Can You Trust Them?

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Re: Can You Trust Them?

Postby James Carlson » Fri Feb 04, 2011 7:52 am

nablator wrote:I was trying to play devil's advocate, quite badly, because the situation is not symmetrical.

Not at all -- you made a good point. People want to weigh other personalities on an equal basis, and that's generally a good thing (to me, anyway). It's kind of unfortunate that we can't measure this particular bit of social decay more symmetrically, as you put it, but that shouldn't stop us from at least trying to do so. If that's the first place you go to, I'd say that's something to be proud of. It's a heckuva lot better than being one of those guys who thinks everybody else is beneath contempt.
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Re: Can You Trust Them?

Postby nablator » Fri Feb 04, 2011 11:35 am

James Carlson wrote:It's a heckuva lot better than being one of those guys who thinks everybody else is beneath contempt.

Certainly. I enjoy reading all kinds of ufological literature, even though I don't trust the authors much. Sometimes it's more interesting to study the way they think than accept anything they write. Since the "scientific" study (by MUFON or other organizations) of flying saucers and little green (or grey) men has not progressed much in the last 60 years, ufology is merely (to me) a practical (and fun!) way to learn about epistemology, psychology and sociology.
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Re: Can You Trust Them?

Postby astrophotographer » Fri Feb 04, 2011 3:50 pm

MUFON also seems to have fired (or forced to resign) four state directors. Is MUFON in a meltdown? I doubt it. Each state director seems to act like he has his own little fiefdom. As long as he does not step over the line and buck the board of directors, he can do what he desires. Some of them are just completely out of touch with reality. The Pennsylvania state director had some sort of encounter involving his daughter and an alien entity some time ago. It was pretty far out there. In another case, there was a MUFON STAR team investigator (supposedly the best of the best) that reported seeing an alien being during an investigation. Unfortunately, his camera did not function properly! If you read all the MUFON stuff, your eyes start to glaze over and wonder how some of it can even be accepted as accurate or having actually happened. You have to wonder what drug is circulated throughout the membership or is it something in the kool-aid they drink at their meetings.
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Re: Can You Trust Them?

Postby James Carlson » Sat Feb 05, 2011 3:03 am

astrophotographer wrote:MUFON also seems to have fired (or forced to resign) four state directors. Is MUFON in a meltdown? I doubt it. Each state director seems to act like he has his own little fiefdom. As long as he does not step over the line and buck the board of directors, he can do what he desires. Some of them are just completely out of touch with reality. The Pennsylvania state director had some sort of encounter involving his daughter and an alien entity some time ago. It was pretty far out there. In another case, there was a MUFON STAR team investigator (supposedly the best of the best) that reported seeing an alien being during an investigation. Unfortunately, his camera did not function properly! If you read all the MUFON stuff, your eyes start to glaze over and wonder how some of it can even be accepted as accurate or having actually happened. You have to wonder what drug is circulated throughout the membership or is it something in the kool-aid they drink at their meetings.

It does sometimes seem as if the only people who are actually having these seriously invasive encounters with alien creatures are the same guys who are trying to convince everybody else that they exist. They started out focusing on lights in the sky, but that wasn't too successful, because there are a lot of lights in the sky that are either easily explained, like aircraft, or also happen to be there all the time, like stars. It's hard to convince people that lights in the sky are due to the actions of another species trying very hard just to blend in. I guess they decided to up the ante. Unfortunately, now they just sound like a bunch of lunatics trying more and more to convince each other, because most people can tell the difference between reality and any of the preferred alternatives -- and that just leads to more competition for the most outrageous encounter of the week. That will also eventually come to an end, probably with a knock on the door sometime after midnight, except it won't be the men-in-black they keep frightening each other over, it will be their own neighbors saying something to the effect of, "you guys have to leave; some of us have families, and we don't want you anywhere around them."
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Re: Can You Trust Them?

Postby James Carlson » Sat Feb 05, 2011 3:10 am

You'll have to excuse my last. I've been reading more of Lehmberg's nonsense and it's a little difficult sometimes to treat these guys with all of the forbearance they ritualistically demand. They want respect and they expect diffidence from their critics, but they do so little to deserve it.
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Re: Can You Trust Them?

