Discussion in 'UFOs, Ghosts and Monsters' started by Magical Realist, Oct 10, 2017.
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Disparagment and derision run rampant thruout this whole thread, especially from James R who seems to take some pleasure labeling us "ufo nuts" and "conspiracy kooks". And when we object to such treatment he calls us "babies". I can't imagine what other intended effect this is meant to have other than trolling us and derailing the thread from serious discussion of the ufo issue. That is effectively silencing the issue.
The fact that there is a serious issue to discuss does not give anyone carte blanche to use egregiously fanciful ideas of logic without being called out for it. If they insist on doubling-down on painfully naive arguments, then it becomes a general problem of their credibility.
Because if fanciful ideas about the nature of UFOs without evidence is allowed unchallenged, then I will happily put forth my theory of UFOs being flying pixies in disguise - and you had better show my logic some respect. After all, there is just as much evidence in favour of pixies piloting UFOs as there is for aliens, extra-dimensionals, men-from-the-future, ghosts, etc.
Go ahead and post it. I have no objection to hearing anybody's theories however outlandish. I guess that's what makes us different. At this point in our knowledge of ufos, anything's game.
This is quite demonstrably false.
Many, many theories have indeed been posted here about explanations (usually mundane) for many, many UAPs and you are - by far- the most strenuous objectionist.
What makes us different is that we acknowledge we are skeptical.
You are skeptical (of anything mundane) and yet are under the delusion you are not.
I said I don't object to hearing of theories. I didn't say I would necessarily commit to agreeing with them. One can disagree with an idea or theory without mocking and ridiculing it or the believer in it.
What makes us different is you are skeptical as a matter of belief and ideology, dismissing the existence of ufos from the outset. I otoh am skeptical as the situation calls for it. This is the advantage of remaining agnostic on the matter, equally open to the object being either mundane or supermundane. The reason you don't see me being skeptical often here is because I post the cases that are most convincing of non-mundane causes. There's no point in me discussing cases here that are already concluded to be mundane.
Perhaps you haven't cottoned onto what, exactly, is being derided by me. That would be your wide-eyed enthusiastic rush to embrace every manner of poorly-evidenced woo in existence, while simultaneously dismissing all critical thought on those matters (refusing to apply any critical analysis of your own, and simply ignoring all critical analysis from other people).
You don't just believe in alien time travellers (or whatever you think most of the UFOs are). You have an enormous range of beliefs covering virtually all of the typical woo topics of enthusiasm. You believe in Bigfoot, in ghosts of all types, in ESP and other "paranormal powers", etc. etc. Why you don't also believe in God is a bit of a mystery, although that is actually not uncommon among "New Age" believers like yourself. From memory, I think you believe in demons and the like (correct me if I'm wrong), which strikes me as an obvious inconsistency. As I see it, you have probably just replaced "traditional" religious beliefs with your own set of "New Age" beliefs, which once again is not that uncommon.
As for conspiracy theories, you appear to believe in most of those too. That is a common feature of people who go all in on UFOs, too. Again, belief in conspiracy theories comes about because of a failure to think critically, combined with distrust of authorities and a tendency to want to find patterns in complicated or random events, even when they aren't there.
In your case, you have had the benefit of being shown how you could think more critically about your belief systems, which is often not the case with typical believers in woo. But you still stick your head in the sand and refuse to do so. That is what makes you ridiculous. You have no good excuse.
Now, having said that, I don't mind at all that you have a whole bunch of unsupported kooky beliefs. To some extent, I even sympathise with your plight. It must be hard living a life where you're scared of bogeymen in the dark all the time. I understand your desire for explanations and certainty, and I understand that your lack of trust in "authorities" puts you in the difficult position of having to trust unreliable people for your information instead. But I'm guessing that, most of the time, your unsupported fringe beliefs don't adversely impede your ability to operate effectively in your daily life. In fact, in one sense, I am sure that you get some sense of community and brotherhood from them, so in that sense they are probably a comfort to you. Still, it seems to me that you might stand to benefit in lots of ways from freeing up the time you spend on nonsense. In general, my own belief is that it is better to believe in true things rather than a bunch of lies, even if the truth is less comfortable. Your mileage on that may vary.
You're thinking of Q-reeus, who has been in an almost constant whiney temper tantrum on this forum for the past few months. If you don't recognise his behaviour for what it is, that's your problem. I have only called it what it is.
Don't pretend that you're interested in "serious discussion". You consistently gloss over all analysis of the cases you bring up. Your method is to spam this thread with video after video, always moving to a new one whenever any questions are raised about the current target of your enthusiasm. You seek to overwhelm with sheer volume of woo. You've never been interested in any critical analysis. The evidence of that is in the total lack of a filter on what you post here. All your videos are equally valid, as far as you are concerned. You have no apparatus for telling good evidence from bad, so it all comes from the same mixed cauldron of crap.
