The UFO Iconoclast(s)

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Research, No Research, and UFO Research


Copyright 2012, InterAmerica, Inc.

UFO Research is oxymoronic, to be generous.

Research, scientific research, or any kind of research operates with, first of all, an overview of the matter or things to be scrutinized – a gestalten observation.

Then, if there are patterns or elements that stand out, the researcher culls the standouts for special attention, a thorough scrutiny perhaps.

I’ve noticed a the tendency, the habit, of most UFO “researchers” to get sidetracked, without a gestalten view of a UFO event, by a side issue or minor aspect of a UFO sighting or event that may or may not be important.

For instance, when I brought up, here, recently, the Aztec/Scully account of an alleged flying saucer crash near Aztec, New Mexico in 1948, the comment section got smuckered by a sidebar involving Silas Newton, a player in the Aztec saga, but a man who has little or nothing to do with the essential story: a crash of a flying saucer near Aztec, from which bodies and the saucer were taken for study by the United States military.

silas3.jpg

Newton is said to have concocted the story which Variety reporter Frank Scully took, in toto, and wrote one of the seminal books about flying saucers – Behind the Flying Saucers [1950] – at the outset of the saucer craze.

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But to zero in on Newton as the premise for Scully’s story strays from the research modus; an intense Newton scrutiny takes researchers away from the reported saucer crash to a vetting of a man who was only a part of the Scully book and story.

Surely, a quirky element that shows up in a researchers studied domain needs to be taken aside and seriously deconstructed to see if that quirky element is an essential part of the thing under scrutiny.

But to laminate a quirky element or detail with such encrustations as seen in the Newton commentaries is to miss the forest for the tree.

And then there is Roswell and the Mogul balloon scenario…

Like the Newton “footnote” some UFO aficionados continue to dissect the Mogul explanation by the United States Air Force for the Roswell crash of 1947.

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UFO writer, Kevin Randle regularly opens his blog to a discussion of Mogul and Roswell, which is, for some researchers, what did not happen near Roswell: Mogul is an AF red-herring they contend.

The Mogul balloon hypothesis is a side-bar, but some “researchers” can’t let it go.

The vicissitudes of Roswell place Mogul in a subservient position as far as the event, in totality, is concerned. Mogul balloons don’t provide substance for all the witness accounts and subsequent mythos that has derived from the Roswell incident.

But Mogul is grist, ample grist, for protracted commentary and discussion by Roswell skeptics and Roswell ET die-hards.

Speculating on the Mogul operation takes researchers far from the total Roswell picture, just as concentrating on Silas Newton takes researchers far from the tale of the Aztec crash.

Then there is the 1957 RB-47 event, which is touted by Paul Kimball and others as the “Best” UFO incident, for study and confirmation of the UFO reality, ever.

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But researchers, like Tim Printy, Brad Sparks, and Kimball, have circled their research wagons around the reported radar returns that the RB-47 Air Force crew experienced.

The radar returns are a subtle element in the whole RB-47 account; cold war exigencies, crew psychology (as a totality and individually), mechanical quirks of the aircraft (if any), et cetera, have to be considered before researchers grapple with only one random aspect of the total event: the radar mischief.

UFO “researchers” approaching their subject, then fixating on one subtle, minute irrelevant detail within that event is typical of the UFO mavens modus operandi.

UFO researchers don’t seem to have the wherewithal to take on UFOs in a scientific way.

Go to UFO UpDates for myriad examples where UFO fanatics get hooked on a particular detail of a sighting and pummel that detail until it is so bloodied and broken that it is of no value to anyone, least of all to a real researcher, who might be able to connect it to meaningful patterns in other UFO accounts.

The side-bar researcher makes banal something that might be important. They do this by trivializing details, which they use to show-off or feign expertise, where there is none.

Newton, Mogul, the RB-47 radar, are all without scientific cachet, in the context of the whole that their UFO reference represents.

But scrounging around for meaning in such minutiae is what most UFO researchers do.

And that’s why the UFO mystery remains intact; amateurs and research-pretenders have spoiled the UFO pottage.

(And lest anyone think we are excusing our own side-tracks – the Socorro symbol, for instance -- we’re not. We are as guilty as anyone of getting caught up in a footnote. But, at least, we know that we’re culpable, and do not fool ourselves, or anyone else, that we’re real researchers. We’re as flawed as those we’re excoriating here.)

RR

65 Comments:

  • Ufology is where the line between belief and theory is blurred. In most cases, the question posed becomes a pathology that is deeply rooted in psychological weaknesses.
    99% of this structural pathology revolves around do extraterrestrials exist or don't they? And so, the whole of the examinations are based on this one question. The question may be irrelevant. How one reacts to this statement is an arbiter of how deeply engrained this pattern of behaviorism is.
    There are a handful that challenge this behavior... that largely exists also because it is in familiar terms, a domesticated question attached to needs that are associated with the phenomenon.
    Several years ago, when I wrote "Manchurian Messengers" suggesting that abduction "patients" were carrying the "messages" of those who allegedly "researched"the phenomenon, it was discounted.
    We are still hoisted by our own petards by proving this or that, and the investigation becomes secondary, or going through the motions, at worst.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Tuesday, January 03, 2012  

  • Bruce:

    The psychology of the rabble has always baffled me.

    But after being immersed in the UFO world, the psychology of the researchers and mavens baffles me even more.

    These are supposed to be intelligent beings, but the researchers are often loonier than the persons they exploit for their so-called research.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, January 03, 2012  

  • I thought the story of the crash of a flying saucer at Aztec was first brought to light in a lecture by the said Silas M. Newton at the University of Denver in March 1950.

    If so, then Newton is indeed the instigator of the tale, and he is central to it. It is not a case of sidetracking - it was Newton that originated the tale. Hence the story centers around him. Am I right?

    By Blogger cda, at Tuesday, January 03, 2012  

  • I'm not even sure we should be called researchers in the strictest sense of the term.

    More correctly, I think, we are collectors of data and testimony, that we then try and make some sense of.

    Very often, there's nothing tangible for us to research.

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Tuesday, January 03, 2012  

  • Christopher:

    As with Roswell, nailing Newton doesn't tell us anything. It remains a he said/he said thing.

    One has to go after information from Aztec and others who were said to be involved....something concrete, as Nick tells us has to be done with Roswell also.

    Vetting Marcel, Haut, et al. about Roswell hasn't got us anywhere.

    Vetting Newton won't either.

    Frank Warren doesn't see Newton as the con-man who started the Aztec story, nor do I.

    Scully's book doesn't either.

    Scott Ramsey has uncovered material that indicates, like Roswell, something happened at Aztec, which makes Newton, like Scully, a messenger, not an instigator.

    People are always looking for a fall-guy when they should be looking for evidence that seems to bubble up around such UFO events as Roswell, Aztec, Rendlesham, et cetera.

    Researchers need to get away from the fall-guy thing and pursue those hints of tangibility that percolate, and persist.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, January 03, 2012  

  • Nick:

    I see you as a journalist who digs up often hidden material that researchers should check out.

