Why astronomers don't report UFOs

By Phil Plait | September 1, 2010 7:06 am

ufos_zappingI have, from time to time, made a point that astronomers rarely if ever report UFOs. If UFOs really were buzzing us as much as the media and UFO proponents would have us believe, then astronomers would overwhelmingly report the majority of them: we spend far more time outside looking up than pretty much any other group of people.

So why don’t we see all these alien spacecraft? I think this is because we almost always understand what we’re seeing in the sky, so we know not to mistake Venus, the Moon, a satellite, or other mundane things for flying saucers.

While UFO believers love to make hay of this — showing me the extremely rare time when an astronomer has reported a UFO, thus proving my point, or falsely saying astronomers spend too much time at the eyepiece to note the broader sky (which is ridiculous) — the fact is, astronomers are familiar with the sky, so we know what’s going on.

Well, almost always know. John Woolley of the Greater Edmonton Skeptics Society has an amusing story of the time he and some other astronomers saw something they couldn’t immediately explain… and make sure you read Part 2.

And y’know, his story sounds pretty familiar

So remember, despite the claims of the UFO crowd and the media that love to play this stuff up, seeing isn’t believing. Understanding is!

MORE ABOUT: UFOs

Comments (276)

  1. Christian

    UFO = Unidentified Flying Object

    See something flying that you don’t know what it is? UFO!

    So, everyone is a UFO believer.

    Seriously dude…

  2. Zucchi

    Phil, could ya talk to Michio Kaku?

  3. Zucchi

    Great; I read the first part of the article, and then the site went down. Guess I’ll have some time to try and guess what it was.

  4. Zippy the Pinhead

    The Moon’s a UFO??!! THAT … EXPLAINS … EVERYTHING!

  5. Astronomers don’t report UFOs because Phil links to their blogs and their servers melt down and the photographs can’t be uploaded anymore.

    Sounds logical.

  6. Yeah, looks like the site’s down. Phil’s like the new Digg. :-D

  7. Jennifer

    Can’t access the site, it’s still loading.

    Once while my family was camping on a beach in Baja California, my Dad decided he wanted to fly a kite in the dark. In order to see it, he tied on a toy lightstick so he could see where the kite was as he let it out and back in. All evening as I wandered around the campsite, I kept running into people who were staring and pointing at it, and wondering if it was a flying saucer.

  8. Fortunately, Google’s cache (text-only version) has it available:

    Part 1

    Part 2

    (Edit) Tree Lobsters — the links you give are to the full cache, and still fail for me, as it stalls trying to load something (images?) from the original site.

  9. Phil,

    There is a bug/quirk in The Hive Overmind Discover Magazine’s blog software that lets me post items with links (like this one), yet skip your moderation. If you are interested, contact me at the e-mail address associated with this post, and I’ll give you the details.

  10. Eric Riley

    This reminds me of a discussion I had with a believer who claimed that tens of millions of people have been *abducted* by aliens – but that none of them discuss it for fear of being ridiculed. Aside from the implied insult that I would ridicule those of my friends who had been abducted should they share that with me, I tried pointing out that such large numbers of abductions should lead to some more tangible evidence than blurry photographs and unsubstantiated stories.
    As always – a UFO is *unidentified* – they shouldn’t use that term as shorthand for ‘alien spacecraft’ (since it is an *identified* or *imaginary* – take your pick) object…

    cheers

  11. More like astronomers don’t report UFOs because they are all working on grants from the government, who have been collaborating with the aliens stationed on the far side of the moon for decades. They’re contractually obligated to keep their mouths shut or else lose funding! (Or worse…get traded as human hamburger meat in exchange for a half-cup of Helium-3…)

  12. I don’t know Phil, that answer is pretty reasonable . . . maybe a little too reasonable.

  13. Ann

    “I have, from time to time, made a point that astronomers rarely if ever report UFOs.”

    True, they rarely do, because UFOs are rare events. But, they do occur:

    What about the Italian astronomer/scientist that saw an unknown moving across the lunar surface not long ago?

  14. My daughter and I saw a UFO (for a second anyway) driving home from the NC mountains last week. We were heading east at about sunset.
    We noticed a cigar shaped object glowing as it moved north. It was at about 50 degrees above the horizon.
    It was moving fast and glowed a gold color. My first sighting of a true UFO!

    Once I got my wits (or removed that UFO filter), I realized it was a plane heading to the airport to the NE. I explained to my daughter that the plan was high enough that the sun still shone on it (even though it had set for us) and it’s light caused the plane to glow.

    Simple, but it made me think of all the “cigar shaped” UFOs we used to hear about.

    By the way, I never mentioned “UFO” to my daughter, I’m not sure if she’s even heard the term. Hopefully, she’ll not develop the UFO filter (or religion, or woo filter either) and head straight to logic.

  15. I once saw a flying saucer complete with disc and dome…. And then a few seconds later the tail of the airplane appeared. It’s amazing how a plane, when viewed from the correct angle, looks just like a flying saucer. The wings become the “saucer”, the front becomes the “dome” and the tail is hidden from view. I wouldn’t be surprised if some UFO sightings were merely airplanes viewed at an odd angle (or viewed quickly). Either that, or the aliens are on to us and have started disguising their spacecraft as normal, everyday airplanes! ;-)

  16. Rory Kent

    No matter how familiar those objects are, they are most certainly not mundane!

  17. Bob in Easton

    My friends I and caused quite a stir one night in New Jersey back in 1968 with clear plastic bag from the dry cleaner. I was 14 at the time.

    It was about 2 feet wide and about 4 feet tall. We took a 3″ wide piece of .125″ thick balsa wood fit it across the open end of the bag so it would hold it open. We screwed a can of Sterno on top of the balsa wood and lit it. The heat from the burning Sterno cause the bag to expand and turn into a nice little hot air balloon. We let it go….it went up high enough so that you couldn’t see what it was in the dark. The bag had a bluish glow from the Sterno and the breeze kept slightly altering the shape of the bag so it looked like this undulating light moving across the sky. It really looked like some kind of UFO.

    The next day there is a front page story in the Newark Evening News about hundreds of calls to police about a UFO sighting over Union County. Of course this was our hot air balloon. It was a really dumb thing to do since the burning Sterno could have started a fire somewhere, but we lucked out and nothing bad happened. After all the hubbub I got scared of all the attention and laid low and never did anything like that again.

  18. “the fact is, astronomers are familiar with the sky, so we know what’s going on.”

    Hmmm. That is true for amateur astronomers. But frankly, I know a lot of professional astronomers who have very little real knowledge of sky/night-time phenomena. They model processes in the core of a collapsing neutron star, or the evolution of galaxies under gravitational perturbation. But quite often they can’t discern Ursa minor from the Pleiades if you take them outside, under the starry sky. Remember a few years ago, when the NASA APOD was a picture of a “spectacular fireball over Wales”, which was in fact a sunlit aircraft contrail?

    The real difference is indeed, that they have a mindset which urges them to probe and explain, rather than to jump to sensational conclusions (well: except for the case of that APOD picture…).

  19. jeturcotte

    I never understood how anyone could ever mistake Venus for a UFO (though, frankly, I am a UFO believer myself given a few sightings that do not involve ‘lights’.) I came from hilly new england and I always felt the distance to Venus quite distinctly. But I recently drove out to Denver from Virginia, and once I’d reached ~truly~ flat land, I had an entirely different and mildly unnerving experience with Venus where my sense of perspective was a bit lost. Driving along after dark, with the top down on my mini, I kept staring out at Venus as it really did feel like it was ‘following’ me along the road. I wonder if a map could be compiled of ‘sightings’ of Venus with a possible correlation to the flatness of the land giving observers a false sense of ‘proximity’ to the planet.

  20. wg

    To Eric Reilly,

    No Ufologist will claim that UFO’s are “extraterrestrial”. That is a fundamental fallacy of “skeptics” that just can’t seem to get straight.

    What we do say is that these are:

    1) apparently metallic

    2)apparently under intelligent control (in that they evade jets and don;t generally crash into the ground)

    3) structured

    4) able to perform maneuvers entirely impossible to our current technology.

    Their origin is a matter of speculation.

  21. IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE

    @Marco Langbroek:

    Remember a few years ago, when the NASA APOD was a picture of a “spectacular fireball over Wales”, which was in fact a sunlit aircraft contrail?

    You mean this?

  22. Nikki B

    A co-worker, a fellow engineer mentioned a simliar “cigar shaped” story to the one Lynn described, but he said it was around dusk. This immediatly brought light bouncing off something to my mind, but deffinatly not.. extraterrestial. He had this look of wonder and mystery in his eyes. I tried my best to keep from visibly rolling my eyes in front of him.

    He’s a degreed engineer, he should be able to keep reason seperate from “ZOMG, Aliens!” but something sparks and the brain shuts off.

  23. Chris

    I saw a UFO once. When I tell people this they think “alien spacecraft” rather than what UFO really means: Unidentified Flying Object. The object I saw didn’t look like any aircraft I had seen or heard of before but it doesn’t mean it wasn’t something mundane. Since I lived near a millitary base at the time, I’m guessing it was probably some kind of prototype aircraft.

    I’ve just given up and stopped telling people about it.

  24. Naomi

    Oh, man, that just reminded me to look up what I saw last night – hands down, the brightest Venus I’ve ever seen (low in the western sky, around 8 PM in Tucson). Well, I was fairly certain it was Venus, but there were two OTHER really bright objects near it – Heavens Above says it was Mars and Spica. Neat! Spica was pretty much right behind Venus, too.

    (I also saw a meteor, and my first clear view of the Big Dipper (I haven’t been in the States for long). Good five minutes! The skies here are amazing.)

  25. Tim Wagner

    As you can see from this discussion, there is a dichotomy that occurs when discussing UFO’s. If you are classified as a ‘believer’, then you are lumped in with the 20102/Niburu crowd. If you are not, then you are a ‘closed minded skeptic’. I have had a UFO experience, and like wg said, it matched those points. The key is I did not jump right on the phone and say ‘ET is here, and he’s driving too fast’. I used the same logical approach used for any other encounter with something unknown. I wrote down what I saw, I listed other potential things it could be, as well as any astronomical events that were happening concurrently. I looked for verification from anyone else in the same general area, as well as news reports. At the end of the day, I know what I saw did not match any type of object/craft known to me, which isn’t the same as saying that it might be something exterriesteral. The extremes on both sides do a disservice to all of us by marginalizing the other, and keeping the objective discourse on these objects in the theater of the absurd.

  26. wg said:

    No Ufologist will claim that UFO’s are “extraterrestrial”. That is a fundamental fallacy of “skeptics” that just can’t seem to get straight.

    What we do say is that these are:

    1) apparently metallic

    2)apparently under intelligent control (in that they evade jets and don;t generally crash into the ground)

    3) structured

    4) able to perform maneuvers entirely impossible to our current technology.

    That’s essentially saying the equivalent of: No! We don’t say it’s a “hairbrush”, we say it has apparent bristles, an apparent handle, and it can be apparently used to brush hair.

    You’re saying UFOlogists define a UFO as “apparently intelligently controlled metallic technology beyond our current capabilities”. Unless you’re wrong about the “beyond our current capabilities” bit, that’s just short-hand for “apparently extra-human technology”.

    Extra-human intelligence/extra-terrestrial intelligence, the overlap between the two sets is unclear through lack of information, but it’s most likely large (some would argue complete). That doesn’t make this much of a fallacy.

  27. uudale

    @wg:

    “No Ufologist will claim that UFO’s are “extraterrestrial”. That is a fundamental fallacy of “skeptics” that just can’t seem to get straight.”

    Really? No ufologist? None? Not a single one?

    News to me.

  28. 19. Marco Langbroek Says:

    Hmmm. That is true for amateur astronomers. But frankly, I know a lot of professional astronomers who have very little real knowledge of sky/night-time phenomena. They model processes in the core of a collapsing neutron star, or the evolution of galaxies under gravitational perturbation.

    Wouldn’t that be an astrophysicist instead of a vanilla astronomer?

  29. 24601

    Back in 2000 I was working in Yellowstone National Park, at Mammoth Hot Springs in the northern part of the park. It’s a lovely place for stargazing, as there are no streetlights, no billboards, etc. It’s nearly completely dark at night, even in the occupied areas. I was walking back to my room after finishing the late shift, with my head back watching the stars as I walked, when I noticed a bright star I hadn’t noticed before. As I looked at it, it seemed to move a little, so I stopped walking and just watched it. It took about a minute, but as I watched it, I saw it zigzag in every direction, never far from where I first spotted it, then it started to fade out and disappear.
    To this day I cannot explain what it was I saw. I do not believe we have aircraft (or spacecraft) that can perform the maneuvers I witnessed, nor do I think it’s possible for it to have been a meteor (I may be wrong, though), as it stayed in one small piece of sky and made several sharp changes in direction before fading out with no (visible) sign of venting or even a trail (unless it was coming straight at my head).
    As I have so far been unable to identify what I saw, then I have no trouble saying that I witnessed a UFO.

  30. Kevin

    I conduct public astronomy viewings all the time, and I see UFO’s all the time, too. That is, until the U becomes an I, which normally takes less than ten seconds. My favorite ones come from Bell Helicopters to the south, who just love to send choppers in night-flying formations over my favored observing spot. At night they look for all the world like something from ‘Close Encounters,’ so I’ve developed a standard routine. It goes like this: “What you’re seeing are helicopters, probably on a night test-flight from Amarillo. But if I were really eeeeeevil and wanted to exploit you, say into buying my flying saucer book for $29.95, I could probably get you to believe that those are alien spaceships. That is, until you hear the rotor blades, which should be just about…now…” And that’s when they hear: thupthupthupthupTHUPTHUPTHUPTHUP, and the illusion is all over. Sound observation triumphs again.

  31. I live under the Heathrow flightpath. At dusk I frequently see huge diamond-shaped vehicles flying overhead — it’s an optical illusion caused by the lights at nose, tail, and wingtips. It’s freakishly convincing; you can actually see the dark body of the diamond against the sky, even though it’s not actually there…

    Here’s a picture of an excellent UFO I once accidentally photographed: http://www.cowlark.com/the-ufo-wot-i-saw. The referral logs for it scare me.

  32. WJM

    Mmmm…. vanilllllllla…

  33. alfaniner

    Just a couple weeks ago I was out about midnight with one of the kids, looking at satellites and such. We tracked one, and suddenly it flared up brightly — very surprising as I’d never seen that before. It may have been the brightness but I lost track of it immediately after that.

    Was it a satellite rotating just enough to catch more sun (would it have been high enough at midnight?) The ISS? A Rebel Blockade Runner defending itself? Something else?

  34. Pete Jackson

    Well, I must report that as a bona-fide astronomer, I DID definitely see a UFO (unidentified flying object). In 1970, I was helping out one night at the University of Maryland Observatory in College Park, Maryland, showing the stars and planets to the public.

    Looking almost straight up, I saw a first magnitude star where one ought not to be. After a few minutes, the ‘star’ became fuzzy. After more minutes, it kept growing larger and fuzzier. Eventually it began to dim, while still growing larger. Finally, it faded from view looking like a detached part of the Milky Way.

    Definitely an Object, definitely Flying, definitely Unidentified…

    A couple of months later, I was reading Sky and Telescope, which had a report that one of the Apollo missions on the way to the Moon dumped their excess fuel into space that night, thousands of miles from Earth.

    So my UFO finally became an IFO!

    So, its perfectly normal for someone to see a UFO from some unexplained natural or man-made event. It’s very unnatural, and against Occum’s razor however, to assume that it is caused by intelligent beings from another planet.

  35. XPT

    Phil I think your bump broke their website :)

  36. #24 Naomi, I saw the Venus/Spica/Mars conjunction as well. I took a couple of pics. If you look closely, you can just pic out Saturn just about to go behind a palm tree.

    http://halfastro.wordpress.com/2010/09/01/spica-joins-the-planet-party/

  37. Marsha Allen

    I saw a bunch of UFOs one night at Sommers-Bausch Observatory in Boulder. I was running the public open house and saw a v-shaped formation of ghostly pale discs flying across the sky, completely silent. I had no idea what it was until a month or so later. This time the ‘disks’ were flying so low I could see the wings flapping. It was a v-shaped formation of geese flying low over the city and the city lights were reflecting off the birds’ bellies.

  38. pharmakos

    You are a presumptuous arrogant fool. To say that just because you understand telescopes , you are a more qualified observer is categorically false. Yes Most UFO sightings are explainable. Yes , indeed UFO sightings are very very rare and most have a logical explanation. However , this does not explain little things like, oh the governor of Arizona (who is a trained pilot) witnessing a mile long V shaped craft flying over Phoenix in March 1997. This does not explain the stephenville lights which were recored on radar , the 1952 case of objects over the white house, the malstrom Airforce base having its missiles shut off, the list goes on and on. Do some research before you think you know something.

  39. EricH

    alfaniner–
    From your description, you might have caught sight of an Iridium flare.

  40. Physicalist
  41. Sam

    I believe WG’s point is the same point made perfectly clear with mountains of solid proof and logic in Leslie Kean’s new book, “UFOs: Generals, Pilots & Govt Officials Go On the Record”…

    Worldwide (mostly outside the US mainstream, which stands virtually alone in its irrational, dogmatic dismissal of the phenomenon) there are actually a lot of very serious-minded and extremely well credentialed experts from a broad array of disciplines who have been studying this enigma for decades. They have compiled and analyzed — using the highest professional standards conceivable for application to this unique, inherently anecdotal phenomenon — a tremendous amount of evidence, and have concluded that a small minority of cases are truly and irrefutably unsolvable using only conventional explanations.

    These cases, about 5-10% of all reported cases, demonstrate the following to virtually all serious-minded investigators, of whatever discipline, who review the data: “There exists in our skies, worldwide, a solid, physical phenomenon that appears to be under intelligent control and is capable of speeds, maneuverability and luminosity beyond current known technology.” Further, “the hypothesis that UFOs are of extraterrestrial or interdimensional origin is a rational one and must be taken into account given the data we have. However, the actual origin and nature of UFOs have not yet been determined by scientists, and remain unknown.” (Kean, pp. 13-14).

    If you care enough about this subject, pro- or con-, to be commenting on articles and posts on the matter, you should read this book. In particular, though, you really owe it to your own intellectual integrity to read the book if you find that you are dogmatically opposed to the assertions quoted above, despite having not reviewed the data that support these assertions. (Note: almost all such people grew up in the US, where a uniquely dismissive climate of mainstream ridicule has been carefully & deliberately cultivated since the 1950s. That’s when, as Kean’s book shows using now-publicly available govt records, the US govt put a propoganda program in place to marginalize the issue out of a fear that concerns about UFOs (whether founded or unfounded) could be used for phychological warfare by the Soviets.)

    Don’t make excuses. You don’t want to contribute to the fortunes (ha! as if!) of people writing pro-UFO books? Check it out from the library. Don’t have the time to “waste”? How many 400 pg fiction books have you read without worrying about wasting your time. So put up or shut up — read the book before you continue to post on the subject, or admit you’re willfully uninformed and stay out of the debate.

  42. Actually astronomers do see UFOs. Perhaps you haven’t and your astronomer friends have not told you about their sightings. Here is an article of some astronomers who have seen UFOs and proved that many of their colleagues had also seen them.
    http://www.openminds.tv/astronomers-see-ufos-081310/

  43. 95965

    I saw a giant black triangle with red lights on the corners. It was HUGE and SILENT! I also saw a cigar shaped unidentified object that was flying real low in the sky right above me (in the morning hours). It was NOT A PLANE I got a good look at it. I also saw 3 bright white sparking lights chasing each other in a circular motion (it was night time). Then the 3 became 2 and the 2 lights chases each other in a figure 8 pattern with sparks flying off them. Then the 2 became 1 and no more sparks, just a light that faded away very slowly. I couldn’t identify that either….all these sightings are still unexplained to me and its been over 20 years since I witnessed them.

    http://www.qtm.net/~geibdan/astro-si.html

    And according to a taped interview by J. L. Ferrando, Major Cooper said:

    “For many years I have lived with a secret, in a secrecy imposed on all specialists in astronautics. I can now reveal that every day, in the USA, our radar instruments capture objects of form and composition unknown to us. And there are thousands of witness reports and a quantity of documents to prove this, but nobody wants to make them public.

