UFO Conjecture(s)

Thursday, July 03, 2014

The Skeptical [UFO] Insanity

For those of us who’ve seen something odd in the sky that may be labeled a UFO, an Unidentified Flying Object or UAP, Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, the ongoing colloquy here between Zoam Chomsky, Gilles Fernandez, and maybe CDA and Dominick, AI12, Larry, Don, Joel, et al. is baffling or worse.

That Zoam Chomsky takes an atheistic view about UFOs, denying they exist at all, even as a mythical sobriquet, is intellectually painful.

Gilles Fernandez’ attempt to place all UFO sightings in a quasi-scientific category just irritates.

CDA refusing to accept Roswell as the scene of a covered-up alien craft accident doesn’t irk. It’s a proper skeptical view, considering that nothing has surfaced, after 67 years, to show a flying disk landed or crashed near Roswell, nothing but vague or erroneous witness testimony.

But to deny that UFOs exist at all is sheer pathological thinking (or rather non-thinking). The evidence – government concerns and investigations, thousands of reputable reports from credible (sane) people, and some circumstantial forensics (indentations in the ground, film or photos that may be faked but haven’t been proven, conclusively. to be so, radar trackings by qualified military or authoritative personnel) – is overwhelming, even if it isn’t proof of anything but a strange, unknown phenomenon.

Monsieur Fernandez’ views are simplistic and just as nebulous as the accounts he seeks to excoriate as mythological.

Mr. Chomsky’s views are radical and pathological. They disregard the Cartesian reality that has been sensed by humans, even if some of that sensed reality is delusional in several UFO cases.

That Mr. Chomsky hasn’t seen a UFO allows him to refute the idea that others may have. He takes the obtuse view that what he hasn’t experienced doesn’t exist.

Mr. Fernandez just chooses to attack the idea of UFOs, providing the patina of mythology to all accounts, even when some of the reported instances of a UFO sighting accrues from a person or persons whose mental faculties and sensory perceptions are above reproach.

The 1964 Socorro sighting is such a case, no matter what the thing Police Officer saw ultimately turns out to be – it’s, at this point, a UFO – it meets all the qualifying accoutrements to be so labeled.

Bumping heads with Mr. Chomsky or Monsieur Fernandez is a futile game of one-upmanship. Those two skeptics, both radical in a unique way, are given sway here as their pronouncements are interestingly lunatic, and this from someone who uses his psychological training to make that assessment.

But those wishing to convince Mr. Chomsky or Monsieur Fernandez that UFOs generally exist or that some UFO accounts bespeak an actual witnessed event have got to understand that they will not win the argument; the two fellows cited here are not amenable to rationality.

To continue the back-and-forth here, readers and commenters have got to apply reasonable argumentation and academic intellectualism, not obscurant references that don’t apply (Chomsky) or obscurant internet references from people who are without cachet in academia (Fernandez).

Let’s see where this takes us…

RR

108 Comments:

  • And to think, I just replied on the other article to Mr.Chomsky siting a case of radar confirmation by Norad and airline pilots...

    I do not know why I felt compelled, but I agree it was a case of one-upping, a touche or sorts.

    However, you are right Rich, there is no winning.

    By Blogger Daniel Hurd, at Thursday, July 03, 2014  

  • Yes, Fernandez and Zoam are the craziest of the resident skeptics. Lance and Cda are also crazy...but they still have some rationality, Lance tries to be convincing by using appropiate but somewhat abusive wording and CDA be being somewhat polite.

    By Blogger Don Maor, at Friday, July 04, 2014  

  • Thank you, Rich.

    I have never expected that everyone should believe all the same things. But for supposedly intelligent, or intellectual, individuals to make statements to the effect that UFOs don’t exist is just too much for me to take.

    Even NORAD’s existence is to watch for UFOs…that is the straight-forward, direct interpretation of the term, i.e., Unidentified Flying Objects.

    And it is the many files I have read, over many years, of military pilots being vectored to some UFO, only to verify its existence, having it confirmed by GCI RADAR, and then having it escape; either via velocity or by, as has been quoted: “flying straight up as if going into outer-space.” For this reason, and not because of supposed alien bodies, or abductions, I entertain the ETH hypothesis.

    Since no other country could believably have such capabilities, especially in, say, 1953, for instance, what other possibility is feasible?

    To say these events never took place is absolutely obnoxious!

    Yes, it is true that our agencies have opted to down-play the whole thing, but to deny any of it ever occurred?...I just don’t know how to react to that type of escapism.

    Could it be that certain people are just so afraid to admit certain unknown factors, that they must, at all cost, deny? It must be so. For some of these individuals are thought of as “intellectuals”…certainly superior to me, I firmly admit.

    By Blogger Bob Koford, at Friday, July 04, 2014  

  • Part 1 of 2

    Rich,

    Let us start the with Arthur C. Clarke's First Law:

    "When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong."

    My father qualified as a distinguished but elderly scientist. He was both an inventor and and expert in Electromagnetic Fields and electromagnetic measurement.

    Interested readers can read his abbreviated resume here: http://ufocon.blogspot.com/2014/01/an-interesting-take-on-ufo-phenomenon.html He was an engineer who worked in many fields: Nuclear Instrumentation, Aerospace, Space Science, Mechanical Engineering, Electromagnetics [Degausing coils large nough to demagnetize a satellite], Electronic and electro-magnetic emission testing [FCC certification testing].

    He had correspondence with Vallee, Hynek, Sturrock, Moseley, Jerome Clarke, as well as Puthoff and others. Yet as recounted previously on your blog, MUFON ignored him because of their ETH bias.

    My father thought UFOs as observed were real. He thought that the ETH was less likely to be true than an "extra-dimensional" explanation. I agree with that since if you can get passed the speed of light you have an ship that can travel the multiverse and possibly even time [fact! See Richard Feynman's lectures on light cones]

    He believed that both Skeptics and "ETH is the only answer" believers are guilty of intellectual dishonesty because both positions preclude real scientific inquiry.

    He was willing to question everything-- for example here is a quote from one of the scraps of his writings:

    "The supreme disadvantage of humans in considering the possibility of other sentient beings in the universe, is the super conceited human view that all civilizations have the very same concepts as us and are developed upon the exact same model as humans. Consider the completely anthropomorphic basis of the Drake equations, where each developmental step toward civilization is what humans have developed and the order of development fits the schedule of human development. It seemed to occur to no one that perhaps zillions of possibilities other than the human one exist." (note that is a verbatum quote)

    By Blogger Joel Crook, at Friday, July 04, 2014  

  • part 2 of 2

    Another interesting idea that has interesting implications is when he wrote:

    "In both rocket travel and nuclear reactors, we now approach the limits of reliability for safe operation. The rules of reliability are firmly established and do not change with size. Failure is just a function of component count within a system and time, since no component can be perfect. A good example of the result is the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster." (this was written in 2000 prior to the Columbia disaster)

    As a former QA analyst for the Space Shuttle Main Engine program, I can see the sense of that statement and its implications for ETH "flying saucers". The Space Shuttle had 135 flights between five orbiters and had two catastrophic failures. Flying in the Shuttle you had a 1.5% chance of dying per flight because of the complexity of the system and the flight "envelope": The shuttle had 2.5 million parts and flew 18,000 MPH. A Boeing 737 has 367,000 and the latest 737 will fly 511 MPH. The shuttle had 2 "hull loss" events of 5 craft [40% lost. The 737 has had 154 "hull loss" events of ~8000 craft made [under 2% lost]. Another comparison is that of 32 Lockheed SR-71s built, 12 of them had "hull loss" events -- that's 37.5% lost.

    To say "ETs are perfect fliers" is silly from the QA perspective. Murphy's Law is the emprical way to state the Law of the conservation of energy. The question is not why the government is covering up one crash, the question is why aren't we tripping over UFO crashes.

    If the UFOs are mechanisms they we should be asking all of the basic questions and instead of taking grainy photographs start making measurements. ETH believers do none of this. Instead they fall back on the excuse "the UFOs are sent by a species which is more advanced than humanity." In my father's view was *that* is why the study of UFOs had not progressed -- none of the ETH "believers" actually want to scientifically investigate the phenomena because of their preconceived notions.

    My father had several encounters with "the unexplained" {seeing 'lights', finding landing sites, a car stoppage / battery drainage, and a witness to the results of an close encounter by my mother) which when recounted here and a Kevin Randle's blog have elicited the usual "He's an idiot! / deluded! / liar!" kind of reactions.

    I assure you that was not his style. He could not have "misstated the facts" if his life depended on it. He was unafraid to say what his observations of reality were. He was conservative to the bone in his politics, his beliefs, and his science. Yet with all of that, he thought something unusual was happening because he had observed it too.

    By Blogger Joel Crook, at Friday, July 04, 2014  

  • The problem isn't the skeptics - they're only reacting (admittedly, over the top at times) to the writings and "work" of the true believers, who are to intellectual argumentation and rational discourse on anything to do with the paranormal as backwoods Kentucky snake-handling Pentecostals are to theology.

    PK

    By Blogger Paul Kimball, at Friday, July 04, 2014  

  • Paul,

    Bear in mind that there are "true believers" but there are also those of us who are genuinely puzzled and interested in the phenomena...and who are primarily interested because, as Rich points out, there IS a body of circumstantial evidence that there is more to UFOs than mistaken identities and unreliable witnesses.

    By Blogger Capt Steve, at Friday, July 04, 2014  

  • Rich: "CDA refuses to accept Roswell as the scene of a covered-up alien craft accident doesn’t irk."

    Doesn't irk me, either. What does irk me is that he has no other interest in Roswell except to dispute ET. Same with Lance.

    So, when I point out some interesting press accounts in the aftermath of Roswell, and wonder how the army and navy could suppress the civilian press about the discs (which is what the news stories were reporting), I am told by skeptics that I am a "conspiracy theorist". To which I could only reply, I didn't write the news in July 1947.

    Such unwillingness to deal with the issue in a non-ET way is tiresome and a waste of my time.

    My advice to everyone is to forget ET and just follow the evidence. Don't hypothesize.

    Gilles and Zoam are merely trolls, and Zoam, an ancient one; his style is pure usenet circa 1996.

    Best Regards,

    Don

    By Blogger Don, at Friday, July 04, 2014  

  • @ Paul Kimball

    I disagree with you in regards "The problem isn't the skeptics".

    The Skeptics see themselves as the "gatekeepers" of legitimacy. Mush the way the Catholic Church desired to suppress a cosmology that was not man / earth centric. Some of the skeptics here exude this kind of "we are right and everyone else is wrong".

    As Rich noted of one: "what he hasn't experienced doesn't exist" which is in effect saying he does not believe in the existence of science like the basic theories which are the foundation of modern physics, mathematics, and chemistry since a human cannot see or touch a quark, or see and infinity or a complex number or see the electron shells of atoms which allow chemical reactions to take place. That kind of thinking is "neo-luddite".

    Mark Twain once said, "It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so."

    As an example read "The Major Blunders That Held Back Progress in Modern Astronomy" on the Arxiv blog - https://medium.com/the-physics-arxiv-blog/the-major-blunders-that-held-back-progress-in-modern-astronomy-77becd39e530

    Yes belief in the irrational and the unprovable can hinder things but so can the "that's impossible" kind of skepticism blocks progress in science.

    By Blogger Joel Crook, at Friday, July 04, 2014  

  • CS,

    You write:

    there are also those of us who are genuinely puzzled and interested in the phenomena...and who are primarily interested because, as Rich points out, there IS a body of circumstantial evidence that there is more to UFOs than mistaken identities and unreliable witnesses.

