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Postby ScaRZ » Sun Jul 09, 2006 4:17 pm

As I've said time after time, anything can be debunked. Any word of mouth, written word, video, or photo, all can be said are untrue or fakes.
When do you start believing a person is honest and his or her words are burning a light of truth?

If you're looking for 100% pure facts without an inch of doubt, I'm afraid that day will never come in this world we call our life. I guess in a huge way it will come down to faith and a deep belief in our spirit. Some will never test their faith but will need to place their fingers through the holes of the hands.

If I have seen with my own eyes UFO's and Aliens......WHO here would believe a word I say? If they gave me artifacts, their written language and a bone of their brother......WHO here would stand by me? If I had two photo's of their kind and shared them with you......WHO here would put away their disbelief and share my journey, or who here would want to discredit me and feed me to the wolves?
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Postby dragonfire » Sun Jul 09, 2006 7:55 pm

I'm with ya ScaRZ.

It really doesn't matter that I've seen what I've seen, only to me. Who is to believe with me, if they have not seen.
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Postby Hidden Hand » Sun Jul 09, 2006 11:01 pm

I truly hope most people know what to think about unsubstantiated claims (especially extraordinary ones) made by strangers (especially anonymous ones)
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Postby I.P.Freely » Sun Jul 09, 2006 11:29 pm

I think alot it comes down to trust and like respect it has to earned. Demeanor of a person carries aolt of wieght with also overly aggresive and insulting are almost always makeing noise to hide something. Same goes for those who boost too much about themselfs or others. Conduct is also important are they willing to live up to the standards they expect of others. Stuff like that.
I always try to give people the benifit of the doubt until proven otherwise but try not to condem them for bad acts unless they are like murder or something because we all make mistakes just like EVERYONE LIES almost daily . So its always a hard call on the net I take everything with rock salt. You Scarz I put at tthe top of the list as more believe able.
"You can either trust people or not. I choose to trust what people say and sometimes I get lied to. If I were to trust no one I would never hear the truth." - James (IPF) Martell
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Postby Almeirhria » Mon Jul 10, 2006 6:11 am

I.P.Freely wrote:....just like EVERYONE LIES almost daily .


I seriously doubt that is true for all people and it is a concern you saying it.

I've covered my view on this in another previous thread.
In my view this thread is born from the lack of honest coherency of information distribution within society at present - fueled by dishonesty, secrecy, poor media acknowledgement and analysis, etc.
This does not mean it is an invalid thread however.
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Postby Shawnna » Mon Jul 10, 2006 8:36 am

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Last edited by Shawnna on Mon Oct 30, 2006 9:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby I.P.Freely » Mon Jul 10, 2006 11:57 am

Almeirhria wrote:
I.P.Freely wrote:....just like EVERYONE LIES almost daily .


I seriously doubt that is true for all people and it is a concern you saying it.

I've covered my view on this in another previous thread.
In my view this thread is born from the lack of honest coherency of information distribution within society at present - fueled by dishonesty, secrecy, poor media acknowledgement and analysis, etc.
This does not mean it is an invalid thread however.


well then give me some names of people who have not lied (living now would be a plus)because I can only think of one and he has been dead about 2000 yrs. Maybe people don,t lie with malicious intend daily but even telling a kid santa claus is real is lieing. Someone
asking for spare change and what is your normal response? But mostly people lie to themselfs all the time. Denial is a form of lieing.

And what are you talking about thie threat is born from a lack of dishonesty I,m not sure if I should be insulted or your trying to be funny?
"You can either trust people or not. I choose to trust what people say and sometimes I get lied to. If I were to trust no one I would never hear the truth." - James (IPF) Martell
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Postby ScaRZ » Mon Jul 10, 2006 2:24 pm

Hidden Hand wrote:I truly hope most people know what to think about unsubstantiated claims (especially extraordinary ones) made by strangers (especially anonymous ones)


You sound like a life long doubter and would only believe if YOU see, hear and touch it.
You would have to place your fingers in the holes of the hands.
NO doubt in my mind......YOU would throw me to the wolves.
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Postby Hidden Hand » Mon Jul 10, 2006 2:52 pm

LOL - I came back here to post a much longer response to Scarz initial post, and was surprised to find Scarz 2nd post (directed to me posted) while I was working on my follow up response.

Scarz, you are the one with "NO doubt" ie absolute certainty, based on limited information. That kind of faith is what scares me more than anything.

Your attribution of me as somebody who would only believe if can taste, smell, etc it is unkind and untrue.

1) I am not a lifelong doubter.
2) What do you have against doubt?

