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Thread: UFOs Explained?

  1. #1
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    UFOs Explained?

    If time travel ever becomes possible for humans, it seems to follow that we would likely have visits from our descendants.

    If these descendants arrived from the distant future, they would likely look quite different, but perhaps still vaguely human, like all the reports.

    It seems more likely that future humans would be interested in us, than aliens from 100 trillion billion miles away.

    How does the following logic strike you? UFOs are explained one of three ways.

    1) UFOs are a joke and a hoax, a product of over active imaginations.

    2) Somebody out there learns how to exceed the speed of light speed limit.

    3) Humans from the future visit us via time travel.

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    Welcome to BAUT Nature Talk.

    I would opt for:

    4) Unidentified flying objects exist: but this not mean alien spaceships. People do see objects in the sky they are not able to readily identify. Identification is not as easy as it seems. Estimating size, distance, etc is difficult without having points of reference. Most people have been innoculated to assume "If I can't identify it, it must be an alien spaceship". This is clearly wrong. Most of the people seeing unidentified flying objects are sincere and honest. Just not reliable witnesses.

    Time travel I would rule out: travel into the past, kill your grandfather, and see what happens...

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    Thanks for the welcome.

    There are quite a few UFO reports, some from people are reliable type people. But, the lack of any real hard evidence is indeed an issue to consider. Until we have tangible evidence of some kind, the skeptics are surely credible.

    It seems hard to rule out time travel. What would we base this on?

    What will humans know 10,000 years from now? An open mind seems the best approach with a question this large.

    Actually, time travel is possible right now. You can prove it for yourself. Go outside, and look up at the sun. You are seeing the Sun, as it was 9 minutes ago. :-)

    In fact, every observation of anything, is an act of time travel.

    I know all this, because I was abducted by aliens from Xeon9, who changed my gender to Xab7c. :-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by NatureTalk View Post
    It seems hard to rule out time travel. What would we base this on?
    It has been said that one strong indication that time travel is not possible is that the first US patent is for a soap ingredient. There's even a game about this concept.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NatureTalk View Post
    It seems hard to rule out time travel. What would we base this on?
    It is hard to rule out anything for something that can not be explained. Why not fairies, witches, dragons, superman, krypto, the batwing (batman's plane), ironman, etc.etc.etc? All are just as valid an explanation as time travel and ET. None have been shown to exist but that does not mean they don't exist. I prefer more mundane explanations for UFO cases. However, if a case can not be satisfactorily explained, it does not mean it is time travelers or ET or whatever. It could very easily be simple misperception by the witness that they did not accurately report. This is a known fact that witnesses can make mistakes. So, we are left with what you want to accept as likely. Again, I prefer things that seem reasonable and are known to exist. In the words of Dr. Richard Feynman:

    "I think that it is much more likely that the reports of flying saucers are the result of the known irrational characteristics of terrestrial intelligence rather than the unknown rational efforts of extraterrestrial intelligence."

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    Setting aside the question of what's most likely, I really like Naturetalk's idea. It would explain why the visitors never land and show themselves. They probably have a non-interference doctrine. They're just observing and filling in their history books.

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    It is hard to rule out anything for something that can not be explained.
    Well said, agreed.

    We can't conclude UFOs are XYZ without credible evidence. Likewise, by the same logic, we can't rule out UFOs being XYZ, without credible evidence.

    When one lacks hard evidence on any side of a question, the proper scientific outlook is an open mind.

    100 years ago the idea that the universe contained billions of galaxies would have typically been viewed by the group consensus as goofy fantasy. Until it was proven to be true. The history of science is filled with such events.

    Each of us will have our inclinations of course. Nothing wrong with that. But it's best to keep our certainty in check, until we have something tangible to base it on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NatureTalk View Post
    If time travel ever becomes possible for humans, it seems to follow that we would likely have visits from our descendants.

    If these descendants arrived from the distant future, they would likely look quite different, but perhaps still vaguely human, like all the reports.

