UFOs (UAPs): Explanations?

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

  1. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    Before we knew what a mirage was, we could have said that it may be defying the laws of physics. The only problem with that is that, so far, we don't have any examples of anything that definitely is defying the laws of physics. That being the case, it's a card that you probably don't want to pull out very often.
     
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  3. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

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    That question really should be a given

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  5. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Can we safely rule it out?
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2022
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  7. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Read an article earlier about a CIA agent confessing on his ''death bed'' that aliens are real, and that Area 51 is keeping them secret. One of the reader comments: ''The government is keeping this a secret because humanity would plummet into total chaos.'' Something like that. (I couldn't copy and paste the link for some reason.)

    Why would society plummet into total chaos if there was proof of extraterrestrial life?

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  8. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    I would think keeping it secret would do more damage than revealing it to the public. Nobody would ever trust the govt again. At least if we knew there were ETs we could resign ourselves to their reality rather that being driven crazy by all this endless questioning and suspicion.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2022
  9. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    This is surely not the same source, but seems to be the same news item covered (circa 2 days ago).

    Deathbed confession made by ‘ex-CIA agent details sightings of live extraterrestrials’ in Area 51
    https://www.the-sun.com/news/6808733/ufo-deathbed-confession-ex-cia-agent/

    INTRO: An alleged ex-CIA agent detailed what he claimed were sightings of real-life aliens in Area 51 in a deathbed confession. The 77-year-old unnamed man shared the shocking claims in an interview filled with conspiracy theories as he feared he would die before the public knew what he believed to have uncovered during his career... (MORE - details)

    - - - - - - - -

    (video below) Former CIA agent's Deathbed Confession about Aliens and UFO UAPs

    A video resurfaced from a number of years ago with respected investigator Richard Dolan. He spoke with a dying man claiming to be a former CIA agent that wanted to come clean about what he saw and knew in regards to Aliens, UFO.

     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2022
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  10. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    That's it. The story I had found, was posted on msn.com, under the ''entertainment'' section. lol Poor aliens. No one takes them seriously.
     
  11. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    This is interesting. These sightings over Kansas and the Texas panhandle in 2014 pretty clearly weren't the B-2 or the new B-21. To this day they remain unidentified, hence UFOs. (I'm confident that the US Air Force knows what they were.)

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    https://theaviationist.com/2014/04/23/two-different-black-projects/

    I'm just speculating, but perhaps the 2014 sightings were prototypes for different proposed designs for the LRSB (Long Range Strike Bomber) project to produce an extremely stealthy, intercontinental range bomber capable of delivering both conventional and nuclear ordinance. The LRSB became known as the B-21 Raider program when its contract was awarded in October 2015.

    This is the new B-21, unveiled for the first time at famous Plant 42 in Palmdale California on Dec 2, 2022.

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    Last edited: Dec 4, 2022
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  12. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Yeah... that sounds about right. If it were something otherworldly, I doubt it would leave a contrail. They are generally sighted as having no visible means of propulsion.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2022
  13. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

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    Extremely safely rule it out

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

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    In the past few pages, I've seen lots of criticism of Mick West. Here's one sample:
    Why don't we examine one recent example of Mick West (and associates) analysing a UFO report, then, to see how well these opinions of how unconvincing and biased the skeptics are really hold up to scrutiny, when applied to an actual example?

    So, here's an initial report of a UFO:

    Here's the accompanying comment from the person who posted that video:

    This was the most incredible night of strange things in the sky I've ever seen... I shot this video with night vision binoculars and my iPhone 12 Pro Max. Dozens of 'objects' started to appear in the sky, due north of my home. You could not see them with the naked eye. The whole thing lasted about 15 minutes. I was out on my 2nd floor patio looking at the stars with the night vision at 1am on the morning of August 14/15th, 2022 when the first few caught my attention... all just 'appeared' in the sky, moving from west to east... so I ran and got my iPhone and started shooting video... all of them were at different degrees on the horizon. They just materialized, lit up... one after another. Some got so bright that you could see them behind the trees in the distance. This is the original audio with my comments as everything happened.
    The emphasis here is mine. We have a report of lots of "strange things" "materializing" in the sky, accompanied by the usual sort of UFO video.

