Larry King, menace to thinking

By Phil Plait | July 21, 2008 4:02 pm

I am no fan of Larry King. I really don’t see his appeal; he tends to ask facile questions, throw softballs, probe about 1 nanometer deep, and have a lot of guests with extremely questionable credentials.

The latter is the stuff of which blog posts are written.

My friend and fellow skeptic Scott Hurst pointed me to a video on CNN’s site from Larry King’s show on July 20. Why he would pick the anniversary of the day we walked on the Moon for the first time for this particular topic is beyond me, but then, so are the claims of his guests. They are UFO believers. They all appear to have good credentials: military men, engineers, and so on. But credentials mean little to me; I prefer evidence.

Did they have any?

Guess.

The best part: they show a video of a crop circle obviously taken from some distance away and using a telephoto. There are people walking around in it, and a white unresolved object apparently flying over it. Given that the videographer followed this object as it flew around and then off to the side, it’s clear we are to think this is some sort of flying saucer or UFO or perhaps the TARDIS.

But notice anything funny about it? Like, how no one walking around seems to notice it? What can we surmise from this?

I surmise it was a bird. That would fit all the facts in hand. Now, it appears to accelerate rapidly, but then, we don’t know where the bird is. It looks like it’s over the circle, but it might be much closer to the person taking the footage. With a big telephoto there is little depth perception, and so it could have been much closer to the camera than the circle, and just appeared between them. That’s why no one noticed it, and why it appeared to move so rapidly.

Does that explanation make more sense than it being a UFO?

And these guys talk a good game, I’ll give them that, but they all have the same story: I had great footage, but the government took it away! Yeah, OK, sure. So why are you on national TV then?

Oh, right. The gatekeepers on the news stations don’t give a fig about reality. Larry King has had all sorts of fraudulent "psychics " on his show, and UFO people, and and and. To his credit, he had Randi on once, but he still promotes all manners of irrational garbage.

So, Larry King: feh. And CNN: shame on you.

Comments (237)

  1. Sili

    So … they have people caught on camera making a crop circle? And they still say UFO’s did it?!

  2. He recently re-visited the Stephenville sightings and had witnesses on, including a radar expert. It was intriguing, but no real concrete evidence to support an alien visitation. The one thing they said about the object is that radar hits placed it on course for Crawford. That would explain the last seven years.

  3. Davidlpf

    I saw most of the episode. He had Bill Nye on for the skeptics take on UFOs and the pro-UFO guests were being abusive towards Nye. I think one reason he had the show this week is because the X-files movie comes out soon, in Canada the History network had a week of UFOs sponsored by the X-files movie.

  4. I must say that after watching that clip, it does bring up some obvious questions: What caused the shutdowns? If there is someone with the technology capable of shutting our missiles off, shouldn’t the government be placing a priority on finding out who it is? Perhaps, most importantly, who dresses Larry King?

    The videos really didn’t fit with what the story was actually about.

  5. And CNN: shame on you.

    Nawww, the same channel that gave Glenn Beck a show? Of course they’d answer to only the highest journalistic ethics. *Waves hand dismissively*

  6. I agree — looks like a bird to me.

  7. Helioprogenus

    I saw that FSM-awful excuse for a television show and some of those idiots, regardless of credentials were frothing at the mouth to convince the credulous of their brand of lunacy. What really annoyed me was the limited time Shostak and Nye had to counter the stupid arguments. It goes to show that not everyone with credentials in the hard sciences can be expected to follow the evidence and the scientific method. It’s sad for all the students who had to be taught by such misguided people.

  8. Davidlpf

    Here is a link to transcript for the episode
    http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0807/18/lkl.01.html
    from the transcript Nye explains the powered dow silos to coolant system problems
    NYE: Well, it looks spooky and scary, but it turns out that that day, or the day before, the power had gone out in some of the chiller units, the air conditioning, OK?

    And Boeing was called out — Boeing makes the Minuteman missile — because all these things went down and they wanted to know what had happened.

  9. I’m curious as to why you mention the crop circle at all since it really had nothing to do with the show except to add a little color to the screen. The Ufologists on the show were not the ones to pick out the pictures that they used for fill in and they most certainly know that most of the pictures that were used (especially of UFOs) were officially debunked some time ago. So obviously the LKL show has someone doing something he doesn’t belong doing. Those present and sitting there are not necessarily privy to what pictures are up and they don’t spend time talking about something they didn’t go there to talk about.

    The topic, which you failed to mention at all was about UFOs disarming ICBM’s so why didn’t you talk about the topic instead of a picture that they had no knowledge was even going to be shown?

    That is a very important topic and it concerns something certainly more important than a crop circle.

  10. And, the show was on the 18th, not on the 20th

  11. Hugo

    I agree with Phil.

    Shame on CNN. We’ve seen what you’re capable of. You should be able to do much, much worse than this. No brainwashed comet suicide cult? Are you kidding? That’s your bread and butter, man!

  12. justcorbly

    You don’t really think Larry had a clue that 20 July was the anniversary of anything at all, do you?

  13. space cadet

    Um…….DUH!!!!!!

    Isn’t the same venue of journalistic intregity where a porn star and a comic told us to stop vaccinating our kids?

    Phil, Phil, Phil. Whatever are you doing letting that stuff on your TV screen? Change the blankety-blank station, for cryin’ out loud.

  14. CanadianLeigh

    The History Channel and the Discovery Channel both give way too much air time to crappy programming like this. Its a case of following the money. If I was rich I would sponsor the Skeptologists tomorrow, just to try to give some balance to TV. I don’t mind fantasy fiction dramas and such, but I hate UFO and Supernatural based shows passing themselves off as documentary and science shows. AAAAAARRG!!

  15. Why are you posting the other comments from skeptics only?

    It says that my comment is waiting moderation and the time on it is 4:54. There have been three comments come in from 5:03 to 5:19 so why haven’t you posted mine or are you only allowing comments from others that agree with you.

    I have print screened this page and it is going in my blog as is with my comment in it. That ought to take care of that problem unless you wish to get it posted.

  16. Celtic_Evolution

    @ CanadianLeigh

    Speaking of those channels, and a little OT, but did any of you catch the show on Science Channel last night, “Light Fantastic”… I’d be interested to know the opinions of some of you here on that particular program.

  17. CanadianLeigh

    @Celtic_Evolution I don’t get the Science Channel in my location. Bummer.

  18. Atrueoriginall, I have an automatic spam filter that caught your messages and put them in a moderation queue. I have to physically check it every now and again to clear it out, and I just okayed your comments.

    So thanks for displaying your baseless accusation here for all to see and, more importantly, for making my own point: without evidence, it’s easy to spin just about any conspiracy theory, but when the evidence comes in, it’s usually something mundane.

    Also, I said very specifically in my post that the crop circle was “the best part”. I also mentioned that these guys make lots of claims, but don’t happen to have any evidence at all to back them up. And before you posted your last comment, it was mentioned in the comments that Bill Nye debunked the missile issue.

    Anything else you want to add? I’m always willing to listen to evidence, but it better be good evidence. Shaky video, fuzzy pictures, anecdotes, and eyewitness accounts are not acceptable in a scientific investigation.

  19. Matt

    The link to this story on cnn.com only states “UFOs blamed for nuke missile failures” with no elaboration. So the reader has to actually click on the link to discover that those blaming UFOs are a couple of crackpots and that the link is simply an advertisement for CNN’s own programming, not a valid reporting of current news. CanadianLeigh is right on with the comment that it’s all about the money.

    But the most disturbing questions of all are, “What is Larry King still doing on the air?!? Who actually still watches his show? In fact, who ever watched him in the first place?”

    I think a monkey with a xylophone could get similar ratings in his time slot.

  20. Davidlpf

    Atrueoriginall, my post was stuck in spam filter as well.

  21. You just have to read this, then (via Cosmic Variance via Dynamics of Cats) from Paul Krugman:

    June 11, 2008, 10:28 pm
    Psychic kids

    So, you get through grad school. You do research that gets lot of citations. You get tenure. You branch out into policy work, and into writing for a broader audience. You try to play a role in the important economic debates. And finally, you really hit the big time—you’re debating the economy on Larry King, with who knows how many people watching.

    And then Larry King wraps it up: “Tomorrow, we’ll talk about psychic kids.”

    I was still giggling uncontrollably ten minutes after I left the studio.

    Cheers,
    ^_^J.

  22. Bryan F

    Phil,

    Have you heard about the ammonia they found on Mars?

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3896335.stm

    What’s your take on it?

    Bryan

  23. Yes there is talking about baseless accusations.

    You said, “Why he would pick the anniversary of the day we walked on the Moon for the first time for this particular topic is beyond me” but the date of the airing of that show was on the 18th and not the 20th. How’s that for evidence.

    Where is the beforehand evidence that Bin Laden was going to take down the World Trade Center. Oops, it wasn’t there, it was too late.

    Well what about a what if’. What if those ICBM’s were disarmed by another country and not UFOs.

    So what is more important here, the UFO community bringing a subject to light that the majority of the American population were not privy to or a crop circle.

    I have seen a UFO and I don’t mean the kind you are more familiar with either so I do think, but rather know that they exist and are in our airspace. Consequently, I know that the possibility is certainly there that they could have disarmed whatever they darn well pleased.

    Hey, science dictates that something must be tested or at least observed in order to be considered fact. Accordingly, such things can only be a possibility for you and maybe theoretical so you can never ever believe and you never will unless you see what I’ve seen.

    But for me, it will forever remain fact since I was an observer and it wasn’t something obscure or 5 miles off or a fuzzy dot or a light. It had a room with a natural light but there were no lights to be seen. It had a stainless steel table and short 5 foot tall beings around the table that I was laying on. And they spoke to me without moving their small mouths. Do I have proof? Hell no. Who have they ever sent back with proof and why would they ever want to do that anyway?

  24. eing a ‘believer’ i watched the show and was thoroughly disappointed. I agree with much of what was said above. I agree much of the UFO footage they showed was sub standard and in some cases already debunked, including the crop circle video. I also agree that the pro-ufo guests were extremely rude and would not let the sceptics talk without interruption. This does nothing for there credibility. They reminded me of Bill O’Reilly. And I agree that Larry King is a terrible interviewer who only skims across issues and interviews. However, the sceptics also tried to constantly bring the issue around that all UFO believers think they are aliens from space, and indeed Friedman openly admitted this is his belief. The others on the panel made no such assertion, in fact I believe Jamie Fox brought up the point (and this is what I believe) that it is definitely possible these are military, and if so then the government is hiding some extraordinary technology from the public, and seemingly has done since at least the 60s. This is technology that could potentially solve the energy crisis. However this point was ignored both by King and the sceptics. I don’t think you can completely dismiss witness testimony from military officers, engineers and scientists with good credentials. They deserve to be listened to. Of all the witnesses that have come forward with super tight credentials there is definitely a case to be made for an open investigation into the phenomenon. A good point that was mad was that the sceptics do not research the phenomenon themselves, they just take the ‘aliens from another galaxy’ hypothesis and throw around all the age old reasons why this is not possible, although some sceptics are opening up to the idea that there is physics out there we are unaware of atm. If sceptics were to research all the available government documents. As Fox said he had with him, a 1950 memo obtained through FOIA from W B Smith, a Canadian Engineer who wrote a memo to the Canadian govt. In this memo he unequivocally states that:

    a. The matter is the most highly classified subject in the United States
    Government, rating higher even than the H-bomb.

    b. Flying saucers exist.

    c. Their modus operandi is unknown but concentrated effort is being made
    by a small group headed by Doctor Vannevar Bush.

    d. The entire matter is considered by the United States authorities to be
    of tremendous significance.

    Fox brought this up and King didn’t even acknowledge it. WTF?!?!

    Is it amateur hour over there at CNN or what??

  25. Davidlpf

    Here is a more likely explanation to what you expreinced.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleep_paralysis

  26. Atrueoriginal, I too have seen a “UFO”, when I was 16 years old. However, I chose to do a little investigating. I reported the object to the RCMP, described it as a tumbling cylindrical object that trailed a tail of fire. It turns out that it was the booster from a Russian rocket.

    Now, what you are describing has been duplicated at Laurentian University, in a science lab.

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg14419523.700-alien-abduction-the-inside-story-thousands-of-americans-believe-they-have-had-a-close-encounter-of-the-alien-kind-what-on-earth-is-going-on-.html

  27. Celtic_Evolution

    @ Atrueoriginal

    Where is the beforehand evidence that Bin Laden was going to take down the World Trade Center. Oops, it wasn’t there, it was too late.

    Ummm… you may want to actually read up on that one, buddy… not sure you can make that statement.

    Well what about a what if’. What if those ICBM’s were disarmed by another country and not UFOs.

    Or hey… what if the military just had a massive screwup and decided to keep everyone in the dark about it… and without official explanation, the credulous, like yourself, have a field day tossing out any old wild-eyed theory. That sounds more plausible to me. Spend enough time here, and you’ll learn that the burden of proof with outlandish claims is not on us to prove that they aren’t true, it is on those who make the claims… and as Phil has already pointed out, they have zero evidence.

    So what is more important here, the UFO community bringing a subject to light that the majority of the American population were not privy to or a crop circle.

    Are those the only two options? How about the most impolrtant thing being NOT allowing a bunch of lunatics like the “UFO community” to profit on people’s fear and gullibility by selling books based on wild speculation backed with little or no evidence? Wanna guess which one I think is the most important thing?

    I have seen a UFO and I don’t mean the kind you are more familiar with either so I do think, but rather know that they exist and are in our airspace.

    Care to clarify that? If by UFO you mean something you can’t identify, then we can all agree that we know there are UFOs in our airspace. If by UFO you mean aline flying craft… sorry, buddy… show me some proof. UFO doesn’t mean alien, necessarily. And Phil has shown many times on this site the power of the mind to trick you into seeing something that isn’t really what it seems.

    Hey, science dictates that something must be tested or at least observed in order to be considered fact. Accordingly, such things can only be a possibility for you and maybe theoretical so you can never ever believe and you never will unless you see what I’ve seen.

    Feh… I doubt even you actually know what it was you really saw. Does that mean there can only be one explanation? Alien technology? Again, in ALL the time UFOlogists have been thumping this drum, over 50 years… not one single piece of real, actual, testible, falsifiable evidence has surfaced. Not one. Now ask yourself what the most likely explanation for that is… not the one you want to believe… but the most likely one.

    But for me, it will forever remain fact since I was an observer and it wasn’t something obscure or 5 miles off or a fuzzy dot or a light.

    Wow… how very special that must have made you seem… for them to select you out of the millions and millions they could have chosen… you. Wonderful… special… you. I hope you see where I’m going with that…

  28. Celtic_Evolution

    You know… I really didn’t read Atrueoriginal’s last paragraph carefully until just now…

    Now I feel really, really dumb for wasting my time with that whole, long reply. :/

  29. Atrueoriginall said It had a stainless steel table and short 5 foot tall beings around the table that I was laying on. And they spoke to me without moving their small mouths.

    Please tell me that they were singing the Oompa Loompa song? Sorry, I shouldn’t make fun of what was obviously a very traumatic dream. I saw a face appear in the window of my 3rd floor apartment once. Really scary. It feels like a real memory but I know it was a dream. Sleep paralysis can be scary.

  30. I have heard countless people relate that they have had this “abduction” experience, and it has affected them profoundly and traumatized many of them. However, making the leap that these are little grey beings floating into your room in the middle of the night and floating you out up to their spaceship is a stretch. Wouldn’t it make more sense to consider the possibility that it is sleep paralysis. I have experienced sleep paralysis (not to the extent of believing I was taken), and it is absolutely terrifying to be unable to move.

  31. Celtic_Evolution

    @ Brent Plowright

    I don’t think you can completely dismiss witness testimony from military officers, engineers and scientists with good credentials.

    With a complete and utter lack of any corroberating physical evidence of any kind, whatsoever, I most certainly can. I was in the military, and I can tell you that some of the best regarded officers were also some of the loopiest. And I currently work with a brilliant aerospace engineer who also happens to be convinced of the existence of Niburu. So please stop with the “infallable credentials” fallacy. Good, even intelligent, people have been conned into believing stranger crap than this.

    A good point that was mad was that the sceptics do not research the phenomenon themselves,

    It wasn’t a good point… it was an out and out lie. Skeptics don’t research the phenomenon? On the contrary… the very job of the skeptic is to research the phenomenon. And we have done so… extensively… over and over again… far more than the “believer” in fact. And come to the same conclusion… every time.

    they just take the ‘aliens from another galaxy’ hypothesis and throw around all the age old reasons why this is not possible, although some sceptics are opening up to the idea that there is physics out there we are unaware of atm

    Huh? Which skeptics would those be? Citation please.

    a 1950 memo obtained through FOIA from W B Smith, a Canadian Engineer who wrote a memo to the Canadian govt. In this memo he unequivocally states that:

    OK… so a 1950′s kook, who also happens to be an engineer, (see my reason above for why that means nothing where this matter is concerned), writes a letter to the Canadian government where he expresses his opinion. So what? I could do the exact same thing, but without actual evidence, I’m just another nutjob writing unsolicited memos to the government. Like a million other people. What does that have to do with proof of the existence of Alien visitors?

  32. CanadianLeigh

    I do not know if I will post this, it might not read well. I read an article not too long ago regarding DNA testing and crime. According to this article there have been close to 1200 rape convictions in the US overturned by DNA evidence. I believe that in the over whelming number of cases the victims would have been completely sincere in their identification of their reapist as the man resposible. In a few cases cited in the article the women were devistated to hear they had helped convict the wrong man. It has to serve as a powerful lesson regarding the fraility of our memories and our power of observation. Even a decade ago, it would be argued that such a traumatic experience would “burn” the incident into someones memory. Yet physical evidence has to prevail. Some evidence has to wait for our technology to catch up to be analyzed fully, however, we still have to base our knowledge on what the evidence can prove today. Bill Nye tried to relate to evidence in a courtroom but was unable to complete his line of thought.
    The human mind cannot tell a false memory from a true memory, so be gentle with those with memories not supported with physical evidence. It must be very painful to carry such memories around with you no matter whether they are based in fact or not.
    Has anyone ever talked to an astronomer at a star party who has observed a UFO? For all the looking up and all the careful observing of the sky, I think amature astronomers are the least represented in the UFO witnesses.

  33. @Davidlpf & Michael L — Having had a dozen or so episodes of sleep paralysis myself , over the years (including one that was a text book “alien abduction”), I agree. Mine have all been extremely vivid (visual and auditory) and they seemed completely real at the time. When I was a child, I did not know what was happening and it was frightening. When I was in my 20′s I ran across an article about sleep paralysis and started researching it. It’s the most reasonable explanation.

  34. No Michael L, I was in the California high desert at a place called El Mirage Dry Lake where we would take out dirt bikes out to ride and camp on Friday and Saturday nights. I was not the only one abducted that evening. My husband was as well.

    Phil: Where did you get the idea that Bill Nye debunked the military issue of the program. He was simply the house skeptic that night and had nothing to throw out there with “well there could have been some other reason that they all went down”.

    As well, he managed to make a fool out of himself by thinking that the Phoenix sighting were the flares and not the actual sighting that came a good hour plus previous to the flares. Nye has no research under his belt whatsoever so he had no right even being there, which made it easy for the researchers to lay into him when they realized that. They were livid that he was even there again that night because he was on a previous UFO show with Larry King about a week or two prior.

    I doubt he’ll be back.

  35. Paul Hellyer, a former Canadian Defence Minister also believes Bush is building a base on the far side of the Moon to fend of an alien attack:

    http://www.ufobc.ca/Beyond/exopolitics.htm

    It must be our beer…

  36. Jewel please the sleep paralysis thing is so over done. And no, I’m not fantasy prone either if that is the next statement that someone cares to make.

    How do you think that aliens can abduct without a fight. Did you ever think that they can induce sleep paralysis in order to accomplish what it is they need to accomplish in order to get you on board. You are conscience and you are mobile. You are no longer where you were as you watch yourself being moved in a fashion you cannot describe.

    Considering their probable age, their technology is most likely unfathomable and so I would imagine that they have a great understanding of the human brain, which would give them the ability to inflict just about anything that would obviously mimic something that medical science already has a name for.

  37. Atrueoriginal, the onus falls on you to provide the physical proof of such an event. How can your experience be tested and measured? I’m honestly interested in your experience, and I do not mock those that say they have experienced something. Some “abductees” have experienced a traumatic event. However, to assume that it has to be aliens while ignoring all other options is bad science.

  38. Well hell, Larry King interviewed one of the Ghostbusters – Venkman, I think – so why would you think he had any credibility left?

  39. Atrueoriginal:
    “How do you think that aliens can abduct without a fight. Did you ever think that they can induce sleep paralysis in order to accomplish what it is they need to accomplish in order to get you on board. You are conscience and you are mobile. You are no longer where you were as you watch yourself being moved in a fashion you cannot describe.”

    That’s a classic definition of sleep paralysis. We could say back, oh please, the alien abduction is so over done. Why would one refuse to accept that as a viable explanation? Hundreds of years ago, there are accounts of beings floating into bedrooms and taking people into the forests. These beings were often described as faeries, trolls, or other mythical beings that were popular within the folklokre of the culture at the time.

  40. Celtic_Evolution

    Atrueoriginal

    Took a look-see around your site… yikes! Credulous doesn’t even begin to describe it. You really need to look at things a little more closely… like the picture you have about 2/3rds of the way down your page… the one of the saucer against the blue sky (taken in Galviston), even I could tell in about 4 seconds that I was looking at a double exposure of a sky over a standard light fixture… good grief. My daughter knew what it was too, without even being prompted. Some people just want, no need to believe in this junk. I have no idea why.

  41. Celtic_Evolution

    @ Atrueoriginal

    And no, I’m not fantasy prone either if that is the next statement that someone cares to make.

    A quick look around your website indicates quite the contrary, my dear…

  42. CanadianLeigh

    Sleep paralysis was what kept us from falling out of trees. Having fallen on my noggin from bed a few times I think I was lucky my genetic line is still around.

  43. Celtic, I saw that too, and immediately thought, “Light fixture!”

  44. I don’t think the sleep paralysis thing is over done at all. It is a reasonable, verifiable, explanation for experiences such as these. We can reproduce them in a lab. Perhaps sleep paralysis does not account for all of these experiences, but I’d wager they are responsible for a good many of them.

    Without a shred of corroborating physical evidence, we’re just suppose believe that what you (and others) think happened actually happened? You’re making claims you can’t prove. I’m sure you think you had this experience, but I’m not about to leap on the least likely scenario when there are so many more likely explanations.

  45. Kevin

    @CanadianLeigh – I’ve been an amateur astronomer for most of my life, and in all the decades of being out under the stars I can state for a fact I have never seen anything like a “UFO.”

    Also, as a scientist, I believe in hard data and hard facts. And that is something the UFO nutjobs can’t produce.

  46. Matt

    The ten minute video clip of the LKL show that CNN posted on its website also fails to show or even mention that Bill Nye or any other skeptics appeared on the show. Very poor and misleading journalism by CNN. Maybe we should stop calling it “journalism” and just call it “marketing”.

  47. Celtic_Evolution

    @ Michael L

    Celtic, I saw that too, and immediately thought, “Light fixture!”

    Yeah… and as an experiment, I brought my wife in, and asked her about it, and in 3 seconds she said (and excuse the crass reference… hehe…), “that’s one of those ‘boob lights’ like we have in the hallway”. :)

    I also asked her if she’s ever experienced sleep paralysis and she immediately shuddered and said, “yeah… and it’s always some horrible vision or something I really want to not be happening but am just powerless to do anything about… I HATE those”.

    Oh… and I hadn’t noticed this when I wrote it, but I made the point earlier that perhaps there was some connection perhaps between “Atrueoriginall”‘s credulousness and a need to feel special… without realizing the ironic connection between that point and her screen-name…

  48. CanadianLeigh

    @Kevin – Thanks, I had actually meant to say “as UFO witnesses”. No one I have ever spoken to at a star party has ever claimed to see a UFO, and some have admitted to wanting to when they acutally have the equipment to make high quality photos or videos of these “objects”. I even know a comet hunter who videos the sky all night long looking for comets. If anyone would capture aomething on tape, he would. There are also several researchers in northern Canada recording the sky with wide angle lenses every clear night to record the northern lights. Again none of the photo shy UFO’s have shown themselves. I have seen some video that is hard to explain what it is, but they never have any guage for prospective to allow for proper examination. We then have to fall back on the requirement of real physical evidence.

  49. Helioprogenus

    @atrueoriginal, we may be making light of your situation in a tongue and cheek manner, and I’m sure you truly believe what you experienced was an honest aliean abduction, but without proof, your story doesn’t hold up. Evidence is the only think we have at this point to maintain rational thought. You could say you saw the virgin mary materialize out of thin air directly in front of you, and yet, with no evidence, we’re supposed to believe it? How about if 15 people saw the virgin mary suddenly reach down to earth, yet with no shred, absolutely no shred of physical proof. Oh, well, the military and church leaders conspired to hide her so blah blah blah.

