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The fair witness

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posted on Jun, 12 2011 @ 08:10 PM
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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 examples.

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 given)




posted on Jun, 12 2011 @ 08:16 PM
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I really like your thread Seiko!
I am guilty of it, everyone is. I sometimes do sit back and watch people, and wander to myself.....
"Do they know they are trying to convince themselves more than their 'opponent'"
I know I do this also, but I do recognise it as it appears on the boards.

I personally think the louder someone shouts about religion, being anti gay, political partisanship, belief in ufos blah blah....the harder they are trying to reinforce their own belief to themselves.

s and f.



posted on Jun, 12 2011 @ 08:23 PM
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reply to post by zazzafrazz
 


We've all done it. We try so hard to share our opinions and thoughts on things. I'm just as guilty as anyone else for trying to influence others. It's human nature to seek out and find others like us. We go so far as to try to convince others to see things the way we do.

My problem is when someone speaks badly, or even the name-calling that happens to people here when they just don't see the same thing. I've seen others called "stupid" or "idiot" here over some of the most trivial things.

"there are four lights"



posted on Jun, 12 2011 @ 08:23 PM
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Good thread

star and flag



posted on Jun, 12 2011 @ 08:24 PM
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reply to post by Seiko
 





The point that needs to be understood here is that a fair witness is not trying to actively discredit or debunk a theory.


Unfortunately, the real point is that we here on ATS do not know what a fair witness is!.......how would you define a "fair witness"?



posted on Jun, 12 2011 @ 08:29 PM
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reply to post by Argyll
 


I used Heinlein's definition.It's the first quote in the first post of this thread.

Now understand I'm not even close to being one. I am just trying to help people see a perspective that some people use. It's a fictional profession in a fictional book no more no less. The concept of trying though is quite real.



posted on Jun, 12 2011 @ 08:47 PM
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reply to post by Seiko
 


We are creatures of our experiances and emotions. I think about the only time anyone could be a "Fair witness", is where you observe a accident/crime and do not know those who are involved.

We can understand the concept, but it's a long dark hallway. It is a good teaching tool though when it comes to self reflection. Just got to keep working on it.



posted on Jun, 12 2011 @ 08:49 PM
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reply to post by Seiko
 


A ‘fair witness’ must also use clear language. To demonstrate confusion resulting from unclear talk, I shall use your own sentence:


My own perspective clouds my observations, and I fully believe it clouds yours as well.

You mean to say ‘My own perspective clouds my observations, and I fully believe your perspective clouds your observation as well’.



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.

It is called an UFO because UFO means ‘unidentified’ flying object. which is a fair description. also to call it alien is fair, because amongst others ‘alien’ does stand for ‘unfamiliar’.

I do think you are on the right track though! The dictionary is one of the most important books to read to understand ourselves.



posted on Jun, 12 2011 @ 11:31 PM
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reply to post by bestintentions
 


No I meant that my perspective clouds my judgment of your observation.

But your interpretation works as well. I'm also not claiming to be a fair witness, nor am I that gifted at being clear.



posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 12:08 AM
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You should also mention Groking
edit on 13-6-2011 by 7thcavtrooper because: misspell




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