This of course is not a posting about some actual aliens going into battle against an actual supernatural entity, but rather is about the battle for the hearts and minds of the public in the UK. Just to be clear, there is no evidence for either Aliens or the aforementioned deity. Personally I do think that there are aliens out there, the proof is obvious, they have been smart enough to make a note of planet earth as a place best avoided due to the utter insanity of the locals. Well OK humour aside, think about it now, smart enough to build some technology that is capable of traversing the universe at faster than light speed, but upon arrival simply draw odd patterns in our crops at night and then leave … yep totally credible.
What I do think is that the universe is old enough and big enough for there to be a possibility that there is life out there, but I have no evidence that they have ever called, or that this thought is even true, however since life emerged once, than why not more than once.
Anyway, the story here is that 2K Games and Firaxis commissioned a poll in the UK. Who? 2K Games and Firaxis are the folks who have just produced a gamed for the Xbox, PS3 and PC called “XCOM: Enemy Unknown”, and in order to generate a bit of free publicity they invested their advertising budget in a poll (so they claim). The results are then supposed to be sufficiently provocative enough to generate lots of free press and publicity (Gosh that would never work, what on earth were they thinking, why would I ever bother to give free publicity to 2K Games, the makers of “XCOM: Enemy Unknown”, that is clearly not going to happen).
So now this begs the question, what happens if real aliens attack? Well we now have an answer …
Ah no, that is not their poll, but is instead a bit of fun. The actual claim is that …
An estimated 33.1 million inhabitants in the UK believe that life exists on other planets, while only 27.5 million – less than half the country – believe there is a God.
OK, now the skeptical bit. It is a believable claim, but …
- I can find no evidence that such a poll actually existed, and so I suspect it will simply one of those, tick-a-box-polls that you find on some websites … fun, but not really scientific.
- It is just a PR stunt … but you had already worked that out … right?
- Most of the sources actually running this are PC Gaming magazines, here for example.
You will often find statistics quoted that support your views, so it is important to remember that being skeptical is not just about being skeptical about the stuff you do not agree with, it also involves being skeptical about all claims, even those you do agree with. In the end it is best to believe the things that are actually true and are supported by good evidence.
But but but … “what about all those UFO sightings” … you might mutter. Ok here are a few stats for you.
- ~30% of reported UFO sightings are bright stars or planets.
- ~10% are meteors or man-made spacecraft
- ~20% are advertising planes
- ~17% are other aircraft
- ~5% are balloons
- ~2% are the Moon (yes really)
In other words, 90% of UFO sightings can be explained, and the last 10% are just too poorly described for anybody to work out what was actually seen or are simply fake claims. If interested in precise details, well this might help: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Identification_studies_of_UFOs
However, as I said, they might not be here, but I’m very open to there being life out there.