Science and the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis in Ufology

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posted on Sep, 14 2012 @ 12:00 AM
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Here's a terrific paper by Michael Swords published in the Journal of UFO Studies in 1989:

Science and the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis in Ufology

A bit from the introduction:




...and from the summary:




I'd be interested to hear what others on this forum have to say about it. I find it to be outstanding. What are your feelings about the summary points? Does he defend them well, or do you find flaws in his reasoning?

Thirty-seven pages, so settle in.

Enjoy!
edit on 14-9-2012 by Orkojoker because: (no reason given)




posted on Sep, 14 2012 @ 12:24 AM
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Unfortunately, the UFO/Alien hypothesis is a big red flag to most scientist regardless of how they truly feel about the phenomena. Could this topic be a career killer in the scientific field? I believe so, otherwise why wouldn't we hear and see more discussions about this hypothesis especially at the university levels.



posted on Sep, 14 2012 @ 01:15 AM
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reply to post by Orkojoker
 


While the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis, among some others tends to garner favor among many, if not the majority who have an interest in this topic, the Psychological, and Psycho-Social Paradigms, in my opinion, describe a greater portion, if not a majority of cases, far more so than many (interested in this topic) are happy to accept.

The Psychological, and Psycho-Social Paradigms describing a larger portion than many would like to accept, however, as a matter of concession, does not rule out any number of other hypotheses and speculations also being true, including the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis.

More weight, though, seems to be given the ETH, as well as the 'spookier' explanations than those seeming more reasonable, tested, and verified in controlled settings.

Once again, this doesn't rule out ETH, or any other explanation.
More weight to these than should be given, in seeming favorable bias, however, seems to be the more popular choice among researchers where some of the same cases can just as equally be described and attributed to either purely Psychological, or Psycho-Social phenomenon.

edit on 14-9-2012 by Druscilla because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 14 2012 @ 01:28 AM
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reply to post by Druscilla
 


I know as a FACT...not opinion....but as a 100% FACT that E.T. is a REALITY! I wish I did not know this...but I do and I deal with it.

Psychological aspects of E.T. are based on the ridiculous numbers of People who claim to have been abducted. The numbers are massive and so high that it brings the KOOK scale with it.

Split Infinity



posted on Sep, 14 2012 @ 01:48 AM
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Originally posted by SplitInfinity
reply to post by Druscilla
 


I know as a FACT...not opinion....but as a 100% FACT that E.T. is a REALITY! I wish I did not know this...but I do and I deal with it.

Psychological aspects of E.T. are based on the ridiculous numbers of People who claim to have been abducted. The numbers are massive and so high that it brings the KOOK scale with it.

Split Infinity

That is fantastic. What a shame we are on the internet.



posted on Sep, 14 2012 @ 01:48 AM
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Originally posted by SplitInfinity
reply to post by Druscilla
 


I know as a FACT...not opinion....but as a 100% FACT that E.T. is a REALITY! I wish I did not know this...but I do and I deal with it.

Psychological aspects of E.T. are based on the ridiculous numbers of People who claim to have been abducted. The numbers are massive and so high that it brings the KOOK scale with it.

Split Infinity



I believe what you are telling us. Isn't it amazing that certain people in various industries are considered professionals and even can be considered to give expert testimony in a court of law but these same people who witness UFOs are considered whackos? How many professional pilots, military officers, police officers have went on record to give their accounts of witnessing UFOs but there experiences are belittled as some sort of psychological or mental problem.



posted on Sep, 14 2012 @ 01:55 AM
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reply to post by Orkojoker
 


reply to post by Druscilla
 


Two of the most recent cases I have come across are the most mysterious, or not.

The Colares UFO case, 1977, Brazil. - UFO's attacked 80 people, of which 2 were killed. Military investigated and took pictures of the phenomena but then closed down the investigation without reason.

The Voronezh UFO case, 1989, Russia. - A UFO landed in suburbia, in a park, and giants exited the craft. Police, Pilots, Children and Adult Pedestrians saw this. Credible newspaper even ran the story when previously they wouldn't touch those types of stories with a barge pole.

And my favourite, but this could be a case of classified military UFO

The 1966 Westall UFO incident in Melbourne Suburbia, Victoria, Australia - Another case of, well this time, Two UFO's landing in a park. This was seen by many many students and some neighbours of the school.

