Any amateur stargazers out there? Anyone enjoy just staring up at the night sky – at the stars – once the blue ceiling of day has vanished, revealing a profound new view? The best view in my opinion. There’s no place on Earth that could match that sparkling darkness for its vast depth and entrancing possibilities of what is occurring beyond mankind’s current reach. And we can’t officially give credit to any ‘visitors’ that breached that technological limitation from an inhabited world the naked eye cannot see and high-tech instruments cannot locate.
In the last one hundred years, UFO sightings have increased exponentially. From tasteless hoaxes to misidentified military aircraft, and from cowardly government cover-ups to genuine, unexplainable events, there is countless moments in recent history that spark debate; when mundane explanations don’t fit and the governments involved fail to convince public interest with evasive statements amid suspicious circumstances. People can dispute the integrity of claims, discuss the validity of photographs, and argue the proof in many accounts all they want, but the simple truth is there is extraterrestrial life in the universe, and the small percentage of incidents that cannot be explained by science give ufology a legitimate reason to exist. Any who continually deny the existence of other life beside our own in the universe are not just being narrow-minded, but are ineptly staring in the face of logical odds where fearful defence of beliefs and staunch protests are otherwise countered by the sheer scope and infinity of outer space.
To break it down simply, ufology is the study of alleged reports, physical evidence, visual records, and other phenomena related to Unidentified Flying Objects. Naturally over the years, the accumulation of content has warranted deeper inspection, leading to investigations carried out by government, scientists, independent groups, various research organisations and, infamously, created cults. (Look no further than ‘Heaven’s Gate’, a UFO religious cult which ended in mass suicide after their leader convinced his followers to take their own lives, believing their souls would ascend to a rumoured spaceship trailing Comet Hale-Bopp in 1997). But ignoring this creepy diversion showcasing a worst-case scenario of space-related infatuation, ufology has a purpose to inform upon something real, not imagined, that doesn’t distort facts but explore them. However, ufology as a field has been rejected by modern academia, instead considered a pseudoscience (or in layman’s terms: not concrete enough).
Gregory Feist, an academic psychologist proposed that ufology is a pseudoscience because the field lacks a cumulative scientific progress and hasn’t advanced since the 1950s; Rachel Cooper, a philosopher of science and medicine, has said that it isn’t the scientific methods that are the issue, acknowledging that ufologists have endeavoured to meet standards of scientific acceptability, but rather that the assumptions based off research are highly speculative. Despite academic negativity, nuclear physicist and professional ufologist Stanton Friedman commented that the general attitude of mainstream academics was arrogant, dismissive, and bound to a rigid worldview. But, arguably, the likeliest reason is mentioned by Brenda Denzler in her book ‘The Lure of the Edge’, which chronicles UFO history and traces the tensions between believers and non-believers. She states that the fear of ridicule and a loss of status has prevented scientists from publicly pursuing an interest in UFOs; which is understandable and consistent with the lack of scientists dedicating a career to it.
Essentially anyone can claim to be a UFO researcher to some extent if they dedicate enough time and effort into learning and investigating. But as they are not recognised by science academia, it equates to more of an enthusiast’s hobby; tangible but not officially acceptable. Unlike other fields of science like meteorology and astronomy, ufology has methodological issues relating to unpredictability, which prove inconvenient for researchers. Afterall, no data can estimate the next time a flying saucer makes a brief appearance above a random city followed by an even brisker exit from our atmosphere, disappearing without a trace, without evidence.
Overall, can the question of the title be answered? Current society says no. Public reception might be less than favourable, sparking concern, fear, and obsession amongst youngsters, derailing them from reputable education paths. (I’m imagining an unbridled epidemic of cultists – light bulb! Story idea!). Maybe if the true nature of Area 51 was brought into light, the subject could be better dissected for eventual integration, and then perhaps ufology could be registered or at least petitioned for education purposes. But alas, it is hidden, for now, and the truth is not worth getting shot over; especially since we all know the truth… Anyway, plenty of mystery there for discussion another day.
The avenue of ufology is an entertaining prospect if you are fascinated with famous sightings, intrigued by abduction cases, or just harbour a proclivity for exploring theories and case files of extraterrestrial life in general. Therefore, one thing is for certain, it may not be currently recognised by academia or practiced in education anytime soon, but no one can halt you pursuing a freelancing career in ufology.