UFOs (UAPs): Explanations?

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

  1. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    It's obvious but not for that reason.

    It's obvious that it's going into philosophy because no evidence has withstood the objective light of analysis. Even "The best UFO picture ever taken" - according to many - turns out to be underwhelming.

    The thread is starving for fodder to discuss.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2022
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  3. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    So, again…what is the point of this sub-forum? We all know that random UFO sightings, eyewitness reports and grainy/blurry footage aren’t going to serve as “evidence,” so why have this sub-forum except to discuss the possibilities that could exist? I’m not suggesting to accept that space aliens exist for example, without tangible proof, but we should be able to discuss why others believe them to exist. Not every UFO claimant is “crazy,” or seeking attention. I’m glad NASA doesn’t think so, and it’s willing to invest its energy into creating a study team to explore “what we don’t know” related to UAP’s.

    If this site’s section exists, it was for the purpose of discussion. Science doesn’t yet answer the question of UAP’s so should we shut down this sub-forum?
     
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  5. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Sounds pretty conveniently subjective to me, opening the door to all sorts of bullshit infractions for posters that happen to disgree with you. So how does this relate to saying someone is lying being a bannable offense?
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2022
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  7. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    You can be blamed for anything, MR.

    Asteroid impact wiped out the dinosaurs? MR's fault!
     
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  8. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    This may come as a shock but generally, online discussion forums expect their members know how to behave like adults.

    If you are unsure where the line of unacceptability is, and fear that you are continually in danger of crossing it, you should seriously ask yourself if you know how to behave in public without someone having to tell you.

    That's kind of what it means to adult.
     
  9. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    LOL I haven't worried about acting adult since my teens. It all pretty much comes naturally to me, just like with most adults.
     
  10. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    MR's position is that human perception is (generally speaking) reliable. I agree with him about that. That isn't to say that perception is infallible or immune from error. It just means that our powers of perception are good enough that we are justified in relying on them. And we do so, every moment of our waking lives. They are the basis upon which empirical science rests.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empiricism

    I'm inclined to agree with MR's view about that. Eyewitness reports of anything would seem to have some presumptive evidenciary value, absent an even more convincing reason not to believe them. MR seems unwilling to accept that someone's mere disbelief convincingly defeats the eyewitness claim. (The disbelief may be well founded, but that needs convincing justification.)

    The thing is, we needn't accept somebody's eyewitness testimony as if it was logically-necessary apodeictic proof of the truth of the account of the thing seen. That would be too strong. But the eyewitness reports are data-points. They are evidence that might even be valuable. The question is how heavily to weight them. You seem to favor close to zero, MR weights them more highly, and I think I might be more in the middle.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apodicticity

    I agree with you that the more interpretive elements should perhaps be weighted less highly than the more descriptive elements. But they probably shouldn't simply be dismissed either. At worst, they are hypotheses about the nature of what was seen, based on what the individual reports seeing, which seems inherently more plausible to me than the sarcasm of those who base their dismissals only upon their judgement that the hypothesis is "woo".

    Didn't you just apologize up above for falsely saying that? And here you're back at it!

    The issue isn't whether perception is infallible (immune from error). The issue is whether human perception is reliable (trustworthy enough to base our daily lives on, not to mention the practice of science). Infallibility and reliability are two different concepts. Don't confuse them.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2022
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  11. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Empirical science rests on the basis of repeatability, and tries to remove any chance of human fallibility. However, as for our perception being such that we rely on them "every moment of our waking lives", it is because of the repeatability of experience that we can rely on them. Where they are not so good is when we experience something unusual. Our brain tries to fill in gaps, which distorts what we experience and our interpretation thereof. With no reference of something, for example, how can we interpret it at all? So our brain tries to interpret as best it can, but the less it is like something else that we have experienced, the more fallible it becomes.
    Since UAPs / UFOs are, by their very nature, not your every day occurrence, it would be disingenuous to assume that our perception of them would be as reliable as it would be for most other things we encounter in "every moment of our waking lives".
    Reliability in context of common (i.e. often repeated) observations is a weak argument for reliability when faced with a novel observation, is it not?
     