    So, Mick West and friends look at this case. Here's an explanation video from West, explaining his analysis and conclusions.

    And here's West's original analysis video. Some Starlink satellite tracks are shown on the original video, using the time, location and viewing direction data given by the eyewitness. In particular, you might like to focus on the enlarged portions of the video shown on the right of the video.

    Now, my own opinion on this is that West's analysis looks very solid - solid enough, in fact, that I'd say there's a very good reason to conclude - unless compelling new evidence comes to light - that the UFO reporter here was, far more likely than not, filming on his iPhone 12 pro max some "mundane" satellites made by human beings.

    Yazata, wegs and Magical Realist: I would like to know your opinions of West's analysis in this case, and what you think is the most likely explanation for this particular "UAP".

    Do you find West's analysis unconvincing for this particular case?
    Are there signs of West's supposed bias creeping into the analysis? Does that invalid the conclusions he draws, in your opinion?
    What do you think of the eyewitness's opinions and initial thoughts, in this case?
    Was there any perceptual error here? Were any perceptual errors "most elementary"? One item to consider is that, in the original video, the eyewitness reports the "lights" he sees as objects flying over the desert, implying that he believes them to be relatively close to the ground.

    If you think that West's analysis in this case is fair/unbiased, what excuses will you make, I wonder? If this a rare exception for West that you prefer to explain away as being outside his usual modus operandi? Is this analysis out of character for West, do you think?

    Would it be fair to say that West has probably "solved" this case, do you think? Or do you think it still might be aliens? How confident would you be that the objects in the video are alien spaceships?

    I am interested to hear all your thoughts on this.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2022
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  15. foghorn Valued Senior Member

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    I can't find it now on Mick's site but, there's a video of ufo buffs actually setting-up to watch what they know to be a starlink train flaring one after the other. They had done their 'research'.
    It's going to be awhile before people and oddly by now pilots, to get to know about the phenomena of the individual satellites of a starlink train flaring one after the other. People are use to 'seeing' a lone satellite flare and no more.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2022
  16. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    I don't need Mick West to tell me about flaring satellites. A few years ago I attended a ufo gathering out on this guy's ranch in Washington state. At night we were directed to shine laser pointers up at passing starlike "ufos" which would allegedly cause them to flare in response. Sure enough they seemed to do just that. But after that, I consulted Google and found that is what certain satellites do when they catch the reflection of the sun's rays just right. Chalk up one for the debunkers!
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2022
  17. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    You didn't actually address the questions I asked you.
     
  18. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Answer your own questions. I'm not about to get banned again by engaging with you,
     
  19. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Never mind, then. Perhaps wegs and/or Yazata will be interested and polite enough to respond.
     
  20. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Did he make you feel all better? I hope so. He seems like a warm, caring sort of guy.
     
  21. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    wegs,

    I apologise in advance if anything I say here sounds overly critical of things you wrote. I always find your posts and your perspective on this topic interesting, because your position is currently a half-way house between Magical Realist's unquestioning belief and my own skeptical position. I am, of course, hoping you will eventually be convinced to join with those of us on the Light Side of the Force (that's my side, in case you're wondering

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    )

    I'm catching up with your comments on Mick West. I'm starting to sound like an apologist for West, I realise, but this is not really about any one person's views or methods. West just provides a useful example for discussion.

    I imagine that some people (probably Yazata would be a good example, for one) get annoyed because skeptics like West (and myself, no doubt) seem to be so unwilling to compromise. People love mysteries, and some more than others are attracted to the idea that a mystery might have an extraordinary resolution. So when it comes to UFOs, some people will say "The skeptics have already made up their minds that UFOs can't be aliens [for example]. They are too closed-minded to admit that aliens are a possibility. If we can't solve a UFO case, it's very possible that aliens were involved, but the skeptics will never admit that!"

    Here's the thing: skeptics just want to see some evidence.

