It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.

 

Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.

 

Debunking Pseudoskepticism: Common fallacies

page: 1
23
<<   2  3  4 >>

log in

join
share:
+4 more 
posted on Mar, 24 2009 @ 07:35 PM
link   
The excellent thread, "skeptics dilemma" started by Platosallegory has inspired this thread. I think there is a very severe problem of pseudoskepticism on this forum and it impairs the enjoyment of some on this forum(yours truly included) I also think that this forum can benefit from more clear thinking, and thus I am writing this brief primer on logic focussed particularly on the subject matter of Aliens and UFO’s. I will discuss the common fallacies used by pseudoskeptics and offer a rebuttal.

I first want to clarify what I am not attempting to do.

I am not attempting to prove anything. Simply because I am going to debunk common pseudoskeptical arguments, does not mean that the believers arguments have been proven. Rather, all I am going to do is use the principle of non-contradiction in logic and show that the arguments used by pseudoskeptics are logically contradictory.

I am not vilifying skepticism. It is not possible for me to vilify skepticism without contradicting my own skepticism. We are all believers and skeptics, only that what we believe and what we are sceptical about varies from person to person.

That said, there is an ideal skeptic. That is somebody who withholds judgement until they have explored all available evidence in a case. A skeptic is thus an investigator and their job is to investigate. Then, after the investigation is complete, the skeptic is able to offer a hypothesis which can account for all of the available data.

Somebody who does not investigate a case is not a skeptic, they are merely doubters. Somebody who attempts to investigate, but makes suppositions, does not take into account all available evidence, distorts evidence to fit their hypothesis is a pseudoskeptic.

From hereof we will look at the common fallacious arguments used by pseudoskeptics in the context of Aliens and UFO’s. I do not claim to be exhaustive, I can only look at a limited set of arguments. If there are arguments not covered hereon that you think are fallacious and want me to debunk them, just request it and I will do so in another post in this thread.

I just want to say as a cautionary note. I am not trying to be some crusader against pseudoskeptics or pretend to be a master of logic. I am merely making a contribution to the forum in hope that it will contribute to more clear thinking on this forum and to create awareness on how to discern the common fallacies used by pseudoskeptics to facilitate more healthy and constructive discussion. I also hope these rebuttals are used by members who encounter fallacious pseudoskeptical arguments.

Now let us look at the common fallacies one by one(some of my rebutals will use material in Platosallegory thread)

Argument: There is no proof or evidence that ET exists. Yes, it is true that the SETI equation shows that the probability of ET is very likely, but this is not proof in and of itself, only a mathematical possibility. Therefore ETH is not a valid explanation.

Rebuttal: This is an invalid and logically contradictory argument. For the following reasons

1) There is significant evidence and proof that ET exists. It is the job of the skeptic to investigate this evidence and 'proof' and come to a judgement on it.
2) The probability of life on planets is 100%. This is not a mathematical possibility, but an empirical fact. Planet Earth is a planet and it is teeming with very diverse life, and it is commonly accepted by science that life appeared on this planet quickly after the Earth was born. It is an empirical fact that the phenomenon of life on planets is a part of our observable universe. Therefore there is no reason to speculate that life cannot be possible elsewhere.

My opponent may argue that it is possible that life only formed on planet Earth and nowhere else. They may even point out that sample size I have of life in the universe is only one instance and this is not enough to make a generalization.

Rebuttal: This is an argument from possibility fallacy. It is possible that Earth is the only planet that has life, but it is also possible that that Earth is not the only planet that has life. Mere possibility is not enough to make a case.

The opponents argument is also self-contradictory. It is possible that there are no other minds in the world, I am the only one that has mind and everybody else is either a machine or imaginary. There is only one instance of mind, my own mind, so can I generalise from such a sample? The chances are the opponent takes this generalization for granted in his everyday life. In which case I can take ET for granted as well.

In conclusion: ETH is a valid hypothesis and forms a part of our observable universe.

Argument: It impossible for ET to travel here. The distances in space are astronomical, it would take thousands, if not millions of years to reach planet Earth even at the speed of light. But it is impossible to travel at the speed of light.

Rebuttal: This is an argument from incredulity. The opponent does not believe a ET would make a trip from their home planet to Earth because the time it would take to get here is perceived to be too long and so it is unbelievable that ET would try. Just because something seems unbelievable it does not mean it cannot happen. It is unbelievable that somebody would survive a fall from a very high building, but it does happen.

It is assumed that that the ET would be using FTL. Not necessarily. There are space craft planned on Earth that can reach a high percentage of the speed of light and they use as propulsion sources of energy available in the universe(hydrogen, sunlight) Thus an ET craft could do the same.

Finally, the limitation of the speed of light does not apply to ET. This is because the speed limit of the speed light is one based on the predicates of General Relativity theory which states that if a mass is accelerated towards the speed of light its mass would become infinite and thus it would need an infinite amount of energy. Therefore FTL is impossible

This is only a theory, there is no scientific theory which is conclusive or proven. A theory is only based on observations made in an observable universe and when new observations are made theories have to be adjusted, sometimes even rejected. As ET’s are a part of an unobservable universe, we cannot generalise any of our scientific theories to them. So none of the predicates of GR actually apply to them.

All observations made in science are effects only, not causes. Mass itself is an effect, not a cause. Therefore finding a way to manipulate causes will manipulate effects. Take for example electricity, an electric current produced by a generator is an effect. When one learns the antecedent causes for the generation of electricity, one can manipulate the electric current generated with a transformer. There is no reason to believe that an ET race cannot learn to manipulate the mass-effects caused by the speed of light travel or overcome the speed of light barrier.

In conclusion: The argument that ET cannot get to Earth is invalid.


Argument: It is completely absurd that that an advanced ET race would come here and fly around in our skies like drunk pilots, abduct humans, make crop circles and mutilate cows.

Rebuttal: This is again the fallacy of incredulity. If something seems unbelievable to us, it does not mean it does not happen. The behaviour of an alien race may seem strange to us, but then again behaviours of other cultures on our planet seem strange. Some cultures have rituals where the offspring kills their parents when they reach old age. That’s even stranger to me than some alien race doing any of the aforementioned.

Abduction for the purposes of scientific investigation is not really strange at all. We humans are constantly abducting animals for the purpose of scientific investigation. So we have no valid objection to the abduction phenomena, other than perhaps an ethical objection.

Argument: If ET exists and are visiting us, why don’t they just reveal themselves? Why would they hide? Its illogical.


Rebuttal: But who says they are hiding? They maybe hiding from some, but it does not mean they are hiding from everyone. There are many people who claim they have encountered ET directly and many high-level witnesses in the government that have claimed contact has taken place. If their claims are true, ET is only hiding from some and not everyone.

Why would ET not reveal themselves? I am tempted to give the usual speculative explanation of an intergalactic prime directive, but I will desist. Instead the objection of the opponent can be dismissed like the previous argument. It is another argument from incredulity fallacy.

