In defence of space aliens

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

  1. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    I don't think any skeptic here would disagree. Unfortunately we have someone generally unwilling to explore further, rather insisting that their interpretation is correct, and that there is no reason to doubt the eye-witness accounts (including their interpretation) etc. To that person it is a closed case.
    Most of the argument in this thread is the skeptic trying to explain why such an interpretation should not be taken at face value, why there needs to be more convincing evidence, why there needs to be that further exploration. It is not a closing down of the possibility of the believer's claims, only a closing down of the believer's certainty.
    However, while this is how I have read this thread, I appreciate that some see it as efforts to close down even the possibility of the claim, dismissing it out of hand. As to who is reading the thread more accurately in that regard, I'm happy to agree to disagree.

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  3. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    "Reality of ufos" has never been in question, MR. Your interpretation that they are extra-terrestrial visitors, however, is wholly unconvincing to even the mildest of skeptics.
    Remember, for a UFO to be "real" it need merely be any aerial object or phenomena that is as yet unidentified. Noone disputes that there are such phenomena that are as yet unidentified. Of these, there will be any number of causes put forth to explain, and visitation by intelligent E.T. life remains an unconvincing interpretation. For the most mysterious and puzzling cases, at best we can currently say "I don't know".
     
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  5. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Okay, this makes sense yet I’m not sure MR is certain about all the claims as much as he’d like some of the claims to be taken seriously. I appreciate your insight - and it’s in these moments where we share more common ground than not.

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  7. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    But I don't claim they are extraterrestrial in origin. I freely admit I don't know where they're from. But I DO insist they are otherworldly in origin based on their nature and behavior as observed. I have repeated many times here in this thread that they show distinct characteristics that make them beyond anything humans have developed.

    Could they be some as yet unknown technology of our military? Not likely. The recent report of the Pentagon makes clear that this is not some secret project of the military and represent real unknowns that are being repeatedly encountered. Their official UAP report said there were 144 encounters they could not explain.

    That's what I mean by ufo. Not some X variable that could still be the planet Venus or weather balloon or a bird or wind blown trash or whatever the skeptics want to say it is. These have already been ruled out by the characteristics and behavior observed by eyewitnesses and detected by camera and radar. At times I may speculate on what they are, but I still am not so certain of what they are that I may seem to be.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2022
  8. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Are not "otherworldly" and "extraterrestrial" synonyms? If so, you are contradicting yourself (i.e. not claiming they're X but insisting they're X). If not, how are you distinguishing between the two?
    "Could not explain" does not mean "of otherworldly/extraterrestrial origin". It means that they could not be explained. I do not think anyone here disputes that some "encounters" remain mysterious. But it is this final step, from "don't know" to "therefore alien/otherworldly" that people are taking issue with, because it is not based on anything convincing. If you stopped before that final step, without an obvious agenda to promote your belief, you would likely have a more sensible/meaningful discussion of the phenomena you highlight. As it is, people are tending to fixate on that "step too far" (so to speak).

    But, hey, it is what it is.

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  9. foghorn Registered Senior Member

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    What does ufo mean?
    No speculation there. The words ''in fact'' are used. My bold above.

    What are ufos?
    No speculation there.

    Do ufos think?
    Here is MR telling us UFOs have to ''decide'' to reveal themselves:
    No speculation there about ufos having the ability to think. My bold above.
     
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  10. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Extraterrestrial means aliens from another planet. Otherworldly is broader in scope and could be any being/AI from the future, from another dimension, or, maybe, paranormal beings from our very planet itself.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2022
  11. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Thanks for clarifying.
     
  12. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    You must not have been reading this thread, Sarkus. I've probably posted at least 100 times to this thead. Most of my posts concerned the so-called 'tic-tac' sightings. My own 'preliminary assessment' of them has always been that 'Something extraordinary seems to have physically been there and I don't have a clue what it was'. That's it. That's all. It's not a particularly radical idea and it doesn't really get far out in front of what little evidence is in the public domain.

    It's probably the most common-sensical response and it is essentially the same assessment reached by the US government (who have far more evidence than I do) in their UAP Preliminary Assessment which stated that these things (whatever they are) could be a danger to air navigation and might potentially be a danger to national security. The UAP Assessment recommended a more robust effort to collect information on these events, elimination of the ridicule that often prevents people from reporting them, and a more energetic analysis to determine what they are and whether any "breakthrough technologies" are being displayed.

