UFOs (UAPs): Explanations?

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

  1. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Perception and cognition and memory ARE perfectly reliable given the overwhelming number of instances in which they work to get us thru our day. That it isn't infallible is also true. But that doesn't make it unreliable. A car is perfectly reliable even though it isn't infallible.
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  3. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    As long as you're acknowledging that they're not infallible, that's really all that matters.
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  5. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    I prefer to say that they are sufficiently reliable, rather than perfectly reliable. 'Perfectly' implies 'infallibly' when I hear it, and that's too strong. That's why I always emphasize the ever-present possibility of error.

    Certainly human perception and cognition are sufficient for living our lives and for our knowledge gathering activities, including the practice of science.

    Yes, I agree very strongly with that. We rely on our perception and cognition every day throughout our lives. It's what accounts for pretty much all of our human knowledge of reality.

    And I disagree pretty vehemently with all the suggestions that since perception and cognition aren't perfect and infallible, they can simply be dismissed. If we followed that nihilistic prescription, where would we be, what would we have left?

    Sufficiently reliable...
    DaveC426913 likes this.
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  7. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Nobody is doing that.
  8. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Kudos for pointing this out. It'll be received better from you than from me. I'd started to respond several times but deleted it, knowing it might detract from the important progress made just for acceptance that perception is not infallible.
  9. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    Navy Pilot’s 2004 UFO: A Comedy of Errors

    by Joe Nickell

    To recap, we suggest that several things were going on during what was, after all, a training mission of the USS Nimitz carrier strike group. We believe the churning water Fravor first saw was caused by a submerging sub; that the sightings of a UFO above the water (variously reported)—which hovered, then came toward one pilot—could have been those of a reconnaissance drone; that there may have been confusion (then and later) over the object or objects caused by the admixture of visual sightings with infrared video viewing; and, finally, that one video image showing an object suddenly zooming off screen was likely caused by the plane’s banking while the camera was stopped at the end of its sweep.

    If UFO proponents claim inconsistencies in our scenario, we shall point out confusion and incompleteness in the reports. Apparently not only had the incident not been considered serious enough to have warranted a debriefing of Fravor—let alone of the several other pilots and radar operator—but most of the carrier group’s personnel at the time regarded Fravor’s response as laughable.​
  10. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

    In addition to the same sort of anomaly had been happening already for a few weeks without any panic

    Hey let's send the newbie out. Don't forget the tin foil hats when he comes back

    Seems to me that the crew had a handle on the anomaly

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  11. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    I already commented on my opinion of Joe Nickell in post #2916. I don't believe that Joe Nickell has any more authority in these matters than I do. He wasn't there and all he's doing is speculating, then parading his speculations as if they are authoritative answers.

    A nice little move that Nickell slipped in there, trying to suggest that these aviators and radar operators were inexperienced newbies. The carrier group was about to be operationally deployed. Military units run exercises constantly in order to stay fresh and at the top of their games, and give everyone experience working together. There probably were some inexperienced (but fully trained) individuals mixed in, and part of the purpose of the exercise was to integrate them. The point to note was that Fravor was a very experienced squadron commander and definitely not a newbie. (Reportedly 16 years of flying experience and a graduate of the Navy's elite "Top Gun" fighter school. The latter would qualify him as a Fighter Tactics Instructor for the other pilots on the carrier. It sounds like he was one of the most senior pilots on the ship.) The Marine was another squadron commander. The radar operator on the Princeton was a Senior Chief Petty Officer with 17 years of experience with Aegis cruiser radar systems.

    The royal "we"?

    Nickell believes that on the basis of... what? Was there a submarine in the area? (Yes) Had it just submerged? (Unclear, but no indication that it had.) Had it just launched anything? (It says no.)

    Sure, could have been. Speculation again. But it would have had to have been a damn good reconaissance drone if it accelerated and decelerated almost instantaneously and flew 40 miles in less than one minute, suggesting speeds in excess of 2,400 mph. If it was the same thing observed on the Princeton's radar rising and descending like a ballistic missile (and that radar contact is what initially attracted attention to that particular spot after all) it would have had to have been an even better "reconnaissance drone". But it does remain a possibility, no matter how remote it might seem, which is why I was speculating about UCAVs earlier in the thread.

