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Chris Rutkowski's Canadian UFO Survey - is it the end for ufology?

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posted on Jul, 25 2012 @ 11:20 AM
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This is a two-pronged OP as it discusses the Canadian UFO Survey and wonders how much it tells us about the often-promised 'Death of Ufology.' Sorry for the length - it was hard to make it this short! For the tl/dr crowd. Report is good, but ufology's prospects are bad.

Chris Rutkowski is a Canadian astronomer with several decades of UFO research under his belt. He leads Ufology Research and blogs about reports. He’s rubbed shoulders with most of the good, bad and ugly in the ‘field’ and is currently the most skeptical member of the ‘Roswell Dream Team..’ This team are seeking to compile all the information surrounding Roswell and blow its bloody doors off. Roswell (yawn) puts me to sleep so I’ll leave that one right there. Essentially, Chris is a man of reasonable standing in the UFO field and not one to speculate about UFO reports being ET fly-overs or 2012 saviours – one of the good guys.

Over the years, Chris has taken hundreds of calls and gone out and interviewed witnesses. This makes him something of a UFO investigator in the old-school method. Nowadays most researchers gather big piles of reports that then stand like monuments to their own interest in the subject. As any woman might tell you, ‘Size doesn’t matter - it isn’t what you’ve got; it’s what you do with it.’ Ha!

First off, 2011 was a record year for Canadian UFO sighting reports. Averaging 3 a week and eventually coming in at a whopping 986 reports - most involved two witnesses. In a land of 34 million people, this isn’t as startling as it first seems and yet remains a lot of WTF moments for those involved. Some of you might be interested to know that 2012 is on course to exceed 2011 as a record year for Canadian UFO sighting reports.

2011 Canadian Survey.doc

2011 Canadian Survey.xls

Summary:



A couple of years ago, I used a lot of their research in the ‘Stalking the UFOs’ thread. Back then I was wondering if there was a way to predict the appearances of UFOs by reported behaviour. One thing that I found intriguing was how sightings reports cluster up in the +/- 11th hour. It’s something that’s been noted for years and shows up once more in Chris’ 2011 survey.



We’ll have a look at some of his results from the latest 2011 survey; there are some interesting figures in there. See what you think. The main reason for this thread follows after the numbers and tables, because the report says more about UFO research than it can ever say about Folk from Elsewhere, nocturnal lights or unexpected objects.

Another interesting factor is that most sightings reports involve more than one witness. This supports the proposition that people are reporting unusual things that they can’t identify and undermines an opposing view that many are imaginary. It’s often been part of the discussion that witnesses have a ‘will-to-believe’ and can be easily confused by, for example, passing helicopters into ‘believing’ they’d seen a silent flying object. Multiple witnesses aren’t any guarantee of accurate interpretations of observations, but they are stronger evidence that something was actually being observed and can lead to greater success in identifying the unknowns.



So what exactly have Canadians been seeing in 2011? What types were reported? Here’s the table:



Balls of coloured light were seen less and fireballs remained the same. In the spread sheet, some of the spheres were seen in conditions broadly suitable for ball lightning and for durations of mere seconds. Not all by any means and they mostly get listed as ‘insufficient data.’ The fireball reports are interesting and I checked on meteor reports that coincided with the dates of the UFO reports. Some matched up by date (9th November), but were completely out of the question for time of day. This doesn’t mean that they couldn’t be meteors and bolides and once again remain ‘insufficient data.’ Boomerangs, deltas, triangles are surprisingly down from 2010 when international use of UAVs/drones has been rising. As it happens, the Canadian Air Force is reportedly exploring increased applications for UAVs in 2012 so who knows?

By far the more interesting examples fall under the irregular shape category. In these we have shifting light-forms and other high-strangeness reports. Unfortunately, many of them were from sightings.com and the website is offline so it’s impossible to read more about them.

