UFOs (UAPs): Explanations?

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

  1. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    No one is "debunking" the data, only interpretations.
    Ultimately any theory must cover all the data points. If it doesn't it will be rejected in favour of a theory that does. But for that one does need to have an understanding of what is and what is not data.
    As for multiple sensory modalities being involved, this is not data that they were all observing the same phenomenon. To conclude such is an interpretation of the data. The data would be "this sensor picked up this reading; this sensor picked up that reading; this one picked up this" etc. It is only subsequent interpretation that links all of them to the same phenomenon, and it being more rational that it is one phenomenon than multiple ones. E.g. if all the sensors indicate exactly the same spot, and the signal moves in exactly the same manner on all sensors, then the most likely interpretation is that it is the same target that they are all looking at. But that is interpretation, not data. An interpretation that there are different phenomena being tracked by each, any number of which (or none) may be sensor error, is also an interpretation.

    The question one must then ask oneself: which theory, which interpretation that fits all the data, not all the individual interpretations but all the data, is most rational?

    So yes, follow the data. Don't follow assumptions / interpretations.
     
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  3. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Regarding ufo reports dating back to the 1950's, scientist James Macdonald, who studied ufos under the Air Force's Project Bluebook, offers this noteworthy observation:

    "The type of UFO reports that are most intriguing are close-range sightings of machinelike objects of unconventional nature and unconventional performance characteristics, seen at low altitudes, and sometimes even on the ground. The general public is entirely unaware of the large number of such reports that are coming from credible witnesses... When one starts searching for such cases, their numbers are quite astonishing."====James E. McDonald

    The 2 previous ufo cases I posted are examples of these ufo reports. There is something very strange about them. The ufo itself seems primitive and too crude to be the advanced sort of craft their flight behavior suggests. And yet they kept turning up in woods and farmers' fields. Just part of the enduring mystery of what they are.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2022
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  5. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    That's another piece of popular wisdom that isn't true.

    It can be trivial to prove a negative.

    The most elementary way to do it is by Modus tollens

    A => B (if A is true, then B will be the case.)
    ~B (B isn't the case)
    Therefore ~A (A isn't true)

    In mathematics, mathematical propositions are typically proven false by deriving a contradiction from them and employing reductio ad absurdem

    If assuming the truth of A can be shown by a mathematical proof to imply both B and ~B, then ~A
     
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  7. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    In a word, no.

    Of course, I'm not entirely sure what the word "science" in the abstract refers to. There are individual scientists and scientific organizations. There will be a general consensus, a majority opinion on many matters, that probably is rarely universally agreed to by all scientists. So the outer boundary of what is and isn't science is going to be fuzzy.

    And there's the fact that most of the argument for or against UFOs/UAPs isn't scientific argument at all. The issues in this thread aren't really scientific issues and most of it is tangential to science at best.

    Physics may have some relevance to UAPs, in arguments about whether their observed behavior is consistent with known physics. But aeronautical engineering would be more relevant. Physics would be relevant to arguments about radar anomalies, but consulting an experienced radar technician with years of experience using radars in various conditions might be more enlightening than consulting a physicist.

    Chemistry, biology, geology, even astronomy don't seem particularly useful when addressing UAPs.

    What this thread really needs is people conversant with the philosophy of science and with epistemology (the theory of knowledge). That's what these arguments are all about.

    I couldn't agree more. Of course that assumes the existence of anomalous observation reports that cry out for answers. Just acknowledging that initial starting point seems rather controversial here on sciforums.

    It's certainly "unidentified at present". Whether that turns into "unidentifiable in principle" I don't know. But I do expect that all of them could potentially be identified if enough information was available.

    The question that generates all the controversy in this thread is whether all of the identifications (there will almost certainly we a variety of explanations of different UAPs) would all fall into the realm of the "mundane" (familiar, everyday, uninteresting, "move on, nothing to see here") or whether a subset of them might prove to be extra-mundane (in the sense of something exciting, interesting and new).

    True. Of course the "UAP enthusiasts" aren't the only ones who need to investigate the evidence with open minds and with a willingness to follow the evidence wherever it leads.

