UFOs (UAPs): Explanations?

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

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

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    This bit is interesting:

    Multiple factors affect the observation or detection of UAP, such as weather, illumination, atmospheric effects, or the accurate interpretation of sensor data. Regarding review or analysis of UAP events, ODNI and AARO operate under the assumption that UAP reports are derived from the observer’s accurate recollection of the event and/or sensors that generally operate correctly and capture enough real data to allow initial assessments. However, ODNI and AARO acknowledge that a select number of UAP incidents may be attributable to sensor irregularities or variances, such as operator or equipment error.
    This implies that reviews and analysis by ODNI and AARO will always overestimate the proportion of reported incidents that are objectively mysterious. Those incidents that might be explained by equipment error, sensor irregularities or (importantly) operator or observer error will be treated as if equipment operated correctly, the operator was competent and has accurate recollection etc.
     
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  3. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Another interesting snippet:

    The majority of new UAP reporting originates from U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force aviators and operators who witnessed UAP during the course of their operational duties and reported the events to the UAPTF or AARO through official channels. Regardless of the collection or reporting method, many reports lack enough detailed data to enable attribution of UAP with high certainty.
    So much for tales of highly trained and supremely competent military types who are incapable of making errors. The truth appears to be that a lot of these geniuses are unable to - or neglect to - provide sufficient detail in their reports to enable a positive ID. It should not be in the least surprising to learn that some of the cases would probably be solvable, were it not for the paucity of relevant data.
     
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  5. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    As Yazata has explained, it's a matter of consilience where multiple lines of evidence converge upon the same conclusion. Multiple eyewitness accounts, radar data, and camera video all supporting the mysterious nature of the UAP. The assumption that skeptics make, that all this data is erroneous or malfunctional, is not likewise warranted.

    "In science and history, consilience (also convergence of evidence or concordance of evidence) is the principle that evidence from independent, unrelated sources can "converge" on strong conclusions. That is, when multiple sources of evidence are in agreement, the conclusion can be very strong even when none of the individual sources of evidence is significantly so on its own. Most established scientific knowledge is supported by a convergence of evidence: if not, the evidence is comparatively weak, and there will probably not be a strong scientific consensus."--- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consilience
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2023
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  7. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Yes, like the conclusion that a lot of UAP sightings turn out, on closer inspection, to be weather balloons etc.
    What are you talking about?
    Skeptics make no such assumption. What are you talking about?
     
  8. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    I'm referring specifically to the 2004 40 ft tic tac encounter of Cmdr David Fravor attached to the USS Nimitz, which has been discussed at length already ad nauseum. Remember?
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2023
  9. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    I don't believe you. I have observed firsthand in this thread attempts by skeptics to reduce every UAP sighting to a matter of human error or misperception. I see this as an assumption on their part that enables them to dismiss the account as nothing but a mundane mishap. It is an unevidenced presupposition that assumes its own conclusion. Your explanation of the Mt Shasta lights as being stars and planets is a perfect example of this.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2023
  10. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    What does "objectively mysterious" mean?

    Isn't whether or not something is 'mysterious' a subjective matter? If we know what something is, it isn't mysterious. If we don't know, then it is.

    All they are saying in the text you quoted is that they accept observers and instruments are reliably accurate unless they have some reason why they shouldn't. That's entirely reasonable.

    It might indeed mean that they are missing some errors that they could have caught had they had better information. But they don't. Isn't that a given in any observation whether in science or in daily life?

    Presumably (if we accept something like the Principle of Sufficient Reason) everything that happens/exists in objective reality has some nature/explanation that can be known, at least in principle, provided only that enough information is available and the observer has the cognitive power to understand it. So in that sense, arguably nothing is objectively mysterious.

    But those ideal conditions often don't apply in real life. Which sometimes leaves us in the position of not knowing what something is, or what explains an event.

    But if there is no good reason to assume instrumental faults or observer error, then one shouldn't just leap to the assumetion that these faults existed because the idea of unknowns in life is emotionally repugnant.

