UFO Conjecture(s)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Researching UFO episodes – Old and New

Some comments in my post about Donald Menzel and radar tells me much about how UFO devotees (not researchers, just plain folks) are inept when it comes to scrutinizing UFO incidents.

Real doctors, those who want to cure their patients, look, myopically, at those patients to discern what they can from the little, imperceptible clues that might be missed but would actually tell them (the doctors) what ill or ills may be making the patient sick.

My posting on Cleckley’s The Mask of Sanity also insists that psychologists look at those almost hidden attributes that tell us whether a person is psychopathic or not.

(No one reading here has read the book I surmise, although it’s available as a free PDF online.)

Oliver Sacks' neurological-inspired tomes tell us the same thing: it’s the little things that often tell doctors (neurologists) what’s troubling a patient.

Now, here, I get superficial read-outs from my regulars whom I appreciate, truly, even though I think they are less than intellectual or perceptive about the topics I register, some in their field of expertise.

(Only Larry Lemke fulfills the honorarium of “intellectual” when he comments.)

In the matter of radar as problematic (possibly!) when it comes to UFOs I remind Bruce Duensing that Goliath was taken down by a slung rock.

That an extraterrestrial craft, as unknown a thing as we have (unreal or real, both) may be vulnerable to radar’s attributes, although even I think that’s iffy…isn’t impossible.

To conjecture about such a possibility [sic] is grist here – UFO Conjecture(s) – so long as it takes into account what radar is and can do or not do as we know from the data and physics of radar.

I ragged on the fellows at Randle’s blog for their conjectures – because those conjectures were juvenile and loony, the bulk of what Mr. Randle allows to pump up his hit-count.

My point here is that if one wants to disjoint the idea about radar being disruptive, within its physical parameters, they better have, at their disposal, all the info, online and in books, that present the whole radar panoply, and the experiments, over the years, attached to radar.

That Roswell was a radar event can’t be dismissed out of hand, as loopy as they may seem to be.

That’s my point.



  • Wouldn't the contention that an alleged craft possibly crashed require substantial evidence before rolling out speculative explanations for why the crash occurred?

    The burden of proof hasn't been satisfactorily met by those claiming a craft crashed. Some of those claimants choose to expand on the argument from ignorance and identify radar as the cause.

    It seems to me that requiring radar expertise is a red herring in the discussion. After all, no matter how much insight one has regarding radar, it's abstract nonsense without confirmation of the crash and systematic knowledge of the propulsion and/or guidance systems of the purported object.

    Too often, I'm reminded of 'angels dancing on a pin.' If folk can assert a craft crashed due to radar interference, can't we also suggest it was a Trojan Horse crash or the pilot had a heart attack? Maybe it ran out of power? How do we know it wasn't a technological entity that committed suicide? It may well have been an extraterrestrial casket that had been interred to space and crashed to Earth after millennia and light years of travel - hence the alleged body count.

    By Blogger Kandinsky, at Wednesday, January 14, 2015  

  • Exactly, Kandinsky...

    I think the radar option is loopy but it can't be squashed out of hand nor can anything, if one assumes the possibility of a flying disk crash in Roswell in 1947....we have no idea what that disk might have been, if it existed at all.

    However, speculation is grist for any debate about paranormal or even mundane events.

    Limiting discussion to those only in the know would kill human innovation as history has told us.

    But speculation has to be sane, not insane....there are procedures for thinking, after all.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, January 14, 2015  

  • Agreed.

    We could argue that sightings continued apace throughout '47 to '49 without further crashes. The counterpoint has been that 'they' corrected their technology to be impervious to radar...a feedback loop of confirmation.

    As you say, 'grist' all the way.

