UFOs (UAPs): Explanations?

What this thread has shown me is how uncomfortable humans are with not being able to identify things we see. It must be this or that, it just can’t be unidentifiable. I think UAP’s make us feel a little uneasy, because we just prefer certainty over ambiguity.

Exactly! Very well said and I thoroughly agree.

I think that human beings just naturally seek explanations for things. It's a big part of what makes us human and what separates us from our dogs, who seem to just accept things as they are, as givens.

The problem is that as you suggest, that drive to explain leaves us uncomfortable with what remains unexplained, we sense it as a potential source of danger or at the very least as a frustration. So we have this tendency to jump to premature conclusions so as to convince ourselves that things are more comprehensible than they really are.

I expect that even paleolithic people sitting around their campfires assumed that they had everything pretty much figured out. People have assumed that they do throughout human history.

I think that both sides in this thread are doing it. And what's more, one side is often very insulting and abusive in how they do it. (A piss-poor way of winning friends and influencing people.)

I don't want to argue that UAPs are unidentifiable in principle (though conceivably they might be). Being human (really, it's true!) I'm inclined to accept the principle of sufficient reason, that everthing that happens has some kind of explanation. (That isn't something that I actually know, it's more of a heuristic... in much the same way that our logical intuitions seemingly are. How we identify and solve problems.)

But in situations where insufficient evidence exists to make a determination, I don't want to prejudge where that (assumed) explanation must come from. I'm certainly not going to jump to alien spaceships. And I don't want to be brow-beat by our movement "skeptics" into believing that explanations must always be found within the world-conception that particular species of true-believers already embraces. (Basically "mundane" (familiar, everyday) experience or sometimes at a stretch, the more exotic phenomena of "science" as currently conceived.)

I prefer to think that there might very well be new things for us to discover not only out there, but right here. My belief is that even today in our "enlightened" age, we still understand far less of reality than we like to think we do.
 
Last edited:
James R: "My "agenda" here has always been to advocate for critical thinking and rational discussion, with respect for scientific methods. I really have very few other agendas, when it comes to this place. I also hope to keep sciforums something of an island of rationality in the vast internet seas of stupidity, politics and vested interests.

Critical thinking, as it is commonly referred to, seems to me to amount to little more than the demand that you think like how I think so you will reach the same conclusions I reached. Here it seems to be a club to hit posters over the head with to get them to agree with some view or opinion. I prefer thinking for myself, not conforming to some dubious objective method for "proper thinking." When people start referring to an "island of rationality" I am nervously reminded of Big Brother in 1984. We all think and reason differently, arriving at the truth thru a multitude of various paths. Some thinking is plodding and logical, while other thinking is messy and intuitive. Wouldn't it be boring if we all thought the same way?
 
Last edited:
Critical thinking, as it is commonly referred to, seems to me to amount to little more than the demand that you think like how I think so you will reach the same conclusions I reached.
...
I prefer thinking for myself, not conforming to some dubious objective method for "proper thinking."

Yeah, just to put Magical Realist's "thinking for myself" in perspective:
I can't think of any mundane explanation for it. ... appears to even have windows. That entails it is likely some sort of craft.

We don't need to baselessly comment on what it "seems to us" an opponent is thinking; that's his thinking, posted by him, for all to see - petard-hoisting and all.

There is no better proponent in favour of rational and critical thinking than MR serving in the role of counter example. I say we shouldn't try to quash him; we should feature his posts, bold and hilit, as a cautionary tale.
 
Last edited:
Critical thinking, as it is commonly referred to, seems to me to amount to little more than the demand that you think like how I think so you will reach the same conclusions I reached.
That just shows that you still don't understand the first thing about what it means to think critically.

Critical thinking means, for starters, thinking for yourself, rather than following a guru or blindly accepting stuff on the basis of some perceived authority or other.

Years ago, I think I advised you to do yourself a favour and buy yourself a copy of Carl Sagan's book The Demon-Haunted World. Of course, you didn't do that. So you don't know what a balony detection kit is or why you might want or need one. And here you are, years later, still stuck in the same mire of irrationality and fantasy.
I prefer thinking for myself, not conforming to some dubious objective method for "proper thinking."
The key word there is actually "objective". Objectively, there are better and worse ways of thinking about things. This is not a matter of opinion. We can compare outcomes against various measures of utility.

Clearly, your way of thinking continues to fail. Having had that demonstrated over and over again, why would you not change? It's irrational. Oh, but that's the point of what substitutes for thinking, for you, isn't it?
When people start referring to an "island of rationality" I am nervously reminded of Big Brother in 1984.
Poisoning the well fallacy.
We all think and reason differently, arriving at the truth thru a multitude of various paths. Some thinking is plodding and logical, while other thinking is messy and intuitive. Wouldn't it be boring if we all thought the same way?
Why you would imagine that messy "intuitive" thinking would lead to superior outcomes to "plodding" logical thinking is a mystery. Probably because you've never tried plodding, logical thinking, I suppose.

Intuition, by the way, is not thinking. That's another big sticking point for you, that error.
 
