Just as our technology for finding and understanding UFOs improved dramatically, the manifestations of UFOs dwindled away. Despite forty-plus years of alleged alien abductions, not one scrap of physical evidence supports the claim that mysterious visitors are conducting unholy experiments on hapless victims. The technology for sophisticated photograph analysis can be found in every PC in America, and yet, oddly, recent UFO pictures are rare. Cell phones and instant messaging could summon throngs of people to witness a paranormal event, and yet such paranormal events don’t seem to happen very often these days. For an allegedly real phenomenon, UFOs sure do a good job of acting like the imaginary friend of the true believers. How strange, that they should disappear just as we develop the ability to see them clearly. Or perhaps it isn’t so strange.
Here is more. I doubt if people have fewer delusions, so presumably they have moved into stories which cannot so easily be refuted. This would include delusions about the future (e.g., extreme forms of transhumanism?), delusions about politics, and delusions about religion. The demand for verification need not outrace the ever-powerful self-deception; "stamp the weasel" is never an easy game to win. And sometimes too much stamping is counterproductive. For all of the associated craziness, UFO delusions have been of a relatively harmless ilk. They made people skeptical about government, drew viewers to science fiction movies, and the policy implications of belief in aliens (appoint another ambassador?) were consistent with fiscal responsibility.