UAP rationale thread (updates pertaining to standards & abstract matters of the UFO preoccupation)

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by C C, Jun 24, 2023.

  1. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    Here we have a shift from [justifiably] disparaging conspiracy stuff that has not produced any evidence over decades, to celebrating or expressing enthusiasm for a belief-based endeavor that likewise has failed to produce any evidence over a similar period of time. (Though the skepticism pertains to the lofty strata of complex life and technologically advanced intelligent life, not simple instances arising temporarily before snuffed out. Or never developing further due to persistent unfavorable environments, constant extinction-blow stellar cataclysms in the crowded parts of the galaxy, and evolution not being inherently devoted to progress to such things to begin with.)
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    Here’s what a scientist makes of Congress’ UFO hearing
    https://bigthink.com/13-8/uap-ufo-congressional-hearing/

    EXCERPT: . . . All that said, I’m all for a transparent investigation into what the government has in its UFO/UAP file cabinets. There is no doubt that during the Cold War, they were happy to play UFOs for misinformation in their endless back and forth with our main adversary, the USSR. But I wouldn’t be surprised if 70 years from now, we are still rummaging around in these files and not really getting anywhere. If you want an analogy, think of the JFK assassination, an event for which no file dump ever really resolves the question.

    But here’s the thing: I really do want us all to get somewhere when it comes to life in the Universe. That’s why I’m putting my cards down on the explosion of possibilities happening right now in the actual-factual science of astrobiology. I’m happy to be wrong about UAPs, but I know that the astronomical telescopes, technologies, and techniques coming online now mean we will soon be able to sniff out life in the atmospheres of alien worlds... (MORE - missing details)
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    Last edited: Aug 3, 2023
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  3. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Well I must say I think that is absolutely spot-on.
     
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  5. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    What the scientist writes, I mean.
     
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  7. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    Journalists fail on UAP Story
    https://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/journalists-fail-on-uap-story/

    EXCERPTS: Nothing about the recent resurgence in interest in UFOs is new [...] It’s basically the same stories with the same level of completely unconvincing evidence. But what is somewhat new is the level of credulity and outright journalistic fail with which the mainstream media is reporting the story. ... Take this recent article in the Washington Post, for example.

    [...] The main point of the article is that in the US information about UAPs is often classified, but this is not the case in many other countries. Author Terrence McCoy then focuses on Brazil, telling some of the UAP stories that have come out of this country. McCoy breathlessly tells these stories without capturing the real context here, missing the significance of his own premise...

    [...] What McCoy misses is that the UAP reports coming from these other countries are of the same low quality and those originating in the US. It’s not as if Brazil has shown the world alien bodies, or a captured alien spacecraft. It’s just more of the same – hoaxes, misidentified terrestrial or natural objects, or the information is simply of too low quality to make a positive ID.

    [...] The fact that these countries have nothing to offer but the same low level ambiguous evidence is consistent with the hypothesis that there are no alien visitations and that UAPs are simply a manifestation of terrestrial phenomena and a cultural belief that has taken on a life of its own... (MORE - missing details)
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    Last edited: Sep 8, 2023
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  8. Pinball1970 Registered Senior Member

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    I do not think this is discussed enough. There is a huge cultural element to this, ET just happened to show up during the cold war paranoia and 1950s B movies? Other parts of the world have practically zero UFO culture or history? ET prefers America?
    Around 90 space telescopes launched since the 1960s plus the huge array of ground based telescopes have found nothing? But can pick up, comets, asteroids and space dust from light years away?
    Perhaps the science guys are just keeping the secrets?
    So 100s of 1000s of 21 year old PhD students can be trusted to not report ET when they are in Hawaii looking at the night sky with a telescope?
    Speaking from experience? No. (Son did exactly that- no ET!)
     
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  9. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    Nasa's UFO report: What we learned from UAP study
    https://news.yahoo.com/nasas-ufo-report-learned-uap-153902216.html

    INTRO: A Nasa probe into hundreds of UFO sightings found there was no evidence aliens were behind the unexplained phenomena, but the space agency also could not rule out that possibility. If the truth is out there, this long-awaited report offers no conclusive evidence.

    But it did outline how Nasa will investigate what it calls UAPs (Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena) with improved technology and artificial intelligence. Nasa administrator Bill Nelson said the US space agency will not only take the lead in researching possible UAP incidents, but will share data with more transparency.

