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The debunker's burden of proof

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posted on Jun, 28 2007 @ 12:04 PM
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Originally posted by cambrian77
In a world where alien visitations were accepted as a real possibility (which they are), your friends might have reacted differently to your sighting. The problem lies in our collective bias, which is unfounded.


I agree absolutely.

I spoke of the reaction of my friends to a personal experience but the point I was trying to make could equally well have applied if I had reported what I saw to serious investigators. The question is, who do I want to believe me?

A scientist or investigator may feel aggrieved that his evidence is not given the credence he believes it deserves simply because it threatens conventional wisdom but that just increases the quality of evidence required. As I said, the goal here is simply to convince others, the facts remain the same whether they are convinced or not.

Who was it who said "but it does turn"? (I can never remember if it was Galileo or Copernicus).

"but it does move" is the correct quote of course. I'm never likely to remember it was, (supposedly), Galileo if I can't even remember the words.



[edit on 28-6-2007 by timeless test]




posted on Jun, 28 2007 @ 12:29 PM
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In theory, all opposites are equally valid.


Huh? Why so?

this is just the sort of thing we have to combat all the time. For example, with the ID controversy the (bogus) argument made was that students should hear all sides of the controversy. The problem is , in a scientific controversy, if you don't bring good science to the table, you don't have a "side." Cargo cult pseudoscience, fallacious reasoning, and bogus evidence are not "opposite" to good science. They are just noise.



posted on Jun, 28 2007 @ 12:38 PM
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Originally posted by karl 12
Yes many (well paid)TV debunkers often blatantly ignore radar/sonar evidence and witness testimony instead prefering to shoehorn in their own preconceived ideas.


Cool. Which ones? What well paid TV debunker? How do you know they are 'well paid?' Do you have access to their financial records? In what specific case did they ignore radar/sonar evidence and witness testimony?


OP. Then the debunker comes in and calls it this or that - swamp gas, Venus, weather balloon, take your pick.


How many times has swamp gas been used as an exclamation for UFOs? Which case, precisely, was identified as swamp gas? Who said it was swamp gas?

My point is not to pick on every quote, but to point out that by debunking debunkers you are performing in exactly the same manner you accuse debunkers of doing. It's kind of generic bitching. There is no evidence. You're throwing terms around carelessly. You are using ad hominem attacks on nameless debunkers with no evidence at all. You are using your own pre-conceived notions of where you think a debunker is coming from and what remuneration he receives.

The pot calling the kettle black, methinks.

Now, I am with you to a certain extent. For example, in the False Flag thread there were a number (too many) posts of one line to the effect, "This is an obvious hoax and you all are idiots." coupled with the inevitable one-line "I told you so" after this was exposed. The most galling are those "This was obvious" one-liners posted after exposure where the poster hadn't said a thing prior. This kind of stuff is useless and, like you, I wish these guys would just be quiet.

In a similar vein, those debunkers who toss out one-line explanations on other cases can be ignored. So what if someone says "It was a circus monkey." In that case, in my opinion, the investigation turned up some very compelling evidence. I don't think that case HAS been debunked at all successfully. Same with cash/landrum and numerous others. So I think you can successfully ignore one-liners debunkers on any case.

But don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Look what's around you. Hoax after hoax after hoax. GhostRaven is just the latest in a string of them. And one-liners aside, he cut and ran after it was obvious he wasn't pulling his hoax off. Oh, he tried to put a good face on it, but the fact is, he bailed. Well, at least he admitted it.

What about those who don't? Truman Bethurum. Do you REALLY believe he went to the planet Clarion on the other side of the moon where the inhabitants are all Christians and speak perfect English? Do you REALLY believe George Adamski was picked up at his hotel room in LA and driven in a Pontiac by an alien from Saturn out to the UFO which then took him to Venus? Do you REALLY believe Sleeper had sexual relations with hot alien women?

