Belief in UFOs Has Impressive Financial Backing

Does that point to an ominous future?

What's behind our national UFO obsession?
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Is the United States getting increasingly more fixated on space aliens? That’s one conclusion to be drawn from a 2021 Gallup poll, which found that a growing number of Americans feels that some UFOs could be alien spacecraft. To be fair, the majority of those polled believed that there’s a more terrestrial explanation for UFOs — but compared to a similar 2019 poll, the pro-alien faction is getting bigger and its counterpart is shrinking.

Factor in an increasing number of UFO sightings and elected officials researching the phenomenon and you have the makings of an increasingly legitimized inquiry into the world of unidentified flying objects. The stuff that was once covered by obscure journals and self-published manifestoes is now being taken far more seriously. Which, perhaps, begs the question: is that a good thing?

Maybe not, argues Keith Kloor in a recent Scientific American article (via Live Science). In the article, Kloor points out that some very wealthy individuals have funded efforts to study UFOs, which in turn may have tipped the scales in favor of increased UFO coverage. This includes one Robert Bigelow, who told 60 Minutes in 2017, “I probably spent more as an individual than anybody else in the United States has ever spent on this subject.”

Bigelow’s interest in the paranormal led him to purchase Skinwalker Ranch in 1996. More recently he’s been focusing on pursuing evidence of life after death — and making some large-scale political donations. And as Kloor notes, he’s far from the only extremely wealthy person wput a dechent amount of money into paranormal research.

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The question that hangs over Kloor’s article is whether or not these obsessions are causing harm. For his part, Kloor connects the growing belief in UFOs with a lack of belief in more traditional science. And at a time when anti-vaccine sentiment seems to be growing, it’s an argument that resonates to some degree. Can a “trust the science” attitude coexist with a “the truth is out there” mindset? The years to come may clarify this, for better or for worse.

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