Skeptics have already made their minds up about UAPs

Discussion in 'Conspiracies' started by Yazata, Sep 1, 2023.

  1. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    “I have pointed out that the concept current among most flying-saucer enthusiasts that the unidentified flying objects are simply craft used by visitors from another planet is naive. The explanation is too simple-minded to account for the diversity of the reported behavior of the occupants and their percieved interaction with human beings. Could this concept serve precisely a diversionary role in masking the real, infinitely more complex nature of the technology that gives rise to the sightings?
    [...] Here then, is a brief statement of five new propositions based upon the material we have reviewed so far:

    1. The things we call unidentified flying objects are neither objects nor flying. They can dematerialize, as some reliable photographs seem to show, and they violate the laws of motion as we know them.

    2. UFOs have been seen throughout history and have consistently recieved (or provided) their own explanation within the framework of each culture. In antiquity their occupants were regarded as gods; in medieval times, as magicians; in the nineteenth century, as scientific geniuses; in our own time, as interplanetary travelers. (Statements made by occupants of the 1897 airship included such declarations as "We are from Kansas" and even "We are from anywhere... but we'll be in Greece tomorrow.")

    3. UFO reports are not necessarily caused by visits from space travelers. The phenomenon could be a manifestation of a much more complex technology. If time and space are not as simple in structure as physicists have assumed until now, then the question "where do they come from?" may be meaningless; they could come from a place in time. If consciousness can be manifested outside the body, then the range of hypotheses can be even wider.

    4. The key to an understanding of the phenomenon lies in the psychic effects it produces (or the psychic awareness it makes possible) in its observers. Their lives are often deeply changed, and they develop unusual talents with which they may find it difficult to cope. The proportion of witnesses who do come forward and publish accounts of these experiences is quite low; most of them choose to remain silent.

    5. Contact between human percipients and the UFO phenomenon always occurs under conditions controlled by the latter. Its characteristic feature is a factor of absurdity that leads to a rejection of the story by the upper layers of the target society and an absorption at a deep unconscious level of the symbols conveyed by the encounter. The mechanism of this resonance between the UFO symbol and the archetypes of the human unconscious has been abundantly demonstrated by Carl Jung, whose book Flying Saucers makes many references to the age-old significance of the signs in the sky.

    I am not regarding the phenomenon of the UFOs as the unknowable, uncontrollable game of a higher order of beings. Neither is it likely, in my view, that an encounter with UFOs would add to the human being anything it did not already possess. Everything works as if the phenomenon were the product of a technology that followed well-defined rules and patterns, though fantastic by ordinary human standards. It has so far posed no apparent threat to national defense and seems to be indifferent to the welfare of individual witnesses, leading many to assume that we may be dealing with a still-undiscovered natural occurrence ("It cannot be intelligent," say some people, "because it does not attack us!"). But its impact in shaping man's long-term creativity and unconscious impulses is probably enormous. The fact that we have no methodology to deal with such an impact is only an indication of how little we know about our own psychic world.”
    ― Jacques F. Vallée, Dimensions: A Casebook of Alien Contact
     
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  3. TheVat Registered Member

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    This paragraph is one which reveals the pseudoscientific nature of Vallee's perspective:

    The key to understanding a phenomenon lies in the physical effects it has. Someone saying they were changed, that their "psyche" was altered, is too vague, subjective and ambiguous to be evidence. I saw a fairy down in the garden, I was thrilled and profoundly moved, and later developed the ability to compose long palindromes. So what? There's nothing in that to address the ontological status of fairies. Regarding...

    How do we know this? Where is this data on proportions of witnesses who never come forward? What a strange paradox that Vallee is privy to this data on silent witnesses!

    Snag rotifers, refit organs!
     
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  5. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    "Unidentified" is not the same as "unknown". It is also not the same as "unknowable".

    If I see an unidentified animal in the park from a distance, it doesn't mean that animal is unidentifiable (i.e. impossible, even in principle, to identify) or that the animal is "unknown". The animal might be a dog that is very well known indeed, to its owner.

