UFOs (UAPs): Explanations?

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

  1. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    You know this.

    "I saw a horse."
    "I believe you."

    "I saw a unicorn."
    "Sure you did. Show it to me."

    Contrast with Magical Realist's view:

    "I saw a horse."
    "I believe you."
    "I am a complete stranger to you and I say I saw a whole herd of unic-"
    "I believe you. No matter how outlandish, I am not at all skeptical."

    You know this too.

    Obviously, a craft landing on the Parliament lawn with waving little green men would suffice.

    Note that, if aliens really are flying craft and super-interested in our internal biology, then that is not actually an unreasonable expectation. It would be more reasonable to ask: "Why - if they really are flying craft and super-interested in our internal biology - do they not land on the front lawn and say hello?"
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2022
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  3. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    If I say I saw a bird, that's a claim and me saying so is probably enough ordinary evidence for you. If it's not, several people seeing the same bird and describing it as a Blue Jay would probably be enough for you.

    If I say that I saw a turkey flying at 1,000 feet for an hour, that's an extraordinary claim. That's probably not enough for you nor are several other people who say the same thing.

    Extraordinary evidence would be video footage from a drone that we sent up to video the flying turkey. It wouldn't be a fuzzy blob taken from the ground that we claim was a flying turkey.

    If the claim is extraordinary, the evidence should be good enough that we aren't still skeptical after looking at the evidence. For an extraordinary claim that would be extraordinary evidence.

    Maybe I'd never heard of an Ostrich and you said you saw a strange bird and described it to me. I might not believe you as it sounds pretty odd. Take a good up close picture and now I have no problem believing you. A blurry one and I might still be skeptical.

    If you say you saw a dude flying on his magic carpet, the evidence I'd want goes up a notch. A good video close up video that was determined to not be tampered with would be a good start. I might also want to then see this flying guy myself. I'd like to see it be repeatable.

    After all that, I'd say "Hum, who knew that flying carpets exist but I now see that they do".
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2022
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  5. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    But just as in that religion-based argument, the position of the "atheist" is misunderstood: it is not "I believe that the UFOs are not of alien origin" (cf. "I believe God does not exist") but rather "I have no reason to believe that UFOs are of alien origin" (cf. the non-commital "I do not have the belief that God exists" - which doesn't go as far as the former).
    I.e. almost all skeptics are of the agnostic variety: they are not saying "they are not alien craft", but rather "I am not convinced to believe, given the evidence, that they are of alien origin".
    You want to paint yourself as the reasonable "agnostic", but fail to realise that almost all skeptics are similarly agnostic. You want to paint them, however, as only being reluctantly so, when in fact they are openly so. And you want to beat them around the head with what you misunderstand to be their reluctance.

    The difference between your agnosticism and theirs, it would seem, is that you are less inclined to say that you think the explanation is likely mundane. You might stop at "I don't know" and might even then consider every possibility of equal likelihood. Other agnostics don't, but they are still agnostics on the matter, because they don't claim to know what it is, only have a view as to what it might be.
    Just as in the religious theatre, agnosticism is not mutually exclusive from a/theism. It is a separate consideration. Epistemology v ontology etc.
    If you continue to misrepresent other peoples' views it is no wonder you'll come to such conclusions.
    You paint yourself as being different to others in this regard, but you're not all that different at all. Most of the skeptics here hold exactly the same view, but rather than say "I don't know" and stop there, they say "I don't know, but I think it more likely to be the mundane than alien". If one is truly of "I don't know therefore all options remain equally open" view then I think one will struggle pragmatically: not all possibilities to an unknown need be equally likely.
    But few, if any, are doing this. They are not reaching definite conclusions on these cases, merely views as to what they consider more reasonable explanations. That's a difference I'm not sure you're fully appreciating.
    If one doesn't know what 12*25 is, one can still conclude that it is likely to be a number rather than an elephant!

