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Thread: ET Visitors: Scientists See High Likelihood

  1. #31
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    If we consider the ET hypothesis, the 'Leaky Embargo' theory given by Haitsch et al is not the only explanation for the lack of communication by the supposed occupants of these supposed vessels.

    As an exercise, and from the point of view of an amateur sci-fi writer, here are some more theories that explain their lack of communication.

    The 'Dolphin Language' theory; despite decades of trying, we have been entirely unsuccessful in decoding the apparently complex communications of cetaceans. Perhaps the dolphins do not have a structured language at all, rather their calls are more akin to birdsong; complex but with little information content. The hypothetical UFO ETs may be unable to decode our language, and may have decided that our communications in fact have little or no information content.

    The 'Decadent Empire' theory; the ETs have an old civilisation, jaded and corrupt; the only reason they visit us is to torment us by barnstorming our cities, dogging our aircraft, scaring simple country folk, mutilating our cattle (I won't mention the probes). Cheap thrills for a decadent society.

    The 'De-evolved Species' theory; with Circovic, I think that not all intelligent alien races will remain intelligent and civilised forever; after achieving interstellar flight and a stable society intelligence functions might atrophy, and the UFO ETs that arrive in our skies might be no longer fully intelligent; they might simply behave in a fashion dictated by instinct or imperfectly transmitted custom, but lack the self awareness to realise that the Earth holds an intelligent race at all. They fly around oblivious to our civilisation, perhaps fascinated by the lights of our cities and aircraft. In this case they are not worth contacting, although they are worth studying.

    The 'Space Madness' theory; there need not be any method of travelling faster than light available; the UFO ETs might have travelled here in a space ark full of saucers. However the centuries or millennia of travelling have driven them to psychosis; they can no longer act in a rational manner, which explains the barnstorming, aircraft teasing, on-off radar invisibility, cattle mutilations, badabing, badaboom.

    And so on, as Kurt Vonnegut liked to say.

    If I may give an opinion, actually I think that so far all sightings of UFO's can be explained by:

    misidentification of natural phenomena
    unknown but mundane natural phenomena
    misidentification of manmade phenomena
    hallucinations of various sorts
    and hoaxes.

    There is no need for an extraterrestrial or extradimensional hypothesis at all.

    Nevertheless these things are certainly worthy of study; especially the unknown natural phenomena, which I have included because of the proliferation of new forms of lightning discovered recently. No doubt there are more of these; perhaps pietzoelectic effects for instance.

    But the psychological aspects of UFO phenomena are the most important; why do people misidentify aerial phenomena, then convince themselves they are observing things like alien spacecraft, and edit their own memories in order to do so?
    There are implications for aircraft safety that have to be considered if competent pilots cannot identify, or misidentify, aerial phenomena.

    Additionally the psychological reasons for wilful misidentification and hoaxes are also interesting. I have been in a crowd of people all convinced that they have seen a UFO, which I could see was a weather balloon; (to be entirely fair, of course, it could have been me that was wrong, but I don't think so somehow).

    UFO's are an intriguing subject, but the ET hypothesis contributes almost nothing of value, in my own opinion.

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by scourge
    It’s sad that this topic is so emotionally charged and divisive, because I think the evidence poses a genuinely intriguing question for our time…
    In terms of scientific evidence, there really isn't any. There's a lot of personal accounts and anecdotal evidence, but nothing that can be independently verified or tested.

    It may be the nature of the beast, or it may be mass delusion. Either way, until there is independent verification, it's going to remain fringe.

    one that requires a cool head to assess with proper scientific skepticism. I try not to submit to ‘belief’ or ‘disbelief’ in this matter, but having witnessed an unexplained aerial phenomenon at a young age, I do tend to think there is something happening that we haven’t accounted for yet (I witnessed a pair of lights in the sky, with five of my neighbors, execute fast acute-angle maneuvers, in formation, in broad daylight for about a minute one day, and I’ve still never seen anything that might account for it).
    These kinds of "sightings" are reported to my department all the time. The problem is, there is no way for me to say what exactly you saw or what anyone saw unless it was a green flash or some other naturally understood phenomena that fits the description. There are any number of natural and manmade phenomena that can explain a "pair of lights" and "fast acute-angle maneuvers". I'm sorry I cannot offer you anything better than that.

    What I can say is that there is an entire community of professional and amateur astronomers that watch the skies on a daily basis: both daytime and nighttime. If this phenomena were as supposedly ubiquitous as is claimed, it could only mean that we were all in a massive cover-up conspiracy sponsored for some reason I can only guess at.

    I look at the sky for hours nearly every night and oftentimes for hours during the day. I have yet to see something that was truly puzzling.

    Those who consider the issue for more than the five seconds it takes to reach that assumption, suggest that perhaps they -are- here, but they're staying somewhat out of our awareness because we're obviously not quite ready to meet them. This answers Fermi's Paradox, if you're willing to accept this explanation.
    This is, of course, the so-called "Zoo Hypothesis" resolution to Fermi's Paradox.

    One thing that should be realized is that we don't have a good objective measure for "life" let alone "intelligent" life. The only attempt to do that was made by the Drake Equation, and that little bit of flight-of-fancy basically has no scientific value whatsoever. There's no way to tell what "life" would look like, whether it would consider "communication" important, or whether it would develop "technology" in the anthropomorphic sense we developed technology. Basically, all you can say is that we only have one datapoint, and extrapolation beyond this is highly prone to error.

    It could be that extraterrestrial 'people' are appearing in our skies to get us ready for contact, sociologically. If they are, it's working. Over the last fifty years, the percentage of people who believe that extraterrestrial craft are visiting our planet has risen to over 50%.
    I have a friend who is a sociologist who studies this phenomenon. It is a fact that the interest in UFOs increased when human beings began spaceflight. Suddenly, people spent more time looking at the sky, but in our modern world the "sky" was an unfamiliar place. People who weren't used to looking at the sky were suddenly forced to try to explain phenomena and observed flying objects that they had no expertise in identifying. It's no wonder that these objects were "unidentified".

    It's also worth noting that astronomers have accumulated enough spectral data from the stars in our vicinity to suggest that there could be Earth-like planets around most stars.
    I wouldn't say that as of yet. Spectral data can indicate the presence of a dusty disk, but that hardly indicated an Earth-like planet.

    Combine that with current data suggesting that simple life forms may exist right now on Mars...and the prospect of intelligent alien life visiting us seems more like a strong possibility, imo.
    Of course, everyone is entitled to their opinion. However, this particular opinion is not based on scientific evidence but rather on incredulity and a jumping to conclusions that can only be described as wishful at best.

    If we accept that the evolution of intelligent life in our system is not a miraculously unlikely event, then our best guess describes a galaxy that has been teeming with intelligent life for millions of years.
    Evolution of "intelligent" life is something that has only occupied our particular ecological niche for a brief instant in biological time. There's nothing to indicate that it should be anywhere else except for idle speculation.

