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Challenges to produce lists of top cases

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posted on Feb, 12 2008 @ 08:22 AM
"Challenges to produce lists of top cases"
by Isaac Koi. Copyright 2006-2008.
(Part 2 in a series of articles entitled “Top 100 UFO Cases”)

If UFO proponents wish to persuade scientists to examine the evidence for the alleged objective reality of UFOs, then it is not unreasonable to expect those UFO proponents to make serious efforts to identify the material which the scientists should focus upon.

Unparticularised suggestions to read the “UFO literature” or “witness reports” are simply poor advocacy, given the relevant mass of material and the variability of its quality.

Scientists and skeptics are only human. They will keep going as long as the initial material gains their interest. If (as many UFO-proponents claim) they wish to encourage serious study of UFO reports by scientists, why not refer them to the best material to get their attention?

One online debate about UFOs and aliens began with one individual asserting that it is “obviously true they are out there". When challenged to state the facts in support of his statement he responded in the following way: "try googling UFO reports and sightings etc....and any decent site that comes up on google or any other search engine for that matter will be my facts" (see Footnote 2.01).

Unsurprisingly, the skeptics involved in that discussion did not find this suggestion very helpful or persuasive.

It is not merely those new to ufology that make such statements to skeptics. When asked to provide evidence for UFOs, the astronomer and famous ufologist J Allen Hynek would respond sarcastically “Where do you want the truck to stop” (see Footnote 2.02). During an online debate, skeptic Andy Roberts asked ufologist Jerry Clark (author of the leading encyclopedia on UFOs) what evidence there was of “non-mundane UFO origin”. Jerry Clark responded: “Read the UFO literature, guy, if it's not too much trouble. The answer’s there” (see Footnote 2.03).

Any scientist that bothers to respond to a vague suggestion to read the UFO literature by visiting his local bookstore in search of UFO books could be discouraged from pursuing the matter further. Looking for UFO books in a bookstore, a scientist may become embarrassed by the fact that he is lurking in a section entitled “Esoteric” or “Occult”, in which the UFO books are mixed with books on spell-casting, ghosts and prophecies. If he randomly purchases a few UFO books, then he is unlikely to be impressed. There is probably a consensus among most serious UFO researchers that many of the mass of books on UFOs are an embarrassment to ufology. For example, J Allen Hynek has written that books about UFOs “regale the reader with one UFO story after another, each more spectacular than the other, but little space is devoted to documentation and evaluation. What were the full circumstances surrounding the reported event? How reliable and how consistent were the reporters (all too often it is the lone reporter) of the event? And how were the UFO accounts selected? Most often one finds random accounts, disjointed and told in journalese” (see Footnote 2.04).

Comments on the UFO literature and recommendations for reading are worth a separate article (and I am presently drafting such an article). For present purposes it suffices to say that that body of literature is considerable and there is only a limited consensus regarding recommended reading.

Sometimes skeptics are lucky enough to be referred to a specific well-researched book with references to further reading. Typical examples for such recommendations are Jerry Clark’s “UFO Encyclopedia” and Richard Hall’s “The UFO Evidence”. However, if a well-intentioned skeptic did actually follow a recommendation to read, say, Jerry Clark’s “UFO Encyclopedia”, then he may not bother going beyond the entries beginning with “A”. Those entries include (but are, of course, not limited to):
(a) Adamski, George
(b) Aetherius Society
(c) Allende Letters
(d) Angelucci, Orfeo Matthew
(e) Ashtar

Jerry Clark’s “UFO Encyclopedia”, as with virtually all other UFO books, was not written to present the best evidence for the objective reality of UFOs. The cases and individuals discussed include many the author considers to have been significant in the history of ufology for various reasons, even if those cases have been explained and relevant individuals have been discredited. Indeed, Jerry Clark has himself commented that his Encyclopedia “features many solved cases” (see Footnote 2.05).

This is not a criticism of the content of such books. Ufology has much to gain from a consideration of UFO reports arising from stimuli which were subsequently identified. There are many lessons to be learnt from such reports. Indeed, such material is probably under-utilised by most UFO researchers. However, the fact that most UFO books are not limited to the best evidence means that scientists referred to such books will be spending some, if not most, of their time on material which is not the most persuasive evidence of the objective reality of UFOs.

