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The Skeptic FAQ

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posted on Feb, 20 2011 @ 06:30 PM
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Since I joined these forums (and over the time before when I simply lurked them) there has been a very obvious and exceptional stance taken toward the skeptical point of view of the ET Hypothesis. Namely that we, as skeptics, are an adversary to thwart in the grand scheme of bringing the reality of extraterrestrial visitation to light for the rest of the world. It’s become something of a war, and done terrible things to the UFO (and even this specific) community, to the point that many skeptics are just abandoning the search for truth altogether and leaving the topic to get muddled by its own inherent fantastical drivings.

I wrote this as a quick overview of my own skeptical mind, in the hopes that it will shed a little light on how I as a skeptic function. I’m not speaking for all skeptics, as not every person who whole-heartedly believes in the reality of the ETH is speaking for every believer, but I think many will agree with what I put down here.

I wrote this as a FAQ, and plan to extend it as needed if there are more questions.

-------------------------------------------------------------

Do you believe aliens exist?

Yes, I believe there is a lot of potential for alien life to exist in the universe, but I will not default to the definite position of “Aliens absolutely exist in the universe” until it is proven by science.


Do you believe in UFOs?

Yes, but not in the way that is generally inferred. UFO stands for Unidentified Flying Object, not Alien Flying Saucer. Of course I believe that there are things in the sky that people can’t identify. 90% of the videos and pictures on this site alone are of UFOs, because they’re featureless blobs of light that are impossible to identify.

As for the real question: I do not see any correlation between (the general idea behind) Unidentified Flying Objects and Extraterrestrials. There’s been no satisfactory evidence linking those two, and there are countless different explanations that are less far-fetched and more terrestrial.


Why don’t skeptics just be quiet and let people believe what they believe?

Speaking for myself: I like truth. I like reality. I like knowing how the world and universe really works. So much of actual reality and actual science is incredible, that I don’t understand why people need to augment their reality with fanciful beliefs about things like aliens, ghosts, fairies, unicorns, and so on. Yes, before you ask, I’m an atheist as well.

So when I see a discussion spiraling downward into pure fantasy and faith, I feel that I need to interject and steer it back toward reality. Consider that we as a species still don’t rightfully know if we’re alone in the universe. We anticipate that we’re not, but we don’t actually know. How is it, then, that we’ve already gotten to the point that we can count how many dozens of hyper-intelligent alien species are visiting this planet, what type of propellant they’re using for their crafts, and what planet or dimension they’re originally from? Not to mention what their societies are like, how they communicate, what they look like, what they want from us, and so on?

We need to start at the beginning before we fill in all the details, otherwise we’re going to be completely flummoxed if we ever actually do find out we’re being visited, and the aliens are nothing like what we’re expecting because of all the fabricated stories.

Opinions are opinions, everyone’s entitled to them. The problem comes in when there are two differing opinions, and only one is actually the truth. Either we are, or we are not being visited by extraterrestrials. There is no in between, and there is no way for both sides of the argument to be “right”. So in this instance, I take the stance that we don’t know, and therefore can’t project that we do know. When enough evidence comes through to prove me wrong, I’ll happily admit that I was wrong.


Will there ever be enough evidence to prove that aliens are visiting Earth?

Of course, if it’s truly happening. There’s always a turning point in science when a hypothesis becomes a theory and is then useable as general knowledge (while still being tested and updated as time goes on). Alien visitation is still a hypothesis.


What about the “mountains of evidence” that is already available for the ET Hypothesis?

I’ll go through the most often bits of evidence that we see on this forum and explain my viewpoints behind them:

Video: Video evidence is good, as long as it’s clear, focused, within a range that details can be made out, and of a length that you get as much information as possible out of whatever it is that’s being viewed. A 20 second video of a light in the sky is nothing, because there’s absolutely zero information that can be obtained from it, terrestrial or otherwise.

A video that shows an actual craft, hovering or doing what we would consider physically impossible maneuvers, including enough focused details, and what the craft is doing (how it moves, how it departs, how it’s shaped, what markings it may have, etc) is good, but remember that even that holy grail of a shot doesn’t prove anything about extraterrestrials, it just shows that there are actual manufactured craft in our skies doing those types of things.

Overall, video will never prove anything. Video will be the substantiated evidence when something real happens. A mass sighting with multiple angle videos is also exponentially better than a single shot, but again, the videos are not the real evidence in that case, the mass sighting itself is. Video is also very easy to hoax nowadays, and with the plethora of simple youtube videos these forums get, we’re barraged daily with them.

Photographic: See Video. The same problems persist, only tenfold with photographs. We get no idea of motion or activity, only a single moment of time. This also makes pictures much easier to hoax. Pictures, like videos, are only additional evidence when a real breakthrough occurrence happens. If an alien spaceship hovered above the White House and projected a Greetings! message into a million people’s heads, the video and pictorial evidence would only be to accentuate the anecdotal story by the million people.

