UFOs (UAPs): Explanations?

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

  1. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    No. Not must.

    substitute "is assumed to be, as a working hypothesis"

    It is the only place to start. With the known.

    If you do not start there, Yazata, I ask you in all seriousness: what is to prevent you from starting with angels, aliens or ghosts or magic?

    You, Yazata, have a preexisting bias against angels aliens, ghosts and magic, otherwise every time you look out the window and say "what the heck is that furless creature" you would give as much weight to "it might be a garden faery" as to "it might be squirrel with mange".

    You have asserted this idea that pre-existing bias is bad so many times, I'm calling you on it. Do you look into your garden and think "faery" as often as you think "funny-lookin' squirrel"?

    Though the example is a bit tongue-in-cheek, it is a serious question. I want to understand your logic that a bias in favour of things that we know already exist is bad.

    I plan to stop the ridicule and insults themselves, but be sure to read and address the question at the bottom of this thread, above) .
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2023
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  3. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    Show me the evidence of radar faults, camera faults and pilot misperceptions, all coming together and coinciding in such a way as to appear to be a single object. While the "comedy of errors" scenario is certainly possible, the likelihood of that kind of coincidental mutual confirmation occurring would seem to me to be far smaller than the likelihood of pilot error, radar error or camera error occurring by themselves in isolation.

    That's precisely why replication and confirmation of scientific results lend those results added credibility. Because the likelihood that all of the scientists are making mistakes that somehow produce the same spurious result goes down. But it never reaches zero.

    It's true that pilots and radars make errors and produce false contacts. But they are accurate far more often than not, which is why the military trusts their lives to the skill of their personnel and to the reliability of their equipment.
     
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  5. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Neither personnel nor equipment are completely reliable in a vacuum of protocol. You have to account for the whole process. One facet of the aggregate process is analysis of unusual reports. Where the solution is not immediately apparent, they have an inquiry to determine what likely happened. These are the ones that make it to the public.
     
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  7. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    Here's something that might turn out to be interesting.

    It's a technical paper presentation to be held January 14 [Edit: June, not January] at the AIAA (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the primary American professional organization for aerospace engineers) annual convention in San Diego.

    Papers to be presented include:

    Reconstructions of Potential Flight Paths for the January 2015 "Gimbal" UAP

    Research on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena at the Julius Maximilians University of Wurzburg.

    FAA Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Sighting Reports, a Preliminary Survey

    System Study of Constraints for the Creation of UAP Electromagnetic Signature Optimal Detection Systems

    The presentations will be livestreamed. But unfortunately, only AIAA members will be able to log into them. Hopefully word on anything interesting will quickly leak out.

    https://virtualaviation.aiaa.org/Category/07d69fe2-ba43-48ee-ab18-c246f1bd6db6?returnautoscroll=#item07d69fe2-ba43-48ee-ab18-c246f1bd6db6

    https://www.aiaauap.org/
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2023
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  8. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    16,694
    That's fantastic! I can't wait to see what their studies find! Here's a study by 40 members of Avi Loeb's Galileo Project detailing data collecting methods and multimodal sensor techniques and suggestions for investigating the elusive UAP phenomenon.

    https://www.worldscientific.com/doi/10.1142/S2251171723400068

    https://projects.iq.harvard.edu/galileo/home

    "The goal of the Galileo Project is to bring the search for extraterrestrial technological signatures of Extraterrestrial Technological Civilizations (ETCs) from accidental or anecdotal observations and legends to the mainstream of transparent, validated and systematic scientific research. This project is complementary to traditional SETI, in that it searches for physical objects, and not electromagnetic signals, associated with extraterrestrial technological equipment."
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2023
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  9. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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

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    (UK, Australia) To make a big mistake. "The reason we lost the match is due to the goalkeeper stuffing up."

    Hmm. Minus that, maybe it suggests an onomatopoetic relationship with another expression, to the North American cognitive apparatus.
    _
     
  11. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    Irony(?) highlighted in bold.