Chris goes on to discuss whether any of these numbers and reports are meaningful. Do they matter? Can they really tell us anything? Why do the analyses of different researchers differ so much? How can it be possible for one person/group to point out that 70% of reports remain true unknowns (General Wilfried De Brouwer of the ’89 Belgian Wave) and then another, like Blue Book, come up with ~5%?


The level and quality of UFO report investigation varies because there are no explicit and rigourous standards for UFO investigation. Investigators who are ―believers might be inclined to consider most UFO sightings as mysterious, whereas those with more of a skeptical predisposition might tend to subconsciously (or consciously) reduce the Unknowns in their files.
Chris Rutkowski

GIGO (garbage in, garbage out) could easily be used to explain so great a difference and the point of collection for reports will always hang a cloud over speculative results. On the other hand, I think it’s more complicated than basic GIGO and know from personal experience that people genuinely see unidentified objects and lights in the skies. The problem of making sense of the reports is clearly in the hands of the persons and groups sorting report content into data categories. It’s what they do with this information that is adding ever more noise to what’s already a pretty weak signal.

This just about leads me into the reason for writing about Rutkowski’s survey in the first place. I should say reasons (plural), because reading his survey raised questions of UFO reports, the role of the mainstream media and whatever is/are the UFO phenomena. Moreover, the future of ufology is looking very bleak and I'm interested in what other members thought about that.




posted on Jul, 25 2012 @ 11:20 AM
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Chris has been publishing his surveys for over 20 years – a long time! Most, if not all of them, are available in some form or other on the internet; his 1993 survey helps to explain what I see in this present report. Firstly, let’s look at the collecting of UFO reports?

In the 1993 Survey (.txt) 3, Ufology Research had the assistance of 27 individual researchers from 7 different groups (MUFON, UFO BC etc) and nobody was dependent on the internet. Collecting reports was mostly carried out via phone and actually meeting people – the data was often shared with others. Obviously, the *quality* of researchers will always be open to question and even today some who I can think of are awful whilst others are rather good. In fact, never mind the *quality* what about the *sanity?!* Some researchers have less outright intelligence than a bag of cats!

The point I’m trying to make is that investigation was far more personal and follow-ups could happen. Let’s say someone is in the mood for hoaxing? Is it easier to find a phone number and call or is it easier to post something on the internet whilst your mates are laughing?

How do we get a feel for the reporter if they are never seen or heard? I’ve listened to 100s of sightings reports and it makes a difference. Some people just don’t sound believable! Others sound crazy. In some cases, it’s the background chatter on phone calls that helps to build confidence in the honesty of the witness.

In ’93 Chris was annoyed by fellow researchers being late to submit their files; others didn’t respond at all. He was also pissed that some ‘self-proclaimed’ investigators didn’t actually investigate and that others didn’t keep useable records. No doubt, those days are like a Golden Age to him now. By 2011, most of the reports were sourced by himself using internet sites like NUFORC, MUFON and sightings.com. A number of Canadian groups still contributed, but it’s moved a long way from 1993 and to what extent have they taken their own reports from websites or e-mails? Have they spoken directly to witnesses?

Another point to make is that UFO sightings exist - people see stuff and a small number of them want to let others know by reporting them. The thing is, mainstream media has long since stopped publishing UFO reports. Smaller outlets like internet news portals and local newspapers are similarly not interested in reporting UFO sightings. Billy Cox is all alone out there. The stories aren’t as exciting as they used to be and, truth be told, most of their audience aren’t interested anyway. Looking at the reports in the 2011 Survey gives us a handful that might be worth putting in a newspaper.

What this suggests is that an aspect of UFO sighting reports exists without being driven by popular media alone. Reports aren’t being made in reaction to tabloid hype or the release of an alien movie. The mainstream media sentiment of ridicule and disbelief should have a negative impact on the numbers of people making reports. Likewise, the hysterical conspiracy-based section of UFO fans has influence through sites like You Tube. Their influence can’t be underestimated and yet the Canadian reports are remarkably unexciting.

I think the basic mildness of the Canadian reports strengthens the possibility that they are accurate and honest.