Oh, and also the Zimbabwe incident.
edit on 14-9-2012 by LightAssassin because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 14 2012 @ 01:58 AM
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The place to find proof is public. Look up the Washington DC E.T. Craft Flyovers that occurred in the early 50's and early 60's. For weeks...huge numbers of E.T. Craft were flying over DC and the DC Newspapers can be looked up as Headlines demanding the U.S. Military do something about it as well as interviews with every form of Government Authority are in the Papers.

The trick is you must get the proper dates and look at the actual News Papers. It will give you all the proof you need. Split Infinity



posted on Sep, 14 2012 @ 02:22 AM
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For anyone who's reading comprehension is taking a break, allow me to quote myself regarding some parts some might have selectively missed, though I went out of my way to mention them ...


Originally posted by Druscilla
reply to post by Orkojoker
 


The Psychological, and Psycho-Social Paradigms describing a larger portion than many would like to accept, however, as a matter of concession, does not rule out any number of other hypotheses and speculations also being true, including the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis.
...
Once again, this doesn't rule out ETH, or any other explanation.


Thus, please take such statements into consideration before putting me on 'respected foe', sending me hate mail, or leaving unreasonable comments in response to my very reasonable comment.



edit on 14-9-2012 by Druscilla because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 14 2012 @ 03:15 AM
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reply to post by Druscilla
 


Someone seriously did that?

Lame.


I appreciate your input, even though I don't always agree, and a healthy dose of scepticism is always needed to view anything objectively.



posted on Sep, 14 2012 @ 03:22 AM
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reply to post by Druscilla
 

Who did that!? Split Infinity



posted on Sep, 14 2012 @ 05:41 AM
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reply to post by Orkojoker
 


Unfortunately, the term "Ufology" as a bonofide field of research seems to have been hijacked at the expense of pop-culture, indiscriminate claims and festering You Tube vid's.

Where any credibility it may still have, by association, has diminished and dragged down with it the genuine hypothesis of intelligent E.T existence.

The discovery of intelligent E.T existence will always be the final frontier for humankind.

Regardless of speculation, I tend to seperate the area of Ufology and E.Ts now... or until a reasonable causal linkage can be determined that's beyond the stereotypical understanding of UFOs.

UFO /= Intelligent E.T existence.



posted on Sep, 14 2012 @ 08:00 AM
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The Psychological, and Psycho-Social Paradigms describing a larger portion than many would like to accept
reply to post by Druscilla
 


It would appear the reverse is true. It is fewer than most would like to accept. Pertaining to "UFOs", as opposed to sleep paralysis hallucinations in one's own bedroom, the psychological influence would appear to have a trace effect overall.

After all, why start at the bottom of the pile? Only one case needs to be right.



posted on Sep, 14 2012 @ 08:30 AM
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The problem with the Extraterrestrial hypothesis is that fiction got there first. The idea that there could be life on other planets was widely discussed, and there was a lot of science fiction. War of the Worlds, Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, and Superman are some of the best known examples of tales of alien encounters that became mainstream.

Science fiction "predicted" a great many things just by logically examining situations and extrapolating solutions. The appearance of aliens in fiction before flying saucers were reported does not invalidate the concept. The problem is that the extraterrestrial origin was arrived at unscientifically, and later science was tried to use to justify it.

Things got further complicated when ETH champions (such as Donald Keyhoe and Stanton Friedman) were the only ones promoting UFO cases and presenting them with their bias. Like a lawyer arguing a case, they shape and color the discussion to serve their agenda. (The fakes and phonies helped sell the ETH tale, too. Scully-Newton-GeBauer, Adamski and the contactees and all the other hoaxers with their tales of alien adventures further spread the concept. When they were exposed, the believers didn't lose faith in the saucers, just the hoaxers.)

Science should take a look at UFOs, but do so without a preset agenda. Extraterrestrial origin is just one of the candiates to consider.



posted on Sep, 14 2012 @ 09:18 AM
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Originally posted by CardDown

Science should take a look at UFOs, but do so without a preset agenda. Extraterrestrial origin is just one of the candiates to consider.


