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Debunking Pseudoskepticism: Common fallacies

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posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 04:16 PM
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Originally posted by Indigo_Child
There are other truth claims being made which I discussed in the OP - "ET does not exist", "ET cannot visit Earth", "It's unlikely that ET is here" all of these are truth claims.


I don't make any of those claims. I'm stuck on "I don't know what they are because none of the available evidence is convincing to me." It is possible that they are ETs from another planet, but I find it equally likely that they are not from another planet, that what they are is so far beyond our present understanding that we simply can't "get it." I have some problems with ETH collectively, there are some aspects of it that don't make a lot of sense to me. That doesn't make me a pseudo anything, it just makes me a person who has evaluated the available evidence and come to a different conclusion than you.


You claim that a skeptic does not have to investigate evidence, that they can judge evidence even without any investigation.


No, I claim that a person shouldn't have to spend years evaluating the body of UFO/ET evidence before being able to say "I'm not convinced they are from another planet." That's all.


The predication of life on other planets from life on Earth is thus as valid as the prediction of gravity on Jupiter from gravity on Earth. This is impeccable logic, so be careful how you respond.


Okay. But it doesn't prove that ETs are physical and from another planet. As I've repeatedly said, I find it to be just as probable that two different types of intelligent life developed on this planet. The possibility or probability of life on other planets does not inescapably lead to the conclusion that "they're here!" Some people (possibly you unless I misunderstand you) seem to think that just because we can reasonably infer that there is life on other planets, that trumps all other evidence for them being something else from somewhere else. I don't agree.


That is exactly the point. In your first quote you demands physical evidence of ET(lab reports etc) from scientists. Then in the second quote you say that just because there is scientific evidence, it does not mean it is true. In that case the argument in the initial quote is invalid because of duplicity.


No, that's not what I said!

You say there is physical evidence for ET and scientists have examined it, so I should believe.

I say, if that is true then

there is physical evidence for Bigfoot and scientists have examined it, so you should believe.

I am saying that the standards of evidence should be the same across the board. That the evidence for ET should not be preferentially treated.

Don't tell me I'm stupid because I can't see that UFOs must be ETs, and then turn around and tell the next guy he's stupid because he thinks Bigfoot might be real. THAT is hypocrisy.

What I am asking you is, if there were evidence that gargoyles exist which was of a caliber and quantity and quality the same as the evidence for ET, would you then believe in gargoyles? If not, then you are basing your belief in ET on more than just the evidence, and it's not reasonable to expect that anyone else should HAVE to accept the ETH based just on the evidence.



But it sounds like you have a pet theory that is anti-ETH, and are very frustrated that most people do not consider your pet theory. This obviously is very personal for you.


Nope, just tired of anyone who has a different idea being labeled derogatory names. And I think that some of the other theories should get a bit more attention, since some of them make more sense - well, at least to me they do.

For example, if UFO pilots and occupants share this planet with us, the fact that they want to keep a very close eye on us and learn everything they can about us while NOT revealing themselves or where they are makes PERFECT sense. As long as we don't know where they are, or even really think that they exist, we aren't a threat to them. All the fuss about polluting the planet makes sense too; if we actually managed to damage the planet we might be impacting THEIR survival! I'm just saying, I think there are good reasons to look at some of the other possibilities too, instead of just being stuck on one: ETH.




posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 05:01 PM
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reply to post by Heike
 


I think Indigo is right.

It seems you have a theory that you want people to accept, so instead of presenting your theory you try to belittle the ET hypothesis because you think it makes your position stronger. This does put you in a similar boat as the pseudoskeptic.

If you have a different theory present it. What you do is try to tear down the ET hypothesis because you think this will make your theory look better but you are missing the point.

We can debate all these theories without having to try and belittle someone elses explanation of these things.

The thread is about pseudoskepticism and you have confused it with a debate about accepting your theory.

All theories are looked at but you keep saying that people want to accept the ET hypothesis and not listen to other possibilities.

You want to debate a point that not in contention.

Pseudoskeptism doesn't have a theory about these things, pseudoskeptics just wants to debunk any theories or hypothesis about these things.

You are trying to use the pseudoskeptics logic and arguments against the ET hypothesis to bolster your theory about these things and nobody has said you don't have the right to support your opinion.

Let me ask you this, is your theory the most likely explanation for these things?



posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 05:11 PM
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reply to post by Heike
 


This is another kind of argument. It has nothing to do with the fallacious arguments I have debunked.

You are arguing whether UFO are ETI and whether ETI is the only hypothesis. No, ETH is NOT the only hypothesis, the alternate hypothesis are: weather ballons, car .lights, human aircraft, planet venus, hallucination, shared delusion, hoax, satellites and many others which form a part of our observable universe.

The other hypothesis that you are arguing for do not form a part of our observable universe: Underground civilisations, Underwater civilisations, spirit beings and therefore these hypothesis are not valid. That is not to say a UFO is not any of these, but as they cannot form a part of our explanatory framework, they cannot be validly considered.