    By Blogger Kandinsky, at Wednesday, January 14, 2015  

  • Some conjectures have a chance of a profitable return to provide some understanding of anomalies attached to evidence. This is not one of them. One can take both sides of a debate and walk away with nothing. Pouring from the empty into a void. That is the story of Ufology and this is a footnote. This sort of thing in my book is a continuation of feeding a black hole and that “feeding” includes refuting it’s basis. Folks cannot seem to leave it rest and so perpetuate a merry go round of circular arguments as a mild form of entertainment. I say let it let a dead end lie in peace.
    I can dismiss radar as bringing down an extraterrestrial craft simply as a matter of probability as to the scenario of an alien craft in of itself which is so remote, it’s not worth drilling down into pointless arcania in the same evangelistic fervor by Roswell cultists that is based on a lack of evidence for a crashed disk. Instead of even remotely provocative evidence that we could do some sort of forensic analysis upon we have fabrications, self aggrandisement, projected fantasies, and, as you say, misdirected psychology. By taking any of this as an intellectual exercise on radar over a miasma of psychological drivers and a huge gaping hole in it’s basic premise proves exactly what? That it’s appeal is a Rorschach blot. You can throw the kitchen sink into it.
    Radar is a minor adjunct to this narrative mythology just as a lightning storm is when compared to the overall attempt to use a lack of evidence to back fill abstracted conjectures over what are essentially unfounded rumors. You can debate the details of a rumor to the Nth degree and get nowhere which is exactly what Ufology has done. We may as well debate the propulsion systems of Santa’s sleigh until the cows come home.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Thursday, January 15, 2015  

  • I agree Bruce...

    One point I wanted to make clear was that one can't use Earth-to-Earth experiments on machines or craft to refute a possible Earth-to-UFO debacle.

    The premise may be loopy but the logic isn't.

    UFOs are a mystery. What might cause them to crash, if they exist at all, might be something as mundane as a sneeze by the ET pilot, because of the polluted air of Earth.

    It's the thinking I'm griping about. The idea of ET UFOs is another matter altogether.

    That Menzel, a UFO debunker for the CIA, is also interesting, as he seemed to have had an inordinate interest in the phenomenon for a guy who insisted they were nothing more than meteorological anomalies.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, January 15, 2015  

  • What is buried in this is the issue of a single minded approach. Taking the history of the approach as this represents a alien craft as the all dominating nexus of discussion, you may as well state that Alzheimer’s is a excellent example of being open minded. What I am saying is that other approaches have been plowed under by a propagandistic campaign based on telling the unwashed what they want to hear. Give them what they want, not what they need.
    The reductionism of Roswell is an example of toying with a pre-existing bias in favor of it that has been manipulated By “open mindedness” as a one note symphony. In terms of the results we have lunatic debates that have handed the knife by the hilt to skeptics. This is not late breaking news.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Thursday, January 15, 2015  

  • Do you think, Bruce, that we all may be having fun, in the long-time absence of any clues as to what UFOs might be?


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, January 15, 2015  

  • I could say it's fun depending on one's orientation to the subject whose cause is an inability to explore alternatives in light of the entire body of evidence that is ample enough to suggest this phenomenon is incommensurable to current knowledge.
    Instead of discussing where the Bigelow\ Vallee data base may lead us, or the discoveries of quantum physics, or the nature of consciousness in relation to the observer, the process of discovery and it's exciting prospects have been relegated to an absence of a more global point of view. This has resulted in a clinging to concepts that have remained unchanged for a half a century.
    To my mind, there is no exploration in the current state of affairs. What passes for thinking outside of the box is simply an example of a new box placed within the old one so it "fits"

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Thursday, January 15, 2015  

  • Yes, it's not "New Think" but a variation (and sometimes not even that) of "Old Think."


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, January 15, 2015  

  • I agree and that is the reason the subject has fallen into entropy. The momentum was lost. Everyone seems to think the parameters of the subject are set. I say they are not.
    Recently the Blue Book files were put on line, and Vallee and Bigelow have developed a sophisticated system of filing reports.
    How do the two compare? Isn't anyone curious? Apparently not in terms of discussion. What of the wave collapse function in quantum mechanics in relation to both the semi-physicality of these so called "objects"...and wave phenomenon \flaps following a potential tipping point of anticipation?
    On and on...Instead we have set parameters that are as dead as door nails.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Thursday, January 15, 2015  

  • Bruce, I have to politely disagree with you. Some of us are compiling databases in conjunction with PBB and others. I'm in a subset as I currently looking a ICBM data...call it a fetish, I don't care.

