Episode 43: Sarah Scoles, Journalist and Author of “They Are Already Here: UFO Culture and Why We See Saucers”


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Science journalist and author Sarah Scoles talks about her new book “They Are Already Here: UFO Culture and Why We See Saucers”, a study of UFO culture and its critics. What makes people believe intelligent alien life has visited the Earth? Fresh off this week’s news that the Pentagon has declassified and released three videos of UFOs (or UAPs Unidentified Aerial Phenomena as the government prefers to call them), Scoles talks about why some people are more prone to believe than others.  And, for an alternate explanation, we refer you to Mick West, a popular skeptic, who analyzed the Nimitz #UFO / #UAP video last year.

  Show notes and resources are available here.

And a worksheet for this episode can be found here.

  • 03:20 How a New York Times article about UFOs led to inspiration.
  • 06:00 Why don’t astronomers see UFOs?
  • 10:30 Confirmation bias for fans of the X-Files.
  • 14:10 Why people believe the government, and even astronomers, are hiding something. 18:10 Could UFO investigations benefit from the scientific peer-review process?
  • 18:35 MUFON is crowdsourcing the search for extraterrestrial life [https://www.mufon.com]
  • 20:30 Why are millionaires & billionaires like Tom DeLonge and Robert Bigelow willing to spend so much money on this pursuit?
  • 29:40 Earth may already host alien life in a shadow biosphere.
  • 31:30 5 questions INTO THE IMPOSSIBLE asks all authors. Sarah Scoles is a freelance science writer, a contributing author at WIRED, and a contributing editor at Popular Science.

See her impressive list of bylines here: http://www.sarahscoles.com

 Sarah previously worked as an associate editor at Astronomy magazine and an educational tour guide at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank, West Virginia. In this discussion with Brian Keating, Scoles relates that she never planned to write a second book about space, but research and imagination demanded it. Her first book, 2017’s “Making Contact,” is a biography of Dr. Jill Tarter of the SETI Institute, who provided inspiration for Carl Sagan’s protagonist in his book “Contact.”

Buy Sarah Scoles’ books here:

  • They Are Already Here: https://amzn.to/3fcofXp
  • Making Contact: https://amzn.to/3fc644o

Find Brian Keating on Twitter: twitter.com/DrBrianKeating

Find the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination on Twitter: twitter.com/imagineUCSD

Please subscribe, rate, and review the INTO THE IMPOSSIBLE Podcast on iTunes for a chance to win a copy of Scoles’ latest book