    Perhaps your observations seem true to you, but our minds are very complex things, and we can be fooled into seeing and hearing objects that don’t really exist. After all, what we see and hear, and then process in our brains are just simulations of the real world, and in doing so, there are truly psychological happenings that cause some type of frame-shift in the mind. What you viewed as an alien abduction, fully convinced of it that none of us will ever dissuade you, people viewed as witch craft, or demon possession hundreds of years prior (in some places, it still occurs). Maybe you should check your grain stores for ergot poisoning.

  50. @CanadianLeigh & Kevin, when I’ve been in a very dark spot observing, I must say, there’s always been the thought, “Hmm, if these little grey guys are real, I’m really screwed out here!” Fortunately, they have never shown up. Although I have been freaked out by several very bright “Shooting stars” over the years. I think I watched too much X-Files. :)

  51. Phil, I generally like your website but the hostility you frequently display toward those you disagree with detracts from your point. I sympathize when your hostility is directed at the distinctly anti-science — such as creationists — but at other times you go overboard.

    While I agree that any particular claim that a UFO sighting represents an extraterrestrial spacecraft should be granted with more than a healthy dose of skepticism, your readers deserve to know there is a growing and I think healthy debate over the very real possibility intelligent life is out there and it may have the ability and the inclination to travel to Earth.

    The people suggesting this possibility and not crackpots, they are legitimate scientists like you. In fact, at an upcoming SETI/astrobiology conference in Paris in September, one of the controversies to be debated is the wisdom of so-called Active SETI, or METI (Messages to Extraterrestrial Intelligence).

    This controversy revolves around the possibility advanced extraterrestrial civilizations may exist in our galactic neighborhood (i.e., the ones SETI is searching for) and that they may have the ability to travel here and may not be benign. (Without recapping the entire debate here, readers can simply Google the phrase “Active SETI.”)

    Astronomers typically dismiss out of hand the possibility of interstellar travel, even though statistics tell us (based on the age of the galaxy) that if we do have galactic neighbors, odds are they are fantastically older and far more advanced than we are.

    Engineers, on the other hand,frequently do not dismiss the possibility of interstellar travel.(Remember, it was two bicycle makers from Ohio who built the first airplane, not a scientist.) Hence, even NASA is spending a very modest sum researching Breakthrough Propulsion Physics that could someday enable humans — who have been a spacefaring species for only 50 years — to achieve interstellar travel.

    I could write far more (and have at my own blog: http://estimateofthesituation.blogspot.com/ )where I have blogged extensively on this controversy and its implications.

    My point is this: if you do not dismiss the Drake Equation hypothesis underlying SETI and much of astrobiology as insane (maybe you do), one does not have to be a crackpot to suggest an advanced technological civilization that may be 100,000 or even millions of years older than we are has achieved at least robotic interstellar travel.

    Any particular claim should be treated with skepticism, but the extraterrestrial hypothesis is worthy of examination and not thoughtless ridicule. At least a growing number of your colleagues think so.

  52. CanadianLeigh

    I was at a dark location not too far from home at about 2am surrounded by trees and farmland, not realizing one of the farms was raising peacocks. One of the damn things let out a screech that just about made me fill my drawers. I was seeing all sorts of things after that.

  53. Adam Korbitz, I do not dismiss out of hand aliens. In fact, I have done countless interviews where I talk about that possibility.

    What I dismiss are exactly what I talked about: blurry photos, crop circles, and evidenceless claims.

    In fact, I write about this *extensively* in my upcoming book.

  54. This reminds me of a story I heard one time from Georgia, I think. Some guy saw a huge triangular shaped craft silently drifting over his field. Fortunately, he was prepared. He had a 12 gauge shotgun with him, and began firing away at the object. Suddenly a hatch opens on the bottom, and out pops some guy in combat fatigues, yelling, “For the love of God, STOP shooting!” When I read that a few years ago, I almost fell on the floor laughing.

  55. Windbits

    That UFO picture on atrueorignall’s page is the most hilarious UFO pic I’ve seen. Definitely worth a look if you haven’t already. If the photographer would just look up next time he/she is in their living room they’ll see the UFO again. Thanks!

  56. @Celtic_Evolution

    “With a complete and utter lack of any corroberating physical evidence of any kind, whatsoever, I most certainly can (completely dismiss witness testimony).”

    So are you saying that ALL the witnesses that have ever come forward about a military cover-up of the phenomenon or the phenomenon itself are outright lying? Eye witness testimony is an instrumental tool in the judicial system and to completely dismiss is dangerously irrsponsible. As a sceptic, as you proclaim you are, you are supposed to judge ALL the evidence on its merrits, not just the physical kind. True?

    “I was in the military, and I can tell you that some of the best regarded officers were also some of the loopiest. And I currently work with a brilliant aerospace engineer who also happens to be convinced of the existence of Niburu. So please stop with the “infallable credentials” fallacy. Good, even intelligent, people have been conned into believing stranger crap than this.”

    I absolutely agree that credentials certainly are not everything. However, if the US govt. trusts certain people with certain tasks and equipment ie: Gordon Cooper – Ex Nasa Astronaut and witness to the cover-up; then surely they must maintain some level common sense, or, I would argue, as in Cooper’s case, they would not be trusted with a billion dollar spacecraft. I am quite sure significant psychological testing is undergone before many of these people are aloowed to perform the duties they perform.

    To be brilliant or a genius often you will find that many of these people are, should we say, eccentric. That tends to come with the territory of a brilliant mind. Also, many of the military witnesses or military industrial complex witnesses have nothing to gain by coming forward with this information. They are not writing books, they are not making documentaries, so why do it? I would agree that some who come out with these stories have financial motives behind them, and any logical person should almost immediately dismiss these but what about those that do not?

    Also i never said their credentials were infallible.

    “It wasn’t a good point (sceptics do not research the phenomenon themselves)… it was an out and out lie. Skeptics don’t research the phenomenon? On the contrary… the very job of the skeptic is to research the phenomenon. And we have done so… extensively… over and over again… far more than the “believer” in fact. And come to the same conclusion… every time.”

    In my experience and the books I have read of sceptics (yes, i do research both sides of the story) it seems that sceptics simply try to refute point by point research that others have done. If you know of some material whereby a sceptic has completely conducted his own research and used only his research to come to the conclusion that this is “crap”, please suggest some, I would be very interested to read them.

    “Huh? Which skeptics would those be? Citation please.”

    Sorry, i meant scientists. Although I hope very much that there are some recognised sceptics out there that do not honestly think we know EVERYTHING there is to know about physics. In fact, I believe one of the sceptics on King’s show openly said that wormholes were not as bad a theory as some of the others they were throwing around. Cited

    a 1950 memo obtained through FOIA from W B Smith, a Canadian Engineer who wrote a memo to the Canadian govt. In this memo he unequivocally states that:

    “OK… so a 1950’s kook, who also happens to be an engineer, (see my reason above for why that means nothing where this matter is concerned), writes a letter to the Canadian government where he expresses his opinion. So what? I could do the exact same thing, but without actual evidence, I’m just another nutjob writing unsolicited memos to the government. Like a million other people. What does that have to do with proof of the existence of Alien visitors?”

    1. I never, at any stage, mention aliens. The only mention in the memo of this is that Smith mentions the conclusion of the 2 books he has cited, he in no way asserts he believes this to the case. Once again you have done what I have stated in my above post that sceptics always do.

    2. He had access to Canadian Embassy staff, he mentions that “Mr. Wright, Defense Research Board liaison officer at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, was extremely anxious for me to get in touch with Doctor Solandt, Chairman of the Defense Research Board” whem he later states he did meet with. This does not sound like an ordinary citizen, like you or me, he has high level governement and scientific contacts.

  57. To Helioprogenus : Like I said, you can never honestly believe because you never observed. You can only sit on the outside and wonder about the possibility.

    Only I can believe and I do. There isn’t an ounce in me that doesn’t know what happened.

    Before he died Barney Hill said that his the tape recording of his hypnosis could be released to the public. Here it is. I just want you to hear a little of what takes place and maybe you’ll understand just a little more. Again, I’m not asking you to believe because I know that you cannot.

    Now I’m hoping that this blog takes address urls. lol

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UiKyo1vq3_I

  58. Celtic_Evolution

    @ Adam Korbitz

    there is a growing and I think healthy debate over the very real possibility intelligent life is out there and it may have the ability and the inclination to travel to Earth.

    You make a huge leap between the first part of your statement and the second, and do so as if it were a subtle difference. And therein lies the fault in your argument.

    None of us here, myself included, doubts that life may, and in fact probably does, exist on other worlds. But the leap of faith comes in following that logic out to insinuate that intelligent life is capable of, and has visited, our planet.

    None of us has ever stated, contrary to what was stated earlier, that it’s abjectly “impossible” to make the trip to visit us… but I have to ask again, where is the evidence? In all this time… all these years, not one single piece of definable, testible evidence. Which leaves only a few possibilities:

    1. Aliens can travel to earth. They do, but are just secretive about it as to not alert us to their presence, so as not to interfere, as it were (think Star Trek’s “Prime Directive”). And they accomplish this succesfully, in which case we wouldn’t know it, so there’s no debate.

    2. Scenario No. 1 is true, but the Aliens, despite their superior technology and intellect that would allow them to make the journey, are a bit clumsy and occassionally slip up and get “caught on camera”… but not by people who’s job it is to look at the sky almost continually… no… they only get caught by amature photographers with fair to poor equipment. Hmmm… tough to believe…

    3. Scenario no. 1 is true, but the gov’t knows about it, and removes evidence from people places and maintains the cover-up with threats of death and destruction of livlihood. But its OK if you go on TV and blab about it. The gov’t doesn’t care about that. Great X-files scenario… not one ounce of actual proof of that in the real world.

    4. Aliens have the capacity to travel to this planet, but only a very few of them have evolved to that point, and have as of yet not discovered earth and its multitude of species, or just have not gotten to us yet. We can’t really know that one, now can we? Not at this time.

    5. Aliens don’t have the capacity to travel to this planet.

    Given the lack of any shred of evidence for 1-4, I’m gonna have to go with 5 until I see some real evidence otherwise. Deosn’t mean I think it’s impossile, just unlikely based on the evidence we have so far.

  59. jb

    I watched most of it live…i got a chuckle when one of the ufo believers said that the reason that the states aren’t admitting that ufo’s exist, if I heard him right, is that humans will then want to send a group of people to represent earth and the representatives will be picked by a vote…and since the States only have 300 million while china and india have LOTS more they won’t be represented correctly…HUHH!!!
    I felt bad for bill nye…

  60. Davidlpf

    Okay for the ones that believe tht aliens have visited Earth why do they probe every male in a rather awkward spot, or go and chop some deFenseless cattle.

    I do think there is life out there but I think we lack proof that they have been here.

  61. Chip

    Larry King also recently had a horrible program I happened to catch while looking for real news. His show that night was devoted to child psychics. The obscene thing is that these deluded kids were being manipulated and encouraged by adults. Personally, I think misleading these kids is tantamount to a form of child abuse. Among the smug panelists, was the ‘worthy-of-a-South-Park-parody’: John Edward.

  62. Celtic_Evolution

    @ Brent Plowright…

    Oh geez… just saw your website.

    Seriously, Brent… I could spend all night arguing with you about the ability of even the most credible, credential-laden witnesses in dozens of criminal trials giving erroneous testimony, AND, furthermore I will state that almost never is someone convicted of a serious crime based solely on witness testimony. Physiocal evidence of some sort is almost (and note that I will qualify that statement with almost, because that fallability of our judicial system was already covered earlier in this thread, re: DNA evidence) always needed for conviction.

    So, the only part of your diatribe I will even touch is the first part, cause it’s really the only thing you have to lean on… So are you saying that ALL the witnesses that have ever come forward about a military cover-up of the phenomenon or the phenomenon itself are outright lying?

    Nice strawman, but I never said that… I said they are probably wrong. Could be deluded, could be confused, afflicted with a physical condition that made them think they saw things a certain way… or the could be lying. I don’t know… I just contend they are wrong. Yes. All of them. Every one. Every last one.

    And why? Well, I hate to beat a dead horse here, but again… in all the time we’ve been hearing about these UFO phenomenon… not one single piece of hard evidence? Not one? And you think I should simply accept eye-witness accounts as the ONLY needed proof? Look… 25 years ago thousands of people swore David Copperfield made the Statue of Liberty disappear. You think there weren’t some credible, credential laden people in that audience. Ask any good illusionist about the power of the human mind to be easily deceived.

  63. @CanadianLeigh
    I have been ou observing on numerous occasions from my southern Ontario dark site, thinking to myself how lovely the night is, only to have it shattered by the death screams of some small animal encountering a fox or coyote. Kinda disconcerting. And though I know they are harmless to me, I feel a lot better in my observatory…

  64. Still haven’t seen a UFO though.

  65. gopher65

    I occasionally am awake and recording memories, and even thinking and reasoning (to a degree), but I’m …. not all there. A couple months ago I woke up in the middle of the night, and I was convinced that there was a book flying around the room (it had wings, Harry Potter style). I ran over to the door of my room, flipped on the light switch, and then grabbed a pillow. I spent a good (and looong) 45 seconds hunting that darned flying book (“Where could it have gone! It was just right here!”) before my brain suddenly rebooted and I went, “WTF am I doing!!!?” to myself.

    It felt incredibly real, and I have full memories of that book flying around. That’s not the first that kind of thing has happened to me, but it is the most vivid. It is a kind of half-dream type thing. Very strange.

    Anyway, for me it was a flying book. I have a freaking library in my bedroom, so that isn’t surprising. For someone else? Maybe an alien. Maybe a sex dream. Maybe they can’t shake the feeling that they are five years old and their mom is tucking them into bed. Maybe a ghost. It could be anything. For me, discounting the existence of a Harry Potter style flying book isn’t that difficult. But it was terrifying, cause that book was out to get me, and I couldn’t defend myself against it. If I had dreamt up something more real-ish than a flying book, I’d have been seriously screwed up, trying to figure out whether or not it had actually happened.

  66. Katie

    The flying balls of light around the missiles looked an awful lot like ball lightning to me. That stuff is just weird. Why make things up when nature provides us with weird and wonderful things like that?

  67. jb Says: “I felt bad for bill nye…”

    So did I. And that’s it right there. So did many, many people who grew up with him and his crazy examples and silliness, which made for a great teacher. My daughter grew up with Bill Nye the Science guy and so he was our buddy. This is the way everyone felt and I wished that the ufologists would have made a mental note on that beforehand because it somewhat hurt our trek in all of this.

    I have a few blogs so I have Google and Blog alerts and I cannot count the number of articles that have been flying around the Internet since the evening of the 18th about Bill Nye having his feelings hurt on national television.

    Those researchers knew who he was certainly and they know that he has a great following because of the person he is but when they also realized that he had really no real knowledge on UFO sightings they couldn’t hold back what they had to say. His boo boo on the Phoenix thing is what buried him, so to speak. As well, the ufologist are so burnt out with the likes of Shermer and MaGaha that they were probably ready to spit bullets at Bill Nye anyway.

    Then again, without using the word and instead dancing around that word, Bill Nye basically called Bob Jacob’s a liar first. So who’s to blame?

    So maybe Larry should get a skeptic (for balance) who does have a fair amount of research on UFOs under his belt. They do exist, I read an article today and it was written by just such a person.

    Shermer and MaGaha are just skeptics (skeptics of anything) and again never really researched the subjects to any great degree. They throw out the same ole same that “it could have been this and it could have been that” when there are people sitting there telling them in their own words that they saw what they saw. When the skeptic says something to the contrary at that point, the witness to the UFO is now extremely offended because they were just called a liar without using the word. So sure it’ll get heavy.

    Bill Nye will survive but like I said previously, I really doubt he’ll say yes to Larry again.

  68. cynara

    i feel sorry for the skeptics i do…the time is running out where you can ignore what is going on skeptics.
    “Derr ufo” search phrase at youtube.com… or use search phrase “new jersey ufo” . it is not that skeptics cannot think- they can- we have to wait and see once they see the proper material if they actually will change. search phrase “uk ufo” at google news will show you england is flooded with ufo sightings for the last year or so. the author of the top info saying the former air force officers are not credible witnesses to ufos being real is just not able to think rationally. from , Cy

  69. Mark Hansen

    To atrueoriginall:
    I have to agree with the crowd on this one. Your Galveston “UFO” is definitely terrestrial. Your tweaking actually helped to show up the floral-type design in the glass. To me it looks like a light either in or behind a glass or crystal fruit bowl. As the other posters have pointed out, it could also be a light fitting.

  70. Atrueoriginall, Phillip Klass was a noted skeptic and UFO researcher maybe you should look at some of his work.

  71. Celtic Evolution (and Phl): Read my entire post again, you obviously miss the point or choose to twist my words.

    I’m not claiming aliens have travelled to Earth. I’m only claiming legitimate scientists (other than Phil) are now suggesting we seriously consider they may be capable of doing it if they exist. Other scientists are also suggesting we should bother to actually look for the evidence (which scientists, in general, do not do today). If you don’t look for the evidence, you will not find it except serendipitously. And if you dismiss out of hand that the evidence can possibly exist, you certainly will not look for it or find it.

    Seriously, you guys sound like the skeptics who once ridiculed those who claimed rocks (meteorites) fell from the sky or that germs caused disease! Folks with your viewpoint will often say, “Show me a crashed saucer.” Well, what if there aren’t any to be had? What if the only evidence we have to work with are photographs, radar data and corresponding eyewitness testimony? Do we dismiss out of hand all reports or theories about physical phenomena under these circumstances? Good grief, theoretically we knew for decades that other solar systems should exist but didn’t find the first one until the 1990s! We only looked because the theory said if we did we would find the evidence.

    I would like to see less ridicule on these pages and more examinaton of the theoretical assumptions underlying astrobiology, exoplanets, SETI, humanity’s own study of interstellar travel, and the implications of these fields. Then, maybe, you’ll have the groundwork laid for a thoughtful debate of the UFO phenomena.

    But, it’s your blog Phil. If your readers want what I’m looking for, they can check out mine: http://estimateofthesituation.blogspot.com/

  72. Troy

    I don’t have cable but still have an opinion: I wish they’d replace him. He’s propped up Sylvia Browne, doesn’t offer up enough of the skeptic perspective. He’s abrasive and rude, not telegenic in the least. He has a prime time time slot that anyone could attract a plethora of viewers. To some degree I suppose they are giving the public what they want, but hey why not challenge the populous and try to make them more informed and enlightened? To me skepticism should be the prime attribute of a journalist (as well as any investigator). King isn’t one and his show is a failure at anything except being fluff.

  73. Andy Beaton

    Put me down as another amateur astronomer with thousands of hours under the night sky who has never seen a UFO. But I have seen satellites, aurorae, space stations, meteors, underlit birds, planets, the moon, airplanes, bags-and-candles, balloons, blimps and spooky clouds, all things that people unused to the sky could easily mistake for UFOs.
    I would like to see some real physical evidence. Otherwise, how can I safely distinguish a UFO spotter from a liar, a nut, or someone who can’t tell his fundament from his elbow?

  74. Andy Beaton

    btw, Bill Nye is a big hero of mine and my kids, especially for making the effort to educate these goofballs. Bill, if you read this blog, you rock.

  75. Adam, you wrote a 9 paragraph comment saying that aliens and FTL are a possibility. That strongly indicates you think it’s viable. That is a logical and obvious conclusion to draw from what you wrote.

    I am not claiming they aren’t traveling to Earth. I am saying the evidence anyone has of this is worthless.

    Let me make this clear: Show me the evidence. Real evidence, evidence that would pass a scientific test.

    That’s all I ask. Some piece of reality. When I see that, then we can talk. Until then, all UFO believers have is an invisible pink unicorn in the garage.

    I said the same thing of Atrueoriginall, and what does he give us? A recording of a guy making claims. I cannot be any more clear on this. Eyewitness testimony is worthless as evidence. it is only the first step — if that — in an investigation. Corpus delicti is the key here.

  76. Geoff

    King might have been something at one time, and might have had some journalistic integrity but clearly he’s gotten sloppy and lazy. He acts like he’s just waiting to retire.

    Shame on him. Give it a rest already and get a new Anderson Cooper in his place.

  77. Andrew

    Phil,

    I really like you. I love watching your bad astronomy videos etc. and reading your blog, but come on man! One hundred billion stars in our galaxy and one hundred billion galaxies in our universe. Are you honestly trying to tell me (without physical evidence) that we are the only ones in the inhabitable universe?

    So you look for solid evidence. You use the method. Thats great, but science does not hold all the answers. Yes, I’m a very strong advocate of proper scientific education and using the method. However, look around you -SETI, disclosure project, the SETI league…… Do these people look for solid physical evidence? Of course they do. But I’m sure they also believe that other forms of life exist in the universe. Surely you wouldn’t call Jill Tarter and Seth Shostak non-credible both being trained in the method?

    Face the facts. The Disclosure project was aired on the national press club in 2001 with numerous eyewitness accounts of UFO and extraterrestrial activity. It just so happened that 9/11 occurred around the same time and as a result it did not get the coverage it deserved.

    The evidence for is mounting up my friend. Hundreds of extrasolar planets have already been found. Its only a matter of time.

  78. IBY

    Can anyone explain to me the phenomena of sleep paralysis? It sounds interesting.

  79. Yoeman

    Ya know, I’m torn on this issue, ’cause a big part of me WANTS to believe, but
    the skeptic in me knows how unlikely it is that we are being visited by extra-terrestrials.
    I’m sure if we are, though, they’re putting up the galactic equivalent of
    caution tape around this little ball!
    Michio Kaku allows for the possibility, so I’ll keep a little hope going, but I’m certainly
    not holding my breath.
    BTW, definitely a lamp cover, no doubt about that, anyway.

  80. IBY, Davidlpf gave this link way up the top somewhere
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleep_paralysis

    I remember hearing about an experiment on cats where the the dohickey in the brain of the cat that turns on the paralysis in sleep was disabled. When the cat dreamed it got up and ran around and generally acted out its dreams.

  81. John

    Adam Korbitz:

    What if the only evidence we have to work with are photographs, radar data and corresponding eyewitness testimony? Do we dismiss out of hand all reports or theories about physical phenomena under these circumstances?

    You mean ambiguous photographs, inconclusive radar data, and subjective, rarely corroborated eyewitness testimony? Hell yes, we dismiss those! We reject them right into the dustbin. Such “information” is tolerated (and only barely) only in the court system, where some sort of conclusion must be drawn in a timely fashion – at that point, you use whatever you can get your hands on. And anyway, you’ll consistently find that hard evidence trumps eyewitness testimony.

    In science, though, there is rarely any such urgency. In science we WAIT for the hard evidence to hang our hats on. Once we get it, then we probe (so to speak) to find more of it.

  82. JoeB

    About twenty years ago, I took a group of friends, mostly fellow teachers, through Haleakala “Crater”, on the island of Maui. We spent the first night in Kapalaoa Cabin, at about 7000 ft elevation. During the fast descending tropical twilight, someone came in and said, “Everybody come look, there’s a UFO!” We rushed out, and sure enough, there was a bright object just above the mountainous horizon opposite us. I, being the nerdy physics teacher and (very) amateur astronomer, suggested that it was a star or planet. “But look! It’s jumping around! And it’s changing color!” By this time, everyone was getting cold (50 degrees F. is very cold for us) and went back inside. I did my duty, put on some more clothes, and went back out to watch. As the sky darkened, the object rose a bit higher. I could soon see a faint star to its left and another to its right. A few more minutes and I recognized the leading edge of Auriga rising. The UFO was clearly alpha-Aurigae, or Capella, one of the brightest stars in the sky. After a few more minutes soaking up the sight, I went inside. I began to explain our UFO, but no-one was really interested. I think a few were mildly upset that I was destroying their illusion, and ruining the story they might want to relate at a cocktail party back in Honolulu.

  83. @Celtic_Evolution

    Mate, please. First of all, would you answer my question. As a sceptic are you not supposed to look at ALL the evidence, rather than dismiss witness testimony? Please answer that. If you do not consider the witness testimony and their credentials then you are not doing your job properly. It is as simple as that.

    I am not saying that we should accept that that UFOs are alien spacecraft from another planet and because a few people with credentials admit to either seeing them or say they’ve been working on comparmentalised projects that it is all true and it is as good as physical evidence. So i am not saying it is proof, I am saying it is evidence that should be considered on a witness by witness basis, not to do so is irresponsible research leading to innaccuarte conclusions.

    Another question for you. Do you believe in god, or are you religous in any manner? I’m sure you see where i am going with this but please answer the question honestly for the sake of this debate.

    Celtic_Evolution Says:
    July 21st, 2008 at 8:39 pm
    @ Brent Plowright…

    Oh geez… just saw your website.

    Seriously, Brent… I could spend all night arguing with you about the ability of even the most credible, credential-laden witnesses in dozens of criminal trials giving erroneous testimony, AND, furthermore I will state that almost never is someone convicted of a serious crime based solely on witness testimony. Physiocal evidence of some sort is almost (and note that I will qualify that statement with almost, because that fallability of our judicial system was already covered earlier in this thread, re: DNA evidence) always needed for conviction.

