UFO Conjecture(s)

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Dealing with Zoam…

Ya just can’t go dormant, when you have such an energetic guy as Zoam Chomsky hovering around.

You hafta deal with him, and you gotta luv the guy.

Zoam’s “UFO atheism” – couched in quasi-scientific jargon (Null and PSH, Psychosocial hypothesis) – misses the logic that Richard Hall decried as missing in ufology.

Frank Warren has insistently asserted that UFO merely means a thing or apparition seen flying or floating in the sky not identifiable and is tagged a UFO, an unidentified flying object. (The use of “object” being a bit much maybe but understandable as most sightings of unidentified things in the sky seem to be tangible, or object-like.)

Zoam insists, just as vehemently, that those things seen are delusions or imagined or confabulated.

All we have are UFO reports, nothing verifiable as reality, despite the fact that people do see odd things flying about. I have, as have others, and while most of us don’t call those things seen “flying saucers,” they can be call unidentified flying things or objects.

Bruce Duensing likes to call them UAP (the Vallee designation, Unidentified Aerial Phenomena), a sobriquet I use at one of our blogs but a term that misses the continuity of the jargonesque letters UFO over the years.

Now if Zoam wants to quibble with the ET explanation of those unidentified flying things, he has grounds for doing so.

But how can he argue this: “Every hoax, every flying-saucer fairy tale is evidence of nothing more than a myth and social delusion”?

Sure, some UFO/flying saucer tales are hallucinogenic or neurological delusions, and some even outright confabulations or lies.

But can everyone be lying about what they think they’ve seen?

Scientific proof of UFO sightings has been woefully indeterminate, surely, but can we really discount witness observations as wholly bogus, without throwing out consciousness and morality altogether?

Are humans subject to an overwhelming delusion called consciousness, a matter for discussion perhaps, but that isn’t part of Zoam’s protestations, not directly as I read him.
I think people are basically honest and reporting as best as they can what their senses have imposed upon their brains.

Zoam says, not so fast. He writes:

“Scientific skepticism is an application of our overwhelming worldview, modern Scientific realism. The scientific method and the continuously evolving truth about the world and the Universe it generates are advocated by Scientific skepticism to displace ignorance, irrationality and superstition in the world because stupidity and false beliefs degrade the quality of life on Earth and are increasingly dangerous in our technological democracy.”

But is there such a thing as “scientific skepticism”?

I think it doesn’t exist, and can argue that there is no proof for it.

It’s merely a terminology and practice foisted upon non-scientists without a semblance of reality, outside the myth-making of science, a false belief to create a caste system favorable to those advocating science as something real.

I like Zoam’s egregiously vibrant UFO protest, his “UFO atheism.”

It sparks debate, nutty as it seems.

It just strikes me as overwhelmingly non-dialectic, and a lot loopy.



  • Hello again RR,

    If you have to have a swan song this is a good one.

    A you note, Bruce asserts UAP as a better term and I certainly agree but unfortunately its just not main stream. That "other term" is,

    If you deny that things are seen in the air that are unknown or not understood then you make light of real observation. That makes no sense.

    I'm a skeptic right down the line but admitting that I saw something once that I could not resolve doesn't make me a proponent of anything, just a curious fellow (like my favorite, Feynman!)and that's how research starts. It led me here -it wasn't a saucer.

    Research is tough when the topic is something you see once. Speaking of atheism, the old humorous refrain that there are no atheists in fox holes comes to mind...but then I've never been in a fox hole. I often wonder just how a Scientific Skeptic fares when confronted with an unknown in front of them clearly and in daylight.

    Science likes things that are repeatable. Through the plethora of noise there is a signal but of what that is is the question. To answer that may take the "extraordinary evidence" for sure.

    I read Skeptical Enquirer from time to time and I often become skeptical of the skeptics when they become proponents of the null set.

    Thanks again, RR, I'll keep looking and reading...


    By Blogger Bryan Daum, at Friday, May 29, 2015  

  • "Dealing with Zoam…

    "Ya just can’t go dormant, when you have such an energetic guy as Zoam Chomsky hovering around.

    "You hafta deal with him, and you gotta luv the guy."