Behold the wisdom and self-control of Sarkus:
Stop me when it's getting too confusing for you.
....
Will you never learn. It's almost as if you're too stupid to recognise it in yourself. Or too stupid to stop yourself from doing it.
....
All you really end up doing is show how pathetic you are.
....
Again, stop me if I'm going too fast for you.
....
:rolleyes: Whatever, JamesR. Whatever. Does your patheticness know no limits?
....
See how that works, yet?
....
But you reaching incorrect conclusions is not unusual.
....
That is just you coming up with an ad hominem to avoid having to address the issues, a pathetic attempt to try to argue the person rather than what has been said.
....
It should be bleeding obvious to anyone with a reasonable grasp of English, JamesR. But your comprehension is demonstrably lacking, given the number of incorrect conclusions you've already reached.
....
You really do need to learn to spot rhetorical questions.
....
Why do you knowingly argue a strawman (and it's not the first time!)?
....
I did, but you're struggling to spot the difference between rhetorical and non-rhetorical questions. Have another go.
....
Stick your head in the sand all you want, up until the point your alone on your deserted island.
....
No, JamesR, I am better than I was, because now I am not only more aware of people's hypocrisy and patheticness, but also now more willing to point it out to them.
....
I wonder how long you'll continue to be a pompous and pathetic poster who really only posts to try to make themselves look better than others, and to blow their own trumpet. "Look at me! Look how great I am! Look how much better I am than him, and him!". I guess we'll both have to continue watching this space to find out, eh? :rolleyes:
....
No doubt you'll fail to address the issues, once again simply respond to a summary of what you think they are, and in doing so create a strawman, or at least fail to grasp the actual points.
But, yeah. Whatever.
There's little point in my responding to these babyish insults. I'll see if there is anything worth responding to embedded with this dross. Stay tuned.
 
Sarkus:
To show how "this sort of person operates" requires you dissecting it to highlight it - aka his posts are nothing but a punchbag for you.
No. That's shoddy thinking on your part. Highlighting errors in the thinking of others is a useful and educational exercise, not just a matter of wanting a punching bag. This is the kind of thinking that, ideally, all institutions of higher learning should be encouraging.

You're missing the forest for the trees.
You only do this because you think his is the example not to follow - hence you want to show how superior you are than him.
That's a non sequitur. Yes, I think his is not the example to follow. But you agree with me on that, do you not? So, it's hardly a criticism.

If I am "superior" to him, that should become evident to any discerning reader; it requires no special effort on my part.

I don't quite understand why you are so hung up on one person being superior to another. Maybe that's something you ought to work through, yourself. You seem worried about the idea that one person might be more skilled at something than another, for instance. Why? You don't have an inferiority complex of your own, do you? Fear you don't measure up? Insecure?
Stop me when it's getting too confusing for you.
You don't seem to want to stop, or perhaps you're unable to stop. I don't think my confusion would make any difference to you. You're too wrapped up in yourself.
And yes, I am being deliberately ironic in parrotting your approach.
Oh, I see. Well, kudos to the master of irony, then! You really got me good, there, Sarkus! You're a real intellectual giant.

Feeling better, now?
If you're also referring to your pathetic and weasily lack of apology for calling me a bigot, no, I haven't forgotten, but it is not influencing my posts.
I think it is. Probably you should get over it. You'd be a happier camper. Bottling things up and seething at the world is never healthy. When you do that, eventually you explode, like this, and make a bit of a fool of yourself.
What is relevant is that [Magical Realist] puts forward cases, not the quality of them.
If that's what's relevant to you, that's just fine. Personally, I think the quality (or lack thereof) is very relevant. Previously, I thought you did too, but if not, okay. You do you.
What is relevant is that we analyse those cases that he does put forward, not whether those cases represent the "best of the best".
You missed my point, I think. Never mind.
If you don't like what MR says, don't engage with him!! Moderate him, yes, but don't engage with him! See how that works, yet?
Yes. I already discussed how well that would "work". I have decided I will engage with him. I think your arguments for not doing so are weak. You do you.
My point regarding the meta-discussion is to move it to another thread!
Yes yes. Your opinion has been noted.
I don't believe I know everything or have all the answers, JamesR.
Good! Very wise of you.
Or, just maybe, you can apply some good ol' common sense to the situation?
1. Let MR post to his heart's content, "no commentary, analysis or brain activity involved". This thread becomes a repository, of sort.
That already happens, except when MR can't stop himself from posting in breach of our site posting guidelines, such as (for example) by knowingly telling lies.
2. People can comment if they wish, especially if "Oh, it's a watermark", and MR is free to say how we're dismissing anecdotal evidence. But, here's the trick, people ignore MR's comments, or take that meta-discussion of the heirarchy and strength of evidence, to another thread.
You do you.
Which leads me to:
3. A meta-discussion thread is set up so that people like you can feel better about yourself as you point fingers at the likes of MR and laugh about how you're glad you're not like him (well, that's the way such meta-discussions would likely turn out), and another to discuss the heirarchy of evidence etc. If there are other such meta-issues, set up other threads.
Any thread like that, without context, would probably breach our posting guidelines regarding ad hominem attacks. Adding the necessary context would require duplication of material from elsewhere, which seems like a needless waste of time and space.

