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UFOs and Atheists

This has always intrigued me.

I'm personally agnostic about the existence of (sentiently driven) UFOs and god(s); I see no evidence for or against either claim.

But I'm always surprised at atheists who believe in UFOs. Seems that anecdotal evidence is not enough to believe in god(s) but it's enough to believe in UFOs.

Any thoughts from the peanut gallery?

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TheMiddleWay 8 Dec 21

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But I am sure life exists elsewhere in universe.

Others are sure gods exist elsewhere in the universe. That's the point to my thread: being sure of something when it's based on conjecture and supposition but zero positive evidence to support that surety

I am sure based on probability. Do I believe some kook that says aliens came to his backyard? No. @TheMiddleWay


Probability is only based on a priori determination. We know the probability of a coin flip being heads or tails because we have flipped it several times and can sample the distribution of both heads and tails.

When it comes to alien life however, there is no a priori determination or, more accurately, you are basing a probability on a sample size of one, us. If we were to find one or more lifeforms, then we could make a probability guess.

But lacking a population from which to draw samples and statistical inference from, you can't say we are here so there probably of aliens just because we are here anymore than you can say we are here so there is a probability of gods just because we are here.

I’m sure doesn’t necessarily mean 100%, at least it wasn’t meant to. Perhaps I should have stated that there is probably life elsewhere. @TheMiddleWay


Thousands of expert witnesses brave skeptics scorn from all sides to report UNidentified Flying Objects. ...add to them civilian lay witnesses and many people knowing one or more of those witnesses choose to believe that censorship is preventing a consensus conclusion


As someone else said, unidentified flying objects do certainly exist. I agree with NerdyOkieDude and evidentialist regarding the more popular belief in UFO's.


I would like to know there are real, but other than a couple of odd personal experiences I have had, I could prove neither they are or are not real. I would more so be interested in considering alternate realities, transdimensional possibilities. Lol

Sadoi Level 7 Jan 1, 2018

I'm an atheist. I think it pretty likely that there are life forms on distant worlds out there but I have never come across any valid evidence to suggest that any of them have put any unidentified flying objects in our sky. So I am inclined to believe that UFOs have nothing to do with aliens.


Some people can be a critical thinker about one subject and not on the next. I've met atheists who believe in ghosts/spirits, astrology, and even aspects of religion like re-incarnation. It seems even in the skeptic community evidence is not that important to certain people.

Tejas Level 6 Dec 26, 2017

What I find troubling and fascinating at the same time that those Atheist who think that the UFOs are a bunch of nonsense, are just like the people they hate, the fundamentalist Christian conservatives also treat this topic almost the same way. I say almost because they actually believe in invisible deities and call this subject the "devils work" and also want nothing to do with it. Remember the Stargate program, the remote viewing program that was canceled. Well here's the thing about that program, it produced results, bone chilling results. But what many people here don't read about is that it wasn't the skeptical science community that put a stop to the program. It was the Fundamentalist Christians Conservatives who wanted nothing to do with the program calling it the "Devils Work." So my question here to all those who hate Fundamentalist religious nuts, why are you agreeing with them when this program worked? And if you're going to disagree with me, please provide links or book titles as your sources of evidence.


This just in! Extraterrestrials have invaded California! All part of their twisted plot to subjugate humanity, AKA Plan 9 From SpaceX!

Rumor has it their leader is named Elon Musk; an extraterrestrial name if ever I heard one.

BTW, here's the ABC article that directed my attention to it.

"The rocket was carrying 10 low-orbit satellites from Iridium Communications. The launch went exactly as planned.

"Well, except for all the fears of an alien invasion."


Funny, when you go into conspiratard circles, his name is Martin.


Good poll, but your question presupposes that ONLY atheists are on this site. While most of us are, I've seen a few believers, or at least agnostics.

Gary Level 4 Dec 23, 2017

That was on purpose.

I felt that an agnostic, with their inherent skepticism about gods, would also be more prone to be agnostic about aliens and that a theist, with their inherent belief in gods without evidence, would be more prone to believe in aliens.

It is atheists that I focused on since they have a stated disbelief in gods but, some, have a stated belief in aliens.

In short, I was really just wanting to probe atheists and aliens, not get a general consensus so you are right to point out the shortcomings of this as a general poll for the site.


But my friend visited this plant 65 million years ago. Well, OK, she didn't personally visit but her species did. Well, not her species but one of them. Look, the point is: ... stop it, Sacha! Just stop it OK?