If I told you some s^~t that has happened to me, I already know you wouldn't believe me (because nobody ever has)..

Your claim that I'd throw you to the wolves is 100% BS, I would write more about this, but seeing as you have already made up your mind....
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Postby ScaRZ » Mon Jul 10, 2006 3:26 pm

Hidden Hand wrote:LOL - I came back here to post a much longer response to Scarz initial post, and was surprised to find Scarz 2nd post (directed to me posted) while I was working on my follow up response.

Scarz, you are the one with "NO doubt" ie absolute certainty, based on limited information. That kind of faith is what scares me more than anything.

Your attribution of me as somebody who would only believe if can taste, smell, etc it is unkind and untrue.

1) I am not a lifelong doubter.
2) What do you have against doubt?

If I told you some s^~t that has happened to me, I already know you wouldn't believe me (because nobody ever has)..

Your claim that I'd throw you to the wolves is 100% BS, I would write more about this, but seeing as you have already made up your mind....


Hidden Hand......I'm sorry if you took my post wrong. I was only going by the short reply you had made. That was the way the post came over to me and I just gave my opinion back. I never meant to offend you in any way and would love to hear your story that nobody believes.
Again I'm sorry for my coming across as being a judge of your words, I can only hope you will except the olive branch I extent to you.
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Postby Hidden Hand » Mon Jul 10, 2006 3:40 pm

ScaRZ wrote:I can only hope you will except the olive branch I extent to you.


Scarz - thanks - in that case I will post a longer followup to your initial post (but later).

Just for the record, in my 1st post above ("unsubstantiated claims by anonymous strangers") - I was NOT thinking primarily about your (or anyone else's) claims about UFOs - I was actually thinking about the US administration claiming they had intel that Iraq had WMD. Does that example help illustrate why I think doubt is important??
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Postby dragonfire » Mon Jul 10, 2006 5:58 pm

Actually HH,

I think everyone would like to hear your "unbelieveable" tale. I would.

Oh, and again, congrats on the "mod" thing :wink:
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Postby ScaRZ » Mon Jul 10, 2006 7:34 pm

Hidden Hand wrote:
ScaRZ wrote:I can only hope you will except the olive branch I extent to you.


Scarz - thanks - in that case I will post a longer followup to your initial post (but later).

Just for the record, in my 1st post above ("unsubstantiated claims by anonymous strangers") - I was NOT thinking primarily about your (or anyone else's) claims about UFOs - I was actually thinking about the US administration claiming they had intel that Iraq had WMD. Does that example help illustrate why I think doubt is important??


I think we are just beginning to get to know one another here at RU and words spoken face to face are much easier understood than words typed. You are correct HH, all of us have doubts, nothing wrong in doubting.
The main point I was trying to get over is what does it take, or how much does one need before doubt and disbelief become bad medicine?
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Postby Hidden Hand » Mon Jul 10, 2006 8:34 pm

ScaRZ wrote:If you're looking for 100% pure facts without an inch of doubt...


1st off, I don't. I already know we will never have 100% proof. And what I want is not less doubt, but more doubt. We already live in a world where doubt is a scarcity. I hope the following will help explain why I say this.

For the following it will help if you keep in mind the concepts of epistemology - the study of the nature of knowledge - and ontology - the study of the nature of being or existence.

I'd also like to quote from biologist Stephen Jay Gould (my emphasis):
Facts are the world's data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts. Facts don't go away when scientists debate rival theories to explain them. Einstein's theory of gravitation replaced Newton's in this century, but apples didn't suspend themselves in midair, pending the outcome. ...

Moreover, "fact" doesn't mean "absolute certainty"; there ain't no such animal in an exciting and complex world. The final proofs of logic and mathematics flow deductively from stated premises and achieve certainty only because they are not about the empirical world. ... In science "fact" can only mean "confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional consent." I suppose that apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms.




You say that ("obviously") I will never believe anything unless I actually experience it myself. Nothing could be further from the truth and I will give but two examples to illustrate. {I think I should specify up front: I don't think that there is one easy rule of thumb for ascertaining the truth of all claims. The examples in this post might help explain what I think should be done in examining some - but not necessarily all - claims.}

Ex 1) Say I'm in an enclosed building far away from windows and doors. Say John Doe comes in and tells me it is raining outside. Do I doubt him? I suppose it depends on my previous experience with John Doe's veracity, but let's say I've never heard him lie before. What other substantiation do we have that it is, in fact, raining outside? Maybe John is actually soaking wet. Maybe I read the weather forecast this morning and it called for rain. Maybe I can hear the sound of the rain on the roof, or the sound of thunder. Maybe somebody else comes in and says it is raining. Et cetera.

