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Thread: How to handle the ufo question

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    How to handle the ufo question

    As a kid, I was fascinated by the question of flying saucers (Flash Gordon) was my favorite tv serial).

    Later, I read books by Richard Dolan, which, at first glance, seemed credible. Later, he did not seem critical enough to me.

    Then I began to have my doubts and swayed towards the skeptics.

    I find the question of unidentified aerial phenomena very interesting, but dislike the way the two camps behave, and that two camps, pro and contra, have to be at odds with each other.

    Most of the ufo camp seems too credulous, and not critical enough, whereas the debunkers too quickly dismiss sightings with planet venus, planet Jupiter,etc.

    The ufo camp attracts too many weirdos, casting disrepute on the field, which is a shame for the serious investigators.

    The debunker camp does not attract weirdos, by nature of its negative stance.

    looking at the increasing amounts of exoplanets being detected nearby, the possibility of intelligent life in the not too far neighborhood, seems increasingly less implausible. Not to say they have been here.

    If you say you saw an ufo, you are labeled a kook, yet polls say many believe the government is hiding something. A very schizophrenic state of affairs.

    Too bad the sightings can not be investigated impartially, and not by members of the two camps.
    Last edited by gzhpcu; 2017-Mar-10 at 08:49 PM. Reason: typo

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    Seems the UFOs are more likely to be secret earth designed, where the sightings are credible. The nearest star is still an awfully long space trip. And our neighbour planets do not really seem to house aliens. Still it would be interesting to find really inexplicable evidence. If rather scary.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    The ufo camp attracts too many weirdos, casting disrepute on the field, which is a shame for the serious
    looking at the increasing amounts of exoplanets being detected nearby, the possibility of intelligent life in the not too far neighborhood, seems increasingly less implausible. Not to say they have been here.
    Detecting planets is not the same as finding life. We only have one example planet with life, Us, Earth. Until we find a second source, we cannot know if there even is any other life out there. And if there is, it being intelligent life, close to earth, developing spaceflight, comming here.. IMHO Chances are very very low.
    Space is big, even Proxima C. is more then 4 light years away.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    As a kid, I was fascinated by the question of flying saucers (Flash Gordon) was my favorite tv serial).

    Later, I read books by Richard Dolan, which, at first glance, seemed credible. Later, he did not seem critical enough to me.

    Then I began to have my doubts and swayed towards the skeptics.

    I find the question of unidentified aerial phenomena very interesting, but dislike the way the two camps behave, and that two camps, pro and contra, have to be at odds with each other.

    Most of the ufo camp seems too credulous, and not critical enough, whereas the debunkers too quickly dismiss sightings with planet venus, planet Jupiter,etc.
    To be fair, if Venus is in the field of view, and it's not in the ufo report, that's a slam dunk. That's a easy one.
    The ufo camp attracts too many weirdos, casting disrepute on the field, which is a shame for the serious investigators.

    The debunker camp does not attract weirdos, by nature of its negative stance.

    looking at the increasing amounts of exoplanets being detected nearby, the possibility of intelligent life in the not too far neighborhood, seems increasingly less implausible. Not to say they have been here.

    If you say you saw an ufo, you are labeled a kook, yet polls say many believe the government is hiding something. A very schizophrenic state of affairs.

    Too bad the sightings can not be investigated impartially, and not by members of the two camps.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    whereas the debunkers too quickly dismiss sightings with planet venus, planet Jupiter,etc.
    Why is this a bad thing?

    What progress would be made if skeptics did not draw conclusions when unlikely - yet still not impossible - explanations are found?

    It's not like they're hurting UFO reseach by being overly-critical. In fact, its impossible to be too critical.

    The only way we're ever going to find a UFO-needle in the false-sightings-haystack is to weed out everything until we have accounts that have no other possible explanation.

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    95% of the population of the western world has a camera with them 24 hours a day, and the UFO camp can only produce UBS (Unidentified Blurry Spots) photos.

    C'mon, get serious, guys.

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    Well where are the photos of them faking the photos!

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Mendenhall View Post
    95% of the population of the western world has a camera with them 24 hours a day, and the UFO camp can only produce UBS (Unidentified Blurry Spots) photos.

    C'mon, get serious, guys.
    There's an XKCD for that.


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    While definitely not an ufo believer, I still don't find the ridicule factor correct. Sure, lots of people posting fake photos, but these are very often skeptics, ridiculing the ufo question. Then you have phoneys, like our swiss Billy Meier.