    It would be ridiculous to claim that just because I can't, for the time being, identify the animal, therefore it must be "a placeholder or variable for what is currently unknown to us as a species".

    Coming back to UAPs, let us suppose you see a spherical, metallic-looking object in the sky that you can't identify. Suppose it is, in fact, an aluminium-coated party balloon. Clearly, the fact that you, for the time being, haven't identified it as such, in no way implies that it is unidentifiable. More importantly, it certainly does not imply that it must be "a placeholder or variable for what is currently unknown to us as a species".

    That's crazy talk.
     
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  7. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Jacques:
    How could a photograph possibly show that something dematerialised, Jacques?
    That suggests to me, Jacques, that the ways people interpret things they aren't immediately able to identify varies from culture to culture. This is no way suggests any common origin for the observations themselves.
    A human being could never say such a thing, surely! No human has ever flown on an airship.
    Tell that to Magical Realist, Jacques! Oh, you did.
    Yeah, but it could also be a weather balloon or the planet Venus. Don't you agree, Jacques?
    Who is "they"? You make it sound like some strange people have been identified, Jacques. When did that happen? In an airship in 1897?
    Sure, but there's no evidence that it can. Right, Jacques?
    That strikes me as an obtuse way to go about investigating something, Jacques.

    Asking me how I felt about seeing an unidentified animal at my local park isn't likely to get you any closer to identifying the animal involved - even, in fact, it was an animal. What you need to do is to go look for the animal itself.
    Are these new talents documented anywhere, Jacques?
    Hardly. Contact often comes when the human participants are drinking their ninth beer while relaxing in the backyard, for instance. The human is largely in control of those conditions.
    Are you complaining that critical thinkers in the target society tend to reject outlandish and unevidenced stories about alien beings, Jacques? You sound upset that only Fringe dwellers take you seriously.
    Do all those cigar-shaped alien spaceships remind you of anything, Jung? A penis, say? There's something about the human unconscious for you. But I'm sure Freud already mentioned it to you.
    That "as if" is doing a lot of heavy lifting in that sentence, Jacques.
    Sadly, weather balloons and the planet Venus seem to be largely oblivious to the welfare of individual human witnesses.
    We might not have Star Wars, I guess. Although, having said that, Star Wars is basically a Western in space.
    Maybe try a cookbook next time, Jacques.
     
  8. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    It all depends on who we mean the phenomenon is unidentified to. If it is just unidentified to you in your moment of viewing it, it could indeed be a known phenomenon. But if we mean unidentified generally, to mankind in general, then being an unidentified phenomenon is essentially the same as being an unknown phenomenon. I'm taking uaps as being unidentified in the latter sense. It is presently an unidentified phenomenon to mankind, and so it is an unknown phenomenon.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2023
  9. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    That is a much better definition. And it does not require any principles we do not understand.
     
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  10. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    And we are in exactly the same position when it comes to every UAP sighting. The UAP is, at the time, unidentified to the eyewitnesses in their moment of viewing it, but it could still be a known phenomenon to anybody who possessed more information. Agreed?
    I don't think so. For example, lightning was an observed phenomenon long before mankind in general had a good explanation for it. Lacking that good explanation, it was put down to such things as Thor's hammer or the rage of some other angry but powerful god. These days, lighting is a well-understood phenomenon. We know it is not supernatural.

    I'm sure that, in the past, it would not have been hard to find people who would claim that "mankind" would never be able to explain lightning as a natural phenomenon, just because they believed that it was an obvious and "compelling" case of something supernatural at work. So, they just went with the explanation they wished was true: that Thor did it, or whatever.

    You're no different in your attitude towards UFOs.
     
  11. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Nope.

    If you see a person in the distance you cannot identify, they are not identifiable. Their identity is unknown. This does not mean that they are a life form that is unknown to us. It just means we can't tell who they are.
     
  12. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Yazata:
    Tell me, Yazata: do you care about whether Magical Realist or myself is right about UFOs? I am interested.

    If there is a disagreement, then either we are both wrong or one of us is right and the other is wrong. Unless, of course, the disagreement is about a matter of mere opinion (e.g. "chocolate ice cream is the tastiest flavour!").
    How do you figure that?

    Magical Realist has been posting on sciforums for coming up to 13 years at the time of writing this.

    If, as you claim, I am "totally intolerant" of him disagreeing with me, you might like to ask yourself why I haven't just permanently banned his arse in a petulant fit of total intolerance. Personally, I'd say that continually engaging with him over a period of 13 years of his bullshit is pretty tolerant.

    Maybe you ought to dial back on the superlatives. Get some perspective.
    You shouldn't tell lies, Yazata. I understand how it can be a slippery slope. You tell one lie, then you find out you need to try to defend yourself by telling more lies, and before you know it you suddenly find yourself telling a whole lots of lies. But it's still not a good look.

    You cannot keep a straight face and assert that I have not given reasons for my disagreements with Magical Realist (or with yourself, for that matter). You know that I give such reasons as a matter of course. So, why do you tell another lie, Yazata?

    On the matter of attacking, I make no apologies for attacking Magical Realist's poor thinking, or for attacking his troll-like tactics. Moreover, the actions reflect on the man, inevitably. That applies as much to you as to him and to me.

    You accuse me of bullying. What is your actual complaint? That I express my disagreement with Magical Realist, or with you? Do you guys feel bullied when you find that what I'm saying is reasonable and considered, and that you feel like you can find no adequate response in rebuttal? Is that the sort of thing you're talking about?

    Or are you making an accusation that I have abused my powers as an administrator of this discussion board, using them to unfairly target Magical Realist and/or yourself? If that's your complaint, you should make it specific. Give examples, at the very least. Remember: Magical Realist has been here 13 years. He keeps choosing to come here. Nobody is holding a gun to his head. You can hardly argue that I have bullied him off the forum.
    Really, Yazata? This, from the self-proclaimed "most intelligent and reasonable participant that you have on this board" who is "probably one of the few Sciforums participants who is formally qualified to teach 'critical thinking' classes."

    Okay, Yazata. Let's agree that we're both equally arrogant, when it comes to this. I'm a little less arrogant that you, because I do not claim that I am the most intelligent or most reasonable participant on this board. I do, however, really believe that I am "somehow" qualified to teach other people how to think - just like you believe you are somehow qualified to do that.

    Do you really want to compare our "somehow" qualifications, Yazata?
    Agreed. I look forward to seeing you take your own advice, then. I already have.
    I'm already on record as agreeing with that. Many times, in fact. Maybe you should try reading my posts.
    Not in the abstract. If you want to talk about specific matters, we can discuss. If you want to know what I think about something, it's better to ask me than to assume. Please try it.
    That sounds reasonable.
    Right. Hence the word "objectively" in your definition. Right?
    No. What I call "alternative facts" are lies that are told by people who know the actual facts.

    Recall the origin of the term "alternative facts". It came from a press conference given by Donald Trump's media representative, when he was in office, in which lies were knowingly told and excused as "alternative facts".
    If "intellectual diversity" is code for "liars", it is unfortunately the case that, yes, we often do have to tolerate liars. However, I think it is important to expose lies where you see them, and to strive for the truth. Don't you? It should be a reflex to tell the truth when confronted by lies. I see that as a moral virtue.
    There are a couple of problems with that. One is that people often don't know - or don't understand - why they hold the beliefs they hold. Believing is just a state you find yourself in when you become convinced of something - for whatever reason. But there are better and worse ways to getting to the truth. The other problem is you seem to have moved away from the idea of objective facts here, towards "personal reasons for holding the beliefs".

    I'd say that a good reason for holding a personal belief is if the personal belief is in alignment with objective facts. A bad reason would be that you're using "alternative facts" (aka lies or falsehoods, not in accordance with the truth) or that your belief just isn't based on any facts.
    I investigate whether the claims are sufficiently supported by facts, or are contrary to facts, for starters.

