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The Skeptics Dilemma

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posted on Mar, 21 2009 @ 03:23 PM
reply to post by Phage

OK. But what exactly constitutes a "report of independent verification of any physical evidence" in your opinion, and who would make it? Also, when this report is offered to you, why would you choose to believe it, rather than the hundreds of 'eyewitness accounts' you mention. Whatever report is made to you would be hearsay and you would have to choose to believe or not.

[edit on 21-3-2009 by Malcram]

posted on Mar, 21 2009 @ 03:37 PM
reply to post by Malcram

I would consider an examination of physical (or other) evidence, published in a scientific journal subject to peer review, as a good start. There would have to be more than one study of the evidence. I would like to be able to read the reports and critical analysis by others in the field before arriving at my own conclusions.

One of the main reasons I like ATS is because the things I see here often cause me to look into things I otherwise probably wouldn't. I have and, for as long as I can remember, have had a scientific outlook. I know that some people reject scientific method but I think it has proven to be a good way of sorting things out, later if not sooner.

[edit on 3/21/2009 by Phage]

posted on Mar, 21 2009 @ 03:48 PM
There is nothing wrong with skepticism. A skeptic is somebody who does not accept a claim at face value, but investigates it thoroughly before they arrive at a judgement which is consistent with the data. We are all skeptics in a sense, only a skeptic will put that extra bit of effort in. Unfortunately, there are pseudoskeptics, and sorry to say but they are teeming at this forum, who will not put any effort in. For this brand of skeptic if its not available on google, then it does not matter. They are not really skeptics they are just doubters, and they doubt because its easy - "I saw a UFO" - "no you didn't" "My lab reports show trace evidence" - "no they didn't"

Sorry to say but these pseudoskeptics really ruin the atmosphere of this forum which is suppose to encourage open discussion and deny ignorance. But all I've seen these pseudoskeptics do is embrace ignorance. Openly attack people, call people stupid, deluded or what have you. Perhaps, there should be a forum policy against these people. I assure you it does affect peoples enjoyment of this forum.

Just a thought on the OP's point on the ETI hypothesis. I agree with the OP, ETI is definitely a possible hypothesis in our known world. Science does not at all disagree that the possibility of their being ETI is extremely likely, so likely that there not being ETI is extremely unlikely. In fact it is so unlikely it is taken seriously by governments in the world. There is such thing called exopolitics which deals inter-galactic policies. There are, as probably discussed before, contingency policies in the world on ET related events. And of course the possibility of ET is clearly reinforced by the UFO phenomenon which any Ufologist worth their title will know extends back thousands of years. There are many cultures in the world which take ET to be self-evident, even in ancient cultures. Therefore, ETI is not extraordinary at all, it is very much ordinary and thus is a hypothesis that can be etertained by a skeptic to explain UFO's etc. If a skeptic finds that no other explanation fits the data, then they must use the ETI explanation.

[edit on 21-3-2009 by Indigo_Child]

posted on Mar, 21 2009 @ 07:56 PM

Originally posted by Phage
reply to post by Malcram

I would consider an examination of physical (or other) evidence, published in a scientific journal subject to peer review, as a good start. There would have to be more than one study of the evidence. I would like to be able to read the reports and critical analysis by others in the field before arriving at my own conclusions.

Hi Phage.

OK. However we seem to have moved a long way from your original requirement for proof of simply "touching [an E.T] or by means of similarly extraordinary evidence." Considerably more 'bells and whistles' have been added to your requirements by you since that first post, which even at the time I said I thought rather extreme, especially considering the great quantity of various types of evidence available to us already, our ability to reason and to interpret the clear and inexorable pattern emerging from it and the fact that, IMO, such evidence is usually sufficient to have any (other) theory become generally accepted as "true" in a much shorter timeframe (but that's another issue entirely).

And for each new elevation of the bar in your posts I pointed out that such evidence you said would be required to constitute "proof" already existed. Each time you said it wasn't quite enough somehow and raised the bar again. I accept that you were probably just expanding on something that was phrased very poorly in your first post here, rather than being deliberately difficult and simply changing your requirements whenever it was pointed out that they had already been met been met and such "proof" already existed.

