UFOs (UAPs): Explanations?

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

  1. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    I still assert he has no obligation to do otherwise.

    It only takes one "Frisbee" label to debunk a UFO, no matter how much other stuff might be available to analyze about it.
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  3. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    And we have no obligation to care what he thinks.

    Even if he tries to pretend like he’s the smartest person in the room, we know all it takes is the silliest attempt at refuting a claim, to cast doubt. Casting doubt isn’t impressive to me. Casting doubt doesn’t tell us anything.
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  5. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Right on all counts!

    The scientific-minded do not want you to 'take their word for it' on anything. The issue is not about trust or doubt; that's for the passive, the believers, the sheep.

    The idea is that you have your own brain - so you can do the analysis yourself and, ideally, you will come to the same conclusion. He doesn't want to lead you by a nose ring; he wants you to walk with him, see the same things he sees, and let you reach your own conclusions.

    It's priests that want you to follow their lead and take their word for it, so you are dependent on trusting them, rather than exercise your own analytical muscle.

    It's the difference between someone who treats you as intelligent and responsible to do the math yourself versus a shepherd that just leads passive sheep.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2022
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  7. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Magical Realist:
    That still sounds very religious to me, especially the bit about "Being". Do you mean "Being" as just the fact of existence itself, or "Being" as in a conscious, thinking agent of some kind? The second kind of being would essentially be a god, going by the terms you've used.
    No. It's a statement about the facts as they are, which apply to both you and me, whether you like them or not.

    For instance, I wrote "We certainly don't know whether Fravor's opinions are a "genuine" description of something that actually happened in reality."

    The "we" in that sentence includes both you and me. I don't know whether Fravor's opinion that he saw some kind of aircraft/spacecraft carrying out impossible manouvres is a genuine description of something that actually happened or not, and neither do you. We - both you and me - don't know.
    I put this to wegs, but my series of posts was probably too long for you to be able to pay attention for the whole thing, so here's the TL;DR version for you:

    Let's suppose for the sake of argument that you're right, and I have a definite agenda to debunk all UAP sighting as mundane objects. What follows? Either the evidence supports the alien hypothesis (or the advanced aquatic species from another dimension hypothesis or whatever it is you think they are today) or it doesn't. No possible agenda of mine could affect that.
    You have the radar records now?

    No, you don't have those, so don't tell lies about them, please.

    You are correct that there are accounts for two pilots that appear to corroborate each other in at least some of the details. But we know that they are not independent accounts and we know that each pilot's account might well be influenced by knowing the other's.

    As for me, I have never claimed to have "solved" the tic tic case. All I know is that, so far, no evidence has been presented that establishes that any "craft" (i.e. mechanical, artificial vehicle of any kind) was involved (other than the known human-built fighter jets and so on).

    If you believe you have new evidence that establishes anything more than the video and pilot testimony we've already seen and discussed ad nauseam, I'm very happy to take a look at it.

    Of course, you have nothing of the kind. That's right, isn't it?
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2022
  8. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    I already explained in some detail why the two (three?) categories aren't comparable, including some very important distinguishing features. When you aren't on your phone, please read through everything I posted. There's quite a lot to take in.
    That's an opinion you've formed about West, but it's irrational, for reasons I explained previously.

    Specifically, you have not yet pointed to any flaw or deficiency in any of West's analysis in even one case he has examined, despite making claims that he ignores evidence and that his bias leads him to faulty conclusions.

    You really need to make your case against West, or else desist with your allegations.
    I know. I think you're far from being a lost cause. It's one reason I'm writing long replies to your posts.
    In a previous post to Magical Realist, I specifically addressed the problems of estimating a priori probabilities.

    But maybe you're not talking about estimating the chances before we examine the evidence, but rather of estimating the chances of this or that after examining the evidence. This can only be done with reference to a specific case in which the evidence has been examined.

    If you're thinking about the tic tac case, then I'd agree with you that it seems unlikely, after reviewing the evidence, that the tic tac observed at low altitude was a weather balloon. I'm not so sure about anything observed at high altitude.
    I think you're unfairly accusing West.

    I have given you a specific example in which West has, in my opinion, produced sufficient proof for his claim that a particular UFO sighting was actually a sighting of Starlink satellites. Prior to his analysis in that case, West withheld judgment. In fact, somebody else suggested to West that he ought to investigate the possibility that it might be satellites. He thought that was a good suggestion, so did some work. And - lo and behold - the satellite tracks match what was observed so well that it seemed to him (and to me) far more likely than not that the reported UFOs were, in fact, Starlink satellites. I say this is a case where West withheld judgment until he had sufficient proof. When he had it, then he said he thought the UFOs were almost certainly Starlink satellites.