    Next you say that the witnesses are probably wrong, then you go on to say the are all definitely wrong. Which is it? You CONTEND they are wrong, but you don’t know. Just as no physical proof exists to confirm that there are craft flying around in our skies, no one has been able to disprove the theory, whether you say it is alien or terrestrial. No one has been able to disprove the testimony by many of the more credible witnesses. Therefore an investigation needs to be done in to the phenomena.

    Your Copperfield comparison is ridiculous by the way. A quick illusion compared to someone who says that they have worked on compartmentalised projects involving technology we currently don’t believe exists that have service records to back it up. C’mon mate, keep the debate logical.

    As for you ignoring the rest of my post, you obviously can’t answer me or you would have done so. typical sceptic, take the material they can best use to back up a pre-determined hypothesis. Pathetic mate!!

  84. Andrew, c’mon. I know the numbers of stars in our Universe, and as I wrote before, it’s far more likely there is life int he Universe besides us than there isn’t.

    But I cannot be any more clear on this: that does not mean they are coming here.

    And without evidence, without solid evidence, you cannot claim otherwise. You simply can’t, unless you want to declare UFOlogy a religion. Because without any sort of solid evidence, it certainly isn’t a science.

  85. TheBlackCat

    As a sceptic are you not supposed to look at ALL the evidence, rather than dismiss witness testimony? Please answer that. If you do not consider the witness testimony and their credentials then you are not doing your job properly. It is as simple as that.

    We are supposed to weigh the reliability of the evidence against the nature of the thing being claimed. The more extraordinary the claim, the more reliable the evidence needs to be to support it. Eyewitness testimony is extremely unreliable. I wouldn’t count on it to tell me what color a car was that just drove by, not to mention whether we are being visited by creatures from another planet. They may be right, but given the nature of the claims being supported eyewitness testimony is simply not sufficient.

    Another question for you. Do you believe in god, or are you religous in any manner? I’m sure you see where i am going with this but please answer the question honestly for the sake of this debate.

    No, and no. Next question.

  86. As has already been stated, eyewitness testimony is notorious for being inaccurate. Two or three individuals can witness the same car accident, yet come up with very different versions of it. Undeniable proof would be, imho, a craft, or bodies.

  87. @The BlackCat

    Well at least you admit all the evidence is to be taken into consideration. But I understand your point and I agree with it. However, as in the Stephenville case, radar evidence has now been obtained that backs up some of the eyewitness testimony. Radar tracking plus eye witness testimony must surely lend credibility to this event. I understand that either by itself is not credible evidence but the combination is.

    Good and good. Any sceptic that believes in god or organised religion has not a leg to stand on.

  88. Brent, I admit, that evidence is intriguing, but at present, proves nothing, except that something flew over Stephenville. The investigators also admitted that their investigation was far from over.

  89. IBY

    Thanks for the link! Experiencing sleep paralysis sounds terrifying.

  90. John

    @ Phil Plait

    Quote “What I dismiss are exactly what I talked about: blurry photos, crop circles, and evidenceless claims.

    In fact, I write about this *extensively* in my upcoming book.”

    What a pointless book that will be, we know most sightings are crap already. Do something useful like discussing SETIs implications and sightings with radar evidence to support eyewitness accounts, like what happened in Stephenville. MUFON have a 77 page report on this @ http://www.mufon.com/documents/MUFONStephenvilleRadarReport.pdf
    Instead of sceptics just saying radar is not accurate, they should make that assertion with evidence relevant to this case.

  91. rodgerT NZ

    Why is it these ufologists ,paranormal experts, hunters of yeti`s ,sasquatches and other assorted nutjobs can`t take a photograph to save themselves?

  92. IBY, it is, it affects me at times, but I just can’t move and feel like I’m choking.

  93. John, thanks for dismissing my book without reading it.

    What I meant to say was that I talk about the possibility of life elsewhere extensively, and what it would mean if there is intelligence out there.

  94. John

    Sleep paralysis is actually fun if you’re not easily scared. I had an incident of sleep paralysis where 3 flying saucers hovered outside my window, I then waved at them and one of them flew towards me and shrunk in size and flew right thru’ the window and then just disappeared. Next thing I remember is standing at the other side of the room. It was not induced by alcohol or drugs, and I hardly think aliens are gonna waste time doing that to someone. It did seem real for about a second, until I remembered about sleep paralysis, and somehow I must have jumped out of bed after regaining body motor functions. It did have like a floating out of body experience but at the same time feeling unable to move. Maybe next time it happens I will fly into the ship like an abduction instead of the ship into me. LOL.

  95. @ Michael L

    I agree that it proves nothing. But it certainly provides a scenario where eye witness testimony combined with other evidence makes a good case for further investigation. That is all I have been saying, is that the evidence we have including eye witness testimony, radar evidence, physical trace evidence at some supposed witness sights such as abnormally high levels of radiation, indentations etc. warrant further investigation into a real phenomenon.

    Let me just clear up my position here for all of you. I do not believe that UFOs are definitely alien space craft. I do believe that 99% of UFO sightings can be explained by natural or terrestrial phenomena, and that of those 1% left most (99%), if not all are covert / compartmentalised military projects / “air”craft. I believe there is still that tiny percentage that can not be explained by these or other conventional reasons.

    I am not terribly concerned with whether or not aliens are visiting earth at present, although i do admit it is a possibility, as anything is possible. My main concern is that the military industrial complex is withholding technology from the world at large that could make significant inroads to the energy crisis we now face. Whether you believe that crisis to be global warming or simply that we are running out of oil doesn’t really matter at this stage we need to a way to produce energy that does not produce waste ie; nuclear or nucular as the beloved US president would say, as nuclear is a band-aid solution.

    If there is a form of energy being withheld from the public it is unacceptable due to the current state of the world’s affairs.

  96. Brent, radar tracking on its own has about the same credibility as a dodgy digital photo ie. not much. Weather, birds and drug smugglers can all show up on radar given the right conditions. All are much more plausible than supernatural explanations.

  97. Hey, Phil, some of us can’t wait til the book comes out! :)

  98. Jose

    @Atrueoriginall
    Science you seem to think that what happened in Phoenix is good evidence of alien visitation, why is it that so many people got good footage of the flares, but not a single person was able to get any footage of the real space ships?

  99. Fortunately the military industrial complex ain’t very good at keeping secrets. If they have a super secret source of energy it has been piggy backed on good ol’ non-secret research or could be inferred from such. Haven’t heard about any new forms of exotic energy in anything but conspiracy “literature” so…

  100. John

    I remember reading around 60% of abductions scenarios are sleep paralysis, but the remaining 40% are from subjects already awake at the time. How do we explain the other 40%? Can we likely attribute them to something easily explainable by science? If so, why?

    I’m not implying that some are alien abductions, just wondering if any claimed abduction can be categorized as being unexplainable.

  101. Jose

    Why is it these ufologists ,paranormal experts, hunters of yeti’s ,sasquatches and other assorted nutjobs can’t take a photograph to save themselves?

    What about the bigfoot they got to play along Han Solo in Star Wars. I know some people will say it a guy in a suit, but it’s clear that there are no humans who could fit in that suit. And even if they could, its movements are so un-human, that no man could ever imitate them.

  102. Well, until “they”, whoever “they” are, actually land, we’ll never know. :)

  103. John, I wouldn’t mind knowing who claims the 60/40 thing? Sounds like a claim made by someone predisposed to abduction theories. I’m guessing there’d be more than a few percent that just make stuff up like Travis Walton.

  104. Shane, never mind that, what about the hundreds of thousands that would be “in” on this? Do you honestly think this could be kept secret for so long? Not likely.

  105. John

    @Phil

    “What I meant to say was that I talk about the possibility of life elsewhere extensively, and what it would mean if there is intelligence out there.”

    That definitely sounds more interesting

  106. As far as SETI goes, what if we’re just the first? It should be our mission, our duty, to go out and be available for the next batch of aliens on the way up the evolutionary ladder and let them know that they are not alone.

    Or we could buzz their planets and abduct them for anal probes.

  107. @ Shane

    Indeed, which is why the eye witness accounts lend credibilty to the radar info and vice-versa. Also, I think you would find that those things you mentioned can not perfom in the way that the radar info indicates in the Stephensville case.

  108. @ Shane

    I think you would find the military and military-industrial complex are very good at keeping secrets. Anyone know what the stealth aircraft skin was made of before they released the fact they had the aircraft to the public? No? EXACTLY!!

  109. @Shane, assuming they have an anus to probe!

  110. John

    “The majority of the abduction experiences they studied occurred at night, and almost 60 percent of the “intense” reports were sleep related. Of the intense experiences, nearly a quarter involved symptoms similar to sleep paralysis.”

    http://www.csicop.org/si/9805/abduction.html

    By the Skeptical Inquirer magazine, May/June 1998

  111. @ Michael L

    Do you know how super-secret military projects work? They are compartmentalised. So if you are working on one part of a project with a team of say 1000 people, you may never come in to contact with anyone that is also involved in the same project but working on a different aspect of the same project. Of those 1000 people working on that particular part of the project 2 or 3 people may only know what relevance that part has to another part and even that the other part even exists. Complicated? A little, but not really. It is the way secret projects have been kept secret for decades. This is not some wacky conspiracy, it is just the way it works.

  112. John

    I have an explanation for the Stephenville radar trace. It was a radar signal bouncing off a satellite, a Texas mockingbird and then deflected from the sceptics ass into the radar dish. Well some would say more likely than ET.

  113. Bigfoot

    @Jose,

    That Chewie guy may not have looked human, but he was certainly no Bigfoot.

  114. Anyone know what the stealth aircraft skin was made of before they released the fact they had the aircraft to the public
    Nope, I still don’t. But the plane had been seen, photographed and heard before it was ever officially released. Janes Defence Weekly is usually a good source for breaking news of new technology before the gummint does. I think there are nerds that camp outside of Groom Lake Nevada just on the off chance they may see something new.

  115. I’m talking about keeping the lid on a world wide conspiracy of being visited by ET’s, not top secret human military technology. To believe the Conspiracy nuts, that we are being visited, would take a massive unprecedented cover up. Even if only 1,000 people knew, what are the chances that someone wouldn’t blow the lid off it?

  116. Exactly. We still don’t. A great example of how secrets can be kept by the military-industrial complex when they need to.

  117. Now, if you are proposing that these sightings involve secret “Black Projects”, I am far more likely to believe that. Although it beats me why the military is buzzing a bunch of Texas ranchers rather than deploying it where it would be most useful. I can think of 2 wars that could use such an aircraft to bring them to a quick end.

  118. Sorry, above comment was for shane.

    @ Michael L

    By blow the lid off it, you mean fly a ufo into CNN and say ‘Hey, check out what we kept secret all these years!!’

    Or do you mean willing to testify in front of congress about it and swear on the bible that what they say is true? Because there are witnesses that are willing to do just that.

  119. Jose

    @Bigfoot
    Ah, I see the confusion. You must mean Western Bigfoot. I’m talking about Southern Bigfoot (Sometimes known as Skunk Ape, Stink Ape, or Swamp Monkey). I should have been more specific.

    By the way, you were great in Harry and the Hendersons.

  120. Brent, not a good example of secret keeping. It would be like saying that formula for the icing is a secret but the whole cake is out there ready to be eaten. The military industrial complex (MIC) is great at keeping the formula for icing secret but they can never keep the cake under wraps. The over stretch an analogy the cake is the point not the icing.

  121. I keep hearing about these people say that they are willing to testify, but they seem to be associating themselves with Steven Greer, and discrediting themselves. I mean, come on, we’re supposed to believe someone that stands on a hill side waving a flash light at the sky, claiming that’s how he contacts his “friends?” That almost makes Hoagland seem credible!

    I’m not trying to be rude, but the UFO community is loaded with cranks.

    As far as those witnesses, what PROOF, tangible PROOF do they have? Not, “I worked on an army base and SAW a flying object land, and, blah, blah, blah. Now, they may very well have seen something, but a claim such as “There are ET’s visiting us today,” needs more than someone saying they SAW something. Where is the proof that can be tested and verified?

  122. Jose, the true southern bigfoot is called the Yowie down here in Oz.

    Reminds me of one of my favourite episodes of the Six Million Dollar Man – The Secret Of The Bigfoot.
    *Quick IMDB search*
    Well, who’d have thunk it but Bigfoot was none other than Andre The Giant.

  123. Jose

    I prefer Spiderman versus the Yeti from The Electric Company. It’s what inspired me to live a life protecting humanity from imaginary things. You get the added bonus of Morgan Freeman.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLpfF-O1HW4

  124. In Squamish, we have the Sasquatch, who also likes to hang out in Spuzzum and Similkameen. (And maybe Ucluelet! :) )

  125. CanadianLeigh

    Thankd for that last one Michael. I grew up in BC and most of my relatives live in BC. Not one of my relatives who have hunted and fished throughout BC have ever found so much as a little pinky bone of a Sasquatch. If they were to excist there would have to be a minimum breeding population. Even if they are as shy as the “Sasquatch hunters” say they are, there bones should still show up. They couldn’t all have pissed off Jimmy Hoffa’s foes. Grizzly bears do not hang around people, and yet their bones are found quite regularly. The same goes for Ogopogo. Show me a carcuss and I’ll believe they excist. Nothing stays hidden that well. The Sasquatch is also supposed to roam in the northwest US. Considering the entire wolf population in Montana and Idaho was wiped out, you would think one Sasquatch would have got careless enough to get plugged. And to get back on subject you would think one little grey guy would have left some forensic evidence of their being at an abduction sight. If there ever was an alien precence one DNA, RNA, or PNA, DPA or whatever they evolved would be actual proof. Even one really good, undoctored photo would do. I’m rambling, I think its time to go to bed. I think I’ll have the time traveller dream tonight.
    Clear nights friends.

  126. KC

    Actually, things can stay hidden, if they’re limited in population and are intelligent enough to want to stay hidden. If, say, a subhuman species was intelligent enough to engage in some funeral rite that removed the bodies, then we’re not going to find bones lying around unless there’s a situation where they couldn’t follow through.

    That said, I have knowledge of a couple of hoaxes, one involving a giant “bear” which actually was two feet made of a car tire and nails hammered into a board (to reach over your head and make a giant scrape, you see), the other involving a skunk ape which some sort of fake feet bought at an amusement park.

  127. notbad

    Ha ha. I was watching this episode when it aired and I thought to myself, “I bet Phil will post about this.”

    It was ridiculous. But what got me the most was how Larry King seemed to be siding with the pro-UFO guests.

  128. jtradke

    Oh, how I hate my common name…

    Just wanted to clarify that the John from [July 21st, 2008 at 10:57 pm] is not the same as any of the subsequent John’s. Just wanted to point that out, because I would certainly never deign to dismiss Phil’s book before I’ve even seen the cover.

    I’ll be posting with the username jtradke from now on.

  129. kurt

    it is not larry king’s fault. it is the producers. it is cnn. they suck!

  130. MattGS

    Sleep paralysis is scary when experienced for the first time and not knowing what it is. I’ve had it a couple of times and it scared me to the extreme. After reading about sleep paralysis I was still scared when it happened the next time, but then I knew it wasn’t real and started getting fed up with it. After a while I began to … let’s say, “confront” whatever creatures I felt were moving around. I once woke up punching and kicking my pillow. Interestingly, I haven’t had a sleep paralysis since.

  131. Perhaps, most importantly, who dresses Larry King?

    There are things humankind was not meant to know…

    And then there’s the stuff we’re just better off not thinking about.

  132. Joe Meils

    Phil, I think you are missing something here… I mell a sequel!

    “Stupid Stuff From the Skies!!!”

    Major best seller!

  133. A-Tom-IC

    With regard to the “Malmstrom Incident” of 1967, Jamison makes the claim that one or two missiles may be down at any given time, but “never ten”. What he conveniently failed to mention is that each Minuteman Launch Control Capsule (now referred to as a Launch Control Facility) controls ten ICBMs (each silo or Launch Facility (LF) houses one missile). Consequently, a systemic problem at an LCC could take ten missiles off alert simultaneously, and as you might suspect, all ten in the 1967 incident were controlled by the same LCC. This incident ocurred shortly after the transition from MMI to MMII missiles, with the usual attendant teething problems associated with new hardware and software.

  134. Celtic_Evolution

    Ok, Brent… I wasn’t going to respond to your earlier post, as you’ve been handled pretty well here. But I decided to heck with that.

    First of all, let me say that you have spent nearly a dozen posts being a blowhard about anything and everything except the ONE thing that would give any of your theories weight. EVIDENCE.

    Please repeat after me. Say it loud, say it proud: “What I have is loose conjecture. I have no hard, testible evidence. None whatsoever.”

    There. Are you getting this? And the first question I’ll answer for you, mate, is the one concerning whether or not I’m religious. You know… for someone who seems to be so good at investigation (errr… make that regurgitating what other people have written and said), one would think you’d be able to figure that one out pretty easily just based on my commentary. That’s a big, fat no, buddy… and if you need proof of that, just do a quick search for some of my other commentary on this blog. Nice try though.

    As a sceptic, as you proclaim you are, you are supposed to judge ALL the evidence on its merrits, not just the physical kind. True?

    Yup… and despite your whining about it, I never said anything to the contrary. That’s your second strawman in as many posts, and I’m starting to get sick of it. Don’t invent arguments I never presented because you think they bolster your position… just makes you look devious. So, yes… as a skeptic I look at ALL the evidence… and all the evidence you present is the same, anecdotal and circumstantial at BEST. And for a claim as outlandish as ET visitation, (or super-secret-technology, etc… whatever you’re backing… i can’t tell, really)… you’d better have more than anecdotal and circumstantial evidence. It’s as simple as that. And as I stated above, what you DON’T have is ANY physical evidence. None. So stop it already with that “but your supposed to look at all the evidence” nonsense. I have, and I see nothing that makes me think I should think differently about it. There… we good on that point now? Moving on…

    Next you say that the witnesses are probably wrong, then you go on to say the are all definitely wrong. Which is it?

    Ah, yes… the clever pedant attack… good point, mate! Well, two can play at that game… show me anywhere in my post where I use the word definately? Not so much fun when the game is played back at you, is it? So, if we’re done playing word games, allow me to clarify. I said they are probably wrong, yes… and while allowing for the possibility that they could be right about some aspect of what they are claiming, I contend that as a whole, being used to further the claim that there is aline technology on this planet, while there continues to be a complete lack of any supporting physical evidence… they are wrong. Do I believe I’m the final authority on the matter? No. Didn’t say that before, either. It is my contention, and one based on solid scientific principles.

    No one has been able to disprove the testimony by many of the more credible witnesses. Therefore an investigation needs to be done in to the phenomena.

    Horsepucky! Why do believers always think this statement has any basis in logical truth? For the millionth time, the burden of proof for outlandish claims is on the claimant, not the skeptic. If you truly believe what you just wrote, then I, as a credible person, could tell you anything and you would simply believe it and put it on other people to prove my outlandish claim wrong? You don’t see the inherent danger and stupidity in that position?

    Your Copperfield comparison is ridiculous by the way. A quick illusion compared to someone who says that they have worked on compartmentalised projects involving technology we currently don’t believe exists that have service records to back it up. C’mon mate, keep the debate logical.

    The only one guilty of not using logic here is you. And the only person making a comparison of the Copperfield illustration with people who’ve worked on “compartmentalized” projects is you. Clever of you to make that comparison and attribute it to me, but again, devious on your part since I never made it. Your “compartmentalized project” people are only one of your myriad of witnesses… the vast majority of “UFO witnesses” are not affiliated with the gov’t in any way, and THAT was the target of my comparison, and as such, is very apt. That you chose to compare it to something I never intended is your issue, mate.

    As for you ignoring the rest of my post, you obviously can’t answer me or you would have done so. typical sceptic, take the material they can best use to back up a pre-determined hypothesis. Pathetic mate!!

    Nice ad-hom, again showing your true colors… but I didn’t “ignore” the rest of your post. Once again, you invented that observation. I read every word of it, and decided that commenting on every single aspect was a waste of time, as the comments I made were enough to cover the breadth of your point.

    And that point is, for the last time… you have no evidence. You can continue to shout at the wind about all your gov’t experts and eye-witness testimony… but let me re-direct your question about religion back at you, mate… I am inferring this from your statement, so forgive me if I am wrong on this, but you appear to not put any stock in religion, either. On that we agree… so good on ya… but, there are thousands of christians who believe, truthfully, that they have actually spoken to god. Far more, in fact, than have had eye-witness UFO encounters. So, to you, does this constitute very strong evidence for the existence of god? Think about it…

    I’ll leave you with this quote from George Costanza… “It’s not a lie if you believe it”. For the “believers”, this couldn’t be more fitting…

  135. strahlungsamt

    C’Mon folks! How can you NOT SEE that these images are REAL SPACESHIPS FROM THE PLANET NIBIRU???

    IT IS NOT A LAMPSHADE!!

    THE HOLE IN THE VAN-ALLEN BELTS HAS BEEN OPENED BY THE LARGE HADRON COLLIDER!!!

    WE ARE BEING INVADED PEOPLE!

    http://images.quickblogcast.com/3/5/4/6/2/135298-126453/2224070_1315561_thumbnail.jpg
    http://images.quickblogcast.com/3/5/4/6/2/135298-126453/txufo2.jpg
    http://images.quickblogcast.com/3/5/4/6/2/135298-126453/txufo2_Only_Brightness_and_RGB_adju.jpg

    IT’S IN REVELATION!

    REPENT NOW!!

  136. Jose

    Why can’t people accept that aliens just want to mess with us? We’re just ants under a magnifying glass to them.

    -Crop circles are made by human, but only humans that have been given the crop circle anal implant. This explains why people who get their weekly radium enemas don’t create crop circles.

    -When aliens go camping, they wear giant furry bionic suits.

    -Their submarines are shaped like plesiosaurs. Aliens aren’t all about efficient designs. They know how cool they look in their plesiosubs. Especially the convertible ones.

    -Joseph Smith and his golden plates? This is what happens when aliens have a bit too much to drink.

    It’s all coming together.

  137. Quiet Desperation

    If CNN ever had any ethics, they were dissolved when the first big ratings book came in. Follow the money.

  138. Celtic_Evolution

    You know, Jose… I can’t prove that any of your statements are false! You seem like a credible person. It must be true!

    Go on all you non-believers! Prove Jose is lying if you can!

  139. Jose

    Just to add to my credibility, I am a former police officer, 5 star general, current mayor of Atlantis, and president of my local chapter of the Oprah book club, so there’s no way I could be lying.

  140. TheBlackCat

    -When aliens go camping, they wear giant furry bionic suits.

    There was an episode I saw of The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest were bigfoots turned out to be aliens in protective gear.

  141. Gary C.

    heh, I worked for awhile in a missile wing command center, alone in a 12×20′ room, that contained the comm and crypto equipment that provided targeting information to the missiles. The stuff was totally automatic and backed-up; my job was to change crypto keys periodically.

    The only other thing I did was push a button to turn off an alarm that would go off every 30 minutes or so. The equipment automatically cleared its faults, so 99% of the time there was nothing else to do about the alarm.

    When my rotation there was almost over, I mentioned the alarm to a guy that was relieving me. He said: “Oh, you don’t know about the wire?” He opened up the back of the cabinet that had the alarm, and on the back of the alarm module itself, there was an extra bare wire. He bent it down to short out the alarm termininals. The alarm would no longer sound, and he could sleep uninterrupted.

    UFO’s causing missiles to fail…? naa, I bet the wire was in place.

  142. @Jose, the president of the local Oprah book club clinches it for me. Yo da man!

  143. Celtic_Evolution

    @ Jose

    And, speaking of the Oprah Book Club, of course you were able to accomplish all that because you read “The Secret”.

    I know, I know… it changed my life too. No more life of poverty for me… not for the new King of Prussia. Oh… you hadn’t heard?

  144. QD, it didn’t help CNN when they hired Glen Beck.

  145. Personally, I think we will all understand in 2 days when “X-Files: I Want To Believe” comes out. All these movies are made to slowly condition us to their presence. Scripts are scrutinized by the CIA.

    It’s true. I read it on the interweb toob

  146. Ricky

    Unless one has first hand experience, the phenomenon is a collection of reports and evidence. That’s it. You can choose to believe, disbelieve or you can study this evidence, rate it, discard whatever does not fit your standards, and come up to any conclusion you want. For those with first hand experience the phenomenon is as real as the water you drink.

    In the end you can choose to believe all of existence is a figment of your imagination and nobody can convince you otherwise. What you believe or try to prove to others is good for your ego but not for much more.

    You must realize that at the heart of any skeptic argument is the premise that people are either liars or unreliable witnesses. While it is very easy to find evidence to support this premise, to support a skeptic view based on this premise one would have to conclude that *all* reports are either lies or misidentification. I find that difficult.