It is not only UFO sceptics that have complained about the tendency of ufologists to refer to large books about UFOs. Ufologist Brad Sparks has commented as follows: “Typically the UFO proponent in desperation will cite some big 500-page or 1,000-page tome and say "All the UFO proof is in there! Go read it!" Whereas in fact the huge tomes are hopeless hodge-podges of bad cases, good cases, mediocre cases, erroneous cases, all intermixed according to some order (maybe alphabetical or chronological) that has nothing whatsoever to do with selecting best cases according to any scientific or quasi- scientific criteria ("criteria" is plural by the way, and "criterion" is singular). Indeed those few books were not really written for the purpose of presenting the best scientific case for the UFO to scientists. They were written for other worthy purposes, but let's not kid ourselves, though, they were not specially designed to state the case to scientists” (see Footnote 2.06).

Similarly, Brad Sparks has also commented that, “Busy scientists …. [are] not going to read through huge books, multiple books, looking for something they don't even think is there, with not a clue as to what to look for” (see Footnote 2.07).

Thus, even when scientists are occasionally provided with a recommendation as to a specific book, it is not uncommon (or unfair) for a skeptic to respond by asking “But what am I to look for in that book? Which specific cases should I focus upon?”. As UFO researcher Richard Hall has commented, “…anyone who is serious about this subject knows full well that it all comes down to individual cases…” (see Footnote 2.08).

If the sheer mass of UFO books (and their uneven quality) may discourage some scientists from starting to consider the evidence regarding UFOs, then the massive number of UFO reports is even more daunting. Jacques Vallee has commented “… heaven knows we have more data than we can process. So much that a complete catalogue of close encounter cases would encompass between 5,000 and 10,000 reports, depending on the criteria one used. The total number of unexplained UFO cases on record worldwide is well in excess of 100,000, yet we are fairly certain on the basis of opinion polls that only one witness in ten comes forward with a report” (see Footnote 2.09).

[edit on 12-2-2008 by IsaacKoi]

posted on Feb, 12 2008 @ 08:22 AM
Few serious ufologists would regard UFO reports as being equally important. Indeed, most serious ufologist accept that most UFO reports could be the result of a failure to identify a wide range of ordinary objects - e.g. aircraft, balloons, stars etc. The precise percentage of reports attributed to such a failure vary from ufologist to ufologist, but figures of between 70% and 99% are commonly accepted by serious ufologists. A small sample of relevant comments includes the following:

    (a) J Allen Hynek has said “it is quite true that the great majority of UFO reports turn out to be ordinary things like balloons and aircraft that people misidentify, very often honestly” (see Footnote 2.10).

    (b) Allan Hendry (author of “The UFO Handbook”, unusual for being respected by many sceptics in addition to many ufologists) has written: “Reasonable UFO proponents admit that ‘genuine’ UFO sightings are in the minority, around 10-20 per cent” (see Footnote 2.11).

    (c) Jerry Clark has written : “I think we know that most ostensible UFO cases are resolvable, but the precise percentage is up for discussion” (see Footnote 2.12).

If, as most ufologists accept, some UFO reports are more interesting and valuable than other UFO reports, then why not seek to identify the best cases so that these can be presented to scientists?

Several sceptics have expressed frustration with the alleged refusal of that UFO-proponents to nominate the best cases. They have suggested that this means that, although they claim could explain any case put to them, whatever cases they manage to explain will merely be dismissed as insignificant. This view was expressed with particular force by one leading skeptic, Philip J Klass:

    (1) In his first book about UFOs, Philip J Klass made the following comments:

    “The UFO mystery resembles the mythical nine-headed serpent Hydra. When one of the Hydra’s nine heads was cut off, two more grew in its place. In the same way if after weeks of investigation in becomes possible to explain one important UFO sighting as a natural phenomenon or a hoax, this makes no converts, for during the same period there have been two or three new UFO sightings which must now be explained. And by the time these are explained, there are half a dozen new UFO sightings in hand.” He continued: “The extraterrestrial hypothesis is based entirely on sheer numbers of seemingly mysterious reports rather than on, say, ten sightings - or even one sighting - which can stand up under rigorous investigation and provide convincing proof of spaceships from another world. I have yet to meet a UFOrian who is willing to stake his case on one, two, or even ten sightings.” (see Footnote 2.13).