[edit on 24-3-2009 by Indigo_Child]




posted on Mar, 24 2009 @ 07:55 PM
link   
Argument: There is no scientific physical evidence of UFO‘s. No UFO samples. No ET DNA samples etc

Rebuttal: This is an impossible demand. If any of this evidence even existed, what are the chances that this evidence would be mailed to the opponents home address for their personal inspection? Highly unlikely. Most people will have to rely on the authority of scientific experts who have handled the evidence. As they cannot handle the evidence themselves, they will have to simply trust the scientists.

There is a big problem with evidence from testimony. It is subject to whether you believe the authority or disbelieve them. There are many authority figures who have actually claimed to have handled UFO’s, ET’s and ET metal samples. Marcel Vogel, the award winning scientist from IBM, publicly stated that the metal sample Billy Meier(the ET contactee) gave him could not have been manufactured on this Earth. The officials in the Roswell case who claim to have handled the UFO metal debris claim the metal has alien properties(it sounds very similar to modern shape memory alloys) Some scientists have testified that transistors are actually reverse engineered ET technology.

So it is not the case that there are not authorities figures who have not handled ET physical evidence. If the opponent is genuinely sincere about their argument, now that it has been demonstrated such evidence allegedly exists and some scientists have handled it, they should accept it as proof. If not, the opponent must withdraw their argument as invalid because of their duplicity.

I anticipate an objection. The objection is that there are no peer reviewed scientific physical evidence of UFO’s, therefore any scientific evidence that is not peer reviewed must be dismissed. This argument is invalid, because it commit’s the fallacy of appealing to an authority of some entity(a peer group) If some authority dismisses a scientists evidence, it does not mean that the scientists evidence is false, it simply means the authority doesn't like it.

Argument: If we accept ET UFO’s exist and is visiting us, then we may also have to accept goblins, big foot, loch ness monster and whatever to exists.

Rebuttal: This is a slippery slope fallacy. There is absolutely no premise that entails that if you accept ET’s existence you have to accept other paranormal claims. All different paranormal claims, just like any claim, is to be treated individually.

The opponent may counter by saying that it is difficult to distinguish a UFO from other claimed paranormal phenomena(spirits, plasma balls, orbs). This maybe true in some cases, but not all. In cases which describe actual physical crafts, sometimes in rather vivid details, except these physical craft are displaying alien behaviour and look alien, one can eliminate all of the other paranormal possibilities

Argument: The UFO and ET reports by individuals are not necessarily true. They may claim a physical aircraft, but their data could be wrong. They could be lying, they could have misidentified something else for the UFO such as planet Venus, car headlights, swamp gas.

Rebuttal: Merely argument from possibility is not enough. Yes, all the above counter-hypothesis may be true, but they may be false as well. It is the job of the skeptic to investigate all the available data, eliminate all hypothesis that do not fit the data, and then come up with a hypothesis that explains the available data.

If the skeptic does not do that and instead makes suppositions, distorts the data, dismisses available data ,then it is invalid. Here is a simple hypothetical example of a distortion of data reproduced from another from a post of mine in Platosallegory's topic.


UFO witness: I saw it as clear as I can see you right now. It was metallic, it was emitting a bright orange glow and it hovered right above me on the road. You know like that film Independence day, the mother ship just hovers above. It was just like that. It wasn't only me who saw it, but my girlfriend as well. I am not lying I swear. I never believed in this stuff before, but I guess seeing is believing.

Skeptic: You said it was on the road, how do you know that it was not just the headlight of a car or truck?

UFO witness: Dude, I know what the headlight of a car or truck looks like. I've been driving on the road for 20 years. This was not a headlight.

Skeptic: How can you be sure? If you were the on road and a very bright headline shines in your face, it is hard to see anything clearly and then its easy to imagine that there is something large in front of you. Are you telling me it is impossible that you are not mistaken?

UFO witness: No, I am not saying that. Its always possible that one can be mistaken, but is it possible that both me and my girlfriend are mistaken.?

Skeptic: Yes, loads of people may all agree they see a ghost, only to later find out it was a lighthouse. Shared delusions are possible.

UFO witness: Look, I see what you are saying, but I believe 100% that I saw a UFO. I have never had an experience like this ever in my entire life.

Skeptic: Then you agree it is just a belief you saw the UFO. Then my job is done. Case dismissed.


The dialogue above is inspired slightly by the movie contact, when Jodie Foster in the end has to admit to the skeptics that as a scientist it is possible that she did not experience her journey. The tactics employed by the skeptic above are similar to tactics lawyers use in court rooms. It is not scientific at all and nor is it ethical. It is a bastardization of scientific research.

Let us look at the problems in the skeptics dialogue with the UFO witness:

1. The skeptic is overtly influencing the UFO witness and asking him leading questions
2. The skeptic is using arguments from possibility to negate the UFO witness experience - "It is possible you saw a car headlight" it is also possible that he did not see a headlight, but a UFO. Therefore it is an invalid argument.
3. The skeptic is not listening to the UFO witness, everything the witness says is explained away using the argument from possibility fallacy - "My girlfriend also saw it" - "But it is possible it was a shared delusion"

The skeptic fails to account for the available evidence in this witness testimony. He claims that it was a headlight of some car, but the witness tells him he knows what a headlight looks like. The skeptic should be rejecting his hypothesis now, but instead he ends up debating it with the UFO witness. Then the UFO witness reveals that more than one witness say it, making it unlikely that two people would be seeing a hovering metallic, orange light emitting mothership in a headlight. Nor does the skeptic explain how a car headlight could look like the described UFO.

These tactics are all fallacies and rhetoric, but regularly used by pseudoskeptics to dismiss everything they don't like. Pilot testimonies - "It is possible that the pilot was dreaming" Radar reports - "It is possible the radar equipment malfunctioned" In all these cases the skeptic is debating a counter-claim and thus has a burden of proof themselves, but they behave as if they are immune from it.

I have tried to account most of the general fallacious arguments pseudoskeptics produce. This has been one of my longest posts on ATS yet, the word count is approx 3000 and I have taken a few hours to compose it. I had a bit of spare time in the evening today so I have used it to write this. I hope this has been useful and helpful to others and I permit and encourage my debunkings to be used whenever one encounters these fallacious arguments.

[edit on 24-3-2009 by Indigo_Child]



posted on Mar, 24 2009 @ 08:50 PM
link   
These arguments seem awfully simplistic. Irrefutable evidence about the properties of lifeforms, geophysics, etc. seems to be enough to bat away a majority of ET claims. Some people mention other possibilities, like quantum teleportation, or wormholes, but again, those possibilities haven't been proven.

I'm not sure of the importance of labelling something as "possible." It's possible to make a hole to the other side of the Earth by dropping a ping pong ball.

What these arguments seem to miss is the bigger picture: is it necessary for ETs to exist? I think that there's a very simple answer: it may be necessary, to rally the people around a common foreigner, or "alien," if you will.

