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Skepticism: A Call to Arms

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posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 10:09 AM
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Originally posted by A Fortiori
There is a point where people do act on faith even without "facts". We even do it in science.


The crucial difference is that science constantly keeps testing and questioning itself.

When someone actually demonstrates that a previously held "scientific belief" or theory is incorrect or incomplete it is corrected or replaced by a better theory.

It's a logical conclusion to look at science and the scientific method as the best tool for acquiring and refining knowledge, that's in fact the point of it.

As I've said before, perhaps there are people content in just believing in extra-terrestrial visitation among other things, but what I contested is that ufology should be the field of research and study of the phenomena and therefor a scientific field, not a pseudoreligious movement.

If people want to believe numerous sort of things without any shred of proof, they are free to do so, have a blast, but don't call it ufology.



Why is it always that UFOlogy has to fight the uphill battle of extraordinary claims (...)


It's not just ufology it's any (proclaimed) study of phenomena that defy general consensus, so let's not act as if this is something unique to ufology.




posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 10:11 AM
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Originally posted by Total Package

Originally posted by ArMaP

Originally posted by Total Package
Some skeptics like to make claims about why something can't be... yet have absolutely no proof to back up their claims.
Then they are not real sceptics, a real sceptic does not make claims, the most he/she can do is to state his/her opinion, that is why converge made a distinction between what he knows and what he believes, they are different things.


The problem with skeptics are that their "opinion" is based on their belief system. eg: They don't believe UFOs are aliens from other planets..... so immediately their opinion is biased and misinformed.

How many times do you see skeptics on here automatically looking at a video and saying "CGI" or "Chinese Lanterns" or "It's a bird nothing to see here" without even the slightest bit of evidence to show this is the case.


You're being unfair.

For all the skeptics you see saying "it's CGI" and whatnot, you also see believers claming that IT IS a alien ship without even analyzing common evidence.

I'm not defending the skeptics since I also agree with you that most of them don't believe in aliens and they just try to crush any sort of evidence. But that also applys to believers, since one of the most posts here on ATS (which, btw, I hate) is "ahahah...nothing to see here. it's the reflection of venus...ahahah... S&F!".

The damage to this community is caused by both sides! It's up to each individual to change his atitude.

Believe it or not, but the people that believe so deeply that accept ANYTHING that comes up, do as much damage as someone who says "CGI" or "hoax"...



posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 10:12 AM
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The problem with Science is it has the ability to measure the quantitative, but not the ability to measure the qualitative.



posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 10:14 AM
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Is it possible to measure a 'quality'?



posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 10:16 AM
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Originally posted by A Fortiori
Did you ever see the Larry King show on aliens that had the former military fellows (two with PhDs in science) who claimed (and brought footage) that UFOs shot down their missiles. These weren't the average joe citizen. They had PhDs in physics, were eye-witnesses, etc.


Yes I did. And I'm familiar with the two gentleman you are talking about. I find their testimony and those two cases very compelling and credible.



and Bill Nye the Science guy basically blew them off with the "extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof", ignoring their footage, disregarding the source of the testimony, etc.


Bill Nye is dead wrong on the way he approaches and talked about UFOs and addressed the claims of the credible witnesses that were on the show.

I don't know if it's just a public facade, but on the subject of UFOs he seems to be everything but skeptical and scientific and very much like a pseudoskeptic.



posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 10:17 AM
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Originally posted by Total Package
The problem with skeptics are that their "opinion" is based on their belief system. eg: They don't believe UFOs are aliens from other planets..... so immediately their opinion is biased and misinformed.
Everyone's opinions are the result of the beliefs and knowledge of the person, sceptics are not different in that, the difference is that a sceptic understands (or should understand) where his/her opinion end and the facts start.

For example, my opinion about UFOs is that they obviously exist, but an extraterrestrial origin is not the one I think is the more likely to be the correct one, not because of any belief system but because we see them on Earth, so an earthly explanation is the more logical, even if I don't have any.


How many times do you see skeptics on here automatically looking at a video and saying "CGI" or "Chinese Lanterns" or "It's a bird nothing to see here" without even the slightest bit of evidence to show this is the case.
Frankly, not that much, although I see some people saying that, to me those are not sceptics, if they were they should say, at most, "it looks like CGI because..." or "I think it's a bird because...".



posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 10:17 AM
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reply to post by A Fortiori
 


I think that is at least one of the very points that promote these disputes between believers and skeptics. I don't think that the UFO research needs leaps of faith. I believe it needs research.

