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UFOs, ATS's "deny ignorance" motto and admitting ignorance

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posted on Jan, 1 2013 @ 11:06 AM
The first day of a new year, bringing thoughts about new year's resolutions, seems like an appropriate time for me to post arising from the logo at the top of each webpage on ATS, which displays the words "Deny Ignorance". That motto is explained on ATS in various places, including at:

The simple yet effective motto of our membership is "deny ignorance", which signifies an effort to apply the principals of critical thought and peer review to the provocative topics covered within. More than a slogan, our members have embraced the motto as our collective cultural standard, demanding all to aspire to a higher standard.

That, of course, is a commendable aspiration.

However, one thing I've increasingly noticed on ATS (and other Internet forums relating to UFOs) over the last few years is a tendency to (expressly or impliedly) deny ignorance is a different way. People don't seem to like to say “I don’t know” in relation to anything when discussing UFOs.

I've read quite a few books on UFOs (well, a bit over 1,000), a fair number of the official documents relating to UFOs and quite a few articles online and in UFO journals. Yet, I'm perfectly happy to admit that there are MANY, MANY questions to which I don't know the answers. Just writing a list of the things I'm ignorant about in relation to UFO documents and specific UFO cases, and how that ignorance could be reduced (and, believe me, it is possible to reduce the number of unknowns in this field...), would take me days and days of concentrated effort.

The vast majority of discussions of UFOs (whether in general or in relation to specific sightings) do not address all the questions that arise or point the reader in the direction of relevant answers. Instead, far too often discussions of UFOs in print and online are rather polarised, with views being asserted by "skeptics" and "believers" with (if you are lucky) a few facts being posted to back up relevant arguments, without conflicting facts being dealt with and (importantly) without relevant uncertainties and unknowns being acknowledged.

Often, once you have identified unknowns you can find out relevant facts and in the process resolve (or at least narrow) the issues between the "skeptics" and the "believers". But both sides often seem to be unwilling to accept that there is anything they don't know. They "deny ignorance" in a sense which I'm sure the ATS motto wasn't intended to encourage.

Some of you may be familiar with various versions of a quotation attributed to Socrates, possibly incorrectly, that "Admitting one’s ignorance is the beginning of wisdom".

It's absolutely commendable to "deny ignorance" in the sense intended in the ATS motto BUT sometimes it would be refreshing to see people being more prepared to expressly "ADMIT ignorance" in discussions about UFOs and then set out to do something about it.

Have a happy New Year.

posted on Jan, 1 2013 @ 11:32 AM
Well said Isaac. By failing to recognize, and admit to our own ignorance, we perpetuate it. S&F and ***applause***
edit on 1/1/2013 by Klassified because: grammar

posted on Jan, 1 2013 @ 11:36 AM
i reckon in should be scraped for

"todays truth..tomorrows horsehash"

or maybe

"truth today.. ignorance tommorow"

or even

" a cheese is just a cheese. untill its a mouse*"

*or even a moon in some cases

carl sagan... such an interesting fellow..

posted on Jan, 1 2013 @ 12:15 PM
reply to post by IsaacKoi

THANK you! I've said the same thing a few times before. I loathe that motto because "deny ignorance the ground it needs" is so easily conflated with the idea of "deny you have ignorance". Admitting ignorance is the first step in removing it! Once you stop saying "I don't know", you stop asking "What's really going on here?".

A much better sentiment would be "Battle Ignorance" or "Assault Ignorance": it's the enemy -- no use denying it when fighting it is what needs to be done.

posted on Jan, 1 2013 @ 12:30 PM
ahh! to deny ignorance and make it go away, if only things could be so simple

however, in reality , in order to identify it, one must be presented with ignorance first, the latter being something that internet users on either side of any issue are prolific at.

often times, one must read between the lines in order to gleen anything of value from the vast pile of dis / info-rmation available to us.

to get to the bottom of an issue becomes a rewarding process when progress is made, and noticing / being noticed by other members here is a great boost for us to go on.

there have been some topics lately that look like they have brought out the worst in us but hopefully in the end will, they will make ATS membership a stronger / more effective truthfinding force.

towards that end, i'd say to all 'believers', 'skeptics', 'fence sitters', and 'shills'...
this is a great community ... let's keep it up.

posted on Jan, 1 2013 @ 12:34 PM
"The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing"...............Socrates

I will be the first to admit that I have no clue what the phenomena is Isaac. The only thing I am certain of is that "something" is there - I have felt this since I was very young.