    Accepting observations and instrument readings as valid data points that need to be explained might leave us with a larger set of unknowns than we would have had if we could somehow have just dismissed the data points. But isn't that the nature of the situation?

    If we possessed perfect information, nothing would be unknown.
     
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  11. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    It speaks again to the desire to have answers rather than to say "I don't know." Too often I see vague reports being "debunked" when I see a more logical conclusion simply being "there is insufficient information". Sure, we can come up with an explanation if we assume the report is wrong, or a person meant something other than what they wrote, but when there is no particular reason to do so it smacks of bias, of twisting the evidence to fit a preconceived explanation rather than simply saying "insufficient info therefore I don't know". That's where I think some self-claimed rational thinkers go too far in their analysis, at least in the confidence of their eventual explanation.
    But hey, each to their own, I guess.
    Oh, I don't know about that!

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  12. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    No. To allow for the possibility.

    What we are looking for is UAP events that cannot be explained by conventional means.

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  13. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    As long as you make a distinction between "allowing for possibilities" (ie. speculating) and actually arguing for a more than merely possible explanation. Example: UAPs could be the amphibious craft of an advanced undersea humanoid species. That's certainly possible. But I don't see it as probable enough to actually propose as a plausible explanation. At least not at this early stage of research into what they are.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2023
  14. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Meh. Whatever.
    No. However, it is known that some UAP sightings can be "reduced to" matters of human error or misperception. Therefore, what every unbiased investigator should do, as one of the first steps in any investigation of a UAP, is to attempt to eliminate, if possible, the possibility that the sighting was a misperception or error.

    This is also what you should do, before you ever post a case here. But you never do.

    It's not a problem for the skeptics that the cases you present are not strong enough to eliminate the possibility of human error or perception. That's entirely your problem. You need to find cases with more persuasive evidence. But you never do.
    No. There is no assumption. Until misperception or error has been ruled out as a likely cause for a UAP sighting, it remains in the mix of possible explanations. Obviously.

    If you want to show that the UAP is an alien spacecraft, you need to show that. It is not enough to bitch and whine about supposed skeptical bias, when the truth is that your evidence is too weak to support your claims about it.
    We solved that case. Get over it. It was a sighting of Mars and some stars. It's obvious when you review the available data. But you never do that.
    Yes, in principle, but there's no evidence that especially points towards that fantastical solution. Compare and contrast the Mt Shasta case you mentioned, when the evidence points strongly towards a mistaken sighting of Mars and some stars.
    Yet that's exactly what you proposed. Go figure.
     
  15. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    In the context in which I wrote that, it means that no effort has been made by ODNI and AARO to rule out the possibility of equipment or operator error. That's what they say, explicitly.
    That's not what they are saying. They are saying they assume that observers and instruments were reliable, implying that they don't investigate those things.
    They are supposed to be investigating, aren't they? That means actively trying to dig up evidence that might help solve the case. Maybe their budget doesn't extend that far.
    That has never been in dispute.
    No. The aim is to try to solve the case, isn't it? Why would you just accept that data is valid, without testing whether it is valid, as far as it is practical to do so?
    There'd be no need for this discussion, certainly.
     
  16. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    OK, here's what they say, you quoted it yourself.

    "Multiple factors affect the observation or detection of UAP, such as weather, illumination, atmospheric effects, or the accurate interpretation of sensor data."

    I think that both us us can agree with them on that.

    "Regarding review or analysis of UAP events, ODNI and AARO operate under the assumption that UAP reports are derived from the observer’s accurate recollection of the event and/or sensors that generally operate correctly and capture enough real data to allow initial assessments."

    The observers and the equipment are generally reliable. Otherwise the military wouldn't rely on them in life or death situations. So those reports and instrument readings constitute the raw data of the investigations.

