I think the general skepticism surrounding UFOs-as-alien-spacecraft isn’t particular rational, it’s simply the typical denialism of anything that’s particularly extraordinary/amazing (and that’s not so blatantly evinced that it can’t possibly be denied while retaining a normal level of sanity).
Although another contributing factor to this skepticism in this and other areas of inquiry is probably an unwillingness of rationalists to be associated with the type of person who typically believes in such things: the tinfoil hatters, the airheads, etc. This is of course irrational and cowardly, as the truth or falsity of such things is independent of which types of people believe in them..
To be fair, intuition might dictate that if aliens were really visiting us then we’d know it as a certainty by now (i.e., it would be so blatantly evinced that it can’t possibly be denied..), because if it were happening on the scale that people think it’s happening on then somebody would have garnered proof by now.
But this isn’t necessarily the case. The aliens visiting us could have good reasons not to want to be discovered by humanity at large, and also it would be typical of the government and military to be secretive and power tripping enough to assume that it’s best that the public not know. Their main excuse is the mayhem that was brought on by the whole Orson Welles ‘War of the Worlds’ fiasco.
And anyway, the skeptics’ position is uninformed at best (or they’re just not very good at weighing strongly suggestive evidence), because there is enough compelling evidence out there..
There are pictures of flying saucers that have been analyzed by experts and determined not to have been photomanipulated, there are videos of light formations in the sky at night that entire cities saw that can’t be explained, etc., but even above that, there are a few main things that stand out to me as being particularly compelling..
1) The affidavit of Walter G. Haut. http://roswellproof.homestead.com/haut.html has the texts of two affidavits by him, and Wikipedia mentions and links to the affidavits at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Haut so you know it’s not just something somebody just made up and put on the internet. Walter G. Haut was the public information officer for the unit of the Air Force that recovered the wreckage of the Roswell incident. The 2002 affidavit stipulated that it not be released until after his death (I’m not sure if this is the case with the 1993 affidavit), so he obviously had nothing to gain from it and also he was apparently afraid of reprisal by the government.
The affidavits say, among other things, that they found metal about as thin as tin foil that was yet extremely strong and had strange writings on it in an unknown language. It also says they took him to a hangar where they were holding an egg-shaped, apparently metallic object that was about 12-15 ft. long and about 6 ft. high with no windows, landing gear, or anything else. And it says he saw from a distance bodies partially covered by canvas that appeared humanoid yet didn’t have human-like bodily proportions. It also says they debated whether to reveal these findings to the public.
The reason this information stands out of the fray of UFO-related claims is because of whom the claims are by. Sure, there’s a lot of people who are crazy or just want attention and will say crazy things and make up stuff about UFOs, but that’s just because there are so many people that out of all the people, even given that the proportion of them who would lie or have delusions about this stuff is very small, it’ll add up to a sizeable number of claimers; but the number of people who were known to have been right in the middle of it all and who are expected to know what really happened is relatively small, so you have to consider the odds that a claimer from that relatively small group of people would happen to be insane or a pathological liar. And Walter G. Haut was probably about as central to the whole phenomenon as you could possibly get.
2) Jesse Marcel Jr. wrote a book called The Roswell Legacy. Jesse Marcel Jr’s dad, Jesse Marcel, was one of the first military people to arrive on the site of the Roswell crash (this fact is also mentioned in Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roswell_UFO_incident).
In the book Jesse Marcel Jr. talks about things his dad told him about the whole incident and wreckage that his dad brought home to show his family. According to the book, Jesse Marcel said that the government forced him to get pictures taken with him sitting next to a disassembled weather balloon (a now very famous set of pictures, here’s probably the most famous one: https://philosophy.inhahe.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/4e4c0-jessemarcel26balloonb.jpg), which wasn’t the original debris of the wreckage at all. He was actually furious about this, and the book says you can even see is incredulity at what he was forced to do in his facial expression in that picture.