If I had any of those other corroborating pieces of evidence, I would definitely grab an umbrella before going outside. If I only had John's word for it, I might go look before grabbing an umbrella, but I'd probably grab it anyway just to be on the safe side.

Even though I haven't actually see or felt raindrops..

Ex 2) I've never seen electrons flow or a magnetic field. However, I use the equations for electricity & magnetism everyday to achieve successful real world results.

I trust that those equations actually do mirror some unseen (by me) phenomena, at least well enough for me to successfully do some things with it.



The above would arguably be "ordinary claims of something unseen".

Moving to "extraordinary claims"..

I'm choosing for an example "crop circles". Let's look at a few claims.

A) "Crop circles exist."
The truth value of statement A is 'true'. There are books (and websites) full of pictures of crop circles - including pictures from multiple independent sources. Thus, it would be "perverse" (using Gould's explanation) to hold that crop circle don't exist, for example positing a conspiracy of photographic hoaxes. However, acceptance of the existence of crop circles (statement A) doesn't carry any accompanying theory about where crop circles come from.

B) "UFOs create crop circles."
I would personally say this is undetermined. We already know it is essentially trivial to create a crop circle - see for a start http://www.circlemakers.org. Claims that they are not all made by human hand rely essentially on a two-part argument: 1) that humans can't possibly have created ALL the circles, and 2) first person reports of UFOs in the area or of BOLs near circles. WRT #1, without knowing exactly how many people are involved in the covert activity of circle making, it is hard to support this argument. WRT #2 we need to digress into the value of 1st person reports, and exactly what weight we assign to anecdotal evidence.

See for a start Wikipedia's page on Anecdotal evidence:
Anecdotal evidence is an informal account of evidence in the form of an anecdote, or hearsay. The term is usually used in contrast to scientific evidence, especially evidence-based medicine, which are types of formal accounts. Anecdotal evidence is often unscientific because it cannot be investigated using the scientific method. Misuse of anecdotal evidence is a logical fallacy and is sometimes informally referred to as the "person who" fallacy ("I know a person who..."; "I know of a case where..." etc.)
...
Anecdotal evidence is often unscientific or pseudoscientific because various forms of cognitive bias may affect the collection or presentation of evidence. For instance, someone who claims to have had an encounter with a supernatural being or alien may present a very vivid story, but this is not falsifiable. This phenomenon can also happen to large groups of people through subjective validation.
...
Witness testimony is a common form of evidence in law, and law has mechanisms to test witness evidence for reliability or credibility. Legal processes for the taking and assessment of evidence are formalized. Some witness testimony could be described as anecdotal evidence, such as individual stories of harassment as part of a class action lawsuit. However, witness testimony can be tested and assessed for reliability. Examples of approaches to testing and assessment include the use of questioning, evidence of corroborating witnesses, documents, video and forensic evidence. Where a court lacks suitable means to test and assess testimony of a particular witness, such as the absence of forms of corroboration or substantiation it may afford that testimony limited or no "weight" when making a decision on the facts.

my emphasis - and I recommend reading the whole page, as well as the wikipedia page on Witnesses http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witness and the various pages linking off it. Also The Problem with Eyewitness Testimony deals mostly with memory issues and doesn't really talk about perceptual or bias issues; or Eyewitness Misidentification which deals with all these factors.


OK, so given that, let's get back to our example: "UFOs create crop circles".
Let's say John Doe tells us that "UFOs create crop circles". What do we make of this.
B) "UFOs create crop circles" - this has to be "indeterminate" or "undecided" at this point. However:
C) "John Doe says UFOs create crop circles" is definitely true - because we can point to the website or book or post or video tape or whatever where John Doe said that.

So we go one step further. Let's say John Doe has a video tape recording of a UFO creating a crop circle.
D) Video of UFO creating crop circle. This ups the ante slightly - we actually have evidence (which we can analyze) about the claim. What we make of this depends on what we find. Let's say John Doe has this video tape, and then we find out that John Doe is special effects expert - unfortunately, that gives us some reason to doubt the veracity of his evidence.

So let's up the ante again - let's say John Doe and Jane Smith both recorded the same "UFO creates crop circle" event from two different places; and John Doe and Jane Smith are not connected - that is, they are independent witnesses; and neither of them are special effects experts.. That's about where I'd be happy.. Although I'd still have doubt about the blanket nature of "UFOs create crop circles". I think I'd be happy with:
E) "A UFO created this crop circle, based on evidence from John & Jane."