Postby James Carlson » Sat Feb 05, 2011 8:53 am

nablator wrote:Since the "scientific" study (by MUFON or other organizations) of flying saucers and little green (or grey) men has not progressed much in the last 60 years, ufology is merely (to me) a practical (and fun!) way to learn about epistemology, psychology and sociology.

That is by far the best reason to explain one's interest in UFOs that I have ever heard. Outstanding!
Last edited by James Carlson on Sat Feb 05, 2011 12:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Can You Trust Them?

Postby Access Denied » Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:51 pm

Hey guys, the subsequent discussion related to the Malmstrom incident in particular was moved here to keep this thread on topic…

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Re: Can You Trust Them?

Postby Buckwild » Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:40 am

AD : Can you give us some examples of your experience with the “other side” that led you to not trust them?



Hi there,

I sure can, no smoking gun here and no need to buckle up but here are a few examples :

A few years ago, I was asked by Eric Maillot to review his document regarding Kenneth Arnold. I did not notice anything suspect the first few times I've read it.

Here it is : http://cnegu.info/manuals/karnoldv2.pdf ... 62a81a1ed9

I then noticed something weird :

IX/ Les points clés du témoignage

- L’aspect bleuté des flashs, difficile à expliquer pour les pélicans, est PARFAITEMENT COHERENT dans le cas de reflets sur des avions de chasse conventionnels (comme le F4U) ayant une livrée à dominante bleue.

Source (page 8 )


Translation (homemade) :

IX/ Key aspects regarding the testimony

-The blue flashes are hard to explain with pelicans but are perfectly coherent with reflexions made by conventional warbirds (like the F4U) with a blue paint scheme.


Here are 3 questions I asked him :

1/ Did he make some research regarding his statement ?
2/ Which type of specialists did he get in touch with ?
3/ Can he explain why blue planes would make blue flashes ?

Well, not only he did not do any research regarding this technical matter but he could not explain to me why blue paintings would make blue flashes. He then told me that I was being hypercritical when I was in fact just being curious and cautious knowing a few things that I've learned with astronomy.

I asked him to modify his document since he could not prove that his statement was correct. He never did to this day, so I do not trust him anymore when he makes technical (hard to verify) statements. It pisses me of as well because being critical over his document was seen as being pro-ETH by some of his "crew". (fallacious & relatively dumb reasoning)

Later on, I noticed that he used two pictures to demonstrate that F4Us could fly in the same flight formation that the one described by K.Arnold. Problem is, perspective can play tricks on you and I demonstrated it with a flight simulator. Go to page 6 to see the pictures. His point was that the leader was flying at a higher altitude than the rest of the formation. I basically told him that these pictures did not prove anything :

Image

If the photographer is located at a lower altitude than the aircrafts when the "followers" are further away (left echelon in this case), then the leader will always look like he is at a higher altitude when he is not (same flight level).

Leader & Alpha are flying at the exact same flight level :

Image

Well, once again, he never modified his document. I then did some research regarding paint schemes and found many links all stating that :

The national insignia used on Corsairs at the end of World War II still had the Insignia Blue surround on the overall Glossy Sea Blue paint scheme.


Eric's hypothesis relied on the fact that the aircrafts had a 3 colour paint scheme to explain why the tail was not visible, since my links were not convincing him that in 1947 all F4Us had a overall glossy Sea Blue paint scheme, I did write to : http://www.navalaviationmuseum.org/

Here are the answers :

http://i263.photobucket.com/albums/ii14 ... USNF4U.jpg
http://i263.photobucket.com/albums/ii14 ... 3/USMC.jpg

I was told by eric's "best" friend that this information was not enough to prove that no F4Us were flying with a two or 3 color paint scheme.

Everybody can make mistakes, it's no big deal but when a famous french ufo-skeptic crosses the line by making pseudo-scientific statements and ignores what could falsify (or weakens) his statement or his hypothesis, then it is worse than having a pro-ETH making pseudo-scientific statements (like BRUMAC & skylab III "gigantic" ufo encounter) . Why ? Just because french ufo-skeptics say that they promote science.