    In contrast, you have yet to post a single example of where West has rushed to judgment without sufficient proof.

    You ought not to make accusations of bias until you can find at least one example of it. That's what I think.

    Can you find a single example of a case that West has examined, for which he has ignored information you consider to be relevant?

    One last thing: bear in mind that West (or any skeptic) probably looks at lots of cases, but only publishes or posts youtube videos about a few of them. If you're a careful analyst, you don't usually spend time making a video unless you're confident you have something new to add to the discussion. That means you don't claim to have solved cases you've haven't solved. That would be pointless, and you'd also rapidly lose credibility with your audience, not to mention being an easy target for your opponents.
  9. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    I see you haven't yet worked up the courage to respond directly to what I wrote to you. So be it. I'm getting used to your avoiding what is inconvenient for your claims. I'm still disappointed, though.
    "Why?" is a tricky question. The big "why" questions are the philosophical ones which, like a lot of questions in philosophy, are most likely unanswerable.

    Science, in one sense, doesn't attempt to answer "why" questions; it answers "how" questions. How does the Sun make things hot? How can we account for the blueness of the sky? How does the Moon stay in orbit around the Earth? How can we send a spaceship to Mars? How can we prevent polio? How can we record large amounts of information in a small object? How does the human body digest food?

    Lots of questions in science can be phrased as "why" questions, but the answers science provides are usually a series of "hows". Why is the sky blue? Well, light is refracted by air and different some colours are refracted more than others. How this happens is explained by the theory of refraction, the wave model of light, Rayleigh scattering and other models.

    The philosophical "why" question that goes with science's "how" answers is: why are scientific models - especially mathematical ones - so successful in allowing us to explain the universe? Nobody knows the answer to that.

    When when you talk about "iterating" through "why" questions on scientific topics, you're right that at some point you're going to hit a "science doesn't know the answer, yet" answer. As far as we can tell, the universe just is how it is. Maybe it is an accident that it is the way it is, at least in some respects. Or maybe not.

    I think, perhaps, the point you're missing (or downplaying) is that, a lot of the time, it's not that important that our beliefs be ultimately grounded, in the sense that we can chase an infinite number of "whys" to a final conclusion. Why shouldn't you stand in the rain? Because you'll get wet. Most of the time, to answer that question there's no need to understand how rain happens, how the molecular structure of water molecules arises, why there are some molecules rather than none, or why God would choose to create water.
    Interestingly, he became known for that phrase long before he ever used actually used it. He had the awe you mention, certainly, but people get things wrong and make stuff up. This one was intended as a sort of caricature, albeit one that Sagan himself embraced to some extent towards the end of his life.
    He was a scientist working at the frontiers of scientific research, plus he was a bright guy. I'm have no doubt that he was well aware of the limits of astrophysics and, indeed, science more generally.

    I think that you, Yazata, regularly underestimate the level to which clever scientists are aware of your Philosophy. Philosophy isn't exactly a closeted subject hidden from the world or restricted to a select group of initiates, you know.
    Try asking any professional scientist whether he thinks he knows all the rules of the game blah blah blah. It sounds to me like you'll be surprised at the answer you'll get.
    Who are these people you say exhibit this form of hubris?

    Certainly, none of the skeptics right here do, and they've all told you they don't.

    This is your Big Lie again. Perhaps I should start keeping a tally, since you repeat it in almost every post.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2022
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  10. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Being as in Existence, not Being as in a being. Sorry for the vagueness, I don't believe in an ultimate Being as in a God.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2022
  11. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    "The Princeton’s highly advanced radar had been picking up mysterious objects for several days by then. The Navy called them “anomalous aerial vehicles,” or AAVs—a term the military preferred to unidentified flying objects, or UFOs, which had been tainted by its association with flying saucers, little green men and countless crackpots.

    According to Kevin Day, the Princeton’s senior radar operator at the time, his screen showed well over 100 AAVs over the course of the week. “Watching them on the display was like watching snow fall from the sky,” he says in his first-ever on-camera interview, for HISTORY’s “Unidentified: Inside America's UFO Investigation.”

    According to Day, the AAVs appeared at an altitude greater than 80,000 feet, far higher than commercial or military jets typically fly. Initially, the Princeton’s radar team didn’t believe what they were seeing, chalking up the anomalies to an equipment malfunction. But after they determined that everything was operating as it should and they began detecting instances in which the AAVs dropped with astounding speed to lower, busier airspace, Day approached the Princeton’s commander about taking action."
    “I was chomping at the bit,” he says. “I just really wanted to intercept these things.”