    For instance, compare the UFO phenomenon to the God phenomenon. The god phenomenon is “experienced” by almost 90% of the world population, and yet, the number of actual “God” reports and “God” sightings is tiny in proportion when compared to the UFO phenomenon. When you compare all the various mythologies out there: God, Loch ness monster, bigfoot, you find that the UFO phenomenon stands out in the sheer number of videos, eye witness testimony and reports. There are more detailed abduction reports than *detailed* reports of conversations with God. Vague reports of the two are abundant. While there have been “abductees” who have scars in their bodies, I don’t know yet of any Bigfoot attack report where a person shows their scars after an encounter with Bigfoot. You would think that the volume of people motivated to make stuff up should be pretty evenly dispersed among the many mythologies out there, but it isn’t. If the UFO phenomenon was just another mythology, then we would have to say it is a tremendously exceptional one, and that would at the very least make for some interesting folk culture study.

    I personally find it hard to believe how thousands of people could have misidentified what they saw on phoenix on 1997 from multiple points of view. Or what several dozen airport employees saw hovering above the Chicago O’Hare airport in broad daylight in 2006.

    How exactly does a large group of people come to the erroneous conclusion that they saw a metallic disc hovering above the airport and that it shot off punching a hole in the clouds?

    There is a point at which a skeptic point of view of a report such as this requires that one presents a scenario that is by itself convoluted and hard to believe: That dozens of airport employees made it up? That they saw a strange atmospheric phenomenon that is as of yet to be discovered? Whatever happened there was out of the norm. Any person with a true scientific mind would feel curious. If it is undiscovered/rare weather phenomenon, heck, we should find out! If it is a secret military aircraft, we should inquire why are they allowed on civilian airspace and whether those things are reliable or can crash and injure people. If it comes from freaking space, we should definitely find out! Whatever we do, to attack each other personally is the last thing we should be doing about it.

    In the end, it is true that the burden of proof relies on those making the claims. But somehow it has been implied that proving or disproving is a requirement for scientific investigation to take place. This is a reversal of the scientific process. Do we know what gravity really is? Should we wait until somebody proves that gravity is made out of waves before we start looking into it? or should we look into it to see if we can prove it? We first research then the proof may come. How long have we been trying to find an answer to gravity? How much longer are we going to keep searching? Should we suspend all research until somebody can provide definite proof that there is some reason to investigate? Heck no!

    Scientific research is not made of “proof” scientific research is made of investigation effort and is sometimes, and not always *concluded* with proof. Not all scientific research involves poking an object, some of it requires that one looks at a phenomenon in statistical terms, especially when evidence is sparse or weak, consider clinical trials, global warming, safety studies.

    I wonder about what motivates the skeptics. If there is nothing to investigate they should not do anything about it. If the burden of proof really is on those making the claims, then there is nothing for the skeptics to do but wait. Is the skeptic effort an attempt at resolving cognitive dissonance, like they feel they have to justify why they don’t believe? Is because they realize that proving a negative is impossible, but they still wish to feel like they accomplished something? You don’t see that many skeptics debunking the Lock ness monster, or even debunking god! the volume of skeptic talk about god is somewhat smaller than skeptic talk about UFO’s. It’s as if they feel the skeptic effort needs to “match” the credibility of the UFO reports. But you don’t see this attempt at matching with other myths. When something is “obviously” not credible, you don’t see any skeptics talk about it. Do they want to prove something else? Why would they even have an agenda to begin with? Is the sheer number of skeptics involved in the UFO subject an indication of the UFO phenomenon’s “strength”? I find that the motivations of UFO skeptics is a phenomenon worthy of investigation just by itself.

  147. Doc

    Radium enemas … furry bionic suits … plesiosubs …

    I MUST BELIEVE!

    Jose, you’re my new hero.

  148. Gary C.

    @Ricky

    Silver disk – seen it: it was sunlight at a low angle reflecting off the top surface of an airplane wing (actually a pair of airplanes; A-10′s in formation).

    Hovering, yup: they were moving almost directly away, and showed very little horizontal or vertical motion. The bright reflection allowed no reliable judgement of size.

    Shot off, sure: when they finally turned, the increase in horizontal motion was dramatic. If they had entered the clouds then, it would have been a UFO “mystery”. As it was, when the light angle changed enough, they turned into airplanes.

    If there had been dozens of people looking at what I was looking at (and who did not see them turn into airplanes), then yeah, there would have been dozens of ‘witnesses’. Liars, no. Unreliable, no; they would have reliably reported what they saw. Just people confused by a natural, and uncommon, occurance that they were unfamiliar with, that’s all.

  149. Celtic_Evolution

    @ Ricky

    Unless one has first hand experience, the phenomenon is a collection of reports and evidence. That’s it. You can choose to believe, disbelieve or you can study this evidence, rate it, discard whatever does not fit your standards, and come up to any conclusion you want. For those with first hand experience the phenomenon is as real as the water you drink.

    Fail, fail, EPIC fail.

    You see, the water I drink is testible. I can subject the water to tests and verify by its chemical content that it is, in fact, water. The same goes for any anecdotal evidence. Until there is evidence that can be reproduced and tested, and knowing, as has already been covered here several times, that the human mind can be deceived into experiencing things that don’t actually happen, it’s all just hogwash.

    In the end you can choose to believe all of existence is a figment of your imagination and nobody can convince you otherwise. What you believe or try to prove to others is good for your ego but not for much more.

    False. If I’m not sure I can always rely on scientific method to test if something is real or imagined. No need to be convinced by anyone, thanks… I’ll investigate it myself. Save that for the religious.

    You must realize that at the heart of any skeptic argument is the premise that people are either liars or unreliable witnesses.

    False dichotomy. Look it up.

    While it is very easy to find evidence to support this premise, to support a skeptic view based on this premise one would have to conclude that *all* reports are either lies or misidentification. I find that difficult.

    Wha? Says who? Again… false dichotomy. There are lots of reasons to be skeptical of outrageous claims. That you find it difficult to not accept that witness reports without supporting physical evidence should be met skeptically is your problem.

    For instance, compare the UFO phenomenon to the God phenomenon. The god phenomenon is “experienced” by almost 90% of the world population, and yet, the number of actual “God” reports and “God” sightings is tiny in proportion when compared to the UFO phenomenon.

    Really? Citation, please.

    I personally find it hard to believe how thousands of people could have misidentified what they saw on phoenix on 1997 from multiple points of view. Or what several dozen airport employees saw hovering above the Chicago O’Hare airport in broad daylight in 2006.

    I don’t. See my “David Copperfield” example above. Illusionists do it all the time. Sometimes to crowds of tens of thousands in stadiums. Please stop being so naive. If you actually wanted to believe it was possible, it’s really not that hard, and it’s been demonstrated many, many times. But you don’t want to believe that, so you’re going to dismiss it with statements like “I find it hard to believe”, as if that gives the supposition credebility. Feh.

    Any person with a true scientific mind would feel curious. If it is undiscovered/rare weather phenomenon, heck, we should find out! If it is a secret military aircraft, we should inquire why are they allowed on civilian airspace and whether those things are reliable or can crash and injure people. If it comes from freaking space, we should definitely find out! Whatever we do, to attack each other personally is the last thing we should be doing about it.

    The problem with this statement, Ricky, is that we are curious… and more often than not, we investigate it as much as anyone. The problem occurs when we, as scientists, offer rational, natural explanations. Believers like yourself just dismiss it as “cover-ups” or “just being a skeptic”. You’ve already come to a conclusion, and it’s exciting and wonderous to you, and cognitive dissonance sets in and you will not be convinced otherwise, regardless of the evidence… this has been shown time and time again. It’s like the picture that ATrueoriginall had on her website. It’s clearly a man-made object, either a bowl or a light fixture, in a double exposure. But do you think she believes that, despite how obvious it is? No… of course not. I would love the idea of aliens visiting us and sharing their culture, technolgy, etc… I would be geeked about till the day I die… but that doesn’t mean I’m going to abandon my logic and reason just cause I want for it to be real so bad. Again… if this all sounds like a parallel with religion, you’re on to it…

    In the end, it is true that the burden of proof relies on those making the claims.

    This statement is in direct opposition to pretty much your entire post.

    But somehow it has been implied that proving or disproving is a requirement for scientific investigation to take place.

    Huh? Implied by whom? Proving or disproving is a part of the scientific process… find anywhere where any of us has said that none of this stuff deserves investigation. Please. Don’t invent points we never made. Investigation is a key part of skepticism. I dare say skeptics are more likely to investigate claims than believers, who are more likely to simply take an account on face value.

    Should we wait until somebody proves that gravity is made out of waves before we start looking into it? or should we look into it to see if we can prove it? We first research then the proof may come. How long have we been trying to find an answer to gravity? How much longer are we going to keep searching? Should we suspend all research until somebody can provide definite proof that there is some reason to investigate? Heck no!

    You have any more arguments that no-one but you is making? They’re quite entertaining.

    Scientific research is not made of “proof” scientific research is made of investigation effort and is sometimes, and not always *concluded* with proof.

    Right… who said otherwise? Arguing the point… Ur doin it wrong…

    I wonder about what motivates the skeptics.

    Search for truth and acceptance of reality. Next question.

    And again, you keep making the argument that we shouldn’t be investigating. Please, listen carefully. No-one has said that. We have just found the investigations into these matters thus far severely lacking in evidence or any testible proof. That’s not our fault.

  150. Bruce A

    “Does that explanation make more sense than it being a UFO?”

    You’re obviously part of the conspiracy, maaaaaaaaaaaaan!

    Seriously, why is it these people insist on the most outrageous explanations for things? Do you suppose they do this at home?

    “Honey, have you seen that pork chop I was saving for lunch?”
    “Uh…no…*burp*…must’ve been sasquatch! Wait’ll I tell the guys on the forum!!!! I’ll take a picture of the plate to sent to Coast to Coast!”

  151. Ray

    I’ve also had the occasional sleep paralysis episodes. The last one was several years ago. I had a menacing black figure hovering at the end of my bed. Scared the crap outta me.

    Funny thing, ever since I started sleeping with a Glock 17 on the nightstand the sleep paralysis hasn’t happened. Lesson learned: You can control or conquer the demons in your sleep.

  152. Greg in Austin

    Points made by UFO proponents:
    1) “Accordingly, such things can only be a possibility for you and maybe theoretical so you can never ever believe and you never will unless you see what I’ve seen.”
    2) “Eye witness testimony is an instrumental tool in the judicial system and to completely dismiss is dangerously irrsponsible… Also i never said their credentials were infallible.”

    Points made by UFO skeptics:
    1) “… in all the time we’ve been hearing about these UFO phenomenon… not one single piece of hard evidence? Not one? And you think I should simply accept eye-witness accounts as the ONLY needed proof?”
    2) “Show me the evidence. Real evidence, evidence that would pass a scientific test.”

    Points made by BOTH SIDES:
    1) “In the end, it is true that the burden of proof relies on those making the claims.”

    Seems to me that everyone agrees. You have to be able to prove that it happened, and that it cannot be something else.

    I’ve experienced sleep paralysis. Once I half-woke, unable to move, and I swore there was a little gray alien standing behind the door. I knew it wasn’t real, but I hoped it was there to take me to its ship and force me to make it with a hot alien babe.

    “And in the end, is that not what man has dreamt of since first he looked up at the stars? ” – Zap

  153. Electro

    On the topic of “Black” military projects,

    I remember reading about unusual sonic signatures and photos of “puffball” contrails over the skies of US air bases that seemed to point to hyper-sonic flight. This was as far back as 1991.

    As I recall I considered the source somewhat credible at the time but I cant remember it exactly. I would love to know if anyone here has any more info on this, to reinforce it or debunk it, either way is good.

    The reason I bring it up is because since that time I have been hoping NASA isnt spending money out of its already meagre budget to develop something the Air Force already has functioning. i.e. Scramjets.

    Question to Dr.BA: In your experience, how closely would the various defense research arms share this type of technology with NASA ?

  154. strahlungsamt

    Maybe a little OT but:

    Libertarian party invited Richard Hoagland to speak at their convention last May.

    Guess who I won’t be voting for in November. (not that I would vote for these Ayn Rand loving SOBs in the first place)

    http://www.denverlpcon.com/specialevents.html

    “Do We Still NEED NASA?” with Richard C. Hoagland – Mr. Hoagland will address the urgency to €œredefine and refocus NASA on the critical 21st Century scientific, technological and economic problems facing the United States during the next presidential administration. He will also reveal –with official NASA imagery — startling scientific discoveries NASA, by law, has deliberately withheld from the American people for more than 40 years! Mr. Hoagland has appeared all over the nation and is often heard on Coast to Coast radio. His most recent book, “Dark Mission: the Secret History of NASA”, is a New York Times Bestseller. This is an event not to be missed and is included FREE with your Congressional or Aide package and above. For those not attending the convention or with packages at a lower level, tickets are $25 per person. You may reserve your seat by mailing a check to Denver LPCon 2008 (address below). Tickets will also be sold at the door for this event. Friday, May 23, 6:30 PM.

  155. TheBlackCat

    It looks like all the current NASA hypersonic aircraft have significant USAF involvement, so it would require the USAF paying NASA to develop something they already have.

  156. Electro

    Yeah, I see,

    If the the Air force is already funding some NASA research out 0f their own budget it doesnt make a whole lot of sense.

    But having said that, given the polticking that goes on around budget allotments between different departments nothing would surprise me.

  157. Electro

    Also BlackCat,

    Although I could probably guess, what is the origin of your nickname?

  158. TheBlackCat

    It was the name of a character I made up maybe 10 years ago. I have changed the character’s name since then, but since I had already been using it as my alias online for a while I just stuck with it so people wouldn’t get confused.

  159. @ Celtic_Evolution

    Others can read what both you and I have posted. I’ll leave it up to them to decide whther or not they believe my intentions were devious.

    I still have a problem with the stupid Copperfiled stroy you are continuing to push. Everyone who witnessed the David Copperfield Statue of Liberty illusion knew what what they were there for, and therefore of course the all reported the same thing they observed.

    In Phoenix, no one was prepared to see what they saw and yet a majority of the reports were of the same thing. These people had not prepared their mind to be deceived, unlike those witnessing the copperfield stunt. That is where i believe the point you are trying to make falls down.

  160. SoZo

    Adam Korbitz
    Phil, I generally like your website but the hostility you frequently display toward those you disagree with detracts from your point. I sympathize when your hostility is directed at the distinctly anti-science — such as creationists — but at other times you go overboard.

    I agree, especially in regards to subject of UFOs. You tend to get caught up with the idea of “evidence” and disregard the “data.”

    If you cast aside the majority of the theories regarding UFOs and widdle the explanations down to simple “natural phenomenon,” or “collective hysteria,” there’s plenty of material for psychologists, sociologists and even anthropologists to study just on the subject of how we’ve reacted to this natural phenomenon and the affect it has had upon society.

    This is not neccassarily an explanation for what’s happening, but it’s a testable and reasonable starting point for scientific discussion.

  161. Back to the eye witness testimony again. I don’t want Celtic to have a heart attack or anything (or maybe I do a little) but you can not discount all witness testimony champ. Pilot and Astronaut sightings and their testimony is EXTREMELY important as they are trained specifically to observe aircraft and other natural phenomenon in the skies and beyond. This testimony should be taken into consideration and not dismissed beacsue of the lack of physical evidence.

    A good friend of mine is an airline pilot with an international airline and has himself witnessed some bizarre things. He has also had a number of conversations with other pilots who have witnessed strange craft in the skies with them. Yes, craft, not lights, not birds, not clouds, actual craft. When i asked him if they ever reported the sightings, or if he had, he simply smiled and said “never”. Pilots know their careers are in jeopardy if they report these things, because sceptics will not believe them and mock their sightings because of the lack of physical evidence. Yet, these people are trained to observe phenomena in the sky.

    I couldn’t believe that they were never reported, and he said of all the pilots he had spoken to about it the only thing that ever happened was that another aircraft got on the radio and said “Did you see that”, referring to a craft that had shot up into space at an impossible speed, to which the pilot with which he conversed about this particular event repled “yep”. That’s it. that’s as far as it has gone, at least within the confines of the pilots he has spoken with.

    Now, other pilots have come forward with testimony and eye witness accounts. Some backed up by radar. Of all those pilots that have not reported a sighting, according to my mate, there is 1 in 3 pilots that have in fact had one and not reported it.

  162. Brent, so you’re saying illusions only happen when you’re prepared for them? Riiiiight.

    That reminds me, the leader of Falun Gong has written that when Copperfield walked through the Great Wall of China it wasn’t really an illusion, he really did it. The FG guys uses this anecdote to validate the beliefs of his wacky religion. So maybe Copperfield really did make the Statue of Liberty disappear.

  163. Shane, no i’m saying it would be near impossible for thousands of people to report the same thing if it in fact was not what it was reported to be. You would have a majority of reports saying it was a group of planes, or military flares (this happend, but hours later), or chinese lanterns. But out of interest, can you tell me a time when thousands of people have been tricked by an anonymous, seemingly random, out of the blue illusion? I would be very interested to look into it!!!

  164. Electro

    Brent,

    How have you come to believe that pilots are trained observers of atmospheric and other natural phenomenon?

    I am not saying they dont need to be able discern other airborne objects accurately, but at what point are they trained to differentiate between, say, lightning sprites and cirrus cloud reflections for example.

    I would guess that the number of pilots who will admit in hindsight to clearly mis-interpreting observation far outnumber those that stand by extrordinary explanations.

    How many pilots, upon being presented with more likely explanations for unexplained sightings have said something like:

    ” Oh, is that what it was? I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me for a second there.”

  165. Brent, have you ever heard of a phenomena called “spacial disorientation”? This occurs when they highly trained expert observer pilots become disoriented and can crash their planes. This occurs for various reasons but usually it is the illusion that the plane has become tilted when the pilot looks out the window in the dark or stormy weather. He then “corrects” the lean and he can think that he is back on a straight and level path… right into the ground. This also occurs in modern high performance fighter aircraft. High acceleration confuses the old inner ear brain thingy and may cause the pilot to ignore his instruments and bang.

    I’d suggest that there is no such thing as an expert observer. You may be an expert in recognising specific things like aircraft but we are all have the same foibles when it comes to paradolia.

  166. Brent, Phil here shows examples of paradolia all the time. If he pointed you at almost any photo and asked you what you saw without telling you what he thought it was I reckon most of the time a majority of people would report seeing the same thing. Especially if they are from the same culture. Those that have trouble seeing the illusion straight up only need their neighbour to nudge them and say can’t you see X and then the person would say oh yeah definitely X.

  167. I think what I was trying to say in my last post is that when thousands of people see the same illusion out of the blue they don’t all come up with it independently. A few will see something and say can you see X and the rest will be primed to see X too.

  168. Brent, 70000 people saw “The Miracle Of The Sun” in Fatima Portugal in 1917. Will that do?

  169. themadlolscientist

    Larry King. Bah. Humbug. I never liked the guy to start with – he’s always come across to me as a complete idiot and consummate sleazebag – but IMO he jumped the shark with a death-defying triple-twisting quadruple back somersault ending in a spectacular bellyflop landing on New Year’s Eve 2000, when he asked the Dalai Lama some semi-technical question about the Muslim calendar and whether this date had any significance to Muslims. It was all I could do not to throw a full snifter of very expensive brandy through the TV screen. But I managed not to. After all, that would have been substance abuse.

  170. John

    The simple fact is sightings are reported almost every day which are unexplained. No-one can actually analyse every single sighting to a full extent. You can say that all sightings are something we have already seen before and is known to the wide scientific community, but you can never be completely sure that it wasn’t some new unexplainable event. If these turn out to be aliens then the physical evidence will eventually be found, so there’s little reason to argue over what UFOs are or aren’t, or that no evidence should be discounted from investigation. There are a wide range of good & bad investigators already in this field so if there is evidence soon to be discovered it will be discovered soon. Then I suppose the people who have seen a UFO sightings can tell the sceptics “I told you all along”.

  171. madlolscientist:
    “It was all I could do not to throw a full snifter of very expensive brandy through the TV screen. But I managed not to. After all, that would have been substance abuse.”

    Thank goodness! We would have had to lay a smack down on ya! LOL

  172. Celtic_Evolution

    @ Brent Plowright

    You’ve provided nothing more than a repeat of what you’ve already said. And as has been repeated here by others more than just myself, with a lack of any… any corroborating physical evidence, yeah… i CAN, and do continue to dismiss all witness testimony as “proof” of ET visitation, or secret gov’t technology, champ.

    Now, did I ever say that these people didn’t see something that they couldn’t identify or explain? Nope. I’m sure a good portion of them did. But it’s been stated and demonstrated here time and time again that people see things all the time that aren’t what they thought they were. I still see absolutely zero evidence that any of these witness accounts have anything whatsoever to do with ET visitation or super-secret high tech gov’t craft.

    As for your being “devious”? I don’t think your intentions are necessarily devious… but your method of argument certainly is, and that’s what I was pointing out.

    So if you’re continued argument is going to be a repeat of “but you can’t dismiss all the witness testimony”, don’t waste your time… I’m quite done addressing that.

  173. John,
    Mitchell has been saying this for years. He has a right to his beliefs, but where’s his proof. Now, if the government comes out and discloses information stating that we are in contact with an ET race, and here is what we know, and here is the proof, then fine. If someone comes out with undeniable physical evidence, great. Until then…

  174. Erik Lind

    I haven’t watched Larry King for, perhaps, 5 years or more except when accidentally surfing for a second or two.

    The guy is a flake and an admitted woo woo and yet he is a “flagship” of CNN. Makes one think about the people who run our major networks. I don’t for a moment believe they are all such fools personally, I just think they have no ethics whatsoever,. After all the scientifically illiterate outnumber the literate by a large margin, so who cares about facts when ratings are at stake?

    I do, and so does Phil Plait and friends.

  175. John

    Right I think a point has to be made since sceptics assume all has been settled on this point. 700 police reports of UFO sightings have been made between 1970 and 2000 in the UK, that fact is not disputed. Some of these reports are incredible though without evidence you would have to be a complete idiot to disregard them just because of lack of evidence. Some of these people are still sticking to their original story of what they saw was unexplainable even after possible explanations have been given to them, not because they don’t understand the explanations, instead because they explanations don’t explain what they saw. I know you would say that their mind has confused or mistaken the original sighting and so any possible explanation will always be wrong to them even if that’s not the case, but you can never prove that is true in all cases, and when all explanations have been given which don’t match their account it is highly dispicable of you to say what they saw is an already explained event for sure. There is a reason in some cases to say the event could have been unexplainable. And don’t give me that pathetic response of “oh there’s no evidence so I can ignore whatever I like”. There’s been too much of this idiotic attitude towards this phenomenon so it’s about time you spent some time paying attention to these eyewitness reports. You all seem to find the time to constantly repeat the scientific view that eyewitness reports aren’t scientific evidence but yet cannot be bothered to spend your time reading all of these reports. I know you don’t read all these reports, as they happen on a daily basis and it’s probably impossible for all of you to read all of these reports, unless you have some kind of superhuman ability (note sarcasm implied) to keep yourself up to date with this kind of news. You cannot say that every report in an explained or unexplained (but most likely easily explainable by science) event, that’s making a huge assumption. A number of events are always going to be unexplainable to science (we all know scientific views are always getting more advanced as time goes on), and so will become knowledgable by science when we know how to explain these events in future. The correct interpretation is that the events without an appropriate explanation are currently unknown, with any further knowledge which may be provided in the future to explain whether they are just ordinary events already known by science, or some newly discovered phenomenon to science.

    @ Michael L

    Actually Mitchell has now said he knows for a fact the things he said, when before it was his belief, so maybe he has evidence not yet disclosed. I agree that we cannot accept anything he has said as more than a belief without any evidence provided. But if it’s true evidence will come out. What do you have to gain by stating the obvious, apart from a huge waste of your time any negative comment will have a detrimental effect towards disclosure, whilst if none of it is true then it is also pointless to make comments about a subject which is non-existant in reality. But I’m sure your comments are intended as an ego boost to yourself which for some reason you require.

  176. John

    I apologise for not using paragraphs above to make it easier tor read, but I’m sure the kind of people who feel it necessary to dispute what I’ve said will spend most of their time on the net looking for comments like that to reply to, and give themselves an ego boost which for some reason they need, and so will have the time to look thru’ the comment without it being paragraphed.

  177. Alex

    @ Celtic_Evolution

    “with a lack of any… any corroborating physical evidence, yeah… i CAN, and do continue to dismiss all witness testimony as “proof” of ET visitation, or secret gov’t technology”

    Of course, but we don’t know something unconventional hasn’t happened in some cases, and so remains unknown at best. You can’t say it was something conventional just because it was more likely, especially when no known explanation fits.

    If a World War 2 fighter pilot returned from over France to the UK and said he saw his wingman get shot down by gunfire and was absolutely certain it happened right in front of his plane. Would the Generals conclude that they should wait for official confirmation of wreckage before getting local resistance to search for the pilot, or would they immediately request their help to prevent him from being captured and leaking vital information to the enemy. In this case witness testimony should be considered vitally important. Why not have the same attitude towards modern day pilots who have reported unidentified sightings, that way we will discover what they are actually seeing rather than just guessing, or just making assumptions that it was an ordinary event.