Errare humanum est, perseverare diabolicum

I do have other examples with other claims & statements made by ufo-skeptics that are either false or that cannot be backed up or verified by real data, are you interested ?

nb : Nablator witnessed this saga and he was the only person from the Sceptic-Ovni forum who backed me up on this one


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Buck
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Re: Can You Trust Them?

Postby Buckwild » Thu Feb 10, 2011 5:43 am

Hi Nab',

Yes. And especially don't trust yourself too much.


It depends. I usually trust myself more because I do check anybody's claim(s), does not matter if the person pretends to be a skeptic, a scientific or not. Same old treatment for everyone. Most french ufo-skeptics I know, have a tendancy not to check/verify claims or statements made by the same group. That's bad skepticism.

Hi James,

I don't see a whole lot of hoaxes being created for the benefit of or by skeptics


I've seen this happen before, someone did some fake ufo pictures to see if image/photo/video specialists would or could explain the trick. Brumac failed the test. As a matter of fact, I did create a technic to make some descent ufo photographs, I might do it one day to test the so-called specialists because if you ask me, I don't know any good specialist at all. The only person I really trust regarding image analysis (and photo interpretation to some extent) is Nablator. Forget about JRitz, François Louange (GEIPAN's specialist) and some other specialists (self-proclaimed or not) who work for the French GEIPAN. I do not trust them at all and I know exactly why.

Why Nablator ? Because I know his work and we worked together on some videos & photos...and specially one that I consider to be the best ufo video of all times for many reasons (via an all-sky cam).

But anyway James, if you ask me, I would trust skeptics more than pro-ETHers in general but I'll still check/verify their claims, you can never be too cautious.

Cheers,
Buck
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Re: Can You Trust Them?

Postby nablator » Thu Feb 10, 2011 11:25 am

Buckwild wrote:Everybody can make mistakes, it's no big deal but when a famous french ufo-skeptic crosses the line by making pseudo-scientific statements and ignores what could falsify (or weakens) his statement or his hypothesis, then it is worse than having a pro-ETH making pseudo-scientific statements (like BRUMAC & skylab III "gigantic" ufo encounter) . Why ? Just because french ufo-skeptics say that they promote science.

Almost everybody in the UFO business (or hobby) believe they promote science. Every one of them thinks he is perfectly unbiased.

nb : Nablator witnessed this saga and he was the only person from the Sceptic-Ovni forum who backed me up on this one


Well, I appreciated very much your very astute and constructive criticism, yes, but not the smear campaign that followed. The mudslinging didn't help resolve the differences that could have been discussed in a rational, friendly manner, not by leaving the forum and attacking S-O from afar, with increasingly unfair, agenda-driven arguments. Such hatreds are what I despise most in ufology, when some people care so much about the stupid pro and con arguments that they are willing to start wars and spend years throwing ad hominem attacks at their perceived enemies.

All of this could have been avoided if you had noticed that you points no more prove the impossibility of F4U flights, bluish reflections, echelon flight, etc. than Eric's prove that it was a F4U flight. You have done a good job showing how unlikely the F4U hypothesis is, but you are trusting too much your arguments from improbability. Unlikely coincidences, rare occurrences, unforeseen consequences happen all the time. Eric since admitted that the F4U hypothesis is not the best, and much has been done to discuss other candidate, without you, unfortunately. Nothing worthy of a drama-saga that entertains only the skeptic-haters in the believer crowd, and there are many. Bad ufology is not the exception, it is the norm, unfortunately.

Let's stop the bickering, no one gives a damn. #-o

The only person I really trust regarding image analysis (and photo interpretation to some extent) is Nablator.

Thanks. :oops: A mostly undeserved feeling I'm afraid.
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Re: Can You Trust Them?

Postby Buckwild » Thu Feb 10, 2011 5:56 pm

Hi Nab',

Well, first of all, who started ad hominem attacks ? That is the question and I can prove for a fact that it was not me. Who started all that stupid controversy ? David.R and E.Maillot (JMA to some extent as well) right when I started pointing at the blue flashes statement.