ETH is a valid hypothesis, underwater civilisations and spirit beings are not. They are merely logical possibilities, but UFO's being from a cartoon parallel universe is also a logical possibility. So if none of the alternate hypothesis explain a particular UFO, then one has no option but to use ETH. No other hypothesis remains.

An example of a UFO that can be explained by a ETH is the Battle of LA one. Let us suppose though that it wasn't actually an ET UFO, but belonged to an advanced terrestrial species which co-exists with us underground or underwater. Even if it were true, we still would have to explain it with ETH, because the rest are only logical possibilities. To explain a UFO is not to say "This UFO is x" It is only to say, "That this UFO can be explained by x" To say x is y in general is a positive claim, one can only say that x appears to be y, and by qualifying thus one does not make an absolute truth claim.

Therefore all genuinely unexplained UFO's are to be explained with the ETH. Sorry about your pet theories....

[edit on 25-3-2009 by Indigo_Child]



posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 05:11 PM
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Originally posted by Indigo_Child
That said, there is an ideal skeptic. That is somebody who withholds judgement until they have explored all available evidence in a case.


No. An "Ideal Skeptic" would be someone who never accepts something as an absolute truth and maintains a doubting attitude regardless of evidence.

A skeptic will admit that we can never "know" anything for sure.


A skeptic is thus an investigator and their job is to investigate.


No it's not. See above.


Then, after the investigation is complete, the skeptic is able to offer a hypothesis which can account for all of the available data.


No. They are able to convey to all concerned that no amount of data can bring a conclusive hypothesis.


Somebody who does not investigate a case is not a skeptic, they are merely doubters.


Yes they are. "Doubting" and not 'investigation" is at the heart of skepticism.

I'm skeptical of (doubt) your understanding of the definition of the word "skeptic", but to keep the peace I have "investigated" for you:


skep⋅tic –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.
3. a person who doubts the truth of a religion, esp. Christianity, or of important elements of it.


etc....

source

I think you are describing an "Ideal Researcher".

I'd like to read the rest of your posts, but you fell at the first hurdle. How can you try to define something (somebody) in such detail unless you first understand the broader everyday meaning? This is almost reminiscent of a Christian trying to define (re-define) "Atheists" to suit their own arguments.

I wish you luck with this thread and hope you find more clarity that you purvey.


Of course, I could be completely wrong.



posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 05:20 PM
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reply to post by nerbot
 


But Nerbot, by either definition of skepticism that is accepted, the one you presented or Indigo Child's, the so called "skeptical" position claimed by many at ATS would be proven to be false - to be "pseudo-skepticism". In fact, your definition is even more extreme than Indigo Child's and would disbar many more ATS members from claiming legitimate status as "skeptics". I don't have any problem with this. I just want to make you aware that you are strengthening the case that pseudo-skepticism is a problem at ATS.

Skepticism becomes "Pseudo-skepticism" a) if the skeptic uses fallacious arguments in denial b) makes negative claims in denial of UFO's or the ETH but fails to bear the burden of proof for them c) if the skepticism is only applied to one phenomenon, such as the UFO's and the ETH, but not to all others (That is prejudice, a double standard, not legitimate skepticism) and d) if they actually use descriptions of other extraordinary phenomena or far fetched scenarios - without applying skepticism to them and without bearing the burden of proof - to explain away UFO's or the ETH to which they suddenly do apply extreme skepticism (again, prejudice, a double standard, pseudo-skepticism, not legitimate skepticism)

And no doubt there are e's and f's and so on too but my tea is getting cold



[edit on 25-3-2009 by Malcram]



posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 05:31 PM
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reply to post by nerbot
 


From Online Etymology Dictionary:

www.etymonline.com...


Skeptic does not mean him who doubts, but him who investigates or researches as opposed to him who asserts and thinks that he has found."


The denotation of the word according to its etymology, from the root Greek word skepticos, meaning "inquirer, reflective" The original skeptics in Greece were not doubters, but investigators of truth.

It is true the word skeptic carries connotation of doubting, but it is not the denotation of the word. Its meaning when analysed linguistically is inquirer, investigator of truth. So there is such thing as an ideal skeptic.
As you seem to have decided to not read the OP because "I fell the first hurdle" clearly you are not the ideal skeptic



posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 06:02 PM
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reply to post by Indigo_Child
 


I think you have to accept that unfortunately some people would rather argue over terms than debate the issues. Speaking from a legal sense, i think if i could get a hundred witnesses and a hundred UFO reports into court, i could get a judgment that UFO's exist-its certainly a greater weight of evidence than in any trial i've heard of. Establishing what a UFO is or where it comes from is another matter.
Earlier on this thread Heike mentioned the Giant Squid-this had been reported for hundreds of years, but all the witnesses were 'mistaken' until we caught one. Pseudoskeptics hold very much the same position with UFO's-until we catch one all the witnesses are mistaken. The reality is, that whilst 1 witness may be mistaken, with each extra witness that becomes less likely.



posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 06:16 PM
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Wow, Indigo_Child...where to start?