    (2) In a later book, Philip J Klass made similar comments:

    “For some years [prior to 1972] I had attempted – without success – to get leading proponents of the extraterrestrial viewpoint to designate a single ‘best case’ which they had rigorously investigated and were certain could not be explained other than as an extraterrestrial visitation. It had been frustrating for me through the years to investigate and explain a case such as Socorro, which Hynek had once categorized as the most crucial one in eighteen years of UFO reports, only to be told by some that I had spent my time on an ‘unimpressive case’. Or to spend months investigating the RB-47 case, which had so impressed the AIAA and the late Dr McDonald, only to be informed that I had ‘picked an easy one’. After more than a quarter-century of UFO incidents … it seemed to me that it was time for them to designate a ‘make-or-break’ UFO case” (see Footnote 2.14).

Such complaints have been echoed in similar remarks by numerous other skeptics, including:

    (a) James Oberg (UFO skeptic and author of “UFOs and Outer Space Mysteries”) has commented:
    “How can the ‘UFO question’ ever be solved? The claim that there must be some extraordinary stimulus behind at least some UFO reports is, in the final analysis, immune from disproof. No matter how many cases are found to have prosaic explanations, there are always more to be researched” (see Footnote 2.15).

    (b) John Rimmer (editor of Magonia magazine) has said, during a discussion on the Internet, that:
    “The ETHers are unable to come up with any cases that they are prepared to list as evidence for extraterrestrial intervention. Instead we get airy-fairy armwaving about the ‘weight of evidence’. Unfortunately the weight of an awful lot of nothing is nothing. How can we possibly have any rational discussion of the UFO phenomenon if we do not discuss specific cases and weigh them individually?” (see Footnote 2.16).

    (c) Peter Brookesmith (author of several popular UFO books) has said, during a discussion on the Internet, that:
    “[it is] a truth universally acknowledged, that those fallen into a sympathy with the extra-terrestrial hypothesis (ETH) have been reluctant to produce … specific UFO cases that are especially suggestive of an ET ‘solution’.” (see Footnote 2.17).

    (d) Peter Brookesmith has also commented:
    “… it remains a mystery as to why … [ufologist Jerry Clark] cannot bring himself to cite a few cases in which he considers the ETH or even the U-ness of the UFO to have been advanced. Possibly this is because he is not confident of being able to defend either his selection of cases or the nature of the "science" involved; which may in turn explain why he prefers citing others' opinions to stating his own” (see Footnote 2.18).

[edit on 12-2-2008 by IsaacKoi]

posted on Feb, 12 2008 @ 08:23 AM
It is extremely rare for the contents of any book on UFOs to attempt to address such complaints. However, in debates on the Internet the complaints have been made repeatedly and occassionaly responses have been given by ufologists.

The responses on the Internet tend to fall into two categories:

    (1) Reasons for not providing lists of the best cases. Some of these reasons for not providing lists of the best cases are explored below.

    (2) Less frequently, by referring to existing lists of the best cases. The relevant referral is usual simply to one list. I will address various existing lists of the best cases in Part 3 to Part 11 of this article. Several of the more interesting lists have not been mentioned at all, or at least extremely infrequently, in relevant debates on the Internet.

The most common reason for not providing a list of the “best cases” is usually the argument that the evidence must be considered as a whole. This is sometimes (but not often) coupled with an express admission that no single case (or short list of cases) provides proof in support of the Extra-Terrestrial Hypothesis. For example:

    (a) J Allen Hynek has asserted that US Air Force investigators “did their best to come up with ‘commonsense’ explanations for each new UFO report. I stress the word ‘each’, for there was no attempt to look for patterns in the reports; each report was regarded as though it were the only UFO report in the world. This made it easier to find some individual explanation, even though it was sometimes far-fetched. It might even be stated as a sort of theorem: ‘For any UFO report, when regarded by itself and without reference to similar or related reports, there can always be found a possible commonsense explanation, even though its probability may be small’ ” (see Footnote 2.19).

    (b) Jenny Randles, a prolific British ufologist, has stated that has “often been asked to produce a top ten list and these days decline for good reasons”, the first of those reasons being that “no case is ever imune to resolution. More than a few cases that have looked promising - sometimes for years - crumble when the facts finally fall into place” (see Footnote 2.20).