    We simply don't know whether or not there is anything extra-mundane happening here. Assuming apriori that there is (as some of the enthusiasts do), represents no more a cognitive error than assuming apriori that there isn't. In reality neither the "UAP enthusiasts" or the "skeptics" have the answers at this point.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2022
  8. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    What would you expect of science?
    Many would say that the issue of UAPs is actually outside the scope of practical science. We can test certain hypotheses, but that at best shows that one interpretation may be wrong, not that it necessarily is. I.e. science can, in those situations, merely introduce doubt. Usually enough for the skeptic, but rarely enough for the believer.
    Science has pushed back our knowledge and understanding of the universe. The issue of UAPs is more about taking that knowledge and seeing what fits the data-points the best. Is that science? Or is that investigation? I don't know that I'd call it science, unless someone is actually testing a hypothesis.
    No it doesn't, and no they're not. At least not in my view. The argument is about what explanation you think fits the data best. You don't need to know the philosophy of science or epistemology for that. If one wants to get in to why some people think differently about the same data, away from UAPs (other than as, perhaps, an example) then one needs to look at psychology, neuroscience, and all the other aspects that go toward why one thinks the way they do.
    But here, nah, this thread is about what one actually thinks, not really the why.
    Not controversial at all. It's a matter of how much effort one wants to put in to establishing that an unrepeated phenomenon was a highly unlikely possibility or a far more likely case of the mundane. As soon as there is clear repeatability of phenomena, you can be sure that the interest will ramp up quickly, but at the moment it really is a case of extraordinary claims (and yes, aliens are an extraordinary claim) require extraordinary evidence. And unless that evidence is forthcoming, there's nothing really to investigate of any significance that "I don't know" doesn't adequately sate the concern about.
    Surely everything is identifiable in principle?
    That's a use of "mundane" that many of us here are not using. "Mundane" does include interesting, and perhaps never-before-witnessed events of natural phenomena, or even of ground-breaking new human tech. We use the term as distinguished from the likes of "paranormal" or "extra-terrestrial" - as human tech and natural phenomena are relatively mundane.
    And it all boils down to what one considers to be the most plausible / likely explanation that fits the data-points. To most skeptics, the chances of alien-visitation (or advanced species of humans, or time-travelling interdimensional beings etc) are so remote that it they genuinely think it more likely the claimant is simply lying, or that the equipment glitched. This isn't something dishonest on their part, but simply because of their understanding of the likelihood of the non-mundane explanation.
    That's why they're called unidentified.

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    As soon as someone has an answer they become identified. The rest is just a matter of confidence in one's interpretation.
     
  9. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Can you meaningfully apply that to this topic? Or was this just an exercise for fun?
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2022
  10. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    No. If any of us skeptics thought a priori that they all fell into the mundane category, we wouldn't be here discussing it. No one here - by definition - thinks participating is a waste of their time.

    In case you doubt this, look how skeptics demand that each account be analyzed on its own merit. If we categorically thought all accounts had mundane explanations, we would be taking a play out of MR's playbook, saying "...well, it's 'obvious' from all the 'other accounts' what the answer 'here' is..."


    We're skeptics; not disbelievers. The same as you are; the only difference is where we set our bar for burden of proof. That is what generates the controversy.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2022
  11. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    But that seems to be what Sarkus is saying. That the non-mundane is so improbable that it is more likely the eyewitness is lying. That already axiomatically rules out the non-mundane. You yourself have commented that because it is far more likely that an eyewitness is in error or lying than that an alien civilization exists, then that is the more likely explanation.

    I am simply evaluating the plausibility of a given ufo sighting against the context of a world where such things are being seen. It seems to me to be no more inappropriate than when skeptics assume a given ufo sighting occurred in a vacuum of "nothing similar ever having happened." Data needs interpretive context, and I allow for such context in my recognition of the entire historical phenomenon of ufos/uaps.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2022
  12. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    No. You are overstating the skeptical process.
    1. If ALL we have is a witness statement, and nothing to corroborate it, then lying is a possibility we can't rule OUT.

    2. Lack of evidence doesn't axiomatically rule out exotic origins.

    3. But yes, people lying is not improbable. It is fact that it does happen. In other words, it is an explanation that requires zero elaboration.

    If we hear hoof beats - we should consider mundane horses before exotic zebras. Horses don't require the invention of a back story to explain their presence. It doesn't mean it can't be zebras, it simply means that - in the absence of concrete confirmation - we need to rule out horses before we can conclude it's zebras.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2022
  13. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Yes. And the context is: exactly zero confirmed UFO craft.

    In fact, even more accurate context: 99.9% of them have been explained

    So that contextual logic of yours will lead you straight to "the other .1% is probably mundane as well, just less evidence available to nail it".
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2022
  14. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    In essence, yes. Another way to look at it is as follows: would I be more surprised to discover someone lied about what they saw, or that the UFO is actually of alien tech / non-mundane (as I use the term mundane)? That's not to say that I therefore believe that they are lying, or that I rule out the possibility that it is alien / non-mundane, only that it shows the hurdle that needs to be overcome before I will believe that it is non-mundane.
    No. Imagine that I have picked a number between one and a million, and you claim to have guessed it. I would consider it more likely that you are lying than you have actually guessed the number. Am I discounting the possibility that you have guessed it correctly? No. I just consider it, well, a one-in-a-million possibility.
    Similarly, just because I consider it more likely that someone has lied about what they witnessed than what they claim being true doesn't mean I rule out that it is true, only that I am unlikely to believe that it is while I consider them lying about it more plausible. The way the claimant overcomes that is to build a case that I would be more amazed for them to be lying about than to be true.

    And that is the acid test: what would you be more amazed about: that they are lying or mistaken, or that what they claim they saw was as they interpreted it? Until you are more amazed that they might be lying or mistaken, you should be nowhere near believing that it is as claimed.
     
