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Frank Drake — Evidence/Data Methodologies In Ufology

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posted on May, 10 2008 @ 12:32 PM
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Good Day Forumerions,

After some inquiries from readers, I decided to republish my correspondence with Dr. Frank Drake:


Dear Mr. Drake,

Back in July a colleague of yours, Seth Shostak debated Stanton Friedman on the idea that some UFOs are indeed ET spacecraft; Friedman took the "pro position" and Shostak of course opposed the notion.

One thing the two men agreed upon was that they both adhered to the concept of “intelligent life existing in the universe.” As the debate progressed Shostak took issue with the evidence that Ufologists in general present for their theorem—this brings me to my question:

It would seem that most of the ideologies presented today from “mainstream Astronomers” e.g., extra-solar planets, rogue planets, black holes etc., are based on “circumstantial evidence”; for example, the idea of “extra-solar planets” is deduced by a “star’s wobble”; my observation, as well as the question, is why the guidelines for Astronomers in regards to evidence is acceptable in “their field” but they won’t apply the same rules to Ufology.

I would certainly appreciate your thoughts on the “evidence or data methodologies” used in Astronomy, and why said methodologies don’t seem to be adequate for Ufology.


The rest of the story . . .




posted on May, 10 2008 @ 07:43 PM
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reply to post by Frank Warren
 


Interesting read. I also read up on your account of the debate between Stanton Friedman and Seth Shostak as I never knew such a thing had ever taken place


Too bad Frank never responded to the second part since you made some very good points. Perhaps that's exactly why he never answered but I would guess it's a combination of that and the fact he probably gets inundated by more "extreme" emails from total UFO whackjobs and his mind is already made up about the subject.

It's frustrating to see how little respect UFOlogy gets from the mainstream scientific community, especially the ones at SETI who's entire premise is based on the exact same core "belief" that intelligent ET life does indeed exist.

...
I think though the one thing some of us Ufologists have to do is take a softer approach with situations like this. Not just in writing polite emails (yours very much was, don't get me wrong), but in really understanding how much we're trying to get someone else to completely change their core beliefs. As much as Scientists like to brag about how fair and objective they are, they really can become just as fundamentalist as anyone else when they've devoted their entire life to something. Friedman is a great debater, but he seems too intent on "winning" the argument rather than inviting Shostak over to just take a look at it from our perspective.

The problem is that no matter how you slice it, the UFO phenomenon - if extra-terrestrial in origin - is obviously not something that is openly trying to be seen in a large capacity. This might be on purpose or just a by-product of advanced technology, but either way you're dealing with something that requires a bit of a leap of faith based on that consequence.

Scientists don't want to take that leap until they can get "repeatable and predictable" observations. But unfortunately we're dealing with something that for the most part seems pretty intent on not making that same "mistake" twice.

The other option I guess is trying to trickle through the overwhelming amount of circumstantial evidence and logic until it becomes a flood the Scientist can no longer ignore - but unfortunately that process usually leads to unanswered emails the second they start to get wet



posted on May, 11 2008 @ 02:33 PM
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Good Day mc_squared,

Thanks for your input.


Originally posted by mc_squared
reply to post by Frank Warren
 


Interesting read. I also read up on your account of the debate between Stanton Friedman and Seth Shostak as I never knew such a thing had ever taken place


Actually Stan has debated Shostak on more then one occasion (3 times if memory serves).


Too bad Frank never responded to the second part since you made some very good points. Perhaps that's exactly why he never answered but I would guess it's a combination of that and the fact he probably gets inundated by more "extreme" emails from total UFO whackjobs and his mind is already made up about the subject.


I was pleased that he responded, and I think it's a safe bet he falls under the "same cognitive bias" that most of mainstream scientists do (with sadness & irony), which is why he chose not to reply to my rebuttal (just when we were getting to the "nitty gritty").

I might add that I also shared and posed similar questions to Jacques (Vallee), and I believe David Grinspoon (Lonely Planets).


It's frustrating to see how little respect UFOlogy gets from the mainstream scientific community, especially the ones at SETI who's entire premise is based on the exact same core "belief" that intelligent ET life does indeed exist....


This is what precipitated my query with Drake; there exists a hypocrisy of grand proportions within SETI pertaining to the methodology used for their work there, and how the rules change for Ufology (for them).