    There are also some honest people spotting unidentified aerial phenomena. My parents had a good friend who was an airline pilot for American airlines, and maimtained he saw ufos several times, but never reported anything for fear of losing his job.

    How would we explore exoplanets for intelligent life? Hardly with a manned ship. Rather with AI in the exploratory ships.

    Based on the responses so far, I see closed monds on the subject.

    I try ro keep an open mind on the subject.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    I still don't find the ridicule factor correct.
    Yes. There's two issues.

    One is the rational analysis of the evidence presented; the other is the frustration with a faction of believers that don't believe in rational analysis. It is usually this second factor where the ridicule arises. And it's often challenging even for the most level-headed to keep the two separate.


    But I think there's more to it.

    Those who have witnessed an event tend to have a strong attachment to their experience of it. "It was probably just Venus" is a wholly unsatisfactory response. Yet, the 3rd party analyst really can't take it any further. They can't actually solve the mystery. What else is there to do after the account has been relayed?
    Last edited by DaveC426913; 2017-Mar-11 at 07:19 PM.

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    As I have stated in a similar past thread, ufo witnesses are assigned to 3 categories :
    1 - Witnesses mistakenly claim known objects as unidentified.
    2 - Witnesses are labeled as liars or hoaxes.
    3 - Witnesses are delusional.
    There is no 4th category - 4 - Witnesses accurately describe their experience.

    Better pictures will not solve this issue, multiple witnesses will not solve this issue, arm chair scientists will not solve this issue. Only 2 things would solve it -
    1- Governments make an official pronouncement of their existance, or
    2- the "visitors" purposely make themselves known.

    The problem lies with the lack of 100% provable evidence and our natural and easy leanings towards accepting the slightest bit of doubt on any reports. If any of you saw today what you believed to be a craft from beyond this world would you return here to report it? I doubt it. Even with pics you could not prove much of anything. If your neighbor also had pics it would only lead to speculation that it was some type of military secret project (the slightest doubt factor). All ufo sightings are too easily debunked and too impossible to prove as something otherworldly. This paradox trumps Fermi's paradox every time. Besides, Fermi seemed to think that the universe is teaming with ETs and that we should be seeing aliens all the time, maybe we are? It's just too darn hard to believe without the 100% proof that constantly eludes us....that and, we do like to sleep soundly at night.

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    When reality is boring people turn to fantasy. EOF

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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post

    How would we explore exoplanets for intelligent life? Hardly with a manned ship.

    No. Manned ships would not be possible with current technologies.

    We use big (space) telescopes to look at the atmospheres of those exo planets. See if something there is different from what we do currently know now about planetairy atmospheres. Molecular Oxygen might be a good start.

    -- Dennis
    Last edited by BetaDust; 2017-Mar-11 at 10:03 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spacedude View Post
    <snip>
    The problem lies with the lack of 100% provable evidence and our natural and easy leanings towards accepting the slightest bit of doubt on any reports.
    But why is that a problem?

    The idea that ETIs are visiting Earth is an extraordinary idea. It needs extraordinary evidence to demonstrate it. Sure I doubt it, any other position is not supported by the evidence.

    I'm sure many/most of the people who claim to have seen "unexplained" things honestly believe what they claim. Faithful religious people also honestly claim a belief in their beliefs. I doubt neither group in their sincerity. But neither group convinces me.

    If one "opens" one's mind to things that are not based on evidence, a person open's themselves up to a lot evidence-free ideas (homeopathic medicine, fad diets, anti-vax beliefs, climate change denial, etc.). Honestly, I don't find much difference between an unfounded belief in ETI visitations and an unfounded belief in a link between autism and vaccines.

    Feel free to label me "closed minded". It isn't true; there is a difference between closed and guarded, but nothing I'm going to write here will convince true believers otherwise.
    Last edited by Swift; 2017-Mar-12 at 03:52 AM. Reason: typo
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    What puzzles me is why the phenomena of ufos, not forgetting the word"unidentified"
    ,is placed outside the realm of rational discourse. It is regarded as an annoying fiction, best not talked about. Strange is that polls show half the population believes in ufos as being extraterrestrial. This despite the ridicule associated with such a belief.

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    You know, I think you're painting a ridiculous picture here yourself. When someone comes here with what they perceive as a possible UFO sighting they made themselves, they get all the help we can give them to identify it. That help does not always lead to an identification, but then again, the presented facts are also often vague, either in description or facts like location, date, time, etc. If such a person is met with ridicule, report it, and we (as mods) will get on it. But honestly, I don't see such ridiculing happening often.

