The UFO Iconoclast(s)

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Darwinian Ufology

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We assume (almost) every visitor here is familiar with Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, and his theory of Natural Selection.

Darwin’s concept of evolution can be applied to UFOs.

Strange objects, seen mostly in the air, have been reported since the beginning of mankind, appearing on cave walls, drawn by primitive man and in carvings of early civilizations, such as the Assyrian and Egyptian.

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But to make concise our argument here, let us start with the period just before that of the airplane and the Wright brothers.

This would have to do with the airships of the 1890s.

airship1.jpg

Darwin spells out how species adapt and change, over time, and provides this1:

· Individuals in a population vary significantly from one another.
· Much of this variation is inheritable .
· Individuals less suited to the environment are less likely to survive and less likely to reproduce; individuals more suited to the environment are more likely to survive and more likely to reproduce and leave their inheritable traits to future generations, which produces the process of natural selection.

This slowly effected process results in populations changing to adapt to their environments, and ultimately, these variations accumulate over time to form new species.2.

The 1890s airships were, reportedly, not unlike the dirigible ships that populated the skies, rarely but concomitantly, and sailed no differently that man-made airships, even containing pilots and/or passengers no different than those who built and flew airships of a prosaic kind.

airship2.jpg

But from the period between the 1890s and the mid-1940s, dirigible-like airships all but disappeared from view, literally.

The, during World War II and soon after, smallish lights, dubbed “foo fighters” appeared to WWII fighter pilots and missile-like airfoils, similar to the Nazi V-2 rocket, made a presence in the skies over Europe.

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This indicates, to us, that the 1890s ships had changed, evolving from their convoluted but primitive state to amorphous balls of light and structured craft, adapted from the V-2 archetype.

The “evolved” UFOs had branched from the 1890s to two distinct “species” – the advanced and advancing balls of light and the dead end, virtually defunct, missile-shaped craft.

In 1947 UFOs popped up in the round-shape which incurred the “flying saucer” epithet, although a few cigar-shaped craft, a dying breed, made themselves known, as in the Chiles-Whitted sighting of 1948, among a few others.

chileswhitted.jpg

This was an adaptation from the missile shape, not the ball-of-light construct.

One ground and in the skies, UFOs maintained the “saucer” adaptation well into the 1970s and 1980s, as evidenced by NICAP’s lists of sightings.

NICAP

UFOs seemed to have used or been affected by “natural selection” – missile shapes (cigar craft) were inefficient, and the balls-of-light were inconsequential, and not suitable to the space-age environment.

But late in the 19802 and from 1990 onward, to 2011, the raft of UFO sightings indicated a shift from disk-shaped configurations to triangular configurations.

triangular.jpg

What caused this evolutionary change in UFOs?

Darwin ‘s theory posited this3:

…variation arose constantly and not just in response to changed circumstances…species formed in isolated populations only, as on islands, to an emphasis on speciation without isolation; that is, [Darwin] saw increasing specialisation within large stable populations as continuously exploiting new ecological niches.

But “New species have appeared very slowly, one after another, both on the land and in the water [or skies]….[and] We can clearly ubnderstand why a species when once lost should never reappear, even if the very same conditions of life, organic and inorganic, should recur. For though the offspring of one species might be adapted…to fill the place of another species in the economy of nature and thus supplant it; yet the two forms – the old and the new – would not be identically the same.”4

That is UFOs from the past woluld not assume the same identity as UFOs of the present.

Triangular UFOs have supplanted the “flying disks” of previous years. But, again, why?

Darwin would allow that the environment – the technological advance of aircraft itself – would force an adaptation, and that’s is what seems to have happened to UFOs.

But what about the remnant balls of light? They still appear, like Darwin’s crocodiles or, better, cirripedes,5 because they are self-productive and immune to intense adaptation.

What this means, for us, is that some UFO species will evolve – adapt and change, according to Natural Selection, while other UFO species -- the balls of light – will not change, and have not changed.

Ufologists (yes, we hate the term), should take a look at the different species, as the evolutionary species (the Triangular UFO) provide one clue to the UFO origin while another species (the balls of light) provide a different clue to the origin of UFOs.

