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Normandy
2010-Aug-24, 05:10 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pw13F7ahjY

Another credibility lost. It seems Michio Kaku lost it :cry:
Why is it so hard for producers to do a one minute google search and to find this forum and all the answers that they will ever need about "subject" :(
I've just sent my email to NBC.

CJSF
2010-Aug-24, 07:01 AM
I'd appreciate some mention of what he's lost, before clicking on a YouTube link, please.

CJSF

Paul Beardsley
2010-Aug-24, 07:11 AM
In brief, Kaku acknowledges that 95% of UFO sightings are misidentifications, but the remaining 5% are up for question. In response to a book he's reviewing, he takes a pretty positive stance that the remaining 5% are probably due to actual aliens.

I thought he had more sense than that.

EDG
2010-Aug-24, 08:02 AM
I've never been that impressed by Michio Kaku... I find him very vague and wishy-washy, and doesn't really come across as being very scientfic (He had some segments on "Alien Planet" which I watched again recently and my eyes glazed over every time he spoke, he's just too full of airy-fairy armwaving for my tastes).

Still... he's saying here that 5% of UFO sighting cannot be explained (whereas the other 95% can). His view appears to be that if they can't be explained - even by educated people who can think of a lot of different possible explanations - then they are likely to be aliens (though he also says this isn't completely convincing, in that there's no "alien DNA or alien chips" yet). Me, I'd just say that they're "unexplained" and leave it at that.

That said, I suspect part of this may just be a ham-fisted attempt to advertise his "scifi science" program.

NEOWatcher
2010-Aug-24, 12:00 PM
And that ant analogy?
We ignore or stamp on ants because they are so small. We DO give trinkets and food to larger animals. (anybody have a bird feeder?)
So; maybe these aliens are several hundred feet tall?

And if they are not that interested in us, then why do they come here?

WHarris
2010-Aug-24, 03:19 PM
I haven't thought too highly of him ever since he sided with the anti-nuke nuts before the launch of Cassini.

LaurelHS
2010-Aug-24, 04:19 PM
I'm not familiar with that. What was their objection to Cassini?

Torsten
2010-Aug-24, 04:26 PM
The objection was to the 72 pounds of plutonium in the RTGs on the spacecraft. They objected to the launch, and later to the Earth flyby.

Tenshu
2010-Aug-24, 11:59 PM
this is also the same guy all the people who believe that solar storms are deadly reference on youtube--;

Cookie
2010-Aug-25, 04:37 AM
Cant solar storms be deadly, at least, indirectly?
Or, have the world's power grids and communications satellites already been hardened?

To get back on topic, I don't know much about him personally, but I did find his recent cable tv series entertaining. :)

AndreasJ
2010-Aug-25, 10:32 AM
And that ant analogy?
We ignore or stamp on ants because they are so small. We DO give trinkets and food to larger animals. (anybody have a bird feeder?)
So; maybe these aliens are several hundred feet tall?

And if they are not that interested in us, then why do they come here?Maybe elephants or whales are big enough to catch their attention? :p

But I confess I sometimes amused myself by killing or otherwise mistreating ants as a child, so I dunno how good the original analogy is.

Percival
2010-Aug-25, 01:06 PM
Is there a conspiracy here?

dgavin
2010-Aug-25, 06:55 PM
And that ant analogy?
We ignore or stamp on ants because they are so small. We DO give trinkets and food to larger animals. (anybody have a bird feeder?)
So; maybe these aliens are several hundred feet tall?

And if they are not that interested in us, then why do they come here?

A bit off topidc maybe, but was watching a science show called "Killer Ants". The Bull Ant http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bull_ant was featured during it, and these suckers are huge at about 1.5 inches long.

They also have very very bad tempers. I personally would not go around stepping on any bull ant's if I could possibly avoid it!

Jim
2010-Aug-25, 07:00 PM
Is there a conspiracy here?

Normandy's OP brought up Kaku's UFO opinions. Discussion of UFOs is typically limited to CT.

Trakar
2010-Aug-25, 11:19 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pw13F7ahjY

Another credibility lost. It seems Michio Kaku lost it :cry:
Why is it so hard for producers to do a one minute google search and to find this forum and all the answers that they will ever need about "subject" :(
I've just sent my email to NBC.

Unfortunately, KAKU has been like this for a long time, most of the time at new age woo conferences (and it goes far beyond just UFOs). Clips from his remarks and comments at these events have been forwarded to me for several years now, and yes, it is sad, but there have always been a few brilliant eggs that end up a bit cracked.

Clanger
2010-Aug-26, 08:23 PM
Still... he's saying here that 5% of UFO sighting cannot be explained (whereas the other 95% can). His view appears to be that if they can't be explained - even by educated people who can think of a lot of different possible explanations - then they are likely to be aliens (though he also says this isn't completely convincing, in that there's no "alien DNA or alien chips" yet). Me, I'd just say that they're "unexplained" and leave it at that.

Could he be right? I personally have never seen anything that wasn't explained or was way too weird to be an alien (is that an oxy moron?). Can anyone point me at a thread that deals with this well or a clip of something that cannot be explained?

EDG
2010-Aug-27, 02:18 AM
Could he be right? I personally have never seen anything that wasn't explained or was way too weird to be an alien (is that an oxy moron?). Can anyone point me at a thread that deals with this well or a clip of something that cannot be explained?

He might be right - but that'd entirely be a belief on his part and not a fact, and I know if I see a scientist talking about something on TV I'd expect to hear facts about it and not beliefs.
Assuming the stats he mentions are true, the fact of that matter would be that 5% of UFO observations remained unexplained - which means they could be any number of things that we just haven't thought of yet (including figments of the imagination - I'm not sure if the unexplained UFOs that he was talking about even had any kind of photographic evidence associated with them). What it doesn't mean is that those 5% must therefore all be alien spacecraft.

Trakar
2010-Aug-27, 03:01 AM
He might be right - but that'd entirely be a belief on his part and not a fact, and I know if I see a scientist talking about something on TV I'd expect to hear facts about it and not beliefs.
Assuming the stats he mentions are true, the fact of that matter would be that 5% of UFO observations remained unexplained - which means they could be any number of things that we just haven't thought of yet (including figments of the imagination - I'm not sure if the unexplained UFOs that he was talking about even had any kind of photographic evidence associated with them). What it doesn't mean is that those 5% must therefore all be alien spacecraft.

His whole manner of phrasing was incorrect and deliberative, in the manner of many ufologists. He's already well on his way to being a modern Hynek.

Gillianren
2010-Aug-27, 03:04 AM
Assuming the stats he mentions are true, the fact of that matter would be that 5% of UFO observations remained unexplained - which means they could be any number of things that we just haven't thought of yet (including figments of the imagination - I'm not sure if the unexplained UFOs that he was talking about even had any kind of photographic evidence associated with them). What it doesn't mean is that those 5% must therefore all be alien spacecraft.

Shoot, it doesn't even necessarily mean that we don't have an idea. As far as I know, it just means that we don't have enough evidence to be sure one way or another.

HenrikOlsen
2010-Aug-27, 04:18 AM
He might be right - but that'd entirely be a belief on his part and not a fact, and I know if I see a scientist talking about something on TV I'd expect to hear facts about it and not beliefs.
Assuming the stats he mentions are true, the fact of that matter would be that 5% of UFO observations remained unexplained - which means they could be any number of things that we just haven't thought of yet (including figments of the imagination - I'm not sure if the unexplained UFOs that he was talking about even had any kind of photographic evidence associated with them). What it doesn't mean is that those 5% must therefore all be alien spacecraft.
Actually they can also be many of the same things the others have been identified to be, there just wasn't enough information to eliminate enough of them.
The 5% isn't unidentified because all mainstream possibilities have been eliminated for them, it's because not enough have been eliminated to say which it was.

EDG
2010-Aug-27, 04:24 AM
Well, yes :). The point I was making (maybe poorly :) ) was that the 5% is "unexplained" which means exactly that, and not "therefore must be alien spacecraft".

chrlzs
2010-Aug-27, 08:23 AM
Mr Kaku, if you are reading this (or anyone can be bothered to try to contact him, may I ask..

Which are your five 'best' (ie most unexplainable :)) incidents?

I would truly like to know. For sadly, the more deeply I look into the 'best' incidents, the more they tend to unravel...

eburacum45
2010-Aug-27, 08:36 AM
With the best will in the world, I can't understand how Kaku can believe that all of the 5% of unexplained cases are extraterrestrial in origin.

I actually do believe very strongly in extraterrestrials myself. On a good day I could maybe believe that about 5% of that 5% of all sightings are truly intriguing; that makes a grand total of 0.25% which have the 'high strangeness' factor. Kaku appears to fall into the 'I want to believe' camp.

NickW
2010-Aug-27, 09:38 AM
I actually do believe very strongly in extraterrestrials myself. On a good day I could maybe believe that about 5% of that 5% of all sightings are truly intriguing; that makes a grand total of 0.25% which have the 'high strangeness' factor.

I am sure you posted that expecting this type of response, but even if there is a .25% "high strangeness" factor, that doesn't make them ET, that just means they are highly strange, and nothing else.

Paul Beardsley
2010-Aug-27, 12:59 PM
I actually do believe very strongly in extraterrestrials myself. On a good day I could maybe believe that about 5% of that 5% of all sightings are truly intriguing; that makes a grand total of 0.25% which have the 'high strangeness' factor. Kaku appears to fall into the 'I want to believe' camp.

Why 5%? Why not 8%? Or 100%? Or 0%?

And if it's not 0%, why hasn't the world changed as a result of their arrival at our planet?

JayUtah
2010-Aug-27, 02:50 PM
The objection was to the 72 pounds of plutonium in the RTGs on the spacecraft. They objected to the launch, and later to the Earth flyby.

Yes, despite decades of operational experience with plutonium-fueled thermoelectric generators, some people insist they are unsafe. RTG fuel casks are demonstrated to be impervious to launch catastrophes, both on the test stands and in actual flight experienced. In one case, we simply recovered the RTG cask from the wreckage of the rocket, wiped off the soot, and installed it in a new RTG. The graphite casings are practically indestructible.

Further, each 2.5 g fuel element is vanadium- or rhodium-clad to eliminate the biological danger associated with alpha decay. Even if the casing were ruptured or destroyed, the individual fuel elements are entirely safe even if ingested. The energy required to declad the pellet is approximately the same as the energy to destroy the pellet itself and disperse it through the ambient. Even in the worst-scenario where the high-velocity orbital assist flyby of Earth destroyed the cask and declad the fuel, the dispersal would occur at a very high altitude and dilute the plutonium to a safe level.

Despite the handwaving fears of anti-nuke activitists, plutonium dust is quite difficult to inhale. The danger of a highly remote event like a high-altitude RTG rupture with significant damage to the fuel elements presents less danger than toxicity from cropdusting pesticide blow-off. It's irresponsible, in my opinion, to lend one's scientific credibility to such imaginary problems, especially when one is anxiously engaged in the science that such engineering activity as radioisotopic generators facilitates.

eburacum45
2010-Aug-27, 04:36 PM
Why 5%? Why not 8%? Or 100%? Or 0%?
8% is close enough to 5% to be indistinguishable.

0% is what I believe most of the time - but it is just about feasible that some sightings might have something to do with extraterrestrial intelligence: we can't quite dismiss the possibility yet. We may never be able to do so.

But Kaku seems to imply that 100% of inexplicable sightings are associated with ET; that seems an absurdly high proportion. Most of that 5% are inexplicable because there is not enough data to make a good explanation.

Luckmeister
2010-Aug-27, 04:37 PM
Yes, despite decades of operational experience with plutonium-fueled thermoelectric generators, some people insist they are unsafe. RTG fuel casks are demonstrated to be impervious to launch catastrophes, both on the test stands and in actual flight experienced. In one case, we simply recovered the RTG cask from the wreckage of the rocket, wiped off the soot, and installed it in a new RTG. The graphite casings are practically indestructible.

Further, each 2.5 g fuel element is vanadium- or rhodium-clad to eliminate the biological danger associated with alpha decay. Even if the casing were ruptured or destroyed, the individual fuel elements are entirely safe even if ingested. The energy required to declad the pellet is approximately the same as the energy to destroy the pellet itself and disperse it through the ambient. Even in the worst-scenario where the high-velocity orbital assist flyby of Earth destroyed the cask and declad the fuel, the dispersal would occur at a very high altitude and dilute the plutonium to a safe level.

Despite the handwaving fears of anti-nuke activitists, plutonium dust is quite difficult to inhale. The danger of a highly remote event like a high-altitude RTG rupture with significant damage to the fuel elements presents less danger than toxicity from cropdusting pesticide blow-off. It's irresponsible, in my opinion, to lend one's scientific credibility to such imaginary problems, especially when one is anxiously engaged in the science that such engineering activity as radioisotopic generators facilitates.

When Dr. Kaku attempted to get the injunction to stop the Cassini launch, I sent him an angry email asking what he based his fears on, and a spirited debate ensued between us. His argument deteriorated to where his main point was that all nuclear endeavors should be stopped because the technology could be misused by military interests. Kaku grew up in post-war Japan with a resulting lifelong abhorrence for anything nuclear. It was unfortunate that this so totally colored his judgement, but was psychologically understandable given his background.

Since then, I have maintained a generally high respect for the man, but to get back to the subject of the OP, it has been sad to see him increasingly pandering to what I would call the sensationalist and fringe elements of cosmology. Popularity with the masses can be very seductive.

Mike

Trakar
2010-Aug-27, 04:42 PM
With the best will in the world, I can't understand how Kaku can believe that all of the 5% of unexplained cases are extraterrestrial in origin.

I actually do believe very strongly in extraterrestrials myself. On a good day I could maybe believe that about 5% of that 5% of all sightings are truly intriguing; that makes a grand total of 0.25% which have the 'high strangeness' factor. Kaku appears to fall into the 'I want to believe' camp.

And what leads you to believe that any "UFO reports" are reflective of alien visitation?

I don't think that any intelligent, rational person doubts that there may be other intelligent technological life in the universe, we simply have zero compelling evidence of its existence, yet alone of its visitation to our planet.

Paul Beardsley
2010-Aug-27, 04:57 PM
8% is close enough to 55 to be indistinguishable.

0% is what I believe most of the time - but it is just about feasible that some sightings might have something to do with extraterrestrial intelligence: we can't quite dismiss the possibility yet. We may never be able to do so.

What I am getting at is, how can you have any figures at all?

And I find it implausible that even a single alien visitation could have taken place without it being recognised as a special case.

JayUtah
2010-Aug-27, 05:41 PM
In my interpretation he doesn't come right out and say the problematic 5% are attributable to aliens. He dances around it, but when pressed he doesn't take that final step; he leaves it at "totally unexplained." That's not to say his view is especially scientific overall.

The premise behind writing off 19 out of 20 sightings as misidentifications of ordinary phenomena is that the observers in question can be -- and are -- mistaken. But then Kaku turns around and tells us to pay attention to the 20th sighting because the people involved are highly notable and allegedly reliable witnesses: pilots, military men, etc. He hasn't shown that the observers in the other 19 cases were unqualified or unreliable. In other words, he hasn't answered the question why people are mistaken 19 out of 20 times. He simply assumes it's for the reverse of the properties he attributes to his "reliable" witnesses. In other words, without any study or evidence, he simply invents the criteria by which certain eyewitness statements are to be considered reliable and others not.

We know from good science (Loftus, et al.) that human perception is everyone's problem. It doesn't matter if you're an Air Force general or a 10,000-hour pilot; you're going to see things you can't identify because your perception fails you. And if your perception momentarily prevents you from seeing a reflection on glass for what it is, you might be inclined to think it's a "craft" out there in the sky doing things you can't attribute to common aircraft.

Even training and experience don't insure against misidentification or the failure to identify. While driving home some weeks ago at night under clear skies, I looked to the north and saw a peculiar soft-edged light hanging motionless in the sky, then vanish. Its position on the celestial sphere ruled out ordinary astronomical objects. I stopped the car and rolled down the window to eliminate the possibility of misperceived reflection. Only after I was able to travel onward and gather additional meteorological information did I unravel the mystery. While it was clear where I was, it was nevertheless foggy over Salt Lake International airport, situated a few miles north. I had seen the landing lights of a departing airliner diffused through fog. Since I was directly ahead of 16R, departing aircraft were headed directly toward me. Even though they were moving at well over 100 kts, this motion was not apparent to me because of my aspect to the target. And as the captain switched off the landing lights, the object vanished -- the ordinary running lights being too dim to penetrate the fog. I've been in an around airplanes and airports for decades. That doesn't prepare me to immediately identify everything that occurs there.

Conversely, while returning home Tuesday night from a road trip my companion and I saw a number of blue lights out of the right side of the car. The motion of the car established a rough parallax, using the moonlit distant mountains as a "fixed" reference. Thus we estimated the distance at 1-2 miles from the freeway. These blue lights exhibited non-ballistic, non-aerodynamic movements. We observed them for about 30 seconds. Thanks to Google maps, using my geo-tagged location, and to a stop at an RC airplane store, I've discovered they were likely night-time flights of RC airplanes over a park. Had I been unable to estimate distance by some reasonably objective means, I might have mis-estimated them as much farther away, and therefore their motion as much more exaggerated than it really was. And while the behavior was "non-aerodynamic" at a large scale, such as a Cessna or a Boeing, it was quite aerodynamic at the scale of RC airplanes. I'm not an idiot. Nor am I inexperienced, untrained, or inattentive. But these ordinary experiences -- especially at night -- are what misperceptions are made of. They apply to everyone, rendering Kaku's approach unsalvageably ad hominem.

Kaku commits the converse fallacy. We might expect an Air Force pilot (or even a general) to be authoritative on a positive identification. If he looked at a video and said, "Yes, that's an F-22 on full afterburner seen at night," we'd expect that identification to be both well-informed and confident. The lack of identification simply cannot be so confident. It presupposes wrongly that if the sighting were of a prosaic phenomenon, it would be quickly and confidently identified as such by these eminent individuals. In his interview, Kaku insinuates that where UFOs are found to be mundane objects, this identification comes quickly and immediately. I have not found this to be the case; and it is certainly not true in the cases where I have seen UFOs. Conversion from UFO to IFO is not a snap of the fingers. In my case it took additional research and the consultation of an appropriate subject-matter expert -- only because I was willing to do so.

Kaku asserts that the 5% "totally unexplained" sightings defy the "laws of physics." He isn't clear about which specific laws are being violated. We presume it's the standard UFO-enthusiast cited laws of gravitation, inertia, and aerodynamics that are being allegedly violated by levitation or what-not. Kaku omits to consider that they are "violated" only if one takes the interpretation of the sightings at face value. He does take them at face value, but on unsupported ad hominem grounds only. In the real world, a premise for non-physical behavior is the motivation for rejecting the interpretation that requires it.

Kaku's interpretation of the evidence seems heavily tainted by sloppy and selective handling. How unscientific.

eburacum45
2010-Aug-27, 06:23 PM
On the rare occasions that I entertain the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis, I'm reminded of Clarke's third 'law'; Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. A suitably advanced civilisation could be completely undetectable if they wish, or easily detectable, or anything in between. But such a civilisation with magical technology, which chooses not to make contact, might as well not exist until that time when they change their minds.

publiusr
2010-Aug-27, 07:10 PM
RTG fuel casks are demonstrated to be impervious to launch catastrophes...(in) one case, we simply recovered the RTG cask from the wreckage of the rocket, wiped off the soot, and installed it in a new RTG. The graphite casings are practically indestructible.
Further, each 2.5 g fuel element is vanadium- or rhodium-clad

Black Boxes aren't as tough as these near-ingots. Didn't he work under Ed Teller? That might have left a bad anti-nuke taste in his mouth right there. I don't think he understands that if we ever want to get to be a class one civilization--it will be with the atom. Now I once--on a lark--said that if we ever did have a visitation, that it would look a lot like Teton asteroid "aerobrake" event we saw in 1972. No saucer, no laws of physics broken. About the most realistic advanced spacecraft I saw was that commercial where a robot emerges from an aeroshell that popped a chute. Then too, that was on the moon--so no air. Other than that--that old commerical is pretty dead on.

Maybe Michio is just trying to keep interest in space up.

As to the anti-Nuke sentiment, I would propose this to Michio. That humanity embark on mining uranium on a record pace--to the point of resource depletion, and remove all radioactive elements from Earth to the Moon. Forget helium three, we just beam power from there back here, and the military has nothing left to work with except conventional weapons.

kleindoofy
2010-Aug-27, 08:18 PM
... it is just about feasible that some sightings might have something to do with extraterrestrial intelligence: we can't quite dismiss the possibility yet. We may never be able to do so. ...
Huh??

Why not?

Why not say we can't deny the possibility that some medieval alchemist just might have succeeded in changing lead into gold, that just maybe a perpetual motion machine really could invented, that spontaneous human combustion could be real?

Even if ET is out there somewhere and he's zipping around in a really fast space ship so that he only needs hundreds of thousands of years to cross local interstellar space instead of millions of years, how does he know we're here? We're not on the map.

For me, the number of genuine sightings is exactly zero.

EDG
2010-Aug-27, 09:16 PM
Why not say we can't deny the possibility that some medieval alchemist just might have succeeded in changing lead into gold, that just maybe a perpetual motion machine really could invented, that spontaneous human combustion could be real?

The first two are physically impossible. The last one may happen occasionally, given certain strange circumstances.



Even if ET is out there somewhere and he's zipping around in a really fast space ship so that he only needs hundreds of thousands of years to cross local interstellar space instead of millions of years, how does he know we're here? We're not on the map.

Not on any map you know of anyway. We've been broadcasting radio signals into space for years now. And they could have detected our earthmass planet from another system in exactly the same way that we detect planets in other systems today. They might even know what's in our atmosphere from that far off, if they've had more experience in planet-finding and have better technology than we do.



For me, the number of genuine sightings is exactly zero.

That doesn't seem very scientific of you. To me, the number of genuine sightings of extratrerrestrial craft is unknown. I cannot say that there are none at all though, because then my opinion would be based on my internal prejudices and not on observed fact. Observations tell us that some sightings are not explained, which means we can't say for sure what they are yet. Granted, they're very likely to be something ultimately less exotic, but there's always a chance that they might actually be alien ships.

Trakar
2010-Aug-28, 02:41 AM
...That doesn't seem very scientific of you. To me, the number of genuine sightings of extratrerrestrial craft is unknown. I cannot say that there are none at all though, because then my opinion would be based on my internal prejudices and not on observed fact. Observations tell us that some sightings are not explained, which means we can't say for sure what they are yet. Granted, they're very likely to be something ultimately less exotic, but there's always a chance that they might actually be alien ships.

We have zero compelling evidence indicative of any alien technological species, yet alone any evidences indicative that such have or are visiting the Earth.

EDG
2010-Aug-28, 02:49 AM
We have zero compelling evidence indicative of any alien technological species, yet alone any evidences indicative that such have or are visiting the Earth.

Right - which means we have no unambiguous data that proves that they have visited Earth. So the most accurate statement that we can give is "we don't know whether they've visited or not", not "they definitely haven't visited".

JayUtah
2010-Aug-28, 03:27 AM
Right - which means we have no unambiguous data that proves that they have visited Earth. So the most accurate statement that we can give is "we don't know whether they've visited or not", not "they definitely haven't visited".

But the premise to that proposition is whether they exist at all. Now it's highly likely that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe, but we have no evidence that it does. Hence as with all existential questions, we presume non-existence until existence is proven. We don't assert non-existence; we presume it. But that distinction has implications for the subsequent question: are they visiting Earth? Or stated differently, are UFO sightings the result of alien activity? Under the presumption of non-existence, you can't explain UFO sightings in terms of aliens. Otherwise you have exactly the sort of line of reasoning William of Occam found so insidiously wrong. Replace "aliens" with "transvestite space cows" and you have the logical equivalent, but in reductio ad absurdum form.

Nick Theodorakis
2010-Aug-28, 03:54 AM
But the premise to that proposition is whether they exist at all. Now it's highly likely that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe, but we have no evidence that it does. Hence as with all existential questions, we presume non-existence until existence is proven. We don't assert non-existence; we presume it. But that distinction has implications for the subsequent question: are they visiting Earth? Or stated differently, are UFO sightings the result of alien activity? Under the presumption of non-existence, you can't explain UFO sightings in terms of aliens. Otherwise you have exactly the sort of line of reasoning William of Occam found so insidiously wrong. Replace "aliens" with "transvestite space cows" and you have the logical equivalent, but in reductio ad absurdum form.

Except that we evidence of cows. And it would be possible to dress them in gender-inappropriate clothing. All that's left is to send them into space ("the herd shot 'round the world"). So maybe the cows are actually more likely.

Nick ("putting the 'absurd' into reductio ad absurdum")

kleindoofy
2010-Aug-28, 04:02 AM
... gender-inappropriate clothing ...
Do I notice a wee bit of intolerance in the choice of the word"inappropriate"? :think:

Perhaps "gender unconventional."

Trakar
2010-Aug-28, 05:08 AM
Do I notice a wee bit of intolerance in the choice of the word"inappropriate"? :think:

Perhaps "gender unconventional."

How about "gender unique," now there's a challenge!

HenrikOlsen
2010-Aug-28, 07:29 AM
... , that spontaneous human combustion could be real?
The first two are physically impossible. The last one may happen occasionally, given certain strange circumstances.
Smoking in bed. Never seen before. Very strange.

EDG
2010-Aug-28, 08:17 AM
But the premise to that proposition is whether they exist at all. Now it's highly likely that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe, but we have no evidence that it does. Hence as with all existential questions, we presume non-existence until existence is proven. We don't assert non-existence; we presume it. But that distinction has implications for the subsequent question: are they visiting Earth? Or stated differently, are UFO sightings the result of alien activity? Under the presumption of non-existence, you can't explain UFO sightings in terms of aliens. Otherwise you have exactly the sort of line of reasoning William of Occam found so insidiously wrong. Replace "aliens" with "transvestite space cows" and you have the logical equivalent, but in reductio ad absurdum form.

I don't know if aliens are visiting Earth or not. On a personal level I think it's extremely unlikely that they are. But I would never be so presumptuous to say that I am 100% certain that they're not - at best, I can say "I think it's very unlikely, but I don't know for sure". I think UFOs are just that - "unidentified flying objects" - and that if a minority remain unidentified after analysis, then that means that their nature and origin remain unknown, and that is how I would describe them. I wouldn't say they are aliens, but I can't say that they're not.

If that's "wrong", then I'm wholly unapologetic for it.

Paul Beardsley
2010-Aug-28, 08:35 AM
I don't know if aliens are visiting Earth or not. On a personal level I think it's extremely unlikely that they are. But I would never be so presumptuous to say that I am 100% certain that they're not - at best, I can say "I think it's very unlikely, but I don't know for sure". I think UFOs are just that - "unidentified flying objects" - and that if a minority remain unidentified after analysis, then that means that their nature and origin remain unknown, and that is how I would describe them. I wouldn't say they are aliens, but I can't say that they're not.

If that's "wrong", then I'm wholly unapologetic for it.

I think this entire post is rendered redundant by Jay's sentence, "We don't assert non-existence; we presume it," in the quoted section.

JayUtah
2010-Aug-28, 03:13 PM
If that's "wrong", then I'm wholly unapologetic for it.

No need to be. I think we're looking at two aspects of the same question and coming to largely equivalent conclusions.

There are really three questions on the table: (1) do aliens exist? (2) are aliens visiting Earth? (3) are UFOs alien spacecraft?

UFO enthusiasts like to conflate them, not to be malicious but simply because they lack sophistication. Very often I participate in conversations such as

"UFOs are real!"
"What do you mean?"
"I mean UFOs are alien spacecraft."
"I don't believe that UFOs are alien spacecraft."
"Why is it so hard for you to believe that aliens exist?"

Now (1) and (2) are somewhat naturally conflated, because one way in which we'll affirm (1) is if (2) were to be assertively answered. When an alien lands his spacecraft on the Champs Élysées (no reason to suppose they'd land in America) and submits to medical examination and allows engineers to pore over his spacecraft, then we'll certainly know the answer to (1) via (2). However, we could answer (1) also by means of receiving radio signals from a distant point, such as in Carl Sagan's Contact. If that's the case (1) would be answered yes, but (2) would remain unanswered.

The problem comes when we try to answer (2) before we have a good answer to (1). Postulating an action presupposes its agent. If there are no aliens, then they cannot visit Earth. I believe Eric Idle has a song about a portion of a bee that helps understand the underlying philosophy. A definitive answer to (2) works, but a weakly reasoned or speculative answer to (2) does not, because it may not provide a satisfying answer to (1), which stands as a premise to to (2). In short, it may be possible to answer (1) and (2) simultaneously by means of some monumental event, but we haven't seen any such event yet.

Now a presumption is quite different from a conclusion or an assertion. For the purposes of discussions like this, an assertion is a statement of putative fact that is not likely to be contested. I can assert that an airplane has crashed if I am standing before its wreckage. A conclusion is a proposition supported by a (hopefully valid) line of reasoning. If I observe and assert that the airplane's jet engines have aspirated dirt and plant matter into their combustion chambers, and that the turbine blades are bent and fractured along the line of rotation, then I can conclude that the airplane's engines were running at the time it hit the ground. I can further conclude that the cause of the crash is not likely to be engine failure. A conclusion's foundations can be examined and debated because they are based on causal relationships and observations that may be questioned. A presumption is a statement taken momentarily as true because it fits the evidentiary landscape and is the most reasonable to hold until proof can be assembled. We presume the innocence of a criminal defendant because the reverse requires him to prove a negative. Similarly we presume the non-existence of something whose existence cannot be established by evidence, because the reverse requires the problematic proof of a negative. We presume aliens do not exist because to presume they did and require proof that they didn't would require us to exhaustively scour the universe and finally admit that the best we could do is prove that no aliens exist that we are able to detect. Substitute "faerie" for "alien" and perhaps you can see how that works.

Do we assert that aliens don't exist? No, we cannot. In fact, our best extrapolation from scientific understanding is that aliens likely do exist somewhere in the universe. And statistically the likelihood that the number of inhabited planets in the universe is exactly 1 (i.e., Earth) seems very remote. We can't assert that they don't exist and we can't assert that they do.