From your own examples in the 1st post above, I think I'd classify those statements (assuming you are actually making those statements), taking them one at a time, as:
A) "Scarz says he saw a UFO" = true
B) "Scarz saw a UFO" = trivially true (seeing a unknown flying object = trivial)
C) "Scarz saw an alien spaceship" => I'd ask on what basis he made the attribution that it was an alien spaceship
D) "Scarz said he was contacted by ET" = true
E) "Scarz was contacted by ET" = unknown (no supporting evidence) - what do we know about Scarz veracity, memory, accuracy, perception, sleep problems, etc?

At this point I'd like to make it clear re: "throw to the wolves".. If John Doe comes up and says "Scarz was not contacted by ET", I'd be equally curious to know what he is basing that claim on. But if John Doe came up and said "Scarz never said he contacted by ET", I'd be up there pointing to him where you did in fact say that.

F) "Scarz was contacted by ET and given this pile of evidence" - of course, assuming that Scarz made the evidence available to researchers, I'd be right there checking out the evidence. And anything we have to say about this depends on what the evidence is. If the evidence is something like an a book of channeled writing, or a scar on his leg - this evidence has nothing to do with the claim. If the evidence is a something like a fully automatic Rectal Probe 5000, now we are getting somewhere..



In short: If you said you'd seen a UFO, or even that you'd been abducted, but had no evidence - I would not "throw you to the wolves"; I'd just add you to the stack of same. If you made that claim and trotted out an album of Meier-style photos as support - I would not "throw you to the wolves".. but I wouldn't try to stop it either. If you had some interesting evidence, I would definitely be looking at it.

OTOH, if you were trying to start a UFO cult and/or purposefully misleading/lying to people - watch out wolves..



Doubt..
Karl Popper said that our best ideas (our best explanations, or theories) are our best ideas in part because they have withstood the toughest criticisms we could level against them. (Which is not to say we might not come up with a tougher criticism tomorrow that will demolish them.) I really recommend reading David Miller's Critical Rationalism and Karl Popper's Logic of Scientific Discovery and Conjectures and Refutations.

More than that, I cannot understate how much I recommend David Deutsch's Fabric of Reality. Deutsch is a father of quantum computation. Deutsch's Fabric of Reality is woven from 4 strands - quantum physics, evolutionary theory (as refined by Richard Dawkins), Alan Turing's theory of computation, and Karl Popper's epistemology. It is the best "pop sci" book I've ever read by a long shot, and he renders these obscure concepts very understandable. The book talks about virtual reality (holographic universe/Matrix), parallel universes, time travel, and the end of the universe - in a non-dismissive way. A jaw-dropping, eye-opening, lightbulb-popping book.



"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." (Hamlet, I.v)




{PS - I append this. I hope this helps explain where I stand. There is a difference between using one's critical facilities and "throwing people to the wolves".. And all too often, especially in conspiracy & UFO forums, anybody who might, for example, point out mundane explanations for something becomes the target of flames (from "spoilsport" to the dreaded "debunker"..)

To quote Shawnna here: ".. what we want to be sure of is that there is a resource for those who don't believe everything they read on the internet or in public discussion forums."

There needs to be some middle ground between believing everything you read and disbelieving everything you read.. IMO, that middle ground is rational critcism - using your gray matter..

Re: throwing to the wolves - The fact of the matter is that I believe the intellectually honest thing to do is to actively seek out oppposing points of view and alternative explanations. For a very good reason: confirmation bias
Confirmation bias is a type of statistical bias describing the tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one's preconceptions. In inductive inference, confirmation bias is a type of cognitive bias toward confirmation of the hypothesis under study. To compensate for this observed human tendency, the scientific method is constructed so that we must try to disprove our hypotheses.

Confirmation bias is a phenomenon wherein decision makers have been shown to actively seek out and assign more weight to evidence that confirms their hypothesis, and ignore or underweigh evidence that could disconfirm their hypothesis. As such, it can be thought of as a form of selection bias in collecting evidence.


Quoting Shawnna again (same link) "Seems to me with the advent of the internet-information-sharing superhighway - the "rules" have changed a bit. ... Now you actually have to answer tough questions by smart people in 'real time'."}
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Postby Hidden Hand » Mon Jul 10, 2006 8:41 pm

.. If you believe that is "throwing people to the wolves" - so be it, I guess ..

And I'd love to hear what YOUR criteria is ..

I think the bottom line for me comes in your statement: "I guess in a huge way it will come down to faith .."

I don't particularly feel like faith is a good basis for decision making.

That said - I still maintain that UFO and contact reports ARE important - which is probably the main reason that I wouldn't "feed you to the wolves"..
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