UFO Conjecture(s)

Friday, December 13, 2013

A Reasoned [UFO] Debate

In the Journal of Scientific Exploration, Volume 5, Number 1 1991, UFO ET proponent Robert M. Wood presented his argument for extraterrestrial UFO visitations.

Jacques Vallee countered.

Here is Mr. Wood's conclusion from the paper:

"Whether any hypothesis is emotionally exciting or dull should not be a basis for selecting the least unlikely hypothesis. The selection or rejection of the ETH is no exception. This author concluded long ago, along with Stan Friedman and James McDonald, that the ETH was the least unlikely hypothesis.

McDonald (1968) in his testimony to Congress stated, "I now regard Hypothesis 7 ("extraterrestrial devices of some surveillance nature") as the one most likely to prove correct" (p. 36). Twenty-two more years of evidence would seem to merely strengthen this conclusion.

The major assumptions, to be consistent with the ETH, are (1) it is very simple to travel at many times the speed of light, resulting in very short trip times compared to species lifetime; (2) most travelers have knowledge of the locations of other civilizations; (3) "they" have a common policy of noninterference except for a few mavericks; and (4) previous genetic interactions with homo sapiens during our known history may be responsible for similar biology in some extraterrestrials.

As mind-boggling as it may seem, the extraterrestrial hypothesis is not that bad."

Here is Jacques Vallee's counter argument:

"The original article that triggered this discussion was not meant to eliminate the ETH from the list of explanations for UFOs. Indeed, it observed that "until the nature and origin of UFO phenomena can be firmly established it will naturally be possible to hypothesize that extraterrestrial factors, including
undiscovered forms of consciousness, are playing a role in its manifestations."

But, it sought to clarify the difficulties with such a theory and to advance other, equally attractive hypotheses. It also urged that the idea of extraterrestrial intervention be "updated to include current theoretical speculation about other models of the physical universe."

In his well-articulated response Dr. Wood has proposed just such an update, in terms that are both scientifically sound and intellectually appealing. In the process of saving it, however, he has been forced to stretch the "first level ETH" to such an extent that it may no longer be recognizable by most ufologists. While it would be a pleasure, indeed, to welcome him into the ranks of the heretics, I doubt that such a distortion was part of Wood's plans when he wrote his rebuttal. But, what are we to make of a model involving 14,000 different civilizations, all of them humanoid in shape, which travel throughout the universe in ships that can pass through solid objects, yet feel it necessary to stop in the remote countryside to terrify human victims, performing crude operations upon their bodies?

While this revised ETH model does account for some of the observed facts which the first-level ETH
had overlooked, it does not really overcome the five arguments that contradict the extraterrestrial theory.

It is my hope that the debate we have initiated here will continue, and that other scientists will join us with their own contributions. In the process of exploring these issues we may well shed new light on critical factors of the phenomenon that have not been previously recognized."

This is how debates or colloquies should take place; civilized and moderate.


Nick Redfern has a yen for Roswell

Nick Redfern's latest Mysterious Universe piece is about Roswell: