UFO believers got one thing right—here's what they get wrong

UFO believers got one thing right—here's what they get wrong.
Credit: SETI Institute

The past few weeks have been good for UFO believers. For decades they've clamored for "disclosure"—an admission by the government that it knows of galactic gatecrashers, and that aliens are irrefutably here. This always struck me as a classic argument from ignorance: We lack good evidence to prove our case because it's been hidden.

That wouldn't work in the courts or in science, but hey, it kind of sounds good.

Well, it turns out something was hidden. In 2007 Senator Harry Reid initiated a secret Pentagon program to investigate strange aerial phenomena. It ran for five years and cost $22 million. Finally, the skeptics—those who doubt that we're hosting extraterrestrial visitors—had been shown the error of their disbelieving ways.

Except that the Pentagon study seems to have found no good evidence for visitors. Yes, there was an intriguing military video purportedly showing a cluster of alien craft. But when I watched it, I noticed that the cluster was always in the center of the field of view—which suggests that these "craft" were actually caused by the instruments aboard the plane rather than something in the airspace in front of it. Experts will undoubtedly weigh in.

What would be good evidence of alien presence? Nearly every day I receive an email or phone call from someone who claims to have seen "something very important" (which I've learned from experience is code for "UFO"). They want to chat.

So what do I do? First off, I generally dismiss witness testimony, or, put another way, stories. It's not that I think people are lying. But if someone tells you he saw a ghost at the mall, you'll have a hard time doing much with that information unless ectoplasm hangs out there on a regular basis.

Witness testimony isn't terribly reliable in criminal court cases. It's even less useful for science.

So I ask about physical or photographic evidence. There never seems to be any of the former, but often there is imagery. Some folks won't send it, apparently afraid that I'll sell their pix and deprive them of a Nobel Prize or a photo royalty. The photos I do see tend to show obvious optical effects—often bright lights caused by internal reflections in the lens or color fringes resulting from the workings of the camera's chip. Other photos show diffraction patterns caused by "hunting" of the camera's autofocus system. Many people interpret these patterns as spacecraft markings.

A lot of the images are shot at night, making them particularly hard to interpret. Perhaps daylight is too dangerous for aliens, because then it might be possible to see detail in photos taken of them. I wonder if, when the sun is shining, they hang out underground like bats.

I'm also wary of anthropomorphic touches—for example, when someone says, "They seemed friendly and just want to establish contact" or "They're buzzing our missile silos." The latter is particularly goofy. Any aliens who come from the stars are way ahead of us. If you could visit America 150 years ago, would you spend time inspecting the Union Army's cannon-making factory at Pittsburgh's Allegheny Arsenal?

Hoaxes—and of course there are some—don't seem to be common. The people who contact me all sound pretty sincere. But the one UFO claim that has zero worth for me is: "I know what I saw." After all, if that's what someone asserts, there's no room for discussion.

More than anything, I ask myself if the extraterrestrial explanation is compelling—or merely possible. Is the evidence proof-positive or only puzzling? The latter isn't good enough.

Personally, I'm mystified by the stage illusions of David Copperfield. Did he really walk through that giant fan, or is that only a possibility? Just because I don't know what really happened is hardly reason to conclude that he can saunter through whirling metal blades without chopped Copperfield flying into the audience.

The Pentagon study is certainly interesting, but not because it proves alien visitation. Of course, you can be sure that the "disclosure" folks will soon be claiming that UFO evidence is still being covered up. Conspiracy theories never end.

In the era of Google Earth, when every square yard of the continents has been photographed and put online, it's hardly surprising that we have an unsatisfied craving to explore the unknown, to do what Columbus, Magellan, Cook, and others did a half-millennium ago.

Of course, in the 21st Century, a sailing vessel may no longer satisfy that need. A sailing saucer just might.


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Revealed: the Pentagon's secret UFO-hunting program

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Citation: UFO believers got one thing right—here's what they get wrong (2018, January 17) retrieved 21 May 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-01-ufo-believers-righthere-wrong.html
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Jan 17, 2018
Among other things, note the insistent mocking tone. If a zoologist, or "zoologist", reported they had seen a new species of hummingbird but did not have equipment with them to record it, would such as Phys Org take the claim disparagingly lightly to suggest it can't be true?
A demonstration of illegitimate behavior, the use of specious "arguments" against claims of UFO's.
Calling it an "argument from ignorance" to say we lack proof because because it's been hidden. > In the days of Galileo, if people were ordered not to train telescopes at the sky, how likely is it someone would discover conventionally that Jupiter had moons?
As for the cluster of alien craft that Shostak says looks like reflections from instruments in the plane, if that is so reasonable, why weren't there many more such observations claimed?
And, as for eyewitness testimony, what were Galileo's observations. What are any observations?

Jan 17, 2018
And dismissing the idea of "buzzing" missile silos because they are more advanced than us. Don't "advanced" "scientists" study workings of "primitive" cultures?
And will Shostak prove that the government isn't hiding information?
Will Shostak prove that "every square yard of the continents has been photographed and put online?
And, as for "proof-positive" evidence, face it, you likely can whip up any concoction of occurrences and say that that "explains" incidents, and a politically significant collection of those determined to insist that UFO's don't exist will claim it is "reasonable".

