UFO Conjecture(s)

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The UFO skeptics’ belief system(s)

“A doubt that doubted everything would not be a doubt”; “A doubt without an end is not even a doubt.” [Wittgenstein, On Certainty, 1969, from The Classical Tradition, The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA and London, 2010, Page 892]

I’ve been at this long enough to have some thoughts on the inner workings of the skeptical mind that intrudes on my pages and also a few other pages [Kevin Randle’s, Above Top Secret, et al.].

CDA [U.K. resident Christopher Allan, who has been at this as long as I have and maybe more].

CDA, down deep, believes something odd happened at Roswell and proceeds to press the matter with skeptical asides, hoping that someone, sometime will provide proof of an extraterrestrial connection to the Roswell incident.

CDA is open to an ET explanation, even while seeming to eschew the idea of an ET explanation.

There are sympathetic musings all over his commentary, but he hasn’t seen anything that confirms for him what he believed in his youth and still believes, hesitatingly, today: a flying disk crashed near Roswell, but the fact of it has been submerged for a myriad of reasons, none of those reasons clear to CDA or anyone else.

This is where his skepticism resides: in the idea that no one could cover up such a monumental event, for such a long period s sixty years plus.

Yet, he thinks that something uncanny and flying saucer related happened near Roswell in 1947, yet he will protest this thought process I’m thrusting upon him.

But read his energetic comments about Roswell and many other early flying saucer accounts and you can only conclude that he, at one time, believed the phenomenon to be ET-related, only to be flummoxed by the seemingly fraudulent activities and accoutrements to the topic by George Adamski and especially Cedric Allingham, CDA’s fellow countryman whom he unmasked as astronomer Patrick Moore creating a hoax:

“[The] unravelling the mystery came in 1986 as a result of research by Christopher Allan and Steuart Campbell which they revealed in the skeptical Fortean journal Magonia.

In Flying Saucer from Moore's?, they argued that the prose of Allingham's book showed significant similarities to the writing of the famous astronomer Patrick Moore.” [Wikipedia]

Today CDA presses the issue that Stanton Friedman unconsciously (or purposefully) coached Roswell citizens in the late 1970s in the ET proposition for the Roswell incident (with which I am in agreement).

So, CDA’s skepticism is rooted in the prevarications about flying saucers, not that they don’t exist or that nothing odd happened at Roswell.

He thinks something happened at Roswell, and I get the impression that the happening he thinks occurred was more ET oriented than anything else but no one can prove it, not even the prolific ET-biased David Rudiak.

And thus CDA is skeptical in facile terms.

The other skeptic that sometimes visits here is Lance Moody.

Lance is not a UFO doubter by a long shot, he just thinks that the hooey presented for an ET presence to explain such episodes as Roswell, the Trent/McMinnville saucer photo, et cetera are too skimpy to provide proof of anything.

Lance dislikes chicanery and is noted for exposing Philip Imbrogno’s education credentials plus the embarrassing Kodachrome slides mummy placard exposé.

Lance isn’t a radical skeptic, but he is a forceful opponent of nonsense and attempted trickery when UFO event explanations are fulsome, often taking to task David Rudiak’s excessive circumlocutions to explain Roswell and other noted UFO cases.

(Then there are Robert Sheaffer and Tim Printy, about whom I will not say much, except to note that they both take on classic UFO reports or sightings in an exact way, Sheaffer the more thorough of the two.)

Zoam Chomsky [The Iron Skeptic] is from the atheist school of skepticism, proselytizing against UFOs as if they do not exist at all, but, seeming, to me, to believe, in his heart of hearts, they do.

(Only the fool says, in his heart “there is no God.” Psalms)

Zoam is too energetic in his UFO denial. He wants to crush out a deep-rooted belief that caused him grief in his younger days, it seems to me.

(The psychoanalytic pursuit of his qualms must be for another time.)

The only real, objective skeptic I’m familiar with is French psychologist Gilles Fernandez.

Gilles is fervent in his skepticism, resorting to massive “evidence” that refutes classic UFO sightings of the past and today, such as the 1896 Airship sightings or those damnable mummy slides that caused havoc and strife for many of us.

My only problem with Gilles’ skeptical approach, if I have any problem at all, is how he musters all counter arguments against a UFO event, everything, including a kitchen sink.

