Carl Sagan on UFOs as "legitimate religion"

Discussion in 'UFOs, Ghosts and Monsters' started by Seattle, Apr 30, 2017.

  1. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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  3. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Interesting blast from the past. Sagan is measured and rational, and communicates clearly, as usual.

    Just to summarise: Sagan in this video claims that UFOs are a "legitimate" way for people to believe in God-like beings, because they make the belief in super-powerful beings more "scientific" than "religious".
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  5. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    I agree with that and have often said similar things myself. But I also recognize that it isn't something that either Sagan or I really knows for a fact. It's just our personal opinion, based on a simple analogy regarding different kinds of heavenly visitations. I personally think that it's true and it shapes my own thinking about 'ufology', but it certainly isn't the 'Voice of Science'. I don't think that Sagan saying it gives it any additional authority.
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  7. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member



    But the laws of physics don't just depend on faith. They demonstrably "work". For example, we relied on them to enable us to design and build the computer you're using to read this post.

    It wasn't just any old set of faith-based "laws" that could have resulted in that computer you're using. Only certain kinds of laws do the job. And that seems to be the case regardless of human preferences.
  8. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    I see that you responded to an older unedited version of my post, before I decided to tone it down a bit and not stir things up so much.

    Or they seem to have worked in the past. It isn't clear that they will continue to work in the future, unless we appeal to some principle of the uniformity of nature. And that would be another article of faith and arguably circular, it seems to me (and not just to me).

    To steal a snarky remark from the logician Morris Cohen: Logic texts are typically divided in two parts: in the first part, on deductive logic, unwarranted forms of inference (deductive fallacies) are exposed. In the second part, on inductive logic, they are endorsed.

    Sure, our Godless version of God's laws do seem to have worked so far, in the limited number of instances in our previous experience.

    But generalizing on our previous experiences so as to turn the uniformities that we intuit in them into universal principles applicable to the universe as a whole would require some solution to the problems of induction and confirmation, which we don't seem to have as yet.
  9. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Such a stupid and uninformed comment. Ofcourse nobody knows for sure if the ufo they are seeing in the sky or that lands in a field is extraterrestrial. And proving it would require talking to the pilots of the ufo. So attacking the ufo phenomena because we don't know where they're from is about as dumb as attacking dark energy because we don't know what it is. Instead of pontificating from his lofty perch, why didn't Sagan actually look into the thousands of compelling ufo encounters we have on record? Why didn't he lend his "sterling credentials" to the actual study of this phenomena which can't be hand waved away on the mere grounds that we don't know where they're from?

    Note also when we talk the law of physics we only mean the laws of physics as we know them. There is no guarantee we understand them all or even enough to axiomatically rule out evidenced phenomena like ufos.
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2017
  10. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    But I (kind of) agreed with it! Mommy! MR's attacking me again!
    Magical Realist likes this.
  11. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    That's it. I'm sending the Greys over to your house tonight. Wear thick underwear.
  12. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    I would not disagree with the spiritual aspect of the ufo experience. Some are terrifying and confusing. Others, like with cultists, are couched in a mythology of angelic beings choosing them for some special revelation. It's the same old apocalyptic crap that got Jesus so famous. The end is coming and I will save your ass if you follow me. The most authentic ufo encounters otoh don't match that trope at all. There is an element of absurdity and irrationality to them that prevents us from positing them as divine beings. If anything they are cosmic tricksters hacking into the human software with theatrical paradigm-shifting koans. The spirituality is more Zen Buddhist or gnostic than Judeo/Christian eschatology..."Here's a maddening glimpse into the molten furnace of your reality. Now adapt.."

    "I would like to leave you with the final words given to Schirmer. The final message that was offered from the beings to Schirmer has long been one of my favorite ET messages. They told him “We want you to believe in us, but not too much.” Somewhere in there may lie a clue as to what is actually going on behind this phenomena."----
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2017
  13. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Sagan was neither stupid nor uninformed.

    Most of the time, it's the planet Venus. But you're right - they don't know that.

    Or to somebody who knows what Venus looks like and where it is supposed to be in the sky.

    That's not the basis of Sagan's comments. Did you watch the video?

    There are very few, if any, "compelling" UFO "encounters". The evidence put up tends to be mostly anecdotal and otherwise questionable. The "best" cases are the ones that have so little solid evidence that it's hard to get to the bottom of what the UFO actually was.

    In the modern age, angels and demons have been replaced by trans-dimensional beings and aliens. Other than that, the mentality is the same, as Sagan points out.

    Indeed. This tells us that UFO enthusiasts aren't too interested in finding out what those UFOs actually are. They prefer the mystery and the mysticism of it all.
  14. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Maybe not about science. But about ufos? Yeah..he pretty much was.

    Do you have some evidence for claiming that all these metallic disk shaped illuminated flying objects known as ufos are "Venus most the time?" Or are you just making shit up again?