  12. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    Wegs makes a good point about the standard MR is being held to in a sub-forum that includes "monsters" in the title.

    I wouldn't have added this sub-forum to the site but it's here so I don't get the standards that MR is being held to given the subject heading.

    My own opinion is that the word "liar" isn't very polite and shouldn't be used by James R., MR or anyone else but that's just me. How about "That's not true" or "that's not accurate and you know it". "You are a liar" borders on the vulgar and that should be against forum rules (but not a reason to ban someone).

    Most discussion groups would self-regulate if given the chance. James's defense for "liar" is that it's OK if you are a "liar". Is it OK to refer to someone as "fat", "stupid" or "obnoxious" as long as that's true? I don't think so.
     
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  13. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Well said. Yes - attack the argument, not the member.
     
  14. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    "Butterfly Power to the People!"
     
  15. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

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    wegs likes this.
  16. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    Cancel all butterflies until they are more social!
     
  17. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    wegs:

    Thanks for the questions. There's a lot to unpack in what you wrote.

    This sub-forum exists by popular demand, essentially. Prior to setting up the "On the Fringe" category of subforums, the UFO discussion was mostly lumped in with the rest of the Pseudoscience. One problem, however, was that occasionally some legitimate discussion would find its way into the Astronomy forum or the Physics forum or whatever. It seems to me that, given that this is a popular topic for debate, it makes sense to have a place for it. But ultimately, as I said, this sub-forum exists because our members suggested we should have it, and voted to have it created.

    Sciforums' tag line has been, from the start, "intelligent community". So much of the public discussion of UFOs - especially in the United States - is of the wide-eyed fantastical sort of gullible belief that we see from Magical Realist. Here at sciforums, we have some intelligent and educated people who are trained in the methods of science, and some other intelligent and educated people who have learned how to think critically about claims even though they do not have formal qualifications in science. We are therefore in a good position to provide a different perspective on the whole UFO flap and to provide an educational service to the wider community.

    Personally, I think it is good for people with widely differing opinions to talk to each other now and then, if for no other reason than to learn how and what the other half thinks. Conversations and debates can and do change minds. But closed bubbles tend to prevent one side from hearing the other side's reasons for holding their positions. There are a lot of closed bubbles on the internet (and, indeed, in the wider community). Sciforums is not a closed bubble.

    I find it a little strange that, after all our discussions on this topic, you still claim that "the scientific method doesn't work" when it comes to discussions of UFOs, and that we "can't measure or test anything". This thread you're reading right now is full of "tests" of claims. Test no. 1 for any claim is whether there is actually sufficient evidence to support the claim. If there isn't good evidence to show that a claim is true, there's no reason we should believe it. This is a simple statement, but many people do not live their lives this way. They believe all kinds of things for what are, in the end, bad reasons.

    I don't think it is too much to ask of a person who claims to have met aliens, say, to ask them to provide a decent photograph or seven of said aliens, along with a sample of their super-advanced alien technology perhaps, or some nice clear video footage of their alien spaceship flitting around. But all of this seems too big an ask for the UFO believer crowd. One has to wonder why. What's so difficult, if these aliens and their spacecraft really are as ubiquitous as they would have us all believe?

    You complain that "potential explanations are frowned upon". The truth is that skeptics "frown upon" explanations for which there is little to no evidence. Claiming that a race of super-advanced aquatic aliens builds tic-tac spacecraft at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean is a potential explanation for US navy sightings of flying tic-tacs. But it is an explanation with zero evidentiary support. Where are the ocean-floor radar scans showing the alien cities under the sea? Where are the photos of the aliens themselves? Where are the waste products and by-products of the alien manufacturing industries? Where are the clear communications from these aliens with the advanced human technological society that shares this small planet with these undersea aliens?

