UFOs (UAPs): Explanations?

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

  1. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    I believe MR considers eyewitness testimony to be “evidence,” and this goes back to a recent detour this thread took along the path of “what constitutes evidence when it comes to UAP sightings?”

    It’s not possible to reconstruct these scenarios in a lab for example, or observe repeatable tests, so credible witnesses should be relied on to an extent, to relay what they’d observed. To an extent.

    Witnesses aren’t always reliable, though. That is true. We need reliable evidence that any of us could agree upon (collectively) but it’s not readily available, when it comes to UAP’s. Therein lies the conundrum.

    But, it’s fine to disagree with MR…and explain why. This sub-forum isn’t part of the hard science section so the jousting matches don’t make sense to me. It should be expected that members will float alternative theories in the “On the Fringe” section. Is the section designed to post pseudoscience and alternative ideas, only to be immediately dismissed or shamed by those who disagree?

    I’m not suggesting you stop urging MR to rethink his position but the section itself is to discuss alternative ideas that fall outside the norm. So, his ideas shouldn’t seem that outlandish. They’re just ideas.
    Last edited: May 28, 2023
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  3. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    There's a cynical part of me that wants to feel that the establishment may actually be exploiting the popular idea that there is "something spectacular" to potentially uncover, in order to ensure future funding for updated and superior monitoring slash response technology. Encouraging NASA and other scientists to get on board adds credibility to that facade (or at least partial facade).

    That the real reason the establishment is de-stigmatizing UAPs is not because it has suddenly become gung ho that there are radical anomalies to perhaps discover... But that the technology of non-Western or rival nations has or will reach the point where it can slip past our Watchers to an unsettling degree. So they want personnel (and even civilians) to be as alert and sharp as possible -- free from the inhibitions of the past, so to investigate and report meticulously.

    Enthusiasm about "crazy stuff" is no longer something that intelligence agencies and the military want to suppress amongst the public, and especially the rank and file. But to instead outright stimulate such if that facilitates better scrutiny for unfriendly intrusion events.
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  5. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Look at the people here who lead the charge for the aliens.

    Should any critical thinker put any stock at all in Magical Realist's opinions on UFOs, given that he makes the same errors in thinking over and over again, despite careful attempts at education?

    These people are their own worst enemies, if they really want UFOs taken seriously.
    Do you have something particular in mind?

    If there something you've noticed the skeptics being unreasonable about? Dismissing things out of hand, perhaps? If you've got examples, I'd like to see them.
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  7. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Good for you. I expect you to stop claiming you have radar evidence, though, when you don't have any.
    You have Kevin Day's memories and interpretations of such things, sure. Why would you put any special stock in those?
    Yes, but it's all horribly weak and unreliable.
    You really can't think of what more we might want?

    You're satisfied with just this?

    What's your conclusion about these UFOs, then, given that you need nothing more?
  8. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Me too. Hence my query to MR about how he concluded that the eyewitnesses were "totally reliable".

    I don't think he understood the point.
    What do you mean by "unknown" here? If you're claiming nothing more than the UFOs remain unidentified, then everybody here agrees with you.

    If you think there's good reason to suspect the explanation will involve "new physics", I'd like to hear how you reached that conclusion, based on the evidence, such as it is.
    Yes, all discussed at some length right here.
    It keeps the UFO crowd happy - including the ones who are in the Navy.
    Yes. More reports of unidentified things.
    That leaves a multitude of possible explanations open. Nothing points convincingly towards "unknown physical phenomena" (if "unknown" means anything more than "currently unidentified").
    Lots of things are possible. What they aren't saying is that they haven't seen any convincing evidence of this reported extreme performance. We haven't, either.
    There's no reason to think the government wouldn't have a few alien-believers in its ranks.
    It would be interesting to look into the budget allocations in both cases. A small amount of money to keep the UFO crowd happy would not be unreasonable - actually, it's probably part of NASA's PR remit.
    Lots of possibilities. Not so much hard data.
    Not hard to find a few alien enthusiasts among qualified scientists.
    Your opinion on this is, and always has been, shared by all the skeptics here. You like to think you're out on a limb on this, but you're not.
    Interesting? Moderately. We're all here discussing it, so I guess it's interesting. It's not like we haven't seen this sort of thing before, though, historically speaking. This is just the latest surge in UFO popularity - one of many. This too will pass (unless some really good evidence comes to light).
    In the vast majority of cases, that's true and completely uncontroversial. For instance, the most common UFO reports are mistaken sightings of astronomical objects, like Venus and Mars. They are indisputably actual physical phenomena. Weather balloons are real. So are human-made aircraft. Lots of things are actually physically real.
    Last edited: May 28, 2023
  9. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Yes, eyewitness testimony is evidence. The question then becomes: evidence of what?