    (c) Gildas Bourdais has commented:
    “We don't have a "smoking gun", but we have a mountain of testimonies, thousands of reliable witnesses, plus hundreds of landing traces well recorded (several in France), and last but not least, official documents” (see Footnote 2.21).

Several ufologists have responded to requests for lists of the “best cases” by stressing the importance of “patterns” in the totality of the available reports. For example, in one fairly typical response during a debate on the Internet, Mark Cashman has said: “What all of these important scientific processes have in common is discovery of pattern. A pattern which can only be revealed by studying the body of observations _as a whole_” (see Footnote 2.22). However, the relevant alleged patterns, and the evidence supporting them, are virtually left unspecified (or expressed in extremely vague terms) in such responses.

Quantity is no substitute for quality. The responses put forward above relating to the alleged inappropriateness of considering UFO reports on a case by case basis has been forcefully attacked by James Oberg, in his book “UFOs and Outer Space Mysteries”: “UFO experts do not appear to like being put on the spot to be specific, to designate actual individual reports as ‘unsolvable’. This viewpoint would give skeptics the opportunity to narrow their fire and concentrate on cases certified by top UFOlogists as unsolvable. As a leading UFO specialist said in 1975: the UFO evidence is most convincing when, like a bundle of sticks, considered en masse. Of course, his analogy tacitly implies that individual UFO cases, like individual sticks, can be easy to ‘break’; and suggests that the evidence for UFOs will stand up only it is not investigated too closely. While not a very flattering portrait and clearly not what the speaker intended, it may have been right on the money.” (see Footnote 2.23).

Oberg’s comments reflect a view expressed by various skeptics for several decades. For example, during the late 1960s Hynek emphasized to Menzel the desirability of studying all the cases collectively, with the hope of finding relevant patterns of similarity between them. In particular, Hynek objected to the method of treating each case separately and individually. Hynek stated ‘It is clear that each case, taken by itself, like a lone duck in a shooting gallery, can nearly always be shot down by an ad hoc, frequently Menzelian approach’ ” (see Footnote 2.24). Menzel commented that he was “honoured to become an adjective. But I simply cannot understand how Hynek feels that the cases can be ‘shot down’ individually but not collectively. Each case is a separate item. It seems highly dangerous to suppose that one can add data from another case, unless one is absolutely sure they concern the same phenomenon” (see Footnote 2.25).

Again, it is not merely sceptics that have expressed concern about statements by ufologists which rely upon vague assertions of “patterns in the data” or the alleged strength of UFO cases taken collectively. For example, Allan Hendry (in his book “The UFO Handbook” (1979)) commented on the arguments that “All of these witnesses can’t be crazy” and “The cases taken individually may be weak evidence but are strong collectively”. Hendry commented that “Both of these rhetorical arguments make use of the ‘weight of numbers’ technique, which obscures the distinction of individual reports. Both statements would be valid if, and only if, the multitude of witnesses were describing the same stimulus, or at most, a small number of similar stimuli. However, every indication seems to be that the sightings taken individually and in detail portray a huge variety of mutually independent events. … Furthermore, the ‘weight of numbers’ argument can’t support the existence of UFOs when the IFO reports outnumber them nine to one” (see Footnote 2.26).

In any event, whether or not such attacks are justified, an unwillingness to identify specific cases which scientists should focus upon can be (and, indeed, has been) taken as a sign of weakness and a reason for avoiding spending any time or resources examining UFO reports.

Jerry Clark has provided probably the most thought provoking response to such challenges to produce lists of the best cases. He put forward the challenge for skeptics to “Show me an exchange between skeptics and proponents of ball lightning in which the latter were challenged to produce their 10 best cases, on which presumably their case rises or falls” (see Footnote 2.27). However, this somewhat misses the point. If UFO proponents want sceptics to spend time and effort considering UFO reports, then the sceptics need to be persuaded.

Failing to meet challenges made by sceptics (even if those challenges are considered unfair) is likely to result in a failure to persuade them. Ufologists may need to swallow their pride and attempt to meet the challenges put to them by sceptics.

