UFOs (UAPs): Explanations?

Discussion in 'UFOs, Ghosts and Monsters' started by Magical Realist, Oct 10, 2017.

  1. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    The whole interest in this subject for the diehards is that it is an alien. Otherwise, it's no more interesting that a jet being too far away for me to be able to identify. That's not very interesting is it? Everything, at some point is too far away for me to identify it.

    A car going down the highway, at some point, will be too far for me to identify it.

    The pilot downplayed the whole thing.
    https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/s...y-pilot-recalls-tic-tac-encounter-2021-06-25/
     
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  3. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    And they're unreliable in all of those contexts.
    Never trusting one piece of evidence by itself is the essence of science.
     
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  5. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    We do in science too. If we didn't place some amount of confidence in scientists' reports of the results of their experiments and observations, we would have to throw out virtually all scientific papers.

    I couldn't agree more.

    Of course, the reverse is true as well: Always trusting eyewitness accounts is also extreme.

    So, if we shouldn't always dismiss eyewitness accounts just because they are eyewitness accounts (and some here on Sciforums have argued for exactly that in the past), and if we shouldn't accept all eyewitness accounts with utter credulity, then what should we do?

    I'd argue that there's a possibility that any proposition might be wrong. But not a certainty. So every proposition essentially has a likelihood value associated with it between 0 and 1 (these are ideal cases) corresponding to how strongly we believe it. And that likelihood value is typically going to be informal and intuitive. (The Bayesians have tried to formalize this in formal epistemology, with questionable success.) What people use in real life to assign their informal likelihood values to various propositions are considerations like how trusted the information source is, whether the content of the proposition is consistent with their preexisting worldview (or biases), and how consistent the new data-point is with things that they already believe to be true.

    That's what people on both sides seem to me to be doing in this thread. And the possibility of error in both cases should be obvious.

    But people do lie, and their honest recollections of what they experienced in the past might not be entirely accurate. So we shouldn't just accept what these witnesses say with total credulity. (I think that our "true believers" tend towards this error.) But equally, we shouldn't just flatly dismiss what the witness says either. (Our "skeptics" are sometimes guilty of that one.)

    So while I dont believe everything and do have some (very poorly delineated) limits on my credulity, I do like the idea that what I believe at the moment is surrounded by known and unknown anomalous problem cases. I don't want to shout and bully them into silence. I seek them out. They represent the possibility of there still being something new left to learn, untapped possibilities left in reality for us to discover.

    I find that idea inspiring. (Yes, I'm a Fortean I guess.)
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2022
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  7. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    It's a humbling and in my view appropriate view of reality to acknowledge the possibility of the mysterious and the amazing. Ironically this is an attitude proper to doing science itself, that there is a phenomenon to explore and analyze and that we stand on the threshhold of something strange and new.

    That's why I don't accept the skeptics' claim that their debunkery is science per se. Science is always agnostic until all the facts are weighed and considered. It's how you always approach these fringe phenomena, and I appreciate your restrained and self-discipined example in analyzing these things. But the skeptics assume their conclusion from the outset. That the cause is only something ordinary and mundane. And that isn't science. It's ideological dogmaticism.
     
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  8. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    New genre-bending scifi/horror epic "Nope" by Jordan Peele out in theaters July 22nd. Feels like a novel twist on the paradigmatic ufo narrative. The danger of becoming seduced by spectacle. Something along those lines.

    https://www.indiewire.com/2022/06/jordan-peele-on-nope-title-ufos-1234736183/

    "In the five years since “Get Out” hit theaters, Jordan Peele has established himself as one of Hollywood’s most exciting purveyors of original genre films. His latest release, “Nope,” is one of the most anticipated releases of the summer, with its cryptic trailer promising another genre-bending, politically charged thriller from Peele, albeit one that includes UFOs..."

     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2022
  9. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    *sigh* Strawman. For the hundredth time.

    But, you know, as long we're just making stuff up...

    UFO Believers think that the Earth is cube-shaped, and that eating kittens is good for your constitution.
     
  10. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    I ran across a quote recently ''there's no generally accepted procedure in identifying UFO's.''

    Maybe we need one.
     
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  11. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    ''Get Out'' was well done, so I'll have to check out ''Nope,'' although I've been shying away from horror films, lately.
     
  12. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    Procedure
    1. Do you know what it is? If not, it's unidentified.

    2. If you know what it is, it's identified.

    3. Is is from Earth?

    4. If not, it's from another world.
     
  13. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    I think the author of the quote was referring to evidence, and what one person may consider to be evidence over another. I'd agree for example, that eyewitness testimony, no matter how credible the source, isn't enough by itself. You need more evidence, that generally seems ''acceptable'' that can be tested in some way.
     
  14. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    I think the procedure would just be the scientific method as would be the case with most anything else.

    Is it testable (hypothesis), is it repeatable by others, etc? The problem, IMO, isn't the procedure. It's just that the evidence never holds up. It goes from unidentified to "well maybe it's from another world".

    It isn't going to hold up for anyone other than those who just want it to be, without the scientific method. Most people would like nothing more than to see signs of intelligent life from another planet so it shouldn't be a hard sale if it actually exists.
     
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  15. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Well, this certainly is on-topic in this thread. It's right at home here with so many other fictional stories about UFOs.