Darwin’s Theory of Evolution is a guide post for study, or should be.
---------------
1 From Wikipedia
2 Ibid
3 The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin, Chapter XI (ff.)
4 Ibid
5 Ibid (Chapter 4)

36 Comments:

  • I can only assume a degree of tongue-in-cheek being expressed here. I think what has changed is human technology. As we grow more sophisticated, so too must our otherworldy (and presumably more advanced) visitors. Airships were once cutting edge, so aliens already had them. Rockets, you say? Surely that is the wave of the future. Nope, it must be these saucers (or did they only fly like saucers skipping across a pond?) that are "where it's at". No? You say they're so yesterday? Well, how about triangles?

    Think of 1960s Star Trek and how "futuristic" it was. Can you imagine? Buttons! They solved that nicely in Next Gen, but even that doesn't hold up. Still not futuristic enough for us, is it?

    You can't help but see man's influence (either in fabrication or perception) when it comes to the descriptions of these various phenomena. Of course, it could be that they aren't nearly as advanced as we would believe. Maybe they too utilized hot air and propellers only slightly more than a century ago, but it seems a hard way to traverse space. Unless, of course, they had hot air technology AND transdimensional capabilities. I can't help but think of a Native American stopping his dog-pulled travois to pull out his cell phone.

    By Blogger Cullan Hudson, at Tuesday, January 04, 2011  

  • This is a great post and you are right in more ways than you might have considered!

    By Blogger Frank Stalter, at Tuesday, January 04, 2011  

  • Nice post actually. The issue has always amused me and I suppose some could say that this post completely solves the UFO issue.

    Your post knocks a huge hole into the nonsensical extraterrestrial hypothesis. See Cullan's comment (3rd paragraph) above

    By Blogger Sleepless in Winnipeg, at Tuesday, January 04, 2011  

  • Thanks, Sleepless...

    One can see that you are fully awake.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, January 04, 2011  

  • "Darwin’s concept of evolution can be applied to UFOs."


    One way to think of UFOs in these terms is that, as a "species" they are unstable and as a consequence there is an abundance of variation. Mutations are common, and most by definition do not survive.

    I've read an hypothesis like this regarding Neanderthal. Their remains exhibit a broad anatomical range of variation in the same evolutionary timeframe, from an 'ape-like' primitiveness to a near-gracile form similar to homo sapiens sapiens.

    Evolution tends towards preservation. It is conservative and does not optimize. Adequate is good enough. Perhaps the UFOs are like the Neanderthal hypothesis...variation running 'wild' rather than expressing the slow work of evolutionary stability.


    Regards,

    Don

    By Blogger Sourcerer, at Wednesday, January 05, 2011  

  • Regarding ETs, you have to remember that the big ships they use to traverse interplanetary, or interstellar, space may be quite different from the low level craft we see in our atmosphere. The latter would be merely 'scout craft'.

    Think of Adamski. His sighting was of a scout craft, whereas the craft was merely part of a huge mothership. At least, that is how the story went. It may be the same today.

    By Blogger cda, at Wednesday, January 05, 2011  

  • CDA....

    You're citing Adamski? Wow!

    To address your mothership point:

    The motherships, if actually real and not figments of the imagination, like that of George Adamski, may be likened to parental entities; that is, motherships foster their offspring, which show up as smaller entities or craft.

    The balls-of-light would, perhaps, fall into a category of species whereas the motherships could be seen as the phylum species.

    The Darwinian approach, here, is not meant to be a real approach but, rather, a methodology for creating categories that allow UFOs to be studied in a specialized way rather than the haphazard way they've been studied thus far, by UFO geezers.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, January 05, 2011  

  • Part 1 of 2:

    This is a very perplexing post. I guess there are a variety of ways to look at the UFO phenomenon, but it almost seems here that you are using Darwin's theory of evolution as a kind of basis for the variety and evolution of morphology of UFOs themselves, as if they might be living creatures of an evolving, zoological nature.

    Are you suggesting, ala Ivan T. Sanderson, and before him, Trevor James Constable, that some UFOs are biological or organic in origin, and that the mixture and changes in appearance and shape over the last century or so is somehow related to evolutionary processes and mutation to adapt to an earthly environment, or are you simply using that as a metaphor or analogy, rather than an actual means of categorizing the wide variety of UFO forms observed over time? It is not entirely clear which point of view you're trying to express in your post here.