When the government finally "discloses" its proof of ETs, you'd better take it with a grain of salt, just like how people took Osama bin-Laden.



posted on Mar, 24 2009 @ 09:05 PM
link   
reply to post by vcwxvwligen
 


I think you should be careful with the word "irrefutable evidence" there isn't any evidence that cannot be refuted. I don't understand the connection between "irrfutable evidence about the properties of life forms, geophysics etc, seems to be bat away the majority of ET claims" please elaborate on that, I really have no idea what that means.

I understand quantum teleportation, wormholes and other possibilties are used to explain how ET can travel here. I have not taken recourse to them though, because if I did, I would be commiting the same argument from possibility fallacy. All I have argued really is an awfully simplistic argument that we cannot generalise any of our physical theories to ET, because they are not complete themselves.

It is not necessary that ET's exists. Just like it not necessary that you exist to me. The argument I put forward(again awfully simplistic) is that there is no reason to believe that ET does not exist. In our observable universe life on planets is a known phenomenon. If you want to qualify further and say "earth like planets" then they're estimated to number in the trillions.

My arguments are suppose to be simplistic. I do not want to multipy any quantities unnecessarily, I do not want to give any speculations, I am simply presenting data and drawing valid inferences from it. In most cases just exposing logical contradictions in the arguments. Remember, I have made no claims of "proving" anything.



posted on Mar, 24 2009 @ 10:24 PM
link   
The real definition of pseudoskeptic: Anyone who doesn't agree that the most likely explanation for UFOs is extraterrestrial intelligence.

1. The fact that intelligent life exists on Earth makes it probable that intelligent life exists on other planets.

BUT

This intelligent life must also be so different from us that their motivations, actions, and modus operandi are incomprehensible to us.

Now, if Earth is the example for the existence of intelligent life, shouldn't that intelligent life have developed along the same general lines according to the same principles as Earth's? What kind of logic says first that ETs must exist on other planets because we exist, and then say that they must be so different from us that they make no sense to us?

2. Our science and the natural "laws" we understand don't apply to ETs.

Why not? How can you reasonably make the assumption, with no evidence of any kind, that we are so "primitive" we don't understand the laws of physics? And that principles we understand to be universally true (such as gravity and relativity) don't apply to them? There is absolutely no evidence of any kind for this. It's pure imaginary speculation combined with the belief (derived mostly from science fiction) that our science is "primitive" and incomplete.

3. Utilizing technology that allows them to travel at close to the speed of light, they could get here.

Yes, they could. But unless they are extremely long-lived compared to us (back to point #1) it would literally take generations for them to get here. Even assuming that they have some source of limitless energy, how would they supply their ships to provide for generations of their people to be born, raised, trained, and die on board ship after bearing, raising, and training the next generation?

4. Physical Evidence is an impossible and unreasonable demand.

Why? We have physical evidence for every other type of being that we know exists. The only beings we don't have physical evidence for are the ones whose existence is in question. And why is their existence in question? Because we don't have physical evidence!

Why? If they are physical beings in physical craft, they must have waste or garbage. Why haven't we ever found any?

This same argument (lack of physical evidence) is scientifically and publicly accepted as a reason why Bigfoot, Nessie, and every other mythical, legendary, and cryptozoological beast probably doesn't exist. Why does it not apply to UFOs and ETs?

5. Witness testimony must be believed because they can't all be lying, faking, etc.

Okay. But why can't they be mistaken?

Suppose the witness says "it looked metallic." Does that necessarily mean it WAS metallic? No. I can make plastic look metallic. Some organic earth critters have an iridescence that appears "metallic," and so do other substances. Witness descriptions need not be taken at face value even if we assume they are honest and sincere. I have seen desert mirages that looked so much like water - so wet - that before I had more experience with them I'd have bet money there was water there. Our eyes can and do deceive us. An engineer or pilot has the same vision the rest of us humans do. Someone saying "it looked metallic" does not make it so.

6. Accepting ET means accepting other paranormal phenomena and cryptids.

Nah. This is hardly worth talking about. If we prove that Bigfoot is real tomorrow, we'll still have to separately prove the existence of Nessie, ghosts, or goblins. In fact, the giant squid was a "cryptid" not that long ago. Has the proof that it's real affected the supposed reality of any other cryptids? Nope.

The point that many UFOs have characteristics in common with paranormal phenomena is being twisted to make it seem unreasonable. The point that UFOs may not be ETs because they share some paranormal characteristics is being made in some cases, but if UFOs are proven to be physical, extraterrestrial intelligent beings, that will certainly separate them from the paranormal and neither goblins, fairies, dragons, nor ghosts will have to be accepted because of it.



posted on Mar, 24 2009 @ 11:09 PM
link   
reply to post by Heike
 


Unfortunately, I cannot respond to the objections to this post, because of the constant use of the strawman fallacy. You have not accurately represented pretty much any of my arguments above. If it helps just quote the argument and then offer your response/objection in accordance with it.

The only objections I can respond to are the following, but even here you have distorted the original arguments and seemed to have ignored the reasons I gave.


Why not? How can you reasonably make the assumption, with no evidence of any kind, that we are so "primitive" we don't understand the laws of physics? And that principles we understand to be universally true (such as gravity and relativity) don't apply to them? There is absolutely no evidence of any kind for this. It's pure imaginary speculation combined with the belief (derived mostly from science fiction) that our science is "primitive" and incomplete.


I do not recall saying that it is because we are "primitive" that is why our laws of physics are incomplete. Rather I said our laws are incomplete because our scientific methodology is based on observation and hypothesis, and new observations falsify previous observations and models. This is a valid criticism of the scientific method. At one time there was a law of physics that stipulated that flight is impossible, new observations falisified it. Then there was a law of physics that said supersonic craft are impossible, then new observations falsified it. It was strongly held that gravity was a force, for centuries, then came along Einstein and falsified it.

There really is no such thing as a complete theory, and this was demonstrated mathematically by the famous mathematician Godel who was able to show even maths is not beyond falsification. See Godel's theorem of incompleteness.

Now why would our laws not apply to ET? Because ET is in an unobservable universe. We cannot make any generalizations of an unobservable universe. All of our observations are limited to the observable universe only. I have given more explanations in the OP, please read again.


Yes, they could. But unless they are extremely long-lived compared to us (back to point #1) it would literally take generations for them to get here. Even assuming that they have some source of limitless energy, how would they supply their ships to provide for generations of their people to be born, raised, trained, and die on board ship after bearing, raising, and training the next generation?


A ship that has a source of limitless energy could travel in space indefinitely. Are you familiar with the concept of generation ship or world ship? A self-contained ship that is able to endure over generations. There is a fundamental presupposition in your theory: You assume this would be a continuous trip from their home planet to Earth. It was demonstrated by one astronomer(fermi?) that at sub-luminal speeds one race could colonize the entire galaxy in 1 million years. Simply by moving from planet to planet and establishing colonies, just as we are planning to do with the planets in our solar system and even with nearby star systems Alpha Centauri. If you look at the prediction of the SETI equation there could be, even with conservative estimates, 1 million intelligent species in our galaxy. This significantly shortens the time it would take for 1 million species to colonize the galaxy at sub-luminal travel.