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    While that is an admirable trait, your desire to stand against what you perceive as bullying is more and more resulting in you arguing against caricatures of arguments rather than what people are actually arguing.
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  7. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    I understand your points, but maybe what this thread is showing more than anything else, is that claims (extraordinary or otherwise) need evidence to be proven, however not everyone requires evidence to believe that something is plausible and/or true. Perhaps MR's beliefs when it comes to space aliens frustrates you because you want him to prove with evidence, why he believes what he does. But, he doesn't come to the discussion with the same requirements or expectations as you do. Therein lies the issue, maybe.

    It may seem like we go in circles with this thread (and we do) but this topic feels like a battle between philosophy and science, when I don't think it needs to be that way. Either ''side'' can technically, be right. You don't believe in space aliens because no one has ever proven them to exist, therefore any claims of space aliens now, require evidence. But, if MR chooses to believe people who claim to have somehow observed or encountered space aliens, he's willing to make that leap, without extraordinary evidence. He can choose to believe whatever he likes, and you're free to debunk it.
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2022
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  8. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    I'd say that the Party in 1984 is a poor analogy for the skeptics in this thread, who have no power to impose their views on anybody here or to punish anybody for "thought crimes".

    sciforums is quite a long way from being a totalitarian prison society.
  9. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    I agree with what Sarkus wrote, above. On the matter of agnosticism and atheism, I think this is often misunderstood.

    Theism and atheism are about what somebody believes. If you believe something, it means that you have become convinced of it, for whatever reason. A theist is somebody who has become convinced that at least one god exists. An atheist is the opposite: that is, somebody who has not become convinced that at least one god exists.

    Atheists themselves often distinguish subcategories of atheism, sometimes called "hard" and "soft" atheism, or "strong" and "weak" atheism. "Weak" atheism is the minimal atheist position: the "weak" atheist is simply not convinced that any gods exist, and that's all there is to it. In contrast, the "strong" atheist has become convinced, for whatever reason, that gods do not exist. Thus, the "strong" atheist holds an additional belief about gods that "weak" atheists do not hold.

    Agnosticism, in contrast, is about one's attitude to knowledge. An agnostic believes that knowledge is primarily to be determined with reference to evidence. In contrast, a gnostic is somebody who believes that there can be mystical, esoteric or spiritual sources of reliable knowledge.

    Theism/atheism and gnosticism/agnosticism are different dimensions. The former is about belief, the latter is about knowledge. Any of the four possible combinations is possible.

    The gnostic theist is convinced that God exists and believes also that God is knowable through spiritual or esoteric means.
    The agnostic theist is convinced that God exists and believes that there is sufficient evidence that shows that God exists.
    The gnostic atheist is not convinced that God exists, but believes that esoteric/spiritual knowledge is possible.
    The agnostic atheist is not convinced that God exists and believes that there is insufficient evidence to show that God exists.

    We can apply the same ideas to space aliens. In this context, the UFO True Believer is like the theist, and the skeptic is like the atheist. The True Believer is convinced that UFOs are aliens; the skeptic is not convinced.

    One can be an agnostic True Believer in aliens. Such a person is convinced that UFOs are of alien origin [or supernatural, or whatever], presumably because he or she believes there is sufficient evidence for such an origin.

    However, most True Believers in aliens, I'd venture, are of the gnostic sort. That is, they believe UFOs are of alien origin but their belief is not evidence-based. These people might refer to evidence that they think supports their beliefs, but evidence isn't the clincher for them. It's not why they became convinced.

    Most UFO skeptics are agnostic skeptics. They are not convinced that UFOs are of alien origin and they believe that the question is best decided by appealing to the available evidence.

    It is also possible to be a gnostic UFO skeptic. That is, one can be unconvinced that UFOs are aliens, yet of the view that one could become convinced by some means other than the presentation of suitable evidence. For example, perhaps a future spiritual personal experience might convince that person to believe that a UFO is of alien or supernatural origin.
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  10. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    In light of my post above, I'd like to suggest where the participants in this conversation fit into my UFO belief schema. Feel free to self-identify!

    I'll start with myself: I'm an agnostic skeptic when it comes to UFOs.

    sideshowbob: agnostic skeptic
    DaveC: agnostic skeptic
    michael 345: agnostic skeptic
    Sarkus: agnostic skeptic
    Seattle: agnostic skeptic
    wegs: (tentatively) agnostic skeptic

    Yazata: gnostic skeptic.
    Magical Realist: gnostic True Believer.