    The report is 36 pages(PDF) of quite technical and scientific observations, so here are some of the key takeaways... (MORE - details)

    To whit:
    • There's no proof aliens exist, but they might
    • Limited amount of UAP data
    • Nasa weighs in on viral 'alien' photos from Mexico
    • Identity of new UFO boss remains a mystery because of threats
    • Nasa recommends using AI tools
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  10. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    Why are people starting to believe in UFOs again?
    https://theconversation.com/why-are-people-starting-to-believe-in-ufos-again-61717

    EXCERPTS: [...] The narrative of triumphant reason dates back, at least, to German sociologist Max Weber’s 1918 speech “Science as a Vocation,” in which he argued that the modern world takes for granted that everything is reducible to scientific explanations. “The world,” he declared, “is disenchanted.”

    [...] Sociologists of religion have also suggested that skepticism is countered by a different societal trend, something they’ve dubbed “re-enchantment.” They argue that while science can temporarily suppress belief in mysterious forces, these beliefs will always return – that the need to believe is ingrained in the human psyche... (MORE - missing details)
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  11. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Despite science's best efforts, even those of its stellar hero Carl Sagan, the persistent interest and belief of the masses in the mysterious and supernatural returns again and again. Even the Discovery Channel, once the proud domain of science documentaries and Mythbusters, is getting taken over with programs about ghosts and bigfoot and ufos. There's no stopping it. People just innately prefer to live in a world haunted by enigmas and riddles. A universe where everything is explained ends up becoming very boring and monotonous after awhile, in spite of being supported by abundant evidence. People don't want dry sterile facts and complicated theory. They want story and narrative--the sense that there is meaning out there that provides their lives with wonder and .drama. It's really ironic since science, presented properly, is itself filled with enough mystery and profundity to last anyone a whole lifetime.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2023
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  12. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Of course. Well over 2/3 of Americans believe in a God.

    However, Carl Sagan wasn't telling people there are no aliens. He was just giving them the odds.
     
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  13. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    The entertainment of the mass population speaks volumes. Even the video games played that aren't built around fantasy, sorcery, scifi, or superheroes probably still feature improbable events. Like in movie action thrillers (John Wick disabling or killing 10,000 attackers single-handedly, etc).
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  14. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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

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    Worth mentioning that Carl Sagan died in 1996, making references to him coming up on 30 years behind the times?
     
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  16. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Indeed. Many people are poorly educated and/or superstitious.
    It's a lot easier to cut together some dubious footage culled from youtube and slap it into a 1 hour pseudo-documentary that includes some of the usual talking-head UFO nuts than it is to make a balanced and informative scientific documentary. Moreover, more poorly educated and/or superstitious people are likely to want to watch the trash than to watch the science. Less effort is involved on all sides.
    No. What (some) people want are easy answers to complex questions. They prefer to live in a world in which they feel secure and believe they already have all the answers they need, rather than (the real) one in which there are unsolved mysteries and riddles.

    "All or most UFOs are alien spacecraft and the government knows this and is covering it up" is a much more comforting explanation - a bizarre sort of way - than "There are all sorts of aircraft and other objects buzzing around in the skies that regular people like you can I can't can't immediately identify; even the government lacks perfect knowledge on this stuff".

    The conspiracy angle feeds into the desire for somebody to be in control of the situation, even if that person is an Illuminati conspiracist pulling puppet strings from a shady hidden room somewhere. There's an order and a simplicity to that kind of explanation that is quite different from the messy and complicated real world.
    Apparently not, since the UFO nuts think they have an explanation for everything. It's all the aliens and the conspiracy, see?

    Meanwhile, the real action is happening where the scientists are, as they investigate real mysteries and probe the real borders of human knowledge and expertise. Science is the opposite of boring and monotonous, unless you happen to be somebody who is proud to proclaim that you know very little science and you aren't interested in it.
    "People", of course, is about the most general generalisation you can get. But if you're talking about your people - the UFO nutty believer crowd - then I think you've hit the nail on the head. Science is too hard for a lot of you, full of sterile facts and complicated theories. youtube and Joe Rogan are a lot easier to understand, and the algorithms make sure you are captive to both. Ironically, at the same time, you like to think of yourselves as independent thinkers. The system has its invisible claws in you and you're so asleep at the wheel that - to the extent you realise it at all - you're quite happy to go along with it.
    Indeed.
     
