Report: UFO Sightings Coincide with Popular Sci-Fi Films, TV
The British Ministry of Defense released 4,000 pages of documents detailing hundreds of UFO sightings between 1981 and 1996. A summary of the documents by UFO expert David Clarke comes as no surprise to scientists and skeptics: many of the sightings coincide with the release of popular sci-fi movies or television shows.
Frankly, so what?
There's doubtlessly a correlation between science fiction and UFO reports. But while pop culture's influence on potential UFO observers is a fascinating subject with important sociological ramifications, to flaunt Clarke's findings as a refutation of the phenomenon in general is to willfully ignore the evidence in its entirety.
UFO researchers aren't interested in "noise" cases -- the inevitable false alarms that plague efforts to study the phenomenon (whatever its origin). Indeed, scientists who have addressed the UFO problem have always been painfully aware of the disproportionately high volume of false returns. Clarke's study is a welcome reminder, but it comes as nothing particularly new to anyone even peripherally familiar with the UFO inquiry.
That the number of spurious reports rises in accordance with the popularity of alien-themed movies and TV series is scarcely surprising. Unfortunately, neither is it surprising that the mainstream skeptical establishment chooses to ignore the residue of anomaly that makes the UFO phenomenon such an enduring and woefully unremarked challenge to science.
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