[edit on 12-2-2008 by IsaacKoi]

posted on Feb, 12 2008 @ 08:23 AM

[Footnote 2.01] Exchange on the Bad Astronomy internet forum at the link below:

[Footnote 2.02] Hansen, Terry in his “The Missing Times : News Media Complicity in the UFO Cover-Up” (2000) at page 44 (in Chapter 1) of the Xlibris softcover edition.

[Footnote 2.03] Clark, Jerome on the UFO Updates discussion list at the link below (now requires subscription):

[Footnote 2.04] Hynek, J Allen in his “The UFO Experience” (1972) at page vii (in the Preface) of the Henry Regnery hardback edition (with same page numbering in the Abelard-Schuman hardback edition) at page vii of the various Ballantine paperback editions, at page 7 of the Corgi paperback edition.

[Footnote 2.05] Clark, Jerome on the UFO Updates discussion list at the link below (now requires subscription):

[Footnote 2.06] Sparks, Brad on the UFO Updates discussion list at the link below (now requires subscription):

[Footnote 2.07] Sparks, Brad on the UFO Updates discussion list at the link below (now requires subscription):

[Footnote 2.08] Hall, Richard on the UFO Updates discussion list at the link below (now requires subscription):

[Footnote 2.09] Vallee, Jacques in his “Confrontations” (1990) at page 14 (in the Introduction) of the Ballantine Books paperback edition.

[Footnote 2.10] Hynek, J Allen in his “The Hynek UFO Report” (1977) at page 24 (in Chapter 3) of the Barnes & Noble hardback reprint (1997) at page 34 of the Dell paperback edition (with the same page numbering in the Sphere paperback edition).

[Footnote 2.11] Hendry, Allan in his “The UFO Handbook” (1979) at page 4 (in Chapter 1) of the Sphere softback edition.

[Footnote 2.12] Clark, Jerome on the UFO Updates discussion list at the link below (now requires subscription):

[Footnote 2.13] Klass, Philip J in his “UFOs – Identified” (1968) by at pages 285-286 (in Chapter 24) of the Random House hardback edition.

[Footnote 2.14] Klass, Philip J in his “UFOs Explained” (1974) at page 313 (Chapter 28) of the Random House Hardback edition, at pages 371-372 of Random House paperback edition.

[Footnote 2.15] Oberg, James in Robert Sheaffer’s book “The UFO Verdict” (1980) at page ix (in the foreword) of the Prometheus softback edition; in Robert Sheaffer’s book “UFO Sightings: The Evidence” (1998) at page 9 (in the foreword) of the Prometheus hardback edition.

[Footnote 2.16] Rimmer, John on the UFO Updates discussion list at the link below (now requires subscription):

[Footnote 2.17] Brookesmith, Peter on the UFO Updates discussion list at the link below (now requires subscription):

[Footnote 2.18] Brookesmith, Peter on the UFO Updates discussion list at the link below (now requires subscription):

[Footnote 2.19] Hynek, J Allen in his “The Hynek UFO Report” (1977) at page 24 (in Chapter 3) of the Barnes & Noble hardback reprint (1997) at page 34 of the Dell paperback edition (with the same page numbering in the Sphere paperback edition).

[Footnote 2.20] Randles, Jenny on the Ufologyinuk discussion list in an email dated 29 November 2004. The archives of the Ufologyinuk discussion list from 2004 are no longer available online.

[Footnote 2.21] Bourdais, Gildas on the UFO Updates discussion list at the link below (now requires subscription):

[Footnote 2.22] Cashman, Mark on the UFO Updates discussion list at the link below (now requires subscription):

[Footnote 2.23] Oberg, James in his “UFOs and Outer Space Mysteries” (1982) at page 6 (in the Introduction) of the Donning paperback edition.

[Footnote 2.24] Menzel, Donald H in “UFO’s: A Scientific Debate” (1972) (edited by Carl Sagan and Thornton Page) at pages 140-141 (in Chapter 6) of the Barnes and Noble hardback edition (with the same page numbering in the Norton paperback edition).

[Footnote 2.25] Menzel, Donald H in “UFO’s: A Scientific Debate” (1972) (edited by Carl Sagan and Thornton Page) at page 141 (in Chapter 6) of the Barnes and Noble hardback edition (with the same page numbering in the Norton paperback edition).

