In defence of space aliens

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

  1. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    It's part of the insidious effect of the denialist mindset that the believers must have something wrong with them. That they are stupid, or crazy, or fanatics of some fantastical worldview. So complete is their denial of the evidence that they project all their boogeymen on others and reinforce for themselves that they are the sole possessors of the truth. It's really a religious attitude that worships science and critical thinking as the only way of knowing the truth. Hence it quickly degenerates into a moral issue--practice our "critical thinking" or else be condemned as a fool or idiot or even be banned.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2021
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  3. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

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    If James R is a goldfish he should ban himself.

    (Maybe the smartest thing anyone has ever said.)

    Or maybe he deserves death?

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  5. foghorn Registered Senior Member

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    I can live with them being ufos, and that's not being glib about it.
    I can live in ''comfort'' knowing I don't have '' reality all figured out, '' and that's not being glib about it.
    ^'' talking down to people''... '' superiority''^
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2021
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  7. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    In your case, that belief has already taken over a lot of your brain space, so it's not just a threat any more. You're literally wasting a portion of your life on that nonsense. You're choosing to waste it that way. You're so far gone, you think it's normal to waste time searching for and just believing in any old rubbish from anyone. I don't know if you incur monetary costs as well as personal ones. Clearly, going down the paranoid conspiracy route has to affect your ability to interact in a normal way with people. I wonder how much of your money you have wasted on purchasing woo-related stuff, or perhaps giving your time and/or money to people who are willing to be paid to feed you the lies you want to hear.

    You don't recognise the threat to yourself because to recognise it you'd have to think critically about your beliefs and actions. It's a Catch 22. You're stuck. You continue choosing to be stuck.
    We've been over that misconception of yours too many times to count. See what I mean about the unappreciated damage this has done to you? You seem literally incapable of holding certain thoughts in your head any more. Instead, you run away from what feels uncomfortable to you, from what doesn't sit well in your constructed fantasy world.
    I haven't put much effort into that. Besides, there's no need for me to do that. UFOs will never be "craft" until somebody provides some convincing evidence that at least one UFO is a "craft" (piloted by extraterrestrial time-travelling zombie servants of Great Cthulu, or whatever). The onus of proof is not on me to prove the negative. The onus is on you - the guy making the extravagant, silly, unsupported claims - to come up with the goods. But, as we know, you don't even care whether there's any proof.

    I did put a little effort into examining one case quite thoroughly, a while back. You might recall our discussion of the Portland County UFO case - the one where the cops chased the planet Venus. Nothing came of it as far as you were concerned, of course. You mostly ignored the multiple lines of evidence I showed you, and you doubled down on the woo, as usual. But I quite enjoyed my investigation. It did take some effort though, and I don't have a lot of free time. Certainly it would be a complete waste of my time to do that kind of thing in the hope that it might change your mind about something. If I do it at all, it's only because something sparks my interest.
    As I said to Yazata, above, you need to understand what is and what is not a moral issue.

    On an emotional level, when it comes to you, the emotions that I primarily experience are a mixture of pity and exasperation. Pity because you're so irrevocably stuck. Exasperation because I rarely come across people who go out of their way to actively avoid learning things, and you're apparently one of those people.

    I understand that it hurts your feelings when I tell you blunt truths that you'd rather not hear. But you don't have to put yourself through this. You have agency. You choose to be here rather than on a UFO-lovers' forum somewhere where lots of people will pat you on the back and congratulate you on your ability to dig up time-waster nuggets from youtube. (Although, for all I know, you spend time on those kinds of forums too, which means even more of your time wasted on the nonsense. Mind you, I can understand if it makes you feel loved or part of community of like-minded people, because it must be tough living life with a whole gamut of kooky beliefs. Probably you have to keep your many bizarre articles of faith private from most people, lest they think you have screw loose.)
    It's mildly diverting from time to time. What's in it for you, pray tell?
    Oh, I'm under no illusions on that score, I assure you. The first step in rehab is to acknowledge you have a problem. If you wanted to be saved - and were capable of being saved - by me, that probably would have already happened. On the other hand, people can change, and I'm an optimist.
    Sure! But you could be happier. I could be happier. But you're stuck. That's where we're at. You do you.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2021
  8. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    They do! See above, where I explained what is wrong with them at some length.
    That's three possible boxes you could check. There are others, and there's no need to check every one of them to still have a problem.
    Don't get flustered and blow it out of proportion!

    All that is being asked of you is to provide some convincing evidence for your beliefs. It is not our fault that you can't find any.