    JamesR didn't like it then (post #1447) and called it a "conspiracy theory". But apparently it's fine when Nickell makes a similar speculation.

    The infrared and visual video imagery came from jets that subsequently arrived on the scene and acquired the UFO while carrying targeting pods, which Fravor's initial jet wasn't carrying. The fact that the subsequent jets that launched from the carrier also acquired the unidentified object is additional evidence that something was objectively there. (That Convergence of Evidence thing.)

    Nickell is familiar with the technical details of the targeting pods? (Much of which is probably classified?) I doubt it. Nickell has no technical background at all that I'm aware of (his PhD is in Literature) and has no military aviation experience either (he was a Vietnam draft-dodger who fled to Canada).

    Nickell knows this how? His words seem to (once again) directly contradict the executive summary.

    https://media.lasvegasnow.com/nxsglobal/lasvegasnow/document_dev/2018/05/18/TIC TAC UFO EXECUTIVE REPORT_1526682843046_42960218_ver1.0.pdf

    From page 9 of that document: "The flight proceeded to CVIC. Lt. [redacted] noted that the sailors in CIVC had donned tinfoil caps and wanted to know about the "UFO flight". They reviewed the tapes and described to CIVC what they had seen and what the flight had done. He was not asked to sign any non-disclosure agreement and he is uncertain how far up the chain the reporting went past his commanding officer."

    Here's what CVIC is https://fas.org/irp/doddir/navy/rfs/part06.htm

    That's evidence of nothing but those individuals' own preexisting bias. It's obviously a disfunctional attitude in a military organization. The US Navy says that it's working on changing it.

    CC already addressed that very well in post #2938 saying, "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.' "

    CC quotes the History Channel, "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.

    [Navy spokesman 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."

    The Navy Times reports the same thing: "The Navy is updating its guidelines to encourage pilots to more thoroughly report what they see, Gradisher said. And Navy investigators have been traveling to bases such as Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, Virginia, where squadrons of F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets are based, to talk to aviators."

    "We need reports and data and things we can analyze and that's where our aviators come into play," Gradisher said. "We need them to participate. In years past they didn't necessarily do that because there was a stigma to reporting on something being unidentified."
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2019
  12. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    One problem with this is that there are multiple modes of observation in play, and a few different witnesses. You think that's a strength; I see it as a weakness in this case. It is very easy to assume that whatever it was that was seen on somebody's radar screen must have been the same thing that was reported by an eyewitness in an aircraft, or the same thing as appears in the footage from the IR camera on the aircraft. But there's no a priori reason to assume that any of these things represent the same object (if it was an object) or as having a common cause (if it was something else).

    We know that the radar can produce spurious returns. We know that eyewitnesses can be mistaken, especially when they are far away from the object they are observing and moving at speed. We know what IR cameras on fighter jets can produce weird-looking images when they are observing, for instance, the exhausts of other aircraft. All of these effects are potentially in play in the situation under consideration.

    You talk about "rapidly moving aerial objects", but the evidence that there actually was any rapidly moving aerial object (other than the military aircraft in the area) is weak. As for the "characteristics", you are deducing those from poor-quality data and dubious eyewitness statements.

    To reach the conclusion that all this adds up to objects that "may arguably exceed any currently known aircraft technology" is to jump to an unwarranted conclusion on the back of shoddy information.

    You don't know the Navy's thinking on this. There is classified information you don't have access to.

    Also, we do have several clues as to what it might have been. A number of eminently reasonable hypotheses have been put forward. If you choose to ignore those in favour of the LGM hypothesis, you're just jumping onto the bandwagon with UFO nuts like MR.

    It is far more likely that this was a result of a series of mundane occurrences coming together and being misinterpreted. Then, that misinterpretation was publicised, while potentially disconfirming information was withheld or simply not available to the public.

    Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence. It ain't here.

    Evidently, some people would prefer to believe in fairies at the bottom of the garden, too.

    What matters is the evidence.
  13. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    MR is a laughing stock. He's absolutely useless when it comes to talking about UFO reports, because he is completely uninterested in examining them for veracity. Really, he's only good for bringing stuff to our attention with his cut and pasting from youtube. He's a passive consumer of the nuttery, albeit also an active promoter and diseminator.

    That, right there, should tell you something.

    If such poor data is the best the UFO proponents can come up with, what does that suggest to you about the reality of aliens visiting Earth in their spaceships?