    I'm one of those people who has been genuinely interested. Indeed, I looked into the UFO phenomenon longer and harder than most because I was making films about them. I studied the evidence coming from a background in law and history that made me better qualified than most to judge its value and reliability, given that almost all of it is anecdotal (and what I wasn't qualified to assess I referred to people who were). And after almost twenty years... nothing. Not a single case that comes even close to indicating an alien presence on good old planet Earth. Oh, sure, there are cases that are still unsolved, but that is to be expected under the circumstances (limited investigation with limited resources by largely incompetent and untrained "investigators"). But the burden of proof is on the proponents of a claim to make their case, and in the case of the "aliens are here" crowd they have singularly failed to do so for almost 70s years now. At some point a reasonable person has to conclude that the cause of this failure is because there are no aliens here.

    Instead of space aliens, what I found was a subculture that provides bountiful grist for study by a range of social scientists. The UFO phenomenon says far more about the people who obsess about it than it does about UFOs themselves... and very little of what it says is good.

    Is there a genuine mystery to UFOs? Perhaps. There are still those unknowns (a much smaller percentage than believers state, but still there). But by and large, the people attracted to the paranormal don't have anywhere near the intellectual acumen, nor the requisite open mind (i.e. skepticism), to delve into it in any meaningful way.

    Like I said, some are the equivalent of Pentecostal snake handlers (truly insane), whereas most are much like the people who dutifully go to church every Sunday and listen to the sermon and sing the songs but don't think about "God" any further. They are the foot soldiers of belief. Ufology is no different, alas.

    Best,
    Paul

    By Blogger Paul Kimball, at Friday, July 04, 2014  

  • I have no issue with skeptics that present specific rebuttals to specific issues rather than a overly simplified broad brush of blanket denial without any citations or make some statement to the effect of everyone is wrong except them and leave that bit of illogic hanging in the air.
    A proficient skeptic does us all a great service. What I have read as of late is the equivalent of trolling without qualification. A good skeptic leaves material on the table to discuss rather than some vain dismissal of everything and anything under the sun. I think you have been generous to publish the comments as they have stood without much substance, especially Zoam’s “statements” which as you have noted, are as weak as those made by believers within the realm of what constitutes quasi-cults. There are have been many very well cited essays on some skeptics practicing what is in effect just another brand of belief system as a philosophical rubber stamp. That is about as boringly turgid as it gets to read these autonomic statements ad nauseum.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Friday, July 04, 2014  

  • Paul
    I think the issue with dialogs on this subject can be specifically tied to two issues.
    1. The lack of qualifiers in comments and observations or theories. “Perhaps” or “Maybe”or “Suspect”this or that could be true takes away the didactic nature of self cancelling statements.
    To me , the only means to approach the subject is to be agnostic to all views but that is not the same as not considering them. I think from reading Nick R he makes a judicious use of qualifiers as an example.
    2. Language is another issue especially the acronym of UFO itself which carries specific connotations and associations. I think it’s nature is incommensurable to our use of language and of course language itself is based on stereotypes otherwise it would be useless in everyday parlance.
    All of this leads to a broad stereotyping of those who have an interest in the subject as well as one person stereotyping the other whereas no one knows what we are dealing with and as Wilson said, “Anyone who tells you they know whats going on is full of shit”

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Friday, July 04, 2014  

  • Looking for the origin of the ETH for the saucers, and in a rigorous way (that is no "possibles" such as references to Buck Rogers or spaceships), it looks like the USAF via the project saucer reports from the Sign/Grudge era, started it all with their press release in April 1949 and the Shallet articles at the same time. This information was grist for Palmer, Scully, and Keyhoe -- the last, especially, because of his "access" to the military and therefore he could develop the story. Then, two or three years later, Menzel, and UFO skepticism is born.

    Before then, I can only find the association being made by Meade Layne and his acquaintances, and self-described Forteans -- meaning the news stories didn't report them as representing any known Fortean group or publication.

    This is rather thin support among civilians for an ET origin, despite Hal Boyle's syndicated column and all those Amazing Story magazine covers.

    The origin of the ETH and the saucers is purely a product of the USAF and the USN, since Keyhoe's information he believed provided support for his ETH were 'courtesies' given him by his friends in the military.

    Don't forget Menzel's Navy associations in this matter.

    What the hell was that all about anyway? That's my interest, not ET vs no ET.

    Regards,

    Don

    By Blogger Don, at Friday, July 04, 2014  

  • Don et al....

    You fellows are getting off the track.

    My post, here, is about UFOs as a phenomenon, not as ET craft.

    Once you saunter into ET territory, you provide grist for skeptics who, rightfully, eschew the idea that UFOs are vehicles for or from extraterrestrials.

    Let my post resonate with the idea that UFOs exist, but what they are remains unknown, elusive, even mythical perhaps.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, July 04, 2014  

  • "What does irk me is that he has no other interest in Roswell except to dispute ET."

    My real gripe about Roswell is that it goes hand-in-hand with conspiracy theory. It is unavoidable in this case, i.e. you cannot at the same time postulate that an ET craft came to earth AND that the official body (the USAF) gathered up all the fragments and bodies and still has them secretly stored away, without invoking conspiracy theory. A preposterous 67-year old conspiracy, moreover.

    As to UFOs in general, I certainly accept that there are unexplained cases. Furthermore, some of these will never be explained. On the other hand, plenty of cases that defied all explanation in the first instance, later proved to have reasonable answers upon re-investigation.

    But the subject will always be contentious. And neither side can really win, at least not on the kind of evidence we have had so far.

    My usual riposte is to ask ET believers to list their ten (or even five) best cases that they claim prove their ET thesis.

    But beware! If skeptics then provide reasonable solutions to each of these ten (or shoot down the reliability of the witnesses), believers are not permitted to give another set of ten, as they have already provided what they claim is their 'best evidence'. Of course it depends what constitutes "reasonable solutions", doesn't it?

    You not allowed to first claim X is best, then if this is shot down in flames, try to claim Y was better.

    By Blogger cda, at Friday, July 04, 2014  

  • Rich

    skeptics eschew the idea that ufos are vehicles of ET origin

    Fine but then what are they, ball lighting etc, heard it all before, alot of these phenomena appear to be intelligently controlled, movement patterns etc

    The ufo question is far from being answered, an for this reason it is just as reasonable to hypothesize that they could ET controlled or controlled by some other force

    So to say that the skeptics are right to eschew the ET idea is incorrect since this question remains wide open and is inconclusive, all options are on the table and should be debated sensibly.

    By Blogger Al12, at Friday, July 04, 2014  

  • But, CDA, it all depends upon what "reasonable solutions" means. Reasonable to whom? I don't think that there has ever been a "reasonable solution" to the Leveland, TX multiple sightings of November 2, 1957. The Air Force assertion of "ball lightening" is not reasonable to me; indeed, it is totally unreasonable and cannot possibly explain what was experienced that night by at least 7 separate witness groups. In addition, the Rex Heflin sighting and photos of August 3, 1965 remain, for me, totally unexplained given the absence of any hoax evidence and, more importantly, the strange "particulate matter" that shows up (unexpectedly)in the most recent analysis of the polaroids. No one in my view has provided any reasonable explanation for any of this. (And to assert "train wheel" or hoax without support is evasion rather than "explanation." So, just off the top of my head, I will suggest these two cases (rather than any top 10) as truly puzzling. Evidence for space ships? Of course not; neither can be associated with that. But puzzling UFOs? Most assuridly, and the reason that some of us stay interested in the phenomena.

    By Blogger Dominick, at Friday, July 04, 2014  

  • Of course AI12...

    The ET explanation is okay, but it is so fraught with "baggage" as Bruce Duensing notes, that we end up side-tracked by all the arguable permutations of space travel, alien cultures, and other extraterrestrial issues.

    My post and point was to make clear that UFOs, as a viable phenomenon, exists.

    What they are is open to question, sensible questioning.

    Once you load the argument with the ETH, you bring out the worst in the skeptical crowd.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, July 04, 2014  

  • Dominick...

    Once you introduce specific sightings or events, you open the door to skeptical waywardness.

    The Heflin photos can be rightfully skepticized and Tony Bragalia, among others, have done so.

    The Trent photos may be questioned, just as the Leveland UFO incident continues to be.

    Implying that such sightings or episodes are somehow ET-related brings down opprobrium by rational people, some of whom are skeptics or agnostic about UFOs or those particular UFO incidents and reports.

    You lean toward the ETH.

    That is fine with me, just a bit awkward considering the actual UFO evidence at hand.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, July 04, 2014  

  • "... a strange, unknown phenomenon." --RR

    A subjective perceptual failure to identify cannot create a thing. Unidentified cannot be an identity. --ZO

    The world has suffered a millennium of documented mass delusions. And over a century of "UFO" reports--innumerable, insubstantial, mostly unverifiable, and utterly inconsequential reports--has not produced one real "UFO" of any kind, nothing truly "unknown," much less an ET spacecraft.

    The fact that the mass of reports is utterly inconsequential should mean something even to hard-core victims of the delusion. The essential qualities of objects that exist in the world are presence and persistence, substance. Real things have consequence. Phenomena are empirical, they are available for description and explanation. The subjects of "UFO" reports fail to meet even these minimum requirements--the requirements for being an "unknown phenomenon."

    A subjective perceptual failure to identify cannot create a thing. Unidentified cannot be an identity.

    Sorry, Rich, the logic of reality and language leads to one conclusion: there is no "phenomenon," there aren't any "UFOs" of any kind and there never were.

    And to characterize these facts about the world--the scientific consensus on the subject--as "radical and pathological" is amusing. But I like you, you hopeless "UFO" nut! :-)

    ufoolergy is history; make the "UFO" myth and social delusion history as well.

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Friday, July 04, 2014  

  • A|12
    You bring up an important discernment although perhaps inadvertently in that when you say they appear to be intelligently controlled which goes back to the original and critical assumption that they appear to be craft, therefore they must be craft in the sense of the word as we understand it.
    We can say that plants exhibit intelligent behavior as well as bacteria, this is what is known as cellular intelligence.
    Perhaps the same applies in this case. We simply do not know.
    We can suspect this or that but the most difficult discernment is to be skeptical of our own biases.
    Lots of things turn up on radar, lots of things have enormous energy potentials and are anomalous as I mentioned in the last comment in the last post.
    We can theorize but I suspect even our theories are biased based on our own limits of understanding as we have only the familiar to compare with the unfamiliar.
    Science may catch up to what this may be eventually but I think at this point even an educated guess falls short of identifying the full scope of this phenomenon, regardless of this or that opinion to the contrary.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Friday, July 04, 2014  

  • But RR, there is no way to discuss the UFO phenomena in search of an explanation without identifying specific cases that are truly puzzling. To assert "ball lightning" (in Leveland) or "hoax" (in Heflin) is not "rightful" skepticism but simply ad hoc exogenous "explanations" grafted upon truly puzzling incidents. It is decidely "wrongful" skepticism (Klass and Menzel did this repeatedly)and gets us no closer to the truth. Finally, I have never implied (and certainly not in the post above) that "such episodes are somehow ET-related." I am, for the most part, totally speptical about that.

    By Blogger Dominick, at Friday, July 04, 2014  

  • Rich: "Let my post resonate with the idea that UFOs exist, but what they are remains unknown, elusive, even mythical perhaps."

    Taking "ufo" literally: without a way to predict their appearance there is no way to study them. There is no data for science. We can only study reports. If we could predict their appearance, then we would be on our way to identifying them as a natural, if transient, phenomenon previoulsy unknown.

    But we can't predict, and that is frustrating.