    Donald Slayton
    Donald Slayton a Mercury astronaut revealed in an interview he had seen UFOs in 1951:

    “I was testing a P-51 fighter in Minneapolis when I spotted this object. I was at about 10,000 feet on a nice, bright, sunny afternoon. I thought the object was a kite, then I realized that no kite is gonna fly that high.”

    As I got closer it looked like a weather balloon, gray and about three feet in diameter. But as soon as I got behind the darn thing it didn’t look like a balloon anymore. It looked like a saucer, a disk.

    About the same time, I realized that it was suddenly going away from me — and there I was, running at about 300 miles per hour. I tracked it for a little way, and then all of a sudden the damn thing just took off. It pulled about a 45 degree climbing turn and accelerated and just flat disappeared.”

    NASA’s Scott Carpenter
    “At no time, when the astronauts were in space were they alone: there was a constant surveillance by UFOs.”

  44. @ Paul Duffield and uudale:

    wg’s comment is typical ufo nutter b.s. Every few years or so, after their terminology gets either too boring or too crackpot even for the most tolerant listener, the nuts will pull a switcheroo to something more “sciencey” sounding. Thus the evolution from rockets to saucers to disks to triangles to — insert cool sounding label here.

    Trouble is, their logic is still faulty, their blinders are still up, and their inability to provide ANY piece of verifiable, non-anecdotal evidence that can’t be explained away by something utterly mundane is still the same as it’s always been.

    A nut by any other name is still a nut.

  45. Michel

    Who is suppressing the site were Dr.Phil linked to?

  46. Sam

    BTW, all your snarky stories about things you or some you knew once thought were UFOs but were actually [take your pick: Veus, satellites, geese, airplanes]…?

    Whoopty-doo. They’re all part of the 90-95% that experts readily acknowledge to be conventionally explainable “UFOs.” I don’t know why you even bother expending the energy to type these when they are so completely beside the point. I guess it’s just to convince yourselves that you know something about this issue and aren’t forming your opinions out of ignorance (though you surely are). So I guess you’ll keep on regaling each other with these pointless stories, since they resonate so well in this little echo chamber.

  47. Ann @ 14: For that observation, see Phil’s post: badastronomy/2007/12/14/italian-ufo/
    and you’ll find that it is easily explained as a balloon – it looks like a balloon to me. Shash @ 41 of that post also has some good arguments about its blackness – what is seen is either the UFO (U for unidentified) itself blocking the sun-light reflected by the Moon, or it is its shadow cast on the Moon. In any case it has sun-light shinig at it at the same angle as the Moon has – if it is close to the Moon…

    jeturcotte @ 20: As to believing Venus to be an alien spacecraft – I have experienced that myself, having an astro newbie out for a observing night and showing her Venus – she was absolutely convinced that it was moving. Even showing how it didn’t change its (angular) distance to trees etc., didn’t make any difference to her.

    Cheers,
    Regner

  48. Maria

    I do “love”the way some “people” always put “brackets” around “words” they want to diminish or add a “little” snide tone to, such as “skeptics.”

    Over the years and in many locations, I’ve seen plenty of things in the sky that I could not at first identify. And over the years, I’ve mostly identified all of them with one exception (but have a hunch and it’s got nothing to do with space craft. :P ).

    Satellites, the space station, planes, lights on top of towers, planets, meteors, wonderful atmospheric goings on (reflections, refractions, noctilucent clouds, iridescent clouds, different types of lightning) oh and a far off blimp! While I’ve seen a lot in the sky that, to me, was initially and completely unidentified, I’d never use the term UFO because of it’s association with supposed alien spacecraft. (I’m not saying there are no aliens either.. :P ) Finally identifying the phenomena didn’t make them less interesting, that’s for sure.

    I’m not even a vanilla astronomer, just someone who likes looking at the sky and saying, “Ooo. Pretty. What’s it?”

  49. dcsohl

    I’ve seen one UFO in my life… I accept all the logical reasons it wasn’t aliens or anything like that… but honestly, I still have no idea what it was.

    I was about ten or twelve years old, outside at around nautical twilight on a warm summer evening, looking at the stars as they came out. My parents’ house was on a hill, and the best view was to the west, so I was facing west but looking straight up. I looked back down at the horizon, and saw it: a ring of 8 lights about 5 degrees across and about 15 degrees above the horizon, roughly magnitude 0 or 1. They were severely foreshortened; it looked to me like they were a horizontal circle, but I can’t be sure. The sky was not yet completely dark (particularly in the west), yet I saw no shadow between the lights. It was just a circle of lights.

    From the moment I saw them, they descended rapidly, disappearing behind some distant trees after about 2 seconds. As they descended, the apparent foreshortening increased, until they disappeared.

    I’ve never seen anything like it. At the time I was sure it was aliens. :) Now, I’m sure that it wasn’t, but I still have no idea what it actually was. No way for me to be sure how far away it was (except that it did go behind the trees, about a quarter mile away).

    Maybe I imagined it. That seems like the best answer, but it was so real. I was, however, the only one who saw it. (My brother was with me, but didn’t look in the right direction fast enough. Or so he says… maybe the aliens got to him though. :) ) My only other thought is somebody might have shot off a firework. The formation seemed a little perfect for that, and it was the only one I saw, and I heard no sound, but definitely possible.

    Anyone have any other ideas? Been wondering most of my life, and this seems like a good place to ask.

  50. MoonShark

    Hm, amusing story. Thanks for the cache links, folks :)

  51. Ken_g6

    I’ve seen a number of weird things in the sky. Most of them I’ve been able to explain, though not always immediately. Twice I’ve seen small, metallic spheres floating among clouds. It took years (and reading this blog, I believe) for me to realize they must have been Mylar balloons.

    This year, when I went out to look for the Perseids, I did see a strange light in Cassiopeia that I haven’t yet explained. It turned on for a few seconds, then turned off for several seconds, and did so about four times. This is what I’d expect from a satellite flare as mentioned above, except for one thing: it didn’t move at all, as far as I could see, for a couple of minutes. If it was a satellite, it must have been in a high orbit, but not a geosynchronous orbit. That seems strange to me. I’ll call this unidentified, but maybe not flying. Are there any stars that would do this repeatedly for a brief time, then stop?

    I did once see what I have to call a genuine unidentified flying object. It was a polar-orbiting satellite, moving steadily from south to north, that didn’t appear on the heavens-above website. Probably a spy satellite or something, but to me it’s still technically unidentified. :)

  52. Sam

    Where are my two posts from a half hour ago?!

    One, defending WG and advocating that people should read Leslie Kean’s new book in order to be informed on the seriousness of this subject, and the other lambasting you all (without using any objectionable language) for your self-impressed postings about times you thought you saw a UFO but it turned out to be something else. (Such stories are completely beside the point in this debate because all experts acknowledge that 90-95% of all reports fit into this category, so they’re just red herrings meant to make you all feel like you know something about this subject when in fact you’re ignorant on the RELEVANT aspects.)

    Is the Bad Astronomer scared of contrary views and of having a real debate on this subject?

  53. Sam

    Someone please read Leslie Kean’s new book — hell, check it out from the library if you’re afraid of contributing to someone “cashing in” in on UFOs — and then let’s talk about some of the specific UFO encounters written by the first-hand witnesses (including high-ranking military officers and well-credentialed scientists from prestigious organizations).

    Have the courage of your convictions and GET INFORMED. (I mean from somewhere other than anti-UFO echo chambers where the serious, unsolvable cases never get discussed). Your vaunted intellectual integrity depends on it, if you’re going to keep espousing opinions on this subject.

  54. jim_collins

    So you grossly exaggerate the number of UFO reports and grossly underrate the number of reports by trained observers. Nice trick there.
    “In 1980, a survey of 1800 members of various amateur astronomer associations by Gert Helb and Hynek for the Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS) found that 24 % responded “yes” to the question “Have you ever observed an object which resisted your most exhaustive efforts at identification?”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unidentified_flying_object#Astronomer_reports

  55. mike burkhart

    I saw a UFO last night . It was on my ps2 , belonged to aliens called the furrions and was flown by an alien invader named Crypto-138 . This was all on the game Destroy all Humans 2 . There are a lot of UFOs on video games. Off topic : Last week on a comment I mention the comic Jedi vs Sith since there are a lot of Star Wars fans on this blog (including Phil) who may not have heard of this ,hears the info : this comic was the last in a series of comics published by Dark Horse Comics that deal with the Star Wars Galaxy 5000-1000 years before the movies . Ill just say without giving away the plot: The Jedi and Sith have fought on and off for 5000 years , In this time there wre more then just two Sith but many , and many times the Sith came close to destorying the Jedi also the Jedi have thought they saw the last of the Sith only to have them come back sometimes form Jedi who turned to the dark side or the Sith went into hideing and waited for the right time to come back and fight the Jedi . The storys in this series are good and I think other Star Wars fans like me will enjoy them.

  56. Sam

    Self-impressed windbag, afraid of a real debate. Stop censoring posts you disagree with just because they make good points persuasively and prove that you hardly have a monopoly on logic. Why don’t you try letting your readers think for themselves?

  57. BS Phil, and I can’t imagine you wouldn’t have done some research on the subject. So I assume that you are just being disengenious.

    Here for the others:

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/16805639/A-List-of-UFO-Sightings-by-Astronomers

  58. QuietDesperation

    As always – a UFO is *unidentified* – they shouldn’t use that term as shorthand for ‘alien spacecraft’ (since it is an *identified* or *imaginary* – take your pick) object…

    Artificial used to mean artistic. Awful used to mean full of awe. Nice used to mean ignorant.

    The street finds its own use for words. UFO has evolved to mean alien spacecraft. Some even pronounce it “you-foe” like it’s a word. This is what happens to language over time, and we are powerless to stop it. It doesn’t matter who is right or wrong.

    Headbanger is now in the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Rock on. Metal!!

  59. Heh. I’ve had quite a few UFO observations, most of which retain the “U” because I never found out specifically what they were. My most recent was on the Fourth of July, when I observed a red object floating slowly through the sky, glowing orange-yellow on the bottom. It was only when the candle burned out and the Chinese Lantern began to tumble to the ground that I realized what I was seeing. (A quick Google search revealed lots of reports of UFO’s almost identical to this – so many that one UK paper wearily reported that “Chinese Lantern season is starting early.”)

    As for the suggestion that “astronomers spend too much time at the eyepiece to note the broader sky”: about ten years ago I was hanging out with some friends on a rooftop deck. The night was dark and clear, and it wasn’t long before we noticed things moving through the nighttime sky – satellites, and lots of them, including the first Iridium I ever saw. After a while everyone was shouting “I see one!” and “There’s one over here!” The kicker was when someone watching through the eyepiece of a 16 inch Dobsonian announced that he, too, had one crossing his field of view.

  60. Chambered

    For those that find they can’t view the mentioned webpage (and its part two), they are viewable here:
    Part 1:
    http://tinyurl.com/37car6l

    Part 2:
    http://tinyurl.com/37psk9q

  61. Zucchi

    Damn it, am I ever going to get to read Part 2? Did we destroy the server? I’ve been avoiding reading any of the other comments in case they have spoilers.

  62. John Paradox

    Great, Phil, you went and broke the Internet for the links.

    I got a chuckle when one poster compared it to the phenomenon of a site being overwhelmed by using a Digg reference. Before that, in reverse order, I’d use “the Screen Savers Effect*”, and before that “slashdot”.

    *this refers to The Screen Savers on ZDTV/TechTV, before they were bought by G4 and turned into tweeny gamer shows/network.

    J/P=?

  63. CoolHandl

    So why don’t we see all these alien spacecraft? I think this is because we almost always understand what we’re seeing in the sky,

    More likely, it is because you can admit that you almost always understand what you are seeing, which is to say that you sometimes don’t. Since you know that you sometimes don’t understand what you are seeing, and that our visual perception is not always reliable, you have no need to concoct an explanation, nor are you especially alarmed at seeing something you cannot immediately interpret.

  64. adam

    Agreed. Same with ghosts, for that matter.

  65. A few months ago I saw something I couldn’t quite identify one late afternoon. It reminded me of an airplane catching the setting sun, but it didn’t quite move in the way I expected. A few weeks later, I happened to see something that was *definitely* an airplane catching the setting sun, and realized that I had seen exactly the same thing the first time – it had just been too far to make out a shape, and moving toward or away from me so that its movement seemed wrong for an airplane.

  66. alfaniner:

    Just a couple weeks ago I was out about midnight with one of the kids, looking at satellites and such. We tracked one, and suddenly it flared up brightly — very surprising as I’d never seen that before. It may have been the brightness but I lost track of it immediately after that.

    Was it a satellite rotating just enough to catch more sun (would it have been high enough at midnight?) The ISS? A Rebel Blockade Runner defending itself? Something else?

    Several month ago, the ISS passed overhead shortly after dusk. The sky was dark, but the ISS was still bright with sunlight. Until, that is, it was about 3/4th of the way across the sky, when it suddenly dimmed and disappeared in a few seconds. It took a moment to realized that it hadn’t passed behind a cloud, but rather I had just seen “sunset on the ISS”.

  67. he Aeronautical & Astronomical Association of France, known as the 3AF, which established a Commission on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena back in May 2008, recently released part of an ongoing study on UAP and that flies in the face of your assertion that astronomers don’t see or report UFO…..
    http://www.aaafasso.fr/DOSSIERSAAAF/DOSS.ACCES_LIBRE/PJ_CT/Com.PAN/Rapport_Etape_Com.SIGMA_Juin2010.pdf

  68. Shalom Einstoss

    Astronomers don’t report UFOS ? Please, who else reported the so called Transient Lunar Phenoma ? Franz Mesmer and Madame Blavastzky ? And why so many military personnel, including Ed Mitchell, Aldrin and Cooper did talk openly about UFOs ?

  69. tony ostinato

    i saw what i thought was the mir space station or some large satellite on a clear summer night in august in the mid 80s, i watched it thru binoculars.

    it came up from the horizon with the same speed and appearance as when i had seen skylab years before, fading in as it came into the sunlight in a perfectly straight line.

    until it made a perfect, stunning, chilling, 90 degree angle with no fluctuation in speed and no curve at all, as if it was computer animated or something.

    i thought i must’ve seen 2 satellites crossing paths and catching the light in just the right way to fool me, my eyes darted back and forth from where this thing was to where it should be and there was nothing where it should be. somehow this thing had done an impossible 90 angle at high speed.

    i’ve never seen anything else like that, and i dont believe almost all ufo stories even after having seen that, but i’m open to the possibility that on very rare occurances maybe some beings that know way more than us about physics are having a peek at us.

    however from a debating standpoint it is still more likely that i was crazy or hallucinating etc than aliens because the concept of aliens visiting earth, until more substantial proof can be had, is too far out there.

    but theres the 62 schoolchildren in africa, who had it worse than me for sure, and rendlesham and o’hare and things that do make me wonder.

    so much of ufo media is complete crap tho, everytime i see a ufo special on tv they run this clip of a dim gowing disk hovering over a farm countryside and its awesome.

    except ive seen the full clip where at the end the focus in, finally, and you can read “fujifilm” on the side. its their lighted blimp.

    so heres a guide to cut thru the crap, if it flies like a balloon thats what it is, same for plane, kite, etc etc etc

    that just leaves the stuff that does the impossible.

  70. Dan

    Frankly, I’m appalled at what passes for logic (not to mention “informed” opinion) in this article and in some of the responses posted above. Few of those who’ve posted here seem to be at all familiar with responsible and duly skeptical UFO research, so for the most part you’re shooting down “straw men” which are, of course, easy targets. By your logic, the existence of counterfeit dollar bills would virtually preclude the existence of real greenbacks. Give me a break.

    In case it’s news to you, skepticism is not a right — it’s privilege that must be earned by first acquiring some solid familiarity with the field in question.

    It’s hard to know where to begin with people who are so confident of their opinions on subject matter of which they have virtually no knowledge. But for starters you could check out Leslie Kean’s new book, “UFOs: Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go On the Record.”

    Then read the essay “Zen… and the Art of Debunkery” at tinyurl,com/debunkery. It’s about the difference between useful, intelligent, informed skepticism and arrogant, vacuous, kneejerk cynicism.

  71. Sam

    Hi Phil. You’re the greatest scientist of all time — I agree with everything you have ever written! You are absolutely right, there is NOTHING in this world, or in the universe, that can be true that is not already part of today’s accepted canons of mainstream science! Like, Duh — if it were true, it wouldn’t seem so fringey! Everybody knows that!

    This is why I know that tales of UFOs are all completely without merit and are just as ridiculous as stories about unicorns and leprechauns. All those who would have us believe otherwise — especially all those high-ranking military and govt officials from around the world, astronauts and cosmonauts, and scientists with impressive credentials from prestigious organizations — they’re all just a bunch of ninnies with their heads in the clouds and should all grow up. Like you. Thank God for the Bad Astronomer!

  72. amphiox

    4) able to perform maneuvers entirely impossible to our current technology.

    But not necessarily extraterrestrial, you say? Hmm.

    So that would be time travelers from the future? Or descendents of Altanteans from an invisible city hiding in the clouds? Or maybe the lost tribe of Israel, then?

    Or you’re suggesting they could be the product of the Bottlenose Dolphins’ Poseidon program? (Translated. It’s *click-click-squeak-click* in the native tongue).

    Or is it the doing of the white lab mice?

  73. Elix

    I like Neil deGrasse-Tyson’s explanation and exploration of UFOs at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfAzaDyae-k

    Summarized, a UFO is… something flying that you can’t identify. The incorrect leap in logic that the believers make is, well, if it’s a UFO, it must be ET coming to say hi! …no, it means you don’t know WHAT it is, so claiming it’s an alien flying saucer makes no sense because that conclusion would require identification, making it… NOT a UFO.

    In other words… what you said, Phil. ;)

  74. Damon

    I’m sorry but, “If UFOs really were buzzing us as much as the media and UFO proponents would have us believe,” what? Are you joking? UFOs are one of the most under-reported, under-studied phenomenons in our world today (and they are a legitimate phenomenon– there are entire databases of information on the subject).

    I’m assuming by the ignorance of this post, and your hypocrisy in heeding your own advice of “not being a dick”, you missed Leslie Kean being interviewed on The Colbert Report, where she cited the O’hare UFO sighting a few months back– one of the most widely viewed, widely accepted, and widely covered-up UFO sightings over a major metropolitan area since the “LA Air-Raid” incident in the 50s. Look it up.

    I’m sorry but the whole “Venus/Swamp Gas/Satellite” excuse is getting really tired. Believe it or not, we’re not all morons and we know what a f***ing planet looks like. Stop cherry-picking your info; you should stick to what you know: Astronomy. Cute safe little Astronomy. Let the real skeptics handle the things that go zoom in the night sky.

  75. ASFalcon13

    I’ve got to agree with Christian in post #1: UFO != Aliens.

    As for QuietDesperation in #43…sorry, but there are still folks that use the actual meaning of UFO (as in, a flying object that’s unidentified), and it annoys the hell out of those of us that do when somebody who doesn’t thinks we’re talking about aliens and starts cooking up conspiracy theories.

    Interesting story…a couple of years ago, I worked on integration and test for a spacecraft star tracker. The system included software for recognizing UFOs. Now, why would we need that, you ask? Was the spacecraft in fact a sooper-sekrit government project to contact aliens? Hardly. The star tracker works by viewing the stars to determine which direction the spacecraft is pointing. If something that isn’t a star (and thus – to the star tracker – unidentified) flies through the field of view, in order to avoid being confused, it needs to be able to recognize that the object isn’t part of the star field it’s looking at and act appropriately. We’re talking about bjects like orbital debris, satellites, meteors…anything that’s not in its star catalog. And, wouldn’t you know it, it’s far easier to type “UFO” into all those variable and telemetry list names than it is to type out “unidentifiedObject”.

    Speaking of sooper-sekrit government projects, I’ll actually agree with wg in post #21 to some extent. There are plenty of “UFOlogists”, especially around Nevada, New Mexico, and certain parts of California, that, instead of believing that UFOs are of extraterrestrial origin, instead believe that the UFOs they see are some sort of futuristic super-classified military aircraft.

  76. Speaking of sooper-sekrit government projects, I’ll actually agree with wg in post #21 to some extent. There are plenty of “UFOlogists”, especially around Nevada, New Mexico, and certain parts of California, that, instead of believing that UFOs are of extraterrestrial origin, instead believe that the UFOs they see are some sort of futuristic super-classified military aircraft.