    Of course, if you're positing an actual biological adaptation by UFOs rather than some morphological switcheroo intended to confuse the issues through some form of randomized shapes and observed forms of UFO intended to reduce uniform patterns to the percipients as a way of creating plausible deniability via a kind of shape-shifting camouflage, there are problems with your speculations along either of these lines of hypotheses.

    First, UFOs would, if extraterrestrial, probably not have any need to conform to ecological niches of this planet, nor would they as a result have any requirement to evolve ala Darwin. The Darwinian model is a well-founded construct that continues to evolve itself, with new scientific data, but as far as we know only applies to its source model, life on Earth.

    If not biological or organic in origin, UFOs, regardless of ET, ID, CT, or other "locational" sources, also would not "evolve" per se on an actual basis, but might take on various and seemingly evolving forms over time due to other factors which have far more to do with us, and what we think, than any requirement for such morphological changes or "evolution" on the part of UFOs, except for, as I noted above, the need to appear different to different people at different times in different locales, etc., in order to maintain a certain degree of ambiguous and "random" patterns of appearance related to how humans may react to and perceive UFOs, which does imply some possible intent on the part of the motive agency behind UFO displays and the visual artifacts thereof.

    By Blogger steve sawyer, at Wednesday, January 05, 2011  

  • I found it interesting in the very earliest news stories following Arnold's there was an assumption that the saucers comprised the nine Arnold saw. They attempted to chart their progress. There were reports of nine, or four plus another five, or of a number that might have been nine. Soon enough, though, it became obvious that there were more seemingly not associated with Arnold's nine.

    Does anyone see, at a later time or another place, the same ufo seen elsewhere? Do UFOs have a 'life'? Are they individuals that can be identified and noted over time?

    Behaviors are noted, then vanish going forward. I don't recall many reports after the early period where disks are in the 'wheel' orientation rather than 'skipping stone' orientation.

    Fournet did a motion study that is supposed to have evidence the discs were intelligently controlled, but I do not think it has been gotten via FOIA if it exists or if anyone duplicated it or run their own.

    The problem remains identification: eliminating the misidentifications, hoaxes, and just bad observations.

    I think people today are less familiar with the sky than people in 1947 and more prone to take any light in the sky as a UFO. I pretty much ignore night sightings since they are more likely to be misidentifications (and more likely to be told in a style that might be called 'clueless babbling')


    Regards,

    Don

    By Blogger Sourcerer, at Wednesday, January 05, 2011  

  • Part 2 of 2:

    One implication would be that the very wide variety of shapes observed are intended for our benefit, in relationship to our expectations and cultural biases, as a way of "enfolding" into our consciousness, in a subtle and self-denying manner, ambiguous and ever-changing morphologies to let us know something is happening, but without definitive or discernible uniform patterns of shape, color, speed, proximity, and a host of other perceived factors.

    Darwin's theory of evolution, which I believe is basically well-founded and objectively established, is also, however, subject to modification.

    For instance, it's now known, since after Darwin's time and original hypotheses, that biological evolution is not necessarily a slow, steady progressive adaptation to the vagaries of the changing niches of the environment that organisms develop within and pass down their traits to the next generation, based on the historical fossil record and recent related external and planetary surface changes and factors.

    Evolution can be a rather abrupt and accelerated process at times, or mysteriously truncated, and not necessarily related to currently known environmental factors on our planet.

    Instead, evolution seems to go through periods of punctuated equilibrium, and then can rapidly advance at speeds and in ways that would be unexpected as per the standard Darwinian models.

    Events such as massive volcanic activity, subsequent atmospheric effects, large asteroid collisions (remember the dinosaurs, and what came soon afterward, a mammalian explosion of species?), cosmic effects like gamma-ray bursts from relatively nearby supernovas, other “natural” although rare both terrestrial and extraterrestrial effects, etc.

    Darwin did not know of or include these other factors in his general theory even though they are now known to be extremely significant in biological evolution overall, nor did he posit the periodic rapidity and extreme varieties of bio-morphology that can and have occurred over billions of years, and the “jumping” or tangential leaps evolution has taken over time.

    There have been at least five and up to twenty major, mass extinction events in the last 600 million years alone, many of which remain unexplained. There have also been explosions of wild variation in life forms over time in the last billion years or more that also don't seem to be explained by standard evolutionary models or related earth changes, and subsequent mass reductions in those life-form variations not due to mutation effects or other currently known causes.