[Footnote 2.26] Hendry, Allan in his “The UFO Handbook” (1979) at page 126 (in Chapter 9) of the Sphere softback edition.

[Footnote 2.27] Clark, Jerome on the UFO Updates discussion list at the link below (now requires subscription):

posted on Feb, 12 2008 @ 01:23 PM
reply to post by IsaacKoi

Hello Isaac,

I get the feeling that you yourself are not against the evidence but merely trying to be fair to skeptics and generate good discussion.

To me, there are some inherent obstacles in the UFO subject matter. I'm not even speaking to the data, but rather the human mind and human culture. I think the hardest part for most people (whether laymen or scientist) is beginning a study/analysis without prejudice based on prior beliefs. I'll give an example which has nothing to do with UFOs, but hopefully helps to illustrate a point.

I have a friend who has read a book or two on unexplained phenomenon and has seen a few of the typical "UFO files" TV programs. He is hardly convinced. I have given him some food for thought but ultimately it's a free society and I can't make him believe anything. We haven't spoken about UFOs in some time, but recently got into a discussion about female athletics. He adamantly believes that no female could beat him in anything. Considering that he is an average male athlete (in his best sport hehe) I begged to differ. He admitted that perhaps when women get to the college level they could beat him at athletics. Yet, he firmly believes that no girl playing sports below the collegiate level could beat him. He recently attended a high school basketball game to watch his niece play. He asserted that he could easily be the best player on a girls high school team, and that he's never met a girl in his life who could match him at any sport.

I do not consider myself to be a good athlete, but I know I'm better than he is at basketball, and I have coached AAU girls basketball at the middle school level. I know for a fact that not only could many high school girls beat him in basketball, but a few middle school girls could too. I also know that my ex-girlfriend's mom used to play for the Canadian olympic squad and so she inherited many good genes. Not only could my ex-girlfriend beat my friend in basketball, but I'm pretty sure she could beat him in wrestling too! In short, my friend hadn't been through the right experiences to lead him to what I hold to be true. The fact that I have coached girls basketball meant nothing to him. His mind was already made up, and my experiences and rational analysis did little to sway him.

Skeptic - One who practices the method of suspended judgment, engages in rational and dispassionate reasoning as exemplified by the scientific method, shows willingness to consider alternative explanations without prejudice based on prior beliefs, and who seeks out evidence and carefully scrutinizes its validity.


As for the arguements made by skeptics, there is certainly some validity to the saying "quality over quantity." However, let me ask you this. If quality is not to the standard that we would all like it to be, should we dismiss the entire subject matter altogether? If one UFO report is vague and incomplete, is it not logical to compare it to others?

“Typically the UFO proponent in desperation will cite some big 500-page or 1,000-page tome and say "All the UFO proof is in there! Go read it!" Whereas in fact the huge tomes are hopeless hodge-podges of bad cases, good cases, mediocre cases, erroneous cases, all intermixed according to some order

A valid statement. Let us suspend judgment for one minute on UFO proponents and opponents alike. Let us simply analyze and see where that gets us. First, there is no one sentence answer to the UFO problem. Furthermore, in all likelyhood, there is no one book answer either. It is up to the individual to sift through the information and determine what they deem to be significant. It is necessary process for anyone interested in the subject matter to go through.

What if I told a friend that "John Doe" is a great guy because he always pays for his share of the tab, I had a few college classes with him, and I observed him carrying groceries for an old lady one time. I have said positive things about John, but the description is still vague. Despite my vague decription of John my friend might "take my word for it" given our friendship. A more complete way of gathering information on John Doe's character would be for my friend to talk to others who know John. If by that process, he again hears that John always pays his share of the tab and every sunday he goes to get groceries for his 84 year old grandma, we start to see some consistency. Still, the best way for my friend to judge John, would be to meet him and spend time around him and see for himself.

The problem with UFOs is "the best way" isn't really available. It would be great if we had a physical craft sitting in a hanger being studied by a group of very smart people, and open for the public to go see for themselves. We just don't have that. So we are forced to study the data we do have. The method of studying that data is whatever the individual deems important, however most rational people would conclude that comparing many UFO cases is just as logical as talking to multiple people to gain insight into John Doe's character. The fact is "many" has advantages over "one" by definition. That said, sometimes too much data can obscure what one is trying to achieve. Again, it is up to the individual doing the analysis to determine what's best, although science typically involves some form of "many" to arrive at "one" conclusion.... i.e. we don't look at one gray whale swimming from one area of the Pacific coast to another, we look at many. One gray whale tells us that the darn thing can swim. But a pod of them doing it annually tells us this is how they migrate, how they live.