    EXCERPT: Ultimately, West holds a semi-religious belief that the government’s UFO analysis is fatally flawed. Statements by high-level officials to the contrary, he remains unconvinced that the government possesses data showing objects accelerating, changing direction and submerging in extraordinary ways.

    This puts Mick in an odd position. As he noted just last year, convincing conspiracy theorists “that the government can be right about things” is often an arduous task. In a fascinating twist, West now believes that the government is catastrophically wrong on a high-profile topic.
    _
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2023
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  12. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    If it walks like a duck...I have also sensed Mick West's fervor and denialism as trademarks of a dogmatically religious mindset. It reminds me of creationists, who always come up with some excuse for dismissing evidence for evolution. Always a frantic and thorough attempt to debunk even the slightest hint of UAPs being otherworldly in origin. What happens when they are shown to have been wrong all along? Perhaps a traumatic upheaval of the skeptic's entire scientismic worldview. If UAPs can exist, then what else is possible? God have mercy on us!

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
    Last edited: May 30, 2023
  13. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Last edited: May 30, 2023
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  14. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    Thanks for posting that MR! I just downloaded the pdf of it.

    The Galileo Project's Research Team is impressive, from Avi Loeb up on top (former Chairman of Harvard University's Astronomy Department), to Jacques Vallee (French UFO expert 'Lacombe' from Close Encounters!) down near the bottom! (They got it covered!)

    https://projects.iq.harvard.edu/galileo/people

    Their all-star Advisory Board is extraordinary - among the highlights are the Chairman of the University of Toronto Astronomy Department, the Director of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Paul Davies the famous popular science writer from Arizona State University, Seth Shostak from the SETI Institute, and Stephen Wolfram of Mathematica fame (Richard Feynman was on his PhD committee at Cal Tech (scary!)).

    https://projects.iq.harvard.edu/galileo/organization/advisory-boards

    It might be hard to sneer this group into oblivion.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2023
  15. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

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    Isn't Avi Loeb the crackpot who claimed a recent intersteller object was an alien spaceship?
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2023
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  16. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    wegs:
    I don't know why this keeps coming up. Nobody here is arguing "nothing to see here". Clearly, there's something, but what? We don't know.

    There are lots of reasons the government/military might be making a bigger-than-usual deal about this, now. I believe that CC suggested that the military is treating the existence of unidentified things in the sky as a potential safety or security risk, so they'd like to get to the bottom of things, as far as possible. But, also, the government has mostly stayed out of the UFO debate for quite a long time. That has just resulted in UFO believers inventing more and more elaborate conspiracy theories about government cover-ups. So, maybe this approach will make the Believers happier; it can't hurt. (I don't actually think it will help, because if the government comes out with "nothing much to see here, folks", the Believers won't accept that for an answer.)
    There are a couple of isolated incidents in which pilots reported things they thought were out of the ordinary. Pilots make regular reports - debriefs - on their flights, as a matter of course.

    There is no question that a few pilots were puzzled by they observed. Some of them speculated about things they couldn't actually confirm. In the cases we have discussed, there is no reason to suspect that the pilots' original reports were confected or dishonest - not about what they saw. That does not, however, mean that we're obliged to accept their interpretations and guesswork as fact.
    That's a strawman. Nobody here has said "nothing to see here".
     
  17. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Yazata:
    Nobody is prejudging its nature. Nobody is eliminating "new physics" a priori. New physics is a possibility, just like all the other possibilities.