I know of no evidence for this planet having been visited by extraterrestrials that would stand up in a court of law. Nevertheless I voted "Agnostic About UFOs" because I believe the odds against any extraterrestrial civilization existing somewhere are extremely low and crossing the gulf between stars, while it may be beyond our current technology, is obviously possible. Why any alien would want to embark on such a difficult and expensive journey is another question entirely, but a cigar shaped rock just did it, with no evident help from anything except the forces of nature. Of course, the life support requirements of a rock are considerably easier to meet than those of any complex animal of which we have knowledge.


Can we please discriminate between UFO's and flying saucers.

The former are like that crow who flew across my lawn. I didn't recognise him nor his species. Only his wrawwwrrkkk.

The latter are machines sent by my friend from her planet. (To be fair, she doesn't send them. because we're far too boring.)

That why I pretexted UFOs with sentiently driven to specifically talk about LGM (little green men) and their flying saucers. 🙂


check out the raeliens, a religion that believe life on this planets was started by aliens


There are indeed UFOs. The overwhelming majority of sightings have succumbed to simple, natural explanation, therefor becoming IFOs. I have heard various numbers ranging from 1% to 5% of all sightings remain unexplained. I doubt that the unexplained sightings amount to anywhere near 5% and the actual number I suspect is between 1% and 2%. Whatever the real number is, the unknowns remain unknown.

People, not all but many, have an uncanny talent in that they can always find an agency for any phenomenon.

Lighting = god(s) or demons

UFO = aliens or demons

The first one was cleared up long ago, and not even the conspiracy nuts can come up with some replacement or government coverup for lightning. When it comes to UFOs ... look out. We have greys, blues, golden-haired Nordic types, reptilians, etc. After all this time and in spite of the empty evidence bucket, the market for intelligently operated UFOs is still strong. The poor critters are held responsible for how we became human, cattle mutilations, abductions with the attendant anal probes, building the pyramids, and walking among us as they take over the government. They've been visiting us forever, they tell us.

This is not the same as believing in the supernatural, to be sure, but it certainly is as nonsensical. Sightings do warrant investigation. Any phenomenon that is seen should be looked into, but it ought to be done responsibly and without presupposition. I'm a long time avid amateur astronomer, starting in 1947, who has spent more than half of all those nights from then until now, looking up. I've seen a couple of things that still defy explanation -- unknowns. Everything else has been identified. Most within a couple of days.

So, here's an example of a sighting. It was one of the strangest things I've ever seen and it went like this. We had just finished dinner and the kids had gone to their rooms. My wife and I were chatting in the kitchen when my mother-in-law shouts from the front porch and demands that we join her to see this ... this thing in the sky.

The sun was just dipping below the horizon and the sky had darkened a bit. There to the north of us and about 20 degrees above the horizon was a glowing object traveling back and forth across the sky through an angle of about 10 degrees or so. At each end of its transit, it would go from oblong to a small, round shape, then extend itself and retrace its original track. It also appeared to be randomly changing colors. It was completely silent.

Sounds really strange, right? My mother-in-law insisted it was a UFO and she was actually frightened. No astronomer worth a damn is ever without some sort of instrument. I stepped inside and grabbed my trusty 20 x 50 binoculars, raised them to my eyes and lo and behold, what should I see but the Goodyear blimp, its sides ablaze with colored lights circling lazily over UTEP stadium for the football game. What a letdown. Some of the neighbors had a hard time accepting what I told them until they got their own augmented peek. I know. I know. The aliens had disguised their ship as a blimp, right?

How about on a broader scale? I've heard people say that even if we are not visited, that it's highly improbable that we are alone in the universe and thus alien life must exist. However, to me, that sounds exactly like the arguments people make for god(s): it's highly improbable that we are alone in the universe in this life or "the next".

What is your opinion on that, on life on other planets and the justificatios we give for it?

@TheMiddleWay -- We know a good deal more about life than we did even 10 years ago. We have an understanding of how it could form from simple chemicals given the 'right' conditions and those conditions cover a fairly broad range based on what we know about our extremophiles here.

We have examples of things that can live even in the harsh environment of space. We know that the building blocks of life abound in space.

Based on this and a lot more information than we have room for here, it is a reasonable assumption that life abounds wherever conditions permit, but life does not immediately imply intelligence or a capacity to manipulate the environment or the development of technology.

