I’m often asked how I think the discovery of extraterrestrial life may come not from ufology, but from ufology’s arch-enemy, the SETI program in popular culture.
To say that ufology and SETI don’t get along would be an understatement. Ufologists chide SETI for looking for life ‘out there’, when as they believe, it’s already ‘down here’. This segues into the accusation that SETI (like NASA) are gatekeepers of the cover-up and already have evidence that extraterrestrial life exists, but are withholding it from the public. A more interesting criticism came from the counterculture philosopher Terence McKenna, who once said that “to search expectantly for a radio signal from an extraterrestrial source is probably as culture-bound a presumption as to search the galaxy for a good Italian restaurant”.
As for SETI, its practitioners struggle for acceptance from the scientific ‘establishment’. This being the case, they understandably distance themselves from the SETI scientists are overly-dismissive of the UFO phenomenon. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that SETI spokespeople are often cast as the skeptics in chat shows or documentaries about UFOs, creating an adversarial relationship with ufology.