I can tell you - I am confident that there is life out there. There are a few cases (amidst those I know about) that give me confidence that something unexplained to us is happening on this happening that could very well involve an extraterrestrial presence.

There was an awesome thread recently where an ATS member asked those few so called "debunkers" what were the UFO cases that had them most puzzled - it is in my opinion a great thread and a mandatory read. (I will search it later and edit the link after I finish this post).

The biggest obstacle in my opinion to a fruitful discussion of the UFO phenomenon in these forums at the moment is the fact that research is considered wrong. That's right. Countless times you see ATS members that go through the effort of researching names, locations, dates, satellite positions, previous sightings - and a lot of people here just say "he's a skeptic.. trying to hide the truth because he is a sheeple and can't handle the truth". No. What he/she IS is a researcher trying to find the truth. Sometimes the truth is a bird. Sometimes it is a balloon. Sometimes it is a hoax. And sometimes it is something very hard to explain.
And those are the cases the so called skeptics "want" to find.

Even I - who am more of a reader than a poster - was called a disinfo agent by several ATS members simply for politely suggesting to another member that though I could not tell him whether he was channelled or not by an alien I simply could not base my perspective of the world on his testimony of something that happened telepathically in his head.


Just recently on a thread regarding a Sanni Ceto video. One ATS member went to the trouble of researching her past, found pictures, dates, previous endeavours, pointed out numerous contradictions on her statements... immediately people called him a disinfo agent, a cia agent, a "reptoid"(?), a hatemonger, asking him who he works for... by the people whose research basically consists of "I watched the video and... hmmm... I felt a vibration...wow..."


Then some say something which I am personally tired of reading which is "It is the love message that counts". My friends...
the message is common sense. Each and everyone of us can stand here and say "Love is the way. Hatred and Fear are only obstacles to the development of humanity. War only brings pain. We should all get along" and guess what? We don't need to stuff aliens in that message to make it important. So when someone says an alien came around and gave them that message... no it is not the message that is important - the message is common sense. What is important is.... "AN ALIEN CAME AROUND?!"

So in my opinion - UFOlogy is a field that does not need leaps of faith. Doesn't need walks of faith or little hops of faith... skipping faith... it does not need any faith at all. UFOlogy is a field that needs research. Serious credible research.

Cheers.


[edit on 11-8-2009 by InTrueFiction]

[edit on 11-8-2009 by InTrueFiction]



posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 10:17 AM
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Originally posted by A Fortiori
reply to post by converge
 


Did you ever see the Larry King show on aliens that had the former military fellows (two with PhDs in science) who claimed (and brought footage) that UFOs shot down their missiles. These weren't the average joe citizen. They had PhDs in physics, were eye-witnesses, etc. and Bill Nye the Science guy basically blew them off with the "extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof", ignoring their footage, disregarding the source of the testimony, etc.

I would bet, however, that he would be the first to say we invest money in evolutionary research although it does not have nearly the benefit to society as researching why some "object" shot down our missiles.

This is what makes me upset. This sliding bar of what is "extraordinary". Something shooting down our missiles should be investigated until we can't breathe.

I'm glad that scientists can make an amino acid after six months of chemical experiments in a laboratory, but to what end? Millions of dollars goes into research that just gets us high, it doesn't protect us from potential beings that could shoot down our missiles.

*sighs*



Yup one of my favourite videos of all times.... because it shows everything that is wrong with "Scientific Skeptics" like Bill Nye.

Here is the video of the debate you are talking about. I wrote an entire paper just based on this video... because it shows the lengths the skeptics go to especially the science based ones.... to debunk something with absolutely nothing but proclomation rather than investigation. It's something skeptics do on here as well.... proclaim stuff without investigating it first.

The best bits are when Bill "The science guy" Nye first off declares that the secret documents the UFOlogists gave him are "full of redactions because they don't want you to know who they are and where they live"
Of course Bill Nye as a so called skeptic should have seen a top secret document or 2 in his time and would see most of them are blacked out with redactions..... it was nothing but an attack on the UFOlogists credibility by proclaiming FOI released documents aren't usually blacked out. Pathetic.

Then at another stage Bill Nye says he has proof what caused the power to go out.... the Chiller Units had an issue that night and it was a power cut that caused the missiles to malfunction. HAHAHAHAA A scientist like Bill Nye suggesting a Nuclear Facility runs off main grid power and don't have any backup generators. Yeah good one Bill you clown. Where does he come up with this stuff. For the record they have triple redundancy power... as you would expect from a site that launches nuclear weapons.