    The evidence is strong that ever since our species could leave a record that we have had, and continue to have, encounters with the paralogical or the irrational convincingly occuring in the real world of external relations. They aren't predictable, either.

    I think they cannot be identified, but there are many explanations.

    Best Regards,

    Don

    By Blogger Don, at Friday, July 04, 2014  

  • And since it's a holiday, here's a repost from Sheaffer's blog that covers the Skeptical view on the "UFO" myth and mass delusion:

    "But all it takes is one case that is authentic to change everything."

    Jeepers! Just one real spacecraft from another world? Saying it makes it sounds so easy. We'll all know it, if it ever happens. But what's certain is that it would be unlike anything imagined by popular-culture and as is represented in all of the "UFO" myth and delusion.


    "There are a lot of cases in the UFO area that raise far more questions than answers"

    Name one, make it your favorite, I'll dismiss it in a word or two. You see, Rick, good skeptics have already debunked nearly every major case to my satisfaction many times over. Believers just ignore these completely rational, real world, mundane explanations and grasp at another phony "UFO" case that's never what believers pretend it to be. Then they recycle these thoroughly debunked "flying saucer" fairy tales repeatedly. Arnold: Hoax! Trent: Hoax! Trindade: Hoax! Hills: Small group scare and confabulation. Cash: Hoax! Terauchi: SGS and confabulation. RendleSham: SGS first night, then Halt's Hoax!

    "and there is nothing long since proven in the negative."

    If you really think that the "UFO" non-issue is even remotely undecided then you're suffering under a popular-culture delusion that has absolutely nothing to do with anything real. Belief in the "UFO" myth and delusion is fundamentally absurd since it's based on a mass of insubstantial, mostly unsubstantiated and wholly inconsequential confabulatory narratives about the failure to identify an ambiguous visual stimulus—a Negative! There are tens of thousands of these so-called "UFO" REPORTS, there just aren't any real "UFOs." It's as irrational, naive and frivolous as believing in "unicorns from outer space."

    "Could not disagree more Zoam with that assertion."

    It's not an assertion, it's a fact. There is zero evidence for anything extraordinary. There never were any airships, phantom balloons, ghost rockets, flying saucers or "UFOs" of any kind, much less visiting ET spacecraft. Over a century of "UFO" REPORTS has a very mundane explanation: Robert Sheaffer's Null hypothesis for "UFO" REPORTS, and the complementary Psychosocial hypothesis describes the history of the "UFO" delusion.

    "You know for a fact ET has never been here? No one can say that for an absolute fact."

    There is no evidence that they have, period. And absence of evidence is extremely good evidence of absence. Not impossible, but just so utterly implausible given the thoroughly radically contingent reality denying the proposition. Simply because we are here by one happy accident of self-consciousness to reflect on the Universe, doesn't mean that there is another sentient creature in the entire Galaxy. And given the insurmountable obstacles to interstellar travel: distance, time, life support, and innumerable, random cosmic hazards, the chance that hypothetical ETI have ever visited Earth is so very small the idea is pure fantasy. A dozen exceptions to the Fermi paradox are more reasons we will never meet.


    "Lets say someone for what ever reason comes here has a look and leaves. Some guy see's a craft for a few moments and then its gone to who knows where. You know for a fact that has never happened? Exactly why is that an impossibility?"

    See all above from the start, Rick, you've defaulted to ignoring the obvious facts of the world, appealing to ignorance, what if, and all the other fallacious appeals along the way.

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Friday, July 04, 2014  

  • A spirited debate, not an academic debate but a spirited one anyway.

    Zoam knows I countenance his UFO atheism; it's spicy and provokes.

    We may not be clearing the air but we're surely smoking out where everyone really stands.

    Rich Reynolds or Rick if you like

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, July 04, 2014  

  • Paul,

    It seems to me that where both the true believers AND the hardcore skeptics go wrong is in conflating UFOs with an alien (i.e. extraterrestrial) presence. That strikes me as wrongheaded by both sides; let's face it, lights in the skies and eyewitness tales with no hard evidence aren't really proof of ANYTHING other than proving that something caused the witness(es) to report the event.

    What's clear to me is that there's a phenomena that causes otherwise sane (in some cases) individuals to report seeing unexplainable things. It's unclear to me whether this phenomena is physical, psychological, social or metaphysical. Personally I suspect a mix of all of them and that there is no single explanation.

    From a sociological standpoint this may create two sub-phenomena:

    - a cult-like belief that what's been seen is related to technologically superior ETs (ex: Friedman, Keyhoe, etc) and

    - a cult-like belief that the existence of such phenomena must be vigorously denied.

    The two opposing viewpoints are mirror images of each other; one insists that, despite zero evidence, ET is soaring around us while the other insists that all the witnesses are crazy, mistaken or lying...even when craziness, mistaken identification and lying are ruled out.

    Meanwhile, in any moderately sized group of people x% will confess to having seen a UFO, because despite the negative press *they haven't disappeared*. I find that interesting.

    By Blogger Capt Steve, at Friday, July 04, 2014  

  • Mr Chomsky is obviously not a scientist... he is an apologist for the idea of tangible, local reality. That there are no "impossible things" and that no one or thing accepted no matter how "authoritative" as evidence of "unidentified phenomenon" can possibly change his mind.

    One could change the topic of this discussion to "global warming" or "climate change" and I would bet that any number of folks would say "its not happening", "it's impossible", etc. etc and ignore the science having been done. Because after all Man cannot have any effect on a "clockwork reality".

    In that line of thinking most of modern physics [including the billions spent on the hadron super-colider] are just vacuous speculation.... because after all baryons are not tangible... and there can be no "non-local" effects since that violates the principle of "local tangible reality".

    Unfortunately non-local physics has become the basis of much of current physics and modern technology. "Spooky action at a distance" is "proven" and "accepted as science".

    It is evident that his stance is one of "complete denial" of the basic principles of science and scientific method. How can one deny the existence of something you have never even investigated?

    Science is built on observation, theorems, predictions, and tests. Mr. Chomsky's version of science just cuts to the chase and says there is no reality accept the one he believes in... and everyone else is crazy.

    There is no way to change his mind so I propose it is a waste of time to even try to debate his assertions. They are not science or reason based.

    It's been said that "the wise man that argues with a fool is not a wise man." I don't see any reason to have a debate someone who does not accept reason as the basis of science... Blanket denial is not Science... but it is a pretty good imitation of the Catholic Church's view of science in the 1500s.

    By Blogger Joel Crook, at Friday, July 04, 2014  

  • Bruce.

    Yes agree with what saying which is the very reason why with all things being equel and fair all sides of the ufo equation must be considered.

    To me that includes the ETH, thats the reason i mentioned that these objects appear to be intelligently controlled, that is not in dispute, its fact.

    Controlled by what goes to the heart of this enigma, does our government know what they are? and thus what controls them, are they ball lightening? or some other mysterious force yet to be discovered by our greatest minds?

    Apart from ufo buffs are scientists or science even interested, if not why not?

    By Blogger Al12, at Friday, July 04, 2014  

  • these objects appear to be intelligently controlled, that is not in dispute, its fact.

    And right there, Rich, we see the crux of the problem.

    By Blogger Paul Kimball, at Friday, July 04, 2014  

  • Unfortunately, Paul, the comment contradicts itself....Richard Hall (rest his soul) would be appalled:

    " ... appear to be...that is not in dispute, its [sic] fact.

    I see see the crux and the problem.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, July 04, 2014  

  • Paul said: 'm one of those people who has been genuinely interested. Indeed, I looked into the UFO phenomenon longer and harder than most..."

    If this is so, then you must have seen in the files of the official UFO program, over the years, where capable military pilots reported the objects as appearing solid, metallic, and acting under intelligent control. This being so, how can you belittle someone else who is pretty much quoting from official records, and claiming this is an example of "the problem"?

    Whatever they were seeing, it certainly appeared structured, and real to them.

    And for others to say that none of it exists, including the "ghost rockets" is really playing loose with the facts.

    Whatever "they" were, actual samples of their construction were examined by the Swedish military, and reported on by our CIG. How odd, when they never even existed.

    By Blogger Bob Koford, at Friday, July 04, 2014  

  • Bob:

    The "problem" is that one is making the assumption that the movement of the things seen is intelligent, without any reference to the criteria that indicates intelligence.

    It's a leap of logic or a premise based on limited information.

    The things may maneuver in ways that "appear" intelligent but that carries with it a need to establish what kind of movement is intelligent.

    It's a niggling matter to some but for an intelligent debate the parameters of intelligent movement have to be outlined, at least.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, July 04, 2014  

  • Here's a great example of how eyewitness testimony of what they were sure were UFOs turns out to be... well, not space aliens.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-28143994

    An excerpt:

    Norway in the 1950s was gripped by sensational reports of UFOs, with pilots seeing mysterious craft hurtling ahead of them at incredible speeds.

    These reports were matched by people on the ground who said they had seen flashing objects implausibly high in the sky.

    Now the mystery is over, Aftenposten newspaper reports. What Norwegians were seeing were test flights of top secret U2 spy planes, according to a recent tweet from the CIA's Twitter account, which says: "Do you remember the reports of unusual activity in the sky in the 50's? That was us."

    By Blogger Paul Kimball, at Friday, July 04, 2014  


  • UFO believers draw comfort from pretending that they stand upon the same ground as skeptics when it comes to the question of the UFO's.

    You don't.

    The idea that UFO's, whether nuts and bolts craft, time travelers, dimensional visitors, energy beings or whatever other tired Sci-Fi cliche that believers imagine is state of the art in Saucer thought, is not supported by robust evidence.

    The evidence is shit, to put it bluntly.

    Skeptics pointing out that the evidence is shit are speaking from above you supported by the best means humans use to explore new ideas: the scientific method.

    Could the skeptics be wrong? Yep.

    But the relentless march of time and the static nature of the crappy evidence for UFO's does not seem to present much probability of that.

    By attempting to frame the argument (as we see above) as being two equal possibilities, UFO believers reveal the sad religious nature of their belief.

    It's the same method that creationists use to pretend that their fantasy that the Earth is 6000 years old is somehow a viable offering in the marketplace of ideas.

    I have no issue discussing saucers with folks and I am happy to do so politely and in good humor.

    But get real.

    Believers are not speaking from a position of strength. And the hubris usually displayed by the dimmest of them (some of whom frequent these parts regularly) should serve as a warning sign not a rallying cry.

    Best,

    Lance

    By Blogger Lance, at Friday, July 04, 2014  

  • Rich

    Its fact that these objects appear to be intelligently controlled because thers countless clips ( yes some questionable ) which show flight characteristics which are unusual, 90 degree turns etc

    Also thers tons of reliable witness testimonies from trained pilots, and radar images/scans etc which show these objects covering huge distances at great speed

    i know of no known ball lightening that does that, whats factual about this is that all this has been recorded, spoken about etc.

    The 1954 flyover Washington DC, was that ball lightening? what was that? we dont know but apparently they outran jets that were scrambled to intercept them, doesnt that seem like the actions of an intelligence to you?

    By Blogger Al12, at Friday, July 04, 2014  

  • Could be an autonomic response AI12. not intelligence as we understand intelligence.

    It "appears" to be intelligent, but that's applying an interpretation that is humanistic, not objective or scientific.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, July 04, 2014  

  • Rich

    Yes we are looking at this from our humanistic perspective

    But its hard to see it from another angle and lest not forget that alot in our science comes from being humanistic, our way of seeing things

    Were are the answers to this? mind you they are already there if you believe the Condon report.

    By Blogger Al12, at Friday, July 04, 2014  

  • ASI12...