    See: http://tinyurl.com/2ms3aw

    Thus, the question of whether Darwin’s theory can, should, or is useful to approach the issue of UFO morphological “evolution” I personally find somewhat suspect.

    I also happen to think UFOs are not organic or biological, per se, in the vast majority of cases, so as a way or means to categorize UFOs, Darwinian hypotheses or more accurately, speculation, I don’t think is justified on either a realistic or scientific basis.

    So, while the book is still open, I would emphasize that using a biological model of Darwinian evolution is likely not pertinent nor appropriate to empirically use as a model for UFO morphology, particularly since only the 1890's, and point out also that the vast majority of good UFO case data points away from “biological UFOs.”

    Also, in conclusion, the dirigible, cigar, saucer, ball, triangular, and other shapes have been seen at all times in the period being conjectured about here (for example, there are cases of triangles being seen, though rare, since the beginning of the 20th century), and triangles are actually not the most common shape observed even today.

    By Blogger steve sawyer, at Wednesday, January 05, 2011  

  • Addendum:

    That would be "balls of light" of varying shapes, colors, sizes, and "behavior," although many of those would be both natural phenomena such as ball lightning and some rare geomagnetic fault zone "earthlights" and/or atmospheric plasmas, plus “chinese lantern” misidentifications (although ovoid or disk-shaped objects seen at night can appear spherical at high angles of view), and the same can be said for some triangle sightings, which in various cases may relate to unacknowledged, small prototype drones and stealth aircraft, and perhaps some larger, partially lighter-than-air heavy-lifter experimental aircraft.

    The triangle sightings have only been somewhat more common in the last 20 to 25 years, although there are reports of a few dating back to pre and post WW II.

    See: http://tinyurl.com/35bt4sf

    What fascinates me is how in particular cases, the UFO morphology changes and “evolves” in real time, splits, reforms, becomes more than one form, etc. That is quite intriguing, and Dr. Jacques Vallee implies it is quite an important aspect to UFO morphology and related attempts to interpret same, which would sometimes seem both mutually contradictory and whose fluidity of shape-shifting displays by some UFOs may illustrate the difficulty in attempting rote or hierarchal categorization matrices or processes.

    I don't think we can or should assume anything as yet as causally related to either evolving or the wide variety of UFO shapes, such as a biological evolutionary model. As Vallee has suggested, we still really know next to nothing, factually, about origins, nature, sources, or possible intent. We should start from a ground zero, meta-level approach, as noted in his and Eric Davis' "The Physics of High Strangness..."(Incommensurability) white paper, as one kind of starting point.

    A new, open, multi-phasic and multi-discplinary approach is required.

    See: http://tinyurl.com/276uatb

    By Blogger steve sawyer, at Wednesday, January 05, 2011  

  • Hoping not to turn this particular topic into a UFO UpDate kind of thing, where commenters presume, primarily, to display their knowledge of Darwin or the history of UFOs, let me say that the piece – Darwinian Ufology – which also had an earlier incarnation at this blog and others, was and is meant to provide a template for study of the UFO phenomenon which, in our estimation, superficially resembles the process of evolution.

    UFOs don’t strike this writer as biological in nature, but they have evolved, technologically certainly, yet somewhat like the species that Darwin dealt with.

    The classification of UFOs, like the classification of species, would go a long way to helping, perhaps, unravel the UFO riddle.

    Darwin’s process – his methodology – is a helpful guide for those willing to use it.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, January 05, 2011  

  • An alternative to the biological analogy is a genetic one, specifically viruses. A virus has the appearance of a simple machine (even in some cases ufo-like), and operates something like a hypodermic needle. It is a sack of genetic material with a means of penetrating biological entities and injecting its contents into them. Viruses are parasitic. They are also 'like' their hosts. The genetic material in their sac is like the host's genetic material. This is a necessity because of the virus' 'purpose': to replicate itself.

    The 'UFO virus' would be attracted to 'like'. This occurs in the sky. Something about circular and flat in the sky is attractive. For centuries the common forms in the sky (less birds -- another issue) have been circular or flat, kites for example, but also balloons (later balloons introduce the ovoid). These simple geometric shapes are not like natural forms, and are evidence of intelligence.

    The resulting viral replicants would be 'like' kites, balloons, but display behaviors uncharacteristic of the thing mimicked.