  178. Todd W.

    @Alex and John

    A quick note on witness testimony. What everyone as been saying here is not that witness testimony is worthless (indeed, it is a good tool for prompting further investigation), but rather that as far as solid proof of an event, it is always questionable. People can be tricked, can trick themselves, can lie, etc., and memory of an event is almost never exactly as the event occurred. Please understand the distinction being made, here. Further investigation? Yes. Proof? Ehh…not really.

    Furthermore, a good number of people in the UFO crowd tend to follow this reasoning: So-and-so, and a whole bunch of others, have said that they saw something flying in the sky that was completely unknown to them. Because no good explanation fits their descriptions and they maintain their stories, it must have been aliens (or secret government tech). This is a faulty sequence of reasoning.

    1) Without physical evidence, the stories are just that, stories. Sure, investigate them, but jumping to the conclusion that it is an alien or gov’t tech is unwarranted.

    2) The stories of these individuals may be different to start with. But, since people tend to be rather suggestible, the more they hear about some popular idea, and the more time that passes, the more likely it is for the individual stories to become more similar. Keep in mind, interviewer attitude and question format can have a huge influence, as well.

    3) Again, memory is a woefully inaccurate thing, especially if someone is prepped to interpret events in a certain way (e.g., they strongly believe in aliens, they’re prepped for some magic trick, etc.). James Randi has a good story about how he bumped into someone who had seen a trick he did, several days after the event, I think it was. When asked to describe what happened, the fellow told a story in which the details were significantly different from what actually happened, yet he was convinced that what he said was true and accurate.

    Finally, no one is saying that the witnesses to UFO events (in the “currently unexplained” sense, not the alien sense) are convinced that what they saw is true, or that it did not have a significant impact on them. A lot of them probably are not actively lying, but really believe their memories of the event. However, their story, in and of itself, is not proof of aliens or secret government technology. So, please stop beating the dead horse of witness testimony as valid evidence. It isn’t. All it is is a prompt for further investigation.

  179. John:
    Ego boost? Me? Nah, I’m fantastic enough already.

  180. Celtic_Evolution

    @ Alex…

    You can’t say it was something conventional just because it was more likely, especially when no known explanation fits.

    Why does it never ovvur to people who use this logic that the same logic applies to why you can’t say it was something unconventional, and for the same reason you just listed. The difference is, in cases where the cause is unknown, reason dictates that unless you have some evidence to explain it otherwise, the logical course is to assume it is something natural. Doing otherwise is merely speculation.

    In fact, I’ll put it to you this way: how do you know that what was seen was god playing a trick on the unsuspecting just to test their faith? Prove it wasn’t. That’s ridiculous to ask of you, isn’t it? Now do you see why the default skeptical position is so important?

    If a World War 2 fighter pilot returned from over France to the UK and said he saw his wingman get shot down by gunfire and was absolutely certain it happened right in front of his plane. Would the Generals conclude that they should wait for official confirmation of wreckage before getting local resistance to search for the pilot, or would they immediately request their help to prevent him from being captured and leaking vital information to the enemy…

    Problem with this scenario is that you think you know the answer when in fact you don’t. The correct answer is that the military would immediately investigate the scenario to find out if the plane was shot down, where, and then act accordingly. Sorry, but your assertion that the first pilot’s account would be accepted out of hand without some level of investigation is abjectly false.

    You have any other invented anecdotes I can fix for you?

    So again, there seems to be a disconnect here with some of you… we, as skeptics, have not once said that none of these claims merits investifation… even serious, in depth investigation… we are saying that investigation into any of these claims has never once, not ever, in all the history of UFO investigation, turned up any solid proof of alien visitation. Given the amount of time involved and the number of “incidents”… I find that fact more than a little damning. That’s the crux of this argument, people…

    Oh… and @ John… you need to be corrected on a couple of things…

    First, as has been pointed out here before, one of the psychologies behind UFO sighting / abduction claims is the need for the claimant to feel special… to “boost their ego” by knowing something that most people don’t know… it’s the “you don’t know what I know” syndrome. So, you’ve terribly misplaced your “ego-boost” argument.

    and second:

    Actually Mitchell has now said he knows for a fact the things he said, when before it was his belief, so maybe he has evidence not yet disclosed.

    I hear this alot from UFO proponents… usually just before the start pimping a book their selling… so you need to ask yourself, why would such a person, who’s spent so much of their lives in such a public way in the crusade to expose the truth, suddenly withhold evidence? Seems like that would go against everything he’s ever preached, wouldn’t it?

    So, the possible answers:

    1. He’s waiting to use it in a book to sell. If that’s the case, he’s a swindler and isn’t as interested in exposing the truth as he is making a buck and I’d rather not put my faith in claims made by that sort anyhow.

    2. He’s afraid the gov’t will come find him and “eradicate” him if he discloses the information. Well, if that were true, shouldn’t that fear have prevented him from pursuing this course in the first place? And wouldn’t the gov’t have already “taken care of him”? This is a lunatic argument.

    3. He has no evidence.

    You tell me which is the more likely of the three.

    I agree that we cannot accept anything he has said as more than a belief without any evidence provided.

    No you don’t! Not a thing you’ve said otherwise supports this. Don’t come here and call us out for our “idiotic attitude towards this phenomenon” and then turn around and lie about it. You can’t have it both ways.

  181. Celtic_Evolution

    grrr… that word in the first line of my post should be “occur” of course. Too early to be drinking…

  182. Greg in Austin

    Police officers are not scientists. The average citizen is not a scientist, and most are not skeptics. Media reports are not evidence. Remember, the media also likes to report some fool who thinks he sees Jesus in tree bark.

    If alien UFOs truly existed and were buzzing around our planet, why wouldn’t any of the thousands upon thousands of amateur and professional astronomers all over the world, who spend an inordinate amount of time looking at the sky (during the day and at night) be reporting these sightings every day?

    Most amateurs, like myself, would love to see a real alien ship or proof of alien technology. Its why I have been fascinated with astronomy, space, sci-fi, and real earth science since I was 6. I have seen comets, nebulae, planets, satellites, stars, the sun, the moon, solar and lunar eclipses, and the occultation of stars by the moon with my own eyes. I have also seen some strange things, like sunlight reflecting off of a high-altitude aircraft, reflection of a chemical plant flare off of icy clouds, the wavy-discoloration of a very bright star caused by the atmosphere just as it rises, and more. I can’t imagine what some of the strange things the professional astronomers have seen over their lifetimes, and yet (as has been stated here already so many times) not once has there been a report by real scientists of actual alien life or technology.

    So, please ask yourselves, which is more likely:
    A) Alien UFOs only appear to the untrained or uneducated people of earth, and intentionally and without fail leave behind no physical evidence, or
    B) All reports of Unidentified Flying Objects are simply terrestrial events that seem strange or out of place to the untrained or uneducated folk.

    Again, I would love to see the evidence. I hope I someday do see the evidence. But so far, there has been no evidence.

    8)

  183. Carl

    Here’s another take on this:

    The Skeptibunkie´s Meme: “Nothing But Grainy Blurry Photos. . .”

    It´s a safe assumption to say that on any program about UFOs where there´s a “skeptoid” (UFO debunker) on, he/she will make a comment that goes something like this: “After more than sixty years of UFO research, all we have are thousands of grainy, blurry photographs of blobs in the sky.” Then they go on about evidence — how there isn´t any — while merrily using the words “evidence” interchangeably with “proof.”

    (Another you can bet they´re going to use this too tactic is to disingenuously make the assumption that when discussing UFOs, everyone involved “really” means little green men from Mars, going so far as to state that that´s what the UFO researcher or witness “really means.”)

    The UFO debunker rarely refers to him/herself as a UFO debunker. They insist they´re skeptics. After all, CSI isn´t called Committee for Debunker Inquiry. But a true skeptic would have done their homework, and if they did their homework, they´d know that there are some excellent photographs that clearly show a UFO.

    That´s evidence. No, it isn´t “proof” — well now, wait a minute. It is proof. It´s proof of a UFO.

    In context of this topic, I mean photographs that are still unexplained as to what they are (bird, balloon, etc.) and after numerous studies, have not been proven to have a mundane explanation, or, any explanation. A true UFO.

    We all know there are hoaxed photos; images of hubcaps thrown up in the sky. We all know we can manipulate images on a computer and come up with all kinds of fakes. We all know that one person´s spherical floating orange UFO is a Chinese party lantern. And, we all know that there are plenty of photos and video and film of vague “things” including the grainy and blurry, as well as squiggly light blobs and streaks that could be anything. All those aside, there are plenty of images of UFOs that do not fit in the above categories. It´s time to for the debunkers and skeptoids to stop insisting that there are no good UFO photos.

    The 1952 Trent photos are one example of a UFO photographed over fifty years ago that remains a mystery. There are others; for example, the Triangles that have been photographed or filmed by witnesses all over the world.

    I´ll just go way out there and even say that the Gulf Breeze photos taken by Ed Walters haven´t been proven to be faked. Remember, there were other witnesses to those sightings. Controversy surrounded those photos, yes, and there was that whole scandal of finding plans for a fake UFO in Walter´s house when he moved out, which turned out to be a fake — not the UFO photos.

    Even the photos contactee George Adamski took, while a bit on the blurry side show UFOs. Blurry, grainy, sure, but not so out of focus or corrupted that any rational person can´t tell the obvious: they´re looking at a photograph of an unknown object. Which makes it a UFO.

    And that´s the point here. Photos (and film, etc.) of UFOs: Unidentified Flying Objects. Even with some mild out of focus or “grainy” effects, it´s obvious to any rational person that the images are of things that are clearly very unusual.

    The questions surrounding the UFO: were they, indeed, faked? Where do they come from? Who made them, how do they operate, who´s in them? have nothing to do with the fact that the object shown is an unknown. Which makes it a UFO.

    There´s another reason why this lie put forth by skeptibunkies doesn´t work. No image of a UFO (or alien) is going to prove a thing.

    The image itself may be proved to be genuine — no evidence of faking, not in the least bit blurry, grainy, blobby or squiggly — but what does it prove about UFOs? Nothing.

    Just that they exist, which we already know. Duh. We´re still left with the questions of who, what, and why.

    Let´s pretend CNN announces that there´s “authentic” footage of a landed UFO with some aliens standing around. How do we know it´s authentic? Because they said so? I hope we´re all beyond believing what we hear on the news as gospel. How do we know the whole thing wasn´t staged? We don´t. Some of us would believe it and take it for what it appears to be; others would demand more information, more evidence and data before accepting it as proof of extraterrestrial visitations.

    Maintaining an either or stance concerning the UFO phenomena ensures no one has to go deeper into the UFO question. They´re either fakes, are they´re not. If they´re not, then what are they? UFOs. But since UFOs don´t exist, according to the debunker, since they´re all fakes. . .well, you can see where this is going.

    UFOs are either from Mars or some place in space, or they´re not. Agreed. But the skeptibunkie likes to assume everyone means “flying saucers from outer space” — the very idea which is ridiculous to them — and so, no discussion need take place. (It´s possible UFOs are more than just one thing; some are from space, some are ours, some are something else even more astounding that ET.)

    Putting aside the ET theory for now, where are UFOs from, what are they? Are they all military craft? If so, that´s still a pretty huge “wow!” that opens a lot of questions that demand answering, like: why are they flying over civilian areas, why are they in other countries restricted air space, why are civilians experiencing harm from these craft, and why isn´t our government held accountable, why don´t various government agencies know what to say to citizens when we call, why are they affecting our nuclear and military installations . . .

    The skeptoid ignores these questions, and in fact, very often displays an astonishing naiveté and trust when it comes to our government.

    This refrain that only blurry photos of UFOs exist from the debunker camp is just a distraction. It´s simply not the case.

    Source: http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/69191

  184. Todd W.

    @Carl

    A couple basic flaws in that article. First, skeptics generally acknowledge that what people see are UFOs in the strict, unknown sense of the term. Where they balk is when the leap is made to say that the UFOs are alien or secret gov’t tech or some other, rather wild, explanation. So, much of the argument in that article is moot.

    Second, the author presents a bunch of “why” questions, but before we even get to the why’s, we need to answer the “was” and the “what”. Was anything actually seen? If so, what was it? Only after we figure out the answers to those two questions can we begin to ask the “why”s. Otherwise, the “why”s have no meaning. This approach needs to be used for each and every situation presented as a UFO sighting.

    At any rate, the skeptics jump on the “UFO = alien” assumption because, well, that’s what a lot of the UFO believers argue. If they stopped arguing that UFOs are alien in origin, maybe the skeptics would stop making the same assumption about the believers’ beliefs.

  185. Carl

    @ Todd W.

    Your reply suggests you haven’t really read the article seriously or, ergo, as the article claims,”But the skeptibunkie likes to assume everyone means “flying saucers from outer space” — the very idea which is ridiculous to them — and so, no discussion need take place”.

  186. Celtic_Evolution

    The Skeptibunkie´s Meme: “Nothing But Grainy Blurry Photos. . .”

    False assertion. Rest of your post fails on that basis alone.

  187. Carl

    @ Celtic_Evolution

    Of course. You are right and I am wrong. End of discussion. Case closed. I fail (again!) to see any possible evolution with such an attitude.

  188. Todd W.

    @Carl

    No, I did indeed read the article. The problem is that a rather large number of UFO believers (at least the vocal ones) are claiming that UFOs are either alien in origin or are part of some super-secret government program. Coupled with media coverage and films, the UFO = alien concept is a rather strong association in our culture. So, I guess, yes, skeptics tend to assume that when people present evidence for the existence of UFOs, they assume that the person presenting the evidence has aliens or governments in mind.

    If UFO supporters view this as a big problem, then perhaps they should be a little more explicit in what they mean and avoid any talk of aliens or secret government projects. It’s largely because of the UFO culture that skeptics may have a presumptively dismissive attitude. Additionally, when evidence suggesting a more rational explanation piles up, perhaps they should accept that explanation (assuming it is credible, sound evidence), rather than to continue to maintain that either a) the object is still unidentified or b) the object is alien in nature.

    Finally, as others have pointed out, skeptics actually do discuss and investigate these things. Joe Nickell is just one example. He goes to the sites, talks to people, does research, and examines the evidence being put forth. That is hardly taking an attitude of “no discussion need take place.”

    Let me turn this around. Bob saw a UFO once. Bob was convinced that it was something really bizarre and outside the realm of normal experience. It must have been something not from Earth/magical/high tech. After investigating and examining the evidence, a skeptic concluded that it was a perfectly normal, though rare, event. That doesn’t seem to fit with Bob’s interpretation, and so the very idea of that is ridiculous and, therefore, no further discussion needs take place.

  189. Celtic_Evolution

    Of course. You are right and I am wrong. End of discussion. Case closed. I fail (again!) to see any possible evolution with such an attitude.

    Way to cogently argue my point. Your assertion is your own invention, and is flawed. Your entire post is based on that assertion… what more needs to be said?

    Or, alternatively, you could simply read what’s already been written on this thread that has already addressed, quite comprehensively, every point you present. I’ve already countered them, I’m not going to waste my, your, or anyone else’s time here repeating myself because you’re not interested in reading anything prior to your own post.

  190. Celtic_Evolution

    Or I can just continue to let Todd W. smack you around, figuratively… ;)

  191. Carl

    @Todd W.

    Let me turn this around as well.

    Dr. J. Allan Hyneck was a skeptic when he started investigating UFO sightings back in the sixties. After many occurrences, his initial beliefs were shaken and, as it turned out, he changed his views on the whole phenomenon.

    Dr. Hyneck was able to keep an open mind. I wish I could say the same for all the skeptics (or debunkers).

    A mind is like a parachute: it’s much better when it is open :-)

  192. Todd W.

    @Carl

    Okay, so he changed his mind. What is your point? That skeptics should be so openminded that they become believers and stop questioning? That they should just assume that all UFO supporters are talking about anything other than aliens?

    Again, skeptics are generally pretty open-minded and objectively examine the evidence presented. However, when the evidence comes up lacking or points to a mundane explanation, are they supposed to keep looking for some way to explain the experience as bizarre and otherworldly?

    A mind may be like a parachute, better when open. But, if you open your mind too much, your brain will fall out. (not my quote, but an apt one) :)

  193. Carl

    @Todd W.

    My point is, exactly that: he changed his mind.

    With the same material as any other investigator was provided with, he was able to think outside the box.

    If you open your mind too much, your brain may fall out. Well said! And if you never open your mind, your brain will suffer from claustrophobia (not my quote either, but an equally apt one) ;-)

  194. Alex

    @ Todd. W

    “So, please stop beating the dead horse of witness testimony as valid evidence. It isn’t. All it is is a prompt for further investigation.”

    And stop wasting your time slagging off witness testimony and spend your time doing something useful, otherwise you may feel like you have wasted so much of your life if any real evidence ever appears.

  195. Carl

    @ Celtic_Evolution

    “Or, alternatively, you could simply read what’s already been written on this thread that has already addressed, quite comprehensively, every point you present. I’ve already countered them, I’m not going to waste my, your, or anyone else’s time here repeating myself because you’re not interested in reading anything prior to your own post.”

    Really? I’m rather quite skeptical about your assertion. Where’s your evidence to that effect? :-)

  196. John

    @ Celtic_Evolution

    “First, as has been pointed out here before, one of the psychologies behind UFO sighting / abduction claims is the need for the claimant to feel special… to “boost their ego” by knowing something that most people don’t know… it’s the “you don’t know what I know” syndrome. So, you’ve terribly misplaced your “ego-boost” argument.”

    Right, or they could have just seen something and they’d like to know what it was and they don’t feel anymore special than before they saw it. And where did I mention abduction as anymore than sleep paralysis previously. I’m saying anything could be possible for UFO sightings which are unexplained, you are saying definitely down to earth for every sighting. Either way I will not feel an idiot whatever they turn out to be, whereas if they are aliens you will feel a pratt for wasting your time saying all are conventionally explained by science for sure, just because that’s most likely. My interpretation leaves it open to all possible explanations currently known or unknown to science.

    “You tell me which is the more likely of the three.”

    You or I don’t know, there’s too many unknown variables. Leave as unknown and search or wait for the evidence. The evidence will not just find you.

    “No you don’t! Not a thing you’ve said otherwise supports this. Don’t come here and call us out for our “idiotic attitude towards this phenomenon” and then turn around and lie about it. You can’t have it both ways.”

    Why do I have to support something that is categorised as unknown, the lack of evidence is suffice for that. You are idiotic because of a reason I outlined a few lines above. I have said Mitchell’s account of aliens is a belief without evidence, whilst earlier I said some UFO sightings are completely unknown. How is that lying?! I am not making any assumptions at all, whereas you continue to say every sighting has a conventional explanation, which is a huge assumption as we know science hasn’t explained everything, otherwise we wouldn’t bother doing any more scientific experiments.

  197. John

    “Really? I’m rather quite skeptical about your assertion. Where’s your evidence to that effect? :-)

    Haha exactly true – I’m sceptical of his assertion completely as well

  198. John

    @ Greg in Austin

    “not once has there been a report by real scientists of actual alien life or technology.”

    There has been, but without real evidence. One recent one on radio Kerrang.

    “So, please ask yourselves, which is more likely:
    A) Alien UFOs only appear to the untrained or uneducated people of earth, and intentionally and without fail leave behind no physical evidence, or
    B) All reports of Unidentified Flying Objects are simply terrestrial events that seem strange or out of place to the untrained or uneducated folk.”

    Hmm what is likely for someone to win the lottery or not, but it still can happen. That is when you’re talking about known factors, when it’s unknown factors we just don’t know. UFOs are witnessed by both trained and educated people, you have such a false perception. Also as likely or arguably more likely is :
    C) Most UFOs are terrestrial due to the great number of the population being untrained and/or uneducated. Some UFOs are currently unknown, and a few of these are witnessed by educated and/or trained people, and will remain unknown until science explains them.

    We already know about fallibility of trained observers etc etc but assuming every report is in error is preposterous. And “unknown” means “unknown”, not “aliens”, before you start going on about that again!

    “Again, I would love to see the evidence. I hope I someday do see the evidence. But so far, there has been no evidence.”

    Yes no evidence for aliens, that is completely true, that is undeniably correct. I would love to see evidence one day too.

  199. Just Al

    Carl said:

    And that´s the point here. Photos (and film, etc.) of UFOs: Unidentified Flying Objects. Even with some mild out of focus or “grainy” effects, it´s obvious to any rational person that the images are of things that are clearly very unusual.

    Whoops! That’s called “jumping to conclusions”! The only thing that is obvious is that no one has yet produced a valid explanation for it.

    Let me put it this way – if I pull the recording head from an old VCR and toss it gently into the air, knowing my depth of field and taking care to keep scalable items from the background, the photo can easily become a UFO. No stretch needed. And if you don’t know what a recording head looks like, does this mean you should spend lots of your time and effort and money trying to find out?

    Or do you simply think someone else should spend theirs? Which is the argument I usually hear…

    The image itself may be proved to be genuine — no evidence of faking, not in the least bit blurry, grainy, blobby or squiggly — but what does it prove about UFOs? Nothing.

    There is no such thing as “proved to be genuine.” Which tells me you know jack about investigation.

    Many years ago, Kodak photo labs helped move a huge foofaraw forward by indicating that there was no evidence of trickery or effects in the photos they examined (“expertly,” doncha know!) of fairies in the back garden of some young girls. And this expert testimony was trumpeted far and wide, even by one Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

    Now, the skeptic reads “no evidence of trickery or effects” and takes it at face value. The person who wants to believe (would you like to come up with an acceptable term, or leave it up to us skeptics?) considers this a statement of an authentic phenomenon. The problem with this is, and was, that you can have a perfectly authentic, genuine, non-altered, non-faked photo of paper cutouts. And they did.

    So yes, you’re starting to get the idea. Photos abound, eyewitness testimony abounds. Neither tell us anything whatsoever.

    Maintaining an either or stance concerning the UFO phenomena ensures no one has to go deeper into the UFO question.

    Bad argument, false conclusions. You can apply your “either/or” stance to anything you like, including (as you yourself said in the same post) “fake/not fake.” So my VCR recording head is “not fake?” Or is it “fake?” Can you call it faked if I never said what it was? No, it’s just that catch-all term, “UFO.” Your argument becomes completely meaningless.

    But since UFOs don´t exist, according to the debunker, since they´re all fakes. . .well, you can see where this is going.

    Yes – into another meaningless argument. This one is called, ‘Straw man.” I have yet to see anyone, anywhere, at any time, say that UFOs don’t exist. I certainly have seen no such argument in this thread. Care to join us, or are you off in your own little world and shouldn’t be disturbed?

    I gave this all up as a hobby because of the incredible childishness of the typical UFObee. Sometimes, you just accept the pattern as it is. Now, do you feel like discussing the matters at hand, or are you going to continue to bring up imaginary boogeymen?

    But the skeptibunkie likes to assume everyone means “flying saucers from outer space” — the very idea which is ridiculous to them — and so, no discussion need take place.

    I, for one, make no assumption. And in fact, the only thing I’ve argued in the past several years is that there is something “there” that warrants investigation. Couldn’t care less whether anyone believes it to be aliens, secret gummint tech, demons, or pixie dust. The challenge remains the same no matter what: Show me why you think this.

    And not once has anyone bothered to answer this. They simply start whining that there are too many reports to ignore. It becomes very clear that their conclusion preceded (or simply supplanted) their evaluation. And at that point, it’s a waste of time pursuing it further.

    Putting aside the ET theory for now, where are UFOs from, what are they? Are they all military craft? If so, that´s still a pretty huge “wow!” that opens a lot of questions that demand answering, like: why are they flying over civilian areas, why are they in other countries restricted air space, why are civilians experiencing harm from these craft, and why isn´t our government held accountable, why don´t various government agencies know what to say to citizens when we call, why are they affecting our nuclear and military installations . . .

    Um, start with: Are you seeing military craft, or any craft at all?

    No, no, don’t go off on another argument, don’t go sidetracking, don’t go whining. Seen it all before. Answer that question first. Then we’ll talk. Then, maybe I’ll consider your arguments to be from someone who’s serious.

    Oh, and to go on. Civilian airspace, at least in the U.S. and probably safe to say in most other countries as well, is military airspace. They can go where they want. It’s the civilians that cannot.

    And what civilians are experiencing “harm?” And how, exactly, are you going to hold the government accountable? I love protester talk – it’s always, “Someone else needs to be doing this!” Hey, dude, go for it! You got all that evidence that can’t be ignored, file a lawsuit.

    Dr. J. Allan Hyneck was a skeptic when he started investigating UFO sightings back in the sixties. After many occurrences, his initial beliefs were shaken and, as it turned out, he changed his views on the whole phenomenon.

    I have to admit to laughing out loud, quite literally, at this one. Phil says “Play nice,” so I’ll do my best to treat this nicely.

