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Neil Degrasse Tyson on UFO Sightings and Aliens

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posted on Apr, 28 2010 @ 05:08 PM

Originally posted by cripmeister
reply to post by VneZonyDostupa
Degrasse Tyson is great at explaining, I like his style. He's the complete opposite of Richard Dawkins. But I can understand why some people don't like him, he's a pretty loud guy and he can come off as arrogant. Here's a more in depth video on his views on UFOs and eyewitness testimony.

Though the discussion is similar, I like this presentation better than the one in the OP. It seems a little more passionate, which is interesting, since it's just an A in a Q and A session. I wonder which one was first?

I think arrogant could apply to either Dawkins or Tyson, but I agree their styles are otherwise different and that Tyson is better at giving explanations.

posted on Apr, 28 2010 @ 05:48 PM
Btw, off topic, but does anybody know if there's a full video of Neil Degrasse Tyson's full keynote speech?

posted on Apr, 28 2010 @ 06:54 PM
reply to post by kidflash2008

People who engage in scientific investigation and attempt to go beyond current views, will encounter sceptics when accepted views are questioned. People who have no problem doing that are rarely timid.As for eye witness testimony, any cop will tell you it's reliable only to a point.When we see something, each of us will focus, on something unique to each observer. Major emotional affecting ellement's of what's seen will usually be the same for most people, like; "I diden't see his face , I only saw the gun".As far as the smaller detailes, no two people see exactly the same thing. When we see a UFO, we need detail's. Good luck.

Concerning execution's based on what people think they see, it's based on something that's not objective. It also allow's an authority to elliminate some one, and not have to think. Of course this is all done in the name of justice.

posted on Apr, 28 2010 @ 07:10 PM
reply to post by VneZonyDostupa

Appreciate you posting this, got a couple good laughs out of it.
Though I have to admit at 3:50, when Tyson starts his "Inept Aliens" skit, he went from being the joker to the fool.

Of all the theories I've read, I'm most sympathetic to the drone hypothesis. It explains a number of scenarios quite nicely. There are even several cases that have been investigated where the interviewee reported firing a weapon at the "alien interlopers" and the creature got back up.

It also neatly explains planetary impacts of potential off-world crafts. As Dr. Michio Kaku has repeatedly pointed out (@6:00): who's to say a non-human species wouldn't spread itself throughout the universe by impacting the surface of planetary bodies, deploying sensory equipment and/or manufacturing copies of itself (i.e. von Neumann machines)?

For the sake of argument lets imagine there are little green men on Mars and that one of them observed the Mars rover crash land (@ 2:29) to the surface. A Martian skeptic might say, "A non-martian intelligence sent a craft all the way across the solar system, but they couldn't prevent it from crashing into our planet?!"

Unfortunately without more information (ie/ was there a crash, how was this confirmed, what did the crash site look like, was it a debris field or controlled landing, etc) understanding the reason for the crash is speculation. We can neither derive confirmation for bias against "alien life" nor can we conclude extraterrestrial design until such a craft is publicly available to be studied by a team qualified to analyze composition and aeronautical principles.

However we can definitively say based on our approach to exploring the universe we do use unmanned probes to survey the solar system.

There's only one problem with the Drone hypothesis. If drones are observing us not only from orbit, but in our lower atmosphere and by landing / impacting the planet, we should have sensed some form of intelligent signaling (RF / optical / etc).

It begs the question, why hasn't SETI heard anything? To me this suggests these "drones" aren't from a local star-cluster, but rather from an adjacent n-th dimensional space. Or maybe we really are dealing with something that's truly transcendent.

Reason and logic only provide suggestions where to look. We need more field equipment deployed to get actual answers.

Sadly Tyson's comedic hyperbole runs counter to learning anything new.

I give him two thumbs down for sophomoric logic and half-assed humor.

[edit on 28-4-2010 by Xtraeme]

posted on Apr, 28 2010 @ 07:52 PM
reply to post by cripmeister

His argument that hardware is more reliable than human observation is laughable. The only reason we should ever trust hardware over human testimony is because we can deploy numerous instances of the equipment and if they all record the same thing then we can say, "Must be good!"