So, we'll take it from the requirements as stated in your latest post.

MarrsAttax has already provided links to the following evidence in this thread but as he pointed out it was, as usual, ignored by those who asked for it. Anyway, I have him to thank for drawing the following to my attention.

You said that for "extraordinary evidence" to serve as legitimate proof: "there must be independent verification of any physical evidence." I asked you exactly what you meant by that and you replied "examination of physical (or other) evidence, published in a scientific journal subject to peer review" With that in mind - and thanks again to MarrsAttax for his research - perhaps the following will accommodate the latest clarification of your requirements and might be of interest.

The following is from the Society for Scientific Exploration. You can check their credentials here. The Society has a peer-reviewed journal in which the following reports appeared.

Return to Trans-en-Provence


Report of the Alalysis of Anomalous Physical Traces: The 1981 Trans-en-Provence UFO case.

They discuss the sighting and subsequent scientific investigations of the sighting of a double saucer shaped craft that the witness said landed in a French field in 1981 and left ring like traces on the ground as physical evidence. Their conclusions validated the witnesses testimony.

I think such reports are, as you say, a "good start".

[edit on 21-3-2009 by Malcram]

posted on Mar, 21 2009 @ 08:47 PM
reply to post by Malcram

Now you guys sound like you are getting somewhere.

If there are actually peer reveiewed journals then it moves the discussion into those academic realms, where for better or worse, more credibility develops.

I was unaware of that information and haven't checked it out for myself, but if true, is a boost for this paradugm.

It is a sad thing indeed when people do discover artifactual evidence and the rest of the community they belong to simply dismisses it off hand. This is exactly what I think you guys were talking about while characterizing "psuedo skepticism".

A couple of people addressed the issue about "extraordinary" evidence. They seem to show clearly that at least THEY aren't looking for anything special that would be outside the framework of normal evidence.

These are honest people talking back to you.

So now, where do we go with it?

posted on Mar, 21 2009 @ 09:04 PM
reply to post by akalepos

Where do we go with it? Well, I've been reading ATS for a couple of years now and my experience tells me we go nowhere LOL. The evidence is often ignored. If it is not ignored it is dismissed. If it is not completely dismissed it is seriously downplayed. So, I have no high hopes. But maybe I'm just getting cynical in my old age.

posted on Mar, 21 2009 @ 09:25 PM
reply to post by Malcram

I disagree that I have raised the bar. I point out again that I originally enclosed the word touched in quotation marks. My intended meaning was figurative. I did not mean that it was required that I touch an ET, but that there was touchable (physical) evidence. You subsequently asked me to be more specific about what I think constitutes extraordinary evidence and I have done so.

Regarding the Trans-en-Provence report. Thanks for the link, it's a good read. First, let it be pointed out that the Journal of Scientific exploration is not exactly the sort of journal that I had in mind but this investigation and report are very thorough and I won't dispute its accuracy. According to the eyewitness report, the sighting was brief. As the report points out, there is a discrepancy between the drawing by the witness and the description. The soils reports indicate that the marks on the ground in the area where the witness said the object landed were probably caused by the impact "shock" of an object.

The report concludes that the eyewitness report is "generally consistent". This says nothing about the validity of the report. As I've stated, eyewitness reports are not extraordinary evidence.

There were marks on the ground but soil samples only indicate an impact and some heating, there are no foreign substances found in the samples. Something made the marks but there is nothing which constitutes extraordinary evidence in support of the ET hypothesis.

It is difficult for me to understand how an object, shaped as described by the witness could have made those marks. The dimensions of the object were that of an oblate sphere (with "feet"). The marks on the ground are circular and roughly the same diameter as the object. Unless the object penetrated the ground to the depth of its horizontal axis, how could its perimeter have created the impressions via the "mechanical effects" described in the analysis? There is no indication that the object sunk that deeply (.85 meters) into the ground, nor are there any marks from the "feet". The report seems to bypass this part of the incident. This seems odd to me. A correlation between the shape of the object and the marks it is alleged to have left does not seem to exist.

[edit on 3/21/2009 by Phage]

posted on Mar, 21 2009 @ 10:05 PM
What does extraordinary evidence mean?

