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Witness Testimony Is Not Evidence. First-hand Experience

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posted on Dec, 25 2012 @ 08:41 PM
I'd like to share a rather long story to hopefully lend some insight into why myself and perhaps other intelligent and like-minded individuals find blind belief in alien visitations so frustrating and ridiculous. I want to add that I believe in the possibility of life on other planets but, I have yet to see any credible evidence that supports the claims of alien visitations on earth.

Contrary to what some may think based on my posts here on ATS, I am a very open-minded person. I was more so as a kid until well, I actually looked a little deeper into some of the alleged UFO cases and experienced the incident I am going to tell you about.

In my senior year of high school I was dating two girls, playing baseball, football & I even tried soccer (High School is the best, yo!!). Due to my lust and luck for the opposing sex, my grades saw a momentary decline....It was a glorious time, filled with conquests, adventures and ego-boosting experiences :-P ...and I got kicked off the football team. Anyway, I had more time on my hands.

One afternoon, my science teacher tells us that he is going to do an experiment the next Monday after school and we're welcome to participate as long as our parents signed a consent form. I figured it sounded interesting and what the hell, I didn't have to practice or go to any games. Monday evening comes around and I walk towards the baseball field and I see a van parked in the middle of the field, a small group of kids & my science teacher. He had a huge radio controlled thing with a camera attached to it. He said it was a thermal imaging camera and we were going to fly the RC over several blocks and then discuss/view the results in class. So he flies this thing for what seemed maybe 15-20 minutes and then some of us took turns trying to fly it (Yeah, I sucked and the controls seemed waaay over-sensitive).

Tuesday morning I wake up like every other was cold, foggy and I didn't feel like going to school. A friend of mine was walking with me and we decide to go buy some junk at the gas station before we got to class. As I'm standing in line to pay, he points at the TV mounted near the entrance and he says "Oh you hear about the UFO? There was a UFO spotted here last night. A lot of witnesses saw it!" naturally, I look up at the TV...and lo and behold, it was the stupid rc we were flying for my science class and someone had filmed it and contacted the local news channel telling them they filmed a UFO. I tell my friend this and he says " sure? I don't think its the same thing." ...I look at him like he's a complete retard and tell him again "Dude, I know what we were flying yesterday and I know what it looks like!!! Don't be an idiot! That is an rc....not a UFO".

....Now, up to this point in my life, I was always watching UFO documentaries, movies...and reading stuff about cover-ups. Witness testimony seemed like the only evidence that really existed out there...whether on paper or on taped recordings/interviews so, I assumed it must be reliable for the most part. After all, why would people lie and risk being called crazy, right?....Anyway, third period rolls around and we had a short quiz. The teacher says if we finish early we can hang out and talk as long as we don't get loud. Once everyone was done, people start talking...and I can't help but hear this chick mention the "UFO" story from the news.....more people get in on the conversation so I interrupt and tell them that it was not a UFO and that the news reporters and people believing that it was aliens would feel stupid once they know what it was. To my amazement, most people just shrugged and kept believing it was an alien craft...even though there was NO EVIDENCE that it was. Even though I just told them exactly what it was...and that I WAS THERE!!! Kids were saying things like "No, I SAW IT!!! I was standing outside when it was in the air. It was like 60 feet across!!" and "It was the size of my house, I swear!". Oh, someone on the news that was interviewed actually said they saw a metallic surface reflected when the craft turned on its side (I shìt you not.) I argued until I was blue in the face and then I decided that people are idiots and no matter what you tell them, they will believe what they want to believe...sans logic. So in my 5th period class, my science teacher laughs because obviously he knew what it was....and he says he contacted the news channel. Come the 11:30 news, the reporters did a follow up and briefly just said what the "UFO" actually was. ...Now, you'd think that meant that a big question was satisfied and that the story would go away, right? WRONG....for the rest of my senior year, I heard idiots talk about the UFO sighting and how TPTB covered it up by saying it was an rc....and that the secret government agencies forced the news channel to correct themselves. I've actually heard some of my old high school friends bring this up on facebook and I want to throw a meat cleaver at their face and kick them in the genitals, it pisses me off so much. Not because I'm a violent sociopath...but because idiots frustrate me. I'm actually grateful that it never made it here to ATS (At least I don't think so).

