reply to post by cripmeister
Originally posted by cripmeister
You seem reluctant to directly adress the facts and conclusions in Hartmanns chapter, why is that?
I was addressing the fact that the entirety of the Condon Report’s analysis is suspect due to the not so insignificant fact of their having decided
on the conclusion prior to the study even taking place, which you yourself seemed a bit reluctant to address.
But the danger in deciding on a conclusion prior to a study is that you run the risk of forcing the investigators into spinning tall tales of
circuitous, incomprehensible nonsense, which leads us to the passage you quoted earlier:
An effect important to the UFO problem is demonstrated by the records: the excited observers who thought they had witnessed a very strange phenomenon
produced the most detailed, longest, and most misconceived reports, but those who by virtue of experience most nearly recognized the nature of the
phenomenon became the least excited and produced the briefest reports. The "excitedness effect" has an important bearing on the UFO problem. It is a
selection effect by which the least accurate reports are made more prominent (since the observer becomes highly motivated to make a report), while the
most accurate reports may not be recorded.
Here’s what he’s saying:
P1: A set of people A who think they witness something strange create long reports.
P2: A set of people B who don’t think they witness something strange create short reports.
P3: Set A create these long reports because they’re excited.
P4: Because they’re excited, they’re more likely to send in a report.
P5: Because these reports are more inaccurate, there will be more inaccurate reports.
What he’s obviously trying hard to conclude is that it’s more likely that the reports they receive are misidentifications, because those people
are excited and thus more motivated to send in a report.
This fails on both rational and empirical grounds. First of all, it’s bizarre that he fails to add that it’s also quite possible that people are
making accurate observations, and are therefore motivated to make a report that is both accurate and long. Second, he doesn’t
even provide an adequate sample set to demonstrate that people creating detailed reports are more likely to misidentify things. (In fact, this itself
is flatly contradicted by Blue Book’s findings, where there is a direct correlation between amount of detail and likelihood to be categorized as
Unknown.) And finally, even if he could
demonstrate that most people who create detailed reports misidentify things (and we’re still waiting
on that…), that still doesn’t even come close to demonstrating that all
such reports are misidentifications.
Basically he’s trying to say that we can just assume that most of these reports are misidentifications, because those people are more likely to be
sending us reports. Aside from assuming what he’s trying to prove (kind of a problem), there are some pretty obvious holes in this argument, which
I’ve already pointed out. But furthermore, to actually base the reliability of a report on the length of it seems to me no more reliable than some
form of divination, and to be exploiting the most ridiculous, accidental association one could imagine. It’s entirely speculative, presumptive and
unscientific. So I’d have to conclude that this “excitedness effect” certainly isn’t anything to get excited about.
So what are your thoughts on Hartmann's passage?