    Ours is a fairly young system in our galaxy, so we'd be the new kids on the block.
    Actually, ours is a fairly middle-aged system.

    In fact, several species may have had plenty of time to survey the entire galaxy long ago, encountering each other along the way, as well as developing planets in the process. So they would know how to do this without compelling us to violence, either toward them or ourselves.
    Can you see how this is basically just going way out on a limb here? You've decided that the biology of elsewhere takes on taxonomic structure like out own (species) that there are "several" of them, that there was plenty of "time" (which is limited by the immense distances between stars), that there is a predertermined goal of "survey" for these "species", that more than one of these "species" had the same goal, that "development" of planets had to occur as a result of this, that they would have an ethos of prevention of violence, and that they would have an interaction cross-section for other supposed "intelligent life". This is just too far out on a limb -- it's fun to speculate about but there's no more reason to assume that this idea is true than an idea that all the aliens killed each other in a massive galactic war. I could name thousands of equally unsubstantiated scenarios and there would be no way for you or myself to prove the veracity of the points.

    When you cannot decide based on lack of evidence, all you can say is we don't know. But one thing we do know is that if aliens are contacting human beings, they are chosing to do it in a way that carefully avoids the scientists that would be the most excited to find them.

    And two attributes I think you could count on a million year-old interstellar civilization having, are patience and subtlety.
    Again, way out on a limb here.

    That sure seems to fit the 'sighting' paradigm of the last few decades like a glove.
    Depends on who you talk to. There's a large contingent of MUFON folk that believe the aliens are malevolent. I'll let you argue it out with them, though.

    I find that the more I think about how I would handle making first contact with a primitive planet like ours, if I were an advanced alien intelligence, the more it resembles what's actually happening.
    I think it's very presumptive of you to put yourself into the shoes of something for which you have no descriptive category. You don't know what an "advance alien intelligence" is like. It's all well-and-good that you have used circular logic to declare your position sound, but make sure you are clear about it being a very personal opinion and not one easily verifiable.

    For example--consider the topic of 'physical evidence,' the 'smoking gun' most scoffers demand as proof before they accept the idea of alien visitations. They want a ufo to look over at the lab.
    Actually, I'd settle for a signal.

    Well, if an advanced race of creatures were slowly prepping us for first contact, they sure as heck wouldn't slip up and leave a chunk of impossible technology sitting on our front lawn.
    Of course, there are those MUFON folks that think they have left the impossible technology in the form of bits of metal in people's buttocks, for example. Who are you to claim that they are wrong?

    We can count on this much--if such folks have been doing this kind of thing for a few hundred thousand years or more,
    Where'd you get the number "hundred thousand years"?

    there's not going to be any incontrovertible evidence of their presence until they're good and ready to be known to us.
    If that's the case, then I'll be more than willing to admit you're right when the time comes. Until then, the rational thing to do is point out the incredible inconsistencies.

    Here's my hunch on this matter--if we are being prepped for contact, I bet my socks they're waiting until we trust the eyewitness accounts -of our own people-, before they come a-knockin'.
    Sorry, no dice here. I'm not going to trust eye-witness accounts because I know just how fallible an "eye-witness" testimony can be. I had a good friend of mine convicted of a crime he was later proven not to have committed because a jury decided to believe "eye witness" testimony. It's a notoriously bad source of evidence.

    It only stands to reason--how can they expect us to be trusting of Them, in any way, if we can't even trust each other. Right?
    Well, you can kiss first contact goodbye, in this case, because blind trust has never been a move that has benefited the progress of intellectual progress.

    We have a mountain of testimony from qualified observers as well as respectable laymen,
    I'm not inclined to think a "qualified" observer exists with respect to determing what, if anything, a bit of alien technology looks like.

    and heaps of photographic evidence to back them up.
    So many forgeries, so many fakes, and so many photos that are just plain crummy makes me not accept it as evidence -- especially regarding the fact that there were apparently "photos" that have convinced people that Planet X was in our skies last year.

    Shame on us if we're too cynical to take a step back and say 'y'know, there might be something to this, let's keep an open mind til we know enough to arrive together at a sound conclusion.' Isn't that what the spirit of scientific investigation is all about?
    No. There are just too many people out there with pet ideas that are completely unverified for science to be about keeping an open mind about everything. You're going to have to content yourself with staying on the fringe. If and when scientific evidence shows up, you can have the "I told you so". But I've studied science enough to be willing to bet my entire lifesavings that scientific evidence that aliens are visiting us will not be found.

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by scourge
    Here's my hunch on this matter--if we are being prepped for contact, I bet my socks they're waiting until we trust the eyewitness accounts -of our own people-, before they come a-knockin'. It only stands to reason--how can they expect us to be trusting of Them, in any way, if we can't even trust each other. Right?
    So let me see if I understand what you're saying. ET is not directly contacting "us" because they are waiting to see if/when we will accept non-conclusive evidence? And if we DO accept eyewitness reports at "face value", then they will?

    That raises the question as to why ET's would want to contact a race of people who behaved in such an irrational manner.
    The facts, gentlemen, and nothing but the facts, for careful eyes are narrowly watching. Isaac Asimov

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by R.A.F.
    So let me see if I understand what you're saying. ET is not directly contacting "us" because they are waiting to see if/when we will accept non-conclusive evidence? And if we DO accept eyewitness reports at "face value", then they will?

    That raises the question as to why ET's would want to contact a race of people who behaved in such an irrational manner.
    Spot on. The wise alien wouldn't deem us fit for contact until the percentage of those with beliefs based on flimsy evidence dropped to zero.
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    Skepticism enables us to distinguish fancy from fact, to test our speculations. --Carl Sagan

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by A.DIM
    Are all these scientists "crackpots and woowoos" too?
    No, not all; however there are several pseudoscientists listed amongst those who've done outstanding work. Neither appeal to authority nor quote-mining provides empirical evidence demonstrating the existence of extraterrestrials nor their often-claimed presence here on Earth. Do remember that the possession of a PhD does not automatically guarantee the validity of one's claims and/or research -- and more importantly, that the plural of anecdote is not data.

    As an example, I had the opportunity to hear Dr. Leo Sprinkle and his claims on an Internet-based "radio" program back in the fall of 2003. His methodology is ultimately flawed and conclusions wholly unsupported empirically. Here is a verbatim transcript of my interaction with Sprinkle (and if anyone's interested, I do have the audio file for this but not enough room to host it):

    ---------------------------
    Me: Dr. Sprinkle, earlier in the program when you were describing how some of your viewpoints weren't very well recieved by others in academic circles, in response to the criticisms, you introduced the question "Is this the way science is supposed to work?"
    Sound scientific methodology, as I'm sure you're aware, attempts to minimize the influence of bias or prejudice in the experimenter when testing a theory or hypothesis. Since, over the course of tonight's program, you've openly described personal biases and speculations in your approach to this research, how can your work ultimately yield empirical data when it seemingly disregards crucial elements of the scientific method of inquiry?