Honestly, the whole experience was a huge eye-opener. I learned a lot about people and how reality seems to be unimportant when they choose to believe something. Again, I share this story because every time someone brings up a UFO case, I cringe when the words "witness testimony" are used and I'm sure many others do if testimony or witness accounts lend ANY credibility to the alleged report. People perceive things differently and people remember things incorrectly, and people are poor judges of size, perspective and height....and are not reliable at all because they embellish, exaggerate and make stuff up.

Why bring this up, you ask? Well, a high school friend stopped by for Christmas and he brought up the "UFO"....and that got me thinking about it again.....and I almost cracked my beer bottle over his head and set im on fire!!! I kid of course but, I stopped him and told him to shut up.

Happy Holidays & I hope this helps some of you understand those of us who are more reluctant to take mere "testimony" as proof of aliens.
edit on 25-12-2012 by Unidentified_Objective because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 25 2012 @ 08:52 PM
Excellent post, very well-written and amusing anecdote.

I guess you could say that "eye-witness testimony" is the sticking point for most when it comes to claims of the extraordinary or the supernatural.

We know, scientifically, that eyewitness testimony is very unreliable -- under even the best circumstances -- but the reality is that for most of us, we operate every day on the basis of eye-witness testimony -- usually our own!

If I can't trust my own impressions about what I see, then how can I be expected to participate in the world, and go about my everyday life?

The answer seems to be that we trust eye-witness testimony for the small, unimportant things - the minutiae of our everyday lives. But when big things -- lives, ideas, discoveries -- are at stake, we simply cannot rely solely on it. This seems at once reasonable, and obvious.

But I wonder...

When I consider how much of my own knowledge and understanding is based almost solely on the testimony of messengers... I shudder at the suggestion that all that should be cast into doubt.

Why do I believe in bacteria, or Neptune, or the island of Java? I only know of these things because human messengers have relayed their existence to me. Obviously, they based their assertions on science and reason, but how do I know that?

For most people, the reality is that most of what we claim to know, we only know based on the testimony of others, and our own eyes.

Really, when you consider that even scientific findings must be observed, interpreted, and relayed by flawed human witnesses before anyone hears of them -- it's a wonder we believe anything at all!

You may find this thread of mine interesting:

Thank you for your post. S + F

posted on Dec, 25 2012 @ 08:57 PM
Anyone would be foolish to blindly believe another person's first hand account...

But what if it happened to you? Not a light in the sky ... Not a weird sound ...

What if you had a first hand experience that irrefutably proved to YOU beyond a shadow of a doubt that such experiences are indeed real and possible? Be it an alien contact, an up close UFO, or what have you.

And knowing this information to be true, how would you explain it to someone like you ?

What about that first hand experience?

Would you go about trying to explain what you KNOW to be true and sounding like a crazy person around what you call 'intelligent' people?

Or would you sit back, knowing what you know, and watch 'intelligent' people foolishly believe that they have some sort of answer?

I chose the latter ....

posted on Dec, 25 2012 @ 09:11 PM

Originally posted by OneEleven
But what if it happened to you? Not a light in the sky ... Not a weird sound ...

What if you had a first hand experience that irrefutably proved to YOU beyond a shadow of a doubt that such experiences are indeed real and possible? Be it an alien contact, an up close UFO, or what have you.

To be honest, I experienced something as a kid. Maybe 13-14 years old....but, I can't really ever say what it was. All I know is that a few of us (Parents & kids) were looking up at the night sky when we were out camping. We start seeing what looked like stars moving to the north, south, east, west....making sharp turns.....going in circular patterns. Way high up in the sky. Like I said, they looked like stars they were so up high. We watch this for a good 20 minutes and then we see what looks like "shooting" light coming out of them. We kind of just looked at each other and just jokingly said to each other that we were witnessing a "space war" among UFO's.....but I mean, what was it?....who the hell knows. I certainly didn't have any proof of what it was and I can't blame anyone for questioning what I saw if I were to tell them.

posted on Dec, 25 2012 @ 09:13 PM
reply to post by Unidentified_Objective

Eye-witness testimony as it applies to fringe subjects is near inadmissible.
Unfortunately, eye-witness, personal account, and personality driven (like channeling) is the main-stay on the fringe.

Of course someone will pop up and ask: "What about multiple witness accounts?"

Here's a fine example of a multiple witness account: "Top Ten" UFO - Case - Yukon, Canada, 1996 - BUSTED!? put together by honorable ATS member ElevenAugust.

