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Hey Nick, it's great to see you posting again! My husband and I have followed your blog during more active periods, and we're delighted to see you back!!!

We have a question for you, as we finally started writing about topics that are of much interest to us.

Would you be gracious enough to check out our humble thoughts [our first real post] and perhaps shed some insight on the reality of the question at hand, based on your personal experience?

Thanks and Happy New Year!!! :P



Nick Sagan

Thanks for the kind wishes, Andrea--it's an interesting topic, so I'm going to crosspost my response both here and on your blog:


Hello Hank & Andrea--it's nice to meet you and thanks for the opportunity to chime in on this subject!

While my father would have LOVED to have found compelling proof of extraterrestrial life--it's a subject we talked about frequently--he NEVER found it.

He was a true scientist: he believed wholeheartedly in the scientific principle, and would often remark that it doesn't matter how much a scientist might personally want a certain result, the evidence either bears it out or it doesn't. Now UFOs are by definition extraordinary claims and, as Dad was fond of saying, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

As has been reported before, his read of the UFO evidence was that it was far from extraordinary: I remember he'd tell me how there are often cases where multiple people see something fairly innocuous and explainable (say, a mysterious light in the sky) and there are cases where individuals report far more elaborate alien encounters (seeing aliens, abductions, etc.) but suspiciously enough there are no credible reports in which a group of people experience a more elaborate encounter. As he said, "UFOs: The reliable cases are uninteresting and the interesting cases are unreliable."

When SETI started up, Dad thought there was a real possibility that extraterrestrial life would be discovered in his lifetime. After all, the Drake Equation suggests that we may not be alone in the universe. But no evidence ever came in and I watched this disappointment change him in a way I found quite moving--he increasingly gave weight to the very real possibility that we might be alone in the universe, or that life may be so distant and rare that we'll never encounter it. This caused him to focus on the preciousness and fragility of life on Earth--if we humans are the only sentient beings out there, we have such an important responsibility to take care of ourselves and our planet. That's a good part of the reason why my dad increasingly spoke about environmentalism and nuclear disarmament in his later years.

As for J. Allen Hynek, sadly, what he claims my father said isn't the least bit credible. My understanding is that Dr. Hynek has an agenda here, and the kindest way I can think to describe Dad's opinion of Hynek is to say that he didn't agree with him.

I grant you that the idea that we're not alone in the universe is a compelling one. It would be amazing to find alien life. But because we humans "want to believe," we have a heightened responsibility to use all our critical thinking and strip away our personal desires from what the evidence (or lack of evidence) is telling us.

Peace, Love & Respect to you as well,

Nick Sagan

Andrea Zito

Hey Nick,

Thank you for your response. Your insight was very helpful in shedding light on a subject that I knew you would have first hand knowledge of.

There are many out there who will post speculation as fact which I why we were delighted that you took the time to enlighten us.

Warmest Regards,



Hi Nick!

I'm also glad to see you posting again...I friended you a few years back on Myspace and have been enjoying your blogs here.

As an addendum to your post...it's only nine years until replicants are running around Los Angeles awaiting retirement...the future isn't what it used to be!

Hope you're doing well.

Nick Sagan

Andrea: My pleasure, thank you, I was happy to do it!

Julio: Hey, it's good to see you! I remember talking with you on Myspace. These days I don't check out my page very often there, so I'm glad you found me here.

Nine years 'til Roy Batty and his crew run wild isn't long at all--we'd better break out those Voight-Kampff tests while there's still time!

Julio Velasquez

Hi again Nick,

I rarely am on myspace anymore myself, and most of my friends have migrated over to facebook...so we'll see how long that lasts.

I was thinking about Blade Runner and replicants while reading the recent story concerning the artifical life created using manipulated dna...humanoid replicants don't seem that far-fetched anymore.

Hope all is well Nick, and glad to see you posting.

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