    Can you tell the difference between a baseless claim and one based on facts, Yazata? I think you can, for the most part. At least, you used to be able to distinguish those.
    Is 13 years of interaction with a person sufficient for somebody to draw some reasonable inferences and come to some conclusions about that person and the claims he has been making for 13 years, do you think, Yazata?

    How long does it usually take you?

    What on earth makes you think that I didn't welcome Magical Theorist to this forum with an open mind and a willingness to hear him out?

    You think 13 years is too soon to "already" dismiss his crazier claims as being not supported by objective facts?
    You don't really believe that, do you?
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2023
  13. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    I'd venture that the foundations of mathematics are better understood than the foundations of many other areas of knowledge, in part because monumental efforts have been put into investigating the foundations of mathematics.

    If you really want to know, you might like to read Whitehead and Russell's three-volume work on the foundations of mathematics, the Principia Mathematica.

    From my point of view, 2+2=4 is, in part, an abstraction of something we observe in the physical world by doing such mundane things as counting apples. It is also a formal statement whose truth ultimately rests on a number of simple logical and mathematical axioms that are taken to be self-evident. Those axioms are also, in this case, consistent with real-world experiences. This is certainly not true of all systems of mathematical axioms. But it is not a problem, since not every piece of mathematics claims to reflect the "real world".
    By direct experience and through logical reasoning, founded on a few obvious axioms.

    To give you a sense of just how obvious the axioms of logic are, we have, for instance:

    1. Identity. A proposition is true if it is true. A=A. An apple is always an apple. etc.
    2. Non-contradiction. A and not A cannot both be true simultaneously. An apple cannot be both a kind of fruit and not a kind of fruit at the same time.
    3. Excluded middle. For any proposition, A, either A is true or not A is true. Either it is true that an apple is a kind of elephant or it is not true that an apple is a kind of elephant. There's no possible "middle ground" in which it is "sort of true" that an apple is a kind of elephant, or in which it is "5% false" that an apple is a kind of elephant.
    I disagree. The facts tend to be items such as: a witness reported seeing a light in the sky that she couldn't identify. Those facts are the sorts of things that get the thing labelled as a UFO in the first place.

    Since the U in UFO or UAP means "unidentified", it is true that while the thing remains unidentified nobody knows the particular facts that give the identity of the UFO or a full explanation of the sighting.
    That's not all we have. We also have all the facts and experience relating to previously-solved UAP/UFO cases which we can draw on to make reasonable inferences about the case at hand, in particular about the relative likelihood of the thing turning out to be the planet Venus rather than, say, an amphibious spaceship built by a superadvanced species of aquatic aliens who are said by some to live at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. Which reminds me: we also know some helpful subsidiary facts to help us narrow down the possibilities and to help us assess the relative likelihood of any hypothesised facts turning out to be correct. For example, we know that nobody has seen any objective signs of a superadvanced aquatic species that lives at the bottom of the Atlantic, let alone one capable of building an amphibious spaceship.
    No. What gets the skeptics' backs up is that he assumes that eyewitness reports and the opinions of eyewitnesses are infallible, which is contrary to everything else that is known (i.e. objective facts) about eyewitness testimony, human perception and memory. Another thing that gets skeptics' backs up is the plethora of completely unevidenced claims.

    This is before we even get into the outright dishonesty and the troll-like tactics.

    Example: MR has claimed that UFOs in general "ARE craft", by which he means that he is asserting that many or most UFOs are manufactured vehicles. But there is no evidence to support this ambit claim. It is completely overblown. If we add in MR's actual belief that it is safe to rule out all possibility that any UFO "craft" are made by regular human beings, the claim becomes even more unreasonable and unsupported by any evidence.
    On one level, there's nothing wrong with it. Sure, it's evidence, but only very weak evidence at best, especially given that observers are often mistaken or simply unable to accurately judge such things as how a distant object actually moved in the (3-dimensional) sky.