Many separate witnesses spread over a wide area reported seeing a UFO; some claiming it was a huge Alien Mothership.

Read the thread to find out what it really was.

There's also Associative Social Sympathetic Collusion, but, I'm opting out an explanation for how that works since those who need convincing would ignore it anyway.
Ask yourself, though, why do you and your friends have SO MUCH in common?

Certainly, there's some words from personalities that might give pause, like, for instance, testimony from high-ranking career military, ex-presidents, and similar seemingly credible sources.
Thing about those, however, is, how reliable is their identification (or lack of) regarding any witness experience?
They may be unfamiliar with Chinese Lanterns, for instance and report it as an eerily silent bright orange light or series of lights, or even 'craft' in the sky. Other similar examples that can trigger a WTF moment though they're entirely known and identifiable phenomenon (just unknown to the witness) can also be suspect.

This doesn't rule out that there is a phenomenon; whether it be labeled as ghosts, bigfoot, ufos, time travelers.
We've as of yet any confirmation on what that phenomenon, whatever it might be, might be though.

edit on 25-12-2012 by Druscilla because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 25 2012 @ 09:26 PM
reply to post by Unidentified_Objective

Good post and a nice little story to underline the fact that eyewitness testimony is indeed very unreliable and therefore cannot be taken as evidence

Originally posted by OneEleven
What if you had a first hand experience that irrefutably proved to YOU beyond a shadow of a doubt that such experiences are indeed real and possible?

That's the thing... even if based on your very own first hand experience, it cannot be "irrefutably proven beyond a shadow of a doubt" that what you witnessed was real.
You can believe whatever you want, but you do not know for sure.
Our human senses and perception are just too bad and too easily tricked.

There is a reason for sayings as "pics or it didn't happen".
edit on 25-12-2012 by ColCurious because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 25 2012 @ 09:27 PM
S&F for a great personal story.

Heres a guy who fakes a bunch of pictures and even after he told people they were fake they still all said they believed..

posted on Dec, 25 2012 @ 09:35 PM
Great story. I especially love all the nighttime videos of lights in the sky where everyone unanimously declares that they are looking at a "UFO" that surely must be from another planet. Then some tard chimes in with "well, technically it IS unidentified". Drives me insane.

As long as people are this stupid, my signature will never change.

posted on Dec, 25 2012 @ 09:49 PM
I want to clarify that I think most of us with an account on ATS are genuinely interested in the UFO phenomenon but, that doesn't mean that we have to dismiss logic or a lack of evidence. I just can't...especially given my personal experience. I'm still hoping for the news when we've finally confirmed either contact or the detection of alien life :-)

posted on Dec, 25 2012 @ 09:49 PM

Originally posted by MrMasterMinder
S&F for a great personal story.

Heres a guy who fakes a bunch of pictures and even after he told people they were fake they still all said they believed..

Interesting!!! Just started watching!

posted on Dec, 25 2012 @ 11:00 PM
the thing is .. nowadays people are psychologicaly (?) indoctrinated to think that an unknown object flying is the same as flying saucer or aliens..

technically the friends of yours who see your RC plane are saying correctly that what they see is a UFO because UFO means UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECT. it is unidentified to them. Although if they took it further and said it is alien craft then its the indoctrination kicks in.

things fly around every day.. Natural things like birds, Man-made stuff like planes, and other unknown things.. people should resort to their common sense and dont jump into conclusion too fast.

are there real UFO Phenomena out there ? sure there are , but there are also patterns on these phenomena. If you see the patterns occuring on your life then its almost certain you experience the real UFO phenomena. review jaques vallee's or john keel's work as to know what kind of 'pattern' can occur if you encounter UFO phenomena.

posted on Dec, 25 2012 @ 11:50 PM
This behavior is very common to human beings, it's very easy to "trick" your brain when we are dealing with images.

As a psychologist myself I can tell you there are very strange things the human brain do when is trying to understand what they see.

posted on Dec, 25 2012 @ 11:52 PM
reply to post by Unidentified_Objective

Funny story!

There's also the possibility that a very real UFO sighting occurred near your playground location! Maybe around the same time? Maybe witnessed by credible people from different angles? And so on and so forth, and you tried to debunk the wrong coincidental story!

Probably not. But a coincidence is very possible. You may have missed the real UFO sighting on top of it all!