So, will we find life elsewhere? Yes. However, I think intelligence comparable to our own is probably quite rare -- part of why I think our species should be preserved beyond the shortsighted thinking our politicians employ to plan for the future. On the other hand, I have no reason to doubt there are other intelligent species scattered around the Universe, even our own galaxy.


The problem is we still don't know how life formed. We have clues and, as you state, reasonable assumptions but currently that is all they are: assumptions. Thus we are building one assumption, that life formed elsewhere, on another assumption, that it formed the way it did here, on another assumption, that we correctly understand how it formed in the first place. In a sense, belief in life on other planets is currently a house of cards with assumptions built on assumptions and only our personal desire to not be alone motivating it.

To be clear, should we find evidence of life on mars or europa this all changes. At that point, we have a comparason with another planet and can confidently state that it happens elsewhere. But until such time, there is no scientific basis for the belief of life on other planets and it remains wishful thinking based on anecdotal evidence... much like IMO a theists belief in gods remains wishful thinking based on anecdotal evidence. In both cases, it's not a matter of being wrong or right, but basing opinions on assumptions, not direct evidence.

I mean take your last line for example: "However, I think intelligence comparable to our own is probably quite rare ". This is a classic example of how when we base opinions on assumptions, we are free to justifiy any opinion we want. For example, why could it not be the case that they are all more intelligent than us? How about that they are "differently intelligent" and we would not recognize them as intelligent because we are comparing them to our own intelligence? What if you are right and there are millions of species but we are the only intelligent onces... would that not be as statistically "weird" as us being the only species out there?

It just seems that the certainty that you (and others) have of other intelligent species in the universe despite the complete lack of evidence to that effect is no (or only slightly) different than the theist certainly that there are gods out there despite the complete lack of evidence to that effect.

@TheMiddleWay -- First understand that I am not certain that there are other intelligent species in the Universe. Counting on a scale considering the probability of various stages of life in my mind, advanced intelligent species possessing the ability to manipulate their environment and produce space faring civilizations would be found at the bottom rung just a hair's breadth above zero. As we go up the ladder, we find stages of decreasing complexity until we reach the top where I would expect to find simple organic molecules.

The assumptions I make are based upon what we have here in the way of evidence, plus what we have found in meteorites and observed in space. Our sample for a place offering the conditions amenable to the formation of life and to sustain it over time is currently just one. Not a large sample. From that it is obvious that anything we say about life in the Universe is based on this one small sample and whatever we say is then shear speculative extrapolation.

As a Science Fiction writer I have a lot of fun with my imaginary critters, though I tend to play that down a lot. As a science guy, what I said above reigns supreme. I do not have a desire to not be alone, but I also cannot go so far as to say that we are not. We may well be alone in the sense of another advanced intelligence, but for life of any kind it is almost a certainty that it exists.

When I was a child in the 50s we had a UFO scare that had all the neighbors outside their houses one night starting up into the sky where a mysterious ball of light was dancing among the clouds. It was darting across the sky at speeds that no aircraft could match and making sudden turns impossible for any human pilot.

It turned out to be a spotlight advertising the opening of a new business, but for a while it had everyone quite excited.


I have seen UFO's (I wasn't able to identify it therefore it's a UFO). Personally, it makes more sense to believe in Sentient beings who have possibly been around for millions of years longer than I have than believe in an imaginary friend.

Also, it makes no sense to think that we're the only people in this HUGE universe.

So this is what I want to discuss: IF you are an atheist, how do you justify that lack of evidence for god(s) and a disbelief in gods but the lack of evidence in alien sentient beings with a lack of evidence for them as well?

It seems to me that every argument used to justify gods can be applied to justify aliens is why I asked this question and what I want to explore further! 🙂

I have personally seen evidence of alien sentient beings, as I have seen one in my house. Yes, go ahead and laugh. I was an adolescent, and at that time haven't even tried pot much less the harder stuff. I also was not asleep. As for evidence of God; I have never seen anything other than what was written in the Bible.

Please don't ask for any more information as I won't give any. This is very personal to me, and gives me nightmares to this day.


I consider extraterrestrial spacecraft having visited Earth to be unlikely given what we think we know so far about traveling such vast distances and with absolutely no supporting evidence of such visitation.

But haven't you heard? They colonized our solar system thousands of years ago. They live under the antarctic and on Venus' moons.

Sheesh, what an amature...