    You have the open-mind and objectivity of a good reporter, which is golden as far as I'm concerned.

    The researcher group is a whole other animal, and not a real one when it comes to UFOs, I'm sorry to say.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, January 03, 2012  

  • Rich:

    The biggest problem I see with much of Ufological research is that it's very often (A) driven by firm belief in a thoery (usually the ETH), which makes it basically like a religion; (B) filled with people unwilling to look at a new theory after years of upholding a previous one; and (C) a stupid need or desire for UFOs to be this or that.

    I try, whenever and wherever possible, to remain unbiased and non-belief driven. And i recognize the stupidity of not being open to modifying or outright changing one's views if the evidence suggests such action is warranted.

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Tuesday, January 03, 2012  

  • This is a nice little list here Nick.

    "A) driven by firm belief in a thoery (usually the ETH), which makes it basically like a religion;"

    Certainly the cases that seem to defy a mundane explanation get my attention. I'm certainly not unbiased, that's the reason why I'm into UFOs . . . I think there's something to it.

    "B) filled with people unwilling to look at a new theory after years of upholding a previous one;"

    I'll take a look at it, but I haven't been more impressed looking at the work of the skeptics compared with the pro-UFO researchers.

    "C) a stupid need or desire for UFOs to be this or that."

    Everybody has their pet ultimate explanation. I note the time traveler theory has had some traction lately but think about this: All travel is time and space travel. Let's say you wanted to travel 6 months into the future and end up sitting in front of your computer. Well in 6 months if you traveled to the same spot in space, that's where you'd be, out in space. the earth is on the far side of the sun, about 186 million miles away not even factoring in the sun's rotation around the galactic center point and the continuing and accelerating expansion of the universe. You gotta figure all that in to make time travel work.

    By Blogger Frank Stalter, at Tuesday, January 03, 2012  

  • Most amusing.

    Completely divorced from reality, but amusing nonetheless.

    PK

    By Blogger Paul Kimball, at Tuesday, January 03, 2012  

  • UFOs bring out the comedic in me, Paul.

    What can I say?

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, January 03, 2012  

  • In all seriousness, if one is convinced - as I am - that Mogul is the explanation for Roswell, and Aztec was a hoax created by Newton, then those are the focal points for those cases. Indeed, if one holds such a point of view (as many do), then the story of those cases ends there, unless one is interested in the non-UFO elements of the stories (and if that is the case, I recommend the work of cultural anthropologist Benson Saler).

    As for the RB47 case, none of the people you have mentioned have focused soley on the radar data. That is just one element of a complex story.

    But you already knew this, n'est ce pas? ;-)

    Paul

    By Blogger Paul Kimball, at Tuesday, January 03, 2012  

  • Frank:

    In relation to my following comment that Ufology is "filled with people unwilling to look at a new theory after years of upholding a previous one..."

    You said:

    "I'll take a look at it, but I haven't been more impressed looking at the work of the skeptics compared with the pro-UFO researchers."

    I'm not asking you to be impressed by skeptics. I'm certainly not impressed by them! LOL. I'm suggesting more people in Ufology should look at alternative esoteric/fortean theories for what is afoot, beyond just the highly simplistic ETH.

    And in relation to my comment about Ufologists and their "stupid need or desire for UFOs to be this or that,"

    You say: "Everybody has their pet ultimate explanation."

    And that's the problem. No-one should be having explanations. Rather, they should have theories that, depending on the data available, may be worth addressing to varying degrees.

    Take my Body Snatchers in the Desert book. That is not an explanation for Roswell. It's a theory, based largely on witness testimony.

    And I've always acknowledged that.

    If there were laws in Ufology, then beliefs should be banned and believers should be soaked in gasoline and set alight in a nice fiery inferno.

    Belief in Ufology is like belief in religion. As Rich will tell you, I'm not a particularly religious person.

    Now, I have read a lot of testimony and ideas suggesting that there may be something to life after death.

    But, the idea of Heaven, Hell, that Noah took 2 of each animal onto a big boat, that when we die we go "up there" or "down there" depending on if we helped some old lady cross the road, or robbed a bank is based on a belief system that is designed to control us via fear and guilt.

    That doesn't mean there is no life after death. Rather, it means control freaks who see religion as a great tool of control have hijacked the mystery of life after death and use scare tactics on sunday mornings to influence the mindsets of wide-eyed throngs.

    And that's what the mainstream UFO research field has done - instilled the idea that the ETH is a fact, not just a belief or theory.

    In the same way nutty preachers hijack the mysteries of life after death, so Ufology hijacks a genuine mystery (UFOs) to promote the ETh because it sells books, gets people on seats at conferences.

    I'm not perfect, but no-one can accuse me of preaching to the converted or of being rigidly tied to one belief system that has never been proved as real.

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Tuesday, January 03, 2012  

  • Where we differ, Paul, is that I don't think Mogul is the explanation for Roswell.

    You won't like this, but Anthony Bragalia is privy to information, vetted information, that something more serious and more dynamic happened at Roswell in 1947.

    Also, if you've read Scully's book, and I think you have, you can't ascribed the story to Newton.

    If a hoax was promulgated, it wasn't Newton who generated it.

    Ramsey and Warren also have gathered information that gives substance to something more than a hoax.

    I know you don't agree with Ramsey's work, but I tend to see something more about Aztec than you do, and Ramsey/Warren give me pause that the story was hoax-driven.

    As for RB-47, your assigning it as the "best" UFO case ever tickles me.

    It's an interesting encounter, which I've dealt with (as an example of a macro-quantum occurence, which isn't as loopy as you might think).

    But it isn't a major UFO sighting or case, by any stretch of the UFO imagination.

    It's a good case, but the "best"?

    I don't think so, nor do many others.

    Calling it "the best" is hyperbole of a grand kind.

    Taking all the attention slathered upon the 1957 interaction, raising it to the top of the UFO pile is egregious lauding, that's all.

    UFO research is an oxymoron. I stand by that.

    Not to see UFO researchers as charlatans is a kind of denial -- a kind of denial that I eschew with all the thought I can muster.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, January 03, 2012  

  • UFOs and research.

    Could be the ultimate impetus for a creative reading class. LOL!

    The point is, you're always going to be biased when it comes to speculation.

    Real or fair UFO research doesn't exist apart from the socially derived bias which is passed off as a base gestalten observation.

    Perhaps the problem with the UFO phenomena *is* the traditional gestalten supposition wherein we start with the premise that UFOs are technology as we might imagine it.

    UFOs are above personification, literally. ;-)

    By Blogger Jeff Davis, at Tuesday, January 03, 2012  

  • Hey Nick-

    "I'm suggesting more people in Ufology should look at alternative esoteric/fortean theories for what is afoot, beyond just the highly simplistic ETH."

    That's great and like I wrote, of course I'd take a look but is it theory or science fiction masquerading as such?