    You are free -- in America and here -- to see intelligent movement by lights or objects in the sky.

    But that is an interpretation open to scrutiny and, here also, skepticism.

    The question of intelligent movement is arguable.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, July 04, 2014  

  • Rich

    i agree, especially when you look at the parameters of how you define intelligence these days

    Am sure youll agree thats for an entirely different day.............al12

    By Blogger Al12, at Friday, July 04, 2014  

  • A little reality check for the hard-core debunking fanatics. Descriptions of UFOs as real objects under intelligent control came from the USAF, not “believers”, "mythmakers", flying saucer clubs, etc.:

    Twining memo, 1947:
    "The phenomenon is something real and not visionary or fictitious....The reported operating characteristics such as extreme rates of climb, maneuverability (particularly in roll), and action which must be considered EVASIVE [Twining’s emphasis] when sighted ... lend belief to the possibility that some of the objects are controlled either manually, automatically, or remotely.”

    The phenomenon is REAL, exhibiting extreme rates of climb, MANEUVERABILITY, EVASIVE BEHAVIOR, CONTROLLED either manually, automatically, or remotely.

    Translation: Real objects under intelligent control.

    “Several reports of well-kept formation varying from three to five objects.”

    Formation flying: Real objects under intelligent control.

    Air Force Regulation 200-2 (1953, 1954), again issued by Twining, for the first time providing an official definition of unidentified flying OBJECTS (again notice the reference to OBJECTS, not mass hysteria, illusions, psychological aberrations, myths, Jungian archetypes, etc., etc., ad nauseum):

    2. Definitions:

    a. Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOB) relates to any airborne object which by performance, aerodynamic characteristics, or unusual features, does not conform to any presently known aircraft or missile type, or which cannot be positively identified as a familiar object.

    b. Familiar Objects - Include balloons, astronomical bodies, birds, and so forth. [Translation: Twining/ USAF don’t give a fig about balloons, Venus, meteors, birds, clouds, insects, mirages, ball lightning, etc. They care about unknown AIRCRAFT.]

    3. Objectives: Air Force interest in unidentified flying objects is twofold: First as a possible threat to the security of the United States and its forces, and secondly, to determine technical aspects involved.


    Real, unknown, unconventional flying OBJECTS with of unusual shape, features, and/or flight characteristics of potential threat to national security and also of interest because of their “technical aspects”. References to technology and potential threats to national security both directly imply INTELLIGENT CONTROL.

    So according to Twining and the USAF in early definitions of the phenomenon, UFOs were REAL OBJECTS under INTELLIGENT CONTROL.

    By Blogger David Rudiak, at Friday, July 04, 2014  

  • David:

    You can't have it both ways...

    The military [U.S. Air Force] says the things reported maneuver "under intelligent control" so they are telling the truth.

    But then when they say the Brazel (Roswell) debris are remnants of Mogul (Flight number 4), they are lying?

    Which is it?

    The Air Force has been truthful or they have been lying?

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, July 04, 2014  

  • Paul, regarding the BBC article that you called a great example of how eyewitness testimony of what they were sure were UFOs turns out to be...

    From the CIA's document associated with the tweet :

    U-2 missions flying from Germany stopped in july 1957 after a year and a half and a total of 23 missions, six over the USSR, 5 over eastern Europe and most of the remaining 12 over the Mediterrenean area. One mission to the Barent Sea is mentioned.

    Germany was a less desirable starting point for overflights of USSR because such missions had to cross Eastern Europe first, increasing the likelihood of detection.

    the main target of U2 photography ... was soviet missile and nuclear progress. The testing areas for these weapons were located ... south-central and eastern portions of USSR which lay beyond the range of Detachment A's aircrafts.

    Missions from Greenland were opposed by mission planners because of bad weather and a 90% probability of being detected on entry. Therefore, missions taking off from Turkey and Pakistan to cross the USSR from south to north were favored, as were those from Alaska and an undisclosed east asian location.

    And from 'Bodø Hovedflystasjon 1945–1995', Utgård, Per I., via wikipedia)

    American U-2 aircraft, used for high-altitude reconnaissance over Soviet territory, were first operated out of Bodø [sparsely populated northern Norway] in 1958. The U-2 shoot-down on 1 May 1960, where the aircraft was heading for Bodø, ... signified the end of U-2 flights to Bodø.

    That leaves us with the U-2 flights that left from Turkey and Pakistan, and landed at Bodø, flying only a short distance over the sparsely populated area of northern Norway.

    Norway's largest newspaper made an article out of the CIA tweet by repeated it verbatim without any added commentary on how it impacted Norway's history of UFOs.

    The BBC then picked up the norwegian article and misleadingly asserted "CIA announces secret Norwegian UFO
    sightings were U-2 flights".

    And you picked-up the BBC article.

    By Blogger Yvan D., at Friday, July 04, 2014  

  • It is like talking to a child.

    Yes David, the military initially believed that there was something real about UFO's. But as the evidence remained static and the social aspect of the "phenomena" became better understood (as did other factors like skyhook balloons, comets, etc.), the military changed its collective mind and became aggressively disinterested in UFO's.

    Nuts had to fashion an impossible conspiracy theory to explain this--a conspiracy that is perfect in every way and that only the smartest of the conspiracy buffs (like David) can see through. The fact that the evidence for his imaginary conspiracy is even worse than the evidence for UFO's is not an obstacle for a committed fantasist like Rudiak.

    David, the rest of us aren't in 1947 any longer even though your religion keeps you there, fretting about all the skeptic liars, etc.

    Did the skeptics make the evidence bad?

    The most annoying things about conspiracy nuts is they aren't interested in the truth.

    At all.

    The tactics that Rudiak practices are exactly the same tactics uses by the Truthers and the Birthers and the morons who deny that the Sandy Hook Massacre happened.




    Lance

    By Blogger Lance, at Friday, July 04, 2014  

  • Lance wrote:

    “..The idea that UFO's, whether nuts and bolts craft, time travelers, dimensional visitors, energy beings or whatever other tired Sci-Fi cliche that believers imagine is state of the art in Saucer thought, is not supported by robust evidence...."

    I think that sentence is missing a verb somewhere, but I get it that you think you have the moral high ground.

    By Blogger Larry, at Friday, July 04, 2014  

  • RRR wrote:
    You can't have it both ways... The military [U.S. Air Force] says the things reported maneuver "under intelligent control" so they are telling the truth. But then when they say the Brazel (Roswell) debris are remnants of Mogul (Flight number 4), they are lying? Which is it? The Air Force has been truthful or they have been lying?

    The Twining memo and AFR 200-2 were classified, INTERNAL Air Force documents based on internal intelligence evaluations and policy decisions NOT MADE FOR PUBLIC CONSUMPTION. They were written for the Air Force personnel/divisions tasked with carrying out any directives or recommendations. (This also means that information that might be classified at a higher level, i.e. beyond the "need-to-know" of the target audience, would NOT be included, thus no need to mention a very highly classified saucer crash if it actually happened.)

    Air Force counterintelligence in the modern day saying Roswell was a Mogul balloon was NOT classified, NOT an internal intelligence evaluation meant only for internal consumption. It always was a PUBLIC statement of opinion (or deliberate disinformation--again note that it was written by AF counterintelligence, the very people tasked with keeping secrets).

    Failing to distinguish between classified, internal statements and PUBLIC ones that might be designed to deceive the public is the fatal flaw in your argument.

    Also remember that the Air Force has provided four "explanations" for Roswell, starting in 1947 with a real flying disc (the public base press release, but lacking in any details that might define what the "flying disc" actually was), followed immediately by a standard, unclassified singular weather balloon and radar target (the cover story, according to the major participants, designed to kill the story and get rid of the press interest), followed 47 years later by AFOSI switching the story to a supposedly super-secret, big Mogul balloon (but only after the issue got reopened and a Congressional investigation launched by N.M. Congressman Steven Schiff, who very publicly stated he thought the AF was giving him the run-around and hiding something), adding 3 years later crash dummies from the future explaining witness reports of bodies.

    So tell me Rich, which of the AF's PUBLIC Roswell explanations are true? Can the AF have it both ways?

    (Note: I didn't bring up Mogul and Roswell; you did.)

    By Blogger David Rudiak, at Friday, July 04, 2014  

  • Yes, David....

    I brought up Mogul....having some fun with you.

    I see that the A.F. is not to be trusted, publicly or privately.

    That's part of the problem with the topic, too many mixed messages, by everyone, believers and skeptics alike.

    There is little or no common ground.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, July 04, 2014  

  • Yvan D: "And you picked-up the BBC article."

    Another "crux"?

    David: "A little reality check for the hard-core debunking fanatics. Descriptions of UFOs as real objects under intelligent control came from the USAF, not “believers”, "mythmakers", flying saucer clubs, etc.:"

    Yes, and years before there were "believers" or saucer clubs. Most of the basic issues involved in ufo debate are the work-product of the USAF mainly, including "nuts 'n bolts" saucers.

    One doesn't have to assume that therefore ufos are real or ET because of the "memo", but one has to accept that the USAF was the originator of these concepts not the public or "popular science fiction": the flying disk or ufo and the ETH. A related issue is why military and civilian agencies alter or withhold information, and pressure witnesses to change their stories.

    Since it is often discussed on this blog, take Socorro as an example, in which Captain Holder, "Air Force officers", and the FBI pressured Zamora to suppress and alter information about the event. I do not recall skeptics addressing those issues (and Tony's hoax thesis I think ignores them, too). I could name other cases with similar behaviors and worse in evidence from their own reports.

    The skeptics need to Zoamify the USAF. They need to Gillesify those mythmakers, the USN. Then proceed to do so to the FBI and the CIA. I will spare them the requirement to do so to the AEC (and its successors), as I will not ask the impossible of them.

    Best Regards,

    Don

    By Blogger Don, at Friday, July 04, 2014  

  • David,

    About Twining memo, so, you accept the following § of the Twining memo too? Or some ad hoc speculations in order re-equilibrate this dissonant information for the thesis Roswell was an ET crash/craft? (compartimentation/Roswell over top secret classified, there are some right things in the memo but false ones too, etc?) :

    §h(2) The lack of physical evidence in the shape of crash recovered exhibits which would undeniably prove the existence of these subjects.

    Gilles.

    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Saturday, July 05, 2014  

  • You can take out any reference to Norway (although that would be a reach too far), and the fact remains that many UFO cases around the world were indeed U2s sighted by other pilots (which is the point the CIA was making) - including military - who had no idea the U2 even existed. So perhaps it was "bad journalism" by the BBC, but the underlying point is still valid.

    https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/books-and-monographs/the-cia-and-the-u-2-program-1954-1974/u2.pdf

    pp. 72 - 73.

    PK

    By Blogger Paul Kimball, at Saturday, July 05, 2014  

  • DR:

    We don't know if Twining had ETs in mind when he wrote his (in)famous memo. He more likely had Russian craft in mind. He was more concerned about a possible enemy attack on the US that a visit from ETs. But again, we cannot say for sure.

    What I noticed long ago is that this memo was not declassified until sometime in 1977, as per the official notice at the top of it.

    How then did the Condon committee get a (still classified) copy of it for their report in 1969?

    Yes of course there was the ET possibility in mind of the official investigators in those early days. Look at the equally (in)famous ESTIMATE OF THE SITUATION which is still talked about. This 'estimate' not only suggested ET but actually concluded UFOs WERE ET.

    Alas, it never got made public, was soon destroyed and thereafter the USAF never mentioned it again. What a pity!

    Oh for the good ole days, the days when UFOs really were intelligently guided ships (from somewhere).