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,


Do you have any examples? If that's true I'd be more than happy to clear things up.


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.


Right. It can corroborate or dismiss all sorts of things.

It's meant to resolve whether or not invisible fairies exist, not if the person is deluded or a charlatan. It's meant to answer a very specific question established at the beginning of the hypothetical argument. That is the most important part. There needs to be a very clear line of what the claim is and what exactly needs to be proven.

In this case it seems to be: "Are UFOs alien craft?" My answer to that would have to be: "No. It is because there is no valid evidence or proof that supports this hypothesis."


If the claimant is also to provide group testimonies, photographs, then it creates more avaible [sic] data for the investigator.


If the data is useful and can actually be verified through the various trials of scientific rigor, then yes. Anything that cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt must be disregarded as 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.


See, this is what I was originally concerned about in my initial reply. As is often the case this 'logical fallacy approach' to debate has become the primary concern of the argument and the fundamental or underlying theory has taken a back-seat.

By the same token I can advert logical fallacies committed in this thread and elsewhere (such as dicto simpliciter among others), but that would be no different than committing what would only be construed as an ad hominem myself. Ultimately, it would lead both of us in a circle of debate about logical fallacies and completely away from UFOs. Many of these perceived violations of logical order don't even apply here in the first place.

It's hand-waving.

We are debating whether or not UFOs are alien spacecraft, and what exactly constitutes a "pseudo-skeptic."


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.


Scientific verification and a courtroom trial are two very different things that employ two entirely different processes for arbitrating the truth. This comparison is baseless.

A courtroom is under no such constraint to replicate results that can be repeated or verify (over the course of years) various facts presented by different sets of valid data. They simply don't have the time or reason to do so. Science has no acceptable margin of error to work with and has more than enough time to take the proper steps necessary to prove or disprove a claim, and therefore cannot rely on unsubstantiated testimony or second-hand anecdotes as "evidence."

How can that in any way be interpreted as arbitrary?
What relativistic definitions of evidence have been created?

Evidence is evidence, no matter how you slice it.

Personally, I'd like to consider some of these stories, photos and video clips as evidence but I have yet to find ONE example that can actually be verified or supported in any substantive way. If anyone has a good example of one that can, please share it.

(cont below)



posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 06:19 PM
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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 [sic] on that evidence.


Precisely. It is the job of science to clearly define these concepts, and they have been already established.

But again, it absolutely MUST be actual evidence. Something that can be substantiated.

An "inconclusive" result can bear no weight in favor or against any argument which, by its omission, becomes ineffectual to the investigation. This isn't to mention that human beings by default are very unreliable scientific instruments in regard to making sense out of questionable phenomena. ( See: www.csicop.org... )

Science can not, and will not "take somebody's word" on something.


Again you should be very careful with the positivist claim "proven beyond a reasonable doubt"


I could also say that you should be very careful with the pseudo-scientific notion of "proof is whatever I want it to be for this argument." Proving something beyond a reasonable doubt is one of the first steps of genuine validation.


Scientific verificationalism [sic] has been demonstrated to be invalid.


Really? Since when?

Furthermore, how was it proven to be invalid? I'm curious.


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.


Which brings us to the very definition of what constitutes scientifically valid evidence.


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.


I don't recall making any claims. I do remember the claim that UFOs support evidence of a space faring civilization visiting earth was established at some point in this thread.

Science is a process and cannot be adopted in some zealous or dogmatic belief system that revolves around bias (as is often accused from fringe groups like Ufologists.) But the truly interesting thing about some groups of UFO proponents is that they often display all of these behaviors up to and including rabid fanaticism and rather aggressive attempts to convince others to believe in the same things that they do. Some of the smaller groups even exhibit cult-like behavior.

If that's not indicative of a dogmatic belief-system, I don't know what is.


given as theirs is an unobservable universe, one cannot conclusively say that similar laws of physics operate there.


What?

Not only are you saying aliens exist by this statement you're attributing all kinds of fantastic properties to them. So, are you saying that you have proof that they exist and that the laws of physics do not apply to them?

Remember - The burden of proof is on the proponent.


But we can only work from our observable universe, and space is much as part of an unobservable universe.


If it's unobservable how can these conclusions be drawn, then? What leads you to believe that there is an "unobservable universe" in the first place?


The problem comes when you generalise [sic] your current level of understanding of physics to an advanced understanding of physics.


Explain.

What we know of physics is what we know of physics. There is no way to differentiate some obscure concept as an alien civilization having some sort of highly advanced grasp of physics if we have absolutely no evidence of either one. We have what we have extracted from physics, and that's all we have to work with. Your statement suggests that there is more to it than that.

(cont below)



posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 06:23 PM
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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


But how does this suggest, in any way, that an alien civilization (of which we have no proof) regularly employs concepts of physics that we have yet to even stumble upon?

What ET race?


When antecedent causes become known, effects can be manipulated.


As should be obvious to you, this is not how the scientific process works.


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.