    Simple as it is, ETH is getting backed up with more hard science every day as the exo-planet hunt turns up more and more possibilities. I think the general presumption is that life does exist elsewhere the distances involved are the sticking point in proving it. The next step then becomes how is it possible for an ET to get from there to here. Admittedly that's a huge leap, but it has more going for it than time travelers or inter-dimensional travelers (many scientists will tell you there is NO evidence for a multiverse, despite its' popularity in some of the more adventurous TV documentaries on the universe and that theory is ALL wild speculation . . . imagine scientists speculating wildly!!! ;O) ).

    I'm OK with simplistic. Einstein is famously quoted as saying, "All things should be made as simple as possible and not one bit simpler." I'm open to listening to the wildest anyone's got, but you have to have something more than a far out idea that no one can disprove.

    By Blogger Frank Stalter, at Tuesday, January 03, 2012  

  • Rich,

    Tell you what - when either Bragalia or Ramsey release their stupendous finds, then we can all discuss them. Until then, they can't be part of any reasonable discourse. And I've seen both of their "interpretations" of data before - so I'll leave to to better men and women to sift through whatever they may present to find any meaning. Should they ever actually present anything, of course.

    As for RB47, you really need to get off the "Paul Kimball has declared it the best case ever" thing. It was voted as such by a wide group of people for my film, and even then that's only one list. Besides, the idea of assigning a "best case ever" designation to any one incident is ridiculous (unless of course for purely entertainment purposes). The point of my film was always to present ten of the best (as the late Dick Hall would have said) - RB47 just happened to slot in at #1.

    Far too many people confuse television for something important. They also tend to focus in on the opinion of just one person as somehow significant. I would, however, expect better from you. ;-)

    Paul

    P.S. Anyone who really knows anything about Frank Scully knows that he was a hack, and a confabulator. A gossip columnist for Variety is hardly the "Tom Brokaw" of his day, as Scott Ramsey once described him.

    By Blogger Paul Kimball, at Tuesday, January 03, 2012  

  • Paul:

    I agree that persons sitting on information that supposedly explains or helps to a UFO event should present their findings ASAP.

    But in the case of Roswell and what Bragalia has uncovered, the information is surrounded by fears that the government may punish those who impart the information or material that supports the view that Roswell was not a Mogul mishap.

    I hope he and his Dream Colleagues come forward soon with what they are uncovering, stuff that seems to be new and revelatory.

    As for Aztec, it's only interesting to me because of Scully's book, which is not a hack job by any means.

    The content is flush with insight about flying saucers, and that in 1950, before UFOs got blended by all the crap that pseudo researchers (ufologists) disseminated later on.

    As for your link to RB-47, you have been a proponent, somewhat like Newton who was a proponent for Aztec, if I read you correctly.

    RB-47 got and gets lots of publicity from your venues.

    It's a good case but appearing at the top spot on your list, only goes to show that UFO biggies are as fallible as tyros.

    I don't quite understand your television reference, so I'll let it lie.

    Our debate, your and mine, is hampered by my affection for Tony Bragalia's efforts and that of Scott Ramsey and Frank Warren, whereas you dismiss them and their work, in toto, or mostly so.

    We are at loggerheads but since it is about UFOs, it doesn't matter in the great scheme of friendship.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, January 03, 2012  

  • In a field with a dearth of hard evidence (come on, admit it), only the witnesses are really a fit subject for serious research, that is, psychological/social science research.

    Ufology is loathe to admit in many cases the most interesting aspect of the case is the observer. Yet, other than some studies regarding alien abduction, no one (professional researcher or otherwise) seems to have tackled the question of a psychological (or physiological) profile of UFO witnesses in general. Reports are just unquestioningly taken at face value without regard to witness state of mind or physical condition at the time of the event (one of MUFON's weaknesses). These aspects are especially critical to single witness sightings.

    Community social and cultural beliefs and influences need to be accounted for in sightings by multiple witnesses. But again, research here is lacking.

    Almost all lay UFO research is simply about convincing others that what the researcher already believes about the phenomenon is the truth. UFOs are very rarely approached with an open mind.

    By Blogger purrlgurrl, at Wednesday, January 04, 2012  

  • Frank:

    You say: "ETH is getting backed up with more hard science every day as the exo-planet hunt turns up more and more possibilities."

    Dead wrong. The fact that there are other worlds outside of our own solar system has no bearing on the UFO phenomenon.

    It's a leap of faith to suggest that because there are other worlds in other star-systems that this may somehow impact on the nature of the UFO phenomenon, or bolster its validity.

    And just because a planet in a far away star system MAY support life, or MAY have the capability to, doesn't mean it actually DOES.

    So, until we can say for sure, it's an issue that has no bearing.

    It's like saying that a near-death-experience proves there is a Heaven. It doesn't. It means the person has a weird experience that we need to investigate, study and define.

    And finding a planet in another solar system in no way at all takes us closer to understanding what happens when someone drives home late one night, has 2 hours of missing time, and vague memories of encountering something odd.

    But UFO researchers are always so keen to think that potential life on another world somehow impacts positively on their research into UFO phenomenon.

    It only impacts on the phenomenon if the phenomenon is proved to be other-worldly!

    If it's something terrestrial, or something truly esoteric (like Tulpa phenomena), then the existence of planets far away has no bearing on the matter in any way, shape or form at all.

    Back to the "research thread of this post, this has always been one of UFO research's biggest faults - it comes up with a belief (the ETH) and then looks for evidence to support that belief.

    No-one should be believing anything in Ufology. Rather, we should impartially investigate and study cases, and not put a stamp on them of "it's this" or "it's that" until we know.

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Wednesday, January 04, 2012  

  • Nick
    You provided the most cogent outline of what Paul has many times called the sociology of a phenomenon. What constitutes a best case appears to be those that conform in behavior to what we are most familiar with in those terms such as radar returns, flight paths, etc. It may be that due to this short list of those that conform to "the tenuous possible" from our viewpoint then have more than likely than not, prosaic explanations.
    However, in the aggregate sum from a more ambivalent point of view, the sociology is a portion of the phenomenon that unlike the phenomenon itself is repeatable behavior in a predictable way.
    I suppose that also in that sum, everything that constitutes the whole of it is incommensurable to the familiar. This is perhaps what divides the skeptics from the agnostic from the believers toward the whole of it. However history by it's nature is set, and if that is a guide, the skeptics only have at best, a 50\50 chance of being correct as the phenomenon's non existence. Objects falling from the sky was once thought to be a "witness" problem by mainstream science. No evidence.
    I think looking outside of the box of sociology is the best tact, as your efforts demonstrate the phenomenon itself is outside the box.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Wednesday, January 04, 2012  

  • PG:

    As usual, you are right on the button!

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, January 04, 2012  

  • Bruce:

    It's rather like with the Contactee movement too.

    Many UFO researchers dismiss the entire phenomenon because they few the tales of space-aliens with long hair, coming from Venus as embarrassing.

    Whereas tales of emotionless Grays from Zeta Reticuli extracting human DNA to save their dying race, is fine to the research community.

    But, as I noted in my Contactees book, while there certainly many Contactees who were kooks, liars, fantasists and possibly even government stooges, there is a core element to the phenomenon that is, in some fashion, real.