    And we luv you too, Rich, you "UFO" nut! I'm glad to be here. Thank you. And I hope this means we'll have much more fun here at RR's Magical Mystery "UFO" Blog! (g)

    Let there be no misunderstanding, as I have always said: People see real things in the sky that they misperceive so fail to identify or misidentify as extraordinary things. But that doesn't mean they've seen something other than what is known to exist in the world. The mere failure to identify does not create some unknown other thing--a hypothetical REAL "UFO"--instead it's a mere "UFO" report. That's the fundamental logic of the skeptical position on the "UFO" myth.

    Now the fundamental position on the reports themselves. The human perceptual system is notoriously fallible under unusual circumstances, so human created narratives, "UFO" reports, cannot be very reliable representations of reality.
    People may honestly report what they think they've seen, there's simply never any veracious evidence that they did see some extraordinary unknown thing.

    More than a century of reports of various types of atmospheric phantoms has not produced even one scrap of evidence of REAL "UFOs" of any kind; and the history of the "UFO" myth from its origins in the Great Airship mania of 1896-97 to the modern "UFO" myth is fully documented and well-understood, so the very best explanation for why people make "UFO" reports is the Psychosocial hypothesis:

    People, entire societies, have been conditioned to believe that a mass-media fiction, the idea "UFO," is a reality--first "airships" and "flying saucers," then the generic "UFO." And they've been conditioned to believe that their failures to identify are significant, even extraordinary, when there's no reason to believe that they are. And while certain segments of populations will always be credulous, the larger world has always been naturally skeptical of extraordinary "UFO" claims.

    Finally, as I said, "There's not a dime's difference between [most of] the skeptics that post here and elsewhere on the Internet, we all know who we are.... We're all Null and Psychosocial advocates" even if quietly. And one brilliant fellow, mon ami, refers to the PSH, the "UFO" myth and collective delusion just as much as me!

    So it's not as if that darned Zoam is flying solo. (g)


    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Friday, May 29, 2015  

  • No, ZC...

    You are not alone, in your skepticism, but you are unique.

    That's why I savor your comments.

    And they are the one thing that keeps me putting forth this blog.

    So, onward and upward (or downward) whatever the case may be.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, May 29, 2015  

  • Zoam said:

    "There's not a dime's difference between [most of] the skeptics that post here and elsewhere on the Internet"

    That is only true if you aren't taking cuteness into account.


    By Blogger Lance, at Friday, May 29, 2015  

  • My problem is that out of all the sightings and observations, what if just one is the real deal. I know most if not all sightings are misidentifications, hallucinations, and hoaxes. It's just that possibility that at least one might be an actual ET encounter.

    The probability of an actual ET encounter is certainly low, but does that mean we should give up?

    I think the skeptics find the topic just as interesting, otherwise they wouldn't be here.
    Zoam included!

    By Blogger Daniel Hurd, at Saturday, May 30, 2015  

  • Daniel:

    Why would an extraterrestrial race/culture visit or hang around Earth when there are so many other potentially more interesting galactic venues?

    We humans seem to think we're an intriguing and/or interesting species, but looking at what we are and do belies anything that smacks of "special."

    Social media and UFO commentary makes my point.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Saturday, May 30, 2015  

  • "Through the plethora of noise there is a signal but of what that is is the question."

    I'd like to see evidence of that asserted "signal." (g)

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Saturday, May 30, 2015  

  • Gilles Fernandez left this comment, which I had to edit as it had a name that I no longer want to see at this blog or any other blog of ours:

    Gilles Fernandez has left a new comment on your post "Dealing with Zoam…":

    You are not alone, Zoam.

    May I tease as ... did in this blog, or?

    My incoming new book: "Flying Saucers and Phantom Airships".

    Five years after the best-seller (well...) "Roswell: Encounter of the first Myth", Gilles Fernandez is back...

    You will never look at the sky in the same way...

    Nor you will approach the UFO and anomalistic literature as before...

    In the thema "the book you are the Hero", You'll have to become an investigator and you will be challenged to solve uncredible stories, photographs and videos. Ready to accomplish this and become a so-called ufologist?

    You will visit the past, and be back to the time of the cowboys, in the last decades of the 19th Century ...

    You will explore how we are all different, interindividually or during our own life (intra-individually).

    You will learn intellectual self-defense...

    "Flying Saucers and Phantom Airships": THE book of the 2015 Summer or Fall 2015.
    But in French! :p

    A book version first, and in open source 3 years after, "as usual".