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  17. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    Sorry. Got too tied-up/rushed with other online matters and offline distractions at the time to either add an intro comment or realize that inference would be insufficient for tackling it. A belated version might zig along this line:

    One would think predating the "easy stimulus" of military videos and media hoopla of this decade would compel a piece to have to fall back on more "timeless" or philosophical and underlying psychological considerations. Rather than being dependent on the effects of such eventually dated or contingent, specific events. There often seem to be proto-religious or proto-spiritual like attitudes about UFO interests (without having to venture into that extreme of UFO cults). Coming across the ten-cents of someone who studies religious movements, thus seems applicable at some point, in terms of exploring possible factors in what makes UFO believers or buffs tick.
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    Last edited: Sep 16, 2023
  18. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    Could flirt with being a conspiracy theory in itself, if it ever evolved to a point in the future of blaming most or all of it on affluent devotess. Recruiting anti-vaxx territory as an analogy, would be vaguely akin to declaring RFK Jr. (etc) as the ground zero for that. (Still rich and influential via political legacy, just not the mega kind.)
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    How wealthy UFO fans helped fuel fringe beliefs
    https://www.livescience.com/space/e...w-wealthy-ufo-fans-helped-fuel-fringe-beliefs

    EXCERPT: . . . This legacy of plutocrat-backed fringe science comes as political partisanship, corporate propaganda, and conspiracy mongering continues to sow distrust in science. One lawmaker, Representative Tim Burchett of Tennessee, recently said, "The devil's been in our way," claiming a "cover-up" of UFO reports by military and intelligence agencies.

    Such talk was once solely the domain of Internet fever swamps and late-night conspiracy-themed radio shows. Now it's part of the political mainstream. This doesn’t happen without Bigelow (and other wealthy eccentrics) greasing the way with their fat wallets. For example, Laurance Rockefeller was undoubtedly the most prominent UFO benefactor in the 1990s. The wealthy heir financed numerous UFO panels, conferences and book-length reports that kept flying saucers in the public discourse.

    From a scientific standpoint, all this money seems wasted on a zany quest that is akin to the search for Bigfoot or Atlantis. The same might be said of Harvard astrophysicist Avi Loeb's recent hunt for evidence of extraterrestrial life off the coast of Papua New Guinea, which cost $150,000 and was funded by cryptocurrency mogul Charles Hoskinson. Loeb's polarizing claims of finding traces of alien technology and of having a more open-minded and dispassionate approach to fringe science have garnered a truly staggering amount of media coverage, but his peers in the scientific community are rolling their eyes... (MORE - missing details)
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    Last edited: Sep 18, 2023
  19. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    Even the intentional search is a landscape of duds and terrestrial ruckus.
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    An increasingly noisy Earth is drowning out the aliens
    https://www.supercluster.com/editorial/the-history-and-future-of-false-alarm-seti-signals

    INTRO (excerpts): Dashed hopes and false alarms are a way of life for SETI. And life is getting noisier, as SETI scientists battle against increasing radio frequency interference (RFI) while straining to hear any whispers from possible technological life elsewhere in the Universe.

    [...] The prevalence of RFI means that SETI is picking up signals all the time. Usually, sophisticated algorithms are able to sift through the terabytes of data that are typically being collected by radio telescopes as they scan across billions of narrowband channels, and identify the terrestrial interference...

    [...] But every now and then a signal comes along that beats these filters. These false alarms can be a double-edged sword, says Seth Shostak. “On the one hand, false alarms are kind of frustrating because you spend a lot of effort on them, and you get people’s hopes up, but personally, if I had to vote, I’d say that false alarms are valuable because they test the system.”

    For one thing, the detection of false alarms shows that your equipment is working. [...] Identifying the origin of false alarms and the patterns they leave in the data allows the filters to recognize them in the future, making the search more efficient.