    Much of it deals with shamanic type experiences in the desert, with a phenomenon that possibly manifests in different, visionary ways for the person undergoing the experience.

    Of course, for UFO researchers who uphold the ETH, this is all beyond the pale. They simply dont want to hear about shamans, shape-shifting phenomena interacting with people in altered states etc etc.

    Religion aside, there is possibly no field beyond Ufology that is so selective when it comes to issues relative to research, belief and evidence, and what constitutes to all three.

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Wednesday, January 04, 2012  

  • "But in the case of Roswell and what Bragalia has uncovered, the information is surrounded by fears that the government may punish those who impart the information or material that supports the view that Roswell was not a Mogul mishap."

    What fears? This sounds like an excuse (by Bragalia) for only giving a drip, drip feed of information rather than the whole thing, assuming he has anything substantial to tell us.

    It reminds me of authors/researchers in the past who promised great revelations to come but revealed so little. It was "the authorities", or fear of them, that precluded these writers revealing more.

    You are not seriously telling us that the US govt is still, after over 6 decades, trying to block the release of information on either ET visits to earth or a terrestrial non-Mogul explanation for Roswell, are you?

    For what it's worth, I predict that Tony Bragalia's information, when he finally decides to release it, will be of zero value to science. I predict exactly the same for the 'dream team' in general.

    Naturally I risk being disproved, but am willing to take that risk.

    Yes there are some good UFO cases, but they are few and far between. And you will rarely get agreement on which ones they are.

    By Blogger cda, at Wednesday, January 04, 2012  

  • Christopher:

    While the government has long memory and means of retribution, setting those aside, the persons involved -- the "witnesses" think or believe that there could still be consequences for divulging what they know.

    Anthony Bragalia is no hack. He works diligently to obtain useful, interesting tidbits that lead or can lead to things unknown up to now.

    From what I've been made privy to, I assure you that Tony has found some intriguing material(s) and information.

    And you know me to be skeptical about much of the Roswell detritus.

    But there are elements of the incident that have been overlooked and indicate something significant happened near Roswell in 1947.

    Whether that was an extraterrestrial event or something else is yet to be determined.

    But I like how Bragalia doggedly pursues his leads.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, January 04, 2012  

  • Nick
    I tried to provide a cogent example of memes overtaking a more critical analysis in the weaknesses of human psychology in "The Counter Narrative of 2012" The structures of paradigms perhaps contain a sort of death wish in relation to their certainties if they over ride the observers ambivalence. These anxieties pop out of containment as fear, myths and institutionalized self references all wanting to reinforce repeatability.
    http://materialintangible.blogspot.com/2012/01/counter-narrative-of-20012.html

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Wednesday, January 04, 2012  

  • @Rich & PG
    Funny, all that I read here in PG's post is sheer bias. So because a phenomena is not rife with "hard evidence", those witnessing as much should be exposed to a battery of psychological testing???? What about the INSANE QUANTITY of professional pilots, astronauts, aerospace techs, radar operators, etc. as witnesses who have ALREADY undergone such psychological testing of the most scientifically scrutinous variety possible?

    What next? Maybe they dropped LSD the morning of the event.

    If we did both a psychological and sociological spread sheet on everyone's personal beliefs, exactly how would that bring us closer to developing an understanding of this phenomena?

    I do not see what PG proposes here as being anything of merit whatsoever. What she is calling "research" is nothing but an avenue of possible dismissal contingent on that which she "feels" most closely aligned with, which is positively no different than seeking information that conforms to predetermined beliefs. In short, pseudo skeptical nonsense.

    Direction & orientation are the terms that everyone other than Nick seems to be missing. Research is a nonsensical approach when it comes to Fortean interests apart from the compilation of observed information itself. When it comes to UFO speculation, a died in the wool approach is deadly to no one but yourself.

    Bottom Line: Q: What is the UFO Phenomena? A: I don't know

    Therefore logic dictates that all speculation based bets should be off until we do KNOW.

    The best definition of insanity that I know of is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. No matter how you research ANYTHING of a Fortean nature, until you can a) duplicate, or b) gather enough hard evidence to form a solid empirical opinion, the matter is beyond research based analysis.

    People need to stop expecting UFOs or witnesses to be what they "should" be in their best predetermined opinion. None are exempt including myself.

    By Blogger Jeff Davis, at Wednesday, January 04, 2012  

  • Jeff:

    PG's comments are moderate and sensible.

    Most who visit here think that a neurological evaluation of those who've encountered UFOs, not just seen one, should be considered for a neural exam.

    That isn't a pejorative judgement, but good research methodology, that's all.

    We are all subject to mental manipulations, as I tried to explain in the posting above.

    To discount the possibility that mental interactions might be a part of or entirely, even, an explanation for UFOs is a greater bias -- one that is not academic or scientific.

    Sorry.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, January 04, 2012  

  • Astronaut Gordon Cooper stated emphatically before congress that he himself had been, along with about 10 of his men at the time, witness to an up close and personal landing of a flying saucer, aftrward with occupants outside the craft, at an airforce base that he and these men were present at.

    I fail to see how a neurological exame would substantiate his or his men's testimoney. I can only think of several thousand more examples.

    and I ask you again: How would the following methodology help to define the UFO phenomena?

    *Most who visit here think that a neurological evaluation of those who've encountered UFOs, not just seen one, should be considered for a neural exam.*

    I would honestly like to know what specific information could be culled from a neurologucal exam of individuals that have UFO related experiences that would change anything at this point with respect for the UFO phenomena?

    By Blogger Jeff Davis, at Wednesday, January 04, 2012  

  • Jeff:

    You seem to have a misunderstanding of what's being suggested by PG, Duensing, and me (among others).

    No one is trying to substantiate the mental abilities or character of those you cite.

    But neurologists, psychologists, and the like should look at whether there was or is something that affects or afflicts the brains of those who seem to see or experience something odd.

    It's standard practice, or should be, when something bizarre is under consideration.

    You seem awfully defensive about this, when it is merely one more tool in the search for what may cause UFOs or UFO encounters to be experienced by humans.

    (The approach would also apply to those who see ghosts or even Bigfoot I imagine.)

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, January 04, 2012  


  • So because a phenomena is not rife with "hard evidence", those witnessing as much should be exposed to a battery of psychological testing????


    Jeff,

    We have ample studies within the field of psychology that demonstrate a need to consider the architecture of the brain as at least being a possible manifestation point of the phenomenon.

    Synapses fire. Axons and dendrites do their little 'dance' with nary any instruction from you. But if a dendrite is too near another, and the electrical stimulation too high, the wrong dendrite can receive the stimulation as well.

    Furthermore, we know that the brain has some sort of map. We know sounds go to certain regions. Smells go to another. And images go to yet another area. That shouldn't surprise you.

    When was the last time you looked at a map of the brain and its known functions? The parietal, occipital, and temporal lobes all border one another. One doesn't necessarily need a defective brain in order to suffer a cross-contaminatory effect. If you happen to have a particular visual memory that sits right on the boundary of a particular sound memory, then the triggering of one may inadvertently cause the triggering of the other. Not through any fault (or defect) of the 'experiencer', but simply because the brain lobes/regions border one another.