    By Blogger cda, at Saturday, July 05, 2014  

  • Gilles:

    By Stanton Friedman's theorem, which is one of the most important theorems in history, Twining's memo was only classified 'SECRET'. Thus his reference to the lack of "crashed recovered exhibits" was put there to deliberately hide the fact that such 'exhibits' HAD indeed been recovered!

    This is because such exhibits would be classified 'TOP SECRET', and therefore could not be revealed in a memo that was only 'SECRET'. Twining therefore had to find some way to drop a big hint without actually revealing the truth.

    At least, that is what Friedman (via his earth-shaking theorem) tells us. He has repeated this over and over again.

    I hope you understand this!

    By Blogger cda, at Saturday, July 05, 2014  

  • The comments have been interesting to read in consideration of stereotypes that form the framework for any conversation that become the basis of circular debates.

    On one hand, you have Zoam claiming a psycho-social malady for everything and the basis of his stance is a necessary recognition that there is a phenomenon to be addressed or considered. The other are essentially conspiracy theories that do not address the nature of the subject but rather the nature of secrecy. Then there is the variety of theories Lance had dismissed that fall into the usual and by now predictable categories of time travelers, etc that are variants of ET theory. There is a thread of anthropomorphism and bias in a great deal of this, meaning that this phenomenon has intent or purpose as we understand this, either pro or con.

    My own thinking is that this a perceptual issue that also entails the relationship of neurology to unique and unknown transient atmospheric events whose purpose is non existent as non existent as weather has a purpose..in other words, it has nothing to do with us as being a player either by projecting ourselves as subjects or as casting our own image onto that of extraterrestrials.

    I suspect this is a unknown natural phenomenon like weather only extremely rare that entails quantum principles. I can agree that the vast majority of sightings are errors, misperceptions and false identifications as the skeptics claim. However this phenomenon behaves like weather and if we can ascribe intelligence to it it is the cellular intelligence similar to the behavior of atmospheric weather.

    If we take this phenomenon out of the category of projecting human behaviors onto it, that opens the door to other possibilities




    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Saturday, July 05, 2014  

  • Gilles and CDA, the "due consideration" (h) qualifies the opinion (a-g). AMC notes the information they did not have, which would likely affect their opinion (a-g). Those were (1) unknown domestic projects, (2) physical evidence (3) unknown foreign projects.
    The "memo" says those three things could affect their opinion, if they had them.

    "Twining" is not saying no physical evidence existed. It says if it exists they were not provided any (and that was AMC's job, analyzing physical objects, but in this instance they were asked their opinion on a set of reports). It says nothing about whether foreign or domestic secret research existed or not, only that they weren't provided any, but they might exist and if they did exist, it might effect their opinion. Same with physical evidence.

    What I find intriguing about h(2) is:

    I think it is the only time "subjects" rather than "objects" are referred to.

    The specificity of "crash recovered exhibits", rather than, say "physical evidence".

    Regards,

    Don

    By Blogger Don, at Saturday, July 05, 2014  

  • Yes, I understand Chris ! Makes sens to me... ^^

    @ Don,

    I'm not really surprised by the term "crash recovered exhibits" if I humblely trie to contextualize (I know I'm not American). Thta's an hypothesis, then.

    From WW2, USAAF/USAF have "crashed" intelligence section (ATI), to study Japanese and German crafts, captured, crashed, etc.

    In the fall of 1942, the first twelve "Air Force" officers to receive ATI field collection training were assigned to Wright Field for training in the technical aspects of "crash" intelligence...

    So taking into account UFO were potentialy taken as Soviet designs, MAYBE it could explain the use of the term "crash exhibits" rather than "physical evidences". Remember Ed Ruppelt himself participated early in 1951, to the analyse of the crashed MiG-15 from the Korean theater...
    Sources : A Brief History of Air Force Scientific and Technical Intelligence.

    Gilles.

    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Saturday, July 05, 2014  

  • Gilles, I am aware of crash intelligence, and I do think they were referring to examples of foreign or domestic "exhibits". AMC was making a case for funding a project to build a disk.

    The rhetoric of US army reports in that era, in my opinion, makes such qualifications a request for information -- if there are foreign (Soviet) or domestic (USN) crash recovered exhibits, send them to us for analysis because they likely will cause us to reconsider our opinion.

    Unlike the advocates, I don't consider the Twining Memo significant in the way they do.

    Lance and CDA offer that for a short while the USAF thought there might be something "real" about the ufos, but soon enough decided they were not "real".

    There are problems with that convenient opinion, basically the following 20 years of USAF involvement in investigations. It doesn't account for the several times the USAF claimed to be out of the business of investigating ufo reports while their own records show they were proactively engaged while claiming they were not. That is known as telling lies.

    Regards,

    Don

    By Blogger Don, at Saturday, July 05, 2014  

  • The issue seems to be allowing an effect to occur before its cause in terms of defining the present by the past as a weird form of retrocausality. Again, the shortest distance between two points is referencing what is preeminently familiar as historical benchmarks that will always be subject to revision as to how society interprets them and adds the value of meaning to them post editorially.
    . In other words retracing society’s past interpretations to redefine the present appears to be a backward movement.
    If I spent the majority of my time looking back it just could be I would miss new developments happening all around me.
    The social movement as a component of this phenomenon has become a historical one rather than looking forward to the latest discoveries of science. This has created a fractious blockage set up by skeptics and believers of this or that frozen in the amber of the past.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Saturday, July 05, 2014  

  • Paul Kimball wrote:
    You can take out any reference to Norway (although that would be a reach too far), and the fact remains that many UFO cases around the world were indeed U2s sighted by other pilots (which is the point the CIA was making) - including military - who had no idea the U2 even existed. So perhaps it was "bad journalism" by the BBC, but the underlying point is still valid.

    Actually the claim went MUCH further than that, according to Paul's source, namely that flights of the U2 led to "a tremendous increase in reports of UFOs", that once the U2 flights were screened out it "enabled investigators to eliminate the majority of the UFO reports", and "U2 and later OXCART flights accounted for more than one-half of all UFO reports during the late 1950s and most of the 1960s."

    This is the exact same claim that Gerald Haines made in his official CIA history that came out in 1997:

    "According to later estimates from CIA officials who worked on the U-2 project and the OXCART (SR-71 or Blackbird) project, over half of all UFO reports from the late 1950's through the 1960's were accounted for by manned reconnaissance flights (namely the U-2) over the United States. This led the Air Force to make misleading and deceptive statements to the public in order to allay public fears and to protect an extraordinarily sensitive neational security project. While perhaps justified, this deception added fuel to the later conspiracy theories and the coverup controversy of the 1970's. The percentage of what the Air force considered unexplained UFO sightings fell to 5.9 percent in 1955 and to 4 percent in 1956."

    These claims are complete nonsense, as Dr. Bruce Maccabee easily discovered when he looked at actual UFO report statistics pre- and post-U2. There was no "tremendous increase" in UFO reports; there was no discernable increase at all:

    http://brumac.8k.com/cia_explaination.html

    Title: "The CIA's UFO Explanation is Preposterous". Quite right. The basic reason is quite simple. For U2's or OXCARTs to account for over half of U2 reports, they would have had to fly thousands of missions instead of probably dozens. The small number of actual U2's reported as UFOs would have been lost in the noise.

    Maccabee also notes that U2's would not have been particularly easy to see, especially from the ground, they were later painted black to make them LESS visible, and the vast majority of UFO reports happen during nighttime or daylight hours, not the twilight hours that the claimants state the U2 sightings were made and supposedly gleamed like fireballs from reflected sunlight (note again, only the early test models were unpainted and silvery).

    You'll also note the CIA historians never provide any actual statistics to back up their claim, like the dates of the flights vs. UFO reports filed, so it is all just their say-so. Maccabee also notes that no such claims that U2's explained UFO reports appeared in any CIA documents that were released starting 1978 after FOIA lawsuits. The claim first appeared in 1997 with Haines, followed a year later by Paul's reference.

    It seems Paul has been snookered by some rather obvious CIA anti-UFO propaganda.

    By Blogger David Rudiak, at Saturday, July 05, 2014  

  • Let's not drift away from the post, fellows.

    Gilles and David have taken us into the Twining memos and away from the skeptical horrors I'm trying to highlight.

    Nice ploy but not gonna work.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Saturday, July 05, 2014  

  • Bruce: "In other words retracing society’s past interpretations to redefine the present appears to be a backward movement."

    What is your opinion of revising past interpretations to support a present interpretation?

    I'd argue that is the substance of the existing public PBB.

    Regards,

    Don

    By Blogger Don, at Saturday, July 05, 2014  

  • Why was the Twining memo brought up by me? To counter the "skeptical horror" already being promulgated in the comments that there is no evidence of reality or intelligent control to UFOs.

    Why did I just write a long post about the UFOs NOT being explained by U2 flights? (that apparently will not be posted by you). To counter the "skeptical horror" here from Paul Kimball that the CIA says U2's explained a huge number of UFO reports, so that's that.

    If you allow the "skeptical horrors" to be stated, why disallow the refutations?

    By Blogger David Rudiak, at Saturday, July 05, 2014  

  • ZoamChomsky ranted:

    “…A subjective perceptual failure to identify cannot create a thing. Unidentified cannot be an identity… the failure to identify an ambiguous visual stimulus—a Negative!.”

    And yet, it seems to me, that is exactly what Denialists/Debunkers are attempting to do when they create the “Psychosocial hypothesis” explanation for UFO reports. I think Zoam has it bass ackwards, here.

    Recall that the modern UFO era began when guys like Kenneth Arnold simply listed the positive attributes of the objects they claimed they observed--shiny, metallic, large, geometrically symmetrical, fast moving, flying on controlled flight paths. There is no definition by negation here, no attempt to make “unidentified” the organizing principle. The primary witnesses were NOT reporting Unidentified Flying Objects, they were reporting identified flying saucers (cigars, globes). (And BTW, how was Arnold’s description “ambiguous”?) The stimuli for these reports were originally called “flying saucers” in recognition of the fact that that is a reasonable approximation of what many (though not all) witnesses claimed they saw. This pattern is repeated throughout the history of the phenomenon by e.g., Lonnie Zamora; a simple, unadorned description of the attributes supposedly observed.

    Then the Denialists/Debunkers get a hold of the story and their explanations become, essentially, Anything But what the witness said. Maybe Arnold saw ice crystals blowing off the mountain tops. No, wait, maybe it was migrating pelicans. Or maybe Arnold was a liar, or drunk, or taken over by a Joseph Campbell flying saucer mythmaking obsession, etc. etc.

    Denialists/Debunkers can’t necessarily agree among themselves exactly which alternative explanation is correct, and seem happy to go from one explanation to another for the same event while ignoring the inconsistencies within the explanatory scheme. (It can’t be BOTH ice crystals and pelicans, can it? Those two phenomena would have different signatures and causes, wouldn’t they?) Seemingly, the only thing agreed upon is that the explanation is Anything But what the witness claimed. In other words, the identity of the answer to the puzzle of UFO reports is that they are NOT what the witness reported. The “Anything But” conjecture is then given the name “Psychosocial hypothesis” to make it sound “more scientifical”.

    If the term “Psychosocial hypothesis” is not an attempt to create an identity by negation, I don’t know what is.

    Pot. Kettle. Black.

    By Blogger Larry, at Saturday, July 05, 2014  

  • Don, I hate to see you lower yourself to the Rudiak path of calling folks liars, willy nilly.

    Yes, the Air Force continued Blue Book (with less and less zest year by year). The decision that UFO's probably weren't of military interest came fairly quickly, I think. But there was still some interest (and some reason for interest related to things like secret plane flights, mass delusion effects). They certainly continued to look into cases that demanded it or seemed interesting or for unknown reasons.