    Sprinkle: Thank you very much for your question.

    (program host) Jim Hickman: Wow...[laughs]

    Sprinkle: In my opinion, uh, you are using an outdated, uh, model of science. It used to be thought that the experimenter should be separate from the experiment. Nowadays, the physicists, uh, are saying that, uh, the observer, uh, influences the uh, the behavior of the photon... uh, whether it's particle or wave is partly based upon the consciousness of the physicist. And so most, uh, psychologists tend to follow biologists, most biologists tend to follow, uh, physicists, and so, uh, I'm claiming [clears throat], and if you are interested, uh, there's a man named Rosenthal, Robert Rosenthal, he's now at Riverside, uh, University of California, Riverside, he used to be at Harvard, and I knew him when he was at the University of North Dakota back in the 60s. He's written many books, uh, including one called, uh Exp... the uh... let's see ... it's about experimenter bias, and it's about uh, I think it's called Exper... Experimenter and... uh the Laboratory, the Laboratory and the Experiment, something like that, Appleton/Croft/Century 1966 book. And uh, [clears throat] and he found that EVERY OBSERVER, EVERY EXPERIMENTER IS BIASED. LISTEN TO ME SIR, EVERY EXPERIMENTER IS BIASED. And the best way to deal with it is to be AWARE of one's bias. If one is aware of one's bias then one can help safeguard against... uh, finding, uh, data that are inappropriate or that are a distortion of, what, uh is going on. But I'm trying to be aware of my bias, [clears throat], and I'm claiming that your bias is, uh, that you believe the experimenter is separate from the experiment, and in my opinion, the experimenter cannot be separate because ESP studies show there is still a connection. So if we are aware of our bias, then we can help ourselves by looking through our lens, just like I have glasses, and uh, they... they're not my natural eyesight but my natural eyesight is not as good as if I have my spectacles, so if I know that my bias is, I can look at things through that bias and see if that's the way other people are looking at it. And uh...

    Hickman: My question to...

    Sprinkle: Yeah, go ahead...

    Hickman: ... to scientists is "how can we apply the scientific method to UFOs that pop in and out of the sky?"

    Sprinkle: [Laughs] That's a beautiful question, and the only way we can do it, in my opinion, is to get acquainted with who's popping in and out of the skies.

    Hickman: [Laughs]

    Sprinkle: [Laughs]
    ---------------------------

    [-X Sprinkle is no more a scientist than I'm an astronaut.

    IMHO, the probability for the existence of some variety of extraterrestrial life in the universe is significant, given our present understanding of its vast expanse. That being said though, mere belief in same does not satisfy the criteria required to demonstrate such. Skepticism is definitely warranted where extraordinary claims are concerned, regardless of one's personal desire to embrace them as true.

  6. #36
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    We’re all out on a limb with this issue because the facts are limited. We don’t know how common life is, or intelligent life for that matter, or even intelligent technologically inclined life. But the point of the article, and much of the discussion that follows is simply—if you take our situation on Earth as more of an ordinary possibility, than a miraculously unlikely one, then the odds are high that we’re not the most advanced form of intelligence in our galaxy. I’m not saying that line of reasoning consists of any sort of proof, but it’s far from unscientific. It seems more unscientific to claim that we are essentially a miraculously unlikely occurrence, statistically.

    Not all the observations and evidence are based on ignorance and bad camera work mixed with wishful thinking. How about last year’s footage taken by the Mexican Air Force?

    The BBC story here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3707057.stm
    The Reuters story here: http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/s1106371.htm
    Video footage here: http://www.ufoevidence.org/specialfe...anAFvideos.htm

    It takes some effort to sift through the available information, but there are gems. I’d think astronomers would understand that sometimes this is required to find meaningful patterns and arrive at a hypothesis.

    I’ve looked hard for any phenomena that could explain my observation, and nothing ‘natural’ fits the bill. It’s possible, though I think unlikely, that we have technology that can fly in close formation at high speed and execute sharply acute turns without any visible change in velocity. These things moved like they were bouncing off of an invisible wall, like ping pong balls, and they did this several times, mapping out a very linear zig-zag pattern in the sky. If someone here can offer –any- explanation for this experience (short of calling me a liar or a fool/delusional), I’m all ears. I’ve looked to science for nearly thirty years now, and come up with nothing that fits. But some of the video footage people have taken of objects they believe to be extraterrestrial; I’ve seen similarities there.

    The point is—there’s nothing unscientific about considering the possibility that we’re being visited, period. What we have does not amount to proof, granted. But we do have a reasonable theoretical argument, some compelling testimony, and some very difficult-to-classify photos and footage. This is even more than we had twenty years ago regarding ball lighting, I should add. And it’s a black eye on the scientific community that the evidence now vindicates the people who were ridiculed and dismissed for their claims then. We should remember that we’re at the beginning of the process of scientific discovery, not the end.

    I wish that my experience had been granted to a trained physicist or an aerospace engineer, but there’s nothing I can do about that. But I’ll tell you guys who claim that nothing remarkable happened in the sky that day—you wouldn’t be so quick to judge, if it had been you watching the sky that bright afternoon with five people you know. Thank your lucky stars it didn’t happen to you—because it’s exactly zero fun to be called a fool or a liar for seeing something that is currently unexplained and being forced to consider extraordinary models to account for your experience.

    My thanks to those here who listen with an ear toward discussing, rather than ridiculing. Being a great person is a better thing than being a great scientist...I wish more people could be both.

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by scourge
    Not all the observations and evidence are based on ignorance and bad camera work mixed with wishful thinking. How about last year’s footage taken by the Mexican Air Force?
    Bad example. Been there, done that.

  8. #38
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    I think this thread is interesting, in a strictly speculative sense (and downright enjoyable if you skip past the CIPA posts).

    I read the original article and was fairly underwhelmed by it.
    I agree with the posters that say that the evidence that has been presented so far has been crummy at best. The last time that we got a really god scare that there were ETs was when we discovered pulsars. Astronomers (ro and ameateur) turn thousands of telescopes to the sky nightly, nevermind binocs or naked eye observations. And still nothing. Why? Probably because there's nothing there.

    In fact, I've only seen two things in the sky that I couldn't explain at the time.

    The first was when I was eight. My friend and I saw these glowing disks making sharp turns and loops every four or five minutes just under the cloud layers. It turned out to be spotlights from a nearby car dealership.

    Hey. we were eight. And for the record, I can't see how people can confuse Venus with UFOs, and yet I've been present when people have said it.

    The second time was a few years ago, just after dusk. While scanning directly overhead a really bright light appeared out of nowhere, crossed about 10 degrees of the sky in a straight line and then disappeared. Yes, it was sunlight reflecting off a sattelite. I had just started observing the night sky again and I didn't know about flares like that. I found out a few hours later, surfing the net.

