New York Skies (Cheryl Costa)

UFOs: Belief Vs. Knowledge

Columnist Cheryl Costa discusses the differences between belief and knowledge.

Over the four years of this blog’s existence, I’ve been asked repeatedly by fans and reporters whether or not I “believe in UFOs.” I am of the opinion that a person’s outlook on UFOs should not be put in the context of “belief.” I think the whole thing comes down to belief vs. knowledge.

In many societies we frequently associate belief with blind faith acceptance. Traditionally this sort of conviction usually falls into the category of dogmatic religious doctrine. You either believe or accept the doctrine, or you don’t.

It seems that we as human beings have been conditioned to make character judgements about one religious faith or another. Follow our faith, and you’re a believer; if you don’t, you’re an outsider or even heretic. Many great wars have been fought over subtle interpretations of various doctrines.

With regard to UFOs, our society carries this same sort of view, which labels or judges the character of those who state a position with respect to the existence of UFOs. I argue that UFOs and off-worlders are not a matter of faith but rather a case of knowledge based on some criteria of confirmation.

Case in point: In four years of reading UFO reports, I’ve been amazed at how many people state something like, “I never thought these things existed … until what I saw tonight!”

I assert that for the observer this is knowledge-based confirmation and not faith. I’ve known a lot of people who were on the fence with their skeptical view. Still, there are others who are totally unconvinced and feel these ideas are total hog-wash.

Personally, I tested my position on the subject many times since my first sighting when I was 12. I read articles and books over the years that gave me knowledge of other people’s sightings, but I still had my own reservations. For me, it took a series of little validations — over a period of 20 years in my adult life — to bring about a serious resolve on the subject. So what happens when something extraordinary occurs that defies rational explanation?

The result can go two ways: Either it confirms or reinforces for the observer that these things are real, or depending on the intensity of the encounter event, the observer’s reality view is upset or even shattered.

Of course the confirmation tipping point depends on the person and what they accept as personal proof. For some folks a simple sighting works. For others it has to be really an amazing sighting event. For me it was several sets of long-term data and some technical observations.

Then there are those who want physical evidence, like an off-world craft landing on the White House lawn. But I argue that even an off-world craft parked on the ellipse won’t be enough confirmation for some, and that is OK. Each person needs to measure what knowledge they require to make their own personal confirmation.

Let’s look at some UFO Sightings from New York and around the country:

July 13, 2017: At 8:45 p.m. a resident of San Gabriel, Calif., observed a spherical shape that was red in color traveling at great speed.

July 13, 2017: At 9 p.m. a resident of Morehead City, N.C., reported blue strobing lights flying in formation.

July 13, 2017: At 9:30 p.m. a resident of Charlotte, N.C., saw an oval-shaped green ball of light fly over his house.

July 13, 2017: At 10 p.m. a resident of Oak Ridge, Tenn., observed a bright red-orange spherical object.

July 13, 2017: At 10 p.m. a several residents of Wappingers Falls reported seeing a boomerang or triangular-shaped object that at first appeared to be hovering but was moving very slowly.

Regional Appearance: Cheryl Costa will be giving a UFO talk and booking signing at Barnes and Noble in DeWitt on Saturday, July 29, 2 p.m.

If you are interested in joining a monthly UFO discussion group in the Onondaga County area, drop Cheryl an email at [email protected]. If you have a UFO sighting to report, you can use either one of the two national database services: or Both services respect confidentiality. Follow me on Twitter @American_Skies.

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