Anecdotal: Anecdotes, or personal reports, are very very low on the evidence scale. You cannot prove a scientific hypothesis by personal claim, it has to be able to be studied, reproduced, and examined, and you can’t do that with someone’s story.

Physical: This is what we’re all looking for. There are many types of physical evidence, and most is backed up only by anecdotes (Someone saw a ship land, and after it left there were burn marks on the ground). That makes the anecdote much more worthwhile for study, but it’s unlikely it will ever get anywhere other than remaining a mystery. And in the case of the example, again, there’s no evidence that anything about the ship itself was extraterrestrial.

We need real, physical evidence of an alien species. An alien body with its craft would be just the ticket.

Unfortunately, the “mountains of evidence” phrase that gets tossed about these forums often isn’t as strong as one would hope when it comes to actually proving something real, and connecting it to the ET Hypothesis.


But how will we ever get that kind of evidence when the Government/Military/Illuminati/insert-your-favorite-flavor-of-cover-up-conspiracy-here is hoarding all the real evidence?

I don’t believe there is a mass cover-up of evidence (for the same reason I don’t yet accept that there are aliens visiting the Earth, lack of real evidence and an overabundance of fabricated stories). However, if I were wrong and there were a mass cover-up by people who are so powerful that they could silence the literally thousands upon thousands of people that would have to be knowledgeable of the truth, then what could we do? We’d be at their whim.

Seems bleak, I know. Mostly, I don’t think that’s the case because people just can’t keep those types of things secret for that long. We’re looking at decades upon decades of secrecy, spanning generations of people doing the job of keeping those things secret. I don’t think that we should scapegoat the fact that we’re missing evidence onto yet another likely fictional entity to cover for the fact that we just don’t have enough evidence to clearly prove the ET Hypothesis a reality.

---------------------------------

That’s enough for now. If there are more questions that any of you believe should be added to this, please ask them and I’ll answer as I feel fit (or others can answer in the thread itself and I’ll add their answers as well). I can’t promise an answer to every question, but I’ll be watching this thread closely.

I also encourage any and all who are on the “other side of the fence” to do their own version of this thread as a separate topic. I’d be genuinely interested to read an overview of a believer’s frame of thought concerning this topic.




posted on Feb, 20 2011 @ 06:36 PM
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Pretty much spot on as to how I feel. Excellent thread.

Belief is nemesis to truth, as it suggests you can have truth just by faith. I don't and have never operated that way, especially when dealing with one of the biggest and most interesting possibilities in the Universe; E.T life.



posted on Feb, 20 2011 @ 06:38 PM
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I couldn't agree more.

And as a skeptic it's easy to get yourself tagged as an agent of misinformation in this place.. I really do want to find something that proves we're being visited by aliens but I haven't seen anything convincing.. when I do think I found something convincing, it's usually a matter of time before the truth surfaces and we realize it's a verifiable hoax or there's a considerably more mundane answer.

Truth hurts, but we can't shove fact aside for fantasy.. it's a bit wreckless



posted on Feb, 20 2011 @ 06:42 PM
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reply to post by EsSeeEye
 


I whole heartedly agree. I personally believe that UFOs exist and that some are controlled by alien intelligence. This belief is based on reading about cases that have multiple types of evidence: radar, photographs, and eyewitness accounts. But what I want is true irrefutable proof.

If a photo shows what looks to be a string supported a model of a UFO then that's what you have to assume it is. We know that strings and flying saucer models exist. We don't know that ET controlled vehicles exist. All too often believers model their reality where everything is true until proven false. You need to approach every bit of evidence with skepticism if you want to find out the truth.

I watched a good documentary last night on Netflix. Shades of Gray. It's good movie if you're interested in the UFO phenomenon and a good case why people should approach it skeptically.
edit on 20-2-2011 by goatfish because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 20 2011 @ 06:49 PM
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wow...this boggles my mind becuase i was thinking about starting a thread that allows skepticle thinkers to provide a reason why they are so skepticle...you did a great job explaining your views in way that doesnt offend anyone...very thorough and well written...great job....

I myself am trying to move away from the "believing part" of ufology as i am a non believer in religion....Do i feel there is engouh evidence in terms of credible testamony? yes...do i feel there is enough video and photographic evidence? yes but that is very limited....

Can i say that aliens dont exist in the universe until we find them ? no..that would be like looking in a pond and saying there very possibly could be fish in there but we cant say they are untill we see them..when in all probbailty there is 99.9 percent chance there is fish in that pond.