Do we conclude that aliens don't exist? No, because that would involve a line of reasoning reasonably calculated to answer that question based on observation and logic. We have no such line of reasoning, and no means to construct one. That inability is what necessitates the presumption. In contrast we could conclude that Tom was not in a room: if we know the visual properties of Tom and had the ability to exhaustively search the portions of the room that could contain him, we could raise the negative proposition that Tom was not in the room. But we would need to know Tom's properties (so that various other inhabitants could be tested against those properties) and we would need to bound the search by confining it to a single room. We can do neither with aliens, so there we are. Do we conclude that they do exist? No, because we have no evidence that points preponderously toward that conclusion.

Dr. Kaku alluded to a few notable UFO sightings. He mentioned among his credible witnesses "the governors of states," suggesting the Phoenix Lights sighting. The evidence in that case points quite conclusively toward other causes. He mentions the Belgium UFO sighting, which I have already discussed on this forum: it is a loose agglomeration of data points to which some have attached a nebulous UFO theory, but which is more likely to be a confluence of separate occurrences. The F-16 targeting radar "lock," for example, is simply the natural behavior of that kind of radar as it attempts to establish a track in a noisy radar environment such as a city. A physicist such as Kaku can certainly be made to understand how such equipment produces those results, but it takes those of us with different expertise to recognize that better hypothesis, just as it took an RC airplane specialist to tell me that blue lights are the most commonly used for night flying. We simply cannot draw defensible "alien" conclusions based on available UFO data.

Do we presume aliens do not exist? Yes, because that is the only rational procedure at this point. If we presume that a class of entities exist for which there is no evidence, then there is no end to the absurd entities we would have to allow under that umbrella -- invisible elves, and such.

And that brings us to the third question, (3) are UFOs alien spacecraft?

This is important because (3) entails observations we have made and which we wish to explain in some terms. That is, (1) and (2) may be fairly abstract questions without any connection to the real world. (3) instead involves real-world effects that we have observed and to which we wish to attach a cause. There must exist a cause, because the observation is asserted. The task of the investigator is to determine which of all causes produced the effect. Unfortunately the first step in doing that scientifically is to determine that some particular cause exists and can produce the observed effect, so called prima facie evidence. In the aliens-UFO case we simply can't do that. To do that requires us to presume that aliens do in fact exist.

Further it requires us to presume that aliens possess the properties that produce the observed effects. This is where UFO "researchers" and enthusiasts really fall down the logical rabbit hole. If the observed (or more likely in this case, the interpreted) effect is a rapid departure at 10,000 mph in atmosphere with no sonic boom and disastrous inertial effects, UFO proponents suggest that aliens have a greater mastery of fluid dynamics and so can avoid such sonic booms, and further have "inertial damper" technology. Mind you, there's no evidence that they do -- or even that the aliens exist. There's just a big heap of speculation. In Kaku's mind and others', this constitutes "violating the laws of physics." And that, to them, is evidence of some advanced agent. To me, and those who make our livings assigning causes to effects, it means your interpretation of the evidence was likely in error -- just as it was in the other 95 percent of cases.

Since we have no aliens to examine and no alien spacecraft to put through their paces, we cannot formulate a test by which the alien hypothesis would be falsified in some case. And if you can't falsify it or figure out how to falsify it, then you have no scientific toehold. You can speculate all you want, but you won't go further than that.

Kaku's saving throw is merely the handwaving notion that in several thousand years new laws of physics will become apparent to us, by which such miraculous things as hypercritical motion through a fluid can be achieved. But this is unsatisfying; it's an appeal to magic. If that, then why not astral projection? Why not invisibility? If you're simply going to presume that these properties can be achieved willy-nilly by some advanced culture, then why limit them only to certain properties? Distilled down to its essence, Kaku's claims here are simply a tautology. The "aliens" are presumed to exist and to have exactly the properties that qualify them as the cause to some perceived effect. In such tautologies there is no science.

If we open up the realm of presumption as prima facie qualification, then there is no end to it. Because there is no limit to what we can presume, we must rationally limit what we should presume -- there can be no science without this.

No, we cannot assert that aliens are not responsible for UFO sightings. We cannot conclude that aliens are not responsible for UFO sightings. We can't know for sure by either of those mechanisms. But because of the presumptions involved, we can reject Kaku's line of reasoning as irrational.

Tuckerfan
2010-Aug-28, 04:40 PM
What I am getting at is, how can you have any figures at all?

And I find it implausible that even a single alien visitation could have taken place without it being recognised as a special case.And yet, people spot weather balloons in the sky and think that they're alien spacecraft. If we suppose that there are aliens visiting Earth, then given the number of misidentifications of ordinary things (clouds, planes, etc., etc., etc.) as alien spacecraft, does it not seem reasonable that if aliens were to "buzz" the Earth and not land in front of some large government monument ala The Day the Earth Stood Still that we would be incapable of recognizing them as such?

We have no idea of what an alien species would be like, what their thought processes are, nor the technology needed to transit the stars such that landing in the middle of nowhere, dressing up in a foil suit and walking in front of some rube while making "Meep! Meep!" noises is seen as a fun hobby. Humans often mistake the completely unfamiliar for something wildly different than what it really is. Odds are, if those who think that intelligent life could evolve somewhere else and not look like the "bumpy headed alien of the week" from Star Trek are right, that the design aesthetic of an alien species would be so utterly distinct from ours that we wouldn't be able to look at an alien spacecraft and say, "Hey! That's an alien spacecraft!" Couple that with the need for a level of physics beyond what we currently understand being necessary for interstellar travel and it seems to me that if they are showing up here, we shouldn't automatically assume that we'll spot them the instant the pop out to get a Polaroid of them making iehrys behind some unsuspecting humans head.

None of this means, however, that I think we're actually being visited by aliens, only that I don't think its a given we'd recognize aliens as such.

Trakar
2010-Aug-28, 05:11 PM
No need to be. I think we're looking at two aspects of the same question and coming to largely equivalent conclusions.

There are really three questions on the table: (1) do aliens exist? (2) are aliens visiting Earth? (3) are UFOs alien spacecraft?

UFO enthusiasts like to conflate them, not to be malicious but simply because they lack sophistication. Very often I participate in conversations such as

"UFOs are real!"
"What do you mean?"
"I mean UFOs are alien spacecraft."
"I don't believe that UFOs are alien spacecraft."
"Why is it so hard for you to believe that aliens exist?"

Now (1) and (2) are somewhat naturally conflated, because one way in which we'll affirm (1) is if (2) were to be assertively answered. When an alien lands his spacecraft on the Champs Élysées (no reason to suppose they'd land in America) and submits to medical examination and allows engineers to pore over his spacecraft, then we'll certainly know the answer to (1) via (2). However, we could answer (1) also by means of receiving radio signals from a distant point, such as in Carl Sagan's Contact. If that's the case (1) would be answered yes, but (2) would remain unanswered.

The problem comes when we try to answer (2) before we have a good answer to (1). Postulating an action presupposes its agent. If there are no aliens, then they cannot visit Earth. I believe Eric Idle has a song about a portion of a bee that helps understand the underlying philosophy. A definitive answer to (2) works, but a weakly reasoned or speculative answer to (2) does not, because it may not provide a satisfying answer to (1), which stands as a premise to to (2). In short, it may be possible to answer (1) and (2) simultaneously by means of some monumental event, but we haven't seen any such event yet.

Now a presumption is quite different from a conclusion or an assertion. For the purposes of discussions like this, an assertion is a statement of putative fact that is not likely to be contested. I can assert that an airplane has crashed if I am standing before its wreckage. A conclusion is a proposition supported by a (hopefully valid) line of reasoning. If I observe and assert that the airplane's jet engines have aspirated dirt and plant matter into their combustion chambers, and that the turbine blades are bent and fractured along the line of rotation, then I can conclude that the airplane's engines were running at the time it hit the ground. I can further conclude that the cause of the crash is not likely to be engine failure. A conclusion's foundations can be examined and debated because they are based on causal relationships and observations that may be questioned. A presumption is a statement taken momentarily as true because it fits the evidentiary landscape and is the most reasonable to hold until proof can be assembled. We presume the innocence of a criminal defendant because the reverse requires him to prove a negative. Similarly we presume the non-existence of something whose existence cannot be established by evidence, because the reverse requires the problematic proof of a negative. We presume aliens do not exist because to presume they did and require proof that they didn't would require us to exhaustively scour the universe and finally admit that the best we could do is prove that no aliens exist that we are able to detect. Substitute "faerie" for "alien" and perhaps you can see how that works.

Do we assert that aliens don't exist? No, we cannot. In fact, our best extrapolation from scientific understanding is that aliens likely do exist somewhere in the universe. And statistically the likelihood that the number of inhabited planets in the universe is exactly 1 (i.e., Earth) seems very remote. We can't assert that they don't exist and we can't assert that they do.

Do we conclude that aliens don't exist? No, because that would involve a line of reasoning reasonably calculated to answer that question based on observation and logic. We have no such line of reasoning, and no means to construct one. That inability is what necessitates the presumption. In contrast we could conclude that Tom was not in a room: if we know the visual properties of Tom and had the ability to exhaustively search the portions of the room that could contain him, we could raise the negative proposition that Tom was not in the room. But we would need to know Tom's properties (so that various other inhabitants could be tested against those properties) and we would need to bound the search by confining it to a single room. We can do neither with aliens, so there we are. Do we conclude that they do exist? No, because we have no evidence that points preponderously toward that conclusion.

Dr. Kaku alluded to a few notable UFO sightings. He mentioned among his credible witnesses "the governors of states," suggesting the Phoenix Lights sighting. The evidence in that case points quite conclusively toward other causes. He mentions the Belgium UFO sighting, which I have already discussed on this forum: it is a loose agglomeration of data points to which some have attached a nebulous UFO theory, but which is more likely to be a confluence of separate occurrences. The F-16 targeting radar "lock," for example, is simply the natural behavior of that kind of radar as it attempts to establish a track in a noisy radar environment such as a city. A physicist such as Kaku can certainly be made to understand how such equipment produces those results, but it takes those of us with different expertise to recognize that better hypothesis, just as it took an RC airplane specialist to tell me that blue lights are the most commonly used for night flying. We simply cannot draw defensible "alien" conclusions based on available UFO data.

Do we presume aliens do not exist? Yes, because that is the only rational procedure at this point. If we presume that a class of entities exist for which there is no evidence, then there is no end to the absurd entities we would have to allow under that umbrella -- invisible elves, and such.

And that brings us to the third question, (3) are UFOs alien spacecraft?

This is important because (3) entails observations we have made and which we wish to explain in some terms. That is, (1) and (2) may be fairly abstract questions without any connection to the real world. (3) instead involves real-world effects that we have observed and to which we wish to attach a cause. There must exist a cause, because the observation is asserted. The task of the investigator is to determine which of all causes produced the effect. Unfortunately the first step in doing that scientifically is to determine that some particular cause exists and can produce the observed effect, so called prima facie evidence. In the aliens-UFO case we simply can't do that. To do that requires us to presume that aliens do in fact exist.

Further it requires us to presume that aliens possess the properties that produce the observed effects. This is where UFO "researchers" and enthusiasts really fall down the logical rabbit hole. If the observed (or more likely in this case, the interpreted) effect is a rapid departure at 10,000 mph in atmosphere with no sonic boom and disastrous inertial effects, UFO proponents suggest that aliens have a greater mastery of fluid dynamics and so can avoid such sonic booms, and further have "inertial damper" technology. Mind you, there's no evidence that they do -- or even that the aliens exist. There's just a big heap of speculation. In Kaku's mind and others', this constitutes "violating the laws of physics." And that, to them, is evidence of some advanced agent. To me, and those who make our livings assigning causes to effects, it means your interpretation of the evidence was likely in error -- just as it was in the other 95 percent of cases.

Since we have no aliens to examine and no alien spacecraft to put through their paces, we cannot formulate a test by which the alien hypothesis would be falsified in some case. And if you can't falsify it or figure out how to falsify it, then you have no scientific toehold. You can speculate all you want, but you won't go further than that.

Kaku's saving throw is merely the handwaving notion that in several thousand years new laws of physics will become apparent to us, by which such miraculous things as hypercritical motion through a fluid can be achieved. But this is unsatisfying; it's an appeal to magic. If that, then why not astral projection? Why not invisibility? If you're simply going to presume that these properties can be achieved willy-nilly by some advanced culture, then why limit them only to certain properties? Distilled down to its essence, Kaku's claims here are simply a tautology. The "aliens" are presumed to exist and to have exactly the properties that qualify them as the cause to some perceived effect. In such tautologies there is no science.

If we open up the realm of presumption as prima facie qualification, then there is no end to it. Because there is no limit to what we can presume, we must rationally limit what we should presume -- there can be no science without this.

No, we cannot assert that aliens are not responsible for UFO sightings. We cannot conclude that aliens are not responsible for UFO sightings. We can't know for sure by either of those mechanisms. But because of the presumptions involved, we can reject Kaku's line of reasoning as irrational.

Perhaps a few minor addendums, but otherwise an excellent exposition, perhaps one of the best I think I've ever come across!! :clap: :clap: :clap:

and I might have been giving Kaku a serious re-evaluation if he had offered anything that even appeared to be headed in a parallel direction.

Trakar
2010-Aug-28, 05:21 PM
Smoking in bed. Never seen before. Very strange.

I knew a girl like that once, but she insisted that she needed to "rub two sticks together" to achieve the flame, and that just exceeded my personal "strangeness" quotient. I suggested a "fire-piston" potential, but then she looked at me as though I were strange,....C'est la vie!

Cougar
2010-Aug-28, 05:26 PM
Kaku's interpretation of the evidence seems heavily tainted by sloppy and selective handling. How unscientific.

Kaku obviously paid his initial (academic) dues, but even starting 16 years ago with Hyperspace, he has always been a scientific sensationalist. He apparently liked the notoriety - and money. I'm sure he thinks he is teaching and popularizing, but his teaching style has always been, like I said, sensationalistic.

Luckmeister
2010-Aug-29, 05:49 PM
No need to be. I think we're looking at two aspects of the same question and coming to largely equivalent conclusions.

There are really three questions on the table: (1) do aliens exist? (2) are aliens visiting Earth? (3) are UFOs alien spacecraft?

UFO enthusiasts like to conflate them, not to be malicious but simply because they lack sophistication. Very often I participate in conversations such as

"UFOs are real!"
"What do you mean?"
"I mean UFOs are alien spacecraft."
"I don't believe that UFOs are alien spacecraft."
"Why is it so hard for you to believe that aliens exist?"

Now (1) and (2) are somewhat naturally conflated, because one way in which we'll affirm (1) is if (2) were to be assertively answered. When an alien lands his spacecraft on the Champs Élysées (no reason to suppose they'd land in America) and submits to medical examination and allows engineers to pore over his spacecraft, then we'll certainly know the answer to (1) via (2). However, we could answer (1) also by means of receiving radio signals from a distant point, such as in Carl Sagan's Contact. If that's the case (1) would be answered yes, but (2) would remain unanswered.

The problem comes when we try to answer (2) before we have a good answer to (1). Postulating an action presupposes its agent. If there are no aliens, then they cannot visit Earth. I believe Eric Idle has a song about a portion of a bee that helps understand the underlying philosophy. A definitive answer to (2) works, but a weakly reasoned or speculative answer to (2) does not, because it may not provide a satisfying answer to (1), which stands as a premise to to (2). In short, it may be possible to answer (1) and (2) simultaneously by means of some monumental event, but we haven't seen any such event yet.

Now a presumption is quite different from a conclusion or an assertion. For the purposes of discussions like this, an assertion is a statement of putative fact that is not likely to be contested. I can assert that an airplane has crashed if I am standing before its wreckage. A conclusion is a proposition supported by a (hopefully valid) line of reasoning. If I observe and assert that the airplane's jet engines have aspirated dirt and plant matter into their combustion chambers, and that the turbine blades are bent and fractured along the line of rotation, then I can conclude that the airplane's engines were running at the time it hit the ground. I can further conclude that the cause of the crash is not likely to be engine failure. A conclusion's foundations can be examined and debated because they are based on causal relationships and observations that may be questioned. A presumption is a statement taken momentarily as true because it fits the evidentiary landscape and is the most reasonable to hold until proof can be assembled. We presume the innocence of a criminal defendant because the reverse requires him to prove a negative. Similarly we presume the non-existence of something whose existence cannot be established by evidence, because the reverse requires the problematic proof of a negative. We presume aliens do not exist because to presume they did and require proof that they didn't would require us to exhaustively scour the universe and finally admit that the best we could do is prove that no aliens exist that we are able to detect. Substitute "faerie" for "alien" and perhaps you can see how that works.

Do we assert that aliens don't exist? No, we cannot. In fact, our best extrapolation from scientific understanding is that aliens likely do exist somewhere in the universe. And statistically the likelihood that the number of inhabited planets in the universe is exactly 1 (i.e., Earth) seems very remote. We can't assert that they don't exist and we can't assert that they do.

Do we conclude that aliens don't exist? No, because that would involve a line of reasoning reasonably calculated to answer that question based on observation and logic. We have no such line of reasoning, and no means to construct one. That inability is what necessitates the presumption. In contrast we could conclude that Tom was not in a room: if we know the visual properties of Tom and had the ability to exhaustively search the portions of the room that could contain him, we could raise the negative proposition that Tom was not in the room. But we would need to know Tom's properties (so that various other inhabitants could be tested against those properties) and we would need to bound the search by confining it to a single room. We can do neither with aliens, so there we are. Do we conclude that they do exist? No, because we have no evidence that points preponderously toward that conclusion.

Dr. Kaku alluded to a few notable UFO sightings. He mentioned among his credible witnesses "the governors of states," suggesting the Phoenix Lights sighting. The evidence in that case points quite conclusively toward other causes. He mentions the Belgium UFO sighting, which I have already discussed on this forum: it is a loose agglomeration of data points to which some have attached a nebulous UFO theory, but which is more likely to be a confluence of separate occurrences. The F-16 targeting radar "lock," for example, is simply the natural behavior of that kind of radar as it attempts to establish a track in a noisy radar environment such as a city. A physicist such as Kaku can certainly be made to understand how such equipment produces those results, but it takes those of us with different expertise to recognize that better hypothesis, just as it took an RC airplane specialist to tell me that blue lights are the most commonly used for night flying. We simply cannot draw defensible "alien" conclusions based on available UFO data.

Do we presume aliens do not exist? Yes, because that is the only rational procedure at this point. If we presume that a class of entities exist for which there is no evidence, then there is no end to the absurd entities we would have to allow under that umbrella -- invisible elves, and such.

And that brings us to the third question, (3) are UFOs alien spacecraft?

This is important because (3) entails observations we have made and which we wish to explain in some terms. That is, (1) and (2) may be fairly abstract questions without any connection to the real world. (3) instead involves real-world effects that we have observed and to which we wish to attach a cause. There must exist a cause, because the observation is asserted. The task of the investigator is to determine which of all causes produced the effect. Unfortunately the first step in doing that scientifically is to determine that some particular cause exists and can produce the observed effect, so called prima facie evidence. In the aliens-UFO case we simply can't do that. To do that requires us to presume that aliens do in fact exist.

Further it requires us to presume that aliens possess the properties that produce the observed effects. This is where UFO "researchers" and enthusiasts really fall down the logical rabbit hole. If the observed (or more likely in this case, the interpreted) effect is a rapid departure at 10,000 mph in atmosphere with no sonic boom and disastrous inertial effects, UFO proponents suggest that aliens have a greater mastery of fluid dynamics and so can avoid such sonic booms, and further have "inertial damper" technology. Mind you, there's no evidence that they do -- or even that the aliens exist. There's just a big heap of speculation. In Kaku's mind and others', this constitutes "violating the laws of physics." And that, to them, is evidence of some advanced agent. To me, and those who make our livings assigning causes to effects, it means your interpretation of the evidence was likely in error -- just as it was in the other 95 percent of cases.

Since we have no aliens to examine and no alien spacecraft to put through their paces, we cannot formulate a test by which the alien hypothesis would be falsified in some case. And if you can't falsify it or figure out how to falsify it, then you have no scientific toehold. You can speculate all you want, but you won't go further than that.

Kaku's saving throw is merely the handwaving notion that in several thousand years new laws of physics will become apparent to us, by which such miraculous things as hypercritical motion through a fluid can be achieved. But this is unsatisfying; it's an appeal to magic. If that, then why not astral projection? Why not invisibility? If you're simply going to presume that these properties can be achieved willy-nilly by some advanced culture, then why limit them only to certain properties? Distilled down to its essence, Kaku's claims here are simply a tautology. The "aliens" are presumed to exist and to have exactly the properties that qualify them as the cause to some perceived effect. In such tautologies there is no science.

If we open up the realm of presumption as prima facie qualification, then there is no end to it. Because there is no limit to what we can presume, we must rationally limit what we should presume -- there can be no science without this.

No, we cannot assert that aliens are not responsible for UFO sightings. We cannot conclude that aliens are not responsible for UFO sightings. We can't know for sure by either of those mechanisms. But because of the presumptions involved, we can reject Kaku's line of reasoning as irrational.

I would like to see Kaku read this and respond to it.

neilzero
2010-Aug-30, 12:28 AM
Huh??

Why not?

Why not say we can't deny the possibility that some medieval alchemist just might have succeeded in changing lead into gold, that just maybe a perpetual motion machine really could invented, that spontaneous human combustion could be real?

Even if ET is out there somewhere and he's zipping around in a really fast space ship so that he only needs hundreds of thousands of years to cross local interstellar space instead of millions of years, how does he know we're here? We're not on the map.

For me, the number of genuine sightings is exactly zero.
The number of genuine ET sightings may be about the same as the number of alchemists who made gold from lead or other common materials. Would the successful alchemist blab or just enjoy his source of wealth as inconspicuously as possible? Same for a free energy machine. If a million ET are the first to visit a new planet in our galaxy annually, it will take 200,000 years to visit all the planets once, assuming only one planet per star on the average. We humans could easily miss ten ET landings among the million landings per year which are sort of observed = the genuine sightings are lost in the noise, as the debunkers are frequently over confident, if not unscientific. Many sightings are not investigated = reported only to a few friends and relatives, often long after the event. Neil

Trakar
2010-Aug-30, 02:22 AM
The number of genuine ET sightings may be about the same as the number of alchemists who made gold from lead or other common materials. Would the successful alchemist blab or just enjoy his source of wealth as inconspicuously as possible? Same for a free energy machine. If a million ET are the first to visit a new planet in our galaxy annually, it will take 200,000 years to visit all the planets once, assuming only one planet per star on the average. We humans could easily miss ten ET landings among the million landings per year which are sort of observed = the genuine sightings are lost in the noise, as the debunkers are frequently over confident, if not unscientific. Many sightings are not investigated = reported only to a few friends and relatives, often long after the event. Neil

Without compelling empiric evidences, it is just as scientifically improper to argue the gaps of potential for alien visitation as it is to argue for a scientific basis for ESP, God or any other supernatural aspect of the universe.

Infinitenight2093
2010-Aug-30, 05:51 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pw13F7ahjY

Another credibility lost. It seems Michio Kaku lost it :cry:
Why is it so hard for producers to do a one minute google search and to find this forum and all the answers that they will ever need about "subject" :(
I've just sent my email to NBC.

What exactly makes you think that you have all the answers, or that this forum has all the answers? In my mind, that 5% is very strange and interesting, and requires a more in-depth study and less mudslinging by the population of people who are set on not believing in the possibility of alien visitation. If you have actually looked into some of those reports (the Belgian wave, for example) you might actually realize that many people DID see SOMETHING, and that something was solid and flying without any conventional means of flight. If we cannot confirm that 5% of sightings as having an earthly origin, then nobody can assert that they are or aren't alien craft. Try to expand your thought process a little, where would we be if Galileo thought his ideas were too crazy for consideration?

Paul Beardsley
2010-Aug-30, 08:34 AM
What exactly makes you think that you have all the answers, or that this forum has all the answers? In my mind, that 5% is very strange and interesting, and requires a more in-depth study and less mudslinging by the population of people who are set on not believing in the possibility of alien visitation. If you have actually looked into some of those reports (the Belgian wave, for example) you might actually realize that many people DID see SOMETHING, and that something was solid and flying without any conventional means of flight. If we cannot confirm that 5% of sightings as having an earthly origin, then nobody can assert that they are or aren't alien craft. Try to expand your thought process a little, where would we be if Galileo thought his ideas were too crazy for consideration?

1) Do we actually know it's 5% or is this just some figure chosen because it sounds small but significant, giving wriggle room to those who would like to think we're being visited? If the former, where does the figure come from?

2) Who on earth are these "people who are set on not believing in the possibility of alien visitation"? I certainly believe it is possible. It clearly hasn't happened yet, but it remains possible.

3) "If we cannot confirm that 5% of sightings as having an earthly origin, then nobody can assert that they are or aren't alien craft." No, but given the vast number of possible mundane explanations, and given the lack of significant consequence of any alien visitation, it's beyond reasonable doubt that they are not alien craft.

4) "Try to expand your thought process a little, where would we be if Galileo thought his ideas were too crazy for consideration?" Galileo worked with evidence. If the sun was really at the centre of the solar system, we might expect Venus to have phases. Galileo looked at Venus through his telescope. Surprise! Venus showed phases! There is no comparison between this and the wishful thinking of those who advocate alien visitation.

eburacum45
2010-Aug-30, 10:10 AM
If you have actually looked into some of those reports (the Belgian wave, for example) you might actually realize that many people DID see SOMETHING, and that something was solid and flying without any conventional means of flight.Here's Tim Printy's page on the Belgian 'wave';
http://home.comcast.net/~tprinty/UFO/Belg.htm
two things are notable; firstly the radar and the visual sightings appear to bear no similarity to each other, and the pilots did not see any UFOs themselves. This appears to mean that there were multiple phenomena responsible for these different reports, so they were probably not "solid craft flying without any conventional means of flight" but a number of unrelated phenomena, all of which could have conventional explanations.

tnjrp
2010-Aug-30, 11:11 AM
I've seen some analysis of sighting reported in the "Belgian wave" that strongly indicates at least some of the UAPs were misinterpreted observations of helicopters... Probably doesn't account for all of the reports but still.

On the subject of Kaku, I tend to agree with Cougar's latest.

EDIT: BTW has anyone had a chance to actually read the book Kaku comments on in the vid?

Trakar
2010-Aug-30, 01:55 PM
1) Do we actually know it's 5% or is this just some figure chosen because it sounds small but significant, giving wriggle room to those who would like to think we're being visited? If the former, where does the figure come from?

2) Who on earth are these "people who are set on not believing in the possibility of alien visitation"? I certainly believe it is possible. It clearly hasn't happened yet, but it remains possible.

3) "If we cannot confirm that 5% of sightings as having an earthly origin, then nobody can assert that they are or aren't alien craft." No, but given the vast number of possible mundane explanations, and given the lack of significant consequence of any alien visitation, it's beyond reasonable doubt that they are not alien craft.

4) "Try to expand your thought process a little, where would we be if Galileo thought his ideas were too crazy for consideration?" Galileo worked with evidence. If the sun was really at the centre of the solar system, we might expect Venus to have phases. Galileo looked at Venus through his telescope. Surprise! Venus showed phases! There is no comparison between this and the wishful thinking of those who advocate alien visitation.

I believe the 5% figure was the approximate number of unexplained sightings in one of the original government studies.

JayUtah
2010-Aug-30, 03:55 PM
...

The number of genuine ET sightings may be about the same as the number of alchemists who made gold from lead or other common materials.

Well, there's zero credible evidence of either event having taken place, so I would agree. One principal difference is that ET visitation is at least not scientifically impossible. If you want to put ET visitation in the same category as transmutation, go ahead. It doesn't really help your case.

Would the successful alchemist blab or just enjoy his source of wealth as inconspicuously as possible?

Another principal difference is that free-energy machines and transmuted gold are inanimate and have no free will. You seem to be trying to argue that those earthlings who have had contact with visiting aliens are somehow keeping it secret. That argument frequently balloons into a "government cover-up" claim which then takes over the whole debate; UFO claims are really government-oppression claims. The problem with that argument is that it presumes the aliens are willing to keep the secret too. I've yet to hear a good argument for why that would happen.

We humans could easily miss ten ET landings among the million landings per year which are sort of observed = the genuine sightings are lost in the noise...

I agree there's lots of noise. There is lots of noise because there are a significant number of people out there who want so badly to believe in ET visitation that they're willing to fabricate evidence for it, and to cling to even the flimsiest claims. And from such an untenable position they demand to be taken seriously. When such a demand exists, supply will rise to meet it. Good science cannot occur in such a climate, and conscientious scientists will eschew it rather than being drawn into the feeding frenzy.

Would you please identify some sighting that you believe to be genuine, and tell us what you think makes it genuine in contrast to all the noise?

...as the debunkers are frequently over confident, if not unscientific.

Granted some may be, but we're not talking about those. You want us to set aside the "noise" of overstated UFO sightings and concentrate on the few you think may have merit. At the same time, wouldn't it be gracious of you to set aside the "unscientific" debunking approaches and concentrate on those that are scientific? I'll be specific: I've written a fairly lengthy essay above looking at Dr. Kaku's approach to UFO sightings. Can you please tell me what about that comes across to you as possibly overconfident and unscientific?

Many sightings are not investigated = reported only to a few friends and relatives, often long after the event.

Agreed, and stale trails are hard to follow. That brings us to a crucial question: do you believe the meritorious UFO claims lie among those that are not publicly reported and subsequently investigated? If so, then how do you come to the conclusion that they have merit?

JayUtah
2010-Aug-30, 07:20 PM
This appears to mean that there were multiple phenomena responsible for these different reports, so they were probably not "solid craft flying without any conventional means of flight" but a number of unrelated phenomena, all of which could have conventional explanations.

Exactly. The commonality among those data points is entirely speculative. Nothing about the data ties them together; the only thing tying them together is the hypothesis.