I'm still not sure why you think anything is relevant to me feeling better about myself. I feel fine about myself, Sarkus. Thanks for your concern for me, though. But really, me and my ego are doing just fine. I feel validated enough without having to punch down to get some kind of additional ego boost. I hope you don't think I'm punching down at you to make myself feel better about something or other. We wouldn't want that.
4. In the meantime, as has been done in the past, interesting cases are extracted to their own threads and analysed more deeply.
Nothing has ever stopped that from happening.
Sure, they can choose not to walk through the door (and why MR chooses to come back is for him to assess), but what image do you think you portray for this site when you allow people to stay just so you can throw punches at them?
A lot of your questions are packed full of dubious assumptions. If you really want me to answer, try to ask more neutrally. Otherwise, you just come across as a man on a mission with ulterior motives and bad intentions. What do you expect - that I will just let your false assumptions and insults slide? No. If you can't be polite and respectful, you don't deserve answers. Didn't you learn manners?
 
(continued...)
You said your "agenda" is to advocate for critical thinking and promote rational discourse, yet pretty much everything you do here is anathema to that.
Thanks for the feedback, Sarkus! I wish I could say it's always a pleasure hearing your opinions about me and what I do here.
Why do you knowingly argue a strawman (and it's not the first time!)? I referred to a lull in a "thread" and you argue against a lull in a "forum". Why? Do you have no counter to what I have said about a lull in the thread?
I invited you to take a look at the larger context. My response covered lulls in threads and also, helpfully, widened contemplation of the relevant issue.

I am not obliged to stick to your preferred framing of issues. Nor am I obliged to adopt any form of language or work inside some box you have set out for me. If we are to have a respectful conversation, you cannot dictate terms and put limits on what I might say in response to something you have said. Stop trying to bully me. It's poor behaviour and it makes you look small.
Clearly. And you have to wonder why this site is in the mess it is, with the low activity it has. You keeping MR around as a punchbag is a symptom of a much larger problem here.
If this site is so problematic for you, one wonders why you keep coming back for more.
Stick your head in the sand all you want, up until the point your alone on your deserted island.
Will you be the last to leave, just before I'm alone by myself? Or will you be leaving us soon? Do you want to stick around long enough to see my lonely demise? Would that give you satisfaction?
There's no strawman here, JamesR. Your desire for post-count and activity on threads might go some way to explaining your desire to keep letting MR through the door to be a punchbag.
If you don't like activity on the forum, you should just say so.

It is a strange argument you seem to be wanting to make, if you ask me.

Don't think I haven't noticed that you haven't expressed any particular concern for MR's wellbeing or hurt feelings yet, either. Your focus is on other things, isn't it? This isn't really about MR, for you.
No, JamesR, I am better than I was, because now I am not only more aware of people's hypocrisy and patheticness, but also now more willing to point it out to them.
Oh. Interesting. I thought your advice was not to respond to people, but to let them (how did it go?) "post to [their] heart's content, 'no commentary, analysis or brain activity involved'". Then, threads become a repository of sorts.

Double standard, then? You think some people should post to their heart's content, while some other people ought to have their hypocrisy and patheticness pointed out to them?

Tell me, Sarkus: how do you distinguish which class each member of sciforums falls into? Who is fair game for your pointing out hypocrisy and patheticness, and who gets a free ride from you?

So far, we know that MR deserve the free ride, while you feel obliged to point out my hypocrisy and patheticness.

Which category do you fall into, yourself? Can other people point out your hypocrisy and patheticness, or are you in the free ride club?

This is most illuminating.
Whether you think it a hobby of yours is irrelevant.
There's no give and take with you. That must make many conversations difficult for you. Maybe you should stop trying to dictate to people what is relevant and what isn't. Maybe you might learn some new things if you don't assume you have all the information necessary to decide what's relevant at any given time. Did you know that things can gain or lose relevance, in the course of the very same conversation? Something to think about.
It is hypocrisy on your part to tell people to "you do you" when you can't stop "doing them", so to speak.
Would it also be hypocrisy on your part, or am I the only one of the two of us who is capable of this particular hypocrisy?

See, it seems a lot like you're trying to tell me what I should do, here. But that's not hypocritical of you? Hypocrisy only applies to me?

You don't seem to think these things through. You don't seem very self-aware.
I wonder how long you'll continue to be a pompous and pathetic poster who really only posts to try to make themselves look better than others, and to blow their own trumpet. "Look at me! Look how great I am! Look how much better I am than him, and him!". I guess we'll both have to continue watching this space to find out, eh? :rolleyes:
How are you, Sarkus?

Do you think you've succeeded in pulling me down a peg or two and putting me in my rightful place below your magnificence? How do you think you've gone, on a scale from 1 to 10, with proving how much better you are than me, here? Job well done, you think?

Do you think you'll come out of this smelling of roses, Sarkus?
I'd have thought all posts make us feel better about ourselves. That's surely why we post.
Do punching bags make you feel better about yourself, Sarkus?
No, it really isn't. Certainly not the "illuminating tutorial on how to conduct a UFO investigation properly" (but rather 16 pages of inanity punctuated by the occasional pertinent bit of analysis) which is possibly why I overlooked it, but then it's not recorded as being started by you, either.
Thanks for the feedback, again, Sarkus!