    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    There are also some honest people spotting unidentified aerial phenomena.
    I think there are LOTS of honest people spotting unidentified aerial phenomena or things perceived as such.

    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    My parents had a good friend who was an airline pilot for American airlines, and maimtained he saw ufos several times, but never reported anything for fear of losing his job.
    Being a good friend to your parents makes him honest, or being an airline pilot? Or does the fear of losing his job make him honest? I don't see the point of bringing honesty into this. But since this fellow failed to report his incidents so they could be investigated, now all we're left with is another person with vague claims and the well known effect that time has on memory.

    Or is your point of him being an honest airline pilot of a reputable company that this somehow exempts him from possible explanations of window or lens glare, atmospheric effects, militairy craft, balloons, vertigo, distraction, misidentification of planets through clouds and optical illusions and so "he must have actually seen something"? If so, try to look into all those human error aircrashes where pilots were absolutely convinced they had everything under control and were doing the exact correct things right until flying into the ground.
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    Honesty is not being discussed in the pilot's case. He just did not report what he thought he saw for fear of losing his job. I am not saying he saw an alien spaceship. But he did see something, and more than once.

    the ridicule I allude to is notgenerally in this forum, it is in the mainstream press.

    why do 50% of Americans believe in ufos as being extraterrestrial?
    Last edited by gzhpcu; 2017-Mar-12 at 10:58 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    Honesty is not being discussed in the pilot's case. He just did not report what he thought he saw for fear of losing his job. I am not saying he saw an alien spaceship. But he did see something, and more than once.
    Ok, sorry I mistook that part. But the other point remains. By failing to report it, it has now become almost impossible to find plausible explanations. By not reporting he has helped the number of "unexplained sightings", that remain inexplicable not because there is no plausible explanation, but because the lack of detail now instead of at the time. Although, the latest "UFO reported by pilot/militairy" here was solved very quickly (at another site), even though the details were posted two years later. Of course in that case there were LOTS of details to help solve.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    What puzzles me is why the phenomena of ufos, not forgetting the word"unidentified"
    ,is placed outside the realm of rational discourse. It is regarded as an annoying fiction, best not talked about. Strange is that polls show half the population believes in ufos as being extraterrestrial. This despite the ridicule associated with such a belief.
    It can go both ways, it helps neither side. I was kinda amazed at your post to this thread:
    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    While definitely not an ufo believer, I still don't find the ridicule factor correct. Sure, lots of people posting fake photos, but these are very often skeptics, ridiculing the ufo question. Then you have phoneys, like our swiss Billy Meier.

    There are also some honest people spotting unidentified aerial phenomena. My parents had a good friend who was an airline pilot for American airlines, and maimtained he saw ufos several times, but never reported anything for fear of losing his job.

    How would we explore exoplanets for intelligent life? Hardly with a manned ship. Rather with AI in the exploratory ships.

    Based on the responses so far, I see closed monds on the subject.

    I try ro keep an open mind on the subject.
    That was only the ninth post to this thread, and two of the seven responses were mine! Reading them, I can't imagine why you'd infer I had a closed mind on the subject.

    I've looked into it for sixty years. At one time, my office and classrooms were next door to Leo Sprinkle, who has advocated for the extraterrestrial explanations about as long as that. In this interview (http://www.spiritofmaat.com/archive/mar3/sprinkle.htm), he says
    There is definitely a cover-up about UFOs on all levels: individual, community, military and on the ET level itself.
    So, if you want to blame somebody, blame ET.

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    True grapes. Sorry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    What puzzles me is why the phenomena of ufos, not forgetting the word"unidentified"
    ,is placed outside the realm of rational discourse. It is regarded as an annoying fiction, best not talked about. Strange is that polls show half the population believes in ufos as being extraterrestrial. This despite the ridicule associated with such a belief.
    I lived through the early days of the UFO fad. I bought the Blue Book report when it hit the news stands, etc. Nothing ever proved, it's been like watching 66 years of "X-files" or "Ghost Hunter".