Dr. Kaku identifies two properties about the sightings he deems credible: they are made by credible witnesses (covered above), and they are "multi-modal" sightings, which he goes on to explain as being corroborated from multiple sources: eyewitnesses from different vantage points, radar. Valid corroboration is important because it rules out certain kinds of optical and psychological/perceptual effects. But we have to take care not to manufacture "corroboration" from assumptions of commonality, concurrence, and coincidence. Without careful examination and control, such an approach is ripe for confirmation bias.

If someone sees something in the sky, and someone else 100 miles away sees something different in the sky a half hour later, there is absolutely no reason to connect those two occurrences. UFO enthusiasts commonly accept that as multiple eyewitnesses of the same event.

Again with the Belgian sighting, you have a visual sighting at night. You have air-traffic and air-defense ground radar that see "something" in that general area at approximately, but because of the range and resolution we can't be sure they're seeing anything at all -- much less the same thing, and arguably not at all what's being seen from the ground. Then you have targeting radar on the interceptors which works according to different principles and, when tracking nothing, is susceptible to producing exactly the observations we see. The intercept radar fails to match the surveillance radar, and the pilots can't see the UFOs visually. Nothing about these data points is inherently common.

If there's no commonality, then we have to agree that it's more likely each has a separate explanation. And that's the problem. When UFO enthusiasts propose a single explanation for all these disparate events, that explanation must necessarily be complex, fantastic, and unparsimonious in order to cover all the bases. Such as, for some reason the F-16 pilots can't see the UFOs but people on the ground can. What sort of "craft" would exhibit that set of properties? Well, clearly one that is "not of this Earth." And you see how you follow the rabbit down the hole.

We rely on people like Dr. Kaku to detect and avoid these unscientific forms of reasoning. The cases to which he alludes have much more prosaic explanations, or in the Belgium case can be answered more effectively by small, separate explanations. We rely on Kaku and his colleagues to say, "Hey, wait, that's confirmation bias," when a layman might not immediately see such things. When people fail to see faulty reasoning and then draw conclusions under the color of science, we really want an explanation. Is he playing to the audience? Or does he really have a scientifically tenable explanation for his conclusions?

JayUtah
2010-Aug-30, 08:01 PM
...

1) Do we actually know it's 5% ... where does the figure come from?

I recall it's the conclusion from Project Blue Book, that approximately 5% of the cases they studied could not be identified with known phenomena.

2) Who on earth are these "people who are set on not believing in the possibility of alien visitation"?

No one that I know. Even the hard-core skeptics admit that extraterrestrial visitation is possible. As near as I can tell, this group exists only as a figment of UFO enthusiasts' imaginations -- a sort of straw man. If you don't accept their conclusion that UFOs are alien spacecraft visiting Earth, then they write you off as not even believing it's possible.

(Quoting UFO enthusiasts) 3) "If we cannot confirm that 5% of sightings as having an earthly origin, then nobody can assert that they are or aren't alien craft."

If the lights are off in the garage and we can't see the color of the car, then we can't assert that the car isn't yellow. Or isn't blue. But the UFO enthusiasts are telling us we can't assert the car isn't transparent. Well, no, we can't assert that the car isn't transparent, but it's more likely to be blue or yellow than to be invisible. UFO fanatics want to play a silly rhetorical game that sidesteps the absurdity of their claims.

publiusr
2010-Aug-30, 08:12 PM
Something else to consider. Suppose I am an alien version of David Attenborough and that all the hand-wavium warp drive, antigravity, sci-fi tech were real. I'd make my radar-invisible ship look just like a twin-jet. No one notices. In the case of a probe or lander, if I land in the desert, and deploy a super-smart, super small robot, somebody just thinks its a kids R/C vehicle. Or an AI insect bot that gets blood from a bite. There is no way to know what a visitation would look like. The last thing I am going to do is come down and hover with a bunch of bright lights calling attention to myself. The smoking lamp is not lit.

Paul Beardsley
2010-Aug-30, 08:31 PM
3) "If we cannot confirm that 5% of sightings as having an earthly origin, then nobody can assert that they are or aren't alien craft."

Thanks for the reply, Jay - always appreciated - but I'd have preferred it if you'd made it a bit clearer that I was quoting and challenging the above line, not making it myself.

sts60
2010-Aug-30, 09:16 PM
Further, each 2.5 g fuel element is vanadium- or rhodium-clad to eliminate the biological danger associated with alpha decay.

Just to clarify, the lightweight radioisotope heater units (LWRHUs) use a platinum-rhodium fuel clad. Each puts out about 1 Wth (thermal watt) each when loaded. People generally don't realize how pervasively they have been used; there are well over a hundred on Cassini, but each Mars Expedition Rover, though solar powered, sports eight LWRHUs apiece for passive heating. Even tiny Sojourner had three LWRHUs.

The General-Purpose Heat Source (GPHS) used in the power generators each carry about 600 grams of PuO2 in four iridium-clad pellets, housed in multiple layers of different types of graphite. They are very tough and the current design has been bulked up a little bit more. The GPHS-RTGs used on Cassini, Galileo, Ulysses, and Pluto-New Horizons each incorporated 18 of these modules. The MMRTG which will power Mars Science Lab uses 8. The Discovery 12 mission, yet to be named, will likely use one or two ASRGs, which use dynamic conversion for greater efficiency and carry two GPHS apiece.

[/derail]

Trakar
2010-Aug-30, 10:03 PM
Right - which means we have no unambiguous data that proves that they have visited Earth. So the most accurate statement that we can give is "we don't know whether they've visited or not", not "they definitely haven't visited".

We have no evidence indicating that "They" exist, which means the default state is negative until we have something to build a rational positive set of assumptions upon.

Trakar
2010-Aug-30, 10:06 PM
But the premise to that proposition is whether they exist at all. Now it's highly likely that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe, but we have no evidence that it does. Hence as with all existential questions, we presume non-existence until existence is proven. We don't assert non-existence; we presume it. But that distinction has implications for the subsequent question: are they visiting Earth? Or stated differently, are UFO sightings the result of alien activity? Under the presumption of non-existence, you can't explain UFO sightings in terms of aliens. Otherwise you have exactly the sort of line of reasoning William of Occam found so insidiously wrong. Replace "aliens" with "transvestite space cows" and you have the logical equivalent, but in reductio ad absurdum form.

Oops, should have read further, looks you already well handled that one!

(even worse, I lost my place in this thread, and am going back over things everyone is through with. ahh the benefits of aging, everyday is a brand new adventure!)

Geo Kaplan
2010-Aug-30, 10:57 PM
We have no evidence indicating that "They" exist, which means the default state is negative until we have something to build a rational positive set of assumptions upon.

Exactly. It's precisely the same stance that rational folks take with respect to the existence of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, leprechauns and Van Rijn's invisible elf. Some in the pro-woo camp make too much of the lack of proof of non-existence. Such a lack does not, per se, bolster their particular claims. Whatever phenomena they seek to explain with pet theory X could just as well be explained by elves, the Easter Bunny, or my nanognomes.

EDG
2010-Aug-30, 11:30 PM
We have no evidence indicating that "They" exist, which means the default state is negative until we have something to build a rational positive set of assumptions upon.

But that's the thing - why assume (or presume) anything? Fact is, we have no data confirming or denying their existence, so why not just say "we don't know that they exist" (which accurately reflects the current state of our knowledge) rather than "we presume they don't exist" (which doesn't accurately reflect anything)?

NickW
2010-Aug-30, 11:34 PM
When my kids ask me if aliens are real, my response is "We don't know if they exist". Usually it is followed up with a lot of questions with "why" and "how" in them. The discussions actually really fun for me.

ETA: Just to be clear, I was talking about the whole universe, not visitations here on earth, which is usually the latter, "We presume they don't exist". Because it is safe to say so.

slang
2010-Aug-31, 12:00 AM
It's just sad to see one of the originating sources of such horrible statements that begin with "More and more scientists think that... ".

Trakar
2010-Aug-31, 02:38 AM
But that's the thing - why assume (or presume) anything? Fact is, we have no data confirming or denying their existence, so why not just say "we don't know that they exist" (which accurately reflects the current state of our knowledge) rather than "we presume they don't exist" (which doesn't accurately reflect anything)?

Actually, you got that half right,...sorta. We don't know that they exist, and until there is evidence indicating such existence we cannot presume that they do exist. The default state is negative, until there is evidence around which we can build a positive set of assumptions.

JayUtah
2010-Aug-31, 03:53 AM
...

But that's the thing - why assume (or presume) anything?

UFO fanatics presume that aliens exist and that they have exactly the properties needed to satisfy some particular observation. If some dark triangular "craft" whooshes off at 10,000 mph without a sound, it's presumed that aliens can do that. That's the presumption you should be questioning.

Fact is, we have no data confirming or denying their existence... (emphasis added)

What exactly would be evidence denying the existence of something like aliens? I really need an answer to that question, and so does the rest of the world since it would change the face of philosophy as we know it.

...so why not just say "we don't know that they exist" (which accurately reflects the current state of our knowledge)

Because it also accurately reflects the current state of our knowledge of the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, the chupacabra, the kraken, the shooter on the Grassy Knoll, earthquake induction, angels, transvestite space cows, faeries, invisible elves, ghosts, spirit communication, crystal healing, Leviathan, werewolves, gremlins, free energy, psychokinesis, the meaning of life, Atlantis, the Illuminati gold, clairvoyance, the Flying Dutchman, vampires, CIA mind-control weapons, doppelgangers, spirit healing, nargles, and pyramid power. Given the extent of that category, why pay so much attention to aliens? What makes them so special?

...rather than "we presume they don't exist" (which doesn't accurately reflect anything)?

On the contrary, it reflects the lack of wisdom in trying to use such an explanation for real-world observations. The one complaint I hear most often from UFO enthusiasts is that they're not taken seriously by mainstream scientists. That's because they fail to meet the rigor of mainstream science and so fail to match its accomplishments. After sixty years of "research" the UFO fanatics are no farther along than they were in the beginning. In that same time, mainstream science has conquered the atom, explored the Moon, transplanted organs, cloned animals, and broken the sound barrier. They have done this thanks to the merits of their approach. And the mainstream approach does not waste energy on hypotheses of agents not known to exist and whose properties remain unknown and untestable.

When UFO fanatics can tell us how to falsify the alien-visitation hypothesis, then they can expect to make the sort of advances they seek. As long as they persist in fanciful tautologies, they will get nowhere.

cjameshuff
2010-Aug-31, 03:54 AM
Actually, you got that half right,...sorta. We don't know that they exist, and until there is evidence indicating such existence we cannot presume that they do exist. The default state is negative, until there is evidence around which we can build a positive set of assumptions.

I would modify this...we can and should presume intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe, because we exist, and it seems absurd to presume that we are utterly unique in all of existence. However, we can not presume it exists in any specific volume of space that it hasn't been observed in. The only information we have about the occurrences of technological civilization in the Orion Arm, the entire Milky Way, the Local Group, or the observable universe as a whole is that the number of such civilizations is greater than or equal to 1...we know it's nonzero, but have no reason to think the total number is anything but 1.

Attributing unidentifiable events to such a purely hypothetical agent is a non-explanation. Unidentifiable events are expected: deliberate hoaxes do happen, and imperfect observations and recall of experiences are a fact of life. Extraterrestrial visitors would only be an acceptable explanation for any portion of unidentified events if at least one event was actually unambiguously identified as having such a cause. They otherwise may as well be spirits or demons.

Trakar
2010-Aug-31, 07:38 AM
I would modify this...we can and should presume intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe, because we exist, and it seems absurd to presume that we are utterly unique in all of existence. However, we can not presume it exists in any specific volume of space that it hasn't been observed in. The only information we have about the occurrences of technological civilization in the Orion Arm, the entire Milky Way, the Local Group, or the observable universe as a whole is that the number of such civilizations is greater than or equal to 1...we know it's nonzero, but have no reason to think the total number is anything but 1.

Regardless of how things may seem, we cannot presume that for which we have no evidence. If you wanted to stipulate that every Sol-Earth identical (to at least nine nines) system has a shot of producing an intelligent, technological species, I'd probably grant you that level of positive assumption at least for the sake of discussion, but in reality, a sample of precisely one, leaves us very little ability to project or infer anything of substance. I certainly hope that there is life of some form elsewhere in the universe, though I definitely see long-term benefits if it is much rarer than common.



Attributing unidentifiable events to such a purely hypothetical agent is a non-explanation. Unidentifiable events are expected: deliberate hoaxes do happen, and imperfect observations and recall of experiences are a fact of life. Extraterrestrial visitors would only be an acceptable explanation for any portion of unidentified events if at least one event was actually unambiguously identified as having such a cause. They otherwise may as well be spirits or demons.

Agreed

EDG
2010-Aug-31, 07:50 AM
UFO fanatics presume that aliens exist and that they have exactly the properties needed to satisfy some particular observation. If some dark triangular "craft" whooshes off at 10,000 mph without a sound, it's presumed that aliens can do that. That's the presumption you should be questioning.

Well, yes, and I do question that, because it's mixing up interpretation with observation. If I see some lights moving around oddly in the sky, I think "huh, look at that, some lights in the sky moving around in a strange way. What could that be?" and then gather more observations, eliminate possibliities, and probably figure out what it actually is. If a UFO believer sees it then I'd guess he'd just go "OMG! ALIEN SPACESHIPS!" straight away.


What exactly would be evidence denying the existence of something like aliens? I really need an answer to that question, and so does the rest of the world since it would change the face of philosophy as we know it.

Well I wasn't suggesting that I there was anything that could deny their existence (short of finding hard evidence that alien life can't possibly exist anywhere else, but that would be somewhat impossible to find). My point was that we don't know that they exist and we don't know that they don't either. We can say that there probably (possibly?) is alien life somewhere out there based on probabilities of habitable environments in the universe etc, but we can't say that there probably isn't any. But again, no hard facts either way, so it's all guesswork for now.



Because it also accurately reflects the current state of our knowledge of the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, the chupacabra, the kraken, the shooter on the Grassy Knoll, earthquake induction, angels, transvestite space cows, faeries, invisible elves, ghosts, spirit communication, crystal healing, Leviathan, werewolves, gremlins, free energy, psychokinesis, the meaning of life, Atlantis, the Illuminati gold, clairvoyance, the Flying Dutchman, vampires, CIA mind-control weapons, doppelgangers, spirit healing, nargles, and pyramid power. Given the extent of that category, why pay so much attention to aliens? What makes them so special?

Well, of that list I'd say that at least some of those might be possible (maybe some kind of big ape is living in the Rockies, the Kraken could just be a colossal squid, Atlantis might have been Thera, etc). A lot just plain aren't though, because they violate laws of science. Aliens are different to those because they can exist without violating scientific laws (even if FTL travel isn't possible, who's to say that aliens can't come here in slower than light ships and set up shop somewhere in the solar system? I don't believe that they have and I have no evidence for it either, but it's within the realms of scientific possibility).



On the contrary, it reflects the lack of wisdom in trying to use such an explanation for real-world observations. The one complaint I hear most often from UFO enthusiasts is that they're not taken seriously by mainstream scientists. That's because they fail to meet the rigor of mainstream science and so fail to match its accomplishments. After sixty years of "research" the UFO fanatics are no farther along than they were in the beginning. In that same time, mainstream science has conquered the atom, explored the Moon, transplanted organs, cloned animals, and broken the sound barrier. They have done this thanks to the merits of their approach. And the mainstream approach does not waste energy on hypotheses of agents not known to exist and whose properties remain unknown and untestable.

Which is great, but doesn't address my point. It's a circular argument isn't it? Mainstream science hasn't investigated UFOs anywhere near as thoroughly as it has nuclear fission/fusion, space exploration, organ transplants, cloning, and uh... sound-barrier breaking, because it doesn't "waste its energy" on that sort of thing - so it makes leaps and bounds in the things it can be bothered with and ignores what it can't be bothered with.

The thing about UFOs is that it's not hard for mainstream science to investigate them - they're not subjective, they're not (all) figments of the imagination, etc. They are something that the scientific method can be applied to (so are things like ghosts and psychokinesis for that matter) - data can be gathered, things can observed, and can be investigated. There have been a few scientific investigations done of UFOs, but they've not exactly had a lot of resources thrown at them because people don't take it seriously - maybe if we did throw as much resources as we do with space exploration, or nuclear research, then we might find something of interest. But I think science should investigate them, and if it does find that most of them are actually Identifiable Objects then great - everyone learns something, and who knows, maybe something might actually be identified as being a spacecraft of alien origin. If we find that some of the observations remain unexplained, then also great - that says that we can't figure out what a few of these things are right now, and possibly gives us some further avenues to investigate in order to try and find out what they actuall are. Maybe some of those unidentified objects might be alien spacecraft... but we certainly wouldn't be justified in saying that they are alien spacecraft, we just know that we can't identify what they really are right now.

Skepticism is all well and good, but I think saying that "the mainstream approach does not waste energy on hypotheses of agents not known to exist and whose properties remain unknown and untestable" denigrates what science is really capable of. Having an inherent bias against investigating something, or in assuming that it doesn't exist because we can't be bothered to look for it is as far as I am concerned as unscientific as assuming that something does exist without any evidence. Surely the whole point of science is to investigate things that are unknown, especially when we can actually gather necessary data?

If you're really just saying that nobody wants to spend the money or effort to investigate it then that's really a matter of finance and politics, not of science - and I can certainly see many financial and political reasons for not bothering to do large-scale scientfic investigations of UFOs. But if those weren't issues, then I don't see why investigating UFOs should be any different to any other scientific investigation.

And I still see no reason to "presume" that alien spaceships don't exist or aren't visiting Earth. Saying that "we don't know whether they are visiting or not" is more accurate than saying "we assume (or presume) that they aren't", and I'm not sure how anyone can claim otherwise. You seem to be saying that if we don't presume that they don't exist, then we must therefore believe that they do exist - but I'm not suggesting that at all (why do we need to be either on one or the other side of the fence anyway?). I'm just saying we don't know either way yet, and until we get more data we won't be able to change that. And if we say "we don't know if they are visiting or not, but we can say that it's unlikely because of X, Y, and Z" then that's better because at least we're providing some reason for believing that it's unlikely that they are visiting, rather than just saying "we assume they're not" with no explanation.

Trakar
2010-Aug-31, 08:14 AM
And I still see no reason to "presume" that alien spaceships don't exist or aren't visiting Earth. Saying that "we don't know whether they are visiting or not" is more accurate than saying "we assume (or presume) that they aren't", and I'm not sure how anyone can claim otherwise. You seem to be saying that if we don't presume that they don't exist, then we must therefore believe that they do exist - but I'm not suggesting that at all (why do we need to be either on one or the other side of the fence anyway?). I'm just saying we don't know either way yet, and until we get more data we won't be able to change that. And if we say "we don't know if they are visiting or not, but we can say that it's unlikely because of X, Y, and Z" then that's better because at least we're providing some reason for believing that it's unlikely that they are visiting, rather than just saying "we assume they're not" with no explanation.


Until there is evidence of something's existence, it is scientifically inappropriate to presume that something's existence. Could it exist, ...sure, and as soon as compelling evidence for such existence is found, we may then begin presuming that something's existence, until there is evidence of existence there can be no positive assumption of existence.

Is this really that difficult a concept to understand or accept? It a basic precept of science that we are led where the evidence takes us, from these evidences we construct hypotheses which best and most simply explain the evidences, the most rigorous and hardy of these hypotheses become the theories by which we come to understand how the universe works. Seems to be working pretty good so far.

EDG
2010-Aug-31, 08:25 AM
It's not that it's difficult to understand or accept, it's that I don't really see any practical difference in presuming that something doesn't exist and admitting that we don't know if it exists or not. It's not as if we're going to change our subsequent approach if we say "we have no data on this" instead of "we'll assume that it doesn't exist" is it?

tnjrp
2010-Aug-31, 08:31 AM
Until there is evidence of something's existence, it is scientifically inappropriate to presume that something's existenceDo I detect a slight wiff of logical positivism in the discussion again? :)

Extrapolations based on previous knowledge and available evidence wouldn't be unscientific, would they now? If they were, I'm sure hypotheses would not be a part of scientific arsenal.

On the subject more at hand instead of generally speaking, I must note that there is some evidence for extraterrestrial life, even arguably intelligent extraterrestrial life. It's just not sufficiently compelling evidence to make the majority of scientific world to break out the bubbly.

Strange
2010-Aug-31, 09:33 AM
It's not that it's difficult to understand or accept, it's that I don't really see any practical difference in presuming that something doesn't exist and admitting that we don't know if it exists or not. It's not as if we're going to change our subsequent approach if we say "we have no data on this" instead of "we'll assume that it doesn't exist" is it?

If you see no practical difference, why are you arguing about it? :)

More seriously, there is a practical difference. The negative assumption helps in making decisions: about which hypothesis is more likely or where to allocate funding, for example. If someone comes along asking for research funding on some subject, you might start by asking what evidence they have that the the thing/effect/whatever exists. If they say, "well, we don't know, we have no evidence for it but we thought we might look anyway" you are more likely to "presume the negative" and to give your grant to the people who are looking at something we have at least some evidence for.

I know the obvious response to that is "but if we don't look how will we ever know". But we have looked. Repeatedly. And we still have no compelling evidence. All we have is a few unknowns. Which we, reasonably, assume to have a mundane (but unknown) explanation. I'm not sure why we would assume invisible pink space cows are just as likely.

IsaacKuo
2010-Aug-31, 01:58 PM
Regardless of how things may seem, we cannot presume that for which we have no evidence.
What counts as evidence? Can we presume that moons exist in the Andromeda galaxy? Why or why not?

HenrikOlsen
2010-Aug-31, 02:17 PM
What counts as evidence? Can we presume that moons exist in the Andromeda galaxy? Why or why not?
From observation of the solar system, it looks like if the planets don't have external factors causing them to lose their moons, they will have moons, often lots of them.
From observations of other solar systems, it looks like planets is a fairly common feature, including planets of the type that have lots of moons here.
From observation of the Andromeda Galaxy it looks like it has lots of solar systems.
I'd say the smart money would bet on the existence of moons in the Andromeda Galaxy.
That is only indirect evidence though, we don't yet have any instruments capable of detecting them directly so we don't know there are moons over there.

And as the existence or non-existence of moons in the Andromeda galaxy isn't going to have any detectable influence on anything here, there's no need to presume their existence or non-existence when explaining anything happening here.

Compared to alien visitors though, we have yet to see any indication that any life exists beyond the Earth, we still have no idea about the crucial factors for the development of life (apart from a temperature/pressure range and a good mix of available chemicals) so there's no way to say anything about how often they're likely to be out there.
Which is why the null hypothesis in this case is that they aren't here and aren't relevant as an explanation for UFO's.

IsaacKuo
2010-Aug-31, 02:47 PM
From observation of the solar system, it looks like if the planets don't have external factors causing them to lose their moons, they will have moons, often lots of them.
From observations of other solar systems, it looks like planets is a fairly common feature, including planets of the type that have lots of moons here.
Of course, we presume they are of the type that have lots of moons here. We presume they are round, among other things, which is how we make some deductions from transit information to estimate density. (I would argue that the assumption that large planets are round and block starlight is based on evidence, so they're not baseless assumptions.)

From observation of the Andromeda Galaxy it looks like it has lots of solar systems.
I'd say the smart money would bet on the existence of moons in the Andromeda Galaxy.
That is only indirect evidence though, we don't yet have any instruments capable of detecting them directly so we don't know there are moons over there.
This begs the question, what do we know, but I hope we can agree to not go down that road. The issue I'm interested in is simply whether we can presume that there are moons in the Andromeda Galaxy.

Compared to alien visitors though, we have yet to see any indication that any life exists beyond the Earth, we still have no idea about the crucial factors for the development of life (apart from a temperature/pressure range and a good mix of available chemicals) so there's no way to say anything about how often they're likely to be out there.
That makes aliens a really silly choice for explaining things happening here.
Alien visitors? I'd say we can presume against them due to honest to goodness negative evidence--not conclusive evidence, but good enough to presume against alien visitors with extraordinary capabilities of curiously stealthy interstellar travel and magical flying machines with silly properties.

But aliens anywhere in the universe? That's a question which we have much less evidence to go on. The evidence we have so far is essentially on the order of evidence for extragalactic moons--indirect, but positive. We have the example of our own existence, and what little we can glean of the circumstances of our existence seem to be consistent with elsewhere in the universe.

JayUtah
2010-Aug-31, 03:49 PM
...

Well I wasn't suggesting that I there was anything that could deny their existence...

Yes you were. You want the needle to remain in the middle of the dial until evidence arises to push it one way or another. But you've since realized that evidence of non-existence is impossible to acquire. Thus you're stuck between a conclusion for which evidence can exist (existence) and a conclusion for which evidence cannot exist (non-existence), no matter how hard we look. Since you're unable to show us a way to distinguish between the absence of evidence and evidence of absence, the presumption prevents us from predicating a scientific theory upon something unfalsifiable. There can be no "hard facts" to prove the non-existence of aliens. The burden of proof can only lie in one direction here, and so I have placed it correctly.

A lot just plain aren't though, because they violate laws of science.

Explain which laws of science are violated by (1) faeries (2) nargles and (3) psychokinesis, and how you determined that they do. This is a direct question.

Yes, you're correct in pointing out that many of the items I mentioned are mythological constructs that may have their roots in actual historical events, places, and phenomena. So are aliens, according to research I've read. "Aliens" fulfill a cultural archetype that was once occupied by angels, faeries, and spirits. Our formulation of them in fiction and mythology parallels our cultural concerns of the day. In the 1950s Klaatu cautioned us against nuclear self-destruction. Keanu Reeves' Klaatu instead urges us to be "green." You need to go back and look at the publications of UFO believers and advocates from the 1950s and 1960s and see how quaint and nostalgic they are.

Aliens are different to those because they can exist without violating scientific laws...

Changing horses. The aliens in the ET visitation hypothesis are (by Dr. Kaku's statement) specifically violating "the laws of physics." And the aliens' supposed ability to do this (e.g., tremendous acceleration, antigravity, mind-control) is what attracts the UFO crowd. You're differentiating between the aliens that are most plausible to science because they share our limitations (and thus aren't likely to be visiting Earth) and the magical aliens that are hypothesized to be responsible for UFO sightings because those sightings defy physics.

Very well, that is what I propose to do too. I don't believe the magical aliens of the ET-visitation hypothesis exist, and there is absolutely no proof that they do exist or can exist. As I explained, Dr. Kaku's justification for them is speculative handwaving. He goes on at length explaining how aliens may employ laws of physics that we don't yet know about. Very well, if our knowledge of science is so incomplete as to allow for magical aliens, then why cannot it also allow for faeries, nargles, and telekenesis? There is just as much evidence that those "absurd" phenomena may speculatively exist under expanded laws of physics as there is for Kaku's magical aliens. Hence we're back to square one.

It's a circular argument isn't it? Mainstream science hasn't investigated UFOs anywhere near as thoroughly as it has nuclear fission/fusion, space exploration, organ transplants, cloning, and uh... sound-barrier breaking, because it doesn't "waste its energy" on that sort of thing...

No, it's not circular. It's consistent. Science doesn't investigate hypotheses that are untestable and have no prima facie credibility. When the Bell X-1 exhibited elevator instability at transonic speeds, did engineers consider nargles or invisible gremlins as the cause? No, they considered only causes whose properties could be known and investigated. Hence the problem was eventually solved.

Science has investigated UFOs and in my opinion has been about as successful at doing that as is possible -- about 95 percent of submitted cases are explained. The cases break down into three broad categories: (1) misidentification of ordinary phenomena, (2) deliberate fraud, and (3) not enough information. When subsequent research produces more information, it's always in favor of misidentification or fraud. In no case in 60 years has further investigation supported the ET visitation hypothesis, even though it's been on the table all the time.

The thing about UFOs is that it's not hard for mainstream science to investigate them...

What makes you say that? Happenstance events are extremely difficult to investigate after the fact.

Further, practically any mainstream researcher who proposes to study UFOs is either co-opted against his will to be a champion for the UFO fanatics or is branded a "debunker" and dismissed (e.g., Condon). A debate as politicized as that is unpalatable to science. For heaven's sake, the UFO fanatics are out there happily fabricating evidence in their favor. How is science expected to tolerate that? There aren't any non-partisan points of view. The UFO crowd has simply defined as "debunkers" (their worst epithet) any who object to their hypothesis.

They are something that the scientific method can be applied to...

No. Until you can explain to me how to falsify the ET visitation hypothesis, the scientific method cannot apply. I challenged you earlier to explain this, and now I elevate it to a direct question.

Skepticism is all well and good, but I think saying that "the mainstream approach does not waste energy on hypotheses of agents not known to exist and whose properties remain unknown and untestable" denigrates what science is really capable of.

No, limiting one's examination to testable hypotheses is how science works. And in that "limited" fashion science proceeds in leaps and bounds while those "unlimited" and "open-minded" UFO fanatics are no farther along today than they were in 1947. Why? Because they are unwilling to lay aside farfetched hypotheses for which there is no evidence and which they are unable to falsify.

Having an inherent bias against investigating something...

Differentiating between testable and non-testable hypotheses is not bias. It's science.

I continue to show how there is no practical difference between the scientifically-impossible aliens of the ET hypothesis and the other absurd denizens of the no-prima facie category. The only difference is that "aliens" have been socially normalized. That's the bias.

...or in assuming that it doesn't exist because we can't be bothered to look for it...

What makes you think science isn't looking for aliens? It's one of the mission statements of NASA and is the focus of endeavors such as SETI.

Surely the whole point of science is to investigate things that are unknown, especially when we can actually gather necessary data?

This seems to assume UFOs are evidence of aliens. That is what's circular.

You seem to be saying that if we don't presume that they don't exist, then we must therefore believe that they do exist...

I'm not saying that at all. Additional study and evidence can only shove the needle in one direction. No amount of it will shove it the other direction. So you tell me where the burden of proof should lie.

why do we need to be either on one or the other side of the fence anyway?

Because fence-sitting doesn't advance knowledge. You're asking science to take up the ET hypothesis as an explanation for UFOs. Science is telling you what it needs to carry out that investigation, and you're unable to provide it. In frustration you're trying to change science so that it can accommodate a pet hypothesis. Doesn't work that way.

JayUtah
2010-Aug-31, 04:30 PM
...

The issue I'm interested in is simply whether we can presume that there are moons in the Andromeda Galaxy.