    On the other hand, the claim that it is okay to simply assume that the observer's observations and his hypotheses concerning what he observed must be correct is as justifiable as simply assuming that the observer must be in error: that is, not at all justifiable.
    The problem is that beliefs don't have to be based on facts. Beliefs are just about becoming convinced that something is true. People can become convinced of things for all sorts of reasons that have nothing to do with the facts.
    If that was actually the case, it would make no sense at all to try to distinguish facts from beliefs. We'd only have beliefs.

    When you defined "facts" above, you talked about objective realities. But here it's as if you're throwing away the whole idea of objective reality and trying to substitute what an individual (or, perhaps, some group of individuals) believes.

    Either facts matter, or they don't, Yazata. Either you think objective reality is accessible to human beings, or you don't. Either you believe that there is an objective reality, or you don't. What's your opinion on these things, Yazata?
    What justifies a belief, then? What do you consider justifies a belief well, what justifies it badly, and what doesn't justify it?

    In my opinion, something about "facts" goes here, but you seem to want to discard the importance of facts, for the most part.
    I think you need to decide for yourself what justifies a belief and what does not. Let me know when you've reached some kind of opinion on that, because for the moment it looks to me like you don't have one - either that, or your don't want to tell us your opinion on that.
    That sounds reasonable.

    We can agree that some hypotheses are more plausible than others, I hope?
    You seem to have missed the point about what is "unwelcome" about MR's posts to this forum. His hypotheses aren't the problem.
    Can you give us a specific example of where MR's hypothesis is more consistent with the observation reports than the skeptics'?
    Your claim is that the skeptics here are disgruntled because of MR's superior analytical powers, and dismayed that his hypotheses are so soundly supported by the available facts. Is that what you're saying?
    It strikes me that you just flip-flopped. Immediately above, you claimed that at least some of MR's hypotheses about UFOs are better justified than the skeptics', because MR's hypotheses are "more consistent with the observation reports". But here, reading between the lines, you're suggesting that MR needs to seek out justification before he adopts the belief that his superior hypotheses are true.

    Am I reading this correctly?

    Do you think that, generally speaking, MR's hypotheses about the identities of UAPs are well justified, while the skeptics' hypotheses are not?

    I ask because you are sending mixed messages.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2023
  14. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    It's not a matter of infallibility so much as reliability. My car is certainly not infallible. It could break down at any time. But it IS reliable and gets me where I'm going. The same is true for eyewitness testimony. There is no assumption of infallibility. But what they describe as seeing is the most reliable information we have available on the matter. It is certainly more reliable than the assumption by skeptics that what they really saw was something mundane and identifiable as such. That assumption of the noncredibility of the witness underlies the skeptics' whole agenda to debunk and falsify the sighting of uaps as unknown phenomena. I find that assumption unwarranted in light of the superior reliability of the sighting data over the skeptic's biased interpretation of that data.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2023
  15. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    The fact that it is the *most* reliable first-hand data available does not mean it is objectively *particularly* reliable.

    There is certainly a lot of room in the world for "we just don't have very reliable data."

    There is no assumption there. Same old strawman.

    However, there are things we objectvely know about the world that can call a witness testimony into question. If a witness says he saw the Sun turn purple, we don't just say "Welp, that's the most reliable information we have. Let's ignore the fact that we know the Sun turning purple is objectively extremely unlikely and in fact has never been confimred to have happened."

    No. Eyewitness testimony is only one facet of a host of factors in analyzing any account.


    Save it for the conspiracy forum where it belongs. Your opinon of the agendas of people you've never met is worthless and off-topic.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2023
  16. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Absolutely. But "the most reliable" does not mean "reliable."

    To use the example of your car, imagine your car absolutely sucked. It usually didn't start, when it did it often stalled out, the brakes usually didn't work, the gas tank leaked, the tires were bald etc etc. It would still be your most reliable source of road transportation simply because it is your ONLY source of transportation. But the fact that it is your most reliable source does not mean it's actually reliable.
     
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  17. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Took the words right offa my fingertips.
     
