Some time ago, I can't quite recall how long its been I read a book called "Stranger in a strange land." I found the book to be ok, and some of the
ideas seemed worth merit at the time but not a lot stayed with me. One thing that did was the concept of a fair witness. After joining this site the
concept was reinforced in my mind. I have included a quote in my signature that alludes to this.
A definition of what a fair witness is.
A Fair Witness is an individual trained to observe events and report exactly what he or she sees and hears, making no extrapolations or assumptions.
Seems forward enough but the actual practice is a lot harder in real life. We are all humans here at ats and our own concepts and beliefs influence
our judgment of what we see and hear. The ability to stand outside a situation is nigh impossible really. My own perspective clouds my observations,
and I fully believe it clouds yours as well.
I'll use another quote to help illustrate here.
Fair Witnesses are prohibited from drawing conclusions about what they observe. As a demonstration, Harshaw asks Anne to describe the color of a house
in the distance. She responds, "It's white on this side". Harshaw explains that she would not assume knowledge of the color of the other sides of the
house without being able to see them. Furthermore, after observing another side of the house would not then assume that any previously seen side was
still the same color as last reported, even if only minutes before.
Puts a rather fine point on it does it not?
Now why am I boring you with this? It's something I see attempted in posts here. I try to do it myself at times. I'm not even close to being able to
pull it off, nor do I think anyone really is. I just want to point out what it is and help people understand the concept. I can try to give some
About 90% of the bigfoot films I've seen involve something walking in the distance. What is it? I simply have no idea really. Something that looks
like a dark fuzzy biped walked by....that's all I see most of the time.
Ufo videos are another good example. I sometimes see something shiny move. Sometimes I see a light in the sky. That's usually about all I can say on
those. Can I identify them with certainty? No of course not. Is it therefore a ufo? Yes I can't identify it. Is it proof of an alien technology or
presence? Who knows really.
Now to bring it together; This is just observational. I might not see what you see. Sometimes I just see "something" and can't for certain say what it
is. Am I trying to disprove your observation? No of course not. I probably couldn't if I tried.
The point that needs to be understood here is that a fair witness is not trying to actively discredit or debunk a theory. I have seen many times
people being called obstructionist or debunkers when they're simply stating that they can't follow your logical leap of faith. Believe what you want,
make all the assumptions you wish. Just because a light in the sky is proof to you doesn't follow that others will see anything other then a light.
But please stop attacking or badmouthing people who simply report their observation.
edit to add site I quoted www.enotes.com...
edit on 12-6-2011 by Seiko because: (no reason