He then tries to explain it by something else that happens at not even the right time of night.... luckily Stanton and the others all knew off the top of their head that he was wrong with his time as always. More proclomation rather than investigation.

He then finishes off the interview by spending the entire time saying "Well it's quite a stretch to think they are alien spacecraft" because he has turned up for the interview with absolutely NO evidence or investigation at all apart from some documents that were given to him by the UFOlogists. He spent the entire interview trying to come up with "theories".

Then he tops it off by saying Steve Fossett died in a balloon.... when everyone knows he died in a plane. What an idiot.

This ladies and gentleman is the "professional scientific skeptic" that gets rolled out whenever there is a UFO that needs to be debunked. I seriously would punch this clown in the nose if I ever met him.

Part 1


Part 2


Part 3


Part 4



posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 10:20 AM
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reply to post by Janitor From Mars
 


as long as the older threads are reff'd in the new thread, (as is the case with this one) repeat topics are indeed necessary, as the membership of ATS has turned over drastically in 3 yrs or however long since the original subject was breached. Fresh minds and new points of view are the lifeblood of any discussion, and should be given ample opportunity for inclusion. Further, because a topic was previously discussed doesn't mean it was resolved/ concluded.

Back on topic, I think the overall state of UFO research has taken such a hit by the charlatains mentioned earlier, that a new paradigm is required for any hope of advancement. The very term "UFO" may need to be abandoned altogether and replaced, due to the negative connotations attached, and new terminology be developed that is less likely to discourage truth seekers from paying attention...maybe call them "OAP"s (observable arial phenomena) or something...So much damage done...through no fault of us skeptics who only pursue truth.

And OFFICE: I'm all ears. True skeptics should take responsibility to share those cases that are mainstream but scientifically disproven and conversely, those that require further investigation but demonstrate promise. Too many carpetbaggers to sift through for truth. I for one, want to know. I'll save my faith for that 2000 yr old carpenter I see on Sunday.



posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 10:23 AM
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Originally posted by converge

Bill Nye is dead wrong on the way he approaches and talked about UFOs and addressed the claims of the credible witnesses that were on the show.

I don't know if it's just a public facade, but on the subject of UFOs he seems to be everything but skeptical and scientific and very much like a pseudoskeptic.


It's the same with all of them mate. Bill Nye with UFO's.... Michael Shermer with Psychics and PSI.... even Shermer has started weighing in with UFO debunking now... even though the clown has absolutely no idea and has done no investigation.

These guys might be idiots but they are all "credible" members of the scientific and skeptic community. Even people like Phil Plait from BadAstronomy.com are SKEPTICS who use science.... Plait has made his way up the world as a result of telling people they are wrong.

Here is what I mean about Phil Plait... who uses science to prove everything he doesn't believe in..... yet takes the most flimsy of anecdotal evidence to prove that we landed on the moon.... because that's his agenda.

www.para-research.org...


[edit on 11-8-2009 by Total Package]



posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 10:25 AM
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Originally posted by azure-door
Is it possible to measure a 'quality'?


I urge you to think about that.



posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 10:26 AM
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One of my favourite topics



posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 10:28 AM
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Originally posted by Total Package
This ladies and gentleman is the "professional scientific skeptic" that gets rolled out whenever there is a UFO that needs to be debunked.
The problem is that this is what is presented by the media or by himself as a "scientific sceptic" (I don't know the guy), and a sceptic should be recognised by his/her actions and not by what other people say about him/her or by what he/she says about other people.

PS: I do not know any of the "scientific sceptics" named on this thread, I only read some (maybe 3 or 4) posts from Phil Plait on his forum.



posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 10:31 AM
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Originally posted by InTrueFiction
There was an awesome thread recently where an ATS member asked those few so called "debunkers" what were the UFO cases that had them most puzzled - it is in my opinion a great thread and a mandatory read. (I will search it later and edit the link after I finish this post).

Is it this thread?



posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 10:35 AM
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Originally posted by converge
The crucial difference is that science constantly keeps testing and questioning itself.

When someone actually demonstrates that a previously held "scientific belief" or theory is incorrect or incomplete it is corrected or replaced by a better theory.



Human beings do research, therefore research is not unbiased and questioning of "itself".

Having been involved in research, having friends who continue to do research...I can tell you (sadly) that research is dictated by the funding. People set out to prove their hypothesis, not disprove it. There is usually an oversight board but that board does not measure "goodness" it verifies that the research is being performed in accordance with legal and regulatory constraints.