    Notice what they are saying there. They accept initially that the observer's recollection of the event was accurate and that the instrumentation was working correctly. Those observation reports and instrument readings are the data that they are assigned to investigate. What they say there doesn't imply that they are refusing to investigate the reports that they are given. It just says that more likely than not, the instrumentation was working correctly and that the observers are reporting their perceptions accurately.

    If somebody wants to hypothesize perceptual errors, misinterpretations or instrumental artifacts, some persuasive evidence in support of those hypotheses is required.

    "However, ODNI and AARO acknowledge that a select number of UAP incidents may be attributable to sensor irregularities or variances, such as operator or equipment error."

    Of course error is possible. Nobody is denying that. But error shouldn't just be assumed unless there is some justification for that assumption, some evidence that error actually occurred.

    That's how I'm interpreting the text that you quoted. So I think that AARO appear to proceeding quite reasonably.

    I agree with what your concern might be, and agree that initially taking reports and data at face value unless there is reason not to, might allow some undetected errors to pass. But what is the alternative and what is the harm? All it means is that cases remain longer in the 'open' category, rather than the 'debunked' category.

    They are saying that they accept the observations and instrumental data as the data that they are charged to investigate. Those reports constitute their data points.

    Investigating, not dismissing.

    Which I expect would include evidence that the observations and instrument readings were bad. But the observations and instrument readings that they receive can't just be thrown out prior to that investigation simply because they seem to show something that some people find unacceptable. Perceptual errors and instrumental faults can't just be assumed a-priori, without evidence or justification for the assumption.

    If evidence of perceptual error or instrumental faults appears, then presumably a report would go into the "select number of UAP incidents" referred to above.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2023
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  17. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    always with the goal of determining exotic versus mundane origin.


    If there is insufficient evidence to distinguish mundane from exotic (and no more evidence forthcoming on a given incident), then what's the point in throwing more resources at it? Why not put one's efforts toward incidents with the highest likelihood of success??

    That's what skeptics are doing by paring away the low quality stuff. And it's what we're doing here in this thread.

    Why do enthusiasts insist on keeping their coffers full of incidents that have no chance of bearing new fruit?
     
  18. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Absolutely agree. It can't just be assumed that the eyewitness(es) erred and/or the equipment malfunctioned without at least some evidence of such. But the skeptics never offer this. They assume it and then cherrypick the account to suit their narrative of the UAP being something mundane that is mistaken for something else. Their agenda is simply to debunk the account with a commonplace alternative instead of actually investigating it based on the gathered data..
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2023
  19. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    Radar detects an anomalous contact. Certainly it's possible that it's an instrumental artifact of some kind, a spurious contact. But probably less likely than some armchair critics would like to think, since aircraft carrier battle groups trust their survival in wartime to the accuracy of those radars. So the radar contact will have some initial plausibility, perhaps not as high as a UFO-enthusiast might like, but not as low as the armchair critic's speculations might assign it.

    So jets are vectored to the location of the anomalous contact and the pilots report a visual sighting of an unknown object at that location. Again it's possible that it's a perceptual error of some kind, though again the visual reports have some initial plausibility since they are very experienced aviators. And more than one see it.

    My point is that the likelihood that it's a radar fault goes down dramatically if something is seen visually where the radar has located it. A radar fault doesn't explain the visual sighting.

    And simultaneously, the likelihood that the visual sighting is a perceptual mistake goes down dramatically if the radar detects something there as well.

    In other words, the sightings by different modalities corroborate each other. The possibility of 'subjective' factors like perceptual mistakes or radar faults might arguably be reasonably high in isolation. But taken together, the likelihood of those kind of faults accounting for the observation is far lower. So the likelihood of the accuracy of the two-modality observation is significantly higher than the likelihood of either modality taken by itself.

    (I expect that can be proven with Bayesian mumbo-jumbo)

    It's the same principle that we see with scientific verification.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2023
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  20. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Just came across this and I had to post it for MR.

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

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    Yazata:

    First: thank you for replying, for a change.

