UFOs (UAPs): Explanations?

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

  1. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Here is a quote just for MR:

    ' Overbye highlighted that some of these accounts are obtained from respected observers such as military pilots. However, he cautioned, "as modern psychology and neuroscience have established, the senses are an unreliable portal to reality, whatever that is."'
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Nimitz_UFO_incident
     
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  3. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

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    They just did a bit of tidying up

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  5. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    I don't know about you but I find my senses a very reliable portal to reality.
     
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  7. river

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    Indeed
     
  8. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    I agree. Scientific empiricism would seem to agree with us on that.

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

    I suspect that all Overbye means to say is that sensory experience is never entirely immune from error.

    I agree with that as well.

    And if he's saying that just because these reports come from respected observers, that doesn't mean that they can't nevertheless be wrong, then I continue to agree.

    But I think that it's foolish to use the uncontroversial observation of the ever present possibility of error to try to launch a general attack on sensory experience merely because it's not entirely perfect. Let alone to cast doubt on the idea of a common objective reality that our senses give us access to. That's just bad philosophy.

    Pushing fallibilism so hard that it becomes a more profound skepticism does no service to science, which is empirical and objective by its nature.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2019
  9. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    Overbye chose legerdemain to illustrate it.

    U.F.O.s: Is This All There Is? (Dennis Overbye): I don’t know what to think about these stories, often told by sober, respected and professional observers — police officers, pilots, military officials — in indelible detail. I always wish I could have been there to see it for myself.

    Then I wonder how much good it would do to see it anyway.

    Recently I ran into my friend Mark Mitton, a professional magician, in a restaurant. He came over to the table and started doing tricks. At one point he fanned the card deck, asked my daughter to pick one, and then asked her to shuffle the deck, which she did expertly.

    Mr. Mitton grabbed the deck and sprayed the cards in the air. There was my daughter’s card stuck to a mirror about five feet away. How did it get there? Not by any new physics. Seeing didn’t really help.

    As modern psychology and neuroscience have established, the senses are an unreliable portal to reality, whatever that is.

    Something might be happening, but we don’t know what it is. E.T., if you’re reading this, I’m still waiting to take my ride.

    Not sure who the prestidigitator would be in this Nimitz incident unless it was a human foreign power with some tricks. Ordinary equipment malfunctions and non-artificial "phenomena" are not deliberate and intentional like a magician. I guess Nature is attributed with the capacity to accidentally fool people.

    A sensation is "just there" -- it is what its appearance or feeling is. Ironically it is cognition or understanding interpreting the phenomenal affair that actually gets it wrong or right, which has affiliation with reasoning processes.

    Reason doesn't have a great reputation anymore for its supposed hotline to or "proofs" of metaphysical reality, either. Since it outputs abstract descriptions of multiple possibilities which rarely get culled.

    Unlike experience, which can actually deliver particular, concrete objects -- an immediate real circumstance -- as long as the content of sensations are inter-subjectively confirmed by others. (But I'd say it's a pretty good idea to run from or get out of the way of dangerous things that one sees, hears, or smells rather than waiting around for either an everyday consensus of people or scientific investigators to confirm that such are not personal illusions.)
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2019
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  10. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    It is the antidote to some believers who insist that, if a witness says he saw a UFO, then it must be a UFO; if a witness says he saw a ghost then it must be a ghost. There doesn't seem to be much scrutiny here about the interpretation that goes into how a witness processes what he saw.

    And again: none of this is to refute the possibility of something extraordinary; it is simply to ensure we don't draw a hasty conclusion about what something must be, without first looking at more mundane explanations.
     
  11. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    The pilot didn't claim he saw a ufo. He only claimed he saw what looked like a 40 ft tic tac. That's a pure description of what he saw and not an interpretation of what it was. The issue becomes do we believe the eyewitnesses who were there along with the ship's radar or do we believe the skeptic who wasn't there and only has an agenda to debunk all ufo sightings. I think the answer is obvious.
     
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  12. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

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    We believe the skeptic who was not there as he is not emotionally involved. We know eye witnesses are unreliable.. ...Agenda preservation of rational thinking.
    Alex
     
  13. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Skeptics are very emotionally involved, Every sighted ufo is a threat to their mundane worldview. And they will fight tooth and nail to defend it.
     