The book also says that Jesse Marcel brought home debris from the crash because it was so interesting. It had strange alien writings on it (as Haut also says), and it was virtually indestructible (also as Haut says). Everything they tried do to it hardly even dented it.
There were probably even more significant things in this book than those, but it’s been a while since I read it and I don’t remember a whole lot.
3) The Disclosure Project’s 2001 National Press Club event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkswXVmG4xM. In this video, many high-ranking officials from various government agencies and DoD departments talk about their experiences with and knowledge about UFOs. Greer says The Disclosure Project has over 400 witnesses from the CIA, NSA, NRO, Air Force, Navy, Marines, Army, and corporate government contractors. I don’t know remember which or how many of those categories happen to be represented in this video, but there’s enough that it’s impressive.
The above two sources are outstanding for the same reason explained regarding the first source: the intersection between people in such select circles and the people who are crazy enough to make that kind of sht up is probably *very small, thus making it more probable that they’re telling the truth..
4) The government had actually issued a press release on the day of the crash, which was then reported in the Roswell Daily Record (http://www.angelfire.com/indie/anna_jones1/daily_record.html). It stated that they had recovered a “flying disc.” Then hours later they retracted that statement and said that it was a weather balloon. I’m sure the government didn’t confuse the flattened, foily debris of a weather balloon with a “flying disc”; even Haut said there was ‘”no chance” senior officers who handled the recovered material, including base commander Blanchard, mistook a weather balloon for a flying saucer’ (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Haut).
This fact is significant to me because, while we know that the government often lies, they would have no reason to lie and say that they’d found a flying disc, so why would they say it if it weren’t true? On the other hand it’s easy to imagine them lying and saying they hadn’t found a flying disc, in the general interest of secrecy or preventing mass panic, or whatever, and then subsquently trying to cover up their mistake by lying about it and saying it was something more trivial.
In fact the more you can imagine the government would be loath to make a statement as drastic and potentially upsetting as the claim that it found a flying disc, the more unlikely you’d think it would be for it to have issued such a statement spuriously, as in despite the fact that it’s not even true–IOW, at least if it’s true that gives them *some* motivation to publish it. (I’m not saying they generally reveal things just because they’re true, but in this case, they did make the claim, and I’m saying it’s unlikely enough that they would make such a claim if it’s true, but it’s even more unlikely they would make such a claim if it’s not true.)
5) Philip J. Corso, former Lieutenant Colonel and Chief of Foreign Technology at the Pentagon, published a book called The Day After Roswell that talks about “his personal stewardship of alien artifacts from the Roswell crash,” what was found there, how he spearheaded a project to reverse-engineer and apply alien technology, and the government cover-up of it all. (Again, the logic of the unlikelihood of the high-ranking officials and the crazy pathological liars being the same people applies.) The full text can be found here: https://archive.org/stream/DayAfterRoswell/TheDayAfterRoswell_djvu.txt
There’s a lot of elaborate, intricate and specific information in that book about the ongoings of various branches of the government regarding their reaction to the perceived alien threat. For him to have made all of that up just to perpetuate a huge lie would be nothing short of phenomenal. To say nothing, of course, of the principle I’ve already spoken of a few times regarding the likelihood of such prestigious people who would likely have access to such information being the same people who would want to gain attention by making up stories about aliens.
5) There is an abundance of accounts of air force pilots detecting, seeing, and even recording UFOs that fly without any visible means of propulsion, don’t leave a heat trail, and fly extremely quickly, many times faster than any man-made aircraft, and make hairpin turns at such speeds. The UFOs are detected on radar, seen with people’s own eyes, and in some cases recorded and some of those recordings have been made public.
To say more on the motives of the government to keep this stuff a secret, I have a pet theory that a lot of government measures, such as, for example, planning false flag operations like https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Northwoods, many actual covert operations from developing weapons to experimenting on people with LSD to infiltrating hippie culture with government agents, and a lot of its other general secrecy, are only considered necessary because people who are in the positions to make such decisions like to feel powerful (and maybe useful) so they invent these kinds of ‘solutions in search of problems’ and convince themselves that the ends justify the means.
