It never ceases to amaze me how prevalent and commonly accepted are UFOs in the Chilean collective psyche. You can even do a general search in the news for UFO-related articles and come back with a bunch
(in Spanish). In virtually all cases, the generally accepted belief is that they have an extraterrestrial origin.
An overwhelming 85% of Chileans
believe in the phenomenon, compared to a 48% of Americans
, and the topic can easily come up in any colloquial conversation among regular people as something totally accepted.
Coincidentally, Chile is also fertile ground for "spiritual movements" that very regularly include UFO elements. As a Chilean myself, and as someone who was attracted to those movements in my 20s, I struggle to come up with a clear explanation of why Chile in particular seems to be so captivated by beliefs in the supernatural. Michael Shermer does a good job explaining generically why people believe weird things
, but doesn't explain why certain specific cultures or countries seem to be more susceptible than others.
I, for one, believe the reason is the lack of formal teaching of Critical Thinking as a subject, throughout the school curriculum. In the US, critical thinking is virtually part of all subjects in the new Common Core standards, from K to 12. They were even part of the old standards, at least in all science classes. Although things may be different in Chile now (I graduated high school in 85), I don't recall to have ever
been taught critical thinking skills. That's something I discovered years later when I moved to the US. That in spite of having gone through a rigorous degree in Computer Science at the University of Santiago. University careers, at least back in my day, were very technical in nature, and focused very narrowly on deep subjects, without concern to create a more rounded individual. That was an exercise left to each student.