This page outlines the four main categories of viable explanation regarding Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena (UAP). These categories are not necessarily mutually exclusive, as some can be combined to form distinct 'hybrid' scenarios. They seem to be, however, collectively-exhaustive – meaning the reality of the phenomenon ultimately must fall into one (or a combination) of these buckets.
Full credit goes to Matthew Pines, who coherently laid out this framework in a full-length podcast/interview I've embedded below. For a summary of the explanations, scroll further down.
The Four Viable Explanations
As mentioned above, these explanations are not necessarily mutually exclusive and can be combined to form different 'hybrid' scenarios. Only the fourth explanation involves the existence of some sort of Non-Human Intelligence, the rest are more prosaic.
#1. Systematic Error
This category suggests that observations of UAPs are the result of consistent mistakes made by human observers/sensor installations, such as pilots and radar operators. These mistakes lead to the perception of objects that aren't actually present.
#2. Systematic Deception
This category involves the idea that there is a coordinated effort to deceive others into believing in the existence of UAPs with unusual performance characteristics. Motives for such deception can vary, but one aim could be to create a perception of anomalous technology that your adversaries now have to spend resources to look into.
#3. Real Human Secret Technology
This category proposes that UAPs are genuine physical objects, but they are products of advanced secret human technology. These technologies are being withheld for strategic and geopolitical reasons.
#4. Real Non-Human Technology
This category suggests that UAPs are the result of technological creations that originate from sources other than humans. This could involve extraterrestrial or non-human intelligence.
Note – Before I dive further into outlining the branches of Explanation #4, I want to stress that there is currently no general publicly known consensus on which explanation best describes Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena. The extra attention this page gives to explanation #4, below, is not in any way indicative of the likelihood of this explanation. Subsequent posts on this website will cover explanations 1-3 in more detail, rest assured.
Diving into Explanation #4
If we consider explanation #4 – which posits the existence of a Non-Human source for Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAPs) – there are four commonly referenced subcategories that describe the potential branches of this explanation:
#4.1 – Extraterrestrial Origin
UAPs could represent technological creations from an advanced extraterrestrial civilization that evolved on a different star system. They may have followed an evolutionary/civilizational development somewhat similar to humans and traveled to Earth using known or unknown means of propulsion.
#4.2 – Ancient Terrestrial Civilization
UAPs might originate from a technologically advanced civilization that existed on Earth long before modern human civilization. This civilization could have faced extinction or migration, leaving behind remnants of their technology that we now observe as UAPs.
#4.3 – Time Travel
UAPs could be the result of time travel, representing beings or technologies from the future that have entered our current timeline. The origins of these entities could be future humans or non-human entities, though the feasibility of time travel remains uncertain.
#4.4 – Interdimensional Entities
UAPs might involve entities or technologies that exist in dimensions beyond our usual three-dimensional space and one-dimensional time. These intelligences could access different degrees of freedom within the fabric of reality, allowing them to interact with our world in ways we cannot currently comprehend.
With these explanations in mind, we have a few lenses with which we can parse the latest updates and evidence as it's presented. We can decide whether each explanation adequately and/or logically maps to the reality as it unfolds before us.
Any questions we ask of those providing new information should help us distinguish between which of the 4 explanations is more likely, and enable us to home in on the underlying truth.
To be clear – at this point in time it is not publicly known which (combination) of these explanations fully encompasses the reality of the phenomenon.