    Among the less common shapes mimicked are aircraft and rockets. It seems objects with powerplants are not as attractive of ufo-mimicry. So, perhaps it is not just intelligence and shape, but also behaviors that are attractive.

    During the 1947 wave triangular formations were observered. The triange illustration accompanying this article has a dark triangular shape containing four scintillating discs. Remove the dark shape, and the four discs represent a 1947 triangular formation sighting rather well.

    Regards,

    Don

    By Blogger Sourcerer, at Wednesday, January 05, 2011  

  • Don:

    A viral etiology is an interesting approach to the UFO mystery also.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, January 05, 2011  

  • I think the important thing to remember is that the "disc" shape can look entirely different depending on the angle it's viewed from. It can also look like a sphere, or a football or a cigar. The B-2 is similar in that. From the side, it does look like a disc, from the bottom, a flying triangle. The same aircraft can easily account for a different category of UFO type.

    Conventional winged aircraft is pretty easy to identify but I think just about everybody agrees that some UFOs are intelligently piloted craft . . . piloted by us.
    Our most advanced craft look nothing like conventional aircraft and haven't for a good 50 years. As those vehicles have absolutely evolved over the years, so have the UFO sightings of them. A piece of a puzzle, nothing more.

    By Blogger Frank Stalter, at Wednesday, January 05, 2011  

  • You write:

    "UFOs don’t strike this writer as biological in nature, but they have evolved, technologically certainly, yet somewhat like the species that Darwin dealt with."

    In what sense have they evolved technologically?

    Are the observed objects in 2010 any more technically advanced than those of 1947?

    On the whole we still perceive them as much the same as they always were, whether in the 1940s or earlier. It depends how much research you do into the nature of the objects seen in the past. In the main, they are mere nocturnal blobs of light. The 'structured craft' are few and far between, in any era. Cigars with 'lighted windows' are a rarity but have been seen at times going back at least a century. I expect triangle shapes have been also, although one would need to examine old records to verify this.

    By Blogger cda, at Wednesday, January 05, 2011  

  • Frank:

    You raise an interesting point.

    Our aircraft have evolved, technically.

    Have UFOs done so also, or have they evolved by way of some other mechanism(s)?

    That, for me, is what the evolutionary method might resolve; that is, how and why are UFOs morphing, to use Steve Sawyer's word?

    There has been a back-and-forth in the way UFOs have appeared over the years, over the millennia; a kind of playful reversal of design or appearance, along with a thrust forward in design characteristics.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, January 05, 2011  

  • Christopher:

    UFO manifestations that are composed of light, mostly, are as they always have been.

    The airships and 1950s UFOs -- I'm skipping the Arnold "saucers" as we think they were Navy prototypes and have made a (slight) case for such early on here -- were, characteristically, primitive in design, if witness testimony has any value at all -- yah, I know, witness testimony.....

    The Adamski saucer, fake as it was, typified what UFO sighters were describing; the UFOs of the
    1950s came off as somewhat primitive, as was the case with the 1890s airships.

    Today's UFOs are a totally different breed -- no landings seen, no bizarre moves, no sleek lines....a kind of devolution, actually, which goes to Steve Sawyer's observation about UFO types, of all descriptive-kinds, being seen over the years, with no straight-line evolutionary track, as he sees it.

    But evolution doesn't mean that UFOs (or anything else) has to go from primitive to "modern" -- as is the case with many biological species that have survived by Natural Selection.

    (See Darwin's text for examples.)

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, January 05, 2011  

  • Thank you for such an interesting article to read.

    I would have to agree that some of the shapes have been seen all along, without any apparent change.

    For insatnce, there was a boomerang seen over Virginia, in 1949. The angle of the boomerang shape appeared to be identical to the later Lubbock, and then the Hudson Valley sightings much later. This would include the row of lights down the edge of each "wing."

    This represents at least one type showing the same design, through time.

    By Blogger Bob Koford, at Wednesday, January 05, 2011  

  • Bob:

    Yes, there are "mutant" forms, as Darwin, among others detail.

    Lecomte du Nouy deals with mutancy in his terrific book, Human Destiny, albeit about the spiritual aspect of humankind.

    Human Destiny also recaps Darwin, and shows how his methodology can be applied to realms beyond the biologic.

    Mutant forms are integral to his thesis.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, January 06, 2011  

  • Rich is right. There is an "evolution" to the structure of these craft.