    Hynek (note spelling), despite being on the inside (apparently you missed the bit where he was hired as a consultant for Projects Sign, Grudge & Blue Book starting in the forties), and privy to loads and loads of information, not once, ever, gave the faintest inkling of this fantastic evidence that convinced him. He made a career out of lectures, books, and all the trimmings, but somehow in all that time never imparted any useful information. Did you miss that bit? See the part above about your investigative abilities.

    He was very fond of saying we needed to look into these things deeper, and this became a mantra to all the UFObees. The problem is, how? How, exactly, do you look into an eyewitness report of a past event “deeper?” How, exactly, do you examine a radar track? What, exactly, do you do now that you’ve determined your photograph does not shows signs of faking?

    And more importantly, who pays for it? You? Many people (not just UFObees) seem to think that the funding for studies just magically appears. In the real world, however, you have to get grants and show that your studies can lead to something useful, and be held accountable for it. In many cases, you have to show how the item you’re studying can be turned into a benefit for the grantor.

    Accomplish that, and you’re on your way to talking seriously about “evidence.” Until that time, you’re simply playing games and imagining results.

    As for Hynek? Well, he augmented the income of a simple university astronomer (most likely to the tune of 500% or more) by charging for lectures and books that hit the little hot buttons in the minds of lots of people. But, despite his professional expertise, he advanced the field of UFO studies not one smidgen. You see, all he really discovered was that it was a damn sight easier than the legitimate grant process.

    You yourself, in this thread, have shown how he discovered this market. You repeatedly trash the skeptical viewpoint and yet haven’t demonstrated either that you’re the least familiar with it (see your straw man arguments above) or that you bothered to do any investigations of your own. Book publishers know this aspect quite well, and makes lots of money from it.

    The poster on the wall of Fox Mulder’s X-Files office doesn’t say, “I believe” – it says, “I want to believe.” And I’m quite certain the producers knew what kind of a subtle joke they were making.

    Oh, yeah. Presently we have in place surveillance capabilities exponentially greater than during Hyneks’ time. We can study flights of insects in the air from hundreds of miles away, and photograph the Phoenix Lander on its descent. But UFOs remain exactly as they were in the sixties. Hmmm.

    And one last shot, because I love this aspect. You know those dismissive reports that eyewitnesses saw Venus and the moon, the ones that UFObees get so upset about because it makes them sound stupid? Blame that on Hynek – that was his position with Blue Book.

    Cheers!

  200. John

    @ Todd W.

    “However, when the evidence comes up lacking or points to a mundane explanation, are they supposed to keep looking for some way to explain the experience as bizarre and otherworldly?”

    If evidence is lacking we don’t know what the event was, therefore saying it is definitely a mundane occurance is closed-minded. In those cases yes they are supposed to keep looking for ways to explain the event, or shelve the event as unknown until new avenues to investigate become open. That’s called being a good scientific investigator. The kind of investigation you promote involves assuming nothing bizarre or otherwordly can ever ever happen at all – that’s silly incompotent investigating.

  201. Carl

    @Just Al

    Gee! I must have really pushed some buttons here, ’cause it seems the big guns are being called in reinforcement. Or, so they would have you think.

    Actually, I do not bother with old VCR’s anymore, I have switched to a DVD. VCR’s are so much a thing of the nineties. Hmmm… Where have you been, Just Al? Unless, after all, Ufo’s have remained as they were in the sixties?

    Nice of Phil to remind you to play nice. Tell him Carl says hi!

    “There is no such thing as “proved to be genuine.” Which tells me you know jack about investigation.” Now that’s what I call jumping to conclusions.

    “I gave this all up as a hobby because of the incredible childishness of the typical UFObee.” Would you care to enlighten me about your experiences in the field? I would find it really fascinating to hear it from the real pros like you.

    Regards,
    Carl;-)

  202. Just Al

    John said:

    If evidence is lacking we don’t know what the event was, therefore saying it is definitely a mundane occurance is closed-minded.

    Once again with the straw men. There’s nothing that defines a UFObee more than skewing the arguments to make themselves sound like the rational ones.

    Show me, anywhere, where someone said it was, to use your own words, definitely a mundane event. By the way, I’m not saying this lightly.

    My prediction is, like all others, that you’ll ignore this challenge. Let’s see how psychic I am.

    However, since no one has yet demonstrated any event that is not mundane, and lots and lots (you know, as in, thousands?) of events have been shown to be mundane, well, there’s such a thing as going with the odds. So shoot me for not being a phenomenally (Hah! I kill me!) stupid betting man.

    In those cases yes they are supposed to keep looking for ways to explain the event, …

    What do you mean, “they”? “They” who? And what’s wrong with you doing this? Money where mouth is, and all that.

    … or shelve the event as unknown until new avenues to investigate become open.

    Well, you see, we would, but a bunch of fatuous yahoos keep bringing the damn things up and wondering why we’re not convinced by them.

    That’s called being a good scientific investigator.

    Oh, you know what this is? Fantastic! A little exercise for you then, I call this, “Real World.”

    I have one million dollars in grant money, and I’m looking to invest in alternate energy sources. Your frequent remarks that you have seen evidence for this intrigue me, and I’ll be happy to fund your research into this.

    All you need to do is provide a short synopsis, a few paragraphs or so (and yes, you have to make paragraph breaks) describing to me what you’ve seen and how you propose to begin research. I’m not concerned with whether or not you have the process pinned down, and will even fund efforts to find out (wink wink), as long as you keep me out of trouble. Provided I see viable avenues for exploration, you’ll get the grant.

    I’m serious. From the number of posts you’ve made here, a few paragraphs shouldn’t be difficult. All you have to do is outline your evidence, and/or how to find more. Start anytime.

  203. Carl

    @JustAl

    “I have one million dollars in grant money”

    Hello, Randi. Good to have you back. Now tell me: when are you going to honor your commitment and give that million dollar to Billy Meier, since it has been established that he has satisfied your conditions?

    Cheers!

  204. Just Al

    Carl said:

    Would you care to enlighten me about your experiences in the field? I would find it really fascinating to hear it from the real pros like you.

    Photography as a serious hobby for the past 26 years or so, leading into photo editing, digital manipulation, photo evaluation, and so on. Spent no small amount of time a few years back picking through the paranormal newsgroups for their pics and reviewing them as an exercise. Not really a whole lot of use in digital, unless you get the original files, and much more useful with film, but since I wasn’t being paid for it, I wasn’t going to pursue it. People don’t pay to have their fantasies trashed.

    Did a few detailed evaluations of photos at open request, noticed how most of them got entirely ignored. See this one? I showed him, in detail, how he was looking at water droplets, even pointed out the rainbow (no, of course it’s not raining at the time, that’s why there are splashes in the puddle!) Want to know how to see it?

    This one’s still available online too, though I haven’t found the link to his site as I look. I’ve done examples of both, not sure if I still have the files handy or not.

    And while I’m doing links, I witnessed much of this firsthand. Absolutely priceless. I’d seen Maccabee’s “evaluation” and while I didn’t take the time to go into it in detail, wondered where the hell he was getting his math from. As you’ll see from the site, it soon becomes obvious. What was most revealing from the responses on the newsgroups was that the UFObees whined incessantly about being lied to, as if the point of Maccabee’s research was to simply confirm whatever wild story he was told. So much for reputable UFO researchers.

    Grew up on UFO, paranormal, et al reports, Von Daniken and all that. Began looking into the details a bit closer when I found the same reports repeated ad nauseum in many of the books, but with different details. Noticed that some of the evidence that was being presented was being conflated or, to all appearances, outright made up.

    Read an unknown number of case studies (at least five, probably more) on perception, vision limits, and the ability of people to fill in details that were never there. Did a couple of my own experiments on this not long out of high school, very enlightening. Suffice to say you can plant impressions in peoples’ minds with no effort whatsoever. And that human vision is far more limited than we generally believe.

    Read the entirety of the Condon Report, including doing the math on many of the cases where it was within reach (i.e., did not require lab equipment or the original evidence). Also read McDonald’s critique of the Condon report, and for giggles, critiqued that. McDonald was sloppy, and let his prejudices be known several times in his text. Moreover, his only point was to try and show where Condon wasn’t doing a good job, but not once did he suggest how they should do a better one. Condon, by the way, was impressive with what lengths they did actually go through – check it out.

    Skimmed through the US Navy reports on Flight 19 (it’s incredibly long and boring), and read the synopsis in detail, but I can’t remember whose now. Compared the two enough to know that the synopsis wasn’t ignoring pertinent factors, and that many of the details promoted by the popular media were mishandled or outright fabricated. Nothing mysterious about it, by the way, just a poor decision by the flight leader.

    Read an untold number of accounts on the Betty & Barney Hill case, enough to see that is, very likely, all imaginary. Did you know that their original hypnotist considered it all a dream? But of course, the following hypnotist, who made a living off of abductees, is the one you’re more interested in, aren’t you?

    Let’s see, a few years on the UFO newsgroups playing around with people like you, large mouths in their attempts to discredit skeptics, but suddenly quiet when it came time to show their own efforts. And of course, the desperate attempts to divert the conversation away from their own failings or the questions they were asked in previous posts. Sound familiar? Now it does to everyone else here too. Thanks for playing!

  205. John

    @ Just Al

    “But UFOs remain exactly as they were in the sixties.”

    Why would a UFO change in 40 years just for the sake of example, if it was aliens visiting in a ship. A rocket or car from that era hasn’t changed very much in appearance if it was photographed from a distance.

    There are more clearer photos and videos in more recent times than in the sixties of UFOs, so why do you think it hasn’t changed in that aspect? As the only difference in devices the average person has at their disposal is a digital camera, or possibly a camcorder if you can afford that, why should you suddenly expect the general public to provide any such evidence if alien ships were flying over their homes.

    Goverment or private organisations have control of more advanced equipment, do you really expect them to share all of their data with the general public. I’m not going to say there is a conspiracy theory and they’re witholding vital information, but I’m not naive as you to assume all data collected in the skies is made available to everyone.

    Have you read the MUFON report on the Stephenville radar readings & sightings. What conventional down-to-earth explanations are most likely for this whole incident?

    The number of Internet news stories on Edgar Mitchell’s opinions are increasing, currently at 67 on google news hits. I’m assuming the scientific community will either ignore this or a few may ask for evidence of his claims. It will be interesting to see where this goes from here – we will see.

    “You know those dismissive reports that eyewitnesses saw Venus and the moon, the ones that UFObees get so upset about because it makes them sound stupid?”

    Actually that only makes the sceptic sound stupid in the cases when the witness description is nothing like the Moon or Venus, and they probably find the explanation laughable. Where the witness is saying the sighting was just “unknown”, meaning they don’t know what it was, and stick to that conclusion because of a lack of any conventional explanation after investigation.

  206. Celtic_Evolution

    Carl -

    You’ve quickly gone from actually discussing points made to counter your arguments to being a complete jerk once you ran out of valid arguments.

    Typical.

    Moving on…

  207. Carl

    @Celtic_Evolution

    Phil should also remind remind you to stay nice.

    You’ve quickly gone from nowhere to calling people names. Typical…

    Time to move on, you bet! I’m giving this all up as a hobby because of the incredible childishness of the typical Skeptibunkie!

    Nightynight Nye! :-)

  208. John

    @ Just Al

    You take things out of context and your sarcastic humour is boring.

    “Show me, anywhere, where someone said it was, to use your own words, definitely a mundane event. By the way, I’m not saying this lightly.”

    It is irrelevant whether someone has said that, or not. It is a fact unknown sightings can be anything, whether mundane or not. You or anyone else can say what’s most likely until your head falls off but it doesn’t explain the event. It’s not acceptable for anyone to use the most likely explanation as a factual account where there are many unknown variables for an event. This is how many sightings are portrayed – where that incorrect explanation sticks. That’s almost as unscientific as the witness saying it was definitely aliens because it looks like a flying saucer.

    “Oh, you know what this is? Fantastic! A little exercise for you then”

    I really don’t know what to say about this apart from maybe you should go seek professional help – are you going a bit senile in your old age!?

  209. Todd W.

    @John

    “It is irrelevant whether someone has said that, or not.”

    I would disagree that it is irrelevant. You specifically twisted my words, making it seem as if skeptics take the “if the evidence is lacking, then it must be mundane” approach.

    Let me just reiterate some points, since those who have argued against me seem to have missed them.

    1) No skeptic worth their salt is going to say that eyewitness accounts are totally and completely useless and should be ignored. If they do, well, they’re just dumb. Eyewitness accounts can be, as I stated before, a useful tool for identifying areas which need further investigation.

    2) Eyewitness accounts =/= proof of what something was. At best, it is a personal interpretation of what may or may not have actually happened. It is possible that the witness is mistaken in what they saw (misinterpretation of visual stimuli), hallucinating, lying, or they actually saw what they described.

    3) Skeptics might jump to the assumption that when someone says UFO, they mean alien spacecraft now and then. The two concepts have been rather tightly associated in popular media that, even if the skeptic thinks of UFOs as strictly flying objects that have not yet been identified, the general populace tends to think “alien” when they hear or use the term “UFO”. As a test, go out and ask random people on the street what they think of when they hear the term “UFO”. My guess is that a majority would mention aliens. So, moving to that assumption, while possibly presumptive and incorrect, is still understandable. Those in the UFO movement should, therefore, be careful how they use the term and should avoid mentioning aliens or anything similar unless they really and truly mean to associate the two.

    4) A true scientist (whether defined as a “skeptic” or a “UFOlogist”) will accept what the data and evidence show. If the evidence is lacking, then they’ll leave the label of “unidentified” and, if time, funding and leads allow, continue investigation of the event. However, to jump to the conclusion that it is “definitely mundane” is just as premature and unwarranted as “definitely bizarre/otherworldly/secret gov’t tech/etc.”. If further investigation is not possible, then just leave it at “unidentified”. If the evidence quite clearly points to a mundane explanation, exhausting all other possiblities, then accept that. Sure, let others validate the conclusions, but if replication yields the same results, don’t go making excuses to keep the event “special”. If the evidence clearly points to otherworldly/secret tech/etc., exhausting all possible mundane explanations, then accept that. Similarly, validate the results. If it comes out that it is indeed something never seen before, great! Add it to the wealth of scientific knowledge.

    5) Should something actually be validated as otherworldly/secret tech, that does not equate to all other reports being of a similar nature. Each event must be judged on its own merits and evidence. Yes, take into account current knowledge and innovative research, but remain careful not to simply co-opt some other event to say “See! It’s happening all over the place!” unless the evidence actually supports such a conclusion.

    Thus far, the evidence presented by the UFO community is of a quality that generally precludes definitive answers. Grainy photos, blurry videos, eyewitness accounts…at best these suggest that something happened. However, that something may be anything from someone tossing a hubcap into the air to letting Chinese lanterns float off into the sky to mistaking a reflection in glass as a UFO to something that really and truly defies explanation according to current knowledge. Unfortunately, the quality of the evidence submitted just isn’t very good.

    Furthermore, I don’t care how many people you have saying they witnessed some event. All they amount to are stories of what people think they saw. It is entirely subjective. Now, present objective evidence (e.g., physical objects, multiple sources of clear visual imaging), then maybe we’re onto something. But, please, stop harping on how there are so many tales of people seeing things they couldn’t identify. Big deal! So they couldn’t identify them. That, in and of itself, does not necessarily warrant the expenditure of time and money needed to figure what it was that they saw.

    To use the Venus-on-the-horizon example, if researchers spent money and time to investigate claims of UFOs only to find that, time and time again, it was just Venus (or a plane lying straight away before turning, or some other natural explanation), how likely do you think they are to continue investigating these things? Can they afford to jump at every single claim? Furthermore, as I stated before, did the event actually happen? That, itself, is the very first question that should be answered before anything else. Once that is satisfied, then ask what happened. Once that has been answered, only then can the “why did it happen?” be asked.

  210. Just Al

    Carl said:

    Hello, Randi. Good to have you back. Now tell me: when are you going to honor your commitment and give that million dollar to Billy Meier, since it has been established that he has satisfied your conditions?

    Wait, what? You said Billy Meier, right? That’s not a typo, you meant Billy Meier. Just wanted to be sure you were referring to the Billy Meier I know, and not someone else.

    Thanks, Carl. I think that answered any questions about your qualifications as an investigator quite handily!

  211. Just Al

    John said:

    It is irrelevant whether someone has said that, or not.

    Considering that it was your own argument, fine, whatever. Try to keep up.

    You or anyone else can say what’s most likely until your head falls off but it doesn’t explain the event. It’s not acceptable for anyone to use the most likely explanation as a factual account where there are many unknown variables for an event. This is how many sightings are portrayed – where that incorrect explanation sticks. That’s almost as unscientific as the witness saying it was definitely aliens because it looks like a flying saucer.

    At no point do you actually intend to argue valid points, is that it? Is there some alternate universe you inhabit where people keep doing these things? Or is it just you and your persecution complex?

    Not sure how many times in this and other threads someone has to say this, but I’m game, because it destroys any vestige of credibility you might have had. No one sees any need to explain away your events. They aren’t compelling enough to worry about.

    Let’s say someone chops down my neighbor’s tree. No axe is found, no witnesses. Certainly unexplained, isn’t it? Woo, spooky! Do you expect clusters of people to demand extensive scientific investigations, or are you happy claiming the secret military complex did it – “What other possible explanation could there be?!?!? Have you explained it?!?!? NO?!?! Well, then, how can you be sure it WASN’T them?!?!!”

    Face it. You find something compelling in the huge numbers of stories, as long as you don’t look for patterns or even consider other options. Those of us who have bothered to look at the specifics, and countless others in the past, don’t share your viewpoint. We’ve been nice and pointed out the flaws in your arguments, but that’s been wasted time – there is no questioning John’s experience, is there? And I suppose we’ll simply have to take your word for it, because you’re certainly dodging all the questions you’ve been given concerning this fantastic evidence. So far, your arguments have all boiled down to, “You can’t ignore ALL eyewitnesses!” and, “You’re too arrogant to get it!”

    Yeah, whatever.

    I really don’t know what to say about this apart from maybe you should go seek professional help – are you going a bit senile in your old age!?

    Yep. Run away, John. Nobody’s fooled.

  212. John

    @ JustAl

    “Yep. Run away, John. Nobody’s fooled.”

    This is a forum, not a playground, the only running away is in your head. It is ironic that you began with this kind of childishness, and expect someone just to leave just because of disagreement.

    “Considering that it was your own argument, fine, whatever. Try to keep up.”

    No it wasn’t, why don’t you try to read people’s comments.

    “No one sees any need to explain away your events. They aren’t compelling enough to worry about. ”

    Those events are much more than your pathetic tree chopping example, and you have said yourself that you ignore some of these events, which happen almost on a daily basis worldwide, so how can you know nothing new to science has been discovered, since you don’t even investigate them. Because of these extremely recent reports which occur fairly regularly, you will know zero facts at all about them. Therefore they are completely unknown to the best of your knowledge, and it is impossible to say what likely happened either.

    Of course I’m not claiming anything new has been discovered yet that I know of, I’m saying the unknowns are just unknowns for now. Whether aliens visiting Earth exist or not this viewpoint is accurate, whereas you will feel a fool if it was announced to be true sometime in the future. You would then be wondering why on earth you’d wasted all this time in your twilight years as a nagging sceptic trying to convince others that Occam’s Razor proves that a terrestrial explanation is always more likely when you know zilch about the event you apply it to.

    I know that’s what sceptics just like you really enjoy doing – saying an event is more likely Venus just because they’ve decided that alien visitation or other wierd explanation is so highly improbable. The likelihood of alien visitation is just not known, and without proper evidence to support any alternate and/or mundane explanation, no-one can accurately say what most likely happened. We can only say accurately that it is unknown.

    It is no better to accept an explanation given by a sceptic as most likely Venus than just to believe word for word the eyewitnesses opinions, when the Venus explanation doesn’t fit at all with any facts of the case, apart from saying that Venus was in the sky at the same time. Well duh, most clear nights stars and planets are both visible at some point, and having that assertation is about as silly as saying any light in the sky is Venus, even a bright star just because it was observed near Venus.

    Here is case from November 1980. PC Alan Godfrey had a close encounter that was to change his life. At five o’clock on a wet Yorkshire morning, he was driving on a country road outside the town of Todmorden when he saw a bright light in the air. Stopping his car, Alan tried unsuccessfully to radio for help, before sketching the object in front of him. “It was eerily silent – that does stick in my mind,” he recalls. The next thing Alan remembered was that the car had moved 100 yards down the road and the UFO was gone.

    It was only later that Alan realised he could not account for a period of around 35 minutes when he had been in his car. He also noticed that the soles of his boots were split – as if he had been dragged. When he learnt that several other officers had seen lights in the sky over the Pennines at the same time, Alan filed an official report.

    Not long afterwards, Alan’s story was picked up by the local press and UFO enthusiasts rushed to interview him. He eventually agreed to undergo hypnosis, and astonished everybody when he described being brought onboard a spaceship. Alan has no recollection of what he said during the hypnosis.

    The sceptics around that time suggested that he had fallen asleep at the wheel 5 minutes after leaving the police station, or suggested he had fallen under a trance of some sort. The reaction of Alan Godfrey tell us what he thinks of that. I agree that to suggest a police officer has fallen asleep at the wheel 5 mins after leaving the station is absolutely absurd, because there is zero proof for that suggestion or that he fell into a trance. There is no reason to accept that those explanations are any more likely than his own account of what happened. The lack of evidence to make a proper conclusion means that it’s unknown what happened that day.

    If you can provide any evidence from his colleagues to suggest any reason for him to fall asleep or go into a trance, i.e. medical condition, tiredness, drug use, stress etc, then fine, I would accept that as a more likely explanation, but from searching I have found none. It’s funny that there are so many cases like this that we cannot say have a likely mundane explanation, and you keep insisting that none are worth your time or either they don’t happen. That is your typical sceptic in denial viewpoint, and oh no you’re not at all special, there are almost as many stupid sceptics as well as crackpot believers.

    I would also be interested if there were any proven cases of a police officer falling asleep within 5 minutes after leaving the station in the UK, as there aren’t any in Yorkshire to my current knowledge. Maybe in the US where obese cops are too fat to get out of their car they fall asleep regularly like Homer Simpson. Where people in Yorkshire are rugged and down to earth people, they don’t just fall asleep without any reason (list given previously), which in this case none of those reasons apply.

    Without any example of a police officer in Yorkshire falling asleep 5 mins after leaving the station in normal condition, the chances of that happening are arguably the same as an alien encounter, since we don’t have any credible documented accounts of either of them, meaning the chances of either of them happening are only an approximate guess with approximate error. Now you may argue that surely an alien encounter must be less likely, but that’s just your opinion and has the same amount of fact as a belief – none at all!

    Now how about giving us your take on the MUFON report on Stephenville, and give us a down-to-earth possible explanation to fit with the known facts. I wonder whether that explanation is likely at all, or whether you will admit the lack of a likely mundane explanation means that it is unknown what occurred. Can you prove that your given conventional explanation is more likely than a flying saucer theory, or would admit you don’t have the data to make that determination.

    Thereby making my interpretation the most accurate, labelling the event as unknown, without having any more likely conventional explanation. And no, you cannot assume correctly that all events will always have a more likely terrestrial explanation – that’s the difference between investigating properly or just being utterly lazy.

    Are you done playing sceptibunkie as someone else called you. You surely realise by now that if your silly assumptions are wrong you will feel a complete fool for wasting your time trying to convince others to think like you. But actually I’m sure you enjoy it as you have nothing else useful to do. You could play golf or something else the elderly enjoy doing. Or finally go and retire yourself into a nice retirement home at long last!

  213. John

    There are now 116 news stories now for Dr. Ed Mitchell’s disclosure on google news. Now all we need is BBC newsnight in the UK to do an interview and interrogate a top NASA official live on air. Jeremy Paxman has made many a high level government politician sweat by his gritty Yorkshireman questionning. If there’s any truth he can get it out of them!

  214. Todd W.

    @John

    Okay, I’ll bite, since you gave a description of an encounter for which you feel a mundane explanation cannot possibly fit.

    To recap, officer leaves the police station at 5am. I’m going to make an assumption, then, that he pulled an overnight shift. Maybe I’m wrong, but that detail is lacking. A few minutes later, he sees a light, gets out of his vehicle, and sketches what he saw. Discovers that his truck has moved on without him. Doesn’t think much of it until he hears stories of other people seeing lights (which may or may not have been the same lights and, if they weren’t the same, may or may not have been related). Later (how much later we aren’t told), he claims that he cannot recall about 35 minutes of his time and notices that his boots are banged up. Once his story has drawn media attention, under hypnosis, he recounts being taken aboard an alien craft. Does that sum up the account?

    First, I’ll just say right off the bat that what he claims he saw will remain unidentified, for the simple fact that it is only his story that we have to go on. There is no other evidence to substantiate his claims. We don’t even know if his experience even happened at all or if he just made it up after hearing about other accounts, since, according to what you wrote, he didn’t mention it until he heard about other officers seeing lights.