Reading between the lines of Rutkowski’s report is like reading the writing on the wall for the future of ufology. The databases of the past were mostly sourced from direct contact (at some point) with witnesses. That doesn’t mean they were infallible – they weren’t, but some of the reports were very good and had been fully investigated face-to-face. Future databases will be sourced from anonymous internet reporters with little or no direct contact. This will essentially render the reports meaningless and condemn any studies based upon them to GIGO.

All in all, it doesn’t look good for the future of ufology! The good guys we have today, like Chris Rutkowski, aren’t being replaced by a younger generation. Databases will become meaningless. Ufology has every chance of becoming an historical point of interest for people studying 20th Century Americana or social phenomena.

Some will rejoice at this possibility and others will mourn…What’s intriguing about this likelihood is that the focus of ufology (UFOs!) will continue to provide ‘WTF moments’ for future generations. Lights and objects in the skies are here to stay…sadly, nobody will be around keeping score. Until then, I think Mr Rutkowski should be applauded!



posted on Jul, 25 2012 @ 11:45 AM
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What a pile of crock. UFOLOGY is ongoing and never ending and we're all cosmic. I saw two crafts yesterday too, in the daytime, one out of the corner of my eye but it was etched cleary, silver and saucer shaped. Then on the way home dropping my older off, the sun had just set the sky was still light and I was thinking about how I got rescued from the psi like programs of early childhood by the ETs, (who had already given me their protocol and the kind of work they're doing upgrading, though that was stolen by the ptb here, like UN workers) and had that night had a grey at the door, and a family abduction. In my altered dream, I was told this day took 9 days to complete, so we were gone a while, ran downstairs, to find my son, then 19 said the room spun and he felt like he was dropped off. In my altered dream, yes he was, with my father and brother in dark navy coveralls with orangey soot and knew they had been mining, I'd been trying to get them back. We were being shown other things. Literally that began with contact in the morning with the whole UN operation told, then a grey at the door.

I literally opened the door, and he was directly in front of me and leapt. I have given this testimony over and over here. It is true and it would be accessible by all their methods of ascertaining that.

There is not only crafts overhead, but ETs in them, and they can give you 9 days, 2 weeks, longer if they want, and then put you back.

Now, I was just thinking of all of this, on the way back home. And as I thought exactly, I was rescued by the ETs, another siting, directly ahead, a whitish craft appeared and vanished.

So his government sponsored, suppression team nonsense can take a hike.

Also logic, rationalists, and the reasoning of all the practical researchers??? That isn't ufology. They like to corner it, ufology, the meat and bones of it, are experiencers!

Warm Wishes! Take Care!
edit on 25-7-2012 by Unity_99 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 25 2012 @ 11:54 AM
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Originally posted by Unity_99
What a pile of crock. UFOLOGY is ongoing and never ending and we're all cosmic. I saw two crafts yesterday too, in the daytime, one out of the corner of my eye but it was etched cleary, silver and saucer shaped. Then on the way home dropping my older off, the sun had just set the sky was still light and I was thinking about how I got rescued from the psi like programs of early childhood by the ETs, (who had already given me their protocol and the kind of work they're doing upgrading, though that was stolen by the ptb here, like UN workers) ...

...



...ufology, the meat and bones of it, are experiencers!

But are they reliable witnesses?



posted on Jul, 25 2012 @ 12:15 PM
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reply to post by Unity_99
 
Unity, your posts are always so full of life that I never begin to read them. Unfortunately for UFO researchers, they only have reports to focus on. No doubt they only wish that every day could be spent being fed the secrets of the universe by dozens of different aliens and light beings. One day you must ask your alien friends to speak into a microphone and share their wisdom with the rest of the world. Where are you staying for Christmas this year? Your place or theirs?