Therefore FTL is not at all required for ET to get here. It could sure help, but it is not necessary. There is no valid objection to ET visiting Earth, FTL or no FTL.

[edit on 24-3-2009 by Indigo_Child]

[edit on 25-3-2009 by Indigo_Child]



posted on Mar, 24 2009 @ 11:17 PM
link   
I would love to participate in this thread, but quite frankly it's a bit........wordy.

I don't think my keyboard offers enough letters.

KK



posted on Mar, 24 2009 @ 11:31 PM
link   
reply to post by kinda kurious
 


This is why I have emboldened and underlined each unique argument, so you can look at the argument that most interests you, and then read the rebuttal of that. Some of them are short, and some are longer than others. Where there are more variables to take into account and counter-arguments more words were required.



[edit on 24-3-2009 by Indigo_Child]



posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 12:20 AM
link   

Originally posted by Heike

The real definition of pseudoskeptic: Anyone who doesn't agree that the most likely explanation for UFOs is extraterrestrial intelligence.

1. The fact that intelligent life exists on Earth makes it probable that intelligent life exists on other planets.

BUT

This intelligent life must also be so different from us that their motivations, actions, and modus operandi are incomprehensible to us.

Now, if Earth is the example for the existence of intelligent life, shouldn't that intelligent life have developed along the same general lines according to the same principles as Earth's? What kind of logic says first that ETs must exist on other planets because we exist, and then say that they must be so different from us that they make no sense to us?

2. Our science and the natural "laws" we understand don't apply to ETs.

Why not? How can you reasonably make the assumption, with no evidence of any kind, that we are so "primitive" we don't understand the laws of physics? And that principles we understand to be universally true (such as gravity and relativity) don't apply to them? There is absolutely no evidence of any kind for this. It's pure imaginary speculation combined with the belief (derived mostly from science fiction) that our science is "primitive" and incomplete.

3. Utilizing technology that allows them to travel at close to the speed of light, they could get here.

Yes, they could. But unless they are extremely long-lived compared to us (back to point #1) it would literally take generations for them to get here. Even assuming that they have some source of limitless energy, how would they supply their ships to provide for generations of their people to be born, raised, trained, and die on board ship after bearing, raising, and training the next generation?

4. Physical Evidence is an impossible and unreasonable demand.

Why? We have physical evidence for every other type of being that we know exists. The only beings we don't have physical evidence for are the ones whose existence is in question. And why is their existence in question? Because we don't have physical evidence!

Why? If they are physical beings in physical craft, they must have waste or garbage. Why haven't we ever found any?

This same argument (lack of physical evidence) is scientifically and publicly accepted as a reason why Bigfoot, Nessie, and every other mythical, legendary, and cryptozoological beast probably doesn't exist. Why does it not apply to UFOs and ETs?

5. Witness testimony must be believed because they can't all be lying, faking, etc.

Okay. But why can't they be mistaken?
....

6. Accepting ET means accepting other paranormal phenomena and cryptids.
....

The point that many UFOs have characteristics in common with paranormal phenomena is being twisted to make it seem unreasonable. The point that UFOs may not be ETs because they share some paranormal characteristics is being made in some cases, but if UFOs are proven to be physical, extraterrestrial intelligent beings, that will certainly separate them from the paranormal and neither goblins, fairies, dragons, nor ghosts will have to be accepted because of it.




Bravissimo and thanks so much for renewing my faith in logic - and the residents of this virtual neighbourhood.

Like so many reasonable explanations the validity should be apparent.
But unfortunately it isn't to the dogmatic.

The quest for the secretive aliens is more fun and appeals to fantasy notions more than pure reason. The unexplained must be shoe-horned into a science fiction model even if it doesn't fit. Just as there was once an accepted mandate that all mysteries had some supernatural or religious origin.

Questioners usually labelled "skeptic" or "debunker" by default are assigned a villain role, for their refusal to go along with the ride.

There are incredible, seemingly miraculous occurrences in nature and whole new fields to explore. But attributing what is not fully comprehended to intergalactic hotrodders belies our ability to evaluate information leading to a better understanding of the world we inhabit.


Mike



posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 01:29 AM
link   

Originally posted by Indigo_Child
Argument: There is no proof or evidence that ET exists. Yes, it is true that the SETI equation shows that the probability of ET is very likely, but this is not proof in and of itself, only a mathematical possibility. Therefore ETH is not a valid explanation.

Rebuttal: This is an invalid and logically contradictory argument. For the following reasons

1) There is significant evidence and proof that ET exists. It is the job of the skeptic to investigate this evidence and 'proof' and come to a judgement on it.


The burden of proof is on the proponent of the ideas in question. Scientific verification is very linear and very strict. It is not, nor will it ever be on those who challenge or request evidence of these claims. One cannot say "There's an invisible fairy in my backyard, now prove it doesn't exist by using the sense of sight alone!" It is logically impossible to prove a negative. Therefore, we have only the facts, numbers and tangible data to go by.

A good majority of UFO arguments depend on belief and seldom have anything to do with genuine, verifiable evidence. Belief is the subjective perception of an individual that often varies person-to-person. It isn't proof by any measure, nor is it objective.

Secondhand testimony is not evidence.
Stories, anecdotes and narratives are not evidence.
Indecipherable photographs (or videos) of questionable phenomena is not evidence. (But they are one of the very few things that do help on occasion. So far, most that have been seriously studied are either proven as cases of mistaken identity or totally inconclusive.)
And overblown .jpg images of planetary surfaces littered with .jpeg compression artifacts are not evidence.

People underestimate how hard trying to prove something really is. We need facts (and I mean REAL facts) and numbers.

UFOlogy has it's work cut out for it, and I can sympathize with that. I patiently await the solid evidence that stands the tests of time and scientific rigor. Conversely I don't out rightly dismiss the existence of an alien presence on earth - I just have yet to run into any substantial proof of it.


2) The probability of life on planets is 100%. This is not a mathematical possibility, but an empirical fact.


Our current values of the Drake Equation show: R* = 7/year, fp = 0.5, ne = 2, fl = 0.33, fi = 0.01, fc = 0.01, and L as 10,000 years. This gives us N = 7 × 0.5 × 2 × 0.33 × 0.01 × 0.01 × 10000 = 2.31.

But the equation itself is basically made of a bunch of number probabilities multiplied together. And since each factor is pretty much guaranteed to be at least somewhere between 0 and 1, the result will ALWAYS be a number between 1 and 0. This isn't to mention that almost all of the probabilities are totally unknown and based on general guesses in regard to the nature of solar systems and planet formation.

Even if we go ahead and just assume that it is correct for the sake of argument, it isn't even CLOSE to being a 100% probability. To me, this the farthest thing from an empirical fact. And it begs the question; what reason is it there to believe the above equation would be wrong?

It's more correct to say that the probability of life on THIS planet is 100%. I believe that there is life on other worlds without question - but that is my opinion and it has nothing to do with science or fact in the slightest.

(cont. below)



posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 01:36 AM
link   

Originally posted by Indigo_Child
Rebuttal: This is an argument from possibility fallacy. It is possible that Earth is the only planet that has life, but it is also possible that that Earth is not the only planet that has life. Mere possibility is not enough to make a case.