    By Blogger Parakletos, at Wednesday, January 04, 2012  

  • Rich
    I am not being defensive and that really is the truth.

    It's also not an emotional thing for me at all. I just see what PG wrote (and I could be wrong, but I am not convinced yet that I am) as blatantly pseudo skeptical.

    I apologize if that does not seem fair.

    What have I been stating emphatically here for months now?

    It's my pet adopted hypothesis that the sentient mind is the biggest part of the UFO mystery.

    That certainly does not mean that the mind is responsible for them however, and that's precisely what these tests would seek to make record.

    To me, that's nonsense.

    How can we use neurological testing to determine if what someone saw was really there or not? We can check for such a propensity but is there any substantiation for what is the UFO apart from the witnesses mind?

    Neurological, psychological, sociological, whatever. The ONLY thing in hindsight that these scans can accomplish is "reason to dismiss testimony based on significant findings". If you can show me different, you will have changed my mind.

    IMO, UFOs are absolutely REAL. As real as you or I. There is no test needed for me to know as much. I just don't know how a test after the event could lead to any real understanding of the UFO phenomena as a whole whatsoever. In certain cases it could disqualify witnesses possibly, but does that mean they didn't see what they stated they did, or does it mean that they are just a bit whacked and really did see precisely what they described?

    Now if you could have everyone hooked up and patched in while the event is taking place, then we have a far different scenario.

    I am about as open minded as they come Rich. I just don't think that testing after the fact would accomplish a thing save to discredit the witness.

    I'm sticking to my guns on this one. People can claim that folks like Cooper are not expert witnesses because they or anyone else really do not know what a UFO is, therefore they cannot be an expert UFO witness. But you know what? They sure can be an expert witness as to what is ours, and what is not. All they have to have is an accurate understanding of what technology we have and what we don't. I think MR. Cooper was in a pretty good spot to be more than aware of what cutting edge technology was ours at the time with respect to aerospace.

    He stated it wasn't ours. (humanities, not the USA)

    I have made the choice to believe him as a more than credible witness.

    Just my take/opinion

    Tools are one thing, witch hunts another. I just hope those tests aren't the kind that determine if the witch sinks or floats if you know what I mean.

    By Blogger Jeff Davis, at Wednesday, January 04, 2012  

  • Jeff:

    Parakletos, for once addresses the issue directly (above).

    He or she gets close to what I and others keep suggesting.

    Hallucinations are as real to the percipient as a real event is to a "normal" observer.

    That the brain may perceive an image or auditory response doesn't necessarily mean that a person is crazy; it merely means that an adjunct reality has intersected with the senses and seems real, that is, it has all the attributes of reality but isn't real at all, just a transient scenario the brain concocted for some reason.

    Jose Caravaca is delving into this and has provided some juicy examples at his blog -- The Caravaca Files.

    Of course, one has to concede that Cooper et al. actually saw what they saw, but to be scientific, one has to rule out an hallucinatory occurrence.

    The human mind is subject to many obtuse vicissitudes, and UFO sightings may be one of them, brought on by electromagnetic waves (Persinger) or the innfluence of the "others" (Caravaca).

    Or UFOs may be tangible manifestations -- ET things or something akin.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, January 04, 2012  

  • I totally hung myself in this thread. First off, Gordon Cooper never saw in person the saucer I referred to. He saw a film that his crew took of the craft as it landed and took off, almost immediately afterward as soon as the film was developed. He did see UFOs (saucers) in person while a fighter pilot. They chased them routinely. So there you have it, I screwed up and I apologize for as much.

    @Parakletos
    I know a little about perception. I also know that two people seeing the same precise object while together is most likely not represent of someone experiencing a brain hiccup. I know one thing, when thousands see the same precise object, it definitely is not a brain hiccup. So, all in all, the brain aberration based on mixed signals to explain the whole of the phenomena is very unlikely.

    By Blogger Jeff Davis, at Wednesday, January 04, 2012  

  • Thanks for the corrective Jeff.

    Now, may I suggest some reading?

    Any of the books by neurologist Oliver Sacks.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, January 04, 2012  

  • Jeff
    I think you would agree that one of the widely recognized pitfalls of science is to come to a conclusion and begin to selectively seek evidence to support that conclusion, and many a hoax based on potentials of opinion or perception alone (as the basis for valuation) has a high rate of contingent, fleeting success in science, where the line between theory and substantiation is blurred.
    Expert witnesses are fallible as many a court case demonstrates, as well as evidence. Measuring four times and cutting once is a pragmatic methodology. Gordan Copper has an opinion that cannot be weighed against itself. It must be weighed in the view of other evidence that seemingly contradicts it for a unbiased appraisal of the sum total evidence. Taking one account and one event does not constitute a appraisal.You may be correct and you may be wrong, but in either case, if you want evidence for ET, you will find it. That does not mean that two variables in relation to one another that coincide make for a statement that is neither true or true in relation to your postulate of ET that are analyzed in the light of all evidence should be surprising to you as no one knows the nature of this phenomenon unless you do by opinion alone. Another way to say this is that the best way to evaluate a horse race is not to have a vested interest in it and simply note your observations and be prepared to be wrong as well as right.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Wednesday, January 04, 2012  

  • "Dead wrong. The fact that there are other worlds outside of our own solar system has no bearing on the UFO phenomenon.

    It's a leap of faith to suggest that because there are other worlds in other star-systems that this may somehow impact on the nature of the UFO phenomenon, or bolster its validity."

    Of course the overwhelming success of our exo-planet hunters bolsters the ET/UFO connection. If these astronomers were coming back and saying, "well if planets were there we would have found them and they aren't," you might have a point.

    Planets are being demonstrated as ubiquitous in our galaxy and life is tough. Funding isn't being doled out to these efforts on a whim and they aren't listening for ET bird calls or dolphin whistles or looking for Mercury's twin. They're listening for intelligent wave form communications and looking for Earth's twin and I like their chances of finding it.

    When they do, the next question becomes obvious and it's the one UFO buffs are already asking.

    By Blogger Frank Stalter, at Wednesday, January 04, 2012  

  • Jeff,

    Consider the following from Wiki:


    The disease is named after the Swiss naturalist Charles Bonnet, who described the condition in 1769. He first documented it in his 89-year-old grandfather [11] who was nearly blind from cataracts in both eyes but perceived men, women, birds, carriages, buildings, tapestries, physically-impossible circumstances and scaffolding patterns.

    The syndrome is discussed in Vilayanur S. Ramachandran's book Phantoms in the Brain and in Vikram Chandra's book Sacred Games. Ramachandran suggests that James Thurber, who was blinded in one eye as a child, may have derived his extraordinary imagination from the syndrome.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Bonnet_syndrome


    How would you explain Charles Bonnet Syndrome? Do you not concede that such a syndrome could possibly be the root cause of at least some UFO 'sightings'?

    By Blogger Parakletos, at Wednesday, January 04, 2012  

  • FS:

    You're getting a little worked up, as you do with your hockey games.