I suspect you didn't read through it, though. Or maybe you just missed some of the zingier zingers.
Seriously, the one DaveC linked to was the one I thought you meant as that really was a good bit of analysis. Not by you, of course, as your only real involvement was, once again, to throw punches at MR, but analysis by DaveC in particular. But since you also didn't start that one I didn't assume you meant that, either.
Whatever.

I'm puzzled. Why do you think your opinions matter to me?
No doubt you'll fail to address the issues, once again simply respond to a summary of what you think they are, and in doing so create a strawman, or at least fail to grasp the actual points.
But, yeah. Whatever.
"Whatever" pretty much covers this latest mess you've made.
 
I've always felt that critical thinking is about being able to see/understand both sides of an argument, with the intention of getting to the truth. It requires self-reflection, examining your own biases, and exploring new ideas. In a way, critical thinking challenges us to ask why we are taking a particular side of an argument, not necessarily assuming that the side we're taking is right or wrong.

When it comes to UAP's, how can one become ''better'' at critical thinking? For me, it means that I need to leave emotion out of the process. If you have high ''emotional intelligence,'' that may serve as a challenge at first, but it's worth looking at what holds you back from becoming a more critical thinker.

The difficulty with examining UAP claims, is that if you're applying critical thinking, the best you can do is compare what you know of the world and how it works, with this seemingly out-of-the-ordinary experience that has no reference point. You've concluded what it's not (after rigorous investigation) but you still don't know what it is. But, critical thinking will lead you to an extraordinary explanation, if there is one. Critical thinking doesn't need to persuade, it just eventually leads you to what is truth, if you're doing it right.

Although, it’s exciting to speculate about UAP’s, we should be mindful that we can’t stay stuck there.
 
Last edited:
James R said: "If you can't be polite and respectful, you don't deserve answers. Didn't you learn manners?"

LOL. Oh the irony! He's giving you a dose of your own medicine James. Not very fun being flamed and insulted is it now? Come on! Be strong and take it like a man! Your anonymous fans are counting on you...
 
Last edited:
LOL. Oh the irony! He's giving you a dose of your own medicine James. Not very fun being flamed and insulted is it now? Come on! Be strong and take it like a man! Your anonymous fans are counting on you...
That's right, Magical Realist. Run and hide behind Sarkus's coat tails. Then cheer from behind there, where it's safe!

I have accused you of knowingly telling lies. You have knowingly told lies.
I have accused you of believing in UFO fantasies for reasons other than evidence. That is supported by your posting record.
I have accused you of lashing out angrily whenever your complete absence of analysis and critical thought is exposed. It is clear that this is what happens, regularly.

Have I backed up my criticisms of your position and your thinking with reference to evidence? Indeed I have.

Run along now, MR. An adult is speaking now.

Once you've cleaned your own house, you can try coming after me, maybe.

Sarkus hasn't done well so far. You shouldn't want to jump on his bandwagon at this point.

Do you have any integrity left, MR? How about you try to show what's there, for once?
 