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  12. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Your agenda informs and biases your opinion that Fravor's and the other pilots' accounts and I guess even the radar were all in error. It cites no evidence for such an opinion. It doesn't even offer an alternative explanation. It makes an implausible assumption that is not justified by the details of the account. That's how your agenda affects your view. It asserts something you couldn't possibly know soley for the purposes of spurious debunkery.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2022
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  13. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    James: I post here on Sciforums for fun. It isn't my job or my obligation in any way. I interact with people if I perceive them as friendly and if I find their ideas interesting. If you want me to respond to your ideas, you might try being a bit less aggressive and confrontational in how you present them.

    Like I just said.
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  14. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    Perhaps you should try being a little less aggressive and confrontational with your Big Lie, then. It is still not clear why you keep putting that straw man into your posts, and you have yet to post any substantial response explaining your behaviour in that regard, despite my raising the issue on numerous occasions.

    If you don't want a confrontation, maybe don't try to start one.
  15. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    We haven't seen any radar records, so far. It would appear that the only evidence for this, then, is the testimony of a radar operator. Is there anything more?

    Besides, a "mysterious object" on a radar screen could be lots of things, until it is identified.

    We only have the radar operator's opinion that the radar was functioning correctly. But even if it was functioning correctly, there are obvious questions to ask. How often do spurious traces show up on the radar, under ordinary operating conditions? If I recall correctly from other reading, the answer is: often enough that radar operators learn to discount what they would regard as "normal" glitches or spurious signals. We would expect some radar operators to be better than others at doing that.
    My opinions on those things are more nuanced than that. Probably you couldn't maintain concentration long enough to take in my previous posts, in which I discussed these things in more detail.

    For the radar, there's no way for us (you and me) to check whether the radar was in error. Neither of us has access to radar recordings, let alone system parameters, operational data etc. As I have mentioned, there are many different kinds of "errors" that could conceivably play into this: errors in the equipment itself, errors in the software used to run it, errors in perception and/or interpretation by the operators, errors in the accuracy of what was reported about the radar traces, etc.

    I have already discussed my analysis of Fravor's account in detail, earlier in the thread. It's not a matter of all or nothing. He doesn't have to be wrong about everything or right about everything. He could make one, or a few, errors and that would be enough for him to make an incorrect assessment about what he saw. And that's before we get to the issues with memory and embellishment after the fact, which are very common when it comes to eyewitness statements.
    There's no evidence that Fravor did not make errors.
    I have offered several possible alternative explanations during the course of this thread. They were probably TL;DR for you, I guess.
    Be specific. Refer to what I've written, and show where I have made implausible assumptions. If you can.
    I do not believe I have asserted anything as fact that I do not know. I speculate, of course, but so do you. Don't pretend that your speculations are superior to mine.
  16. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    The thing that impresses me is that given what is publicly known about them, how different aspects of these US Navy sightings appear to corroborate each other.

    Radar detects multiple anomalous contacts over a period of days that appear to be behaving in a manner seemingly unlike any known aircraft. It's certainly conceivable that this was a radar malfunction or a strange meteorological phenomenon of some sort, though perhaps less likely than some would like to believe because these are very good air defense radars with highly skilled operators upon which an entire carrier battle group and thousands of sailors lives are entrusted.

    When it happens while they have aircraft in the air, they vector Fravor, his wingman and another Marine aviator to the location of one of these contacts to try to visually see what, if anything, is there. Fravor then makes his visual 'tic-tac' sighting. It's certainly possible that Fravor was making some kind of perceptual error, but probably less likely than some would like to believe, given that Fravor was probably one of the most senior instructor pilots on the ship. And there's some corroboration by the other aviators on the scene. And if it was all just perceptual errors, then what accounts for the anomalous radar returns and the fact that the alleged perceptual error was happening precisely where radar had directed the pilots?

    The anomaly darts off and the carrier launches additional jets. These jets get infrared targeting pod video. It's possible to speculate that what was recorded was a jet tailpipe in the far distance or something like that, but again probably less likely than some would like to believe. And speculating about jets in the far distance wouldn't address the radar anomalies and the visual sightings.

    At some point the idea that a whole cascade of entirely hypothetical equipment failures and rookie mistakes somehow came together in a mutually supporting way like that (which is the "comedy of errors" theory) starts to appear less likely to me than the hypothesis that some unknown something was really there. (Consilience again.)

    This doesn't seem to be an isolated instance either. There are many fragmentary reports of similar sightings off the east coast (Fravor was southwest of San Diego). For a while they were reportedly appearing almost every day over the Atlantic. There have been attempts to get these written sighting reports by FOIA requests and the documents arrived with almost everything blacked out and redacted. The documents did refer to video imagery submitted with the reports. Attempts to get the videos of these things that the Navy admits they have through further FOIA requests were denied on grounds the videos are classified. But the mere fact that the sighting reports exist at all (even if they were scrubbed of information before being made public) does tell us that pilots were indeed encountering phenomena over a period of days and weeks that appeared extraordinary to them and they were dutifully reporting it.

