UFOs (UAPs): Explanations?

Suppose the son and his father in that ''blue lobster'' story above, didn't take their story to the news. Or the news didn't find out about it. Whichever the case. If that father and son had pics of the lobster, shared them on FB, etc...would that be considered ''evidence?'' If only the father and son physically observed the lobster in person and they only have photos and their word backing up their claim, would those pics be considered hearsay? If the story trickles down to us here on SF, would we think it was some type of strange hoax masterminded by the father and son to garner attention?

Like the tic tac video - the pilots could have kept the footage to themselves, but no one would have believed them. Suddenly, we take the case more seriously because the Pentagon conducted a thorough investigation, which is the right process but I'm just asking the question ...when does something ''count'' as evidence?
 
I was referring to natural occurrences like geology and meteorology and climatology and animal events like evolution and migration and extinction..
The chain of replies leads back to your post #7005, "How could you possibly know something like [Aliens on Earth isn't just "rare", it hasn't happened yet.]?" If you were referring to something else, you should have been specific.
 
I understand where you're coming from, James - but do you find that skeptics sometimes conflate ''improbable'' or ''most likely never to happen'' with ''extraordinary?'' In other words, everything that sounds extraordinary most likely is improbable (to a skeptic)?

The way I use the word, 'extraordinary' is to mean 'extra ordinary'. In other words, 'outside the range of ordinary experience'. And I've been inclined to think of that in terms of 'improbable'. But I'm coming around to think that maybe a better way to conceive of 'extraordinary' is as something like 'unfamiliar'.

The thing is, there's both a subjective and an objective aspect to it.

'Unfamiliar' better captures the subjective aspect. There are many things that are unfamiliar to me personally. (MR's blue lobster, which I originally thought was fake.) There are almost certainly things unfamiliar even to science (at its current level of development). There are almost certainly things that are unfamiliar to any human being alive today. If I encounter one of these unfamiliar-to-me things (a blue lobster perhaps) I will exclaim "How extraordinary!" (Even though blue crayfish are apparently fairly common along the coast of Florida. I don't live in Florida and have never heard of them, until now.)

If a specialist, be it a scientist or a jet pilot, encounters something unfamiliar in their more specialized experience, they will probably make the same exclamation: "How extraordinary!" The 'tic-tacs' were obviously extraordinary in that sense, since they fell outside the experience of the pilots and radar operators involved.

And there's an objective idea seemingly also inherent in 'extraordinary'. This is the idea that something 'extraordinary' must be unlikely in some more objective ontological sense. This would make whatever it is unlikely not only in an individual's (or a whole community's) experience (which will inevitably be limited to what they have already encountered) but unlikely in principle somehow.

And I'm starting to think that there might possibly be a logical error occurring when we equate the subjective and objective there. We can't just leap from 'unfamiliar in my personal experience' to 'unlikely in principle' (unlikely for any possible being, unlikely simply in how the universe itself operates) without some justification that might be very difficult to provide (since our understanding of the universe is so limited).

Space aliens could fit into the improbability category

Maybe. Space aliens would certainly be unfamiliar to human beings. That needn't make them improbable in any more objective ontological sense. If aliens exist, then their own existence would be familiar to them, in their own experience.

but if they did exist, it'd be ''extraordinary.''

Yes, to human beings. Very much so in the 'unfamiliar to us' sense. Maybe not so extraordinary to the aliens.

We can agree on that point. But, if say the tic tac object is that of some type of advanced military weapon or aircraft, that doesn't seem so far-fetched, yet we could consider it to be extraordinary, as well. I don't think this is a matter of semantics, rather it could explain why skeptics and UFO enthusiasts struggle to meet halfway.

Yes.

I'll just say that from the philosophical viewpoint, questions of "semantics" can't just be dismissed with a shrug as people so often do: "That's just semantics." (I'm aware you didn't say that, so I'm just making this point because it needs to be said.) What semantics addresses is critically important. It addresses how the various items of our conceptual scheme are understood (typically in linguistic form whether in natural or formal language) and how that conceptual scheme models onto the realities that it purports to describe and express (if it does). Semantics is of vital importance to science, given that science purports to express truths about and to give us better understanding of reality.
 