So you are basically suggesting a sort of scientific conspiracy at work. Why that explanation when many other more simple, straightforward answers would just as easily form a solution?

And of course it doesn't have to go to a skeptic. It can go to anyone capable of adequately testing, examining and providing scientific reasons for its validation.


So it is an impossible demand that if ET and UFO samples exist, they will be available for public inspection.


Why would they need to be in order to be properly analyzed?


In fact the chances are they would be top-secret.


That's quite a leap.

Why would it be top secret? What evidence can you provide (and I really don't require irrefutable proof in this instance) that this would be the case?


As you are aware, these do indeed exist.


No, I'm not aware. Examples please.

You are saying that scientists have handled alien materials and recorded the results of their findings. I would absolutely love to see some of these, investigate them and share the findings with accredited scientists of their respective fields.


The demand that something should be "peer reviewed" is not appealing to evidence, but a peer group.


Are you aware of the fact-testing, ethical demands and scrutiny involved with peer-reviewed journals? These are very important.

It is overwhelmingly hard to slip a false-positive through these safeguards if not out rightly impossible.


Are you familiar with cold-fusion, over-unity devices, antigravity, ZPE? There have been several experriments [sic] done by different scientists in all these areas which have produced a strong amount of validating evidence.


I've examined the claims associated with these ideas. So far I have found the greater majority of the findings in these fields to be rather dubious.

If a strong amount of validating evidence exists, I would be very interested in reviewing these ideas further. So far, I have found none.


In the end a peer-group acceptance or rejection is just another form of testimony.


In a sense, yes.

Fortunately, it is not the only form of accepted scientific evidence that exists and there are many other methods that can verify a hypothesis as valid. Sadly, I have yet to see any of them applied properly in Ufology.

Attempting to apply logic to an illogical assumption doesn't grant it anymore believability than it already had.



posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 06:27 PM
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The bottom line is this:

Are UFOs real? You bet. There are plenty cases of unidentified flying objects. But that first word is very important.

Assuming that a UFO is some kind of alien vehicle is an absolutely incredible leap of logic. According to almost all accredited, well-trained and able observers of this phenomena there is absolutely no valid evidence that supports this belief. I personally agree with this assertion as I have not run into any convincing evidence myself.

Now, this leaves both ends open. But the burden of proof will ALWAYS be the claimants responsibility. Science (and reason in general) is under no obligation to prove the existence of negatives. It is not founded on belief.

Some people just want to really, REALLY believe in aliens. Any sort of logical gymnastics required to reinforce this perception of reality is par for the course. It's also perfectly fine.

But a skeptic is a skeptic. "A person who questions the validity or authenticity of something purporting to be factual." It's as simple as and no less complicated than that. All of us are to some degree.

"Pseudo-skepticism?" Sure, why not.

Ufology? Pseudo-science. There is little point in me continuing to argue what the OP suggests any further.

Proverbially, many of it's supporters aren't getting 4 when they add 2 and 2 together, or even getting 6. They're getting "potato."



posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 07:04 PM
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In this case it seems to be: "Are UFOs alien craft?" My answer to that would have to be: "No. It is because there is no valid evidence or proof that supports this hypothesis."


As discussed earlier one should be careful with postivist statements that x is y. If one asks is a UFO an alien craft, the response should be an honest one with qualifications, "According to the evidence, the craft appears to be x"


If the data is useful and can actually be verified through the various trials of scientific rigor, then yes. Anything that cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt must be disregarded as evidence.


Again be very careful with the word "proof" that kind of language is outdated in our current world. Positivism is a defeated philosophy, which was strong at the beginning of the 20th century, but today barely any positivists are around.

You begin your inquiry by first deciding what evidence is evidence. This is an invalid position. Evidence, simply put is data one can collect in a case. All evidence to do with a case is important. Are you familiar with document analysis in media studies? Every bit of data known is a document, such as the layout of a shop.

If you are investigating a UFO witness case, every bit of data is important. Professional research takes time, requires investment of energy, time and even money. If you are not prepared to do the research, then desist from making any truth claims about a case.


By the same token I can advert logical fallacies committed in this thread and elsewhere (such as dicto simpliciter among others), but that would be no different than committing what would only be construed as an ad hominem myself. Ultimately, it would lead both of us in a circle of debate about logical fallacies and completely away from UFOs. Many of these perceived violations of logical order don't even apply here in the first place.


If there is a fallacy being commited and one spots it, then it is alright to point it out. It's not an ad adhominem, in fact to accuse somebody which validly points out logical fallacies of adhomimems, is an ad-hominem itself.

The logical fallacy you commited was the null-hypothesis fallacy. An investigator does not start their investigation with any kind of prejudgement, they only analyse data that is available. This is the standard in research. It is only when one goes to interpret data that one brings subjectivity in, otherwise the actual collection of data should be as objective as possible.

The argument that an investigator needs to judge evidence before analysing it is not professional, not ethical and logically and scientifically invalid.


Scientific verification and a courtroom trial are two very different things that employ two entirely different processes for arbitrating the truth. This comparison is baseless.