Here's the funny thing though, if we get results back we don't expect what do we blame? "Must be that damn poorly engineered hunk of trash!" If we see something we do expect using only one observation channel (like a spectrograph or special purpose sat.) even though the hardware may be producing spurious data the general sentiment is, "Looks good! Fits with what we expected!"

He's arguing from bias-reinforcement.

[edit on 28-4-2010 by Xtraeme]

posted on Apr, 28 2010 @ 09:12 PM

Originally posted by Blue Shift
What is more likely, that every single witness ever is wrong and unreliable, or that something odd and unexplored might be happening?

This is a false dichotomy, the answer is NOT one or the other, it's actually both.

Even when something truly odd and unexplored happens and there are multiple witnesses, the witnesses don't all agree on what they saw, so at least some of them, if not all of them must be wrong about at least some part of their eyewitness report. However, they probably did see something.

An example of this is the 2000 UFO sighting over southern Illinois by multiple police officers and a truck driver, see below. I have no doubt they saw something, and while there are similarities in their eyewitness reports, there are differences also.

Originally posted by Orkojoker
And regarding eyewitness testimony, we turn once again to Dr. McDonald's remarks before Congress:

"So also when you deal with multiple-witness cases in UFO sightings. There is an impressive core of consistency; everybody is talking about an object that has no wings, all of 10 people may say it was dome shaped or something like that, and then there are minor differences as to how big they thought it was, how far away, and so on. Those latter variations do pose a very real problem. It stands as a negative factor with respect to the anecdotal data, but it does not mean we are not dealing with real sightings of real objects."

That's true. Multiple witness reports are probably of a real sighting. The sighting may be of a real solid object, or some other type of phenomenon which might not be a solid object.

It is also good to consider the large number of reports that have been made of flying objects seen at such close proximity as to essentially rule out misidentification of conventional objects or phenomena. When an object appears at tree top level and is the apparent diameter of a dinner plate held at arm's length, even the most untrained and incompetent observers are going to be able to provide a rather unambiguous description.

That's not true. The best example disproving that statement are the animations of eyewitness reports by multiple witnesses (police officers) of apparently the same object over Illinois in January 5th 2000:

It was as close to the "dinner plate at arms length" description you gave as any sighting I can think of, since the object was reportedly very large, yes the descriptions are still ambiguous and inconsistent. That shows 2 different animations, one at 1 minute and another at about 2 minutes, where the object looks different. There's another video below which has "forensic animations" done for each of the police officer's descriptions, and the officers reviewed the animations and confirmed they represent what they saw. (See "UFO Over Southern Illinois - Part 2 of 5" link below starting at about 7 minutes). Yet they are all different even though the object was huge, reportedly the size of a 2 story house, 500 feet directly overhead of one of the witnesses.

However it seems likely they all saw the same object, in spite of the different descriptions:

UFO Over Southern Illinois - Part 1 of 5

One officer got a picture of it shown at 28 seconds in this video, which doesn't look like either of the 2 animations or descriptions of the other witnesses:

UFO Over Southern Illinois - Part 2 of 5


"Six eyewitnesses, 4 of them from 4 different police departments, reported an unidentified flying object, which a shape that varied from a triangle to a two story house. But many features such as the lighting configuration and the object's ability to hover were similar."

The story about the "forensic animations" starts at about 7 minutes in that video.

UFO Over Southern Illinois - Part 4 of 5

Everyone saw a different object:

Melvern Noll saw a boxy shape:

Ed Barton saw a triangular shape:

And others saw other variations.

I believe all the witnesses saw the same, real object. But the fact that their descriptions vary so much even though the object was huge, is a good example disproving your point that "even the most untrained and incompetent observers are going to be able to provide a rather unambiguous description". The descriptions are about as consistent as we can expect, but they are definitely not unambiguous.

posted on Apr, 28 2010 @ 11:04 PM

Originally posted by VneZonyDostupa
You don't think it's logical to demand actual physical (including clear footage) evidence of extraterrestrial visitation? You're totally content with the conflicting eye witness reports, fuzzy/grainy pictures of ambiguous shapes in the sky, and various 'unnamed government sources' that 'prove' ETs are here? What is so wrong with wanting solid evidence? Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence?