    Another potential explanation for tic-tac sightings is that there's a supernatural God who calls herself Thelma, who has a tribe of subservient pixies who love to create mischief by fooling clumsy human beings into seeing faked tic-tac images in the sky. There's zero evidentiary support for this potential explanation, either. So, on that basis, it's pretty much on an even footing with the aquatic alien hypothesis, when it comes to providing an explanation for tic-tac sightings.

    Of course, the pendulum could easily swing towards one explanation or another. A captured pixie, for instance, could greatly improve the plausibility of the pixie hypothesis.
    All of the things you mention can serve as "evidence". But evidence of what, exactly? Alien spaceships? Okay, then the next question is: how convincing is this evidence? Are you convinced that super-advanced aquatic aliens exist, based on a few blurry videos of tic-tacs? Why should those convince anybody of that? Okay, so a small handful of Navy pilots say they think they saw a spaceship. Are you convinced that's what they saw, yet? Should their stories convince you of that? Or do you think there ought to be something more "compelling" (as Magical Realist would say)?

    Those are two separate discussions, actually.

    The question of whether space aliens exist or do not exist is just (just!) one of establishing some facts (i.e. "tangible proof", as you put it). The default position ought to be that nothing is to be considered real until there is convincing evidence for its reality.

    The question of why some people believe aliens exist is an inquiry into how and why people form their beliefs. If people believe aliens exist without any convincing evidence, then clearly their beliefs are not evidence-based beliefs. So, we can certainly have an interesting discussion about why some people choose to beleive some things even without evidence. But it's a different discussion.
    I agree. But that doesn't mean that the non-crazy, non-attention seeking ones have seen alien spacecraft, any more than the crazy attention-seekers.
    I would be interested to learn the proportion of NASA's budget and resources that is being allocated to this. It doesn't seem to me to be the most useful way to spend NASA's money, given the utter lack of positive indications of aliens over the past 70 years. (On the other hand, don't get me wrong. I am all for allocating some funds to SETI, even though it is possible that it will come up with a blank.)
    We're having a discussion, aren't we?
    I think there is some value to be had in keeping this forum. As long as true believers keep coming here convinced that aliens are visiting us, there's room for some public education, I think.
     
  18. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    How large do you think is the public education that is being presented here? Or rather I should say how wide is the general public that comes here?

    What proportion would you say is here for the UFO discussion vs the monsters discussion vs the ghosts discussion. Are "we" educating the wider general public regarding monsters as well?

    Not that I'm pushing it but is there any consideration being given to adding a sub-forum regarding unicorns? Is that just determined by a members vote? It's an unusual system and I'm sure many would be interested in its inner workings. I think we could be doing more to education the wider general public regarding unicorns.
     
  19. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    So start a thread. This is the subforum for discussion of unicorns. 'Monsters' maybe a bit of a misnomer, but a four word title can't be very nuanced.

    The preponderance of threads about a subject would be the first criteria as to whether a subforum is useful. AFAIK, there isn't even one thread devoted to unicorns, let alone one that's over 7,000 posts long, never mind multiple threads that need gathering together.

    But you know this.
     
  20. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    "unconventional thinking" you call it.

    If some dude stood out on front of a synagogue and started yelling anti-semitic sentiments, and a bunch of people started yelling "stop that!" back, do you think the cops should arrest everybody for breach of the peace?

    The two encampments are not equals. MR has been provided metric buttloads of whole science fields about subjects essential to the study of UAPs which he denies. He's (metaphorically) denying the Holocaust.
     
  21. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Dave compares me to a holocaust denier. He's sunk to a new low.
     
  22. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Yeah, I needed dive gear just to find you. How can you even live down there?

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  23. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Which is why most accounts of UFOs/UAPs by eyewitnesses use descriptors like discs, ovals, spheres, triangles and 40ft long tic tacs. I see nothing more questionable about these accounts than I do everyday experiences. They express the strangeness of what they saw and its defiance of being anything we are familiar with. This perception of a novel object disturbs us and provokes deliberate thought. It is not like the everyday glossing over of familiar objects. It stimulates the mind with a curiosity and a wakefulness that makes it stand out and become more memorable as something extraordinary and mysterious.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2022

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