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Is the UFOs Issue a Philosophical and a Methodological Question?

In the late 1999 I read an interesting article about UFOs sightings appeared in the Daily Mail signed by Nick Pope, who, with a very engaging idea, entitled his article in such a way

Britain’s X Files (and yes the true is in these pages).

I have read carefully Pope’s article, and I found some important information worthy of mention. Nick Pope worked for more than three years for the English Ministry of Defense (=MOD) as a responsible “for investigating extraterrestrial visitations.” He worked in Secretariat (Air Staff) at the MOD, and, according to him, still at that moment several “sightings that couldn’t be explained in conventional terms” occurred.

One of the most important UFO sightings in Great Britain occurred around 1980 in the Rendlesham Forest, when two patrolmen saw bright lights in the sky and among the trees. At the beginning they thought “an aircraft had overshot,” but the event was a far cry from being a true explanation. In reality they discovered among the trees “a large metallic, triangular object.” Because of two nights later a new sighting occurred, the USAF Commander Charles Halt said that a systematic survey of the zone was need, stating that the UFOs seemed “metallic in appearance and triangular in shape.”

The MOD investigators reported that in their opinions “the lights appeared to explode in fragments of white light.” The same USAF Commander Charles Halt saw “three objects like stars” in the sky which were visible for almost three hours. According to Nick Pope, other mysterious objects were observed in the sky in 1956, when two RAF jets “were scrambled to intercept the mystery craft.” As a result, the unidentified flying objects eluded the pilots because they were “too quick and agile.” Other sightings occurred in 1993 and 1995.

In 1993 two soldiers described a UFO as “a vast triangular craft.” Finally, although the U.S. government’s denial, US army Colonel Philip Corso said that he was in possession of material and objective evidence about “the so-called Roswell incident from 1947” which was really due to “the crash of a UFO”. But Colonel Corso died “shortly after” of a heart attack and he “took the secrets to his grave”. After completing his military service, Nick Pope changed his own opinion about UFOs. He started “as a sceptic,” but then he must recognize that this experience “changed his life forever.”

How about that? Nick Pope seems to me sincere and a man of considerable experience. But Pope’s assertion that “ yes the true is in these pages,” has still to be demonstrated. Recently Pope, in his Foreword  to a book by Georgina Bruni,  dwells on what happened long ago  in the Rendlesham Forest. The impression is that the MOD wants to   minimize the phenomenon of UFOs, stating that it is not considered of strategic interest. Pope also mentions the presence of documents still Top Secret; which is definitely true, because classified documents relating to particular events never reached the newspapers.

In the present state of our knowledge, there is no magic solution, and I think that we may have the chance of finding   good solutions after more searching, and perhaps one day we will discover the truth that today still seems highly limited. I might be mistaken, but, in the absence of uncontroversial evidence, the problem of UFOs seems to move from an investigative task to a philosophical question, where the search for the truth becomes a question of method and of time. Only the method of searching and the passing of time probably will reveal deep secrets that still might exist about the phenomenon of UFOs.


Is it possible to accept a speech as true in the absence of scientific evidence?


From a methodological point of view, the problem of UFOs is strictly related both to the authoritativeness of the testimonies and to a substantial amount of reliable eye-witnesses.  I think Pope is authoritative because he, for more than three years, worked as a responsible “for investigating extraterrestrial visitations.”

But the authoritativeness is not enough.

We must be absolutely certain that those who try to persuade us to adopt their beliefs they reveal themselves to be absolutely worthy of confidence. Veracious eye-witnesses are an unavoidable necessity in the case of UFOs. This point is crucial, because, if the abovementioned premise will be satisfied (the authoritativeness of the testimonies), and if there are a substantial number of worthy people that say pretty much the same thing, it is very likely that such beliefs may be considered plausible, if not true at all. The maximum-likelihood method is a valid historical method largely implemented in oral-history.

For this reason, it is only a matter of time.




Nick Pope, “Britain’s X Files ( and yes the true is in these pages)”, in  the Daily Mail, Monday, November 15, 1999, p. 13.

Georgina Bruni, The Definitive Account of the Rendlesham Forest. You Can’t Tell the People, UFO Mystery, 2011. Foreword by Nick Pope.







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