Is there an objective definition as to what constitutes extraordinary evidence or is this just like Burger King and you can have it your way?

Does parallel universes require extraordinary evidence?
Does what constitutes dark matter/energy require etraordinary evidence?
Does coming the the conclusion that the universe is a quantum computer require extraordinary evidence?
Does the holographic principle require extraordinary evidence?

Debating extraordinary evidence is like debating rather Santa is from the North Pole or not.

When someone says they require extraordinary evidence their basically saying that unless a visitor lands in their front yard they will always be able to say the evidence could mean this or it could mean that.

That goes without question. Of course there could be another explanation but things within ufology require evidence just like anything else in order to build a hypothesis and weigh it within reason.

The extraordinary evidence is just nonsense. Nobody is claiming that the ET hypothsis is General Relativity.

You don't need extraordinary evidence to build a hypothesis and weigh it with in reason. What in the world does extraordinary evidence mean anyway?


If there's no way to determine wether the eyewitness account is more likely or less likely to be true we better throw out court cases, police investigations, the scientific method, investigative reporting and more.

Of course there's away to determine these things and it's called "REASON."

We use it everyday.

So if a guy who is known to make up stories and he just got out of a mental ward says he saw these things vs a pilot, police officer or say an astronaut says he saw these things, we can weigh the credibility of the person making the eyewitness account.

We do this all the time.

You can't make blanket statements like all of these people are lying or delusional so eyewitness accounts mean nothing when we use them in all walks of life.

That doesn't make much sense.

There's more than enough evidence to build the ET or the extra-dimensional hypothesis to explain these things, you don't need extraordinary evidence (whatever that means).

Here's a few things:

The following presents a statistical analysis of data found in 3,189 reports involving observations of anomalous phenomena or objects on or near the ground resulting in physical effects generated by the unknown objects observed. These events took place in 91 countries between 1490 and 2006. There are hundreds of additional reports of possible trace sites which do not involve the observation of a UFO. All but the most significant of these events have been removed from the primary files and located in a secondary catalog.The analysis permits certain regularities of these phenomena to be brought out. The data indicates there is a certain type of phenomenon which shows stable statistical properties.

Very interesting link about some of the trace evidence.

Robert Hasting wrote a book called UFO and Nukes

posted on Mar, 22 2009 @ 06:47 AM

Originally posted by platosallegory
What does extraordinary evidence mean?

As you can see right from the beginning of this thread it's definition is extremely flexible, even for one person, it can change every time you ask them.

For some, "extraordinary evidence" is any evidence they think you don't have yet. If it turns out you do have it, well that's not actually what they meant when they said "extraordinary evidence" despte the fact that they previously said it was, what they actually meant was some other evidence, evidence that you don't have. Until you do have it. Then, apparently, that won't actually be what they meant either and won't actually be "extraordinary" enough. Never quite extraordinary enough.

It's like a customer going into a shop crammed with goods and looking around to see what the shop does not have in stock and when he's satisfied he has identified something that is not there, he asks the Shopkeeper for it. That requested item becomes their "extraordinary evidence". The shopkeeper then reaches down below the counter and says, "Of course sir, here you go" and the customer has to quickly rethink his strategy and so says "Oh no, that won't do at all.". "But you just asked for it" replies the Shopkeeper. "Yes but, I need that item in shocking pink, with mother of pearl spots, crafted by elves and sent back from the future, that's obviously what I meant when I asked for it, and nothing else will quite be "extraordinary" enough!". "Yes sir" Sighs the shopkeeper as he pulls this exact item from the storecupboard. "Oh, did I say crafted by elves?' adds the customer, "I meant, sylphs."

What I am getting at is - some people are just awkward customers LOL. Some poeple will never be satisfied. And "extraordinary evidence" can be used as an excuse for that tendency to deny at all costs and to ignore the mountain of credible evidence that is available and avoid having to reason on it and come to the inevitable conclusion. This is all delayed in favour of waiting for some ever changing "extraordinary evidence" that is surprisingly always just out of reach, just over the hill, just over the rainbow. In some case it seems that "extraordinary evidence" actually means the point at which some people will have absolutely no possible room to deny any more - their favourite pastime - but they would prefer to wait until that very last moment rather than reason on the evidence before that point, acknowledge the starkly obvious, and have to give up their favorite pastime. These people are as unreasonable as those who believe every reflection in a window is ET coming for them.