    Now that that’s out of the way, let’s analyze this under the assumption that something actually did happen. First, as to dismissing him falling asleep at the wheel. The story suggests that he may have been heading home after an overnight shift. I don’t particularly see why it is ridiculous to think that he may have fallen asleep. For myself, there have been times that I have felt perfectly awake, then gotten into a car and started driving only to have to pull over and stop because I am so tired. That was after a full night’s sleep, but waking up early to get on the road. So, sleep and either a dream/sleepwalking seems a plausible explanation. He’s driving, falls alseep or starts to, stops his car but doesn’t put it in park, gets out (either to get fresh air or because he’s sleepwalking), car rolls down the road a bit, he wakes up, tries to make sense of what just happened, etc.

    Now, supposing that he did not fall asleep. The lights may have been a number of things: star or planet low on the horizon, lanterns (unlikely), airplane far enough away that it couldn’t be heard, some atmospheric phenomenon, alien craft (also unlikely, as there has yet to be produced credible evidence that aliens have been to Earth). As to what it actually is, we won’t know because it happened once, only he saw it (the other reports, remember, may or may not have been the same lights or even related at all), there are no recorded images other than the officer’s sketch, and no physical evidence was left behind. So far, no reason to jump to any assumptions about what it may have been, let alone that it was an alien craft.

    Now, onto the media circus. People generally have a tendency to puff themselves up and embellish things once they start to get lots of attention. Not everyone does this, but the temptation is there. It garners more attention and makes a person feel important, if only for a short while. With that in mind, we need to ask whether or not even the slightest detail of his story changed from the very first telling of it (perhaps to his wife the same day?) and when he started to appear in the media. Also, how much time passed between the event and media attention? Memories can alter very quickly, leading to new interpretations, addition or deletion of details and outright changes to other details. So, did his story change, either through altered memories, embellishment or outright falsification? If not, then there is slightly more credibility to his story, but he may still be wrong.

    The hypnosis bit doesn’t really add anything to his credibility. There is a good bit of science on both sides that support and detract from whether or not the technique actually works or if it’s just the subject “playing along” as it were. There are numerous cases where people have made claims under hypnosis (e.g., sex abuse charges), but it has later turned out to be false. So, any stories of going aboard an alien craft, told under hypnosis, really does not carry any weight.

    Ah, but what about the boots? you might ask. Well, what about them? How often did he examine them? Had they been scuffed up before? He said the wear looked like what would happen if he had been dragged. What exactly does that look like? How does it differ from other means of scuffing up boots? Did anyone else see this wear and tear right after the event? Did he purposefully distress the boots to lend credence to his story? All valid questions.

    In the end, this story is just another in the long line of “someone saw something they couldn’t make out” tales that have little significance in the grand scheme of things. As to advancing scientific understanding, it doesn’t, because there is no way to verify any aspect of the event. All of the details are based on a single, subjective account. We do not know what, if any, the officer’s motives were. We have no additional witnesses to the event (and before you go, “Aha! You want more witnesses!”, let me just say that additional witnesses help bolster a case, but they do not clinch it and are susceptible to all the same questions and limitations I’ve already touched on). There is no physical evidence to examine. There are no objective visual recordings of the event. In short, the evidence, such as it is, is utterly lacking and amounts to a “so what?” conclusion. Someone says they saw something and didn’t know what it was. They got apparently got spooked by it. Big deal. Let’s move on.

    If your point was simply to describe an event that remains unidentified and to which a mundane explanation cannot definitively be fixed, congratulations, you did. Any decent inquirer/skeptic/invetigator would reach the same conclusion. It doesn’t really advance the UFO movement as a whole. It doesn’t serve as an argument against skepticism. So, what, precisely, was your point?

  215. John

    @ Todd W.

    “Okay, I’ll bite, since you gave a description of an encounter for which you feel a mundane explanation cannot possibly fit.”

    No, just that all considered mundane explanation so far don’t fit. My point was that a lot of sceptics (not all sceptics) seem to go out of their way to emphasise that these mundane explanations have solved the case, and fail to mention it is actually unsolved. If someone produces an acceptable mundane explanation then that’s case solved.

    “I don’t particularly see why it is ridiculous to think that he may have fallen asleep.”

    It is unless you can provide real evidence to suggest that’s what he did. Just by saying its likely because others have fallen asleep at the wheel before is not enough. It’s not enough to convict a crime, and can even be considerd slanderous to the witness.

    “Memories can alter very quickly, leading to new interpretations, addition or deletion of details and outright changes to other details. So, did his story change, either through altered memories, embellishment or outright falsification? If not, then there is slightly more credibility to his story, but he may still be wrong.”

    He stuck to his original reported account. I know he could be wrong, but it is very cynical to just assume that he is. That was my problem with many investigative methods used by some sceptics. Of course a good investigator would say the event is unknown.

    “It doesn’t really advance the UFO movement as a whole. It doesn’t serve as an argument against skepticism. So, what, precisely, was your point?”

    I was arguing against incomplete or inaccurate scepticism. Whether or not certain mediums falsely interpret their views is another matter. But I have heard many many times sceptics refusing to acknowledge that the event remains unsolved.

    I wouldn’t argue against properly done scepticism as that’s necessary for any investigation. If these events are properly interpreted as unknown as the only real conclusion to be made then it does advance the subject by at least removing ridicule by the media. Whereas the general public would then also operate by those same correct methods and accept a particular case is unsolved, as they will generally accept the media’s account of it.

    Therefore if there is any truth to his account people won’t fear any ridicule and come forward with absolutely everything they think they know, with always a possiblity that evidence could be produced. I’ve had an experience myself that makes me think it’s possible that some of these credible witnesses may be experiencing something that’s not mundane. I am highly sceptical of all stories and reports, and I will need real physical evidence before accepting anything as fact.

    So there you go, someone can experience an extrememly unusual event and remain highly sceptical. Not everyone who sees something is an instant believer, just like not every media sceptic truely accepts some events are unknown. I fully realise you are one of the good sceptics/investigators, and my intention was not to personally accuse you of being one of the poor ones, it’s just that there are always a these a few lingering in the media. If these people are being slightly misquoted then they should make sure that it doesn’t happen again.

  216. John

    @ Just Al

    “Let’s see, a few years on the UFO newsgroups playing around with people like you, large mouths in their attempts to discredit skeptics,”

    Certain inaccurate sceptics deserve discrediting. Previous post describes why.

    Now let me put this to you, if physical evidence was discovered tomorrow and was well documented and accepted. You are surely aware of how accurate sceptics (such as yourself) posts on forums, are often misinterpreted as meaning they have a lack of belief as a bad thing, or that they never label an event as unknown as a conclusion where no mundane explanation fits.

    Therefore your numerous posts could be used against you by someone if something like disclosure occurred, by namely straw-men. That technique is used often and by the media, and taking such a risk as a person of science, could end up being damaging. Who knows how many people would be willing to do that, especially as your methods of discussion could cause offence to witnesses. I wonder if it’s really worth so much of your time taking that risk, which would be of your own making, and your own choice entirely.

  217. Celtic_Evolution

    @ John

    wait, wait, wait… did you just say:

    It is unless you can provide real evidence to suggest that’s what he did.

    Ok, now I’m really confused as to what your argument is… you’ve spent this entire thread arguing our one and only point: that we want “real evidence”… and then you have the nerve to demand the same as a defense against one of our own counter-arguments?

    Irony… Ur doin it right.

  218. Todd W.

    @John

    First off, it seems like we’re slowly coming to an understanding. Now then,

    ““I don’t particularly see why it is ridiculous to think that he may have fallen asleep.”

    It is unless you can provide real evidence to suggest that’s what he did. Just by saying its likely because others have fallen asleep at the wheel before is not enough.”

    Please go back and reread the rest of the context you pulled that quote from. I think I was pretty careful to say that it is a plausible explanation, not that it was a definitive explanation. Certainly, if someone is saying that he definitely did fall asleep, then, yes, they should provide something to support that contention. But I think you may be protesting a bit too much. Has anyone said that he definitely, and without question, fell asleep at the wheel?

    Also, I think you need to make a distinction between “skeptics” and the media in its various forms. The skeptics will generally conclude that an event remains unsolved and that an objects is still unidentified if the situation warrants such a conclusion. However, they will very probably maintain that aliens and/or secret government tech is a very unlikely, though not completely impossible, explanation, because there is just no precedent to jump to such an extraordinary conclusion. Also, unless there is some aspect to the case that really warrants investigation, they probably are not even going to bother with it. For example, in the case you presented, after reading the description of who saw and said what, it really doesn’t warrant the expenditure of time and money. If there were more than just the officer’s story, then maybe it would be worthwhile.

    Contrast this with the media, who, eager for ratings, will take the extreme angle. Even if they concede that something remains unsolved, they will likely play up the unknown and mystery of it to suggest that it is anything but a mundane occurrence. This goes for mainstream news as well as shows catering to the fringe (e.g., UFO Hunters). They are the ones who will be more likely to jump to unfounded conclusions, suggest alien activity and so on.

    From the way you have written, you strike me as being fairly rational (after narrowing down the arguments and getting a bit more specific), but you still seem to me to be somewhat credulous. It’s hard to tell, so far, where exactly you stand on the issue of UFOs, though you appear to give a bit more weight to the UFO supporters than their arguments necessarily warrant.

    I’ve gone on long enough. Hope we’ve reached an understanding.

  219. Greg in Austin

    Didn’t someone here say something about “police officers are not scientists” before John posted his story? ;)

    I’m sorry, but all of the police officers that I’ve met are just as human as every body else. If he got off work at 5am, after a long shift, its very likely that he was somewhat exhausted. He could have seen a light post, for all we know. Could have been a blimp, or a hot air balloon, or an alien spaceship, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or The Silver Surfer. The point is, without EVIDENCE, there is no way we will know for sure.

    Now, in a related story, former Astronaut Edgar Mitchell allegedly admits that aliens have been visiting us, and there’s been a 60-year coverup. Interesting, if true.

    8)

  220. I’m not sure that Edgar Mitchell is the best most reliable source. Didn’t he try some “unofficial” ESP experiments from the Moon? I seem to remember hearing his say that.

  221. Just Al

    John’s still at it:

    This is a forum, not a playground, the only running away is in your head. It is ironic that you began with this kind of childishness, and expect someone just to leave just because of disagreement.

    I was referring to your purposefully ignoring my challenge by pretending you didn’t understand it. And you’re still running from it.

    “Considering that it was your own argument, fine, whatever. Try to keep up.”

    No it wasn’t, why don’t you try to read people’s comments.

    Actually, it was a direct response to a direct quote of your own, referring to skeptics insisting they had definitively explained away your amazing evidence. And again, I’ll belabor this point, because it’s one you completely fail to address (and keep running away from, I might add):

    No one does what you claim they do. As much as you’d like to make it sound like your opponents are wildly irrational, in the end all you’re doing is inventing your enemies. That’s fantasy. Or delusion, if you prefer. Is that blunt enough for you?

    I’ve pointed it out nicely, even given you the chance to respond with evidence. But it’s very clear you’re not able to see the flaws of your own approach, and instead try to pin them on someone else.

    …so how can you know nothing new to science has been discovered, since you don’t even investigate them.

    Question mark?

    So, let’s see, how many responses can I offer to this one? Should we start with you demonstrating how you would even have the faintest idea what I do investigate?

    Or should I bother to point out that you, quite clearly, aren’t investigating them yourself, and have shown not the faintest idea of what that word even means? Naah, that’s one of those cheap debating tactics where the argument is turned around. We don’t need that here.

    Maybe I’ll simply stick with, I’m really not concerned about it. There are plenty of serious scientific establishments that would jump all over it, and they have a lot more resources than I do. After looking at hundreds of reports and finding that people are astoundingly credulous and abysmally bad at logic, and never once seeing anything that even looked compelling, and noticing that in fifty-some years of “serious” investigation we have provided not one smidgen of useful information to add to the scientific whole – whoops, let me restate that, because it’s patently false. We have added nothing to our knowledge of interstellar travel, ET life forms, physics, propulsions, government operations, and all the things that UFObees concern themselves about. We have added lots of information on psychology and mistaken perception, useless evaluation techniques like hypnosis (more on that later), and the power of suggestion. Things like that. As I said before, had I been in the field, I may have considered doing a few big papers on the behavior of UFObees.

    Whether aliens visiting Earth exist or not this viewpoint is accurate, whereas you will feel a fool if it was announced to be true sometime in the future.

    Why would I feel a fool? This isn’t a religion to me, and I have no firm standpoint on aliens either way. I think it’d be great if we found some.

    But, you unknowingly have revealed even more of that psychological standpoint I was talking about. This isn’t a competition, and I’m not looking to be the one that wins by being “right.” I don’t consider the whole UFO (or paranormal, or holistic healing, etc etc etc) thing to be my way of being special, and I’m not one of the chosen who knows the “real truth.” The only thing I have ever talked about here (and if you bother to read very carefully, or have someone read them to you, you’ll find this is true of perhaps all of those who have debated with you) is whether or not there is anything that can be considered useful evidence. Remember that grant challenge? Do you get it now? The idea is to think clearly and rationally, and look critically at the information. Not to dismiss it outright, but to recognize that, all too often, it really doesn’t mean much.

    You would then be wondering why on earth you’d wasted all this time in your twilight years…

    Sorry, was going to let this slip by, but decided to have some more fun. That’s the second derogatory remark you’ve made about my age, Captain Amazing Investigator, and it simply shows that you’re not cut out for this, either logically or emotionally. I’m 42, roughly Phil’s age. But keep jumping, maybe one of those conclusions you land on might be right through sheer chance ;-)

    …as a nagging sceptic trying to convince others that Occam’s Razor proves that a terrestrial explanation is always more likely when you know zilch about the event you apply it to.

    Crash and burn. Epic fail. Whatever you like. That is exactly what Occam’s Razor proves. Terrestrial explanations are always more likely – they occur all the time. As opposed to extra-terrestrial explanations which, ruling out things like meteoric events and such, have never been shown to have happened at all. That’s the entire basis of parsimony.

    However, I don’t bother with Occam’s Razor – it’s a statistical concept, and the only purpose it serves is to remind people not to believe extraordinary events should be considered first. I really don’t care – I’m all about what can be proven. Speculation is useful only if you want to act on it.

    I know that’s what sceptics just like you really enjoy doing – saying an event is more likely Venus just because they’ve decided that alien visitation or other wierd explanation is so highly improbable.

    You would probably have served your time better looking at those actual reports where Venus was offered as an explanation, rather than taking the piss about them in the dark. How are you going to know unless you investigate?!?!? (I love using people’s arguments against them!) Those explanations, at least those in the serious studies I’ve read, have never been offered lightly or frivolously, and served as perfectly plausible for the minor sightings they referred to.

    And yes, we are talking about things that are highly improbable. Truly extraordinary, in fact. And split boots is not enough evidence to think we’ve seen it. That’s the nature of skeptical thought – if you want to make grandiose claims, show me the grandiose reasons (evidence).

    The likelihood of alien visitation is just not known, and without proper evidence to support any alternate and/or mundane explanation, no-one can accurately say what most likely happened. We can only say accurately that it is unknown.

    Well, you’re both absolutely right and have it bass-ackwards. Don’t see that too often.

    Yes, John, it’s unexplained. That’s been agreed on ad nauseum now, and in fact is the basis of the originating post. Glad you manage to get here with us from time to time. Though I suspect the only reason you bother to even make such statements is because you have no evidence to show why you think the way you do.

    Because, the bass-ackward part, the evidence you should be after is the non-mundane explanations. We know mundane explanations happen. The part you seem to think is worth repeating is that they could be aliens/military secrets/pixies. It’s an infinite universe, John, they could be anything. So what? Why fixate on visitations? Why not Cosmic Care Bears? We even know Care Bears exist, as toys – they must have been a product of our universal subconscious!

    And while that sounds like a stupid argument, it is exactly what has been proposed numerous times before – just not for Care Bears. But still a stupid argument.

    Did you ever wonder why, if there’s so much evidence, no one can seem to agree on what it’s evidence of? Aliens, no no, government tests, no no, collective imagination, no, wait!

    No, I bet you haven’t at that.

    Here is case from November 1980.

    Okay, first off, what exact point is this intended to establish? Yes, it’s a case file. Congratulations, you can cut-n-paste. Is there supposed to be something about this that’s special?

    While Todd W. did a good job of demonstrating that nothing in this case served as evidence of anything even remotely extraordinary, I’ll add a few comments myself.

    … when he saw a bright light in the air.

    I personally call this OFFS evidence. The first two words are, “Oh, for” and the last is “sake!” I’ll let you puzzle out what the third word is.

    … he could not account for a period of around 35 minutes when he had been in his car.

    Ah, missing time! Good gravy, I didn’t realize you had THAT kind of evidence! That changes everything!

    What time did you leave your home yesterday? The day before? And before that? No guesses, what time exactly? How long did it take you to eat lunch two days ago? When was the last time you were late for something because you stopped to chat to someone? “Missing time” is a ludicrous concept – we do it constantly. Until you can show me someone who can account for all of their time for any given day automatically, put this horse hockey where it belongs.

    He also noticed that the soles of his boots were split – as if he had been dragged.

    Except that splitting soles is about the last kind of damage that would have been done to boots by dragging. Scuffed heels or tops, soles peeled away from the sides, fraying, imbedded gravel? Anything?

    No, no, wait, don’t go yet! So he was dragged hard enough to damage his boots, so there’s drag marks on the ground, right? Bruising in his armpits or across his chest? Clothes in disarray? Why didn’t they simply put him in his own car if they were going to drive it around, save themselves some effort and not ruin his boots?

    Did anyone bother to look for corroborating evidence? And if the report doesn’t say, why do you consider it good enough to repeat here?

    Alan’s story was picked up by the local press and UFO enthusiasts rushed to interview him.

    I’m shocked. But don’t take that as sarcasm, because it ties in with the next bit…

    He eventually agreed to undergo hypnosis, and astonished everybody when he described being brought onboard a spaceship.

    Astonished everyone, eh? I guess “everyone” doesn’t somehow include anyone who has read a damn thing about hypnosis in the past decade. Or heard the Betty & Barney Hill story every time there’s a UFO special…

    I’ll go a step further than Todd – not only has hypnosis proven to be completely worthless in witness interrogation, it is largely considered to be extremely damaging and has been discarded by most psychiatric practices. The mind is far too susceptible to suggestion to make hypnosis (which operates by increasing this trait) even slightly useful – it is extremely easy for the practitioner to introduce ideas and encouragement. And there are several who made a living doing exactly that, as abductee or child abuse “specialists.” In the US, some rather prominent court cases revolved around the malpractice of “revealed suppressed memories” and the lives that were ruined by the completely baseless accusations.

    And, had you actually been paying any attention to your investigations and science, you would have known this. Go do a Google search, Captain Amazing Investigator.

    I agree that to suggest a police officer has fallen asleep at the wheel 5 mins after leaving the station is absolutely absurd, because there is zero proof for that suggestion or that he fell into a trance.

    And your opinion is so compelling!

    Hmmm, the only proof I need for falling asleep is that he was tired. Don’t need it established for a fact. Can it happen? How many times has it happened in the past? Can you even count that high? Then what’s your feeble little point?

    Oh, yeah! I forgot – you operate from the standpoint of believing ridiculous stories, rather than entertaining the idea that something happened that happens all the time.

    I wonder how much PC Godfrey sold his story for?

    There is no reason to accept that those explanations are any more likely than his own account of what happened.

    There are millions of reasons to accept mundane explanations over Godfrey’s. What kind of a -… never mind, I think we’ve established that by now.

    If you can provide any evidence from his colleagues to suggest any reason for him to fall asleep or go into a trance, i.e. medical condition, tiredness, drug use, stress etc, then fine, I would accept that as a more likely explanation,…

    No you wouldn’t. Don’t lie to us, it’s insulting. You hurt our feelings.

    I would also be interested if there were any proven cases of a police officer falling asleep within 5 minutes after leaving the station in the UK, as there aren’t any in Yorkshire to my current knowledge.

    “My current knowledge,” hee hee hee hee hee hee hee hee!

    Sorry, that was my feeble old man cackle ;-)

    Now how about giving us your take on the MUFON report on Stephenville, and give us a down-to-earth possible explanation to fit with the known facts.

    How about no? Since I’m still waiting for you to answer any question at all I’ve posed for you in the past several days, I think you’ve used up your little requests. I have established, quite distinctly I warrant, that you are credulous, a poor investigator, operate from the premise of requiring disproof of your wild speculations, create your enemies from thin air, and totally ignore the concept that you could be wrong even in slight respects (much less the gross ones). And I’ve even established that in this post alone. I trashed every report you’ve provided, and for no cost too. And you still can’t grasp that.

    Enjoy your little stories, John. You’re not ready for reality.

  222. Ulric

    It is good to have a healthy dose of skepticism to protect one from scams, con artists, misleading advertising, misleading claims, propaganda, brainwashing, jumping to conclusions, etc. But when closed-minded cynicism comes masquerading as skepticism, it becomes a block to truth finding and open-minded investigation.

    According to Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, a skeptic is:

    “One who is yet undecided as to what is true; one who is looking or inquiring for what is true; an inquirer after facts or reasons.”

    That definition of a skeptic fits critical thinkers who analyze both sides in the pursuit of truth or a broader perspective. Of course, there are many ways of being a skeptic, and many issues to be “skeptical” of. Some are skeptics of the paranormal, others are skeptics of anything conventional – established thought, government, etc. so not all skeptics are the same or on the same side.

    However, the pseudo-skeptics like CSICOP members and Randi are definitely not open minded truth seekers, but rather their words and behavior are that of automatic dismissing and denying that which doesn’t fit into their paradigm. They are cynics who have closed their mind to anything that doesn’t fit into their world view, dismissing all else as misperception, delusion, or fraud. But don’t take my word for it, for if you read their own writing and hear what they say, it’s obvious from their narrow tunnel-view of reality, and their righteous indignation of what’s real and what’s “quackery” (a word they love to use). They do not seek to understand, but instead seek to discredit and invalidate. Their skepticism is what is called “pseudo-skepticism”.

    According to the American Heritage Dictionary, the term “pseudo” means “False or counterfeit; fake.” Therefore, these debunkers exhibit a false mask of skepticism. In actuality, they are cynics, debunkers, and deniers. They deny and dismiss all evidence, scientific or anecdotal, no matter how credible or plentiful, and look for an excuse to justify it. They are not about seeking the truth or open-minded investigations at all, only in discrediting what doesn’t fit into their view.

    Of course, every skeptic is going to say that they are open-minded true skeptics (just like every thief says they’re not a thief, every liar says they are not a liar, every high pressure salesman says they are not high pressure, etc.), but the proof of the pudding is in their actions, how they reason, and the system of philosophy they use. In fact, here are typical traits of true skeptics vs. pseudo-skeptics.

    ·True skeptics / open-minded skeptics:
    Typical traits: honest doubt, inquiry and investigation of both sides, considers evidence on all sides and seeing their good/bad points, asking exploratory questions, acceptance of evidence, good common sense, nonjudgmental, seeks the truth

    ·Pseudo-skeptics / closed-minded skeptics (also known as pseudo-skeptics, debunkers, hard core materialists, scoffers, atheists):
    Typical traits: automatic dismissal of all paranormal claims, predisposed to discredit all testimonials of a paranormal nature, denial of any and all evidence, scoffing, giving off an air of superior rationality, judgmental about things they know little or nothing about, quick to draw conclusions without evidence, using philosophical semantics to win arguments and invalidate paranormal or spiritual experiences.

    One of the tell-tale signs of pseudo-skeptical mentality is in the words they use when describing believers. If they describe them as: “delusional, irrational, gullible, charlatans, superstitious, wishful-thinking, primitive and child-like thinking”, etc. then it’s a strong indication of their a priori mentality.

    Skepticism should be a tool and method of inquiry to help one learn things and find truth, not as a cover to defend one’s own paradigms and cynicism. Doubting things and looking for answers will help one learn things, but trying to debunk everything outside your world view does not lead to learning. Therefore, the arguments I critique here refer to the arguments of pseudo-skeptics, not true skeptics.

    It is interesting to note that while Carl Sagan is a great teacher of astronomy and science, he has a very inadequate knowledge of paranormal phenomena. This is demonstrated by the fact that in his book The Demon-Haunted World: Science As a Candle in the Dark Sagan devotes a big chapter to debunking the Alien Abduction phenomenon, however, not once does he even personally investigate or interview any abductees at all, like an honest open-minded investigator or truth seeker would. On the other hand, researchers like Harvard Professor John Mack (author of Abduction: Human Encounters With Aliens ) have done extensive interviews and investigations with abductees for their book, which led them to the conclusion that there was more to the phenomenon than just “all in the brain” or sleep paralysis. In fact, Mack has personally investigated 76 abductee cases during the course of four years. But how many did Sagan investigate? Zero. Therefore, one ought to give those researchers more credence than skeptics like Carl Sagan who just dismiss the subject off-hand without any deep investigation for truth.