By calling me a believer or a pro-ETH, it was more than an ad hominem attack, it was an insult. Why ? Because it took me 6 or 7 years (since my sighting) to become skeptical about my own sighting and it's hypothetical relation to the ETH. It is probably hard to understand for someone who is not in my shoes but yes, it was an insult. I felt that I deserved respect for being skeptical since my sighting is quite intriguing. We are not talking about lights in the night sky but solid objects clearly visible (pretty close) displaying coordinated flight maneuvers (at least to our eyes & brain) before their instantaneous disappearance (at least to our eyes & brain).

I read S.O forum almost everyday and I agree with you that ufology wars are stupid but are they unproductive ? Maybe not if you ask me because when people are mad, they might reveal informations regarding their agenda and their way of thinking. Some ufo-skeptics display an aggressive attitude (often by the use of mockery) towards ETHers almost in every message they write and that's how "wars" start, it's the spark needed to start the combustion process. The opposite is also true.

Now, I do agree with you that I did not prove that no F4Us (3 color paint scheme) were flying in this region in 1947 but I did demonstrate that the hypothesis was higly unprobable/unlikely. This is not the (my) point anyway, I just wanted to show RU folks that pseudo-scientific statements are made by both ETHers and Ufo-skeptics. Now, french ufo-skeptics always remind people that they embrass scientific scepticism, this is why I think pseudo-scientific statements are worse when they come from this side.

I did not get into further technical aspects regarding the blue flashes statement but if you want, I can demonstrate that not only it is highly unprobable but it is impossible to know it for a fact since many variables and physical considerations come into play.

An honest person (intellectually speaking) would have modified his document.

Another thing that got me really upset is that you were the only ufo-skeptic backing me up.

Cheers,
Buck
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Re: Can You Trust Them?

Postby James Carlson » Fri Feb 11, 2011 12:17 am

Well, I concede the point -- not entirely, and with some measure of clarification being necessary. From my position, I've never seen any of the type of manufactured evidence you've discussed coming from the skeptic's side of the auditorium, but you've established its existence pretty strongly. I agree that most of it seems to be of the self-deluding type used by people who insist on a prosaic explanation, and are yet unable to provide any. I don't see this as conscious manipulation of the data to establish a point-of-view that is contrary to the facts -- it's more in the line of "grasping at straws" to validate personal belief. That's human nature; at one time or another, everybody does it, and it shouldn't be used to criticize someone on the issues of honesty and trust. On rare occasions, it can provide indications of stupidity and sloth, but not dishonesty, which is what I'm currently concerned with.

However, your discussion of skeptics knowingly falsifying photographs and/or videos in order to focus attention on the poor judgment and imperfect capabilities of UFO analysts is, I believe, very troubling. In my opinion, it's no better than CUFON's secret, ten-year assessment of Project Mask intended to entrap government elements or USAF personnel in the act of "covering-up" an incident without cause. And it can't be defended much more than Salas' 15-year-old Echo Flight hoax intended to convince actual military witnesses to come forward, or to force the USAF into back-peddling on their claims regarding UFOs and national security. There's an element of personal profiteering in the latter that isn't true of the skeptic's claims, but it doesn't alter the fact that, fundamentally, lies are being told on both sides -- and regardless of the purpose, I think it's deplorable conduct. Entrapment can be defended (barely) on the basis of preventing, for instance, bartenders or shop-keepers from selling cigarettes and alcohol to minors, or when attempting to ensnare an unidentified criminal when authorities have identified method, means, and criminality but have failed in pursuit of identity. In all those instances there are very good reasons to justify such behavior, protection of the young and further prevention of known crimes just being two of those. Entrapment intended to prove the duplicity of someone who has not done anything at all illegal is much more difficult to justify on moral grounds, and, in my opinion, cannot be justified at all on such grounds. There are available more honest means to determine the inability of specific people to properly analyze photographs and videos that don't necessitate the lie. You could, for instance, state outright that you want to test for ability, and offer the subject a stack of photos, etc., that have been knowingly falsified mixed in with a stack of photos, etc., that have not been falsified. Since you're testing for ability, the photos and videos don't really need to be photos and videos of UFOs -- they just have to be real or fake. It's a valid and well-reasoned test that could effectively prove the point one way or another. If the subject refuses to participate in a test intended to determine the extent of his or her expertise regarding a subject upon which he/she has, in fact, claimed some level of expertise, any public discussion of that fact would tend to work against his or her credibility on the issue. Few people with a professional reputation that they enjoy as a result of their abilities would, I believe, opt out of testing it when doing so could easily put that reputation to risk. People who refuse such tests would generally, I believe, do so because they aren't confident that their abilities are sufficient to prove the point, in which case the reputation isn't deserved in the first place. However you might go about arranging such verification, telling lies to entrap without sufficient moral cause should never be attempted by anybody, regardless of what side of an issue they've adopted. In my view, that's absolute -- it's a moral issue that I won't step back from even an inch.