A courtroom is under no such constraint to replicate results that can be repeated or verify (over the course of years) various facts presented by different sets of valid data. They simply don't have the time or reason to do so. Science has no acceptable margin of error to work with and has more than enough time to take the proper steps necessary to prove or disprove a claim, and therefore cannot rely on unsubstantiated testimony or second-hand anecdotes as "evidence."


Scientific verificationalism is invalid. It is invalid because of the principle of falsification. Nothing in science is ever verified, because it is later falisified.

Read about the failures of scientific verificationism here:

books.google.co.uk... hl=en&ei=AcXKSdG2GdqrjAelrpHzCQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=3&ct=result


How can that in any way be interpreted as arbitrary?
What relativistic definitions of evidence have been created?

Evidence is evidence, no matter how you slice it.


Exactly what my position is. Evidence is evidence. There is scientific evidence, testimonial evidence, photographic evidence, video evidence, logical evidence, historical evidence etc. All evidence matters.


Personally, I'd like to consider some of these stories, photos and video clips as evidence but I have yet to find ONE example that can actually be verified or supported in any substantive way. If anyone has a good example of one that can, please share it.


None can be verified, they can only be corroborated. The best one is the UFO over LA one. This was one was actually taken by press photograpehrs at the time. It is easily one of the best UFO cases ever.

[edit on 25-3-2009 by Indigo_Child]



posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 07:09 PM
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reply to post by Indigo_Child
 


Well ..

here is where I think we are at. You are using the high-falutin' abstract scientific logical philosophical type theories, and I'm trying - more or less - to use plain old ordinary common sense.

To me, not having a scientific background, other planets, other dimensions, parallel universes, suboceanic civilizations, etc. all have pretty much the same level of validity (or invalidity). They're all pretty far out to me, but none is noticeably farther out than the others. Aren't scientists currently postulating the existence of parallel universes?

Your abstract logical scientific view may say that ETH is a better hypothesis because
a) we know life exists on at least one planet (this one) and
b) we know there are other planets which are (as well as we are able to tell) similar to this one and therefore have a "scientific" probability or possibility of also having life.

Therefore, ETH is the most "logical" or "scientific" hypothesis. Am I understanding you correctly?

Me, on the other hand, with my everyday common sense, says "I wouldn't make the 40 mile trip into town to play silly games with airplanes, buzz cars, and abduct a few people and tell them bizarre conflicting stories." It seems more like Earth is the alien teenagers' Saturday night "let's raise a little hell" hangout instead of a serious expedition or project.

If, on the other hand, UFOs are right here with us, underground or under the oceans, or right "next door" dimensionally speaking, it makes a whole lot more sense that they would pop over here whenever they feel like it and do all the weird stuff they do - like crop circles, cattle mutilations, abductions, etc.

Common sense extrapolation which interprets the actions and motivations of other intelligent beings based on human intelligence (since that is the only intelligence we have to extrapolate from) says they aren't coming from hundreds of light years away just to fart around, make pretty patterns in crops, and confuse the poor humans for a good laugh.

And therein lies the difference. Your purely scientific approach tells you that ETH is the "most likely" hypothesis; my common sense tells me that them being conveniently close, or right here with us, is a more likely hypothesis.

 


The other thing I think you are not taking into consideration is the nature of humans.

Mr. A, although he doesn't admit it even to himself, is deathly afraid to accept the ETH. If he does, he no longer has even the illusion of control or safety. They could abduct him or his family any night they choose and there's not a thing he could do about it, or maybe just wipe us off the face of the planet, or blow up the whole planet like Star Wars. Mr. A will be living in constant fear and anxiety if he accepts ETH, so he doesn't, and never will until it is presented to him in such a way that he has no other choice. His and his family's safety and sanity are dependent on there not being any ETs here, so there aren't any.

Mr. B can't believe in ETs because the belief system his entire life, his purpose, and his life's meaning are based on does not allow for the existence of ETs. If Mr. A accepts that ETs are real, and here, he must throw out everything he believes in and start over. The ETH pulls not only the rug, but the floor and foundation out from under him, leaving him with a meaningless, purposeless life and no structure to cling to. Mr. B's happiness and sanity depend on there not being any ETs here, so there aren't any.

Mr. C is confidently convinced that human beings are the pinnacle of evolution. His ego and arrogance will not allow him to believe that ETs are here. There might be some ETs out there somewhere on another planet, but they won't be as smart or as technologically advanced as humans. If those pesky UFOs are ETs, then they have superior technology, and that's unthinkable - and unacceptable. All of Mr. C's self-confidence and contentment with himself comes crashing down around him if UFOs are ETs. No, they are black ops, or hallucinations or .. something. But they aren't ETs. They can't be.

None of my alphabet guys are deliberately out to be "pseudo-skeptics" or debunkers. But if challenged they will sure act like they are, because from their point of view their safety, security, happiness, sanity, and future depend on you being wrong. They may not have consciously thought this all through, but they will use every and any mental weapon or argument to disprove ETH, and if you get close to poking holes in their disbelief they'll become very angry.