Oh, and swamp gas? That explanation, which J. Allen Hynek never lived down, was in relation to Michigan sightings on March 17-20, 1966. There were multiple witnesses, including police officers, numerous red and blue lights seen on the ground. There were several hours of sightings. The story 'went ballistic' and national very quickly. The Air Force sent Hynek to town to investigate. He IMMEDIATELY called a press conference before investiagting anything and speculated that marsh gas could be the cause, BUT THAT A FULL INVESTIGATION WAS IN ORDER. His off-the-cuff speculation was the undoing of Project Blue Book. It was Hynek that was made a laughingstock, Hynek who was thoroughly debunked, because, of course, no one believed swamp gas was the answer.


J. Allen Hynek in 'The UFO Experience, a scientific inquiry' Regnery: 1972, p.195. 'When in 1966 I suggested swamp gas as a possibility for the origin of that portion of the numerous Michigan sightings at Dexter and Hillsdale, in which faint lights over swampy areas were observed (the explanation was never intended to cover the entire spectrum of stories generated...), swamp gas became a household word and a standard humorous synonym for UFOs. UFOs, swamp gas, and I were lampooned in the press...'


To my knolwedge this was the ONLY time 'swamp gas' was used as a serious explanation for a UFO. Other uses of this have been as a joke. It happened one time and it was a disaster as soon as the phrase was uttered. Yet it has become so legendary that today it is 'common knowledge' that debunkers ALWAYS use swamp gas to explain sightings.

As you can see from this excerpt, the characterization that swamp gas is used by debunkers to explain UFO sightings is just plain wrong. It has essentially become an Urban Myth. It is taken out of context and used in a ridiculing manner, which is PRECISELY what you accuse debunkers of doing. Y'all might want to consider researching the issues before uttering your opinions. They'd be more valuable if you did.

Ed: Oh, and do try to use primary sources, like the above. It makes a stronger case if you do. Quoting someone else's opinion isn't nearly as strong.

[edit on 6/28/2007 by schuyler]



posted on Jun, 28 2007 @ 01:25 PM
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How many times has swamp gas been used as an exclamation for UFOs? Which case, precisely, was identified as swamp gas? Who said it was swamp gas?


It was Hynek, in the 60s, and he later came to regret this "explanation."

It is certainly true that many disbelievers will throw out any handwaving explanation they can find so they don't have to leave a case "unexplained." Klass was the king of this.

Of course, "unexplained" doesn't mean : ET Hypothesis supported. Real skeptics like Joe Nickell don't mind leaving a case unexplained, especially if there is nothing tangible they can investigate.



posted on Jun, 28 2007 @ 01:25 PM
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In my experience, when a person shows up with a photo of UFO and a story to tell, they're never satisfied with the simple, honest response of, "Well, gee, I don't know what it was."

They almost always want the other person to offer at least an opinion as to what it might be, and often they're hoping the person will concur with their own unstated personal opinion that the UFO was in fact "extraterrestrial" in origin. The minute the non-witness offers an opinion that the UFO might be mundane, the witness immediately feels that their own opinion about the ET origin is threatened.

From then on, a polarizing effect often occurs, with both witness and non-witness bringing in evidence or conjecture from unrelated cases in an attempt to bolster their positions, rather than relying simply on the facts at hand, which usually are not extensive enough to form a solid conclusion.

So here's a compromise. You stop showing up with your story and fuzzy videos and photos, expecting us to tell you that it's an alien saucer, and just accept our response that we don't know what the hell your little fuzzy blob is.

We don't know, okay. And neither do you. Just leave it at that.



posted on Jun, 28 2007 @ 01:41 PM
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Originally posted by schuyler
What well paid TV debunker? How do you know they are 'well paid?' Do you have access to their financial records? In what specific case did they ignore radar/sonar evidence and witness testimony?


Schuyler, though I didn't make the statement you're commenting on here, I feel the need to jump in.

First, we're not discussing a particular incident or even set of incidents. The thread is titled "Ufology, in general." This is a philosophical discussion. I'm not writing this to dismiss the above quote, just to put things in perspective as far as this thread is concerned.

