UFO Conjecture(s)

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

UFO skeptics be damned?

Isaac Asimov:

“Don't you believe in flying saucers, they ask me? Don't you believe in telepathy? — in ancient astronauts? — in the Bermuda triangle? — in life after death?

No, I reply. No, no, no, no, and again no.

One person recently, goaded into desperation by the litany of unrelieved negation, burst out "Don't you believe in anything?"

Yes", I said. "I believe in evidence. I believe in observation, measurement, and reasoning, confirmed by independent observers. I'll believe anything, no matter how wild and ridiculous, if there is evidence for it. The wilder and more ridiculous something is, however, the firmer and more solid the evidence will have to be.”    


So, is there evidence for UFOs?

(Not ET-related UFOs, but just “Unidentified Flying Objects” or, better perhaps, Unidentified Aerial Phenomena?)

My “friends” – CDA, Lance Moody, Zoam Chomsky, Gilles Fernandez, et al. – are avowed skeptics, they all (except for Christopher Allan aka CDA, who is skeptical about an ET connection to UFOs and the Roswell incident, in particular) are staunch “UFO atheists.”

And this despite the overwhelming “evidence” from reliable witnesses, who state they’ve seen odd things in the sky (and sometime on the ground).

Is it likely that all these witnesses were hallucinating or misperceiving mundane things?

If one adopts the idea, as my “friend” Brit David Clarke has in his latest book (noted here a few posts down in the blog), that UFOs are only a myth, what does that say about the skeptical mind?

Doesn’t the litany of UFO accounts, found in many sources – ancient records, the Blue Book files, news reports, et cetera – indicate evidence in the sense that Isaac Asimov suggests above?

Is there any other accumulation of human reportage that is eschewed so diligently, disavowed by persons with a skeptical bent?

No, I’m not talking about the existence of Jesus or his alleged resurrection. (There are not reliable records of either.)

UFOs have a panoply of human sensory interaction(s): sightings being the most plentiful.

All the persons seeing a strange “thing” flying overhead or nearby can’t be errant in their observations; the odds for that totality is statistically improbable, even impossible (if my training in psychometric methods has any standing in scientific measurement).

That the skeptical juggernaut is overly vibrant in the UFO field of interest goes to the heart of what may be wrong with the mental makeup of those who take such a livid stance against the many accounts from reasonable people, some professional in related fields: pilots, astronomers, aircraft designers, for example.

One can disavow the existence of God, because there are no witnesses to such a being extant,

But can one discount, reasonably (and intellectually) the many, many accounts of seemingly sane individuals, as have been gathered over the years, from ancient times to now?

No. If the skeptical view is anything, it’s determinate stubbornness to see what is obvious: something quirky has been spotted in the skies of Earth (and on the ground sometimes) for millennia, by persons who are not or were not psychologically or neurologically compromised.

RR

14 Comments:

  • If we humans are in the fishbowl looking out, some odd fish might tell us that there's some weird thing that when described looks like a man's face. But nothing done from inside the fishbowl can cause that 'man' to return, on command so-to-speak, for scientific verification.

    Good thing we're not fish... =P

    By Blogger Parakletos, at Tuesday, September 01, 2015  

  • Rich,

    To be frank and direct (even if in French it would appear less direct and "offensive"): As usual, you dont care and will never learn on IFOlogy (aka UFO cases becomed explained) and present again "false arguments" and "straw man" (aka UFO-Skeptics present UFO witnesses as psychological or pathological individuals). :(

    So, in your mind and If I follow your strange logic, all UFO cases becomed IFO (80% to ...% the UFO corpus) involved mad, drunk, on drog, psychopathological witnesses? Tsss...

    You see, there is a big problem in your argumentation consisting to separe IFO/UFO witnesses... But you are free to hunt a chimera after all^^

    Regards,

    Gilles Fernandez

    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Tuesday, September 01, 2015  

  • What do you consider 'evidence' in the case of ufology? To have any chance of proving a UFO sighting is an ET craft you would need the actual craft (i.e. hardware) on hand for science to examine. Otherwise it becomes merely an 'unexplained event', once all the investigatory avenues have been explored.

    You can have as many unexplained UFO cases you want, but unless and until an actual piece of hardware, or preferably an almost complete craft is finally found, the ET explanation will fall short and science will dismiss it.

    There is no way around this - none at all. Think of how eventually meteorites were finally accepted as fact.