The subject of UFO's appears to be the topic of topics.

It raises more questions than it answers and spans across so many different fields of interest from Religion to Physics and everything in-between that everyone has some sort of interest in the phenomena.

No-one has the answer(s) - or do they?

To me, this ^^^^^^ is where the ignorance towards the subject manifests itself - people have seen something, others have not. What is it that they have seen? Who is correct? No one person has a monopoly on the subject, yet it is evident that there are individuals who have a vast amount of knowledge about the subject. Does that knowledge contain varying degrees of subjectivity?

Is the phenomena intergalactic?, inter-dimensional?, neither?, both?, time travellers?, angels?, demons?. Have they been here from "the beginning"?, are we an experiment?

Or is it none of them? Is the phenomena so overwhelming and all encompassing that we have not yet conceptualised what it is that we are actually dealing with?

Not getting a clear answer to what "appears" to be something interacting with the human species seems to have a consequential effect of pent-up frustration - those "in the know".......know what it is and are keeping it from the rest of us - or are they?

The idea of final proof that we are not alone is overwhelming in its consequences - it is the quintessential "game changer" for each and every one of us.

I believe that at the end of the day, all of us here at ATS, and indeed beyond, are after the exact same thing and a healthy dose of scepticism coupled with an awareness of the reality of the phenomena, whether tangible or otherwise, can only lead us to it, that being...........The Answer.

posted on Jan, 1 2013 @ 12:59 PM
The insignificant nobody me would caution being too free with labels over the issue of 'denying ignorance'.

There are many points of perspective, from the one who post information to the one who replies.

Skeptics DO play a role on ATS, and should be thanked instead of being demonised. It is their efforts in responses, to show their perspective, as they know it.

Some of them may be simple ordinary laymen such as me who knows not much except for our 5 senses and the brain as an analytical too, there are others whom are scientists in various field incognito here, helping us all to comprehend the complexities of issues under many different light and views so that all may leave here with greater understanding.

In the face of inconclusive evidences, such as UFOs, it is truly not possible to determine any truths, for NONE holds an exhibit of an alien craft or even parts of it that it can be scientifically verified. All that remains are conjectures, presumptions and opinions as best as one comprehend of such issues.

The fight between UFO believers and skeptics had been as long as since the formation and publication of this site a decade ago. But to accuse skeptics of being against the charter of ATS is neither conscionable nor appreciative of their efforts.

It doesnt matter who is right or wrong. What truly matters is that issues can be shared, discussed and debated rationally, and only then can truths and realities can be discern to form better opinions by readers with their own choices to make. This had been what ATS stood for since day 1 and had made it what it is today, over many other issues and not just on UFOlogy.

I am no skeptic by the way, for UFO is something that I will agree that I don't know, as the evidences are not there for any conclusive evidences to support, thus my hesitation to comment or support any side, just as many other thousands of readers do so, thus, I stand no gain in making this post, except as priviledge as a member here, to voice the freedom of my opinion, in the quest for a balanced view to help others.

posted on Jan, 1 2013 @ 01:45 PM
reply to post by IsaacKoi

Very good post

I love reading the UFO forums here, but never participate. Mainly because I simply DONT know and certainly dont know enough to offer any sort of intelligent conversation concerning the subject!
I read, learn from you all who are more versed in the whole field, and look things up to see if I can get enough info to agree or disagree. Most times its a matter of info overload with the various opinions and "official" last word on any given subject!

There was a time when there were a few here that would be excited when a newbie came along and asked questions.. they were excited to share the information and links.. and had patience. A real love of the subject with real facts to at the very least support their opinion. I see a lot of derision and just plain rudeness when a newbie asks a question. I mean a newbie to the field of interest of UFOs and Aliens. People want to speak on a subject they enjoy, but to even get a reply they have to act as if they are more familiar than they really are.... which brings on the ignorant ( in the correct sense of the word) statements that in turn cause the derision and venom spewing of the sanctimonious posters. The whole snake eating its tail scenario which warns a lot of more serious folks away from the discussions. LOL! Its like a mine field in this section of the board.. when it really doesnt have to be.

