>Peter Lakbar [email@example.com] wrote:
>>So presumably a
>>trained observer who is familliar with most of the things observed in the
>>skies makes a 'better' witness than someone who has no such training or
>Yet the only study I've seen which looked at the relative rates at which
>different groups of people reported UFOs which were later explained as
>perfectly ordinary phenomena, airline pilots were among the *worst*
>categories; they regularly reported UFOs which were later identified. This
>is probably not too suprising, as they're trained to see other aircraft in
>the sky and avoid them, and hence more likely than most to think that any
>unidentified light is actually a physical vehicle of some kind.
Also, since they spend a lot of time in the air, they have greater opportunity to observe things they cannot identify, i.e UFOs'. The suggestion that pilots are worse at observing airial objects than the average person sounds a bit odd to me. It may be a case of bad or 'tweaked' statistics. A pity you don't have any more info on the study, it would be interesting to see it.
>Don't have a cite handy for the study, I'm afraid.
>>Depends what you mean by 'unambiguously' and 'alien', respectively.
>>There are plenty of cases where no known phenomena have been able to
>>accurately and completely explain the events.
This is where it gets tricky. Since I am an agnostic regarding the UFO
phenomena, being neither a beliver in the sense that I have formed any
definite, final theories about anything, or a disbeliver, in the sense that
I have come to the conclusion that it can all be explained by "natural
phenomena", even though I entertain theories for my own amusement, I cannot
determine or conclude what is true in a report such as the spate of belgian
reports in 1990-'91 where the apparently solid crafts seen by over 50
witnesess was also simultanously recorded on radar and was intercepted by
F-16 jets. Nor can I determine the truth in the spate of UFO reports in my
hometown (Malmö, Sweden) where six people, one of them a friend of mine,
saw a shiny (reflective) disc-shaped thing fly over the city. That object
was filmed for three and a half minute by a man with a digital camera. The
footage was analysed by the swedish airforce and was judged not to have
been forged or falsified, but showed an apparently solid object approx. 6
meteres in lenght flying over several houses.
There are hundreds of such reports, from all over the world.
Naturally I cannot vouch for the authenticity of a single one of them, but
must rely on the testimonies of others. The thing is, it then follows that
there is not one such report that cannot be rebutted by the claim that the
witnesses are lying, or insane, or in extreme cases, both. The witnesses
claim to be telling the truth and to be mentally stable, and their
testimonies may be strengthened by photographies ect, but there's always
someone, usually a 'debunker', who'll claim that the witnesses were lying
and then produce 'evidence' that they are unreliable or mistaken.
The problem is simply whom to belive, the witnesses or the debunker?
It seems to me that when the 'debunkers' tale is what I judge to be more
probable and fits the reported facts better than the witnesses', then the
debunker is probably right.
When it's the reverse, then the witnesses' is probably right.
>I was watching part of a TV show at the weekend, which amongst
>other things showed an 'amazing' video of a brilliantly lit UFO hovering
>over a town, then suddenly disappearing. Only problem was, the video
>was clearly just a lamp reflected in a window, and you could even see the
>bulb when the hoaxer switched it off to create the 'disappearance'.
I haven't seen the show in question so I cannot comment on that part. However, I am keeping in mind that people tend to see what they expect to see, a fact which works both ways, for sceptic and beliver alike. People often identify things as 'clearly just' this and that because they are acting from their own preconditioned expectations. If they see a light in the sky and expect it to be an alien space craft, it will appear to be an alien spacecraft to them. If they expect it to be anything but an alien spacecraft it will be anything but an alien spacecraft. I completly agree with you though, that some (not all) media treatment of the UFO phenomenon is abysmally lousy, in the sense you mean.
>Yet the TV show couldn't find any known phemomenon to explain this incredible
>video... which only goes to show that the media are even worse than airline
>pilots at mis-identifying alien spaceships.
No, it doesn't. Let's not generalize too broadly here. One study and one show does not a scientific law make. (On the other hand, I am generally very distrustful of the media in general. I prefer to focus on the works of dedicated professionals who study these things, whatever their conclusions may be.)
>>Speculating and questioning their motives when we do not even know if the
>>UFO phenomena has motives seems a bit suspect to me. The point is not why
>>it doesn't do this or that, but what it is.
>There is no single UFO phenomenon.
I thought that UFO (Unidentified Flying Object) was a blanket term for all airborne things that cannot be positivly identified. When I wrote the above sentence I was referring to the fact that the previous poster wrote;
>>What is especially strange is how aliens (or whatever it may be --
>>future versions of us trying to communicate back that nanotech works) only
>>seem to make their appearances in ways that are ambiguous at best or can be
>>explained away at worst.