I think though the one thing some of us Ufologists have to do is take a softer approach with situations like this. Not just in writing polite emails (yours very much was, don't get me wrong), but in really understanding how much we're trying to get someone else to completely change their core beliefs. As much as Scientists like to brag about how fair and objective they are, they really can become just as fundamentalist as anyone else when they've devoted their entire life to something. Friedman is a great debater, but he seems too intent on "winning" the argument rather than inviting Shostak over to just take a look at it from our perspective.


I have to respectively disagree; although Stan is an excellent debater, and certainly he prefers to win, it's more "frustration" or perhaps "disgust" that he exhibits with "SETI folk." Being a scientist and then ignoring scientific methodology because of the subject matter is nonsensical. The first step of the latter is "the observation of a phenomena"; expressing a conclusion without investigation "is not scientific!"


The problem is that no matter how you slice it, the UFO phenomenon - if extra-terrestrial in origin - is obviously not something that is openly trying to be seen in a large capacity. This might be on purpose or just a by-product of advanced technology, but either way you're dealing with something that requires a bit of a leap of faith based on that consequence.


Again, I have to respectfully disagree;UFOs (in the verbatim) have been seen throughout human history, and for our concerns predominantly so over the last 60 years. "Faith" doesn't enter the picture within scientific methodology.


Scientists don't want to take that leap until they can get "repeatable and predictable" observations. But unfortunately we're dealing with something that for the most part seems pretty intent on not making that same "mistake" twice.


Although Ufology is a transient phenomenon, "it does repeat" and "patterns do exist"; ignoring it, won't make it go away or make it less corporeal.


The other option I guess is trying to trickle through the overwhelming amount of circumstantial evidence and logic until it becomes a flood the Scientist can no longer ignore - but unfortunately that process usually leads to unanswered emails the second they start to get wet


The flood gates have open since the late '40's, initially instigated by the Air Force (Project Sign). Cognitive bias has been with us always, and generally, it is the "few, or the one" who thinks and does things differently to bring about change.

Sagan said it best:


"In physics, as in much of all science, there are no permanent truths; there is a set of approximations, getting closer and closer, and people must always be ready to revise what has been in the past thought to be the absolute gospel truth."



Cheers,
Frank



posted on May, 11 2008 @ 03:34 PM
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Hi Frank.

It's pretty ironic that Carl Sagan could've said something as poetic as that and yet been such an outspoken critic of all things paranormal and UFO related...

Too bad, because if someone as brilliant as him could've opened his mind a little more things might be very very different today.

Anyway, what I meant by the leap of faith thing is that if UFO's really are ET in origin then they obviously haven't explicitly announced their arrival to us. They at the very least are being discreet about their presence here and so if you are going to begin a scientific investigation to "uncover" the truth (i.e. even take a look at the evidence) - you must accept this as your starting point. Perhaps faith was the wrong word to use there - but the point is, for whatever reason, most scientists seem unable to do that. Hence the "leap" required.

I don't get why that's such a hard thing to do, as it's entirely plausible to speculate there are many reasons why they choose to remain hidden - but the problem is this is where logic seems to fly right out the window and be overtaken by social stigma and stereotype. Conspiracies and cover-ups and blah blah blah...

So if someone is not willing to put aside their bias and at least humor this idea with an open mind - then the only other option I see is to slowly spoon-feed them the evidence until they can begin to accept the possibility.

This process has an amazing track record considering "scientific" examples such as Dr. Hynek or Nick Pope. But unfortunately most scientists don't have the time or the patience (or the guts!) to take this road.



posted on May, 11 2008 @ 04:18 PM
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even if we are being visited they certainly dont want to communiicate with us. So why not try find some who are? setis a long shot but at least they can do usefull research or exploration.

theres not much a scientist can do in the ufo field except write books about past "sightings"



posted on May, 11 2008 @ 09:31 PM
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reply to post by yeti101
 


If conventional science took Ufology more seriously it would do way more than just sell books.

Merely holding the phenomenon up to true professional scrutiny would help bring it much farther out into the mainstream so when important current sightings such as Stephenville or O'Hare occur, they are not just quickly swept under the rug and written off as too crazy to be true.

It would bring stronger credibility to the whole field and probably further reveal many more interesting observations. Even if all it did was conclusively debunk certain cases - all the better, because it helps bring us that much closer to the truth, whatever it may be.

...and even if all it did was sell books - that's still a good thing, because the more people that read them - the better.

Especially when those books are based on science and critical (rather than wishful) thinking.



posted on May, 11 2008 @ 09:52 PM
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Hiyah Frank...

I enjoyed this thread and reading your arguments which were great by the way, very logical and also very overwhelming for Mr. Drake I would imagine.

