hard to imagine ubiquitous civilizations visiting us and not leaving their mark on the galaxy in some visible way. Waste heat, weird cooling, coherent light emission, stellar engineering—who knows? If aliens are everywhere, it means they’ve been around for a while. You need special pleading to accept that they are ubiquitous and also perfectly low impact in the environment of the cosmos.
When it comes to visitors, it’s easy to believe that aliens that could travel for light years could also do amazing things technologically—go fast, do weird stuff with waste heat, use exotic propulsion, hide from us well and easily. What’s not easy to understand is why aliens would take steps to avoid being approached closely—and perhaps hide or avoid us some of the time—but be perfectly fine with being observed on radar or with grainy infrared cameras. I don’t claim to understand an alien mind. But if they have light year travel and probably advanced AI and molecular nanotech or femtotech, and they behave as if they are avoiding us most of the time (they never just hover over an airport or near anyone with a decent camera) …why do they not care about being observed almost constantly, as long as it’s by credulous people with camera equipment that isn’t quite up to the task?
Those are the main reasons why I don’t think reports of UFOs are likely to be aliens. Though that would be exciting! But that’s neither here nor there when it comes to the current UAP mania. There simply isn’t a single video I’ve seen that rises to the level of even bad evidence. Dozens of confusing images and videos that are all planes, birds, camera artifacts and balloons don’t add up to good evidence just because there are a lot of them. When the lighting conditions are bad; when the camera is using digital stabilization or dynamic range adjustments or other digital correction at the edge of its performance specs; when the frame of reference is changing, we get what we would expect: confusing images. When the lighting is better and the camera is stationary and appropriate for the conditions what we see isn’t news worthy. We see a bird or a drone or a reflector or obscured light source or a passenger jet.
Mark Zuckerberg drew the graph below about user engagement. Engagement with content rises as it approaches the banned content zone and then drops to zero, since banned content isn’t available to engage with. It’s a clever visualization and it works for UFOs to, but instead of “banned content” the line is “edge of visual capability” On the left side of the graph, close up and easy to see, no one engages with the image because it’s clearly just an aluminum birthday balloon. As the image becomes more challenging to resolve, the chances increase dramatically that it will look interesting in some way. This is exactly the pattern we would expect to see if UFOs were simply misinterpreted mundane objects.
It is again impressive to me that you risk academic standing to engage in what I believe is an honest inquiry in the topic. Some of the responses you've gotten are representative of many criticisms I've seen.
If I were to guess, in their heads they are doing the equivalent of arguing against the newest claims of tachyons. I remember a decade ago when particles appeared to move faster than the speed of light between CERN and Gran Grasso a scientist claimed publicly on the radio that he would bet his house that they weren't. I'd say it was a pretty good bet.
But the foundational arguments against UFOs being aliens are on much shakier ground. As we know the universe is very big, and very old. Yet instead of engaging in meaningful discussion that demonstrates they understand at least the basics of what is possible within the realm of known physics, they move goalposts, or attempt to associate with some other form of fallibility common in humans.
Ever since I saw Stuart Armstrong's presentation on the energy and matter requirements of 'going everywhere' I have been convinced that this is a strong possibility to have happened. If this happened a long time ago, and you are willing to entertain the idea that arising technological civilizations are not exceedingly rare, then the nature and results of our interactions under the UFOS-as-aliens hypothesis makes more sense.
#1.) This isn't their first rodeo. They will have had multiple opportunities to study the response of new technological civilizations arriving on a galactic stage.
#2.) Their level of engagement is consistent with their intentions. If they wanted a grandiose entrance they would obviously have the capability to do it. That they don't shows that doing so would perhaps be detrimental to their otherwise unknowable motivations.
#3.) The biggest impact of the events so far appears to be the discussions we are having, right here in forums like this. I know that this isn't very well defined, and I bet someone could do a better job of elaborating on this possibility, but to me it seems like humans convincing other humans that perhaps we are not alone in the galaxy is preferable to a more intrusive method.
#4.) Arguing for there being ancient aliens is really annoying when shows like 'Ancient Aliens' exists.
Thank you again for your post.