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  16. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

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    Would not be obvious there is a already is a procedure in place?

    Unidentified is a clue

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  17. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Is that true? Scientific papers document their methods of testing / experimentation, precisely so that the word of the scientist themself is not given too much authority (if any at all), and so that anyone (assuming access to the relevant equipment) can repeat the experiments, and get (hopefully) similar results. It is their process that is trusted, not their word. Indeed, numerous papers are thrown out because they are subsequently found to be fraudulent, and many others are found to give results that do not match the original paper when the experiment repeated. This is science in action, with minimal reliance on the word of a scientist.
    Thus there is a significant difference when comparing to the reports of UFOs: repeatability. And that is the source of confidence in science, not the words of the scientist.
    At least in my view.

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  18. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    I agree that UFO reports really need to be addressed in a more systematic and less biased fashion.

    But I'm not convinced that there's any single methodological procedure that would enable us to identify all UFO reports. It's too heterogeneous a class, data is too fragmentary and the etiology is unknown (so different methods might be more applicable depending on the direction investigation takes).

    Perhaps one way to approach it is to start out by characterizing the reports:

    1. Single observer or multiple?
    2. Single or multiple modalities? instrumental as well as visual? radar, cameras, etc.
    3. If the observation was perceived to be extraordinary, what seemed extraordinary about it? configuration? behavior?
    4. Any lingering physical effects observed on the surrounding environment?
    5. Did the observers have any specialized expertise relevant to the observation?
    6. Does the database contain reports of separate events that are similar in some respect? does whatever it is seem to be happening more than once?

    And whatever more we can think of.

    Then give the sightings values by how many of these kind of boxes they check off. It should be easy to code that kind of stuff into a computer database at least as yes-no. A more sophisticated version might code different kinds of extraordinary behavior, particular modalities, similar cases in particular respects, etc.

    Doing that wouldn't really bring us a whole lot closer to actually identifying whatever the cause was, but it would highlight smaller classes of particular cases whose files need to be pulled and scrutinized.

    I've called the 'tic-tac' sighting perhaps the best UFO reports that I'm personally aware of. (For whatever that's worth, it was just an observation about myself but it received lots of passionate opposition here on this board.) They would seem to me to check off five of the six boxes. (Lacking only lingering physical effects.)
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2022
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  19. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    If firsthand observation weren't reliable, then science wouldn't be possible either. Every scientific experiment and theory assumes direct access to the senses that can judge and analyze the empirical world. It is a simple fact that what we perceive, whether doing science or just living our everyday lives, is a reliable representation of what is going on around us. Even the observation of a meter reading or a computer screen is due to the reliability of our perceptions. Without this explicit reliability in our senses, no knowledge would be possible.
     
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  20. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    It's not reliable. That's why we have the Scientific Method.

    Science is founded on independent, repeatable confirmation for the express purpose of ruling out eyewitness error.

    Scientific investigation is held to a higher standard than "everyday life", so that the outcome can be incorporated as a brick into the foundation of our knowledge.


    Example: You'll notice we don't see a lot about cold fusion. Remember that? It could not be independently verified, so not scientifically confirmed. Engineers are welcome to experiment with it - so it's not dead, but it's not science.
     
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  21. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Few of us rely on the scientific method to get thru our day. Instead we rely on our senses which overwhelmingly report accurately everything we encounter in our experience. If this were not so, the scientific method would not be possible. It pretty much assumes the direct observability of reality.
     
  22. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    How does anyone know the results of the experiments/tests, apart from reading the experimenter's reports of what they observed or else by being there and observing first hand? Replication is all well and fine, but that second scientist must have observed the outcome of his/her experiment as well. My point up above was merely that first-hand "eyewitness" observation by human beings is something that can't easily be eliminated from science. (Particularly when science is supposed to be empirical science.) I hope that we can agree on that.

    I agree that replication is important in reducing the subjective factor in scientific conclusions. Successful replication would increase the informal likelihood value that I would assign to a scientific proposition. Unsucessful replication would reduce it. I wouldn't want to dispute that. So we seem to agree there.

    As for me, I'm not comfortable only giving credence to phenomena that can be repeated on demand in laboratories. Certainly our ability to corroborate something would raise the plausibility-value of whatever it is. But inability to replicate (not the same thing as failed replication) wouldn't render the phenomenon impossible or worthy of dismissive ridicule. I'm thinking of events like rare astronomical phenomena that happen on their own schedule. It's possible to imagine comparatively rare astronomical events that are only detectable once every 100,000 years or something, and will only be detected if an astronomer has the right instrument pointed in the right direction at the right time.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2022
  23. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Exactly. Which is what makes UAP eyewitness encounters notoriously unreliable.

    This has been shown to be demonstrably false quite few times in this thread and in other threads.

    If you are satisfied that seeing a blue car and remembering it as a red car* is "overwhelmingly accurate" that's fine for you, but it makes you the least qualified person on the planet to have an opinion about UAP encounters or science in general.

    *It has been shown that humans habitually misperceive and misremember things, such as the colour of a car - or the fact that a car was even there. This is incontrovertible fact.

    False, as pointed out before.

    The reason the Scientific Method exists at all is directly because we do not perceive the world accurately.

    "Our day-to-day life" and "the Scientific Method" are two distinct modes of analysis, appropriate at different times for different purposes.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2022

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