He sometimes piles upon legitimate refutations accreted nonsense, like his Venus explanation for some of those late 1800 airship reports, overlooking the obvious journalistic tomfoolery that generated many of the reported sightings.

In his zeal to condemn anti-scientific thinking, he gathers debunking material that is extraneous to his arguments, and unnecessary.

But that said, he doesn’t seem to have a deep-rooted, hidden, unconscious belief that UFOs or airships or flying saucers might be extraterrestrial, as CDA does or maybe Lance (or even me).

Gilles is a bona fide skeptic.

Well, that's how I see it. Now let the denials spring forth.

RR

12 Comments:

  • I know that you are waiting for your named skeptics to respond BUT, RR, in some sense we are all skeptics. Absent physical proof of some exotic nature, how can any of us be anything but skeptical? But there are degrees of skepticism and I think that's where most of the difficulties (and disagreements) lie. If the Heflin photos are real, they are evidence of some exotic phenomenon. If Newhouse really saw UFOs that looked like "two pie pans one inverted on top of the other", that's evidence of some exotic phenomenon. If the air controller in the D.C. National sightings really clocked a UFO at 7,000 mph, that's evidence of some exotic phenomenon. If the descriptions of Reverend Gill are accurate, that's evidence of some exotic phenomenon. If the roots of grass were really charred in the Scoutmaster UFO case, (and Ruppelt says that they were) then that's evidence of some exotic phenomenon. I could go on but you get the point. There are hundreds of cases like this. And IF any of these bewildering events really occured, any one of them, then extreme ultra-skepticism is simply not a rational position.

    By Blogger Dominick, at Tuesday, May 26, 2015  

  • My point Dominick, as muddled as it may seem is this...

    No one is a real skeptic in the UFO community, except Gilles Fernandez perhaps.

    Belief lies right below the surface, of any apparent skepticism.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, May 26, 2015  

  • Oh I was fascinated by UFOs when younger, occasionally reading of things mysterious and unknown (although certainly described as if well known by the proponents).
    This and that cryptid, ghosts, devils, eldrich powers of the natural world manifesting magical effects and so forth.
    It feels as though my skepticism is unchanging and in a way it is. But one of the parts of being a skeptic, as important as the methodical assessment of evidence and wariness of 'leaping' from masses of poor evidence to a seat of belief - is an evolution that has been so good for me and my skeptical viewpoints. Such evolution involves escape from the personal use of logical fallacies which we rant so enthusiastically against, greater appreciation for levels of evidence and how human thought works, how human perception works, how greater numbers of people works.
    It is a giant, rich and varied subject.

    While enjoying these subjects of mystery, it seemed that for most if not all of them, it's only a matter of time. It seemed like that then and through the same rational view, it still seems like that. UFOs, alien visitors, bigfoots, ghosts, yowies, demonic possession, lake monsters and so much more. The possible reality of these things made it seem likely, no, definite, that within my lifetime or at least within the next few generations, they would become known, proven, with all natural and supernatural elements laid bare for our appreciation. It may have seemed like that centuries ago, it seemed like that when I was a child, it seems like that now!

    It's only a matter of time, a phrase that can keep being said for so long will no doubt create many skeptics of varying type as we express our frustration.
    Proponents may feel frustration too, some may feel that as much as they believe, they are still getting no closer. At least skeptics are getting closer all the time, study of humanity, research of history and scientific findings are always moving us closer to a truth, a truth that the younger Woody was not hoping for.

    Had to get all that out of my system, hope it is as understandable as it seemed while I typed it!

    Woody

    By Blogger Woody, at Tuesday, May 26, 2015  

  • You write, Woody...

    " ... always moving us closer to a truth, a truth that the younger Woody was not hoping for."

    Didn't we all hope for the truth, even believing that it would appear some day?

    My "dream" of a UFO denouement has been dashed in my later years by the scamps and scalawags who've co-opted the phenomenon for nefarious reasons, exampled precisely by the recent Kodachrome nonsense.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, May 26, 2015  

  • > No one is a real skeptic in the UFO community

    Chris Rutkowski? I've read two of his books and follow his blog, and he does not seem to make any claims or categorical statements, just lays out the evidence and provides reasonable analysis, never overreaching.