    So I think that I'm on pretty strong ground here. But every time I've expressed those ideas I've been fired upon from all directions by self-styled "skeptics" who seemingly don't want to hear it. (They pop up in endless succession to battle me, and never agree to the ideas that you say they all accept.) I've been dismissed as a "UFO believer", with the implication that it's a bad thing. Discussions inevitably turn away from my own 'I don't know what it was, but it seemed extraordinary' to their own idee fixe of 'extraterrestrial spaceships', which is somehow supposed to be an idea deserving only of contempt and ridicule. (Why?)

    Yes, that's how JamesR argues. He's one of the brightest of their bunch, many of the others just post sarcasm and insults (with impunity, the moderators never call them on it) or post stupid cartoons and "memes". It also seems to be implicit/explicit in the articles on this subject in the "Skeptical" magazines. The implicit assumption in that line of argument is that the possibility that these 'tic-tacs' were anything extraordinary is so vanishingly small, that any mundane possibility will have a higher likelihood of being true. Birds are more likely than alien spaceships in their thinking. Whales are more likely than alien spaceships in their thinking. Radar 'glitches' are more likely than alien spaceships.

    It seems to me to be an implicit application of something like Hume's argument concerning miracles, in which Hume argued that if miracles are defined as violations of the order of nature, then they will be exceedingly unlikely by definition since the order of nature describes what typically happens. So Hume argued that there will always be an alternative natural explanation that is more likely than the miraculous explanation. (Scholars have noted that the argument wasn't original with Hume and that it doesn't seem to work against all conceptions of the miraculous.)

    But in this case, we aren't defining UFOs/UAPs as being violations of the order of nature, unless that assumption is already implicitly baked in a priori. The nature of these anomalous phenomena is unknown. (The assumption that the hypothesis to be discredited is 'alien spaceships' is an unjustified leap right out of the gate.) Hence if the thesis is merely that what was present is currently unknown, then we would seem to have no way of estimating its probability. We probably need to keep an open mind about that.

    What's more, these 'tic-tac' sightings were extraordinarily good in the sense that they involved multiple trained observers from multiple angles, radar returns and visual and IR imagery, on multiple occasions in multiple places. While there's probably some low but plausible chance that birds, whales or radar glitches could account for particular aspects of these sightings, the probability that a whole collection of these kind of elementary errors all came together in just such a way as to mimic the sighting of some physical object moving in the sky, to multiple observers in multiple modalities, becomes vanishingly small. (The "Comedy of Errors" theory.) So arguing from probabilities works against the "skeptics" as well as for them.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consilience

    It's a distinction without a difference when any suggestion that there might be an interesting (and perhaps even important) anomaly to investigate here is met with dismissal, insult and ridicule. People will say that they accept the mere possibility of things they don't believe in. They do it in order to escape the burden of proof that they feel that a flat denial would demand. But at the same time the same individuals can communicate that they don't entertain any possibility when they attack and ridicule those who argue for precisely that possibility. (It's something that atheists are guilty of all the time.)
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2022
  13. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    I have not read every post in fine detail, but I have been watching this thread for quite a while.
    Unfortunately the "something extraordinary" is the weaknessin your assessment, especially when you admit you don't have a clue what it was. I.e. how can you say it is extraordinary without any clue as to what it is? At best you could surely say "I don't know what it is," and leave it at that. It may have a mundane - i.e. non-extraordinary - explanation, which you have to concede is possible given that you "don't have a clue what it was". So how can you assert that it is "something extrordinary"?
    If you want to say you don't know what it is, that you have no clue, stop there. Don't then assert that it is "something extraordinary" - unless by that phrase you include mundane explanations observed from unusual perspectives, etc.

    I disagree. The most common-sensical response if one doesn't "have a clue" is to say "I don't know".
    No, it's not the same assessment reached. They don't know what they are. They don't claim them to be "something extraordinary". They claim them to be unexplained. And it is that lack of explanation that gives rise to the possible risks that they highlight: because they don't know what they are they can't dismiss that they might be a potential danger to national security etc.
    I whole-heartedly agree with them.
    With all due respect, I disagree. It's not as shaky as some, but you still promote assessments that are unwarranted from what is known. You try to promote yourself as an advocate of the "I don't know" but even you, in this case, overstep those bounds.
    Maybe I have missed some of those instances (some examples wouldn't go amiss), but have you tried actually asking them if they accept the ideas I think they would agree to, if asked?
    That might depend upon what one considers "UFO" to encapsulate.