    We could sub-categorise the skeptics, too. For example, a "hard" skeptic would be somebody who not only is not convinced that UFOs are aliens, but who is also convinced that UFOs are not aliens [or supernatural etc.].

    The "hard skeptic" category would be the one that Yazata is so keen to try to shove all of the sciforums skeptics into, despite vigorous protestations from various agnostic skeptics who have gone to some lengths to explain that they are "soft" skeptics - i.e. people who are not convinced that UFOs are aliens, but are willing to become convinced just as soon as sufficient suitable evidence comes to light.
  11. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    There's a whole lot of baggage that comes with your claim that UFOs are "more than just mundane objects". I will require evidence in support of that claim before I accept it. It is quite clear to me that you do not require evidence to accept that claim.

    You and I have no disagreement that some UFOs are unexplained. Nor do we disagree about whether there is value to be had in investigating UFOs to figure out what they are/were. For me, such investigations are a search for evidence. For you, I think that such investigations are merely fodder for you to attempt to rationalise a belief system that, at its base, is not based on rational considerations. You already believe that the supernatural is real, and not on the basis of evidence. It's easy for you to fit UFOs into your existing belief structure, because for you they are just one more supernatural thing.

    You say that I have to accept metallic discs and 40 ft long tic tacs. If there was good evidence for such things, then you'd be correct: I'd have to accept it. But there isn't. An eyewitness report that something looked metallic is very weak evidence for the existence of a metallic thing. An eyewitnesses guess that something was 40 ft long, because that's their estimate based on what they saw is similarly very weak evidence for a 40 ft long thing. None of this matters to you, I know, but it matters to me. I hope you can understand why.
    This is not an evidence-based conclusion. It's a faith-based conclusion.
    And there we have it, folks!

    Magical Realist has just immunised his belief system against all attacks by demanding what he knows is impossible.

    What MR is telling us all here is that he won't change his mind about UFOs no matter what.

    In other words, MR admits that his beliefs about UFOs are dogmatically held and not amenable to change, based on any kind of evidence.

    We can conclude that until MR has a life-changing epiphany and comes to realise the error of his ways, trying to change his mind about this is a pointless exercise.

    This doesn't prevent those of us who care about such things continuing to discuss the evidence surrounding UFO reports. We can expect no especially useful contributions from MR in that regard, but we can safely leave him to cheer on his side from the sidelines, for the most part, while the rest of us pursue more fruitful discussions.
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  12. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Just a side note: on the question of gods, this would make you a gnostic atheist, perhaps. That's if you're not currently convinced that a God exists.
  13. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    "Unknown objects" is a very broad category. Who is failing to know, here? The general public? Everybody?

    A military jet flying overhead may very well be an "unknown object" to a civilian seeing it from the ground. It might even be "unknown" to a foreign government. But it's known to the military that sent it up there.

    I am quite happy to concede that "unknown" objects traverse Earth's skies, in the sense just discussed. I'm not in any position to discover and identify all the military aircraft I might see, for instance.

    But I suspect you want your "unknown" to do more work than this.
    Are you willing to admit that the kinds of "hard skeptics" you're referring to here are not the most common kind of UFO skeptic? Are you willing to accept that I am not one of those skeptics who makes the a priori assumption you keep bringing up? Are you willing to accept that also for the other skeptics who have been discussing this with you, here? If not, why not?
    I described you as a gnostic skeptic in a previous post. My impression is that you believe that it is possible that you might come to know that UFOs are some kind of supernatural manifestation of something or other, and that standard methods of investigations (e.g. the scientific method) will be insufficient to lead you to that kind of knowledge.

    Am I correct?
    That's a very non-committal statement. You're not telling us what you currently believe about UFOs, or what you think the best path forward is for uncovering better knowledge of UFOs. Perhaps you might like to tell us your thoughts on these things.
    Nothing in this paragraph is in conflict with any opinion I have expressed in this thread. Do you agree?
    That's what everybody except our hard skeptics (if there are any here) and our True Believers have been arguing for in this thread.