    Another point I'd like to bring up regards old alien cultures and visitation. I like the idea of there being cultures that have existed for millions, maybe even billions of years. I think it's pretty plausible. And with that kind of time (and probably a lot less) I'm sure this galaxy has been mapped back to front a thousand times. The point being is that at some juncture, these maps are going to get passed down from species to species. no doubt somewhere in the Milky Way there is THE map of the galaxy and it only gets updated when necessary. So unless there's a species just next door that just figured out FTL or cryogenics or is really desperate to get here we're not getting visited.

    Think I'm talking out my posterior? Consider driving from Salt Lake City to LA. Think of all those miles along the interstate. Imagine that's the Milky Way. Now think of the earth as being a mile off the highway. What are the odds of us being seen? What are the odds of someone saying 'hi'? Slim to none. What if there's a hill in the way? Now were never being seen. There are a million and one reasons why we're not being visited, being with the fact that we're boring or off the beaten path.

    No, if we're going to meet ETs it'll be out there. And maybe thats what they are waiting for (if indeed there are any to wait). Maybe there's a nice signpost out by the heliopause (to heck with the Oort cloud - any shmuck with a probe can get there) giving us directions. After all, they're probably not sadistic. They wouldn't mind giving us a hand at that point. It would also, buy the way, remind us who really is in charge.

    John

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolverine
    Bad example. Been there, done that.
    Great links, thanks—although it was indeed a bad example on my part, it’s a great example of the kind of good science we need to sift the wheat from the chaff. Unfortunately, at this point, it takes international recognition to get footage put through a thorough analysis like this. But if the people who claim to have extraordinary experiences, and the scientific community, could come to a cease-fire, then we’re going to learn some interesting things. We’ll learn a lot more about atmospheric effects, and we may even learn that some of these sightings are of truly extraordinary origin. Derision and dismissal aren’t going to teach us anything new, but investigation is profitable.

    Quote Originally Posted by hewhocaves
    Astronomers (ro and ameateur) turn thousands of telescopes to the sky nightly, nevermind binocs or naked eye observations. And still nothing. Why? Probably because there's nothing there.
    First of all, there have been loads of naked eye observations, and some fraction of the thousands of captured images offer something of real interest.

    And consider this—if there are, say, one to six craft visiting our planet for a few minutes per year, the odds are witheringly small that we’re going to observe them with professional telescopes or cameras. A fast-moving object between say 10 and 30 meters across is going to be really tough to spot.

    Quote Originally Posted by hewhocaves
    In fact, I've only seen two things in the sky that I couldn't explain at the time.
    Night sightings are fairly easy to dismiss for reasons like those you discovered—even if someone did see an object of alien origin at night, it would be essentially impossible to prove. What I saw occurred at 3pm on a bright cloudless day—those events are much harder to explain, because the object either has to be reflective or emitting a lot of light, to be seen so brightly in mid-day. Add to that, a seeming disregard for momentum, and it’s a beguiling puzzle.

    Quote Originally Posted by hewhocaves
    So unless there's a species just next door that just figured out FTL or cryogenics or is really desperate to get here we're not getting visited.
    I always feel like an ancient Greek when considering issues like this—think of how steeply our perspectives on travel have changed in just two thousand years. I don’t think we even know how to ask the right questions regarding interstellar travel yet. We’ve only reached space now for a few decades. We can’t even fathom how we’ll think about this issue in a thousand years. But for argument’s sake, what if they have great medicine, and can live for several hundred years or longer? Also, doesn’t GR predict that if you travel close to C, time will pass more slowly on board your craft, so that from your POV, you can reach a star a few light years away with only a few hours of subjective travel time? If your home base ages a few hundred years while your away, maybe that matters less to a civilization that’s tens of thousands of years old and where the people live several hundred or thousands of years. And that’s all assuming that we don’t make some radical revisions to our physics along the way, which isn’t a bet I’d want to make, given our recent scientific history—today’s ‘impossibility’ is tomorrow’s toy.

    Quote Originally Posted by hewhocaves
    Now think of the earth as being a mile off the highway. What are the odds of us being seen?
    Pretty high if ‘they’ have been traipsing around the galaxy for quite some time, and higher if they’ve had a scout ship within about fifty light years anytime recently, given the endless stream of radiowaves trickling away from our planet.

    Quote Originally Posted by hewhocaves
    There are a million and one reasons why we're not being visited, being with the fact that we're boring or off the beaten path.
    We still keep tabs on remote aboriginal tribes—why wouldn’t they do the same? Especially if they know we’re going to be heading into the big city sometime soon ;)

    Quote Originally Posted by hewhocaves
    They wouldn't mind giving us a hand at that point. It would also, buy the way, remind us who really is in charge.
    Funny. But poignant too—I really wonder how much of our resistance to the idea that we’re being visited is attributable to our egos—I don’t think many people like the idea of coming this far, only to find that we still haven’t crawled out of the cradle. I wouldn’t mind it though—if humanity is the shining jewel of the Milky Way, it would be a very disappointing state of affairs.

  10. #40
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    First of all, there have been loads of naked eye observations, and some fraction of the thousands of captured images offer something of real interest.

    And consider this—if there are, say, one to six craft visiting our planet for a few minutes per year, the odds are witheringly small that we’re going to observe them with professional telescopes or cameras. A fast-moving object between say 10 and 30 meters across is going to be really tough to spot.
    This is a common fallacy found among UFOists. First you say there have been "loads" of naked eye observations, then you say that there are almost none. Which is it? If the former, then why haven't astronomers seen them and recognized them as such? And if the latter, then why are there so many 'anecdotal observations'? The answer should be fairly obvious. The best you can hope for is that there are a very very few sightings and these have been missed by everyone. The point is that if there's anything that's going to be seen it's going to be the astronomers who will see it. They're the ones best suited to properly differentiate what is useful and garbage in the night sky.

    Night sightings are fairly easy to dismiss for reasons like those you discovered—even if someone did see an object of alien origin at night, it would be essentially impossible to prove. What I saw occurred at 3pm on a bright cloudless day—those events are much harder to explain, because the object either has to be reflective or emitting a lot of light, to be seen so brightly in mid-day. Add to that, a seeming disregard for momentum, and it’s a beguiling puzzle.
    So there's this hill in western NJ where I can see something strange in the sky with pretty consistant regularity. What it looks like is contrails from rocket launches the next township over. Don't ask me why, but for some reason jet contrails near the horizon look completley vertical from this vantage point. Now I knew that the people in the next down haven't got ICBMs but I still did a doubletake when I see it. What would someone less knowledgeable and more credulous make of that sighting? Daytime observations should be taken with just as much skepticism than nighttime ones. The daytime sky is terrrible, absolutely terrible for determining distance and scale. What is that shiny thing up there? Is it some rare cloud type (lenticular, for example) at some weird angle? Is it some kid's helium balloon? A parachutist? A hot air balloon? Someone's radio controlled airplane? A box kite? Or is it space aliens? There's a lot to go through before you even arrive at space aliens and odds are you're never going to get there if you search thoroughly enough. Of course, it may be something secret and military and you might be screwed and never find out (I wonder how many B2 bombers or F117 stealths were misidentified as UFOs). But to conclude that it's space aliens because it doesn't conveniently fit what you think it ought to be is making too much of a leap.
    On a similar topic, you should also remember that eyewitness accounts are ridiculously unreliable. The human brain is not a good device for accurate remembering of details. Studies have shown that it's prone to suggestion after the fact and can be easily persuaded. Furthermore, goin over somehting in your own head more or less "rewrites" the memory in your head. The more you try to recall something, the more it becomes that ideal you were looking for in the first place. This isn't just you, it's everybody. Thats why such an emphasis is placed on physical evidence.