    Doh - sod it... got to go... I'll get to the rest later.
    But look, as said, I think we can have a sensible conversation, and I don't want to paint pictures unfairly or inaccurately, and maybe this isn't the right place to talk of motivations, defending or attacking individuals, but instead to stick to actual arguments.
    But I will try to get back to the rest later.
     
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  14. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    Because contacts behaving in a manner that is not regular, common, familiar or expected is 'extraordinary' by definition.

    https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/extraordinary

    Saying that these things appeared very unusual and unfamiliar to trained pilots and radar operators in no way prejudges what they might be.
     
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  15. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    First, I think your own claim of "extraordinary", depending, I guess, on whether you include a rare perspective of the mundane to be "extraordinary", is already perhaps a claim warranting the skepticism it attracts.
    Second, I'm not sure anyone here - and again I am open to be shown to be wrong, with examples put forth - equivocates "but it seemed extraordinary" with "extraterrestrial spaceships". If they do then I do concur with you that it is a fallacious counter on their part.
    "their bunch"? So you group even "the brightest of their bunch" (on which particular point I am not posting comment on) within the "(so-called) 'skeptics')?
    Sure, the sarcasm, the insults, the memes, are rhetorical devices aimed at shortening the debate in lieu of actual argument. I'm not in favour of it, although do not claim to have never employed it myself. But look behind the rhetoric and you will probably find a meaningful argument. I'm not going to defend that approach, though.
    To be blunt, they are more likely. That is fact. Of the countless claims of anomalous observations, none - and I repeat not one - have been shown to be alien spaceships. However, some have been shown to be possibly caused by the other things you mention (glitches, birds, etc.). No rational person would believe that which has never been proven above the more mundane that has been shown to be a possible cause. Note, that's not to say that one believes with certainty that it is the mundane, only that, in the absence of knowledge, it should be assumed to be the possible mundane before it is believed to be that which has never been shown to exist before.
    Hume also said of miracles that "no testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous, than the fact, which it endeavours to establish."
    If we apply that to UFOs it is the idea that concluding the UFO to be of "otherworldy nature" should be the least incredible interpretation of the phenomenon in question. I.e. if you can't disprove it to be one of the more mundane explanations, it is "rational" to conclude it probably mundane before concluding it probably "otherworldly" etc.
    Sure, but the principle Hume espoused with regard miracles (as stated above) is still a reasonable one to take with regard any phenomena. Do you not agree?
    Exactly. Note that that does not make them "extraordinary", unless you somehow define that term as including things that defy obvious explanation.
    Discredited? No, it is rightly discredited in favour of the more mundane. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, etc. To claim that it absolutely is not an alien spaceship, that perhaps is an unjustified leap, just like saying that if you pick a number between one and a million it absolutely will not be 256,376. Ask enough people and one of them will pick that number, thus showing the "absolute claim" is false. Now, I don't know the likelihood of alien visitation, but I can't rule it out entirely. Maybe some take the "incredibly unlikely" and refer to it as "absolutely not". If so, okay, it's not logically justified. Oops, there's me using that "logic" word. My bad.

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    If we don't know what something is, that doesn't mean that evey possibility has equal probability of being the reality. We can keep an open mind and admit that we don't know, and that probabilities exist, but also understand that some things are more likely to be the case than others.
    For example, if I found my phone in the lounge, it is possible that a mysterious person broke into my house, took it out of my pocket, and placed it in the lounge, entering and leaving my house without leaving any evidence. That is a possibility. It is also a possibility that the last time I was in my lounge I put it on the table and didn't pick it up when I left. Two possible causes, but surely you accept that one is more likely?
    I don't think it works against them, as while skeptics can offer some possible explanations, their list will not be exhaustive. Bear in mind that the skeptic is not there to show that it definitely is X or Y, only that it is, rationally, more reasonable to assume that it is not Z.
    X and Y could each have a 1 in a million chance of occuring, but if Z is 1 in a trillion? Or if there are a million X or Ys etc?
    Now, if some "(so-called) 'skeptics'" are saying that it is definitely X, or definitely Y, you have a point about that particular skeptic.
    Sure.
     