Jan 17, 2018
Note, incidentally, if there are no genuine UFO's, that can suggest that there is no life elsewhere. Which makes life on earth a special event. Which supports the Intelligent Design model.
Or maybe this is the end of "science". There is no faster than light drive, it's not possible to travel relatively easily through space, there is no way to manufacture a power source to do something like star travel. Or maybe God won't let those who insist on denying UFO's move faster than light, and only those who aren't contrary will be able to do those superlative things.

Jan 17, 2018
Just equivocate anything to anything, why not?

If a zoologist, or "zoologist", reported they had seen a new species of hummingbird but did not have equipment with them to record it, would such as Phys Org take the claim disparagingly lightly to suggest it can't be true?


Many species of hummingbirds are already known to exist. They don't sell E.T. feeders at the hardware store.

If said "zoologist" reported however, they had discovered a hummingbird with biology based on silicon instead of carbon and only came back with a drawing or a single blurry photo we might hope the disparagement will be soul-crushing. Not to be mean of course, but to impress the importance of gathering credible proof before reporting.

Also trying to grasp the difference between zoologist and "zoologist" aside from quotes; I'm presuming a play on words was supposed to take place inside these quotes?

Jan 17, 2018
In the days of Galileo, if people were ordered not to train telescopes at the sky, how likely is it someone would discover conventionally that Jupiter had moons?


Given what is known about human nature? More likely than before said order was given. Simply giving such an order will invariably cause some people to do it just because they've been told not to. Others still, will assume that there is something up there that's important enough to warrant a decree.

Jan 17, 2018
And, as for eyewitness testimony, what were Galileo's observations. What are any observations?


Eyewitness testimony != observation; unless said eyewitness records data according to a predetermined standard and then presents the data to others to verify.

Jan 17, 2018
And dismissing the idea of "buzzing" missile silos because they are more advanced than us. Don't "advanced" "scientists" study workings of "primitive" cultures?


If said primitive culture constructed 'bow and arrow' silos, yes. I think said primitive culture would probably even be named after their silo building and any visit by outsiders who were educated in this mythical primitive culture of silo builders would be considered disappointing without the obligate trip to said silo(s).

Jan 17, 2018
And will Shostak prove that the government isn't hiding information?


Will Shostak prove that I'm not thinking about jelly beans?

Will Shostak prove I can quit smoking if I try hard enough?

Will Shostak prove positive is in fact not just negative approached sneakily from the other side?

Will Shostak prove that proof is proof enough?

Will questions question other questions?

What is down?

Jan 17, 2018
Oh, but there are lots of aliens here, some of whom post prolifically in the Comments section here. They know how to apply the Laws of Physics of Kinetic Energy to an Electro-magnetic Wave to create Black Holes. We know this must be an ALIEN SCIENCE because we have been unable to do it in our earthbound labs, I've often wondered how Stumpy & Schneibo got their science to do this kind of thing, aliens in our midst is the only possible explanation.

Jan 17, 2018
And, as for "proof-positive" evidence, face it, you likely can whip up any concoction of occurrences and say that that "explains" incidents, and a politically significant collection of those determined to insist that UFO's don't exist will claim it is "reasonable".


This is because it's really easy to come up with something more reasonable than interstellar/intergalactic travel. It may be entirely possible, but it is so far not reasonable to anyone, including this undoubtedly dangerous cabal of politically significant people.

Jan 17, 2018
Note, incidentally, if there are no genuine UFO's, that can suggest that there is no life elsewhere. Which makes life on earth a special event. Which supports the Intelligent Design model.
Or maybe this is the end of "science". There is no faster than light drive, it's not possible to travel relatively easily through space, there is no way to manufacture a power source to do something like star travel. Or maybe God won't let those who insist on denying UFO's move faster than light, and only those who aren't contrary will be able to do those superlative things.


Oh now we see, all those questions above this are not really questions; they're just the song and dance leading up to this..

Jan 17, 2018
"I noticed that the cluster was always in the center of the field of view—which suggests that these "craft" were actually caused by the instruments aboard the plane rather than something in the airspace in front of it."

I noticed the same thing and commented on it here, although with less elaboration:

https://phys.org/...ing.html


Jan 17, 2018
I am very skeptical about alien visitations, but I still try to keep an open mind because science cannot rule it out either. One thing that troubles me a lot with the believers is that they treat this subject like a religion, meaning, once you believe in alien visitation, the analysis stops when it should just be beginning.

Some ideas off the top of my head are the development of ubiquitous multi-spectral sensor grids and recording devices to track any alien spacecraft and discern their patterns at a minimum. Rapid coordination between interested parties to locate, track and follow such objects would help. Efforts to communicate should also be considered. True believers never seem to care about following up and trying to learn more, probably because if you look too closely you will realize there really isn't anything there. Go ahead and prove me wrong, but use recorded evidence to do it, not subjective impressions.

