Unidentified Science 2 – There Is no ET Hypothesis

This first appeared on API Case Files in audio form in 2014. It has been edited a bit to make it more suitable for a text post.

In the first installment of Unidentified Science, I said I was going to emphasize four important virtues: humility, patience, integrity, and skepticism. Of these, I think the first – humility  – has been the most neglected in the UFO field. The kind of humility I am talking about here is “epistemic” humility: being honest with ourselves and each other about how little we reliably know, and how much what we know is overwhelmed by what we don’t know, understand, or have even imagined.

An example of one type of failure of humility – epistemic arrogance, let us call it – is the wide range of conjectures about non-human intelligence, and our eagerness to assign anomalous experiences to their activity.

I want to state plainly that it is not a stupid question to ask whether there are other intelligences than humans in the universe -beings like us in some ways – and whether we have ever been in direct contact with them. The arrogance comes in with connecting this naive but reasonable question with any claimed evidence or absence of evidence of alien visitation. It is overreaching to think we should somehow know what an alien visitation would look like, how they and their technology would behave, what the purposes of their visits would be, and what sort of phenomena we would detect should they be present.

Not only are we safe in saying that we simply don’t know these things, but just as likely in my view, ET intelligence – if it exists – is not only stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine  – to paraphrase the famous pronouncement know as “Haldane’s Law”. We just have no idea what to look for, except that it’s unlikely to be what we expect.

I will call the notion that an ET intelligence is responsible for some UFO events the “Extraterrestrial Conjecture” , and I’d like to explain why I don’t call it the “Extraterrestrial Hypothesis.”

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API Case Files Episode 12 – Cylinders, Satellites and Stars, Oh My!

Released: 10 December 2017

Download the .mp3 audio file


  • Kiwi UFO—A blazing cylinder over New Zealand.
  • Blank Spots on the Map “outs” spy satellites whose operations may trigger UFO reports.
  • API introduces a new team member, chats about some interesting cases, and discusses explanations for common misidentifications.

In Episode 12 of Case Files, API Director Paul Carr, Chief of Investigations Marsha Barnhart, and new Lead Investigator Savannah Dollison join in a Team Round Table discussion about some of their more recent cases.

Marsha spotlighted her investigation of an unidentified case that was set in New Zealand. She also discussed a book, Blank Spots on the Map, by Trevor Paglen—a book that contains a chapter identifying characteristics of Spy Satellites which researchers might find useful when investigating reports of anomalous lights in the night sky.


Blank Spots on the Map
Trevor Paglen
Article on Trevor Paglen
Sky Map


US Government FOIA Requests

API Website
Report A UFO

The Script for this Episode (Creative Commons)


Host and Producer: Marsha Barnhart
Post Production:  Paul Carr
Episode 12 Music
DrastikMeazures:  https://soundcloud.com/draztikmeazures
BoxCat Games:  https://soundcloud.com/search?q=Box%20Cat%20Games
Alien Chronicler:  https://soundcloud.com/search?q=Alien%20Chronicler
D J Spooky


Unidentified Science, Part 1

This is the script of Unidentified Science 1, which was first presented in audio form on API Case Files, Episode 1. It has been edited a little to make it more suitable for a text post.

We’re here because we sense that the universe can present itself to us in ways that no one entirely understands, but we live in hope for that moment when the light comes on, and we see further into the unknown, and recognize the wonder it holds for us. That moment will never come unless we prepare, explore, search, question and fail many times.

The light will stay off forever unless we work together with a set of tried and true processes and tools that help us harvest meaningful knowledge from our experience.  We call this careful and reasoned way of failing better each time science – and without science we are almost certainly going to spend our lives stumbling backwards in the dark.

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API Case Files Episode 11 now out

In Episode 11, host and API Chief of Investigations Marsha Barnhart guides us through some recent cases and plays some excerpts from her recent conversation with Mark Rodeghier. Paul Carr chimes in with Unidentified Science, this time talking about some astronomical weirdness.

As always, the show notes and audio are available on the API Case Files blog. You can subscribe to API Case Files on iTunes, or wherever fine podcasts are aggregated.

Case Files: The Official Podcast of Aerial Phenomena

The first episode of our official podcast, Case Files, is now available.

“API Case Files” is a new podcast about the scientific investigation of unidentified aerial phenomena (also known as UAPs or UFOs). This podcast is about educating the public about UFOs and sharing API’s efforts to investigate and study the phenomena.

You can download and/or listen Case Files

Episode 1 of API Case Files to Air


“API Case Files” is a new podcast about the scientific investigation of unidentified aerial phenomena (also known as UAPs or UFOs). This podcast is about educating the public about UFOs and sharing API’s efforts to investigate and study the phenomena.

For our first episode, we are seeking your questions regarding Aerial Phenomena and UFOs. We have allowed comments for this post (below) for you to submit your name, location, and your relevant question. The top 3-5 questions, to include your name, will be aired. It is imperative, therefore, that your questions are on-topic and refrain from conspiracies and pseudoscience.

API Case Files will air 10 Dec 2013.

Aerial Phenomena Interview with David Marler: Triangular UFOs: An Estimate of the Situation


The Aerial Phenomena Investigations Team’s new podcast, API Case Files, will interview David Marler on 02 November 2013. The podcast will be available shortly after the recording.

About the Author: David Marler has had a lifelong interest in the subject of UFOs. He joined The Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) in 1990 as a Field Investigator Trainee. Since then, he has served as Field Investigator, State Section Director, as well as Illinois State Director. David is currently an independent UFO researcher. During his tenure with MUFON, he had conducted numerous investigations into alleged UFO sightings and related experiences. He has discussed the subject of UFOs on numerous radio and television news programs. He has also lectured on the subject to various school and adult audiences over the years. David has assisted the History Channel, Learning Channel, and Discovery Channel on UFO documentaries in addition to independent productions. David has an extensive personal library of UFO books, journals, magazines, newspapers, and case files from around the world that covers the last 65 years. With this he has been examining the detailed history of UFO sighting reports and related patterns. David strives to have an open mind regarding the UFO phenomenon. However, he also acknowledges the need for a skeptical approach when examining each individual UFO report. Despite the large percentage of misidentifications and hoaxes in the UFO data, David recognizes what appears to be a core phenomenon beneath it all. David received his Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville (SIUE). He received his Certification in Hypnotherapy from Mottin and Johnson Institute of Hypnosis in St. Louis, Missouri. David is a Registered Polysomnographic Technician (RPSGT) and assisted in diagnosing and treating patients that suffered from various sleep disorders for several years at a major St. Louis-based medical facility. He has worked within the medical field for fifteen years. David works for an international medical company and resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

About his book: For years, serious researchers have known that triangular-shaped UFOs are one of the most common types observed. The phenomenon has sparked intense debate among many and excited the imagination of many others. But until now, there has never been a book-length treatment of this fascinating subject. Finally, we have one. David Marler has provided a comprehensive analysis of “the triangles.” He has collected, collated, and analyzed hundreds of reports. In the process, he has created a detailed profile of these objects and written a rich narrative of their history. The results of his years of research are documented in his book, Triangular UFOs: An Estimate of the Situation. It is a book that has long been needed, not only by the UFO research community, but the general public, as it opens up an entirely new discussion that has long been ignored: who is making the triangles?