Last edited:
No. That's shoddy thinking on your part. Highlighting errors in the thinking of others is a useful and educational exercise, not just a matter of wanting a punching bag. This is the kind of thinking that, ideally, all institutions of higher learning should be encouraging.
But you don't do it in that fashion, JamesR. You're not a teacher, and this isn't an institute of higher learning. This is you, quite clearly, using MR as a punchbag. You can dress it up however you want. You can paint little flowers, wrap it up in a bow, but it's still you using him as a punchbag. You can't help yourself.
You're missing the forest for the trees.
No, I'm not. You putting a tree in front of someone and claiming it a forest, though.
Yes, I think his is not the example to follow. But you agree with me on that, do you not? So, it's hardly a criticism.
I do. The criticism is not with moderating him, but in your continual use of him as a punchbag, and how that has derailed this thread.
If I am "superior" to him, that should become evident to any discerning reader; it requires no special effort on my part.
Then stop using him as a punchbag! Moderate his behaviour, but do it as a moderator.
I don't quite understand why you are so hung up on one person being superior to another. Maybe that's something you ought to work through, yourself.
I am not hung up on it, JamesR. Maybe your continuing misunderstanding is something you need to work through, yourself? I am simply pointing out what I consider your appalling behaviour in trying to assert your superiority over him. You are using him as a punchbag when actual moderation should suffice. As you say, it should require no special effort: so why make all the special effort that you do? It's because you see value in having him around as an example, as a punchbag.
You seem worried about the idea that one person might be more skilled at something than another, for instance. Why? You don't have an inferiority complex of your own, do you? Fear you don't measure up? Insecure?
:rolleyes: You do you, JamesR. You are clearly incapable of "doing" anyone else. It's laughably pathetic, and you continue to do it, but, well, it's you. So, yeah, whatever.
You don't seem to want to stop, or perhaps you're unable to stop. I don't think my confusion would make any difference to you. You're too wrapped up in yourself.
At least if you admitted that you were confused you may stop making up so many strawmen.
Feeling better, now?
I'll feel better if it helps you recognise when your posts are being hypocritical.
I think it is.
But then you think a lot of wrong things, and this is just one more.
Probably you should get over it.
Your lack of apology? Oh, I got over that the moment you refused to acknowledge calling me a bigot. Oh, look, that lack of apology is now influencing my posts! Doh! :rolleyes:
You'd be a happier camper. Bottling things up and seething at the world is never healthy. When you do that, eventually you explode, like this, and make a bit of a fool of yourself.
Someone has exploded? You think I have exploded?? Well, misunderstanding things is sort of your MO these days, isn't it. But thanks for the life tips, JamesR. Concern for my well-being from someone like you really means a lot. :rolleyes:
If that's what's relevant to you, that's just fine. Personally, I think the quality (or lack thereof) is very relevant. Previously, I thought you did too, but if not, okay. You do you.
It's never been relevant to me whether MR thinks them "the best of the best", as I'm quite capable of judging for myself whether a case is interesting to me or not, whether it is a simple case to debunk or not. I don't need someone else telling me. But, again, just another of your misunderstandings that we're all getting so used to. It wasn't relevant to my initial comment that he filtered. It's still not relevant.
You missed my point, I think. Never mind.
You had a point? Do share, please? Or was it just another strawman that you're now dropping?
Yes. I already discussed how well that would "work". I have decided I will engage with him. I think your arguments for not doing so are weak. You do you.
So not derailing a thread, not stopping using him as a punchbag, getting more actual sensible discussion, even possibly more activity... all of these you consider weak? And instead you have decided to engage with him thus derailing the thread (current status), still using him as a punchbag, etc... yeah, sure, you do you, JamesR. :rolleyes:
Yes yes. Your opinion has been noted.
As has your abhorrent treatment of a member, but, hey, we are where we are.
That already happens, except when MR can't stop himself from posting in breach of our site posting guidelines, such as (for example) by knowingly telling lies.
Exccept it ends up getting derailed because (a) you want to use him as a punchbag, and (b) you claim it's all part of the meta-discussions. Yeah, right.
Any thread like that, without context, would probably breach our posting guidelines regarding ad hominem attacks.
??? So it'd be breaching guidelines regarding ad hominem attacks if in another thread, but you, as a moderator, think it acceptable if in this thread?
Adding the necessary context would require duplication of material from elsewhere, which seems like a needless waste of time and space.
Garbage. It would take a quick summary of the meta-issue, and a link to the other thread. Stop making poor excuses for your behaviour.
I'm still not sure why you think anything is relevant to me feeling better about myself. I feel fine about myself, Sarkus. Thanks for your concern for me, though. But really, me and my ego are doing just fine. I feel validated enough without having to punch down to get some kind of additional ego boost.
Then it begs the question of why you do it, doesn't it? And if you don't recognise that about yourself, that it is what you are doing, well, that speaks volumes as well.
I hope you don't think I'm punching down at you to make myself feel better about something or other. We wouldn't want that.
Your attempts to punch down just make you look foolish, JamesR. But, hey, if you want to keep looking at your navel, that's up to you.
Nothing has ever stopped that from happening.
Never said it had. Just laying out the overall way it could work, whether parts are already there or not.
A lot of your questions are packed full of dubious assumptions. If you really want me to answer, try to ask more neutrally.
Again you can't spot a rhetorical question. :rolleyes:
Otherwise, you just come across as a man on a mission with ulterior motives and bad intentions.
I have laid out my motives, JamesR. They should be abundantly clear by now, even to you. Bad intentions? If the cessation of you treating MR like a punchbag is a bad intention, then yeah, I guess so. If you not derailing this thread with meta-discussions that should, per site rules, be moved to another thread, then yeah, bad intentions. If you finally recognising that keeping someone around, as you admit, to serve as an example to others is rather abhorrent behaviour for a moderator, then yeah, bad intentions.
What do you expect - that I will just let your false assumptions and insults slide? No. If you can't be polite and respectful, you don't deserve answers. Didn't you learn manners?
Oh, will the irony never end! ;)
 
Thanks for the feedback, Sarkus! I wish I could say it's always a pleasure hearing your opinions about me and what I do here.
Reality can often be unpleasurable, I guess.
I invited you to take a look at the larger context. My response covered lulls in threads and also, helpfully, widened contemplation of the relevant issue.
Nope, the issue was about the lull in the thread, which you haven't addressed. Begs the question of why you're evading, doesn't it.
I am not obliged to stick to your preferred framing of issues. Nor am I obliged to adopt any form of language or work inside some box you have set out for me. If we are to have a respectful conversation, you cannot dictate terms and put limits on what I might say in response to something you have said. Stop trying to bully me. It's poor behaviour and it makes you look small.
I'm not trying to bully, JamesR, but now you've raised the issue, if I could just hold you up as an example of how not to act, you know, for the discerning audience and all that. Keep pointing out your hypocrisy, your strawmen, your own dishonesty, your poor treatment of MR etc. Is that okay?
If this site is so problematic for you, one wonders why you keep coming back for more.
I never said it was problematic for me, JamesR. Another strawman, but thanks.
Will you be the last to leave, just before I'm alone by myself? Or will you be leaving us soon? Do you want to stick around long enough to see my lonely demise? Would that give you satisfaction?
I get no satisfaction from watching what was a somewhat interesting little community gradually collapse under the weight of sanctimonious bile. But, hey, whatever.

