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Michael Shermer on Deities for Atheists, Skygods for Skeptics: UFOs & ETIs

April 16, 2020 By

Dr. Michael Shermer distinguishes between two questions: (1) Are extraterrestrial intelligences (ETIs) out there somewhere in the cosmos? and (2) Have aliens come here? Evidence for both questions is considered in the larger context of why the issue so compels us to answer it almost religiously.

This lecture is part of a course that Dr. Shermer teaches at Chapman University called Skepticism 101: How to Think Like a Scientist which covers a wide range of topics, from critical thinking, reasoning, rationality, cognitive biases and how thinking goes wrong, and the scientific methods, to actual claims and whether or not there is any truth to them, e.g., ESP, ETIs, UFOs, astrology, channelling, psychics, creationism, Holocaust denial, and especially conspiracy theories and how to think about them.


Skeptic 9.3 — A.I. and Theology of UFOs

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Skeptic 11.1 — Medieval UFOs?

Skeptic 16.4 — The Man Who Invented Flying Saucers

Skeptic 18.4 — Ancient Aliens


UFOs, Chemtrails, and Aliens: What Science Says

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21 Comments on "Michael Shermer on Deities for Atheists, Skygods for Skeptics: UFOs & ETIs"

  1. Robin Davis
    April 16, 2020


  2. larry temp
    April 16, 2020


  3. Chris Isbert
    April 16, 2020

    Social skepticism is guys like you who make money with skepticism and UFOs among other things, when if fact, you guys are just self-proclaimed social skeptics. There's only one real skepticism (besides philosophical skepticism) and it's methodological skepticism, everything else is a fraud. Some reading about social skepticism:

  4. Brooke Clarke
    April 16, 2020

    There was a new development in understanding mass UFO sightings around Jan. 2014 when the re-entry of large space vehicles was analyzed with then new de-orbit software. A number of the mass sightings have a very strong correlation with those re-entry events. See:

    Here is some background information on underwater and atmospheric sound channels that prompted experimenting with flying a sonobuoy from a bunch of balloons where the hydrophone was replaced with a disk microphone. The word "disk" was later changed by a newspaper to "saucer".

  5. Tony Midyett
    April 16, 2020

    I would invite everyone to read Peter D. Ward's book, "Rare Earth".

  6. cosmicsquid
    April 16, 2020

    Thank you Michael Shermer. Unfortunately many imaginary Sky Friends still rule most of Planet Earth. Ask believers in any major religion.

  7. I loves me my Sky God!!

  8. David Flynn
    April 16, 2020

    Oh, it came out of the sky, landed just a little south of Moline

    Jody fell out of his tractor, couldn't believe what he seen

    Laid on the ground and shook, fearin' for his life

    Then he ran all the way to town screamin' it came out of the sky
    And Jody said, it's mine but you can have it for seventeen million!

  9. Deconverted Man
    April 16, 2020

    Its not three lights Michael, its five! There are five lights!

  10. Deconverted Man
    April 16, 2020

    I had a talk with a guy who thought that "god" was in fact, an advanced alien race - or something like that. Very strange. Its on my channel as "Alien Milsrow & me talk about why atheists are dumb & why there is a god. :)"

  11. SteveC30
    April 16, 2020

    Why did Captain Kirks wife smell of poo? Because William Shatner

  12. TREX LEX
    April 16, 2020

    So this is a show to deny and deny and deny what of all the MILLIONS of PEOPLE who claim to have seen and been taken by these E.T .........all a lie. OK

  13. Ryan G.
    April 16, 2020

    RE: Star Trek
    If you can reliably impersonate a god on a galactic scale, what material gain would you need to extract from mere humans?

  14. lingcod91
    April 16, 2020

    Dr. Shermer, Good observations and clarity . . . as always. Forbidden Planet (movie) is my favorite scenario of a race of aliens (the Krell) having abilities that would be indistinguishable from a god. These aliens are also perfect example that addresses the subject of interstellar travel. Any civilization advanced enough for interstellar travel would have very little use of it. Why embark on a risky venture when you could achieve the same at home?
    Most of these UFO "experts" don't understand basic physics. They fail to grasp the immense distances and tremendous resources required for interstellar flight. Why would aliens, of any design, travel to this planet . . . just to give cattle enemas? And if they had any malicious intend we would know about it right away. There has been sightings for decades, where do they hang out? under the ocean, behind the Moon, Idaho. It seems given the size of the universe advanced civilizations must exist, but I can't imagine any reason they would come here. Certainly not because we are interesting, albeit rather boring.

  15. savanna
    April 16, 2020

    Hi and thanks for your this very interesting lecture. I find it so funny/interesting how people who claim to have had contact with Aliens are so very ernest in their claims and in doing so, become so believable! I'm curious, the ones who do seem to have some evidence is Dorothy Izatt (Capturing the Light) The Falcon Lake Incident (Stephen Michalak) and "My Mum talks to Aliens" (Mary Rodwell.) If you should have a chance to review these interesting claims I would be interested in your take. There seems to be some compelling grounds to believe their stories. Stay healthy and many thanks (again)

  16. David Anderson
    April 16, 2020

    Excellent lecture, thank you. I must say... losing that beard (in the news clip) was one of your best moves. D.A., NYC

  17. Thomas B
    April 16, 2020

    Tl dr; spirituality is supernatural woo whether it’s from a theistic or atheistic point of view.

  18. James Richard Wiley
    April 16, 2020

    John 18:36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”
    Later he rose from the dead and floated up to his magic kingdom in the clouds. (His spacecraft)
    This is solid biblical evidence that Jesus was an alien from another planet.

  19. TheBiolDropper
    April 16, 2020

    Thanks Dr. Shermer for these lectures. I have watched all (which were released during this lockdown). I hope you keep releasing more!

  20. George Steele
    April 16, 2020

    I am an atheist and yet have a deity. Mother Nature. She has but one commandment: My Way. She is the nurturer of all living things and mercilessly kills them each and every one.
    She is the oracle of Truth. As with all oracles She always gives True but often misleading answers. The religion of the Scientific Method must be practiced diligently.
    Deny her at your peril.

  21. Bill Lyons
    April 16, 2020

    If you've got cheap space travel, there is nothing you can get on Earth that you can't get almost anywhere else. Any civilization that could get here from another solar system will not need our natural resources.

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