Now I know my saying this, hot on the heels of Phage having posted his responses here might seem as if I am directly targeting him. Actually I'm not. I'm commenting on a widespread trend I observe very frequently at ATS and elsewhere and the comments by many members in this and many other threads regarding "extraordinary evidence". I'm just describing a certain "glass slipper", whichever pseudo-skeptic Cinderellas it fits can wear it.

[edit on 22-3-2009 by Malcram]

posted on Mar, 22 2009 @ 10:39 AM
Good point about extraordinary evidence. It is a rather dubious definition, because what is extraordinary will vary from person to person.
This kind of reasoning is called a null-hypothesis and it is a fallacy. A null hypothesis is one where somebody arbiters a worldview in which only a limited amount of phenomena is possible, and thus everything that happens outside cannot possibly have happened, and if it did, it needs "extraordinary evidence" and again this is arbitrary itself. Hence one could rightfully dismiss this kind of reasoning as fallacious.

Just a thought on 'peer reviews' This is another kind of fallacious reasoning which appeals to authority. Simply put, if such and such organization/body does not agree with something, then it does not exist. I see often that pseudoskeptics will say, "Well, it's not in a prestigious scientific journal, it's not agreed upon by scientists, therefore it is not evidence" this kind of reasoning too can be rightfully dismissed as fallacious. The irony is, some UFO/paranormal articles are published in scientific journals, but the pseudoskeptic will dismiss these anyway, either saying "the journal is not prestigious enough" or "the journal has lost its mind by including the article"

Recently, a very official and high level report on quantum and psychic teleportation was commissioned by USAF, demanding funds in terms of millions of dollars for research. Rather than the pseudoskeptics taking note of such research getting such a mainstream nod, they complain about taxpayers money being wasted in pseudoscience. It's the same situation with UN drafting exo-policies for intergalactic diplomacy, rather than the pseudoskeptic taking note of such an official and mainstream body acknowledging ET so strongly, they complain why such undertakings are taking place. All of this would be called by some "extraordinary evidence" but to the pseudoskeptic it is all null. Therefore, there really is no evidence whatsoever that even qualifies as evidence for a pseudoskeptic, short of actually witnessing UFO/paranormal themselves.

[edit on 22-3-2009 by Indigo_Child]

posted on Mar, 22 2009 @ 11:30 AM

Originally posted by Phage
There were marks on the ground but soil samples only indicate an impact and some heating, there are no foreign substances found in the samples.

Heating was not confirmed, as there was no attempt to compare calcite crystals to naturally occurring terrain in the area or cement.

There is no indication that the object sunk that deeply (.85 meters) into the ground,...

Where did you get that figure? That was the maximum length (.8 m), not the depth! The marks are very shallow, entirely consistent with skid marks from a vehicle doing a U-turn.

I could post a link to a 13 page analysis paper pointing out all the mistakes and exaggeration in J-J Velasco's report (he's not a scientist BTW), but it's all in French.

posted on Mar, 22 2009 @ 11:37 AM
Is a bogus skeptic a believer or a non-believer?
Is there such a thing as a bogus skeptic?
It would appear that the term is self contradictory.
Extra-ordinary evidence is not required for ET, just something more convincing than what we have.
What do we call people who believe in ET after reviewing just one or two spurious cases, a bogus believer?
Where do we draw the line?

posted on Mar, 22 2009 @ 11:54 AM
reply to post by nablator

You could be right about the heating. I re-read the report. The analysis says this

The soil has been fractured on either side of this silex, possibly under a combination of mechanical and thermal action.
It's a bit vague but it doesn't seem to be conclusive about heating.

I was trying to figure out how the object (as described) could have made the mark. The .85 m figure is half the reported thickness of the object. For the mark to be made by the perimeter of the object, the object would have had to have been sunken to that depth into the ground.

posted on Mar, 22 2009 @ 12:00 PM
I do understand and accept your point about people who ask for better evidence and then raise the bar so that any evidence presented doesn't quite meet the standard. I've met some of them here, and other places.