    It ties into the significnce of "the morph." The materials of construction of the craft are able to "change" themselves through a seamless transition. The morphing metal at Roswell speaks to this.

    Increasingly "morphing" UFOs are being seen in our skies. They can appear as "defined" craft or more amorphously as "engineered light."

    The craft are able to "change state" (Google for my article: "UFOs and the States of Matter) to learn more.

    AJB

    By Blogger Anthony, at Thursday, January 06, 2011  

  • Rich "...characteristically, primitive in design..."

    How are you defining 'primitive'? What would be a 'sophisticated design' for comparison?

    Regards,

    Don

    By Blogger Sourcerer, at Thursday, January 06, 2011  

  • I used to see a change in the UFO avatar as well, until reading through sighting accounts reported before the advent of flight by man. These are amassed in Vallee's and Aubeck's new book "Wonders in the Sky" - among other places on the net and throughout UFO literature.

    These are not often singular experiences, but reported by many - and often are described exactly like modern account of UFOs.

    The problem is differentiation: What is testing of hardware we've never seen, and what is the enigmatic "other".

    I'm starting to think that the classic sphere, disc and cylinder are the "other" (along with the bizarre manifestations too long to list). Possibly the evolution of "craft" (if that's even what they are)seen, are our own evolution of top secret military avionics - the consistent ones through the history of man long before the advent of flight - may be the "other".

    These days there's no control sample of solid definition separating the legitimate phenomenon from our own technology - as much as the UFOlogist may say "...we just don't have technology that can do that..." the fact remains that they don't know, and are simply selling another photo/video/sighting as a sub-product line to their own preconceived notion package.

    By Blogger JR, at Thursday, January 06, 2011  

  • I believe the OP is quite simple. What I think it speaks of the seeming similarity between current or near-term human technology and what people see in the skies.
    The major point about the evolving nature of UFOs is how similar they are to current or near-term futuristic human technology. As someone said above "there is an human influence in either the perception or fabrication of these entities, whatever it is they are". I am sure psychologists, sociologists and other brain-people have wondered about this in the past as well.
    The application of darwinian principles in discussing the evolution of the UFOs seems to me as missing the point and bothers on a pseudo-scientific approach.
    A respectable approach to studying UFO's doesn't have to resemble science. I am wondering if there is a difference between resembling science and being scientific.
    Sorry.
    I would suggest people should go watch Southpark season 14 episode 2.
    I know, I know :)

    By Blogger adadad, at Thursday, January 06, 2011  

  • Don:

    Primitive is represented by Adamski's "chicken brooder" or the Trent/McMinnville disk -- both fakes, in my estimation.

    Non-primitive or sophisticated design is represented by almost everything post-airships of 1890:
    metallic in appearance, crafted disk-shape, "graceful" in flight.

    The so-called Gulfport disks were primitive, if real UFOs. (They were not.)

    Arnold's saucers would be sophisticated, if actually as he saw or remembered them, but that's an iffy proposition.

    The triangular UFOs and the disks reported by reliable witnesses (some of them drawn for researchers) are sophisticated, by comparison with the 1890 airships and such later representations as that of Heflin, et al.

    A UFO clip we have online here, early is the postings, showing a pulsing disk, moving rapidly across the sky, in the U.S. West indicates an advanced, sophisticated UFO.

    Zamora's Socorro UFO was primitive, like a lunar lander, and propulsed primitively also.

    The bona fide, as I see it, Lawrence Coyne UFO, as described by him in 1973, was of a sophisticated design.

    The Iranian UFO of the same time-frame also.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, January 06, 2011  

  • "I'm starting to think that the classic sphere, disc and cylinder are the "other" (along with the bizarre manifestations too long to list). Possibly the evolution of "craft" (if that's even what they are)seen, are our own evolution of top secret military avionics - the consistent ones through the history of man long before the advent of flight - may be the "other".

    These days there's no control sample of solid definition separating the legitimate phenomenon from our own technology - as much as the UFOlogist may say "...we just don't have technology that can do that..." the fact remains that they don't know, and are simply selling another photo/video/sighting as a sub-product line to their own preconceived notion package."