    It's no different with the ghosts, or bigfoot, or psychic powers, or any of the other woo pushed by MR and his peers. Invariably, the available data is on the fringes of sensitivity or usefulness of the detectors. Video footage is invariably of low quality and/or doubtful provenance. Eyewitnesses far too often turn out to be self-promoters. Outright fraud is rampant.

    Also, inserting the word "military" into a UFO report doesn't make it more reliable. It's not as if everybody in the military is an Einstein, or has the observational powers of Sherlock Holmes. The military and its personnel make mistakes and blunder around just like everybody else. The people in the military are people just like you and me, only they have guns and stuff.

    You're trying to reverse the onus of proof. Why is that?

    Suppose that no mundane explanation is forthcoming regarding a particular sighting. Does that mean it was aliens, then? Don't you think that the people who say it was an alien craft need to provide convincing positive evidence of their positive claim?

    The onus is not on skeptics to debunk everything the UFO nuts put up. It is for them to make their case.

    Having said that, we have seen lots of reasons to doubt the alien spaceship conclusion in this particular example. Those doubts do not prove that it wasn't little green men, of course. But if the UFO pushers say it was, it is up to them to make the case, and so far they are doing a bad job of it (as usual).

    But the picture you're emerging is speculation, too. Worse, it is quite extraordinary speculation, unwarranted by the quality or quantity of the available data.

    Maybe. Maybe a submarine and a drone and some other fighter aircraft. Or about a hundred other possible things with quite ordinary explanations. On the other hand, it could be glitches in the new radar system, compounded by a mistaken sighting of a whale or submarine, and dubiously tied to IR footage of jet exhausts. It could be a man looking for his 15 minutes (or longer) of fame. It could even be the Navy trying to divert attention away from something they'd rather we didn't know.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2019
  14. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    As previously noted, the radar system was a newly-installed system and the operators were not very experienced in interpreting it.

    I also point out that you have no idea if the radar was not in error that day. So, who's "making shit up", again?
  15. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Because the existence of the Bears is consistent with everything else we know about military aircraft and the countries and people who build and operate them, whereas the existence of alien tic tacs is not consistent with what is known about aircraft, about aliens, about history, or anything else.
  16. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Nickell has years of on-the-ground experience investigating reports of the paranormal, including UFO sightings. He is an educated man, but has made his name as an investigator. Where possible, he visits scenes, he interviews the prime witnesses himself, he reviews available and relevant documentation - basically does all the things a detective does in trying to solve a case.

    Your opinion of him sounds like sour grapes or something. For some reason, you've decided you don't like the man, which is all well and good, but it does nothing to diminish his work.

    It doesn't much matter that Nickell's PhD is in Literature. As you will be aware, anybody with a PhD has necessarily developed certain research skills, and skills in critical thinking - both good training if you want to be a detective. When you say Nickell has no technical background that you're aware of it, that is only saying what you're aware of. You don't know how much time and effort Nickell has put into gaining technical expertise. I might also remind you that one does not necessarily have to have a formal qualification to be highly skilled in a particular field. Some people gain specific technical knowledge as a hobby. Moreover, Nickell doesn't rely only on his own knowledge and skill set in his investigations; he consults experts and interviews the people who do know what is relevant.

    Clearly, you don't like people questioning Fravor's motives or competence, for whatever reason. Perhaps, like MR, you think that all eyewitness accounts should be taken at face value.

    It sounds a bit like you think that Nickell has no right to go in and investigate this incident independently. Do you think he should have more respect for the military and its personnel, perhaps? Maybe we should also just trust that people in the military are always right about everything. How presumptuous of Nickell to dare to question a highly experienced squadron commander, who could never make a mistake!
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2019
  17. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    In ordinary circumstances, yes. But when it comes to UFO reports and ghost encounters and the like, we're usually not dealing with ordinary circumstances. In such circumstances, people are often emotionally charged. In some cases they are actually primed or predisposed to interpret mundane effects as extraordinary. In other cases, we find eyewitnesses operating in conditions that are unfamiliar to them. Often, they are asked after the event to interpret happenings that they actually did not have a high quality sensory perception of. Often, memories are re-worked to fit a presumed narrative - either invented by the eyewitness himself or suggested to him by somebody else. Over time, we often see stories shift. New details appear that weren't there in initial interviews. Details change. The elements of the "story" tend to be made more coherent with repeated tellings, and the witness will often stridently insist that he has never changed any part of the story, despite conclusive evidence to the contrary.