I was referring to the fact that he inferred that the UFO's could not be
intelligent or have an intelligent purpose behind their appearances, since
they appear in ways that do not lend themselves to a clear explanation.
That is bad logic.
I was also trying to point out something which most people who use this kind of 'argument' in a discussion usually seems strangly reluctant to do, namely, to skip the retorics regarding the possible origin of the phenomen and try to find out what's really going on, (by concentration on the facts at hand), be it aliens or mass hysteria or swamp gas or electromagnetically induced hallucinations. I think the reason for this is that most people who takes an extremely agressive and hostile stance to any unorthodox suggestions feels threatened, in exactly the same manner as a 'true beliver' in the extraterrestial hypothetis feels threatened by 'debunkers'.
>There are numerous unidentified lights in the sky which fruitcakes
instantly interpret >as alien spaceships even in cases such as the above when they're clearly hoaxed.
Just as you seem to instantly identify them as not being alien spaceships.
Or at least that's what I infer from you calling people who belive that the
UFO phenomena are alien vessels "fruitcakes". Sure, there are people who
devoutly takes any thing in the skies as a sign that the arrival of the
space-brothers are imminent,
but there's not much difference between them and you average religious fundamentalist, or true political beliver, but I find your implication that all belivers in the ET hypothetis are cranks distasteful.
>Many of those unidentified lights have their own motives, such as the U-2
>which have been shown to explain a number of previously unidentified
>objects since records were declassified. But the idea of claiming that
>there's one single phenomenon here or that if there's any intelligence
>behind it it has one single motive is just silly.
But I have not claimed that there is a single phenomenon or that there is intelligent forces at work behind it all. I merely speculated that this may be the case. In fact, I made it so abundantly clear (I thought) that I was merely speculating that I was rebuked by another poster for speculating too much!
>>People here are used to think in novel ways about
>>things, plus that they have a level of technical and scientific competence
>>that are unusual among people who usually discuss such things.
>So why do you consider us strange for writing off reports of alien spaceships
>and abductions by alien cattle-mutilating sex fiends who come all the way
>to Earth to remove cows' assholes and stick probes up people's butts?
Where do you get the idea that I consider you all strange? I wouldn't be on
this list unless I was in agreement with at least some of the
As a matter of fact, I agree with almost all of them.
Also, I think you are jumping to conclusions here. I don't belive in the "alien theory" any more than than I belive in any other theory that's supposed to 'explain' the UFO mystery. What I'm trying to do is to encourage research and speculation regarding the phenomena called UFO's. I do not propagate for any particulary theory, except that it seems to me that the phenomenon itself warrants further study.
>BTW, there has been at least one scientific study of abduction claimants,
>found that most of them were plain old loons. Again, I don't have a cite,
>but search the Web and you'll probably find it.
Search on what?
Using "plain old loons + UFOs" as searchwords probably won't give much. :)
Do you have any more info that might help me locate this second unsubstantiated study?
>>So you do agree that the UFO phenomena, since neither you nor I can say for
>>sure what it is, needs to be studied so we can understand it?
>We've been studying it for fifty years; there are clearly some reports of
>lights in the sky which haven't yet been identified.
Actually, there seems to be quite a lot of such reports, probably ranging
into the thousands worldwide. And then there's the other reports, of people
claiming to see what appeared to be physical crafts in broad daylight. And
the close encounters. And the photographic and otherwise electronically
recorded 'evidence', and things such as marks in the landscape, marks on
SOMETHING is going on, but what? That what I want to know.
>There's no evidence that any of them are alien spaceships.
And I haven't, and still don't claim they are. As for the evidence, well, that's really a whole 'nother discussion... There's implications to the effect, sure, but not evidence that convinces me 100%.
>Why bother spending vast amounts of time investigating those remaining
reports >when there are far more important things to do?
I wasn't aware that you were in a position to determine what is important to other people.
>>If aliens are here, I don't think they'll be particularly interested in our
>>money or our women (though Bruce Sterling's Investors have a ring of
>>authenticity to them...). Rather, they'll be interested in our
>>And this is the one thing that would be destroyed by public disclosure.
>Look, just think for five seconds about the implications of the kinds of
>technologies we talk about here. Any aliens who didn't want to be seen would
>not be seen. If they don't want to be seen because that would destroy our
>'uniqueness', then why are so many people reporting that they've seen them?
As I said, speculations regarding 'motives' and apparent behavior aside, the phenomena itself remains. That's what I'm focusing on.