I think as you do, that they dismiss this sort of argument out of hand due to the topic. Most people I am sure don't even know how many times these objects have been tracked on radar, pursued by many country's air forces etc.

I figured he'd at least come back with, "Where are these radar printouts, show me.." etc.

It still puzzles me that people like Drake and Sagan, while he was alive, who believe(d) that there is probably intelligent life out there, are so close minded about accepting the next step, which is, that intelligent life might be visiting us. If it MIGHT be out there, then how can they not figure that it MIGHT be visiting our planet?

I just don't get it. But great thread, starred and flagged, a very interesting read, thanks!



posted on May, 12 2008 @ 03:25 AM
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reply to post by mc_squared
 


how was ohare or stephenville swept under the rug? i think youll find they had zero evidence to work with apart from the usual "eye witness testimony" what can the science community do with that? NOTHING

why would any serious scientist waste their time in a filed that is 90% misidentified terestrial objects? thats a high noise to signal ratio.

Most scientists want to make a meanigfull contributiuon to their field and ufology does not offer that. Who is going to fund them?

also you might want to look at the current ufologists and what they do. At leats seti has managed to raise the money for their own dedicated telescope array. Why hasnt the ufo community done the same thing? Or do you think standing in your back garden waiting for a flying saucer is just as good?

It seems to me ufologists dont even take ufology seriously.

[edit on 12-5-2008 by yeti101]



posted on May, 12 2008 @ 04:06 AM
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Originally posted by yeti101
reply to post by mc_squared
 


how was ohare or stephenville swept under the rug? i think youll find they had zero evidence to work with apart from the usual "eye witness testimony" what can the science community do with that? NOTHING


O'Hare: multiple, highly CREDIBLE witnesses - accounts of the object leaving behind a hole in the overcast. Science includes psychologists and meteorologists, so by all means invite some of them over to explain why all these people would lie or what sort of weather phenomenon could account for this. Nobody takes it seriously enough to even bother.

Stephenville: 100's of witnesses, videos, photos, not to mention the "craft" supposedly hung around the area for months - plenty of time for someone to come down, set up shop, sniff around and at least look for a conventional explanation. Sagan said "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" then by all means - find me an ordinary claim!




why would any serious scientist waste their time in a filed that is 90% misidentified terestrial objects? thats a high noise to signal ratio.


Because the remaining 10% could lead to the most important discovery in human history. Also - what's the noise to signal ratio for SETI?? right...100%



At leats seti has managed to raise the money for their own dedicated telescope array. Why hasnt the ufo community done the same thing?



Originally posted by yeti101
Who is going to fund them?



posted on May, 12 2008 @ 07:52 AM
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Stephenville: 100's of witnesses, videos, photos, not to mention the "craft" supposedly hung around the area for months -


lol if the craft hung around for months wtf were the ufologists doing? were they too busy to investigate? that story has grown arms & legs already and its not even a few months old. The only video i seen was a dot of light at 1fps, could be anything.


whos is going to fund them?


How is seti funded? not by the gvt its competely funded by the people who are interested in this fields. Your saying there arnt enough people interested in ufos to raise money?

Maybe if some of your ufologists donated their profits from the books they sell to the gullible or the $800 a time training sessions you might get somehwere. All i see is poeple trying to make money from believers.


what's the noise to signal ratio for SETI?? right...100%


wrong, seti is doing real deep space exploration where even a null result is significant. And everyday they explore new parts of space furthering our knowledge of the universe. (seti does conventional radio astronomy with the equipment too)


Science includes psychologists and meteorologists, so by all means invite some of them over to explain why all these people would lie or what sort of weather phenomenon could account for this.


then what? write it down and say they dont know what it is? in 60 years we dont have 1 clear photo of an alien spaceship despite supposedly thousands of sightings. Some might conclude they dont exist at all...


[edit on 12-5-2008 by yeti101]



posted on May, 12 2008 @ 01:27 PM
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reply to post by yeti101
 


yeti you are completely missing the point of this thread. Yes they should investigate it even if they write down they don't know what it is. When researchers in the 19th century began to discover that light traveled at the same speed in any reference frame did they just shrug their shoulders and move on because it didn't make any sense? No - they wrote it down, so that later someone like Einstein could come along and use that information to turn everything we know about physics on it's head.