  18. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    But my car doesn't "suck". It's an 8 yr old 4Runner with about 22,000 miles on it. It is hence very reliable. And an eyewitness's description also doesn't suck either. It is a reliable account of everything that really happened, particularly when corroborated by other witnesses or radar data. Not an illusion or misperception or hallucination as is assumed by skeptics.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2023
  19. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    How on Earth can you possibly know that? How can you possibly state that as a general case without assessing each one?

    Plenty of eyewitness accounts turn out to be unreliable once analyzed. There are a million reasons why any given eyewitness account might not be reliable, and they cannot be determined without analyzing the account.

    Let's not forget, most UAPs historically have turned out to be false identifications and some to be hoaxes. If you were to assume a priori that a given eyewitness account is reliable, you would accept all accounts that turns out to be Venus or weather balloons and all acconuts that turn out to be hoaxes as valid.

    Which is why this is in the Conspiracy Theories forum where it belongs - because it does not belong in the thread about UAP explanations.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2023
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  20. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Magical Realist:

    DaveC and billvon have already said more or less what I was going to say in response to your post. I agree with their comments.

    I agree with you that, in many UAP cases, the eyewitness description of what they saw is the most reliable information we have available. It's the most reliable information simply because it is the only information we have. But that doesn't imply that on a scale of reliability from "complete made-up nonsense" through to "gold standard scientific evidence" it is reasonable to assume that any specific eyewitness statement probably sits more towards the "very reliable" end of the scale, rather than towards the "best viewed with extreme suspicion" end of the scale.

    There are two types of people who report UAPs: honest people who have observed something out of their ordinary experience, and liars/fraudsters. There's no way to discern, just from an eyewitness statement, which category any particular eyewitness falls into. I hope you'll agree that it is important in such cases to investigate the general reliability of the eyewitness.

    But let's assume the best-case scenario and say we can be confident that a particular eyewitness is honest. Does that mean that their report of their observations is likely to be reliable? No, it does not. Because now we have to take into account what is known about human perception and memory, in general. Unless we can establish that the eyewitness has extraordinary perceptual capacities and/or memory, it is reasonable to assume that the eyewitness has typical human capacities. From studies of eyewitness testimony (which, clearly, are of interest in many other contexts than in the reporting of UAPs), we know that people in general are not very good at accurately discerning or accurately remembering the characteristics of things they have observed. Also, perception and recall gets worse as we drill down from general characteristics of the witnessed event (e.g. describing a light in the sky) to the specifics (how did the light move? how far away was it? how big was it? What was emitting the light?)

    Again, let's take the best case scenario and assume an honest reporter with above-average perception and recall of familiar things. Now we have to take into account that this reporter is attempting to describe something that is not familiar to him or her. After all, if the thing was familiar, it would not be a UAP. Right there, then, we might expect the level of accuracy and reliability to plummet, as the eyewitness grapples with what the thing might have been. At this point, there's no good reason to expect that the eyewitnesses speculations about what the "cause" of the light in sky might have been will be any more reliable than our speculations, hearing the eyewitness's account of the sighting.
    Now you're telling Yazata's Big Lie as well. There is no such assumption by skeptics that any particular UAP must be mundane.

    All things being equal, it is highly likely that what the eyewitness really saw was something mundane, if for no other reason than that the vast majority of human experience consists of seeing mundane things. It is, of course, possible that this particular eyewitness saw something truly extraordinary, never before witnessed by another human being, or that they saw something that has only been seen by a tiny fraction of other human beings. But, in the contexts where most UAP sightings occur, both of those things are unlikely.

    There is also no assumption by skeptics that any particular UAP will ultimately be identifiable. The most common reason that UAPs remain unidentified is lack of sufficient reliable data. Eyewitnesses typically provide poor to average data that has low to average reliability. Poor data makes positive identification inherently difficult. This is why skeptics usually go looking for other, independent data about the sighting. It is also why the skeptics are interested in circumstantial evidence such as: where the sighting occurred, when the sighting occurred, what known aircraft were in the area at the time, etc. etc. The process of reaching a positive ID on a UAP invariably involves a process of systematically excluding possibilities, one by one, because the available data - by nature of what UAP means - does not usually enable an immediate and obvious ID.