It is not, however, really their choice or their fault. They are the way they are because of the circumstances of their life and their experiences, and they really can't help it without having to quite literally destroy who they are and start over.

Arguing with them about it is about like trying to convince a cantankerous, ornery old bull that you're his new best friend. You won't succeed, and if you get too close you'll only provoke an angry attack on yourself. They are best ignored, or politely "fogged" with some statement like "well, you may be right," and left alone.

From this point of view, I find baiting, antagonizing, provoking, or otherwise challenging the person whose fundamental view of life or self depends on the wrongness of the ETH to be morally and ethically reprehensible. The best you can do is anger and upset them, and it serves no useful purpose.

I also suspect that most of your so-called "pseudoskeptics" are either A's, B's, or C's. They aren't really attacking you or the ETH. From their perspective, they're just defending themselves from something that could destroy them.

 


As for me, I don't really have any pet theories. Well, actually, yes I do have one. I tend to think that many of the anomalies which puzzle us have the same explanation. That is to say, my "pet" hypothesis is that cryptids, mythological and legendary creatures, some (but maybe not all) spirits, "elementals", Fortean animals and phenomena, and etc. all have one common source: other dimensions. They come here, some accidentally and some on purpose, to our dimension/universe and they aren't quite the same here as we who belong in this universe, so they have a variety of unusual properties and characteristics. It's an Occam's razor kind of thing. One explanation for all the weirdness in the world is so much neater and tidier than having a different explanation/theory/hypothesis for each type of anomaly. Especially since my "pet" theory also explains the Bermuda Triangle, people who disappear, people who disappear and reappear in different places, "missing time" experiences, and other assorted weirdness.




posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 07:14 PM
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reply to post by LogicalResponse
 


Logical Response, your whole post misrepresents the scientific method of gathering evidence and building a hypothesis.

The ET hypothesis is valid because it's based on empirical evidence and data.

Empirical:

From the Miriam Webster online dictionary empirical means: 1 : originating in or based on observation or experience 2 : relying on experience or observation alone often without due regard for system and theory 3 : capable of being verified or disproved by observation or experiment

wiki.answers.com...

As you said in your post:

"Are UFOs real? You bet"

Right there you have validated the ET hypothesis.

These people are describing what they see from metallic spacecrafts to humanoid looking beings.

People who support the ET hypothesis do not accept it because they woke up one day and said extra-terrestrial or extr-dimensional beings exist so I will accept the ET hypothesis. On the contrary, people support this hypothesis after examining the evidence where eyewtinesses describe what they saw.

This is the mistake that many make. They somehow think that people have accepted the ET hypothesis without and empirical evidence or data. This is not the case. There's tons of evidence to examine to build a valid hypothesis to explain these things.

This is how science works. We build theories and hypothesis to be tested when we either have the technical capabilities to test the theories or enough funds to do the research.

You said:

"Assuming that a UFO is some kind of alien vehicle is an absolutely incredible leap of logic. "

This makes ZERO sense.

Why is it a leap of logic? That's silly, when you just confirmed in your post that UFO's exist.

This is the job of science. To try to identify an unexplained or unidentified phenomana.

On top of that, the people who see these things describe what they saw and we can build a hypothesis based on this empirical evidence.

So again, your misrepenting how the scientific method works.

We use eyewitness accounts everyday in life from science, police investigations and in court rooms.

Explain to me why we can't use them in ufology and weigh the credibility of the witnesses?

Why do you exclude this, when we use eyewitness testimony in all walks of life.



posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 07:40 PM
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Science is a process and cannot be adopted in some zealous or dogmatic belief system that revolves around bias (as is often accused from fringe groups like Ufologists.) But the truly interesting thing about some groups of UFO proponents is that they often display all of these behaviors up to and including rabid fanaticism and rather aggressive attempts to convince others to believe in the same things that they do. Some of the smaller groups even exhibit cult-like behavior.

If that's not indicative of a dogmatic belief-system, I don't know what is.


Rabid fanaticism and aggressive attempts to convince others to believe in the same thing they do is not at limited to ufology, cults or religions. To see first-hand evidence of this make your way over to the Amazing Randi or Richard Dawkins forums.



What?

Not only are you saying aliens exist by this statement you're attributing all kinds of fantastic properties to them. So, are you saying that you have proof that they exist and that the laws of physics do not apply to them?

Remember - The burden of proof is on the proponent.


Actually this rebutal was aimed at the argument, "ET cannot visit Earth" it is presupposed in the question itself that if ET exists, it cannot visit Earth.

The laws of physics should apply to them, but there is no reason to think our laws of physics apply to them. Notice the difference?


If it's unobservable how can these conclusions be drawn, then? What leads you to believe that there is an "unobservable universe" in the first place?