    Eyewitness testimony is evidence about what an eyewitness thinks he or she saw. Whether or not he or she actually saw that remains an open question, until it's not. So, we ask sensible questions, like: is there any independent confirmation? Is there any non-anecdotal evidence? How reliable is the eyewitness? What were the circumstances in which the eyewitness experienced the sighting? What state was the eyewitness in at the time? etc.

    Generally speaking, eyewitness testimony in these cases is very weak evidence for anything extraordinary, because (a) eyewitnesses often misinterpret unfamiliar things they see; (b) human memory is notoriously unreliable; (c) human beings are suggestible; (d) humans can be motivated to tell lies; (e) human perception is notoriously unreliable.

    So yes, eyewitness testimony is evidence. It is what it is: generally speaking a very weak form of evidence for close encounters with aliens.
    Just about everybody carries a great camera around in their pocket, these days. These cameras can usually record video and sound, too. Yet, almost always, alleged alien spaceships are nothing better than fuzzy blobs in photos or on video. Funny thing, that. I wonder why.
    It's one thing to float a hypothesis. It's another to make the sorts of overblown, ridiculous claims that somebody like MR constantly makes. He tries to talk up the evidence every single time, as if his preferred interpretation is definitive and unimpeachable. But the man has never been interested in actually digging in and examining the evidence properly. He has told us flat out that he just believes whatever people have to say, as long as they're talking woo.
    Last edited: May 28, 2023
  10. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

    I think these military reports far exceed any previous evidence which was just some yokel who thought they saw something in the sky. These are experienced pilots doing their duty to report honestly what they saw, coupled with tentative corroboration from military hardware, with video. Not proof of advanced technology necessarily, but more than enough to justify future reliable scientific evidence gathering efforts.
    Yazata and Magical Realist like this.
  11. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    I agree with most of that. I'm not sure about the "far exceed" part. It seems to me that the publically-released videos from the military are similar in many respects to the usual kinds of UFO-sighting videos we commonly see from civilians. The eyewitness testimonies are also very similar in many respects.

    I think that, in all likelihood, the pilots and radar operators involved in these incidents initially honestly reported what they thought they saw, along with their guesses about how best to interpret what they saw.

    Now, years after the events, I worry about subsequent contamination of the recollections and opinions of the various eyewitnesses. There has been a lot of opportunity for collaboration among those who have gone public with their stories - which doesn't necessarily mean deliberate collusion, by the way. After the event, people can gradually become a lot more certain about things they really weren't at all certain about at the time, for many reasons.

    Analysis of videos shows that, whatever they were observing, it doesn't look like it was behaving in any particularly extraordinary way, in terms of manouverability, speed or acceleration. Apparent rotation on the FLIR videos seems to be obviously due to the motions of the camera pod on the plane taking the footage, rather than real rotation of the objects under observation.

    No radar data has been released publically. Some have claimed the relevant data no longer exists; other have made familiar-sounding conspiracy claims that are unverified.

    I'm all for scientific evidence gathering efforts, of course.
  12. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Sure, not arguing that. Wouldn't you say it's a tad irresponsible to continue with '...and therefore I don't need to bother with the actual radar to which that testimony refers...'?

    The central ethos of SciFo is:

    "... we retain in all areas of debate an ethos of respect for the scientific method, which demands critical analysis, clear thinking and evidence-based argument."
    It's in the very first paragraph.

    It's not the ideas that are outlandish; it's the complete lack of critical analysis and clear thinking to support the ideas.
    Last edited: May 28, 2023
  13. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Yeah, this is noteworthy.

    There's a lot of talk - a lot of editorialism, rhetoric and interpretation - both here and in the media, about all these allegedly extraordinary maneuvers. But so far, has anyone come across any visual evidence of anything whatsoever actually exhibiting them?

    I feel like we're being catfished.
    The Real Thing Video: "Heeyyy you're really cute! Text me?"
    Us: "Yeah. I like you, and you look real purdy on your profile. Let's meet up in real life."
    TRT Video: "Sure, sure. Er, but I'm all Secret this week, but next week for sure!'
  14. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    If there’s “nothing to see here,” when it comes to the tic tac video, why would the US government make a bigger deal about it? Why would NASA create a group to specifically investigate UAP’s?

    Why would the navy pilots state that what they’d witnessed was out of the ordinary, if it wasn’t?

    I understand skeptics’ skepticism when it comes to eyewitness testimony in a broader sense, but continuing to say “there’s nothing to see here,” is a bit reckless because there clearly is something to see here. Why don’t you believe there is?
    Magical Realist likes this.
  15. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    I don't know what they are. That's why they're called unidentified aerial phenomena. I linger in the uncertainty and await more evidence..
    Last edited: May 28, 2023
  16. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Who said there's "nothing to see here"? We don't know yet.

    This isn't an "is" versus "isn't" thing. Those are words of fact. We don't have facts yet.

    Strawman. Skeptics are not saying "nothing to see here".

    Our beliefs are irrelevant; let's have some evidence.
  17. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    So do I.