The opponents argument is also self-contradictory. It is possible that there are no other minds in the world, I am the only one that has mind and everybody else is either a machine or imaginary.


Invalid. A comparison of this nature poses no substantial parallels as it is clearly incongruous to known scientific/medical fact, which plainly illustrates that we all do indeed have a mind (brain). Not only is the comparison extremely malformed, but it is the very definition of a straw man argument. (See above regarding attempts to prove a negative.)


In conclusion: ETH is a valid hypothesis and forms a part of our observable universe.


Yes and no. More importantly, this presupposes we have examined tangible evidence for the existence of an intelligent xenosophont (alien) presence somewhere in the observable universe. We have not.


Finally, the limitation of the speed of light does not apply to ET. This is because the speed limit of the speed light is one based on the predicates of General Relativity theory which states that if a mass is accelerated towards the speed of light its mass would become infinite and thus it would need an infinite amount of energy. Therefore FTL is impossible

This is only a theory, there is no scientific theory which is conclusive or proven.


Nothing in current cosmological models and all (very important) mathematical evidence remotely suggest that it would be possible to exceed c. If you could provide a workable model or series of equations that can illustrate otherwise, your importance to the scientific community would be unparalleled.

Nobody in history has so far, or demonstrated any viable solution to this problem.

But as you said, there are endless possibilities on how to approach interstellar travel.

For example: The largest velocity that can be achieved is c-x where x can be decreased to vanishingly small proportionate to the availability of power and propellant mass. The best (in my opinion, the only) way to achieve the required levels of energy and propellant is with collimated photon beams and focused particle beams. The photon beams supply energy to relatively large receiving photovoltaic panels from which large currents and high voltages are developed across particle accelerator grids which are used to accelerate the particles previously laid out along the path (the highway in the desert) the vehicle is to take to a target star. Photon beam collimation technology, masers emanating from phased arrays or better when available, probably cannot be improved to support more than 5 light years distance, and the particle beam focusing technology may be more difficult still. Velocities greater than 0.99999c can be achieved. And this is only one possibility.


A theory is only based on observations made in an observable universe and when new observations are made theories have to be adjusted, sometimes even rejected.


It is only when they can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to be contrary to accepted principles through constant testing and peer review that this occurs.


As ET’s are a part of an unobservable universe, we cannot generalise any of our scientific theories to them. So none of the predicates of GR actually apply to them.


Again this assumes we have examined tangible evidence for the existence of an intelligent alien civilization somewhere in the observable universe. We have not. Regardless of that fact, they would still exist in the same universe as ourselves and would be bound to the same laws of physics.

(cont. below)



posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 01:42 AM
link   

Originally posted by Indigo_Child
There is no reason to believe that an ET race cannot learn to manipulate the mass-effects caused by the speed of light travel or overcome the speed of light barrier.


There is no reason to believe it, either. And considering we cannot do this (or that we have aliens to compare against) we are left with the only reasonable conclusion that, so far, it is not possible. This may change and it may not.


In conclusion: The argument that ET cannot get to Earth is invalid.


Agreed. But the primary question seems to be "are they here?" And the answer is most likely not.

(...skipping the few examples/rebuttals that suppose an alien presence for the sake of brevity...)


Argument: There is no scientific physical evidence of UFO‘s. No UFO samples. No ET DNA samples etc


There really isn't. Personal testimonies stories, anecdotes and narratives are not acceptable forms of evidence.


Rebuttal: This is an impossible demand.


Only if a visiting alien civilization doesn't exist. Then of course there would be no evidence to hand over in the first place. This seems to be the case so far unless it is possible to prove otherwise.


I anticipate an objection. The objection is that there are no peer reviewed scientific physical evidence of UFO’s, therefore any scientific evidence that is not peer reviewed must be dismissed. This argument is invalid, because it commit’s the fallacy of appealing to an authority of some entity(a peer group)


Not at all. It appeals to evidence, and has nothing to do with appealing to a specific group of people.

It appeals to evidence because the things noted can be tested, repeated and verified through the scientific process. These compose the bulk of the peer reviewed journals you mention. Their work can be checked and examined for errors, which is the entire point of having these journals to begin with.

(An extensive reply will be forthcoming at a later time. There is a lot of material to cover in the OP...wow)

But as a note before I take off: Skepticism exists to strengthen and refine possible evidence of the UFO phenomena. When all natural explanations are ruled out we are left with the very best and most solid evidence.

...


Also, after reading through your posts a few times I get the strange feeling that you may be attempting to apply the concept of logical fallacies in order to bolster your statements, which is actually admirable. (see: www.csun.edu...) I only hope they don't detract from the overall concept of the thread.

[edit on 25-3-2009 by LogicalResponse]



posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 07:06 AM
link   
reply to post by Heike
 


I have to agree with Indigo Child's assessment of you response to him, Heike. There were more straw men in your post than at a scarecrows convention. And you began that way from your very first sentence.

You tried to claim that for critics of 'pseudo-skepticism", like Indigo Child:



"The real definition of pseudoskeptic: Anyone who doesn't agree that the most likely explanation for UFOs is extraterrestrial intelligence".


What nonsense. Indigo Child began the OP with the clear statement:




I am not attempting to prove anything. Simply because I am going to debunk common pseudoskeptical arguments, does not mean that the believers arguments have been proven. Rather, all I am going to do is use the principle of non-contradiction in logic and show that the arguments used by pseudoskeptics are logically contradictory.

I am not vilifying skepticism. It is not possible for me to vilify skepticism without contradicting my own skepticism. We are all believers and skeptics, only that what we believe and what we are sceptical about varies from person to person.


I think it telling how much the rebuttals to posts exposing pseudo-skepticism rely on straw man fallacies and making false claims about what the critics of pseudo-skepticism supposedly said, or supposedly "really meant", rather than addressing what they actually said.



posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 09:19 AM
link   
Let's look at the truth, the real truth, and nothing but the truth.

In the 8+ months I've been on ATS, this isn't the first thread I've seen like this, nor the second, nor even the 5th. More like the 20th or so, and probably there are more because I don't always bother to read them.

Two (or more) people can look at a set of evidence and legitimately come up with different conclusions. Hung juries are examples of this, as are all scientific controversies (such as Global Warming). Two (or more) different experts can look at a set of data, results, and/or evidence and legitimately, honestly, logically arrive at different hypotheses, theories, or conclusions.

In fact, if we return to the crime scene witness analogy, any detective or police officer will tell you that multiple witnesses to an event, or a set of facts or evidence, will nearly ALWAYS disagree on some points.

We aren't clones, or robots, and part of the success of humanity is owed to the fact that we're all different.

Why, then, is anyone who doesn't agree with the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis called closed-minded, narrow-minded, bogus, pseudo-something, stupid, a shill, a disinfo agent, ignorant, illogical, and a plethora of other demeaning and insulting labels?