Personally Im not a "believer" though I like to hold out the option of being made a believer at some point or atthe very least gain more of an understanding than I have currently. Id love to see a more open and less contentious discussion of these subjects for us lurkers and learners. Keep up the good discourse on this subject.. it can only benefit the board and us as members.

posted on Jan, 1 2013 @ 03:47 PM
reply to post by IsaacKoi

It's simple really, the dominating groups on ATS are either - wayy too skeptical or believing wayy too much. I am already staying away from both, but those two groups, they are too many. Ignorance is both ignoring the evidence and still saying 'there are no UFOs' or saying 1000 excuses to never admit when something is unexplainable, or some are believing so wild things that they will continue to defend them even when they are proven wrong.

Either way, trying to convince both is a waste of time. Be objective... like me.

posted on Jan, 1 2013 @ 06:17 PM
Very good points made in this thread.

I said this earlier, within the thread pushing the idea that witness testimony is not evidence...

"Being a witness to impressive UFO sightings on several occasions --- it has never "frustrated" me that others who have not seen them, could have the ability to ignore my, as well as many other folks testimony. It makes perfect sense, open minded or not. What I don't want is people to "believe" me, I want people to open their minds to the large possibility that "something is going on".

Many witnesses to high-strangeness events become jaded, or apologetic to their experiences due to the fact that this is not a very crucial topic to mankind. Even if it is not other beings, we are (very literally) looking at some very advanced technology.

I can understand fear, and doubt. It's totally normal. I do not want people to believe or have faith, I want them to see what I saw. However there are types of people, whom I respect, like Agent Scully - who even when the little grays in the shipping container are running passed her and bumping right into her, she still is able to say "I do not know." The ability to Deny is endless, but remember that it is a polar extreme to Belief. "I do not know" might be the best sentence in the English language, and I think it's not being used enough.

Is, Isn't, and I don't know. ---- The third is the healthiest. Never make conclusions.

Personally I feel ultra-skeptics are very useful, for if there ever were to be a "false flag" regarding UFOs - they will be the voice of reason, shouting "DID NONE OF YOU SEE THE NATO FLAG ON THAT SAUCER?"

But please, stop calling us crazy. And realize that you only 'see' what you want to 'see'.


I see Belief and Denial both fitting in the same exact polar paradigm of each other.
Starting to look at it as an actual syndrome hindering folks from freely exploring reality outside of the realm of status quo.
"Need2Believe Syndrome" Vs. "Need2Deny Syndrome"

It really comes down to this, when you wake up in the morning, before you leave the house - do you put on your thinking cap, or not?

posted on Jan, 1 2013 @ 06:59 PM
reply to post by IsaacKoi

How is England? Anything strange going on there? Check out SETI Discovery of Fleet of UFO's heading towards Earth on you-tube. You may also like Doctor Steven Greer- The Disclosure Project. If you have time to find a man by the name of John Lucas Manning in London, I would be thankful. If you locate that Russian for me tell him he is needed in NC. Thanks! Amy in NC

posted on Jan, 2 2013 @ 01:44 AM
You repeatedly talk about skeptics and believers as far as not denying ignorance, without mentioning that people stuck in the middle, you poor souls who like to ride the fence, also fail to deny ignorance quite regularly.

it actually reads like you think that by being somewhere in the middle of skeptic and ardent believer that you believe people will be automatically free of ignorance, stubbornness or ego. You hone in on 2 polars of the argument, as if to suggest those in between the 2 aren't just as likely to embrace ignorance, that in itself i would say is ignorant.

Thread appears to be a low-key exercise in the middle ground fallacy.

posted on Jan, 2 2013 @ 04:28 AM
I love this OP. I touched on it in a rant I posted a while back. I don't know why people find it too hard to say "I don't know". A friend once said to me that the two hardest phases for people to utter are "I don't know", and "I love you". Maybe there's some truth there.

posted on Jan, 2 2013 @ 05:40 AM
reply to post by IsaacKoi

One must first be aware of ignorance before admitting to it.