Jan 17, 2018
"I noticed that the cluster was always in the center of the field of view—which suggests that these "craft" were actually caused by the instruments aboard the plane rather than something in the airspace in front of it."

I noticed the same thing and commented on it here, although with less elaboration:

https://phys.org/...ing.html


I had not noticed this but, it does make me wonder. Would including a few easter eggs in the flight software for training missions make it possible to gauge the ability and behavior of a prospective pilot in encountering unknown or unforeseen circumstances in flight?

And did the pilot in the video pass or fail?

Jan 17, 2018
Shut up Seth, you FRAUD, LIAR, CHARLATAN, and SELL OUT. In your FAKE career of LIES you couldn't find real evidence if you had $22 million.
Come to me and see my physical evidence and then QUIT your FAKE position out of HUMILIATION and proof of fraud, FAILURE, deceit, and extortion.
https://youtu.be/8o8YdpFki7g
TJ GOTT MOTT SROT DODECA TWTL WCFTSATFM

Jan 17, 2018
It seems that the unknown craft were also picked up on radar. Until we know why the objects were always in the center of view we would have to know the ability of the aircraft to visually track the unknown craft.

Jan 17, 2018
Among other things, note the insistent mocking tone. If a zoologist, or "zoologist", reported they had seen a new species of hummingbird but did not have equipment with them to record it, would such as Phys Org take the claim disparagingly lightly to suggest it can't be true?


Ockham's Razor is still a thing as far as I'm aware...

Jan 17, 2018
"Ockham's Razor is still a thing as far as I'm aware."

Nah. That has been disproven as a logic fallacy as soon as it was formulated. Think about it: you presuppose that simple explanations have more probability to be right than complexer ones. In actuality, it is a device to eliminate the need to think and live with difficult to interpret data for a longer time. It does allow you to take a decision on data, make a simplified assumption, and go on with your life, but it has no more value because it is not based in the data, but a result of your tool for reasoning (Occham as parsimony). Usually such thinking directly leads to postponed discovery. Humans cannot fly because, you silly, humans simply can't fly etc. The more complicated reasoning: what if humans could fly by using a device, is not a valid option under Occhams razor. That requires the fantasy of people who ignore such arguments. It is a crime to teach it. Scepticism is fine but Occham isn't.

Jan 17, 2018
As I have mentioned before on similar threads, I was an investigator of strange aerial phenomena for many years and I'd be among the first to say that many reports (back then) were explicable in in ordinary terms. But unless one was as objective as possible, and alert, one or two could easily be deceptive, the glowing fins of a (dud) vanguard missile at night for example. However, there was always a small proportion that were very interesting and a percentage of those were vehicle interference reports. Back then the English Electric P series aircraft were around as research and test planes. Max speed was around Mach 2, I think, and incidents that took place with P1's over the North sea have not and I suspect, never will be, disclosed. The early Avro Vulcan aircraft series also had cases of interest but being a 'cold war' instrument much of that will always remain classified.

Jan 17, 2018
Cont. However, there will always be some people out there who see the UFO phenomena as a money/fame making machine, and I met a few in my time. A well known 'investigator' once reported a several globes zig-zagging from a low altitude and vanishing near ground level. This took place close to a army/military installation. With a team I went to the place and at night we did see something odd. But after 3 nights we found the answer. An old down hill winding road with many overhanging trees and it was the odd car headlights that could be seen. Guess whose version got to go on TV...well it wasn't mine. These types along with hoaxers make it very difficult for the genuine person who is simply out to find the truth. (rant rant rant Ha!)

Jan 17, 2018
"Ockham's Razor is still a thing as far as I'm aware."

Nah. That has been disproven as a logic fallacy as soon as it was formulated. Think about it: you presuppose that simple explanations have more probability to be right than complexer ones.


That's not what Ockham's Razor says so forgive me if I didn't read all three of your long-winded comments based on something you don't actually understand.

Ockahms' Razor states that the simplest explanation is the most likely one. Simplest meaning the explanation with the least number of new assumptions. "Aliens exist and come to Earth" are not one but two new assumptions. The analogy used mentioned 'hummingbirds'. Since we know hummingbirds exist, this is a faulty analogy. Ockham's Razor.

So, maybe you should try learning what something is before going off half-cocked? It'd help.

Jan 17, 2018
"explanation with the least number of new assumptions"...

Good, you have read books in your lifetime. Well done.

The reason is that the selection of the 'new assumption' 'and the number of assumptions' is completely subjective. What you think is a stupid or a new or a double assumption, to another is not. You assume 'aliens exist and come to Earth' are two new assumptions, but are they? In theory one should compare them to the number of assumptions you have, e.g. aliens don't exist, aliens need to travel, aliens have bodies that take up space. One quickly sees there is no proper way of counting underlying assumptions.

Ockham is a rule that deludes the person who applies it in thinking his logic is sound.

Anyway, the example I used was human flight, which, because we have hindsight, CAN be examined. The first airplanes had flexible wings, we simplified them afterwards.

Have a nice day, sir

These fellows at SETI are wasting tons of money. Mr. Seth, so you did study all the material sent to you, what did you say about that one: https://www.amazo...?ie=UTF8

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