Seeing is believing. But is seeing also actual evidence? Or is it simply just belief?
A bizarre video uploaded by an aircraft passenger depicts (what seems like) a "shape-shifting UFO" hovering miles above the surface of the Earth, according to a clip uploaded by the YouTube channel Disclose Screen The Grimreefar.
Is it a UFO? Technically, yes. But the nature of a UFO is that it is precisely that: an Unidentified Flying Object.
It's not aliens. It's not a spaceship. It's simply "unidentified," which means this could be anything from a strange drone performing maneuvers to a baffling atmospheric reflection.
And, despite what some amateur spectators are saying, this is almost 100% not a "plasma-based alien lifeform", unless we want to go with an evidenceless assumption and throw out everything we know about life in the natural universe.
And for very many good reasons, we probably shouldn't do that.
No, this is not a 'plasma-based' alien life form
"I've got this incredible sighting on film by a passenger on board an airline of what appears to be a shape-shifting object," began the YouTube channel's narrator. He continued, "It almost looks like it's made out of plasma. The only downfall to this video is I've only been able to obtain the quality of 460p. I wish we had more but it is enough."
But, is it?
The narrator thinks it's "a biological entity or plasma-based lifeform living in our upper atmosphere" and flying "anywhere between 10,000 and 30,000 feet." Okay, maybe the airplane passenger is seeing something that isn't a drone or a reflection. As mentioned, it could be anything. But that's the key here. There is absolutely no evidence in any direction. So why jump to such a bold assumption?
Indeed, the idea of life happening inside of plasma and (somehow) being composed of it betrays a very misguided grasp of the universe.
Let's look at plasma.
It's matter superheated to a temperature so blindingly hot that electrons, a basic building block of atoms, are ripped away, cohering into an ionizing gas. Plasma is also sometimes called "the fourth state of matter," next to liquid, gas, and solid states. And, while many extravagant life forms can survive in a wide array of the other three states of matter, plasma, by definition, cannot support life.
Carbon-based life (or any life based on natural elements) needs to rely on a stable atomic structure.
This is because ripping the electrons away from the atoms comprising a strand of DNA can cause irreparable damage to its structure. Ionizing radiation, like that experienced from uranium or other radionuclides, or in the depths of outer space, can be deadly to living creatures because it weakens and breaks up DNA, according to a Popular Science report.
And in a colossal volume of hot plasma, a human body wouldn't even have time to show symptoms of radiation damage. In Earth's atmosphere, the human body will begin to burn at roughly 162ºF (72.2ºC), far below the temperature of plasma, which can rise to 10,000 K (17,540.33ºF, or 9,727ºC).
In other words, any life present in plasma will not last long.
The scientific method relies on skeptical procedures
We can say, however, that the video of the UFO displays some striking behavior, forming into an apparent cylindrical shape with two arms sticking out of the top, before transmuting into a cage-like series of dangling arms.
So all of the aforementioned said, a proper scientific investigation of the "shape-shifting UFO" would not jump to the conclusion of aliens that can survive the unsurvivable.
On the contrary, empirical science begins by forming a hypothesis, testing it, then refining your theory until you can reliably predict the observed phenomenon on a quantitative basis. And, crucially, any scientific theory must be falsifiable. In this case, we have no evidence that it is "plasma life" or life of any kind. So it can't be tested or proved (or disproved). And so it's not science.
Of course, there's nothing wrong with speculation, but nonsensical assumptions about unexplained phenomena will, at best, delay our comprehension of a new and unique object. And at worst, it could lead everyone to reject new observations, even if the object is something new and genuinely available for scientific study. Making wild claims to millions of viewers on YouTube with absolutely no evidence is, perhaps, not the most ethical course of action.