Sometimes problems just don't have easy answers. Some laymen will never convince some scientists. Similarly, some scientists will never convince some laymen. Furthermore, scientists are people like you and me. They require a paycheck to live and there is no money in UFOs. If we dumped half the resources into UFOs as we do into poverty, war, or professional sports where would we be? Any closer to "the truth?" Maybe, maybe not. It is logical to assume that we would be, but that is a big assumption. I personally don't think there is a short answer to the UFO problem no matter how many resources we devote to it. But maybe that's not the point. The important thing is often the process itself. We might discover that there are no aliens coming from other planets but that UFOs represent another (as yet) unknown phenomenon that is so mind boggling it would expand our consciousness in ways we can't even fathom. Or it could all be F-16s reflecting off the moon clouded in ionized atmospheric gases produced by ozone deterioration.

Whatever the facts, they will come out sooner or later. Human curiousity has always led to expansions in human knowledge. This much history shows, and most of us agree on.

posted on Feb, 12 2008 @ 01:57 PM
IsaacKoi this thread gets a star and a flag from me.

In fact, I know I'm not on the moderating staff here, but if suggestions help I'd like to nominate this thread for a Sticky.

As always Isaac, you fully research a subject, even when it's merely the interaction between believers and skeptics. Very well written, I couldn't have said it better myself.

Personally, I'm on the 'UFO Proponent' side of the fence. This is due to personal sightings, 3 of them that cannot be explained by anything other than spacecraft.

Many on the UFO Proponent Side (a MUCH better [less derogatory] term than 'Believers') have actually had experiences that cannot be explained. This speaks to why the debunking of cases we are not a witnessing party to does nothing to debunk our own personal cases where we were eyewitnesses.

Also, many on the Proponent side (I feel this category fits my thoughts also) think about space on a philosophical level. Some skeptics think this way also, applying science and thought experiments (the Drake Equation for example) to make at best intelligent guesses at what COULD be out there. Everything we have learned about Space suggests that there is other life out there somewhere. Physically we have not yet even explored 1 single planet (I'm counting people here, not robots) other than Earth, and we've just barely made scouting trips to our own Moon.

But we find everything needed for life here on Earth in other places in space in abundance. We find other worlds with Atmospheres of their own. We find water in all forms (solid, liquid, ice), we find heavy metals, we find starlight, in essence everything life needs is distributed throughout the observable universe. Knowing all of these things are out there, and knowing the approximate age of the first stable systems (solar systems) in the universe, rational humans should be able to clearly see the potential for intelligent life among the stars.

Earth is not hidden in some invisible pocket of space. It exists at a certain set of coordinates in the universe at all times, even though it's all in motion. The Earth can be thought of as a point on the map of the universe, just as Mars or the Sun. It is a place that can be travelled to, given sufficient technology.

These arguments are hard to ignore once realized. It's like asking Galileo to forget what he saw in the telescope, and to just let his skepticism over-ride his observations. Everyone here should know that Galileo was a Catholic. His own natural religious skepticism was surely in place before witnessing data to the contrary. Once he made his observations though, he KNEW the world was not the center of the Universe.

I think that also provides a good summary of why debunking an unrelated case does not tend to change the UFO Proponent's mind as to the entire phenomenon.


On a separate track, and the reason I commented on this thread...

I am one of the few UFO Proponents (that I've met so far) that will FULLY 100% agree with the Skeptics who are demanding 1 good solid case (or 10, but a small number of good ones) for in-depth study.

In fact, it's the entire reason that I'm here at ATS at all.
When I first came to this site, just last December, I came here as an outsider, unaware of the millions of cases ATS has examined in it's extensive history. I'd read the site a few times when I was bored, and had read other sources mainly for my UFO information and the cases I've studied privately. I came having several sightings of craft personally, and looking for evidence to argue my case to others rationally.

You are right, even mentioning the issue makes people think you are nuts.
I'm not nuts.

