Unless you’ve been living under a rock (which is looking more and more like a good idea lately, actually), you’ve likely heard or read about the recent disclosure of a U.S. government-funded program to study anomalous or otherwise unidentified flying objects. Whether or not the news is groundbreaking evidence of a UFO cover-up is up for debate, but it certainly reveals that there are many people in world governments (or at least funded by them) who do take the study of unexplained aerial phenomena seriously. Are these merely the pet projects of some of the more curious politicians and their well-connected corporate cronies, or does this news reflect a widespread global belief in intelligent life elsewhere in the universe?
According to new worldwide data, the majority of humankind does indeed believe in extraterrestrial life in some form. International market research firm Glocalities recently conducted the largest study of its kind in which individuals from twenty-four countries were asked about their beliefs concerning alien life. 61% of people in the survey reported that they believe there is some form of life out there in the cosmos, while 47% said they believe in intelligent alien life specifically. Another 25% reported believing that life on Earth came from elsewhere in the universe, and only 17% reported ruling out the possibility of alien life altogether. Silly non-believers. Chinese, Russian, Japanese, Mexican, and Romanian citizens were found to be the most likely to believe in intelligent alien civilizations, while Dutch, Indonesian and Turkish citizens were found to be the least likely. Mexico, the United States, China, India, and Australia had some of the highest percentages of belief in any alien life, intelligent or otherwise.
According to Martijn Lampert, Research Director at Glocalities, these beliefs stem from recent advances in exoplanet discoveries and are reflected in the popularity of modern science fiction:
The high score on the belief in the existence of extraterrestrial life and the typical values profile of believers in intelligent alien civilizations partly explains the immense popularity of space opera movies such as Star Wars. The fascination with the mysteries of the universe offers mankind a never ending story to research, develop and experience.
Lampert says he believes that the high number of people who believe shows that a future discovery of alien life will cause the majority of humankind to “become more and more engaged in the debate about the future of humanity and the place of planet Earth in the universe.” That sentiment is echoed by another recent study which found that most individuals would gladly welcome extraterrestrial visitors as opposed to being terrified of or repulsed by them. I don’t know about you, though, but I’m investing in pitchforks and torches. Humans are a scared and predictable lot. Those first alien visitors better bring some serious defenses.