[EDITED to insert erratum: Got my threads mixed up. "The debunker's burden of proof", not "Ufology, in general." Sorry and hope my argument still stands!]

Like you said, we do not know how much money a given debunker was given when he or she made a case on some TV show. However, being in TV and film myself, I know that many of these debunkers are academics whose names appear on general contact lists available to producers and reporters. When an academic states his or her opinion on TV, he or she is almost always being paid. However they are not being paid a lot, by any means.

Still, this does not discredit what the debunkers are saying. If it is true that TV debunkers rarely produce evidence to support their explanations, the producer is also to blame for giving the debunker two minutes of air time and nothing more. That makes skeptics look bad for no good reason.

Having said that, I think that implicitly accusing everyone on this thread of making sweeping statements regarding skeptics isn't all that fair. We are exploring the possibility that there is a pervasive, unfounded bias against UFOs.

As for primary sources to support the claim that such a bias exists, I find the Condon Report is a perfect example of a case where evidence was ignored in favour of a skeptical position.

Here is a link to Dr. Peter Sturrock's analysis of the report. It concludes that the Condon study was flawed and biased: Condon Analysis 1

And here is a link to the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics's evaluation of the report, which reached a similar conclusion: Condon Analysis 2


[edit on 28-6-2007 by cambrian77]

[edit on 28-6-2007 by cambrian77]

[edit on 28-6-2007 by cambrian77]



posted on Jun, 28 2007 @ 01:57 PM
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Not sure if these questions were directed to everyone in this thread or just to karl 12, but I'll answer them anyway:


Originally posted by schuyler
What about those who don't? Truman Bethurum. Do you REALLY believe he went to the planet Clarion on the other side of the moon where the inhabitants are all Christians and speak perfect English?


No I don't. Why? Because there are tons of evidence that there is no planet on the other side of the moon. Like I said before, a claim is a lead. An investigator can choose to follow that lead and investigate it as he sees it. If someone wants to go out into space and look for Clarion, that's cool with me. I don't think he'll find anything though.


Do you REALLY believe George Adamski was picked up at his hotel room in LA and driven in a Pontiac by an alien from Saturn out to the UFO which then took him to Venus?


No I don't. Because the evidence against the possibility of life on Venus is very strong. If I had no access to any information on Venus, I wouldn't have the means to assess Adamski's story one way or the other.


Do you REALLY believe Sleeper had sexual relations with hot alien women?


I don't know anything about Sleeper's stories, but I have no reason to dismiss his claims. That particular one is funny but not impossible. To accept a possibility does not make one a believer that said possibility is in fact real. That's the whole point.



[edit on 28-6-2007 by cambrian77]



posted on Jun, 28 2007 @ 02:19 PM
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Originally posted by schuyler
How many times has swamp gas been used as an exclamation for UFOs? Which case, precisely, was identified as swamp gas? Who said it was swamp gas?


Well...you go on to provide the origin of the swamp gas story, seems you did my work for me. It's a well-known cliche example, and you are nitpicking, because there is a thing called "author's intent." My intent was to casually make my point that there are no shortage of debunking stories people put out without providing evidence that the UFOs people see are identical to them. I know swamp gas is a joke, so do most people here. That's called "knowing your audience." The debunkers, on the other hand, seem to assume that their audience has sufficient knowledge of the basis of their explanations, which is probably not the case.

I have neither the time nor the inclination to produce articles with multiple footnotes and quotations from either primary or secondary sources on this site. I do enough of that in my professional life. I'm speaking in a general way, based upon a musing that came to me after thinking about all the UFO documentaries I've seen and the sources I've read. Basically, a "didja ever notice...?" discussion.


...by debunking debunkers you are performing in exactly the same manner you accuse debunkers of doing. It's kind of generic bitching. There is no evidence. You're throwing terms around carelessly. You are using ad hominem attacks on nameless debunkers with no evidence at all. You are using your own pre-conceived notions of where you think a debunker is coming from and what remuneration he receives.