You shouldn't tell lies.
At one time, you might have actually believed that. But you have been here for years, and this misconception has been directly addressed on too many occasions to count.
The fact that you are willing to tell outright, knowing lies to support your beliefs does not reflect well on you.
Particularly worth repeating.
MR: your signal-to-noise ratio could be vastly improved if only you showed even the slightest desire (or ability) to choose quality over quantity. This has been brought up numerous times.
As it is, it fits the definition of spam. It can't be flattering to know that you could be replaced by a bot given a few keywords.
Why don't we turn over a new leaf - maybe save this thread from the Cesspool - by henceforth posting only the most intriguing of cases, wha'd'you say?
Maybe MR is like the boy who cried wolf?
MR doesn't help himself with posting so much ''shit'' and acting like a drama queen when that ''shit'' isn't taken seriously.
The wolf part is when MR does post something good, you know MR the drama queen is still there and will act-up as usual.
BTW, the ''shit'' word is not my description.
LOL Dogpile on MR! I think the most appropriate response to being flamed for no reason is utter silence. Hence....
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I totally agree, Sarkus. I've always felt surrounded by mysteries since I was a child. For example, take meaning. We speak all the time. We read. And the words we use are just intuited to have meaning. So what is meaning? How does it adhere in sounds or little squiggles of ink? What about names? How does a name connect to the thing named? What about general names that can apply to many different individuals? There are obviously lots of theories and hypotheses, some of which might even be correct. But each of them seemingly raises as many questions as it answers and is still a work-in-progress.
So the bottom line for me has always been that if we poke deeply enough into any idea or belief, we very quickly end up at the frontiers of human knowledge. Which suggests that the feelings of familiarity that our surroundings give us, the feeling that it's all well understood, is generally a very thin facade over the depths of the unknown. (What is mathematics? What are the laws of physics? Do good, evil and beauty have objective existence? How does logical inference work? What is causation? Consciousness? Possibility? Emergence? Time? ... and on and on and on...)
We don't seem to have a lot of trouble in thinking that paleolithic people in the stone age were in that situation. We are happy thinking that they were hugely ignorant about almost everything and understood very little about the reality around them. But we don't like to think that about ourselves. I don't really think that we are in a tremendously different position today. And I have a suspicion that humanity will always be, that the most fundamental mysteries (like why there is something rather than nothing or the origin of cosmic order) might have no answers discoverable by beings like us.
That sense of mystery is what's motivated my lifelong interest in science and philosophy. (Which I see as more closely related than some on Sciforums would like to think.) And yes, unlike most people, I take comfort in the feeling that I'm surrounded by the unknown. It feeds my desire for transcendence that many people find in more conventional religion, I guess. Perhaps it's related to the aesthetic concept of the sublime.
Anyway, that's where I'm coming from and it's why I collide violently with many of the organized movement "skeptics" who seem to assume that they already have it all figured out, in principle if not in detail.
I think that it's ok to hypothesize. But hypotheses need to be clearly presented as speculations. Where we start to encounter problems is when speculations kind of slippy-slide into being conclusions. The news is filled with "scientists say..." stories, and if we poke into them, they are typically just hypotheses. Some scientist has speculated about something. But by the time they filter through the journalists down to the street, they've somehow become authoritative pronouncements that must be believed by laymen. Scientists say...
I'm like everyone else and I like to speculate too. I'm a long-time science-fiction nut. (Imaginative fiction feeds the same kind of feelings I described above.) And when I'm in a more sci-fi'ish mood, I speculate that UFOs are actually time-travelers from Earth's future. It can be worked into a rather elegant speculation. It answers the question that if time travel is possible, where are all the time travelers. (Right there.) It provides a reason why they are so reluctant to make contact. (They don't want to alter their own past with all the "paradoxical" consequences.) Assuming that they are the humanoids often described, it accounts for the apparent common ancestry with us (they are our descendants).
But the crucial point is that this is all speculation in the flight-of-fancy sense. It isn't anything that I can claim to know. It isn't even a really strong hypothesis. I do consider it a possibility, though I obviously have no way of knowing how likely it is. (Probably not much.)
My feeling is that is pretty much what MR and Q-reeus have been doing and they've been flamed mercilessly for doing it. Perhaps that's their fault for not clearly distinguishing between speculation and knowledge claims.
