Aug 11, 2023

A conversation with UFO skeptic Mick West

A conversation with UFO skeptic Mick West
Photo by Marc Thunis / Unsplash

West explains why he is so skeptical of David Grusch's story.

I’m Isaac Saul, and this is Tangle: an independent, nonpartisan, subscriber-supported politics newsletter that summarizes the best arguments from across the political spectrum on the news of the day — then “my take.”

In the last few weeks alone, we've published a YouTube video about UFOs, covered David Grusch’s congressional testimony, and explored the possibility that our government is covering up visits from extraterrestrials.

Somewhere in both of those pieces, I expressed a certain faith in the story David Grusch was telling, the possibility these UFOs are in fact related to alien visitors, and the reasonable notion (in my opinion) that some faction within our government is attempting to cover all these things up — and has been for years. In moments, I've made these claims somewhat in jest, but my open-mindedness to stories like the one David Grusch has told is genuine.

So, in the ethos of Tangle, I sought out someone who disagreed with me. And I reached out to one of the most prominent UFO skeptics I could find: Mick West.

West is a person who has gotten so good at debunking UFO videos and explaining how they are usually benign aircraft or illusions that I don't believe anything until I see him address it. His YouTube channel is fantastic, as is his book, Escaping the Rabbit Hole: How to Debunk Conspiracy Theories Using Facts, Logic, and Respect.

I wanted to talk to West because I respect his differing opinion, not to nail him with "gotcha" questions or to win an argument. I interviewed him to learn from him, and to ensure I was giving my readers "the other side" of a story in which I have regularly pushed my own biased perspective.

So, below, you'll find our subscribers-only interview, which has been edited lightly for clarity and length. It was a fun, fascinating conversation; just as I expected, I learned a lot — and West graciously engaged my questions. I hope you enjoy it. 

Isaac Saul: So I think first it would be great for our audience if you could talk a little bit about how you got into debunking, for lack of a better term. You’re the author of “Escaping the Rabbit Hole, How to Debunk Conspiracy Theories Using Facts, Logic, and Respect.” You're doing this stuff for a living. How did this happen?

Mick West: I wouldn't say I'm doing it for a living, because you don't really make very much money from writing books [laughs]. But I'm a retired video game programmer. I used to be in the video game industry. I worked on the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater game back in the day and retired to pursue my own interests, including writing. And I got really interested in looking into conspiracy theories. And I started out with the more ordinary ones, like chemtrails and 9-11 and ‘the moon landing is fake’ and ‘the world is flat’ — you know, investigating and debunking those kinds of things. And along the way, I started looking into UFOs and specifically analyzing UFO videos. There were a lot of UFO videos that came out around the time of the famous New York Times story back in 2017 that started this whole ball rolling, and I've spent a lot of time basically digging into those videos, trying to figure out what they show, and doing the same with a whole bunch of other videos with a variety of successes.

Isaac Saul: I love it. So we've covered a little bit of this David Grusch story and I'd love to hear you explain it in your own words, from the Mick West perspective. Somebody comes up to you and says, ‘What's going on with this David Grusch dude?’ What's your explanation of what exactly is happening right now?