From a scientific view point the existance of life on other planets should be a possibility it should be a certanty and lets find it... has it found us..like you said we can't say for sure...but in all reality were looking at an infinate universe... i cant allow my ego to say that its only a possibility...but your right i dont know for sure..


once again great post...i think we were somewhat on the same frequncy today..esp maybe lol



posted on Feb, 20 2011 @ 06:57 PM
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Great post OP, a good reminder on what the true definition of skeptic is, a good reminder that it doesn't include ridiculing anyone that doesn't agree with you and a good reminder that it is not in opposition of anything but an invitation to discuss why or why not.



posted on Feb, 20 2011 @ 06:59 PM
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In the 'mountains of evidence' bit, you forgot to mention the 29,000 year old painting's depicting possible alien being's and so on.
That is the kind of thing that I feel can be put up as evidence because 29,000 years ago mankind had not seen what they were painting, so how could they do it?
I hardly pay attention to vids about ufos for the same reason, most of them are blurred or could be fake.
But where I cant turn the other cheek is when I look at thing's like the cave painting's which you forgot to mention and I think is quite important.
I cannot turn the other cheek to the phenomenon of abductions either. Yes, alot of people like to lie, get attention and lot's of other thing's, but, were talking about a hell of alot of people, some quite credible.
The cave painting's though, that should of been in your 'mountains of evidence' as those are proven by science to be very old indeed.



posted on Feb, 20 2011 @ 07:04 PM
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Originally posted by Dr Cosma
In the 'mountains of evidence' bit, you forgot to mention the 29,000 year old painting's depicting possible alien being's and so on.
That is the kind of thing that I feel can be put up as evidence because 29,000 years ago mankind had not seen what they were painting, so how could they do it?
I hardly pay attention to vids about ufos for the same reason, most of them are blurred or could be fake.
But where I cant turn the other cheek is when I look at thing's like the cave painting's which you forgot to mention and I think is quite important.
I cannot turn the other cheek to the phenomenon of abductions either. Yes, alot of people like to lie, get attention and lot's of other thing's, but, were talking about a hell of alot of people, some quite credible.
The cave painting's though, that should of been in your 'mountains of evidence' as those are proven by science to be very old indeed.


Cave paintings are interesting and mysterious indeed, but we can't know exactly what they represent.. they can never be proven to be more because the artists are long dead.. this is why they will never be considered evidence for aliens... I'm not belittling it, they intrigue me more than some of the better "ufo" videos out there... but they can never be authenticated to be factual representations of aliens sadly.



posted on Feb, 20 2011 @ 07:05 PM
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Originally posted by Kali74
Great post OP, a good reminder on what the true definition of skeptic is, a good reminder that it doesn't include ridiculing anyone that doesn't agree with you and a good reminder that it is not in opposition of anything but an invitation to discuss why or why not.

There are several logical errors and fallacies in the opening post. In fact, he/she is sometimes inconsistent. If this is what passes for "skepticism" I'll pass.

Quite frankly, and this goes for believers and non-believers alike, I think the problem runs more deep. At least some education in the sciences or arts at university level would prevent a lot of nonsense being written. How many on this board hold a bachelors, masters or PhD degree? I think very few.



posted on Feb, 20 2011 @ 07:10 PM
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Originally posted by jclmavg

Originally posted by Kali74
Great post OP, a good reminder on what the true definition of skeptic is, a good reminder that it doesn't include ridiculing anyone that doesn't agree with you and a good reminder that it is not in opposition of anything but an invitation to discuss why or why not.

There are several logical errors and fallacies in the opening post. In fact, he/she is sometimes inconsistent. If this is what passes for "skepticism" I'll pass.

Quite frankly, and this goes for believers and non-believers alike, I think the problem runs more deep. At least some education in the sciences or arts at university level would prevent a lot of nonsense being written. How many on this board hold a bachelors, masters or PhD degree? I think very few.


A well educated person would point out these logical errors and fallacies



posted on Feb, 20 2011 @ 07:11 PM
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Originally posted by cripmeister

Originally posted by jclmavg

Originally posted by Kali74
Great post OP, a good reminder on what the true definition of skeptic is, a good reminder that it doesn't include ridiculing anyone that doesn't agree with you and a good reminder that it is not in opposition of anything but an invitation to discuss why or why not.

There are several logical errors and fallacies in the opening post. In fact, he/she is sometimes inconsistent. If this is what passes for "skepticism" I'll pass.

Quite frankly, and this goes for believers and non-believers alike, I think the problem runs more deep. At least some education in the sciences or arts at university level would prevent a lot of nonsense being written. How many on this board hold a bachelors, masters or PhD degree? I think very few.