We can observe that the conditions for forming and holding moons are likely to exist in the Andromeda galaxy. However we can't presume that a moon orbits some given planet in that galaxy. The null hypothesis is for no moon in that specific case.

That's the key difference. We can presume it likely that aliens exist in the universe in some form. I don't know of anyone who disputes that. However, to presume that aliens exist in some specific form as to be responsible for some sighting is irrational.

It's perfectly rational to propose that aliens may exist, without hard evidence, because we have a good scientific case for their probable existence. But it's only rational if you stop there. To propose that aliens are then responsible for some selected effect, without true knowledge of the properties of aliens, can never be more than speculative. To propose that aliens simply have whatever magical properties are needed to produce some supposed effect is entirely circular, especially when so much fuss is made about the magic. Taking pride in the implausibility of a hypothesis is not very rational.

Trakar
2010-Aug-31, 05:53 PM
It's not that it's difficult to understand or accept, it's that I don't really see any practical difference in presuming that something doesn't exist and admitting that we don't know if it exists or not. It's not as if we're going to change our subsequent approach if we say "we have no data on this" instead of "we'll assume that it doesn't exist" is it?

Please indicate anywhere where I have indicated that we must presume something not to exist.

There is a big difference between saying that we cannot presume existence without evidence of that existence (which is what I have consistently stated), and saying that we must presume something doesn't exist based on a lack of evidence (which is the way you consistently distort my statement).

EDG
2010-Aug-31, 06:10 PM
Well I wasn't suggesting that I there was anything that could deny their existence...

Yes you were.

Please don't tell me what I am or am not saying. You are not in my head.


Explain which laws of science are violated by (1) faeries (2) nargles and (3) psychokinesis, and how you determined that they do. This is a direct question.

Also, please don't get all confrontational and aggressive. I'm not here to argue an ATM theory. If you're going to take every point that anyone makes as a direct attack on you (or science) then there's no point in continuing this discussion. (I'm not even sure why this thread is in Conspiracy Theories, since this is more "how science works" than anyone arguing an ATM or Conspiracy theory).

So, no, I'm not going to answer your "direct questions". If you want to find someone to do that I suggest you find someone who believes that they are real.



"Aliens" fulfill a cultural archetype that was once occupied by angels, faeries, and spirits.

That's rubbish though. They may have been conflated with that sort of thing, but aliens are absolutely nothing to do with mythical creatures. Alien UFOs are


The aliens in the ET visitation hypothesis are (by Dr. Kaku's statement) specifically violating "the laws of physics." And the aliens' supposed ability to do this (e.g., tremendous acceleration, antigravity, mind-control) is what attracts the UFO crowd. You're differentiating between the aliens that are most plausible to science because they share our limitations (and thus aren't likely to be visiting Earth) and the magical aliens that are hypothesized to be responsible for UFO sightings because those sightings defy physics.

No, you're the one who's now claiming that all ET visitations should all be "magical ETs". Alien visitation is just that - the idea that aliens could have visited (or could still be visiting) Earth. There's no stipulation in there about the manner in which they do it. And there's no reason why they can't visit Earth, using STL drives. Also, I think you have a spectacularly short-sighted view of science if you believe that an advanced alien society won't have technologies that we haven't developed yet, using laws of science that we haven't discovered yet. Someone from the 1500s may not believe that it would ever be possible to have a real-time conversation with someone on thh other side of the planet and yet here we are, 500 years later, and we have cellphones that allow us to do just that.


Science has investigated UFOs and in my opinion has been about as successful at doing that as is possible -- about 95 percent of submitted cases are explained. The cases break down into three broad categories: (1) misidentification of ordinary phenomena, (2) deliberate fraud, and (3) not enough information. When subsequent research produces more information, it's always in favor of misidentification or fraud. In no case in 60 years has further investigation supported the ET visitation hypothesis, even though it's been on the table all the time.

Which is great for the 95%, but what about the other 5%? Not worth investigating? How very scientific.
That's the only thing I'm really saying here - I don't agree with him that they are all automatically alien spacecraft. I don't agree with you that they are automatically NOT alien spacecraft. The scientific thing to do would be to investigate that 5% further and try to find out what they are.




What makes you say that? Happenstance events are extremely difficult to investigate after the fact.

If they were real, they'd leave evidence. Radar blips, eyewitness accounts, disturbed foliage, etc etc. Even just collating the eyewitness accounts would tell you something about whether people saw something real, and then can help narrow down what it was. And this is what they probably do when investigating the 95% that turned out to be identifiable.


Further, practically any mainstream researcher who proposes to study UFOs is either co-opted against his will to be a champion for the UFO fanatics or is branded a "debunker" and dismissed (e.g., Condon). A debate as politicized as that is unpalatable to science. For heaven's sake, the UFO fanatics are out there happily fabricating evidence in their favor. How is science expected to tolerate that? There aren't any non-partisan points of view. The UFO crowd has simply defined as "debunkers" (their worst epithet) any who object to their hypothesis.

And what bearing does that have on any investigation? Are we supposed to not investigate just because we might hurt someone's feelings? Of course not.



No. Until you can explain to me how to falsify the ET visitation hypothesis, the scientific method cannot apply. I challenged you earlier to explain this, and now I elevate it to a direct question.

Again, cut down the threatening tone please. I'm not an ATM proponent or a conspiracy theorist, and I have no intention of being browbeaten into answering questions just because you declare that they are "direct questions".

How do you think people show that the "bright light in the sky" was actually Venus? Or an airplane? That's what I'm talking about here. If at the end of the day multiple unrelatedgroups in different locations see something odd in the sky, and investigators go through all the possible options (Venus, weather balloon, plane, satellite ball lightning, etc etc) and somehow eliminate them all without identifying what it was, then what do you think they should say those people saw? I think they should say "we were unable to identify what was seen" - what would you say? That they just imagined it? That it was definitely NOT an alien spacecraft?





No, limiting one's examination to testable hypotheses is how science works. And in that "limited" fashion science proceeds in leaps and bounds while those "unlimited" and "open-minded" UFO fanatics are no farther along today than they were in 1947. Why? Because they are unwilling to lay aside farfetched hypotheses for which there is no evidence and which they are unable to falsify.

That's how the UFO people investigate it, not how science does it. Stop conflating the two. Science is perfectly capable of investigating UFO sightings, and has done so quite successfully so far. All I'm saying is that it should continue to investigate the 5% (or however much % it is) that it still is unable to identify in the same way.


Differentiating between testable and non-testable hypotheses is not bias. It's science.

What's non-testable about it? Again, science has investigated UFOs (and ghosts, and psychic powers) in exactly the same way as it's investigated anything mainstream. All I was saying was that when you say we've made big leaps and strides in mainstream science, it's because we've put a lot more resources into doing that. If we'd put the same resources into investigating UFOs etc then maybe we'd find something interesting there or maybe we won't, but because we don't put those kind of resources into their study we just get these smaller studies that nobody takes seriously and that die on the vine.



I continue to show how there is no practical difference between the scientifically-impossible aliens of the ET hypothesis and the other absurd denizens of the no-prima facie category. The only difference is that "aliens" have been socially normalized. That's the bias.

Great, but that's not what I'm talking about here.



What makes you think science isn't looking for aliens? It's one of the mission statements of NASA and is the focus of endeavors such as SETI.

That's not UFOs though. Is NASA investigating the possibility of alien visitations?



This seems to assume UFOs are evidence of aliens. That is what's circular.

No, it assumes that UFOs are "Unidentified Flying Objects". As such, they should be investigated so that they can become "Identified".


You seem to be saying that if we don't presume that they don't exist, then we must therefore believe that they do exist...

I'm not saying that at all. Additional study and evidence can only shove the needle in one direction. No amount of it will shove it the other direction. So you tell me where the burden of proof should lie.

What's "burden of proof" got to do with it? This is about investigating alien visitation using science, just like any other scientific investigation. You seem to assume that there can never be any evidence that aliens have visited Earth.


Because fence-sitting doesn't advance knowledge.

Jumping on one side or the other without having the required data to make that decision doesn't advance knowledge either.


You're asking science to take up the ET hypothesis as an explanation for UFOs.

I'm not even remotely suggesting that at all, and I have no idea why you'd claim that I am. I'm saying that science cannot say that the portion of observations that remain unexplained are definitely NOT alien visitations - all it can say is that it doesn't know what they are until further investigation.


Science is telling you what it needs to carry out that investigation, and you're unable to provide it.

News flash for you - science doesn't always have the tools, data, or evidence that it needs to answer questions right this very minute. Until it does, those things have to be filed under "we don't know what this is yet". That is a perfectly acceptable thing for science to say.



In frustration you're trying to change science so that it can accommodate a pet hypothesis.

Now I really have no idea what you're talking about. The only frustration I have is with you claiming I'm saying things that I'm not saying, and I certainly don't have a "pet hypothesis" here. Try reading what I'm actually saying before your IFF software flags me as a UFO-believing conspiracy nut.

Trakar
2010-Aug-31, 06:12 PM
Do I detect a slight wiff of logical positivism in the discussion again? :)

Perhaps a whiff, but I am not attempting to make a universal philosophical statement, merely saying that without supporting and compelling evidences, it is improper to presume the existence of anything, from a scientific perspective.



Extrapolations based on previous knowledge and available evidence wouldn't be unscientific, would they now?


Not so long as they are held to reasonable standards of consideration for circumstance and impacting factors. For instance, the fact that I have witnessed water boiling in a pot on the stove is sufficient for me to extrapolate that if I put water in a container and subject that container to sufficient heat that it might well stimulate the water to boil. It is not, however sufficient for me to extrapolate that any water, anywhere, under any circumstances might spontaneously boil.



If they were, I'm sure hypotheses would not be a part of scientific arsenal.


Hypotheses are most useful in their failures. It is through their failure that we learn the limits and circumstances of importance in our considerations of how the evidences fit together into the greater composite of natural understandings.



On the subject more at hand instead of generally speaking, I must note that there is some evidence for extraterrestrial life, even arguably intelligent extraterrestrial life. It's just not sufficiently compelling evidence to make the majority of scientific world to break out the bubbly.

What evidence would this be?

EDG
2010-Aug-31, 06:36 PM
There is a big difference between saying that we cannot presume existence without evidence of that existence (which is what I have consistently stated)

Right, I'm fine with that.


and saying that we must presume something doesn't exist based on a lack of evidence (which is the way you consistently distort my statement).

Well that's what JayUtah seems to be saying.

I'm all for saying "we don't know if aliens are visiting Earth because we have no evidence that proves that they are", or that "we have no evidence that aliens are visiting Earth, but we consider it unlikely that they are because of X, Y, and Z".

I'm not in favour of saying "we have no evidence that aliens are visiting the earth, so we presume that they're not" and then carry on by thinking that they are definitely not visiting - that's just a presumption, not a statement of fact. I'm not saying aliens ARE visiting Earth at all (despite what JayUtah is saying), I'm just saying that while it's unlikely that they are, we have nothing that rules out the possibility that they are, and should keep that in mind as one of the many possible explanations for what is observed (it's not a likely one, but it can't be ruled out).

nokton
2010-Aug-31, 06:46 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pw13F7ahjY

Another credibility lost. It seems Michio Kaku lost it :cry:
Why is it so hard for producers to do a one minute google search and to find this forum and all the answers that they will ever need about "subject" :(
I've just sent my email to NBC.
For what its worth, watched Michio Kaku on a science channel recently, explaining gravity wells and black holes, he couldn't have been more
wrong. All the graphics were of two dimensional spacetime, and so misleading. A gravity well is three dimensional, not two, but then, that
concept seems to have eluded Kaku, so what else is he misguided about?
Nokton

EDG
2010-Aug-31, 06:56 PM
For what its worth, watched Michio Kaku on a science channel recently, explaining gravity wells and black holes, he couldn't have been more
wrong. All the graphics were of two dimensional spacetime, and so misleading. A gravity well is three dimensional, not two, but then, that
concept seems to have eluded Kaku, so what else is he misguided about?

Got any drawings of a 3D gravity well? They're not that easy to visualise, and using a 2D version (the rubber sheet analogy, I presume) has worked well enough as an explanatory tool for decades.

Paul Beardsley
2010-Aug-31, 07:37 PM
There seems to be a lot of anguish about the word "presume".

As I see it, "presume" simply means "adopt as a working assumption which will remain in place until (new) evidence suggests that something else should take its place."

So, I presume aliens are not currently visiting the Earth - because if they were, I think there would be significant and undismissable consequences.

I presume there are moons in the Andromeda Galaxy. Now it might be that some time in the near future a scientist will announce the discovery that all the stars in Andromeda are first generation, and so they cannot have rocky worlds. In which case, I would be comfortable with changing my working assumption.

I presume life arose somewhere else in the universe, because it arose here, and it seems unlikely that it only happened once. If we ever get conclusive proof of alien life, then this presumption will be upgraded to an item of knowledge. On the other hand, it's conceivable that someone will find compelling evidence that the conditions that gave rise to life are so incredibly rare that it is extremely surprising that it happened even once in a universe as small as ours.

In other words a presumption is not set in concrete.

EDG
2010-Aug-31, 07:55 PM
There seems to be a lot of anguish about the word "presume".

As I see it, "presume" simply means "adopt as a working assumption which will remain in place until (new) evidence suggests that something else should take its place."

In other words a presumption is not set in concrete.

Maybe you're right. I'm fine with what you're saying here, I just don't want people to lose sight of the fact that it IS a presumption. When JayUtah says "UFOs are like mythical creatures" I think that is definitely turning presumption into fact, which is not justified at all.

Paul Beardsley
2010-Aug-31, 08:18 PM
Maybe you're right. I'm fine with what you're saying here, I just don't want people to lose sight of the fact that it IS a presumption.

Fair enough, and I get what you're saying. But I think the pejorative connotations of the term "presumptious" do not really apply to science.


When JayUtah says "UFOs are like mythical creatures" I think that is definitely turning presumption into fact, which is not justified at all.

I think he is more concerned with characterising the "UFOs are alien" believers here than describing actual UFOs. Bear in mind that if and when an actual undeniable alien craft arrives here, the lore of the UFOlogists will vanish.

Tuckerfan
2010-Aug-31, 08:27 PM
Fair enough, and I get what you're saying. But I think the pejorative connotations of the term "presumptious" do not really apply to science.



I think he is more concerned with characterising the "UFOs are alien" believers here than describing actual UFOs. Bear in mind that if and when an actual undeniable alien craft arrives here, the lore of the UFOlogists will vanish.

Or it becomes Cargo Cult 2.0. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cargo_cult)

JayUtah
2010-Aug-31, 08:41 PM
...

Please don't tell me what I am or am not saying. You are not in my head.

I don't have to be in your head in order to read what you write. You say, "But again, no hard facts either way, so it's all guesswork for now." I'm simply asking what "hard facts" you would consider to be proof of the non-existence of aliens. Since the dawn of time no one has been able to prove a generalized negative proposition. If you know how, please say so. If not, then concede the point.

If you're going to take every point that anyone makes as a direct attack on you (or science) then there's no point in continuing this discussion.

But you are attacking science -- quite obviously so. You're claiming it's biased and reasoning in circles when considering UFOs. I don't think you're directly attacking me personally.

So, no, I'm not going to answer your "direct questions".

Then don't start a debate. You've made assertions. I'm asking you questions designed to test the foundation of those assertions. Your unwillingness to answer them undermines the strength of your reasoning. If you're not willing to have your ideas tested, then don't share them -- especially in a venue specifically intended to put controversial ideas to the test.

They may have been conflated with that sort of thing, but aliens are absolutely nothing to do with mythical creatures. Alien UFOs are

Are what? I suspect you forgot to finish this paragraph. Can you explain how the popular concept of aliens tends to evolve with social issues if they are, in fact, externally-existent creatures? Whether aliens objectively, independently exist or not, there is a clear cultural component to belief in aliens. How should science address that when evaluating allegations of eyewitness testimony?

No, you're the one who's now claiming that all ET visitations should all be "magical ETs".

No, I'm not -- Michio Kaku is. I suggest you watch his interview again. He describes events that "violate the laws of physics." The answer he proposes and defends is arbitrarily advanced aliens, precisely because they alone are presumed to have the properties needed to satisfy causation here. The magical nature of the hypothetical aliens is exactly what makes them work in the cases proposed.

And there's no reason why they can't visit Earth, using STL drives.

Irrelevant. Dr. Kaku describes circumstances that "violate the laws of physics." He isn't specific about which laws he's talking about. He neither mentions nor precludes faster-than-light travel. The example I keep referring to is the claim that alien craft can travel through the atmosphere at hypersonic speeds with none of the customary effects. To the experienced investigator, that suggests something wrong with the speed estimate. However, according to UFO proponents, aliens with untestable and unknown properties must somehow inexplicably have a greater mastery over fluid dynamics than we. How is that different from nargles?

Also, I think you have a spectacularly short-sighted view of science if you believe that an advanced alien society won't have technologies that we haven't developed yet, using laws of science that we haven't discovered yet.

But that's not what I believe. What I object to is the speculative attribution of specific properties to hypothetical aliens based solely on what would need to be true in order to explain some occurrence as interpreted by UFO proponents. That's clearly a tautology.

No matter what fantastical manifestations are claimed -- silent hypersonic flight, interstellar travel, levitation, mind-control, invisibility to radar, enormous size, immunity from inertia, etc. -- aliens are simply and arbitrarily presumed to possess them. Can you explain how that differs from magic?

Which is great for the 95%, but what about the other 5%? Not worth investigating? How very scientific.

That's not the claim.

At the beginning of the various investigations from which this ratio derives, none of the occurrences had been investigated. At the end of the investigation, after all cases had been studied, 95 percent of them could be accounted for. 5 percent simply presented too little information for the researchers to draw any conclusion. Why do you believe 100 percent of any set of happenstance occurrences can be accounted for?

That's the only thing I'm really saying here - I don't agree with him that they are all automatically alien spacecraft. I don't agree with you that they are automatically NOT alien spacecraft.

They're not alien spacecraft until proven to be, just like they're not faeries or nargles until proven to be. Any given happenstance occurrence is automatically not many things until proven to be any one of them -- but only presumptively. Fine, if you want to postulate that some number of them are due to aliens, then please propose how science should go about testing them in a way they're not doing now.

The scientific thing to do would be to investigate that 5% further and try to find out what they are.

That's what was done. You seem to presume the only reason something can't be explained is that we haven't tried hard enough.

And this is what they probably do when investigating the 95% that turned out to be identifiable.

That's what was done in all cases. You wrongly presume that everything can eventually be explained.

And what bearing does that have on any investigation?

There's more than hurt feelings involved. An objective scientist's stock in trade is his credibility, which rests on his dissociation from partisan interests. The inability to achieve that separation dictates one's willingness to undertake an investigation.

Some UFO enthusiasts routinely fabricate evidence in their favor. Clearly their desire to believe outweighs their desire to know the truth. UFO proponents belabor eyewitness testimony. When science points out the many previously unknown ways in which eyewitnesses can be wrong, UFO proponents cry foul. UFO proponents belabor the "trained observer." When science debunks the notion of a trained observer, UFO proponents cry foul. And so forth. In such a toxic environment, why should we believe that UFO proponents really want greater scientific scrutiny?

Again, cut down the threatening tone please. I'm not an ATM proponent or a conspiracy theorist, and I have no intention of being browbeaten into answering questions just because you declare that they are "direct questions"

You insist that the scientific method applies to the ET hypothesis for UFOs. A principal tenet of the scientific method is the falsifiability of the hypothesis. Another tenet is the presumption of the null hypothesis. I'm not at all out of line in asking you to tell us how the ET hypothesis can be falsified. I'm not at all out of line proposing the non-existence of aliens as the null hypothesis. If you propose to criticize mainstream science for its supposedly biased disinterest in UFOs, then you are rather obliged to explain to us why you don't address the real reason. That is, if you want to be taken seriously.

How do you think people show that the "bright light in the sky" was actually Venus?

That and the other conclusions you mention are falsifiable. For example, in my two cases cited above I can falsify a Venus hypothesis. In the first case I was looking due north, and Venus cannot be in that place in the sky from my location on Earth. In the second case the lights were visibly moving very fast, which Venus cannot do. I'm asking how one would rule out aliens in some case.

I think they should say "we were unable to identify what was seen" - what would you say?

Exactly the same thing. Unidentified means unidentified, not identified as an alien spaceship. We may be converging toward understanding.

That it was definitely NOT an alien spacecraft?

No, that it was presumed not to be. A presumption is not an assertion. When you can tell me how to test an observation to see whether it was or wasn't an alien spaceship, then you can talk about what science should do in that case.

What's non-testable about it?

UFO enthusiasts have proposed, among other things, that alien spacecraft are (1) immune from inertia, and (2) immune from sonic booms. Those are putative claims of fact. How would I test those?

In contrast, the claim that some sighting was a reflection off glass that rotated suddenly is falsifiable, for example in showing that the sighting was not made through any reflective or partially reflective medium.

...when you say we've made big leaps and strides in mainstream science, it's because we've put a lot more resources into doing that.

No. It's because we don't waste time on farfetched, untestable hypotheses. You consistently sidestep the very important qualitative difference between the ET hypothesis and the actual hypotheses used in science. You explicitly refuse to answer my questions about the difference.

That's not UFOs though. Is NASA investigating the possibility of alien visitations?

The existence of aliens and the causes of UFOs are entirely different questions. You attempted to predicate the presumption of the non-existence of aliens on the supposed sloth of the scientific community in investigating it.

What's "burden of proof" got to do with it?

Everything. You indicate there's an equal burden of proof on both sides of the question regarding the existence of aliens. You say that until we know more, we shouldn't draw any conclusions -- presumptive or otherwise -- in either direction. Evidence proving the existence of aliens is attainable. Michio Kaku proposed a couple of examples. I'm asking what would satisfy your burden of proof in the other direction? What evidence would prove the non-existence of aliens? Again, that's a negative proposition.

This is about investigating alien visitation using science, just like any other scientific investigation.

Then will you please answer my questions regarding the scientific testability of that hypothesis?

You seem to assume that there can never be any evidence that aliens have visited Earth.

Hogwash! I'm saying there isn't any. That's very different from saying there can't be.

Jumping on one side or the other without having the required data to make that decision doesn't advance knowledge either.

But you refuse to tell us what "required data" would prove the non-existence of aliens.

I'm saying that science cannot say that the portion of observations that remain unexplained are definitely NOT alien visitations...

No one is claiming that. I painstakingly described the difference between an assertion and a presumption. We presume something in this case. We don't assert it. Please stop trying to turn a presumption into an assertion.

News flash for you - science doesn't always have the tools, data, or evidence that it needs to answer questions right this very minute.

Agreed, which is why it's irrational to suppose that 100 percent of questions can be answered now or at any time. But that's not what I was saying. Science needs a null hypothesis to hold as a presumptive default, and a falsifiable hypothesis to test with empirical methods. The null hypothesis in this case is that UFOs have nothing to do with alien visitation, which is a presumption you don't accept. I'm asking you to provide a falsifiable version of the ET hypothesis, which you refuse to provide. If you don't want to satisfy the criteria for scientific inquiry, that's your prerogative. But then you look silly trying to take science to task.

Until it does, those things have to be filed under "we don't know what this is yet". That is a perfectly acceptable thing for science to say.

And that's exactly what science does. Yet for some reason science gets beaten up by UFO enthusiasts for not affording the ET hypothesis more merit than it deserves.

JayUtah
2010-Aug-31, 09:10 PM
...

Maybe you're right. I'm fine with what you're saying here...

That's the same definition of "presumption" I gave when I first distinguished among presumption, assertion, and conclusion.

I just don't want people to lose sight of the fact that it IS a presumption.

Then you should stop trying to turn it into an assertion when you represent my position. It's just a null hypothesis, nothing ominous.

When JayUtah says "UFOs are like mythical creatures" I think that is definitely turning presumption into fact...

I think you mean to say, "Aliens are like mythical creatures." My point is that the notion of aliens -- as formulated by UFO enthusiasts -- is no more credible than any of the other items I mentioned in the category of questionable existence. The parenthetical is all-important. There are many concepts of aliens that are entirely palatable to science, even on a purely speculative basis. However it's scientific cheating (specifically, unparsimonious) to propose a hypothesis that's tailor-made to address all the "violations of the laws of physics" with no more than an ipse dico.

EDG
2010-Aug-31, 09:57 PM
But you are attacking science -- quite obviously so.

Yeah... we're done here.

I'm not going to waste more of my time trying to convince you that you're not understanding what I'm saying (you don't even seem to be arguing about the same thing I'm talking about in the first place), and for some unfathomable reason you seem hellbent on aggressively misrepresenting everything I say to paint me as a UFO-proponent and conspiracy nut - so I'm quite sure that you'll continue to go right ahead and believe what you will and ignore what I'm actually saying. Expect no further replies or communication from me on this topic.

peterf
2010-Aug-31, 10:24 PM
did anybody here actually watch the vid in the link of the op??

well, i did, and NOWHERE does mr. kaku say that there is EVIDENCE for alien visitations. in fact, he says quite clearly that there's no smoking gun (he mentions alien dna as a possible example). so, to begin with, most people here are entirely mis-representing mr. kaku - whatever one may otherwise think of him in general.

while i don't agree with edg's conclusions he's one of the very few who properly represent the scientific approach in this thread.
we don't have evidence for alien visitations (at least none that have been made publicly available) but we have VERY strong INDICATIONS for it. unless of course, you CATEGORICALLY dismiss eye-witnesses like so many self-proclaimed scientists here do.
clearly, eye-witnesses are not scientific proof and hardly anybody is saying that - certainly not mr kaku, and not edg and me neither. but the mass of credible eye-witnesses that have come out lately is just staggering in my opinion and only a religious fanatic can ignore that.
again: no proof but very strong INDICATIONS that most certainly require a thorough investigation.
that is the essence of what i hear edg and mr. kaku saying. and - as a scientist - i most certainly second that.

to CATEGORICALLY dismiss the possibility of alien visitation because it doesn't fit the world-view of some narrow engineer minds has NOTHING to do with the spirit of science. nothing.

JayUtah
2010-Aug-31, 10:25 PM
...

...without supporting and compelling evidences, it is improper to presume the existence of anything, from a scientific perspective.

The key phrase being, "...from a scientific perspective." Individually we believe all manner of things for a variety of reasons, most of them unscientific and many of them quite valid from a personal perspective. However if we expect science to study something, we have to conform to scientific practice. The scientific method requires certain prerequisites, and therefore isn't adapted to all questions. "Did I see Venus last night?" is a scientifically-scrutable question. "What should I buy my sister for her birthday?" is not. Scientific strength cannot be achieved without conforming to scientific practice. The two are inseparable; one is the effect of the other.

For instance, the fact that I have witnessed water boiling in a pot on the stove is sufficient for me to extrapolate that if I put water in a container and subject that container to sufficient heat that it might well stimulate the water to boil.

Indeed. Extrapolations within the known laws of nature require little justification and engender little substantial debate. The problem with the UFO crowd is their extrapolations far outside the known laws of nature. "It can't be anything normal or natural, therefore it has to be aliens," is how the line of reasoning goes.

Personally I find the statistical argument persuasive in favor of the existence of aliens. But that's for the existence of aliens in some non-specific form. It's the general proposition, because that's the only one I think is supported by the statistical argument. The general proposition isn't a useful premise for a subsequent scientific investigation of questions such as "Are aliens visiting Earth?" Why? Because a scientific investigation of that question requires us to be able to look at some specific allegation of visitation and say, "No, that's not what the data says aliens behave like." We know enough about the behavior of Venus, for example, to say in some cases, "No, that's not Venus." To say, "Gee, it could be aliens because we simply don't know enough about aliens to rule it out," isn't scientifically scrutable.

JayUtah
2010-Aug-31, 10:27 PM
Yeah... we're done here.

Actually we were done when you refused to answer questions about your claims.

EDG
2010-Aug-31, 10:42 PM
we don't have evidence for alien visitations (at least none that have been made publicly available) but we have VERY strong INDICATIONS for it. unless of course, you CATEGORICALLY dismiss eye-witnesses like so many self-proclaimed scientists here do.
clearly, eye-witnesses are not scientific proof and hardly anybody is saying that - certainly not mr kaku, and not edg and me neither. but the mass of credible eye-witnesses that have come out lately is just staggering in my opinion and only a religious fanatic can ignore that.
again: no proof but very strong INDICATIONS that most certainly require a thorough investigation.

Eh, I wouldn't call it "very strong indications" - the few scientific investigations that have been done on UFO sightings haven't shown that they're alien visitations at all. It's easy to misidentify lights in the sky (people do it with Venus all the time). In the few cases where there is potentially useful physical evidence, it's not been conclusively proven that anything is of alien origin.

That's not to say that it's not worth investigating though. Eyewitness reports should be assessed, corroborated, analysed etc. Any supposed physical evidence should also be analysed too. Chances are, the vast majority will turn out to be something much more mundane though. If any can't be identified, then they should be filed away as "unexplained", not under "alien visitors".

peterf
2010-Aug-31, 10:51 PM
Eh, I wouldn't call it "very strong indications" - the few scientific investigations that have been done on UFO sightings haven't shown that they're alien visitations at all. It's easy to misidentify lights in the sky (people do it with Venus all the time). In the few cases where there is potentially useful physical evidence, it's not been conclusively proven that anything is of alien origin.
and i didn't say that. but personally, i would call the background and the number of alien visitation proponents that have come out in the last years "very strong indications". people the likes of edgar mitchell or michio kaku and many lesser-known (ex-)military personnel can only be ignored by die-hard fanatics.


That's not to say that it's not worth investigating though. Eyewitness reports should be assessed, corroborated, analysed etc. Any supposed physical evidence should also be analysed too. Chances are, the vast majority will turn out to be something much more mundane though. If any can't be identified, then they should be filed away as "unexplained", not under "alien visitors".
agreed.

Trakar
2010-Aug-31, 10:53 PM
Fair enough, and I get what you're saying. But I think the pejorative connotations of the term "presumptious" do not really apply to science.



I think he is more concerned with characterising the "UFOs are alien" believers here than describing actual UFOs. Bear in mind that if and when an actual undeniable alien craft arrives here, the lore of the UFOlogists will vanish.