    And there are probably twice as many that consider them “trans-dimensional multi-planar whoozee whatzits from the future”.

  77. Are you joking? UFOs are one of the most under-reported, under-studied phenomenons in our world today (and they are a legitimate phenomenon– there are entire databases of information on the subject).

    Um…isn’t that something of a contradiction? If there are “entire databases of information” on UFOs, then how is it that they are “under-studied”? Presumably someone has compiled those databases? Odd, that all that data has not produced any evidence of alien visitation.

    I’m assuming by the ignorance of this post, and your hypocrisy in heeding your own advice of “not being a dick”, you missed Leslie Kean being interviewed on The Colbert Report, where she cited the O’hare UFO sighting a few months back

    You are aware The Colbert Report is a comedy show, right?

    one of the most widely viewed, widely accepted, and widely covered-up UFO sightings over a major metropolitan area since the “LA Air-Raid” incident in the 50s. Look it up.

    If, by widely viewed, you mean a handful of people on the ground and, possibly, one pilot in an aircraft. Nothing was picked up on the airport’s radar. Of course that just means the aliens messed with said radar, right?

    And if, by widely accepted you mean wildly championed by UFOs=alien spacecraft nutters on youtube and elsewhere.

    Can you please provide evidence for this “cover up?” The FAA did not investigate because there was nothing to investigate. The tower did not see or measure anything, there was no impact to air traffic, and the incident has had no effect on the operations of O’Hare airport. What’s to investigate?

  78. Tom O'Reilly

    I once saw an awesome fleet of UFOs in the western sky just a few minutes after sunset. They were flying in a narrow V-shaped formation of silvery objects that appeared to “wobble” or blink synchronously (at about 1 Hz or so) as they glided noiselessly above the western horizon. Took me several seconds to realize that I was looking at a flock of geese. I’d guess that they were about 0.25 miles from me. The “wobbling” effect caused by their beating wings was very impressive!

  79. Ema Nymton

    Actually, Damon, if we have you as a model, you are all morons.

  80. The website @ EdmontonSkeptics.com is online again with the links provided for in this article — hopefully we don’t get “Plait Bombed” again now that things are online (we did boost the server’s resources while recovering it.)

    Sorry for the inconvenience to all of those who tried to click through to John’s articles today.

  81. Kuhnigget,

    “If, by widely viewed, you mean a handful of people on the ground and, possibly, one pilot in an aircraft. Nothing was picked up on the airport’s radar. Of course that just means the aliens messed with said radar, right? ”

    When they are caught on radar, every single one is called an system error, inversion layers etc. When they are not picked up, then you say why not on radar ?

    Here is the real problem with the data and they (military, Govt) know it.

    We are not going to get the data that we need to collaborate a sighting to the point that you and I can find it acceptable, beyond a shadow of a doubt as evidence of a visit.

    Unless we get said data, then it will always be a case without enough information. IOW unexplained. Then the skeptic say’s “they just mis-identified it”.

    Phil would most likely agree with other skeptics who say that all of these witnesses, pilots etc are not reliable witnesses because they are human and can mistake things etc etc.

    So why should we accept an astronomers word for it anyway. Why would he state that astronomoers don’t see them, which first of all is BS, but if they do, the skeptic will just say they are human and unreliable as a witness to such an event. So either way the witness becomes the punching bag.

    The real twist is that the Govt has been in the business of using the idea of these sightings as a counter-intelligence operation. They want other Govt’s to believe we have that whatever it was they saw, so they would never admit to knowing about ET even if they did, unless ET contacts us, as in all of us.

    IF they have the data, we won’t get it. IF they don’t we won’t get it. Either way they are in control.

    Another issue as to why we won’t get the data is we shouldn’t. This can reveal information about out data gathering capabilities. This is a reasonable excuse for not releasing the data.

    The other question I have for all here is:

    What does a space craft from a possible million year advanced species look like ?

    It could be a probe the size of a pea or smaller.

    We are nearing such nano-tech breakthroughs, radar stealth and yes invisibility cloaking. So take us now and give us another 500 years.

  82. Mike Oliver

    A couple of the more interesting (among many IFOs) I have seen:

    I used to work a night shift at a small hotel. We listened to Art Bell’s Coast To Coast AM every night. A woman I worked with believed everything Art said. One night while she was on a break, she called me on the walkie talkie all excited – “There’s a huge UFO hovering over the city! It’s just sitting there in plain sight! Come out here right now!” and so on. After this went on for a long time I gave in and went out. It was the planet Venus. Even after I pointed out to her that it wasn’t moving, was there yesterday and the night before that, was obviously rising with the stars in the dawn sky, she thought I was the one who was crazy.

    When I was a kid, I once saw what looked like a bright, rapidly rotating white object hovering over the ground, moving across the horizon maybe a half-mile away over a farmer’s field in early evening. I was sure it was something strange. Fortunately, I was an avid birdwatcher; on another occasion when the object showed up, I was able to look at it with binoculars. It was a Common Egret, flying perpendicular to my line of sight. The flapping wings reflecting in the low angle light gave the illusion of rotation.

  83. Zucchi

    Yea! Finally got to read the rest of the story. Well, that was one of my guesses.

    The best thing — okay, the only good thing — about living in West Texas is, you get some great night skies. One night I saw a vee-shaped formation of tiny white dots silently traversing the sky. Geese, thousands of feet up, reflecting the lights of Lubbock.

  84. I believe in UFO regardless of who reports it. We can’t be the only being in this vast universe. It would be sad really. I really like the report saying that maybe there are lives on Mars. What’s an exciting news.

  85. Cairnos

    “you missed Leslie Kean being interviewed on The Colbert Report, where she cited the O’hare UFO sighting a few months back– one of the most widely viewed, widely accepted, and widely covered-up UFO sightings ”

    Hmmmm, I’d hate to be the guy in charge of this cover up since it appears to have achieved the exact opposite, so much so that they haven’t even managed to cover up the fact that they are trying to cover it up. Why is it that these government conspiracies are either incredibly efficient (even the russians still haven’t broken ranks and admitted the moon landing was faked) or utterly incompetent (just googled ‘o’hare ufo’ and got 202,000 results…reeall good cover up boys, well done)?

  86. Buzz Parsec

    Where’s my big bucks for keeping quiet? I want my payoff NOW, or I’m talking! That isn’t Jupiter rising through the trees on that mountain, it’s a SPACE SHIP! (Summer of 97, the only time I was a little confused for a while.)

  87. Rainier Wolfcastle

    In the mid-late 1970s a friend and I were fishing from a pier at about 1am on the coastline of Ocean Springs, Mississippi, USA. It was a clear night, and back then there was minimal light splash so we had a great view of the stars.

    I began to notice that something was “wrong”, but couldn’t figure out what. As the minutes passed, I saw that a larger and larger circle of stars was being completely blacked out, as though some circular object were blocking my view. I pointed it out to my friend, and we both watched the black circle grow and grow and grow. After a while it got downright creepy; it was way too slow to be an airplane. It was exactly what I would expect it to look like if a classic 1950s flying saucer were slowly descending directly towards us from a high angle.

    Finally the circle began to elongate, then its aspect changed further, then we saw flashing lights attached, and finally we heard the sound of the motors as the Goodyear blimp finished its descent and turned to port to head for some destination or other.

    Had we panicked and run to tell people before the aspect change, we would probably to this day still swear we had seen a true UFO.

  88. sorrykb

    Neil deGrasse Tyson riffs on this theme (and more — I like “brain failures”) :-)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAD25s53wmE

  89. Alfaniner @30, what you saw was probably an Iridium flare – leftover satellites from a now-defunct global communications company with oversized solar panels that occasionally reflect sunlight spectacularly. A feature of Iridium satellites is that they will appear to be ordinary bright satellites, and then suddenly flare up to a magnitude approaching Venus, and then fade away again – giving the appearance of a starship experiencing a warp core breach. heavens-above.com has nightly predictions for Iridium flares, customizable for your location. Iridium flare reflections have very narrow ground tracks – sometimes a quarter mile of distance can be the difference between seeing a bright flare and a spectacular one.

  90. Mike B

    Here we go again. FYI, I have a PDF document on my screen with over 45 pages of sightings by astronomers, both amateur and professional. With about 6 to 8 reports per page, that’s quite a bit of sightings.

    Here’s a typical report:

    ” November 1st, 1955: Mojave Desert, about 100 miles west of Las Vegas, USA; daytime. Frank Halstead of Darling Observatory was traveling on a fast train to California with his wife Ann, when she called his attention to an object moving parallel to the train, and at about the same speed, above a range of mountains. This apparent pacing lasted for four or five minutes. The appearance of the object was described to Frank Edwards during a 1959 interview – ‘..At the time I thought it was a blimp, you know, one of those cigar-shaped dirigibles.. But as I watched it I realized that it could not be a blimp – they are only about two hundred feet long – and this thing was gigantic. It was about eight hundred feet long. I could estimate that because it was so close to the mountain ridges where trees and clumps of trees were visible for comparison..’ While Frank and Ann Halstead were watching this object, a second object suddenly appeared behind it – ‘..It was a disc-shaped thing. In fact, both the objects were very shiny, we noticed.. (possibly) about one hundred feet in diameter – flat on the bottom with a low dome on the top side.. My wife and I watched the pair of them for two – possibly three – minutes.. Then they began to rise, slowly at first, and a few seconds later, much faster…’”

    It’s easy to find, just google “A list of UFO Sightings by Astronomers pdf ” and it should be the first link. Read through it and then tell me if this blog entry makes any sense whatsoever.

  91. mfumbesi

    Pigeons, Pigeons, PIGEONS………
    I expected military jets or any mechanized flying thing, NOT Pigeons!!!!!!

  92. @ John A:

    The problem with your line of reasoning, and all similar conspiracy-based reasoning, is that it is impossible to disprove…or prove, for that matter.

    In your mind, if there is no evidence for something, that’s because someone is covering it up. And of course you can’t point to evidence of the cover-up, because that’s obviously going to be covered up as well. Ad infinitum…

    Trouble is, you might as well use the same logic (koff!) to argue for leprechauns. Of course there’s no evidence for leprechauns, because they don’t want us to know about their existence. Duh!

    As to what a spaceship from a gazillion-year advanced civilization would look like, well, again, it’s pointless to speculate when you open the door that wide. All you can do is apply Occam’s Razor and go with the simplest explanation. And super tech spaceships from other planets are not the simplest explanations.

  93. Brad

    Good lord this post really brought out the nutjobs. The problem with “ufologists” is they lack a standard of evidence. It tends to be lack of evidence = government conspiracy. Sorry, you can’t use a lack of evidence as evidence. Anecdotes are useless.

    And now is the point where you call me “sheeple”.

  94. RosInSF

    Thanks, Sam, Dan, Damon and others for mentioning Leslie Kean’s new book _UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go on the Record_, which I have just finished reading. Like you, I recommend it highly and urge anyone who is interested in UAP (UFOs) to read it asap so as to be able to make comments that are informed on the basis of the information presented in that book.

  95. Nigel Depledge

    Marco Langbroek (19) said:

    Remember a few years ago, when the NASA APOD was a picture of a “spectacular fireball over Wales”, which was in fact a sunlit aircraft contrail?

    The real difference is indeed, that they have a mindset which urges them to probe and explain, rather than to jump to sensational conclusions (well: except for the case of that APOD picture…).

    Maybe that was just wishful thinking? ;-)

  96. Daniel

    These are my 2 favorite words for the UFO subject: Occams Razor…look it up on wiki

  97. MarkW

    Wow.

    UFO true believers are just like any other kind of true believers; treat their claims with a little scepticism and they’re off on a rant that you’re closed-minded etc. etc.

    As it happens, though, there may be something in the 5% or so of reports that defy explanation. It’s fairly obvious that we can dismiss the ET hypothesis pretty much out-of-hand, but it is at least possible that there is some kind of transient atmospheric phenomenon (possibly something akin to earthquake lights) which is luminescent at night-time, and in daylight appears to be metallic but is in fact not. (Similar to the way a highway mirage appears to be highly reflective.)

  98. Nigel Depledge

    Sam (42) said:

    They have compiled and analyzed — using the highest professional standards conceivable for application to this unique, inherently anecdotal phenomenon — a tremendous amount of evidence, and have concluded that a small minority of cases are truly and irrefutably unsolvable using only conventional explanations.

    The highest professional standards consist of repeatable observations. Where are these in your “alien spaceships” cult?

    The plural of “anecdote” is not “data”. Uncontrolled and unrepeatable observations are just that – uncontrolled and unrepeatable. No firm conclusions at all may be drawn from them, except perhaps that there are still things we do not know about our atmosphere (and, duh, we already know this!).

    Go and look up Sprites on wikip[a]edia.

    Your “small proportion of cases” are irrefutably unexpainable based on the absolute lack of any hard data. What they certainly are not are artefacts beyond human technology. Eyewitness accounts are notoriously unreliable – this has been demonstrated conclusively. What these almost certainly are are either familiar objects (such as planes or satellites or birds or planets) or unfamiliar phenomena.

    The barriers to and cost of interstellar travel are so huge that unkown – but terrestrial – phenomena are overwhelmingly more probable than alien spaceships.

  99. Nigel Depledge

    Sam (47) said:

    So I guess you’ll keep on regaling each other with these pointless stories, since they resonate so well in this little echo chamber.

    Projection much?

    BTW, save your laughter for when you have some hard evidence. But don’t expect the rest of us to hold our breath.

  100. Nigel Depledge

    Sam (54) said:

    Have the courage of your convictions and GET INFORMED.

    Right back atcha.

    There is no such thing as a “UFO expert”, because there is no data on which to base any expertise. So when you say that “experts agree” that c 95% of all sightings are explainable by known objects or phenomena, who the hell are these “experts”? People who’ve spent way too much of their time compiling stories about unfamiliar stuff in the sky?

    And if you accept that 95% of reports are explainable / explained, why do you consider “unknown technology” to be a more probable answer for the last 5%than either a person genuinely mistaken about what they saw or an unknown but entirely terrestrial (and natural) phenomenon?

  101. Nigel Depledge

    Sam (57) said:

    Self-impressed windbag, afraid of a real debate. Stop censoring posts you disagree with just because they make good points persuasively and prove that you hardly have a monopoly on logic. Why don’t you try letting your readers think for themselves?

    You’re projecting again, Sam.

    In case you are unable to deduce it for yourself, all posts containing hyperlinks are moderated. That’s all.

    Phil will delete a comment that contains objectionable language because this is a family-friendly blog, but otherwise your comments will be on the intertubes for all time. And, boy, I wish I could be there to see your face when you realise what an idiot you are making of yourself.

  102. Nigel Depledge

    QD (50) said:

    Headbanger is now in the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Rock on. Metal!!

    :D

  103. Not wishing to sound big headed but I realised he’d seen birds straight away, but ONLY because I saw very much the same thing myself.

    My sighting was of a small flock of geese, and as they flew over a nearby car park which had new floodlights they lit up out of nowhere and vanished in the same way once they passed into the shadow of a nearby building.

    I had the same WTF moment, and a few seconds of “what was that” before I realised what I’d seen and why, and also why I never saw something like it before, as of course, the floodlights where new.

  104. DennyMo

    “leftover satellites from a now-defunct global communications company”

    The folks at Iridium would be surprised to learn that they are defunct. So would one of their larger customers, the US Military.

    My kids are still young enough that I can play the role of the wizard by “making” flashes in the sky. Of course, it takes some planning ahead and checking up with websites like Heavens Above.

  105. Messier Tidy Upper

    @35. Pete Jackson Says:

    Well, I must report that as a bona-fide astronomer, I DID definitely see a UFO (unidentified flying object). In 1970, I was helping out one night at the University of Maryland Observatory in College Park, Maryland, showing the stars and planets to the public. Looking almost straight up, I saw a first magnitude star where one ought not to be. After a few minutes, the ’star’ became fuzzy. After more minutes, it kept growing larger and fuzzier. Eventually it began to dim, while still growing larger. Finally, it faded from view looking like a detached part of the Milky Way. Definitely an Object, definitely Flying, definitely Unidentified…

    A couple of months later, I was reading Sky and Telescope, which had a report that one of the Apollo missions on the way to the Moon dumped their excess fuel into space that night, thousands of miles from Earth. So my UFO finally became an IFO!

    And because you gave that date we can deduce that it has to be Apollo 13 the one & only Apollo mission to fly that year. ;-)

    Which raises another intriguing possibility – have you eliminated the possibility you actually witnessed the explosion in the oxygen tanks that crippled that mission & led to NASA’s finest hour – the most dramatic space rescue and survival story ever? I know its a long shot and probabaly not the case but still.

    Awesome story thanks. :-)

    My own “UFO” sighting had much more mundane explanation – car headlights shining onto clouds as the cars headed up hill. It took me a little while maybe an hour or so to figure out.

  106. Messier Tidy Upper

    @69. Shalom Einstoss Says:

    Astronomers don’t report UFOS ? Please, who else reported the so called Transient Lunar Phenoma ? Franz Mesmer and Madame Blavastzky ? And why so many military personnel, including Ed Mitchell, Aldrin and Cooper did talk openly about UFOs ?

    I’m not sure about Aldrin and Cooper but Edgar Mitchell’s claims have been discussed and debunked on this blog before :

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2009/04/22/edgar-mitchell-is-at-it-again-yawn/

    Edgar Mitchell was always into some … um (how can I put this politely) .. fringe ideas. Even on his Apollo 14 flight he was testing ESP without NASA’s prior knowledge. Post Apollo he got all new age-y and is hardly the most rational of people having gone downhill a long way from his glory days when he was with NASA. Sadly his credibility here is minimal.

  107. Shalom Einstoss

    And also, astronomers should be afraid of ridiculous if they talk openly about UFOs, just like pilots some time ago. In the last case, aeronautic officials started to think about the risks UFOs pose do navigation. For example, military in Brazil some weeks ago issued an order to the military and civil pilots to regulate a open repository of those sightings.

  108. dcsohl

    “Unfortunately I got stuck on the Earth for rather longer than I intended”,
    said Ford. “I came for a week and got stuck for fifteen years.”

    “But how did you get there in the first place then?”

    “Easy, I got a lift with a teaser.”

    “A teaser?”

    “Yeah.”

    “Er, what is…”

    “A teaser? Teasers are usually rich kids with nothing to do. They cruise around
    looking for planets which haven’t made interstellar contact yet and buzz them.”

    “Buzz them?” Arthur began to feel that Ford was enjoying making life difficult
    for him.

    “Yeah,” said Ford, “they buzz them. They find some isolated spot with very few
    people around, then land right by some poor unsuspecting soul whom no one’s ever
    going to believe and them strut up and down in front of him wearing silly antennae
    on their head and making beep beep noises. Rather childish really.”

    –Douglas Adams, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”

  109. The extraterrestrial vessels are very sneaky. They are only visible to their intended targets. They are not interested in astronomers because there is nothing astronomers could teach them that they didn’t already know. Or something like that…

  110. Gary Ansorge

    One reason SETI hasn’t seen anyone else out there:

    All truly advanced space going civilizations don’t use EM communications for much more than the first century or two. They quickly advance to using FTL, sub space communications.(stolen from Stargate, Atlantis).

    I expect FTL travel is, if not impossible in this space/time, so difficult as to be economically impracticable. Besides, with access to all the comets, asteroids and moons of their solar systems, what could we possibly have to offer that would be worth the energy expenditure to come here? We’re nearly at the point we can grow tasty meats in a vat so exotic human meat would be an unlikely reason to exploit us.

    About the only reason I can think of for a space going civilization to drop in on us is because we’re so dang funny when a UFO buzzes the locals, as in:

    “Hey, Smoog, I’m bored. Let’s go scare the hell out of some earthlings.”

    I once saw a UFO one night at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana in 1975 that was entirely convincing; a silent, bright light coming toward the base at midnight, which, over several minutes, was slowly growing bigger and bigger and,,, then a black, stealth aircraft landed,,,bummer. Thought I’d finally seen the “real thing”.

    Gary 7

  111. Shalom Einstoss

    And last, but not least, let’s name some of them: the object photographed by the Hubble telescope, named p2010a2, as long as I know, remains totally unexplained… as long as the cause for the weird images suggesting spaceships made by the SOHO telescope, and reported by the BBC News in 2003.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/2662059.stm
    The examples goes on and on: The unidentified object photographed by the soviet Phobos explorer in 1989; objects filmed on the moon by Apollo astronauts; the UFO saw from the shuttle, whose pictures can be confirmed since the get the Nasa’s serial number (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsAQB20gFPA&p=11E1384EC4F5101D&playnext=1&index=16). I could remind you about almost unending examples.

