Critical Thinking and the UFO Hypothesis III: Ad Hominem Arguments

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posted on May, 17 2013 @ 03:41 PM
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reply to post by draknoir2
 


Hey draknoir, thanks for the suggestion. I'll add it when I get the chance.

By the way, to bring this back on topic, here are a few examples of the logical fallacies that I alluded to in my original post:


Originally posted by draknoir2

Just because your parents tell you there aren't any monsters under your bed doesn't mean that there are.
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Originally posted by draknoir2

It's a good thing the justice system isn't run by UFO fanatics.
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Originally posted by draknoir2

Very telling that you would consider the lunatic fringe as or more credible than someone with actual credentials in the field of discussion.
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Originally posted by draknoir2

I have a book of Gnomes at home.
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Originally posted by draknoir2

Guess they figure the true believers will never read the source material.
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Which books on the history of the UFO subject have you read?



Originally posted by draknoir2

The future is now and it is more amazing than even you can imagine. Again, if you send me your paypal info I'll be happy to develop it.
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Originally posted by draknoir2

Or maybe he's lying his ass off and you're eating up every word while making excuses for the gaping holes in his fantasy.
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Originally posted by draknoir2

He's either a former NASA Chief of Communications or a low-level engineer working for a NASA subcontractor, depending upon who you ask. I suspect some resume padding for his target audience.
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Originally posted by draknoir2

When did Pravda go from an ironically-named state propaganda outlet to a respected news source?

It's now an ironically-named tabloid on a par with Weekly World News.
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Originally posted by draknoir2

I'll give you my paypal account and you can start making contributions to its development.

Trust me.

LOL Hugz.
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Originally posted by draknoir2

He should be allowed to sell as many books as he can and profit as much as the market will bear.
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Originally posted by draknoir2

My point was that people lie for various reasons, not just lucrative book deals
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Originally posted by draknoir2

The fact that he earns "a few thousand bucks" writing books on the topic is just one more reason for increased scrutiny.
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Originally posted by draknoir2

It is also human nature to lie for profit, notoriety, or no good reason at all.
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Originally posted by draknoir2

Highly suspicious that they didn't confirm these results with another piece of test equipment - like dowsing rods, for example.
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Originally posted by draknoir2

Hope your "scientific panel" doesn't consist of unemployed chiropractors with UFO disease.
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Originally posted by draknoir2

Nobody more qualified to explain the FOOTage than a podiatrist.

Aren't the Ghost Hunters plumbers?
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Originally posted by draknoir2

The half still waiting at the Ascension bus stop.
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continued ...




posted on May, 17 2013 @ 03:42 PM
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Originally posted by draknoir2

Any nutjob can send a rant to the FBI.
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Originally posted by draknoir2

Don't you already have a thread for your GFL Andro/Council fantasy crap?
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Originally posted by draknoir2

The Greerdos should be sending ME money. :-))
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Originally posted by draknoir2

It is morally wrong to allow fools to keep their money.
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Originally posted by draknoir2

Dr. [of podiatry] Roger Leir speaks about ET FOOTage.
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Originally posted by draknoir2

Greer fiction.

Got it.
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Originally posted by draknoir2

Back on topic.
So is this poop-flinging UFO witness possibly a chimp/human hybrid?
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Originally posted by draknoir2

Reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where Elaine was dating the podiatrist who was sensitive about not being considered a real doctor.
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Originally posted by draknoir2

Not the most objective of editors in this case, I would think.

Looks less like a "peer reviewed journal" and more like a forum to push his personal agenda [panspermia].
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Originally posted by draknoir2

That's the "Red Rain" guy, isn't it?
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Originally posted by draknoir2

Probably wise, at least until it makes it out of the Sri Lankan tabloids and blogs like "beforeitsnews" and "lunaticoutpost".
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Originally posted by draknoir2

Delusions of grandeur.