    An honest broker of info.

    By Blogger Terry the Censor, at Tuesday, May 26, 2015  

  • And he pursues, like the rest of us, Terry, the phenomenon because he believes it is substantive.

    As to the essence of that substance, we are all, still, not sure, which is the ongoing fascination with UFOs and related matters.

    The pretense of skepticism disallows laughter or scorn, when dealing with a topic that is rife with ridicule.

    Skepticism is a protective coat for some.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, May 26, 2015  

  • Rich;

    Scientific skepticism is practical real-world doubt about extraordinary claims and the debunking of demonstrably false beliefs--particularly popular myths and delusions so a part of popular culture that they're identified as "pseudosciences." Scientific skepticism is zealously logical and factual, while it despises spiritualism and any unrealistic idea.

    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.

    There's not a dime's difference between the skeptics that post here and elsewhere on the Internet, we all know who we are. Some are more suited to scholarship and theory while others are better suited to debunking. We're all Null and Psychosocial advocates. And if I seem more virulent than others, it's because my teachers were real Skeptics!

    Your Pelicanist in SoCal,
    zoamchomsky

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_skepticism
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/scientific-realism/

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Thursday, May 28, 2015  

  • Rutkows isn't a skeptic because he's a victim of the "UFO" myth--not its master as real Null and PSH skeptics are. Only a victim of the "UFO" myth would consider seriously for more than a moment the laughably inept Falcon Lake hoax which was nothing but obvious TV sci-fi derivative tabloid trash from start to finish. Or certainly a truly skeptical person could make that determination eventually. Rutkows hasn't! He's perpetually "undecided" on this crude hoax; and he employs the methods of Internet cranks to continue to believe in the "UFO" myth. What a Joke!

    http://badufos.blogspot.com/2014/01/discovery-canadas-close-encounters.html?showComment=1389722309740#c4928183809841468237

    Real skeptics debunk hoaxes and frauds and make verifiably true statements about the world. Every hoax, every flying-saucer fairy tale is evidence of nothing more than a myth and social delusion, the mere subject of the Psychosocial hypothesis.

    As a ten-year-old I took the idea of visiting ET spacecraft seriously for a few weeks only while reading a sensationalist flying-saucer book with curious pictures--but never again after. There were simply none to be found outside of that book! (g)

    Is there a “signal” hiding in all that noise? In my view, there are no cases — despite well over a million UFO reports since 1947 — in which something is so strange that it could only be an extraterrestrial spacecraft is reported so reliably that misapprehension, hoax or hallucination can be reliably excluded. There’s still a part of me that says “Too bad.” --Carl Sagan on Cosmos

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Thursday, May 28, 2015  

  • Zoam, if you're going to attack Rutkowski, you have shown your hand as a scorched-earth skeptic.

    Critiquing his analyses is fine, but, simply put, his analyses are better than yours, so I will use him as a model before I use you. And I say that as someone who doesn't believe in a faith-based anything of any kind. (And Rich, I have always been that way. No secret believing of the thing I criticise. A friend of mine, who I have known for 35 years, recently described me on a podcast as the only "out" atheist in our Catholic high school of 1200 kids.)

    By Blogger Terry the Censor, at Thursday, May 28, 2015  

  • Terry says, “if you're going to attack Rutkowski, you have shown your hand as a scorched-earth skeptic.”

    Baloney rhetoric, Terry. I’m not attacking, just exposing. Rutkows is NOT A SKEPTIC! And I explained why he isn't a skeptic, he's just one of those chronically "open-minded" believers in the myth who calls himself a "true skeptic."

    That well-worn Internet woo-woo trick alone gets him 50 points on the Crackpot Index. He gets another 50 points for his phony “UFO scholar” act. There are no “UFO scholars” because there’s no such thing as “uf*logy” or “REAL UFOs.”

    Rutkows doesn’t know any more about it than the rest of us; and if he’s honest in his statements, he understands less!

    "his analyses are better than yours"

    And the page I linked showed that claim is plainly not true, two cases showed that Rutkows is not a reasonable person on the “UFO” topic. One very obvious flying-saucer hoax--with multiple self-inflicted injuries--and one simple observation of a booster reentry misperceived as a spaceship.