    In the end, it may come to nothing, but I'll do it for my own edification. Plus I find it as a cathartic exercise...

    By Blogger Tim Hebert, at Thursday, January 15, 2015  

  • [[What of the wave collapse function in quantum mechanics in relation to both the semi-physicality of these so called "objects"...]]

    Oy Vey, Bruce! More quantum quackery--which is completely appropriate to the utter non-issue, "UFO."

    The collapse of the wave function is purely a mathematical abstract--not a reality!

    And whomever imparted to you the misconception that it is a reality didn't know what he was talking about. We can guess who that was, I think. [g]

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Thursday, January 15, 2015  

  • Sorry Zoam
    Yours is another form of evangelism I have no use for.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Thursday, January 15, 2015  

  • Zoam wrote:

    “…whomever [sic] imparted to you the misconception that it is a reality didn't know what he was talking about. We can guess who that was, I think….”

    I guess him was Werner Heisenberg—you know, that well known quantum quack.

    By Blogger Larry, at Thursday, January 15, 2015  

  • Bruce,
    "Everyone seems to think the parameters of the subject are set"

    You're correct; the parameters have not yet been established:
    That being the case, I suggest
    that the creatures found in the Roswell crash are not from the stars but are citizens of an ancient civilization, one that evolved on our earth over sixty million years ago. They are tool using monotremes.
    They have perfected Reich's orgone
    science which is opposed to nuclear science; when nuclear energy is exposed to orgone, bad things happen. I propose that the monotreme crafts that began crashing were disabled (1945-1947) by nuclear fallout, a result of above ground, nuclear testing.

    By Blogger edward gehrman, at Thursday, January 15, 2015  

  • > wave collapse function in quantum mechanics

    For those who are not entertained by Zoam's caricature of a skeptic, let me restate the concern in palatable language:

    Evoking an undemonstrated phenomenon (wave collapse function) to explain another undemonstrated phenomenon (UFOs as anything but misidentification) is problemmatic.

    For instance, if one were to gather together a party to search for a Bigfoot, one would take a park ranger or a hunting guide, a primatologist or zoologist, and a forensic expert who could measure and record all evidence. You would not take a dowser, a pet psychic, and a teenager carrying a cell phone (though that would be much funnier than watching Matt Moneymaker).

    Rich has asked for conjecture on this blog, but I assume he wants it to lead somewhere new and interesting. The blog is not called "UFO Wool Gathering" (although that would be funny too. Maybe I should cybersquat the phrase?).

    By Blogger Terry the Censor, at Thursday, January 15, 2015  

  • Terry:

    I think Bruce Duensing would love a blog called UFO Wool Gathering.

    It would congeal all the UFO lunatics (his word) in one spot.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, January 15, 2015  

  • Twice or three times, I believe you have used "loopy" and I couldn't agree more. It was a loopy topic to put forward as far as I see and what I still don't understand is your effort to somehow defend a notion it related to, or suggested in any way to a radar take down of a physical UFO -that itself is a supposition, as being suggested. It wasn't.

    More, I don't get your ire this time that several comments said BS as to the paper relating anything beyond a technical discussion and some thoughtful projections of further use of radar and radio. That paper was certainly interesting to me historically as it projected the expanded use of radio and radar and at the same time the awareness that radar/radio waves are subject to solar disruption in 1947.

    Quite reasonably we can be interested in unknown aerial phenomena. It is thought provoking (to the point of conjecture) when something is seen that excites the later response of "What the hell was THAT?" leaving one simply stunned.


