What does the term "UFO" mean?

Discussion in 'UFOs, Ghosts and Monsters' started by Russ_Watters, Jan 9, 2014.

  1. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

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    5,051
    So apparently, this is necessary:

    An Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) is any unidentified object or phenomena that appears to be in the sky.

    This is my own words, but the first sentence of the wiki article is near exactly the same:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unidentified_flying_object

    For clarity, I'd like people to give a succinct "agree" or "disagree" response to this. To make it simpler, I'm making this a separate post from the rest of my discussion of the term.
     
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  3. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

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    Most intelligent people and the less loony alien spaceship enthusiasts understand the above definition and there is no controversy or problem over it. But there are some issues that can trip-up less thoughtful members of the general public and the loonier alien spacecraft enthusiasts:

    1. The term itself. "Unidentified" is obvious enough, but "flying" implies active control, which would generally be a person, bird or insect and "object" implies something solid, so wouldn't include fire or lightning. Taken literally,
    the word really would imply an unexpectedly high-tech aircraft. As discussed in the wiki, the term was originally coined by the USAF to be a descriptor of only those cases that were proven to be actual flying objects:
    This, presumably, is Trapped's 4% of "real" UFOs (I say "presumably" because despite being asked repeatedly, he's never defined his usage of the terms). But that usage wasn't very useful, so it fell out of favor:

    2. History and pop culture. The problem is that Trapped's 4% is actually 0%: the term was coined under the assumption that they'd be proven to be alien spacecraft because at the time there was a serious flying saucer craze in pop culture, but none have ever been proven to any reasonable standard to be flying objects of non-human technology. Project Blue Book's report concluded that roughly 96% were positively or likely identified as mundane occurrences and the remaining ones still just unidentified -- though that's the likely source of Trapped's 4% "real". It should also be obvious that a "reported UFO" that becomes positively identified as Venus or an oil rig no longer needs to be called a "UFO". That can cause labeling confusion as well. But in any case, with no proven "real" UFOs being found, the term probably should have gone away. Why didn't it?

    3. Necessity. With no "real" UFOs and no label for what were originally just "reported UFOs", there was no use in keeping the term so narrowly defined. So the broader definition was adopted. Essentially, "reported UFO" just became "UFO". Today, those alien spacecraft advocates who are less loony have started using a more accurate term: Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon (UAP), which is a literally true summation of the definition used in my first post. It mostly eliminates the problem with "flying," since "aerial" can include anything in the air and "phenomena" doesn't need to be a solid object. It isn't perfect though, since objects that may appear to be in the air may in fact be on the ground or outside of the atmosphere. Says the wiki:
    Unfortunately, "UAP" has not been widely adopted.

    So that's the etymology. Trapped has claimed that it doesn't matter what he believes/how he defines the word, but obviously, effective communication requires that people understand the words that each other are using. So I again implore him to clarify. I think by now though, we've gotten him figured out: When he says UFO or refers to the 4% of "real UFOs" he's talking strictly about alien spacecraft and the remaining 96% have no label except perhaps "reported UFO". If Trapped is intelligent and not just nuts, he should recognize the reality that people are not using the word the same way he is and no, there is no general agreement with him in the mainstream: the mainstream view is that UFOs are just completely unidentified, the ones that become positively identified have mundane explanations and those that ultimately remain unidentified are just that: unidentified. They are likely NOT "craft"...except perhaps human aircraft.
     
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  5. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Agreed.
     
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  7. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Most know what a UFO is.
    The problem only reveals itself, when individuals jump to unecessary conclusions when they do see a UFO.
    A UFO does not mean of Alien origin.
    It certainly could, but as yet we do not have any convincing evidence to say any UFO sightings have been Alien in nature.
    Dem's are the facts! [shrug]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 17, 2016
  8. river

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    11,058
    Then tell me what in the fifties could reach 15,000 mph
     
  9. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    21,703
    Who witnessed this 15,000mph?
    How did he/she know it was 15,000mph?
    It may have been a meteor?
    How do you know for certain the person/s that saw this was not hallucinating?
    How do you know the person/s that saw this UFO was not just seeking publicity?


    Now all you have done is ask questions, with your obvious agenda at the fore.
    Now you have a few to answer......
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 17, 2016
  10. Trapped Banned Banned

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    1,058
    What UFO case happened in the 50's which recorded 15,000 mph? The Washington case involved objects moving at 7000 mph. Just curious.
     
  11. Trapped Banned Banned

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    What are you talking about? The 4% (which is probably much higher by the way, since the head of the scientific investigation of blue book admitted that the cases they couldn't explain, which was more than many, where often never talked about to the public.) The 4% is about what we cannot explain, not whether we can explain it with aliens. It was later, UFO's got a more favourable name, 'flying saucers,' which was to imply we could identify some unusual craft as unconventional, even though flying saucers are just one of many different types of unconventional aircraft spotted on a monthly basis, in every country.

    So again, the 4% was never made to make the assumption that later they would be proven to be alien craft - the 4% explain what we cannot.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2014
  12. Trapped Banned Banned

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    I was actually wrong. It was earlier that the term flying saucers was used, the term UFO was officially used in 1953 only a year after the Washington incident. But I do not believe the term UFO was used in expectation they were alien life, in fact the term appears in the Condon committee ''work'' which attempted to debunk the UFO phenomenon, so it was in fact quite the opposite. UFO was a term used originally by scientists who had no intentions proving they existed or were of any national security concern.
     
  13. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,051
    Thanks for finally responding to this issue. It's only been a month.

    So you really were just acknowledging that 96% of reported UFOs can, if thoroughly investigated, eventually be positively identified as something mundane. Then the remaining 4% are interesting just because they remain unidentified, but are not necessarily aliens. These are the Project Blue Book statistics.
    Utter shock. You actually admitted and corrected a mistake. I never expected I'd see such an event. Hopefully, you will recognize that that is a sign of maturity and do more of it.

    In any case, can you please comment on the main thesis of the thread, which is about the definition, not the history.
     
  14. Trapped Banned Banned

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    1,058
    I'll admit a mistake if I know I have made one.

    But sure... give me some time to articulate my best response.
     
  15. Trapped Banned Banned

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    1,058

    I agree. Yes. This is what UFO means.
     
  16. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    4,884
    I think that "unidentified flying object" was originally a term used by aircraft spotters during the World War II era and in the years immediately following. It was the phrase used when possible aircraft were sighted and it wasn't clear whether the planes were ours or theirs. Then in the late 1940's-early 1950's, the phrase was kind of conscripted as a more neutral term with which to refer to what the popular press was excitedly calling "flying saucers". Today the general public uses the term "UFO" almost exclusively to refer to purported alien spaceships, so it seems to me that over the years the term has gradually taken on most of the 'flying saucer' connotations.

    I'll agree. But I do have reservations. That's because the term 'UFO' kind of suggests that there was really something flying in the sky, and we just weren't able to identify what it was. But I'm not convinced that most reports of "UFOs" actually correspond to physical objects in the sky at all.
     

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