    Remember, it's you who has all the certainty. You know all about the "craft" and the "pilots" and you have apparently convinced yourself that you've ruled out all "mundane" explanations. Doesn't all that knowledge you have make you the possessor of The Truth?

    All the skeptics have ever asked of you is to show how you know your beliefs are The Truth. They (we) have never claimed to have The Truth ourselves.

    But you've been told that over and over again. In one ear and out the other. You can't see how damaged you are.
    That sounds reasonable. But does anybody actually do that? Where can I find a Church of Science and Critical Thinking with a congregation of worshippers?

    Can one really worship a method?
     
  9. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    I'd rather clutter my grey matter with the facts of the cases rather than with the unsubstantiated and endless speculations of skeptics about weather balloons, flocks of seagulls, cavorting whales, the planet Venus, and radar glitches. Seems to me you waste more time and space whining and making shit up than actually settling for what is known and reported about the cases.

    You're there in it right now. Sci Forum is an online cathedral devoted to the holiness and infallibility of the God Science. Conform to our "critical thinking" or be cast out is their primary credo. Demonize whoever disagrees with you is another one.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2021
  10. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Perfect.

    Now, no more nonsense about the origin of these anomalies or whether they're piloted or whatever.
     
  11. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    MR:

    DaveC is right. What is cluttering your brain, MR, is not the "facts of the cases", which in the vast majority of cases amount to little more than "somebody saw something in the sky and didn't know what it was". Your brain is cluttered by all the baggage you bring to those "facts" - all the nonsense about "craft" and "pilots" and "intelligent beings". So much so that you're incapable (or possibly just unwilling) to think critically about the facts.

    If you weren't so blinkered, you might also have noticed by now that I have never, in all of my time on this forum, claimed that science is infallible (or holy, for that matter). I understand why you need to keep erecting straw men. They are much easier to knock down than the simple common sense you have been offered over and over again. No doubt you will continue to tell the same lies for your cause.
     
  12. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    It's an excellent question. We had another thread on that subject back in 2018, started by you I believe.

    First of all, I think of 'critical thinking' in much the same way that I think of 'the scientific method'. To the extent that either of them actually exists as something more than a rhetorical slogan, neither one is a complete and coherent epistemological doctrine, let alone some sort of magic algorithm for determining the truth about something, for thinking correctly, or whatever it's supposed to be. Like with science, there's a whole assortment of concerns and a whole grab bag of methods that arise as circumstances warrant.

    The way I approach it, I like to contrast critical thinking with thought that's dependent on a whole host of unexamined and unjustified assumptions. Critical thinking, or perhaps more accurately thinking philosophically, consists in exposing those implicit assumptions to the light of inquiry. Of course any demand that we rectify our reliance on unjustified assumptions threatens to entangle us in an infinite regress. If we somehow justify our assumptions in thinking about something, a critic can simply slide back a step and question what the justification assumes in the same way.

    Rhetorically that's less of a problem than it is philosophically. In rhetoric arguments usually arise when there are disagreements. So the demand for justifications of premises only extends back to some point where both parties agree. Then the implications of what is agreed upon can be explored. That's how controversies often work.

    But if we really want to think critically, we need to acknowledge that both parties might still be wrong about whatever premises they find agreement on. If every premise needs to be nailed down, we have the infinite regress again. So that creates quite a challenge for those who hope to raise up logical deduction as the ideal pathway to truth. (The whole axiomatic Euclidean-inspired current in the early modern history of ideas and still alive in places like theoretical physics today.)

    Most of the content in 'critical thinking' classes seems to consist of common-sense platitudes such as 'Don't believe everything you are told' and 'Ask why'. That's combined with an examination of the informal fallacies just to fill things out. There's lots of talk in 'critical thinking' about 'logic' and the need to 'think logically', except that it's rarely clear what exactly that means. Formalized first-order predicate logic isn't really all that useful in assessing everyday thinking. (It lacks modality, tense, plural quantification and many things used in everyday thinking.) So the idea that thinking needs to conform to the sort of logic taught in beginning classes becomes problematic. It's probably more defensible to insist that logic needs to conform to what people do in real life when they think well.

    One might even question whether the fallacies must always be avoided in real life thought. There are patterns of thought that don't hold together with deductive certainty but do seem to have value. Scientific induction is the textbook example of that. Inference to the best explanation (something scientists do every day) might be another. I'm not arguing that people should run out and embrace fallacious argument patterns, I'm just saying that it's complicated.

    I don't for a moment believe that people out there on the street are incapable of thinking unless they have taken a 'critical thinking' class in school. Thinking comes naturally to human beings and many untutored people are very good at it. It's probably a product of evolution and of how our nervous systems work. It might even be a model of how reality behaves, at some mysterious metaphysical level. Common sense is very good at predicting how things will behave in everyday experience.