    Why do you consider yourself to be in some kind of unique category? Does the label "gnostic skeptic" help you to unravel why you're uncomfortable? I wonder.
  14. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member


    Just as in other threads you are wrong in this one

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  15. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    James, I think you're confusing gnosticism (opposite of agnostic) with the religious notion of Gnosticism.
    While Gnosticism is about spiritual knowledge etc, the matter of agnosticism is about knowledge in general, even if Huxley did link it to scientific knowledge. The notion had been around far longer than Huxley, and generally refers to knowledge, not just scientific.
    Thus I think your notion of the gnostic (as opposite of agnostic) is wrong.

    I'd like to post more now, but have to rush off.

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  16. foghorn Valued Senior Member

    Must be time for Yazata's usual strawman by now, so I will get my reply in now:
    Carry on Yaza.
  17. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    What is clamed without proof can be dismissed without proof.

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    I guess you consider yourself a gnostic skeptic? That you can become convinced of alien UFOs by means other than evidence?
  18. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member


    Did you think that up all by yourself?

    You guessed incorrectly

    You guessed without evidence

    Your guess can be dismissed without evidence

    ? Where have I heard something similar ?

    I've not given any such indication that is my position

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  19. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    OK, there's no need to drag this out and muddle up the thread.
    Moving on.
  20. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    I believe in an omnipresent/omniscient higher power that created the universe, and that can be felt through nature, through prayer/meditation etc…Faith is believing in God (a god?) despite not being able to prove that God exists to anyone else.

    Is that the same as MR’s belief in space aliens? I don’t know. His beliefs can’t be proven to your specifications, same like mine can’t. But, this doesn’t mean that I believe that anything someone tells me is true without evidence. I find evidence for God to be in nature, in the existence of a potentially infinite universe. The universe doesn’t seem random to me. It’s opinion, belief, faith…but it all is real, to me.

    So, maybe this enables me to have empathy for MR’s position when it comes to space aliens, in that he believes the stories of eyewitnesses but he can’t prove why he believes beyond that. But in his mind and heart, he’s satisfied with “believing.” Maybe, that’s how he channels his wonder of the universe?

    James - you have beliefs, too that can’t be proven through the scientific method. Like love, for example. I’m sure you have felt love before, for another person, a friend, a sibling, a pet. How would you explain the reality of that love to someone who has never felt it? If the person who has never felt it before scoffs and says to you “Sorry, but I don’t believe it exists.” Are they wrong? Are you wrong?

    There are some things that we feel and experience that are outside of science’s ability to prove. You could say “well, love is felt by enough people in the world that we all have an idea of it”; that “it’s true because most everyone has felt it at one time or another.” But, how everyone defines love will certainly vary from person to person. Take people in abusive relationships, for example. Two people claiming they love each other, yet harm each other. Is that love to you? It’s not to me. Love shouldn’t hurt but many people stay locked in abusive relationships because they “love” the person.

    So, I don’t mind you wanting to label us for the sake of this thread, but I think those labels don’t scratch the surface of who we are. Maybe I’m assuming too much, so I’ll wait for your response. lol
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2022
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  21. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    No..I believe in ufos because of all the evidence there is for them. That is the opposite of dogmatic--dogmatic in the sense of the denial of ufos by skeptics based on the a priori belief that they are too improbable or absurd to exist. That belief is the fallacy of incredulity.
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2022
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  22. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    I don't believe ufos are space aliens. I only posit that ufos as real and unknown phenomena exist. We simply don't know what they are or who's behind them. We can endlessly speculate about them, but that's about all we can do at this point.
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2022
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  23. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

    It is not random

    It is exquisite precise and physics is the reason for the preciseness

    Atoms perform their precise actions / interactions unseen

    Large happenings tends to introduce what could be construed as randomness during which the atoms are performing their precise actions / interactions

    Those large happenings actions / interactions produce what appears to be randomness simply because large interactions have to much going on to keep track of

    And just like that proof that love exist cannot be found

    Who would have thought that?

    Like something else claimed to exist but many scientists have not discovered and those who claim it does exist have yet to show evidence for its existence

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