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The formation of the Marianas Trench. The evolution/extinction of species for which we have no fossils.
The abiogenesis of life on earth.
We do have evidence as to the formation of the Mariana trench (by which I am assuming you mean evidence of the mechanism of formation, rather than the form itself - for which the Mariana trench is not only evidence for but proof of itself). If you need the details, Google it. ;)
The evolution/extinction, yes, you are correct in that one, at least with regard some species, but not all. For example, we may have sufficient evidence from the fossil record that fossil A evolved, eventually, into fossil F. While we may not have fossils for B thru E, we have evidence that such creatures possibly/probably existed.
For abiogenesis on earth, we have evidence that it happened (at least unless you're someone that takes the religious view over the scientific) but not the mechanism.
 
And I'm starting to think that there might possibly be a logical error occurring when we equate the subjective and objective there. We can't just leap from 'unfamiliar in my personal experience' to 'unlikely in principle' (unlikely for any possible being, unlikely simply in how the universe itself operates) without some justification that might be very difficult to provide (since our understanding of the universe is so limited).
It's a version of argument from personal incredulity, albeit implicit rather than explicit.
Space aliens would certainly be unfamiliar to human beings. That needn't make them improbable in any more objective ontological sense. If aliens exist, then their own existence would be familiar to them, in their own experience.
Two things here. The first is that "space aliens" is not in and of itself a claim, but rather "visitation of earth by space aliens", which is a rather different proposition than just the existence of space aliens.
The second thing is that in all of this we are discussing not reality itself but our belief as to what reality is. Thus ultimately it's all about the subjective: what do we know, or think we know, and what do we find convincing in the arguments of others.
I'll just say that from the philosophical viewpoint, questions of "semantics" can't just be dismissed with a shrug as people so often do: "That's just semantics." (I'm aware you didn't say that, so I'm just making this point because it needs to be said.) What semantics addresses is critically important. It addresses how the various items of our conceptual scheme are understood (typically in linguistic form whether in natural or formal language) and how that conceptual scheme models onto the realities that it purports to describe and express (if it does). Semantics is of vital importance to science, given that science purports to express truths about and to give us better understanding of reality.
Ah, semantics... if only I knew what that meant! ;)
 
The formation of the Marianas Trench. The evolution/extinction of species for which we have no fossils.
The abiogenesis of life on earth.
We have evidence for all these things. Otherwise, we wouldn't be talking about them.

The credibility of eyewitness accounts pales in comparison to the entire body of knowledge of the natural sciences.
 
Suppose the son and his father in that ''blue lobster'' story above, didn't take their story to the news. Or the news didn't find out about it. Whichever the case. If that father and son had pics of the lobster, shared them on FB, etc...would that be considered ''evidence?'' If only the father and son physically observed the lobster in person and they only have photos and their word backing up their claim, would those pics be considered hearsay? If the story trickles down to us here on SF, would we think it was some type of strange hoax masterminded by the father and son to garner attention?

Like the tic tac video - the pilots could have kept the footage to themselves, but no one would have believed them. Suddenly, we take the case more seriously because the Pentagon conducted a thorough investigation, which is the right process but I'm just asking the question ...when does something ''count'' as evidence?

The difference is that a Google search will answer your question about lobsters but not alien spaceships.

This wasn't the only blue lobster ever found so there were others, this one was actually produced up close and personal and it would be more of an analogy if this was the only blue lobster ever seen and it wasn't produced and there was no picture or the picture was blurred beyond recognition.
 
The difference is that a Google search will answer your question about lobsters but not alien spaceships.

This wasn't the only blue lobster ever found so there were others, this one was actually produced up close and personal and it would be more of an analogy if this was the only blue lobster ever seen and it wasn't produced and there was no picture or the picture was blurred beyond recognition.
If we're talking about probability of blue lobsters, I have seen them with mine own eyes. In a tank in the Aquarium in Myrtle Beach.

It's a rare mutation, but it's not extraordinary.
 