Well, I was not the one talking about money. That's neither here nor there. And for the record, I am not "debunking debunkers." Many UFO reports are fake, and many debunkers are correct. That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about how often the debunkers do not provide comparable evidence in forums which look at both sides. That's all. I'm saying that they should be able to easily back up their claims if those claims are true. And when did I use an ad hominem attack? Did I call debunkers a derogatory name? I merely said that I have rarely seen them produce comparable evidence.

Regarding disownedsky's question about my philosophy, I can only say that it is based on my life and learning. I believe that notions of one thing being greater than its opposite are artificial constructs. For example, "good" and "evil" are equally valid. It's a choice to do one or the other, to oppose one or the other, based upon one's inclinations. You'd be surprised how often those are aesthetic in nature...but I digress. I operate from a position that everything is open for debate, all things are on the table, and we ought to evaluate everything before making a decision. I know that this seldom happens, but it is an ideal. My point is, in this discussion, I give weight to both sides, and judge based on how persuasive the evidence is. If someone simply says they saw a UFO, and they have a picture which I cannot identify, and a debunker says that they saw something else, but does not produce a picture of that something or produces a picture which does not look like the UFO, then I'm going to lean towards the UFO witness until something comes along to definitively explain it.



posted on Jun, 28 2007 @ 02:46 PM
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Crowservo,

Good post and you make a good point. The evidence that supports ufology is overwhelming. You have both direct and circumstantial evidence. In order to accept the skeptics claims, every eyewitness would have to be lying or stupid. There's no evidence that skeptics have except 3rd party heresay. This is why most ufologist talk about specific cases and the skeptics use terms like little green men to try and convince the public not to take these things seriously. Most skeptics talk in general terms because they can't rebutt the mountains of evidence that supports ufology. They do the same thing with psychic ability. I remember a skeptic on coast 2 coast radio program and he kept bringing up Miss Cleo because this is a way to belittle the subject when you have zero evidence to back your claim.

The burden of proof goes both ways. If a pilot says he saw a U.F.O. it's now up to the person making the claim that he didn't see a U.F.O. to provide the evidence to support their claim. In most cases they have no evidence outside of their belief that U.F.O.'s don't exist and again they resort to terms like little green men to fill the void left by their empty arguments.

[edit on 28-6-2007 by polomontana]



posted on Jun, 28 2007 @ 03:22 PM
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Originally posted by polomontana
The evidence that supports ufology is overwhelming. You have both direct and circumstantial evidence. In order to accept the skeptics claims, every eyewitness would have to be lying or stupid. There's no evidence that skeptics have except 3rd party heresay.


I think you have a low threshold for "overwhelming."

What exactly, do you think the skeptic's claims are?

Why do these claims necessarily imply that eyewitnesses are lying or stupid?



[edit on 28-6-2007 by disownedsky]



posted on Jun, 28 2007 @ 03:28 PM
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We are proving facts, not a debate. If that was the case we would never learn from out textbooks.

You think your gunna hear stories from a random person on the street debunking the Roswell crash in a documentary on the Roswell crash?



Lets make debunking documentaries and throw hub caps in the air and take pictures.

That would be the biggest waste in a network's budget.

These are credible people and they have their credinials to prove it.



posted on Jun, 28 2007 @ 03:50 PM
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Again, these eyewitnesses would have to be lying or stupid and if their not the skeptic is just going on 3rd party heresay based on their "belief" that U.F.O.'s don't or can't exist.

The only other way is to impeach the character of the eyewitness. This means you would show that they are known to lie and make up stories about these things. In this case we have pilots, Presidents, people in the military, police officers, high ranking government officials and well respected people throughout the world.

So in this case I think the skeptic is the true believer because all he or she has is their belief to support their claims. The ufologist has both circumstantial and direct evidence to support theirs, so again the skeptic is the true believer.



posted on Jun, 28 2007 @ 03:58 PM
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One of the prime examples of a debunker hiding behind fallacies is the Klass and CSICOP attempt to explain the Hill Case.

