US military confirms UFOs are known unknowns

Unidentified: The three videos were taken by US Navy pilots. (This image is a simulation).

Should we embrace the unknown? After years of secrecy, the US government has released astonishing videos of UFOs, admitting it still doesn’t know if Earth has been visited by aliens.

If seeing is believing, then get ready to believe some very strange things. US Navy pilots have recorded weird and wonderful videos of Unidentified Flying Objects – soaring faster than a jet plane over the Pacific Ocean and hovering above the water, making the sea boil.

These films have floated around the internet for a few years, fuelling speculation that the US government knows more about extraterrestrial visitors than it is letting on. Now, the Pentagon has confirmed: yes, the videos are real and, no, they don’t know what we’re looking at.

This frank admission of ignorance is a remarkable moment in the history of UFOs.

By announcing, last week, that these videos are real, the Pentagon probably hopes to end speculation that further evidence exists. But should we be excited or terrified about things we do not understand?

The unknown did not comfort Stephen Hawking, who warned that we should be very worried about the consequences of real alien encounters. And the fear of the unknown is a powerful force that has fuelled scientific discovery and invention for thousands of years.

But there is also wonder and wisdom in embracing uncertainty. The philosopher Immanuel Kant argued that we can never be completely certain about the world beyond our senses. Life is about exploring something that is ultimately unknowable.

So, should we embrace the unknown?

Final frontier

Yes, we should. The modern world is saturated with knowledge and is empty of mystery, surprise, and wonder. Not only does embracing the unknown give us perspective, it allows us to think creatively about what is possible.

Others say, no, there is a reason why we fear uncertainty. The unknown makes us anxious because we don’t know how dangerous it is. The coronavirus was a new disease and we were right to fear it.

You Decide

  1. Do you believe aliens have visited Earth?

Activities

  1. Take a piece of paper and design your own UFO. Draw a diagram to show what it looks like inside and outside, and show how it flies.

Some People Say...

“Awareness of ignorance is the beginning of wisdom.”

Socrates (470-399 BC), ancient Greek philosopher

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
Science and technology have advanced dramatically since the first UFO was sighted in 1947. For example, we have discovered over 4,000 planets in the hunt for extraterrestrial life and the Seti programme is analysing electromagnetic radiation from across the Universe for signs of life. However, it is clear from these videos that there are still strange phenomena right here on Earth that we don’t fully understand.
What do we not know?
The big question is whether not knowing is a good thing. Conspiracy theories thrive on a lack of knowledge and information – as we have seen recently with Covid-19. These can be harmful, but they are only one type of story-telling. Science-fiction writers, for example, would have nothing to write about without the strange and the unknown. Philosophers, on the other hand, argue that it is precisely by understanding the limits of our knowledge, that we can truly understand what we know.

Word Watch

Unidentified Flying Objects
The term UFO was first used in 1953 by the US Air Force.
Extraterrestrial
Anything from outside Earth.
Pentagon
The headquarters of the United States Department of Defence.
Speculation
A theory; guesswork.
Stephen Hawking
The English physicist (1942-2018) said in 2010, “If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn’t turn out well for the Native Americans.” He believed aliens were unlikely to be friendly and we should be prepared to be conquered and colonised.
Immanuel Kant
German philosopher of the Enlightenment (1724-1804) who developed the idea that everything we know about the physical world is arrived at through our senses. We can wonder about what is out there, but we can never be certain.
Saturated
Soaked in; immersed in.
Perspective
A point of view; sometimes with some distance so you can see the bigger picture.

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