posted on Feb, 23 2009 @ 11:22 AM
It is really hard to prove things, and even harder to disprove things entirely. There's a distinction between math proof and scientific proof. Math
proof is, in some respects, easier to quantify than scientific proof, because a statement has to be true in all cases. To disprove a math proof
someone has to show a single example where the proof is no longer true.
With scientific proof, a theory or hypothesis is proposed and then evidence is checked to see whether it holds true and the conclusions support the
hypothesis. Ideally scientific evidence should be gathered so the biases and methods used to collect that data are transparent, and published. That
means peers can check the methods used to collect the evidence, the references, and check for themselves. Science has its roots in natural
philosophy; the idea that nature could be studied objectively and natural solutions could be found. Science is a term that wasn't used until the 19th
The problem with dealing with people is that the evidence we produce is not reliable. Modern statistics, not political statistics, often concerns
itself with trying to work out whether there are problems with the way things are measured. There is a lot of scope for problems. For instance; a
poll asking people how optimistic they feel – but the poll only asks people on Mondays. People could rightly point out that people may feel more
optimistic later in the week. There are many places errors like that can slip in. In medicine they use double blind randomised controlled trials to
try and avoid bias. They show the lengths needed to go to reach a conclusion about something when measuring people. Even then it's difficult, and
things can go wrong.
And the same applies to personal experience.
I once saw what I assumed to be some kind of secret aircraft or test flight – but if I believed in aliens visiting earth I would say I saw an alien
Both explanations could be wrong.
I'd been partying hard that night. It could have been an ordinary plane casting a shadow on a cloud. I could have dreamt it, and the large amounts
of alcohol messed with my head. Someone could have put '___' in my drink.
I think those are unlikely. I saw a UFO. I don't think it was alien though. Just because I'm unfamiliar with an aircraft's flight
characteristics doesn't lead me to the conclusion of aliens. What I think is likely is irrelevant when it comes to proof. It could have been alien.
In order to convince people I'd seen anything, let alone aliens, the evidence would have to be transparent. I would have describe the time,
location, direction, how many drinks I'd drunk, and provide quality photographic evidence. Even then I shouldn't be believed. I could have made it
up. I could have photographed something with a natural explanation. I could have Photoshopped it.
If there were multiple witnesses, I'd expect people to believe I'd seen something, and nothing more. What biases do the witnesses have? Who
are they? I'd expect the same level of scrutiny to be applied to them. After all: They could be my friends – whose to say it's not a hoax? Or
for profit? Or that we all religiously believe in alien UFOs, and would therefore be more likely to say so?
I think a reliable witness is a myth and that all witnesses should be scrutinised equally. I don't think people are liars, or generally bad people,
but we all get stuff wrong, all of us.
For me, the most convincing cases are when witnesses say they don't know what they saw. They are less biased than observers who believe in alien
UFOs. Many people who believe in alien UFOs search for things that confirm their theories, and disregard evidence to the contrary. That is wrong
thing to do when searching for the truth. It's very difficult to be objective – that's why science evolved (and it's not perfect, because it
Check everything, trust nothing, be sceptical.
[edit on 23-2-2009 by jackphotohobby]