UFOs: What the *Further* Hell?
A year ago I tried to come up with the most plausible story I could for why some UFOs might be aliens. In that story, life started long ago on some planet Eden, which then via panspermia seeded life onto thousands of planets in Earth’s stellar nursery. One of those other planets reached our current advanced level probably at least a hundred of million years ago, after which it enforced a policy preventing any part of it from expanding to colonize the universe. (Maybe for eco, governance, or stopping-change reasons.)
From their home, such aliens could see life on Earth, and see that we might advance to violate their rule against expansion. Unwilling to just kill us, they authorized an exceptional expedition to Earth whose purpose was to persuade us to follow their rule. This expedition was limited to only the resources needed to implement their plan to domesticate us like we’ve domesticated other animals: they hang around looking peaceful and impressive, make clear their wishes, and don’t reveal any more details about themselves than needed for this plan. I’ve estimated my prior for this hypothesis to be roughly one in ten thousand.
Recently, several sources have claimed that the US government has long had secret projects studying UFO vehicles and their crash debris, including bio pilots. So now I ask myself: what I would have to add to the story above for it to accommodate these two new features: retrieved crashed alien vehicle debris, and squishy bio pilots? I can do this, but at a cost in terms of the prior probability.
First, aliens who allow their local vehicles to crash and let their pilots, debris, or vehicles be grabbed by us just do not seem as impressive. Not only does this undermine their key strategy of domesticating us via showing impressiveness, a civilization a hundred million years more advanced than us should just be far more capable than this.
To explain this situation, I will postulate that their civilization was once very advanced, but has since greatly rotted. They may have inherited tech that they are no longer able to generate, and can barely maintain. This is consistent with their having prevented large internal change, competition, and evolution; they’ve instead tried to use incremental modifications to maintain their prior systems of governance, organization, and innovation. A process that predictably produces rot.
If this has led to such systems rotting, it’s actually a bit amazing that they are still even somewhat functional after a hundred million years of such rot. To make this scenario work, I also need to assume that Earth authorities who find such debris conspire to hide it, rather than reveal it to their citizens. I estimate an added prior factor of roughly ten to accommodate this found UFO debris hypothesis.
Second, I expect our civilization to be completely artificial within a million years. So I’d be surprised to find our descendants vehicles piloted by squishy bio creatures a hundred million years from now. I can think of two ways to explain this. First, motivations similar to those that drove these aliens to prevent expansion might have also driven them to resist being replaced by artificial descendants. That is, they might have had a “Butlerian Jihad.”
Second, these aliens might have guessed that we would relate better to, and thus be more easily domesticated by, impressive but squishy bio creatures, relative to their more usual artificial forms. Even if they eventually allowed artificial descendants, maybe it was touch and go for them for a while. So they revived these bio creatures special just for us. I estimate another prior factor of ten to explain this situation of alien vehicles having squishy bio pilots.
Thus in order to accommodate these two reported features of crashing vehicle debris and squishy bio pilots, I invoke another prior factor of one hundred, tacked onto my previous estimate of a one in ten thousand prior. Resulting in a new prior of roughly one in a million. Which is about the size of our usual prior in a murder accusation. And thus a hypothesis that one shouldn’t dismiss without considering any concrete evidence offered in its favor, as at a murder trial.
The alternate hypothesis that the most dramatic UFO reports are the result of organized hoaxes faces the obstacle that such reports have also been found within both China and the old USSR, not just with the US and its allies. Even so, this hypothesis still seems to have a higher prior probability than that such reports are due to aliens. And it is easier for this hoax hypothesis to accommodate vehicle debris and squishy pilot elements.
How? In order to discourage their rivals from launching a first strike, each Cold War rival wants to convince the others that there might be aliens around who would object to such a first strike, or who might have given others advanced tech. So each rival arranges for strange UFO reports that they pretend to officially repress. If adding vehicle crashes and squishy pilots makes rival leaders more likely to hear of and believe such reports, that’s enough to get them to add such elements to their reports, even if the wise know that such elements make these scenarios less believable.
Thus I find these new reports somewhat harder to believe than prior reports, and if they turn out to be substantial they will tip me more toward estimating that the most dramatic UFO reports result from organized hoaxes.