Speculations aren't a bad thing and they can obviously be criticized. Criticism should be encouraged. I don't criticize our "skeptics" for doing that. Where I think they go off the rails is just like those they criticize, they tend to confuse speculation with knowledge. A UFO sighting might speculatively have been a combination of 'this' and 'this' and 'that'. Then somehow it must be accepted by any intelligent person to have been that combination. So the tic-tac sighting is dismissed as a "comedy of errors" with no real justification for the dismissal at all beyond some "skeptic's" speculation. The sighting has been dealt with, debunked. (We've seen that particular slide right here in this thread.)
The "skeptics" only seem to me to throw up some of the possibilities. Only the dismissive possibilities. Just like the gif I posted: "nothing to see here!" Move on, nothing here that might threaten the belief that everything already has a nice little conceptual box prepared for it. The implicit assumption that nothing here will prove to be new.
That's all that they seem to me to do. Anyone who disagrees with them is ignorant, is making elementary logical errors, is spouting "woo", is living in a fantasy world, is intellectually dishonest, and is a "nut" or a "kook". If that isn't an attempt to silence those they disagree with, what is it? Anyone that dares to disagree with them has to swim upstream through a torrent of scorn.
There isn't any danger that they will be out of a job soon. There will always be an endless supply of heathens and heretics like me out here to be evangelized.
I hope that's always the case. Intellectual diversity and intelligent criticism are both good things in my estimation.
That's an intriguing prospect, and certainly explains the elusiveness of the ufo phenomena. What stumps me is what the hell are they doing then returning to the past lighting themselves up like discos to only zip away into utter obscurity? There seems to be a motivation behind ufos of WANTING to be seen. As if they are preparing humans for something to come or else social engineering some kind of cultural transformation that they find necessary from their extemporal perspective. Maybe they're not so much human any more than they are AI, suggesting a time when human become extinct and the machines take over. Perhaps this is how they study humans, in their natural habitat under the duress of experiencing something completely unknown. Anyway, whatever they are, they don't seem to be going away anytime soon.
Pretty much standard procedure for them, mocking and ridiculing in order to delegitimize the very topic of ufos. Flocks of geese, breeching whales, weather balloons, and windblown trash, anything BUT an unidentified flying craft.
There's probably a better way to organise this post, but at the risk of repeating myself I'll settle for addressing some of the points you've raised more or less in the order they appeared in the thread.
It actually comes up a lot in arguments on both sides of the UFO debate. Mostly, though, we find that the inferences that skeptics make, based on observations, are a lot more plausible than the ones that the believers in little green men make. Another important distinction is that the UFO believers are the ones who come wanting to demonstrate that the thing the witness says he saw was an alien spaceship (or equivalent), whereas skeptics usually don't have a desperate desire to show that the thing was anything in particular. Skeptics are usually happy to follow the evidence where it lead, so if the evidence is inconclusive skeptic s are happy to park the matter until some new or better evidence comes along, rather than leaping to a potentially incorrect conclusion. For skeptics, it's okay not to have all the answers, whereas the true believers come fully equipped with the answers they want front and centre in their minds.
It is a natural human tendency to look for intention or agency in things we can't immediately explain, even where there is none. History bears this out again and again.
A particular trait commonly found in people who believe in conspiracy theories is a desire for certainty, combined with a tendency to attribute agency in cases of coincidental and random events. The assumption is that somebody or something must have intended this to happen. There must have been a plan; it can't just be a coincidence. An extension of this is that things that go wrong/badly are often put down to nefarious intentions and actions, rather than to simple causes such as mismanagement, disorganisation, human error, unfortunate coincidence of circumstances, pure chance, and similar.
Unfortunately, the whole business of UFOs has been sullied by rampant silliness and deliberate fraud dating right back to the start of the "flying saucer" crazes of the 1950s. From long experience, both military and civilian academics/researchers have learned to tread very carefully when new reports of UFOs come to light. It is hardly surprising that some researchers become a little jaded and cynical after they have seen 999 out of 1000 UFO reports that cross their desks turn out to be simple perceptual errors, deliberate frauds, cases of mental disturbance, and similar. The better ones, of course, try to examine each case on its merits. Day to day, though, when it comes to purported evidence UFOs, it's mostly the same cauldron of crap.
That is not to say, of course, that we should ignore the 1 in 1000 cases in which the evidence is strong enough to actually puzzle experienced investigators.
Sure, but when it comes UFOs we're not in the business of doing philosophy, generally. Mostly (when we do it properly) we're just doing basic science: collect the data, compare it to theory, note agreements and discrepancies between fact and theory, rinse and repeat until we're confident that we have a good theoretical explanation of what was observed.