From the bleevers I've run into, if a real alien starship arrived here and refuted the beliefs and speculations of ufologists, they would simply be considered to be "in on the coverup!"

Trakar
2010-Aug-31, 11:06 PM
(at least none that have been made publicly available)

That should strengthen your credibility!

JayUtah
2010-Aug-31, 11:07 PM
...

did anybody here actually watch the vid in the link of the op??

Three times, beginning to end.

well, i did, and NOWHERE does mr. kaku say that there is EVIDENCE for alien visitations.

And I said essentially this in my first post (http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php/107111-Michio-Kaku?p=1783597#post1783597) to this thread. In fact, as near as I can tell, Kean's book doesn't make that claim either. However, Kaku spends the majority of the interview talking about alien visitation.

while i don't agree with edg's conclusions he's one of the very few who properly represent the scientific approach in this thread.

Hogwash. I asked him some basic questions about the scientific method and how it applied to his claims, and he flatly refused to participate.

we don't have evidence for alien visitations (at least none that have been made publicly available) but we have VERY strong INDICATIONS for it.

Such as?

unless of course, you CATEGORICALLY dismiss eye-witnesses...

I see no categorical rejection here. I see, instead, a categorical assertion that we must take their claims at face value, including interpretations. And yes, the assertion is explicitly and ruthlessly categorical: Dr. Kaku insists we must give their testimony added weight because they are "pilots, Air Force generals, even governors of states." Please explain how that is not both categorical and ad hominem?

...like so many self-proclaimed scientists here do.

Who would those be?

clearly, eye-witnesses are not scientific proof and hardly anybody is saying that - certainly not mr kaku...

Dylan Ratigan: "UFO believers listen up, you may very well be vindicated..."

He then goes on to introduce Dr. Kaku in his official capacity as a professional scientist, the reason he is appearing on the program. Kaku then goes on to discuss little else but eyewitness testimony, using the same rhetoric UFO believers use -- rhetoric we know to be scientifically flawed. But here he is in his capacity as a professional scientist touting that evidence for its supposed strength in establishing UFOs as having a non-terrestrial origin. Ratigan suggests that UFOs -- the 5% unexplained sightings -- might still be ordinary objects. Kaku objects, saying that's been exhaustively ruled out. He again touts multiple-mode sightings, claiming them to be "very hard to dismiss."

When asked whether these unexplained sightings confirm the existence of intelligent extraterrestrial life, Kaku says he won't "go that far," and then suggests other forms of proof that he said would "nail it to the wall." Indeed such evidence would be a smoking gun. However, Kaku says the book in question -- a compendium of previously-reported sightings -- is "as close as we are going to get." Why should I not interpret this as an endorsement of the methods and evidence in the book, in Kaku's expert professional opinion as a recognized scientist?

...but the mass of credible eye-witnesses that have come out lately is just staggering in my opinion...

Eyewitnesses to what? At best they describe experiences for which we as yet can find no mundane, prosaic, natural or ordinary explanation. To go on and say that they are examples of alien visitation is entirely presumptive.

...and only a religious fanatic can ignore that.

Or a scientist.

You suggest you are a scientist. Please explain why "UFOs are not caused by alien visitation" is an improper null hypothesis. Please explain how you would falsify the hypothesis "UFOs are the result of alien visitation" empirically according to available data. Enough about the "spirit" of science. I want to know about the practice of science with respect to this question.

to CATEGORICALLY dismiss the possibility of alien visitation because it doesn't fit the world-view of some narrow engineer minds has NOTHING to do with the spirit of science. nothing.

Straw man. Please link to the post where I've done that.

peterf
2010-Aug-31, 11:13 PM
That should strengthen your credibility!

i have no need to worry about my credibility.
but i do have serious doubts about some of the people posting in this thread who make their affiliation with the military-industrial complex known on their websites and seem even proud of it.
can one expect an open-minded discussion from such people? i seriously doubt it and i can't take them seriously, especially when they also proclaim their utterly misguided "understanding" of the scientific method.

those people probably think that my lord kelvin quote in my signature is meant seriously. they certainly perfectly fit that sentiment...

JayUtah
2010-Aug-31, 11:19 PM
...

people the likes of edgar mitchell...

I've spoken to Ed Mitchell extensively about his UFO claims. Have you? Ironically, he agreed that the grounds upon which I disgreed with him at the time were rational and proper. Why won't you grant me the same quarter?

Mitchell's claims were based solely upon second-testimony of others whom he, at the time, declined to name. He agreed that from my perspective that constituted anonymous authority.

michio kaku...

My analysis of Kaku's claims is here for anyone to examine. I'll gladly discuss them with Dr. Kaku himself, if he should feel so inclined.

...and many lesser-known (ex-)military personnel

Categorical and ad hominem. I don't agree that military personnel, as a group, are necessarily better eyewitnesses than the general population. I don't agree that allegations of fact or putatively logical lines of reasoning should be accepted solely on the basis of alleged properties of the witness.

...can only be ignored by die-hard fanatics.

"Agree with me or I'm going to call you names." Sorry, I don't buy that as a scientifically valid line of reasoning.

I'm not ignoring them. In fact, I'm devoting a fair amount of time and attention to them. Yes, I disagree with them. And I painstakingly, laboriously enumerate the reasons for my disagreement. So far no one has been able to address those reasons. EDG feels he doesn't need to, and you don't seem interested in a debate at all.

Trakar
2010-Aug-31, 11:20 PM
i have no need to worry about my credibility.
but i do have serious doubts about some of the people posting in this thread who make their affiliation with the military-industrial complex known on their websites and seem even proud of it.
can one expect an open-minded discussion from such people? i seriously doubt it and i can't take them seriously, especially when they also proclaim their utterly misguided "understanding" of the scientific method.

those people probably think that my lord kelvin quote in my signature is meant seriously. they certainly perfectly fit that sentiment...

and now you've cleared out any doubts any may have had,...good for you!

Gillianren
2010-Aug-31, 11:23 PM
I have no association with the military-industrial complex unless you count that my boyfriend was in the Reserves and my father (who died when I was six) was a twenty-year man in the Air Force. Not that I see anything to be ashamed of if I were. So yeah.

Let's say it bluntly. There is no reason to assume that the unexplained sightings are caused by anything other than the explained ones were. There wasn't enough information; we've seen examples where there wasn't enough information. Dates are wrong. Times are unknown. Places aren't specific enough. With all that, how is anyone supposed to make a determination that it was Venus or a flock of ducks or any of the other things which are explanations for 95% of sightings?

peterf
2010-Aug-31, 11:29 PM
Hogwash...

maybe some other time i can be motivated to respond to such reasoning. it is early morning here in beautiful australia and i have students waiting for my lecture. i rather teach open-minded students math and the scientific method in general than spending my time here with hogwashers...

i said what i had to say; nothing more is necessary.

JayUtah
2010-Aug-31, 11:29 PM
...

but i do have serious doubts about some of the people posting in this thread who make their affiliation with the military-industrial complex known on their websites and seem even proud of it.

Ad hominem. Please show specifically how my affiliation or anyone else's makes any of the arguments I have presented above misleading, false, or poorly argued.

can one expect an open-minded discussion from such people?

Open-mindedness does not require one to accept a proposition for which there is no proof. In any case the question is not whether I or anyone else is open-minded, but whether we are correct. You have been invited to show specifically wherein I or anyone else is incorrect. So far you've only made vague, handwaving accusations.

especially when they also proclaim their utterly misguided "understanding" of the scientific method.

I have explained at length my views regarding the scientific method and the ET-visitation hypothesis as an explanation for UFOs.

I propose that the null hypothesis be, "Alien visitation is not the cause of UFO sightings." Please explain why that would not be an acceptable null hypothesis.

I understand the hypothesis under test to be, "UFOs are the spaceships of visiting aliens." I am at a loss as to how to falsify that hypothesis empirically given the available data. I understand that falsifiability is an important property for a scientific hypothesis. Please correct any or all of this, as you see fit.

Van Rijn
2010-Aug-31, 11:33 PM
i have no need to worry about my credibility.
but i do have serious doubts about some of the people posting in this thread who make their affiliation with the military-industrial complex known on their websites and seem even proud of it.
can one expect an open-minded discussion from such people?


Heh. What do you define as an "affiliation with the military-industrial complex"? And why wouldn't one expect an open-minded discussion from "such people"?

This sounds like a not terribly subtle "disinformation agent" claim. It sounds like you're dismissing people, not because of their arguments or evidence, but because of some association you dislike.

And, I agree, this does not help with your own credibility.

JayUtah
2010-Aug-31, 11:35 PM
...

maybe some other time i can be motivated to respond to such reasoning.

Please do. I have explained at length my objection to EDG's line of reasoning. While it is clear that some of the attendant misunderstanding is the result of straw-man claims, or perceived straw-man claims, the kernel of my objection remains unchanged.

You have endorsed EDG's analysis of the scientific scrutability of the ET hypothesis, without given in any details. I desire to know what you find especially scientific about his statements. Further, you have sidestepped my specific points of objection and appear not to have any intent of answering them. I want to know whether you have any response to my specific statements or whether you intend your ad hominem argument to suffice.

HenrikOlsen
2010-Sep-01, 12:02 AM
That's rubbish though. They may have been conflated with that sort of thing, but aliens are absolutely nothing to do with mythical creatures. Alien UFOs are
Whatever that last though was, I'll say, with some knowledge of my local folklore, that the purported attributes of elves and aliens are nearly identical, up to and including their propensity for abducting people.
The main difference is their purported origin.

It looks to me that both are explanations invented to explain similar phenomena, just filtered through different cultural backgrounds.
Though what it says about our culture that the elves wasn't notorious for anal probing is something I'm not going to comment on:).

EDG
2010-Sep-01, 12:22 AM
Let's say it bluntly. There is no reason to assume that the unexplained sightings are caused by anything other than the explained ones were. There wasn't enough information; we've seen examples where there wasn't enough information. Dates are wrong. Times are unknown. Places aren't specific enough. With all that, how is anyone supposed to make a determination that it was Venus or a flock of ducks or any of the other things which are explanations for 95% of sightings?

I don't know about anyone else, but I'm assuming that "unexplained sighting" are ones that remain unexplained after all other explanations that anyone can think of have been ruled out.
If it's just a case of "one guy thought he saw something" then that's not an "unexplained sighting", I'd file that under "not enough data to confirm the sighting in the first place", and in all likelihood there probably wouldn't be enough data to properly investigate it anyway.

Gillianren
2010-Sep-01, 12:33 AM
I don't know about anyone else, but I'm assuming that "unexplained sighting" are ones that remain unexplained after all other explanations that anyone can think of have been ruled out.

That's an incorrect assumption, as it happens. "Unexplained sighting" means, in this context, a sighting wherein there simply isn't enough information to explain anything. This may be the problem we're having in communication. If we're using Bluebook as a basis, all "unexplained" means is just that. It doesn't mean "all reasonable explanations are ruled out."


If it's just a case of "one guy thought he saw something" then that's not an "unexplained sighting", I'd file that under "not enough data to confirm the sighting in the first place", and in all likelihood there probably wouldn't be enough data to properly investigate it anyway.

This is the point we've been trying to make, yes.

EDG
2010-Sep-01, 12:34 AM
Whatever that last though was, I'll say, with some knowledge of my local folklore, that the purported attributes of elves and aliens are nearly identical, up to and including their propensity for abducting people.
The main difference is their purported origin.

It looks to me that both are explanations invented to explain similar phenomena, just filtered through different cultural backgrounds.
Though what it says about our culture that the elves wasn't notorious for anal probing is something I'm not going to comment on:).

I've forgotten what I was originally going to say when I started that "Alien UFOs are".

Though actual encounters with alien beings aren't what is being discussed here (and sure, a lot of those are fanciful. Are some of the people who claim to see aliens imagining things? Hallucinating? Having weird dreams? Just plain crazy? Or did they really encounter something alien? As always, we should investigate as scientifically as we can - and if we have to bring in psychiatry and neurology to do so then bring them in as well)

Until we find a piece of Alien DNA at sites of visitation though, I guess we can say that people involved are most likely mistaken or delusional or hallucinating, or we can say "we don't know what happened there".

EDG
2010-Sep-01, 12:37 AM
That's an incorrect assumption, as it happens. "Unexplained sighting" means, in this context, a sighting wherein there simply isn't enough information to explain anything. This may be the problem we're having in communication. If we're using Bluebook as a basis, all "unexplained" means is just that. It doesn't mean "all reasonable explanations are ruled out."

How do you know if something's unexplainable though? You've got to try to explain it first! Maybe they should be separated into two definitions - ones where there is very little data to start with and therefore not enough to even really start ruling anything out (i.e. the really vague ones with little information), and ones where there is more data (radar blips, multiple observers, accurate flightpaths etc) - enough to start going through options and eliminating them - and yet still no explanation is forthcoming.



This is the point we've been trying to make, yes.[/QUOTE]

HenrikOlsen
2010-Sep-01, 01:30 AM
How do you know if something's unexplainable though?
Because there's not enough information to explain it.

You've got to try to explain it first!
No, you have to start by seeing if there's enough information to explain it. If there's not enough information, you stop and say "it's unexplainable".
You don't start inventing alien faeries flying their magical unicorns through intergalactic space to bring us messages peace and harmony while being really hard to detect and spending their off-time putting cows in circles and mutilating crops to explain it.

Maybe they should be separated into two definitions - ones where there is very little data to start with and therefore not enough to even really start ruling anything out (i.e. the really vague ones with little information), and ones where there is more data (radar blips, multiple observers, accurate flightpaths etc) - enough to start going through options and eliminating them - and yet still no explanation is forthcoming.
The latter ones are still in the "not enough information to make a meaningful assessment of what they are" category.
They're still not a reason to invent transvestite alien space cowfaeries.

EDG
2010-Sep-01, 01:40 AM
You don't start inventing alien faeries flying their magical unicorns through intergalactic space to bring us messages peace and harmony while being really hard to detect and spending their off-time putting cows in circles and mutilating crops to explain it.

These discussions would go so much better if you and JayUtah would stop inventing things that people are saying.

Whatever. I'm done caring about this.

sts60
2010-Sep-01, 03:27 AM
and i didn't say that. but personally, i would call the background and the number of alien visitation proponents that have come out in the last years "very strong indications". people the likes of edgar mitchell or michio kaku and many lesser-known (ex-)military personnel can only be ignored by die-hard fanatics.
. . .
but i do have serious doubts about some of the people posting in this thread who make their affiliation with the military-industrial complex known on their websites and seem even proud of it.
can one expect an open-minded discussion from such people? i seriously doubt it and i can't take them seriously

Let me see if I follow this... those having an "affiliation with the military-industrial complex" are close-minded and should be doubted if they don't believe in alien visitations, but "can only be ignored by die-hard fanatics" if they do believe?

Gillianren
2010-Sep-01, 03:33 AM
How do you know if something's unexplainable though? You've got to try to explain it first! Maybe they should be separated into two definitions - ones where there is very little data to start with and therefore not enough to even really start ruling anything out (i.e. the really vague ones with little information), and ones where there is more data (radar blips, multiple observers, accurate flightpaths etc) - enough to start going through options and eliminating them - and yet still no explanation is forthcoming.

They still end the same way, though.

JayUtah
2010-Sep-01, 03:48 AM
These discussions would go so much better if you and JayUtah would stop inventing things that people are saying.

Likewise. All I stated was a null hypothesis at the beginning, labelling it then no stronger than a presumption and maintaining that throughout, and you have been trying to put stronger words in my mouth ever since. And you seem to think I've accused you of saying aliens are visiting Earth; I've done no such thing. The strongest things I've accused you of is requiring proof of a negative proposition and evading some questions I consider pertinent.

If it's just a case of "one guy thought he saw something" then that's not an "unexplained sighting", I'd file that under "not enough data to confirm the sighting in the first place", and in all likelihood there probably wouldn't be enough data to properly investigate it anyway.

I have absolutely no problem with this approach.

tnjrp
2010-Sep-01, 05:47 AM
Perhaps a whiff, but I am not attempting to make a universal philosophical statement, merely saying that without supporting and compelling evidences, it is improper to presume the existence of anything, from a scientific perspectiveThis is however pretty much the logical positivist approach to science specifically: that there must be evidence or else it's not science. Popper was of a bit different mind on the subject of course.


Not so long as they are held to reasonable standards of consideration for circumstance and impacting factorsSo you think it's unreasonable to extrapolate that alien life is possible if not even probable (in the "generic" sense as JayUtah outlined previously in a post I can't be bothered to dig up a link to)? Or is it just alien civilizations, or alien visitors?


What evidence would this be?:eh: Several interesting and potentially organic-based anomalies on Mars, Venus and Titan for starters.

Trakar
2010-Sep-01, 07:19 AM
This is however pretty much the logical positivist approach to science specifically: that there must be evidence or else it's not science. Popper was of a bit different mind on the subject of course.

I find a gulf of difference between your subjective assessment of "pretty much" and the actual words I used, but you're certainly welcome to your own perspective.



So you think it's unreasonable to extrapolate that alien life is possible if not even probable (in the "generic" sense as JayUtah outlined previously in a post I can't be bothered to dig up a link to)? Or is it just alien civilizations, or alien visitors?

I'll stick with what I've previously stated as clearly and specifically as I know how, several times already.



:eh: Several interesting and potentially organic-based anomalies on Mars, Venus and Titan for starters.

specifically listed and referenced where?

Trakar
2010-Sep-01, 07:24 AM
and i didn't say that. but personally, i would call the background and the number of alien visitation proponents that have come out in the last years "very strong indications". people the likes of edgar mitchell or michio kaku and many lesser-known (ex-)military personnel can only be ignored by die-hard fanatics.
. . .
but i do have serious doubts about some of the people posting in this thread who make their affiliation with the military-industrial complex known on their websites and seem even proud of it.
can one expect an open-minded discussion from such people? i seriously doubt it and i can't take them seriously

Let me see if I follow this... those having an "affiliation with the military-industrial complex" are close-minded and should be doubted if they don't believe in alien visitations, but "can only be ignored by die-hard fanatics" if they do believe?

If you're gonna start pointing out internal contradictions and inconsistencies this is going to take another 50 years!
:D

Trakar
2010-Sep-01, 07:28 AM
How do you know if something's unexplainable though? You've got to try to explain it first! Maybe they should be separated into two definitions - ones where there is very little data to start with and therefore not enough to even really start ruling anything out (i.e. the really vague ones with little information), and ones where there is more data (radar blips, multiple observers, accurate flightpaths etc) - enough to start going through options and eliminating them - and yet still no explanation is forthcoming.



This is the point we've been trying to make, yes.

As far as I know, there are no reports that legitimately fit into the last category.

tnjrp
2010-Sep-01, 07:42 AM
I find a gulf of difference between your subjective assessment of "pretty much" and the actual words I used, but you're certainly welcome to your own perspectiveWith statements you've made such as "without supporting and compelling evidences, it is improper to presume the existence of anything, from a scientific perspective" I suppose I am at that.

I'll stick with what I've previously stated as clearly and specifically as I know how, several times alreadyFair enough. From the above, this and the following, to wit...
specifically listed and referenced where?...I infer we are about done here.

Strange
2010-Sep-01, 09:18 AM
How do you know if something's unexplainable though? You've got to try to explain it first! Maybe they should be separated into two definitions - ones where there is very little data to start with and therefore not enough to even really start ruling anything out (i.e. the really vague ones with little information), and ones where there is more data (radar blips, multiple observers, accurate flightpaths etc) - enough to start going through options and eliminating them - and yet still no explanation is forthcoming.

I have been somewhat baffled by the cross-purposes discussion here. But I think this might be the root cause.

The problem seems to hinge on two different interpretations of "unexplained"?

I understand it to mean "we just don't know" - either because there was too little information (your case 1) or there was more information but still not enough to come to any conculsion (your case 2). On this basis, I don't see a difference between cases (1) and (2) - we don't have enough information to come to any conclusion.

Some people (and I'm not sure if this includes you or not) seem to think that "unexplained" means we have ruled out all the mundane explanations (Venus, marsh gas, meteors, etc). And therefore it must be Something Else, something mysterious and therefore possibly Aliens....

But, it doesn't mean that. It may mean we haven't ruled anything out. It might mean we have ruled a few things out (Venus wsan't visible at that time, for example). But it still leaves a huge number of possibilities open. The most plausible cause will be one of the many mundane explanation that we haven't sufficient evidence for (or against). The least likely (approaching zero - until we have some evidence for these) will be extraterrestrial visitors, mythical beasts, etc. But in the end we just don't know. At which point, who cares. (And I say that because we will never know, so what is the point speculating.)

There is a third case: things which are unexplained because no one has looked at them (enough). You seem to suggest there are a lot of these and we should jolly well go and look at them. But are there actaully any significant UFO events in this category? I don't know but I doubt it.

Trakar
2010-Sep-01, 02:16 PM
With statements you've made such as "without supporting and compelling evidences, it is improper to presume the existence of anything, from a scientific perspective" I suppose I am at that.

If you don't perceive the differences between my words and yours, then indeed there is little sense in continuing to exchange them.


Fair enough. From the above, this and the following, to wit......I infer we are about done here.

Indeed, this isn't a science board, so if you wish to make assertions and left-field inferences and then run away without supporting and defending them, that is your prerogative.

JayUtah
2010-Sep-01, 09:07 PM
If you're gonna start pointing out internal contradictions and inconsistencies this is going to take another 50 years!
:D

So I had a minute at a bookstore over lunch to thumb through the book. I don't own it, so I can't look things up.

Apparently there's nothing new here. It's just a list of previously reported UFO sightings that this author believes are worth more serious scrutiny. And the reason she singles out these reports is solely because they're reported by categories of people she thinks are reliable: pilots, world leaders, etc. Oddly enough she includes Jimmy Carter's UFO report, even though that was (a) not a group sighting, as is often reported, and (b) pretty much conclusively identified as Venus. I guess it's included because it's Carter, and that fits her categorical argument. She doesn't seem to care that there's a prosaic explanation. So at first glance it appears she's padding her evidence.

But I digress. I bring this up in response to the "contradiction" point because Kean completely discards the 95 percent of sightings she says have prosaic explanations. Fine, they don't fit her focus. But the problem is that within those discarded cases are reports by the various people she otherwise describes as reliable: police, pilots, etc. So if an F-16 pilot chases Venus and reporrts a UFO, and we determine later that's what he saw, then we say oh what a silly pilot. But then that same category of witness is held up as especially reliable when we can't explain his sighting.

Our best science tells us that pilots are not any more reliable witnesses than the general public. From the subset of the available data that she chooses to address, that premise cannot be tested. It's only when all UFO reports are considered -- including the solved ones -- that we see the evidence that disputes her premise. So again at first glance, it appears she suffers from the fallacy of limited scope.

We've wondered where the 20:1 solution ratio came from. I expressed that it may be from Project Blue Book. I couldn't find where Kean cited it. But I need to clarify: if it indeed came from Blue Book then there is indeed room for more investigation in the 5 percent. The reason is that Blue Book did not try to find the root cause for all sightings. Keep in mind that Blue Book tried to determine whether UFOs were a threat to national security. Where that required a root-cause analysis of the sighting, that was done. Where it did not, none was done. Consequently there may exist some "unexplained" sightings in the Blue Book data that may have constituted low-hanging fruit for subsequent investigations. I was hastily dismissive to EDG earlier on that point; I apologize.

Now to get back on topic, I think we've collectively represented Michio Kaku's statements accurately, but I'm not sure that Dr. Kaku's statements necessarily reflect accurately his sum believe on the subject of the book. I won't rehash all wherein he and I disagree, but the statements in the latter half of the interview are a rebuttal to Dylan Ratigan's questions. Hence when I said that Kaku basically spent the whole time talking about aliens, that's factually true but not necessarily complete; he was responding to specific questions about aliens.

HenrikOlsen
2010-Sep-01, 09:18 PM
The problem seems to hinge on two different interpretations of "unexplained"?
It may also hinge on two different uses of the word "you". I commonly use the general "you" when making a point, since I find that when I use "one" I don't like the pretensioness of my sentence.
Apparently EDG mistook it to mean I was accusing him specifically of inventing aliens needlessly, which definitely wasn't my intent.

Trakar
2010-Sep-01, 11:46 PM
But I digress. I bring this up in response to the "contradiction" point because Kean completely discards the 95 percent of sightings she says have prosaic explanations. Fine, they don't fit her focus. But the problem is that within those discarded cases are reports by the various people she otherwise describes as reliable: police, pilots, etc. So if an F-16 pilot chases Venus and reporrts a UFO, and we determine later that's what he saw, then we say oh what a silly pilot. But then that same category of witness is held up as especially reliable when we can't explain his sighting.

Our best science tells us that pilots are not any more reliable witnesses than the general public.

Oberg has a pretty good piece explaining why, in many cases, pilots may actually be worse than the typical observer. ["Case Studies in Pilot Misperceptions of 'UFOs'." - http://www.zipworld.com.au/~psmith/pilot-ufos.html )



From the subset of the available data that she chooses to address, that premise cannot be tested. It's only when all UFO reports are considered -- including the solved ones -- that we see the evidence that disputes her premise. So again at first glance, it appears she suffers from the fallacy of limited scope.


I'd feign surprise, but it just isn't worth the effort



We've wondered where the 20:1 solution ratio came from. I expressed that it may be from Project Blue Book. I couldn't find where Kean cited it. But I need to clarify: if it indeed came from Blue Book then there is indeed room for more investigation in the 5 percent. The reason is that Blue Book did not try to find the root cause for all sightings. Keep in mind that Blue Book tried to determine whether UFOs were a threat to national security. Where that required a root-cause analysis of the sighting, that was done. Where it did not, none was done. Consequently there may exist some "unexplained" sightings in the Blue Book data that may have constituted low-hanging fruit for subsequent investigations. I was hastily dismissive to EDG earlier on that point; I apologize.


I wanted to say the Condon Report but I can't find that number in it. I was pretty sure that Blue Book was 6% unknown (that number just seemed to stick in my head with project Blue Book). I would be interested in seeing where it actually comes from.



Now to get back on topic, I think we've collectively represented Michio Kaku's statements accurately, but I'm not sure that Dr. Kaku's statements necessarily reflect accurately his sum believe on the subject of the book. I won't rehash all wherein he and I disagree, but the statements in the latter half of the interview are a rebuttal to Dylan Ratigan's questions. Hence when I said that Kaku basically spent the whole time talking about aliens, that's factually true but not necessarily complete; he was responding to specific questions about aliens.

Well, and this isn't Kaku's first venture into this arena, and this UFO exposition isn't his only dive into woodom, he's been speaking at new-age, psychic and UFO conventions/meetings for at least the last 5 years.

Tuckerfan
2010-Sep-01, 11:59 PM
Well, and this isn't Kaku's first venture into this arena, and this UFO exposition isn't his only dive into woodom, he's been speaking at new-age, psychic and UFO conventions/meetings for at least the last 5 years.Eh, that's not necessarily meaningful. BA has appeared repeatedly on Coast to Coast (as has Kaku), a program which routinely covers fringe topics in a less than skeptical manner. What Kaku says at those events would be significant, not simply being there.

Trakar
2010-Sep-02, 12:39 AM
Eh, that's not necessarily meaningful. BA has appeared repeatedly on Coast to Coast (as has Kaku), a program which routinely covers fringe topics in a less than skeptical manner. What Kaku says at those events would be significant, not simply being there.

Granted.

JayUtah
2010-Sep-02, 04:56 AM
...

On this basis, I don't see a difference between cases (1) and (2) - we don't have enough information to come to any conclusion.

That's kind of how I see it, although I prefer the term "inconclusive" over "unexplained." When we have insufficient data to distinguish among otherwise equally valid, different hypotheses, then science has difficulty proceeding. Now the reasons for the insufficiency typically vary. In happenstance events we simply don't have a complete evidentiary record. So it's wrong to say something remains inconclusive because we just haven't looked hard enough -- that may be true in some cases but is not generally true. Luck plays a big part in retrospective investigations. And there is typically a rule of diminishing returns: the amount of effort required to obtain or synthesize additional falsificatory evidence in happenstance occurrences may outweigh our interest in answering the question. If that qualifies as scientific sloth in some circles, I suppose I have no response.

Yes, in some cases the amount of study may be zero. That would definitely qualify as insufficiency, and the reason for it may well be that no one is interested in taking up that particular study. That tends to be the case with people who report UFO sightings to me personally. I read their descriptions and expend a little thought, but I'm typically not willing to expend the resources that would be required to investigate the matter more extensively. In my mind those sightings are also "inconclusive."

I was once asked to root-cause some damage to some irreplaceable equipment. It came down to determining whether someone entered the room. The security camera was, sadly, pointed at the floor. There was no ID scan at the door and almost anyone who had access to the building also had access to the room in question. We could not develop any method to test the hypothesis, "Someone entered the room." Hence our finding was inconclusive. Luck worked against us. We didn't have the evidence we needed to test a key hypothesis.

Some people (and I'm not sure if this includes you or not) seem to think that "unexplained" means we have ruled out all the mundane explanations...

Leslie Kean definitely falls into this category, and Dr. Kaku seems to concur with her. Ratiger asked him if these extraordinary sightings might be caused by ordinary (if uncommon) events. Kaku said no, we'd done a pretty good job of eliminating all the ordinary alternatives.

Obviously the logical problem with this approach is that we can only attempt to falsify the hypotheses that we can think of. The universe doesn't care if we fail to imagine what it has in store.

And therefore it must be Something Else, something mysterious and therefore possibly Aliens....

That's really a point we haven't touched on enough. No amount of failure to explain something by ordinary means will support some specific extraordinary claim. If you hypothesize that something might be the result of shape-shifting aliens, and you want that to be a scientifically tenable hypothesis, then you need to treat that hypothesis with scientific rigor. If the hypothesis is, "My car is in the garage," no lengthy list of places where my car is not will satisfy as a test for that hypothesis. Yet this is the line of reasoning many UFO proponents try to hand us.

Must the remaining 5 percent of "unexplained" sightings have at their root some mystical, wholly unprecedented, mind-boggling, Earth-shattering cause?

