By Jonny Lupsha, Wondrium Staff Writer
Five mutilated bulls found on an Oregon ranch have locals looking to the skies, NPR reported. Cattle mutilation is a popular talking point for UFO conspiracy theorists and science fiction fans. The strange nature of the case demands investigation.
The NPR article said that five purebred bulls from Silvies Valley Ranch were found completely drained of blood—not a drop was left on the ground. Some of their organs had also been removed with expert precision. Reporters even said that oddly enough, “there are no signs of buzzards, coyotes, or other scavengers” to be found. For decades, inexplicable cattle mutilations have caused some people to believe that aliens abducted the livestock in the middle of the night, performed experiments on them, and dumped their lifeless bodies back on Earth. With this grisly new example of violently murdered cattle in Oregon, people are revisiting some very familiar questions about aliens.
One of the popular thoughts regarding alien life is the idea that considering how many reported UFO sightings there are around the world, at least one of the reports has to be true. Additionally, by having one verified sighting, it would prove the existence of intelligent life on other planets; the hoaxes and mistaken sightings would be irrelevant. However, the issue of whether aliens exist may not be so simple, or likely.
“This commits what I call the ‘countless counterfeits fallacy,'” said Dr. David K. Johnson, Associate Professor of Philosophy at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. “You can’t pile up 1,000 pieces of bad evidence—say, that someone committed a murder—and then convict them because ‘it’s likely that one proves they did it.'”
Unfortunately, that’s now how evidence works, according to Dr. Johnson. “Whether a piece of evidence is good is not matter of chance so that the more pieces of evidence there are, the more likely it is that one is reliable,” he said. “In fact, when it comes to UFOs—given how easily our senses and memory fool us—we should actually expect a great number of such stories.”
Are Flying Saucers Hostile?
Hollywood and the science fiction books that preceded it have pushed two major narratives of aliens visiting Earth. One narrative is that if aliens visited Earth, they would be friendly and advanced species wishing to share their knowledge of science and medicine with us. The other narrative is that they would be a hostile species staging a takeover of the planet. The latter is the far more popular idea.
“After all, every time indigenous lifeforms on Earth have come into contact with ‘alien life’—like when the British found the aborigines and the Europeans found the Native Americans—things did not go so well for the natives,” Dr. Johnson said. “Why would it be any different with ‘outer space aliens?’ The effect on society could be devastating.”
Of course, Dr. Johnson means “alien” in the “foreign” sense in his first example, not literally extraterrestrials. However, these historical tragedies could serve as a metaphor. Newcomers arrive from a distant land, encounter its original inhabitants, and bloody conflict ensues.
More realistically, alien visitation would be a mixed bag. “Even an alien radio signal would affect society in both good and bad ways,” Dr. Johnson said. “On the one hand, we might fight over who gets to send a reply. On the other [hand], it might make the differences we’ve traditionally fought over seem insignificant.”
Humanity has yet to find conclusive evidence proving or disproving the existence of life on other planets. If we were to determine the age-old theory one way or the other, it would have massive repercussions for the meanings of life on Earth—and that’s no bull.
Dr. David Kyle Johnson contributed to this article. Dr. Johnson is Associate Professor of Philosophy at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. He earned a master’s degree and doctorate in philosophy from the University of Oklahoma.