    It seems more likely that future humans would be interested in us, than aliens from 100 trillion billion miles away.

    How does the following logic strike you? UFOs are explained one of three ways.

    1) UFOs are a joke and a hoax, a product of over active imaginations.

    2) Somebody out there learns how to exceed the speed of light speed limit.

    3) Humans from the future visit us via time travel.

    Congratulations, you just evolved a theory that's been bouncing around since the early 1960s....

    Seriously, until you meet the occupants, there's just no way to know....

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    Quote Originally Posted by NatureTalk View Post
    When one lacks hard evidence on any side of a question, the proper scientific outlook is an open mind.
    Absolutely. But having an open mind doesn't mean that one accepts all possible answers to a given question equally. The probability that a given UFO is a misidentified airplane is higher than it is a time traveler or a dragon. The improbable answers have a higher burden of proof, because they are more improbable.

    As one of our members used to say in her signature "An open mind is like an open window, without a good screen a lot of bugs get in".
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    Absolutely. But having an open mind doesn't mean that one accepts all possible answers to a given question equally.
    It depends. If we are working up a research grant for next year's budget, then agreed, we probably won't fund research in to a dragon thesis.

    On the other hand, those who make the breakthrough discoveries usually have an ability to intellectually travel beyond the group consensus.

    At one point in our history, it was absolutely indisputable that the earth was flat and at the center of the universe. Any child could look and see this self evident "truth" for themselves!

    Sarcastic condescending scorn was heaped upon any crazy idiot who suggested some hypothetical fantasy nonsense about the earth being round, and less than a speck of dust lost in the endless vastness of space etc. Often this challenging of the "facts!!" was so painful to those "authorities in the know" that challengers were burned at the stake and all the rest.

    Imho, what we don't know so far exceeds what we do know, that it's smart not to come to conclusions, until we have a specific need to do so.

    Next year's research budget? Somebody has to make a decision now, so we make it on the best evidence we currently have.

    Discovering the unknown? First step, liberate ourselves from slavery to the known.

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    Naturetalk.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NatureTalk View Post
    we can't rule out UFOs being XYZ, without credible evidence.
    I would disagree: I think the better approach is "we can't rule in UFOs being XYZ, without credible evidence."

    I.e., why bother adding XYZ to the list of possible explanations, when we have no credible evidence that XYZ even exists?

    Alternatively, we could just add every possibility ever, from ABC to XYZ to QWIJYBO, to the list, but that wouldn't be very useful, would it?

    I mean, why not time travelers from the past? Or dinosaur dreams? Or The Colour Out of Space? Or the VRE?

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    Quote Originally Posted by NatureTalk View Post
    ...At one point in our history, it was absolutely indisputable that the earth was flat [...] Sarcastic condescending scorn was heaped upon any crazy idiot who suggested some hypothetical fantasy nonsense about the earth being round
    I don't think it went that way.
    Scorn went to the person who said it with no reasonable way to back it up.
    It was the people who said "why does the sun shine different in...", or "why did that ship disappear..." that were listened to because it was the source of the hypothosis. In other words, the observational evidence came first.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NatureTalk View Post
    Discovering the unknown? First step, liberate ourselves from slavery to the known.
    You are beginning to act like somebody who has new age fantasies. What next? Crystals?

    You can not "liberate" yourself from the known unless you are will to believe in something simply because that is what you want. Science involves building on what is known and not what is unknown. Each scientific discovery was based on what others have already learned and adding to it by observation and experimentation. Look at your examples:

    1. The earth was flat was an old wive's tale. The greeks were able to figure out it was round. They did this by observation and experimentation.

    http://www.phys-astro.sonoma.edu/obs.../eratosthenes/

    Probably very early man thought the world was flat but it did not take much for somebody to look up at the moon and sun and determine they were round. Why not the earth? Eratoshenes used mathmatics developed by others to prove his point. It was not about just saying, "eureka" the earth must be round! He proved it using the known.