    People are reasonably well equipped to get through their daily lives, relying on their senses and cognition. In the process of living, we are usually blissfully unaware of just how many pieces of sensory information we completely ignore or fail to register. Our perception is a construction of the brain; it is not a high-fidelity video recording. Memory is fallible, malleable and at least as much constructed as recalled.

    These are all reasons why individual eyewitness accounts should be treated with very large grains of salt, especially when they involve supposedly extraordinary happenings.
  18. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    In other words, perception and memory work fine as long as they confirm something that suits your mundane worldview. But the moment something unexplained and extraordinary occurs, we are to suddenly take your word over the eyewitness's that what they saw was a mistake or even an outright lie to get their names in the local newspaper. Your agenda to debunk all ufos is plain for everyone to see James. You have not the slightest objectivity on this matter, positing outrageous convergences of errors and glitches in order to deny that the ufo was exactly what it was perceived to be--a real objective phenomenon in its own right. There are around 3500 sightings of ufos by pilots and military personel over the past 70 years. Cases backed up by multiple eyewitnesses, photos, and radar video repeatedly and compellingly establishing the reality of the ufo phenomenon. This particular case is just such one of these. Navy pilots don't accidently see 40 ft long tic tacs zipping around at supersonic speeds and suddenly changing direction that are further backed up by radar return and infrared video. They're not idiots and they know what they saw. It all basically comes down to credibility here. Who should we believe? Fravor and his fellow pilot who have no agenda and are simply reporting what they saw that day. Or you and your idol Joe Nickell, who have an obvious agenda and a vested interest in debunking all ufo sightings in order to protect your mundane worldview. The answer is obvious. The people who were there. Always.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2019
  19. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    LOL! I don't even have to post anything to get personally attacked by you now. I should report that but I know it would just be ignored by you since it was your post.
  20. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Alot of maybe's and could be's and shrugging shoulders with hands in the air. But nothing near as solid and reliable as an experienced Navy pilot saying "I saw this."
  21. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    No. You missed the point. Perception and memory are far from perfect, all the time. The original point was that they are often good enough to get you through your regular day, and I don't disagree with that.

    It's not a battle of my word against yours. This isn't a trust exercise.

    Frankly, I have far better things to do with my time than to attempt that.

    Quick! Somebody record this! Magical Realist is accusing me of lacking objectivity when it comes to UFOs.

    You couldn't write this kind of comedy.

    Nope. If what you said was accurate, then the overwhelming consensus would be that aliens are visiting Earth in their spaceships. Instead, what we see is a fringe group of mostly Americans who have a sort of fan-boy fascination with this stuff, and a further group of creduluous people who think it might be real but haven't really given it much attention (again, many Americans. Why is this an American thing, by the way? There's an interesting question, right there, with an informative answer).

    I agree. They don't see that.

    That's not what they say. Usually they say they don't know what they saw. Go figure.

    No, it basically doesn't. It isn't my word against yours, or Fravor's vs Joe Nickells'. It's a matter of evidence.

    It irks you, I know, but the evidence for little green men is very poor.

    How do you know Fravor has/had no agenda? This is just what you want to believe. His fellow pilot has kept very quiet, in comparison, I note. I wonder why.

    Yesterday, I watched Peter Pan with my kids. It was okay. In it, there were a bunch of kids flying. I've also watched the Harry Potter movies, where there were kids doing magic with wands and flying on brooms. You know what? None of that upset me in the slightest. I didn't feel a single twinge about movies promoting the existence of magic. I think it would be cool to be able to fly around like Peter Pan. It didn't occur to me once that I ought to "debunk" Harry Potter.

    The thing is, I'm able to distinguish fact from fantasy. With that ability, protecting my "mundane worldview" really isn't that hard.
  22. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Yeah, a bit like "maybe it was aliens", only the alien explanation is way more Out There.
  23. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Yeah there you go with that old strawman. I've repeatedly told you I don't conclude they are aliens. I don't conclude anything about the who behind ufos. I simply claim ufos are real and extraordinary phenomena in their own right.

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