You said it CardDown. Unbiased scientific consideration of UFO phenomena is definitely in order. It blows my mind that psychologists aren't all over this subject. There's been some study of "abductees", but I've seen little, if any, reasonable attempt to account for the perplexing character of the good UFO reports with any kind of specific psychological explanation. There are plenty of reports out there by (sometimes multiple) psychologically normal people of experiences that are on par with vivid visual hallucinations. For most UFO witnesses in these cases, the experience is an isolated incident - something never seen before and never see again - not part of an ongoing mental issue. Aren't psychologists curious to learn what might trigger such unusual psychological events? If people all around the world are spontaneously and inexplicably tripping out in highly patterned and particular ways, shouldn't somebody be trying to figure out why?



posted on Sep, 14 2012 @ 09:48 AM
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reply to post by Orkojoker
 


One of the problems with witnesses is their notorious unreliability in making claims beyond what was actually seen; embroidering on the facts.
We can see some of this in action in This recent thread regarding a photo the Op's son took.

Op went on to say:

Originally posted by jessemole
Sorry for the delay on the shot..

My son heading to work heading west towards Palm Springs, from Yucca CA 6:30 PST out of the west sky a hugh lighted object came into view, and emited a plume/contrail that was a bright as the object was... decending.

It sig-sag twice according to him at extreame speeds and the it was gone.

Still searching out the process to getting this photo processed.
Darn

Jesse
edit on 13-9-2012 by jessemole because: (no reason given)


Before the edit, the OP also described a complete U-turn and an explosion which was then edited out later.

Eventually OP gets a picture up in This Post

Where then member tport17 is quick to find the cause:

Originally posted by tport17
Found this person talking about it on Facebook. Still looking for more.

Link

Hopefully that link works.

This is the event discussed in that facebook post.
edit on 13-9-2012 by tport17 because: (no reason given)


After reading a bunch of articles about this, the missile was launched in New Mexico but it was seen in Phoenix, Las Vegas, and California.
edit on 13-9-2012 by tport17 because: (no reason given)


Still, even after this, OP goes on to say:


Originally posted by jessemole
...
Also wanted to point out that my son said that it came to a complete stop and then took off in a flash and out of site.
I discount any agruement that it was anything that would account for this being man made, or falling Space Debris
or meterite.
Unless you can convince me otherwise.
I was able to zoom in on the Image to a large degree, there were interesting aspects that seem to be a large round plume in the middle of this photo. Look close!
Jesse

edit on 13-9-2012 by jessemole because: (no reason given)
edit on 13-9-2012 by jessemole because: (no reason given)
edit on 13-9-2012 by jessemole because: (no reason given)


It's obvious the whole thing is a missile launch. There's multiple sources reporting on it.
There's multiple photos of the same thing from several different sources, and even video, all reporting on the event as a missile launch.
However, we still get people claiming that it came to a 'complete stop'?

Had media not been as quick to report on this, had there been a day or two of lag in reporting and verification, and were there only still pictures with no video, the stories would have grown, and become more elaborate as the Psycho-social phenomenon ran it's course with sympathetic collusion from disparate differentiated multiple witnesses where all the different stories get amalgamated in the localized collective unconscious where 10 different, but similar sightings of the same thing turns into a mothership with flashing lights, portholes, and passengers inside waving.
Link with Video regarding the missile launch

Is that too much of an exaggeration? I don't know.
Take a look at member elevenaugust's thread HERE - describing a missile lauch that was reported as an Alien mothership from multiple unrelated witnesses - Top 10 UFO case - Yukon 1996 ...

People are pretty much the worst witnesses of any event, even if there's a static, still photo of an event, the stories associated with it can still get wildly distorted.

edit on 14-9-2012 by Druscilla because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 14 2012 @ 11:33 AM
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Originally posted by Orkojoker
Aren't psychologists curious to learn what might trigger such unusual psychological events? If people all around the world are spontaneously and inexplicably tripping out in highly patterned and particular ways, shouldn't somebody be trying to figure out why?
This implies psychologists don't already know. The sleep paralysis/abduction scenario may not be completely understood but it's not a complete mystery either. The Zimbabwe case is interesting from a psychological perspective. There is so much variation in the children's drawings that even they don't seem to be sure what they saw.

