Robert Sheaffer (born 1949 in Chicago, IL) is a freelance writer and a prominent investigator of unidentified flying objects, Christianity, academic feminism, and many other subjects. He is an outspoken skeptic and critic of the above topics, and has written numerous critiques of feminist beliefs and ideas, Christian beliefs regarding the divinity of Jesus Christ, and the theory that UFOs may be alien spacecraft or some other unknown phenomena and not simply hoaxes or misidentifications of known phenomena. He is also a strong defender of the theory of evolution, and a critic of the theory of creationism, or the belief that God or a supernatural being created the universe. He is a graduate of Northwestern University.
Sheaffer writes for Skeptical Inquirer (for which he writes the regular "Psychic Vibrations" column), Fate Magazine, and Spaceflight. He was a founding member (with Philip J. Klass and James Oberg) of the UFO Subcommittee of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (formerly Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal), and is a fellow of that organization. He is a member of MENSA.
Sheaffer has frequently been quoted in the news media regarding UFOs and psychic predictions.
On July 7, 2010 a flight crew preparing to land in Hangzhou's Xiaoshan Airport in China reported an UFO. As a precaution 18 flights were "delayed or redirected". Sheaffer's article in Skeptical Inquirer Magazine's Nov/Dec 2010 issue is a discussion of how photographs and videos are used. "Reporters want an exciting story, and UFOlogists want to win converts. They will typically grab onto any photo or video that is supposed to represent the object and report as fact practically any claim that is made regardless of its source or veracity." In the case of the Xiaoshan Airport, most of the footage shown was actually taken a year previous to the July 2010 incident.
Ufologist Kevin D. Randle was interviewed by Sheaffer for Skeptical Inquirer Magazine's January/February 2011 issue: looking to "explore their points of agreement and disagreement, finding that Randle gives more weight to 'eyewitness testimony' than skeptics typically do."
Interviewed by the Toronto Sun Newspaper December 20, 2010, Sheaffer is asked by columnist Thane Burnett to debate UFO enthusiast Chris Rutkowski to "debate the known realities". When asked "Is it reasonable to conclude a UFO – something that was beyond our comprehension and understanding – has ever crashed on Earth?" Sheaffer relies "No, because no one has ever produced any proof of any extraterrestrial technology being retrieved, despite many claims. Talk is cheap, show us the evidence."
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