    It is impossible to completely rule out that a given UAP was an alien spaceship. Even an obvious-seeming mistaken sighting of the planet Venus could conceivably be a sighting of an alien spaceship that was in just the right place at the right time, conveniently blocking the eyewitness's view of the planet Venus, while having just the right sort of colour to make itself mistakable for Venus in the particular circumstances. However, with this sort of evidence, UFO believers have a very steep hill to climb before it becomes more reasonable to believe that the sighting involved the alien spaceship rather than the planet, even if in fact the believers are correct and the skeptics are wrong about this particular sighting. It will probably be easier, in such cases, for the UFO believers to find other, less coincidental, cases in which it is easier to confirm the spaceship and easier to rule out the planet.
    Again, there's no such assumption.

    Some witnesses are more credible than others, certainly. This is why skeptical investigators will often consider the general trustworthiness of the source(s) of a UAP report. Believers should consider that, too, but it seems that often they are not interested in such things.

    But let me emphasise: even in the case of eyewitnesses who are fine, honest, upstanding citizens whose observational faculties are exemplary and unimpeded by drugs, alcohol, lack of sleep, mental derangement, etc., it is easy and common to make mistakes.

    As for agendas: it is good to have an agenda to try one's best to falsify hypotheses. This is how science is done, for example. One proposes a hypothesis, designs an experiment, and then tries one's darndest to falsify one's own hypothesis. No theory in science is ever confirmed. Theories only fail to be falsified.

    Believers in aliens should also be doing their darndest to try to prove that the UFO they saw was not an alien spaceship. Because if they don't do that, other people will. And when it turns out that the UFO they saw was almost certainly the planet Venus, they will look a bit foolish. Believers should take some lessons from scientists, who know what it's like to look a bit foolish when they over-egg a pet hypothesis and somebody else disproves it.
    You, Magical Realist, have done nothing to prove the "superior reliability" of sighting data or eywitness testimony over expert analyses of that data. You have made no case for your assertion - just a bunch of statements about your own beliefs. And your beliefs about these things have very low reliability, as the historical record shows.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2023
  21. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    So you can't even imagine a situation in which a car could suck, as DaveC asked you to?

    For somebody who believes in as much woo as you do, I might have speculated that you would have an overactive imagination, rather than the limited and stunted one you're displaying here. You're setting off troll alarm bells again.
    Which eyewitness? Just any old generic eyewitness? How could you possibly know that, in advance of investigating them and their account?

    Are you playing the idiot again, MR?
    What you should say is that it is a reliable account only when corroborated by other witnesses or radar data. Without any corroboration, there's no way to know whether it's reliable or not.
    Don't tell lies, MR. There is no such assumption.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2023
  22. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Do you understand the concept of a thought experiment? It should not be hard; not everyone has a new(ish) reliable car like you do, nor can they afford one. Their cars suck - but they are the best they can do. For them, it is the most reliable car they can get, even if it is not reliable at all.

    You should not make the foolish assumption that everyone is as fortunate as you are when it comes to vehicles.
    Some do, some don't. For example, the NTSB has now officially recognized that the perceptions of other pilots in air crashes are notoriously unreliable. Estimates for altitude, for example, are often off by more than a factor of 2, and sometimes by a factor of 10. An estimate of altitude that is off by a factor of 10 may well be the most reliable estimate of altitude they have, if other sources (Mode B returns, black box recordings) are unavailable. However, it is not reliable in any sense of the word.
    You are dead wrong there. It MAY be a reliable account of what the person EXPERIENCED. But as shown above, that does not equate to a reliable account of what really happened. It also may be a lie, plain and simple. People do that.

    Don't go blindly trusting everything anyone says. That's a recipe for unhappiness.
    Some are, some aren't. Every description of a UFO that the person believed was an alien vessel that has been tracked down, for example, has been shown to be false.
     
    James R likes this.
  23. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    18,960
    Eloquently and succinctly put, Bill.
    Not sucking up, just acknowledging you hammered those nails in with an economy of words.
     

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