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  16. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Cont'd...
    That speaks to the manner of the debate rather than the reality of the distinction. If you at least accept that there is a distinction but that it is not apparent in the thread, investigate the cause, and correct it.
    In my view it is reasonably clear (but then I may be biased, I don't know): unfortunately here there is no "there might be an interesting anomaly to investigate" put forth. Instead there is a "here's an anomaly: proof of X!".
    Does the unwarranted claim get ridiculed? Yes. Does that ridicule result in a loss of the wider point that there is still perhaps something of interest? Yes. But there is still, at the core, the distinction to be made.
    In my view it needs a less confrontational approach to be taken, especially by the one advocating the "it's proof of X". That should then result in a less confrontational response and, who knows, actually a meaningful discussion. But maybe the one making the original claims/posts doesn't actually want a meaningful discussion. Maybe the "(so-called) 'skeptics'" don't.
    That's rather disingenuous, and painting people as inherently dishonest: people taking positions because of what they can't justify rather than them reaching their position based on what they can justify.
    If someone claims that there is no possibility, that is a claim that requires a burden of proof, is it not? So give them that burden to bear. But, as said, I have not really seen that in this thread. You may be able to provide examples, though, as I admit to not having read every post.
    As for the comparison to atheists, I'm not sure this is the place to get into that. Or probably much of what I've said. Maybe somewhere in the psychology or philosophy forums. Needless to say, I'm a committed agnostic atheist. I personally don't see absolutes in such questions, nor here. I see probabilities here more than I do in the case of religion, though (notwithstanding some specific aspects of some religions etc). And maybe I see those probabilities being expressed here, but clouded by some unhelpful rhetoric. Or maybe I'm just being too generous.

    Meh.
     
  17. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    So it could be the mundane acting in a mundane way, only we don't yet know what that mundane is? Maybe it's the perception that the phrase "something extraordinary" precludes any explanation of the mundane.
     
  18. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

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    As a ex RAAF Radio Technician Ground - seen one Tic Tac seen a bunch

    Tracking them down required us to crawl around in hard to access small cramped areas behind consoles which have nasty high voltage equipment inside said console

    Have you tried switching it off and turning it on again? doesn't it with the supervising Sargent

    Nope take the panels off and put probes inside and give me a reading

    Good times
    Now coffee moment

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  19. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

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    I certainly have no wish for UFOs to exist

    I like the idea they MIGHT exist. My only (main) reason? lots of new stuff to ponder añd discover

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  20. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Yazata,

    I hit "like" on a couple of Sarkus's posts, above, because I think they very clearly expressed where you're overstepping what is reasonable to deduce from UFO sightings such as the "tic tacs".

    You say "Something extraordinary seems to have physically been there and I don't have a clue what it was". Sarkus is spot on in pointing out that if you really "don't have a clue what it was" then you have no basis to distinguish between the thing being something mundane (perhaps observed under unusual conditions) and it being truly extraordinary (something new to human knowledge).

    It also occurs to me that the use of the word "extraordinary" is, in itself, ambiguous. On the one hand, "extraordinary" might mean that the observed UAP, by its own nature, is new to human knowledge, as discussed above. That claim is one I strongly dispute, on the grounds that there is insufficient evidence for any UAP (in particular, the "tic tacs", if you want a specific example) being extraordinary in that sense. You seem to acknowledge, perhaps without realising it, that jumping to the conclusion that the UAP is "extraordinary" in that sense is premature.

    On the other hand, by their very nature, the most controversial (in the sense of being difficult to "solve") UFOs/UAPs are all "extraordinary" in the sense that circumstances and available information make it so hard to positively identify them.

    Think about the context. Lots of people see "UFOs" at various times. We could take a poll right here and I predicts we'd find that a not-insignificant number of people on this forum alone have, at some time in their life, seen something in the sky they can't identify with confidence. I know I have. Of all such incidents, only a small percentage are considered by witnesses to be puzzling enough or alarming enough to be worth reporting officially. But that's still a large number of filed reports. Of those reports, a lot of them - perhaps the majority - result in rapid identification of what was seen. An astounding number, for instance, turn out to be sightings of planets such as Mars or Venus, with very high likelihood (due to their reported position in the sky, combined with the reported visual appearance). You might think that somebody would have to be stupid to mistake the planet Venus for a "craft" that rapidly moves, accelerates and "disappears", but in fact that happens a lot. Part of the reason is actually that a lot of people are not very familiar with the night sky these days, living in cities with a lot of artificial light. A lot of people also just aren't aware of what astronomical objects can be seen in the sky, or how to identify ones that they do see. Astronomical objects are just one class of often-misidentified objects and phenomena. There are many others, like weather balloons, aircraft of various types, meteorological phenomena, photographic artifacts, and so on.