    So do scientists, so do courts of law.

    Yes. I'm inclined to accept the eyewitness reports, not as 100% accurate and infallible truths (which might just be an intellectual ideal anyway) but as useful and often valuable data points. I'm inclined to accept them as data points unless I have some even more plausible reason to reject them.

    It seems entirely reasonable to me and unobjectionable to hypothesize about what that (admittedly imperfect and not totally reliable) data seems to be suggesting. In full knowledge that those hypotheses might possibly be wrong, of course.
    Last edited: May 28, 2023
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  18. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Interesting that the etymological definition of a phenomenon is a fact or event that is directly observed. In that sense then firsthand observation is the foundation of empirically establishing a phenomenon as real. It is because it has been perceived. Without eyewitness observation, the scientific method would be impossible. Science would be all hypotheticals and fanciful speculations, pretty much like what the skeptical position of armchair debunkery amounts to.
    phenomenon (n.)
    "1570s, "a fact directly observed, a thing that appears or is perceived, an occurrence," especially a regular kind of fact observed on certain kinds of occasions, from Late Latin phænomenon, from Greek phainomenon "that which appears or is seen," noun use of neuter present participle of phainesthai "to appear," passive of phainein "bring to light, cause to appear, show" (from PIE root *bha- (1) "to shine"). Meaning "extraordinary occurrence" is recorded by 1771. In philosophy, "an appearance or immediate object of experience" (1788). The plural is phenomena."--- https://www.etymonline.com/word/phenomenon#etymonline_v_14843
    Last edited: May 28, 2023
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  19. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    I agree. That's why I consider the Nimitz encounters to be the best UFO reports that I'm personally aware of. Multiple professionally-trained observers, multiple physical detection modes. What appears to be instrumental corroboration that something extraordinary was physically there. I'm less familiar with the subsequent encounters off Norfolk, but am led to believe that they are just as good. I have no idea what else the military has in its limitless files.

    So it seems to me that the next item of business for those who are really interested in studying these phenomena (and not just ridiculing them) should be to figure out a data-gathering strategy. It won't be easy if these things appear unpredictably and refuse to appear in laboratories under controlled test conditions whenever desired.

    To its credit, that seems to be the issue that NASA is initially addressing.

    "Outlining how to evaluate and study UAP by using data, technology, and the tools of science is a NASA priority. It is not a review or assessment of previous unidentifiable observations. The report will inform NASA on what possible data could be collected in the future to shed light on the nature and origin of UAP."

    NASA will be livestreaming the final meeting of their Independent Study Team before it submits its report this summer, on May 31 at 10:30 AM EDT. There will be a post-meeting media teleconference following.

    Both will be on NASA-Live and on NASA's Youtube channel. Links below.



    Last edited: May 28, 2023
  20. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

    My bold open above

    My estimation of the understanding of physics today is "remaining understandings are tweeks around the edges"

    I do not see these tweeks around the edges leading to faster than light speed travel

    Since faster than light speed travel is number one on my list of requirements for that open possibility to be wide enough to be occurring (we are not seeing such)

    (Just told by nurse to go sleep)

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  21. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    "There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now. All that remains is more and more precise measurement."
    - Lord Kelvin ... just before the underpinnings of physics were rewritten by relativity and then by quantum mechanics....

    Lord Kelvin lived around the time when we thought trains could never go 60 miles per hour because it would suck the uteruses out of women's bodies.
  22. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

    Don't be so sure:
  23. Yazata Valued Senior Member


    I'm inclined, on the other hand, to think that there are vast and obvious gaps in human understanding of physics. For example, we don't seem to have much understanding of what kind of reality the laws of physics have, or why they are what we perceive them to be and not something else.

    So just hypothetically (don't have a conniption fit, skeptics) the laws of physics might be what we believe they are because certain conditions hold throughout this, our universe. (Initial conditions at the Big Bang and all that.) Learn what those conditions are that determine the laws of physics, and it's possible to imagine some future science being able to change the laws of physics on a local scale in desired ways (like changing the speed of light) around a spaceship. A science-fiction "warp field" in effect.

    But it wouldn't really require such a science-fiction solution to travel from star to star. If a spaceship could accelerate to a high percentage of the speed of light, time dilation would make the elapsed time experienced by those aboard the ship much less than that experienced by those that remain home and watch the ship depart. There was some discussion of that (by CC as I recall) earlier in this thread. If a spacecraft could attain and maintain 100G to 1000G accelerations, they could approach the speed of light rather quickly. Of course that would be pretty hard on living beings, unless somebody invents inertial dampening fields, which would move us back into the realm of science fiction. But robots might be able to tolerate high g loads.

    I personally suspect that if space aliens are indeed visiting Earth (it's a hypothetical) it's more likely robots than biological organisms. Some interstellar analogue of the Mars rovers.

    Get well Michael. We are all cheering for you!
    Last edited: May 29, 2023

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