Traveling far distances isn't really a hurdle: consider that they may have longer life spans than us or even just the concept of a "generational colony ship" would make any distance crossable in enough time (be that centuries, millenia, or eons).

But I'd like to drill down deeper and ask you a follow up: what is your beliefs on life on other planets period, visitation non-withstanding. And, if you are an atheist and do believe in said life, how do you justify the stance about no gods with the stance about yes aliens?


Stargate was awesome! It took the "gods aren't real" premise and ran with it wonderfully, even daring to address the possibility of true divinity in the final seasons with the Ori.

@MsOliver & @Hominid: There's no such thing as "too much Stargate"… unless we're talking about the spinoffs… or the post-Richard Dean Anderson and Amanda Tapping seasons (but even then the story was really good). 🙂

Hominid, armature or amateur? I'm confused...


I'm an agnostic atheist, so I can't answer your poll. 😉

I understand that. I didn't put agnostics because I felt we would naturally lean towards not believeing, or disbelieving, until there was more evidence.

I also didn't put theist because, and this may just be my bias, I feel that if they are willing to believe in god(s) without evidence they would have no problem believing in aliens with no evidence.


It's complicated. It is a bit of hypocrisy to not believe in God yet be so gullible about the existence of UFOs.

First of all, let's distinguish between UFOs and extra-terrestrial life. UFOs are, by definition, real: Unidentified Flying Objects. They do in fact exist; the question is whether they are weather balloons or are ET in nature.

The physical limits imposed by the speed of light make the ET explanation unlikely. Perhaps there are ways to overcome these limitations, but that's a moot issue until we understand what they are. To summarize, I believe we are not alone in the universe, but am also skeptical that we have ever been visited by them in the form of UFOs.

godef Level 7 Dec 22, 2017

We see a lot of strange things in the sky where I'm from (arctic) and according to new discoveries there might no limit to speed as according to Einstein's theory can only reach the speed of light.
Quantum gravity and graviton research etc etc.
As a matter of fact, aren't we trying to go to Mars, and sending probes to planets around, looking for exo planets for us to possibly inhabit in the future? And we are not even a century into computer age... To compare believing in gods and unicorns to our own nature and others like us out there is like thinking the earth is flat.

I put sentiently driven before UFOs to make that distinction... I may want to put a note in the original to make that more clearly since I want to discuss belief in alien, little green men UFOs not, as you correctly point out, the general concept of a flying object that we haven't identified.

You are correct that the distance limitations aren't really limitations at all. Those limits are assumptions made based on our lifespan and our own perception of what it would take humans to travel such vast distances. It doesn't take into account technologies we may not be aware of or different biologies with different lifespans or perceptions of time, or even the simple concept of a generational colony ship that can take it's sweet time getting anywhere.

But I want to drill down deeper so your last line: If you are an atheist, how can you believe we are not alone in the universe in regards to aliens but believe we are alone in the universe with regard to god(s)? It seems to me that every argument you can use to justify why aliens must exist can be reframed to argue how gods must exist as well.


"To compare believing in gods and unicorns to our own nature and others like us out there is like thinking the earth is flat. "

Therein lay the rub: there is no evidence that aliens must be of our own nature. There is no evidence that there is life on other planets. Thus, to believe in aliens with no evidence but not believe in gods with no evidence is, to me, a disconnect and what motivated me to ask this question.

So if you are an atheist and believe in life on other planets, even if they haven't visited us, what motivates your disbelief in one and belief in the other given what I consider equal lack of evidence for both?

@TheMiddleWay - It's just a statistical thing. Wouldn't it be more faith-based to believe that, out of the entire universe, out of potentially trillions of planets out there, we are the only planet with sentient life? What could account for such an oddity other than that a supreme being created just us? It seems scientifically logical to think that we're not. But no, I can't prove it.


I get you on the statistical thing. But we are a statistics of ONE and extrapolating based on us as a sample. And this is what I was saying about the theist: they also have a sample size of ONE, us humans, and from that extrapolate that there must be others, those gods.

There doesn't need to be divine reasons for us being alone in the universe; after all, a one in a trillion chance still means that that one can be the outcome. There could be various other reasons for us being alone. But, as you say, if we are alone, it would give weight (not evidence) to the argument of some form of divine intervention if our science says we should not be alone.