    After we have filtered out all the UFO sightings that are easily and/or rapidly explained/explainable, we are left with sightings in which there is often a coincidence of special conditions or events. Perhaps the weather conditions are unusual. Perhaps two or more witnesses in separated locations see two or more different objects at around the same time, and those objects are later assumed to be one and the same when witnesses compare notes (or the "sightings" are publicised). Perhaps the viewing conditions themselves are unusual in some way, or data from apparatus/instruments used to view the "objects" (which might be as simple as a camera or as complex as a radar system or an infrared gimbal camera on a fighter jet) is faulty or misinterpreted. These cases involving coincidences or unusual conditions in one way or another are "extraordinary", but only in the sense that they involve more or less unlikely concurrences. Unfortunately, however, people often tend to assume that human observations and perceptions are more reliable than they actually are - even more so if instruments or other types of apparatus are involved. So they discount, downplay or just outright ignore the possibility that the UAP itself could be quite mundane and only the viewing conditions or circumstances are "extraordinary".

    The last point I'd make is that, when all is said and done, it ought not to be surprising that they are quite a lot of "unsolved" UFO cases. It would be wrong, however, to jump to the conclusion that they are unsolved because there are lots of extraordinary things happening, or lots of extraordinary objects flying around. There are a lot of people who are potential UFO observers. Even if extraordinary viewing conditions or circumstances make up only a tiny fraction of all possible sightings (which seems to match what is reported), that still means that there will be a lot of cases that involve such conditions over a period of years/decades. The chance of somebody winning the lottery might be 1 in 50 million, but each week somebody usually wins, because lots of people play the lottery. After the event, it can be very difficult to reconstruct what combination of circumstances might have caused an "extraordinary" sighting. Also, in many cases, record keeping is very poor. Often, eyewitness anecdotes are the only available data at the start of an investigation; the rest has to be dug up by investigators, if the evidence is still available in some form, and even knowing what to look for can be problematic. So, some UFO sightings are not solved, due mostly to an absence of available evidence.

    Okay, so I lied about that being my last point. The last point is this: some people lie. When it comes to UFO reports, some of the people reporting them are motivated, for one reason or another, to either make a completely false report (possibly including faked photographs, video or other alleged evidence) or to embellish the bare bones of what they actually saw to make it sound more interesting (or "compelling", as MR might put it). So, there is deliberate fraud. There is also the problem of cross-contamination of witness statements, which is by no means restricted to reports of UFOs. If witnesses get together to discuss their UFO "experience", particularly before they file an official report, we can often end up with two versions of a story that has been essentially pre-agreed by the supposedly independent witnesses. If there is publicity for a "sighting", they don't even have to know or meet one another, necessarily. They can compare notes via media publicity and iron out any inconsistencies in their respective stories before a more thorough investigation is done (if it ever is). It doesn't even have to involve a deliberate plan to defraud; it's part of how human beings reconstruct memories of events.

    Okay, so I lied again, because I've thought of one more (related) point. This is the one that MR can never quite bring himself to believe (or so he would have us believe): that human perception itself is limited and fallible, in what are, by now, fairly predictable ways. Human sight is not video. Human memory is really nothing like a video recording, contrary to popular belief. People miss seeing what is right in front of them all the time, and they also regularly mis-see what is right in front of them. The brain makes up a story for what we think we saw. Interpretation and assumption happens right from the moment of perception.

    The bottom line, then, is that the UFO/UAP reports we end up talking about tend to be the "extraordinary" ones, in the sense that something out of the ordinary went into producing those reports. To unpack the precise combination of things that were out of the ordinary is often difficult, if not impossible, after the fact, especially with limited records. If we can't solve the puzzle, then the appropriate conclusion is not that the UAP was "an extraordinary craft in the sky", but rather the honest "we don't know what the UAP was". This conclusion is always provisional, of course, because we may obtain access to more/better information at some later date.
     
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  21. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    It is interesting that not one of our UFO believers has attempted to engage with my post #5691.

    If something I wrote there was provably untrue, surely this would be the ideal place for our UFO believers to post the appropriate supporting evidence.
     
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  22. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    I agree with that, particularly all the classic cases that have endured years of examination and ad hoc debunkery and still remain unexplained. All these metallic discs, glowing ovals, black triangles, rotating tops, 40 ft long tic tacs, etc by their very nature and behavior are extraordinary and mysterious objects that provide compelling evidence for the existence of ufos. See list of ufo sightings here:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_reported_UFO_sightings
     
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  23. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    These are certainly things that witnesses have reported seeing. There are also some fuzzy photos etc. Beyond that, there's not much to go on. Nobody has actually measured a tic tac to be 40 ft long; that's just somebody's guess. So are features like "metallic", "rotating" etc.
     

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