    2. The earth was the center of the universe. This was a religious view based on what the Ptolemy had determined. As mathmatics improved and observations of the planets became more accurate. People began to say, the earth-centered solar system/universe could not account for what was being observed. Again, the known observations of the planets and data revealed the truth that the earth revolved around the sun.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicolaus_Copernicus

    Galileo's observations of Venus helped seal the deal on this because he saw Venus exhibit all phases, which could not be possible in the earth-centered universe. Again, one person built on the others knowledge to come up with a new theory.

    3. Billions of galaxies was not viewed as a "goofy fantasy" by astronomers. They knew of "billions" of spiral nebula existence but could not determine what they were. It took photography and the abiltity to measure long distances (again based on what was known about Cepheid variables at the time) that revealed that galaxies were very distant and not a part of this Galaxy.
    http://outreach.atnf.csiro.au/educat..._cepheids.html


    Liberating yourself from what is known is bad science. It is ignoring facts. Sure, discoveries happen but it is not through "liberating" oneself from everything that is known. Maybe what you meant to say is to look at the same problem from a new point of view.

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    This is a good conversation, thanks to all who've joined.

    Briefly, it seems most likely to me that the "earth is flat and at the center of the universe" theory arose out of observation, because that's just how it appears to us as we stand on the surface of the earth. It was a very reasonable mistake to make, but of course it was a profound misunderstanding.

    I'm not arguing for UFOs, fairies, goblins and dragons etc. You know that already.

    I'm suggesting we maintain a healthy respect for our considerable ignorance. That seems scientific to me.

    Just as earlier peoples made very understandable and profound mistakes based on observation, common sense, available data, and group consensus, we are capable of the same. It may seem very unlikely to us that something is true, and we may be right.

    Or we may be wrong. We've been wrong many times before, right?

    I understand and share a concern with theories that arise out of emotion. None of us are immune from this. Both dreamers and skeptics share this burden, each in our own way.

    Part of this dynamic is that we tend to build our careers, reputations and egos out of the known. Thus we have a vested interest in the known, which can easily make us less objective. Once that house of known is built, we usually don't fully welcome new observations that may prove us wrong, and get our grant funding canceled. :-)

    This is what I mean by liberation from the slavery of the known, a willingness to explore places that may prove us utterly wrong. A holistic balance between healthy skepticism, and a willingness to consider the unreasonable.

    Thanks again for the dialog, great forum. I have to go now though, because the alien fairies want to change my gender again. :-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by NatureTalk View Post
    On the other hand, those who make the breakthrough discoveries usually have an ability to intellectually travel beyond the group consensus.
    But breakthrough discoveries of such magnitude are not necessarily required in order to explain UFOs.

    When UFO reports were studied systematically, the vast majority turned out to be prosaic objects seen in circumstances that initially precluded their identification, and perhaps suggested even fantastic interpretations. In other words, misidentifications of ordinary phenomena. The unidentified remainder simply lack data.

    There is no reason to suppose that just because some sightings offer little in the way of actual data, that they must therefore be the effect of some extraordinary cause. Reaching for farfetched explanations often derives from the wrong assumption that anything which is prosaic must be explicable and evident as such.

    In happenstance occurrences, the ability to collect data depends a lot on circumstances that vary widely from occurrence to occurrence. Landing an airliner in a river that runs through a major metropolitan area means that there's a good chance the landing will be photographed by some fortuitously-aimed camera. Landing an airliner in a rural river precludes that, but the nature of the occurrence will not have changed. It would be wrong for someone who witnessed that from afar to attribute it to space aliens just because there was no video or any other way to conclusively tie it to an uncommon but fully terrestrial cause.

    In other words, the "mystery" of some sightings correlates to circumstance, not to a requirement that the cause be necessarily "beyond the consensus."