    It's just a meandering debate, about an evanescent phenomenon; it's not a life-or-death matter.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, January 04, 2012  

  • I also know that two people seeing the same precise object while together is most likely not represent of someone experiencing a brain hiccup. I know one thing, when thousands see the same precise object, it definitely is not a brain hiccup.


    Jeff,

    Mass hysteria is possible, and has a name: Folie à deux

    I agree, however, that such an explanation is reduced in explanatory value when 'thousands' see the same thing 'at the same time'. And it is reduced even further if it appears cross-culturally.

    But it still doesn't reduce it completely. We have examples of hallucinations which occur as a result of visual ambiguity. Take for example:

    http://www.people.vcu.edu/~dcranston/211/illusions/abc123.gif

    Is that a "B" or a "13"? Context obviously plays an important part. If you're reading vertically, it's a "13". Horizontally, it's a "B".

    Would it do any good for me to take a poll and see what the majority of people say it is? Or am I not able to 'step back' from the illusion, and try to better understand how it works?

    Or take this example:
    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_IFzDPHUxHI0/S7VdkkoRvmI/AAAAAAAAAQo/9egxuwpeQmI/s1600/shepard_subterranea.gif

    If half the population tells me that that's a picture of a big 'guy' chasing a small one, does that change the fact that both are REALLY the same size?

    By Blogger Parakletos, at Wednesday, January 04, 2012  

  • The psychiatric category of "folies" explain much and one would do well to read about them.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, January 04, 2012  

  • Rich,

    Please, if you're going to try and bait me into some sort of brouhaha, you really must try to do better than comparing me with Silas Newton. You're clearly slipping in your dotage - almost as if you has become a member of the hoi polloi! ;-)

    Paul

    By Blogger Paul Kimball, at Wednesday, January 04, 2012  

  • Parakletos:

    The Charles Bonnet Syndrome was covered here, extensively, just a few weeks ago.

    Look for the post.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, January 04, 2012  

  • Paul:

    You'e a full-fledged writer now so I'm surprised that you miscontrued my comparative.

    I was merely noting that you accused Newton of the Aztec story and I meant that your attention to the RB47 story, which has been extensive, admittedly, could be said to be your baby, just as you think Aztec is Newton's baby.

    That's all.

    Everyone is so defensive lately...

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, January 04, 2012  

  • Frank:

    How on Earth (or, in this case, off it) does, as you word it, "the overwhelming success of our exo-planet hunters bolsters the ET/UFO connection"???

    You are making - again - the same mistake as so many other researchers, and UFO research in general.

    The discovery of planets in other solar-systems only bolsters the connection if UFOs can be shown to be linked to the activities of visiting ETs!

    No link has been shown or proved.

    Rather, a belief system that UFOs have ET origins has been developed, and you are using belief (not evidence or proved fact) to support the notion they are ET in origin.

    This is where Ufological research keeps falling down, namely misinterpreting belief for fact.

    If UFOs are not evidence of extraterrestrial visitation, but are something far weirder (possibly from the Earth itself), then it doesn't matter a hypothetical Zeta Reticulans' left nut how many planets MIGHT be inhabited.

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Wednesday, January 04, 2012  

  • Parakletos:

    That link at the Bonnet post has been fixed.

    Have at it.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, January 04, 2012  

  • @Bruce
    When dealing with an unknown phenomena, something completely non reproducible or testable, and not just a potentially unevaluated or defined commodity or medium, is it really possible to start without a hypothetical precept? This is an honest question.

    Could you give me an example of what the following premise refers specifically to?

    *Gordan Copper has an opinion that cannot be weighed against itself. It must be weighed in the view of other evidence that seemingly contradicts it for a unbiased appraisal of the sum total evidence.*

    You see, if it really were just a single case and not literally hundreds and hundreds of such cases, I would be inclined to agree with your weighed assessment here.

    Leslie Keen's book is filled with this sort of very well researched testimony from extremely qualified individuals. What contradictory evidential mass are you referring to here that we can we weigh successfully against such a collective?

    What is the alternative perspective apart from non human, or ultra human intelligence, piloting UFOs or using them as surveillance drones?

    By Blogger Jeff Davis, at Wednesday, January 04, 2012  

  • "No link has been shown or proved.

    Rather, a belief system that UFOs have ET origins has been developed, and you are using belief (not evidence or proved fact) to support the notion they are ET in origin."

    People can believe what they want to believe, of course, but some UFOs have displayed otherworldly capabilities, faster and more maneuverable than any Earthly contemporary aircraft. These incidents have been backed up by multiple, credible witnesses, on occasion from separate vantage points, and radar as well. The best scientific case for another world is another planet not interdimensional beings, or inner-Earth beings, or time traveler beings, and our astronomers are finding them. That's it really, simple as that, in a nutshell.

    By Blogger Frank Stalter, at Wednesday, January 04, 2012  

  • Rich,

    Check out the video at my blog. You might find it interesting -- even though you appear (at times) to loathe philosophy and/or philosophers.

    http://para-physin.blogspot.com

    By Blogger Parakletos, at Wednesday, January 04, 2012  

  • P:

    I'll check out your blog.

    By the way, philosophy and philosophers are two of my favorite things.

    I have a gazillion philosophy books here, and I'll take a photo for a posting sometime, just to show off.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, January 04, 2012  

  • Yes, it does by it's intrinsic nature, the unknown signifies what it infers, an unknown in relation to knowledge that by it's behavior, it does not require a hypothesis to exist as it excludes prosaic explanations. Gathering evidence as to how why and wherefore does not include an editorial stance that incorporates only coinciding factors that substantiate what is a theoretical hunch. The theory must also explain observable contradictions to it. The material you cited are based on the premise you hold as their origin which is a ET framework. In this case, a cogent theory on ET accompanying a workable hypothesis would explain:
    The enormous variety of craft that constitute inconsistent appearances, the enormous variety of close encounters that have the same issue, the physics in involved, "impossible" observed velocities, the ground trace effects, physiological effects, etc, etc. Unfortunately none of this exists beyond opinion or gut instinct. If it does, I am unaware of it.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Wednesday, January 04, 2012  

  • @Parakletos
    The psychological conditions to which you refer, I am somewhat familiar, but honestly, I'd weigh in on the intrigued side of familiarity rather than one of real understanding or practical association. After Rich brought up neurologist Oliver Sacks, naturally I took a drive on the google freeway. I recognized his name, and even his photo once I started looking at his materials on amazon, but could not immediately make an association until I remembered a show that I had seen last year, maybe the year before. It was basically all about various rare visual memory association disorders. There can be no question, I was hooked and did not change the channel. One woman just woke up one day in complete associative dysfunction and didn't know or recognize her husband from Adam. Claimed most emphatically that the man in bed next to her was a complete imposter. Could be a blessing, could be a curse, but truth is, these conditions are somewhat scarce, if not downright rare in full blown occurrence. The UFO phenomena however, is populated regularly with the daily reporting of sightings, video, photos, by numerous people, percentages of which are in fact investigated, to at very minimum a substantiation of their personal social credentials and factual identity. By the voluminous weight and diversity of the entire directly reported/investigated information's collective, with a conservative estimate bearing on source credibility, via a sheer law of averages alone, one would seem hard pressed to attribute any real marginal level of responsibility to such specific psychological aberrations. There is no question in my own mind that such consuming conditions as these would preclude that the average witness by obvious profile appearance alone, be mistaken as a typical, credible witness. These are in many cases highly dysfunctional people as with the case of CBS sufferers being predominantly blind. That attribute of the syndrome alone would negate them as credible witnesses, obviously.