    This is excellent. There are some things we do know about speed though. High altitude winds top out at a little over 200 mph, so you wouldn't see a weather balloon moving faster than that. Sound barrier is about 760 mph, first cracked in Oct. 47. Mach 2 was cracked in 1953, I think. SR-71 could top 2200 mph-roughly Mach 3 in the early 60s. The grandson of the Bell X-1 rocket plane was the X-15 . . . that beast hit 4500 mph (roughly Mach 6) in 1967 and could hit altitudes that earned its' pilots astronauts wings. The pilots also had UFO sightings and filmed them.

    By Blogger Frank Stalter, at Thursday, January 06, 2011  

  • Thanks, Rich, for the clarification. The reason for asking is that the more sophisticated (streamlined, aerodynamic, symmetrical, 'clean'), the more the object resembles a 'graphic primitive' (cone, disc, cylinder). I understand you to men by "primitive", a more elaborate form -- more Victorian, steampunk-like -- more Wells or Verne or early sf magazine stylizations.

    In that sense the appearance of UFOs mimics or mirrors the changing forms of what we put in the sky.

    Another thought: The streamlined form is more suitable for atmospheric flight, but there is no such form requirement in outer space.


    Regards,

    Don

    By Blogger Sourcerer, at Thursday, January 06, 2011  

  • Don:

    The form and function argument comes in here.

    Do UFOs come from "outer space"?

    What about from a time-differential?

    Or another Universe?

    Or via a worm-hole?

    The form is dependent on the origin of UFOs, whether from Mac Tonnies' crypto-terrestrial civilization, or an Earthian military organization, or another dimension, whatever...

    If they do come from "outer space," they wouldn't need a non-primitive design, as you note, until they got here.

    Would they evolve then, after the fact?

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, January 06, 2011  

  • How far would Darwin have gotten formulating his theory if he had no actual proof that any plants or animals actually existed, never examined a living or dead plant or animal first hand, and that most of his 'reliable evidence' of the existence of plants and animals came from fleeting news reports, dubious government documents and blurry photographs, hopelessly commingled with falsified reports of unicorns and hippogriffs invented by hoaxers, cultists and fantasy prone individuals?

    You simply cannot apply a scientific methodology specific to living, actual biological organisms to a phenomena as fleeting and varied and problematic as UFOs and expect a meaningful result. It will teach you nothing.

    What is the native environment of the UFO? Where is the fossil record? Where did they evolve? Where is the genetic code of the UFO? What causes them to mutate? What environment are their changes responding to? What evolutionary pressures are they up against?

    Your idle musings don't even address whether you think UFOs are a single species, yet evolution is always species specific.

    If they are a single species, why are they mutating and changing so fast - far beyond the rate of actual evolutionary change!

    And if they are multiple species, whatever that means, then exactly what evidence is there that any evolution is actually taking place?

    The fact that there are no answers to these questions demonstrates the futility in applying something like deeply understood like evolution to something speculative like ufology.

    Evolution does not apply to intelligently-directed technology. Evolution does not apply to folklore. Evolution does not apply fantasies; hoaxes; dreams; hallucinations...

    In the one case where evolution could apply - if some UFOs were, somehow, unknown biological creatures - you have no sample size, no specimens, no biological traces to even study.

    Evolution cannot be used to describe the unknown.

    By Blogger Kanomi Blake, at Thursday, January 06, 2011  

  • KB:

    Several things...

    The UFO phenomenon doesn't seem to be a single species phenomenon.

    And I suggest again the book, Human Destiny by Lecomte du Nouy for a profound example of how evolution can be applied to the "unknown."

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, January 06, 2011  

  • Rich wrote: "Do UFOs come from "outer space"?

    What about from a time-differential?

    Or another Universe?

    Or via a worm-hole?"

    I don't think there is much difference between the interstellar ('FTL'), dimensional, and temporal regarding coming from somewhere to here.

    "If they do come from "outer space," they wouldn't need a non-primitive design, as you note, until they got here.

    I don't think Darwin will provide a path to understanding. In fact, I'd just drop the 19th century altogether -- along with Darwin, add Freud, Jung, Marx, theosophy-based thought...the lot of it. I don't think there is an explanatory analogy for UFOs. If there is to be understanding, it will have to be on their own terms.

    The aircraft/spaceship model has a strong hold on the imagination. Ufologists got used to getting their information from army and air force sources. They still want "disclosure" from them. The army's opinion was the Roswell object wasn't a flying disc because it was too flimsy to carry a pilot and had no means of propulsion. That's the military domain speaking.