    What logicians do is try to identify and formalize some of the patterns observed in natural thinking. (Just as linguists try to describe and understand the amazing subtleties of natural language.) They can't capture all of the subtleties, since natural thought is a far more powerful and flexible instrument than formal logic. It's a work-in-progress. Most of the advances of 20th century formal logic have been of this sort, making the formal apparatus better able to model natural thinking. We have seen the advent of alethic modal logic (the logic of necessity, possibility and impossibility), temporal logics (what's true tomorrow might be false today) epistemic logics and doxastic logics (where 'knows' and 'believes' are operators) and deontic logics (with operators like 'should' and 'shouldn't'). There are fuzzy logics that dispense with two truth values (T and F) and replace that with an infinite number of truth values (modeled on the real number line) between 0 (F) and 1 (T) so as to better capture degrees of belief, plausibility, likelihood, justification or whatever. Hence probablistic and quantum logics.

    I guess that what I'm trying to say is that by the time formal logic even starts to approach the power and subtlety of everyday human reasoning, it's already a matter for graduate students and for professional logicians. It isn't something that a kid learns in elementary school or high-school.

    Another kind of difficulty makes itself apparent when we recognize that each subject tends to have its own problem-solving methods. Physicists don't attack problems in the same way that biologists do. And historians and literary critics approach their questions in dramatically different ways. What universities do is teach students to think like physicists, biologists, historians and literary critics. And that education in turn often consists of study of paradigmatic examples of thought in each discipline, drawn from the past.

    My concern is that these narrow discipline-specific techniques don't necessarily equate to general problem solving ability, let alone to the ability to assess arguments in fields very remote from the field in which the education occurred. Getting a good physics education isn't necessarily going to make somebody a good art historian. The physicist might not be any better situated than any other layman in evaluating the arguments of art historians.

    'Critical thinking' can very easily become a unexamined self-serving slogan. It's not something that one should use as a rhetorical club to berate others, but something that one must display in their own thinking. Perhaps one needs to exercise some critical thinking about 'critical thinking' (the academic subject).
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2021
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  13. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Tks but I'm just gonna keep posting whatever I feel like within the limits of Sci Forums rules. I'm not a big fan of censorship..
     
  14. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Here's a suggestion that should keep everyone happy, MR: when you posts a video/link/whatever, also post what you think are the facts of the case. That way we can at least see if you are confusing "fact" with "interpretation" etc, or whether you really are focussing on the actual facts.
    If you are then the debate is in how you get from those facts to the conclusions you do, and why some disagree with it.
    If you are not, then the issue is in what you consider to be "fact", and how/why you think that they are "fact".

    Surely this approach has to be better for all than simply trying to beat MR into submission (often in an uncalled-for insulting manner) over what are seen as the deficiencies in his thinking. And since the examples in this thread will be on the matter of UFOs, it will still all be on topic.
     
  15. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

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    Well thought out and very good suggestion

    Tiny tiny defect. MR is likely to consider the eyewitness account as being a fact

    Happy to be proven wrong but let's see how your excellent suggestion works out

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  16. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Thank you.

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    That's not a defect, as that would help highlight where exactly the issue is etc.
     
  17. foghorn Registered Senior Member

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    Could or would questioning someone about an event be considered ''doubt'' ?
    If yes, would you say the questioner was '' mentally ill and paranoid.'' ?
    My bold^
     
  18. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    That's probably true. I give more credence to the eyewitnesses, particularly when they are multiple sighters of the ufo, than most skeptics seem willing to grant. My simple logic is, they know they saw something, be it a metallic disc, a glowing oval, a 40 ft tic tac, a spinning top, a black triangle , etc. Why is the armchair skeptic's version more authorative than their own version of events? They were actually there. Why iow is this basic assumption of error on the part of the eyewitness always made about the reported event? How do you know what they saw? Why should we listen to you instead of to them?
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2021
  19. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Yeah..It's basically shoot the messenger here whenever the message isn't to your liking. It's a sign that you have no argument when you have to resort to personal attacks. It's a feeble and desperate attempt to stop me from posting the evidence that shows ufos really do exist and remain unknown as to their nature and origins. "Quit posting all this evidence!" "Eyewitnesses can't be trusted!" "Use critical thinking like we do!" "All videos are crap!" "Human perception is unreliable!" It's the same defensive gripes and excuses to dismiss over and over again since this thread started a little over 4 years ago.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2021
  20. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    You are willing to buy into anybody's interpretation of anything they claim to have seen, as long as it is "paranormal" in some sense. You aren't interested in delving any further into whether what their opinion is worth anything.
    Point 1: What they know and what we know are not necessarily the same thing.
    Point 2: What they know and what they think (or interpret) are not necessarily the same thing.
    Point 3: They know they saw something that looked to them a bit like a metallic disc, a glowing oval, a 40 ft tic tac. That says nothing about whether the thing they saw was a metallic disc, or whether it was actually 40 ft long, or whatever. Those additional thoughts are interpretations or assumptions they made, and they aren't necessarily correct in all details (or even, in some cases, in any details).
    Usually because the armchair skeptics have investigated things more thoroughly, considering all available data and the bigger picture. But the truth of these things should never come down to somebody's perceived authority, anyway. If you're trying to decide truth based solely on your gut feeling about who you trust more, that's the wrong way to go about things.
    That doesn't mean they are infallible. Understand yet? (How many years has it been, now?)
    It isn't. Sometimes, eyewitnesses accurately report what they saw and give "just the facts, Ma'am". It's usually when they speculate and incorrectly interpret that they start to make errors.
    We examine all the available evidence to reach the best available conclusion. How else could we know?