A well educated person would point out these logical errors and fallacies
Not at 2 am, I'm off to bed. Perhaps tomorrow.



posted on Feb, 20 2011 @ 07:17 PM
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reply to post by miniatus
 


Yes I see what you mean.
It is quite sad actually because some of those painting's are very strange indeed and they either saw other more advanced humans in space suit's or saw alien being's in them, how could they even imagine that if they never saw it

That's what puzzle's me. But yea, no artist, no real evidence I suppose.



posted on Feb, 20 2011 @ 07:28 PM
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reply to post by jclmavg
 


Im kind of put off that you have insinuated that one needs a phd or degree in order to discuss the possibility of alien life... just because someone hasn't gotten a piece of paper from a school ...doesn't mean they can't read the same books or have the same ability to understand what you took in school....jesus most universities are over packed and its up to the individual to make something of what they are taught...there are alot of people in the world that can keep up qwith whatever ( insert education here). the only difference is that they didnt pay thousand of dollars to learn it...but the phd bs away cause its sounds liek your saying...i have a phd and i know more than you... when in all reality its was the educated who proposed the earth was falt in the past...its was a guy with a phd who stated that life can only exists with carbon....and tehn low and behold someone makes a discovery that blows all that hogwash out of the water...please don't go here...cause the guy who cleans your plumbing could also be smarter than you



posted on Feb, 20 2011 @ 07:35 PM
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reply to post by EsSeeEye
 


I can understand your point of view. I myself have problems with people claiming that moving lights in the sky have to be extraterrestrial. However, the plausibility of our universe containing other life forms is scientifically and statistically overwhelming.

The problem I have with some skeptics is when facts of a case and the credibility of witnesses is explained away with elementary and completely ridiculous reasons. I've read many UFO and abduction cases since being interested in the subject since the late 70's. Some of these cases have left physical artifacts, changes in the environment and physical markings on people who have been near or in contact with the vehicle or entities. Some of these cases have multiple witnesses. All of these trace physical artifacts have been tested in scientific labs and many of the metals, chemical residue and environmental changes to plants have been analyzed and found to contain physical elements not found or produced on our planet. Science is just beginning to find some of the secrets of our universe. Physical theories once thought of as an impossibility are now being re-evaluated and new theories are being re-calculated and written.

We are ready to accept explanations from Doctors and Scientists whenever things are discovered without question. They have all been wrong at one time or another. Science doesn't always have the answers. We live on a planet that has a limited amount of physical elements and properties that science can evaluate. We can't close are minds to the possibility that there can be intelligent species far more advanced than us. Just because we find it impossible to travel long distances in space, doesn't mean an advanced race can't. Who would have ever thought humans could create vehicles that fly? The Wright brothers changed that scientific thought.



posted on Feb, 20 2011 @ 07:36 PM
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Originally posted by Dr Cosma
[It is quite sad actually because some of those painting's are very strange indeed and they either saw other more advanced humans in space suit's or saw alien being's in them, how could they even imagine that if they never saw it


Or they show humans in costumes or the very vivid imaginations of our ancestors. They were ever bit as imaginative and inventive as us. Just as we create stories and folklore, so did they.



posted on Feb, 20 2011 @ 07:43 PM
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reply to post by WingedBull
 


I dont recall civilization's that old and having costumes that look like space suit's, like 29,000 year's??
But yea I see where youre coming from, but some are even older.
Also, have you ever tried of thinking about something that just doesnt or has never existed?
It's not that easy.



posted on Feb, 20 2011 @ 07:43 PM
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Originally posted by WeRpeons
All of these trace physical artifacts have been tested in scientific labs and many of the metals, chemical residue and environmental changes to plants have been analyzed and found to contain physical elements not found or produced on our planet.


Such as?

Too often claims about these "tests" are just that; the labs doing the testing are not named, or the evidence will not be released for peer-review or the claimed results are nothing like what the lab actually finds. You will discover more lies than scientific breakthrough in these claims.



posted on Feb, 20 2011 @ 07:51 PM
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Originally posted by Dr Cosma
I dont recall civilization's that old and having costumes that look like space suit's, like 29,000 year's??
But yea I see where youre coming from, but some are even older.


They only look like spacesuits to a modern, biased eye looking for such a thing. But it would not have to the artist; it may have looked like a spirit or a shaman wearing antlers or a mask.


Originally posted by Dr Cosma
Also, have you ever tried of thinking about something that just doesnt or has never existed?
It's not that easy.


Perhaps it is not easy for you. But take a trip to your local bookstore.



posted on Feb, 20 2011 @ 07:55 PM
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reply to post by WingedBull
 


Book store??
lol
Not good enough.



posted on Feb, 20 2011 @ 08:00 PM
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Originally posted by Dr Cosma
reply to post by WingedBull
 


Book store??
lol
Not good enough.


What? Do you mean the sci-fi and fantasy book I read and like doesn't exist? The comics, mangas... Please you are not giving human the deserved credit in arts department.



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