    Common, cliché causes are common for a reason: they occur with greater frequency. Hence without knowing more data, it is not justifiable to say that farfetched causes are as likely and must be considered as putatively valid an explanation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stutefish View Post
    Alternatively, we could just add every possibility ever, from ABC to XYZ to QWIJYBO, to the list, but that wouldn't be very useful, would it?
    ?
    Bold mine.

    Could we please get past all this intellectual bickering and focus on what's important? Stutefish just made an EXCELLENT Simpsons reference from the super early days! Well done!

    Ok, back to the program.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by NatureTalk View Post
    I'm suggesting we maintain a healthy respect for our considerable ignorance. That seems scientific to me.
    Yes, the entire basis of science is that we don't know everything. No scientific theory is presumed exempt from challenge. At the same time, I don't believe our ignorance is "considerable." It doesn't take much observation to extend our knowledge of seagulls to realize that flocks of them are variously visible depending which way they're facing.

    Yes, scientific discovery requires us to step beyond the known. The question is whether it's prudent to take a small step or a huge step. The farther away from the known we step, the more likely that is to be a misstep. Or, at best, the less likely it is we can test it to see if we're right.

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    Naturetalk
    If you are no longer proposing or defending your idea that UFOs are time travellers I will close this thread.
    If you want a general discussion on the nature of ideas then I suggest you start another thread in a more appropriate forum. IF you need help deciding where a thread should be placed then send a PM to a mod for advice
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by NatureTalk View Post
    I'm suggesting we maintain a healthy respect for our considerable ignorance. That seems scientific to me.
    You need to hear Feynman talk about this kind of thinking.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLaRX...eature=related

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    Before this thread is closed, I'd like to discuss the concept of "UFOs as time travellers" a little, and hopefully show some of the problems with the idea.

    Time travel may be possible, and a number of highly speculative methods of travelling back in time have been proposed. I won't detail them here, as they all have problems of their own, but for the sake of this discussion, we can assume that one or another of them works. That would allow future humans to come back to visit us.

    Now we have to start thinking about the paradoxical nature of time travel into the past; as soon as you go back in time you start to have problems with causality. Most people are familiar with the Grandfather Paradox; travelling back in time would create a whole range of potential temporal paradoxes, each of which should logically rule out the possibility of travel back into the past.

    Ivor Novikov realised in the 1980s that there is a real solution to the problem of potential temporal paradoxes; he calls this 'self-consistency'. That means you can tavel back in time, but you can only act in ways that are consistent with events that have already happened. You cannot kill your grandfather, no matter how hard you try.

    So our hypothetical humans from the future could come back, but they would be restricted to acting in ways that they know are consistent with history. They could, for instance, fly around in saucers that have lights blazing on the outside for no apparent reason, but they couldn't make contact - because they know, from reading the history of this era, that no contact has been made.

    Perhaps they have read that in the future contact is made with the saucers at some point in history - then in that case they can go back and act out that contact scenario. But because of 'self-consistency', they must stick to the script that they know from reading the history books. If for instance the history books say that the saucer men tell us that the Moon is really made of green cheese, and that the Universe is ruled by Wallace and Gromit, then they must say that, to be consistent with the history books.

    The act of going back in time causes havoc with causality, and removes any illusion of free-will from the time-traveller; if history says you act in some particular way, that that is the way you must act, no matter how bizarre it may be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NatureTalk View Post
    I'm not arguing for UFOs, fairies, goblins and dragons etc. You know that already.
    Actually I was unclear as to what, and how strongly, you were arguing about UFOs as time travelers.

    Part of this dynamic is that we tend to build our careers, reputations and egos out of the known. Thus we have a vested interest in the known, which can easily make us less objective. Once that house of known is built, we usually don't fully welcome new observations that may prove us wrong, and get our grant funding canceled. :-)

    This is what I mean by liberation from the slavery of the known, a willingness to explore places that may prove us utterly wrong. A holistic balance between healthy skepticism, and a willingness to consider the unreasonable.
    I can't speak for your career, but that is not true for mine. I am a working industrial chemist. I am paid to explore the unknown.