That being said, I stand by my initial claim that we see a lot of hoaxes and lies on the UFO proponent side of the issue that we don't see anywhere near the same extent on the sceptical side of the issue. Perhaps I'm naive, and I simply haven't been pointed in the right direction, but I don't think so. You've very effectively reduced the confidence of my assertions a week ago, but a couple of examples comes nowhere near negating the overall impressions I have that those desiring to establish the reality of UFOs lie about the subject incessantly, create from nothing numerous hoaxes intended to suggest the unbiased probability of that reality to those of us who don't accept it, and lack any real ability to prove their assertions credibly without resorting to such tactics. I can discover evidence for that assessment every day by simply spending a few minutes on You-tube. Skeptics, in my experience, tend to demand actual evidence that UFO proponents are simply unable, in most cases, to provide. And since skeptics can express their opinions by simply demanding evidence, there's little need for them to resort to such tactics to make a point; they aren't actively trying to prove a case, as UFO proponents are. Without the need to lie, why would you? Falsifying data for the purpose of entrapment without sufficent moral cause is reprehensible -- there is no defense for it. In the case of organized skepticism, however, it's also stupid and unnecessary, and any skeptics resorting to such tactics should be outed and as roundly abused as UFO proponents would be in a similar situation. The truth inherent to someone's case can usually be uncovered by simply presenting information that those originally formulating the case failed to take into account or to publically acknowledge. It stands to reason that more information regarding a specific case is always necessary to determine the facts of that case or the elements characteristic to that case. And if a skeptic can show that certain UFO proponents have knowingly failed to present evidence that they were in possession of, or can show that they have distorted to a sufficient degree the evidence that they have presented in attempting to establish their claims, the need for evidence to show conscious deceit has, in my opinion, been satisfied.
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Re: Can You Trust Them?

Postby Buckwild » Fri Feb 11, 2011 3:58 am

Hi James,

I agree that most of it seems to be of the self-deluding type used by people who insist on a prosaic explanation, and are yet unable to provide any. I don't see this as conscious manipulation of the data to establish a point-of-view that is contrary to the facts -- it's more in the line of "grasping at straws" to validate personal belief. That's human nature; at one time or another, everybody does it, and it shouldn't be used to criticize someone on the issues of honesty and trust. On rare occasions, it can provide indications of stupidity and sloth, but not dishonesty, which is what I'm currently concerned with.


Well, I thought I just demonstrated the opposite. In other words, someone uses pseudo-scientific claims to make a strong statement supporting his hypothesis. I would add that in this specific example, ignorance as opposed to stupidity was the main problem. I did explain to him & in details why his blue flash statement was not receivable but he did not modify his document. This is clearly and without a doubt a conscious manipulation of the "data" to support his hypothesis.

skeptics knowingly falsifying photographs and/or videos in order to focus attention on the poor judgment and imperfect capabilities of UFO analysts is, I believe, very troubling. In my opinion


I think that this is a good thing to do because of the pedagogical aspects involved. Let's say that you introduce yourself as a video expert and that I fool you with a stupic trick and that you recognize that you were wrong. Who could be stupid, you or the ones making fun of you ? I would say that depending on the "scenario", the ones that are stupid are the one pointing a finger at you. Anybody could be wrong at times, admitting it, is very respectable and a strong sign of intellectual honesty. :arrow: (and part of the learning process)

Now, there's no difference in between making hoaxes with a clear intent in mind and consciously making false statements in order to rationalize a sighting. (Some) Ufo-skeptics and (some) pro-ETHers alike have different agendas and different ways to obtain what they want, that's all and the only differences.