Seriously though, the higher probability is that there are certain behavioral tendencies among teenagers and young adults in a small town with nothing exciting going on month after month after month. Likewise, your high school perspectives, especially in association with other lackadaisical youths, are probably not yet astute. It can not and should not be a template for your reasoning and judging acumen in your subsequent life. You can't pin your wisdom on just one experience from your youth, no matter how traumatic. But then it sounds like you're still very young.

It's just part of growing up and gaining experience.

So while there will always be foolish gossiping that will happen somewhere, or mass hysteria, or other "sheeple" behavior that would override the plain boring facts, we must all train ourselves to be a better judge of people, and sometimes judge them as credible witnesses or not. You can't simply lump all witness testimonies as inadmissible evidence. Doing so would NOT be open minded, however open minded you THINK you are.

Take the Phoenix Lights and Illinois Sightings for example. Can you judge the quality of the witnesses? Can you determine which of them are exaggerating more than the others? Can you tell which are influenced by the others? Can you still arrive at some conclusion despite the inconsistencies?

Or do you just throw it out entirely without evaluating?

posted on Dec, 26 2012 @ 12:00 AM
I whole-heartedly disagree with this thread's premise and honestly don't know why I am bothering to respond.

At any rate, yes, eye witness testimony IS evidence of an event. It is not, however, empirical in any way, shape, or form.
Just wanting to make sure we all know how science actually works here, because people will read something like this and accept this as fact.
Ya know, denying ignorance.

ETA: The idea is to get pieces of evidence such as this and couple those pieces of evidence with things more empirical such as radar reports, photographs, etc.
Happens quite often actually.
edit on 26-12-2012 by JayinAR because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 26 2012 @ 12:12 AM
The Ohare Airport is a case in which eye witness testimony ALONE is compelling evidence. Still not empirical, but compelling to say the least.
To simply dismiss reports solely based on the fact that the primary source of evidence is visual account is just silly.

posted on Dec, 26 2012 @ 12:23 AM
reply to post by Unidentified_Objective

Witness Testimony Is Not Evidence. First-hand Experience,


How many men have been executed on eyewitness, first hand experience?

posted on Dec, 26 2012 @ 12:45 AM
Evidance is for the few chosen ones... not for those that dont believe, We are not here to convince anyone about our truth, you need to discover it for yourself. If you search long enough you Will find it or it will come to you. If you want to play Devils advocate and disprove somthing then let that be your truth. No one is asking anyone to believe in Santa Clause again, only to see the truth

posted on Dec, 26 2012 @ 02:27 AM

Eye witness testimony IS evidence.

Case in point. Jane Goodall's observations of chimpanzees in Africa. All eye witness testimony that showed how chimps behave in their natural environment. It is considered perfectly acceptable evidence in scientific circles.

So of course someone will argue that these were the result of multiple and extensive ongoing observation over a long period of time.

So what??? It's still eye witness testimony.

Also you are not considering eye witness testimony for UFO's that are witnessed undertaking manouvres that we do not have the technology to produce which is corroborated by radar evidence. The eye witness account is corroborating evidence.

You are basing your conclusion on one isolated incident, not through repeated investigations, although you could probably get the same results, it does not rule out other possibilities.

You are also not considering the possibility that maybe some witnesses at your event did actually see something different to your RC. It's a small probability, but you did not investigate it - you just assumed.

edit on 26/12/1212 by Krusty the Klown because: Kan't do grammar

posted on Dec, 26 2012 @ 08:20 AM
reply to post by Unidentified_Objective

It's a very good point you make

What does it prove?

Your witness testimony and first hand experience are not evidence


edit on 12/26/2012 by Spiramirabilis because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 26 2012 @ 08:56 AM

Originally posted by MrMasterMinder
S&F for a great personal story.

Heres a guy who fakes a bunch of pictures and even after he told people they were fake they still all said they believed..

Although i think Micheal Shermer has a lot of good points i think this video has no bearing on the point of this thread. He's trying to prove the whole phenomenon wrong by showing people that seeing isn't believing. The problem here is that the believers weren't denying that his particular pictures were fake after being told. They were expressing that they still had a belief whether those particular photos were fake or not. To throw out ALL evidence because Micheal Shermer tricked a few people (temporarily) is absurd and for a man who is supposed to be logical and composed he didn't seem to on his game with this example.

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