@TheMiddleWay - Atheism is not defined as a lack of belief in something we have no proof of; atheism is specifically directed to a lack of belief in a supreme supernatural being that created us, being that there is no scientific basis for such beliefs. But there IS a scientific basis for belief in the possibility of life on other worlds: US, the fact that we exist means it could happen elsewhere, and I am confident that is has, just from the sheer number of other worlds out there in the universe.


"But there IS a scientific basis for belief in the possibility of life on other worlds:"
No there isn't. We've not been to other words and those that we have been to, say mars, still have no evidence of life.

"the fact that we exist means it could happen elsewhere,"
Exactly what a theist would say though: the fact that we exist means that existence could happen elsewhere. The difference is that the theist projects that existence to a higher plane (say, the multiverse of physics theory) while the, call it alienist, projects it to another planet. I grant you that we know other planets exist while we don't know other multiverses exist and that is a point in the favor of the alienist... but we really have no idea how life on earth started or evolved (we have theories for sure but not knowledge) and thus it's a bit disconnected to assume that a theory that we don't know but assume works here will work in another place that we've never visited nor have any information for.

In fact, I could go even more hardcore from the theist perspective: the number worlds out there could make them confident that god lives on one of those planets, that each of those planets is a "heaven" for people (some warm for those that like warm; some cold for those that like cold) while others serve as a hell for some people (warm planets for people that like cold; cold planets for people that like warm). The theist would argue that since we've not visited said planets, since we exist here, surely god(s) and angels could (nay must! LOL) exist there.

@TheMiddleWay - The key word being "possibility"; we know that sentient life has evolved on Earth, and we believe that it was science based. It is not a big leap to imagine this happening elsewhere. Yes, it is conjecture on my part at this point, but it is a credible conjecture that would be science based. Belief in God in NOT a credible conjecture. You're comparing apples to oranges. And I wouldn't care what a theist would say, because I don't believe in his religion to begin with. There's no inclusivity here.


" Belief in God in NOT a credible conjecture."
The point I'm examining is that if we base our beliefs solely on evidence, then gods existing "out there" it is as credible as belief in sentient life exist "out there"

As you say, you believe that life's start is science based and that is reasonable if you are a scientist. But if you are a theist, you believe that life start is theistically based and that is reasonable to a theist. Neither one of you can prove the other wrong and thus unlike evolution, which we see happen all around us, the theory of the start of life is very much just that, "just a theory", since we have no evidence of how, when, or where it happened.

In light of that, IMO, if you see the theist as wrong due to the lack of proof for his possibility, then it's odd to me that you accept life on other planets as right due to the lack of proof for your possibility. After all, could it not be the case that the very same sentient life you consider possible ARE the god(s) we talk about? You know, Erich Von Daniken and ancient astronauts coming to earth, guiding our evolution, giving us our moral code, etc

@TheMiddleWay - No, we DON'T base our beliefs solely on evidence. We have no evidence that God does not exist; this is logically impossible to prove, this is the whole point of atheism. There is no proven example of a supreme supernatural being in the universe that might lead us to believe there is one, but there is a proven example of a sentient species in this universe, and this is what I base my belief on.

You tell me whats more likely: 😇 there are other sentient cultures out there in the whole wide universe, or 🍺 we are the only sentient culture out there in the whole wide universe? What would be the more miraculous situation?


"You tell me whats more likely:"
I can't.
To establish probability I need a-priori examples of all possibilities.
For example, which is more likely heads up or heads down is based on my knowing that heads-up has been done (and can be done again) and heads-down has been done (and can be done again).

Same with this question and that of gods: we have a sample size of one in sentience. We have a sample size zero of aliens and gods. Thus, I can't assign probability to the scenarioo, thus motivating my agnosticism on the issue.

@TheMiddleWay I'm not an atheist but there's also a "probability" factor and a realism to account for. I've had experiences that to me is proof enough to know we've been and are visited by travelers from other systems, as well as we will be in not a far future. To believe anything without proof, or to disbelieve anything without proof is too black and white for me. 🙂

OK @TheMiddleWay I give up, you win the debate. You remind me of my ex.


I'm sorry you feel that way.
This is not a debate to me: there is no impartial judge, no point system, no winning or losing... just a sharing of ideas.
Thanks for sharing yours with me.


I think you need to refine your question as Nerdy said UFO means unidentified flying object and nothing else whether they are natural or man made or an illusion if it is seen and you cannot identify it is a UFO, who am I to call you a liar.

I put sentiently driven UFOS to make that distinction but I agree it wasn't clear enough. I may make a note to the original post to clear it up.

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