If we're talking about probability of blue lobsters, I have seen them with mine own eyes. In a tank in the Aquarium in Myrtle Beach.

It's a rare mutation, but it's not extraordinary.
I think that's the definition of extraordinary isn't it? Rare? :)
 
I think that's the definition of extraordinary isn't it? Rare? :)
Well sure. But there's zebra-in-New-York extraordinary and then there's zebra-on-the-Moon extraordinary.

A zebra in New York may be rare, but doesn't exactly require an extraordinary explanation (beyond "This is a zoo, sir.")

Mutations, generally, are common. A specific mutation may not be widely spread. Debatable whether that qualifies as extraordinary.
 
Well sure. But there's zebra-in-New-York extraordinary and then there's zebra-on-the-Moon extraordinary.

A zebra in New York may be rare, but doesn't exactly require an extraordinary explanation (beyond "This is a zoo, sir.")

Mutations, generally, are common. A specific mutation may not be widely spread. Debatable whether that qualifies as extraordinary.
I'd call an alien spaceship something other than extraordinary. :)
 
wegs:

I understand where you're coming from, James - but do you find that skeptics sometimes conflate ''improbable'' or ''most likely never to happen'' with ''extraordinary?'' In other words, everything that sounds extraordinary most likely is improbable (to a skeptic)?
"Improbable" means, by definition, that something is unlikely to happen very often. "Impossible" means that the thing could never happen. "Most likely never to happen" might be somewhere between the previous two categories. However, it is important to appreciate that if the probability of something happening is greater than zero - even if it is small - then it is always possible that it will happen at some time or other.

You'll hardly ever hear a sensible skeptic claim that something is impossible, unless it breaks the laws of logic or something like that (e.g. square circles are impossible; so are married bachelors).

Another thing to consider is that estimating the probability of something occurring in the future usually relies on having a good idea of the track record of the thing happening in the past. How likely is it that a hurricane will happen at a particular place on Earth next year? The best way to estimate is to look at the historical records to see how often hurricanes have happened there in the past. This assumes that the future will, most of the time, be similar the past. Occasionally, unforeseen factors can intervene to change conditions, which can make estimates of probability simply wrong.

Note that there is no confirmed past history of aliens visiting Earth. This is one reason why it is very difficult to estimate how likely it is that aliens are visiting Earth right now, or that they will do so in the future. We have no record of past behaviour on the part of the aliens (if they exist) to work with.

Another thing to say is that probability estimates are something we tend to do when we lack actual evidence. If a person who lived 100 years ago was asked to estimate the probability that a person calling himself "James R" would be writing on something on the topic of probability in the year 2022, they would have had a very hard time assigning a likelihood to that. But the probability that James R has written something about probability, we now know, is unity. We have the evidence in front of us that confirms this event.

An alien enthusiast might well claim that he estimates that the probability that alien spaceships have visited Earth recently is 95%, let's say, while a skeptic might well claim that the same probability is less than 1%. The skeptic will be on firmer footing, I think, but ultimately it doesn't matter very much what the estimates are. What we need is some actual evidence. If some people claim to know that aliens have visited Earth, then they just need to show us the convincing evidence and there will be no need for any mucking around trying to estimate a priori probabilities. By the way, it is just as much an error in reasoning to claim to know that aliens have never visited Earth, since it is impossible to verify that claim. What we should say is that we don't know if aliens have visited Earth, but there's currently nothing that should make us suspect that they have.

The same applies to advanced human military aircraft, of course. If somebody wants to claim that Russia or China has developed craft that can manoeuvre with accelerations that no previously-known aircraft have achieved, then again they need only provide some good evidence for their claim and it will rapidly become accepted by even the most devoted skeptic.
 
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The formation of the Marianas Trench. The evolution/extinction of species for which we have no fossils.
The abiogenesis of life on earth.

Ummmmm

I would contend the actual existence of the Marianas Trench is evidence it formed

Name a species for which no evolution/extinction of species for which we have no evidence

The abundance of the numerous lifeforms in existence = the evidence of the abiogenesis of life on earth

:)
 
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