We could play a game to see if critical thinking skills are sharpened or not. I'll just ask you (or anybody else for that matter) to point out what seems to be either irrelevant (no logic involved) or simply false/or unverifiable in this page : http://www.skepdic.com/ufos_ets.html

Cheers,
Buck
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Re: Can You Trust Them?

Postby James Carlson » Fri Feb 11, 2011 11:19 am

Well, I probably didn't explain very well the issues I intended to present; the dividing line between conscious deceit and the manipulation you're referring to is belief. I don't see how deceit can be applied to someone who is merely reaching conclusions that he actually believes. Any conclusion of deceit -- which is what I'm concerned with -- hinges on whether or not he believes your assesment had resolved the issue. If he mainained a specific point-of-view in full knowledge of your resolution because he sincerely believes your conclusions aren't valid, than deceit shouldn't be applied. If, however, he refused to accept your conclusions knowing that your explanation was indeed valid, conscious deceit would, of course apply. The element of self-delusion I applied above indicates (what I intended to indicate but obviously didn't) that his beliefs, while likely incorrect, shouldn't be judged on a moral level. You can still trust a person, even if his conclusions are wrong. Deceit can't be expressed in the presence of sincerity, and the issue of trust that I'm concerned with necessitates deceit. It's a moral issue. The conscious manipulation of data to establish a point-of-view contrary to the facts isn't a problem, even if the solution you provided is correct -- it's just an error. The validation of personal belief still originates with that belief. Trust is a moral issue that depends on the presence of deceit. Does that make sense? I keep thinking I'm going in circles with this explanation, probably because it's so late. In any case, in the absence of deceit, only stupidity or sloth can be applied, and I don't consider those to be moral issues that can help someone determine trustworthiness. The dishonesty I'm referring to requires intent. My concerns regard trustworthiness on a moral level, and don't include the trustworthiness of the facts. You can say, "I trust him, because he's an honest man, but I don't trust his measurements, observations, or conclusions, because his facts are wrong." I'm not concerned about the latter -- people make mistakes and shouldn't be judged on a moral level as a result of those mistakes. You can certainly judge him on his understanding of the facts, or due to reaching invalid conclusions as a result of those mistakes, but I don't see that as a reason not to trust someone.

As for your analysis of pedagogical aspects, while such exercises may indeed flush out those individuals unworthy of their own claims, they're still fundamentally lies, and that's what I find troubling; in my opinion, those who rely on lies to illustrate a point do so at the price of their own credibility. I just find it difficult to trust someone who tells lies, regardless of their motivation for doing so. Most people might not agree with this assessment, but people determine trustworthiness using different critieria all the time. While my criteria for trustworthiness may seem extreme, it still originates within my beliefs. If your beliefs are different, than of course your criteria would differ as well.

I agree completely with your conclusion that "there's no difference in between making hoaxes with a clear intent in mind and consciously making false statements in order to rationalize a sighting". That conclusion, however, can only be reached if the subject knowingly made false statements, which is exactly what lying is. Self-delusion can't be applied to that example, because self-delusion still requires belief; acting on your beliefs really isn't conscious deceit until you start lying, in which case your beliefs have been compromised, and you're no longer worthy of trust.

The http://www.skepdic.com/ufos_ets.html page you pointed out is pretty interesting. In my opinion, the statement "A UFO is an unidentified flying object that has been identified as a possible or actual alien spacecraft" is wrong. The USAF uses a far more general definition, which may account for some of the disparity between opposing groups; I don't know enough about it to say that with any certainty, but the defintion presented is nonetheless wrong. On the other hand, "common sense and science" doesn't necessarily require "recurring identical" experience and "physical evidence". If our legal system has proved anything at all, it's that recurrence and physical evidence isn't necessary to convict a person, while overwhelming circumstantial evidence certainly can. There are similar problems with Hynek's definition. Both insist upon some measure of unique character at the cost of any prosaic elements. They're not really defining UFOs -- they're defining flying saucers.

"There are as many photographs of UFOs as there are of the Loch Ness Monster, and they are of equal quality: blurs and forgeries" is also wrong. It's a statement of fact that needs something more to declare it true; you can't reach such conclusions without evidence, and that's all the statement is: conclusion without evidence. The author makes a lot of such errors, which kind of takes away any credibility he may have hoped for.