I quickly learned to use the Search function here at ATS, and for the sake of other newcomers (in addition to my own research needs) I created a thread called Compilation: The Evidence for EBEs, here:

I found a lot of the 'crap' mentioned in your above posts, and YES I think those cases WERE worth investigating. The vast majority of these cases have been debunked, and the links to the threads concerning each case are posted at the end of each report in the Compilation. My findings in the ATS archives illustrate well what your above listed researchers concluded. There are a lot of explainable cases.

When it got to a point where I felt the thread was well established as a reference source, I moved on to explore the evidence for Alien Technology, here:

This search yielded little data, and if anyone has further cases to add to that or the EBE Evidence lists I'd love to see it.

From this search, I moved into my third area of questioning, the Evidence for Spaceships. Upon beginning my search for data for this thread, I found myself engaged in a debate on just this very topic (Skeptic demanding 1 solid UFO case) in a thread by ATS member Question, here:'

The title of that thread was, 'What Proof Will Satisfy You?'
The debate I'm referencing happens mostly on pages 2 and 3 of the thread, and takes place between myself and Yeti101.
I suggested the Battle of Los Angeles as a solid case, and Yeti101 played the role of the skeptic.

That debate in my view was never resolved, and for my own clarity on the case, I began anew my investigation into the Battle of LA, as data for the first report in my planned Compilation: The Evidence For SpaceShips thread.

My search for data yielded huge quantities of information on the event. And ever since I've been trying to dig through it. Very few of the ATS Skeptic members have cared to join us. One of those, Nohup, has re-visited the case several times, and for that I express my thanks. There are a few of us on the Proponent side who are there doing the work.

To date, all of the information on this case has yet to be assembled, anywhere, and ATS has the opportunity to achieve this for the first time, ever.

I'd like to state this case as 1 solid case we can all research, where tons of data is available. I sincerely hope that the Skeptics who demand such a source cited will read this thread, and come help us investigate.

Together, Skeptics and Proponents are strong.
The thread on the Battle is here:

posted on Feb, 13 2008 @ 01:01 PM

Originally posted by Scramjet76
Sometimes problems just don't have easy answers. Some laymen will never convince some scientists. Similarly, some scientists will never convince some laymen. Furthermore, scientists are people like you and me. They require a paycheck to live and there is no money in UFOs. Whatever the facts, they will come out sooner or later.

Thanks for the comments Scramjet76.

I agree the problems in relation to UFOs don't have easy answers - if they did, we would not be having discussions now that are very, very similar to discussions 60 years ago...

As for the difficulty in convincing scientists to devote some of their limited time and resources to the subject, that is one of the areas which (as a professional advocate) I find quite interested.

All the best,


posted on Feb, 13 2008 @ 01:43 PM

Originally posted by WitnessFromAfar
In fact, I know I'm not on the moderating staff here, but if suggestions help I'd like to nominate this thread for a Sticky.

Thanks for the flattering comments.

I am one of the few UFO Proponents (that I've met so far) that will FULLY 100% agree with the Skeptics who are demanding 1 good solid case (or 10, but a small number of good ones) for in-depth study.

You probably have seen my article [url=']Top 100 UFO Cases - Revealed!, which is simply based on frequency of discussion. You may be interested in the next few parts of this article, which include
(a) short lists of cases nominated as being the "best" by various top names within ufology and also
(b) several articles on various attempts during the last few decades to produce compilations of the "best" cases agreed among various UFO researchers/groups.

I just have to find the time to tidy up my notes on those topics (as well as finish off a few articles that are almost ready for circulation on other topics). Time is a bit difficult to find...

Kind Regards,


posted on Feb, 17 2008 @ 10:13 PM
Understood, time is always limited

I'll definitely read your new threads, can't wait! I wish I had more time to dedicate to mine.

I have read the article on the Top 100 Cases, and frequently reference it in debates here at ATS. It's threads like that one that allow proponents to speak rationally about these cases, citing sources and examining all of the evidence. I've learned from reading your threads that the better your research (and the more of your bilbiography you share) with the reader, the better your thread will be. There will be many that will not check out your sources, but there will be some that do. And those willing to take the time to see what you've seen, and re-check your results, those are the members that make this board the best on the web.


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