He's not that significant.
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Originally posted by draknoir2

773 posts later it's clear that the OP sees what she wants to see, believes what she wants to believe, and feeds off the attention.
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Originally posted by draknoir2

The other two [Greer's and Wilcock's] are laughable attempts at self-aggrandizement.
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Originally posted by draknoir2

Transfer $1000 into my paypal account and once my financial goal has been met, all will be disclosed.
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Originally posted by draknoir2

How about Blinking Bill "You Are A Hybrid" Birnes?
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Originally posted by draknoir2

That "new-agey woman" might have been Bill Birnes in drag. Did she blink a lot?
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Originally posted by draknoir2

Nick Pope needed to back off a few steps and take it down a few notches. Pretty sure I felt his spit on my face as he was talking.
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Originally posted by draknoir2

What's with you and NASA? Are you a disgruntled laid off former employee?
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Originally posted by draknoir2

Thank you for your content-free post. I will give it all due consideration.
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Don't forget to add these to your signature.



posted on May, 17 2013 @ 05:36 PM
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reply to post by Brighter
 


Wow. Would it be inappropriate and immature to use the term "Pwnt" in this situation? Because I totally think it's apropos. I can't stop laughing. *gives you a virtual high-five for the last two posts*

Back to the topic: Fantastic thread. It is true you do see ad hominem attacks and ridicule on both sides of the aisle in this situation. It would be great if there was a web-site where we could all come together and discuss these topics without fear of ridicule and derision. Someplace where courtesy is mandatory would be great. Wait a minute....




posted on May, 17 2013 @ 06:08 PM
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Originally posted by Brighter

Originally posted by ZetaRediculian
So isn't this thread just an ad hominem argument against those pesky debunkers?


No, it's not.

You need to understand a couple of basic things to see why this isn't true.

First, this is a meta-commentary on the debate in general, so addressing rational tendencies is relevant as an issue at hand.

Second, an ad hominem argument is one that attacks one's character in an irrelevant way in the hopes of diverting attention away from the main issue.

And not only is this character flaw that I'm pointing out relevant, it's the very issue at hand, so I'm not diverting attention away from anything; on the contrary, I'm directly addressing the issue.

I realize your statement would have been clever if it were true, but not this time, Zeta


I should point out an important point. I am not equating a "debunker" with a true Pyrrhonian skeptic. I am using "debunker" to refer to those who have little understanding of the process of science and skepticism, and are largely interested in pushing dogmatically held beliefs, while at the same time pretending to practice both science and skepticism.

I have to tell you I completely disagree with you on this. Poor arguments are poor arguments and are not the characteristic of one particular group of people. When you use terms or phrases like "those who have little understanding" and "serial debunkers" and so on, you are attacking the character of "those" people, whoever "they" are. You are essentially using the word "debunker" as a derogatory label for "those" people that you wish to describe in that manner....the straw man.

Ad hominem


is an argument made personally against an opponent instead of against their argument


So...

I am using "debunker" to refer to those who have little understanding of the process of science and skepticism, and are largely interested in pushing dogmatically held beliefs, while at the same time pretending to practice both science and skepticism.


Your opponent(s) are "those with little understanding of the process of science". How is that not a personal attack?

So who determines which people are the "debunkers" with "little understanding" that "pretend to practice science"? Is that you or is there a secret group that convenes routinely?



posted on May, 17 2013 @ 06:36 PM
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Originally posted by Malynn
reply to post by Brighter
 

It would be great if there was a web-site where we could all come together and discuss these topics without fear of ridicule and derision. Someplace where courtesy is mandatory would be great. Wait a minute....



The problem is, the mods don't have the balls to ban the people causing the issues.



posted on May, 17 2013 @ 07:12 PM
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reply to post by BullwinkleKicksButt
 


Wow...did u really just slam the mods?



posted on May, 17 2013 @ 07:19 PM
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reply to post by BullwinkleKicksButt
 

The following is my opinion as a member participating in this discussion.


Actually all opinions are allowed here no matter who agrees and they do not violate any rules.

What's not allowed is Ad Hominem attacks from either side of any argument. That's part of what makes ATS stand out.