    I always feel like an ancient Greek when considering issues like this—think of how steeply our perspectives on travel have changed in just two thousand years. I don’t think we even know how to ask the right questions regarding interstellar travel yet. We’ve only reached space now for a few decades. We can’t even fathom how we’ll think about this issue in a thousand years. But for argument’s sake, what if they have great medicine, and can live for several hundred years or longer? Also, doesn’t GR predict that if you travel close to C, time will pass more slowly on board your craft, so that from your POV, you can reach a star a few light years away with only a few hours of subjective travel time? If your home base ages a few hundred years while your away, maybe that matters less to a civilization that’s tens of thousands of years old and where the people live several hundred or thousands of years. And that’s all assuming that we don’t make some radical revisions to our physics along the way, which isn’t a bet I’d want to make, given our recent scientific history—today’s ‘impossibility’ is tomorrow’s toy.
    why do these things always turn into 1930 serials plots? If someone more advanced wanted to observe us, a telescope from the Jupiter would be fine. heck, something from a lunar orbit would be fine. There is no need to enter our atmosphere. How many years do you think it will be before we will be able to image our own lunar landers? I expect to see those photos in my lifetime. I agree with you that today's impossiblity is tomorrow's toy, but I also remind you of A.C. Clarke's statement that "Any species technology, sufficiently advanced, will be to us indistinguishable from magic." And again, any race that advanced will see us as just another culture with the very rudiments of space travel. If they've been around that long, we're old hat. Not that interesting. And so we get back to that human conceit that we're somehow important.


    Pretty high if ‘they’ have been traipsing around the galaxy for quite some time, and higher if they’ve had a scout ship within about fifty light years anytime recently, given the endless stream of radiowaves trickling away from our planet.
    if they're moving about the galaxy that much, they've long since catalogued us, maybe when the Romans were big, or maybe when we're Austrolopithicines. You can't possibly expect me to beleive that they've waited all this time for us to develop chemical rockets? Nbo, they've done what we do - drop a probe and read telelmetry.

    We still keep tabs on remote aboriginal tribes—why wouldn’t they do the same? Especially if they know we’re going to be heading into the big city sometime soon
    Agian the "humans are on the cusp" conceit. How do you know an FTL drvie is arund the corner? How do you know that any of the planets within 50LY are massive urban areas for some advanced culture (assuming an advanced culture is still stuck to it's homeworld - which I doubt). and even if they were, this isn't a Harry turtledove novel. The aliens are not within conveinient reach. We pose no threat or even concern.

    enjoyable topic :-)

    john

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    Quote Originally Posted by scourge
    First of all, there have been loads of naked eye observations, and some fraction of the thousands of captured images offer something of real interest.

    And consider this—if there are, say, one to six craft visiting our planet for a few minutes per year, the odds are witheringly small that we’re going to observe them with professional telescopes or cameras. A fast-moving object between say 10 and 30 meters across is going to be really tough to spot.
    Quote Originally Posted by hewhocaves
    This is a common fallacy found among UFOists. First you say there have been "loads" of naked eye observations, then you say that there are almost none. Which is it?
    Great, now I’m a ‘uofist’ because I told my story, lovely. I said that some fraction of the reported naked eye sightings are likely to offer ‘something of interest,’ which includes natural and ‘unnatural’ phenomena. Some of those may turn out to be alien craft. If some are, I would think six or less per year. See? No contradiction, though I admit it’s all totally speculative, as is the topic, but that's one of the reasons it’s so fun.

    Quote Originally Posted by hewhocaves
    If the former, then why haven't astronomers seen them and recognized them as such? And if the latter, then why are there so many 'anecdotal observations'?
    Like I said, I think that if some sightings really are extraordinary craft (or even some kind of holographic projection, who knows?), they’re not common. And even if one is sighted professionally, chances are it’ll be a smudgy photo at best. I think most observations are indeed failures to identify conventional events, others are more interesting, and some may be more than just ‘interesting.’

    Quote Originally Posted by hewhocaves
    The answer should be fairly obvious. The best you can hope for is that there are a very very few sightings and these have been missed by everyone. The point is that if there's anything that's going to be seen it's going to be the astronomers who will see it. They're the ones best suited to properly differentiate what is useful and garbage in the night sky.
    That doesn’t hold water—first of all, astronomers aren’t looking for fast objects in the atmosphere, and presumably, much faster ones nearby. And there aren’t enough astronomers to see the whole sky—probability dictates that your random Joe looking up is more likely to witness a rare, fleeting event in the atmosphere. I would think radar technicians would be most likely to witness events like this, but if the ‘visitors’ are as smart as we would assume, and they didn’t want to be seen on radar (which is easy to detect), they could simply absorb the radar waves. I think that if ‘they’ are here, they let us see only what they want us to see.

    Quote Originally Posted by hewhocaves
    Daytime observations should be taken with just as much skepticism than nighttime ones.
    It takes a lot more light to see something in the daytime sky, and things lights can be attached to, like wings, don’t show up well at night. Misidentifications are less likely in daytime.

    Quote Originally Posted by hewhocaves
    The daytime sky is terrrible, absolutely terrible for determining distance and scale. What is that shiny thing up there? Is it some rare cloud type (lenticular, for example) at some weird angle? Is it some kid's helium balloon? A parachutist? A hot air balloon? Someone's radio controlled airplane? A box kite?
    ‘Flight characteristics’ seems like a good place to start, it’s my first litmus test of a claim. Linear movement punctuated by either sudden stops or unusual accelerations can weed out most conventional explanations, and all of those you’ve mentioned. I have a videotape of various sightings, and some of them show objects moving extremely fast and stopping on a dime a few times, then leaping away at incredible speeds. If that footage isn’t faked, it’s –really- hard to explain with any conventional science. But that’s the point—there’s nothing unscientific about the possible visitation of aliens to Earth. It doesn’t require any violation of scientific postulates to arrive at this idea. The resistance scientists have to the possibility that this could be happening is at least as speculative as the idea that we may be under surveillance from outside intelligences. Science itself doesn’t forbid the possibility, not in any way. Whether or not it’s actually happening is a matter of opinion, not science. I’m not asking anyone to ‘believe’ that we’re being visited, and I don’t think anyone who says to ‘disbelieve’ has a leg to stand on either. Folks like those at CSICOP have it right—let’s not waste time bickering about ‘who’s right,’ let’s examine the claims that come up. Neither side has a superior position right now, so we should keep an open mind, but investigate with skepticism, and with enough analysis, we’ll figure it out.