Simply put, it is the very act of observation that creates an unobservable universe. There are radio waves, microwaves, cosmic rays are around you right now, but you cannot observe it. They exist in an unobservable universe. Today we have equipment to detect them and thus render them observable, but 100 years ago we didn't. There are other unknowns in physics that do not form a part of our observable universe.

Are you familiar with Scrodingers cat thought experiment? The cat in the box is the unobservable universe, and the box itself is part of your observable universe.



What we know of physics is what we know of physics. There is no way to differentiate some obscure concept as an alien civilization having some sort of highly advanced grasp of physics if we have absolutely no evidence of either one. We have what we have extracted from physics, and that's all we have to work with. Your statement suggests that there is more to it than that.

(cont below)


Again the argument that I was rebutting presupposes aliens exist, but objects to the notion of aliens being advanced enough to breach our laws of physics. If we accept that presupposition, then we can conclude that laws of physics cannot generalise to aliens because an advanced alien species is a part of an unobservable universe, of which none of our theories have any sway.

The only way it could be valid to say if ET could not get here, if we actually could observe their knowledge of science and see that even that does not allow it. Alas.

[edit on 25-3-2009 by Indigo_Child]



posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 08:05 PM
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Originally posted by platosallegory
As you said in your post:

"Are UFOs real? You bet"

Right there you have validated the ET hypothesis.


No, he didn't. He's merely agreeing that there are objects which people have seen and couldn't identify. That's what "UFO" means, unidentified flying object - nothing more.


These people are describing what they see from metallic spacecrafts to humanoid looking beings.


Yeah, well .. the thing is .. people see all SORTS of things and we don't automatically believe they're real just because someone saw it. Please don't try to tell me that you believe that anything anyone has ever reported seeing is real, because I know that's not true.


Why is it a leap of logic?


Well let's see. Based on, say, Indigo_Child's hypothetical typical sighting, what do we know about the UFO?
1. It looked metallic
2. It was big
3. It moved differently than any human aircraft I've ever seen.

There's the evidence. How do you get "extraterrestrial" out of that without making a leap of logic?


We use eyewitness accounts everyday in life from science, police investigations and in court rooms.


So you're claiming there is no difference in "believability" factor between:

"Yes, your honor, I saw the defendant hit the plaintiff's car"

and

"I saw a small grey alien. It zapped me with some kind of light from a stick looking thing, then took me up into a spaceship, extracted a semen sample, and put me down naked 20 miles from home 2 days later."

Yeah, right.

Actually, I thought I explained this rather well in my "strangeness factor" post here. The higher the "strangeness factor" the less likely we are to believe unverified witness testimony, no matter how "trustworthy" the witness is. We do weigh the reliability of the witness, but we also independently weigh the probability of the witnessed event being real and combine the two when deciding what to believe.



posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 08:10 PM
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So you are basically suggesting a sort of scientific conspiracy at work. Why that explanation when many other more simple, straightforward answers would just as easily form a solution?

And of course it doesn't have to go to a skeptic. It can go to anyone capable of adequately testing, examining and providing scientific reasons for its validation.


I do not believe I suggested that. All I demonstrated was that peer review is just another form of testimony, and testimony is subject to belief.


Why would they need to be in order to be properly analyzed?


How do you physically analyse something that you don't have? Hmm.


That's quite a leap.

Why would it be top secret? What evidence can you provide (and I really don't require irrefutable proof in this instance) that this would be the case?


They would be top secret for the same reason other very sensitive matrials are kept secret, such as classified technology. If they had ET UFO techologies in their possession, they would be deconstructing it to give them an advantage over other governments. This is why some technology is classified. It is claimed that transistors, microchips and many other modern technologies are reverse engineered ET technology, and they have definitely given the USA a huge advantage over other countries.

I think it is naive to not expect a government to do that.


As you are aware, these do indeed exist.



You are saying that scientists have handled alien materials and recorded the results of their findings. I would absolutely love to see some of these, investigate them and share the findings with accredited scientists of their respective fields.


Yep, just do a google search for Marcel Vogel. But you will be disappointed.
There are other scientists who have handeled alien materials directly as well, so they claim, but the names are not occuring to me right now, perhaps others can help you on that.


Are you aware of the fact-testing, ethical demands and scrutiny involved with peer-reviewed journals? These are very important.

It is overwhelmingly hard to slip a false-positive through these safeguards if not out rightly impossible.


I am, but still doesn't change the fact that peer-groups are just another form of testimony, and there is always an element of politics involved in these groups as well. I have talked to people involved in peer groups and they have been frank with me on just how much politics and power games are involved.


I've examined the claims associated with these ideas. So far I have found the greater majority of the findings in these fields to be rather dubious.

If a strong amount of validating evidence exists, I would be very interested in reviewing these ideas further. So far, I have found none.


Which just bears out of my point, scientific evidence is just testimony, you either believe it or you don't. Cold fusion was derided in the past, but look at recent studies and you will find cold fusion is gaining more supporters. As is anti-gravity; as is free-energy or what have you. Peer acceptance and rejection does not falisify a theory or experiment, only an empirical observation can.