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  14. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

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    Every sighting would be wondrous and far from straining to stick up for a mundane world would be scrambling to be part of the action

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  15. zgmc Registered Senior Member

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    what’s the point of calling out “some” believers? I don’t think anyone here believes absolutely everyone that claims to have seen such things.

    some deniers will look for any reason to deny even if it requires gold medal level mental gymnastics to get there.

    we need to make sure our worldview isn’t so insulated that we can’t see phenomena when it exists.
     
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  16. Gawdzilla Sama Valued Senior Member

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    AND to realize that what we sometimes see is just utter bullshit our brains have come up with.

    Or is that not allowed?
     
  17. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    You have dismissed the argument before - and here - that perception, cognition and memory recall are perfectly reliable, and therefore no error is a possible source of explanation.

    This is not true.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2019
  18. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Because you and I are not the only ones reading this.
    It is important to provide a rational, balanced, skeptical viewpoint.

    You would think so, wouldn't you?
    Astonishingly, not so.
    MR has stated, explicitly and proudly, that he believes any stories of complete strangers without any reason to doubt them.
     
  19. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    I think you're losing track.

    I/we are using established science to demonstrate that the things you explicitly state here are demonstrably false (such as perception being a perfectly accurate recorder of reality).

    That is on-topic.

    It may feel like nothing more than a personal attack, but it isn't - it is actually addressing your argument (showing your argument to be demonstrably false).

    What you are doing, above, is simply a true ad hom - no demonstrable facts to back it up, no specific target (simply a broad gesture toward a label), nothing more than your unfounded desire to discredit rational arguments. (What kind of a person tries to discourage rational discussion???)


    So please stay on-topic and stop making ad homs.
     
  20. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    Even if they didn't describe it as such, what the pilots saw was precisely an 'unidentified flying object', a 'UFO'.

    Right. A 'UFO' that he thought in some ways resembled a giant breath mint. (In terms of shape and color, not in terms of size and flight performance.) He was reaching for an analogy.

    Perhaps the problem with the word 'UFO' is its latter-day popular association with alien spaceships. I strongly agree that it's very premature to say that the pilots had seen an alien spaceship. What they saw was an 'unidentified flying object'. It's very important to keep that in mind. It's the point where much of our wonderful Sciforums crew seems to be crashing off the rails in my opinion.

    They are so emotionally wound up in this, so determined to protect their pristine worldview from unwanted extraterrestrial intruders, that they attack any 'UFO' reports, even ones that may have nothing to do with extraterrestrials. That's one reason why I introduced my UCAV speculation earlier in the thread (only to have knee-jerks start kicking it).

    I take the pilots' reports more or less at face value as raw observational data. I don't want to exclude the possibility of optical illusions, misinterpretations and so on. But the likelihood of those kind of perceptual faults goes down tremendously when the number of witnesses increases, and especially when eye-witness reports are verified with radar returns and targeting pod videos. Then whatever mundane explanation the (grossly misnamed) "skeptics" choose will not only have to account for one type of unwelcome data (eye-witness accounts which can be attacked with psychological arguments), but they will also have to account for simultaneous faults in all three kinds of data. Not only that, the "skeptics" will have to explain why the very different kinds of faults all converge to seem to be evidence of what appears to be a single object.

    In the philosophy of science, it's called 'consilience'.

    If the distance between the pyramids at Giza is determined by pacing the distance off, by laser rangefinder and by satellite imagery, the likelihood of particular faults peculiar to each method of measurement is reduced if all the measurements produce approximately the same number.

    In evolutionary biology, fossil evidence might suggest a particular phylogenetic relationship between various kinds of organisms. (They diverged from a common ancestor in a particular period.) But lots of faults and problems of interpretation can sneak into interpreting fossils. However our confidence in that data increases greatly if it's supported by independent lines of research, such as molecular genomic evidence. That evidence can obviously fall prey to faults of its own, but they are very different faults. So if both methods are telling us roughly the same thing, then it's pretty good (but not 100% conclusive) evidence that the picture both are drawing is a good picture.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consilience
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2019
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  21. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    Nick Pope apparently considers the US Navy classifying these incidents as UAPs to mean their probes disqualified errors and malfunctions. He formerly worked with UK's MoD, but that he opportunistically flirts a lot with UFO pop-culture probably makes his opinions disparage-worthy to the critical crowd. Still, IF the Navy conducted any competent investigation at all, that seems to be a justified takeaway.