    You seem to spend a lot of time trying to guess at "prior probabilities". It might be better just to wait for enough evidence to accumulate, before deciding that you need to investigate "new physics" as an explanation with less-than-negligible probability. Like Dave said, I guess the we can't absolutely rule out magical pixies as a possible explanation for UFOs; I'm sure you have some ideas about what the prior probability of pixies might be.
    Nobody here is arguing for "nothing to see here". As you know.
    That has never been in dispute.
    Okay, but at some stage the rubber has to meet the road. We need to dig into that evidence and ask sensible questions, like:
    • how reliable are the "reports"?
    • has anybody actually measured the accelerations, or are these simply eyewitness guesses/estimates based on naked eye observations?
    • where are the radar records?
    • Clearly, one viable explanation for something appearing to move through the atmosphere rapidly, without heating, shockwaves or exhaust plumes would be that the thing - whatever it was - wasn't actually moving rapidly through the atmosphere at all. Does the evidence support this interpretation?
    • Do we have any verified measurements of "dimensions" of the objects? Or just eyewitness estimates, based on naked-eye observation and guesswork?
    Fair comment. You should ask yourself: what sort of evidence/analysis should convince us that "new physics" is present?

    Physicists themselves have pretty high standards for claiming "new physics". The Higgs boson discovery wasn't announced until physicists were sure it was there at a "five sigma" confidence level - that is, based on statistical analyses of the data, that the chances of seeing that data from the Large Hadron Collider without the Higgs existing were far less than 0.0001%. This is standard practice for declaring the existence of any "new" particle, by the way. Other areas of physics research are similarly rigorous and demanding of high standards of proof.

    Certainly, nobody should be justified in jumping to a conclusion of "new physics" based on a few eyewitness guesstimates about what the acceleration of an unknown object in the sky might have been.
    We don't start any investigation of an unknown phenomenon in a knowledge vaccuum. We start by looking at what we know. It is only after we've eliminated the explanations based on already-known things, with a high degree of confidence, that we are compelled to turn towards positing "new science" or something else (the "supernatural"?)

    We are a very long way from having eliminated "science as usual" as an explanation of the Fravor tic tac. This isn't a matter of having faith that - whatever it was - it must have been "mundane". It is just that there's no good reason, so far, to suspect it was anything other than mundane.

    One other thing: there's no guarantee that we'll ever have sufficient "data" on, say, the Fravor UFO case, to actually be able to definitively say "It was a weather balloon" or "It was the aliens", with a high level of confidence. If, after a detailed examination of the data, we find ourselves in the position that we can neither rule out a mundane cause nor confirm a non-mundane cause, then the sensible conclusion we are forced to reach is that the data is insufficient and the case remains unsolved.
    I'm not. I'm saying we should go with what we know first. If that solves the case, then it's solved. If it doesn't solve the case, then we go through the usual scientific process of running multiple hypotheses, including ones with "new physics" and the like, and see whether we can solve it that way.

    Bear in mind, though, that ad hoc "explanations" are weak, in general. If we invent "new physics" to explain one UFO, it had better explain 1001 other UFOs as well; if it can't/doesn't, then it's just a special pleading and we should be rightly suspicious about it.

    Also important: we don't want to introduce unfalsifiable hypotheses. "God did it" is an explanation for the Fravor UFO, but it's a hypothesis that is impossible to disprove, and therefore unscientific. (It also doesn't suggest any future direction for productive research.)
     
  18. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    You're right; I meant imply. Maybe it's just me, but it seems that throughout this thread, there's a subtle implication of ''there's nothing to see here,'' by some of the skeptics. As though if an object, flying or otherwise, can't be readily identified, then why should we care? That is how I've been perceiving some of the viewpoints.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2023
  19. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Nice try at shifting the burden of proof.

    What you need to do is to make some kind of plausible argument for the woo, supported by evidence.
     
  20. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    This is the Big Lie, again.

    Nobody says "must" in this context, except you. The skeptics don't say "must".

    You're ruminating on the prior probabilities again - i.e. just guessing and using your intuition, rather than looking at the data.

    A number of factors in the Fravor case suggest that it is quite possible that all of the "eyewitnesses" in that case were "primed" to interpret things in an "extraordinary" way. Prior to the incident in question, there had been changes to the radar system and lots of "spurious" traces observed on radar, according to various reports. There was a lot of military activity in the area of the sighting and the possibility of international surveillance of the US activity. There had been some prior talk of UFOs, before the mission. Afterwards, there were opportunities for the people involved to exchange ideas and come up with a shared "explanation".