Regarding reputable witnesses misperceiving things as UFOs, it happens and it doesn't mean people are tripping out. Scientists know human perception is lousy, but the average person apparently has a high opinion of human perception when all research indicates that they shouldn't.

There's a video about UFO sightings by airplane pilots where the actual communications with the tower were recorded. The pilots all sound competent and professional in communicating information about the UFO, so they obviously aren't tripping out. They are doing things like reporting the position of the bogey and asking the tower to confirm the traffic on radar, and so on. But if you do some research and listen carefully to the recordings and don't take the same bias that the pilots have, you can actually identify most of the objects they are reporting as UFOs. I don't see it as tripping out, and would have no hesitation to fly on an airplane piloted by any of these pilots as they all seem competent. But as UFO researcher Hynek pointed out, pilots make poor UFO witnesses, with a higher misperception rate than average (contrary to the popular misconception that they make good UFO witnesses).

Jim Oberg's article on pilot misperceptions reinforces Hynek's research with specific examples such as these:

Case Studies In Pilot Misperceptions Of "UFOs"

D'Alton continued: "The craft was flying level, going much too fast to be a man-made aircraft. I've flown all over the world, and I know this thing wasn't a shooting star, space debris or the northern lights."

Said Bob Parkhouse, the flight's chief steward: "The UFO was moving from left to right across the horizon. It was a sight I'd never seen before!"

"The crew watched the craft for two minutes, said Capt. D'Alton. 'Then it took a lightning-fast right-angle turn and zoomed out of sight.' Other pilots, including a Lufthansa German Airlines captain, reported a UFO sighting around the same time. Capt D'Alton said. 'It had to be something from another planet -- because it was definitely not man-made!' "...One Air France pilot told a radio interviewer: 'We were on a flight to Barcelona at about 33,000 feet at 19:03 hours when we first saw the shape. It couldn't have been a satellite (re-entry) because it was there for three or four minutes'.

"In Italy, six airline pilots reported 'a mysterious and intense white light' south-east of Turin. Pilots also reported five white smoke trails nearby. Police in Bavaria were swamped with calls from people reporting streaks of light with tails of fire at about 19:00 on 5 November (Glasgow Herald, 7 November 1990)."

Now, what can we make of these impressive testimonials? The satellite reentry was occurring right before their eyes, and these pilots made many, many perceptual and interpretative errors....
And there's a huge list of all the perceptual errors the pilots made. Anybody who hasn't studied this list and wants to be unbiased with an open mind needs to study it, because in my experience most people haven't studied this and don't appreciate it. To be sure there is some interesting psychology going on here but it's not as poorly understood as you suggest and Jim Oberg even has his own ideas on some of the psychological drivers, but whether he's right about those ideas or not, he's documented the misperceptions well, whatever the psychology which drives it.

We need to assess the validity of human perception at the level where it belongs, which is much lower than many people realize, regardless of how godlike or infallible some people think the testimony is just because some guy is a colonel or an airline pilot. If we have video or photographs, this makes the evidence much more interesting (provided it's not shopped or faked) because it's not as unreliable as human observation, though it has problems of its own.

Bottom line is I have no problem with citing the ETH as one possible explanation for unexplainable cases.
I have a huge problem with people concluding it's the most likely explanation, as this hasn't seemed warranted in any case I've examined.



posted on Sep, 14 2012 @ 12:21 PM
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Originally posted by Arbitrageur

Regarding reputable witnesses misperceiving things as UFOs, it happens and it doesn't mean people are tripping out. Scientists know human perception is lousy, but the average person apparently has a high opinion of human perception when all research indicates that they shouldn't.



The average person probably does overestimate the reliability of human perception, but reports in which an object of large angular size is seen only a few feet from the ground between the observer and some reference point such as a group of trees or a hillside a known distance away stretch the misperception hypothesis to an uncomfortable limit. Other salient details of some cases also lead me to think that, in that particular instance, misperception is more likely to be an incorrect explanation than a correct one. I agree with Jim Oberg in that more research should be done into the limits and flaws of our perceptual system, but I have a hard time dismissing the entire body of unexplained reports as being due entirely to quirks of the human mind.