In the meantime, perhaps you could try channeling your sense of self-esteem and stop telling the most outlandish stories? The Contactee era ended decades ago! All the best



posted on Jul, 25 2012 @ 12:34 PM
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Originally posted by Kandinsky
All in all, it doesn’t look good for the future of ufology! The good guys we have today, like Chris Rutkowski, aren’t being replaced by a younger generation. Databases will become meaningless. Ufology has every chance of becoming an historical point of interest for people studying 20th Century Americana or social phenomena.

There has always been a problem with the quality of the data due to lack of standardization in gathering and classification. Way too much subjectivity thrown into the mix. But that problem will always be there in any area of study where the investigators are all unpaid, biased "enthusiasts," and your core source of data is case studies and you're trying to apply a larger statistical overlay on it all. Statistical analysis of UFO reports may inherently not be any more useful than any other method, because the more detailed case studies don't happen enough to apply to a statistical study, and neither (in any form) have proven to be able to generate a functional hypothesis -- something that can be used as a prediction and tested.

Even with 20 years of flawed data, we should be able to go to a spot at a particular day and time, or put a camera there, and have a good shot at coming up with a UFO sighting. But we still can't do that. There's something wrong with research of any kind that after 20 years can't even come up with a partially workable hypothesis that can produce something repeatable for study.

So maybe ufology as it's been done for the past 70 years should die. Time to try something else. It's been a failure for a number of reasons, possibly because the methodology has been flawed from the beginning, possibly because there's no way to get around the military stonewall (they are never going to freely admit if something in the sky is one of their own, or not).

I also think that classic UFO research has always been biased toward a more nuts-and-bolts, alien spacecraft explanation, and has never been able to incorporate the recognized social, psychological, and even parapsychological aspects that keep popping up in the "high strangeness" cases.

And thinking of that nearly always brings me back around to the idea that somebody (or something) is manipulating time somehow beyond our current ability to comprehend. Removing good, positive evidence retroactively from the past. I wish there was a way to test that. But I'm just not that smart.



posted on Jul, 25 2012 @ 02:20 PM
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Originally posted by Kandinsky
reply to post by Unity_99
 
Unity, your posts are always so full of life that I never begin to read them..perhaps you could try channeling your sense of self-esteem and stop telling the most outlandish stories?


You really expect the delusional to all of a sudden be de-deluded?

She's a fixed income retiree with nothing butt time on her hands and a whole Internet to troll.



posted on Jul, 25 2012 @ 02:24 PM
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Sounds like another angry 'I didn't go to an underground base, MOMMY they didn't show me aliens! Aliens do not exist!' guy.

I too have become more skeptical due to the lack of progress but I do know there are clear pictures and true strory somewhere hidden deep in the Secret or Top Secret or Above Top Secret marked documents and that these documents like the ones released by CIA in 2010 or now by the UK are so useless and so a way to make people think 'the goody governments hide no secrets!'

If anything I am a person of a new era of investigation. Am I certain that aliens visit the Earth? No I am NOT, especially when I see some Nazi technology stories. Do I exclude someone either like the Nazi or in the past liek the Ancient Astronaut Theory to have described beings that did come frm elsewhere? I cannot exclude, and although a proponent of AAT, I am NOT certain it is as AAT tells.

I've always been objecitvely, lately I bash the completely insane claims, so in case someoen things I am a skeptic no I am not.

However, is this an attempt to tell people 'Don't do research' Kandinsky? At least no matter how phony some people are they bring AWARENESS to the mass public with their shows, you want this to stop? And what people will become even more ignorant idiots than they a;ready are. And will think the world revolves around what they see, there is nothing beyond what they dont see.....

Bad idea, people will become more close minded even than they are now.
edit on 25-7-2012 by Imtor because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 25 2012 @ 02:29 PM
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I guess I was 14 or 15 when I figured out I was on my own. Any "ufologist" that was gonna garner my respect was going to have to earn it. Many have tried, few have been chosen.

With very few exceptions, it's generally the quieter ones. Like your example of Rutkowski.

Is it the end for ufology? Heck, I thought it had already died.