    By Blogger Bryan Daum, at Friday, January 16, 2015  

  • 'You would not take a dowser, a pet psychic, and a teenager carrying a cell phone...'

    ^^ This made me smile and the humour will be entirely lost on most of the bigfoot hunting community.

    I recently heard someone explaining that bigfoot live underground beneath trees. Yep.

    'Beneath trees.'

    By Blogger Kandinsky, at Friday, January 16, 2015  

  • Terry
    I like the erstwhile title and I made the mistake of putting one component of an involved theory out of place here. The wave function collapse as you probably already know are several parallel possibilities that the anticipation of the observer determines the outcome of. I happened to suspect there is more than one cause for a “wave” of sightings, hence the metaphor as well as a possibility there is a quantum component to the semi-physicality of what the observer experiences. Of course I cannot do a full exposition here. While there may be something to it or perhaps not, I do think there are other areas to explore. That was my point but due to my own “shorthand” and Zoam’s goofy attempt at nullifying discussion, the whole thing veered off into wool gathering which is partly my error as well. Whoops..

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Friday, January 16, 2015  

  • "Yours is another form of evangelism I have no use for."

    "Yours" doesn't stop you from dispensing 1970s new-age nonsense though, does it?

    Or avoid criticism of the same!

    Whenever a science fact--WFC is purely abstract not reality--stands in the way of a cranky fantasy--"UFOs" might be caused by quantum quackery--the crank defaults to ad hominem a la raw: evangelism, religion, inquisition, priest, etc.

    It's part of the Internet Woo-Woo Credo. [g]

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Friday, January 16, 2015  

  • Are you sure about that [sic] Larry? I doubt it.

    And this is 2015, not 1929. [Hint]

    I was referring to RAW, that great font of misinformation and misconceptions for new-agers like Bruce.

    Get it now, Larry?

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Friday, January 16, 2015  

  • "but due to my own “shorthand” and Zoam’s goofy attempt at nullifying discussion,"

    Gosh, is that what it was? And here I thought that in correcting your misconception, you might actually learn something.

    And so stop mindlessly repeating the ridiculous and pointless 1970s fantasies of Keel, Hynek, Vallee, Clark, et al.

    Explaining why people make "UFO" reports does not require ethereal, non-falsifiable, and frankly, fundamentally misconceived pseudoscientific BS, like quantum quackery or interdimensional entities.

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Friday, January 16, 2015  

  • Zoam
    I don't respond to rapid trolls. Nice try.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Friday, January 16, 2015  

  • For those who are not impressed with Terry's northern form of skepticism, let me restate the point in unambiguous language:

    Invoking a mathematical abstraction--not even a phenomenon--to explain why people make "UFO" reports is not only complete and utter pseudoscientific nonsense, it is total intellectual abdication!

    It's intended to sound lofty and thoughtful but it's meaningless, it explains nothing. But, as I joked to Bruce, it is completely appropriate to the substanceless, utter non-issue, the idea "UFO."


    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Friday, January 16, 2015  

  • > rapid trolls

    Surely you mean "rabid."

    But I don't think Zoam qualifies as a troll. I suspect he is a drama student who was awarded an NEA grant to create, and to live as, an outsized version of a 1970s cliché. (Why he chose "UFO skeptic," I couldn't say. I would have chosen "bionic man.")

    By Blogger Terry the Censor, at Friday, January 16, 2015  

  • Terry..Thanks for the spell check.
    He's a classic, run of the mill nihilist with nothing constructive to offer. He is completely ignorant of all the double slit experiments.
    He's atypical ill read lunatic.
    He's a pathetic skeptic as well.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Friday, January 16, 2015  

  • But I like him still, Bruce....


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, January 16, 2015  

  • We know you enjoy being a editorial contrariety which is part of your abstruse charm.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Friday, January 16, 2015  

  • Grazie...(I think)


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, January 16, 2015  

  • Scientific "UFO" skeptics talk about the subject, "UFO" loonatics talk about the skeptics. --Astronomy Discussions, 1995

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Friday, January 16, 2015  

  • > "UFO" loonatics talk about the skeptics.