It takes a lot of maturity to debate people with opposing points of view without getting angry or resorting to ad homimem attacks. Lord knows they come from both sides of any topic and often both sides are equally guilty.

Where the issues come in is when people are intolerant of others views and try to force their views on others. Demand in fact others agree with them or they try to bully them into agreeing with insults and childish schoolyard tactics.

This is a place for debate and it's perfectly OK to disagree IMO. It does not matter whether a persons disagreement is based on facts or rational. Their opinion is their opinion and welcome in an adult discussion.

What ATS is not is a place where only people who agree with each other are allowed or wanted. Denying Ignorance involves exploring all opinions and idea's. Ignorance comes from limiting ourselves and closing our minds to others IMO.

As an ATS Staff Member, I will not moderate in threads such as this where I have participated as a member.



posted on May, 17 2013 @ 07:22 PM
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reply to post by Brighter
 




But once we're clear that evidence is the correct concept, then we have to admit that there are varying degrees of evidence - from the wholly unreliable all the way to extremely reliable and everything in between.


Actually, I would not classify any of the current evidence as extremely reliable. None of it has actually moved the bar from Unidentified to Identified.


The more evidence that exists for something's existence, the more one is justified in their belief in it.


I think everyone here believes it to be Unidentified when it has not been Identified.



For every one case of mistaken perception, I can point out ten thousand cases of veridical perception.


Okay, let's see them...
edit on 17-5-2013 by totallackey because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 17 2013 @ 07:45 PM
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I am using "debunker" to refer to those who have little understanding of the process of science and skepticism, and are largely interested in pushing dogmatically held beliefs, while at the same time pretending to practice both science and skepticism.

Just so we are clear, can you list the members that are "the debunkers"? So far I have that draknoir2 guy and possibly draknoir1.

I have list of "believers" and by "believers" I mean people that are just plain dumb.



posted on May, 17 2013 @ 08:09 PM
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reply to post by Brighter
 



In fact, there seems to be a direct correlation between the level of education, thorough, objective and skeptical study of the UFO phenomenon, and the justified belief that there really is something significant to the subject: the astrophysicist J. Allen Hynek, physicist Dr. Peter Sturrock and physicist Dr. James E. McDonald. All of these individuals were thoroughly trained in scientific and skeptical methods and all of them reached the same conclusion - that UFOs are real.


Of those people you mentioned, how many of them would be considered experts in psychology, neurology or human perception?



posted on May, 17 2013 @ 08:33 PM
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Originally posted by ZetaRediculian

I am using "debunker" to refer to those who have little understanding of the process of science and skepticism, and are largely interested in pushing dogmatically held beliefs, while at the same time pretending to practice both science and skepticism.

Just so we are clear, can you list the members that are "the debunkers"? So far I have that draknoir2 guy and possibly draknoir1.

I have list of "believers" and by "believers" I mean people that are just plain dumb.


Let's avoid posting lists of people, as it would just be going in the wrong direction.

Maybe we should all refrain from even using the words "debunker" and "pseudo-skeptic" on the one hand, and "believer", "UFO-nut", "gullible" on the other. And I'm fully aware that I've used "debunker" and "pseudo-skeptic" quite often.

And then to take it a step further, also avoid attacking the character of individuals and focus more on evidence for or against the specific claims themselves.



posted on May, 17 2013 @ 09:25 PM
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We don't even need more than one post (Let alone 3 pages) to disprove the opening post.

--> Bottom line: Believers in the alien/UFO hypothesis, do not require credible or testable proof and do not follow the scientific method. Their arguments are never backed with fact and they always resort to asking someone to disprove their claim (Instead of them proving it.).

Any comparisons using Galileo/The Church as an example are simply used in tt he wrong context and actually show the opposite of what the author of this thread intended. HE was the one who used science, logic and critical thinking to disprove the myths that relied solely on uneducated observation and fantasy/religion.

Science does not require belief or faith.



posted on May, 17 2013 @ 10:31 PM
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Originally posted by WilliamOckham
--> Bottom line: Believers in the alien/UFO hypothesis, do not require credible or testable proof and do not follow the scientific method. Their arguments are never backed with fact and they always resort to asking someone to disprove their claim (Instead of them proving it.).