Your sentiments about the non-sensasionalized reports from Canada definitely strike a note with me. I look for the reports that have an internal consistency and a ring of truth. How infallible is that? Maybe not very, but a squeak better than relying on any self-proffessed "professional" ufologist.

We can't trust the internet for number crunching, that's hella-true, but we can, at least, use it to follow our own leads.

Heck, the phenomenon has basically outwitted all for thousands of years anyway. Yep, when it comes down to it, we're on our own.



posted on Jul, 25 2012 @ 03:14 PM
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reply to post by Blue Shift
 


There is a basic assumption in science : nature is not intelligent. Nature can be observed and decoded because it will lie still on the lab bench.

When a phenomena will not lie still for inspection or behave repeatedly in the same way or in a reasonably predictable way one can no longer do science on it. One then must awake to the conclusion that we are not studying UFOs but playing hide and seek with them.



posted on Jul, 25 2012 @ 03:15 PM
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I believe there are windows of opportunity that open briefly to allow us to gain knowedge......
The UFO phenomena is actually about to peak in my estimation, culminating in some form of contact.....
The abduction phenomena is going strong....the outsiders are still doing what they came to do.....
The goverment has knowledge the will never share till we smash the doors down and open the files......
Ufology will die when the ships or whatever are identifyable by most people on earth.



posted on Jul, 25 2012 @ 06:41 PM
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Originally posted by Kandinsky

The databases of the past were mostly sourced from direct contact (at some point) with witnesses. That doesn’t mean they were infallible – they weren’t, but some of the reports were very good and had been fully investigated face-to-face. Future databases will be sourced from anonymous internet reporters with little or no direct contact. This will essentially render the reports meaningless and condemn any studies based upon them to GIGO.



That's an interesting point mate - Francis Ridge discusses below how stringent Dr Willy Smith was when recompiling the UNICAT database in 1998 so I do see your point about the use of future databases relying solely on anonymous internet reports - perhaps it's the lack of credible UFO organisations out there conducting serious objective research and interviewing the witnesses.





As you know, NARCAP have compiled a few interesting databases here and they've just signed an official research agreement with Chile's CEEFA (who, in turn have signed one with Uruguay's CRIDOVNI) so there may be hope for us yet as they are both official UFO research organisations of the respective country's government.

Cheers.



posted on Jul, 27 2012 @ 01:56 AM
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reply to post by Blue Shift
 


There has always been a problem with the quality of the data due to lack of standardization in gathering and classification. Way too much subjectivity thrown into the mix. But that problem will always be there in any area of study where the investigators are all unpaid, biased "enthusiasts," and your core source of data is case studies and you're trying to apply a larger statistical overlay on it all.


I agree with you, but would add that the 'biased enthusiasts' haven't always been 'unpaid,' Official surveys, reports and analyses by paid and, often, qualified people have been influenced by foregone conclusions as well as limitations of the sightings reports. They haven't helped in the search for answers.



I also think that classic UFO research has always been biased toward a more nuts-and-bolts, alien spacecraft explanation, and has never been able to incorporate the recognized social, psychological, and even parapsychological aspects that keep popping up in the "high strangeness" cases.


Fair points again, but if we put ourselves back in the '40s and '50s it's clear why the 'nuts and bolts' ideas came to the forefront. People were reporting structured crafts and some official sources were considering the reports as something like the ETH. At least, they were after ruling out alternative explanations like foreign technology. I see a lot of people laughing at the idea, but given the information they had back then, something like the ETH was an obvious and rational suspect. Since then, our conceptions have changed a great deal - ideas become ever more exotic to encompass the change in reports. It's easy to forget that the reported behaviour of the '40s and '50s was more structured in itself and lent itself to structured explanations. This is why the likes of Hermann Oberth, Albert Loedding and other physical scientists publicly explored the expectation that UFOs would eventually be found to be technological airframes from *out there.*

Along those lines, you'll probably recognise that our interpretations of what might be occurring have developed with new concepts in science. Even more slippery are the parallels within SF/fantasy fiction whereby almost everything ufological has an earlier provenance and a proof of concept. What was once physical has slowly been subsumed into metaphysics and liminalities.