Take all the cases pertaining to the 20:1 solution ratio and strip away their attendant findings. Compare them. Can you, on the basis of the phenomenology alone, divide them into the "explained" versus "unexplained" categories? No, I don't think you can. At a certain point, prior to a conclusive investigation, even the solved cases once had a "wow" factor. A pilot who wrenches his plane away from a certain collision course with what's later determined to be Venus still, at the time, felt he was dealing with something strange, inexplicable, and somewhat otherworldly.

The point is that extraordinary phenomenology does not itself justify requiring an extraordinary explanation. Time and again we discover that the "extraordinary" phenomena we once thought we saw turn out to be unexpectedly ordinary things such as reflections, misjudged distances, unwarranted assumptions, and odd coincidences.

Often the "wow" factors we thought we saw were based on assumptions that we later discovered didn't hold. The "craft" we saw fly away at a jillion miles an hour at night turned out to be a nearby object moving slowly, or a reflection on some intervening glass. We just didn't see those contributing causes at the time. The "silent" object turns out to be a candle and a balloon. The Salt Lake City UFO of a couple years ago was not an ordinary object -- it was a model dirigible that got loose. Just because the phenomenology is remarkable doesn't mean the explanation has to be otherworldly. There are plenty of uncommon things that occur on Earth.

tnjrp
2010-Sep-03, 09:07 AM
If you don't perceive the differences between my words and yours, then indeed there is little sense in continuing to exchange themI don't perceive the "gulf of difference" you mentioned. I suppose we must agree to disagree on the implications of the word "gulf".


Indeed, this isn't a science board, so if you wish to make assertions and left-field inferences and then run away without supporting and defending them, that is your prerogative.A very predictable answer.

Mine is equally predictable: I see little reason to discuss with a person who doesn't care to answer some simple questions he could address simply by providing a link to or a copy-paste from the ongoing (long) thread refering me to his most consice answer thereto but instead feels at liberty to make very specific demands for an information source I would have to look up for him off-site.

The subjects (potential evidence for life of Mars and Titan, for example) I mentioned have been cropping up on this very forum rather regularly and also recently, which unfortunately I also males me doubt you are unaware of them. Instead I suspect you may have simply written them of as unscientific already, and as it turns out not entirely without reason in this case: as I said, they are hardly compelling enough evidence for the majority of the actual scienctific establishment either. However it hardly makes me willing to provide you with research papers and articles to be summarily dismissed.

nokton
2010-Sep-03, 04:37 PM
I'd appreciate some mention of what he's lost, before clicking on a YouTube link, please.

CJSF

Perception and concept is what he has lost, and credibility in my domain.
How can one perpetuate dead ideas and rote learning as a truth?
Only one whose imagination is zero. CJ, a gravity well is not two dimensional,
that is how Kaku describes it with graphics on a recent science prog on cable.
OK CJ, on the same scenario, the earth is in a gravity well, do the Australians
experience a different gravity than we do ? No, there is no gravity well as such.
Gravity, at sea level, is the same wherever on earth.
Nokton

CJSF
2010-Sep-03, 06:01 PM
...ooo kkkk...

The 2D representation of a 3D gravity well has been a well used and understood analogy for decades. I don't see a problem with that, if the limitations of displaying a 3D phenomenon in 2 dimentions are stated. I can see some fault in it if those limitations aren't explained. But using such an analogy is not bad, in and of itself.

As to many of the other descriptions of Dr. Kaku's interviews, writings and etc., those seem much more serious.

Incidentally, I know how gravity affects people on Earth, and I generally grasp the concept, so no need to condescend, thank you very much.

CJSF

Trakar
2010-Sep-03, 06:10 PM
I don't perceive the "gulf of difference" you mentioned.

obviously!



I suppose we must agree to disagree on the implications of the word "gulf".


Implications are more indicative of association and interpretation, whereas, I feel that specific and precise definitions and established understandings are more at the root of our differences in perception, understanding and consideration.



A very predictable answer.

Mine is equally predictable: I see little reason to discuss with a person who doesn't care to answer some simple questions he could address simply by providing a link to or a copy-paste from the ongoing (long) thread refering me to his most consice answer thereto but instead feels at liberty to make very specific demands for an information source I would have to look up for him off-site.


Actually, I'd characterize it more as seemingly mostly irrelevently incomprehensible and possibly a touch disingenuous, more than "predictable." But again, this probably comes back to those previously discussed differences, and can lead to the type of personal tit-for-tat shrewery that I have neither an interest in, nor desire to pursue. That you disdain and seem derisive at the concept that anyone should provide support for anything stated, is now clearly established and sufficient reason for me conclude that there is no productive reason to engage in further discussion with you.

CosmicUnderstanding
2010-Sep-03, 06:54 PM
The UFO cases that fascinate me the most are the ones that involve both: A) multiple high ranking military witnesses, and B) the radar returns to support what they all witnessed. I've researched at least a handful of cases whereby the unidentified flying object was said to have been travelling at speeds well over 3,000MPH then stopping suddenly mid-air and vanishing or otherwise disappearing off of radar and visual contact. That doesn't mean the explanation of these cases is necessarily extraterrestrial in origin, but I would assert they could not be easily explained away by conventional means.

Paul Beardsley
2010-Sep-03, 08:04 PM
...ooo kkkk...

The 2D representation of a 3D gravity well has been a well used and understood analogy for decades. I don't see a problem with that, if the limitations of displaying a 3D phenomenon is 2 dimentions are stated. I can see some fault in it if those limitations aren't explained. But using such an analogy is not bad, in and of itself.

Yes, I was a bit bewildered about that particular criticism. One might as well dismiss graphs of annual rainfall because it's a line whereas real rain covers an area.

slang
2010-Sep-03, 09:36 PM
Hey CosmicUnderstanding, welcome to BAUT.


The UFO cases that fascinate me the most are the ones that involve both: A) multiple high ranking military witnesses,

A high military rank is awarded on the ability to command. Not on the ability to be a reliable witness.


and B) the radar returns to support what they all witnessed. I've researched at least a handful of cases whereby the unidentified flying object was said to have been travelling at speeds well over 3,000MPH then stopping suddenly mid-air and vanishing or otherwise disappearing off of radar and visual contact. That doesn't mean the explanation of these cases is necessarily extraterrestrial in origin, but I would assert they could not be easily explained away by conventional means.

How did you research those cases? Have you studied all radar returns around the time of the cases, or merely those radar returns that are for some reason cited as special? If the latter, how can you possibly know that you're not looking at a cherry picked set of data?

JayUtah
2010-Sep-03, 10:05 PM
...

multiple high ranking military witnesses...

What particular aspect of this category makes them especially reliable eyewitnesses and how did you determine that?

The psychological research is pretty convincing when it shows that no particular category of training, occupation, or economic station produces more reliable eyewitness. In fact it's often startling in showing that categories generally regarded as reliable (e.g., police officers) often score less reliable that the population mean.

the radar returns to support what they all witnessed.

Radar is not a fool-proof method of corroborating eyewitness testimony. It generally takes a good deal of expertise to interpret problematic radar data. More than one UFO researcher has fallen into the trap of assuming radar was more helpful than it is.

I've researched at least a handful of cases...

Why not say which ones? Chances are one or more of us have heard of them.

...but I would assert they could not be easily explained away by conventional means.

Explaining "away" something only occurs when one is just a tad biased away from conventional explanations. In fact such occurrences would be hard to explain -- period. Postulating some fantastical hypothesis (extraterrestrial or otherwise) that simply happens to fit that interpretation of the observations, but is untestable, is not an explanation. Just because something is hard to explain doesn't mean the answer must necessarily be unconventional. Most of my day is spent figuring out things that are hard to explain, but which don't have to involve things we don't know about. The realm of conventionality is not so limited as one would suppose.

Paul Beardsley
2010-Sep-03, 10:14 PM
The UFO cases that fascinate me the most are the ones that involve both: A) multiple high ranking military witnesses, and B) the radar returns to support what they all witnessed. I've researched at least a handful of cases whereby the unidentified flying object was said to have been travelling at speeds well over 3,000MPH then stopping suddenly mid-air and vanishing or otherwise disappearing off of radar and visual contact. That doesn't mean the explanation of these cases is necessarily extraterrestrial in origin, but I would assert they could not be easily explained away by conventional means.

Hello CosmicUnderstanding. Welcome to the board.

Perhaps you could answer a question I keep asking but which nobody seems to be acknowledging. Can you think of a single reason why aliens would go to all the trouble of crossing light years of space to appear fleetingly in our skies, and yet not go any further with making undeniable contact?

Perhaps they are afraid for their safety... Yet if that's the case, surely with all their technology, they could outrun our missiles?

Perhaps they are afraid of the damage they will do to our culture... Yet, if that's the case, why do they do all these speeding-up and slowing-down and disappearing tricks?

This is why I think it is sensible to dismiss the ETH from the outset. There are so many mundane explanations that would account for the things people see in the sky, whereas alien visitation simply doesn't account for it. Try and think of it from the aliens' point of view. If we discovered a (relatively) primitive civilisation on Mars, say, would we send craft to flit about above their cities for no good reason?

Eric12407
2010-Sep-03, 10:32 PM
I can answer your question .... but you probably won't like it. they are not here to establish contact ... they are here to guide us through the next stage in our evolution. Evolution from now on will be largely if not entirely of the mind and spirit. ....

I have seen a few types of these advanced beings .... They are only interested in our well being and development ...

Our consciousness will evolve to the point where a new consensual reality will be born ... one that admits and accepts the realities of the powers of the soul acting through the mind, the influence of spirit and the undeniable scientific logical proof of the existence of God.

R.A.F.
2010-Sep-03, 10:38 PM
I can answer your question .... but you probably won't like it. they are not here to establish contact ... they are here to guide us through the next stage in our evolution.

Personally, I'd "like" that just fine unfortunately there simply is no evidence that what you posted is in any way connected to reality.

R.A.F.
2010-Sep-03, 10:45 PM
...surely with all their technology, they could outrun our missiles?

...or avoid being detected by our radar?

JayUtah
2010-Sep-03, 10:51 PM
I have seen a few types of these advanced beings .... They are only interested in our well being and development ...

The "Mentor" archetype -- a role previously filled in our mythology by angels, ghosts, and gods. Lately by aliens. As for the rest: sorry, I don't put much stock in answers that boil down to a prerequisite for one person's brand of metaphysical enlightenment.

HenrikOlsen
2010-Sep-03, 10:58 PM
That's rubbish though. They may have been conflated with that sort of thing, but aliens are absolutely nothing to do with mythical creatures. Alien UFOs are

I can answer your question .... but you probably won't like it. they are not here to establish contact ... they are here to guide us through the next stage in our evolution. Evolution from now on will be largely if not entirely of the mind and spirit. ....

I have seen a few types of these advanced beings .... They are only interested in our well being and development ...

Our consciousness will evolve to the point where a new consensual reality will be born ... one that admits and accepts the realities of the powers of the soul acting through the mind, the influence of spirit and the undeniable scientific logical proof of the existence of God.
See EDG? Elves. :D

JayUtah
2010-Sep-03, 10:58 PM
...

Can you think of a single reason why aliens would go to all the trouble of crossing light years of space to appear fleetingly in our skies, and yet not go any further with making undeniable contact?

I'm reminded of a cartoon I drew many years ago: two aliens are whizzing by Earth in their flying saucer. One turns to the other and says, "Hey, that place serves the best cow lips." It's as good a reason as any.

Try and think of it from the aliens' point of view.

The problem with that approach is that it's just as untestable as any other extraterrestrial visitation hypothesis. There is no reason to suppose aliens would have similar cognitive behavior as we: goal-seeking, anxiety, self-aware morality, etc. We can only speculate. When we take UFO proponents to task for speculating that aliens would have some magical anti-inertia device, we have to take ourselves to task for speculating that alien visitation makes no sense because it doesn't make sense to us.

Van Rijn
2010-Sep-03, 11:19 PM
I can answer your question .... but you probably won't like it. they are not here to establish contact ... they are here to guide us through the next stage in our evolution. Evolution from now on will be largely if not entirely of the mind and spirit. ....


What is the supporting evidence for this conclusion?



I have seen a few types of these advanced beings ....


Great! Do you have any evidence for this?



They are only interested in our well being and development ...


How did you learn this?

Paul Beardsley
2010-Sep-03, 11:30 PM
Try and think of it from the aliens' point of view.

The problem with that approach is that it's just as untestable as any other extraterrestrial visitation hypothesis. There is no reason to suppose aliens would have similar cognitive behavior as we: goal-seeking, anxiety, self-aware morality, etc. We can only speculate. When we take UFO proponents to task for speculating that aliens would have some magical anti-inertia device, we have to take ourselves to task for speculating that alien visitation makes no sense because it doesn't make sense to us.

But the very fact that they have the motivation to leave their world, travel many light years, and make a close approach to an inhabited planet does suggest they have motivations significantly in common with us: curiosity, engineering skills. Could a non-goal-seeking, non-self-aware entity do this?

When a purported alien displays so much understandable behaviour (coming here) but then suddenly stops just at the point where we'd have real evidence, then that looks like the magical device thing that just happens to fit what we observe.

Paul Beardsley
2010-Sep-03, 11:33 PM
I can answer your question .... but you probably won't like it.

I used to tell people I was a time traveller. Some of them believed me. It was fun for a while but I eventually stopped doing it.

Trakar
2010-Sep-03, 11:58 PM
The UFO cases that fascinate me the most are the ones that involve both: A) multiple high ranking military witnesses, and B) the radar returns to support what they all witnessed. I've researched at least a handful of cases whereby the unidentified flying object was said to have been travelling at speeds well over 3,000MPH then stopping suddenly mid-air and vanishing or otherwise disappearing off of radar and visual contact. That doesn't mean the explanation of these cases is necessarily extraterrestrial in origin, but I would assert they could not be easily explained away by conventional means.

Which cases, specifically, are you referring to?

Garrison
2010-Sep-03, 11:59 PM
The UFO cases that fascinate me the most are the ones that involve both: A) multiple high ranking military witnesses,

Considering the calibre of some people who have attained high military rank in the past century I wouldn't class such rank as a major recommending point as far as UFO witnesses go.


and B) the radar returns to support what they all witnessed. I've researched at least a handful of cases whereby the unidentified flying object was said to have been travelling at speeds well over 3,000MPH then stopping suddenly mid-air and vanishing or otherwise disappearing off of radar and visual contact. That doesn't mean the explanation of these cases is necessarily extraterrestrial in origin, but I would assert they could not be easily explained away by conventional means.

When were such returns recorded? By what equipment? Such information would allow judgments to be made about whether the systems in question could be spoofed or were prone to making false returns. Such explanations might not be easy but they are far more likely than alien spacecraft. You haven't offered up any cases to be studied here.

Garrison
2010-Sep-04, 12:02 AM
I can answer your question .... but you probably won't like it. they are not here to establish contact ... they are here to guide us through the next stage in our evolution. Evolution from now on will be largely if not entirely of the mind and spirit. ....

I have seen a few types of these advanced beings .... They are only interested in our well being and development ...

Our consciousness will evolve to the point where a new consensual reality will be born ... one that admits and accepts the realities of the powers of the soul acting through the mind, the influence of spirit and the undeniable scientific logical proof of the existence of God.

The same mystical nonsense that gets recycled every couple of decades. When the aliens intentions seem to be shaped by out societies fears or desires that tells you that the aliens are of distinctly human origin.

Trakar
2010-Sep-04, 12:07 AM
The same mystical nonsense that gets recycled every couple of decades. When the aliens intentions seem to be shaped by out societies fears or desires that tells you that the aliens are of distinctly human origin.

The "Nordic" space angels of the '60s and '70s. Adamski's "Venusians."

slang
2010-Sep-04, 12:36 AM
I used to tell people I was a time traveller. Some of them believed me. It was fun for a while but I eventually stopped doing it.

I am one too. Unfortunately, I travel in only one direction, at a constant speed, with only chemicals and disease apparently giving any change in pace. Too boring for a good conversation topic.

MicVR
2010-Sep-04, 12:36 AM
Perhaps you could answer a question I keep asking but which nobody seems to be acknowledging. Can you think of a single reason why aliens would go to all the trouble of crossing light years of space to appear fleetingly in our skies, and yet not go any further with making undeniable contact?

Perhaps they are afraid for their safety... Yet if that's the case, surely with all their technology, they could outrun our missiles?

Perhaps they are afraid of the damage they will do to our culture... Yet, if that's the case, why do they do all these speeding-up and slowing-down and disappearing tricks?

This is why I think it is sensible to dismiss the ETH from the outset. There are so many mundane explanations that would account for the things people see in the sky, whereas alien visitation simply doesn't account for it. Try and think of it from the aliens' point of view. If we discovered a (relatively) primitive civilisation on Mars, say, would we send craft to flit about above their cities for no good reason?

Those are very good and reasonable questions, Paul. I happen to think that we have very good indications for alien visitations - no proof that holds up to scientific scrutiny but enough evidence to warrant a thorough investigation. Until we have clear proof I will remain a skeptic (but not a pseudo-skeptic). I have asked myself as well why they don't make undeniable contact.

First off, there are plenty of possibilities. Maybe it is no effort for them at all to travel such distances. They may not travel in a way we imagine it. Maybe they do use wormholes and they cover the distance in hardly any time at all, so no effort involved really. And maybe they are just mean little buggers who like to tease us? :-)

But on a more serious note, here's my take on your questions:

I doubt they are in any way afraid of our technology. They should be able to easily "outrun our missiles" given how primitive our technology is. I would rule out fear as a reason for not making undeniable contact.

I think they are giving us more and more glimpses in order to slowly prepare us. I think a sufficiently advanced and benign alien race would have something like the prime-directive of Star Trek. I would certainly hope so! I think as a species we are not quite ready for undeniable contact, as sad as it is. Humans in general are rather fear-based. The politics of the 2 biggest powers on our planet (China and USA) show that on an almost daily basis. It is very hard to predict for us how the general human population would react in the event of undeniable contact with an alien race. I imagine it would be even harder for an alien race to predict how the general human population would react. Thus, caution is in order. That's why I believe they show us something is up by performing their little tricks, but don't deem us ready for full-on contact.

To answer your last question I think (or hope!) it would depend on how advanced that civilization would be. If they are at a stage that would be comparable to our Neanderthal stage of development I think we should definitely not make ourselves known. Bringing our technology to such a race would be highly irresponsible and destructive in my opinion. It is a question of carefully assessing the state of development of the race in question and act accordingly. I do doubt, though, that the human race has the maturity yet for such contact. So, I am glad we are not in that position yet.

I realize, of course, that all I am saying here is pure speculation but it makes sense to me.

MicVR
2010-Sep-04, 12:56 AM
Evolution from now on will be largely if not entirely of the mind and spirit. ....

I certainly agree with that assessment. The number is only slowly increasing but I am happy to see that more and more scientists realize that the answers we all seek are in the exploration of consciousness and not in the scientific materialism that rules our culture like a cancer. This is by no means to say that it is not worth to explore the material aspect of our existence. I just don't think it will yield any of the answers we really seek.


I have seen a few types of these advanced beings .... They are only interested in our well being and development ...
I would like to hear more about your contact. You may wish to do it in a private message in order to avoid the (inevitable) ridicule on this board.


... and the undeniable scientific logical proof of the existence of God.
I must admit I have a really hard time with that one as I do not believe in a traditional god idea at all. But I know that I am not immune to the trap of pseudo-skepticism (i.e. faith-based disbelief and dismissal), so I will try to remain as open as I can to that proof if and when it comes along (which I doubt it will).

But again, I would like to hear about the contacts you say you had. You are welcome to pm me.

Gillianren
2010-Sep-04, 03:39 AM
I certainly agree with that assessment. The number is only slowly increasing but I am happy to see that more and more scientists realize that the answers we all seek are in the exploration of consciousness and not in the scientific materialism that rules our culture like a cancer. This is by no means to say that it is not worth to explore the material aspect of our existence. I just don't think it will yield any of the answers we really seek.

What if the answer I seek from science is a cure for an illness?

JayUtah
2010-Sep-04, 04:11 AM
...

Humans in general are rather fear-based.

Humans fear the unknown because that is a survival trait. The unknown may be benign, but it may kill you. If you fear it by default, you may foolishly fear the benign, but you will also wisely fear the lethal and avoid it. From primitive man's point of view, the rustling in the bushes may be a cute bunny, but it may also be a tiger. Fearing the bunny seems silly, but at least it doesn't hurt anything. Failing to fear the tiger may be fatal.

Once we begin to understand something, intellectual understanding slowly begins to take the place of fear. We no longer fear other races. We no longer fear variant sexualities. There are many things we once feared, that were once relatively unknown and strange, that we are teaching ourselves not to fear -- but only because we intellectually begin to understand their true nature. Then our evolved human intelligence takes over from our primal fear.

Hence a decades-long practice of prolonging the uncertainty of "visitations" will tend to have the effect of amplifying human fear. By constantly subjecting the human race to ambiguous observations it cannot explain, without appealing to the capacity of humans to understand, aliens would be doing the worst thing possible to a supposedly fearful race.

It is very hard to predict for us how the general human population would react in the event of undeniable contact with an alien race.

Hogwash. It's an article of faith among UFO believers that aliens hide themselves, or governments hide them, because the human race would panic to discover we're not along in the universe. However we as a race think about it a lot. We write countless stories with that as a general theme. Some of our most popular fiction involves humans and aliens living in harmony. Even the Vatican has said it would pose no crisis of faith. I fail to see any evidence that the presence of reasonably benign space aliens would cause any serious injury to society.

Tuckerfan
2010-Sep-04, 05:33 AM
It is very hard to predict for us how the general human population would react in the event of undeniable contact with an alien race.

Hogwash. It's an article of faith among UFO believers that aliens hide themselves, or governments hide them, because the human race would panic to discover we're not along in the universe. However we as a race think about it a lot. We write countless stories with that as a general theme. Some of our most popular fiction involves humans and aliens living in harmony. Even the Vatican has said it would pose no crisis of faith. I fail to see any evidence that the presence of reasonably benign space aliens would cause any serious injury to society.A group of humans who live basically like folks did 1,000 years ago got so upset about the things that the more developed parts of the world were doing they felt the only proper response was to fly planes into buildings.

Yes, a great many of us do enjoy science fiction, but when it becomes reality, things often don't work the way they do in fiction. According a fairly recent survey, a slim majority of Americans are not comfortable with interracial marriages. Most Americans live in neighborhoods with people who have the same ethnic make up and don't have a diverse make up in the ethnic backgrounds, education level, income level, and related characteristics in their social relationships.

I've worked for a number of different corporations, and all of them, at one point or another, have had to deal with issues where someone didn't understand that this or that was an insult to a person of a different ethnic background, and there was the potential for tremendous fallout had the situation not been carefully handled by management.

If we can't get along with members of our own species because of piddling differences like a flipped DNA chemical which means that someone has a minor difference in the level of melanin in their skin, or because they worship a deity with a funny name, or they like their fish wrapped in rice, then a truly alien culture is going to cause lots of people to flip their lids. Some of them, no doubt, will do so violently.

MicVR
2010-Sep-04, 05:36 AM
Humans in general are rather fear-based.

Humans fear the unknown because that is a survival trait. The unknown may be benign, but it may kill you. If you fear it by default, you may foolishly fear the benign, but you will also wisely fear the lethal and avoid it. From primitive man's point of view, the rustling in the bushes may be a cute bunny, but it may also be a tiger. Fearing the bunny seems silly, but at least it doesn't hurt anything. Failing to fear the tiger may be fatal.

Once we begin to understand something, intellectual understanding slowly begins to take the place of fear. We no longer fear other races. We no longer fear variant sexualities. There are many things we once feared, that were once relatively unknown and strange, that we are teaching ourselves not to fear -- but only because we intellectually begin to understand their true nature. Then our evolved human intelligence takes over from our primal fear.

Yes, you are rather accurately describing the evolutionary way out of our fear-based nature. Some of those developments, like tolerance for a variety of sexual behavior for example, are fairly recent developments (measured in years and decades, certainly not in centuries), supporting my assessment that only recently can the human race be deemed somewhat prepared for contact with a significantly more advanced race.


Hence a decades-long practice of prolonging the uncertainty of "visitations" will tend to have the effect of amplifying human fear. By constantly subjecting the human race to ambiguous observations it cannot explain, without appealing to the capacity of humans to understand, aliens would be doing the worst thing possible to a supposedly fearful race.

Do you have kids? If your child would fear something, let's say the water and learning how to swim, would you throw it into the water as a shock-therapy? I hope not. I would hope that you would slowly ease the child into familiarity with water and thus and thereby helping the child to slowly loose its fear of water. That's what I did with my children and that is what I would do with a race that shows signs of being ready for contact with a more advanced one.


It is very hard to predict for us how the general human population would react in the event of undeniable contact with an alien race.

Hogwash. It's an article of faith among UFO believers that aliens hide themselves, or governments hide them, because the human race would panic to discover we're not along in the universe. However we as a race think about it a lot. We write countless stories with that as a general theme. Some of our most popular fiction involves humans and aliens living in harmony. Even the Vatican has said it would pose no crisis of faith. I fail to see any evidence that the presence of reasonably benign space aliens would cause any serious injury to society.

This is wrong (or - as a popular poster on this board would say - hogwash) on many levels.
Do you get out much? Humans even fear other - obviously not threatening - humans, simply because they are different, may it be in skin color, religious or sexual orientation or even political beliefs, or even because they carry their hair a little different!
Now take an alien race that would - even if benign - be different on all those and most likely on many other levels as well. Granted, there are many that would be curious about them and approach them with an open mind and heart but I almost guarantee you there would be wide-spread panic and pathological mistrust.

As far as governments are concerned I would not be surprised in the slightest if some of them - especially the notoriously paranoid US government - would be hiding clear and undeniable evidence of alien visitations. I don't know for sure but I certainly would not be surprised.
However, I don't think they would do it out of concern for the welfare of their fearful citizens... They simply fear their loss of power.

Accidentally, I find the announcement of the Vatican - which is entirely out of style! - a tell-tale sign that something is up.

The fact that we think and write about alien visitations - and that is a very new development of maybe the last 150 years or so (at least I am not aware of that happening in significant numbers before that period) - I also take as a sign that something is up. Humans can be quite intuitive. We sense when something out of the ordinary is going on.

Trakar
2010-Sep-04, 05:52 AM
Humans in general are rather fear-based.

Humans fear the unknown because that is a survival trait. The unknown may be benign, but it may kill you. If you fear it by default, you may foolishly fear the benign, but you will also wisely fear the lethal and avoid it. From primitive man's point of view, the rustling in the bushes may be a cute bunny, but it may also be a tiger. Fearing the bunny seems silly, but at least it doesn't hurt anything. Failing to fear the tiger may be fatal.


Well, unless you start sacrificing rival's children to the rustling spirits so that they transform all tigers into bunnies (but only if the child is pure of heart!),... but that has its place as well,.. I guess.



Once we begin to understand something, intellectual understanding slowly begins to take the place of fear. We no longer fear other races. We no longer fear variant sexualities. There are many things we once feared, that were once relatively unknown and strange, that we are teaching ourselves not to fear -- but only because we intellectually begin to understand their true nature. Then our evolved human intelligence takes over from our primal fear.

I wonder how well this really works out when you are arguably the intellectually and technologically inferior species?

Trakar
2010-Sep-04, 06:03 AM
What if the answer I seek from science is a cure for an illness?

then you better hope there's a better profit margin for it than there is for the treatment and management of the disease.

Paul Beardsley
2010-Sep-04, 08:11 AM
MicVR, thank you for taking the trouble to attempt to answer my question.

But no.

Wishy washy mysticism and Star Trek-derived speculation does not cut it for me at all. There is no comparison between easing your children into water to teach them to swim, and aliens increasing the number of random flights flitting around the sky to teach us to accept them. In fact, the scenario is more like a parent shooting his water-fearing child with a water pistol at unexpected times.

And is there an increase in mysterious sightings anyway? Ever since video recording equipment became widely available, I got the impression that many "unexplained" sightings quickly turned into "easily explained" sightings - Venus, planes, obvious hoaxes and so on.

I think some people are so desperate for there to be visitors that they will interpret anything as supporting this idea. If unexplained sightings increae, it's, "They're preparing us! We'll soon be swimming." If they stopped altogether it would be, "They're preparing something big!" The Pope says the Church has no problem with aliens, so it's, "He knows something!" If instead he'd said, "Good Catholics should stop wasting time thinking about aliens," it would be, "He knows something - and he's scared!"

I agree with Jay's take on fear. We fear two things: the unknown, and the things we know to be threatening. Criticising people for fearing others for their hairstyle is disingenuous; hairstyles are often chosen to make a statement, and sometimes that statement is, "I am aggressive and I don't respect society." Most people are bunnies, but we fear some people because they might be tigers, and others because they clearly are tigers. This is not going to change any time soon, so talk of the human race "maturing" is pretty meaningless.

The reason we've been writing about alien worlds and alien life for the last 150 years (or thereabouts; I know it's a bit longer) is probably down to these factors:

Until Galileo (about 400 years ago) we had no conception of the planets as actual worlds like ours.

Until fairly recently, writing and publishing was an expensive business. I recently read that before Penguin started publishing paperbacks, a hardback book cost an average worker a week's wages. And IIRC, the Brontes wrote their moorland* passion fests on flattened-out paper bags.

The rise of science fiction has nothing to do with any kind of mystical awareness of the presence of aliens.

In conclusion, I see absolutely no reason to think the lights in the sky and the blips on the radar have anything to do with alien visitors. If and when they do get here, we'll know.

*Yes I know this description only really fits one of the novels.

MicVR
2010-Sep-04, 08:31 AM
...Wishy washy mysticism...

... has nothing to do with any kind of mystical awareness of the presence of aliens.

What is it about "mysticism" or "mystical awareness" that disgusts (for lack of a better word) you so much?

Other than that I guess we have to agree to strongly disagree.

eburacum45
2010-Sep-04, 08:58 AM
In conclusion, I see absolutely no reason to think the lights in the sky and the blips on the radar have anything to do with alien visitors. If and when they do get here, we'll know.