    Quote Originally Posted by hewhocaves
    Or is it space aliens? There's a lot to go through before you even arrive at space aliens and odds are you're never going to get there if you search thoroughly enough. Of course, it may be something secret and military and you might be screwed and never find out (I wonder how many B2 bombers or F117 stealths were misidentified as UFOs). But to conclude that it's space aliens because it doesn't conveniently fit what you think it ought to be is making too much of a leap.
    It’s been nearly thirty years—don’t you think that if we had something that could defy the laws of inertia, we’d have some glimmer of that by now? I don’t rule it out completely, that we may have craft that could maneuver as I witnessed, but with every passing year it looks more unlikely that this is what I saw.

    Quote Originally Posted by hewhocaves
    On a similar topic, you should also remember that eyewitness accounts are ridiculously unreliable. The human brain is not a good device for accurate remembering of details. Studies have shown that it's prone to suggestion after the fact and can be easily persuaded. Furthermore, goin over somehting in your own head more or less "rewrites" the memory in your head. The more you try to recall something, the more it becomes that ideal you were looking for in the first place. This isn't just you, it's everybody. Thats why such an emphasis is placed on physical evidence.
    I understand this, but we all saw the same thing and described it the same way, and it was as shocking at the time as it is to me now. Details can be exaggerated and times and places can be forgotten sometimes, but you don’t forget or ‘rewrite’ a memory of fast zig-zagging lights moving together in the daytime sky, it sticks with you like glue. Believe you me—I’d Much rather have physical evidence for the very reasons you mentioned, but at the time, people didn’t have camera phones and video cameras on their pockets. I figure, if this phenomena wasn’t unique, there should be a significant up swell in photographic evidence over the next decade or so.

    Quote Originally Posted by hewhocaves
    If someone more advanced wanted to observe us, a telescope from the Jupiter would be fine. heck, something from a lunar orbit would be fine. There is no need to enter our atmosphere.
    Unless someone intends to get us slowly used to the idea that they’re around, which seems to make sense. They may also want samples, no?

    Quote Originally Posted by hewhocaves
    How many years do you think it will be before we will be able to image our own lunar landers? I expect to see those photos in my lifetime. I agree with you that today's impossiblity is tomorrow's toy, but I also remind you of A.C. Clarke's statement that "Any species technology, sufficiently advanced, will be to us indistinguishable from magic." And again, any race that advanced will see us as just another culture with the very rudiments of space travel. If they've been around that long, we're old hat. Not that interesting. And so we get back to that human conceit that we're somehow important.
    Oh come on—when your neighbor has a newborn, it’s old hat, and the thing has exactly –nothing- of interest to say to you, but you drop by to see the funny little critter anyway. It’s alive, and full of unknown potential, so we’re curious. Besides, if it’s evil, we want to be ready when it comes out to play with our kids!

    Quote Originally Posted by scourge
    Pretty high if ‘they’ have been traipsing around the galaxy for quite some time, and higher if they’ve had a scout ship within about fifty light years anytime recently, given the endless stream of radiowaves trickling away from our planet.
    Quote Originally Posted by hewhocaves
    if they're moving about the galaxy that much, they've long since catalogued us, maybe when the Romans were big, or maybe when we're Austrolopithicines. You can't possibly expect me to beleive that they've waited all this time for us to develop chemical rockets? Nbo, they've done what we do - drop a probe and read telelmetry.
    I never said those craft were necessarily ‘manned’—I agree, it seems more likely they’d be probes. Really, really sophisticated probes, or remote controlled perhaps, but yeah, I’d rather hang out safely by the Moon and watch with a cup of coffee, than risk my butt in the airspace of a decidedly militant species. And they may have been dropping in for a long, long time now—weird depictions of aerial phenomena and even, apparently, astronauts of a sort, go back to cave-painting days.

    Quote Originally Posted by scourge
    We still keep tabs on remote aboriginal tribes—why wouldn’t they do the same? Especially if they know we’re going to be heading into the big city sometime soon ;)
    Quote Originally Posted by hewhocaves
    Agian the "humans are on the cusp" conceit. How do you know an FTL drvie is arund the corner?
    Hey—even a few hundred years is ‘right around the corner’ on galactic timescales. There’s nothing ‘conceited’ about noting that we’ve only recently advanced into space, and will likely get much better at it pretty soon. And I don’t know if FTL travel is possible, but if they have it, they probably have a much better idea of how close we are to developing it than we do.

    Quote Originally Posted by hewhocaves
    How do you know that any of the planets within 50LY are massive urban areas for some advanced culture (assuming an advanced culture is still stuck to it's homeworld - which I doubt). and even if they were, this isn't a Harry turtledove novel. The aliens are not within conveinient reach. We pose no threat or even concern.
    Your assumptions are as baseless as mine, pal—who’s to say what’s ‘convenient’ for a galactic civilization? (And I agree, planets are unstable and so immobile—better to make one with engines, and greater structural integrity. And when you want some entertainment, fly a few probes over a primitive planet and play chicken with their aircraft) Or whether another species might look askance at our flying plutonium out to Saturn and beyond, or whether they’d be concerned about the distinctive fission detonation signatures we were up to last century… ‘The devil you know,’ you know?

    Quote Originally Posted by hewhocaves
    enjoyable topic :-)
    Indeed. I hope we’ll develop a new improved propulsion method sometime soon, and find out who, if anyone, is out there laughing at us ;P

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    Quote Originally Posted by scourge
    Quote Originally Posted by hewhocaves
    The answer should be fairly obvious. The best you can hope for is that there are a very very few sightings and these have been missed by everyone. The point is that if there's anything that's going to be seen it's going to be the astronomers who will see it. They're the ones best suited to properly differentiate what is useful and garbage in the night sky.
    That doesn’t hold water—first of all, astronomers aren’t looking for fast objects in the atmosphere, and presumably, much faster ones nearby. And there aren’t enough astronomers to see the whole sky—probability dictates that your random Joe looking up is more likely to witness a rare, fleeting event in the atmosphere.
    Pardon my interruption, I was just wondering if you're familiar with this thread, or perhaps saw this post in particular? (Concerning a discussion of The BA's article published in the May '04 edition of Sky & Telescope.)

    There are significant numbers of eyes spending vast hours observing, cumulatively, and definitely not limited to time spent looking through an eyepiece -- and considering these numbers described are confined only to the United States, perhaps you underestimate their numbers? Just a thought.

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    Friedman Stanton debated Seth Shostak this year.

    Debate

    A more interesting debate would be to see one between Stanton and the BA.