    Common tactics of pseudo-skeptics

    1) Ignoring facts and evidence that don’t fit into their preconceived world view, rather than updating their beliefs to conform to the facts, which is more logical. (e.g. “It can’t be, therefore it isn’t!”)

    2) Trying to force false explanations to explain a paranormal event regardless of whether they fit the facts. In essence, cynical skeptics tend to prefer inventing false explanations rather than accepting any paranormal ones. For example, using “cold reading” to explain the amazing accuracy of a psychic reading when no known cold reading technique could account for the facts and circumstances.

    3) Moving the goal posts or raising the bar whenever their criteria for evidence is met. For example, a pseudo-skeptic wants evidence for psi in the form of controlled experiments rather than anecdotal evidence. When this evidence is presented, he will then raise the bar and demand that the experiments be repeatable by other researchers. When this is done, then he will either attack the researchers integrity and character, attack their methods, or demand a report of every detail and minute of the experiment or else he will contend that some unmentioned lack of controls must have been the culprit to explain the positive psi results, etc. He will always find some excuse due to his already made-up mindset.

    4) Using double standards in what they will accept as evidence. They will not accept anecdotal evidence for the paranormal because they consider it to be unreliable, but not surprisingly they will accept anecdotal evidence when it supports their position. Also, they don’t accept anecdotal evidence for the paranormal, but when it’s against a paranormal claim, then they accept it as evidence against. (an unequivocal sign of bias) (e.g. “Others never reported any paranormal activity in the area”, “He/she saw something different”). For instance, when a psi experiment shows well above chance results, they will not accept it as evidence against psi. But when a psi experiment only shows chance results, they will accept that as evidence against psi.

    5) Attacking the character of witnesses and undermining their credibility their evidence or testimonies can’t be explained away. As we all know, when politicians can’t win on the issues, they resort to character assassinations. Unfortunately, this is also what pseudo-skeptics and debunkers tend to do as well. When evidence or testimony from key people can’t be explained away or are irrefutable, pseudo-skeptics will find ways to discredit them such as character assassinations or grossly exaggerating and distorting trivial mistakes. This has especially been done with the direct eyewitnesses of the 1947 Roswell crash.

    6) Dismissing all evidence for the paranormal by classifying it either as anecdotal, untestable, unreplicable, or uncontrolled. Pseudo-skeptics who wish to close their minds to any evidence, even after asking for it ironically, tend to do so by classifying it into one of the categories above. If the evidence is anecdotal, they will say that anecdotal evidence is worthless scientifically and untestable. If the evidence is in the form of scientific experiments, they will then say that it is unreplicable or uncontrolled.

    These illogical ways of thinking are strange coming from people who pride themselves on their logic and rationality! Of course, flawed thinking such as the above can come from both believers and skeptics.

    A common fallacy these pseudo-skeptics make is to assert that those who claim to have paranormal experiences do not consider other mundane explanations for their experience, and instead jump to paranormal conclusions. What pseudo-skeptics don’t understand is, if the possible mundane explanations don’t fit the facts or are too improbable to be believed, then they can and should be ruled out.

    I argue that the evidence for any paranormal phenomenon should be CONSIDERED and INVESTIGATED rather than rejected automatically just because it doesn’t fit in with prevailing beliefs and world views.

  223. John

    @ Just Al

    If you think I care about your daft challenge you are gravely mistaken. You are arrogrant enough to assume someone will spend their time doing something you requested which has nothing to do with this forum, and then whinge when they find something better to do. It’s even funnier that you are expecting me to produce some evidence and do your job for you, read my previous posts, I’ve said a few times that I haven’t got any evidence for you!

    “There are millions of reasons to accept mundane explanations over Godfrey’s”

    Sorry, the event is currently unknown as the best conclusion. I’ve already mentioned why, and the differences between accurate and inaccurate scepticism.

    “That is exactly what Occam’s Razor proves. Terrestrial explanations are always more likely – they occur all the time.”

    Big deal! What’s most likely cannot always explain an event you muppet. Some are still unknown.

    “it simply shows that you’re not cut out for this, either logically or emotionally.”

    Not so, I just don’t feel I need to tell you everything, nor have the time, plus not all comments have to be serious. Disagreements aren’t a problem, if you feel insulted maybe
    you’re not cut out emotionally for this old man! :)

    “Why would I feel a fool? This isn’t a religion to me, and I have no firm standpoint on aliens either way. I think it’d be great if we found some. But, you unknowingly have revealed even more of that psychological standpoint I was talking about. This isn’t a competition, and I’m not looking to be the one that wins by being “right.” ”

    If you understand my post correctly I was saying how other people will react to your comments. I never said you were trying to be competitive just that many people on here will interpret them as that.

    “or have someone read them to you”

    I could say the same to you about my comments, as you’ve missed some points entirely.

    “How about no?”

    I wonder why, maybe one of your mundane explanation will not be as likely for Stephenville. And don’t bother claiming I said something other-worldly happened there, as I haven’t. It’s the same straw-man tactics you have used before yourself, and that you accuse others of doing. Does that make you a hypocrite then? I think so!

    “I have established, quite distinctly I warrant, that you are credulous, a poor investigator, operate from the premise of requiring disproof of your wild speculations”

    Again twisting what I said. So it’s a wild speculation to leave an event as unknown where likely mundane explanation are non-existant?

    “I forgot – you operate from the standpoint of believing ridiculous stories, rather than entertaining the idea that something happened that happens all the time.”

    No I said that most are mundane events while a few may be credible because of a possible sighting I’ve had, but don’t wish to claim anything more than some sightings remain unknown.

    “Hmmm, the only proof I need for falling asleep is that he was tired. Don’t need it established for a fact. Can it happen? How many times has it happened in the past? Can you even count that high?”

    Exactly, so where is your proof that he was tired? By using that kind of logic you demonstrated there can produce false conclusions, even if a real alien sighting has occurred. Yes I can count all the way from 0 to +/- infinity.

    “create your enemies from thin air, and totally ignore the concept that you could be wrong even in slight respects”

    What on earth are you on about here?… I am not wrong even if those events turn out to be proven mundane that I am calling unknown for now. Unknown means it can be anything. I have already outlined accurate and inaccurate sceptics, who have not claimed to experience anything unusual themselves. Then there’s those who have claimed experience of something, and are sceptical, and those who are believers.

    “I trashed every report you’ve provided, and for no cost too. And you still can’t grasp that.
    Enjoy your little stories, John. You’re not ready for reality.”

    Well I wouldn’t want to waste money listening to you, you’d have to pay me to read your book, if you ever write one! I fully grasp your points, it’s a shame you don’t understand mine, but it’s not my fault you haven’t experienced anything possibly unexplainable to make you think some sightings are potentially usual, where no given mundane explanation fits and so I would say leave as unknown for now.

    And last of all how do you feel after all of your precious time spent on researching, you still have zero evidence of aliens collected, it must be really awful for you, especially if some encounters were later proven to be alien, your psychology evidence would no longer be accurate, except for data collected on yourself. Whereas a viewpoint of unknown for some sightings can have no negative impact whatsoever! I can understand your discontentment when people even half your age have possibly experienced unexplainable events, and yet you are stuck at best, describing an event as likely mundane, but actually an accurate sceptic’s only real conclusion for the unexplained events is “unknown”. Haa haa hee hee, how many hours of work has it taken for you to get to that conclusion. And no question mark intended there, as I’m not really bothered as we all know it’s been too many hours, and you’ve achieved little more than someone who’s done f*** all research.

  224. John

    http://dsc.discovery.com/space/qa/alien-ufo-edgar-mitchell.html

    “I did take my story to the Pentagon — not NASA, but the Pentagon — and asked for a meeting with the Intelligence Committee of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and got it. And told them my story and what I know and eventually had that confirmed by the admiral that I spoke with, that indeed what I was saying was true.”

    Here’s tasks for you Just Al which is relevant to this artice :

    1. Find out who this Admiral is and the old-timers in the military circle Mitchell was going on about and push them for evidence.

    2. Break into Area 51 and look for an alien body you so desperately desire as definitive evidence.

    I can imagine some sceptics will be still shouting fake even if a real alien was in a cage or a huge ship flew right over their head. Now that would be in complete denial.

  225. John

    Peter Sturrock, a prize winning and noted Stanford scientist has been a prominent contemporary scientist to express a keen interest in the subject of unidentified flying objects or UFOs.

    Sturrock’s interest traces back to the early 1970s when, seeking someone experienced with both computers and astrophysics, he hired Dr. Jacques Vallee for a research project. Upon learning that Vallee had written several books about UFOs, Sturrock — previously uninterested in UFOs — felt a professional obligation to at least peruse Vallee’s books. Though still largely sceptical, Sturrock’s interest was piqued by Vallee’s books. Sturrock then turned to the Condon Report (1969), the result of a two-year UFO research project that had been touted as the answer to the UFO question. Sturrock commented that, “The upshot of this was that, far from supporting Condon’s conclusions [that there was nothing extraordinary about UFOs], I thought the evidence presented in the report suggested that something was going on that needed study.” [1]

    At about the same time that the Condon Committee was conducting its investigation, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) in 1967 had set up a subcommittee to bring the UFO phenomenon to the attention of serious scientists. In 1970 this subcommittee published a position paper also highly critical of how the Condon Committee had conducted its investigation and how Condon’s written conclusions often didn’t match the cases detailed in the final report. Overall, the AIAA deemed about a third of the cases still unsolved. Unlike Condon, they felt these unsolved cases represented the essential core of the UFO problem and deserving of further scientific scrutiny. [2]

    Sturrock was curious what the general attitudes of the members of the AIAA might be and in 1973 surveyed the San Francisco branch of the AIAA, with 423 out of 1175 members responding. Opinions were widespread as to whether UFOs were a scientifically significant problem. Most seemed unsure or neutral on the question. Sturrock was also curious as to whether fellow scientists like the AIAA members ever reported seeing UFOs, i.e., anomalous aerial phenomena that they couldn’t identify. The survey indicated that about 5% had, which is typical for what is usually reported for the general population as a whole. [3]

    In 1975, Sturrock did a more comprehensive survey of members of the American Astronomical Society. Of some 2600 questionnaires, over 1300 were returned. Only two members offered to waive anonymity, and Sturrock noted that the UFO subject was obviously a very sensitive one for most colleagues. Nonetheless, Sturrock found a strong majority favored continued scientific studies, and over 80% offered to help if they could. Sturrock commented that the AAS members seemed more open to the question than the AIAA members in his previous survey. As in the AIAA survey, about 5% reported puzzling sightings, but skepticism against the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis (ETH) ran high. Most thought that UFO reports could ultimately be explained conventionally. Sturrock also found that skepticism and opposition to further study was correlated with lack of knowledge and study: only 29% of those who had spent less than an hour reading about the subject favored further study versus 68% who had spent over 300 hours. survey summary

    Noting that many scientists wished to see UFOs discussed in scientific journals (and at the same time, an almost complete absence of such articles in journals) Sturrock helped establish the Society for Scientific Exploration in 1982 to give a scientific forum to subjects that are neglected by the mainstream. Their publication, the Journal of Scientific Exploration has been published since 1987.

    In 1998, Sturrock organized a scientific panel to review various types of physical evidence associated with UFOs. The panel felt that existing physical evidence that might support the ETH was inconclusive but also deemed extremely puzzling UFO cases worthy of further scientific study. [4] Sturrock subsequently wrote up the work of the panel in a book The UFO Enigma: A New Review of the Physical Evidence.

  226. Todd W.

    Okay, John and Just Al, let’s keep the tone polite. Despite disagreements over the topic at hand, I would hope that you both can do at least that much. Let your emotions cool off and stick to the particular issues being discussed without the personal attacks.

    A quick note on maintaining a “it remains, at best, unknown/unidentified, and mundane explanations don’t fit.” John, would you be willing to accept an explanation of a UFO event that it was some ordinary event if the evidence suggested such? So far, your attitude has seemed to suggest that you think that just about all UFO events have “unknown” as the best possible conclusion, and that any mundane explanation falls woefully short.

    The reason I ask this is because of how vehemently you have been rejecting the possibility that the officer fell asleep in the case you presented. You have maintained that it is a ridiculous conclusion because there is no definitive proof that he fell asleep or that he was tired. We have assumed that he was going home after an evening shift, which you have neither confirmed nor denied, possibly because you yourself do not have any information to verify that assumption. We do not know the length of the shift (typical 8-hour? shorter? longer?), how long he had been awake before the shift, nor how much sleep he had gotten prior to that. Without knowing any of this, it is premature to absolutely dismiss the possibility that he fell asleep, as you have done.

    We have averred that he might have done so, not that he definitely did. Yet, even the mere potential, you dismiss. Why? On this and other matters that have been raised, you have seemed predisposed to discount any ordinary event as a possible explanation, in essence, equating doubt with being rationally skeptical and keeping the case open for further investigation, rather than coming to, well, a rather boring or uninteresting conclusion.

    Also, as regards the Venus explanation, you have also seemed to say that it is never a good explanation. My interpretation may be off, and please, feel free to correct me. Yet this explanation is not, I would venture to guess, used in every situation, and that in those situations where it is plausible, if not concluded, the evidence presented probably suggest it as a likely explanation.

    Perhaps it is all in who reaches the conclusion and the attitude in which they present it. Do you tend to dismiss explanations by people who come off as “skeptibunkies”? Do you tend to accept explanations from UFO researchers or witnesses? If they are a skeptic, but present their analysis in a rational manner, without a dismissive, condescending attitude, do you accept it or at least give it due consideration? Do you still dismiss it because it does not fit with what you believe? Have there been situations where you have changed your position on a story? I ask these questions seriously and want you to really take time to think about your responses to UFO explanations before you answer.

  227. John

    lol sorry you’re right Todd W. there’s no point in personal attacks, it’s silly. Ok in that situation the officer may have fallen asleep, I just don’t know. We can forget that example if you want.

    Do you or JustAl know anyone personally who have claimed a sighting who have always seemed rational, just out of interest?

    Before I had a sighting I used to be less sceptical of reports of sightings and think a lot of them could have been alien, now I’m sceptical of just about everything. Reading sceptics comments on here has been refreshing in comparison to most ufo reports in the media or on tv. I find most reports unconvincing, whilst only a few which remain unexplained are worth more investigation, e.g. Stephensville, Guernsey, possibly Phoenix.

    I will get straight to the point and say that for myself and maybe for some others who have experienced something possibly unexplained, this personal experience can be considered as real evidence by those people, even if sounding credulous. This is of course why people consider similar sightings to be at least a bit relevant, although not proof that the simlar sightings were definitely unusual. I also consider that it is possible that my sighting can still be explained as something mundane, but have yet to find anything remotely close to what I saw, after much checking. This conclusion has been made by my own thinking and I have not simply just accepted what any ufologist has concluded, and whilst you may find it similar, there are some differences between the “total believers”.

    You may consider that a belief, but I have a gut feeling that it was definitely real (unusual in origin), and so I have to consider it as fact. I ask you again if you have noticed this occurrence in anyone you know personally? That is probably the only way you could understand what I mean, unless you experience something unusual yourself.

    I know scientifically all I can claim is an unexplained sighting. Although the changing characteristics I have described of a witness could be used to determine which sightings are worthwhile for further study, and which some of those will turn out to be extraterrestrial if indeed that is what’s happening. However since I can provide you no proof of that, it’s likely to be ignored completely by sceptics requiring physical evidence.

    Therefore I find it pointless to continue with any previous arguments. It’s fine, accept as crackpot if you wish (waiting for Just Al’s joke), but I only hope you and everyone else experience something which can be possibly interpreted as out of the ordinary, and the scientific community doesn’t regret it’s investigating methods in the future.

    “regards the Venus explanation, you have also seemed to say that it is never a good explanation. My interpretation may be off, and please, feel free to correct me. Yet this explanation is not, I would venture to guess, used in every situation, and that in those situations where it is plausible, if not concluded, the evidence presented probably suggest it as a likely explanation.”

    I agree that many cases are so unconvincing that they could be and even likely Venus as the witness sounded blind drunk. There was a report in the media in UK recently (can’t remember where) when a woman said she saw a bright light in the sky which couldn’t have been a star or planet as it was too close to the horizon. That is obviously ridiculous as you can see Jupiter clear enough right until it’s below the horizon, providing there’s no clouds of course. Jupiter can never be too close to the horizon to be seen on a clear night, and is only not visible whilst below the horizon. Atmospheric disturbance can cause some strange effects in those cases where a sighting is close to the horizon, and without any more information we can say this is likely Venus appearing strange really low on the horizon.

    I meant earlier that Venus is offered as a possible explanation by sceptics for some sightings where it is unlikely, but not necessarily given as the most likely mundane explanation. That is what I think is rather silly, mentioning Venus in the list of mundane although unlikely for some sightings. This may not happen as often as I may have thought, and this is probably just the media taking the sceptics remarks out of context, but it still does happen.

    I also feel that if witnesses didn’t say such contradicting remarks or restrained from explaining their sighting emotionally, and kept to what they were sure in their mind as pure facts, the idea of witness accounts having more weight would be considered, presuming it was obvious the witness in question wasn’t fully intoxicated. And I find it ridiculous that because someone has had a few pints even though not blind drunk makes it plausible that they hallucinated or misinterpreted a street-lamp. That is only my opinion though, as many light-weight sceptics would say “ohh 4 pints ohh dear that’s a lot of alcohol, maybe he was drunk”. Some people do have larger alcohol tolerances.

    “Do you still dismiss it because it does not fit with what you believe?”

    No I only accept knowledge and don’t believe in anything without some sort of evidence, whether that’s only from something I’ve witnessed or a credible scientific report and/or physical evidence. And no, I don’t think I am more important than anyone else on this planet.

    “Have there been situations where you have changed your position on a story?”

    No, not when involving any serious circumstances. Anyway, whether someone’s a credible witness or not, it’s not accepted scientific practice to believe unproven claims. Again for the third time I emphasise, check if you know anyone personally who have become what you consider credulous in a similar way, and consider all possibilities.

  228. Todd W.

    @John

    First, regarding weird experiences. Let me relate to you an experience I had as a child. I was outside at night, in the countryside, playing with my brother. All of a sudden, we saw these weird lights in the sky…greens and reds. It was eerily silent. We ran inside to get my parents, thinking it was a UFO. We went to the window to look out. The lights lasted a moment or two more, then were just gone.

    So far, this sounds a lot like many of the UFO stories. Now, let me add in some details that came out after we got mom and dad to come look, as well as what might not occur to a kid (and even some adults). First off, this took place in northern Minnesota, in the summertime. Second, the lights had a wavy pattern to them. Have you guessed what it could have been yet? It was simply the Aurora Borealis. To someone who had never seen that before, it can be really freakin’ scary and be interpreted as something not at all natural and possibly alien in nature.

    So, yes, I have experienced something really bizarre that I wasn’t able to make out any rational explanation for at the time. Since then, I have not had any experiences where I was unable to figure out what was going on, nor do I know anyone that has had such an event (or at least, no one has told me about it).

    Now, getting to your answer to my question about changing your mind. So, you have never gone from a position of not accepting the explanation to accepting it? Or from accepting it to not accepting it? There have been no accounts of UFOs that you have started accepting one explanation (even if that explanation was “it’s unknown”) and, over the course of finding more information about it, switching to a different one?

    I would give a word of caution that there is such thing as being too skeptical. Take a look at the current vaccine-autism brouhaha. Those claiming a connection between vaccines and autism tend to fall into the trap of being overly skeptical. Because there is no evidence that definitively kills the link (just too many variables, not to mention the trouble of trying to prove a negative), they maintain “but, it’s possible! So, we should do XYZ.”

    The same thing occurs with the UFO camp, in particular when it comes to stories involving government involvement. A rational explanation is put forward, but then the “true believer” rationalizes it away, moves the goalpost and maintains that “but we just don’t know for sure.” There needs to be a point at which you (in the general sense, not you in particular, John) stop and examine the evidence again and your reaction to it. Are you really dismissing an explanation because it doesn’t fit the facts? Or, are you dismissing it because it doesn’t fit with your interpretation of the facts?

    I say this as a generally warning for anyone involved in skeptical inquiry, as well as a specific warning for you, as you seem to be falling into the logical fallacy of being overly skeptical. Again, I may be wrong, but that is the impression that I get.

  229. John

    @ Todd W.

    Aurora has always been considered mundane in my lifetime. So you were a child and mistook something, that proves very little for cases where an educated adult has witnessed something. In actual fact you have never witnessed anything out of the ordinary then by your last post.

  230. John, how about when an educated adult, such as an ATC tries to direct the planet Venus onto a runway to land because he thinks it’s an aircraft? Venus is the most misidentified UFO in the sky. Surely it isn’t just kids reporting that Venus is a UFO?

  231. John

    Yes you’re right Venus is often misidentified for lots of things by even pilots, and you’re also right that it’s not just kids. But you didn’t get my point at all.

  232. Todd W.

    @John

    My example is quite apt to the discussion. For someone who has never seen, either first-hand or in pictures/video, the Aurora, for them, it is most certainly not mundane. You dismiss it as a poor example of a UFO phenomenon because you know, and have always known, the lights to be a perfectly natural phenomenon. In essence, you are doing exactly as you accuse some skeptics.

    Further, as regards children vs. adults, education most certainly does not equal any smarter. Talk to any magician, and they will most likely tell you that kids are much more difficult to trick, while adults are much easier. Why? Because children tend not to have a bunch of assumptions about the world built into their thinking. Adults, on the other hand, tend to assume a great deal, based on their understanding of the world. This leads to mistakes in interpretation of events in the world around them.

    So, yes, I have experienced something out of the ordinary for me, just like any UFO witness has experienced something out of the ordinary for them. The fact that it really was something ordinary does not change that fact. Keep these points in mind when thinking about UFO reports in the future. Just because it is not something ordinary for you, doesn’t mean that it is in fact extraordinary.

  233. John

    “I have experienced something out of the ordinary for me, just like any UFO witness has experienced something out of the ordinary for them.”

    Not all UFO witnesses have experienced something which is nowhere near explained so far. If you want to argue about it that way then aliens can be considered mundane once they decide to show themselves properly, and so anything can end up becoming mundane. It is likely that the US military has technology kept classified that some Univerisity Professor’s don’t know of and defy what they understand as science, as we know this has happened in the past with stealth plane technology. So it would be likely that this is still the case today for newly developed technology, than it would be that this has stopped completely, given that black budget is around $32 billion.

    So is this technology which exists but we know not of, considered mundane. Well it would be to those who have worked on it. It would be as normal for them as an internal combustion engine. But are you going to say because there’s no physical evidence for you to see, then it likely doesn’t exist, but we know it does, so that would be a wrong method of thinking. So you could be entirely wrong about your line of thinking towards ufos, we just don’t know for sure.

    One could use the argument that aliens should be here, so they must be here. All other arguments against them (lack of physical evidence, not showing themselves etc) being here irrelevant, as any advanced race elsewhere which we accept is likely to exist will find a way to travel, just like we would expect our future descendants to find a way to travel long distances, as it’s in our nature to explore.

    That is the line of thinking which Dr. Mitchell seems to be making apparent. This could be right or it could be wrong. Your reply will probably sound like “Yes anything could be possible but without physical evidence…. blah blah blah…..even flying purple elephant could be possible”. Sure anything could be possible but to dismiss alien visitation as myth like you would for Santa Claus is inaccurate, as we accept that aliens will most likely exist elsewhere. What scientists, are saying that Santa Claus or a flying purple elephant exist somewhere? None.

    I see absolutely zero point in associating any form of ridicule towards alien visitation, when it should be something we expect to happen someday at the very least. What’s so funny about alien visitation anyway, I think those who ridicule it have watched too much sci-fi and assume that this is all imaginary. I think it’s due to the shallow attitude of some of the scientific community, who fear their careers due to the false perception of the general public that it is all just a joke. I know some do treat it as a serious subject, for example seti, but there are for example, those who make comparisons between ET and Santa Claus on these forums who are clearly not just sceptics, but anti-seti. That is a drastic flaw in lots of people.

    Some even use seti for media attention, whilst not even considering the consequences – http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/digitalcontent/2008/07/bebos_latest_expansion_into_sp.html
    Yes this could get young people into Astronomy, but why propagate space with radiowaves of spam, is it really so necessary?! In fact if an alien species are as nasty as humans beings are to each other then we should have more consideration of radio transmissions into space. I know we have satellite comms and other comms which already transmit outwards, but these are indirect, and of lower intensity.

    “Keep these points in mind when thinking about UFO reports in the future.”

    I am not dismissing any of those points at all, I’m just showing a broader range of view.

    “Just because it is not something ordinary for you, doesn’t mean that it is in fact extraordinary.”

    No it doesn’t always mean something is extraordinary, but an event can seem like it could be extraordinary, as a few other people are suggesting as well from their own accounts. I think anyone who is rational would say that is possible after witnessing something like that, and someone who doesn’t is either irrational, or hasn’t experienced an unexplained sighting which still remains unexplained by well-known science today.

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