    That they didn't let you know of their exact intentions can, I suppose, be called lying in the most tortured imagining of the word. All of the evidence is that, for the most part, the military was quite disinterested in UFO's circa 1960. This isn't just convenient: it is what the evidence shows.

    ==

    By taking the word "exhibit" and setting it up the way you do, you could be on to something. Or you could be totally wrong. Not understanding this principle is one of the hallmarks of conspiracy thought (and its most obvious flaw).

    Lance

    By Blogger Lance, at Saturday, July 05, 2014  

  • David...

    I dont find a comment from you that I missed or chose not to post.

    I always post your comments, in toto. They are gems.

    I am away from our office and computers there, using a netbook, phone, anf tablet to connect.

    Resend your post and I will make sure it's posted.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Saturday, July 05, 2014  

  • If the UFOs were under intelligent control, i.e. space aliens, then they weren't all that intelligent, were they, given the multitude of crashed that ET believers claim happened, including two near Roswell (and a third not far away in Aztec). Ay caramba!

    PK

    By Blogger Paul Kimball, at Saturday, July 05, 2014  

  • Lance, I wouldn't call someone a liar "willy nilly".

    Lance: "That they didn't let you know of their exact intentions can, I suppose, be called lying in the most tortured imagining of the word."

    Their files were not public, so they weren't letting us (the public) know anything about anything. It is when the files became public that we could see the evidence of lies.

    Lance: "All of the evidence is that, for the most part, the military was quite disinterested in UFO's circa 1960.

    Beginning in 1960 or 1961, your namesake David N. Moody began the project of reviewing all the Project Blue Book files -- over 9,000 cases (all except those from 1952). That doesn't sound like the USAF was "quite disinterested".

    Btw, T/Sgt Moody was involved in a lie in the Socorro case, but I don't know yet whether he or Captain Holder was the liar.

    Regards,

    Don

    By Blogger Don, at Saturday, July 05, 2014  

  • Beginning in 1960 or 1961, your namesake David N. Moody began the project of reviewing all the Project Blue Book files -- over 9,000 cases (all except those from 1952). That doesn't sound like the USAF was "quite disinterested".

    Actually, disinterest is exactly what that sounds like. If the USAF had really been interested, on an institutional level, they would have done a lot more about it than having one guy review the Blue Book files.

    PK

    By Blogger Paul Kimball, at Saturday, July 05, 2014  

  • the skeptical horrors I'm trying to highlight.

    I'm not convinced by your concept of "skeptical horrors". Whatt did you enlight, please?
    May I ask you to developp?

    Only you as Don are failling in ad hominem attacks or "character assassination" (poor attempts), not me, and not for me.
    Because no real arguments?

    I'm cool and zen concerning the SPH and proud to be the witness of this modern mass delusion called "UFO" ;)

    Amitiés à toi, Rich,

    Gilles.

    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Saturday, July 05, 2014  

  • Many skeptics of the UFO reality claim the high ground using the Conspiracy Theorist slam to shut down others, as if there are no such things.

    An interesting side-note when it comes to extreme skeptics on the subject is found with the evidence elucidating the fact that some were indeed hiding behind their skepticism, which of course can lead others to think in terms of possible conspiracy, but which cannot be avoided, if one is confronting the truth.

    And although I used the “C” word, I would direct attention to an all too real, and present day problem dealing with organizations acting for/on behalf of officialdom, but acting wholly outside of the law, and with very few constraints.

    I am referring to the Blackwater investigations. This is modern day, direct evidence of organizations connected to Intelligence/Military that assume, or are led to believe that they are allowed to do what they want…including intimidation of lawful (State Department) investigators, and *stealing supplies meant for our Marines, and selling them on the “black market.”
    (*see: first Senate Committee Hearings on Blackwater)

    I also recall that investigators of the Shag Harbor incident uncovered strange information that relates: one of the main skeptical protagonists was a Jesuit Priest…well known by the local UFO community in Canada. His steadfast claims of absolution, of the entire phenomenon, fell on its face when, much to researchers’ surprise, it was found that this same Jesuit had more files relating to a reality behind the subject than anyone would have dreamed. If I remember correctly, he even had stuff the military was lacking.

    So, as it turned out, he was only an extreme skeptic for public consumption. When it came to the actual truth of the matter, he seems to have been involved at a much, much deeper level. So, certainly skepticism has its place, but at times, it appears to have been utilized as a shield.

    One never knows.

    By Blogger Bob Koford, at Saturday, July 05, 2014  

  • Don
    I said that because it is essentially a culling of past errors in investigative methodology and one case or two cases do not represent the entire phenomenon. Its historical revisionism that has no forward movement IE, this document versus that..this wording versus that, this source versus that source. Its a game for historians that boils down to minutia that is in essence, ambivalent so you can it read it a hundred ways to Sunday and debate it till the cows come home, but in my view it has produced anything of merit and most likely never will of any significant importance except IE, it was a balloon versus a U2, ET versus CIA manipulation one and on. At this point, who cares?

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Saturday, July 05, 2014  

  • Lance: "By taking the word "exhibit" and setting it up the way you do, you could be on to something. Or you could be totally wrong. Not understanding this principle is one of the hallmarks of conspiracy thought (and its most obvious flaw)."

    I don't know what you mean. I wrote I found the phrase (as well as "subjects") intriguing, as I would expect it to have been something akin to "physical evidence" instead. I also think Gilles is right to point out that the expression is a technical one and may be used in that way in the "memo".

    If the point you want to make is that it does not refer to an ET crash, then do so to an ET advocate, not me. I think the AMC boys wanted funds for a project and were making a case for it.

    There is in September 1947 one other interpretation of it (no, not 'Roswell'), but it is way off topic here.

    There is no point, Lance, in implying "conspiracy theorist" thinking on my part. You should notice I present no theory and name no conspiracy and its purpose.

    But in a situation in which counter intelligence is active, to conclude everything is straightforward and on the up 'n up and everyone is a rational actor behaving in transparently ordinary and plausible ways, is naive.

    Regards,

    Don

    By Blogger Don, at Saturday, July 05, 2014  

  • Rich,

    I'm not really interrested by now by "UFO", or by the Roswell myth. I have adressed it by the past at my own blog.

    Same regarding the Airships wave: I'm proud of my article and for me, those topics are "solved". So please, avoid to mention my name in your following blog entries, please again.

    Now, I have turned the page (for me such topics have been solved, then, by the SPH), and now I'm adressing the Hessdalen phenomenon as you have probably readed at my blog.

    I think I have explained the best pictures/video of the "HP" with friends as you have probably read at my blog.

    The HP team meets me next week cause my "seriousity" you seems to attack.

    As you said,"Let’s see where this takes us…"

    So please, Rich, forget me in your modern myth blog.

    Merci à toi.

    Gilles.

    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Saturday, July 05, 2014  

  • Swimming away from the Charybdis like-whirlpool of off-topic discussion that this thread has become, I think part of the problem with the subject matter - at least for most people - is the terminology. Unidentified Flying Object naturally leads one in to the morass of space alien belief because of the word "object." A far better term, and one that most skeptics would accept I think, would be UAP - unidentified aerial phenomena. That terms comes without the pre-conceived (and unproven) notion that what was observed was an "object," which makes the "unidentified" part much more meaningful, and open to a broader and more honest degree of both investigation and interpretation.

    PK

    By Blogger Paul Kimball, at Saturday, July 05, 2014  

  • Don,

    Ha. Putting one guy on reviewing the files may mean a lot to you but I doubt it was much of a budget item that year for the Air Force.

    This is your evidence of Air Force interest in UFO's?

    Can you really be suggesting that the Air Force had by circa 1960, decided that UFO's ARE REAL! and so they searched far and wide and put their best team on the job: a single enlisted man? Do you have any idea how silly that sounds?

    Again (and we'll agree to pretend that you are a disinterested party standing above the UFO believers and skeptics as you unconvincingly style yourself), this is conspiracy thinking and meaningless.

    Putting a skeleton team on UFO's falls exactly in line with my suggestion of almost complete disinterest in UFO's circa 1960.

    Note that "circa" does not mean "exactly"! And that "almost" does not mean "almost" does not mean "all"!

    And yes, by this time the B-team was handling UFO's. Quintanella, Moody and gang did some astoundingly poor work and did get a lot of stuff wrong. I could not muster a great argument that by this time, some of the information coming out of the Air Force was not untruthful. I'm not sure if it was lying or ineptitude or boredom or ennui.

    But the downward sloping pyramid of Air Force involvement in the UFO business over time is clear to anyone who is not a committed saucer buff (and of course to you, a disinterested party, as you would have it).

    Lance










    By Blogger Lance, at Saturday, July 05, 2014  

  • It's funny that Bob Koford mentions Shag Harbour. I introduced a book launch lecture about a new Shag Harbour book last year, and the key Shag witness, Laurie Wickens (the guy who first called the RCMP), was in attendance. When asked in the Q & A about how seeing an alien spacecraft had changed his life, he said it hadn't because what he saw wasn't an alien spacecraft - in his opinion, it was an American aircraft of some kind (whether manned or unmanned, he didn't offer an opinion). So here we have the key witness offering his opinion that it wasn't space aliens... and yet how many times do we hear about that from the pro-ET crowd?

    PK

    By Blogger Paul Kimball, at Saturday, July 05, 2014  

  • Paul: "Actually, disinterest is exactly what that sounds like. If the USAF had really been interested, on an institutional level, they would have done a lot more about it than having one guy review the Blue Book files."

    I have no idea how the review was implemented, or why 1952 cases were excluded (or perhaps not gotten to. Moody retired in 1966). His cv is interesting.

    Regards,

    Don

    By Blogger Don, at Saturday, July 05, 2014  

  • Paul

    Hopefully you noted the context of why I brought it up.

    Is your book now available? If so, hopefully Rich would allow a quick plug. I would be interested in reading, as I am always interested in hearing the whole story, when possible.

    By Blogger Bob Koford, at Saturday, July 05, 2014  

  • Lance: "Can you really be suggesting that the Air Force had by circa 1960, decided that UFO's ARE REAL!"

    I have not suggested that (I also don't consider PBB to be identical to "the Air Force").

    "and so they searched far and wide and put their best team on the job: a single enlisted man? Do you have any idea how silly that sounds?"

    Well, yes, I do, Lance. Why would they do such a thing?

    You'll recall Hynek's complaint about T/Sgt Moody, that he forced a psychological explanation on ufo cases. He was recruited by Naval Intelligence while doing graduate work in psychology at USC in, I think, 1946, and later joined AF Intelligence. He was given the project we are referring to.

    You might say he diligently applied the psychosocial hypothesis to ufo cases. He was a least an early adopter, if not one of the originators of it.

    Less naive people may find his rank of interest.

    Regards,

    Don

    By Blogger Don, at Saturday, July 05, 2014  

  • Why are we talking about Air Force and Blue Book "analysis" of reports when we know that truly puzzling cases with national security implications were sent elsewhere and "were not part of the Blue Book system"?

    By Blogger Dominick, at Saturday, July 05, 2014  

  • Was it Zoam who described the Arnold case as a hoax?

    I did read this before, many years ago, but never followed it up. I do know Arnold went a bit off course to search for a crashed plane in the Rockies, which occurred 5 to 6 months earlier, and for which a reward was offered. Otherwise I think he took a normal flight path to his destination.

    Did Arnold invent his 'saucer' story to cover his failure to locate the wreck? If not, what evidence is there of a hoax?