Take for example that Steve Miller guy that Fox News pulls out to discuss Junk Science. If you listen to him and all of his research findings you would believe that cigarette smoking is good for you. Research him and you learn he once worked for RJ Reynolds. Is it more likely, knowing this, that his research is impartial and "questioning" or that he is slightly predisposed to results that fit his funding agency's agenda?

Furthermore, it takes forever to get a quorum of scientists to agree upon anything, any "better" idea because it has the possibility of making their own research, their subject matter expertise obsolete.

Science as a term, well, I can agree with your supposition. Science in practice...neh. (Note: that's not a snarky "neh").



[edit on 11-8-2009 by A Fortiori]



posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 10:35 AM
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Originally posted by ArMaP

Originally posted by InTrueFiction
There was an awesome thread recently where an ATS member asked those few so called "debunkers" what were the UFO cases that had them most puzzled - it is in my opinion a great thread and a mandatory read. (I will search it later and edit the link after I finish this post).

Is it this thread?

Yes! thank you
I was looking for it all along



posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 11:26 AM
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Thanks for this thread converge

I can share what has happened to my "believer" and "skeptic" sides during the years.
They changed with knowledge. The more i came aware of facts, the smaller has become my "believer" side, which is still alive though. Initially one sees so many photos and videos all over and concludes that there's no way that they aren't alien spacecrafts: the he starts finding out that some of them are not. Then that many of them are not. Finally, that there's an extremely small part of them that actually fall into the "unexplained" basket. If this is has been yet someone's conclusion, then there has been something wrong in evaluating facts or choosing sources from which to learn facts, or using wrong criteria, etc... because FACTS say that according to all the serious case studies (unless something is being kept secret).
I believe to be a particular case: while many believe that i'm some hardcore skeptic (this mostly because i've debunked by coincidence or not some cases) well, i am NOT: i firmly believe that there are other intelligent forms of life, and even many ones. But in the other hand, i do realize that it's just my personal belief, which sadly is uncorroborated by any proof (where proof stands for actual proof not a blinking dot in the night sky: that just proves that blinking dots exist). I HAD to become mostly skeptic because the only alternative would have been to ignore everything i've learnt: and since it took to me time and efforts, i don't see why i should have ignored it.
Actually i would be the happiest person in the world if some alien intelligent form of life would be descovered, i can't imagine anything more fascinating than that: but so far we are in a stage where there's not a single proof: maaaany clues (even too many), but many clues will never make some proof, even if you put them all together: they will keep being just clues.
I've noticed that many "blind believers" blindly follow some of those gurus (some of them mentioned by Kandinsky) who make those conferences where they spread a bunch of claims and once again they DON'T provide any proof: an hint i would like to give to them is "start researching by yourself, don't believe anyone, believe just the facts that you learn by
yourself": as you can see, i'm not hinting to them "believe this and that", i'd say that it's a fair enough hint. That is at least what helped me and many other ones: now please don't blame me of trying to make a skeptic from each one of them, because nothing will change to me whether they
will change or won't, but of course it would be a step forward.
Also some "blind skeptics" are neither less ignorant nor less wrong than "blind believers" because what they do is to base their constructions on personal beliefs, which will never make any sense: of course one side isn't better than the other one: i've been reading some attempts of debunking that were good just in case they were trying to do some humor: once one called to dismiss as JUPITER some stuff that was spotted by a commercial jet's crew: even knowing that it had been tracked by radars, and after knowing that Federal Aviation Administration announced that it was going to officially investigate the sighting: well that's not less laughable then some guy believing that some blinking dot is a reptilian spacecraft: or, better, the dot can even be, but that was NOT jupiter of course .



[edit on 11/8/2009 by internos]



posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 11:48 AM
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Okay, Im sure to be in the minority here, and I've only watched the first 2 parts of the Bill Nye video (Inet slow at work) but I've noticed a few points thus far: (Granted, I know nothing about any of the men involved in the discussion)

1. The men describing the missle malfunction events, 3 of the 4 are authors that had their books plugged at the beginning of the show. Indication: "Okay guys, here's a chance to really up sales. Don't let Capt. Kangaroo make us look bad"

2. Bill Nye is clearly over his head. He is not prepared for this discussion at all, and is figuring out the facts as he goes along. Indication: "I am so smart, these jokers are no match for my superior intellect...I can wing this like the baking soda volcano "

3. Nye makes a very simple point - It is a leap to say that the object in the video is indeed an ET, and/ or is the CAUSE of the malfunction. Indication: in fact, there is no evidence to support that the UFO IS the cause. On the video (I know it's a re-creation) it may seem obvious...a UFO appears, beams of light from it hit the missle in several spots, and the bird drops dead.