    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Saturday, May 30, 2015  

  • RR, I don't want to make assumptions about extraterrestrials just yet.
    We cannot know their motives, we have yet to determine whether or not they have actually visited this planet.
    Same goes for anyone saying anything about propulsion or how much fuel/energy it would take to get here from wherever. It's all assumption based on what little knowledge we have.
    It's not like I wholly disagree with Zoam, or any other skeptic. They could be right. The problem I have is that they could also be wrong, and if they are even wrong about one case, it could be one of the biggest discoveries in human history.

    Yet I know that day will most likely never come, at least not in my life time. Still, it doesn't sway my optimism that maybe, just maybe, beyond all doubt, that one of those encounters was a legitimate close encounter of the ET kind.
    Either way, it stokes the embers of my imagination!
    And I'm pretty sure it has the same effects on skeptics, believers and everyone in between. :)

    Oh, and to answer your question more accurately- I have no idea why aliens might visit this dirtball covered in hairless bipedal apes. I try not to make assumptions about their motives. For all we know they are our future selves, maybe drones, maybe they aren't extra terrestrial at all.

    By Blogger Daniel Hurd, at Saturday, May 30, 2015  

  • Rich Said:

    "Why would an extraterrestrial race/culture visit or hang around Earth when there are so many other potentially more interesting galactic venues?"

    Define "interesting galactic venues".

    If life is rare [and so far as has been observed, it is] then *any* civilization might be interesting and might be something worth studying given that the inclination(s) of an alien civilization will be [must be?] different than our own.

    The problem with talking about aliens of any kind [even the kind that does not exist] is that they will be unlike humans in their thoughts and motivations. For all we know they like to hang out at your blog and pull the wings off of true believers by saying its all Psycho-Social Hogwash.

    *If* there were aliens and they had traveled to our world they would have to be more advanced than humanity. The best description of their "relationship" to us would be the one described in Isaiah 55:8-9 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways." The distance between an "advanced civilization" and our current human one would most likely be "on the order of" the relationship between humans and the "God of the old testament" --- But ETs don't exist it is a moot point.

    A better question to be asked is why is there a *need* for these "imaginary friends"? Why have these imaginary beings been a consistent thread in human myth and history? Why would this particular meme continue to exist generation after generation? What purpose does it serve? Does it give meaning to a vacuous life?

    Another question [given they don't think like us] why should they bother to announce their arrival or land on the White House lawn or at the Kremlin or the Forbidden City? Why should they do anything we expect? In fact if they are more advanced than us why would or should we detect them at all? But ETs don't exist except as entertainment for believers and skeptics who don't have better things to do with their time.

    Sorry to see you are putting this aside... it was entertaining while it lasted.


    By Blogger Joel Crook, at Saturday, May 30, 2015  

  • Thank you Daniel, your statement here clarifies your sensible position:

    "Oh, and to answer your question more accurately - I have no idea why aliens might visit this dirtball covered in hairless bipedal apes. I try not to make assumptions about their motives. For all we know they are our future selves, maybe drones, maybe they aren't extra terrestrial at all."


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Saturday, May 30, 2015  

  • Joel:

    It seems I'm not putting this blog aside after all; you guys keep dragging me back in, to paraphrase Michael Corleone.

    As for ETs paying attention to us Earthlings, I'd be surprised, as that would not seem very advanced to me.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Saturday, May 30, 2015  

  • Rich,

    One might ask why Zoam [the subject of your post] and Gilles bother to try to put "believers" in their place... after all: a wise man who argues with fools is not wise. But it is after all UFOolery. ;-)

    By Blogger Joel Crook, at Saturday, May 30, 2015  

  • Bryan Daum wrote: "Science likes things that are repeatable."

    True, but skeptics seem to hate it with a purple passion.

    In normal science, if someone reports witnessing a phenomenon more than once, it's considered supportive of the reality of that phenomenon--as when an astronomer sees the same celestial body in his telescope two days in a row. In debunkery, if someone sees more than one UFO in their lifetime, that is considered evidence of their mental malfunction.