True UFOlogy is not about the black and white of believers vs. non-believers. I don't care for either one, and you clearly seem to fall into one of these categories. The point is there has been a phenomenon on this planet for decades that is very real, that NO ONE has been able to produce a satisfactory explanation for. Not skeptics, nor believers alike.

There is a giant gray area in this field that would do wonders to be referee-ed a little more by mainstream science. And while there are many UFOlogists doing excellent serious work in this industry, there's also a hella lot more scam artists who tarnish everyone's reputation by exploiting it.

And the one pattern that keeps reoccuring over and over and frickin' over again is everytime a UFOlogist does bring some serious research to the table and makes some valid points, it is completely dismissed by science, by the government, by the FAA, by mainstream media - by anyone like you who has already made up their mind about the subject. That's exactly what happened here between Mr. Warren and Mr. Drake.

Nobody on this thread is screaming "OMG!! ALIENS!!! WAKE UP to the TRUTH!!!! give me $800 to learn HOW!!". We're just wondering why it gets so easily (almost suspisciously) dismissed when there's compelling evidence involved.

And there IS tons of compelling evidence - no it's not proof, if it were none of us would need to be here. But it's enough to certainly make the case for further investigation.

Take your beloved SETI for example - are they sitting around waiting for one day where they get a voice from Sirius B saying "Our tenth caller will win tickets to Supertramp!"? No - they investigate every potential signal to see if it's a hoax or has a natural explanation or is maybe something more. When they do get an interesting result - they take it to OTHER SOURCES to confirm it. How would you feel if every time someone got emailed a "wow" signal they just didn't bother responding because...well...I mean...like - c'mon...aliens are trying to talk to us?? hahaha...yeah right! freak.

Anyway, believe whatever you wanna believe - but your conviction over this topic only serves to prove my point.



posted on May, 12 2008 @ 01:56 PM
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looks theres plenty of people and organisations who log "sightings" and have been doing it for years. What exactly do you want? Theres already been major investigations from uk, french, american governments.

it comes down to resources. Investigating ufos is at the bottom of the list

[edit on 12-5-2008 by yeti101]



posted on May, 12 2008 @ 02:29 PM
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reply to post by yeti101
 


What I want is to erase this stigma that Ufology is only for crazy people and irrational thinkers.

I want official government investigations like Blue Book to not announce "case closed" when they leave hundreds of incidents unexplained and their own lead investigators convinced something else is going on. I want the FAA not to threaten their own people to keep quiet. I want Frank Drake to answer his emails.

I want to know what the hell is going on that so many people feel the need to refuse to talk about it and just ridicule anyone else who does.

Nobody needs any resources to admit something like "I don't know". But the amount of effort some people put into demeaning a subject they know (or pretend to know) so little about makes me wonder about it that much more.



posted on May, 12 2008 @ 03:49 PM
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Mornin' MC,


Originally posted by mc_squared
Hi Frank.

It's pretty ironic that Carl Sagan could've said something as poetic as that and yet been such an outspoken critic of all things paranormal and UFO related...

Too bad, because if someone as brilliant as him could've opened his mind a little more things might be very very different today.


Sagan wasn't always "anti-UFO"; in fact just the opposite early on; that said he was also very ambitious and extremely smart; the "old blood" at Harvard, MIT and later Cornell would not embrace the ideologies of a man who dared to suggest that there was not only life in the universe, but it in fact was here flying around in exotic craft.


Anyway, what I meant by the leap of faith thing is that if UFO's really are ET in origin then they obviously haven't explicitly announced their arrival to us.


One thing in general that the FOIA (amongst other things) has done is provide evidence that the government, i.e. the "powers-that-be" have not been forthright with the American public about UFOs; most would agree that the PTB are "more aware" of what goes on with our visitors then the citizenry; with that in mind, perhaps there has been an announcement.


They at the very least are being discreet about their presence here and so if you are going to begin a scientific investigation to "uncover" the truth (i.e. even take a look at the evidence) - you must accept this as your starting point. Perhaps faith was the wrong word to use there - but the point is, for whatever reason, most scientists seem unable to do that. Hence the "leap" required.


Many would argue that "they," aren't being discreet; UFOs were seen in masses off both coasts in 1941; the UFO, re the "Battle of Los Angeles" was witnessed by ten's of thousands. In 1947 UFOs were seen in nearly all the states in the country, and all over the world. In 1952 they flew over the White House for 2 weeks, and there have been several "flaps" since then, etc.

The "starting point," as with all scientific investigation is the "observation, or awareness of a phenomenon"; all are in agreement that this takes place--the very essence of science dictates investigation--to make assumptions, or speculate without invoking scientific method is nonsensical.