But

there is the possibilty that it is a coicidence. A mechanical failure happend at the same instant that this object appeared. For example: You see a video of me pointing a revolver at a man, pulling the trigger, loud bang, man falls dead. What's NOT in the video is that gun was full of blanks and the man suffered a massive stroke coinciding with the loud bang.

4. Bearded man gets awful personal awful fast, and very defensive. This is a typical reaction when hard-core beliefs are called into question. It seems that he has established causality without enough actual evidence, and is upset when his trousers start to fall down.

5. Nye intentionally ignores the appearance of the UFO altogether - he can't explain that, in spite of a half hearted suggestion of "other military tests in the air". An effective method of self-bolstering: to shift focus to something he can disprove/ question, or even define - not the mark of a true scientific mind in my view. You cant pick and choose what aspects of the evidence to comment on and ignore everything else. Explain it all or shut up.

So far, I have to admit the science guy is correct in his line of thinking. Doesn't mean that the video is not representative of exactly what is being interpereted from it at all, just a possibliity that only APPEARS to be what really happend.

I will watch the rest when time allows to see if he blows it later.



posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 12:05 PM
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reply to post by Cole DeSteele
 
Hiya, the 'bearded man' is Stan Friedman. He's a retired nuclear physicist with a good pedigree in UFO research. He brought Roswell back to the attention of the public in the 70s. He's spent probably around 40 years immersed in UFOs. His credibility took a bit of a knock because he believes that some of the MJ-12 docs are genuine. He pretty much stands alone in that belief among other credible researchers (Randle, Decker, Knapp etc). I just don't know. Both sides make a good argument and know about official documents...I don't.

Bill Nye is like Shermer, he presents a talking head on MSM programs about UFOs. He openly states that he hasn't read about any UFO incidents. Hasn't read the Condon Report, Grudge, Condign or anything. In this light his credentials as a scientist become irrelevant. I say this because a scientist doesn't make conclusions without evidence.

Stanton is as 100% convinced in his perspective as Nye. They are both adamant and talk with certainty. When Stan flies off at Nye, it's the frustration of having a guy (for the umpteenth time) tell the witnesses that they saw nothing. Now, IMO both Friedman and Nye shouldn't adopt these concrete positions. On balance though, Friedman is speaking with way more authority than Nye. To use a Stan quote...Nye is 'doing his research by proclamation.'

(out of interest...I saw a TED talk with Shermer and he seemed less certain about UFOs than he likes to act. A subtle body language 'tell')



posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 12:07 PM
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reply to post by Cole DeSteele
 


Watch the entire show first. You'll see what we mean.

As to your points:

1) Consider the Source. You pointed out that 3 of the individuals had books to sell. Don't forget that Bill Nye is a paid debunker and has a TV show. By your line of reasoning you cannot exactly call him "impartial" either.
2) Irritability of the "bearded man". Did you notice the rather condescending way that he was spoken to by someone a) younger, b) someone not even at the event, and c) someone with only a bachelor's degree talking to someone with a PhD. Forget that Bill Nye is famous for a second and put yourself in that man's shoes. Of course he'd get a little heated. I read six dead languages and hate it when people "tell" me what's in the Bible. I'm like: Kid, I can read it in the original tongue. Is that hubris? Yeh, but I'm human.
3) Bill Nye's ability to be a part of high profile projects is due to his stand-up career and contact with celebrity friends. This does not make him a subject matter expert. He does not have deep domain expertise. He is the proverbial jack of all trades, master of none.
4) What is an "extraordinary" claim? The word itself is as subjective as the term "beauty".
5) He used six different debate fallacies to discredit the individuals without really examining their evidence. Not once did he go: Wow. That's interesting. Did X, Y, Z happen? What happened then? Were there any other anomalies? Nope. He treated aerospace and mechanical engineers like they were French majors and basically snarked them through the process of it all being an A/C malfunctioning or some BS like that.

Skepsis is questioning. I hear very few self-admitted skeptics querying people. I hear them immediately rush to the: It could be this...It could be that...It's probably this...It's probably that...

It is okay, skeptics, to ask questions then mull it over a bit before you rush to judgment.

[edit on 11-8-2009 by A Fortiori]

[edit on 11-8-2009 by A Fortiori]



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