Step 1 in that process is to show that there's something that requires an explanation in the first place. Step 2 is to consider what we already know, to see if we can find a sufficient explanation there. It is only when step 2 fails that we need to move to step 3, which is to consider possible errors in our understanding. There are two main types of errors: mistakes in the data we collected in the first place and mistakes in the theories we use to explain that data. Most of the time in science, when we have a lot of other evidence that supports our theories, our first post of call in step 3 is to go back and carefully examine the data for errors. Did we do something wrong in collecting the data? Is the data itself reliable, or are there previously-unnoticed factors in play that cast doubt on its reliability? It is usually only when we are confident that the quality and quantity of data is unimpeachable that we start to look for mistakes in the existing theories.
I do. Our technological know-how alone is evidence that we know much more about the basic forces and interactions that operate in our universe than those paleolithic people ever did. Much of our modern technology would seem like magic to paleolithic people - at least until the working principles were explained to them. There's no evidence that we're any smarter than they were, as individuals, but at least since the invention of writing our knowledge as a species has accumulated, with each generation's knowledge building on the previous generation's. Also, there are a lot more human beings on the planet these days. A significant fraction of all the people who have ever lived are alive right now. That's one reason why our knowledge and expertise is advancing faster these days.
Carl Sagan - a famous scientist and science populariser - often talked about the same kinds of feelings: the feeling that we are each just a tiny part of an incomprehensibly larger whole. But Carl didn't believe in anything paranormal, in gods or spirits. I'm with him. I have been since I watched his Cosmos series as a child.
Somebody else (I think) observed that a garden is already complicated and wonderful and mysterious enough that there's no need for us to imagine that fairies live in it as well, just to satisfy our desire for mystery or transcendence.
The most relevant point here, I think, is this: why should we believe in anything for which there is no good evidence? That seems more likely to be a harmful (or at least wasteful) kind of belief than a productive one. Of course, the assumption I'm making here is that we have the capacity and motivation to sort the good evidence from the bad. Fortunately, over the centuries, we human beings have hit upon some excellent methods of reasoning that allow us to do just that. We have logic. We have philosophy. We have science.
My consistent impression of you, based on your posts here, is that you don't have an insider's view of the "skeptical community". Skeptics can be annoying, certainly. Their explanations(when they have them) tend to be careful and difficult to refute. They have an annoying habit of insisting on good evidence, rather than (for example) just taking your word for stuff (or third-hand anecdotal accounts from the guy your sister saw in the video on youtube). They hold that extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence. It's all highly inconvenient if you're the sort of person who wants to believe in the fairies in the garden - and who desperately wants other people to believe in those same fairies.
Skeptics usually have quite a good idea about what they do and don't know, because they apply the standards of evidence they ask of others equally to their own beliefs. Skeptics are well aware that science isn't finished, but a work in progress.
That's actually the journalists' fault, not the scientists. Scientists - and academics of all kinds - are trained to take care in drawing definite conclusions. When in doubt, they know they should be clear about what is known and what is unknown. If nothing else, the peer review process demands that kind of honesty (even if it not always achieved in practice). They are also trained to sit on the fence and look at both sides, rather than choosing a side from the start. Most things that are interesting subjects for study are not black or white, but various shades of grey. There isn't always just one right answer.
Notice that MR and Q-reeus both spend a lot of their time making proclamations about what UFOs are not. According to them, UFOs are not "mundane" objects or events. UFOs are not regular aircraft. UFOs are not mistaken sightings of the planet Venus. UFOs are not weather balloons, or birds, or unusually-shaped clouds.
How do they know this? They don't. They just want us to take their word for it, and they get irrationally angry whenever anybody asks for reasonable evidence in support of their "alternative" hypotheses. Far from approaching the question with an open mind, those guys long ago formed a definite opinion about what UFOs "really" are. But their opinions are just as well-evidenced as your time-traveller hypothesis - i.e. not at all evidenced. Just as there is no good evidence that points to time travel being real, there is no good evidence that "beings" can exist in "dimensions beyond our own" and "masquerade" as spaceship-like lights in the sky and as the ghosts of mythology. These things are fun fantasies, but to pretend to know they are reality, in the absence of any supporting evidence that such a thing is even possible, is to lie to yourself (as well as to everybody else).
More realistically, you can put two hypotheses side by side for comparison, like this:
Cmr Fravor saw a bird over the water and mistook it for an alien spaceship.
Cmr Fravor saw extradimensional beings flying a tic-tac "craft" with an incomprehensible-to-us propulsion system that moved as if it was magic.