    But Rutkows won’t accept the most reasonable explanation of either, even after being criticized even harpooned by skeptical others.

    And on this blog, he intentionally misrepresented the Condon determination on the Falcon Lake hoax as “unexplained.”

    Rutkows claimed "the Condon Report...conclusion on this case should be accepted: Unexplained."

    When Condon actually concluded: "Attempts to establish the reality of the event revealed many inconsistencies and incongruities in the case, a number of which are described in this report. Developments subsequent to the field investigation have not altered the initial conclusion that this case does not offer probative information regarding inconventional craft."

    Which is a polite way of dismissing it as a crude hoax.

    http://ufocon.blogspot.com/2013/08/falcon-lake-real-ufo-encounter_3.html#c2128094109812300385

    Terry; I gave three solid reasons to doubt Rukowski's objectivity, he displays the attitude and behavior typical of self-styled ufoolergists, Believers in the "UFO" myth and other antiscientific contrarians:

    His belief in the "UFO" myth precedes consideration of any case, accepting the details of "UFO" reports at face value and often referring to the "phenomenon;"

    He's still repeating old cases that were thoroughly debunked decades ago to anyone not possessed by the myth;

    He ignores rock-solid explanations, maintaining a logically fallacious "undecided" position solely in order to continue belief in the myth, and which he erroneously and laughably refers to as "true skepticism" in ufoolergists' newspeak. What a Joke!

    To suggest Rutkows is any kind of skeptic is ridiculous. Instead he scores very high on the Crackpot Index!

    http://badufos.blogspot.com/2014/01/discovery-canadas-close-encounters.html?showComment=1389722309740#c4928183809841468237

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Saturday, May 30, 2015  

  • > Terry, do you see that Rutkowski is asking for "proof" of Michalak's hoax?
    > The proof of Michalek's hoax is the fact that all of his laughably crummy evidence fails to show any extraordinary event occurred.

    So unsupported claims are necessarily hoaxes?

    Again, terrible analysis. A cartoonish caricature of skepticism.

    By Blogger Terry the Censor, at Saturday, May 30, 2015  

  • More rhetorical baloney, Terry. Now you're simply ignoring and intentionally misrepresenting what I said; and so attacking the speaker again instead of addressing the facts and logic. I just showed that Rutkows is in no way a skeptic of “UFO” claims. And you’re still confusing philosophical radical skepticism with practical Scientific skepticism of extraordinary claims. The fact that you're reduced to Internet woo-woo tricks in the defense of Rutkows’ nonsense exposes your disingenuous and silly game. You’ll say anything apparently, repeating the same disproven and frivolous claims.

    What I said was: The proof of Michalek's hoax is the fact that all of his laughably crummy evidence fails to show any extraordinary event occurred. It's all nothing that Michalek couldn't manufacture--and did! So his purported "evidence" becomes real evidence of a crude flying-saucer hoax. Pretty straightforward, I say.

    That's a single application of the Null hypothesis: one set of data with multiple possible interpretations but only one of which is the most likely. And it's so very much the most likely that there's very little doubt that it's certainly the correct real-world conclusion: Michalek hoaxed it all.

    Now, can you follow that logic, our self-appointed Internet “judge?” Michalek’s ridiculous story, mere tabloid trash, was a crude obvious hoax from the get-go. The Mountie doubted Michalek’s story; rangers in several fire towers saw nothing; Condon dismissed the story as worthless. A dozen revisits won't change a thing.

    Terry, you're a poor Internet judge of analysis and skepticism because your new-age notion of skepticism is fundamentally misconceived, much like the credulous Rutkows and his silly “UFO” books you’ve been reading. Practical Scientific skepticism is not about considering all possibilities equally and deferring judgment simply as a phony rationale for keeping extraordinary claims—those of pseudosciences, especially ufoolery—under consideration, that’s a description of antiscience. Scientific skepticism’s first principle is DOUBT about extraordinary claims, the application of the Null hypothesis; then attempting to find evidence that the Null is false, while accepting where ALL the evidence leads and finally making a relatively certain positive conclusion.

    Terry, whatever you think you’re doing with this comedy act of yours, it’s not working, it’s not getting you anything.

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Sunday, May 31, 2015  

Post a Comment

<< Home