    But that doesn't mean I believe in anything.
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    Question Fallacy

    This is a question for Jay in Utah....

    Is not stating that "there is much we are ingnorant of..." an argument from outside of reality?? We can state an opinion about this, but asserting this is somewhat of a slippery argument, is it not???

    Dale in Alabama

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    UFO are unidentified flying objects. If we knew what they were, they would be Identified now wouldn't they?The acronym 'UFO' denotes an unknown. To say a catch all term for unknown has a common origin strikes me as being silly. Are some UFO time travellers or extra terrestrials? Maybe, but I put it pretty far down my list of possible causes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NatureTalk View Post
    Briefly, it seems most likely to me that the "earth is flat and at the center of the universe" theory arose out of observation, because that's just how it appears to us as we stand on the surface of the earth. It was a very reasonable mistake to make, but of course it was a profound misunderstanding.
    However, as you were told, it is your misunderstanding that the belief that the Earth was flat lasted much past serious examination of the facts at hand. It rapidly became very obvious to anyone paying attention that it could not have been--but that meant gathering new facts, not stepping outside those already in existence.
    _____________________________________________
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    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

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    The problem with time travel is that not only would you move through time, you would also have to move through space...I'll explain...

    The Earth spins on it's axis in a day, and the Earth revolves around the Sun in a year, and the Sun moves around the center of the Milky Way Galaxy , and the Milky Way (along with the "local group" of galaxies) moves...

    To give an example...if you travel into the past 6 months, the Earth won't be there when you arrive...it will be where it was 6 months ago...

    Unless you shift in time by a only a very small amount, you would find yourself out in space many, many, many miles from Earth.

    Just something to take into consideration.
    The facts, gentlemen, and nothing but the facts, for careful eyes are narrowly watching. Isaac Asimov

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by vonmazur View Post
    Is not stating that "there is much we are ingnorant of..." an argument from outside of reality?? We can state an opinion about this, but asserting this is somewhat of a slippery argument, is it not??
    I'm an engineer, so I tend to shy away from problems I can't fix by hitting them with a hammer or welding them. My opinion that our ignorance isn't "considerable" is really no stronger than NatureTalk's opinion that it is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by R.A.F. View Post
    Unless you shift in time by a only a very small amount, you would find yourself out in space many, many, many miles from Earth.
    Obviously the solution is to accomplish your time journey in a series of very small hops, with brief pauses in between to re-align with current momentum conditions...

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    Thanks to all for an interesting discussion. Sincerely. I'm flattered to be part of it. You guys are sharp, and that's not always easy to find online. Appreciated.

    Out of respect for the mod I will conclude my contributions in this thread, with a restatement of the first sentence I offered.

    If time travel ever becomes possible for humans, it seems to follow that we would likely have visits from our descendants.
    As you can see, this is not an argument for the existence of time travel, a promotion of UFOs as aliens, or a suggestion that crystals can cure cancer. No assault on science has been offered.

    It is rather an observation on a well known fact, insatiable human curiosity. If 10,000 years from now, by some method unknowable to us today, time travel were made possible, it seems the humans of that time might be interested in revisiting our era, the dawn of science.

    The fact that some posts may have been perceived as an assault on science might be indicative of the way in which an emotional bond can form with the known. This emotional bond with the known may not be all that different than the emotional bond some form with theories about the unknown. Any UFO thread that dissolves in acrimony is evidence that these human emotions, and the biases they introduce, exist on all sides. It takes two to tango. It seems scientific to be as clear on these kinds of things as we can.

    I send you greetings from the Planet Xeon9, and thank you again for an engaging discussion!

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    Quote Originally Posted by NatureTalk View Post
    The fact that some posts may have been perceived as an assault on science might be indicative of the way in which an emotional bond can form with the known.
    It is also remotely possible that some posters could have a strong distaste for unfounded speculation, other than maybe in casual conversation. This alleged fondness for connecting with at least the tentative tendrils of reality may lead to.. ermm... off to the word salad bar!
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