Cases like the Red Bluff incident of 1960 and the Redlands, California reports of 1968 are the kind that intrigue me and cause me to lean away, in some instances, from the misperception hypothesis as a satisfactory answer.

Red Bluff

Aug. 13, 1960..Red Bluff, CA: California Highway Patrol Officers Charles A. Carson and Stanley Scott were on patrol when they sighted what they thought was an airliner about to crash. When the UFO had descended to about 100 or 200 feet altitude it suddenly reversed direction and climbed to 500 ft. Description: round or oblong surrounded by a glow (color not mentioned) and having definite red lights at each end. They continued to watch the UFO as it performed "unbelievable" aerial feats. The local RADAR operator confirmed the UFO at this time but denied it the next day. Other Tehema County Sheriffs' officers also saw this UFO and another similar one that same night.



Redlands

On February 4, 1968, from approximately 7:20 to 7:25 P.M., about two hundred residents of Redlands, California, either saw or heard what was apparently the same huge, low-flying, disk-shaped object as it passed overhead. The object apparently came down just west of Columbia Street and north of Colton Avenue, then proceeded slowly in a northwestern direction for about a mile or less, at an altitude of about 300 feet. Coming to a stop, it hovered briefly, jerked forward, hovered again, then shot straight up with a burst of speed. (Total time of the sighting must have been less than five minutes).




edit on 14-9-2012 by Orkojoker because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 14 2012 @ 01:04 PM
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reply to post by Orkojoker
 

I have no idea what they saw, but hopefully you'll agree with Dr Hynek's statements about misperception which definitely apply to those cases:

home.comcast.net...

Dr. J. Allen Hynek (The "Father" of modern UFOlogy) in his summary of AF Project Grudge (April 30, 1949) wrote:

First of all, it is obvious that it would usually be impossible for observers to make reliable estimates of the speed, distance, or size of such stimulus objects. It is not possible to estimate accurately the distance of small bright objects viewed against a clear sky, UNLESS THE OBJECT IS IDENTIFIED FIRST… It must be concluded, therefore, that most of the statements of speed, distance, altitude and size ARE EXTREMELY UNRELIABLE AND SHOULD BE DISREGARDED (My emphasis). THIS IS DOUBLY TRUE OF OBSERVATIONS MADE AT NIGHT (My emphasis).
Personally I agree with Hynek and find that "most of the statements of speed, distance, altitude and size ARE EXTREMELY UNRELIABLE".

We can ponder about those cases but it appears there isn't enough information to determine what they saw so they may remain unexplained forever.

Fortunately, these days, cameras and even video cameras are becoming so ubiquitous that if somebody sees something like this again they should hopefully be able to catch it on video and then we'll have more to go on. Personally I'd look forward to seeing such a video!



posted on Sep, 14 2012 @ 01:19 PM
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Originally posted by Arbitrageur
reply to post by Orkojoker
 

I have no idea what they saw, but hopefully you'll agree with Dr Hynek's statements about misperception which definitely apply to those cases:

home.comcast.net...

Dr. J. Allen Hynek (The "Father" of modern UFOlogy) in his summary of AF Project Grudge (April 30, 1949) wrote:

First of all, it is obvious that it would usually be impossible for observers to make reliable estimates of the speed, distance, or size of such stimulus objects. It is not possible to estimate accurately the distance of small bright objects viewed against a clear sky, UNLESS THE OBJECT IS IDENTIFIED FIRST… It must be concluded, therefore, that most of the statements of speed, distance, altitude and size ARE EXTREMELY UNRELIABLE AND SHOULD BE DISREGARDED (My emphasis). THIS IS DOUBLY TRUE OF OBSERVATIONS MADE AT NIGHT (My emphasis).
Personally I agree with Hynek and find that "most of the statements of speed, distance, altitude and size ARE EXTREMELY UNRELIABLE".



I certainly would agree that estimates of size and distance given by UFO witnesses are, in many cases, notoriously unreliable and that the concept of angular size is much more likely to yield useful data, allowing investigators to posit one of these factors as a variable in order to get a reasonable estimate of the other, and vice versa. In such questions it certainly helps to have numerous witnesses standing in various positions viewing the same object from different angles and vantage points, as was the case in the Redlands sighting.



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