    Bear in mind, also, that even the flight crew apparently did not understand how the FLIR cameras on their planes actually work. If they did understand, they would have recognised things like spurious rotations of objects on camera as effects due to the imaging equipment, rather than motion of the sources, for instance.

    All in all, group-think in this situation seems like a live possibility, even if all the eyewitnesses were scrupulously honest in their reports and in giving their interpretations.

    All this is beside the point, to some extent. My guesswork about the "prior probability" is different from yours, it seems. But we shouldn't have to rely on guesswork, especially in establishing something like "new physics". We should rely on data. In this case, sufficient data just doesn't seem to be there.

    How so?
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2023
  21. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    I don't know why you get that impression. The skeptics here have all engaged with the minutiae of the evidence that has been presented. We have looked at and discussed the eyewitness statements in detail. We have looked at and discussed analyses of the camera footage. In fact, almost all of the "hard" data analysis in this thread has been done by skeptics. The UFO Believers have tended to simply make faith-based statements along the lines that they can't bring themselves to believe the tic tac might have been something mundane, and similar. This suggests to me that the skeptics are trying, in good faith, to get to the "answer", as best we can, while the UFO believers aren't really interested in examining the evidence in any critical (by which I mean rational) way, for the most part.

    A mystery is a mystery until it's not. I see evidence here of a lot of people caring enough to sift through the evidence and unpack what the UFO(s) might or might not be, and what they might or might not be doing. If, in the end, we just don't have enough evidence to draw a firm conclusion either way, then the mystery remains a mystery. Let's hope that better data comes along in future, to help us finally solve the case.
     
  22. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    He still has standards, though (recent example below). IOW, offbeat speculation or curiosity-prodding propaganda triggered by [supposed] eccentricities with respect to interstellar objects is still a bit on the innocuous side. In comparison to other scientists who MIGHT (on a dime) accept decades-old UFO conspiracies recycled by "new" ex-government representatives.
    - - - - - - - - - -

    Relics from non-human spacecraft: A scientist's perspective
    https://thedebrief.org/relics-from-non-human-spacecraft-a-scientists-perspective/

    EXCERPTS (Avi Loeb): Today, a report by whistleblower David Grusch was published by The Debrief, written by the highly reputable journalists Leslie Kean and Ralph Blumenthal. Grusch served as a representative to the UAP Task Force and co-lead for UAP analysis. Grusch says recoveries of extraterrestrial objects of non-human origin have been ongoing for decades by the US Government, allies, and defense contractors.

    Jonathan Grey, an intelligence officer specializing in UAP analysis at the National Air and Space Intelligence Center, said that “a vast array of our most sophisticated sensors, including space-based platforms, have been utilized by different agencies, typically in triplicate, to observe and accurately identify the out-of-this-world nature, performance, and design of these anomalous machines, which are then determined not to be of earthly origin.”

    [...] Nevertheless, as a scientist who is guided by evidence I must bring up a cautionary remark: there are no scientific details in this report. I can only assess the significance of open data or materials to which I have direct access.

    [...] As much as eyewitness testimonies on the existence of classified evidence are intriguing, we can make progress in our scientific knowledge only by having direct access to the primary sources of materials or data without relying on hearsay. Eyewitness testimonies have implications in the court of law but are not sufficient for corroborating scientific statements.

    Therefore, as much as Grusch’s report is intriguing, it does not carry credible scientific evidence irrespective of the comments about Grusch’s reliability. What we wish to see as scientists is the actual materials or data collected by the government. Without access to the evidence, we cannot distinguish Grusch’s report from a hypothetical story which was frabricated by a secret branch of government that is developing unusual technological capabilities while assigning them to an extraterrestrial origin... (MORE - missing details)

    _
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2023
  23. origin Heading towards oblivion Valued Senior Member

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    That is a heck of a claim. I have heard these seemingly reputable people make these fantastic claims before only to have them fizzle out to nothing. Unfortunately, I think this is just another claim to fizzle out, too bad, I wish aliens would visit us.
     

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