  112. Sam

    @ Nigel Depledge – Every one of your critiques starts from the assumption that you’re right and UFOs must all just be hoaxes and misperceptions. Hardly a rational way to approach any subject. Try looking at the facts in a given case and then work toward an explanation — smart, logical people have been doing this for ages and it’s worked great and gotten us to where we are today.

    And the reason for my later posts complaining about my earlier posts being censored is that they WERE. Even though they contained no objectionable language or hyperlinks, I watched as inane, meaningless comments from people like you seemed to be going up immediately but mine went unpublished for hours (until, notably, I sent other posts complaining about it, and also reposted my comments on other sites explaining that these comments had been censored by The Bad Astronomer). I will give credit where credit is due, however, and I thank Phil for eventually leveling the playing field.

  113. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ ^ Sam : Is this the first time you’ve ever posted here? If so then that explains it – new posters have to wait until the BA knows their not spammers or rude.

    All comments with links go into “awaiting moderation” limbo & get delayed too. For instance, I’ve got a comment in that limbo – # 107 unless the numbers change further – about Edgar Mitchell awaiting moderation right now.

  114. Messier Tidy Upper

    @85. Kim Banu Says:

    I believe in UFO regardless of who reports it. We can’t be the only being in this vast universe. It would be sad really. I really like the report saying that maybe there are lives on Mars. What’s an exciting news.

    There is a very big difference between believing in extraterrestrial life out there somewhere – including intelligent technological life & believing said aliens are coming here to harass drunken rednecks and mutilate cows.

    One is statisically almost inevitable. The other is higly implausible.

    Most astronomers – amatuer or professional -think (as I do) that life is out there & will be an amazing discovery.

    There may very well be life on Mars – albeit microscopic or perhaps fossilised. Europa, a moon of Jupiter is an even better prospect for finding life in our solar system with more remote possibilities including the clouds of Jupiter and Venus.

    That’s the good news – science can help us imagine and guess at where life might be. There is lots of wonderful stuff to think about seriously that is really exciting and interesting in regard to possible extraterrrestial xenobiological life.

    But “flying saucer” mythology & silliness? Meh. Not so much. That’s an area where skepticism and remembering Carl Sagan’s advice that :

    “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

    &

    “If you see hoofprints think horses not zebras.” [Occam's razor.]

    Comes in handy.

    The evidence for “flying saucers” and “greys and “Reptilians” and suchlike bunk is .. well, actually it just isn’t. ;-)

  115. Messier Tidy Upper

    Since some of the Flying saucer-ists have been kind enough to suggest their favourite book(s) may I return the favour & urge them to read this one :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Demon-Haunted_World

    by Carl Sagan? Its brilliant and well worth reading and considering – especially its chapter on UFO’s. ;-)

    Also please read this online short story by David Brin giving one explanation for the UFO phenomena :

    http://www.davidbrin.com/thoseeyes.htm

    which can also be found in one of his anthologies – ‘Otherness’ (1994) – as well. Great story with some key real points in it. :-)

    Thinking of David Brin as a bonus I’ll link y’all to the online version of my all-time favourite short story of his here :

    http://www.davidbrin.com/thor1.htm

    Silly title, awesome tale – and a slight connection to the problem of excessive “belief” as well! ;-)

  116. Rocket

    As a colleague of mine frequently states ” a great deal of our effort in observation is dedicated to error detection, if some thing does not look right then the first question has to be what am I doing wrong” When I was fairly fresh at observing asteroids, mistakes in operation were common. One night we were tracking an NEO and in the finder scope I saw several grouped very bright objects moving together across the star field. I was stunned and worked feverishly to first record position just in case this wasn’t an anomaly. Well error checking is the key and I began running back through my operational checklist and low and behold I found the mistake. I thought I was tracking on an object but the telescope was actually static and pointed toward Geo sync orbit. so what I was observing was a cluster of satellites in Geo sync orbit and the telescope was not tracking so the star field movement was a result of the earths rotation. Embarrassed as I was to have fumbled so badly, it was a great lesson in “what am I doing wrong”.

  117. Messier Tidy Upper

    Quotes from David Brin’s short story ‘Those Eyes’ found in his anthology ‘Otherness’ (1994) :

    ” .. let me surprise you and say that, as a scientist, I can’t claim UFOs are absolutely disproved. I accept the unlikely possibility something weird is going on. Maybe there are queer beasties out there who swoop down to rattle signposts and cause power blackouts. Maybe they do kidnap people and take them on joyrides through the cosmos.
    “But then, out of all those who claim to have met star beings, why has no one ever announced anything they learned from the encounter that was simultaneously true and unambiguous, and that science didn’t already know?”

    & [Snip]

    “But there’s a second, even better answer to this whole UFO business.
    “Let’s admit a slim chance some of these case histories might actually be sightings of little silvery guys riding spaceships. My reply? We can still rule out contact with Intelligent Life!
    “Look at their behavior! Buzzing truck drivers, mutilating farm animals, trampling corn fields, kidnapping people to stick needles in their brains… is this any way for intelligent beings to act?”

    … & there’s much more where that came from! ;-)

    The whole of that short story by is online & I’ve linked it in a comment that’s currently awaiting moderation above. Read it folks. You won’t regret it. David Brin is a great writer – & a very intelligent bloke too. He ranks up there with Isaac Asimov & Carl Sagan in my pantheon! ;-)

  118. Nigel Depledge

    Sam (113) said:

    @ Nigel Depledge – Every one of your critiques starts from the assumption that you’re right and UFOs must all just be hoaxes and misperceptions. Hardly a rational way to approach any subject.

    Actually, here you are completely wrong.

    Every one of my comments starts out with “I don’t know what it is, but let’s consider everything that might be likely first”.

    Your “beyond human technology” is extraordinarily unlikely, as well as being unparsimonious. We have yet to detect even bacterial life beyond Earth. Even once we find that, it doesn’t prove that extraterrestrial intelligence exists. Even if we find ETI, that doesn’t prove that they travel to visit us.

  119. DennyMo @105, you’re making me realize how long ago my original Iridium observation was, and my subsequent research. From the Wikipedia article on Iridium Communications, Inc.:

    Iridium communications service was launched on November 1, 1998….

    …The founding company went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy nine months later, on August 13, 1999… In 1999, CNN writer David Rohde detailed how he applied for Iridium service and was sent information kits, but was never contacted by a sales representative. He encountered programming problems on Iridium’s Web site, and a “run-around” from the company’s representatives. After Iridium filed bankruptcy, it cited “difficulty gaining subscribers”.

    The initial commercial failure of Iridium had a dampening effect on other proposed commercial satellite constellation projects, including Teledesic. Other schemes (Orbcomm, ICO Global Communications, and Globalstar) followed Iridium into bankruptcy protection, while a number of other proposed schemes were never constructed.

    At one stage there was a threat that the Iridium satellites would have to be de-orbited; however, they remained in orbit and operational. Their service was restarted in 2001 by the newly founded Iridium Satellite LLC, which was owned by a group of private investors. Although the satellites and other assets and technology behind Iridium were estimated to have cost on the order of US$6 billion, the investors bought the firm for about US$25 million.

    So, two things:

    - The original company that launched these satellites is now defunct.
    - My original research into this must have been before the restart of service in 2001 by Iridium Satellite LLC.

  120. Sam

    @112 MTU – Thanks, I suppose that may explain it, although the wait I experienced seemed unduly long (several hours before any of my posts showed up). Perhaps I should have been more patient.

    On another note: I know this quote gets a lot of play in these debates — “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” — but I don’t necessarily buy that, or at least I don’t think it’s applicable here. I have a few different reasons I think this principle is misguided, but I’ll just address one here.

    The phrase itself is inherently vague and unhelpful. What exactly is an “extraordinary claim”? And what exactly is “extraordinary proof”? I find it ironic that a sentence that is virtually incapable of precise, consistent interpretation or application is so beloved by scientists, who profess disdain for such subjective ambiguity in other contexts. I think it’s a cheat — a convenient escape hatch that allows a scientist to avoid this inscrutable subject without feeling like he’s running away from it.

    And this isn’t just a rhetorical critique; it has very real implications. The ambiguity in the term “extraordinary claim” goes right to the heart of this debate. We can all agree that the concept of non-human intelligence(s) appearing on Earth certainly SEEMS “extraordinary.” But is that the measure? Does that mean it actually IS “extraordinary”? I would say the answer is No — IFF one can reasonably posit a series of hypothetical facts — all of which themselves are not necessarily extraordinary — that could reasonably lead to this scenario. (If you’re not comfortable thinking in terms of “hypotheticals,” think of this as a “thought experiment,” which was really just Einstein’s term for hypotheticals).

    So, I would say the series of reasonably plausible hypothetical facts goes like this: Is it extraordinary to believe there are other intelligences in the universe? No (you don’t require extraordinary proof to believe this is possible, do you?). Extraordinary to believe there may be countless such intelligences? No. Or to believe that some — perhaps many — of these are far more technologically advanced than us, perhaps by thousands or even millions of years? No. Or to believe that, if such highly advanced beings exist, they may have an interest in finding (and perhaps monitoring, or even planting & cultivating) other intelligent life forms in the universe? No. Or that, with their enormous head-start on us, they may have the tech capability to do these things even though they seem impossible to us (remember: we still have some major gaps in our knowledge base, like dark matter, dark energy, the weakness of gravity, etc)? No. Is it extraordinary to believe, then, that if they do exist and do have an interest in us and are here because of that interest, that their presence would be detectable in exactly the ways we seem to be detecting them, and no other ways? I don’t think it’s extraordinary to believe that. (Note: One may argue that they would either fully reveal themselves or perfectly hide themselves, and that this in-between approach makes no sense — but I would say that trying to guess the precise agenda and capabilities of these hypothetical and truly alien visitors would be an exercise in futility, and besides, one can imagine a reasonable explanation: e.g., a gradual revelation deemed to be less traumatic to society than a sudden overturning of our entire paradigm.)

    So, is the ET visitation hypothesis ACTUALLY “extraordinary” when one can conceive of a series of plausible facts that might bring this scenario about? The truth is, we have no reliable way to assess the plausibility or implausibility of the ET visitation hypothesis because it would require knowledge of so many other facts about our universe that we simply do not have. So it may seem “extraordinary” but may in fact be perfectly plausible, or even probable. Now consider the viability of this hypothesis in light of the fact that we have many events (those detailed in Kean’s book, for example) for which ALL OTHER explanations have been methodically and conclusively ruled out. It seems silly to rule out the ET hypothesis based on little more than our own current limited knowledge of the universe (or, more to the point, what we’ve grown accustomed to believing) when it’s actually the only plausible hypothesis left.

  121. Sam

    @ 119 Nigel Depledge – Your contention that I haven’t considered “everything that might be likely first” is an insult to me and to all other serious-minded people (e.g.,the figures in Kean’s book) who have stepped out of the shadows and are willing to stand up to ridicule because of our belief in the importance of this subject. THE WHOLE REASON for my interest in this subject is that there appears to be a considerable body of cases for which EVERY CONVENTIONAL explanation (& I use the term “conventional” in the broadest possible sense) has been methodically and conclusively ruled out. The cases that stump even the experts.

    You need to get over your superiority complex and your self-serving misconception about the types of people who have come — usually, like me, with great reluctance — to believe in the validity of this phenomenon. Are there a lot of wingnuts who are into this issue? Yeah, definitely. Are the wingnuts the ones doing the important research? No. Are normal, logical, well informed people like me interested in the subject because of the wingnuts or their silly, fringe websites or random videos of strange lights in the sky? Absolutely not. People like me only care about the serious cases that have the most credible witnesses and additional forms of evidence (e.g., corroborating independent witnesses, radar records, photo or video or audio records, unexplained radiation or similar readings, govt reports, etc.). I have yet to meet or debate with anyone who is well-informed on those cases and is still dismissive of the entire subject.

    So, like I posted earlier, read Kean’s book and then talk to me. I would love to know what “likely” explanations were overlooked regarding the cases documented in her book.

  122. Scottynuke

    Sam — Excellent moving of the goalposts with your 11:59 post. You simply redefine “extraordinary” with a bunch of hand-waving about what we don’t know. Brilliant.

    Nevertheless, moving an example of “unidentified object” into the “definitely ETI” column still requires extraordinary evidence.

  123. Jim

    This article does not state whether or not you believe ETs in UFOs are visiting earth. I wonder, “Do you believe ETs in UFOs are visiting earth?”

  124. Sam

    @ Nigel — Also, let’s be clear about something: Saying “I don’t know what it is, but…” is just a cop-out. Saying something is “unexplained” doesn’t mean that an explanation does not exist. An explanation exists whether we know it or not, whether we’re comfortable with it or not. You simply choose not to acknowledge the possibility of explanations that don’t fit into your preconceived notions about what is and what is not possible. And that’s just cowardly, no different than a fundamentalist Christian who refuses to confront the evidence of evolution or of the existence of dinosaurs before men simply because it would rock the foundations of his faith. You’re just protecting your unshakable faith that modern science has a firm grasp on everything that is going on around us.

    Your preference for assuming human error regardless of how egregious and unlikely (and itself unexplainable) that would have to be in a given case is a cop-out. (It also doesn’t account for the cases in Kean’s book where there are other corroborating forms of evidence). I might feel differently about your blanket rejection of the ET hypothesis if we knew enough about the universe to quantify the probability of that hypothesis, but we do not. Theoretical physicists are beginning to see ways that interstellar or perhaps even time travel might be possible. And that doesn’t even take into account what breakthroughs might accompany our eventual enlightenment on such fundamental questions as “What is dark matter?” or “What is dark energy?” or “Why is gravity so weak?” or “How many dimensions are there?” Our ignorance on these potentially pivotal questions may be the difference between the ET visitation hypothesis seeming improbable and realizing it might actually be very probable. So, in sum, I would say you’re siding with conventional explanations that we know are highly improbable (like multiple independent witnesses all experiencing the same delusion from different viewpoints and with corroborating radar evidence) over a hypothesis that, for all we know, could indeed be perfectly plausible. [Note: Also see my post of a little while ago where I go into the logical problem with that whole "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof" notion as it applies (or not) to the UFO question.]

  125. Sam

    @ Scottynuke – I’m not moving UFOs into the “definitely ETI” column. It could be other things, but the leading possibility is perhaps even more upsetting to consider than ETI: That there could be human technology being kept from us, either by a govt or highly compartmentalized group within a govt, or by a consortium of govts or by some incredibly well-financed private entity or consortium of entities. Or it could be human intelligence but — and, again, I’m not advocating this or any particular possibility — from the future. All I am saying is that the research shows that there are, on this planet, what appear to be craft of intelligent design and control exhibiting technology not publicly known to be within human capability.

    Your objection — and it’s a common one on this site and among devout disbelievers — is telling. You object to my premise primarily because you find the implications objectionable. (My premise being, as I just stated, that the phenomenon of flying, super-advanced craft is a fact; the implications being the very narrow list of hard-to-swallow possibilities for explaining the phenomenon.) Unlike you and those who raise that objection, I’m not focusing on the implications. I’m focusing on the primary question: What the hell are these things? I want to see them investigated fully and thoroughly using the highest possible standards that can possibly be applied to a phenomenon which is (whether we like it or not) inherently anecdotal.

    I say, let the chips fall where they may — whatever such an investigation may reveal or whatever few and unappealing possibilities remain once it has ruled out the rest — so be it, that’s what we’re left with. You, on the other hand, seem to be signaling that the premise MUST be wrong (i.e., the investigation of the phenomenon MUST be flawed) if it leads to such disturbing implications. [See my most recent comment to Nigel re why some people seem to cling religiously to the notion that modern science has a firm grasp on everything going on all around us, when this phenomenon seems to point out the weakness of that assumption.]

    If I’m wrong and you are actually taking issue with the investigations of the leading cases, let’s talk specifics. What’s your alternative explanation for, e.g., the account of General Jafari’s interaction with a UFO in 1976, or the Belgian deputy defense minister’s account of the “Belgian wave” in ’89-’90? What exactly did the military and govt officials do wrong in investigating those cases?

  126. Sam

    @Scottynuke — And BTW, you say I “moved the goalposts by redefining ‘extraordinary’”?

    What was the definition of this term, before I redefined it? “Not ordinary,” I suppose? Well, that really clarifies it, doesn’t it? Does “ordinary” mean something that happens every day? once in a while? does it refer only to things about which we’re aware, or or could it also mean things that happen outside of our direct perception but are happening nonetheless?

    Evolution is happening all around us but we can’t actually notice it with the naked eye. Ordinary or extraordinary? I guess it would have to fall into the “extraordinary” category and would require extraordinary proof before a true scientist would grant it any credence at all (which appears to be the fall-back position when it comes to UFOs — it’s either proven conclusively or else it must be dismissed as total bunk, right?). The fact that there is no such smoking gun proof capable of being tested and replicated and thereby establishing evolution as a law is what religious nuts cite as grounds for saying that evolution is no more valid than creationism.

  127. Scottynuke

    RE: Sam’s 1:25

    Sam, please explain to me how your final paragraph @ 11:59 is anything BUT moving unidentified objects into the ETI column? The discussion of possible terrestrial explanations you offer at 1:25 is completely absent from the 11:59 post. I find your 11:59 chain of assumptions flawed because there is NO evidence for any of them. Uncertain human understanding in advanced scientific topics does not equal evidence of superior ETI understanding of such topics, never mind providing evidence of ETI at all.

    Individual human interpretations of events, when they lack a concrete basis of evidence that others can examine, cannot substitute for said lack of evidence.

  128. Sam

    @127 Scottynuke – I left out the other possible explanations because I do find the ET hypothesis the most likely, but I’m not committed to it because I fully acknowledge we simply do not know. We only know what’s been ruled out in those cases that have been thoroughly investigated. What’s been ruled out is EVERYTHING ELSE.

    As to my 11:59 analysis of whether ET visitation is “extraordinary”: I know, obviously, that those assumptions have not been proven; they’re merely distinct possibilities that we cannot rule out. My point is that we have no way of reliably assessing the probability of the ET visitation scenario. If one of the underlying assumptions were provably FALSE, then YES, I would admit that the ET visitation hypothesis is “extraordinary” under any definition of the word. But since it’s entirely possible, on what basis do you label it “extraordinary”? Keep in mind, it involves deliberate actions by completely alien intelligence far superior to us acting on an unknown agenda using unknown capabilities. On what basis have you determined that this scenario, while entirely possible, is objectively improbable?

    And if you’re going to continue publishing your opinions on this subject, then you really ought to be aware that there IS concrete evidence for many of the most compelling cases: there are radar reports, photos, videos, audio recordings (e.g., contemporaneous pilot communications, police communications, 911 recordings, etc), as well as elevated radiation measurements, measured biological effects on witnesses, etc. And I’m sorry, but testimony from credible, reliable witnesses DOES constitute “evidence.” We send people to prison every day based, in some cases, on nothing more than testimony from credible, reliable witnesses (and that’s using a “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard), so it seems like utter obstructionism on your part to say that you don’t have enough evidence to form an opinion as to the most likely explanation for a given case.

    I’m not asking you to commit 100% to the notion that these things exist and are ET (or secret human craft, or from the future or whatever else one might come up with that hasn’t been ruled out); I’m just asking you to acknowledge that the ET hypothesis is a leading contender and should be carefully considered. Or, at the very least, that the UFO issue is truly an enigma and in need of more, and more serious, investigation and public attention. Reasonable minds, once fully informed on the most troubling cases, really cannot disagree that there is plenty of evidence to warrant that small concession.

  129. Shalom Eintoss said:

    objects filmed on the moon by Apollo astronauts; the UFO saw from the shuttle, whose pictures can be confirmed since the get the Nasa’s serial number

    Ah yes. The background image into which the “spaceship” was photoshopped was obtained from an official NASA source, therefore the composite itself is genuine.

    Got it.

    Though kudos to you, for at least you didn’t offer as further evidence those magic alien ice crystals that follow the shuttles around and dart about every time — coincidentally — the orbiter fires its maneuvering thrusters.

    “Keep watching the YouTubes! They’re here! They’re here!”

  130. @ Sam:

    Evolution is happening all around us but we can’t actually notice it with the naked eye.

