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Originally posted by Brighter
Now you might be wondering: How is it possible for someone to simply ignore evidence? In some rare cases, it could simply be the result of a cognitive defect, but the more likely explanation is psychological - some people have very strong beliefs about the world and how it 'must' be, and will do anything to defend said beliefs, even if it means intellectual dishonesty.
Originally posted by Brighter
(This same fallacy is committed when the best skeptics selectively choose which cases to focus on. By focusing on the weakest cases, they are guaranteeing an outcome that fits with their pre-determined conclusion, that the UFO Hypothesis is false.)
Originally posted by Blue Shift
One of the more significant problems with UFO study over the past 50 years or more has been the tendency for investigators to ignore or downplay witness statements regarding what would be considered "paranormal" effects. These include feelings of telepathic communication, time dilation, or just a general feeling of reality distortion. For a serious investigator with a preconceived notion that UFOs are nuts-and-bolts spaceships controlled by creatures from another planet, any inclusion of witness accounts of weird effects would tend to push the encounter into the "kook" area, possibly making it subject to ridicule and mockery.
As a result, it's taken decades for people to come to an understanding that perhaps the aliens from other planets hypothesis is not the most fertile ground for study, and that the strangeness might be where the real answers are eventually found.
Recall that the fallacy of incomplete evidence is when someone focuses on some evidence, while ignoring the rest.
Once upon a time, there lived six blind men in a village. One day the villagers told them, "Hey, there is an elephant in the village today."
They had no idea what an elephant is. They decided, "Even though we would not be able to see it, let us go and feel it anyway." All of them went where the elephant was. Everyone of them touched the elephant.
"Hey, the elephant is a pillar," said the first man who touched his leg.
"Oh, no! it is like a rope," said the second man who touched the tail.
"Oh, no! it is like a thick branch of a tree," said the third man who touched the trunk of the elephant.
"It is like a big hand fan" said the fourth man who touched the ear of the elephant.
"It is like a huge wall," said the fifth man who touched the belly of the elephant.
"It is like a solid pipe," Said the sixth man who touched the tusk of the elephant.
They began to argue about the elephant and everyone of them insisted that he was right. It looked like they were getting agitated. A wise man was passing by and he saw this. He stopped and asked them, "What is the matter?" They said, "We cannot agree to what the elephant is like." Each one of them told what he thought the elephant was like. The wise man calmly explained to them, "All of you are right. The reason every one of you is telling it differently because each one of you touched the different part of the elephant. So, actually the elephant has all those features what you all said."
“We have an exceptional opportunity to put such tales to practical test,” he told them. “The subject believes fully any statement made by the operator. I shall tell Miss Freeman that she is to exert her will power, and rise up off the floor. It is certain that she will believe that she can do it. Her will will be in an optimum condition to carry out the order, if it can be done. Miss Freeman!”
“Yes, Mr. Huxley.”
“Exert your will. Rise up in the air!”
Joan rose straight up into the air, some six feet— until her head nearly touched the high ceiling. —“How’m doin,’ pal?”—Swell, kid, you’re wowin ‘em. Look at ‘em stare!”
At that moment Brinkley burst into the room, rage in his eyes.
“Mr. Huxley, you have broken your word to me, and disgraced this university!” It was some ten minutes after the fiasco ending the demonstration. Huxley faced the president in Brinkley’s private office.
“I made you no promise. I have not disgraced the school,” Phil answered with equal pugnacity.
“You have indulged in cheap tricks of fake magic to bring your department into disrepute.”
“So I’m a faker, am I? You stiff-necked old fossil-explain this onel” Huxley levitated himself until he floated three feet above the rug.
“Explain what?” To Huxley’s amazement Brinckley seemed unaware that anything unusual was going on. He continued to stare at the point where Phils head had been. His manner showed nothing but a slight puzzlement and annoyance at Huxley’s apparently irrelevant remark.
Was it possible that the doddering old fool was so completely self-deluded that he could not observe anything that ran counter to his own preconceptions even when it happened directly under his eyes? Phil reached out with his mind and attempted to see what went on inside Brincldey’s head. He got one of the major surprises of his life. He expected to find the floundering mental processes of
near senility; he found cold calculation, keen ability, set in a matrix of pure evil that sickened him.
It was just a glimpse, then he was cast out with a wrench that numbed his brain. Brinckley had discovered his spying and thrown up his defences—the hard defences of a disciplined mind.
Phil dropped back to the floor, and left the room, without a word, nor a backward glance.
From THE WESTERN STUDENT, October 3rd:
PSYCH PROF FIRED FOR FRAUD
. . . students’ accounts varied, but all agreed that it had been a fine show. Fullback ‘Buzz’ Arnold told your reporter, “I hated to see it happen; Prof Huxley is a nice guy and he certainly put on a clever skit with some good deadpan acting. I could see how it was done, of course—it was the same the Great Arturo used in his turn at the Orpheum last spring. But I can see Doctor Brinckley’s viewpoint; you can’t permit monkey shines at a serious center of learning.”
President Brinckley gave the STUDENT the following official statement: “It is with real regret that I announce the termination of Mr. Huxley’s association with the institution—for the good of the University. Mr. Huxley had been repeatedly warned as to where his steps were leading him. He is a young man of considerable ability. Let us devoutly hope that this experience will serve as a lesson to him in whatever line of endeavor ...”
Coburn handed the paper back to Huxley. “You know what happened to me?” he inquired.
“Invited to resign ... No publicity—just a gentle hint. My patients got well too fast; I’d quit using surgery, you know.”
“How perfectly stinking!” This from Joan.
“Well,’ Ben considered, “I don’t blame the medical director; Brinckley forced his hand. I guess we underrated the old cuss.”
"Any scientist who has not read a few serious books and articles presenting actual UFO evidence should out of intellectual honesty refrain from making scientific pronouncements. To look at the evidence and go away unconvinced is one thing. To not look at the evidence and be convinced against it nonetheless is another. That is not science. Do your homework!"
Originally posted by Brighter
Critical Thinking and the UFO Hypothesis II: Ignoring the Evidence
When examining the strongest arguments for and against the best cases for the UFO Hypothesis, it becomes evident that the 'skeptics' are actually practicing a form of denial whereas the proponents are engaging in proper skepticism.