Hey everyone! I am a PhD student and freelance writer (NYT, National Geographic) and I wrote a post analyzing the David Grusch claims via several academic studies. You can read the nearly 5,000 word post with charts and graphs here at The Studies Show, a publication I founded analyzing academic studies, but I have included a TLDR version below:
Grimes (2016) explores the mathematics of conspiracy theories. Basically, his model estimates a small conspiracy of say, 50 people, could survive for 100 years, but a conspiracy with thousands of co-conspirators would fall apart in a few years. Assuming the alleged program was small, and nobody would believe it was aliens anyway, I think this paper does not contradict the idea a small program could survive for decades. But it does, in my mind, make the idea that China, Russia, the Vatican, etc. are all in on it implausible.
Another is Knuth, Powell, Reali (2019) which analyzed the theoretical characteristics and performance of the Tic Tac craft. The notable finding for me is that their purported acceleration and performance means (via relativistic time) a passenger would only age between a few days or a few weeks when traveling to a nearby star. If these craft are real, they are amazingly powerful.
Another study is Shaw (2020) which finds that people cannot reliably identify whether someone else’s emotional story is true. The author notes: “This research provides evidence that false memories look real. Participants were no better than chance at identifying rich emotional false memories, and no better than chance at identifying rich false memories of committing crime.” This study was about committing crimes, but I think a UFO story would be at least as memorable as a crime, and probably more.
I also comment on the Drake equation but I believe everyone on this sub will be familiar with it already. Here is a fun calculator where you can estimate how many civilizations are in the galaxy.
I also discuss several other pieces of evidence which are not scientific studies, such as the fact the New York Times felt confident enough to publish Eric Davis’ quote about “off-world vehicles” as well as the fact that many of the most ardent supporters of the UFO story believe other conspiracy theories.
I also link to the touching story from this community about the CEO who experienced visitation and then later found he had brain damage. I think that story really underlined to me the human aspect of all of this, that–whatever is happening–there are real feelings and consequences for people.
I think this is one of the most fascinating subjects of our time, and I recommend in the post people read this community for more information. I think looking at Grusch’s claims through the lens of some academic studies has value, even if it is not enough to fully prove or disprove his claims. I do take a skeptical lens in the post, but that is because of my background as a freelance journalist and researcher, where we are taught to be skeptical until proof is found. I have deep respect for people on “both sides” of this debate, and I think we are all looking for truth, and I hope we get there soon.
Thank you everyone for your time, and if you enjoyed this post I do hope you will check out the full post and subscribe to The Studies Show here.