I'm not really clear on what exactly you're claiming, so I need to ask some questions.

In particular, you haven't yet clearly defined what you mean by "proof" and the "scientific method", and also on the domain of what you're trying to address. These concepts are internally very complex and, depending on your interpretation, you can use them to arrive at different conclusions.

Regarding the domain, you lumped together the alien and the UFO hypotheses. These are two separate claims and it's important to know 1) what your definition is of each and 2) how you think they relate.

You also wrote that UFO believers "...do not require credible or testable proof...". As I've said before, the concept of "proof" isn't the relevant concept for discussing cases in Ufology in its current state. It's more meaningful to discuss evidence. So now, change out "evidence" for "proof" in your statement, and you have: "[UFO believers] do not require credible or testable evidence". But that's not true at all - these people hold their beliefs by virtue of the historical evidence.

You also mention "credible" and "testable" evidence. At least in my opinion, there is an enormous amount of credible evidence for the existence of UFOs. But because there is no crashed UFO that investigators can publicly examine, "testable" evidence isn't an appropriate concept at the time. However, one can be justified in a belief in the existence of something without having any direct, empirical contact with this thing.

You also wrote that "[UFO believers] do not follow the scientific method".

The first problem is that it's an error to assume that the scientific method is necessary for forming a justified belief in something's existence. For instance, how many things in the world that you assume exist did you prove the existence of using the scientific method? Yet I think you're still justified in the belief of their existence. (Think hagfish or great white sharks.) On the other hand, I think we'd all agree that having scientific evidence for something greatly increases our level of justification in it. But there are many different kinds and degrees of even "scientific evidence".

Now all science begins with anecdote and gathering data and the initial formation of working hypotheses. This is, of course, part of the scientific method. And this is the state of Ufology. It is the historical state in which all of the well-developed branches of science at one point found themselves in. Reams of historical data from over many decades and across the globe have been gathered. And, continuing to follow the scientific method, some of this data has even been subjected to the most rigorous statistical analysis (see Special Report #14 commissioned by the U.S. Air Force). You can read about those conclusions on your own.

So to suggest that "[UFO believers] do not follow the scientific method" is kind of misleading, isn't it?

There is this misunderstanding that the scientific method, and science in general, is strictly limited to direct empirical observation in a laboratory by people wearing white lab coats. This is not at all accurate. Data gathering, statistical rigor and hypothesis formation are integral steps in the scientific method. (I'm not accusing you of this picture, just pointing out what I perceive to be a general misunderstanding.)


Originally posted by WilliamOckham
Science does not require belief or faith.


All empirical sciences require varying degrees of belief, as the conclusions involve inductive inference.



posted on May, 17 2013 @ 11:13 PM
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reply to post by Brighter
 


I will simplify for you....

There's a distinct difference between believing a guy who says what he saw up in the sky was an alien craft, and applying a proven scientific theory such as Einstein's relativity to calculate the amount of fuel and thrust needed to escape the earth's gravitational pull.

See, one can be tested over and over and be proven true over and over, without the need of faith or belief.
edit on 17-5-2013 by WilliamOckham because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 17 2013 @ 11:29 PM
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Originally posted by WilliamOckham
I will simplify for you....


There's not really a need for simplification. But there is a distinct need for expansion on your original statements and conceptual clarification. Conclusions reached using murky and ill-defined concepts are unreliable, as it's impossible to follow a clear path from premises to conclusion. If you want to have a rational conversation, then please review my requests for clarification in my post above.


Originally posted by WilliamOckham
There's a distinct difference between believing a guy who says what he saw up in the sky was an alien craft, and applying a proven scientific theory such as Einstein's relativity to calculate the amount of fuel and thrust needed to escape the earth's gravitational pull.

See, one can be tested over and over and be proven true over and over, without the need of faith or belief.


I'm pretty sure this is a gross misrepresentation of the overall evidence for UFOs.

Could you expand on the particular sources of historical data that you've researched and that have led you to this conclusion?