    Like UFO, the alternative of "UAP" will also be compromised with an extraterrestrial resonance eventually, but for the time being it helps. The Navy realizes it has to do something about any ridicule/taboo factor that could be discouraging reporting and even adequate investigation when accounts of events are received.

    For security reasons, it would be irresponsible for defense forces to ignore potential spying or invasive threats entering national airspace because descriptions and accounts from their own personnel suggest something bizarre or unusual. What a free pass that would be if legitimate encroachment was occurring. "The dimwit guards will let you enter the warehouse without consequences if you camouflage yourself in eerie costumes and play spooky music."

    https://www.history.com/news/navy-confirms-ufo-videos-real

    To be clear, the Navy is not saying that these videos show evidence of alien life. Rather, the Navy is saying it can’t identify the phenomena in the videos. The Navy considers UAPs like these a national security and safety problem because they are not authorized to be in U.S. airspace. After a series of classified briefings featuring Navy pilots and lawmakers this summer, the Navy announced it had formalized its process for pilots and other personnel to report UAPs so that records of these sightings are more consistent, and therefore easier to investigate.

    [Joseph] Gradisher told HISTORY the Navy is trying to reduce the stigma of reporting UAPs, which in the past pilots may have been disparaged—or ignored—for reporting. “We want to get beyond that stigma, and encourage our aviators to report anything that they’re seeing out there.”

    [...] Nick Pope, who worked for the U.K. Ministry of Defense’s UFO program from 1991 to 1994, has previously speculated that there are four possible explanations for the more recent UAPs identified by the U.S. Navy: errors in pilot or computer perception, a secret U.S. project being blind tested without the Navy’s knowledge, a foreign government’s aircraft or something completely unknown. “What I think the Navy’s recent statement does, is it probably takes off the table the first of those explanations,” he says. “I think the clear perception is the Navy thinks we’re dealing with something real and tangible here. So not misidentifications, misperceptions, glitches or such.”
     
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  22. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    It's not like the U.S. military hasn't studied these things in the past and come up with nothing to explain them:

    "From 1947 to 1969, the Air Force officially investigated Unidentified Flying Objects under Project Blue Book. The project, headquartered at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, was “officially” terminated December 17, 1969. During its lifespan, Project Blue Book investigated a total of 12,618 sightings. When the project closed, the Air Force admitted only to 701 cases (5.6 %) as having remained “unidentified.” However, other researchers, including Dr. J. Allen Hynek and Dr. James McDonald, later argued that as many as 4,800 (38 %) of the cases should have been marked as “unexplained,” considering that many cases were marked “explained” even though the explanations were highly untenable."---- http://roswellbooks.com/museum/?page_id=583
     
  23. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    When Fravor and the other pilots returned to the Nimitz, they were greeted with laughter and offered tin-foil helmets. Since then, Fravor has been soundly ridiculed by people like the wonderful open-minded Joe Nickell. So military (and civil) aviators have to think about possible damage to their reputations and careers if they report anything unusual.

    Exactly.

    These latest sightings do seem to reduce the likelihood of psychological or technical faults. I don't think that they are off the table by any means, but they shouldn't be the automatic go-to "explanation" either.

    That leaves unknown Earthly aircraft types (Rumsfeld's "known unknowns") which might be either "ours" or "theirs", where 'they' is unspecified, anything from Russia or China to private actors like Elon Musk). The boundaries of this possibility space might be defined by what's known about the current state of the art in aerospace engineering, along with what kind of new developments and breakthroughs seem likely.

    And finally something completely unexpected (Rumsfeld's "unknown unknowns"). This could be pretty much anything, it's an open unbounded possibility space just kind of fading off into the unknown. Space aliens, time-travelers, or some as yet unsuspected physical phenomenon.

    I think perhaps we can make some very tentative observations about the 2004 and 2015 events. Here's an interesting article in Jalopnik that tries to do that.

    https://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/what-we-know-about-the-navy-s-ufo-problem-1835071834
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2019

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