These threads keep coming back over and over and over again, and despite disclaimers anyone with 5th grade reading comprehension skills can see that their only real purpose is to discredit and insult anyone who shows the least signs of being skeptical about UFOs or ETs.

Personally, I'm not even a skeptic! If you look at my profile you'll find the thread in which I detailed my personal UFO experience, which involved a green light shining through the roof & ceiling of a house, and a bullet being ricocheted off the object with a "metallic" sound. I'm pretty darn sure that UFOs are "real" and that they aren't mostly black ops human projects. However, because I'm not yet entirely convinced that ETI is the best possible theory to explain UFOs, I'm constantly attacked, belittled, and ridiculed when I post on threads in one of my favorite topics - UFOs and Aliens.

Pardon me for finally getting tired of it enough to backlash. Unlike the really ingnorant people, trolls, and bored teenagers who often post derogatory one-liners in UFO threads, these people are obviously intelligent, educated, logical, and capable of thinking and problem solving. Why then, must they repeatedly attack skeptics instead of accepting that we have a slightly different point of view than they do and reasonably discussing cases, evidence, and theories?

P.S. If anyone doesn't believe me about the skeptic-bashing threads, just say so and I'll start digging them up and post the links here.



posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 09:21 AM
link   

Originally posted by LogicalResponse

Originally posted by Indigo_Child
Argument: There is no proof or evidence that ET exists. Yes, it is true that the SETI equation shows that the probability of ET is very likely, but this is not proof in and of itself, only a mathematical possibility. Therefore ETH is not a valid explanation.

Rebuttal: This is an invalid and logically contradictory argument. For the following reasons

1) There is significant evidence and proof that ET exists. It is the job of the skeptic to investigate this evidence and 'proof' and come to a judgement on it.



I am going to respond to your post, because though I think your objections are weak and seem to ignore reasons given in the above post, thus this one will simply be a restatement of some the reasons discussed in the above post, I think out of all the objections put forward so far yours are the most sincere and you are not misrepresenting my arguments as much.


The burden of proof is on the proponent of the ideas in question. Scientific verification is very linear and very strict. It is not, nor will it ever be on those who challenge or request evidence of these claims. One cannot say "There's an invisible fairy in my backyard, now prove it doesn't exist by using the sense of sight alone!" It is logically impossible to prove a negative. Therefore, we have only the facts, numbers and tangible data to go by.


Indeed, I do not disagree that burden of proof lies with the proponent, but a burden is also incurred by the critic who makes a counter claim. The skeptic is not immune. The claim of an invisible fairy is falsifiable, it's still evidence of something, it's an evidence of either an invisible fairy, a deluded person, a charlatan etc. It still warrants some investigation, but I agree that the available data for the investigator is limited. If the claimant is also to provide group testimonies, photographs, then it creates more avaible data for the investigator.


Secondhand testimony is not evidence.
Stories, anecdotes and narratives are not evidence.
Indecipherable photographs (or videos) of questionable phenomena is not evidence. (But they are one of the very few things that do help on occasion. So far, most that have been seriously studied are either proven as cases of mistaken identity or totally inconclusive.)
And overblown .jpg images of planetary surfaces littered with .jpeg compression artifacts are not evidence.


This is a null-hypothesis fallacy. You are are creating an arbitrary condition of what constitutes evidence based on what is consistent with your perspective of the world. So, while you may disregard all testimonies because you do not consider them evidence, another individual or even body such as a court room would consider it evidence. Therefore such an arbitrary condition creates relativistic definitions of evidence and thus is invalid.

It is not the job of the skeptic to prejudge what is evidence what isn't, their job is only to investigate all available evidence and then come to a judgement on that evidence. On the ET and UFO phenomenon, there exists tons of data available to the investigator. To deny that such data exists is just naive doubting, it is not skepticism. Moreover, it goes against the facts.




2) The probability of life on planets is 100%. This is not a mathematical possibility, but an empirical fact.



Our current values of the Drake Equation show: R* = 7/year, fp = 0.5, ne = 2, fl = 0.33, fi = 0.01, fc = 0.01, and L as 10,000 years. This gives us N = 7 × 0.5 × 2 × 0.33 × 0.01 × 0.01 × 10000 = 2.31.

But the equation itself is basically made of a bunch of number probabilities multiplied together. And since each factor is pretty much guaranteed to be at least somewhere between 0 and 1, the result will ALWAYS be a number between 1 and 0. This isn't to mention that almost all of the probabilities are totally unknown and based on general guesses in regard to the nature of solar systems and planet formation.


I do not disagree with your reasoning, a probability of less than 1 will remain a probability and not become an empirical fact. I think you should read my reasons in the OP again, I did not take recourse to the SETI probability argument. My argument is even more simpler: Life on planet is a known phenomenon of the universe, and there is no reason to believe that it cannot occur anywhere else. If your qualification is "Earth like planet" then there are trillions of Earth like planets estimated in the universe. Simply put, there is no valid objection to ET existing.


Invalid. A comparison of this nature poses no substantial parallels as it is clearly incongruous to known scientific/medical fact, which plainly illustrates that we all do indeed have a mind (brain). Not only is the comparison extremely malformed, but it is the very definition of a straw man argument. (See above regarding attempts to prove a negative.)


You should be careful with the word "scientific fact" Many things have been passed of as scientific fact in scientific hisory, only to be falsified later.
You should also be careful with the equivication of brain and mind, because they are not the same things and not yet been reconciled by any scientists. In fact much of the current research in neuroscience is attempting to reduce mind to brain, but all attempts so far have been unsuccesfull and contrary evidence has been produced which suggests such a reduction may not be possible at all.

Simply put, mind is that which is capable of phenomenological states such as feeling, desire, knowing, ignorance, like, dislike, intuition and conscous states in general. These are all private and subjective states, you do not have access to any others subjective states, but your own. Therefore, do you have any reason to assume that others are having the same subjective states? Others could be machines or imaginary. All you can do is induce that other minds are present in the world. However, the chances are you do not even go through this analytical process, you just take it for granted that other minds exist on intuition alone. Likewise, I can take it for granted that ET exists. If you object to that, then you are contradicting your own postion.

Now, please do not distort the reasoning presented to you to claim that such reasoning could be used to justify any ad-hoc intuitions. It can only be used to justify empirical facts. Just like mind is a known phenomenon of the observable universe, likewise life on planets is known phenomenon of the universe. So I again reiterate there is no valid objection to ET.


Nothing in current cosmological models and all (very important) mathematical evidence remotely suggest that it would be possible to exceed c. If you could provide a workable model or series of equations that can illustrate otherwise, your importance to the scientific community would be unparalleled.


The operative word here is "in our current cosmological models" but our current cosmological models are not complete, so it cannot say anything about the unobservable universe. Science is only limited to the domain of the observable universe. You make observations, you adjust models or create models to explain those observations.


It is only when they can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to be contrary to accepted principles through constant testing and peer review that this occurs.