I hope you see this as a reasonable request, as all I'm asking is for you to provide a clear evidentiary basis for your claims.

You also seem to continue to conflate the concepts of UFOs and aliens. You could easily clear this up by laying out your definitions for each of these hypotheses as I kindly requested in my post above.



posted on May, 17 2013 @ 11:35 PM
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reply to post by Brighter
 



Let's avoid posting lists of people, as it would just be going in the wrong direction.

You think?



Maybe we should all refrain from even using the words "debunker" and "pseudo-skeptic" on the one hand, and "believer", "UFO-nut", "gullible" on the other. And I'm fully aware that I've used "debunker" and "pseudo-skeptic" quite often.
I think I will also take the high road and refrain from calling believers "nut cases", "idiots", "morons", "uneducated dimwits", "special people", "feeble minded" and "delusional dingbats".


And then to take it a step further, also avoid attacking the character of individuals and focus more on evidence for or against the specific claims themselves.
now what fun is that? I thought this was the ad hominem attack thread in the guise of actual logic.



posted on May, 18 2013 @ 12:44 AM
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reply to post by Brighter
 


And then to help your argument, you call them ad hominem attacks. Its a never ending cycle.

Anyway answer me this...

Why do UFO's have headlights on them? Afraid of hitting bambi?

edit on 18-5-2013 by Kang69 because: grammar..!!



posted on May, 18 2013 @ 02:42 AM
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Originally posted by Brighter

I'm sure you've seen some of the serial debunkers on these forums claim that they can form reliable opinions on this subject without ever opening a single book on it.


Yup, you'd think attempting to cultivate a balanced, informed opinion would be what it's all about -apparently not.

There are books out there citing internal government documentation which show just how seriously the U.S. Intelligence Agencies take the UFO subject and research conducted by people like Dr Hynek, Captain Ruppelt, Dr James Mcdonald etc.. really does go to show the subject is not just a lot of silly nonsense as certain people like to think.

Its also a wonder to me why certain individuals can't apply the self same skepticism to the conduct of government sponsered investigations like Condon or Bluebook or bring themselves to criticize (or at least address) some of the completely ludicrous official UFO explanations people are expected to swallow about specific UFO cases.

I know you may have seen it mate but thought Stanford Professor of Astrophysics Dr Peter A. Sturrock really did give some sound advice in this article, I also thought Dr. Bernard Haisch made yet another good point below about 'scoffers masquerading as skeptics'.



"I propose that true skepticism is called for today: neither the gullible acceptance of true belief nor the closed-minded rejection of the scoffer masquerading as the skeptic. One should be skeptical of both the believers and the scoffers. The negative claims of pseudo-skeptics who offer facile explanations must themselves be subject to criticism. If a competent witness reports having seen something tens of degrees of arc in size (as happens) and the scoffer -- who of course was not there -- offers Venus or a high altitude weather balloon as an explanation, the requirement of extraordinary proof for an extraordinary claim falls on the proffered negative claim as well. That kind of approach is also pseudo-science. Moreover just being a scientist confers neither necessary expertise nor sufficient knowledge. 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.

Dr. Bernard Haisch - Director for the California Institute for Physics and Astrophysics



Also, God knows how many times this video has been posted on ATS but I think Kevin Randle pretty much nails it when discussing certain mindsets.





Cheers.



posted on May, 18 2013 @ 04:44 AM
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posted on May, 18 2013 @ 07:00 AM
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Originally posted by Kang69
reply to post by Brighter
 


And then to help your argument, you call them ad hominem attacks. Its a never ending cycle.

Anyway answer me this...

Why do UFO's have headlights on them? Afraid of hitting bambi?

edit on 18-5-2013 by Kang69 because: grammar..!!
I hate that argument! So if an alien vehicle decides to visit and it has something on it that resembles headlights, it can't exist because we don't know what they are for?

Not only that, which report are we talking about? You make it sound like all reports of UFOs describe headlights as a feature. So now let's talk about all the reports where they don't have headlights. Now what?





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