    As for the "unidentified" part, who's identifying them as alien spacecraft? Get that beam out of your eye.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post

    why do 50% of Americans believe in ufos as being extraterrestrial?
    This is a total guess, but I think that all of us would like there to be extraterrestrials. I would love to have god-like beings appear and make everything great. So 90% of us believe in a deity who will save us, and 50% believe in ETs who will do it. Some people find it difficult to believe either.
    As above, so below

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    This is a total guess, but I think that all of us would like there to be extraterrestrials. I would love to have god-like beings appear and make everything great. So 90% of us believe in a deity who will save us, and 50% believe in ETs who will do it. Some people find it difficult to believe either.
    The evidence doesn't support the conclusions in either case, making it hard for a thinker to accept them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noisy Rhysling View Post
    The evidence doesn't support the conclusions in either case, making it hard for a thinker to accept them.
    I don't agree at all. Visits by ETs is an extraordinary claim. It would require solid evidence to support it. Not having such visits is completely normal, so it seems clear to me what a thinker could think.
    As above, so below

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    "Either case" meant "religion" and "flying saucers", not "They're unknown" or "they're our little space buddies."

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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    <snip>

    why do 50% of Americans believe in ufos as being extraterrestrial?
    As others have said, why do a high percentage of Americans (and, I strongly suspect, most groups of humans) believe in angels, ghosts, wee people, etc.

    I suspect humans aren't nearly as rational as we think we are.

    I find it interesting, at least in English, that we don't really have different words for "belief" and "rational conclusion" (for lack of a better term). People will ask you, "Do you believe in the Big Bang?", and you'll have to point out that "No, I don't believe in it, like you believe in unicorns, but I take it to be something that happened, and that the current working theory is a good, but potentially amendable explanation based on available evidence".
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    <snip>
    The problem lies with the lack of 100% provable evidence and our natural and easy leanings towards accepting the slightest bit of doubt on any reports.
    But why is that a problem?

    The idea that ETIs are visiting Earth is an extraordinary idea. It needs extraordinary evidence to demonstrate it. Sure I doubt it, any other position is not supported by the evidence.
    I don't think we're in disagreement here, yes for certain it is a most extraordinary idea, a very extraordinary idea or claim. My point was that the very extraordinary evidence required won't be obtained just by eye witness accounts, which so far is the only evidence we have where many cases involve multiple witnesses, pictures, electronic interferences, landing marks, radar contacts, and such. Some of the most interesting sightings take place in broad daylight, very close up, and structural craft are described in great detail. Many of these witnesses are from government, military, and scientific backgrounds that have gone before congress with their stories. As I stated above there are only 2 ways to obtain with 100% certainty that would be acceptable to most all skeptics - Government acknowledgement, or ET purposely exposing their presence., neither of which seems likely (assuming it's true of course) since there is no upside for either to do so.

    btw, I'm not one who "wants" to believe that we're being visited by strange entities of unknown origin (if they exist, that's the most generic description that would encapsulate certain sightings), and I have never myself witnessed anything that could be described as a ufo. I just find it difficult to dismiss every single sighting that has ever occurred though the vast majority of them can be easily explained as natural or man made phenomenon (although "natural" could include other worldly technologically advanced life forms). Also, I don't correlate religious beliefs with ET beliefs as such, that's too easy of a comparison to jump too. Sure there are those who may feel a spiritual or faith based connection to the phenomena but there are always going to be fringes.

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    I once debunked a claim of a UFO sighting that consisted of a moving fuzzy spot of light in the night sky. The description fit that of an aircraft shining a bright light on an underlying thin cloud deck. The observer said the sky was clear. I pointed out that this was in a remote rural area where the clouds were not lighted up much from the ground and could be detected only by the absence of stars in that direction. I asked if he knew the stars well enough to rule out patchy clouds and he acknowledged that he did not, and thus was satisfied that an aircraft light shining on a cloud deck from above could not be ruled out.

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    On another occasion I deliberately played games with my fellow bandsmen when waiting for a ceremony to get underway. I spotted a brilliant point of light low in the sky and said, "Look, a UFO!" Several of them said something like, "Horsefeathers, it's just the Sun reflecting off a distant airplane or something similar." I answered that yes, I could make an educated guess that it was just that, and that such a guess was almost surely correct. Nevertheless since none of us had flight schedules or a telescope handy, it remained unidentified for our purposes at that point. All I said was Unidentified Flying Object. I never alleged that it was extraterrestrial; they just assumed that I was doing so.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spacedude View Post
    As I have stated in a similar past thread, ufo witnesses are assigned to 3 categories :
    1 - Witnesses mistakenly claim known objects as unidentified.
    2 - Witnesses are labeled as liars or hoaxes.
    3 - Witnesses are delusional.
    There is no 4th category - 4 - Witnesses accurately describe their experience.
    I doubt that, it's just that "Thanks for your report, but based on what you told us, it's impossible to tell what you saw. It is still more likely to be some earthbased object or phenomen, than Aliens" is somewhat unsatisfactory to discuss, and rarely gets much attention.

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