    Uh, actually, you can. The rapid evolution of bacteria, fruit flies, and other creatures with short life cycles is kind of a staple of biology.

    In the case of evolution at large, the sheer quantity of evidence that points to it and the utter lack of evidence supporting other theories is quite extraordinary enough.

  131. MadScientist

    No no no, the UFO’s advanced cloaking technology along with True Believer Detector allows them to reveal themselves only to true believers and of course the victims of their experiments.

  132. Gary

    I have been following MUFON for quite a while and I pay particular attention to the map of sightings. First, allow me state the obvious. The vast majority of sightings are over the continental United States. This tells us a couple of things may be happening.

    1. Beings from other solar systems are visiting and observing the United States, or:

    2. The United States has immense research underway that, because of its alleged sensitivity, cannot be divulged to the general public and more importantly, the world.

    Both statements may be true but Occam’s razor says the second statement is the likely choice. After all, we know of area fifty one and there are possibly unknown research sites as well. Inside the continental USA, the south west is where most UFO sightings occur. The south west is where Area fifty one is located, also Edwards air force base, White Sands missile test range and many more military test and development areas.

    As of this date, 2 sept. 2010, it is known that the U.S. Navy is testing the unmanned X47 somewhat triangle shaped pilotless airplane. The U.S. Air Force has the X37 in space on a mission that they will not speak about. Boeing has developed a 747 with a laser that is capable of shooting down ICBMs. Boeing is testing the X45 unmanned bomber. And do not overlook scram jets which have dropped out of the news for a couple of years. A scram type jet, looks like a triangle and can move at about five times the speed of sound. Is it a replacement for the SR71? Maybe. The F117 has jet engine nozzles in the wings which amounts to a larger thrust area and reduced noise. The noise reduction technology is probably employed in some of the new models. All of the launches and testing take place in and over the USA. Also take into account that a couple of years ago a cloaking material was developed and by now it may have been modified to be applied to an airframe. There are other craft being tested as well.

    Above is just the information that I have noticed while reading the news. Can you imagine what information is not being released to the general public? Consider this statement I heard on a reasonable documentary about the UFO phenomenon. I’ll quote it a closely as I can remember, “What is going on in the deserts of Nevada is fifty years ahead of anything you can begin to imagine.” That is an astounding statement. If you are old enough, think back fifty years to what life was like in 1960. No lasers, no space travel, maybe one satellite named Telstar and a couple of Sputniks, Passenger jets were coming of age, no cell phones only hard wired home phones, television was just beginning to offer color pictures, cars were made out of iron, fast food was a rare treat. You get the picture. We have advanced more in the past fifty years than at any other time in the history of mankind.

    Personally, I am still not convinced, but perhaps, just perhaps, there was a crash near Roswell and a few other places. We may have managed to glean a bit of technology from the debris. The truth is that we have pushed ahead very fast and hard in the technology area in fifty years. But, unless there is travel through worm holes available somewhere else in the universe, the chance that any alien craft has visited us is very slim as the distance is light years between them and us.

    I think it is time to give the hidden research, that is taking place, the credit it deserves. I am sure there are some astounding devices being researched and tested in the sky over the U.S.A. and scientists are to be commended for their work.

    To the U.S. Government and the world. It gives me great pleasure to be the first to announce that an anti gravity craft has been developed and it is presently being testing in the skies over the USA . . . ;-)

  133. 30. 24601 Says: “Back in 2000…I noticed a bright star I hadn’t noticed before…as I watched it, I saw it zigzag in every direction, never far from where I first spotted it, then it started to fade out and disappear.”

    As others have mentioned, this was most likely an Iridium flare. Were you looking to the NW around 8 PM, or the NE around 10:30? That’s when/where they usually show up. If you remember the date (better than just “2000″) you can go onto “Heavens Above” and check out which satellite it was.

    BTW, the zig-zagging motion was actually your eyes moving. If you don’t have a horizon/ground reference, you can’t tell. That’s why it was never far from where you first saw it.

    - Jack

  134. Anders

    I know for a fact that low flying geese look very much like an invading space armada from the planet Xlorp.

  135. Nigel Depledge

    Sam (113) said:

    . . . inane, meaningless comments from people like you . . .

    I’m calling you out on this.

    Either retract your accusations of inanity and meaninglessness or cite exactly where I was inane or meaningless, and explain how and why what I said was inane or meaningless.

    Is it really inane to demand that you consider likely explanations for UFO reports before you start dreaming about “beyond-human technology”?

  136. Nigel Depledge

    Anders (136) said:

    I know for a fact that low flying geese look very much like an invading space armada from the planet Xlorp.

    This is because the favoured planetary attack craft of the Xlorpians is the Spruce Goose. ;-)

  137. fred edison

    Anyone know why commercial airline pilots don’t report UFOs on average? Many audio segments with these type of events have been released through the FOIA, however. Are they worried about damaging their reputation and/or is it frowned upon by their employers? I’m not talking about the Japanese pilot who was flying over Alaska and saw a huge UFO near his jumbo jet that was tracked for a time on radar.

  138. Nigel Depledge

    Sam (121) said:

    The phrase itself [Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence] is inherently vague and unhelpful. What exactly is an “extraordinary claim”? And what exactly is “extraordinary proof”?

    I think the key facets of this are:
    (1) A claim is extraordinary if it is not either a reasonable projection from well-founded knowledge or a logical extension of a well-founded theory.
    (2) Extraordinary evidence would be something that is utterly unambiguous.

    So, for instance, while we believe that extraterrestrial (ET) life is highly likely, the barriers to interstellar travel are so large that a claim of ET visitation is indeed extraordinary. This may look like an argument from personal incredulity, and there may indeed be an element of that to it, but I think an objective consideration of the likelihood of casual and frequent interstellar travel yields the answer that it is, as far as we understand, implausible. Therefore, it is irrational to consider it to be anything other than extraordinary.

    Extraordinary evidence would, for such a claim, be actual pieces of unambiguously alien hardware or biological specimens (for example, life that evolved anywhere other than Earth has no reason to share our genetic code, so a biological sample that uses a non-terrestrial genetic code would constitute extraordinary evidence).

    I find it ironic that a sentence that is virtually incapable of precise, consistent interpretation or application is so beloved by scientists, who profess disdain for such subjective ambiguity in other contexts. I think it’s a cheat — a convenient escape hatch that allows a scientist to avoid this inscrutable subject without feeling like he’s running away from it.

    You’re entitled to your opinion, of course, but your accusation could also be seen as running away from the need to provide such evidence.

    Why do you consider the existing anecdotes to be sufficient evidence for ET visitations, given the inherent improbability of such things?

    And this isn’t just a rhetorical critique; it has very real implications. The ambiguity in the term “extraordinary claim” goes right to the heart of this debate. We can all agree that the concept of non-human intelligence(s) appearing on Earth certainly SEEMS “extraordinary.” But is that the measure? Does that mean it actually IS “extraordinary”?

    Given the huge costs and intrinsic difficulty for interstellar travel, yes.

    Given that the claims are based on such an absence of evidence, yes.

    Given that we have yet to detect any ET life, never mind ET intelligence (ETI), yes.

    I would say the answer is No — IFF one can reasonably posit a series of hypothetical facts — all of which themselves are not necessarily extraordinary — that could reasonably lead to this scenario. (If you’re not comfortable thinking in terms of “hypotheticals,” think of this as a “thought experiment,” which was really just Einstein’s term for hypotheticals).

    The trouble with this idea is that you need to build suppositions upon suppositions. While the initial supposition – that ET life exists – is not extraordinary, you need to build several more on top of it, each of which is increasingly unlikely.

    IF ETI exists, AND IF it has mastered routine interstellar travel, AND IF it lives close enough to Earth to be aware of us AND IF it has mastered technology to evade our radar systems, telescopes, radio telescopes and satellites AND IF they choose to attempt to conceal their visits from us AND IF they aren’t quite competent enough to do so . . .

    Yes, it becomes an extraordinary claim.

    So, I would say the series of reasonably plausible hypothetical facts goes like this: Is it extraordinary to believe there are other intelligences in the universe? No (you don’t require extraordinary proof to believe this is possible, do you?).

    Agreed.

    Extraordinary to believe there may be countless such intelligences? No.

    Actually, this is a bit of a stretch. Also, how many there are in the universe as a whole is pretty much irrelevant. There could be only one intelligence per galaxy and there’d still be a countless number in the universe as a whole. Where interstellar travel is extraordinarily difficult (or extraordinarily inconvenient, take your pick), intergalactic travel requires magic. We know of no means of transporting organic beings in such a way as to cover these distances in – say – 100 human lifetimes without demanding an unfeasible quantity of energy (even our best theories for such things require the lifetime output of a sun-like star for one journey).

    So, you need to estimate a numvber of intelligences per galaxy. For the sake of argument, let’s say it’s between 1 and 10.

    Or to believe that some — perhaps many — of these are far more technologically advanced than us, perhaps by thousands or even millions of years? No.

    Just because they have better iPods doesn’t mean they have mastered interstellar travel. Look at human transport technology. It has had several enormous breakthroughs over the last 150 years. Trains, cars, planes, space travel. However, in terms of how each technology has developed once the initial breakthrough occurred – trains have become cheaper and more efficient, but have not achieved significant advances in the last 50 years or so; cars likewise; planes – supersonic passenger travel has largely been deemed uneconomic (although there is the possibility that it may return with more efficient engine designs, but this is an advance of degree not of kind); and human space travel beyond low-Earth orbit has largely been deemed not worth the cost. We have hopes that we will travel to Mars this century, and we know that such a trip is possible with our existing technology, but even our wildest theories have no realistic means for us to travel to a nearby star.

    So, to suppose that a more advanced civilisation than ours will inevitably have interstellar travel is – by itself – extraordinary. It needs some justification.

    Or to believe that, if such highly advanced beings exist, they may have an interest in finding (and perhaps monitoring, or even planting & cultivating) other intelligent life forms in the universe? No.

    You are assuming that it is possible to make interstellar travel both cheap and routinely easy. However, if one accepts this assumption, this is not an extraordinary claim. OTOH, if one demands some justification for the assumption, then the claim is extraordinary, because our current understanding of the universe (which we know to be at least a good approximation of the truth) indicates that interstellar travel is either extraordinarily difficult or extraordinarily inconvenient.

    Or that, with their enormous head-start on us, they may have the tech capability to do these things even though they seem impossible to us (remember: we still have some major gaps in our knowledge base, like dark matter, dark energy, the weakness of gravity, etc)? No.

    Actually, wehile there are indeed many things we don’t know, you are brushing aside the many things that we do know.

    Interstellar travel does not seem impossible to us. What seems impossible to us is making interstellar travel fast enough and cheap enough for routine and casual use. And it seems impossible for some very sound and fundamental reasons.

    Is it extraordinary to believe, then, that if they do exist and do have an interest in us and are here because of that interest, that their presence would be detectable in exactly the ways we seem to be detecting them, and no other ways? I don’t think it’s extraordinary to believe that. (Note: One may argue that they would either fully reveal themselves or perfectly hide themselves, and that this in-between approach makes no sense — but I would say that trying to guess the precise agenda and capabilities of these hypothetical and truly alien visitors would be an exercise in futility, and besides, one can imagine a reasonable explanation: e.g., a gradual revelation deemed to be less traumatic to society than a sudden overturning of our entire paradigm.)

    If one assumes that interstellar travel is cheap and easy, then your postulate is reasonable enough.

    Although, to be fair, your guess as to why the “gradual revelation” is not a satisfying explanation. Logic is the same no matter where you were born. If there are ET visitors, they must have a reason for avoiding most people and evading any detection or recording instrument, while at the same time keeping themselves imperfectly hidden from a very few witnesses (and don’t give me that crap about professional pilots being trained observers – they are human and therefore just as fallible as everyone else; moreover, they are less familiar with the night sky than most amateur astronomers). It should be possible to draw up a credible shortlist of possible reasons.

    So, is the ET visitation hypothesis ACTUALLY “extraordinary” when one can conceive of a series of plausible facts that might bring this scenario about?

    Actually, yes, it is still extraordinary, because you would force us to assume that it is possible to make interstellar travel both cheap enough and easy enough for routine use. There is no basis for this assumption.

    The truth is, we have no reliable way to assess the plausibility or implausibility of the ET visitation hypothesis because it would require knowledge of so many other facts about our universe that we simply do not have.

    Maybe so, if one wanted to make one’s assessment perfect. However, we can make an assessment based on what we do know at this time, and that assessment tells us that your hypothetical scenario is implausible.

    So it may seem “extraordinary” but may in fact be perfectly plausible, or even probable.

    No. Based on our existing knowledge, it is implausible.

    Now consider the viability of this hypothesis in light of the fact that we have many events (those detailed in Kean’s book, for example) for which ALL OTHER explanations have been methodically and conclusively ruled out.

    Kean may think he has methodically ruled out all iother explanations, but the data will not support ruling out someone simply believing they saw something that was other than what they perceived (for example, if you see three lights moving in formation against a dark sky, your mind is quite capable of filling in a non-existent shape between those lights).

    Kean ignores the fallability of human perception and assumes that all eyewitness accounts are equally plausible.

    So, no I do not accept that all other explanations have been ruled out. And you are foolish to do so. The data do not support a firm conclusion one way or the other. Therefore, we must rely on reason. Is it more reasonable to assume that people are often mistaken about what they saw or that aliens are visiting our planet but choose not to reveal themselves?

    I know which seems more reasonable to me. It is also the parsimonious option.

    It seems silly to rule out the ET hypothesis based on little more than our own current limited knowledge of the universe (or, more to the point, what we’ve grown accustomed to believing) when it’s actually the only plausible hypothesis left.

    Actually,
    (A) Technically, your hypothesis is not ruled out, since all knowledge is, in principle, provisional. It is, however, the last on the list of options.
    (B) Our current knowledge of the universe is at least a good approximation of the truth. If it were not, we would already know.
    (C) No, it is not plausible, unless you assume that improved tech will make Einstein’s absolute speed limit go away, or that it will some day be possible to command more power at the touch of a button than the sun will emit in its lifetime.

  139. Fr33d0mhawk

    I am an amateur astronomer and I have seen two UFOs. I did not report them to the FBI, CIA, Air Force, because nobody really cares. I was satisfied enough that I saw it and knew that no official agency would give me more answers than I already had. I have seen weather balloons at dark, so high they reflected the sunlight almost an hour after sunset. I have seen the space station, space shuttle, numerous satellites, Jupiter and its moons, Andromeda, and was one of the first humans to see the comet that exploded near the constellation Cassiopea creating a cloud that looked sort of like a galaxy, and I have seen numerous planes, but I have also seen a football shaped object that defied conventional aircraft flight characteristics. I have been in the military and was responsible for identifying various aircraft and rockets and shooting them down if deemed a threat, so I was trained to identify aircraft.

    Most astronomers realize that if its really a UFO, nobody can answer what it is, and if they can, its so classified they would never tell what it is anyway. If we think the Government would tell us that our armed forces cannot provide us security against ET vehicles that outperform human aircraft to the same extent human aircraft can outperform birds, we are only kidding ourselves. The government’s own documents show how seriously they take covering up UFO knowledge. The document outlining the policy of disclosure is completely redacted, so why is it so secret if there are no UFO’s? The US government does not have a policy of disclosure related to Santa Clause, or ghosts, or Jesus in a box of Corn Flakes, and if they did I doubt it would be completely redacted.

    One would think astronomers in particular would be objective and open-minded, afterall, they disproved the flat world paradigm, and they posit all sort of theories about dark matter and dark energy without the first clue on what they are. Currently, astronomers are cautious about reporting UFO’s because that is the quickest way to be the object of ridicule among the community. Nothing silences discovery like ridicule.

    By the way, astronomers who look at images of objects billions of light years away missed the object thousands of feet away, and most professional astronomers never look at the stars with their own eyes anymore, they instead sit in cubicles looking at computer screens at graphical representations of stellar and galactic sized objects. When was the last time astronomers spent the majority of their time just staring into the heavens with a pair of binoculars? Only amateur astronomers and star-gazers spend any significant time actually outside looking up at the stars, and loads of amateur astronomers and star-gazers have seen arial phenomena that defy explanation. Out of the thousands of nights and thousands of hours I have spent star-gazing, I have only seen a UFO on two occassions, and that was pure luck that I even saw two. I am as objective and skeptical as they come, but being a skeptic cuts both ways, I am also skeptical of those who say its impossible for ET’s to travel to earth, like those people are privy to all the knowledge and capabilities of technology in the entire universe when they can’t even explain what the majority of our universe is made of, its like a blind man saying sight does not exist.

  140. @ Nigel:

    Whew! Someone had his coffee this morning!

    I think you missed one key weakness in Sam’s logic, summarized by this statement of his:

    Or that, with their enormous head-start on us, they may have the tech capability to do these things even though they seem impossible to us

    The thing about that assumption (yet another one, as you pointed out), is that it ignores the contrary possibility that such an enormous “head start” might just as probably lead to stagnation or even extinction. Our own history has shown that intelligence is not necessarily the best or only route to evolutionary success. Bacteria have been around countless millennia more than homo-sapiens. The dinosaur line was extremely successful for millions of years. Ditto insects. And fungus.

    Many people have an outmoded and utterly wrong assumption that evolution somehow “leads” to intelligence. There is no evidence for this. Intelligence, specifically, self-aware conscious intelligence, is just one more survival strategy that has popped up on the evolutionary playing field.

    The point is, intelligence and self-awareness may be intrinsically non-beneficial in the long run. Whether by internecine conflict or eco-destruction or simply committing intentional or unintentional mass suicide, so-called intelligent life just might not last very long. Automatically assuming the contrary is true throughout the universe is wishful thinking at best, outright fantasy at worst.

    We can’t say one way or the other, because we have no data points besides ourselves to analyze. But given our own ridiculously short history and our propensity for violence, destruction, short-sightedness, et al, I don’t think it’s a stretch to suggest the possibility. Certainly it is no less possible than the typical “they will be so much wiser than we” assumptions of the UFOs=spaceships crowd.

  141. @ fr33domhawk:

    but I have also seen a football shaped object that defied conventional aircraft flight characteristics. I have been in the military and was responsible for identifying various aircraft and rockets and shooting them down if deemed a threat, so I was trained to identify aircraft.

    That sentence right there suggests a problem. You say you saw a football shaped “object” that didn’t fly like an aircraft, and go on to say you were trained for identifying various aircraft.

    Soooo…..if the “object” were not an aircraft, you wouldn’t necessarily be able to identify it, right? And if it weren’t an aircraft, it wouldn’t by definition have to “fly” like one, would it?

    And BTW, very few people, if any, posting on this blog claim that it is impossible for an ET to travel to earth. What they say, repeatedly, is that it is extremely unlikely, and thus if it’s offered up as an explanation for a UFO, there had better be a lot of very good evidence that supports that idea. There isn’t.

  142. Messier Tidy Upper

    Must .. get ..some ..sleep ..now ..

    but will just note I finished reading & would strongly recommend this book :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/What_Does_a_Martian_Look_Like

    (now long overdue at the library) today. It too has a chapter on “Flying Saucers” which is very good. Even if I don’t necessarily accept everything Jack Cohen & Ian Stewart argue for in it.

    I might even post some relevant quotes from it for y’all. But not just now. Tomoorrowwwwwwwwwwwwwww
    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  143. Bob

    Phil, There is of course an element of truth in any good debunkers story. Yes, there are many explainable UFO’s and many unexplainable ones. Many high level Astronomers sit in a cabin thats climate controlled and point the instrument to a fraction of an arc second in the sky, never seeing the horizon. That explains some of it. Also, since there never has been a true scientific study of the subject, its taboo’d by scientists and governments for whatever reasons. Funding could possibly be interrupted for misbehaving scientists. Off the record, many of them are believers. We appreciate your continued misinformation and self humiliation.

  144. Also, since there never has been a true scientific study of the subject, its taboo’d by scientists and governments for whatever reasons.

    Thanks for stating the obvious about most UFO nuts’ “scientific studies.”

    Off the record, many of them are believers.

    Evidence for that statement will be presented…when now?