Or not, as the case may be. I am reasonably convinced of three things:
1/ One day we will make contact with extraterrestrial intelligence;
2/They will make it quite clear that they have not been buzzing our skies for decades or centuries;
and 3/ They will also have stories about UFOs of their own. Their first words on the subject might be "We were hoping you could tell us what they are."
Despite this, some people won't believe their denials.

Unidentified phenomena like this are inevitable, and will be with us forever, always at the limits of the resolution of our sensors.

Paul Beardsley
2010-Sep-04, 08:59 AM
What is it about "mysticism" or "mystical awareness" that disgusts (for lack of a better word) you so much?

It's a barrier to the truth. It's the unnecessary and unconvincing fairy at the bottom of a beautiful garden.

My question: is there anything that would make you think, perhaps aliens are not visiting us?


Other than that I guess we have to agree to strongly disagree.

On this topic, yes.

Eric12407
2010-Sep-04, 09:02 AM
If the lights in the sky come down and interact with you on a personal level then I think you might be inclined to believe that they are some form of life .... highly evolved, intelligent, loving, spiritual beings.....

Maybe its easier to think of them as master teachers who have arrived at the time when the human species is ready to graduate to a higher level of consciousness and awareness. Right now they're just saying .... "hello .... welcome to your new extended richer reality "... before we are born into this new reality in totality. It has to be a gradual process as all evolution is ..... It's like getting used to anything.... if you try and take it in all at once you would be overwhelmed. You can't jump from grade 1 to university ....

Evolution will never end .... If we've managed to evolve from stardust .... to the incredible powers of the mind and thought ..... it's logical to assume that further evolution would be of the most complex result of evolution which is the mind itself. When we understand the source of the powers of the mind there will be freedom ...

I think that what a lot of people fear is the possibility that they might be wrong about the non existence of God.

But that's alright ... it will all get sorted out soon enough ... the only thing we really have to do is care for one another .. whether you do or don't believe in aliens, God or whatever ....

Paul Beardsley
2010-Sep-04, 09:11 AM
If the lights in the sky come down and interact with you on a personal level then I think you might be inclined to believe that they are some form of life .... highly evolved, intelligent, loving, spiritual beings.....

[Snip]

This is a science board, Eric. Most of us here are interested in evidence, not fairy stories.

tusenfem
2010-Sep-04, 09:19 AM
One more post that is religious, mystic or politic, and this thread will be closed.
You all know the rules, a little leeway was given, but this is getting absurd.

Van Rijn
2010-Sep-04, 09:25 AM
If the lights in the sky come down and interact with you on a personal level then I think you might be inclined to believe that they are some form of life .... highly evolved, intelligent, loving, spiritual beings.....


I'm asking again - do you have any evidence?

Paul Beardsley
2010-Sep-04, 09:26 AM
I've come up with an analogy which I think is pertinent.

Imagine going to a show at your local village hall. For one evening you are entertained by several stage magicians. They are all pretty good amateurs - their acts are a bit dated, but generally enjoyable to watch.

Now inevitably you find yourself trying to work out how the tricks are done. Some you know, because you remember reading a book on magic when you were young. Others are easy to work out: that "randomly selected" girl in the audience is obviously in on the act; that magician's right hand has a distinctly plasticky look, and so on.

Over the course of the evening, 95% of the acts are readily explicable.

So, what do we make of the remaining 5%? Do we assume that they are just a bit more subtle than the ones we were able to explain, but clearly the same sort of thing? Or do we assume that actual magic was used?

Paul Beardsley
2010-Sep-04, 09:32 AM
Or not, as the case may be. I am reasonably convinced of three things:
1/ One day we will make contact with extraterrestrial intelligence;
2/They will make it quite clear that they have not been buzzing our skies for decades or centuries;
and 3/ They will also have stories about UFOs of their own. Their first words on the subject might be "We were hoping you could tell us what they are."
Despite this, some people won't believe their denials.

Unidentified phenomena like this are inevitable, and will be with us forever, always at the limits of the resolution of our sensors.

I missed this post up till now, due to my own posts crossing.

I like it! I forsee a time when someone will cite a statistic along the lines of, "30% of so-called UFOs turn out to be Arcturan sky freighters."

When we've made contact, aliens will be mundane - and the mundane will continue to be misidentified.

HenrikOlsen
2010-Sep-04, 09:40 AM
If the lights in the sky come down and interact with you on a personal level then I think you might be inclined to believe that they are some form of life .... highly evolved, intelligent, loving, spiritual beings.....
Since the only one I've met who claimed to have something similar happen was my sister at a time where she hadn't been taking her medication, I'd say if something happened to me like that, I hope I'd seek psychiatric help.

Garrison
2010-Sep-04, 11:21 AM
What is it about "mysticism" or "mystical awareness" that disgusts (for lack of a better word) you so much?

Other than that I guess we have to agree to strongly disagree.

For me it's the fact that it always seem to come down to 'just take my word for it' without a shred of evidence to back it up, and anecdotes are not evidence.
And frankly I put 'agree to disagree' in the same camp as 'everyone's entitled to their own opinion' as a debating tactic because it tries to imply an equality between the two positions. That is clearly not so here. All you have to offer is some vague mysticism. If you want to withdraw your claims and cease defending them then just say so.

MicVR
2010-Sep-04, 11:39 AM
For me it's the fact that it always seem to come down to 'just take my word for it' without a shred of evidence to back it up, and anecdotes are not evidence.
And frankly I put 'agree to disagree' in the same camp as 'everyone's entitled to their own opinion' as a debating tactic because it tries to imply an equality between the two positions. That is clearly not so here. All you have to offer is some vague mysticism. If you want to withdraw your claims and cease defending them then just say so.

What are you talking about??
I have neither started this thread nor have I made any claims. And therefor not offered any evidence for anything, anecdotal or otherwise.
All I did was expressing my personal opinions, like everyone else.

I have employed no tactics either. And I have not offered any mysticism, vague or otherwise.
It is usually advisable to read before posting a response (angry or otherwise), you know?

MicVR
2010-Sep-04, 12:17 PM
My question: is there anything that would make you think, perhaps aliens are not visiting us?

Certainly. If it would be conclusively proven that life exists only on our planet.
Or if it would be conclusively proven that an alien race - if it exists - could not possibly reach our planet.
Probably a few other things as well but I can't think of them right now.

You see, I am not "married" to the idea of alien visitation.
My life does not change either way. It is not even important to me.
Of course, it might become important if an alien race would start to openly interact with life on planet Earth. But that's another story...

As of right now, I have no evidence for alien visitation that would hold up to any scientific scrutiny.
And I don't claim that I do.

Do we have conclusive proof for the existence of dark matter?
No, we do not but we have such strong indications for it's existence that it seems reasonable at this point in time to assume it exists.

Do we have any evidence for dark energy?
None whatsoever. It is simply a working hypothesis to make sense of the expansion we observe.

To me, alien visitation is like the current belief in dark energy.
It is a hypothesis to make sense of what is being observed.
I have not heard of a hypothesis that to me makes more sense with regard to the so-called UFO observations.
To me the hypothesis offered by the pseudo-skeptics seems a lot more ridiculous.
Venus, meteors, human error in observation, etc to explain all of them? No. Does not make sense to me.
They may explain a majority of the observations but - IMHO - certainly not all of them.

Until conclusive proof for alien visitation has been established I will remain a skeptic. I don't even really care all that much.
I find it an interesting idea to ponder, yes, but -as I said - it does not effect my life one way or the other.

Garrison
2010-Sep-04, 12:22 PM
What are you talking about??
I have neither started this thread nor have I made any claims. And therefor not offered any evidence for anything, anecdotal or otherwise.
All I did was expressing my personal opinions, like everyone else.

I have employed no tactics either. And I have not offered any mysticism, vague or otherwise.
It is usually advisable to read before posting a response (angry or otherwise), you know?

I did read your post, you appeared to be defending mysticism, and you most assuredly have been making claims on this thread, or do you not regard this:


I think they are giving us more and more glimpses in order to slowly prepare us. I think a sufficiently advanced and benign alien race would have something like the prime-directive of Star Trek. I would certainly hope so! I think as a species we are not quite ready for undeniable contact, as sad as it is.

As a claim? You can call it an opinion or a theory in an effort to avoid having to back it up but its still basically the same old fantastical nonsense.

MicVR
2010-Sep-04, 12:36 PM
I did read your post, you appeared to be defending mysticism

You are mistaken. In my post (#168 in this thread) I simply asked Paul Beardsley of his opinion, since he brought up mysticism in post #167.



, and you most assuredly have been making claims on this thread, or do you not regard this:

I think they are giving us more and more glimpses in order to slowly prepare us. I think a sufficiently advanced and benign alien race would have something like the prime-directive of Star Trek. I would certainly hope so! I think as a species we are not quite ready for undeniable contact, as sad as it is.
As a claim? You can call it an opinion or a theory in an effort to avoid having to back it up but its still basically the same old fantastical nonsense.

You are mistaken again. Indeed, in my book that is nothing but an opinion. It was an attempt to answer the questions Paul Beardsley asked in post #144.
Nothing more. Nothing less.

Garrison
2010-Sep-04, 12:41 PM
Do we have conclusive proof for the existence of dark matter?
No, we do not but we have such strong indications for it's existence that it seems reasonable at this point in time to assume it exists.

Do we have any evidence for dark energy?
None whatsoever. It is simply a working hypothesis to make sense of the expansion we observe.

To me, alien visitation is like the current belief in dark energy.
It is a hypothesis to make sense of what is being observed.
I have not heard of a hypothesis that to me makes more sense with regard to the so-called UFO observations.
To me the hypothesis offered by the pseudo-skeptics seems a lot more ridiculous.
Venus, meteors, human error in observation, etc to explain all of them? No. Does not make sense to me.
They may explain a majority of the observations but - IMHO - certainly not all of them.


Well of course they don't but if you in addition you discount frauds, delusions, and those cases where there is simply too little evidence to make a determination what exactly is left of the UFO canon? Dark energy and dark matter are predicted to exist based on clear and reproducible observations that require modifications to theories about the nature of the universe. There simply isn't any such body of evidence to require that extraterrestrials be treated as a serious explanation for UFO sightings.

kamaz
2010-Sep-04, 01:25 PM
B) the radar returns to support what they all witnessed. I've researched at least a handful of cases whereby the unidentified flying object was said to have been travelling at speeds well over 3,000MPH then stopping suddenly mid-air and vanishing or otherwise disappearing off of radar and visual contact.

See this thread for discussion of such anomalous radar returns: http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php/106643-Did-UFOs-buzz-the-white-house-1952?p=1774642#post1774642

Sure, there could be multiple witnesses in the room watching the anomalous activity, but there was still only one radar. So the problem is not if the witnesses are reliable, but whether the radar was lying to them or not. To prove that there was indeed an UFO and not a radar artifact, the case would have to involve multiple radars which have independently recorded the same flight pattern.

JayUtah
2010-Sep-04, 01:32 PM
...

If your child would fear something, let's say the water and learning how to swim, would you throw it into the water as a shock-therapy? I hope not.

I've taught numerous people how to swim. Now trying this analogy on for size. You're going to introduce yourself to a fearful race who's never seen modern humans. Do you skulk about in the bushes for decades making them see only glimpses of you and your fearful technology? Or do you realize that the sooner they can see that you're just like them, the sooner they'll stop being fearful?

I almost guarantee you there would be wide-spread panic and pathological mistrust.

A minute ago you said we couldn't predict how we'd react. Now suddenly you can. Hm.

As far as governments are concerned I would not be surprised in the slightest if some of them - especially the notoriously paranoid US government - would be hiding clear and undeniable evidence of alien visitations.

Yes, this is standard UFO proponent rhetoric. The human race is somehow automatically fearful of aliens, but somehow decades of elected officials are perfectly okay with it. Oh, and all the UFO proponents are automatically okay with knowing, because they continually complain to have such knowledge released. According to UFO lore, only other people constitute this alleged fearful mass of huddling paranoiacs who will go to pieces if it should suddenly be revealed that aliens are visiting.

They simply fear their loss of power.

And why would the aliens go along with that reason?

Accidentally, I find the announcement of the Vatican - which is entirely out of style! - a tell-tale sign that something is up.

"Out of style" meaning exactly what?

The fact that we think and write about alien visitations - and that is a very new development of maybe the last 150 years or so (at least I am not aware of that happening in significant numbers before that period) - I also take as a sign that something is up.

No, before that it was ghosts, elves, angels, faeries, and gods. We've been writing about the same cultural archetypes since there was culture.

Humans can be quite intuitive. We sense when something out of the ordinary is going on.

No, I don't buy all this touchy-feely argumentation. You're just basically making it up as you go.

Where is your evidence?

Tedward
2010-Sep-04, 01:59 PM
I think that many would see a visit, overtly provable or whatever, but be more concerned where the next meal is or turn the page for the sports section. With all the "undeniable proofs" littering the web we should have been behind the sofa by now.

MicVR
2010-Sep-04, 02:00 PM
If your child would fear something, let's say the water and learning how to swim, would you throw it into the water as a shock-therapy? I hope not.

I've taught numerous people how to swim. Now trying this analogy on for size. You're going to introduce yourself to a fearful race who's never seen modern humans. Do you skulk about in the bushes for decades making them see only glimpses of you and your fearful technology? Or do you realize that the sooner they can see that you're just like them, the sooner they'll stop being fearful?
What if you are not like them? You look very different, behave very different, have very different technology...
If my intentions were benign, I would act with a lot of caution.


I almost guarantee you there would be wide-spread panic and pathological mistrust.

A minute ago you said we couldn't predict how we'd react. Now suddenly you can. Hm.

Can I predict it? No. Can I make an educated guess based on a few decades of experience with fellow humans? Yes.



As far as governments are concerned I would not be surprised in the slightest if some of them - especially the notoriously paranoid US government - would be hiding clear and undeniable evidence of alien visitations.

Yes, this is standard UFO proponent rhetoric. The human race is somehow automatically fearful of aliens, but somehow decades of elected officials are perfectly okay with it.
Indeed. That makes sense to me. I stand by that possible explanation.


They simply fear their loss of power.

And why would the aliens go along with that reason?
Aliens have nothing to do with that reason. I only proposed a possible motive for governments to hide their knowledge, in case they have it (which I said I didn't know whether or not they did).
Makes perfect sense.


Accidentally, I find the announcement of the Vatican - which is entirely out of style! - a tell-tale sign that something is up.

"Out of style" meaning exactly what?
English is not my native language. Probably, "out of character" would be a better English expression?


The fact that we think and write about alien visitations - and that is a very new development of maybe the last 150 years or so (at least I am not aware of that happening in significant numbers before that period) - I also take as a sign that something is up.

No, before that it was ghosts, elves, angels, faeries, and gods. We've been writing about the same cultural archetypes since there was culture.
You are mistaken. Ghosts, elves, etc have been part of human culture for thousands of years. Aliens have entered the picture only in the last 150 or so years.
My argument still stands.


Humans can be quite intuitive. We sense when something out of the ordinary is going on.

No, I don't buy all this touchy-feely argumentation. You're just basically making it up as you go.

Nothing touchy-feely about that argument and nothing made up about it either. Intuition is an integral part of human development and of our survival arsenal.
You not knowing that or otherwise not being able to relate to it, does not change that fact.


Where is your evidence?
Typical pseudo-skeptic hogwash (I am starting to like that word! :) ).
I made no claims to have any evidence.

Paul Beardsley
2010-Sep-04, 02:05 PM
And frankly I put 'agree to disagree' in the same camp as 'everyone's entitled to their own opinion' as a debating tactic because it tries to imply an equality between the two positions.

It's true that it is often used in this way, but we should give people the benefit of the doubt because it can also mean, "I can see that neither of us is going to persuade the other, so let's end the argument while it is still civilised." It's an especially useful suggestion when the debate has already gone in a circle at least once!

Strange
2010-Sep-04, 02:10 PM
Typical pseudo-skeptic hogwash (I am starting to like that word! :) ).
I made no claims to have any evidence.

There is nothing "pseudo" about asking for evidence. That is what skepticism means.


A methodology that starts from a neutral standpoint and aims to acquire certainty though scientific or logical observation.

And, as I'm sure you know, the scientifc method depends on evidence. Not speculation, intuition or educated guesses.

Mad Raymer
2010-Sep-04, 02:22 PM
Without evidence, MicVR, you are offering nothing but speculation. While speculation can be fun and amusing, it has done nothing to advance the debate about UFOs or aliens for decades. It is therefore perfectly rational for anyone to remain skeptical without evidence. As Richard Feynman once said, the point isn't whether or not aliens visiting Earth is possible, but whether or not it's actually happening. The difference between those two points may seem subtle, but it's not. The first is essentially a hypothetical thought-experiment, and the other is a testable matter of fact.

Paul Beardsley
2010-Sep-04, 02:30 PM
I asked, My question: is there anything that would make you think, perhaps aliens are not visiting us?


Certainly. If it would be conclusively proven that life exists only on our planet.
Or if it would be conclusively proven that an alien race - if it exists - could not possibly reach our planet.

So if it were somehow shown that alien visitation was impossible, you'd think, perhaps, aliens are not visiting us, but it doesn't occur to you that it might be perfectly possible but simply isn't happening?



To me, alien visitation is like the current belief in dark energy.
It is a hypothesis to make sense of what is being observed.
I have not heard of a hypothesis that to me makes more sense with regard to the so-called UFO observations.
To me the hypothesis offered by the pseudo-skeptics seems a lot more ridiculous.
Venus, meteors, human error in observation, etc to explain all of them? No. Does not make sense to me.
They may explain a majority of the observations but - IMHO - certainly not all of them.

This has me holding my head in my hands in despair at the death of human intellect. It's like saying, "I can believe he assembled most of the cupboards with his tool set, but all of them? Ridiculous!"


I don't even really care all that much.
Yes, you state this repeatedly.

Swift
2010-Sep-04, 02:36 PM
Where is your evidence?
Typical pseudo-skeptic hogwash (I am starting to like that word! :) ).
I made no claims to have any evidence.
Thing is, this is a scientific board and we expect evidence for extraordinary claims. If you want to wildly speculate, take it to OTB (http://www.bautforum.com/forumdisplay.php/9-Off-Topic-Babbling). If you would like to continue your discussion here, I strongly suggest you review The Rules for this Board (http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php/32864-Rules-For-Posting-To-This-Board) (particularly rule 13) and The Advice for CT Supporters (http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php/86593-Advice-for-Conspiracy-Theory-Supporters). They require that you present answers and evidence for your claims.

And I'm happy you like "pseudo-skeptic", but if you continue to use it to describe other members in an insulting or dismissive manner, you will be infracted.

Selenite
2010-Sep-04, 04:01 PM
You are mistaken. Ghosts, elves, etc have been part of human culture for thousands of years. Aliens have entered the picture only in the last 150 or so years.
My argument still stands.




No. The argument doesn't stand. Aliens entered the picture only when the basics of astronomy become known to a larger human audience outside of a well-educated few. Human technology that proved that flight wasn't something reserved exclusively for magical beings or birds, probably helped the process along too. If the average medieval peasant could have been convinced somehow that those twinkling lights in the sky were other suns and planets, we'd likely have had alien visitors as part of our cultural lexicon for centuries along with the ghosts and elves. Do you also find it odd that science fiction also only came along in roughly the past 150 years? It's part of the same dynamic of the dissemination of science and rising education levels in 19th century Europe and America. Before then most readers wouldn't haven't understood most of what what Verne or Wells were writing about.

CosmicUnderstanding
2010-Sep-04, 04:34 PM
See this thread for discussion of such anomalous radar returns: http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php/106643-Did-UFOs-buzz-the-white-house-1952?p=1774642#post1774642

Sure, there could be multiple witnesses in the room watching the anomalous activity, but there was still only one radar. So the problem is not if the witnesses are reliable, but whether the radar was lying to them or not. To prove that there was indeed an UFO and not a radar artifact, the case would have to involve multiple radars which have independently recorded the same flight pattern.

This has happened, many times before. I'm not a professional researcher into the topic, just have a passive interest. So I don't have cases readily available where this has occurred, but it has indeed occurred. Multiple military radar systems have picked up the same anomalous objects at the same time as other installations. I'll see what I can dig up, might not be easy as I just happened across those cases and read about them - I wasn't specifically seeking them out.

Garrison
2010-Sep-04, 04:47 PM
No. The argument doesn't stand. Aliens entered the picture only when the basics of astronomy become known to a larger human audience outside of a well-educated few. Human technology that proved that flight wasn't something reserved exclusively for magical beings or birds, probably helped the process along too. If the average medieval peasant could have been convinced somehow that those twinkling lights in the sky were other suns and planets, we'd likely have had alien visitors as part of our cultural lexicon for centuries along with the ghosts and elves. Do you also find it odd that science fiction also only came along in roughly the past 150 years? It's part of the same dynamic of the dissemination of science and rising education levels in 19th century Europe and America. Before then most readers wouldn't haven't understood most of what what Verne or Wells were writing about.

It's the same set of phenomena just with a new tag. Strange lights, the effects of sleep paralysis, shifted from a supernatural world somewhere deep in the woods or a far off country, to Mars or Venus, and when they became too well studied to other stars.

CosmicUnderstanding
2010-Sep-04, 04:50 PM
See this thread for discussion of such anomalous radar returns: http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php/106643-Did-UFOs-buzz-the-white-house-1952?p=1774642#post1774642

Sure, there could be multiple witnesses in the room watching the anomalous activity, but there was still only one radar. So the problem is not if the witnesses are reliable, but whether the radar was lying to them or not. To prove that there was indeed an UFO and not a radar artifact, the case would have to involve multiple radars which have independently recorded the same flight pattern.

Kamaz, I apologize in advance for quoting you once more, I just realized the way I explained myself didn't paint the incidents I read about properly. In addition to the multiple radar witnesses on the ground, there was actual visual contact with the unidentified flying objects seen by witnesses who were airborne. The cases I speak of had radar returns, audio tapes of the actual conversation between ground control and the pilots, and the pilots' testimony as well. When I have more time I'll look into finding the links but it's been a good while since I've read about them now.

R.A.F.
2010-Sep-04, 04:53 PM
This has happened, many times before. I'm not a professional researcher into the topic, just have a passive interest. So I don't have cases readily available where this has occurred, but it has indeed occurred.

So we should just "take your word" that this has happened when you readily admit you have no evidence that this has happened?

Why should we do that??

kamaz
2010-Sep-04, 05:10 PM
Multiple military radar systems have picked up the same anomalous objects at the same time as other installations. I'll see what I can dig up, might not be easy as I just happened across those cases and read about them - I wasn't specifically seeking them out.

Please do. I am actually willing to accept that such thing could have happened, if only by the virtue of laws of statistics and sheer numbers of reports.

But my point is that the cases where there was only anomalous radar return observed by a single station should be thrown out -- that can be adequately explained by radar artifacts. If there was an independent visual confirmation and/or multiple station tracking, then the case stands on much better grounds -- there's a good chance that something actually was there. Also, a common lore is that UFOs exhibit abnormal flight patterns. I propose that this is an artifact of radar ranging, and the "better" cases (i.e. multiple radar or radar/visual) should not have this.

So, again -- incidents please.

kamaz
2010-Sep-04, 05:22 PM
They may explain a majority of the observations but - IMHO - certainly not all of them.


Not all observations can be adequately explained, for the simple reason that after sighting we often lack the data to do so.

Example: sometimes at night I can hear a noise in my attic. The noise can be attributed to stray cats, birds, mice or ghosts. If I go up there during the day and find some feathers, or animal tracks, then I can identify the perpetrator. But what if I find nothing? Well, all I can say that I don't know what it was this time.

But if I followed the logic of the UFO proponents, I should automatically put all unsolved cases in the "ghosts" folder. Since that's the majority of them, the size of this folder would be a proof that there are indeed ghosts in my attic. Consequently, any future incident can be immediately explained: "Ghosts. Again", and put into this folder. The ever-increasing size of that folder would be another evidence that this is the correct explanation.

Warren Platts
2010-Sep-04, 05:26 PM
What is the evidence?

The evidence, like the case for dark matter, is mainly theoretical. UFO's are one possible answer to Fermi's paradox: since there are so many stars out there, and since the laws of evolution must be similar everywhere, then there surely must be other civilizations out there with at least a hundred million year headstart on us. Given a hundred million years of technical evolution, then surely such a civilization would have the wherewithal to visit other star systems, and therefore, they should be here. They--apparently--are not. But why? One answer is that our current picture of physics is incomplete, and that the aliens have mastered FTL travel, and that they are in fact here, but have simply chosen not to make themselves obvious.

This is a reasonable argument. Of course, merely being reasonable doesn't make it true, but it is a straw man argument that alien UFO's are in the same class as unicorns and elves, because there is no scientific theoretical argument for unicorns or elves. An in-between case would be Big Foot. There is at least a theoretical case because of the documented existence of Gigantopithecus sp. fossils. But it is hard to see how such a large creature could escape detection in today's crowded world. Aliens would be much harder to find, since they can live in space, and presumably would have stealth technologies mastered.

The counter-argument that if they were in fact here, that they would necessarily announce their presence doesn't fly, because if our roles were reversed, it's probably the case that we humans would not announce ourselves to a primitive civilization, given the dismal history of contact between differing levels of technological civilization right here on Earth. After all, in Star Trek that was that was the Prime Directive--the violation of which was the only crime punishable by death still on the books!

Bottom line: Michio Kaku hasn't gone senile quite yet....

Trakar
2010-Sep-04, 05:34 PM
MicVR,
The reason we've been writing about alien worlds and alien life for the last 150 years (or thereabouts; I know it's a bit longer) is probably down to these factors:

Until Galileo (about 400 years ago) we had no conception of the planets as actual worlds like ours.


Well, except for the Epicurus, and no one paid much lasting attention to him. ("Past Thinking about Earth-Like Planets and Life" - http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/s9132.pdf )

kamaz
2010-Sep-04, 05:48 PM
Oh, and all the UFO proponents are automatically okay with knowing, because they continually complain to have such knowledge released. According to UFO lore, only other people constitute this alleged fearful mass of huddling paranoiacs who will go to pieces if it should suddenly be revealed that aliens are visiting.


You're not up-to-date. The lore now says that there is a mass psychological operation underway to make everyone familiar with the reality that we are visited, so there is no shock when the truth is disclosed.

Trakar
2010-Sep-04, 05:50 PM
What is it about "mysticism" or "mystical awareness" that disgusts (for lack of a better word) you so much?

Other than that I guess we have to agree to strongly disagree.

<<snip edit>>

But this is my opinion not Paul's

Selenite
2010-Sep-04, 05:58 PM
You're not up-to-date. The lore now says that there is a mass psychological operation underway to make everyone familiar with the reality that we are visited, so there is no shock when the truth is disclosed.

Ahh. So, basically the UFO proponents are saying all this intermittent contact we've had is the interstellar version of a kinder, gentler Columbus coming ashore at night in a rowboat, tramping a few crop circles in the aboriginal native's corn and making a quick nocturnal peek-a-boo at the window of a few Taíno huts, before sneaking back to his three ship fleet.

Sounds like a recipe for spooking the natives to death. ;)

Trakar
2010-Sep-04, 06:19 PM
Certainly. If it would be conclusively proven that life exists only on our planet.
Or if it would be conclusively proven that an alien race - if it exists - could not possibly reach our planet.
Probably a few other things as well but I can't think of them right now.

You see, I am not "married" to the idea of alien visitation.
My life does not change either way. It is not even important to me.
Of course, it might become important if an alien race would start to openly interact with life on planet Earth. But that's another story...

As of right now, I have no evidence for alien visitation that would hold up to any scientific scrutiny.
And I don't claim that I do.

Do we have conclusive proof for the existence of dark matter?
No, we do not but we have such strong indications for it's existence that it seems reasonable at this point in time to assume it exists.

Do we have any evidence for dark energy?
None whatsoever. It is simply a working hypothesis to make sense of the expansion we observe.

To me, alien visitation is like the current belief in dark energy.
It is a hypothesis to make sense of what is being observed.
I have not heard of a hypothesis that to me makes more sense with regard to the so-called UFO observations.
To me the hypothesis offered by the pseudo-skeptics seems a lot more ridiculous.
Venus, meteors, human error in observation, etc to explain all of them? No. Does not make sense to me.
They may explain a majority of the observations but - IMHO - certainly not all of them.

Until conclusive proof for alien visitation has been established I will remain a skeptic. I don't even really care all that much.
I find it an interesting idea to ponder, yes, but -as I said - it does not effect my life one way or the other.

Big differences in that many people actually understand the science and math which support and indicate the existence of Dark Matter and the concurrent concept of Dark Energy. At the present time these are the most likely, best fit causatives of the evidences which lead to the scientific acceptance (such that it is) of these concepts. On the other hand Alien technology is not the best fit or most likely causative for UFO reports.

Trakar
2010-Sep-04, 06:27 PM
The fact that we think and write about alien visitations - and that is a very new development of maybe the last 150 years or so (at least I am not aware of that happening in significant numbers before that period) - I also take as a sign that something is up.

No, before that it was ghosts, elves, angels, faeries, and gods. We've been writing about the same cultural archetypes since there was culture.



I believe its more transitional that abrupt, we still see reports of ghost, elves, angels and gods, we've just added a technological veneer to some of the reports over the last half century or so, and some have attempted to go back and retroactively veneer over older reports that were originally cast with different trappings.

Trakar
2010-Sep-04, 06:41 PM
Ahh. So, basically the UFO proponents are saying all this intermittent contact we've had is the interstellar version of a kinder, gentler Columbus coming ashore at night in a rowboat, tramping a few crop circles in the aboriginal native's corn and making a quick nocturnal peek-a-boo at the window of a few Taíno huts, before sneaking back to his three ship fleet.

Sounds like a recipe for spooking the natives to death. ;)

Especially since the end result is largely the same and has little or nothing to do with how the introductions go.

Gillianren
2010-Sep-04, 06:43 PM
then you better hope there's a better profit margin for it than there is for the treatment and management of the disease.

Or that the researchers studying my illness have human emotion?

Though my point was that this wasn't something where the answer was within in some metaphysical way. This is an answer from the physical world.

Trakar
2010-Sep-04, 06:45 PM
Or that the researchers studying my illness have human emotion?