In the end a peer-group acceptance or rejection is just another form of testimony.



Attempting to apply logic to an illogical assumption doesn't grant it anymore believability than it already had.


There is nothing illogical about ET and ET ufos. There is nothing within logic or our current scientific understanding of the universe that contradicts ET or ET ufos. Stephen Hawking has been very frank on that.

In scientific logic, there is no reason to believe there is no ET and that they cannot visit Earth. In fact in scientific logic the existence of ET and their ability to travel to Earth must be accepted. ET is a part of our universe, that is the conclusion of scientific logic. If you reject it, you must reject science altogether which makes predictions about the universe beyond observables e.g., gravity on Jupiter. Do you believe there is gravity on Jupiter?

[edit on 25-3-2009 by Indigo_Child]



posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 08:16 PM
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Originally posted by nerbot
An "Ideal Skeptic" would be someone who never accepts something as an absolute truth and maintains a doubting attitude regardless of evidence.

Thank you for clarifying what an "Ideal Skeptic" is.. one must admire such efficiency in proclamation and dismissal.. it really is amazing.

A doubting attitude 'regardless of evidence'? .. so even if I show the evidence, there is still a doubting attitude? .. then why do skeptics even demand evidence in the first place?

nerbot, you set a very good example of what so called 'skepticism' is really about. Be proud!




posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 08:29 PM
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Originally posted by LogicalResponse
The bottom line is this:

Are UFOs real? You bet. There are plenty cases of unidentified flying objects. But that first word is very important.

Assuming that a UFO is some kind of alien vehicle is an absolutely incredible leap of logic. According to almost all accredited, well-trained and able observers of this phenomena there is absolutely no valid evidence that supports this belief. I personally agree with this assertion as I have not run into any convincing evidence myself.


I understand your position. You want UFO's to remain a mystery, because according to you that if no other ordinary explanation can explain them, then they are just mysterious. This is not a position we accept in science though, we know that any explanation we come up with is going to be falisfied anyway at some point, but we still try our best to explain what we can observe. Otherwise, there would no be science period. So an explanation is needed for all observables to enable us to understand the world we live in better.

As argued in the OP, and many times in this thread, ETH is a valid hypothesis. Once every ordinary explanation is falsified, the one that remains is the best explanation. Let us look at the Battle of LA case: It's not a reflection, it's not a weather balloon, it's not planet Venus, it's not a human aircraft, it's not a delusion, it's not a cloud. The only explanation that remains is ETH, and it is the best explanation out of every possible explanation. In fact not to accept this explanation would be as unscientific as not accepting the Earth goes around the sun by the early Church.



posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 08:49 PM
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To me, not having a scientific background, other planets, other dimensions, parallel universes, suboceanic civilizations, etc. all have pretty much the same level of validity (or invalidity). They're all pretty far out to me, but none is noticeably farther out than the others. Aren't scientists currently postulating the existence of parallel universes?


They are all unfalsifiable. Your argument is argument from faith and can be summed up as: "Well, I am not interested in what science or logic says, I am only interested in what I believe."



Common sense extrapolation which interprets the actions and motivations of other intelligent beings based on human intelligence (since that is the only intelligence we have to extrapolate from) says they aren't coming from hundreds of light years away just to fart around, make pretty patterns in crops, and confuse the poor humans for a good laugh.


That's not common sense that is your belief. You believe that ET's coming here flying in our skies, abducting humans or even mutilating cows is absurd. It's an argument from incredulity.


And therein lies the difference. Your purely scientific approach tells you that ETH is the "most likely" hypothesis; my common sense tells me that them being conveniently close, or right here with us, is a more likely hypothesis.


Fair enough, but this is just your belief. You are not using any kind of valid inferences, you are just picking and choosing what you want to believe.

 



The other thing I think you are not taking into consideration is the nature of humans.

None of my alphabet guys are deliberately out to be "pseudo-skeptics" or debunkers. But if challenged they will sure act like they are, because from their point of view their safety, security, happiness, sanity, and future depend on you being wrong. They may not have consciously thought this all through, but they will use every and any mental weapon or argument to disprove ETH, and if you get close to poking holes in their disbelief they'll become very angry.

It is not, however, really their choice or their fault. They are the way they are because of the circumstances of their life and their experiences, and they really can't help it without having to quite literally destroy who they are and start over.

Arguing with them about it is about like trying to convince a cantankerous, ornery old bull that you're his new best friend. You won't succeed, and if you get too close you'll only provoke an angry attack on yourself. They are best ignored, or politely "fogged" with some statement like "well, you may be right," and left alone.

From this point of view, I find baiting, antagonizing, provoking, or otherwise challenging the person whose fundamental view of life or self depends on the wrongness of the ETH to be morally and ethically reprehensible. The best you can do is anger and upset them, and it serves no useful purpose.


Right, but again all that is belief. None of this is scientifically valid. Your own response is no better than your ABC characters. You are also responding against ETH, because you don't like it, and not because you have any valid reason.

[edit on 25-3-2009 by Indigo_Child]



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