'Proof' will come in the form of secondary corroborative evidence, not directly (most likely). When we build some kind of tech that demonstrates strong EM propulsion, open up a 'wormhole' briefly or such, or even achieve invisibility fields, then the prospect of alien visitation will be taken more seriously by the scientific/academic community.

If you accept mathematical models as evidence, then we already have it, or rather how 'aliens' would get around the universe and possibly remain undetected. 4th dimensional physics.

Or, you can cut to the chase and go find the evidence for yourself on a personal level. See if there's any veracity to the claims.

Personally, I don't need the approval of others to validate my experiences. And my experiences tell me that while Neil makes some very good points, he's wrong. But that's just anecdotal. The jury is instructed to dismiss this testimony, and please strike it from the record.

posted on Apr, 28 2010 @ 11:27 PM

Originally posted by Arbitrageur
I believe all the witnesses saw the same, real object. But the fact that their descriptions vary so much even though the object was huge, is a good example disproving your point that "even the most untrained and incompetent observers are going to be able to provide a rather unambiguous description". The descriptions are about as consistent as we can expect, but they are definitely not unambiguous.

Good point, and you are right. I guess "unambiguous" isn't really the correct word here. What I should say is that seeing an object at such close range lets the witness know beyond any reasonable doubt that the object is not conventional. In other words, the object described by the witnesses in the case you use in your example was not an airplane, a helicopter, Venus, a shooting star, the moon, or any other of the typically misinterpreted objects that often result in people reporting a UFO. These kind of sightings are "unambiguously" not anything we know about. This becomes even less ambiguous when such a close encounter occurs in broad daylight.

Here's a really interesting close encounter case from Dr. McDonald's 1968 Congressional testimony:

"On February 4 of this year, at 7:20 in the evening, over a residential area in that city of population 30,000, a disc was seen. Twenty witnesses interviewed by University of Redlands' investigators, described it as having "windows" or "ports" or something of that sort. They interviewed a little over half a dozen of them and all saw something on the bottom that they described as "looking like jets."

This object was hovering at an estimated height of about 300 feet. The estimates vary, but it came out about 300 feet. The citizens had gone out in the street because dogs were barking and, because they had heard an unusual noise, and pretty soon there were people all up and down the street. It was estimated that more than 100 witnesses were involved, and 20 were directly interviewed.

Here was an object seen by many persons. It hovered, then shot up to about double the height, hovered again, and moved down across Redlands a short distance, hovered once again, and then took off rapidly to the northwest.

This case has not received any scientific attention beyond this investigation by Dr. Philip Seff and his colleagues. It has not received public notoriety. This was, in fact, only reported in a short column in the local paper and not on the wires anywhere. That happens over and over again."

[edit on 28-4-2010 by Orkojoker]

posted on Jul, 1 2014 @ 06:08 PM
a reply to: Arbitrageur

posted on Jul, 1 2014 @ 06:15 PM
a reply to: Arbitrageur

I agree that eyewitness evidence is notoriously unreliable. Even the Courts here in Australia hold that eyewitness evidence is notoriously unreliable.

The problem we have in investigating these sightings of unidentified flying objects is that if the extraterrestrial hypothesis is correct then we are dealing with intelligent beings. And intelligent beings are not amenable to the scientific process. You can't study an intelligent being the way you can a mindless virus or even a lab rat. Especially if that being is actively employing superior technology to avoid being studied. If the ET hypothesis is valid therefore it can't be scientifically proven. So all we are left with is eyewitness evidence. Which whilst unreliable is still not necessarily completely irrelevant.

edit on 1-7-2014 by coolkiwi2 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 1 2014 @ 07:11 PM
Neil is good at taking the textbook and making it appealing. But he is not so good at thinking outside of the textbook.

posted on Jul, 1 2014 @ 07:16 PM
a reply to: kidflash2008

Camera phones don't seem to work well with UFOs, I think they use some kind of passive system to fool/screw with the CCD's.

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