    Venus looks like a star in the sky. It looks nothing like a ufo.

    I was giving him more credit than he deserved. There WAS no basis for his comments other than that ufos can't be from other planets because well it's just not very likely to him.

    Just like the vast majority of everything else that happens in the world, ufos are based on eyewitness accounts of people who were actually there. Just like the news, and history, and all the events in everybody's past. Credible people honestly and insistently vouching for what happened to them. And the trace evidence is also compelling, including radioactive soil, imprints in the ground, burnt vegetation, metallic residue, burns on the skin, etc and etc. Oh, and then there's the photographs, radar video, and regular video of ufos.

    Sagan isn't a professor of comparative religion. Anything he says about that subject is about as reliable as what my plumber says about it.

    He's just quoting what the aliens told him. It doesn't get any better than that.
    Last edited: May 1, 2017
  15. Michael 345 In China - finding my way :) Valued Senior Member

    There are many ' guarantees ' we do not understand all of physics

    The Large Hadron Collider was not built to find a new flavour for chewing gum

    I would contend there is enough knowledge of physics to exclude most UFO


    I would question your use of the word EVIDENCED UFO phenomena

    My GUESS is Carl may have glanced a UFO phenomena long enough to form the opinion expressed in the video before moving on back to the real world

    There is ZERO spiritual aspects to UFOs

    Some (including Carl) may spin a spiritual aspect but really it is more a comparison tick list of a FEW aspects UFOs and religion have in common

    Against the gazillion differences

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  16. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

    Nonsense. They promise a better form of society.
  17. Michael 345 In China - finding my way :) Valued Senior Member


    They don't exist

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  18. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Magical Realist:

    I was being a bit facetious, I admit. However, Venus is one of the most commonly misidentified objects in the sky. Many UFO reports turn out to be sightings of Venus.

    For a prominent example, consider the Portage County UFO that we discussed in a different thread.

    Thousands of UFO reporters disagree with you.

    But, it is interesting that you have a preconceived idea about what a UFO is supposed to look like. Pray tell, how are we to recognise a legitimate UFO?

    Yes, and just like other things that produce eyewitness accounts in the world, people often make mistakes, are bad observers, or even tell lies.

    Honesty and credibility must be established on a case-by-case basis.

    No. It usually turns out to be chicken poo or something ordinary.

    You mean the fuzzy photographs, or the photoshopped ones?

    Interesting. Do you think that somebody must have a formal qualification in a field in order to say something reliable about it?

    Pray tell: what are your own formal qualifications as a paranormal investigator? Or is anything you say about UFOs about as reliable as what your plumber says about them?
  19. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    11,315 you were making shit up again. That's about par for you.

    Not one of the descriptions by the numerous witnesses of that ufo even came close to matching the planet Venus and you know it.

    Metallic, disk shaped, illuminated, flying and/or hovering. That would tell you it was a ufo.

    No..not near often enough to make eyewitness accounts unreliable sources of information for the news, history, the events of our lives, or UFO accounts.

    Done in nearly all investigated ufo cases.

    Really? Usually? Tell me of the hundreds of cases of residue being left by a ufo, the ones that turned out to be chicken poo. That or admit you are the only one spouting poo again.

    Nope..thousands of clear and unphotoshopped photos, many preceding the age of photoshop. education in the field allows us to filter out the bullshit that gets spouted by non-experts about it like Sagan.

    Education again. As in reading books, attending lectures, studying actual cases online. Are you familiar with this process? I highly recommend it.
  20. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member


    "Skeptics, who flatly deny the existence of any unexplained phenomenon in the name of 'rationalism,' are among the primary contributors to the rejection of science by the public. People are not stupid and they know very well when they have seen something out of the ordinary. When a so-called expert tells them the object must have been the moon or a mirage, he is really teaching the public that science is impotent or unwilling to pursue the study of the unknown." (Vallee, J., Confrontations, New York: Ballantine Books, 1990.)
    Last edited: May 2, 2017
  21. Michael 345 In China - finding my way :) Valued Senior Member

    Skeptics do not deny the existence of any unexplained phenomenon

    There is a gazillion examples of unexplained phenomenon


    None of them?


    Well he might be teaching them which is a bit short of the public

    Of course there is more than 1 expert around and anybody is free to seek a 2nd 3rd gazillion opinion

    Some things are unexplainable after Joe Blow has given his evidence

    So where is there a starting point to begin?

    Certainly Science is not impotent

    Many times Science has given happy endings to climatic situations

    And Science is really hard up against the unknown

    always trying to probe just a little bit further and deeper

    and when Scientist sense an opening they go for it

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  22. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

    That doesn't mean the UFO myth is devoid of spirituality.
  23. Michael 345 In China - finding my way :) Valued Senior Member

    I guess if a non existent god has spirituality

    I guess non existent UFOs have a chance to rise to the lofty heights of god status

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