    You and I almost agree on everything in your post, which I find it often the case. Therefore, I'll just comment on the part I disagree with you about.
    No doubt. But, a UFO encounter is not a "general" circumstance. It is, by its very nature, an unusual circumstance, or set of circumstances. We can guarantee that the trained radar operator or the trained pilot who is reporting a UFO is not familiar with whatever he or she is reporting, regardless of its actual cause. If it was a familiar radar glitch, it wouldn't be reported as a UFO sighting. If it was a familiar sight on the FLIR, the pilot wouldn't be reporting it as a UFO.

    We therefore need to be especially wary about the scope for equipment and/or observer error in investigating UFO cases. We certainly should not assume that everything was business as usual, because the very fact that there is a report at all tells us that something unusual must have been going on. Unusual enough to capture the attention of the person filing the report, at least.
    They should not make any such assumption in advance. They should keep an open mind about the possibility of observer or equipment error, until those can be ruled out, at least with reasonably probability (not based on somebody's a priori assumptions about "business as usual").

    That's an assumption. You recognise that, don't you? It's actually a guess, based on what happens when things are business as usual.
    Yes, and no.

    Yes, if somebody is claiming that those things explain the sighting, then the claimant has the burden of proof to show that his or her explanation is correct.

    On the other hand, the claim that there were no perceptual errors, misinterpretations or instrument artifacts is equally a claim that needs evidential support. It can no more be assumed to be true than the converse.

    When it comes to ascribing a UAP report to the paranormal - or even to alien visitation - it is vitally important to rule out (or reduce to an insignificant level) the probability that the real explanation is perceptual or instrument error. Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence, so assuming business as usual won't cut the mustard here.
    Just as importantly, lack of error shouldn't just be assumed unless there is some justification for that assumption.
    The aim is to solve the case, if possible, one way or the other. Of course you can leave things in the "unsolved" basket if you like, but I'm not really talking about that. The point of setting up ODNI or AARO in the first place is to try to get to the bottom of things.

    Precisely. A computer programmer would refer to the GIGO principle here: garbage in, garbage out. If the data is faulty, any conclusions drawn from the data are likely to be faulty, too. So, one shouldn't make unjustified assumptions about the error-free nature of data.
    Nobody is advocating for that.
    My point is that evidence of that kind seldom just "appears". You have to go looking for it. But from what they say, they're not looking too hard for that kind of thing.

    Realistically, this is one sentence in a report, so maybe I'm reading too much into it. I certainly hope these investigators are doing their due diligence in trying to verify that data and witness statements are accurate. If they have competent people on the job, then this should be case. If not, then any conclusions these investigators reach will be open to criticism.
     
  22. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    First, do not tell lies.

    Second, criticisms about cherrypicking, coming from you, are laughably ludicrous, given that you're the King of Cherrypicking and ignoring or denying everything that doesn't fit with your own biases and wishful thinking.

    We have already established, right here on this forum, that you're utterly incapable of recognising a competent investigation or analysis when you see one, let alone of having the motivation or capacity for conducting one yourself.
     
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  23. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    The sources of the reports have quite a bit of initial plausibility, based on the experience of the aviators and the reliability of the radars. It's even more plausible when the visual and instrumental data coincide, as discussed above.

    Regardless, it remains conceivable that the equipment was acting up or the witnesses were making perceptual mistakes. Though explaining how the eye-witnesses and the instruments were simultaneously making mutually confirming errors will take more doing. Obviously, one of the avenues of investigation would certainly be to investigate possible sources of error. I don't think that anyone, whether either of us or the official investigators, has ever denied that. That's a bit of a straw-man in my opinion.

    But until then, the investigation also needs to pursue the data as provided: How the anomalous contact behaved on radar and what was seen by the pilots. What possible explanations might account for the data as given? That data forms the basis of the investigation and can't just be sneered into oblivion because it doesn't conform to somebody's preexisting beliefs and expectations. It shouldn't be dismissed until and unless some thoroughly convincing reason is given to dismiss it.
     

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