I don't get why that's such a hard thing to do, as it's entirely plausible to speculate there are many reasons why they choose to remain hidden - but the problem is this is where logic seems to fly right out the window and be overtaken by social stigma and stereotype. Conspiracies and cover-ups and blah blah blah...


Bingo!


So if someone is not willing to put aside their bias and at least humor this idea with an open mind - then the only other option I see is to slowly spoon-feed them the evidence until they can begin to accept the possibility.


Yahtzee!


This process has an amazing track record considering "scientific" examples such as Dr. Hynek or Nick Pope. But unfortunately most scientists don't have the time or the patience (or the guts!) to take this road.


The process does have an amazing track record; however, one can't use Nick as a "scientific example."

On the other hand some of the brightest minds this country (and others) have worked on this thing we call Ufology; names like, Bradbury, Teller, Reines, Hoyt, Manley etc., it wasn't always the way it is today . . .

Cheers,
Frank



posted on May, 12 2008 @ 03:58 PM
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Good Day yeti101,


Originally posted by yeti101
even if we are being visited they certainly dont want to communiicate with us.


You base this on . . . ?


So why not try find some who are? setis a long shot but at least they can do usefull research or exploration.


One doesn't have to conflict with other.


theres not much a scientist can do in the ufo field except write books about past "sightings"


This statement is nonsensical, to be polite.

Cheers,
Frank



posted on May, 12 2008 @ 04:07 PM
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Greetings LateApexer313!


Originally posted by LateApexer313
Hiyah Frank...

I enjoyed this thread and reading your arguments which were great by the way, very logical and also very overwhelming for Mr. Drake I would imagine.


Thanks for the kind words! I don't imagine Drake was overwhelmed, I read it as "his mind being made up" (sadly).


I think as you do, that they dismiss this sort of argument out of hand due to the topic. Most people I am sure don't even know how many times these objects have been tracked on radar, pursued by many country's air forces etc.


"Cognitive bias" exists in all levels of society, even where we think it can't!


I figured he'd at least come back with, "Where are these radar printouts, show me.." etc.


Wouldn't that have been nice . . ..


It still puzzles me that people like Drake and Sagan, while he was alive, who believe(d) that there is probably intelligent life out there, are so close minded about accepting the next step, which is, that intelligent life might be visiting us. If it MIGHT be out there, then how can they not figure that it MIGHT be visiting our planet?


With Drake, I'm not to sure; however, I believe there was more to Sagan, then just being "close-minded."


I just don't get it. But great thread, starred and flagged, a very interesting read, thanks!



Thank you!

Cheers,
Frank



posted on May, 12 2008 @ 04:32 PM
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yeti101,


Originally posted by yeti101
reply to post by mc_squared
 


how was ohare or stephenville swept under the rug? i think youll find they had zero evidence to work with apart from the usual "eye witness testimony" what can the science community do with that? NOTHING


In regards to O'Hare, an unidentified aircraft was in class b airspace in the second largest airport in this country in a post 911 world, and was witnessed and reported by people in the "identified flying object" business, i,e. pilots, airplane mechanics and other airport personnel. This was immediately reported to the tower, and to the FAA, as it should have been for the safety of all concerned; the FAA initially lied about the incident, and the airport put a gag order on the witnesses, "sweeping it under the rug" is a "mild description" of what happened!

Eye witness testimony can put someone in jail, and or take their life away; moreover it is the very first step in scientific investigation (observation of a phenomena). That said, there certainly was more then the latter in both cases.



why would any serious scientist waste their time in a filed that is 90% misidentified terestrial objects? thats a high noise to signal ratio.


You're kidding!? How many civilizations has SETI discovered in 50 years? Are "they" wasting their time?


Most scientists want to make a meanigfull contributiuon to their field and ufology does not offer that. Who is going to fund them?


A "meaningful contribution" isn't received by one's respective field, it's given! The caliber of the offering is dependent on the individual in any field.


also you might want to look at the current ufologists and what they do. At leats seti has managed to raise the money for their own dedicated telescope array. Why hasnt the ufo community done the same thing? Or do you think standing in your back garden waiting for a flying saucer is just as good?


The first Ufologists in this country was the US military, and those assets far outweighed anything SETI has received to date.


It seems to me ufologists dont even take ufology seriously.


I certainly can see where the layperson might get that impression.

[edit on 12-5-2008 by yeti101]

Cheers,
Frank



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