Again you should be very careful with the positivist claim "proven beyond a reasonable doubt" Scientific verificationalism has been demonstrated to be invalid. Nothing in science is ever proven, no matter how many experiments or how many peer-groups agree on an experiment, all that has been shown is that the hypothesis has not been falsified yet. This is due to the very limitation of observation in science. You should become aware of these limitations, because once you make claims beyond the limitations of science for science, you are treating science like a belief system and invalidating it.


Again this assumes we have examined tangible evidence for the existence of an intelligent alien civilization somewhere in the observable universe. We have not. Regardless of that fact, they would still exist in the same universe as ourselves and would be bound to the same laws of physics.


One would think that the laws of physics that operate here, would operate there too. However, given as theirs is an unobservable universe, one cannot conclusively say that similar laws of physics operate there. But we can only work from our observable universe, and space is much as part of an unobservable universe. If mass is shown to exhibit gravity in our world, mass all around the universe must also be exhibiting gravity. Just as we can infer other minds, from our once instance of mind; life on other planets from one instance, likewise we are forced to accept that space, time and gravity also operate in ET's world. This means at some stage they too would have discovered our laws using the scientific method.

The problem comes when you generalise your current level of understanding of physics to an advanced understanding of physics. Such a generalization is not logically tenable. As our understanding of physics is not complete, and undergoes falsifications regularly, there is no reason to believe that there will be no more falsifications. An ET race more advanced than us would have already tried our models in their distant past and have falsified them, and gone through a long series of falsifications from that point on to arrive at their current model.

The principle of falsification relies on the fact that all observables are effects of unobservable causes and observer-dependent. When antecedent causes become known, effects can be manipulated.

[edit on 25-3-2009 by Indigo_Child]



posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 10:06 AM
link   

There is no reason to believe it, either. And considering we cannot do this (or that we have aliens to compare against) we are left with the only reasonable conclusion that, so far, it is not possible. This may change and it may not.


No, there is reason to believe it is possible, because of the principle of falsification as discussed previously.



In conclusion: The argument that ET cannot get to Earth is invalid.


Agreed. But the primary question seems to be "are they here?" And the answer is most likely not.


All I was establishing with the the arguments on the existence of ET and their ability to reach us that ETH is a valid hypothesis. The question of "are they here" is another question and I have covered those arguments in the OP.


There really isn't. Personal testimonies stories, anecdotes and narratives are not acceptable forms of evidence.


I have already refuted the null hypothesis of evidence earlier on. Here we are talking about physical evidence, and the high unlikeliness of such evidence being mailed to the door of every skeptic for their personal inspection. The chances are if there is physical evidence of ET/UFO's it will be be presented to the skeptic in the form if a testimonial by a scientist.
I have no physical evidence for the Mars rover, I have only heard it exists and it is on Mars because scientists are testifying to it, but I cannot physically examne it. There are many 'scientific facts' we accept based on testimony alone and not because we can physically observe it.

So it is an impossible demand that if ET and UFO samples exist, they will be available for public inspection. In fact the chances are they would be top-secret. The only possible evidence we could have for them would be testimony from scientists who have handled them. As you are aware, these do indeed exist.



Not at all. It appeals to evidence, and has nothing to do with appealing to a specific group of people.

It appeals to evidence because the things noted can be tested, repeated and verified through the scientific process. These compose the bulk of the peer reviewed journals you mention. Their work can be checked and examined for errors, which is the entire point of having these journals to begin with.


The demand that something should be "peer reviewed" is not appealing to evidence, but a peer group. This is because, it is possible to have validating evidence, but a rejection by a peer-group. Are you familiar with cold-fusion, over-unity devices, antigravity, ZPE? There have been several experriments done by different scientists in all these areas which have produced a strong amount of validating evidence. Still, some peer groups have rejected them. Interestingly, some peer groups have accepted them.

A peer group is not a monolithic body, but is composed of several individual and discontinious bodies. There are hundreds, if not thousands of peer-group journals in the world. In some of these journals articles on ET/UFO have appeared.

In the end a peer-group acceptance or rejection is just another form of testimony. As with all kinds of testimony, it's subject to whether you believe it or not. If you dismiss testimony as a valid source of evidence, then by insisting on peer-group testimony you are contradicting your own standard. Either testimony is OK or it is not. Decide.

[edit on 25-3-2009 by Indigo_Child]



posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 10:21 AM
link   
reply to post by Heike
 




In the 8+ months I've been on ATS, this isn't the first thread I've seen like this, nor the second, nor even the 5th...

Why, then, is anyone who doesn't agree with the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis called closed-minded, narrow-minded, bogus, pseudo-something, stupid, a shill, a disinfo agent, ignorant, illogical, and a plethora of other demeaning and insulting labels?

These threads keep coming back over and over and over again, and despite disclaimers anyone with 5th grade reading comprehension skills can see that their only real purpose is to discredit and insult anyone who shows the least signs of being skeptical about UFOs or ETs


More straw men. You are suggesting that what you said above is the case in this thread. It isn't. None of that has happened here. I pointed that out to you. Yet you still insist on attacking this straw man in this thread. This thread is about rebuttals to fallacious arguments, not name calling or attacking those who don't agree with the ETH. Nor is it about slandering anyone who challenges pseudo-skepticism by falsely claiming that their intent is to "discredit and insult anyone who shows the least signs of being skeptical about UFOs or ETs", when nothing of the sort has been done in this thread.

Let me tell you that this is not the first thread I've seen which dares to challenge pseudo-skepticism being hijacked and derailed by the tactic of introducing straw men and bogus emotional rallying cries in the form of false claims of a supposed "attack" on legitimate skepticism. Stay on topic and debate the arguments presented.



[edit on 25-3-2009 by Malcram]



posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 11:01 AM
link   
reply to post by Heike
 



Pardon me for finally getting tired of it enough to backlash. Unlike the really ingnorant people, trolls, and bored teenagers who often post derogatory one-liners in UFO threads, these people are obviously intelligent, educated, logical, and capable of thinking and problem solving. Why then, must they repeatedly attack skeptics instead of accepting that we have a slightly different point of view than they do and reasonably discussing cases, evidence, and theories?


I think your response is overly emotional and really has little to do with this thread. I am sorry that you have been attacked for having skeptical views on ET, but I have not participated in these attacks and will not be participating in these attacks in the future. The purpose of this thread is simply to debunk common fallacious pseudoskeptical arguments, not to villify skepticism itself. I made this point clear in the opening of my OP.

I am sure threads like these have appeared before, but probably not with identical aims and logical arguments as in this one. So rather than seeing this as an original and unique attempt to debunk pseudoskepticism, see it as a contribution to that ongoing effort. I want to help to contribute to more clear thinking on the UFO/ET phenomenon, and my grounding in logic and philosophy helps me to do that. I am glad you have distinguished me from a regular UFO/ET believer, and can recognise that I am educated, logical and capable of problem solving, so you can expect more critical, more analytical and sophisticated discussion with me on UFO/ET than a regular believer(nothing against regular believers)

If you have any objections to my rebuttals of those arguments, respond to those, but please desist from the constant strawmans and emotional accusations.