    That's all there is to it. It's a straw man to assert that skeptics will never believe in aliens, no matter what, and such. I'll be more than happy to believe in aliens - just as soon as there's sufficient evidence to show that any exist. Am I willing to bend enough to say "We don't have an explanation for this video, and it looks like a ghost, so it's fine to conclude that it might be a ghost"? On one level, yes I am. I've already conceded that the existence of ghosts is possible. The problem is that no video has yet provided convincing evidence for ghosts. I might also venture that it seems unlikely to me that any video will ever provide convincing evidence for ghosts, but that's just a bias on my part, based on how many videos so far have failed to live up to the hype. So, on another level, I'm not willing to say "This seems likely to be a video of an actual ghost", even though I would never eliminate that as a logical possibility.

    The standard of proof is relevant here. Show me a video of your sister jumping into a swimming pool and I'll probably happily accept it as a true record of your sister jumping into a pool, at least until some new evidence comes to light to cause me to question that conclusion. I require less proof of the pool than of the ghost because I already know from experience that things like pools and sisters exist and are commonly observed in the world, whereas for ghosts, not so much. People can produce sisters and pools on demand for examination; ghosts, not so much. Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence.
    And Magical Realist is known for being a gullible believer in the paranormal.

    These things are only a problem if they introduce biases that prevent the objective evaluation of evidence.

    The difference between West and MR is that West lays out his reasoning and his methodology so we can see every step in the chain and check for any errors. MR won't tell us how he reached the conclusion that an aquatic civilisation lives under the ocean; he just asks us to take his word for it. There's no obvious route from the data "somebody reported seeing a tic tac" to "aliens are living under the sea", so there's no good reason we should accept that aliens are living under the sea. Compare the example with West's analysis of the filmed lights in the sky, from my post above. If we doubt West's conclusions there, we can duplicate his analysis ourselves. We can see whether West is telling the truth or lying about the tracks of Starlink satellites. We can check whether the video actually matches the documented tracks of the satellites.

    See the difference? We are asked to take MR's conclusions on faith - to just trust him that he has got things right. But West doesn't ask us to just trust him.
    Sometimes, limited data nevertheless points unambiguously to a most-likely conclusion. The quantity of data doesn't matter. What matters is the quality of the data. Is it sufficient to positively identify the UFO, or isn't it?

    It is possible, of course, that some of the available data might contradict some other data. For instances, independent eyewitnesses often disagree about aspects of a UFO sighting. But that just introduces the complication of having to determine which - if any - of the accounts is the correct record of what happened.

    Of course, data should never be thrown out just to "support our skepticism". If data is to be discarded, there must be justification for discarding it. When it comes to eyewitness data, it is very well known that such data is often unreliable, for many reasons, so at the very least we should be wary of hanging too much on eyewitness accounts. That is not to say that such accounts are worthless, of course.

    I think that if you want to accuse West of ignoring certain important evidence, then you need to do so on a case-by-case basic, pointing to the specifics. Also, in cases where some data is shown to strongly point to a certain conclusion, you would need to explain why the "neglected" data is especially pertinent and how it radically changes the conclusion.
    Highly credible as evidence of what, though? That's the question. Do you think pilots' claims of "craft" are highly credible? Or just their claims that they saw something white that looked like a tic tac? Those two claims are quite different. You need to consider not just the generalities, but the specifics of what is being claimed.
    What do you think West says that we do know, and which of his conclusions is demonstrably false? Be specific.
    Okay. Choose a case that West has investigated and you and I can take a look at West's analysis. Please choose one where you can point to some important facts that West has ignored. Show where he has cherry picked the evidence. Show where his bias has affected his conclusions.

    To make this easy, just choose one case as an example. There's no need to look at all of West's work; that would be impractical anyway. You must already have something in mind, or you wouldn't accuse West of cherry picking etc.
    There's nothing wrong with that. Is there? Is West doing something dishonest, in your opinion?

    Plenty of UFO believers made names for themselves or get famous, too. Why aren't you criticising them?
    You have a problem with "debunking", then?

    What's the problem? If something is bunk, isn't debunking it okay?
    Does it matter what West feels the need to do?

    Let's assume for the sake of argument that you're right and West desperately wishes that aliens don't exist and is determined to debunk every UFO case he can to show that aliens don't exist. Does it matter?

