The odds of anyone in ufology stumbling onto "the truth" (whatever that may be) are somewhere between slim and none, and most likely much closer to "none".
I predict that ufology will never be anymore than a subject that attracts a few thousand people on a regular basis (and maybe less now).
Many ufologists confidently think that the world is waiting for them to finally deliver the ET goods and go down in history.
They’re not. Most people outside could not care less about the petty arguments in ufology (and don’t know about it anyway) and unless someone really makes a major breakthrough (along the lines of proving that Roswell was ET, for example), we will not be remembered by science, the media or the public.
A good many ufologists are ego-driven and full of self-importance. But at the end of the day, we are just a group of largely unrecognized people who argue with each other, and publish things here and there that get read by a few thousand people. And that’s it.
Same as it ever was. Same as it always will be. I think the biggest problems facing ufology are (a) the image that we have with the scientific community and with the media - namely that we are all viewed as nutcases, eccentrics etc; (b) the fact that we lack any hard evidence in terms of something tangible that can be studied and proved to be anomalous (rather than different people having different opinions on something that remains enigmatic or unresolved); and (c) that we lack large funding to really devote to a deep study of the data.
I’m not sure how we change things, but I believe that things can only change if we can find some form of hard evidence to support the idea that UFOs exist.
But that will only ever happen (I personally think) if UFOs are literal nuts and bolts craft. If they have far stranger origins, it may well be impossible to get tangible, hard evidence. In which case, we may be perceived by the human race of the late 21st century and 22nd century in the same way that we view people who - 100 years ago - searched for fairies, or knocked on tables trying to contact the dead, etc.
In other words, we’ll be viewed as a group of people who looked into some unusual areas in search of the truth about aliens, but never really found any hard evidence that proved ET was visiting.
Ironically, if ET really does land, I personally think that ufology will be swept away in an instant as the public demands answers from the media, who in turn demand answeres [sic] from the government and the mainstream scientific community.
We may get a brief 5 minutes to say “we told you so,” but that will be it.
Unless we stumble on it first somehow.
The one thing I'm absolutely certain of (and I talked about this on a Binnall of America appearance last year) is that if aliens ever do land, Nick is spot-on right that ufologists will be lucky to get 5 minutes to say "we told you so".
So, in the meantime, everyone should focus on the intriguing mystery, and have some fun, because that's what mysteries should be - fun.
This means that there should be room for some of the more "out there" theories (FYI - as far as the mainstream is concerned, that includes the ETH), even to the point of speculation. Where would I draw the line? When people are clearly lying, or when the theories and speculation goes so far as to be preposterous, at which point let 'em have it.
But that's me. Everyone needs to draw their own line in the sand, and then move forward from there.
Meanwhile, this doesn't mean that one can't make an effort to get science to take the UFO phenomenon seriously. We just have to remember that "ufology" is not a scientific endeavour - it is, by and large, a hobby, or entertainment. This is like the difference between serious scientists who study Mars on the one hand, and people like Richard Hoagland on the other - one should never confuse Hoagland with serious scientific study of anything, but he is entertaining, and that has its place, in the same way that the Jerry Springer Show is not real therapy for the people involved, but it has its place as entertainment.
Of course, there are people, like Nick and I, who walk the line between the two - serious study on the one hand, and entertainment on the other - but we understand that there is a difference.