I usually find your posts thought-provoking so thanks for posting.

reply to post by The GUT
 



Your sentiments about the non-sensationalized reports from Canada definitely strike a note with me. I look for the reports that have an internal consistency and a ring of truth. How infallible is that? Maybe not very, but a squeak better than relying on any self-professed "professional" ufologist.


I think the lack of drama in the sightings and survey has led to the lack of coverage Chris has received. People would sooner read about Unity's hearsay menagerie of immoral (but wise and deep!) abductors than bread-and-butter nocturnal light reports. Same goes for a 10 year old YT video that's been renamed so many times. That's human nature and it is what it is. Seeing lights in the sky isn't what built the engine of ufology or the clattering carnival that accompanies it all - lights are less open to interpretation or overlays.

reply to post by stirling
 



I believe there are windows of opportunity that open briefly to allow us to gain knowedge...... The UFO phenomena is actually about to peak in my estimation, culminating in some form of contact.....


Maybe, maybe...who knows? I'm not so sure I *want* it to peak. Not before we know what it is anyway! Then again, I think it moved down a gear, or mostly left, back in the '70s. Trying to be emphatic about these things is like trying to nail jelly to the ceiling



posted on Jul, 27 2012 @ 02:07 AM
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reply to post by karl 12
 
Nice one K! I might watch a YT UFO video once a month so I didn't know about the video or the channel it came from.

Through talking with Mike Swords and reading his stuff, the ideas of archives and reports have been on my mind for quite a while now. CUFOS bought NICAP's archives and last year the CUFOS archives were piled up at Mark Rodeghier's home! Seems like a lot of the history has been orphaned and spread all over the place. It's a pity Bob Bigelow's so secretive because he just has to have done something with the massive amount of information he's 'black-holed' over the years.



posted on Aug, 11 2012 @ 09:04 PM
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I have not begun to assimilate the data, but I appreciate the work that he has put in to collecting it. I really don't know what to make of single party studies, as it seems they are not up to scientific standards.
Which reminds of another one- Kandinsky, what do you think of Allan Hendry's 1979 The UFO Handbook?



posted on Aug, 12 2012 @ 01:55 AM
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reply to post by CardDown
 
Rutkowski doesn't work alone although there seems to be fewer involved now than in the past. You should give the report a read as the commentary is what caught my attention, more than the numbers, and you'll likely find it interesting too.

'Is it the end for ufology' was a bit clichéd. It was just a simple way of asking what's next? Chris points out that real investigating, namely identifying, has been reduced to website forms, email and phone calls. He's honest and diplomatic. Going off the attention this thread received, it's not something anyone finds very interesting.

Hendry's book is deservedly well-respected for its honesty. Rather than partaking in the hair-pulling skeptic/believer/debunker squabble, he calls it as it is. Yeah, most UFOs are IFOs, witnesses aren't great observers and, following investigation, a very small number remain unexplained - his figure was some 8%. Even there, he understood that more info would reduce the figure.



posted on Aug, 12 2012 @ 03:30 PM
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I think that most UFO reports are of pretty low quality. It is often really hard to tell from raw reports if the person has actually seen anything anomalous at all or is just excited to see a satellite, airplane, etc.

I think part of the problem is that an overwhelming majority of sightings are just little point sources of light. And these reports almost always sound like they might be simply stars, planets, satellites, airplanes.

If you want to "reform Ufology", you've first got to do something to get rid of the piles and piles of "noise".
I think as a start, maybe totally eliminate all night sightings, or at least all night sightings which are basically point sources of lights, small groups of lights (including "triangles") and glowing orbs.

This isn't to say that these point sources are all IFOs, but they simply provide no useful data.

The problem isn't that media ridicule is dissuading people from making reports. The problem is that there are too many reports that all sound the same.



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