They allege that the Hills copied their idea from a TV show, even though the Hills aliens looked nothing like those on the show...nor could they offer any evidence to support the Hills watched the show or similar shows.

They futher allege that the aliens/craft were from some imported Japanese movie. Well, again they could never show any evidence the Hills saw this movie (and indeed, they'd have to be afficianados of such fare to even find it playing anywhere)...

They ignore the starmap, and write it off, without addressing the sheer statistics of not only matching known (and unknown at the time) stars, but also matching the COLOR of those stars.

A similar problem with Roswell debunkers. The claim that the symbols seen by witnesses were "flowery tape used by a toy company" has never been backed up by actually producing such tape (a task that should be considerably easier than producing saucer wreckage, yet seems equally as impossible)....



posted on Jun, 28 2007 @ 04:14 PM
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Refering to the op, my take is this...


When offering up an extra ordinary claim such as a UFO , its the burdon of the one making such claim(s) to also offer up extra ordinary proof. Its just the nature of the beast. It was once said than any earthbound explaination, no matter how far fetched, is still more probable than an 'other worldly' explaination and I tend to agree.

So, as it seems, when debunking a claim of extra odinary circumstances, all one really needs to do is fashon a somewhat reasonable and worldly explaination thus leaving the burdon of extra ordinary proof on the claim maker. This is human nature really...

However, being a believer, I tend to give more credability than the average nonbeliever but still remain skepticle and use a healthy ammount of worldly common sence when listening to claims of an extra ordinary kind. Personally, I would'nt want it any other way.




[edit on 28-6-2007 by HomeBrew]

[edit on 28-6-2007 by HomeBrew]



posted on Jun, 28 2007 @ 04:32 PM
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Originally posted by HomeBrew

When offering up an extra ordinary claim such as a UFO , its the burdon of the one making such claim(s) to also offer up extra ordinary proof. Its just the nature of the beast.


Ah, but that brings me back to my point that it depends on how open one is as to the nature of reality. I operate from the position that the concept of UFOs (that is, craft being piloted by beings not of Earth as we know it) is not extraordinary at all. I consider the existence of life either on other planets or in other dimensions to be fairly certain. I am as sure of that as I am sure the Earth revolves around the sun. Furthermore, once that is accepted, it is not a far cry to consider the possibility of highly intelligent life beyond our planet. If there is such intelligent life, then again, not a far cry to imagine spacecraft and visitations to other planets which have life on them, like ours.

All of this would be educated guessing if not for evidence, which does exist. Therefore, UFOs seem to be perfectly ordinary, and are probably as mundane and commonplace to their creators and pilots as airplanes are to us. To claim that UFOs have visited Earth is not extraordinary, in my opinion. It seems very logical and was bound to happen at one point or another.

[edit on 28-6-2007 by CrowServo]



posted on Jun, 28 2007 @ 04:46 PM
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Originally posted by CrowServo

Originally posted by HomeBrew

When offering up an extra ordinary claim such as a UFO , its the burdon of the one making such claim(s) to also offer up extra ordinary proof. Its just the nature of the beast.


Ah, but that brings me back to my point that it depends on how open one is as to the nature of reality. I operate from the position that the concept of UFOs (that is, craft being piloted by beings not of Earth as we know it) is not extraordinary at all. I consider the existence of life either on other planets or in other dimensions to be fairly certain. I am as sure of that as I am sure the Earth rotates around the sun. Furthermore, once that is accepted, it is not a far cry to consider the possibility of highly intelligent life beyond our planet. If there is such intelligent life, then again, not a far cry to imagine spacecraft and visitations to other planets which have life on them, like ours.

All of this would be educated guessing if not for evidence, which does exist. Therefore, UFOs seem to be perfectly ordinary, and are probably as mundane and commonplace to their creators and pilots as airplanes are to us. To claim that UFOs have visited Earth is not extraordinary, in my opinion. It seems very logical and was bound to happen at one point or another.