    Add to that the fact that more than half the UAP reports mentioned in the Preliminary Assessment (presumably including the ones above) were detected with multiple sensors (whether visual, infrared, radar or whatever). There is even talk of satellites picking some of them up as well.

    My own opinion is that something was physically there in some (perhaps not all) of these cases. (I can't say that I know that with absolute assurance but it's my working assumption.) As to what they were, I have no idea (perhaps they were multiple things). I think that I'm in good company saying that, since it's basically what the ODNI (Office of the Director of National Intelligence) said in the Preliminary Assessment. It's what the former CIA Directors, Directors of National Intelligence and the current NASA Administrator were saying in the quotes in a previous post. (And those gentlemen presumably had access to the unredacted sighting reports and to whatever analyses were done on them.)

    So I believe fairly strongly that the nature of these sightings make them rather resistant to over-eager armchair debunkers.
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2022
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  17. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    I tend to agree.

    Without the full information to work with, though, debunkers can only debunk the claims made on only the same partial information. Which is likely an easier task. E.g. if there is a claim of "aliens" made, with 2 videos as evidence, but the one released to the public is from some mobile phone that could possibly be replicated by bokeh and some mundane light source, it might be fairly easy to debunk the supposed claim of "aliens". But they're only debunking the claims made that are based only on that 1 video.
    If the 2nd video showed incontrovertible proof of aliens (whatever that might be) then clearly the debunkers would be unable to debunk the claim.

    So in the absence of all the information, one needs to be careful about what debunkers are actually able to do. They can only debunk claims that have been made on only the same evidence that they themselves have access to. They can't really debunk claims made on additional sources of information.
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  18. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    James is on a new kick of accusing everyone he disagrees with of lying. It's his way of leaving the door open to issuing trumped up infractions on trolling and on being disengenous. In the end though it just ends up isolating him as posters will eventually quit responding to such belligerent and provocative traps.
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2022
  19. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    I have to agree. It starts out with his accusations and name calling and it ends with him being offended that someone called him a name. It's pretty predictable and dishonest.

    Or he will start a thread on some subject and when someone responds in some way that he disagrees with he will ask "why do you care so much about this"? The answer is that "we" don't "care so much", we are just responding to his thread. It's silly but it is what it is.
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  20. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    James, before I take the time to respond...are you saying that you believe West is correct in assuming the US government failed in conducting a thorough investigation? In essence, that's what he thinks. And you agree with what he thinks.

    So, top US officials are ill-equipped to handle investigating UAP's, but West is? Why?
  21. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Sorry, wegs, but I'm not sure what you're talking about. Are you telling me that West has said the US government failed to thoroughly investigate a particular case? Which one? The tic tac one? Can you point me where West said this?

    I can say whether I agree with West or not, until I know what you're referring to.

    Regarding the tic tac incident, it is not currently my opinion that the US government has failed to investigate that incident properly. As far as I am aware, that investigation is ongoing.
    I haven't said that. But "top US officials" is a very vague term. Who, exactly, are you talking about? I can't say much about a whole class of people whose work is not available to me. I can only comment on publications produced by identifiable people or groups, which I have seen. I guess I could also give you an opinion on a published, accessible anonymously-published investigation, too, if there is one.

    I did say something about expertise, previously. What I said was that I see no reason to assume that a randomly-selected US military investigator will necessarily be better equipped than somebody like West when it comes to investigating a UFO sighting. They might be. For example, they might have access to information that is unavailable to West. They might have specialised technical knowledge about military capability that West does not. But on the other hand, West has a long history of successfully getting to the bottom of UFO cases (you might call it "debunking"). If nothing else, it means that West might be more aware of the pitfalls that commonly come up in UFO investigations, and perhaps also more aware of some of the errors that previous "official" investigators have made in the past.
  22. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Stop casting slurs and be specific. I have accused you of lying when you have told lies.

    Recently, I have accused Yazata of a specific lie, namely the one he keeps putting out about how skeptics (including the skeptics here) start with the assumption that a UFO cannot be paranormal or "non-mundane" (in either the sense he likes to use that word or the way the rest of us use it).

    In both cases, the record of posts supports my accusations. Also, in both cases my accusations stand unrefuted.

    But two examples do not make a general pattern. If you're going to accuse me, you'd better be specific. Stop the slurs.
  23. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    You're on a crusade. Of course you agree. It doesn't count for much.

    You ought to be specific, too.

    Also, for a man who says he doesn't care, you sure are posting a lot in a way that shouts out that you care.

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