    Either West's debunkings are valid or they aren't. If they aren't, then you (or somebody else) ought to be able to expose the flaws in his analysis. That would be a good way to show his bias, especially if all of his investigations show similar flaws.

    So, can you show that just one of West's "debunkings" is flawed? Can anyone? I remind you: he has laid out his arguments for all to examine. They are not hidden or private.
    Going through the motions would presumably mean telling lies about the data, or cherry picking (as you have claimed) and drawing invalid conclusions, possibly using faulty reasoning.

    Can you demonstrate any of this, in West's case? If not, why are you accusing him?
    How do you know he is convinced he will find the answer before he begins? It sounds almost like mind reading to me. Also, even if we were to assume you're right and he is so convinced, does it matter? Does it affect the robustness of his published analysis?
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2022
  22. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    (continued...)

    The complaint that skeptics think they are the smartest people in the room comes up surprisingly often. Two things to consider here: (1) What if they are the smartest people in the room? Somebody has to be, in any room, after all. (2) What if accusing people of thinking they are smart is just sour grapes from people whose fervent beliefs happen to have been debunked?

    Again, for the sake of argument, let us suppose that West is an arrogant know-it-all who always assumes he is the smartest person in the room. That might make him an unlikable person, but would it make him wrong about UFOs?
    "We don't know" isn't actually an explanation, though, is it?

    An explanation is "This video shows some Starlink satellites, and here's why..." or "This video shows an alien spaceship, and here's why ..."

    Explaining something means you give reasons why the thing is the way it is. Importantly, explanations almost always reference evidence.

    "We don't know" is just a placeholder for ignorance. It is not a problem to say "we don't know" when we don't know, but, at the same time, wanting to know the answer is not a personality flaw.
    Please give an example of where he has pushed his speculations as an explanation.

    It is my impression that he is careful to stick to what he can show using the available evidence - unlike the True Believers in aliens etc.
    It's strange. It's almost as if you're saying that having a bias towards wanting to get to the truth through rational thinking and critical analysis is a bad thing.

    On the other hand, you've spent some time stating your opinion that West doesn't really want to get to the truth at all. Rather, you'd say, he is just out to "debunk" UFOs at any cost, presumably because he enjoys the notoriety he gains from doing that. In other words, you're essentially accusing him of having bad intentions and of being less than honest.

    So, can you show that West has been dishonest? Got an example in mind that we can work through?
    A strange comment, from where I'm standing.

    Take a look at the case of the Starlink satellites, in my post up above. Did West solve anything there, in your opinion? Is there something wrong with his analysis there? Does his bias affect the legitimacy of his results there?
    In my opinion, West actually is an expert when it comes to analysing UFO reports. Perhaps you could explain what you, personally, require to consider somebody an expert analyser of UFO reports. Because West seems like the real deal to me. As far as I am aware, he has university-level qualifications in a science or engineering disclipline. Perhaps more importantly, he has a long track record of investigating and "solving" UFO cases.

    It sounds like you believe that skeptics often cherry-pick cases. I have a suggestion, then: find yourself a UFO cases which you believe skeptics have ignored or downplayed and bring it here. We can all discuss it - even the skeptics like me, who would otherwise want to ignore it due to our bias and dishonesty.

    If your accusation is true, don't you find it surprising that the UFO Believer brigade hasn't convincingly exposed all the dishonest skeptics for the frauds they so obviously are, before now? Why is that, do you think?
    Are you accusing West of using "alternative facts" to get the answers he wants?

    The facts are the facts. In the Starlink satellite example I have provided, do you think West has faked things? Has he faked the satellite tracks to match up with the video? Or has he doctored the video to match the satellite tracks? Or is there some other kind of fraud?

    See, the problem with making that kind of allegation is that the facts can be checked. In principle, you could even do it yourself, since West has helpfully explained how he arrived at his conclusions. The original poster of the original UFO youtube video is also available for an interview, in principle.
    West has not, to my knowledge, claimed that he has "solved" the tic tac case. That's not the same as saying it has "stumped him", of course.

    I don't claim to have solved the tic tac case, either, but I wouldn't say I'm "stumped" by it, either. There are a range of "mundane" possible explanations that certainly can't be ruled out for that one, and (as usual) no good evidence that any aliens were involved. So, while this one remains "un-debunked" or "unknown", we can say certainly that nothing compelling points towards aliens, so far.
     