  145. Shalom Einstoss

    kuhnigget
    called ironically all the unidentified objects near the shuttle “ice cubs”.
    Well, unhappilly for you and also for the shuttle’s crew, Nasa’s technicians don’t agree with you, for example, about the many objects observed at the STS-115 mission. They called it openly ‘unidentified’ objects, and said they were not rare. They delayed shuttle’s return to earth not because they saw ‘ice cube’. People use to be blind following they’re thesis. This is tragic for the homo sapiens. Why don’t you watch the links first and foremost ? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8F8Z0BIBd0
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrIe9NQf6G4
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_nr8lTkDIs
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0dYqFcVO
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0dYqFcVO7I
    And yes, I never saw a UFO with my naked eyes, but I don’t need to do so. Those vids are clean and made by Nasa’s crew: this is called technology and credibility. Enough for me. At least you have the explanation Nasa’s guys lack, congratullations my friend. Besides, you can explain me why Buzz Aldrin told what he told in the following link. I would very much appreciate your explanation. This is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlkV1ybBnHI

  146. Shalom Einstoss

    Some people believe they’re are sceptics. They’are not. They are believers. I don’t know in what kind of faith, but they are. Perhaps, UFOs don’t fit in they’re theology. But they should separate fate from facts. I’m not saying UFOs are extraterrestrials or watever, but they are a legitimate phenomena, saw by very credible people. They start to say: oh, Mr. Mitchell was a newager, or, Mr. Aldrin had alcoholic problems. JAL’s pilot should open his eyes. How can they manage to discredit such credible testimonies of many many pilots, generals and military personnal like those saw in the Disclosure Project ?

  147. Shalom Einstoss

    If all the hundreds of unidentified objects near the shuttle and the ISS are ‘ice cubs’, i guess they’re not in the space, neither came from Florida, they came from Greenland…

  148. Shalom Einstoss

    Fr33d0mhawk
    Like you, I don’t know where the truth about the phenomena is. But just like you, I keep my mind and my eyes opened. And about the double character of skepticism, you are perfect !!! This is the real one.

  149. @ Shalom:

    Besides, you can explain me why Buzz Aldrin told what he told in the following link. I would very much appreciate your explanation.

    Did you listen to what Aldrin said, Shalom? He said he and the others weren’t going to blurt out that something was flying along beside them because some people might think they were referring to an alien spaceship.

    Some people…such as you? Obviously Col. Aldrin does not believe they saw a spaceship, else he would not have made the above comment. Your silly documentary is deliberately misleading you, the gullible viewer. You are aware, too, aren’t you, that the footage they show on screen during Aldrin’s sound bite is of the spent rocket booster, right? The narrator sneaks that line in there so it’s tough to hear and so gullible people won’t catch it.

    Space junk — including ice crystals, not from Greenland, but from the hydrazine maneuvering propellent on the shuttle — accompanies ALL spacecraft on orbit. This phenomena has been observed by NASA since the days of John Glenn. Some of us remember when the first urine dump created a lovely orbiting cloud of yellow crystals around a spacecraft!

    As for the rest of this particular “siting”, perhaps you should check out the good doctor’s previous blog on the subect:

    www (dot) badastronomy (dot) com (slash) bablog (slash) 2006 (slash) 07 (slash) 30 (slash) bad-tv-on-the-science-channel-the-apollo-11-ufo (slash)

    Dots and slashes replaced to avoid moderation delays.

    Bottom line, Shalom: BEEN THERE. DONE THAT. BORING.

    Now if you truly have an open mind, use it to question the motivations behind these people making the UFO videos and books and CDs, etc. Here’s a hint: $$$$$$.

  150. 142. kuhnigget Says: “Our own history has shown that intelligence is not necessarily the best or only route to evolutionary success. Bacteria have been around countless millennia more than homo-sapiens.”

    This is the entire point of Wells’s “War of the Worlds.

    “The dinosaur line was extremely successful for millions of years.

    Hundreds of millions.

    “Ditto insects. And fungus.”

    Probably closer to a billion (especially the latter).

    151. kuhnigget Says: “Some of us remember when the first urine dump created a lovely orbiting cloud of yellow crystals around a spacecraft!”

    Wally Schirra, Sigma 7. He declared it the “Constellation Urion”…

    - Jack

  151. Shalom Einstoss

    kuhnigget
    About the motivation of people writing about UFOS: money. I don’t mind. I’m not a communist. Sorry. If they get their money I see no problem at all. Your ‘ice crystal’ explanation can really explain some part of some vids. Not all, neither the major percentage of them. Why the astronauts waste their time discussing ‘ice crystals’ with the controllers ? Simple, because theirs NOT ice crystalls, I’m not telling you this. They are telling clearly AS CRYSTAL that they DON’T KNOW what it is. Flying objects unidentified in the space. Hundreds of them. I don’t know what are they. But I know what the’re not. What I can’t understand is how so many people innocent keep ignoring that matter so unexplained and curious. Not because of debunkers like you. Because they are not curious enough.

  152. Shalom Einstoss

    kuhnigget
    You talked about the Ufologists motivation: suposedly money. No problem, I’ve said, if they get money writing about it. But I suspect, like many ufologists (and I’m not a professional one), that there are some people working for federal agencies trying to hide the truth. I can say that I’m brazilian, lawyer, and just would like to uncover the truth behind this topic. What about YOUR MOTIVATION ?

  153. Shalom Einstoss

    HUNDREDS OF UFOS IN SPACE: the thether incident that happened at STS-75 mission. What are they? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=As-wYmFYb3I

  154. @ shalom:

    Your ‘ice crystal’ explanation can really explain some part of some vids. Not all, neither the major percentage of them.

    It was never offered as an explanation of all of them. Go back and read my first post. I thanked YOU for NOT bringing up the silly ice crystal debate, which occurred on this blog some months ago.

    They are telling clearly AS CRYSTAL that they DON’T KNOW what it is.

    At the time, they don’t identify them. That is why they care called “unidentified.” But, Shalom, and this is the point, THEY DO NOT STAY UNIDENTIFIED. Every one of those videos on YouTube are old. they show the raw footage. They show the initial press conferences. They NEVER show the final conclusions of the NASA scientists after weeks or months of study. Why? Because the scientists NEVER CONCLUDE THE OBJECTS ARE ALIEN SPACECRAFT and that conclusion does not fit in with the needs of the UFO nuts.

    The only people who insist upon ignoring this are the UFO nuts who desperately want them to be spaceships, again, such as the people who state this as if it were a fact without presenting ANY evidence in favor of such an explanation. Do YOU have evidence in favor of spaceships? If so, please present it in your best lawyerly fashion.

    I don’t know what are they. But I know what the’re not.

    Do you not see the contradictory nature of that statement? You cannot identify them, but you state clearly you know what they are not. Which is it, Shalom? You have no evidence, you ignore the statements of countless engineers and scientists who identify space debris all the time, yet you can say without a doubt “you know what they are not.” How? What is your evidence for this, other than your own wishful thinking?

    But I suspect, like many ufologists (and I’m not a professional one), that there are some people working for federal agencies trying to hide the truth. I can say that I’m brazilian, lawyer, and just would like to uncover the truth behind this topic.

    That is paranoia, nothing else. Conspiracy theory. And again, what is your EVIDENCE for this? Do you really want to uncover truth, or do you simply want your fantasy to be real?

    What about YOUR MOTIVATION ?

    I am a citizen of the United States. I see directly what stupidity and the lack of critical thinking is doing to my country. The past presidential administration is a perfect example. Lack of critical thinking, decisions based upon ideology instead of rational analysis, ignoring facts that get in the way of opinions…and on and on. And because of it…what? Senseless wars. Thousands of deaths! Our economy in a shambles. For what? Stupidity! I hate stupidity, Shalom, and UFO nuts who insist their theories are correct when in fact they have NO evidence to support them are being stupid and contributing to the further dumbing down of my country..

    And no, videos that show what scientists and engineers have identified as debris are not evidence. Even if an object in question remains unidentifiable, that does still not mean it is by default an alien spaceship! That remains, as others repeatedly state, an extremely IMPROBABLE possibility!

    What I can’t understand is how so many people innocent keep ignoring that matter so unexplained and curious.

    But that is just it, Shalom. they don’t ignore them because they are unexplained. They ignore them because they ARE explained. Curious, yes. Fascinating, yes. But unexplained? Sorry, no.

  155. Messier Tidy Upper

    Okay “tomorrow” has now become ‘today’ and so here are those relevant quotes promised in comment # 144 above from ‘What does a Martian Look Like?’ especially Chapter 13 “Have aliens visited us?” :

    “Have aliens visited Earth? … [snip] … If you have followed what we’ve said so far, and in general agree with our arguments that alien evolutions cannot produce anthropomorphic – humanoid – creatures then your belief in these ‘alien’ visitations will be tested very strongly by the pictures that the witnesses have produced. Nearly all the alleged visiting aliens are slight variations on the human form. Even those that are claimed to be radically different usually have faces, chests, upper & lower limbs with opposite joints (like knees and elbows) and even teeth. … [Snip] … These characteristics unrelentingly identify their carriers as being related to Earthly vertebrates, indeed land vertebrates and nothing else in the universe. This fact cannot have been taken onboard by those witnesses or by the writers who claim that trivial differences (four digits for example, not even as different from us as cows or horses are) show alien derivation. Meeting aliens, recognising them, and communicating with them are all problematic areas. All the ‘proofs’ of alien visits that we’ve seen are unconvincing – no, anti-convincing because the corpse, photo, film or recollection is of something humanoid. Therefore they cannot be alien.”
    - Pages 310 & 311, ‘What does a Martian look like? : The Science of Extraterrestrial Life’ by Jack Cohen & Ian Stewart Ebury Press, 2002 – this edition 2004.

    NB. (brackets original) [brackets added.] Italics and emphasis original.

    The arguments referred to there are (among other things) that aliens will be, well, *very* alien in appearance for a range of biological reasons. Now I don’t necessarily agree with all of this paragraph personally. For one thing there’s convergent evolution creating similar shapes and biological organs & structures. For another, there’s the idea that aliens might deliberately manufacture shapes and bodies to fit in with our expectations and conditions on our planet. Still they do have a point here nonetheless.

    “.. most aliens would not wish to visit Earth at all, any more than we would care for a ramble across the surface of a neutron star -or care to live, as do some extremophiles even here on Earth, in boiling water.”
    - Page 327,‘What does a Martian look like? : The Science of Extraterrestrial Life’ by Jack Cohen & Ian Stewart Ebury Press, 2002 – this edition 2004.

    “The view that we should believe whatever anybody tells us as long as they seem to be sincere, good-hearted people is absolutely fine for a philosophy of life, but rotten as an exercise in editing our beliefs towards what the universe really does.”
    - Page 315, ‘What does a Martian look like? : The Science of Extraterrestrial Life’ by Jack Cohen & Ian Stewart Ebury Press, 2002 – this edition 2004.

    “Either we think scientifically – or at least rationally and critically – about this kind of event [UFO’s & Paranormal –ed.] or we end unable to think sensibly about anything. You choose.”
    - Page 316, ‘What does a Martian look like? : The Science of Extraterrestrial Life’ by Jack Cohen & Ian Stewart Ebury Press, 2002 – this edition 2004.

    Also this is my paraphrasing of pages 311-312 discussing Flying saucer / UFO observations along with another paranormal anecdote or two that the authors mentioned as well :

    There are three opposing ways of interpreting these observations :

    1. These “visitations” are *all* illusions. We know the human brain fools itself on a regular basis. UFO’s et al are an interesting area for psychologists but cast no light on what real aliens might be like. They just show that our brains invent things.

    2. A few of these alleged [UFO] observations may be real but most are not good, original observations or are post hoc re-interpretations of genuinely alien (but perhaps not extraterrestrial) experiences. That UFO’s are actually to do with alien planets rather than having earthly if unknown explanations is too weak is a supposition to make.

    3. Finally there is the self-destructive, post-modernist stance which denies that critical approaches are appropriate and unquestioningly accepts things at face value.

    Personally, I tend to agree with Cohen & Stewarts view as expressed and paraphrased here. Plus I agree with David Brin’s view in that Those Eyes short story linked to in my comment # 116.

    Hope folks find this interesting / enjoyable / enlightening. :-)

  156. Messier Tidy Upper

    @151. Kuhnigget :

    Now if you truly have an open mind, use it to question the motivations behind these people making the UFO videos and books and CDs, etc. Here’s a hint: $$$$$$.

    Hmm .. let me guess :

    $$$ = dollar signs.
    Dollars = Pounds
    Pounds = measuring weight

    .. Aha! They’re motivated to do what they do in order to lose weight? How does that work? ;-)

    @145. Bob Says:

    We appreciate your continued misinformation and self humiliation.

    Annd we appreciate yours too! Oh wait, actually we don’t. ;-) :P

    @152. Jack Hagerty :

    @151. kuhnigget Says: “Some of us remember when the first urine dump created a lovely orbiting cloud of yellow crystals around a spacecraft!”
    Wally Schirra, Sigma 7. He declared it the “Constellation Urion”…
    - Jack

    I’m surprised it took until Schirra’s flight to get that, would’ve thought it would’ve happened earlier. Thanks for that bit of info. :-)

  157. Messier Tidy Upper

    He declared it the “Constellation Urion”…

    Actually, I thought that was Tom Hank’s line from the Apollo 13 movie. So an astronaut – Schirra it seems – really said it? Neat. Unsurprising but neat. ;-)

    @140. Nigel Depledge : Great post. I agree with nearly everything you’ve written there. :-)

    I’ll just point out that some of our robotic probes are travelling to the stars already – albeit taking aeons to go there. (The Voyagers and Pioneers plus eventually New Horizons). I hope we’ll see interstellar travel one day & SF has many ideas* on how it might remotely possibly be done but I doubt it will be in my lifetime.

    * Eg, Generation ships, Bussard ramjets, wormholes, warp drive, hyperdrive, negative matter drive, laser sails, infinite improbability drive, teleportation beams, etc ..

  158. FooBar

    Something interesting to me here, is that it appears Phil is asserting that astronomers are superior observers, and that’s why they don’t see UFO’s.

    However, if you tell him about a UFO sighting that involved people like military/pilot observers, he will attempt to debunk that as a mistake, and claim that these observers are no better than any other.

    Which is it? Are trained observers better at determining what is a UFO, or not? I’m confused.

  159. I think, FooBar, his point is that astronomers are better acquainted with the phenomena one sees in the night sky, unlike pilots or military observers who might be more familiar with aircraft or other sorts of hardware.

    For the record, I don’t entirely agree with the good doctor. I think astronomers can probably be fooled or carried away by excitement just as easily as anyone, especially during daylight hours or when the phenomenon in question might be weather related or something other than “astronomical.” However, they will, I suspect, probably not jump to silly conclusions quite so easily as some might.

    The ultimate point is still the fact that human observers of any stripe are notoriously easy to fool. That’s why anecdotal evidence doesn’t really cut it. You ask three different observers what they saw, and you’ll get three different answers, or at least enough variation to know that some other, more concrete evidence is required.

    That’s why the whole UFO “phenomenon” is so frustratingly annoying. After decades of supposed sightings and thousands of purported encounters, there has never been a shred of any testable evidence. Every time someone claims they have something tangible, it always mysteriously goes away – hidden by evil government agents typically. Either that, or the “evidence” turns out to be not so alien, but rather just something mundane that the person who found it happened not to know about, or something much more easily explainable by more probable causes.

    As much as it has become a tired cliché, the old adage really is true: extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. And there is none.

  160. Chris Winter

    Combining three responses:

    —-

    WG wrote: “No Ufologist will claim that UFO’s are “extraterrestrial”. That is a fundamental fallacy of “skeptics” that just can’t seem to get [it] straight.”

    Stanton Friedman is not a UFOlogist?

    —-

    Kevin wrote: “Sound observation triumphs again.”

    Nice, even if unintentional. :-)

    —-

    @pharmakos (#39):

    The governor of Arizona saw a mile-long V-shaped spacecraft? How was its size determined?

    (I assume this was not the present governor, or this UFO would have been reported as coming from Mexico.)

  161. Chris Winter

    Sam (#42): I would not call “about 5-10% of all reported cases” a small number. To quote the late Arthur C. Clarke, if taken seriously, these reports in the aggregate “make Earth look like the crossroads of the universe.”

    Now, follow this logic please. If even some of these unexplained cases are actual technology under intelligent control, why are there no known crashes, or pieces of hardware found on the ground, or even clear, indisputable photographs? Because the technology never fails, and none of the intelligences ever forgets to pick up its tools? Or (as you would probably argue) is it because the government keeps all such hard evidence hidden?

    Occam’s Razor applies here. The simplest explanation is observers being fooled by commonplace objects seen under unusual conditions.

  162. Chris Winter

    Sam (#121) wrote: “What exactly is an “extraordinary claim”? And what exactly is “extraordinary proof”? I find it ironic that a sentence that is virtually incapable of precise, consistent interpretation or application is so beloved by scientists, who profess disdain for such subjective ambiguity in other contexts. I think it’s a cheat — a convenient escape hatch that allows a scientist to avoid this inscrutable subject without feeling like he’s running away from it.”

    When you contend that the probable existence of extraterrestrial civilizations far off in the cosmos is nothing outrageous to those of us here, I tend to agree.

    But when you contend that the claim of them showing up in droves around our small planet, but never introducing themselves, is not extraordinary, you are on very shaky ground.

    You posit a gradually escalating degree of exposure designed to acclimate us to their presence. That doesn’t seem to be working, does it?

  163. Chris Winter

    Sam (#127) wrote: “Your objection — and it’s a common one on this site and among devout disbelievers — is telling. You object to my premise primarily because you find the implications objectionable. (My premise being, as I just stated, that the phenomenon of flying, super-advanced craft is a fact; the implications being the very narrow list of hard-to-swallow possibilities for explaining the phenomenon.)”

    Here you are 180° off. I would be delighted to find that such advanced vehicles exist, whether they come from the stars, from some other dimension, or from our own secret factories. I think most here would feel the same way.

  164. Nigel Depledge

    Fr33domhawk (141) said:

    . . . but I have also seen a football shaped object that defied conventional aircraft flight characteristics.

    Bird reflecting streetlighting (or sunlight if you saw it soon after sunset). There you go, it’s now an IFO.

    I have been in the military and was responsible for identifying various aircraft and rockets and shooting them down if deemed a threat, so I was trained to identify aircraft.

    So what?

    Just because you can recall the shape of hundreds of different known kinds of aircraft doesn’t mean you’re any better at judging speed, size or distance of an unknown object. And, since you’re talking about things you’ve seen at night, you would have no way of knowing if what you see is the whole object or merely the parts that reflect light towards you.

    Most astronomers realize that if its really a UFO, nobody can answer what it is, and if they can, its so classified they would never tell what it is anyway.

    So, you’re assuming that, because you cannot identify the thing, then no-one can? Isn’t that rather arrogant of you?

    Or paranoid, since you then go on to say that even if someone does know what it is, they won’t tell.

    Or are you conflating “Unidentified Flying Object” with “known and definitely alien object”?

    If we think the Government would tell us that our armed forces cannot provide us security against ET vehicles that outperform human aircraft to the same extent human aircraft can outperform birds, we are only kidding ourselves.

    Yeah, I’m sure that the government of – oooh, say, Japan for instance – would be desperate to convince its populace that their armed forces can protect them from anything [/sarcasm]

    (To anyone who is unaware – Japan has pretty much no military at all)

    Also, BTW, you have quite obviiously never watched Swallows, Swifts or Blue Tits in flight. These birds clearly outperform any aircraft we could build. Not in raw speed (after all, raw speed is easy), but in rapid changes of direction.

    The government’s own documents show how seriously they take covering up UFO knowledge. The document outlining the policy of disclosure is completely redacted, so why is it so secret if there are no UFO’s?

    There’s a policy document outlining disclosure of putative alien visitations??

    Also, you seem to be assuming that the USA is the only nation in the world that has a government. Just because the US govt’s documentation is secret (and, face it, the US govt likes to keep secrets even from its closest allies) does not mean that any other nation has a secret document about it.

    And yet, do you think it would be possible for the USA to conceal alien visitation from the entire rest of the world? After all, how can they know the aliens will cooperate by landing only in the USA?

  165. Nigel Depledge

    Shalom Einstoss (148) said:

    Some people believe they’re are sceptics. They’are not. They are believers.

    I believe in the power of evidence to allow us to work out how the universe ticks.

    I also believe that “we don’t know” is a perfectly valid answer.

    I also believe that, at the opening of the 21st century, we know a fair bit already, enough to make some reasonable estimates of what are likely and what are unlikely explanations for new observations.