    Note I said actual hardware is a NECESSARY condition. It may not be a SUFFICIENT one.

    By Blogger cda, at Tuesday, September 01, 2015  

  • What is this fixation of an "actual craft"?

    Neither Jean or me (and a few others) think UFOs are craft -- from elsewhere or here.

    UFOs are an unexplained phenomenon (or phenomena).

    I am on record -- how many times? -- making the point that I don't think UFOs are ET visitations, nor visitations from crypto-terrestrials.

    Geez....why can't that sink in with you skeptic guys?

    UFOs may be extraterrestrial oriented, but that's such a remote possibility as I see it that it shouldn't be broached at this blog.

    What has been reported, as UFO sightings, might be an intrinsic neurological glitch of mankind or an ongoing hallucination that humanity has been and is subject to -- Maxtrix-like as I've posted often here.

    So, let's drop the ET connection, for this posting, and deal with UFOs as a reported item by many individuals, some qualified to make reports and some surprised by a strange vision.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, September 01, 2015  

  • Good evening,

    I find quite surprising that nobody ever commented about starting a field observation project, my own approach to the subject. Granted, this is a quite involving project, and the chance of success is not guaranteed.

    But this is, in fact, the only way that we could get quantitative evidence (aside from waiting perhaps forever for the ultimate case).
    That requires of, course, recurrent sightings as a starting point. This is why I restricted the study on a very specific category of
    sightings.

    Non recurring phenomena could not be studied that way, unless installing a network of all-sky automatic cameras that
    will catch the occurrence by chance.

    Best regards,

    Jean

    By Blogger Rare phenomena lover, at Tuesday, September 01, 2015  

  • Jean:

    Do you really expect ufologists to do something as sensible as you propose?

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, September 01, 2015  

  • In a "recent" interview, the owner (an Ufologist and me the UFO-Skeptic) asked me "Don't you believe in anything?"
    I replied " Je crois en tant qu'Homme que se lever le cul chaque matin est déjà beaucoup. La seule chose dont je suis certain, c'est que je vais mourir un jour".
    Something like "I believe that as a Man, to go up the ass every morning is already much. The only thing I know for certain is that I will die one day".
    ;)

    Gilles

    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Tuesday, September 01, 2015  

  • Skepticism and the path one takes to calling themselves a skeptic includes so much more than considering fantastic claims. The human condition, our perceptions and how we interpret them, mixed with the quagmire of popular, media driven, movie making, feature writer subjects, and other things, is it no wonder that we want repeatable, testable hands-on evidence - and wait with excited but somewhat dimming eyes for more convincing evidence than decades of devout investigation and billions of dollars world-wide have provided?
    There are so many claims to consider but the quality of individual claims to examine and draw conclusions from. (In saying that I am at least partially plagiarizing Lance Moody.)

    All the best,
    Woody

    By Blogger Woody, at Tuesday, September 01, 2015  

  • Rare phenomena lover suggests a skywatch program plus automatic cameras. He or she is obviously new to the subject as I can recall this sort of thing being tried in the 50s and 60s, all to zero effect. Even the USAF at one time tried it with the green fireballs (Project Twinkle).

    Any new attempt will almost certainly yield a useless result.

    By Blogger cda, at Wednesday, September 02, 2015  

  • I agree, somewhat CDA....

    The attempt to try Skywatch has been tried several times.

    I've found several accounts in UFO magazines, and Twinkle, as noted in the Desmond Leslie excerpts here a few days ago also, as you note, tried to do exactly that with the green fireball phenomenon -- to no avail.

    But one shouldn't dissuade Rare Phenomena Lover from trying to get such a project started. I wish him luck in his possible endeavor.

    It may prove futile, for many reasons but, at least, it's a noble attempt.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, September 02, 2015  

  • Good evening,

    I am well aware of these failed skywatch projects. But, I am also aware of recurrent reports of luminous spheres observed near
    the ground. When witnesses report having repeatedly observed this particular luminous phenomenon, sometimes almost on a daily basis for a limited period of time, a skywatch targeting this particular category of UAP (earth lights) appears to be
    promising. Granted, this is a very specific phenomenon that will not explain all unexplained UFO reports. But, it has the
    potential of a new scientific discovery, like sprites and blue jets. And just that justify the project.

    The first step is to wait until that kind of phenomena is reported, and to go next on that site to catch the other
    occurrences.