Awareness is key.

edit on 2-1-2013 by Realtruth because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 2 2013 @ 05:45 AM
Great post!

Too bad ignorance isn't painful!

posted on Jan, 2 2013 @ 05:46 AM
I Totally agree. When we dont know something all we can do is look at everyones opinions and evidence and try to draw an open ended conclusion as to the most likely.

posted on Jan, 2 2013 @ 07:20 AM
Humanity overall, or far too much so, has a problem with humility and honesty in general. Out of control egos basically rule the day. Mere BELIEFS simply trump facts, objectivity. Very few have a good enough grasp on how PSYCHOTIC the diabolical routine, the downward spiral is. The definitions of religion and CULTISTS need to be updated to include ALL types of blind (enough) believers.

Rule by secrecy equals rule BY ignorance, fear, lies, cowardice, greed, perversion etc. This site is merely a reflection of the existing political world; it's WAY more "lamestream" media than not, or has definitely become so in more recent years... Again, how many members (and other readers) of this website believe the very NAME of it is normal, acceptable, natural? "Deny ignorance" is beyond laughable, or if it wasn't so #ing sad and insane with hypocrisy. Point made, case closed, next subject.

posted on Jan, 2 2013 @ 07:38 AM
reply to post by IsaacKoi

Applaud the thought but unfortunately many discussion orientated forums have degenerated to the polarised comment / statement type thing seen at most on-line media outlets.

I am sure a link can be made to the popularity of twitter / text as well as the thumbs up or down / review helpful yes or no / feedback positive or negative type of attitude that is prevalent.

Not that I've never been guilty myself before either but informed and informing discussions are becoming thin on the ground or at best painful to navigate around those posts where personal opinions are expressed as ultimate facts.

posted on Jan, 2 2013 @ 07:39 AM
reply to post by IsaacKoi

Trouble is that in order to whip the masses into shape to "deny ignaorance," you have to apply some form of centralised control and on a forum like this, that'll only lead to calls of "CENSORSHIP!!!!" and "SPECIAL TREATMENT!!!"

Given that the owners of ATS must spend most of their spare time pulling their hair out over some of the cobblers posted here and given the amount of effort that goes into keeping this menagerie afloat; to deny anyone the right to post (apart from when they really go over the top) means that you are discriminating against people who may not know something, yet who may learn something just from hanging around here for long enough.

It's a hard one...maybe each profile should have a trust-o-meter that other users can set and the average gives the "status" of a person in a particular forum. That way you can star and flag up based on user status. For example a thread may end up with 15 expert flags, 20 user flags, 200 dipsh*t flags, but again the investment in time and resources to set this sort of thing up may be too great.

I'm all for "something" to sort the problem out though as 20 pages of "It's a blurd, not it's not" is not good reading.

posted on Jan, 2 2013 @ 07:49 AM
I agree.

This is why I always hold to the notion - as someone who has read everything he can get his hands on for more than 20 years now - that even when we examine as much of the good evidence as possible, we really don't have a basis to form a conclusion yet (barring evidence that exists of which we're simply unaware, of course.) We "don't know" one way or another what the most inexplicable (so far) UFO sightings originate from or what to conclude about them.

There are some things we do know about them, with a reasonable degree of certitude, and about various governments' responses to them over time. I feel there is more than enough good evidence to say that much at least. But nothing in that vast body of good data and evidence offers up any conclusions (or even firm theories by scientific standards necessarily) as to what they are. (Speaking now only of those which are well and truly unidentified.)

It's ironic, because the very term UFO should inherently carry with it the necessity to say we "don't know" what the given object is. It's not called an ETV, it's called a UFO - because it's unidentified. If we had compelling proof that they were ET - or anything else for that matter - they wouldn't be unidentified anymore and would be called something else. The very reason we find ourselves so fascinated with them is precisely because we don't know what they are. It should behoove us, at least in my opinion, to be open to various possible explanations in the absence of proof of any one of them, and to accept that the very definition of UFO necessitates that we "do not know."

(And that's also why I don't like the believer/skeptic dichotomy, as evidenced by the post in my signature. Especially given that skepticism doesn't denote closed mindedness on its own.)

edit on 1/2/2013 by AceWombat04 because: typo

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