(Regardless of whether this particular psychological theory is accurate, we do know without a doubt that the government, especially the military, likes to keep big secrets.)
To be fair though, in Corso’s book, in defense of the government’s choosing to keep all this information a secret, Corso says the following:
Many people have criticized the army and the government for maintaining the Roswell cover-up not only at the time but also through the years. For that, I need to say a word in defense of what the army did. It’s easy to criticize if you weren’t an adult back then or someone who didn’t understand the politics that governed our thinking at that point in American history. We had not yet fully made the transition from a nation at war
to a nation at peace.
And there was Harry Truman, still reeling from his sudden ascendancy to the presidency, toughened into steel by his decision to drop the atomic bombs on Japan, and now faced with the monumental impact of a crash landing of a strange craft on American soil. Was it Soviet? Did it belong to a foreign power? Was it hostile? We simply didn’t know and weren’t about to say anything until we knew what it was.
Was it a flying saucer? The last time a public announcement of a landing by extraterrestrials took place, even though it was entertainment, panic ensued. In the aftermath of the war and the fears surrounding the Cold War, we didn’t want to risk another panic. So the military recommended and the White House agreed to clam up. Just like the secrecy surrounding the Manhattan Project, no word gets out. And for the next fifty years that policy, once put into place, governed the behavior of the U.S. government and the military about the existence of UFOs and the crash at Roswell.
If it seems unlikely that the government could have kept such a huge secret for so long, consider that the military used very harsh and intimidating tactics such threats to people’s lives and the lives of their families, talking loudly and repeating the same thing over and over in people’s own homes, etc., to prevent them from speaking out about what they saw. And even with all their efforts to keep the secret, people speak out all the time, even the government officials as explained above. But it’s just not something that the average person hears or takes seriously when they do hear it, because of the stigma attached to the whole notion of aliens and UFOs.
One thing I’d like to note is that, while Corso’s book paints a picture of hostile aliens who were scheming to take over the earth and colonize it and the government subsequently developing technology to threaten them and down their crafts, I think this viewpoint is tragically misled. Everything in my explorations has led me to believe that the aliens are primarily just interested in observing us. The only reasons Corso gives for believing the aliens were hostile is basically that they buzzed military craft, hanged around military compounds, and, according to Corso, occasionally used EMPs against us. Of course the EMPs, for all we know, could have been merely a side-effect of the operation of their craft, which, according to the book, apparently uses very intense electromagnetic fields to begin with.
Oh, and he also mentioned the human abductions and the cattle mutilations that were apparently done using instruments we didn’t even humanly have yet; but, while that seems to indicate somewhat menacing purposes, it’s a far cry from proving that they want to destroy us. It’s also very possible that the vast majority of aliens are completely passive and benevolent while minority factions or species have malevolent intentions. For example, I read once that the cattle mutilations were done by a minority of aliens who are negatively oriented just for the purpose of scaring us and making us think negatively about about existence beyond and putting us into lower vibration, or something like that, and that they don’t really have the power to do anything bigger than that because we’re protected.
I personally believe that if a a species that has the ability to defy gravity, travel 7000 mph and turn on a dime, and travel between galaxies, or at least between stars, wanted to defeat us, we wouldn’t stand a chance, so there’s no use worrying about it or trying to develop technology to fight them because the fact that we’re still here means they don’t intend us any serious harm. Either that, or they couldn’t defeat us if the wanted to because they don’t even make weapons of destruction because they’re fundamentally peaceful, unlike our primitive, warring species that naturally tends to project its own immaturity onto more advanced species in the universe that we know nothing about yet. (Don’t believe anything Stephen Hawking says on the matter. I wrote more on that here: https://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1630538&cid=31979040)