If you don't like activity on the forum, you should just say so.
Strawman. Please stop. I like activity. But I don't like people being used as punchbags, and if that is all the activity you feel you can muster....
It is a strange argument you seem to be wanting to make, if you ask me.
In what way do you consider it strange? That may actually help you address it rather than raise more strawmen.
Don't think I haven't noticed that you haven't expressed any particular concern for MR's wellbeing or hurt feelings yet, either. Your focus is on other things, isn't it? This isn't really about MR, for you.
My private correspondence on this matter with MR is none of your concern.
Oh. Interesting. I thought your advice was not to respond to people, but to let them (how did it go?) "post to [their] heart's content, 'no commentary, analysis or brain activity involved'". Then, threads become a repository of sorts.
No, that's another strawman on your part. My advice in this specific case was to use this thread as a repository, to allow MR to post his videos here etc (where no commentary, analysis or brain activity is required). To then set up another thread to discuss what you find most interesting: the meta-issues etc; and separate threads for any specific case - as is currently being done.
Double standard, then? You think some people should post to their heart's content, while some other people ought to have their hypocrisy and patheticness pointed out to them?

Tell me, Sarkus: how do you distinguish which class each member of sciforums falls into? Who is fair game for your pointing out hypocrisy and patheticness, and who gets a free ride from you?

So far, we know that MR deserve the free ride, while you feel obliged to point out my hypocrisy and patheticness.

Which category do you fall into, yourself? Can other people point out your hypocrisy and patheticness, or are you in the free ride club?

This is most illuminating.
What is illuminating is your deliberate conflation of issues. Strawman much?
If MR posts against site rules, he should be moderated. No issue there, and there never has been. People can respond to his posts as they see fit... and similarly be moderated as necessary. Again, no issue. But you are deliberately allowing MR to post so that you can hold him up as an example. That is treating him as a punchbag. That is (as far as I am concerned) abhorrent behaviour for a moderator. That I have issue with.
The point about moving discussions to different threads would, in my view, keep discussions better contained, i.e. on topic and not tangential, as this one nearly always seems to be. But hey, you're the moderator, so "you do you", and I guess this site will be the measure of it.
There's no give and take with you. That must make many conversations difficult for you. Maybe you should stop trying to dictate to people what is relevant and what isn't.
If I make an argument, and your counter argument doesn't address the issue, it is by its very nature irrelevant. Period. Something may be relevant to you in other ways, but it will still be irrelevant to the point being made if it does not address the issue. Maybe you not appreciating that is why you end up creating so many strawmen.
Maybe you might learn some new things if you don't assume you have all the information necessary to decide what's relevant at any given time. Did you know that things can gain or lose relevance, in the course of the very same conversation? Something to think about.
Notice how you still haven't addressed the issue. You've simply tried to make excuses for bringing in an irrelevancy. It remains an irrelevancy to the point made. Care to try again?
Would it also be hypocrisy on your part, or am I the only one of the two of us who is capable of this particular hypocrisy?
See, it seems a lot like you're trying to tell me what I should do, here. But that's not hypocritical of you? Hypocrisy only applies to me?
Why would you think it only applies to you? If I'm being hypocritical then I am being hypocritical. Do you think I'm being hypocritical in trying to get you to not treat MR as a punchbag, for example?
Me trying to tell you what I think you should do would only be hypocritical of me if I didn't allow you to tell me what you think I should do. See how it works? Since I don't stop you trying to tell me what you think I should do, I am not being hypocritical in tell you what I think you should do. I might argue against the specific things you are trying to tell me to do, but I'm not stopping you from trying. So no hypocrisy there. See how it works?
You don't seem to think these things through. You don't seem very self-aware.
:rolleyes: More irony.
How are you, Sarkus?
...
:rolleyes: Respond to the points and arguments, JamesR. Not me.
Thanks for the feedback, again, Sarkus!
I suspect you didn't read through it, though. Or maybe you just missed some of the zingier zingers.
Can I miss what isn't there? Maybe you can highlight one of the "zingier zingers" that you think I missed, so I have a better understanding of the standard you think represents an example of how to conduct a UFO investigation properly? So your audience are aware of it, as well?
I'm puzzled. Why do you think your opinions matter to me?
Because I'd like to think you've got some intelligence. But, hey, whatever.
"Whatever" pretty much covers this latest mess you've made.
The only mess is created because of your continuing use of strawmen. Drop those, address the actual points raised, and... :rolleyes: whatever.
 
There's little point in my responding to these babyish insults. I'll see if there is anything worth responding to embedded with this dross. Stay tuned.
Your dismissal of them as such are telling, but then anything to avoid having to face up to things, eh.
 
Critical thinking, as it is commonly referred to, seems to me to amount to little more than the demand that you think like how I think so you will reach the same conclusions I reached. Here it seems to be a club to hit posters over the head with to get them to agree with some view or opinion.

Yes, in the context in which many people use the phrase, that's often the case.

But I do think that critical thinking can oftentimes be a valuable thing. 'Critical' without favor or bias I might add, not just a critical stance towards the other-guy's ideas while our own pieties go unquestioned and unexamined. The (true) skepticism implicit in critical thinking is most important when applied to one's self and one's own faith commitments.

I prefer thinking for myself, not conforming to some dubious objective method for "proper thinking."

I don't believe that "the proper method for thinking" has ever been discovered, or even that it exists.