    As for alien visitations – we don’t know. I don’t, you don’t, Sam certainly doesn’t. (j/k)

    However, we (humanity collectively) can say for certain that they are highly unlikely. Far less liklely, indeed, than that human observations have been erroneous.

    I don’t know in what kind of faith, but they are. Perhaps, UFOs don’t fit in they’re theology.

    Heh. I bet you’re one of those people that accuses biologists of adherence to the “religion” of “Darwinism” too, aren’t you?

    In fact, the U of UFO means Unidentified. It doesn’t mean “alien spaceship”.

    But they should separate fate from facts. I’m not saying UFOs are extraterrestrials or watever, but they are a legitimate phenomena, saw by very credible people.

    Yes, but so what? No-one is doubting for one instant that people see stuff in the night sky that they can’t identify! The whole point of this thread is that it’s no big deal, and it certainly ain’t evidence of alien visitation.

    They start to say: oh, Mr. Mitchell was a newager,

    This happens to be true. He even performed an ESP experiment during a crew sleep period when he was on his way to the moon.

    or, Mr. Aldrin had alcoholic problems. JAL’s pilot should open his eyes. How can they manage to discredit such credible testimonies of many many pilots, generals and military personnal like those saw in the Disclosure Project ?

    Any human can be mistaken about what they see, especially if:
    They see something for only a short period of time;
    they see only a part of it;
    they see an unfamiliar object;
    they see lights separated by darkness in a dark sky.

    And so on.

    The human brain is an amazing thing. It creates the illusion that we are perceiving detail in our entire field of view the whole time. And yet it builds up this illusion from pretty scanty input. Go and look up the word “saccades” on wikipedia. (Short version – our eyes don’t track smoothly, but in short jerks. These jerks are called saccades.) We only perceive that upon which our attention is focussed.

    I saw a TV programme that included the following demonstration. The presenter was asked to watch a scene on a computer screen and alert the researchers when he saw a detail in the scene change. They hooked up a camera that tracked his eye movements, and the computer was set up so it would only change parts of the scene when his eyes were moving in a saccade. Over about 1 minute, they gradually changed several portions of the scene, and the guy didn’t notice any of the changes. Some of the changes were not exactly subtle either (I think the most obvious was the removal of a skyscraper).

    Human visual perception is fallible. This applies most especially to unfamiliar objects.

    This fact alone explains all of the “unexplained” UFO sightings. We will never know what those things were. Maybe some of them were alien spaceships . The point is we cannot ever draw a firm conclusion from the garbage that self-professed “UFOlogists” call “data”.

    Seeing stuff in the night sky that you cannot identify is no big deal. In fact, it is almost certainly expected if you spend long enough looking at the sky at night. Of one thing we can all be certain – going from “that thing I saw doesn’t look like anything I know” to “it was an alien spaceship” is a leap too far.

  166. @ Chris Winter:

    You posit a gradually escalating degree of exposure designed to acclimate us to their presence. That doesn’t seem to be working, does it?

    Well, duh, of course it’s not working. These super advanced aliens are incredibly dumb. They are the same ones who’ve been probing the anal cavities of midwestern farmers for decades!

    Wait…! Oh… oh my gawd! The aliens are…in cahoots with tuh ghey agenda! We’re doooooomed!

  167. Shalom Einstoss

    kuhnigget and Nigel
    About what you call lack of rationality, I recall a brazilian singer, Renato Russo, who wrote this verse: everybody have their own reasons….
    I know you’re not an ufologist, but I don’t know who you are. Simple logic.
    If the objects are debris, officials should tell the world from where: couldn’t be shuttle’s since they searched and didn’t find anything lost. If they belonged to satellites, it’s a chance in a trillion those satellites where coorbiting the shuttle at the same velocity.
    If you get Nasa’s conclusion I would appreciate to receive it at granadoadvogado@yahoo.com.br
    About the conspiratory theories about militaries hiding the truth about UFOs, I don’t have any evidence, but this could happens because of the so called ‘need to know basis’, a principle of american intelligence organizations. Quoting the Washington Post article A HIDDEN WORLD, GROWING BEYOND CONTROL:”There’s only one entity in the entire universe that has visibility on all SAPs – that’s God,” said James R. Clapper, undersecretary of defense for intelligence and the Obama administration’s nominee to be the next director of national intelligence.
    Such secrecy can undermine the normal chain of command when senior officials use it to cut out rivals or when subordinates are ordered to keep secrets from their commanders. One military officer involved in one such program said he was ordered to sign a document prohibiting him from disclosing it to his four-star commander, with whom he worked closely every day, because the commander was not authorized to know about it. Another senior defense official recalls the day he tried to find out about a program in his budget, only to be rebuffed by a peer. “What do you mean you can’t tell me? I pay for the program,” he recalled saying in a heated exchange. SOUNDS LIKE SPIELBERGS, ISN’T IT? But it is a credible Newspaper, not science fiction.
    http://projects.washingtonpost.com/top-secret-america/articles/a-hidden-world-growing-beyond-control/
    I appreciate the debate, but it is an unfair trick to label everybody as ‘ufo nuts’. The JAL pilot at flight 1628 over Alaska was not an ‘ufo nut’. Neither the military at Rendleshan Forest, UK. Nor the brazilian capitain Hollanda wich investigated the objects at Collares. Nor the military at the Malmstrom Air Force Base, in Montana. Nor the good people in Phoenix who saw strange objects hovering above their city. Nor the cowtryside citizens of Kecksburg. Oh my… Nasa said the boxes with some files disapeared, together with a civil employee responsible for them :) . Nor the farmers at Roswell…. neither astronomers that saw TLPs.
    I NEVER SAID UFOS WERE EXTRATERRESTRIALS. I simply don’t know. But I do know that there’s a lack of good faith and clear and public explanations from Nasa’s officials. WHY ? There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of pictures and footage of strange objects without explanation.
    ABOUT PROBABILITIES, I suggest to watch a vid of phisics professor MICHIO KAKU: Quote, about the allien hipotesis: ‘They are not super humans, they could be thousands or millions or years ahead of us in science and technology”. In 1900 we were riding horses, now we send ships to pluto, and this is just in a century, so, if those things belongs to them, it wouldn’t surprise me that much. About science and logic, remember what the nazis said about relativity: it was just a jew’s fantasy….
    So, my friend, science is so exciting just because it gives us surprises every day… in a sense, the scince we know today could be completely changed and ridiculous in some years….

  168. Shalom Einstoss

    Alas, DISCOVERY CHANNEL is the culprit for my interest in UFOs. Some 10 years go, it showed many Nasa’s footage wich were highly unexplained, unbelievable….

  169. Shalom:

    If the objects are debris, officials should tell the world from where: couldn’t be shuttle’s since they searched and didn’t find anything lost. If they belonged to satellites, it’s a chance in a trillion those satellites where coorbiting the shuttle at the same velocity.

    “Officials” have routinely offered explanations. UFO nuts don’t listen, because the explanations don’t match their desires.

    The vast majority of objects traveling along with spacecraft are indeed parts of the spacecraft itself. Trouble is, you are making a common mistake in thinking that a “part” will be a recognizable object such as a wrench or a hatch or an antenna or even a nut or bolt, when in practice what you see surrounding the shuttle and, earlier, the apollo spacecraft were bits and pieces of paint, heat shield, and YES everybody’s favorite, ice.

    Half of the silly “ufo” videos on youtube show objects that are mere millimeters or at most centimeters in size. In the bright solar glare against the blackness of space, they glow on the video cameras and appear much bigger as a result. Their movements are consistent with particles of this size in orbit with the spacecraft, and they behave as you’d expect such objects to behave when, for example, the shuttle orbiter or other spacecraft fires its maneuvering engines and sends the objects flying in very predictable paths.

    So no, Shalom, it is not a chance in a trillion that these objects share the same orbit as the spacecraft, because the spacecraft themselves bring them along for the ride. Simple. Non-extraordinary.

    About the conspiratory theories about militaries hiding the truth about UFOs, I don’t have any evidence, but this could happens because of the so called ‘need to know basis’, a principle of american intelligence organizations.

    The first part of your statement is definitely true. You have no evidence.

    The second part is utter speculation, and if you think about it objectively, it makes no sense. Why would government security agencies keep such information to themselves? If anything, and judging by past example, they would blow it up, publicize it every day and every minute, make the world know that THE UNITED STATES HAS ALIEN TECHNOLOGY…DON’T MESS WITH US!

    it is an unfair trick to label everybody as ‘ufo nuts’.

    No, but they become UFO nuts when they continue to believe they have seen alien spaceships when the overwhelming evidence suggests they have not. You bring up the so-called “phoenix lights.” My friend, these have utterly conclusively been shown to be magnesium flares dropped by air force planes during military exercises, exercises that were going on exactly at the right time at exactly the right place and would produce exactly the right effect witnesses saw. To continue to use this as an example of an “unexplained” event is to place yourself directly in the nut category. Either that, or you are one of the countless members of the ufo community who make money off of the nuts by pandering to their fantasies. Sorry, but there is just no other way of putting that to you.

    There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of pictures and footage of strange objects without explanation.

    Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! The vast majority of pictures touted by UFO enthusiasts show either a common object that has been mistaken for something else, a clear and obvious hoax (search the good doctor’s blog for any article on Billy Meier for the best of this nonsense) or something that is probably a natural phenomenon but is simply too fuzzy or unclear to make any determination. As someone said above, a fuzzy blob that cannot be identified is not evidence of alien spacecraft. Your statement is just wrong, Shalom. Sorry again, but that’s that. I suggest you try reading non-UFO nut articles for a while to open yourself up to this possibility.

    They are not super humans, they could be thousands or millions or years ahead of us in science and technology”.

    See my comment in a previous post.

    There is an equal, and perhaps even greater chance, that a head start of thousands or millions of years would result in extinction, not advanced wisdom. For evidence, look at the record of life on earth. The vast majority of species on this planet are gone. The most successful species, which have lasted millions, even billions of years, are non-intelligent bacteria and fungii. Dinosaurs lasted a hundred and fifty million years and never evolved intelligence beyond that of a mammalian predator of today. Human intelligence has been around a paltry few million years, and the technological age can be measured in a handful of centuries, And yet look what we’ve done to our planet in those few short years: environmental destruction, polluted and failing ecosystems, populations out of control, and now global warming that threatens our entire civilization. It may very well prove true, Shalom, that so-called intelligence is NOT a good survival strategy and may in fact be quite rare in the universe. At the very least, such a possibility is just as probable as the one you take for granted.

    So, my friend, science is so exciting just because it gives us surprises every day.

    Yes, indeed. Which is why I stick to science when pondering the real world and enjoy fantasy for the entertainment it is.

  170. Nigel Depledge

    Shalom Einstoss (170) said:

    About what you call lack of rationality, I recall a brazilian singer, Renato Russo, who wrote this verse: everybody have their own reasons….

    I fail to see any relevance.

    It is still irrational to see something in the night sky that you personally cannot identify and conclude it is an alien spaceship.

    It is still irrational to take the few anecdotes without a current satisfactory explanation as a known object or phenomenon and conclude that people saw alien spaceships. There are simply far too many ways in which the human brain can mis-interpret visual data and reach a conclusion that is – to use a technical term – baloney.

  171. Nigel Depledge

    Shalom Einstoss (170) said:

    One military officer involved in one such program said he was ordered to sign a document prohibiting him from disclosing it to his four-star commander, with whom he worked closely every day, because the commander was not authorized to know about it.

    This sentence, and the rest of that paragraph, are not a surprise. Of course the US military keeps certain things very tightly secret.

    That does not constitute evidence for alien spaceships. In fact, its relevance to the discussion is pretty much zero. If aliens were visiting Earth on a regular basis, why would they visit only the USA? And do you not suppose that any beings with sufficiently advanced technology to overcome the enormous problems inherent to interstellar travel would be able to treat with whichever humans they wanted? To make a convincing case about how and why the US miltary might keep such a thing secret, you must first explain these factors, preferably with reference to actual evidence.

  172. Shalom Einstoss

    Kuhniggan
    A huge difference between your explanation and mine, is that yours stick to debunker’s style (‘UFO nuts’, … trying to disqualify everybody who saw unexplicable phenomena, if you let me say it again, a rethorical trick despite the fact that you don’t know the history of all people who saw such objects. If you was not affraid of the truth, you wouldn’t need do that!) and theories and, opposite to yours, I commented lots of concrete unexplicable phenomena. You offered some generalist explanations for the shuttle objects and, than, a punctual one over Phoenix Lights. Ok. You say: Nasa explained everything after some study (‘think guys, wich story will we tell?’).
    Let’s proceed with some exercise. Just to start. I show you the film and you tell me Nasa’s official’s explanation, ok? As I understood from you, everything is just clear and simple and (we) ‘ufo nuts’ are simply to naive to understand…
    First of all, STS-115 objects, as long as I know, remain totally unexplained. They dellayed shuttle’s return to earth for 2 days and technicians tried in vain to localize the ‘lost part’, as you wish, without suceed. CNN and Fox were interested in those objects and a colletive interview with mission managers was called… Press people use to be the kind of innocent guys, you know ? Answer me. Concretelly !
    1) STS-115 fuel tank is falling to the earth. At 28 seconds, what is that triangular thing ? To an ice crystal is such a huge piece of ice… There are lots of footage of objects flying near those tanks in other missions…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hiVvvCaF5M
    2) STS-115 an object is filmed by shuttle’s crew passing in front of the nose of the orbiter, and clearly demands a close atention of the astronauts. It seems to be coming from afar…. What Nasa’s told about it, as you say, after carefull study?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_nr8lTkDIs&p=C5E955F59185731C&playnext=1&index=5
    3) STS-115 The astronaut is talking about something he says openly that does not resemble anything he saw outside the shuttle, ‘and thats for sure’, he adds. The object is hovering beside the orbiter. What’s Nasa’s explanation ?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fO7-du6M70
    4) STS-115 A very strange object. I hope Nasa’s technicians are a creative people and explained how the heck of the thing is doind there near the shuttle. You tell me !
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhYTULkBtGE
    5) STS-115 After careful examination and two days dellayed, they didn’t find out what is the thing coorbiting the shuttle. Again, please tell, I would appreciate yours or Nasa’s explanation, as you said that the agency just knows what it is…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8F8Z0BIBd0
    I will enjoy concrete answers and get out of theoretical debate….
    Forgive me for my poor english. I guess I passed the basic ideas I get…

  173. Shalom Einstoss

    Nigel
    The real ufologists doesn’t dare to say UFOs are spaceships. Just like me. The quotation about Washington Post issue related to the secrecy was not supposed to be evidence that they are hiding something about UFOs. It was just to say that the environment permits such a thing. Wereas I don’t know what UFOs are, I know they exists and defends their study. Thats all ! Instead, debunkers try to show there is nothing in it. This behavior is the opposite to the scientific motivation.

  174. Shalom Einstoss

    kunigget
    Would you dare call this man a “UFO NUT” ?
    His name is Gordon Cooper…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvPR8T1o3Dc

  175. Shalom Einstoss

    Kunigget and Nigel
    Finally, I strongly recommend to observe the kind of “Ufo Nuts” you have, like those in the FBI, for example. Take a look my friend, and tell me how many “Ufo Nuts” you have in your federal agencies…. Sorry for that !
    http://foia.fbi.gov/filelink.html?file=/ufo/ufo1.pdf

  176. Shalom Einstoss

    Kunigget and Nigel
    Oh, my friend, this “Ufo Nut” are not know as a hawkish irrational, as you said. I guess his name is mmmm….. Jimmy Carter and I hope you also enjoy. Sorry again.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrJeBCi47ME

  177. Shalom:

    A quick response before I head out.

    The STS 115 mission briefing, which is excerpted in this youtube clip:

    http: (slash slash) video (dot) google (dot) com (slash) videoplay?docid=7478848621447936646#

    addresses your question #2 directly.

    The astronauts of STS 115, while making routine visual inspections of the spacecraft, followed several bits of debris out to a hundred feet beyond the payload bay. Ground control summarized their observations of the object, which appeared to be a piece of metallic or semi-reflective cloth and not a rigid object. Note that they were able to measure this distance precisely because of the settings on their camera, which is mentioned in the astronaut chatter included on the video clip. 100 feet is not far away, and thus the object cannot be more than a couple inches across at most.

    Later on, at the mission briefing, shuttle flight direct Paul Dye makes this comment in response to a direct question about the routine inspection procedure and the objects seen drifting around the spacecraft:

    “I’ve been flying these shuttles for as long as we’ve been flying these shuttles, and it’s not uncommon to see little pieces of things floating. A lot of times it’s ice, a lot of times it’s a little piece of lint. It’s amazing how something in bright sunlight can look much bigger than it really is. — It’s not a particularly uncommon thing when you’re concentrating cameras in sunlight, looking out in the payload bay and looking outside, to see small objects floating away.”

    So there, I guess, is a perfect example of how NASA routinely responds to these “ufos” that the nutters insist are “unexplained.”

    They are common. NASA deals with them all the time. They may be unidentified for a while, but not for long.

    Bear in mind, Shalom, it took me all of 30 seconds to find a record of that NASA briefing online. Hardly the sort of effort one would expect if the government were covering it up, huh?

    I will get to your other direct questions after I go get myself some dinner, but I will respond to your first comment about my attitude toward nutters.

    It is because the explanations for these things are often SO EASY to find, such as for your Phoenix lights, and yet you UFO “fans” seem utterly incapable of finding them on your own, it is because of this that I continue to call UFO enthusiasts nuts. Sane people do not ignore such easily found information. Sane people do not ignore simple explanations just because they aren’t as exciting and fantastic as alien spaceships. Only nutters do that, Shalom. And they do it again, and again, and again.

  178. Shalom Einstoss

    Kunniget
    Hey, don’t worry, we have also some irrational militaries that saw UFOs in Brazil, I’m not jealous… Have you heard about General Uchoa ? Just to name one…

  179. Shalom:

    Youtube video #3:

    For krissake, you make this easy. The audio chatter is from STS 115, the VIDEO is from a completely different mission! That is a communication satellite that has just been released from the shuttle’s own payload! It is not “saucer shaped,” it is a cylinder seen from the end. You can even see the small rocket motor that will boost the satellite into its proper orbit.

    Give me a break. See, this is why I call you people nuts. This is fake, Shalom, somebody’s idea of creating a sensation.

    Youtube video #4:

    That is a close-up of the same piece of metallic fabric described in video #2. In the mission briefing they say quite clearly they were taking close-up still images of the debris, and this is one of them! Watch the mission briefing and you’ll learn all about it. NEXT!

    Youtube video #5:

    Jeebus christ in a bucket, Shalom! This is the same damn inspection from STS 115! That tiny speck you see is debris floating around the damn shuttle! Listen to the flight director talking during the press briefing! He tells the reporters exactly what this is!

    See, Shalom? See why you people are labeled nuts? You are so intent on seeing the fantastic you are blind to the mundane!

    You know what? If you are really serious about this stuff, what you need to do is STOP watching “ufo” videos on youtube and start educating yourself about the REAL science of space flight. Seriously! The information is out there! NASA has great information on their websites. It’s not hard to find!

    If you truly have an interest in SCIENCE, not fantasy, look this stuff up. But as it stands right now, you have just revealed yourself as no more interested in real science than any of the other UFO lunatics.

    Enjoy your fantasies, dude. They’re not real.

  180. Nigel Depledge

    Shalom Einstoss (176) said:

    The real ufologists doesn’t dare to say UFOs are spaceships. Just like me. The quotation about Washington Post issue related to the secrecy was not supposed to be evidence that they are hiding something about UFOs. It was just to say that the environment permits such a thing. Wereas I don’t know what UFOs are, I know they exists and defends their study. Thats all ! Instead, debunkers try to show there is nothing in it. This behavior is the opposite to the scientific motivation.

    OK, I may have misunderstood your introduction of the US military into the discussion.

    I suspect that the main reason they want to keep UFOs quiet is that some of the sightings are experimental military aircraft. Even if none have been yet, it’s entirely possible that one day one will be. The US govt has a strange attitude to secrets – rather than saying “yes we have secret stuff, and, no, we’re not going to tell you anything about it” they instead seem to adopt the approach of “no, we have no secrets, there’s nothing to see, move along”.