Ah yes, you make a very good point.

However, when making a claim of proof of a ufo(which again, is more unlikely than any worldly explaination according to most), its usually not the 'believers' demanding more proof than required for common reasoning but the nonbelievers. And they are in the majority as it seems. So, even though a claim of a UFO sighting may not be extra ordinary to you or I, the 'debunkers' and nonbelievers will require extra ordinary proof and justly so in my opinion..

And lets not forget, 'reality' is subjective..





[edit on 28-6-2007 by HomeBrew]



posted on Jun, 28 2007 @ 04:53 PM
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Good point,

U.F.O.'s is not an extraordinary claim because you have both direct and circumstantial evidence to back the claim. You have more evidence for U.F.O.'s then their is for black holes. Are black holes an extraordinary claim?

If I were to say that I saw pink tigers flying in my backyard, that would be an extraordinary claim because there's no evidence to support it.



posted on Jun, 28 2007 @ 04:57 PM
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Originally posted by polomontana
Crowservo,

Good post and you make a good point. The evidence that supports ufology is overwhelming. You have both direct and circumstantial evidence.


Ah, yes. But the question remains, evidence of what, exactly? I certainly don't know. Odd things flying around in the sky. Strange entities visiting people in their sleep. Other weird stuff.

Does all that weird stuff add up to ET aliens? Says who? If you intend to push the case that it is evidence of ET, then you better be ready to prove that contention. And that might be difficult, because as of right now, there is ZERO proof of life existing anywhere other than right here on Earth. So you're trying to explain an unknown something with another unproven something. Not the best foundation for your argument to stand on.

Otherwise, we still just have to leave it as a very strange unknown and keep looking for more definitive data.

[edit on 28-6-2007 by SuicideVirus]



posted on Jun, 28 2007 @ 04:59 PM
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Originally posted by polomontana
Good point,

U.F.O.'s is not an extraordinary claim because you have both direct and circumstantial evidence to back the claim. You have more evidence for U.F.O.'s then their is for black holes. Are black holes an extraordinary claim?

If I were to say that I saw pink tigers flying in my backyard, that would be an extraordinary claim because there's no evidence to support it.



Actually, Science has embraced the theroy of black holes and has substantial and scientific proof to back up there claims. UFO's only have a myrid of circumstantial evidence with no real 'tangable' evidence for the common citicen(or non believer) to chew on and demand attention.

This makes believing in black holes much easier for the common man than something they have never seen or tasted any tangable proof of. Yet, I still agree he has a good point with the subjective evidencial part..

Still, I'd love to see your 'direct evidence'!!

[edit on 28-6-2007 by HomeBrew]

[edit on 28-6-2007 by HomeBrew]



posted on Jun, 28 2007 @ 05:02 PM
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Originally posted by SuicideVirus

Originally posted by polomontana
Crowservo,

Good post and you make a good point. The evidence that supports ufology is overwhelming. You have both direct and circumstantial evidence.


Ah, yes. But the question remains, evidence of what, exactly? I certainly don't know. Odd things flying around in the sky. Strange entities visiting people in their sleep. Other weird stuff.

Does all that weird stuff add up to ET aliens? Says who? If you intend to push the case that it is evidence of ET, then you better be ready to prove that contention. And that might be difficult, because as of right now, there is ZERO proof of life existing anywhere other than right here on Earth. So you're trying to explain an unknown something with another unproven something. Not the best foundation for your argument to stand on.

Otherwise, we still just have to leave it as a very strange unknown and keep looking for more definitive data.

[edit on 28-6-2007 by SuicideVirus]


Exactly my point. To the common disbeliever, no ammount of theroy, unsupported claim or sircumstantial evidence is good enough for a substantial claim like ET or UFO's. Even though I believe, I still respect there right for extra ordinary proof(or any kind of proof) or at the very least something scientificly factual..




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