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    Quote Originally Posted by algorithms
    Mr. A-DIM,
    You want to keep ignoring one simple fact, the "California Institute for Physics and Astrophysics" doesn't really do anything.
    ***snip***
    Honestly, I wasn't interested in a debate over the author's credentials or other alleged "disreputable" associations, as so often becomes the case in these discussions. I was interested in, and still am, what people think about current astrophysics supporting the idea.
    Apparently, the JBIS paper is the first in nearly 20yrs to be published in a mainstream science journal, and since mainstream space.com published an article dealing with it, someone "credible" appears to lend credence to the ideas.

    As for Haisch's case...he doesn't make it. He simply states that's what is now being generated in the fields of physics, astrophysics and cosmology supports the concusion that earth is being visited by E.T. He makes some vague references to superstring dimensions, wormholes and branes and then leaves us guessing as to how to associate these with E.T. on earth. The gullible and uninformed read this stuff and believe it at face value.

    But the fact is that studies into superstring dimensions, wormholes and branes say nothing about the possibility that earth is being visited by E.T. Nothing whatsoever. For that matter, neither has Mr. Haisch, really, except to give the gullible and believers hope that the funny lights in the sky they sometimes hear about is E.T. coming to offer us salvation. I hope you've renewed your membership in Heaven's Gate and are ready for them.
    "Nothing whatsoever?" It seems I recall the PBS Origins series dealing with these very issues only a few months ago. Tell me, shall I now think of PBS as liberal media pushing pseudoscience to the "gullible and uninformed?"
    And as far as my "membership:" Ridiculous remark; were I ever a member, I'd not be here now.
    Where the telescope ends, the microscope begins. Which of the two has the greater view?

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    Quote Originally Posted by eburacum45
    There is no need for an extraterrestrial or extradimensional hypothesis at all.
    I respectfully disagree. As I mentioned before, we ourselves are now "ETs" and are apparently on the verge of important discoveries in propulsion and dimensional realities. While at present we cannot harness the energy to experiment, what precludes another advanced species from doing so?

    Nevertheless these things are certainly worthy of study; especially the unknown natural phenomena, which I have included because of the proliferation of new forms of lightning discovered recently. No doubt there are more of these; perhaps pietzoelectic effects for instance.
    Great point. 50yrs ago the idea of ball lightning was scoffed at by scientists.

    But the psychological aspects of UFO phenomena are the most important; why do people misidentify aerial phenomena, then convince themselves they are observing things like alien spacecraft, and edit their own memories in order to do so?
    Indeed, and its not a modern phenomena!

    There are implications for aircraft safety that have to be considered if competent pilots cannot identify, or misidentify, aerial phenomena.
    Yeah, UAP are rather common according to NARCAP. The most impressive being Radar-Visual cases.

    UFO's are an intriguing subject, but the ET hypothesis contributes almost nothing of value, in my own opinion.
    I see. Personally, I'm interested in it because not only have earthlings become a space faring species "overnight" in evolutionary terms, but that Mythology is replete with tales of "those from heaven to earth came." Earthling have been talking about ETs for millennia and yet it is still considered an "extraordinary claim."
    Where the telescope ends, the microscope begins. Which of the two has the greater view?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Astronomy
    Quote Originally Posted by scourge
    It’s sad that this topic is so emotionally charged and divisive, because I think the evidence poses a genuinely intriguing question for our time…
    In terms of scientific evidence, there really isn't any. There's a lot of personal accounts and anecdotal evidence, but nothing that can be independently verified or tested.
    According to UFO Evidence there's more than "personal accounts and anecdotal evidence."
    Peruse the "Physical Evidence" articles for more insight.
    "Evidence" exists. It comes down to what one considers evidence, IMHO.
    Where the telescope ends, the microscope begins. Which of the two has the greater view?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolverine
    Quote Originally Posted by A.DIM
    Are all these scientists "crackpots and woowoos" too?
    No, not all; however there are several pseudoscientists listed amongst those who've done outstanding work. Neither appeal to authority nor quote-mining provides empirical evidence demonstrating the existence of extraterrestrials nor their often-claimed presence here on Earth. Do remember that the possession of a PhD does not automatically guarantee the validity of one's claims and/or research -- and more importantly, that the plural of anecdote is not data.
    Cute anecdote.
    But I didn't proffer them as "empirical evidence." I only wanted to show how baseless a dismissal like "crackpot" is.
    And I agree about the Phd thing; conversely, not having a PhD doesn't make ones claims invalid. However, we often see "skeptics" use such an argument to support their arguments, do we not?

    IMHO, the probability for the existence of some variety of extraterrestrial life in the universe is significant, given our present understanding of its vast expanse. That being said though, mere belief in same does not satisfy the criteria required to demonstrate such. Skepticism is definitely warranted where extraordinary claims are concerned, regardless of one's personal desire to embrace them as true.
    Again, I don't necessarily consider the ETH as "extraordinary."
    So it's all relative, I guess.
    Where the telescope ends, the microscope begins. Which of the two has the greater view?

  18. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolverine
    Quote Originally Posted by scourge
    Not all the observations and evidence are based on ignorance and bad camera work mixed with wishful thinking. How about last year’s footage taken by the Mexican Air Force?
    Bad example. Been there, done that.
    I think neither of those sufficiently explains the event.
    I'm skeptical and withhold judgement.
    Where the telescope ends, the microscope begins. Which of the two has the greater view?

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    Quote Originally Posted by A.DIM
    And I agree about the Phd thing; conversely, not having a PhD doesn't make ones claims invalid. However, we often see "skeptics" use such an argument to support their arguments, do we not?
    Most of the time it's when someone is claiming to have an explanation for a scientific phenomenon or is making baseless scientific claims that have obvious physical flaws. When this occurs, it can be sometimes confusing for the layman reading to determine why exactly the pseudoscientist is wrong. Appealing to the academy serves as a guide in this regard, but it isn't a prerequisite for a good idea.

    I have known a few brilliant scientists who don't have PhDs. Nobody went to any lengths to discredit them because their work was good. It's only when the science is bad that people begin to question credentials.

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    A-DIM: "I think neither of those sufficiently explains the event.
    I'm skeptical and withhold judgement."
    Actually, the Scheaffer and Smith explanations make a heck of a lot of sense. At a minimum, they offer a perfectly prosaic explanation that cannot be ruled out. And, they are certainly more complete and detailed than anything any UFOLogist has attempted to provide...whose best statement can only be that some funny looking "lights" showed up on infrared imagery that wasn't visible to the naked eye or discernible under conventional imagery.

    "Unidentified Flying Objects" are, by definition, "unidentified." One cannot conclude what any one UFO is until and unless it has actually been "identified." To date, not a single UFO has ever been identified as being a vehicle from outer space carrying extraterrestrials visitors. After over fifty years of so-called "sightings," that fact alone, should raise doubts amonge even the most strident "UFOlogist." People have been straining at gnats for decades to prove that funny lights in the sky are evidence of E.T. One would think that, by now, if there were anything to such assertions, we'd something more substantive in the way of real evidence.

