Truth is elusive, but it isn’t evasive

There is almost certainly life on other planets in the universe.

And, by definition, there are flying things that are difficult to identify.

But it doesn’t follow that unidentified flying things are spaceships with aliens in them.

There are definitely conspiracies all around us.

And, by definition, organizations often do things that are difficult to explain.

But that doesn’t mean that all of those actions are the result of a conspiracy.

The modern era of UFO-ology began in 1947. UFOs as in aliens in ships, not in the obvious statement that some objects we encounter aren’t identified yet. In the seventy years since the aliens came on the scene, our ability to take photographs has become significantly more widespread and the quality of those photos and videos is incomparable to what we used to have.

And yet the pictures of UFOs haven’t improved.

People who used to see things in broad daylight in their backyards suddenly stopped seeing them as soon as they got an iPhone.

One way to tell that you’re dealing with a story instead of falsifiable science is that the story changes when evidence is brought to the table. (Falsifiable means that it can be proven false. “I’m thinking of a unicorn” is not falsifiable, because I can change my story if I need to.)

That’s because we’re humans, and humans embrace stories. There are countless good reasons to believe in the possibility of UFOs and other conspiracies. But evidence that holds up to scrutiny and Occam’s razor isn’t one of them.

If we’re not prepared to change our minds in the face of a test that demonstrates the opposite, then we’re embracing a story.

Crop circles and Bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster are useful stories. But they’re also busy evading our ability to find them. If someone gives a new excuse every time there’s better data about medicine or other useful technology, it’s a clue that we’re hearing a story, not a scientific debate.

Truth is hard to find. Truth is difficult to understand when it arrives. But truth doesn’t work to evade us. It usually stays still until we find it.