    Best regards,

    Jean

    By Blogger Rare phenomena lover, at Wednesday, September 02, 2015  

  • This is all wrong-headed.

    > Is there any other accumulation of human reportage that is eschewed so diligently

    The mere piling up of reports does not, of itself, logically lead to true general statements about reality. This "problem of induction" has been observed at least as far back as Sextus Empiricus and was most famously taken up by Karl Popper in The Logic of Scientific Discovery. (I'm not too deep into Popper but so far he is surprisingly easy to read, and makes all his big points up near the front. Classical philosophy, such as Sextus, is a good intro to the problem, but so is reading the arguments of fringe science buffs. When Popper doesn't give an example, you can often think of your own.)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Problem_of_induction

    Popper: "...the most misleading model of the growth of knowledge -- the model of an accumulating heap of observation statements" (p xxv, 1959 English edition).

    "Now it is far from obvious, from a logical point of view, that we are justified in inferring universal statements from singular ones, no matter how numerous; for any conclusion drawn in this way may always turn out to be false..." (p 4) And here he gives the famous example of white swans (which is mentioned in the link above).

    "But how is the system that represents our world of experience to be distinguished? The answer is: by the fact that it has been submitted to tests, and has stood up to tests" (p 17)

    Data does help us form theories; and the better the data, and the more we have, the better our theories. But without testing, general claims of knowledge are just a kind of "metaphysical" theorising (Popper's term). Untested general assertions are not of themselves empirical knowledge about reality.

    I would argue that ufology suffers from both a data problem and a logic problem. This is the fault of those studying the phenomena; it is not the fault of skeptics.

    That said, I would like to hear Jean's view about data collection, hypotheses derived from data, and testing these hypotheses. He (or she?) has told us about collecting data but I don't recall reading yet what will be done with the information, if there is an eventual plan to test preliminary findings, etc. That would be quite an ambitious programme (I couldn't do it!) but cool as well.

    By Blogger Terry the Censor, at Wednesday, September 02, 2015  

  • Good evening,

    First of all, the project is a hobby. I have no funding for it.

    The observation project has three steps:

    The first is to find promising observation sites. I found a potential site already this year, but I have to abandon it because
    of a conflict in opinions with a MUFON investigator who is already on the case. A long story, but it shows the problems inherent in ufology.

    So I will wait until a new report of possible earth lights is coming.

    The second step is to go to the site and to try to observe the phenomenon. Data gathering will be very simple at this point:
    First good, unambiguous, pictures and videos and then simple magnetic will be taken and magnetic as well as EMF field measurements in the presence or absence of the phenomenon. I will try to take as much pictures and videos as I can. Other people will join me with their equipment, possibly with a diffraction grating in front of the lens in order to obtain spectrums. Daylight pictures are preferable as the background will be seen.

    From that, I will write a report of these observations and contact specialists in geology and atmospheric physics (I have already a few contacts). For example, Raymond Piccoli of the French Laboratoire de Recherche sur la Foudre (Research Laboratory on Lightning). He did a lot of research on ball lightning.

    The third step will be getting help from these experts and to start a more advanced data gathering project with proper
    professional instrumentation for EM and other fields measurements and an automatic camera system. At the time, the project will have left the field of ufology and become a proper scientific study. The exact nature of the luminous phenomenon (we
    presume plasmas at the time) and the energy source that produces them (tectonic strain is presumed now) will then be
    determined. In short, a project similar to Hessdalen but avoiding the mistakes.

    One obstacle I see is that the "hot spots" appear to stop activity over time and new ones will have to be found continually to continue the research. A major part of the project will be to determine which factors make these places unique and to find if it is possible to discover them without the need of getting reports from the general public.

    So, I am at step 1 right now. Only time will tell if the project will be successful or not.

    An example of a possible earth lights hot spot is Perm in Russia where luminous spheres and mysterious glows coming
    from the ground are supposedly observed. But the local ufologists and media have managed to turn this potentially interesting site into a mix of occultism, far fetched ideas (multidimensional portals) and "ufoolery". No wonder why the
    Russian scientific community will not touch that even with a 10 foot pole.

    Best regards,

    Jean

    By Blogger Rare phenomena lover, at Wednesday, September 02, 2015  

  • > to find if it is possible to discover them without the need of getting reports from the general public.

    Ah, predicting hot spots. That's a good test of your theory.

    Good luck.

    By Blogger Terry the Censor, at Wednesday, September 02, 2015  

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