Though my point was that this wasn't something where the answer was within in some metaphysical way. This is an answer from the physical world.

Granted, I was probably veering a bit into my own little conspiracy in the making there!
;)

captain swoop
2010-Sep-04, 07:00 PM
Kamaz, I apologize in advance for quoting you once more, I just realized the way I explained myself didn't paint the incidents I read about properly. In addition to the multiple radar witnesses on the ground, there was actual visual contact with the unidentified flying objects seen by witnesses who were airborne. The cases I speak of had radar returns, audio tapes of the actual conversation between ground control and the pilots, and the pilots' testimony as well. When I have more time I'll look into finding the links but it's been a good while since I've read about them now.

Did you look at the thread linked by Kamaz?
I have a lot of experience working with Air Warning Radar, Target tracking and identifiacation and Fire Control systems. [I]operated them on Destroyers and Frigates in the RN in the 80s including in combat zones where you damn well have to know what you are doing. Not one of the accounts of 'radar returns' involving UFOs comes across as anything but the usual gosts and glitches expected and filterred out by a half decent Ops Room.

Paul Beardsley
2010-Sep-04, 07:24 PM
Well, except for the Epicurus, and no one paid much lasting attention to him. ("Past Thinking about Earth-Like Planets and Life" - http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/s9132.pdf )

Thanks for the link, Trakar - an excellent read - but my searches don't seem to reveal what book it is taken from. Can you help?

HenrikOlsen
2010-Sep-04, 07:30 PM
The Epicurus bit is from this letter (http://www.epicurus.net/en/herodotus.html), but I don't know about the book that was excerpted.

CosmicUnderstanding
2010-Sep-04, 09:18 PM
Did you look at the thread linked by Kamaz?
I have a lot of experience working with Air Warning Radar, Target tracking and identifiacation and Fire Control systems. [I]operated them on Destroyers and Frigates in the RN in the 80s including in combat zones where you damn well have to know what you are doing. Not one of the accounts of 'radar returns' involving UFOs comes across as anything but the usual gosts and glitches expected and filterred out by a half decent Ops Room.

Yes I most certainly read through the linked thread and understand how faulty radar gear was back then. That still does not explain what the military pilots witnessed while up in the air. Nothing conventional that I know of is capable of travelling faster than current known military technology nor is it capable of stopping on a dime and either shooting up into space or vanishing altogether in the blink of an eye. That's the part I have trouble reconciling. Humans can lie, radars can lie, but when both indicate the same thing, it should at the very least be investigated further than it has been.

Another question that never seems to be asked, is why would ANY military official, whether a peon or a general risk their career by making extraordinary false claims about what they witnessed in the air? I've never seen anyone try to explain that one to me. Keep in mind there are literally THOUSANDS of military officials throughout the years that have come forward with their stories, while on active duty. No one ever takes the time to think of that aspect. It doesn't add up at all.

I'd like to emphasize the term UFO to me means exactly what it sounds like. I do not automatically equate anything unidentified to having extraterrestrial origin. I am just as realistic as most of you guys are, but when something doesn't add up it needs to be investigated properly. You can't tell me the planet Venus or a weather balloon is capable of going thousands of miles per hour then taking off at a high rate of speed after stopping suddenly. If this were just one isolated case of this happening I'd be satisfied with whatever answer is thrown at the mystery, but this isn't an isolated incident. I've personally read official declassified government documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act detailing these cases. I still plan on doing some digging later tonight so I can show you what I've found. Please be patient with me because as I stated, I came across them by chance, I wasn't actively looking for cases such as these.

R.A.F.
2010-Sep-04, 10:06 PM
You're not up-to-date. The lore now says that there is a mass psychological operation underway to make everyone familiar with the reality that we are visited, so there is no shock when the truth is disclosed.

I don't know why you would say that. The idea that we are being psychologically "prepared" is not a new idea.

Garrison
2010-Sep-04, 10:22 PM
Ahh. So, basically the UFO proponents are saying all this intermittent contact we've had is the interstellar version of a kinder, gentler Columbus coming ashore at night in a rowboat, tramping a few crop circles in the aboriginal native's corn and making a quick nocturnal peek-a-boo at the window of a few Taíno huts, before sneaking back to his three ship fleet.

Sounds like a recipe for spooking the natives to death. ;)

Or they could wind up like Captain Cook (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Cook#Third_voyage_.281776.E2.80.9379.29_and_ death). Being an advanced alien with an interstellar starship doesn't necessarily make you immune to blunt force trauma...

Van Rijn
2010-Sep-04, 10:25 PM
I don't know why you would say that. The idea that we are being psychologically "prepared" is not a new idea.

Yep. I was familiar with that idea, along with many others, over 30 years ago when I believed in alien visitation. If there really are aliens, for me the main effect of their program of never allowing any solid evidence to be gathered was to make me not take the idea seriously anymore. At this point, if aliens really did show up and say they had been doing this, I'd be pretty ticked off they made me wait this long.

Strange
2010-Sep-04, 11:09 PM
The evidence, like the case for dark matter, is mainly theoretical.

I'm not quite sure what you mean by "theoretical" in this context. The evidence for dark matter is mainly observational. The evidence for UFOs being alien visitations is mainly non-existent.



The counter-argument that if they were in fact here, that they would necessarily announce their presence doesn't fly, because if our roles were reversed, it's probably the case that we humans would not announce ourselves to a primitive civilization, given the dismal history of contact between differing levels of technological civilization right here on Earth.

But that wasn't the point. The question is: why would they allow us to have these intermittent, inconclusive sightings of them? I can see why they would hide themselves completely. I can see why they might announce their arrival. What I don't get is their incompetence: letting them be seen and occasionaly crashing - but then allowing The Government to hide the evidence. What's that all about.

Trakar
2010-Sep-04, 11:42 PM
But that wasn't the point. The question is: why would they allow us to have these intermittent, inconclusive sightings of them? I can see why they would hide themselves completely. I can see why they might announce their arrival. What I don't get is their incompetence: letting them be seen and occasionaly crashing - but then allowing The Government to hide the evidence. What's that all about.

I think his point is mistaken to begin with, even if we came up with a "prime directive" I seriously doubt that we would allow such to stand in the way of security interests, scholastic study interests or serious economic considerations, even Star Trek acknowledged these types of rationalizations which ultimately convert the "Prime Directive," into something that more closely resembles the "I told you so/Prime consideration of potential problems to be ignored if you have a good reason." Just look at us, we can't even act in our own collective best interests with any consisent regularity (if ever), yet alone act in the name of some pie-in-the-sky alturistic principle that may or may not even be ethically appropriate!
It may well be that the higher ethical good results from absorption and integration, ...or possibly even the quick and thorough destruction of any developing technological species in the name of eliminating future potential competition for resources.

Trakar
2010-Sep-04, 11:57 PM
Thanks for the link, Trakar - an excellent read - but my searches don't seem to reveal what book it is taken from. Can you help?

http://www.geosc.psu.edu/~kasting/Meteo_466/Readings/How_To_Find_A_Habitable_Planet.pdf

Gillianren
2010-Sep-05, 12:02 AM
Yes I most certainly read through the linked thread and understand how faulty radar gear was back then. That still does not explain what the military pilots witnessed while up in the air. Nothing conventional that I know of is capable of travelling faster than current known military technology nor is it capable of stopping on a dime and either shooting up into space or vanishing altogether in the blink of an eye. That's the part I have trouble reconciling. Humans can lie, radars can lie, but when both indicate the same thing, it should at the very least be investigated further than it has been.

Why is it only the people proposing extraordinary solutions use "lying" as a default counterexample to "really saw something Outside Human Ken"? Sure, some of them actually were lying. A lot more were just mistaken.


Another question that never seems to be asked, is why would ANY military official, whether a peon or a general risk their career by making extraordinary false claims about what they witnessed in the air? I've never seen anyone try to explain that one to me. Keep in mind there are literally THOUSANDS of military officials throughout the years that have come forward with their stories, while on active duty. No one ever takes the time to think of that aspect. It doesn't add up at all.

So thousands have come forward, but they're putting their careers in jeopardy by doing so? Has anything bad happened to the thousands before, or is there just frightened whispering that they heard somebody's brother's hairdresser's cousin got taken away by Men in Black? Since no untoward consequences have been shown to result in coming forward, what's dangerous about doing so?


I'd like to emphasize the term UFO to me means exactly what it sounds like. I do not automatically equate anything unidentified to having extraterrestrial origin. I am just as realistic as most of you guys are, but when something doesn't add up it needs to be investigated properly. You can't tell me the planet Venus or a weather balloon is capable of going thousands of miles per hour then taking off at a high rate of speed after stopping suddenly. If this were just one isolated case of this happening I'd be satisfied with whatever answer is thrown at the mystery, but this isn't an isolated incident. I've personally read official declassified government documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act detailing these cases. I still plan on doing some digging later tonight so I can show you what I've found. Please be patient with me because as I stated, I came across them by chance, I wasn't actively looking for cases such as these.

Why do you expect all unexplained sightings to have the same explanation? Not all of them show the qualities claimed for them by people who weren't actually there.

MicVR
2010-Sep-05, 12:03 AM
Thing is, this is a scientific board and we expect evidence for extraordinary claims. If you want to wildly speculate, take it to OTB (http://www.bautforum.com/forumdisplay.php/9-Off-Topic-Babbling). If you would like to continue your discussion here, I strongly suggest you review The Rules for this Board (http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php/32864-Rules-For-Posting-To-This-Board) (particularly rule 13) and The Advice for CT Supporters (http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php/86593-Advice-for-Conspiracy-Theory-Supporters). They require that you present answers and evidence for your claims.

And I'm happy you like "pseudo-skeptic", but if you continue to use it to describe other members in an insulting or dismissive manner, you will be infracted.

I am not making any claims. The thread starter didn't make any claims. I don't remember anybody else making any claims. Everybody in this thread is doing nothing else but expressing personal opinions. So, why do you single me out? Because you don't like my position? Why do the rules not apply to the thread starter and all the other posters here??
I know your rules state that mods are not to be publicly questioned but in this case I demand and deserve a public answer for your intervention.
According to your rules the thread shouldn't have been accepted in this section to begin with because no claim was made.

And: it is not the word pseudo-skeptic that I like, it is the word "hogwash".

Also, I am using the word pseudo-skeptic according to its definition. It is not an insult. It is a commonly accepted definition and description in debates.

MicVR
2010-Sep-05, 12:06 AM
No. The argument doesn't stand. Aliens entered the picture only when the basics of astronomy become known to a larger human audience outside of a well-educated few. Human technology that proved that flight wasn't something reserved exclusively for magical beings or birds, probably helped the process along too. If the average medieval peasant could have been convinced somehow that those twinkling lights in the sky were other suns and planets, we'd likely have had alien visitors as part of our cultural lexicon for centuries along with the ghosts and elves. Do you also find it odd that science fiction also only came along in roughly the past 150 years? It's part of the same dynamic of the dissemination of science and rising education levels in 19th century Europe and America. Before then most readers wouldn't haven't understood most of what what Verne or Wells were writing about.

Yes, that is a good point and a very plausible explanation for the appearance of aliens in common culture.
At first glance it seems more probable than my explanation.

R.A.F.
2010-Sep-05, 12:13 AM
I am using the word pseudo-skeptic according to its definition. It is not an insult.

When used to describe members of this board, it becomes an insult.

Paul Beardsley
2010-Sep-05, 12:14 AM
http://www.geosc.psu.edu/~kasting/Meteo_466/Readings/How_To_Find_A_Habitable_Planet.pdf

Thanks, Trakar. It looks fascinating. I'm not sure whether to print it all out or buy a copy.

Trakar
2010-Sep-05, 12:16 AM
Why is it only the people proposing extraordinary solutions use "lying" as a default counterexample to "really saw something Outside Human Ken"? Sure, some of them actually were lying. A lot more were just mistaken.

There are a lot of alternatives to "deliberately telling an false account" that do not equate to an "objective reflection of facts, empiric evidences and logically sound considerations."

CosmicUnderstanding
2010-Sep-05, 12:27 AM
Why is it only the people proposing extraordinary solutions use "lying" as a default counterexample to "really saw something Outside Human Ken"? Sure, some of them actually were lying. A lot more were just mistaken.

Good point, I agree completely.




So thousands have come forward, but they're putting their careers in jeopardy by doing so? Has anything bad happened to the thousands before, or is there just frightened whispering that they heard somebody's brother's hairdresser's cousin got taken away by Men in Black? Since no untoward consequences have been shown to result in coming forward, what's dangerous about doing so?

Well, I think the main point is, why would any of them bother mentioning it at all had the incident not occurred? It wouldn't seem plausible that so many officials have come forward just for the sake of killing boredom or some other excuse.


Why do you expect all unexplained sightings to have the same explanation? Not all of them show the qualities claimed for them by people who weren't actually there.

Where did I indicate I expected or thought all unexplained sightings have the same explanation? I am more than willing to accept the fact that there could be multiple explanations, some even being simple oversights as the conclusions in many currently unexplained cases. And in no way did I ever indicate any of these cases I've mentioned are in fact extra terrestrial in origin. I simply stated that rational explanations don't fit and they should be further investigated. For all we know, there could be some rare and strange weather phenomena that causes shiny saucer shaped objects to appear in the upper atmosphere, etc. I'm open to any explanation to these cases, so long as they make sense.

MicVR
2010-Sep-05, 12:30 AM
Everybody:

I have mentioned in virtually every of my posts that I am not making claims that would hold up to any scientific scrutiny. I know the scientific method very well as I apply it daily and teach it daily (but thank you, Strange, for your reminder) and that is exactly why I stress the point of not making such claims.
I expressed personal opinions to support Michio Kaku's opinion. He did not make any claims in the youtube vid linked to in the opening statement either, btw. He actually clearly stated that there was no smoking gun evidence.
I tried to remain calm and I think I succeeded but it seems that for many here this an emotionally charged topic. I don't really understand why. Does it affect anybody's life in anyway?
Anyways, I am not interested in such emotionally charged roostering and run-arounds (yes, I am taking the liberty to include those terms into my English vocabulary because I like them and just for the fun of it) as they are being demonstrated here, to the point where my intelligence is questioned. I thought my writing should serve as an indicator that I am quite capably of having an intelligent debate, but so be it. It is commonly known that in a highly emotionally charged state humans can often not clearly see what is right in front of their eyes...

We just have to agree to disagree and I for one will leave it at that before it gets even more ugly and even moderators cannot keep a clear head...

Trakar
2010-Sep-05, 12:38 AM
Also, I am using the word pseudo-skeptic according to its definition. It is not an insult. It is a commonly accepted definition and description in debates.

Hardly a point of merit, given that it was coined by one who mainly perceived that which was reflected, rather than transmitted, from the windows of his mind. A Truzzi-ism. And while the term is not an insult, it is often used as one.

R.A.F.
2010-Sep-05, 12:59 AM
I expressed personal opinions to support Michio Kaku's opinion. He did not make any claims in the youtube vid linked to in the opening statement either, btw. He actually clearly stated that there was no smoking gun evidence.

Yes, however he always has a "but" to qualify his opinion. He "allows" for a bit too much, and uses his "authority" as a scientist to give more weight to those "buts" than those "buts" deserve.


...it seems that for many here this an emotionally charged topic. I don't really understand why. Does it affect anybody's life in anyway?

It matters little if ignorance is willful or not, belief in ideas that have no basis in reality affects everyone.

Swift
2010-Sep-05, 02:53 AM
I am not making any claims. The thread starter didn't make any claims. I don't remember anybody else making any claims. Everybody in this thread is doing nothing else but expressing personal opinions. So, why do you single me out? Because you don't like my position? Why do the rules not apply to the thread starter and all the other posters here??
I know your rules state that mods are not to be publicly questioned but in this case I demand and deserve a public answer for your intervention.
According to your rules the thread shouldn't have been accepted in this section to begin with because no claim was made.


Everybody:

I have mentioned in virtually every of my posts that I am not making claims that would hold up to any scientific scrutiny.
You got one thing right, about not questioning moderation in public, though you did it anyway.

As far as the OP is concerned, if you had read the Advice for CT Supporters, you would know that there are exceptions (points 9 to 11) for which one may start threads without the advocate responsibilities.

You, however, are making claims, IMO, though you seem to be of two minds about it. Is it that you are not making claims, or that you are not making claims that will hold up to scientific scrutiny? Depending on which one you are actually doing, will determine what your responsibilities are in this thread.

Beyond that, I don't much care what you demand. If you have further problems with moderation, Report this post, or contact another moderator.

EDG
2010-Sep-05, 03:02 AM
Actually, why is this thread in the Conspiracy Theory section at all? I don't see much in the main subject of the thread that is actually about conspiracy theories.

Swift
2010-Sep-05, 03:04 AM
Actually, why is this thread in the Conspiracy Theory section at all? I don't see much in the main subject of the thread that is actually about conspiracy theories.
Because it was/is about UFOs and we have generally lumped advocacy of UFOs as ETs in with the CT forum.

Trakar
2010-Sep-05, 03:28 AM
Actually, why is this thread in the Conspiracy Theory section at all? I don't see much in the main subject of the thread that is actually about conspiracy theories.

Most ETH explanations of the UFO experience include conspiracy theory aspects either on the part of the purported aliens, the government, mysterious private/alien entities etc.,. I believe that most UFO threads are directed here, because most (if not all) include that conspiracy aspect as an integral component.

Drunk Vegan
2010-Sep-05, 05:08 AM
Huh??

Why not?

Why not say we can't deny the possibility that some medieval alchemist just might have succeeded in changing lead into gold, that just maybe a perpetual motion machine really could invented, that spontaneous human combustion could be real?

Even if ET is out there somewhere and he's zipping around in a really fast space ship so that he only needs hundreds of thousands of years to cross local interstellar space instead of millions of years, how does he know we're here? We're not on the map.

For me, the number of genuine sightings is exactly zero.

I understand this sentiment, but I can't entirely agree. Intelligent life really can't be equated with alchemy and perpetual motion. The former is a biological possibility that's entirely within the laws of physics, and for which we already have one example, ourselves.

The odds of visitation having already occurred, at least during the tenure of homo sapiens sapiens, and more specifically during the small 10,000 year window of civilization, is virtually nil. However, I not only believe that intelligent alien life is possible, I see it as more or less inevitable mathematically, given that the universe is quite possibly infinite, and if not is at least on the order of hundreds of billions of cubic lightyears in volume, containing uncountable quadrillions of stars and planets.

Moreover, we are already "on the map" and have been for billions of years... that's the length of time that Earth has been visible as a clearly life-bearing planet from interstellar distances. We already have the technology to read the spectrum of atmospheres around other planets. Why would no other civilization be able to do the same?

And you're being unnecessarily cynical about interstellar travel IMO - I mean, really, hundreds of thousands of years to millions of years is the time scale you're imagining for a single trip?

Any species even considering the attempt would be anywhere from hundreds of years to hundreds of millions of years more advanced than our civilization. Even going with a worst case scenario (say 10% lightspeed) the nearest star to earth is a mere 40 years away.. and the center of the galaxy is 260,000 years of travel time.

Jump to a more realistic 50% lightspeed limit for the aliens' ship and our closest neighbor is 8 years away.. and the center of the galaxy is 50,000 years away.

Drunk Vegan
2010-Sep-05, 05:13 AM
I'm not quite sure what you mean by "theoretical" in this context. The evidence for dark matter is mainly observational. The evidence for UFOs being alien visitations is mainly non-existent.

Just a nitpick but for that statement to be accurate it should read "The evidence for dark matter is mainly mathematical." Admittedly there is some observational evidence for dark matter, however actual observational evidence is a fairly new phenomenon for dark matter. Most of the science is entirely mathematical and theoretical in nature.

Drunk Vegan
2010-Sep-05, 05:19 AM
So thousands have come forward, but they're putting their careers in jeopardy by doing so? Has anything bad happened to the thousands before, or is there just frightened whispering that they heard somebody's brother's hairdresser's cousin got taken away by Men in Black? Since no untoward consequences have been shown to result in coming forward, what's dangerous about doing so?

While I in no way believe there is evidence we've been visited thus far, I have to say you're using a bit of a straw man with the Men in Black statement. No conspiracy is required to have ill consequences when you publicly testify that you've seen something that most people consider nonexistent and possibly even a sign of mental illness.

Naturally, there is the possibility of negative consequences for asserting that you not only believe in something that is considered by the mainstream not to exist, but that you've personally witnessed it.

Gillianren
2010-Sep-05, 06:04 AM
While I in no way believe there is evidence we've been visited thus far, I have to say you're using a bit of a straw man with the Men in Black statement. No conspiracy is required to have ill consequences when you publicly testify that you've seen something that most people consider nonexistent and possibly even a sign of mental illness.

But has evidence ever been shown that any of these people did suffer severe consequences? Has it influenced anyone's current job or promotion prospects? For military types, has it influenced anyone's current job or promotion prospects any more than coming forward about anything else would? The military is not, according to my understanding, best pleased when their personnel put themselves into the public eye in any but approved military ways.


Naturally, there is the possibility of negative consequences for asserting that you not only believe in something that is considered by the mainstream not to exist, but that you've personally witnessed it.

Sure. But is it as negative as the implication holds? After all, these people have to have come forward despite fear of major censure of some kind for it to be worth mentioning.

EDG
2010-Sep-05, 06:09 AM
Most ETH explanations of the UFO experience include conspiracy theory aspects either on the part of the purported aliens, the government, mysterious private/alien entities etc.,. I believe that most UFO threads are directed here, because most (if not all) include that conspiracy aspect as an integral component.

Yeah, but in this case it was really more a discussion about how a supposedly smart guy said something stupid on TV. ATM/CT forum rules do not need to be applied to that kind of discussion.

DALeffler
2010-Sep-05, 06:33 AM
multiple high ranking military witnesses...

What particular aspect of this category makes them especially reliable eyewitnesses and how did you determine that?

The psychological research is pretty convincing when it shows that no particular category of training, occupation, or economic station produces more reliable eyewitness. In fact it's often startling in showing that categories generally regarded as reliable (e.g., police officers) often score less reliable that the population mean.

Is there any reason or speculation for why psychological research shows particular categories of training generally regarded as reliable score less than the population mean?

I've been looking up for most of my adult life and have never been able to understand why most adults hardly ever look up, night or day. Children look up all the time and rarely have a problem pointing out what the see in the sky to adults (well, at least until the adults get tired of it...)

Do you know how good children are at being convincing eyewitnesses and how often are they the, "Hey, what's that?" first observers for unexplained sightings?

Doug.

eburacum45
2010-Sep-05, 06:33 AM
Yes I most certainly read through the linked thread and understand how faulty radar gear was back then. That still does not explain what the military pilots witnessed while up in the air. However the radar/visual cases I have read rarely show any correlation between what is shown on the radar and what is seen by visual witnesses. There is little correlation between the numbers and movements of radar returns and visual sightings in the 1952 Washington events, and little correlation in the Belgian sightings or the Lakenheath radar case of 1956. I suspect that this indicates that the radar and visual sightings are independent of each other, and have different causes.

The most likely cause of such cases is coincidence. Unusual coincidences do occur, and much more commonly than we might expect. In a world of six billion people, million-to-one chances happen thousands of times a day. In fact, a recent calculation by Freeman Dyson showed that million-to-one events occur to each individual about once a month, but we usually don't notice them.

Strange
2010-Sep-05, 09:17 AM
Is there any reason or speculation for why psychological research shows particular categories of training generally regarded as reliable score less than the population mean?

I've been looking up for most of my adult life and have never been able to understand why most adults hardly ever look up, night or day.

I think you have partly answered you own question. If you are trained to keep an eye on property and people, if something extraordinary happens in the sky you may be less prepared to identify it than the population as a whole which includes (amateur and professional) astronomers, meterologists, etc. And if your job involves the sky, e.g. pilots, you may be more inclined to identify lights as something you are familar with, a craft, because of that.


Do you know how good children are at being convincing eyewitnesses and how often are they the, "Hey, what's that?" first observers for unexplained sightings?

Unfortunately children's testimony is also very likely to be affected by what they think the questioner wants to hear.

Van Rijn
2010-Sep-05, 10:13 AM
Also, I am using the word pseudo-skeptic according to its definition.


You are? How so? I believe you earlier claimed that the great majority of posters here were pseudo-skeptics. However, I've seen little evidence for this claim, based on my understanding of the term. Rather, my impression is that most have taken the position of skeptic on the common issues discussed here. That is, an evidence based approach to the argument rather than a belief based approach, and willing to change their view if new and significant evidence is presented.



It is not an insult. It is a commonly accepted definition and description in debates.

It certainly can be an insult, if used to refer to an honest skeptic. It seems to often be used by folks that strongly believe in one or another things that are not well supported by evidence, and have difficulty understanding why others wouldn't agree with their belief. To them, arguments are typically dismissed as unreasonable disbelief instead of skepticism due to lack of evidence. As you might imagine, this can be irritating to those who have gone to some trouble to research the idea, and have reached their skeptical position after careful evaluation. I don't know if this applies to you, but I do find your "pseudo-skeptic" claim puzzling.

Paul Beardsley
2010-Sep-05, 10:19 AM
I am (figuratively) standing up applauding Van Rign's post 242. As exact a description as any I have seen of late.

CosmicUnderstanding
2010-Sep-05, 02:45 PM
The most likely cause of such cases is coincidence. Unusual coincidences do occur, and much more commonly than we might expect. In a world of six billion people, million-to-one chances happen thousands of times a day. In fact, a recent calculation by Freeman Dyson showed that million-to-one events occur to each individual about once a month, but we usually don't notice them.

You certainly do have a fair point. I'll give a real life example that happened to me just a few weeks ago. I was filling out a money transfer form to be completed at the grocery store but I didn't want to use my real name (I'll keep the details to myself on why). So I picked a random address from the phone book before I left my home so I could use that on the money send form. Well I get to the store, fill out the forms with the chosen name from the phone book, and as soon as the clerk starts typing in the info into the computer she turns around and says "This can't be your address!" I'm thinking oh uh..what did I do this time? Turns out, that out of 120k people in my phone book, I randomly chose her address from the phone book.

Trakar
2010-Sep-05, 05:27 PM
Yeah, but in this case it was really more a discussion about how a supposedly smart guy said something stupid on TV. ATM/CT forum rules do not need to be applied to that kind of discussion.

You're right it should probably be on the "small media" board, except that a big part of whether what the supposedly smart guy said is stupid, or not, depends upon your individual understanding of the UFO phenomena, and many here don't seem to hold to the mainstream scientific perspective on this issue and keep adhering to and proffering varients of the ETH,...which brings us back to the CT forum and its more rigorous rule set.

EDG
2010-Sep-05, 09:05 PM
You're right it should probably be on the "small media" board, except that a big part of whether what the supposedly smart guy said is stupid, or not, depends upon your individual understanding of the UFO phenomena, and many here don't seem to hold to the mainstream scientific perspective on this issue and keep adhering to and proffering varients of the ETH,...which brings us back to the CT forum and its more rigorous rule set.

Yes, but arguably having the thread on the CT board means that the non-mainstream people are more likely to see it and comment on it, whereas if it was on the small media board they'd probably miss it.

CosmicUnderstanding
2010-Sep-05, 09:15 PM
You're right it should probably be on the "small media" board, except that a big part of whether what the supposedly smart guy said is stupid, or not, depends upon your individual understanding of the UFO phenomena, and many here don't seem to hold to the mainstream scientific perspective on this issue and keep adhering to and proffering varients of the ETH,...which brings us back to the CT forum and its more rigorous rule set.

Trakar, what does ETH stand for? I assume ET is extraterrestrial, just having a hard time figuring out the H. Thank you.

Paul Beardsley
2010-Sep-05, 09:51 PM
H = Hypothesis. As in, using aliens to account for something.

Trakar
2010-Sep-06, 12:44 AM
H = Hypothesis. As in, using aliens to account for something.

Indeed, thank-you, I often stumble past the idea that others may not have been involved in these types of discussions for the last 50 years.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extraterrestrial_hypothesis

not the best accounting but a servicable overview nonetheless.

kamaz
2010-Sep-07, 12:21 AM
Accidentally, I find the announcement of the Vatican - which is entirely out of style! - a tell-tale sign that something is up.


No, it's not.

First, I am not sure which announcement you specifically refer to, but the interview of Monsignor Corrado Balducci from 2007 was recently very famous: http://www.ufodigest.com/balducci.html The statement in question is:



[UFOs] are NOT demonic, they are NOT due to psychological impairment, they are NOT a case of entity attachment, but these encounters deserve to be studied carefully


That needs to taken in context. Balducci is (well, was; he died in 2008) an expert in demonology. Vatican believes that there are certain supernatural beings which can manifest in the physical world. They also believe that some of these beings (demons) to be hostile and a part of the Church's mission is countering the actions of said beings. (Mind you, it is not relevant if these beings actually exist. It is only relevant that the Vatican believes they do).

Now, the UFOs come in here, because there is a theory in religious circles that the UFOs are in fact demonic (i.e. hostile supernatural) in nature. Taken in this context, Balducci's statement "not demonic [or] entity attachment" means "we do not subscribe to this theory; this is an entirely physical phenomenon". By extension this could also mean "this is not my department".

Another famous statement is that one from the Vatican astronomer from 2008 (http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D90KSE100) about alien life:



Funes says that such a notion "doesn't contradict our faith" because aliens
would still be God's creatures.


Again, it does not have to mean that Vatican will disclose Roswell files or something to that effect. There is much simpler explanation. We must remember that discovering extraterrestrials would have significant doctrinal implications. At the same time, a lot of research is being done in the direction of discovering alien life, so the question is not "IF" but "WHEN" (also "WHERE" and "WHAT"). Thus, it seems prudent to take a "safe" doctrinal position in advance. (The "does not contradict" position is "safe" because it cannot be reasonably challenged until we discover alien theology or lack thereof).

Also, of interest is that Vatican has hosted an astrobiology conference in 2009. That is another indicator that they subscribe to a mainstream idea of alien life; otherwise it would be more logical to hold an UFO research conference. The abstract booklet is here: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_academies/acdscien/2009/booklet_astrobiology_17.pdf

Also here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/06/AR2009110601899.html is a Washington Post article on the conference in context of theological implications of alien life.