People point to logic, but logic is still striving to model natural thought processes. Most of the dramatic advances of 20th century logicians have consisted of strengthening traditional logic with many forms of modalities for example. Alethetic logics (which introduces necessity and possibility), Epistemic logics (where knows and believes become logical operators), temporal logics (since what is true today might not be true tomorrow), deontic logic (where should and shouldn't are introduced). There's not only deductive logic, but induction and abduction as well. There are many-valued logics that can model probabilities or degrees of belief.

The take-away from all that technical stuff is that logic is still playing catch-up as it tries to model the thinking that people effortlessly (in most cases) do every day. Logic is the attempt to formalize everyday thought in the manner of mathematics. It isn't a procrustian bed into which everyone's thinking needs by force to be crammed, even if that means cutting off some bits of normal human thought.

I should add that learning a list of "fallacies" isn't particularly helpful either. Formal fallacies are simply thought patterns that aren't deductively valid. If you start with what are assumed to be true premises, a fallacious pattern of reasoning won't provide a conclusion that has to be as true as the premises are. But the fallacious pattern of reasoning might still be very useful and informative. Scientific induction is the classic example of a deductively fallacious pattern of reasoning upon which much of science is based.

This famous quip is attributed to logician Morris Cohen: "All logic texts are divided into two parts. In the first part, on deductive logic, the fallacies are explained; in the second part, on inductive logic, they are committed."

Abduction/Inference to the Best Explanation, in which one argues from evidence to conclusions about what best explains that evidence, is another example of fallacious reasoning upon which we rely. Our best evidence, in science as in the rest of life, rarely justifies our conclusions with deductive certainty. But it does seem to make our conclusions more likely somehow. (How is still a work in progress that requires use of probabilistic logic, hence the current popularity of the Bayesians.)

We all think and reason differently, arriving at the truth thru a multitude of various paths.

All of the attempts to reveal and explain the logic of science (usually taken to be physics), so popular back in the 1950's-1970's period, were ultimately unsuccessful. Biologists don't think like physicists. Mathematics and physical law play very different roles for one thing. (Cell biologists don't fill chalkboards with mathematics like theoretical physicists do.) Scientists observe, they interpret their observations, they measure in many different ways, they hypothesize, they model (whether mathematically or mechanically), they derive this from that mathematically or logically, they predict, they experiment in countless ways (experimental procedures)... and most of those cognitive tasks are in large part logically distinct, they draw upon different preexisting assumptions (and all of them have a huge literature and generate many questions).

Some thinking is plodding and logical

Mathematical derivations from accepted physical law might fit that description. There's simply a step-by-step rule-governed aspect to how they proceed (numbered steps in a proof). But even in mathematics, creativity and insight are essential in ways that still aren't fully understood.

while other thinking is messy and intuitive.

Hypothesis formation and scientific creativity. August Kekule imagining the structure of benzene in a dream. Certainly testing the products of speculation is very necessary and will likely need to be more structured, but producing the speculations in the first place needn't be.

Wouldn't it be boring if we all thought the same way?

It wouldn't just be boring, it would be the essence of totalitarianism 1984-style where people are not only forced to physically obey, but where it has been made impossible for them to even think of disobeying.

And we still haven't established that science is or provides us with a single unique golden road to truth. It's just an assumption seemingly often shared on this board but the argument remains to be made.

People engage in all kinds of cognition that isn't science or scientific per-se, but still seems to have some relationship with truth. Sensory perception is certainly the paradigmatic way of for human beings to intuit truths. There's also mathematical and logical intuition. (Science is firmly built atop these kinds of intuition as its fundamental basis.) Historians, psychologists and the "social sciences" generally are often engaged in interpreting human behavior. People argue ethics, public policy, international relations or politics, as this board's moderators love to do on Sciforums' political and ethics fora where strangely, there's no incessant demand that the fora be "scientific" as there is here in fringe (why is that?).

Getting back to the narrower subject of "critical thinking", I'm just skeptical that there's some one-size-fits-all procedure that can be taught to kids in school that will prepare them to cognize correctly in every instance, in all the varied situations in which they might find themselves.

Perhaps the simplest way to be a true skeptic and to really practice critical thinking is simply to ask "why should I believe that?" about every proposition. Don't just ask it about the other-guy's idea that you disagree with. Ask it about your own most cherished beliefs as well. (I did it a bit with logic and science up above.)

I think that doing that will result in a sort of fallibilism in which nothing is believed to be absolutely certain, but where different ideas are accepted provisionally with different degrees of credence. Some of our beliefs might seem to be very close to certain even if we can't justify them satisfactorily. Others are just shots in the dark. But none of our beliefs is immune from being wrong.

That's what I take the essence of skepticism to be in the historical philosophical sense.
 
Last edited:
UFOs are no laughing matter for us: Behind the scenes of France's real life 'Ovni' hunters (phys.org)

"GEIPAN's goal is clear: to present or attempt to present a rational answer for the misunderstood, unusual and sometimes spectacular occurrences spotted by witnesses, and to explain the reasons for their presumed irregularity."

Of course, that's fine, but sounds like they're approaching these UAP's, assuming they'll all be debunked? Maybe I'm being cynical.

Interesting though, that they'll be assisting NASA with their group, as well.
 