  23. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    (continued...)

    The "null hypothesis" is a term borrowed from statistics. It usually says something like there is no observed effect, above and beyond what we might expect from random chance.

    Suppose we want to test whether a new drug is helpful in lowering blood pressure, say. So, we give the drug to 50 people and give a sugar pill to another 50 people, in such a way that neither the subjects (who are all chosen to be similar in terms of their other characteristics like age, general health, etc.) nor the experimenters know which subjects got the drug and which got the placebo (sugar pill). After the drug has had a chance to work (if it works), we test the blood pressures of all 100 participants and look for any changes.

    The null hypothesis in this case would be "The drug has no effect on blood pressure."

    This would be statistically tested against a hypothesis like "The blood pressure of people who took the drug decreased by more than the blood pressure of people who took the placebo".

    Suppose we found that 3 out of 50 of the people who took the placebo had their blood pressure decrease, while 10 out of 50 of those who took the drug had their blood pressure decrease. Would those results be consistent with the null hypothesis? To know, we would typically use statistical methods to determine the likelihood of the observed result happening purely by chance. That is, in a random group of 100 people split in to two groups of 50, how likely it is that 13 out of 100 would have their blood pressure decrease purely by chance (i.e. for reasons other than taking the drug)? (We already know, given this data, that 3 people had their blood pressure decrease for reasons other than taking the drug.)

    Anyway, the point here is that a "null hypothesis" is the "no observed effect" hypothesis. It is the default: the drug being tested doesn't do what is being tested for.

    If we're looking for aliens visiting Earth, the equivalent "null hypothesis" is "the available evidence does not demonstrate the presence of aliens".

    Note that if the null hypothesis happens to be correct, it does not mean that we won't find any evidence that looks as if aliens might be the cause. In our drug trial, 3 people had their blood pressure drop even though we know they only took sugar pills. If we didn't know better (from the statistics, in that example), we might think that the drug caused 3 out of our 10 patients in the drug group to have lower blood pressures. Maybe it did, but maybe it didn't.

    Bottom line: the "null hypothesis" is always, in effect, "Nothing to see here, folks." The null hypothesis is boring. You hoped the drug would work, but the data is consistent with it doing nothing useful. You hoped the lights in the sky would be aliens, but the data is consistent with no aliens. Boring. Dull. Magical Realist won't be happy. Too bad - the facts are what the facts are!
    The challenge, there, is to find some decent data and try to make a compelling case. That's a job for the True Believers. The null hypothesis is "nothing to see here, folks!"

    Since the UFO craze started in the US back in the 1950s, the True Believers have done a rather poor job of gathering better data, don't you think? 70 years, they've had, and the best they can do is more fuzzy pics and dubious eyewitness guessing games?
    What is the evidence against mundane explanations that West has ignored or downplayed?

    Please give a specific example.
    This is getting repetitive, but I ask again: does it really matter what he would rather?

    If the evidence is strong enough, what West would rather or rather not won't matter, will it?

    I get it. Some True Believers are frustrated they don't have good evidence for their beliefs, and they are casting about for people to blame for that. What they ought to be doing, instead, is going out then and gathering some better evidence, rather than whining. Don't you think?

    ---
    Just to reiterate what I said at the start, three posts up, I'm not trying to be nasty to you here, wegs. My hope is that you might think a little more carefully about the criticisms you have made about skeptics ("debunkers") in general and West in particular. It is easy to accuse people of bias. We all have biases. Not all biases are bad, either.

    This isn't ultimately about West. Nor does he need me to defend him. I hope you can see that even if West had the worst of intentions (personally, I think he has good intentions), it doesn't actually affect anything in the reasons he gives for coming to particular conclusions about particular UFO cases. Those will stand or fall on their own merits, as will the claims of any UFO True Believer you care to name.

    I'm not asking you, or anyone, to bow at the altar of Mick West. I'm asking you to examine the arguments on both sides of the UFO debate, on their merits. Think for yourself. Be wary of your own biases, because, as Feynman said, the easiest person to fool is yourself.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2022

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