    "Would they evolve then, after the fact?"

    The ETHers would suggest mother ships and exploration craft.

    They may be atmospheric craft but I don't think they can negotiate terrain. What little sense I can make from their reported behavior is that getting low to the ground is dangerous. So, maybe there are "crash recovered examples".

    It seems they are at home in the air.

    I don't recall stories of unidentifiable ground craft -- alien vehicles, let's say, phantom semis, reptilian Land Rovers. Are there any? If they are scouting or exploring, I'd expect them. But that is a human's expectation of human behavior.

    Their reported behavior just doesn't resolve itself into anything human as far as reason, logic, purpose, although they seem purposeful about something.

    My best guess is they are constructed and controlled craft. It also appears they aren't much interested in us.

    Regards,

    Don

    By Blogger Sourcerer, at Friday, January 07, 2011  

  • Don:

    I can't eschew Darwin or the 19th Century.

    For me that period is the high-water of human culture -- in music, psychology, art, literature, et cetera.

    The UFO phenomenon (or phenomena, which drives Jerry Clark crazy but Nick Redfern and I like as the proper description of the many, diverse emanations that are lumped under the UFO sobriquet) appears to be intelligently controlled craft more than anything else.

    The methodology of Darwin and other scientifically oriented thinkers can be used to get at the UFO problem, but science methodology is a laborious, daunting thing, and "ufologists" are a lazy lot, thinking that trips to archival venues or areas where UFOs have been seen is real scientific work.

    Interviewing UFO witnesses is also a bogus endeavor, replacing UFO forensics for testimony that is encumbered by the very vicissitudes that Freud and Jung pointed out in that 19th Century you find distasteful.

    UFOs are intriguing, and have been for some time now.

    Classifying them and their behavior, a la Darwinian principles would go a long way to helping resolve the mystery.

    But I'm not holding my breath for any old or current "ufologist" to provide the effort -- the real effort -- needed to truly delineate the phenomenon by serious classification.

    And no, drawings of UFO types don't do it for me, nor listing sightings by years either.

    There has to be an epiphanic moment, by someone not screwed up by the UFO freaks, as someone called them recently, who have taken hold of the topic and made it a laughing stock among academics, science, and the few intelligent members of media and society.

    UFOs may be thoughtfully controlled aircraft from outer space, if you will, or something altogether unique, which is very likely the case.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, January 07, 2011  

  • The problem with the 19th century is that this is the 21st century. It is not the fault of Darwin, Freud or Marx. Times change and so does language and meaning.

    I read a lot of 1940s publications. Language and meaning have changed since then. Being old enough to have been a boy in the 50s, I can see those issues. Someone a generation or two younger than me might not be aware of them at all. It's one reason why scholarship is important. Passing time alone makes it necessary.

    An evolutionary model would need a ufo analogue to mitochondria and cell nucleus, and something to map to phenotypic expression. These things were not known to Darwin, but are known to us about evolution. There's nothing to be done about it; the 20th century gave us molecular biology.

    The virus model may be more flexible , not being a biological thing, yet it has behavior, purpose, and an intimate association with the biological.

    But I haven't read du Nouy.


    Regards,

    Don

    By Blogger Sourcerer, at Friday, January 07, 2011  

  • Don:

    Get and read du Nouy's book.

    It could enhance your life.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, January 07, 2011  

  • good post. interesting concept. when i was unemployed for 9 months back in 2009 i spent lots of time with my canon 400mm telephoto. i was into vultures and air planes. in all that time plane spotting i never took a photo of any species of UFO. lots of chem trails but that is another conspiracy. my other hobby is studying shooting stars. i set up a L3 (low light level) vid cam and record over night into the computer. i have hours and hours of dvd's to review. recently i have noticed an increase in meteoric activity. i havent yet looked at all the video i captured so i cant say 100% there are no UFOs. i sure wish i can get some folks to help review the dvd's. willing to share discovery of any, shall we say, interesting aerial phenomena. with the ufo iconclast(s) permission, my email pabtiu "at" hotmail dot com. subject line should be shooting star review project

    By OpenID quantumskunk, at Friday, January 07, 2011  

  • Sure, QuantumSkunk...

    Maybe a few of our regulars will check out your online images and contact you about them:

    pabtiu@hotmail.com

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Saturday, January 08, 2011  

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