Last week, former intelligence and Air Force official, David Grusch testified to the US House Subcommittee on National Security, the Border, and Foreign Affairs that the US government is in possession of unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) or UFO-related material, including “non-human” biological matter. It is important to critically assess such extraordinary claims when they arise, writes David Kyle Johnson, who applies both the “SEARCH” method of philosopher Ted Schick and the arguments of 18th century philosopher David Hume to evaluate Grusch’s claims.
I teach logic and critical thinking. When doing so, one of my go-to examples of where people need to apply critical thinking (and where it is sorely lacking) is around claims about aliens and UFOs (which have recently been dubbed by believers to be UAPs, “unidentified aerial phenomena,” because of the stigma attached to the term “UFO”). It thus seems not only appropriate, but imperative, to examine the recent allegations of former intelligence and Air Force officer David Grusch. (Indeed, former students of mine have already contacted me, wanting my take on all this.) Grusch testified before congress last week and said that he has evidence that the US military is running a UAP (UFO) retrieval (and reverse engineering) program—a program which (he says) not only has been operating for decades, but has both alien craft (one of which, like the TARDIS from Doctor Who, is supposedly bigger on the inside), and non-human (aka alien) “biologics.” To examine this, I am going to apply Muhlenberg College Professor of Philosophy, Ted Schick’s “SEARCH” method, the critical thinking technique he teaches in his book How To Think About Weird Things, and which I have been teaching to my logic and critical thinking students for 15 years. It involves four steps.
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