    You are partially correct, Zoam. I find many UFO books written by Americans to be off-putting because one has to wade through several chapters of childish whining about scientists and skeptics before one gets to the substance, if any substance exists. (Canadian and UK ufologists seem more congenial to skeptical arguments, for some unknown reason.)

    But, Zoam, it would be wrong of you to characterise attacks on you as mere partisanship. You are not a skeptic, you are a caricature of one. Your zealous certainty about all things is, by definition, unskeptical. In fact, you are dogmatic. (In antiquity, philosophical skeptics thought dogmatists were the worst kind of thinkers.) You argue in the exact same overbearing, scolding and patently partisan manner of a Stan Friedman or David Jacobs.

    Myself, I can't be angry with you because I can't take you seriously, even though my impression of the UFO evidence agrees with yours (though, as a Canadian, I can't help but state my points in a modest fashion).

    I can't be angry, but I am willing to mock you. Ufologists will disagree with me one this but I do believe ridicule can be earned.

    By Blogger Terry the Censor, at Friday, January 16, 2015  

  • Another snow day, eh, Terry?

    Your humor is like your "skepticism"--backburner, in development, as we say here in LAmerica; and rather low key, too PC and noncommittal for my tastes.

    "UFO skeptic" is a 70s cliché? Gosh, I did not know that. But I love it! I was raised on Sagan and Hartmann's Astronomy in the 1970s, rather opposite ends of the "UFO skeptics" spectrum at that time, so it is appropriate. Thank you!

    But I get it, I say Bruce is merely parroting the nonsense of a 1970s new-age fraud, RAW, and I know he is, so I must be a 1970s cliche also. Gee, Terry, one would hope you were above such juvenile and illogical nonsense; as if a new-age fraud and "UFO" skeptic from any decade were equals. They're Not! And you're not apparently. You defended Rutkow's Falcon Lake nonsense so no surprise here.

    I've always thought that I was two-fisted skeptic, Scientific-realist skeptic right and Pelicanist left, the Null hypothesis and the complementary PSH. Debunker and theorist. It's an unbeatable combo shared by all the skeptics I know, even if they don't make it their main emphasis. It's too bad you're not its advocate also.


    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Saturday, January 17, 2015  

  • It's a familiar criticism of Scientific skepticism, Terry, and a completely unfounded one.

    The scientific method is based on the Null hypothesis, the default position is the negative and evidence and claims are tested against it. In practice, Scientific skeptics doubt extraordinary claims, and subject these claims severe scrutiny simply because of the extrordinary implications if true.

    None of this is unique to a person. Most Magonians are decided and only ask that if someone has something he thinks falsifies the Null hypothesis, then he should present it for their inspection. And a noted space engineer, author and skeptic has said that if one really thinks that the "UFO" issue is even remotely undecided then no new information is likely to change his mind. It's all a myth.

    So you see, Terry, from the Scientific-realist perspective, the "UFO" skeptic's view, and real-world consensus, until the Null hypothesis for "UFO" reports is falsified, the Psychosocial hypothesis is necessary, and it is the most rational position. Redefining words to create a straw-man and attacking it is a little odd since we are fundamentally in agreement on the evidence.

    But I still like you anyway!


    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Saturday, January 17, 2015  

  • "Your zealous certainty about all things is, by definition, unskeptical."

    You know, Terry, your criticism of Scientific skepticism is much like that of RAW and his "model agnostic" followers that I've encountered over decades.

    To which I respond: At exactly what point or level of your everyday experience does your doubt about the objects of our one reality begin to appear?

    It's a real question.

    Specifically, what is it about a thoroughly examined and known quantity that I must be agnostic about?

    When you see the world as it is, what reason do you have for suspecting that there is some part that is inaccessible to you?

    It doesn't follow.

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Saturday, January 17, 2015  

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