    By Blogger Larry, at Saturday, May 30, 2015  

  • Gilles Fernandez sent this comment but deleted it when I made an aside comment about it being mangled. I apologize to Gilles, and add the comment here, which he can't delete:

    Gilles Fernandez has left a new comment on your post "Dealing with Zoam…":

    Larry wrote: Bryan Daum wrote: "Science likes things that are repeatable."
    True, but skeptics seem to ate it with a purple passion.

    LIES. Or Larry playing the agnostic and quote something he doesnt apply for himself and his ETH-theory.

    Wow! And "loling", I like too much Larry( a sort of remain of A. Meessen or other "Ufologues-Savants" (including J. Vallée prooving wrong 10000 times by J. Colavito or French Skeptics, including me), and who is teaching to other what he is not applying for himself and not learning!
    He continues to ignore IFOlogy....

    Larry as another victim of a modern myth called ufology?

    Lies again or again a guy who dunno what have demonstrated the SPH... In my incoming book you will learn that SPH have repeated in labo (Edgar Wunder experiment (Germany) and more to come (France) what it is expected or what it is predicted by the SPH, or in situ (SAROS initiative).

    A contrario the Larry ETH is totaly unable to produce a simple protocole to test the hypothesis he is defending. They prefer inventory à la Prévert (prooving nothing), you know, and this for several decades... None Iota advancing.

    Well, that's ufology, after all.


    PS: http://skepticversustheflyingsaucers.blogspot.fr/2015/05/flying-saucers-and-phantom-airships-new.html

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Saturday, May 30, 2015  

  • Larry, your descriptions are incorrect and so your analogy is inapt.

    If an astronomer saw the same body two days in a row, we would not take his/her word for it. The astronomer would have to provide data and predictions; others would need to be able to repeat the observation of the exact same celestial body based on what was provided by the astronomer.

    UFO witnesses never provide what an astonomer does; we have the witnesses' word only.

    >> Bryan Daum wrote: "Science likes things that are repeatable."
    > True, but skeptics seem to hate it with a purple passion.

    Thereby, your attempt to portray skeptics as haters of science is laughably absurd.

    But someone close by is filled with irrational hate. I predict you can observe this person more than two days in a row when you are having your morning shave.

    (See what I did there? Smooth!)

    By Blogger Terry the Censor, at Sunday, May 31, 2015  

  • Terry...

    I'm starting to get worried about you; you seem to have slipped into commentary that is theatrical rather than dialectic.

    (And you meant inept, not inapt -- something I might do.)


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Sunday, May 31, 2015  

  • Larry is always around to make up some pretend science to support UFO nuttery, You will recall that he acted to help the slide hucksters promote their nonsense from the beginning.

    Wasn't one of his most silly acts in that fiasco to say that he had used "precision calipers" (on a digital image!!) to determine that the characteristics of the freaking mummy didn't seem to be human (or something like that--he blathers on forever and I was laughing a lot at the "precision calipers" proclamation)?


    By Blogger Lance, at Sunday, May 31, 2015  

  • "precision calipers" Indeed!

    Yes, following the example set by BruMac, guys like Larry and DR are very good at "proving" any number of mundane things are NOT mundane things, so they must be something extraordinary! (gasp)

    Mummies are not mummies; daylight meteors are not daylight meteors; truck mirrors dangling by thread are not truck mirrors dangling by thread; Shuttle ice blown about by thrusters is not Shuttle ice blown about by thrusters; the reflection of the Sun on high-altitude ice clouds is not....

    And phony photos of flying saucers made of used poster-board house plans in Gulf Breeze could not possibly be just the phony photos they appear to be because everything is a freaking flying saucer to these guys! And they have the mathemagical mumbo-jumbo manipulations to "prove" it.

    BruMac received $20K for his credibility-shredding "proof." What do guys like Larry and DR get out of their online mumbo-jumbo "proofs?"

    Any excuse, no matter how silly and humiliating, to keep the saucer myth alive.

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Sunday, May 31, 2015  

  • @Lance and Zoam:

    What have you guys got against calipers? Have you ever actually used one? Do you know what they can accurately measure and what their limitations are? Google built the equivalent into Google Earth and I see no quibbles about using the "ruler" function in Google Earth to measure distances of "digital images" in inches from orbit! Is that nuttery on the part of Google?

    Or have you heard that some one actually sells such things as "Screen Calipers": http://www.iconico.com/caliper/examples.aspx Gee who measures a screen with calipers?