    Zoam, please elaborate.

    By Blogger cda, at Saturday, July 05, 2014  

  • Rich,

    I think the main thing I have learned reading this "discussion" is how "set in their ways" both "ETH believers" and "That's impossible! Skeptics" actually are.

    There is no real willingness to look at much of anything without slinging a bit o' mud... and then claim that they possess the high ground.

    Of course one could make the same decision as Gilles and say in effect, "My mind is already made up and please don't invite me to any more of your parties."

    I'm not really sure why he or any of the other "skeptics" bother at all. What is the point of being a "skeptic"? After all they are not likely to change anyone's minds nor are they likely to lay the subject to rest. If it is as "dead a topic" as they claim it to be then why not move on to other pursuits and let the "field" die of its own accord... which is not really long off.

    Or is it that they just can't stand the idea that people like David Icke or Preston James keep talking "bat guano crazy stuff" and low neuron equipped people believe their conspiracy-racist stories?

    Unless something "truly phenomenal" comes along to rescue the subject, UFOlogy will die with the boomer generation and maybe people will move on to more entertaining pass times.

    By Blogger Joel Crook, at Saturday, July 05, 2014  

  • Ha ha, okay Don!

    If you ever decide to say something that doesn't end in the pregnant question mark that you hide behind, please let me know. But it is tiresome to discuss things with someone who uses that in every exchange.

    At least the regular conspiracy buffs make their position clear. Like the unproven claptrap that Dominick uses above.

    Dominick, what document is the quoted portion of your text above taken from?


    Lance





    By Blogger Lance, at Saturday, July 05, 2014  

  • CDA: "I did read this before, many years ago, but never followed it up. I do know Arnold went a bit off course to search for a crashed plane in the Rockies, which occurred 5 to 6 months earlier, and for which a reward was offered. Otherwise I think he took a normal flight path to his destination."

    I haven't heard that story, but Arnold's sighting occurred following his giving up on the search of a crashed USMC transport on Mt Ranier. There was a reward. The "Rockies" story sounds too close to the details of this known crash/failed search/reward story to be true.

    The Arnold Hoax notion is based on his association with Ray Palmer, who we all know was...well whatever you want to project onto him -- and whatever you want to project onto Arnold, too, I guess. Skeptics like to psychoanalyze them.

    Regards,

    Don

    By Blogger Don, at Saturday, July 05, 2014  

  • Joel,

    As far as I know, most skeptics do not say "That's Impossible" when it comes to UFO's.

    We just say that the evidence doesn't support the claim.

    I think that is the case for Sheaffer, Printy, Fernadez, Christopher, myself and most other skeptics.

    A most tiresome common claim by believers is that skeptics would deny good evidence because they promote an irrational denial of UFO's.

    This is laughable.

    We doubt the UFO stories because the evidence is so poor.

    While I love Zoam's sense of humor, I don't always agree with his text and I suspect that some of what he writes is done for effect. I also don't know who he is.

    By the way, a good portion of Rich's text is done for effect, too, eh Rich?

    You ask:

    "I'm not really sure why he or any of the other "skeptics" bother at all. What is the point of being a "skeptic"? After all they are not likely to change anyone's minds nor are they likely to lay the subject to rest. If it is as "dead a topic" as they claim it to be then why not move on to other pursuits and let the "field" die of its own accord... which is not really long off."

    Oh, I think a lot of minds can be changed, minds that aren't already steeped in the religion of UFO's. I certainly changed my mind as a former believer. Karl Pflock changed his about Roswell.

    Additionally railing against irrationalism and conspiracy nonsense (which is the vast bulk of UFO belief), is something that a world, filled with creationists, 9/11 Truthers, Birthers, Moons Landing Deniers, etc. could do with more of, if you ask me.

    Best,

    Lance

    By Blogger Lance, at Saturday, July 05, 2014  

  • I did a thing on Arnold's follies. You can find it via Google.

    I'm incapicitated by food and drink at our lake cottage....where we've been celebrating the 4th of July.

    Further, the comments here have exhausted me and my tablet.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Saturday, July 05, 2014  

  • Lance: "If you ever decide to say something that doesn't end in the pregnant question mark that you hide behind, please let me know. But it is tiresome to discuss things with someone who uses that in every exchange."

    To save anyone the trouble:

    ***

    Lance: and so they searched far and wide and put their best team on the job: a single enlisted man ? Do you have any idea how silly that sounds?"

    Me: Well, yes, I do, Lance. Why would they do such a thing?

    ***

    As all can see I am a tirelessly deceptive crypto-ETH'r. What more evidence do you need?

    Regards

    Don

    By Blogger Don, at Saturday, July 05, 2014  

  • Okay, Rich here's my takeaway from this discussion re: Skeptic Horrors.

    If a skeptic is challenged by someone who is not an ET advocate, they believe that person is a crypto-ETH'r (because why else would they be disputing the Lord's Word?). So, the skeptic horror is their paranoia.

    I assume the next subject will be ET advocate horrors? (Pardon the ? mark. I can't help being deceptive)

    Best Regards,

    Don

    By Blogger Don, at Saturday, July 05, 2014  

  • Lance,

    The Bolender Memo (1969) states in part..."Moreover, reports of UFOs which could affect national security are made in accordance with JANAP 146 or Air Force Manual 55-11, and are not part of the Blue Book system"

    By Blogger Dominick, at Saturday, July 05, 2014  

  • Joel
    I agree, the topic has petrified.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Saturday, July 05, 2014  

  • Thanks Dominck,

    I realize that this is the way that UFO believers have decided to interpret the memo.

    The memo does not say that UFO reports "are sent elsewhere" as you said above. It merely says that there are procedures in effect for handling UFO reports that might be seen as affecting national security.

    The rest of the memo, which you seem to ignore makes a mighty case that UFO reports in general offer no interest to the military. The entire gist of the memo is an attempt to get (as much as possible) out of the UFO business.

    Why, if there was knowledge by Bolender that UFO's were real and were a security threat would he be arguing to disengage the civilian reporting mechanism. This doesn't make sense except to a committed believer.


    Lance


    By Blogger Lance, at Saturday, July 05, 2014  

  • Bruce! Don't you dare stop our chances of getting this to 100 responses!

    Lance

    By Blogger Lance, at Saturday, July 05, 2014  

  • Paul Kimball said:

    "If the UFOs were under intelligent control, i.e. space aliens, then they weren't all that intelligent, were they, given the multitude of crashed that ET believers claim happened, including two near Roswell (and a third not far away in Aztec). Ay caramba!"

    Well, if they are here with some dozens of thousands of flying vehicles, then some or one of those vehicles having crashed is not too surprinsing. If they are here, it means that they are technologically advanced, for sure, but nobody is perfect. They are not gods or ghosts. They are people. The risk of accidents is never zero, no matter how much effort is put in avoiding such accidents. The later truth is widely known to safety and quality departments in every, EVERY, industrial or productive corporation or enterprise in the Earth.

    Considering that this is not the home planet of our visitors, some atmospheric behavior might result to be unexpected for them, some of them might have been downed by our military effort, or they may even have some conflicts with other visiting civilizations. Of course, I am speculating here, but the point is we cannot assume they don't have their own problems.

    By Blogger Don Maor, at Saturday, July 05, 2014  

  • Both Bruce and Joel seem depressed by it all.

    The value of the Blue Book files is that its archivists and redactors, from Hynek in 1949 through Moody in 1965, could not predict the future.

    For some examples: they could not assess the importance it would have after 1995 of a casual reference to "Mogul" by a low level civilian employee at AMC in 1947, nor could they forsee the publication of the FBI ufo files of the same cases which would contradict the USAF reports, nor that T/Sgt Moody's report that "Capt Holder claimed no knowledge of the red mark.", would be controversial.

    So, pfui, not only to the skeptics, but also the cranky intellectuals. I'll continue to mine the vein since it is productive.


    Regards,

    Don

    By Blogger Don, at Saturday, July 05, 2014  

  • That's impossible!

    Hello Joel,

    Out all the dramaturgy Rich forces on by the ton of his posts (I like them BTW), I have never claimed "that's impossible !".

    As or more or less Lance proposed, I (personaly) think the ETH is "useless" currently to explain the UFO (and abductions) phenomenon considering the "evidence" ETH proponents are offering.

    And then the null-hypothesis is the SPH and I currently defend her. Period.

    I can change my mind if a good (scientific) evidence comes of course.

    I have developped in English my thinking about UFO in general from the chapter "Human Inter-Individual Variability in Perception, Memorization and Restoration of an Event or Stimulus" at my blog: http://skepticversustheflyingsaucers.blogspot.fr/2014/01/cracking-189697-airships-mystery-toward_11.html

    For residual cases, it is in French in other articles :(

    I say it only in order you avoid to "project" that skeptics (at least me) claims "that's impossible!".

    No, ETH is currently "useless" to explain the UFO phenomenon imho, but not impossible stricto sensu.

    Best Regards,

    Gilles

    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Sunday, July 06, 2014  

  • Don
    I would not characterise my comments as arising from depression as it is frustration in regard to the prejudices behind most being fixated on rote opinions , or being right as a defensive means that on the surface looks like an aggressive positivism without grounding especially in light of the unknown nature of this. If this were solely a social and psychological malady, there is a great deal to learn about human nature outside the confines of the comments here. However, again you have didactic reasoning that comes across as either \ or. I think it is a social and psychological phenomenon but that only represents a fraction of the spectrum this covers.
    I think there is also a modicum of conspiracy in officialdom that presents itself without explanation without over blowing and characterising this as a vast organised effort.
    Nearly every common reactive opinion is extreme.
    I know of one case where two national teams of scientists investigating a serious anomaly where suddenly they were cut off without a reasonable explanation when they began to narrow down a cause. Government funding holds the purse strings and that route is blocked which is odd when you consider that this is allegedly a benign phenomenon.
    We have no active science participating in active research to act as an arbiter in this so we have social media running a muck lacking any pretense of balance. The blind leading the blind divided into camps. So now as a result we have the safety of historical revisionism as a sort of toothless past time.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Sunday, July 06, 2014  

  • The essential qualities of objects that exist in the world are presence and persistence, substance. Real things have consequence. Phenomena are empirical, they are available for description and explanation. The subjects of "UFO" reports fail to meet even these minimum requirements--the requirements for being an "unknown phenomenon."

    So unless someone can present hard evidence of a "phenomenon" could we please stop using the word?

    Not only is it a misuse of the word, it assumes the answer ("p" exists) when there are only aerial ghosts stories, and nothing more.

    And then the fact that it's ALL been nothing but a mass media-manufactured delusion might become clear to those still suffering under the false belief that an "unknown" haunts our atmosphere.

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Sunday, July 06, 2014  

  • Bruce, my apologies to both you and Joel. I got irritated what appeared to me to be a dismissal of the value of historical research. There is a criticism of Americans that we abandon our past at the drop of a (new) hat. We do not learn from our history; like amnesiacs, every day is day one and our favorite recreation is dogpaddling across Lethe.

    I do agree that the debate about these past events is stagnant. I do not think that is because the record of the past events is wrung dry. I tend towards the opposite view.

    Regards,

    Don

    By Blogger Don, at Sunday, July 06, 2014  

  • Zoam
    I was unaware of your role as grammar police. Here your evangelistic role as an arbiter of reality for others shows its somewhat fascist view point.
    Is your social-psychological theory a phenomenon or a brick?
    Perhaps your opinion is as well.
    Please spare us your anonymous sage advise on what to think as none of those of us who think your bombastic diatribes are akin to trolling would take it seriously anyway.
    With that kind of rhetorical crap why bother with a serious reply?