However, there's another side to the story, in my opinion. There are people who, although they are not entirely believers or skeptics, have been asking for the same type of evidence all along, since the beginning, and it's never been provided.

In many respects, many UFO sightings have much in common with other paranormal and cryptozoological sightings. The line between "spirit" orbs and "UFO" orbs is unclear, and seems to be getting fuzzier all the time. In fact, it begins to seem that whether an orb is a ghost or an ET probe depends on whether it is a ghost hunter or a UFO hunter observing it!

UFOs share other characteristics of the paranormal, one of the primary ones being their apparent ability to change shape, size, and density as well as appear and disappear. UFOs have been reported to be connected to Bigfoot and ABC's (alien big cats) as well as other anomalous critters like the Flatwoods monster, which would obviously be categorized as part of the bigfoot-mothman-dover demon-bray road beast family if not for the presence of the UFO "craft" during the episode.

I agree that UFOs are something. That is to say, they aren't mass hysteria, imagination, crazy people, lies, fiction, or all hoaxes. They are a real phenomenon. However, I see little evidence to separate many UFO sightings from other paranormal sightings, and that makes it rather difficult to accept the ETH as being the most likely explanation, unless I should also decide that ghosts, mothman, the Jersey Devil, hellhounds, ABC's, etc. are also extraterrestrial.

I would like to see some fairly definite evidence that conclusively separates UFOs from these other phenomena and clearly points to them being extraterrestrial as opposed to paranormal. For example, test results from part of a craft which show it to be composed of physical substances or compounds not found on Earth. Or a DNA sample which is clearly different from Earth DNA. Or even a live alien who points to a star in the sky and says "that's where I'm from."

I know there are accounts from abductees and contactees which claim an ET origin, but even many respected UFO researchers shy away from those, especially contactees, because some of them are obviously hoaxes or other things which are more a manifestation of the human brain (sleep paralysis, false memories, hallucinations, etc.) and it becomes very difficult to draw a line between "genuine" abductions and Blossoms or Billys.

I/we are not asking for extraordinary evidence that UFOs exist, or that they are not all hoaxes, lies, figments of imagination, or misidentified natural phenomena. What we are asking for is any kind of definitive evidence that sets them apart from other paranormal phenomena and points to an extraterrestrial origin.

I can agree that many top-flight UFO reports show intelligent control of the observed UFO. However, many other paranormal things and entities show intelligence also, so this is not an adequate dividing line. UFOs sometimes leave physical traces; but so do some "ghosts," bigfoots, ABC's, and "demonic" entities. UFOs and their occupants can affect physical objects and make changes - so can poltergeists. UFOs affect electrical fields, kill batteries, and cause lights to flicker - so do ghosts.

I know that some of you will be outraged by this post, but I wish you'd step aside from your ETH for a moment and look at the other side objectively. Many UFO reports have more in common with what the average person would expect from a report of something paranormal than what they would expect from a report of a physical alien spaceship manned by intelligent EBE's.

I suggest that some ETH believers are just as closed-minded as the debunkers, and are unwilling to consider the evidence that points to UFOs being another type of paranormal phenomenon rather than ETs visiting from another planet. Their claims that skeptics require "extraordinary" evidence or are looking for 100% absolute proof before weighing the evidence are denial just as much as the debunker's refusal to consider that a bright white light in the sky isn't just Venus or a human black ops project.

posted on Mar, 22 2009 @ 12:13 PM

Originally posted by Indigo_Child
Just a thought on 'peer reviews' This is another kind of fallacious reasoning which appeals to authority. Simply put, if such and such organization/body does not agree with something, then it does not exist. I see often that pseudoskeptics will say, "Well, it's not in a prestigious scientific journal, it's not agreed upon by scientists, therefore it is not evidence" this kind of reasoning too can be rightfully dismissed as fallacious.

Indeed. And just because certain scientific journals don't publish that many (or any) reports of such ET/UFO investigations does not mean that the investigations were not done, or that they were not carried out to a very high standard, or that they did not come to conclusions which validate the ET/UFO hypothesis. It simply means they weren't published.