    How do you know what they saw? What's your process? Do you have one?
    Why "instead"? Why is it either-or with you?

    No need to answer. We already know. You don't want to listen to certain perspectives. You want to shut them out.
    Exactly what you're doing in this post, isn't it? Skeptics tell you things you'd rather not hear, so you rant and rave and make personal attacks on them.
    So you concede the argument, then? Because what are you doing here, if not making personal attacks?
    What evidence?
    What evidence?
    You consistently miss the nuance. The real message is: eyewitnesses are not infallible. Can you see the difference between the real point that has been put to you over and over and this straw man version you keep trying to erect?
    If only you would/could. You wouldn't be in this mess.
    The real message has several facets: (1) some videos are fraudulent; (2) many videos are of low evidentiary value; (3) some interpretations of videos are more likely to be correct than others.
    Correct. Abundant evidence, from careful scientific studies (among other things), has confirmed it over and over.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2021
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  21. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    That's a good suggestion. It might help distinguish between 1) the witness saw a metallic object, and 2) the witness saw something that he/she described as a metallic object.

    MR's contention seems to be that if somebody reports seeing something that appears metallic, that's reasonably good reason to think that there was a metallic object there to be seen. I think that MR's arguing that the "skeptics" are too quick to dismiss that possibility in cases where the thing in question is something whose existence they don't want to accept.

    I'm inclined to agree with him about that. Obviously the fact that somebody sees something that he/she describes as metallic isn't apodeictic proof that the object seen must necessarily have been composed of metal. (That's just a straw man.) But it does seem to be evidence that there is some likelihood that it was. (The strength of that 'likelihood' is open to debate.) And I think that both MR and myself would argue that dismissing that likelihood requires something more than bluster. Dismissing the likelihood would seem to require counter-evidence of its own.

    The observation report of a metallic object is even better evidence that something was there, even if it wasn't actually metallic (but just looked metallic to that particular observer). But again, not logically certain proof, just something that makes that conclusion more likely.

    Yes, the discussion in this thread raises all kinds of more abstract issues. Important issues that arise in evaluating evidence whenever it's necessary, including within science itself. These kinds of issues are usually most obvious in the edgier problem cases.

    Unfortunately, I think that the discussion long ago descended to the school-yard level, primarily about which 'side' one lines up on, about whether one is allied with MR or with his enemies. It's almost 100% about personalities at this point.
     
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  22. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

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    No, they just want to get a feel for what they're saying.

    WTF r u saying?
     
  23. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Witnesses almost invariably interpret what they're seeing.

    A very common interpretation is: 'the object was about 100 feet long'.
    Generally, it is very difficult to establish the size of an object and when the object is unfamiliar, especially without nearby landmarks to scale it to.
    So, saying it was about 100 feet long, means the witness is also guessing how far away it was.

    As analysts, we know these kinds of difficulty such as 'objective size estimation' and 'what material it was made of' a problematic part of witness statements. We must doubt if the witness could really tell the size, distance and composition of an unknown object.

    It does not mean the witnesses are wrong. It sure doesn't mean anyone is "casting aspersions" upon their fine character. It means they're human, and there are some things we know we just don't do well.

    Witness statements must be weighed for their value, and witnesses who minimize their interpretation of what they saw are given somewhat more weight than witnesses who (albeit unconsciously) provide their own interpretations.

    Some believers tend to take that witness interpretation as incontrovertible fact - implicitly, the object must have been huge.

    That's a mistake. It's poor rational thinking and flawed analysis.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2021
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