UNCW Professor Explores UFOs
by Ben Steelman March 8, 2019 (newbernsj.com)
• In her book, “American Cosmic”, professor Diana Pasulka, chair of the department of philosophy and religion at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, notes the similarities between people’s belief in extraterrestrial beings and starships, and people who believe in organized religion.
• For six years, Pasulka has focused on a small group of respectable academic scientists and researchers who believe that UFOs are real, ET beings have been in contact with us, and that the government knows much more than it’s telling. While many of these scientists remain anonymous, Pasulka was able to interview some including Jacques Vallee, the former NASA scientist and co-founder of ARPANET, an ancestor of the modern Internet.
• Several of the scientists Pasulka interviewed claim to have had non-verbal communication with alien beings. In some cases, the scientists believe the beings fed them inspirations or ideas for new innovations. For Pasulka, these descriptions sound a lot like traditional descriptions of divine inspiration or the Voice of God. She specifically notes the calling of Samuel in the Old Testament.
• ET believers’ often traffic in “artifacts” from UFO crashes which seem to possess uncanny powers. This reminds Pasulka of the medieval obsession with saints’ relics or with splinters from the True Cross.
• Descriptions of modern UFO encounters often involving loud humming, thunder, dancing lights and appearances of luminous beings — eerily similar to accounts of the miracles in Fatima, Portugal, in 1917.
• Pasulka notes a sharp disconnect between the believers who see the alien intelligences as mostly benign, and modern media which prefers scary stories like “Independence Day” or “Signs.”
• Again and again, she finds parallels between Catholic miracles and UFO beliefs. Ultimately, Pasulka sees both quests as a search for answers to unknowable mysteries and for guidance to who we are and where we are going.
• [Editor’s Note] Upon noting the similarities between ancient religions and modern UFO experiences, it isn’t such a great leap to speculate that these ancient religious accounts are actually descriptions of early human civilizations’ encounters with UFOs and extraterrestrial beings thousands of years ago, and they simply formed a religion around the experiences.
Depending on which poll you choose, between one-third and nearly half of Americans believe in unidentified flying objects, intelligent beings from other planets and those beings coming to visit (and, occasionally, probe) us.
The famed psychologist Carl Jung referred to UFOs as “a modern myth of things unseen.” For Jung, the question wasn’t so much whether UFOs exist or what they are as why we believe in them.
Diana Pasulka, a professor who chairs the department of philosophy and religion at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, takes much the same view in “American Cosmic.” For her, belief in starships and little green men proves remarkably similar to belief in organized (or disorganized) religion. At times, the two might be almost interchangeable.
Lots of “new” religions and cults place faith in UFOs, from Heaven’s Gate and Unarians to the Church of Scientologyand the Nation of Islam. A study of one such cult in the 1950s led psychologist Leon Festinger and colleagues to the theory of cognitive dissonance, how true believers adjust their worldviews when prophecy fails.
These, however, aren’t Pasulka’s real concern. For six years, she focused on a small tribe of academic scientists, published researchers with respectable records, who nevertheless believe UFOs are real, the government knows much more than it’s telling and non-human intelligences behind these craft have already contacted some of us.
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