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    ok, i still don't feel confortable poting here(becouse most stuff i say will probebly be wrong, but i got to learn somehow 8-[ )

    well i've been reading this few a few days, so i'll awnser in well an alian perspective...

    if i was an advance ET species, i well, would want to protect myself, world...
    so first thing i would do was look for any treads nearby lets say every thing +- 5 Lightyears for my homeplanet. if thats is safe i would well start deploying probes to other parts, if i find something.

    I would send more probes, and closly monitor then for a while/
    If there a thread, i would try to
    1) get them at my side
    2) destroy it
    if there not, i would watch them closly and there developement. maybe i'll try ant learn things from then. for example if my homeworld doest have water, there's does... i would see how they handle it, i may be 1000 time more advance but i never developed ship's and stuff, so that would be very interesting.

    and if i find them ready for and encoutner i would start slowly.
    give them a few hits and see what they do, if thew act threaten i'de leave em alone for a while. if the react interested i'de give em more stuff to work with... till i find them ready to show myself.

    ok this is a weird post but well, this is what i would do if i was in charge of a larg group of 'humans'.

    hope i didn't make a to big of a fool out of myself

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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu
    Friedman Stanton debated Seth Shostak this year.
    Is that Friedman Stanton, Physicist Nuclear?

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    Quote Originally Posted by A.DIM
    Quote Originally Posted by Wolverine
    Quote Originally Posted by scourge
    Not all the observations and evidence are based on ignorance and bad camera work mixed with wishful thinking. How about last year’s footage taken by the Mexican Air Force?
    Bad example. Been there, done that.
    I think neither of those sufficiently explains the event.
    I'm skeptical and withhold judgement.
    You're certainly entitled to your opinion. However (and to phrase it as delicately as possible, as I mean no offense), from having followed many of your posts spanning multiple subjects, I'm left with the impression that you primarily appear skeptical of skeptics. While I'd concede this might be an errant perception on my part, I don't consider your stance to be one denoting skepticism, but rather indicative of confirmation bias.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Astronomy
    Most of the time it's when someone is claiming to have an explanation for a scientific phenomenon or is making baseless scientific claims that have obvious physical flaws. When this occurs, it can be sometimes confusing for the layman reading to determine why exactly the pseudoscientist is wrong. Appealing to the academy serves as a guide in this regard, but it isn't a prerequisite for a good idea.

    I have known a few brilliant scientists who don't have PhDs. Nobody went to any lengths to discredit them because their work was good. It's only when the science is bad that people begin to question credentials.
    Excellent post.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolverine
    ...from having followed many of your posts spanning multiple subjects, I'm left with the impression that you primarily appear skeptical of skeptics.
    Would that make A.DIM a pseudo-pseudoskeptic?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolverine
    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu
    Friedman Stanton debated Seth Shostak this year.
    Is that Friedman Stanton, Physicist Nuclear?
    Your point being what?

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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu
    Quote Originally Posted by Wolverine
    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu
    Friedman Stanton debated Seth Shostak this year.
    Is that Friedman Stanton, Physicist Nuclear?
    Your point being what?
    Only that Friedman is the surname. :wink:

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolverine
    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu
    Quote Originally Posted by Wolverine
    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu
    Friedman Stanton debated Seth Shostak this year.
    Is that Friedman Stanton, Physicist Nuclear?
    Your point being what?
    Only that Friedman is the surname. :wink:
    I had a premonition I shouldn't have asked... ops:

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    All in fun, no worries.

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    Heh—a word to the wise: Google first…ask questions later :wink:

    Quote Originally Posted by Wolverine
    I was just wondering if you're familiar with this thread, or perhaps saw this post in particular?
    That discussion was long before my time, Wolverine, thanks for bringing it to my attention—interesting stuff. It’s good to learn that there are so many amateur astronomers out there looking for ufos (/kidding!).

    But oddly, nothing in that post/thread refutes what I’ve said here. This specifically, from the BA’s cited post:

    “The conclusion is therefore obvious: at least most of the UFOs reported by people not familiar with the sky are mundane phenomena being misinterpreted. And even people who are familiar with the sky can be fooled; I was once. So it is even more likely that even if an amateur reported a UFO, it may still have been something mundane under unusually odd circumstances.

    So I stand by my conclusion: if UFOs are not misinterpreted mundane phenomena, then amateurs should should see more than just about anyone. They don't, which indicates UFOs are overwhelmingly misinterpreted phenomena. I am not saying every single one is, or even saying anything at all about the extraterrestrial hypothesis. I am saying that most UFO sightings are mundane objects.”

    As I said earlier, I think most are misidentifications (i.e. ‘mundane’), some fraction are ‘interesting’ (meaning they could be unusual atmospheric/optical phenomena or military craft or whatever), and my tentative guess regarding objects that may be extraterrestrial in origin is six or less per year around the planet, each event spanning mere minutes. So the observations of astronomers (including amateurs, as you’ve pointed out) of such events would be higher than the average bus driver for example, but in fact their ‘sighting’ reports are lower, because they’re more apt at weeding out known phenomena. Nothing surprising there. Also, if most ‘genuine’ sightings have characteristics like the event I witnessed, it’s going to turn anybody’s head--erratic movement registers even on a layman’s peripheral vision. And if the number of truly extraordinary objects in our skies is small, which seems reasonable, the statistical number of astronomers who see them isn’t going to be significantly higher than nonastronomers. Consider the Tunguska event—did more astronomers see that than anyone else?—no. Why? Because with rare, visually alarming events, it’s more about being in the right place at the right time, than who’s doing the being there.

    And if what I’ve seen personally has some terribly mundane explanation, the silence is deafening. I saw two bright lights in broad daylight, with five other people I knew well, execute rapid, linear, acute-angle maneuvers with no apparent change in velocity. I promise you—if you’d been there, you’d remotely consider the possibility of some outrageously advanced top secret military project (though why they’d fly them over a heavily populated area, and risk crashing them by flying them with such acrobatic precision, would stick in your craw), or something truly novel, possibly even extraterrestrial. There aren’t many other options on the table, and I think it would be foolish to not consider them all very earnestly.

    Compound that with a best guess that we’re not the most advanced life forms in our galaxy—and that we should even –expect- other forms of advanced life to exist somewhere around here, and you’re looking at a plausible explanation, not some ridiculously unlikely fantasy.

    Tell you what—maybe I’m off-base with the whole supposition that other advanced races should exist in our galaxy and have ample opportunity to come around from time to time--truth be told, I’ve never crunched the numbers myself. It always just seemed that out of 1-400 billion stars, the odds looked pretty good that we’re not alone--I'm of the camp that the most scientific position to take is that our situation is fairly unexceptional, until real data becomes availaible to prove otherwise. I’m willing to go over those odds with a skeptical view and see what we come up with. If the math really does indicate that we shouldn’t expect others to be out there, then I’ll admit that the possibility that what I saw could have been extraterrestrial was unfounded. You (or anyone) game?

    It would be good to work through this with the consensus of members of this board, and arrive at some ballpark figures that would allow us to consider the results objectively.

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