UFOs, Chemtrails, and Aliens

UFOs, Chemtrails, and Aliens

What Science Says
Donald R. Prothero and Timothy D. Callahan, foreword by Michael Shermer
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 10/20/2017
Format: Paperback 96 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-03416-8
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UFOs. Aliens. Strange crop circles. Giant figures scratched in the desert surface along the coast of Peru. The amazing alignment of the pyramids. Strange lines of clouds in the sky. The paranormal is alive and well in the American cultural landscape. In UFOs, Chemtrails, and Aliens, Donald R. Prothero and Tim Callahan explore why such demonstrably false beliefs thrive despite decades of education and scientific debunking. Employing the ground rules of science and the standards of scientific evidence, Prothero and Callahan discuss a wide range of topics including the reliability of eyewitness testimony, psychological research into why people want to believe in aliens and UFOs, and the role conspiratorial thinking plays in UFO culture. They examine a variety of UFO sightings and describe the standards of evidence used to determine whether UFOs are actual alien spacecraft. Finally, they consider our views of aliens and the strong cultural signals that provide the shapes and behaviors of these beings. While their approach is firmly based in science, Prothero and Callahan also share their personal experiences of Area 51, Roswell, and other legendary sites, creating a narrative that is sure to engross both skeptics and believers.

Author Bio

Donald R. Prothero taught college geology and paleontology for 40 years, at Caltech, Columbia, Cal Poly Pomona, and Occidental, Knox, Vassar, Glendale, Mt. San Antonio, and Pierce Colleges. He is the author of numerous books and scientific papers including Reality Check: How Science Deniers Threaten Our Future and Abominable Science! Origins of the Yeti, Nessie, and Other Famous Cryptids.

Timothy D. Callahan was trained as an artist and worked for more than 20 years in the animation industry. Throughout his life he has also had an active interest in the sciences and the study of mythology and religious belief. He is the religion editor for Skeptic Magazine.


UFOs, Chemtrails, and Aliens is a model of scientific reasoning, rational analysis, and elegant prose that reveals a phenomenon every bit as interesting as the possibility of alien life landing here on Earth or existing somewhere out there in the cosmos—the fact that we can conceive of such a concept, study it scientifically, and understand that we are part of the universe as evolved sentient beings capable of such sublime thought. ”
 — Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic Magazine

“With their book’s brisk pace and energetic writing, Prothero and Callahan offer entertainment as well as wisdom for everyone who’s ever wondered what’s behind so many conspiracy theories and paranormal phenomena.”
 — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“This entertaining study reveals a public fascinated with the unverifiable. . . . [Prothero and Callahan] cogently and patiently explain impulses to seek complicated answers for life’s unknowns, even when simpler, more mundane explanations exist.”
 — Foreword Reviews

“"It is a well-written and entertaining exercise in critical thinking and evidence assessment. . . Given that 95 percent of unidentified flying objects sightings can be explained by means of natural causes, the remaining 5 percent cannot be blithely written off. That 5 percent deserves attention, and this admirable book provides the skills and tools that can be employed in the search."”
 — Choice Reviews

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Table of Contents

Prologue: Consider the Following…
1. Science and the Paranormal
2. The Believing Brain
3. Area 51: What is Really Going on in There?
4. The Roswell Incident: What Really Happened?
5. Close Encounters of the Second Kind: Physical Evidence of Alien Contact
6. Close Encounters of the Third Kind: Direct Encounters with Aliens
7. Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind: Alien Abduction
8. The Mythos of Ancient Aliens
9. Praying to Aliens
10. Ancient Myths and Modern Media
11. Cloud’s Illusions
12. Are They Out There?
13. Why Do People Believe in UFOs and Aliens?
14. The Verdict