    I worked over 15 years in dimensional inspection and the accuracy of any measurement is only as good as the mind using the tool making the measurement. I worked in the Space Shuttle program and some of the things we did to measure parts and assemblies were almost as "iffy" because we were doing and making things which had not done before.. Those seat of the pants measurements gave a close enough approximation that the program engineers were comfortable with the results.

    As an example: Measuring the height of an inaccessible weld joint by making a mold of the weld with green dental putty (used to make casts for dentures so the molding material has as an accuracy of about .001 after it sets) then taking transverse slices of the mold and placing the resulting sections on a optical comparator and measuring the height with the micrometer built into the comparator's table

    The accuracy of measuring a photo is a bit "iffy"-- you need to know the "scale" of what is being measure if you are intending to get actual dimensional measurements--- but one of the things about the human figure is (as any book on drawing the human figure will tell you) it does have a "approximate proportionality". So the kind of measurement being discussed is acceptable as a "wild ass guess" There is nothing wrong with getting approximations of something with what you have at hand and a "precision caliper" can be used to measure anything... but you have to have some idea of the actual true scale of the image. You could use a ruler or even a "digital ruler" (some drawing programs have that functionality).

    So as an ex-senior quality assurance technical analyst, the methodology for obtaining an approximation with a caliper wasn't wrong, it was the "assumption" about the object that was being measured that was wrong -- after all a human mummy is still a human mummy.

    If you had attacked the result as unreasonable given the object being measured or that a zero order approximation of the "proportionality" of the thing being measured is of insufficient accuracy that would fly but attacking the person? What kind of people are you? It is one thing to prove someone wrong, but only a bully will keep kicking them after their point is made.

    Grow up you two or go get a real life.

    Playing bully is beneath you.

    By Blogger Joel Crook, at Tuesday, June 02, 2015  

  • Joel,

    If you are doing anything with digital images, measuring with built-in software image measurement tools is much more accurate and reliable, dealing in the native unit of such images: pixels. Bringing up precision calipers is just an example of the faux scientific veneer that seems to impress those who might listen to someone who is trying to create an argument as to why a mummy can't be a mummy even if it is a mummy.


    By Blogger Lance, at Tuesday, June 02, 2015  

  • Lance,

    I won't belabor your point... sometimes you work with what you have. Sometimes that is good enough. Sometimes it is not. You and the group you worked with did a great job with the placard and you should defend the work you've done.

    The real point is beating the guy up for his "methodology" was "over the top". It's like beating up an old rocket engineer who learned to calculate with a slide rule. The slide rule still works but you don't get the same level of accuracy as a calculator [tho' all those decimal places are not really to be trusted].

    The people who should be getting the drubbing are the people that tried to pull off the slide hoax for money or now want to muddy the waters to try to get more money out of it. They should be drop kicked out of the UFO "community". Falsely crying "wolf", "fire", "UFO", or "Alien" to make a profit [whether fame or money] should have a consequence.

    Faux veneers are everywhere if you haven't noticed. There has to be a list somewhere. James Randi is on that list. Much of the organized UFO community and organized skeptic community have that problem same problem since they regularly seem to fall into less than rigorous thinking. Do a search on the "LiveScience" web site with the search term "Jesus". You'll find such unscientific slush... yet some Skeptical folks love to quote "LiveScience" as a serious source of Science information. Why?

    My father fell afoul of less than rigorous thinking when he tried to present an engineering based analysis of reported EM effects and MUFON refused to publish it because it was counter to their "accepted doxology". It also didn't help that while he felt the phenomena was real he was not a believer in ETH. [Rich was kind enough to post that paper elsewhere].

    Most of what I have heard some skeptical folks spouting is less than rigorous... except as trolling.

    Some people treat their belief in Skepticism or UFOs as if it were their religion... attack their religion and you attack their god. Why bother? If it is true ignorance then they'll get the "Darwin Award" they deserve. Full force frontal attacks on "idjits" is really wasted effort because they will never see your point.

    I don't believe the "Skeptics" or the "Believers" have definitive answers. The skeptics being too glib in their thinking and the believer's too magical. I bet Zoam would be surprised I found some of his articles on his site are funny.


    By Blogger Joel Crook, at Wednesday, June 03, 2015  

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