    The most exciting false alarms also often have an interesting story to tell as they become part of the fabric of SETI’s own mythology. So without further ado, here are six of the best false alarms in SETI... (MORE - details)

    INCIDENTS COVERED: The Spy Plane in Project Ozma ..... A Signal from SOHO ..... Microwave Misunderstandings ..... The Alien Megastructure Star ..... BLC-1 ..... Beating the False Alarms (Wow! signal?)
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    Last edited: Oct 3, 2023
  20. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    Why are we afraid of being cosmically alone? (psychology)
    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/...0/why-are-we-afraid-of-being-cosmically-alone

    Terrifying as it is to think there may be advanced civilizations out there, the absence of such civilizations is equally eerie. The fear of cosmic solitude may mirror people's fear of isolation in their own lives. Curiosity can provide an antidote to the fear of cosmic loneliness. Stories can enhance people's understanding of complex scientific concepts.
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  21. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    "Space aliens" certainly aren't the only imaginative interpretation that can be projected upon an "unidentified flying phenomenon". But it seems to be the most popular. In general, the preoccupation may be fueled more by cinematic sci-fi than a guiding philosophy that processes factual considerations.

    Aside from the obstacle of vast distances, how likely is the convergence of factors deemed necessary for complex life as we know it to arise, survive for stretches of geologic time, and attain intelligence and a science-informed level of technology? Much less life so different we might struggle to recognize it from a distance?

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    Uncertain contact: The detection of alien life won’t be obvious
    https://aeon.co/essays/alien-life-might-not-be-something-science-can-ever-discover

    It’ll be partial and inconclusive: a perfect task for the scientific method.

    EXCERPT: ... The problem is, you and I and the scientists are good at recognising Earth life. And big life, too. But scoop up a cup of seawater – or a slice of Antarctic ice – and it becomes much harder to determine what’s living. Even our intuition for habitable environments has been bested by microbial ingenuity, by extremophiles revealing the provinciality of our instincts. Then there’s viruses. Are they alive or not? You see how it gets tricky.... (MORE - details)

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    Could Earth be the only planet with intelligent life?
    https://bigthink.com/starts-with-a-bang/earth-only-planet-intelligent-life/

    KEY POINTS: We live in a vast observable Universe, with sextillions of stars and even larger numbers of planets, with more unobservable Universe and potentially even a multiverse beyond what we can see. While the ingredients for life and living planets are seemingly everywhere, however, we have yet to detect a single sign of life beyond Earth — even the simplest forms of life — on any world at all.

    Is it possible, or even likely, that despite all of the chances out there for intelligent life, planet Earth is home to the only instance of it in all of reality?

    Today, these are questions that no scientist can answer, but a great many scientists are working to uncover the evidence for, one way or another. Even if all we found was a world with microbial (or even simpler) life — which we fully expect should be the most common circumstance among all inhabited planets — we’d learn that Earth is not unique, and that life really is out there in the Universe... (MORE - details)
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  22. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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  23. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    What's next for NASA's UFO research? Outside observers weigh in
    https://www.universetoday.com/163581/nasa-next-ufo-uap-research/

    INTRO: NASA says it’s going to play a bigger role in studying what’s behind unidentified anomalous phenomena, the newfangled name for what we used to call UFOs. But exactly how should NASA step into that role? The astrophysicist who helped get the ball rolling last year as NASA’s associate administrator for science is suggesting a quick and easy way to get started.

    Thomas Zurbuchen, who left NASA at the end of 2022 and is now director of ETH Zurich Space in Switzerland, says his old employer could add unidentified anomalous phenomena, or UAPs, to a list of targeted research topics that’s due to be released in four months or so.

    “You basically say, ‘Here’s opportunities,’ and you squeeze them in,” Zurbuchen said Oct. 7 in Boulder at the ScienceWriters 2023 conference. “Generally speaking, I think it’s a lot easier to do that.”

    The alternative could be to create a separate UAP program, but that might get more complicated.

    There’s precedent for taking the quick and easy way. Zurbuchen noted that NASA’s science directorate took a similar approach in 2017 when it made the search for technosignatures — including scans for radio signals from alien civilizations — part of its research and analysis program.

    “We added it in part because of an authorizing bill that told us that looking for life elsewhere was one of the purposes of NASA,” he explained. “The way we did it is, we just added it to calls [for research proposals] that were already there.”

    Raising the profile for UAP research was one of the key recommendations in a 36-page report that was delivered to NASA by an independent panel in June, at the end of a months-long process initiated under Zurbuchen’s watch... (MORE - details)

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