Prejudice often prevents reports and papers from being published.

Further, I contend that the scientific community habitually ignores the evidence that is there and fails to investigate in most cases because few scientists want to be labeled as "UFO nuts". They are afraid of the stigma that is still attached to the issue.

Then critics say "well there is no evidence" (of the narrow type they claim they would accept) but that only means that the scientific establishment has largely failed to investigate (or publish) the evidence and process and encapsulate it in the neat little parcels that the worshippers of the scientific establishment conveniently hold so dear. It does not mean that the evidence is not available.

To use another analogy, insisting that evidence would only constitute sufficient "extraordinary evidence" of ET/UFOs if it appeared in an array of specific peer reviewed scientific journals is rather like saying that you will only accept someone's definitive report on UFO's if they were to meet you upstairs at your table for dinner in your favorite exclusive members-only club, knowing full well that this person has been denied membership and will never be allowed to enter the establishment and so can never meet your demands.

The game is rigged.

[edit on 22-3-2009 by Malcram]

posted on Mar, 22 2009 @ 12:14 PM
I just wanted to add that we rarely encounter open-minded/neutral skeptics. This is an important distinction because, to really pay attention to, and consider evidence, one has to have NO preconceived notions or thoughts regarding the conspiracies we discuss. It's one thing to look at the overwhelming evidence and consider it's value from a neutral perspective and absolutely another to look at it in terms of one's preconceived beliefs.

Hence I would say that most people who post statements such as "Nothing is going to happen in 2012" without first commiting themselves to proper research, are not really skeptics at all. A skeptic is one who reads a post on ATS, thinks about it, commits him/herself to months of research and decides whether the evidence really counts. And if this true skeptic does not believe that all the evidence is real, he/she will counteract by pointing out exactly where and how the evidence is flawed.

"If you are only skeptical, then no new ideas make it through to you.
You become a crotchety old person convinced that nonsense is ruling the
world. (There is, of course, much data to support you.) But every now
and then, a new idea turns out to be on the mark, valid and wonderful.
If you are too much in the habit of being skeptical about everything,
you are going to miss or resent it, and either way you will be standing
in the way of understanding and progress. " - Carl Sagan

posted on Mar, 22 2009 @ 12:17 PM
reply to post by prophetpiggy

...Precisely because of human fallibility, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

-Carl Sagan

posted on Mar, 22 2009 @ 12:22 PM

Originally posted by midicon

Is a bogus skeptic a believer or a non-believer?
Is there such a thing as a bogus skeptic?

A bogus skeptic is someone who presents themselves as a skeptic but does not employ legitimate skepticism. They are disbelievers masquerading as open-minded skeptics, or skeptics who have simply been deceived by, and so promote, fallacious arguments in denial of some phenomenon. Here are links to an article and an essay which expand on the definition of 'bogus' or "pseudo-skepticism'

[edit on 22-3-2009 by Malcram]

posted on Mar, 22 2009 @ 03:36 PM
First of all they are not Aliens from other worlds. They are from the future. The U.S. government did release info years ago about they were developing time travel or you can call it working on it. It is no big secret, the media picked up on it but try to find that info now. I think they need to keep it out of the hands of terrorists for now anyways.

When they are ready they will come forward with more info.

From the future.......
Animals and humans were crossed or breed together to make other beings. Thats why reports have come from people that have been abducted that will tell about humans on board U.F.O's and you see different humans. In other words developing into Greys. Had this been let to go on the Greys would have been the last of man as we know. But the future was changed they do not come into existence. Why do you think they are returning and conducting medical experiments? I will quote one hybrid "Because something went horribly wrong"

What went wrong? THEY none of them come into being or are made. Who stopped it from happening? Not sure about who, thats not important. They are caught up in time now, a time for them that doesn't come.

Check out your history what race of people did Hitler make or try? Check out what Stalin tried to do. Now check out what the U.S has been doing put it in a google search animals and humans together. This is just the beginning. There are some crazy mad men in the future that did this or tried to. Hope this info helps some to understand.

posted on Mar, 22 2009 @ 03:39 PM
reply to post by Katie




nice talkin to you

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