[edit on 25-3-2009 by Indigo_Child]



posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 12:28 PM
link   

Originally posted by Indigo_Child
A skeptic is thus an investigator and their job is to investigate.


No.

skep⋅tic
   /ˈskɛptɪk/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [skep-tik] Show IPA
–noun
1. a person who questions the validity or authenticity of something purporting to be factual.
2. a person who maintains a doubting attitude, as toward values, plans, statements, or the character of others.


Nowhere in that definition is any requirement for a skeptic to investigate anything or arrive at any conclusions. Questioning the validity of something or maintaining a doubting attitude does not require investigation.


1) There is significant evidence and proof that ET exists.


No, there isn't. There is quite a bit of evidence that UFOs exist, but none of it (except contactee/abduction stories) points specifically to an ET explanation.


It is the job of the skeptic to investigate this evidence and 'proof' and come to a judgement on it.


No, it isn't. It is the job of the person who has a claim to prove it. No one is required to personally investigate all claims in order to make a decision. It is not the "job" of skeptics to do anything. Anyone is entitled to think whatever they want, with or without investigation. Everyone does not have a responsibility or "job" to investigate everything. If we were to discuss it, I'll bet everyone here, including you, has things they don't believe in even though they've never personally investigated them.


The probability of life on planets is 100%.


No. The probability of life on THIS planet is 100%. The probability of life on at least one planet is 100%, the one being this one. The probability of life on any other planet is less than 100%.


It is possible that Earth is the only planet that has life, but it is also possible that that Earth is not the only planet that has life. Mere possibility is not enough to make a case.


Exactly. It is possible that Earth is not the only planet that has life, but that mere possiblity is not enough to make a case.


I am the only one that has mind and everybody else is either a machine or imaginary. There is only one instance of mind, my own mind, so can I generalise from such a sample?


A terrible analogy. There are hundreds of people around you who communicate with you and claim they have a mind. Since you have a mind, and they say they do, it is reasonable to believe that they do, also.


The chances are the opponent takes this generalization for granted in his everyday life. In which case I can take ET for granted as well.


You can? Have any other planets contacted you and claimed that they, too, have life? If not, the analogy fails.


Just because something seems unbelievable it does not mean it cannot happen.


Generally if we consider something unbelievable, that is because it happens very seldom. The probability that it will NOT happen is therefore not 100%, but it is quite high. Since we are not dealing with absolutes, but likelihoods and probabilities, it is reasonable to say that the probability of things we think of as "unbelievable" is much lower than things we do find believable.


This is only a theory, there is no scientific theory which is conclusive or proven.


However, this theory has been around for a while and it hasn't been disproven, either. It therefore makes FTL somewhat less likely to be a reality. Probabilities, remember?


As ET’s are a part of an unobservable universe


They are? Please provide your reasoning for this statement.


The observable universe, also known as the Hubble volume, is the region of space that it is theoretically possible for us to observe, small enough that light from the furthest regions has had sufficient time to reach us since the Big Bang. This region of space has a diameter of approximately 92.94 billion light-years, centered on the planet Earth.
Source

How did you conclude that they are not within the observable universe?



All observations made in science are effects only, not causes.


No. If I perform experiment/action A hundreds or thousands of times and the result is always B, I can make the scientific observation that A causes B. In fact, some scientific theories and hypotheses are all about determining causes rather than effects.


There is no reason to believe that an ET race cannot learn to manipulate the mass-effects caused by the speed of light travel or overcome the speed of light barrier.


There is no reason to believe that they can, either. We have no theories or knowledge to suggest that such a thing is possible, which makes it less probable than things we know ARE possible.


The argument that ET cannot get to Earth is invalid.


No, the argument that ET can not get to Earth is UNKNOWN. No one can say they can, and no one can say they can't. We simply don't know.

Besides, who says ET can't get to Earth? I don't see people saying that, I see people saying it is UNLIKELY which is quite valid given all the challenges and problems - just the ones we know about - they would have to overcome to do so.


This is an impossible demand. If any of this evidence even existed, what are the chances that this evidence would be mailed to the opponents home address for their personal inspection?


No one is asking for this. You have twisted the request for observable scientific evidence into this statement to make it seem unreasonable. No one expects ET DNA to be delivered to their home. But where are the pictures? The lab test reports? The corroborating reports from other scientists who also examined the evidence?


now that it has been demonstrated such evidence allegedly exists and some scientists have handled it, they should accept it as proof.


Such evidence allegedly exists but we must accept it as proof? That doesn't make sense at all. There are also claims that physical evidence of Bigfoot has been found, examined and tested by scientists. Will you also agree to accept these claims as proof that Bigfoot exists? If not, then you are the one being duplicitous.


Argument: If we accept ET UFO’s exist and is visiting us, then we may also have to accept goblins, big foot, loch ness monster and whatever to exists.


Who said this? Where? I have never, ever heard anyone say this.

What is said is that, because some UFOs share common characteristics with other paranormal phenomena, there is a probability that UFOs are themselves a paranormal phenomenon rather than visitors from another planet. This is entirely different from and unrelated to your statement above.


It is the job of the skeptic to investigate all the available data, eliminate all hypothesis that do not fit the data, and then come up with a hypothesis that explains the available data.


No, it isn't. The skeptic doesn't have a job nor any responsibilities. It is the responsibility of the person who wants the skeptic to believe to prove it to them. No one is required to do any certain amount of investigation of something before saying "I doubt that."

If a child says "there is a monster under my bed," do you really need to investigate before saying, "No, I don't think there is."? Nope. You may not have looked under that kid's bed since you first moved it in there, but you're pretty sure there's no monster under it without any investigation whatsoever.


Let us look at the problems in the skeptics dialogue with the UFO witness:


Why? You made the whole thing up with a bit of inspiration from a movie. A FICTION movie. I am a member of a group which investigates paranormal events and UFO sightings. I have a printed sheet of questions to ask, and they are designed to be as neutral as possible so as not to "lead the witness." None of my team would say anything like what you are suggesting here. But that's because .. you made it up and it's not real, nor even any kind of reasonable approximation of real.


[edit on 25-3-2009 by Heike]



posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 12:38 PM
link   
Great thread.

I also don't see this debate between skeptics and believers.

A believer implies that you will accept anything.

The debate is:

The pseudoskeptic vs. the skeptical person who accepts the ET hypothesis.

The pseudoskeptic is not truly skeptical they are really closed minded debunkers.

Just because you support the ET hypothesis does not mean you believe and accept every piece of evidence that you look at.

You continue to weigh these things within reason.

The pseudoskeptic wants everything to be generic and unexplained and unidentified forever so they don't have to use reason or logic. This is why they try to compare these things with anything from the easter bunny to santa.

If you don't weigh these things things within reason like we do in all walks of life as to what's most likely and what's less likely, then how can we ever get closer to the truth?

The goal of the pseudoskeptic is not to get closer to the truth. The goal is to debunk until a spacecraft lands in their front yards and invites them on board.

This is why they speak in absolute terms because they don't want these things in the realm of reason and logic.



new topics

top topics



 
23
<<   2  3  4 >>

log in

join