The UFO report won’t change minds. But maybe it should


The UFO report won’t change minds. But maybe it should

Just in case there is extraterrestrial life, perhaps we should have a little more cognitive humility about the unknown

Stephen L Carter

Those of us who’ve dreamed of extraterrestrial life since sci-fi-drenched childhoods are awaiting the US federal government’s forthcoming report on UFOs. And yet the report is unlikely to change any minds.

Which makes the controversy over unidentified flying objects a lot like everything else these days — and a good candidate to teach us a thing or two about the value of cognitive humility.

Let’s start with some data. Pollsters tell us that one American in three believes that we’ve had extraterrestrial visitors. And — for once — there’s no partisan divide. According to Gallup, Democrats (32%) and Republicans (30%) are about equally likely to believe that at least some UFOs are alien spacecraft. Belief is somewhat higher among independents, at a robust 38%. (And maybe higher still in Roswell, New Mexico.)..

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