    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Sunday, July 06, 2014  

  • "Was it Zoam who described the Arnold case as a hoax?"
    Yes, Chris; I suppose the model flying-saucer fairy tale is relevant here.

    There's no evidence that Ken Arnold saw anything at all. (He was just an ex-footballer and fortune-hunter looking for attention.) So there's no reason to take his story at face value and no reason to even require, much less accept the standard explanation of misperception--either meteors, swans or pelicans. Not all "UFO" reports are of ambiguous visual stimuli, many are flying-saucer fairy tales: fantasies, hallucinations, hoaxes with phony evidence or just plain lies. Relatively normal people sometimes create fantasies to fulfill some psychological need.

    The strongest evidence for a hoax in Arnold's case--again, the only evidence at all--is his behavior.

    It was Arnold who was most responsible for the dissemination of his story, telling it to anyone who would listen: first at his home airport, then an airshow, then to a newspaper office, then Army Air Force intelligence, then in a telegram to the FBI. And it was Arnold who publicly speculated to reporters in the first fews days about earthly advanced technology and then extraterrestrial visitors as possible identities for his flashing, fluttering, flipping, erratically flying, thin, fast, saucer-like pie-plate unknowns.

    And then Arnold had the gall to complain that he hadn't had a moment's rest that week! Why, of course not, he was busy promoting "flying saucer" hysteria--which was his job, a job he continued to do in partnership with publisher Palmer for the next two decades.

    http://ufocon.blogspot.com/2012/03/ufos-then-and-now.html

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Sunday, July 06, 2014  

  • Nothing "rhetorical" about it.

    It is the entire point--the only point:

    There is no phenomenon.

    There are no "unknowns" haunting our atmosphere--never were.

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Sunday, July 06, 2014  

  • Zoam:

    'phenomenon' or 'phenomena' are perfectly valid words to describe UFOs. Neither term implies an actual solid object or objects. Electromagnetic waves are phenomena, so are black holes. Abstract physics deals in 'phenomena', doesn't it?

    There has been no solid UFO evidence ever produced and very little likelihood there ever will be. By this I mean physical evidence that withstands scientific scrutiny.

    So, yes, there is no physical evidence behind the UFO phenomenon yet. The few ground traces and radiation readings produced so far have been useless. And the even fewer pieces of UFO 'hardware' produced have been worse than useless. And of course (particularly with people like AJB) there is far too much tittle-tattle.

    But there is still a 'phenomenon' of some kind.

    By Blogger cda, at Sunday, July 06, 2014  

  • Careful, CDA. You don't want to instantiate the persecution phase while he's still engulfed in delusions of grandeur.

    Let's watch.

    Regards,

    Don

    By Blogger Don, at Sunday, July 06, 2014  

  • Hi CDA,

    I think our evidence is that UFO's are several different things virtually all of them prosaic: mostly airplanes and celestial objects then there are balloons, kites, hoaxes, and another big one, wishful thinking. So when you say UFO phenomena, I suppose it is proper usage but actually you are referring to a bunch of known causes, not yet properly identified.

    Roger Marsh recently started posted what he called raw MUFON reports to one of the Facebook groups I am in (as click bait for his worthless Examiner stories). He met with much derision (not just from me)!

    The reports, almost every one, were incredibly dubious--much more so than I, a hard core skeptic, would have imagined. They really were idiotic. Seeing this raw feed was eye-opening and gave me an even lower opinion of what the UFO "phenomenon really is.

    After much poking of fun, Roger ceased posing those reports to the group! He complained that I was deriding cases which were still under investigation. But, to show what a farce MUFON is as a "scientific" organization, it is clear that all those crappy reports still make up supposed "data" that MUFON uses to declare UFO hotspots, etc. Its all such dismal dreck.

    But could there still be even among the dreck something that I have ignored in my dismissal above. Something not prosaic?

    Sure.

    But there needs to be compelling evidence for such a thing and from where I am sitting (yes, Larry, towering above you all! :)), such evidence has not been produced.

    Peace and Love!

    Lance

    ALSO: Damn it, CDA--I wanted to be #100!



    By Blogger Lance, at Sunday, July 06, 2014  

  • Oh, Chris, you are wicked! (LOL) Was that just to be the 100th post? Now admit you're just being a jokester so these poor fellows aren't any more confused. Tell me, would you post that to the Magonia blog. I doubt it. But then they know you, I suppose. (g)

    Seriously, anyone who thinks there is a "phenomenon" is still suffering under the "UFO" delusion. The idea that an "unknown" is haunting our atmosphere is plainly absurd. If there were an "unknown" of any kind, we'd have discovered it by now.

    "Phenomenon" as used in ufoolergy is simply sciencey-sounding window dressing that fallaciously assumes what it has failed to discover, that is, any evidence of a phenomenon, any physical reality of anykind at all. And if one insists on using the word "phenomenon" in relation to the "UFO" subject then they're (mis) using it in some nonstandard way peculiar to the subculture for the intellectually dishonest reason described.

    However abstract physics, to use your examples, may seem to most, I'm looking at multiple dimensions right in front of me. There's nothing the least bit unreal or non-objective about the host of particles, fields and compacted dimensions that compose our one scientific reality. But we can't say that about any part of the subject "UFOs" because there is absolutely nothing there--only a false belief that there is in people's heads. No scientist I know considers the subject seriously.

    Phenomena are empirical, they are available for description and explanation. The subjects of "UFO" reports fail to meet even these minimum requirements--the requirements for being an "unknown phenomenon." The word retains the original Greek meaning of "observable, available to the senses, being seen!"

    PK suggests "UAP," which we've all heard for decades but never caught on. So why not something that describes the reality as it is and go with the opposite of phenomena, which is noumena--"the wholly abstract products of the mind!" (LOL)

    People may report seeing things, but it's all in their heads!

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Sunday, July 06, 2014  

  • I'd like to close off this posting, as it's time to take on something else, so I won't broach the topics of phenomenalism and phenomenology, which would clarify, for our friend, Zoam Chomsky what his arguments are missing, because he hasn't been educated about Berkeley and Husserl.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Sunday, July 06, 2014  

  • @Joel
    > The Skeptics see themselves as the "gatekeepers" of legitimacy. Much the way the Catholic Church desired to suppress a cosmology

    Not a good analogy. Though UFO buffs perversely enjoy portraying themselves as a persecuted minority, they easily outnumber UFO skeptics 10-1, maybe 100-1. Skeptics are closer aligned to science than are mystery-mongering UFO proponents, but they are not gatekeepers of anything. UFO buffs are given TV shows and numerous speaking engagements, they have merchandise to sell, but UFO skeptics are few and rarely seen.

    By Blogger Terry the Censor, at Tuesday, July 08, 2014  

  • "UFO" Believers' identification with Galileo is more than just a bad analogy, it's historically and astronomically ignorant, and has become a silly new-age myth.

    The Aristotelian geocentric system--based on scientific observation--served the world for two-thousand years until shown to be mistaken by the better science of Copernicus and Galileo. Conflicts of personalities, politics and who decides what is scientific truth were as important in the Galileo affair as astronomical facts.

    Galileo was vindicated because his evidence proved the Copernican view was correct and the world view changed--not because he challenged papal authority. But "UFO" Believers conflate being contrarians with having veracious evidence. Sorry, Believers, scientific revolutions require veracious evidence--not evidence of revolting against science. We accumulate knowledge by the rule of evidence.

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

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Galileo_gambit

    http://www.skepticblog.org/2012/03/19/galileo-syndrome-and-the-principle-of-exclusion/

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Tuesday, July 08, 2014  

  • Zoamchomsky wrote:

    "Sorry, Rich, the logic of reality and language leads to one conclusion: there is no "phenomenon," there aren't any "UFOs" of any kind and there never were."

    Really ? I can prove you wrong.

    In 1989, new luminous atmospheric phenomena were found: sprites, blue jets and elves. These are now called Transient Luminous Events (TLP)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upper-atmospheric_lightning

    These are essentially high altitude lightning over
    thunderstorms.

    If we look at the history section of the article
    we can read:

    "In the 1920s, the Scottish physicist C.T.R. Wilson predicted that electrical breakdown should occur in the atmosphere high above large thunderstorms.[1][2] In ensuing decades, high altitude electrical discharges were reported by aircraft pilots and discounted by meteorologists until the first direct visual evidence was documented in 1989. Several years later, the optical signatures of these events were named 'sprites' by researchers to avoid inadvertently implying physical properties that were, at the time, still unknown. The terms red sprites and blue jets gained popularity after a video clip was circulated following an aircraft research campaign to study sprites in 1994."

    So, before 1989, TLEs were "UFOs" in the literal sense of the term. That means that it is possible that an unknown atmospheric phenomenon remains unnoticed (or in the present case unrecognized) for decades before being accepted by the scientific community.

    So, it is quite possible that other unknown atmospheric phenomena remain to be discovered
    and that some observations of these are buried in
    the various UFO reports from the general public.

    But I agree with Zoamchomsky and other skeptics
    that the psychosocial hypothesis can explain a lot of the folklore , mythology and belief system surrounding the subject of UFOs

    I am particularly interested by the "earth lights" hypothesis and I plan to implement an observational project in the province of Quebec , Canada (I am from there) to gather at least good pictures and videos of the phenomenon, and subsequently magnetic field readings and spectrum of the lights.

    Getting tangible evidence is a primordial step to do proper scientific analysis and instrumented observation on the field is the way to achieve this.

    A rare phenomena lover.

    By Blogger Rare phenomena lover, at Tuesday, November 11, 2014  

  • Talking of earth lights, some food for thought:

    Joel Crook mentioned a text written by his father. I followed the link and found the following sighting description along with Hynek comments:

    "I appreciate your comment on Allen Hynek's remark that UFOs are something we "just don't understand". No one else seems to be satisfied of the magnitude and truth of the statement, but the "Father of Ufology" was completely wise and honest in his assessment.

    In the mid 1970s, I was chasing lights at night over the Antelope Valley (in an area about 30 miles west of Edwards Air Force Base) which left burned triangular tracks on the ground. In examining many of these tracks in the area, I came upon a big cottonwood tree in AN EARTHQUAKE FAULT CANYON (my emphasis added) which had branches all the way to the ground. It was so enclosed until I had trouble getting myself through into the area enclosed by the branches. Inside, I found a set of burned "landing tracks". I wrote Alan Hynek a letter and told him what I had found and remarked that whatever it was, it certainly didn't fly into this enclosed space. He wrote back that he was not at all surprised and that he had heard from credible witnesses who had observed UFOs both emerge from the ground and sink into it."

    Such a category of sightings fits very badly within the ETH framework. ETH proponents have to use very convoluted logic to associate the observed phenomena with spaceships.

    But the geophysical or earth lights hypothesis
    cope well with the characteristics of such sightings:
    the proposed plasma balls doesn't have the constraints of "nuts and bolts" devices. Emerging
    and penetrating from and to the ground are no problems as well as burning a tree in a tight space enclosed
    by branches.

    By the way, did pictures were taken of the burned
    "landing tracks" ?

    Zoamchomsky will certainly complain (rightly) that there is no evidence that earth lights actually exist
    and that the Antelope Valley sighting is bogus (not right, because rejecting all reports without examining them may deprive us of the discovery of new phenomena, see the TLE example above).

    But my point is that anecdotal reports, while not being by themselves a sufficient evidence, may be used as a starting point for a sky-watching project with instruments. Even Tim Printy agrees with this.

    A rare phenomena lover.

    By Blogger Rare phenomena lover, at Tuesday, November 11, 2014  

Post a Comment

<< Home