On a liberal listserv I’m on, someone recently asked, as a general polling question, if we “believe in UFOs.”
My reply was something like this:
Strictly speaking, the question itself is inaccurate.
If you see something traveling in the sky but you don’t know what it is, it is, by definition, an Unidentified Flying Object. There is, actually, no question that UFOs exist. They do. Technically speaking, the Frisbee® you don’t see coming is a UFO until it bonks you in the temple.
A question can be raised only if you suspect that the UFO in question might actually be piloted by little green men.
The question, “Do you believe in UFOs,” and the adoption of the term “UFO” to directly refer to space visitors is a prime example of linguistic evolution through lazy thinking. What folks actually want to ask is “Do you believe that aliens from faraway worlds visit us periodically?”