Sarkus:

Again, you have driven me to boredom with with your predictable and mostly contentless reply.

It's been a long time for me since primary school. I left silly playground posturing in the primary school playground. You seem to be stuck there. Maybe you've had less time away from it. Anyway, your childish taunting "You smell! No you smell! You smell worse!" isn't something an adult like myself needs to waste too much time on.

Let me summarise where we're at, then.

You feign concern for Magical Realist's welfare. You pretend you've sent private messages of consolation to him, because you believe I've been bullying him - to use your favorite phrase "using him as a punching bag". I don't believe you have sent any such communication to him. I don't believe you care about his feelings.

I also think you're a hypocrite. While your ostensible concern is about one person using another as a punching bag, you are simultaneously trying to use me as your punching bag, like a juvenile schoolyard bully. Any legitimacy your complaint might conceivably have had is obviated by your own hypocrisy. However, all the signs are that this is just a show from you. You never had a legitimate concern; you just wanted an excuse to make yourself feel big by trying to bully somebody else.

You ought to grow up and act like a mature adult. I'm not sure how long that might take, if you get there.

Now, I might be underestimating you. Maybe you're actually a sophisticated troll who is just doing what trolls do, in this for the lols. But I don't think so. You seem to want validation.

I have already exposed your double standards for what they are. There's nothing more I have to say to you.

Toddle off back to the playground, Sarkus.
 
Again, you have driven me to boredom with with your predictable and mostly contentless reply.
Keeping your head in the sand doesn't do you any favours. If you judge content by that which you are willing to honestly reply to, sure, it's mostly contentless. Predictable? Aren't we all. You certainly are.
It's been a long time for me since primary school. I left silly playground posturing in the primary school playground.
He says while posturing in a silly playground manner.
You seem to be stuck there.
Nope, just dragged back by you and your pathetic attitude. Show that you can step out of the playground, JamesR. Don't just say you're not there but do it.
Maybe you've had less time away from it. Anyway, your childish taunting "You smell! No you smell! You smell worse!" isn't something an adult like myself needs to waste too much time on.
Not only is that another Strawman, but it is hypocrisy, again. Stop it, please.
Let me summarise where we're at, then.

You feign concern for Magical Realist's welfare.
In so far as seeing him treated as a punchbag, I am feigning nothing, and it is shameful of you to think otherwise.

You pretend you've sent private messages of consolation to him, because you believe I've been bullying him - to use your favorite phrase "using him as a punching bag". I don't believe you have sent any such communication to him. I don't believe you care about his feelings.
I honestly couldn't give a shit whether you believe me or not. It is just yet another example of your dishonesty to claim that it matters to the points made.
If MR wants to confirm that we have conversed, that is up to him. No doubt you'll claim that any message was only sent after your prompt, which would be another unsupported assertion on your part if you did, and incorrect. But, hey, it hasn't stopped you so far.

I also think you're a hypocrite. While your ostensible concern is about one person using another as a punching bag, you are simultaneously trying to use me as your punching bag, like a juvenile schoolyard bully.
Finally you are beginning to understand. Hypocrisy to make a point is quite useful.
The main difference, however, is that you fight back more than MR does, but treat him as a punchbag you do. Imagine, for once, if you can, how he feels. Not just as being used as a punchbag but by very assertion that you allow him to remain here to be treated as such, as an example. How do you think he feels, JamesR?
Any legitimacy your complaint might conceivably have had is obviated by your own hypocrisy.
No, it is enhanced, by your own reaction. If you don't like it done to you, stop doing it to others! Simples, really.


However, all the signs are that this is just a show from you. You never had a legitimate concern; you just wanted an excuse to make yourself feel big by trying to bully somebody else.
If that makes you feel better, sure, you believe that. The truth of it, however, is different. You are the bully, JamesR, and have been bullying MR for a long time. Moderate him, sure, but for once try to imagine how he feels. Should be easier for you to do now, perhaps.
You ought to grow up and act like a mature adult. I'm not sure how long that might take, if you get there.
Still in the playground, eh. :Rolleyes:

Now, I might be underestimating you. Maybe you're actually a sophisticated troll who is just doing what trolls do, in this for the lols. But I don't think so. You seem to want validation.
Your false dichotomy is not lost on me, nor the continuing insults, you know, the type of ones you keep telling me not to do.
Imagine, for a second, if you can, that there are other options, such as you underestimating me, that I am concerned about your bullying of him, and your abhorrent treatment of him, and that my treatment of you here is to put a mirror in front of you.
Oh, I know, you'll say how it hasn't been a mirror, that it hasn't worked, and any other face-saving excuse you want to make. That's fine, as long as you know the reality of it, and it ultimately makes things better.
I have already exposed your double standards for what they are. There's nothing more I have to say to you.
You've exposed nothing that wasn't deliberately there for you to eventually recognise. Hopefully now the lesson will get through to you and your treatment of MR will improve, and hopefully you'll also address your own penchant for strawmen, ad hominem, and woeful failure to understand other people.

But, hey, if you simply want to dismiss it all, and continue to think I'm feigning concern for MR, and you want to carry on punching MR as you have been... well, you're the moderator. All hail Caesar and all that. :rolleyes:
 
Back
Top