I don't even want to get into criticizing "The main reasons for believing in UFOs are the questionable interpretations of visual experiences, the testimony of many people, the inability to distinguish science fiction from science, the willingness to trust incompetent men telling fantastic stories, the ability to distrust all contrary sources as being part of an evil conspiracy to withhold the truth, and a desire for contact with the world above." Nearly every element of it is subjective in the extreme, and what's being presented as fact is ridicule. Once again, there's a lot of that in the article -- a whole lot of that, which naturally leads to a loss of relevance and increased falsity.

Tactics are always interesting, and I've noted that Robert Hastings encompasses within his personality nearly every characteristic discussed. But it's a double-edged sword. You can say that "Attacking an opponent's arguments or motives, instead of presenting positive evidence" is bad form, but following that up with "This kind of reasoning is known as the argumentum ad ignorantiam" really isn't that different. In any case, while it may, on the surface, seem appropriate to insist that "refutation is no substitute for support," it's also true that support is no substitute for refutation. They're different types of evidence, and both are often necessary to reach a strong conclusion. Bringing up our legal system again, a prosecuting attorney rarely depends on only direct or only circumstantial evidence; both are used to present an overwhelming case. One may seem stronger than another, which is certainly what most juries assume, but it simply isn't true. Eyewitness accounts are considered far more evidential than a partial thumb print, but eyewitnesses often can't be depended on to determine the truth; evidence originating with people is very often the least trustworthy of the evidence presented. Tactics have to be flexible -- and they can very often work against the needs of those who apply them. It's very hard to express generality, which is what the author is trying to use specific tactics to describe; it's not a very useful practice in my opinion. The use of specific tactics necessitates judging a case on its own merits.

It's very late so I'm skipping to the bottom: "Finally, it should be noted that UFOs are usually observed by untrained sky watchers and almost never by professional or amateur astronomers, people who spend inordinate amounts of time observing the heavens above." This is another statement of fact without supporting evidence; it's never approriate to argue a case, and then reach conclusions that you've failed to sustantiate: it's done often on both sides, however, which is one of the reasons for growing frustration.

I hope the above makes more sense than my previous comments; if it still needs clarification, I'll have to jump on it tomorrow -- I really am just dead tired right now, even if the subject matter is as fascinating as it's been -- and I'm not being sarcastic; I just think morality is a fascinating topic to discuss. I just can't do it right now. Cheers!
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James Carlson
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Re: Can You Trust Them?

Postby nablator » Fri Feb 11, 2011 12:13 pm

James Carlson wrote:However, your discussion of skeptics knowingly falsifying photographs and/or videos in order to focus attention on the poor judgment and imperfect capabilities of UFO analysts is, I believe, very troubling.

Poor research is certainly not a crime, and as Buck wrote, it was not the cause of his wrath. Confirmation bias is the bane of ufology: simply ignoring evidence that does not confirm preconceived notions. This blindness seems so natural to true believers and true unbelievers that they don't even get the point. The pack mentality that Buck denounces (on a dozen forums so far...) is real, too ; people like to defend their friends. It's human. Especially when there is no cause for accusations of dishonesty. I don't blame people for being biased, emotional, illogical. Everyone is, to some extent. Being intentionally deceitful is quite a different story.

Buckwild grew tired of easy debunking tactics that did not meet his high scientific criteria. I see things differently: ufology is not a science, and skeptic ufology need not be stricter than believer's ufology. Establishing plausibility of a bird, balloon, airplane, satellite, planet, is enough to debunk a UFO case. This infuriates believers. They are fond of saying that Occam's razor cuts both ways but they often forget that extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence. Prosaic claims don't.

In ufology issues often get discussed in terms of possibility and plausibility, and then refutations of such arguments, also based on the same level of (non-) proof. Believers will tend to exaggerate the value of an analysis that refutes a skeptic view that itself tries to refute an extraordinary claim (the latter is often weak as proving a negative is nearly impossible). For example B. S. Maccabee and Martin Shough think they have refuted all prosaic explanations to the Arnold's sighting of 1947. The resulting mess contains many seemingly correct conclusions based on insufficient data and a few mistakes.
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