  15. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    That seems like a version of the argument from incredulity. That because I find a proposition personally too amazing to be believed, it must be untrue. On that basis we should reject the theory of the Big Bang since it is more amazing that it is true than that it is a lie told or a mistake made by scientists. The whole universe popped into being from a particle the size of a pea? Come on! What do you take me for? IOW, I'm not so sure that our subjective sense of amazingness is a reliable guide for determining truth.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2022
  16. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    The Big Bang isn't accepted because some scientist came up with it. It has been tested probably more than any other hypothesis.

    Here is the problem, you are aware of Bob Lazar, right? If you watch him on the Joe Rogan podcast he is pretty "believable" as far as his presentation, nothing to gain, has cost him a lot, he says he doesn't like the notoriety, etc.

    He tells a story that is fairly complex. The fact that he saw alien spaceships in a hanger, was allowed to go in one, and was trying to reverse engineer an anti-gravity propulsion system, boggles the mind of course.

    However, if you watch the whole podcast he comes off about as credible as one can under those circumstances.

    Yet, when you Google Bob Lazar, the story changes. He never went to Cal Tec and MIT, His high school grades were in the bottom third of the class (not MIT material). There is no record of him at those schools.

    It's more likely that he was the guy checking the radiation badges at his jobs than anything else. He has been arrested for "pandering" (prostitution) and again for selling illegal chemicals across interstate lines.

    This is why you can't just listen to a good story in a perfect setting.

    The Big Bang wasn't a fantastic story that someone came up with and that's it. It made certain predictions that later were able to be verified after more information came to light and as instruments became more sensitive.

    The name "The Big Bang" was a pejorative term given by a leading opponent. The opposing theory at the time was the "Steady State Theory". Facts (expanding of the Universe) put an end to the Steady State Theory along with detecting the Cosmic Microwave Background.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2022
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  17. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    And again - the mangling of the skeptical logic. No one says "must" be untrue.
    As long as you keep beating this strawman, the skeptic's logic stands nearby without a mark on it.



    There is nothing "incredible" about recognizing events that have low probability and considering higher-probability likelihoods.


    "The mugger was right there! The next moment he was gone! He disappeared into thin air, like a ghost!"
    "Hm. He might be a ghost, true, but do you think it's possible he just stepped back into this alleyway here?"
    "You find it too incredible that I was mugged by a ghost? You can't prove it wasn't a ghost..."
     
  18. RainbowSingularity Valued Senior Member

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    if they are 1000 years ahead of us then their physics will look like magic to us
     
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  19. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    True, but that still doesn't make them any more likely to exist and the standard of evidence doesn't change.
     
  20. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

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    Why?

    I find it strange (perhaps not just anthropomorphic) that alien beings follow our pathways

    How about alien community which while living in a plant environment trains the plants to grow into a structure which provides shelter (a tree house in a literal sense?)

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  21. RainbowSingularity Valued Senior Member

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    because at our current level some things appear impossible which doesn't mean they are impossible

    advance quantum computing by 500 years into the future and think about the level of technology we would have.
    imagine if all the military resources were put into science to advance technology instead
     
  22. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

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    At other end of the peaceful use of technology is the Borg

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  23. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    I guess in the same way that what mundane phenomena can seem like alien technology, right?

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    I.e. it's not an argument from incredulity...
    I'm not saying it must be untrue, only that I consider it less likely to be true (than whatever else is being discussed as a possibility). The same way, as per above, that I would consider it more likely that you lied about having the same number (1 to 1,000,000) as me than actually having the same number. It's not that I'm saying that it must therefore be untrue that you don't have the same number, only that I would be more amazed that you did than to find out that you were simply lying. Both remain possibilities, but you'd have to provide rather extraordinary evidence to support the extraordinary claim that you guessed the same number.
    It would be more considerably more amazing that it isn't true, given the weight of evidence for it. But I'm open to the idea that it isn't true, and that the theory continues to be refined, or even overturned entirely as and when new evidence comes to light etc.
    It's not about determining the truth but about what one is willing to believe to be the truth.
    Look, if one of the UAPs really is an alien visitor from another galaxy, this is the truth whether everyone concludes that it is a weather balloon or not. The argument about UAPs, about any thing for which there is evidence but no actual proof, is all about what one believes (or doesn't believe) to be the truth, not what actually is the truth. And for, well, most of us, the likelihood of something actually being an alien from another galaxy, or any other non-mundane (as I have been using the term) explanation, is so remote that there is a need for quite extraordinary levels of evidence before I will believe that explanation to be true. My belief on the matter, however, does not change the reality of what the UAP actually is.
    Also bear in mind that "not believing" something to be a UAP does not mean that I am saying that it definitely can't be, that it "must be" mundane in explanation. It simply means that, with the weight of evidence, the explanation "it is an alien", is not as likely to me as a more mundane explanation.

    Proof, on the other hand, is an entirely different matter. Once one has actual proof then it would be delusional not to accept it.
    But we're not talking about proof when it comes to the explanation behind UAPs but about what one considers to be the most rational explanation, based on the evidence presented.
     

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