    As a possible "yet to be empirically reviewed" prototypical psychosis cause of the aforementioned perceptive aberrations, aka, quick or fleeting flights of super imposed aberrational fancy attributed to related psychosis, you bet I'd hypothetically buy into that one, albeit on a very fractional contributing level as compared proportionately to the overall catalog of documented reported sightings.

    By Blogger Jeff Davis, at Wednesday, January 04, 2012  

  • Jeff,

    I placed a video from Oliver Sacks on my site -- perhaps that's the one you saw?

    It is true that Bonnet syndrome does affect people primarily with defective sight and/or hearing. But the defect isn't CAUSED by the faulty eye or faulty ear. It's caused by the brain. My guess is that a portion of the brain WAS once devoted to processing signals from the sense organ in question. But as that sense organ became diminished, that part of the brain no longer received input from that organ. And because it wasn't receiving the input any longer, that region of the brain was slowly 'encroached' by neighboring areas of the brain.

    For example, if the brain no longer needs to (nor can) store data coming from the eye(s), it might store smell or sound memories in that specific region, rather than the visual data it did once before. Of course that means that new smell or sound memories will be 'stored' in the same region where the old visual memories -- from when the eye was working properly -- exist.

    And, of course, the old visual memories might trigger the new smell or sound memories nearby. And the new smell/sound memories could trigger the old visual memories.

    But, as you rightfully point out, Bonnet is for people with degenerative senses. And as you point out, not all UFO 'percipients' have defective senses. But all percipients have brains.

    Bonnet gives us a glimpse into how ALL brains work, not only the brains of people who have defective sense organs.

    Memories that sit physically near each other in the brain can trigger each other -- even if those memories are of a different type (ie. sound, visual, tactile, smell, etc.)

    By Blogger Parakletos, at Thursday, January 05, 2012  

  • Frank:

    You wrote:

    "The best scientific case for another world is another planet not interdimensional beings, or inner-Earth beings, or time traveler beings, and our astronomers are finding them."

    But, a "scientific case" is not proof or evidence. It is simply, (as, ironically, you yourself word it) a case.

    Could the phenomenon be literally extraterrestrial? Well, yes of course it could!

    My point is that we know something is going on, that there is a real phenomenon, and that it exhibits extraordinary capabilities.

    But making a CASE that it has ET origins is not the same as providing PROOF that it has ET origins.

    Thus, until we have that proof, you are exhibiting in your comments (a) a belief, and (b) an opinion on the origin of the phenomenon.

    Nothing wrong with that, but please don't pretend that making a case for the origin (scientific or otherwise) equates with possessing hard proof of the origin, because it most certainly does not.

    I could make a case to a 5 year old that Santa Claus exists - but I can assure you he does not.

    The Christian church will tell you there is a Heaven and a Hell. If the church showed me proof of them I would believe. But they haven't. So, religion (all religion) becomes belief-driven.

    UFOs may one day be proved to have ET origins, at which point there will be no need for beliefs, because we will have hard facts. But, we aren't at that point.

    And again, on the theme of this blog post, UFO researchers fall down by concluding that a lot of extraordinary data equals ET visitation. Right now, it equals one thing: extraordinary data minus proof of ET visitation.

    And, I would refer you back to something you wrote in your first comment at this thread: "Everybody has their pet ultimate explanation."

    And why is that, hmmm? Because we have no proof of the origin, that's why! So, certain people in Ufology (not everybody in Ufology, actually) feel the need to come up with what they loudly claim is THE explanation, before all the evidence is in, or facts proof has been obtained.

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Thursday, January 05, 2012  

  • Frank:

    I missed one crucially important thing you said in your latest comment.

    You wrote: "UFOs have displayed otherworldly capabilities."

    Since this is a very specific statement, can you please tell us how you know (and I mean know, rather than having a belief) that the capabilities are SPECIFICALLY "otherworldly."

    Had you said somehting like "The capabilities are strange, fantastic, and I believe they have ET origins etc etc," and you left it at that, then that would have been fine.

    But, by adding that those capabilities are otherwordly, you - again - are making a statement of opinion but presenting it as fact.

    You, me, none of us, have proof that "UFOs have displayed otherworldly capabilities."

    Instead, we have a lot of data showing that UFOs have displayed extraordinary capabilities, minus proof it's otherworldly.

    For you to say those characteristics are specifically otherworldly, please tell me how you know that.

    Or, is it, after all is said, your opinion, based on the research of yourself and others? Of course it is!

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Thursday, January 05, 2012  

  • "But, a "scientific case" is not proof or evidence. It is simply, (as, ironically, you yourself word it) a case."

    I never claimed proof of an ET/UFO connection, but the proved exo-planet findings along with well documented UFO incidents are most certainly evidence. You seem to have a problem with my choice of the word "otherworldly" but facts are facts. The airspeed benchmarks achieved over time are well known and celebrated. The Sound Barrier, Mach 2 and so on are historic milestones and when solid intelligently controlled aircraft were sighted and clocked at speeds well in excess of those milestones before they were broken, what is the alternative? A subterranean super-civilization? Nazis operating out of Antarctica? I'm saying ET is the most logical option backed up with the most confirmed scientific fact. What are you offering?

    By Blogger Frank Stalter, at Thursday, January 05, 2012  

  • Frankly, I agree with Frank, mostley.

    IMO, he is 100% correct in that presently, the majority of collected and recorded data indicates that UFOs are both real solid objects, as well as those demonstrating capabilities that Arthur C. Clarke could only refer to contextually as "magic". The same type of magic that Bruce would call "impossible physics" which they most certainly do in fact demonstrate.

    Thing is, our own physics understanding is getting VERY close to this point. For a very real and scientific look through, one can peruse:

    http://www.amazon.com/Physics-Impossible-Scientific-Exploration-Teleportation/dp/0307278824/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1325863192&sr=8-1

    & possibly: (anyone read this one yet?)

    http://www.amazon.com/Solving-UFO-Enigma-Technology-ebook/dp/B006MXN9WA/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1325863313&sr=8-4

    MUCH will change in the next 100 years via our scientific progress in the realm of applied physics. Most likely, a great deal already has been developed that we don't know about. Especially with respect to UAVs.

    By Blogger Jeff Davis, at Friday, January 06, 2012  

  • Frank:

    You ask me: 'What are you offering?"

    I'll tell you what I am offering: clear and undeniable evidence of a genuine UFO phenomenon that interacts with the Human Race - sometimes to a profoundly close degree - and which appears to have been with us for centuries, and probably longer.

