Not all Canadians are reality-based

Not all Canadians are reality-based

Not all Canadians are reality-based

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
March 11 2009 3:32 PM

Not all Canadians are reality-based

One of the things I like about Canada is that its citizens tend not only to be reality-based, but also are so matter-of-fact about it. Of course we don't think vaccines cause autism, they might say? Why would you ever think that?

But some do succumb to nonsense. And some of these can be high profile.

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  


I present to you one Paul Hellyer, ex-Minister of Defence (sic). He thinks evidence for UFOs is "irrefutable".

Uh, yeah.

First off, he's wrong. Of course the UFO evidence is refutable. If it weren't, then we'd know UFOs exist. Despite the claims of some, we still have not a single confirmed picture, video, sample, or sighting of a bona fide alien spacecraft. What we do have is a gazillion UFOs, but remember what the acronym stands for. It doesn't mean "space ships". It means stuff some people haven't quite figured out yet.

The article linked above is chock full o' nonsense. They say that more sightings means that this is more evidence of UFOs, which is silly. A thousand sightings is not evidence of space ships, any more than one is. Little candle-powered balloons released at weddings and other celebrations are on the rise -- literally -- all over the place, accounting for a lot of sightings, for example. I'm not saying that the reported UFOs by Canada aren't something else, but I am pointing out that there are literally dozens if not hundreds of more mundane explanations of such things, and jumping to "spaceships" on the list may be just a tad premature.

I'm sure Hellyer will be the darling of the UFO set now, despite what is most likely a complete lack of any real new data. I predict he'll rehash the same old stuff, but having a new voice will give the movement some new momentum. But as I've said here and elsewhere over and over again: show me the evidence. I will not accept eyewitness testimony, which is prone to being fooled. Nor will I accept blurry photos, videos of Venus, or circumstantial evidence. If you claim UFOs are actually spaceships, the onus is on you to provide solid evidence. Until then, don't be surprised that so many people make fun of you. You can make all the claims you want that aliens carved Homer Simpson into your wheat crop, or that carnivorous or medically inept Reticulans have been munching on bovine posteriors.

Until you have the solid evidence, all you're doing is repeating the same tired old stuff, and no matter how many times you say it, it won't make you right.