Consider that else we already know about our world, and consider which explanation is more likely to be true, a priori, in light of that prior knowledge. Do people make mistakes? Yes. Can a white sea bird look like a white tic tac from a distance? Yes. Can an experienced pilot in flight mistake an almost stationary object for one that is moving rapidly? Demonstrably yes. Is there any other evidence demonstrating the existence of extra dimensions that could house intelligent beings? No. Did anybody actually see any "beings" flying or controlling the "tic tac"? No. Is there any well-developed theory that might explain extreme accelerations that appear to defy the known laws of physics? No. Did lots of other people see extradimensional beings (or a flying tic tac)? No. Is there any evidence for the existence of actual magic in the world? No.
I think you're overcooking your argument by suggesting that any skeptic (here or elsewhere) is saying that Fravor's tic tac must be a bird, or a hallucination, or anything else. All the skeptics say is that these are reasonable possibilities that we cannot yet discount, and that these possibilities are far more plausible than, say, the theory that magical beings from unknown dimensions actually exist. Moreover, no skeptic is "dismissing" what Fravor saw, or that Fravor perceived something. On the contrary, the very fact that skeptics have devoted considerable time and effort into investigating the matter shows that their opinions are anything but a cursory dismissal of the available evidence.
To my knowledge, no skeptic has claimed that Fravor's tic tac is a "solved case", in the sense that the skeptic is very confident about having discovered the "correct" explanation of what happened. The problem, by the way, is not that the case is so mysterious as to make explanation extremely difficult. The problem is lack of evidence. The "raw data" that we have to work with in that case is extraordinarily flimsy, as is typical with all of the "best" UFO cases the True Believers like to hold up as their most persuasive evidence for whatever brand of woo they have decided to commit themselves to.
For the skeptics, it's okay not to know, but that's never a conclusion that the True Believers will accept. They already believe they have The Answers.
That's how science works. The implicit assumption going into any scientific investigation or experiment is always: this thing will behave in the way that the theory I am testing expects it will behave. And the default theory in science is usually the "no effect" hypothesis: this new drug will have no effect on the illness it is designed to treat; this expensive new particle detector will find no particles that we haven't detected before; we won't need any new physics to explain dark matter. To refute the "null hypothesis" we require strong evidence. Not just a vague suspicion that there might be more out there than is dreamt of in our philosophy, or whatever.
The evidence bears out those particular conclusions, though. There's abundant evidence in this thread alone that our resident True Believers are ignorant, and prone to errors of logic and/or reasoning, and overly fond of "woo", and living in unevidenced fantasy worlds, and are not above being dishonest when they feel it is necessary to defend their own position or to criticise their opponents, and (probably) mentally disconnected with reality to at least some degree. This is not being nasty for nastiness's sake. You have only to read their posts over a period of time and apply some critical thought to them.
As a matter of fact, they are not silenced. This thread currently runs to 5400 posts. Didn't you notice? Their views have hardly been censored. On the contrary, they have been given a fair an more than ample airing. These people have done much to lose the respect of reasonable people on this forum. That's on them.
From the Believer side of things, there's not much in the way of intelligence visible here - just a lot of wishful rationalisation, denial, fantasising and a consistent reluctance to think critically about just about anything. And that's before we even consider the troll tactics these people deploy regularly - changing the topic when backed into a corner, ignoring evidence that doesn't comport with their own biases, substituting ad hominem attacks for responses to counter-arguments, and the list goes on.
Like I said, it's just a speculation. A rather fanciful one at that. But... if we assume that UFOs are vehicles of some sort (a big and perhaps unjustifiable assumption), and that they don't have a (sorta)conventional origin (US or foreign government or aerospace contractor development programs or whatever), then the time-travel hypothesis seems to me to be as plausible a contender as the interstellar visitor hypothesis. Both would depend on currently unknown physics, but I can't rule out that possibility a-priori.
The beauty of the time-travel speculation is that it can provide an answer to that too. If time-travelers want to avoid changing their own past such that they might never have existed in the future, and if the UFO phenomenon in our time was caused in part by their visits to the present from the future, then they would want to conform to what their history tells them about the UFO phenomenon in our time. They already know from their history about where, when and how UFOs were sighted in our time, so as long as they conform to that, they're good. Their history hasn't been changed.
That's obviously way too speculative to qualify as a good scientific hypothesis. But it might be plausible enough to work as a science-fiction novel's premise.
And philosophically, the scientific hypothesis/science fiction distinction is an interesting question. It resembles the science/pseudoscience "demarcation" problem but isn't quite the same. How much speculation can a scientific hypothesis tolerate without sliding over into science fiction?
Frankly, even more plausible. The time travel hypothesis depends only on unknown physics. It does not depend on the existence of a whole extraterrestrial civilization.
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