    And that's where I stop, because unlike you I don't feel there is enough evidence to make a near-certain case that the phenomenon is ET-based.

    You believe there is enough evidence, based on an opinion. But beliefs and opinions are not facts and they are not evidence.

    As I have said before, the phenomenon may well be ET-based.

    But, to keep going on and on about ET this and ET that in relation to UFOs (a phenomenon for which, I might remind you, the "U" in "UFO" STILL stands for "Unidentified" and NOT for "Identified as Alien") is not the way to proceed - until we know for sure.

    Until then (or if) we should recognize (as I do) that there most assuuredly IS a phenomenon, but we should proceed with caution when it comes to proclaiming this or that until we know for certain.

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Friday, January 06, 2012  

  • Frank:

    You also say: "You seem to have a problem with my choice of the word 'otherworldly' but facts are facts."

    Yes, I do!

    You specifically wrote: "UFOs have displayed otherworldly capabilities."

    Wrong. UFOs have displayed capabilities that are extraordinary and, to date, their origin remains unknown.

    You say too: "but facts are facts."

    Yes, facts certainly are facts!

    Unfortunately, your "otherworldly" words amount to a belief and theory, not a statement of fact.

    If you disagree, show me hard evidence that the UFO phenomenon displays SPECIFIC "otherworldly" characteristics, rather than displaying (as I state) poorly understood extraordinary characteristics.

    You may think the point is moot. But it is not. It's this cavalier approach of making sweeping statements that is one of the pitfalls of Ufology and Ufologists.

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Friday, January 06, 2012  

  • @Nick

    Nick I truly think you know how much I sincerely appreciate you PERIOD. Recently, I find myself reading something you wrote on an almost daily basis.

    I think at this point in the UFO realm, ETH/EDH are really the exact same thing. It simply means that they are not native to earth. As you have stated, that U stands for unidentified and we must all agree that there are little to no real certainties at this point within the UFO Phenomena. OMG how I need to remind myself of that daily. lol! And all the people said, "Get a life!"

    Here is the thing though Nick, Occam's Razor suggests that we use the most likely, prosaic or common explanation. When pilots flying in extremely sophisticated machinery whose equipment & themselves clearly define or see other solid metallic objects that they don't recognize in the least, yet these objects are zooming around them like they owned the place (hello, Charles Fort, is that you?) it is quite natural to assume they ain't from here.

    Now whether "here" is another dimension in which planets possibly do exist, or whether they are from a parallel universe in which planets hypothetically exist, they are ET either way. It's really just semantics.

    Now, if these hypothetical ships with their hypothetical pilots are actually denizens of a cataclysmically destroyed/fragmented Earth culture, a native civilization literally three times as old as this present age of man (who was at that glorious time basically Bigfoot) we could refer to them as not being ET. They would be just like us in terms of appearance, albeit evolved literally to the point of non relevance with respect for our own present evolutionary stance.(I refer to this said hypothetical as ultra human).

    Take for instance this last total guess on my behalf. Could this be why that in some of the more credible UFO occupant witness reports, that it is stated that although the occupants looked anatomically and proportionately like human beings in one piece jump suits, they are always wearing a velvet like bag or mask over their heads? Maybe they are human (ultra)and it's their moral code to in no way aid or interfere with our development.

    I have no clue, but it's great to wonder.

    Just out of curiosity Nick, if you had to pick a most likely origin guess, from whence comes these mysterious UFOs?

    By Blogger Jeff Davis, at Friday, January 06, 2012  

  • "And that's where I stop, because unlike you I don't feel there is enough evidence to make a near-certain case that the phenomenon is ET-based."

    You're twisting what I've written a little bit there. I would say that I'm certain that an ET basis is the best otherworldly explanation for a select number of extraordinary UFO cases. I think it's possible that is the case, it certainly isn't a belief. That's my opinion and obviously it's not without bias, I freely admit that, but there's bias in everything, despite a lot of journalistic boilerplate that floats around the media. There's bias in deciding what stories to cover or write about and what stories to ignore.

    By Blogger Frank Stalter, at Friday, January 06, 2012  

  • Frank,

    I suggest you move to the newer post....this one has run its course pretty much.

    Lagging behind is not a good thing.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, January 06, 2012  

  • Frank:

    You say several things that contradict in your latest mighty missive:

    1. First you say "I'm certain" that the ET theory is the best one.

    2. Then you say you think "it's possible" this is the case.

    3. Then you say, "That's my opinion."

    Well, from certainty to a possibility to a mere opinion: what a mixed bag for such a small comment!!

    First you are "certain," then you think it's "possible," then you qualify it all by saying it's your "opinion"!

    You'll forgive me for thinking that I no longer know where you are coming from, aside from it having a great deal to do with belief.

    Methinks, like Rich, it's time to put this thread to bed, before it gets ever more confusing, if such were possible.

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Friday, January 06, 2012  

  • Jeff

    I truly wish I could say for sure, or even with some degree of certainty, where the phenomenon originates.

    Unfortunately, I can't! At least, not right now, due to a lack of evidence pointing in this or that direction.

    If it's any help, there's no doubt in my mind there is a non-human aspect to the more significant life-changing UFO experiences, and I'm content to work with that scenario and pursue it until one day we can say with certainty what the point of origin is.

    I think the big danger in suggesting a theory for the point of origin, is that it often develops into a matter of belief over time, and I don't want to risk having that happen to me.

    So, I keep digging for the truth about the real nature of the genuine UFO puzzle (not the secret military craft, hoaxes, misidentification angles, which all have some validity to them, in degrees varying from small to not so small), and hopefully one day I can say "this is what UFOs are," rather than "this is what i think they might be."

    Probably not the answer you were hoping for, but definitely the best I can give right now, given the amount of evidence and data we collectively have in hand.

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Friday, January 06, 2012  

  • Such fascinating comments.

    In support of what Nick said:

    > UFO researchers are always so keen to think that potential life on another world somehow impacts positively on their research into UFO phenomenon.

    And sometimes they don't wait for the other world to be discovered. Stanton Friedman said this about the Hill-Fish map in 1979: "This work tells us where one set of visitors originates." At the time, we didn't even know if Zeta Reticuli had planets. Fifty years after Betty Hill saw the map in a dream, we still don't know if the Zeta system has planets.

    > there is possibly no field beyond Ufology that is so selective when it comes to issues relative to research, belief and evidence

    And of course the star chart data is out of date and Ms. Fish's formidable work no longer is valid. But none of this has deterred Stan in the least from declaring the matter proven. Apparently his oft-repeated rules for debunkers apply only to them, not to himself.

    This is the behaviour of the most famous ufologist in the English-speaking world, a self-styled "scientific ufologist." But in truth, a dogmatist.

    By Blogger Terry the Censor, at Monday, January 09, 2012  

  • Jeff said:

    > Occam's Razor suggests that we use the most likely, prosaic or common explanation.

    An unknown entity is likely, prosaic or common?

    A disastrous misuse of Occam's razor.

    By Blogger Terry the Censor, at Monday, January 09, 2012  

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