    I have to confess, though, that I think the “study” of UFOs conducted by nearly all UFOlogists is not scientific. What they should be doing is pointing video cameras at the skies, night after night, recording what is there. That way, they’ll have some worthwhile evidence (although, of course, they would need to be very high-resolution and high-sensitivity video cameras to be able to convincingly identify something as small as a pigeon flying at a couple of hundred feet). Instead what they seem to do is collect anecdotes as if these had any value.

    Even better would be if they catalogued all the kinds of transient phenomena that are so frequently mistaken for alien spaceships, defining how to identify them so that anyone who wishes to could try and work out what they saw without starting from the assumption of “alien spaceships”.

    Most of the time, things that people see in the sky but cannot identify really are known phenomena. I would venture to predict that, when people see something in the sky that is genuinely unknown, it will be some new atmospheric phenomenon of which we were previously unaware.

    I’m reminded of how the Apollo astronauts, once outside the Earth’s magnetosphere, occasionally saw bright flashes of light. They didn’t know what caused this at first. Eventually, some bright spark worked out that they were seeing Cerenkov radiation as highly energetic particles (either cosmic rays or from the sun) occasionally passed through their eyeballs.

  181. Shalom Einstoss

    Nigel
    We really came in terms. I agree with almost every phrase you said in 184 topic. I also became many times upset with those crazy people that mixes new age stuff with ufology. They do as bad to true ufology as debunker raze and simple. In a certain sense, they are to blame for those heavy criticism, but this is not my approach of the matter.
    I hope that MUFON people, for example, are trying to reach the same vision of ufology. But there remains the 5 percent of phenomena like those told by Mr. Gordon Cooper and the document produced by the FBI, between others. I also believe that the world, physically speaking, is much stranger than we could imagine and this is the cause for my curiosity.
    But again, I don’t agree with the “Ufo Nuts”: yes, they exists and do harm the true ufology.
    It was a good debate.
    Shalom Einstoss, Brasília, Brazil

  182. Nigel Depledge

    Sorry, I’m getting out of sequence here. I hope this ain’t too hard to follow…

    Shalom Einstoss (170) said:

    I NEVER SAID UFOS WERE EXTRATERRESTRIALS. I simply don’t know.

    Fair enough. A great many people do, however, conclude that, if they cannot immediately identify something as a familiar object or phenomenon, it must be an alien spaceship. A commenter called Sam further up the thread is a good example of this.

    (Actually, to be completely fair, a large proportion of these people only conclude “alien spaceship” after a qualified pilot has failed to identify the phenomenon or object – although why pilots should be regarded as experts in stuff like this I have no idea, because all they are trained to identify is other aircraft. They don’t really care about clouds or birds except when they interfere with the smooth running of the ‘plane.)

    But I do know that there’s a lack of good faith and clear and public explanations from Nasa’s officials. WHY ? There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of pictures and footage of strange objects without explanation.

    Because, as kuhnigget points out, most of these things have been identified. Small bits of shiny stuff accompanying the shuttle in orbit are very very common. There are several common sources of orbital debris that can be so shiny that they appear relatively large in a video (remember that digital video cameras work like any other digital cameras – when one pixel gets over-saturated, the electrons spill over into neighbouring pixels, making them over-saturated too).

    There is no mystery. There is no cover-up or conspiracy.

    Here’s a little analogy:
    Do you ever bother to identify the chemical composition of dirt on your shoes? No? Why not???? That could be evidence of alien life, here on Earth!!!! Why are you hiding the identity of these things??? It’s a UEO (Unidentified Earthbound Object) conspiracy! And so on…

    So, coming back to the topic of the thread, I suspect that most astronomers don’t “report” UFOs because they’re no big deal. The chances are, they’re something mundane and boring (like a pigeon reflecting nearby lights, or geese flying high enough at dusk to reflect sunlight, or some clown with a Chinese lantern-style of hot-air balloon, or distant parachute flares, or any of dozens of other things). These things might be interesting for a few moments, but I doubt that most astronomers would consider these things to be worth more attention than the identified objects that they are out there to look at.

  183. It was a good debate.

    If rather one-sided.

    Typical UFO nut. Make outrageous claims and demand explanation. Explanation given. Explanation doesn’t fit preconceived fantasy. Rather than presenting counter evidence, UFO nut goes away to indulge his fantasies elsewhere.

    UFO nuts are not interested in science or scientific investigation. They are interested in furthering their own delusions.

  184. Conan the Barbarian

    There may be many reasons why astronomers apparently do not see UFOs. Here they go:

    +Some of them really may have seen a UFO but will not admit it publicly. The reason is the professional fear of ridicule, of not knowing about something the astronomer observer should know.
    +Some astronomers indeed have seen UFOs, one example is Clyde Tombaugh, who saw UFOs, on three occasions.
    +If UFO’s are intelligently controlled vehicles, they may be willing to avoid contact with beings called astronomers. The rule for extraterrestrials could be “Strictly avoid contact with people who are smart enough to collect hard evidence on us”. (Clearly, this one has an overestimation of astronomers’ intelligence).
    +Many UFOs DO NOT show up in the starry sky (as the “appalling astronomer” loves to believe). Some UFOs have been reported touching the ground, passing across trees, burning plants and people, getting out of water and lakes, etc. UFO’s are basically atmospheric phenomena, NOT astronomic.
    +Better atmosphere observers than astronomers could be the truck drivers, airplane pilots, astronauts, air controllers, etc.
    +Astronomers who have vast physics knowledge do not have much training in watching the sky, and, astronomers who have much training watching the stars, do not have vast physics knowledge, so generally speaking, astronomers are not 100% trustable in this topic.

  185. Joe

    How are people supposed to prove that aliens visit Earth? Carry around a tripod all day so they could take a clear photo of a UFO? Somehow take control over the space craft? Ambush an alien and whack him on the head and then bring the corpse to one of you guys? Ask them politely to land in front of a White House?

    You guys are being unrealistic as much as the so called “UFO nuts”.

  186. Shalom Einstoss

    kuhnigget
    I see I have done something good for you. It’s pretty easier to live in certainty but I love doubts, you know ? Do you remember some guy, I guess his name was John Edgar Hoover, a special director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He was a tough guy, wasn’t he ? He wasn’t the typical Ufo Nut, neither Carter, nor Edgar Mitchell, nor Gordon Cooper…. but, then again, if you take some time to read all the files I sent to you in the above link, you will see many documents showing that the agency – FBI – was full of Ufo Nuts. I didn’t know you had a Ufo Nut President and some astronauts… About your comments, supposedly explaining Nasa’s footage as I asked you, I will answer tomorrow. You said: explanation given. Let’s see. Tomorrow I’ll read it carefully.
    Best Regards from Brasília, Brasil

  187. tony ostinato

    kudis to 141. Fr33d0mhawk

    as i posted im in the same boat. i know what i saw and all the explanations suck, really just plain suck.

    but , for now, alien spaceships suck too.

    even with all these highers ups joining in, how do we know they arent just selling books?

    but i would ask all who calls us nuts one thing, if the day ever comes where any of these things are proven true please don’t begrudge us a little bit of “i told you so” , no amount of that will make up for how lonely it is to be stuck with this having seen what can’t be explained feeling.

    please just give us a simple “wow, you were right”.

  188. @ Tony:

    but i would ask all who calls us nuts one thing, if the day ever comes where any of these things are proven true please don’t begrudge us a little bit of “i told you so”

    I will gladly do so, and I will personally stoop down so you can climb on my back to reach the first step of that spacecraft. I draw the line, however, at anal probing.

    In the meantime, keep looking for explanations of what you saw, but proceed rationally. Learn all there is to know about the place you saw what you saw. Learn about weather phenomenon. Learn about the sky. Learn about birds and their habits. Learn about aircraft, civilian and military. Learn about birthday parties and the mylar balloons associated with them. Learn about people who like to fool other people, either because they get a kick out of it or they make money at it.

    In short, keep learning…about reality, not someone else’s fantasy.

    @ shalom:

    I see I have done something good for you. It’s pretty easier to live in certainty but I love doubts, you know ?

    You have done nothing for me, Shalom, except given me an opportunity to practice my typing skills. You post links to silly videos. You try to make your case by saying “J. Edgar Hoover believed!” (He liked to wear dresses, too. So what?) Or “Jimmy Carter believed!” (He whacked a helpless rabbit in a swamp, too, thinking it was attacking him. True story. So what?)

    And all the while you try to hide your lack of real evidence behind the standard “they don’t want you to know” conspiracy crap.

    Phooey. It’s boring. I’m bored. Quit boring me.

  189. Messier Tidy Upper

    @191. tony ostinato Says: please just give us a simple “wow, you were right”.

    I’d love to – but first you have to actually be right and provide some convincing &, yes, extraordinary evidence showing that. ;-)

    First contact with sentient aliens would be one of – if not *the* – greatest event in Human history. I think there are extraterrestrial intelligences out there and this will happen at some stage in our species future. I hope this happens in my lifetime and find the thought fascinating and appealing. I look forward to it immensely – providing it doesn’t come via a hostile invasion! ;-)

    However, I really don’t think First Contact will take the form of the anal probing of some redneck or the uncovering of some 1950′s conspiracy to hide flying saucer wreckage at Area 51. I don’t think intelligent aliens would behave as the Flying Saucer brigade suggest because its just not … well, intelligent! :roll:

    Nor is the evidence for flying saucers sugggested so far anything that can’t be better interpreted differently in a way that makes more rational sense. Fuzzy lights in the sky, anecdotal tales, ice crystals coming off the shuttle, personal accounts of what are almost certainly sleeping disorders; these just don’t cut the mustard.

    It’d be great if I was wrong about this and some conclusive proof turns up. But I very much doubt it will.

  190. Nigel Depledge

    Shalom Einstoss (185) said:

    But there remains the 5 percent of phenomena like those told by Mr. Gordon Cooper and the document produced by the FBI, between others.

    OK, first, I will assume, for the sake of argument, that the figure of 5 % is correct.

    So, 5 % of reported sightings could not be identified, even after the fact when the accounts are examined by experts (experts at what? I find myself wondering).

    Guess what this means to me?

    That there is still nothing that needs to be investigated. Since there was no recording of the UFOs in these cases, all there is to go on is anecdotes, complete with all of their human fallibilities. All we can conclude from the existence of these 5 % of cases is something we already knew – humans are lousy observers of unknown phenomena.

    Key features of modern science are reproducibility and repeatability and recording of what occurred. Sciences in which experimentation is problematic (such as astronomy) rely on (1) observations being repeatable and (2) transient events being recorded in as much detail as can be achieved, so that the recorded data may be analysed by different groups independently.

    So, based on current evidence, there is no reason to assume that UFOs are a phenomenon worthy of further investigation.

  191. Rich H

    I completely agree with you Phil; astronomers rarely do report UFOs. Do you wonder why that is?

  192. Bernie

    I don’t particularly care whether the so-called skeptics “believe” or not. Reason number one is that even if they themselves saw a ufo they would refuse to believe it and would come up with some explanation as to why what they were seeing wasn’t really a ufo.

    Reason number 2 is their refusal to give credence to any of the hundreds of thousands of sightings. Apparently, to the pseudo- skeptic, every single one of those hundreds of thousands of people were wrong. Every single one. That’s amazing.

    There are no mysteries to the pseudo-skeptic. If it can’t be 100% proven it doesn’t exist. They speak of the mindset of the “true believer,” but they are the other side of the coin.

    They are true non-believers, unwilling to entertain anything that disagrees with their mindset. As true believers will come with a myriad of reasons why a craft they see is ET, pseudo-skeptics will come up with just as many reasons why it isn’t, whether those reasons are legitimate or not.

    I remember a skeptic being asked what he would think if he saw a ufo. He responded that he would say he was misidentifying or hallucinating. I wish I could remember who it was. If anyone knows who I’m talking about I’d like to know.

  193. @ Bernie:

    Your reasoning is typical mush.

    Reason number one is that even if they themselves saw a ufo they would refuse to believe it and would come up with some explanation as to why what they were seeing wasn’t really a ufo.

    Rubbish. Several of us regular commenters have in fact seen things that were temporarily UFOs. The difference between us and the UFO = alien spaceship crowd is that we did not immediately jump to the conclusion that we were seeing a spaceship. Instead, we took that “unidentified” as a challenge and then reasoned our way to a solution, one that involved a careful consideration of the evidence.

    The fact that you, apparently, also equate “UFO” with “spaceship” probably means you have already made up your mind, and thus the analysis part is moot.

    Apparently, to the pseudo- skeptic, every single one of those hundreds of thousands of people were wrong. Every single one. That’s amazing

    Again, you are basing this statement on the assumption that UFOs=spaceships is a given. Skeptics do not dismiss anecdotal evidence out of hand, what they do is give it the relatively low weight it deserves. Study up on the subject. People are extremely unreliable witnesses, quite easily fooled. To equate an eyewitness testimony, no matter how sincere, with physical evidence is foolish.

    There are no mysteries to the pseudo-skeptic

    Utter bilge. Look at the BadAstronomer’s astronomy posts! Practically every one of them describes a scientific mystery of one sort or another. But our mysteries can be solved with reasoning, evidence, testing, re-testing. Yours are of the “some things mankind was not meant to know” silliness.

    They are true non-believers, unwilling to entertain anything that disagrees with their mindset.

    For some people, that is most likely true, but then you will find such people in any category of human endeavor. They certainly are not a strong presence around this blog, as you’d know if you read it with any regularity.

    I remember a skeptic being asked what he would think if he saw a ufo. He responded that he would say he was misidentifying or hallucinating.

    Again, your phrasing identifies you as someone who already identifies UFO with “alien spaceship.” Thus, it is YOU who are the “true believer,” willing to jump to a conclusion, the facts be damned.

    Typical, boring, unimaginative, UFO nut.

  194. Shalom Einstoss

    kuhnigget,
    If we were(trying) to debate something seriously we should be intelectually honest, and when I asked you to comment the vid number 3 i sent to the list, it was not just because of the images. I hope you didn’t hear or don’t want to hear what commander Brent Jett told mission control: …THE BEST WAY I CAN DESCRIBE IT IS THAT THERE IS SOME KIND OF QUAD, OR A METALIC LOOKING TYPE OF REFLECTIVE QUAD, A STRUCTURE THAT DEFINETELY … DEFINETLY DOESN’T LOOK LIKE ANYTHING I’VE EVER SEEN OUTSIDE THE SHUTTLE AND THAT IS FOR SURE !”
    You clearly avoided to discuss the audio ! You have no answer for the dialogue between the shuttle and mission control, AND THATS FOR SURE!
    Vid number 4: you said it was ‘debris”. First of all, show me the official statement as I showed you. Prove it. Second: ‘debris’ from WHERE ? From debunker’s minds ?
    YOU DIDN’T COMMENT NOTHING AT ALL ABOUT VIDEOS NUMBER ONE AND TWO ? WHY? NOT EVEN A GUESS ? TRY! PUT YOU DEBUNKER CREATIVITY TO WORK ! YOU GET NO ANSWERS ! THAT IS WHY !!! NO ANSWER Kunigget. U simply don’t know what to do about it. YOU FORGET HUM ??? OR ARE YOU SO AFFRAID.
    COME ON. ADMIT THEY WERE UNIDENTIFIED OBJECTS IN SPACE, VIDEO TAPED BY NASA, WHO DON’T SAY NOTHING ABOUT IT BECAUSE THEY DON’T KNOW OR DON’T WANT US TO KNOW.
    And thats all. But as Mr. Robert Bigelow goes to space, he won’t keep the silence.

  195. @ shalom:

    You clearly avoided to discuss the audio ! You have no answer for the dialogue between the shuttle and mission control, AND THATS FOR SURE!

    Wrong, Shalom. See my earlier post regarding what the astronauts say vs. what the engineers on the ground say after they’ve studied the video and imagery. You are comparing the initial description (which is not so sensational if you take out those exclamation points you added, and don’t type in all-caps) with the final analysis, summed up quite succinctly by flight director Paul Dye.

    Nice try. I can’t help but notice you offer no new evidence, merely the same tired YouTube video. Good work!

    Vid number 4: you said it was ‘debris”. First of all, show me the official statement as I showed you. Prove it. Second: ‘debris’ from WHERE ? From debunker’s minds ?

    Okay, now you’ve show yourself to be just plain stupid.

    Again…AGAIN…listen to flight director Paul Dye. He says quite clearly that is what this is, and explains that it is a very common occurrence.

    I did comment on video number two, in my very first response to you. Nice try.

    As for video #1, well…there is no UFO there, so what’s to comment on? Or perhaps you’re mistaking the out of focus reflection of the astronaut’s camera on the glass of the shuttle’s flight deck window as a UFO? Sorry, but nobody on board the shuttle or at NASA made that same mistake.

    You see, Shalom, once again you provide nothing new. You reference the same damn youtube videos, only now you type in capital letters and add exclamation points. Really? That’s your idea of “debate” and scientific inquiry? How long have you been reading this blog, Shalom? Have you learned anything about the scientific method? Honestly.

    Borrrrrrrrinnnnnnnngggggggg!

  196. Bernie

    >>>Again, your phrasing identifies you as someone who already identifies UFO with “alien spaceship.” Thus, it is YOU who is the “true believer,” willing to jump to a conclusion, the facts be damned.

    Your post just proves my point You want to believe that’s what I believe. I have no clue what ufos are and don’t claim to. I just know that there are sightings of ‘crafts” that can’t be explained away. Not simply lights in the sky, but physical crafts. You want to say that because of that I automatically see ET, then go right ahead.

    >>>>The difference between us and the UFO = alien spaceship crowd is that we did not immediately jump to the conclusion that we were seeing a spaceship. Instead, we took that “unidentified” as a challenge and then reasoned our way to a solution, one that involved a careful consideration of the evidence.

    Now, that’s rich. You tell yourselves that, but it’s no more true than the man in the moon. Let me re-write that for you. “…we immediately jump to the conclusion that what we are seeing is NOT a spaceship.”

    And you trot out the pseudo skeptic line about witness reliability. While that is true, in general, do you really mean to say that ALL witness accounts are unreliable? If you really feel that it is that unreliable, then nothing anyone ever sees can be trusted. Now we know that’s not true but you use that as a way to debunk all sightings. So if we extrapolate that using your reasoning, nothing anyone ever sees can be trusted.

    I look at it this way. there are too many reliable reports to dismiss the phenomenon out of hand. I’ve never seen one, but I have no reason to doubt people like trained pilots both and military and commercial. Skeptics say they are no more reliable than the average Joe. Well, you think that the next time you get on a plane. I’m sure will give you a sense of comfort to know that your pilot can’t tell the difference between Venus and a solid, physical craft.

    Your description of me at the end of your post speaks volumes. You are not a skeptic. And what if I automatically did think that ufos were alien spaceships? Is it any different than you automatically thinking they’re not? Oh, what’s that? I have no evidence? Well, my friend, you have no evidence that they’re not. And as long as we’re on this line of thinking, what is wrong with thinking extraterrestrial as one of the explanations? Or inter-dimensional for that matter? It all has to do with your worldview and belief system. Some people are willing to entertain such ideas without accepting them. Others, like you, aren’t.

    I think you are the unimaginative one.

  197. I have no clue what ufos are and don’t claim to. I just know that there are sightings of ‘crafts” that can’t be explained away. Not simply lights in the sky, but physical crafts.

    You don’t claim to know what they are, but you “just know” they are ‘crafts.” Get a dictionary. Look up the word, “contradiction.” Apply to self.

    Let me re-write that for you. “…we immediately jump to the conclusion that what we are seeing is NOT a spaceship.”

    Kindly refrain from rewriting my comments. You are mistaking the conclusion for the path that gets you there. No one here has ever immediately jumped to the conclusion that ufos are not spaceships. What they do, over and over again, is weigh the evidence, and see what the most likely conclusion is. Spaceship has never been the most likely conclusion.

    While that is true, in general, do you really mean to say that ALL witness accounts are unreliable?

    They are only unreliable if that is all the evidence you have and their observation contradicts other well-supported theories. Simple as that.

    I look at it this way. there are too many reliable reports to dismiss the phenomenon out of hand.

    Again…AGAIN…you are confusing the phenomenon with your interpretation of the phenomenon. There is no doubt people see unidentified (to them) objects in the sky…and in their back yards, and their swimming pools. This is an established fact. What is NOT established, is that any of these occurrences are visits by alien spaceships. I think the psychology behind this, just like the psychology behind people seeing the Loch Ness monster and chupacabras and bigfoot, et al, is fascinating. Much more fascinating than the fantasy explanations that surround these phenomena.

    I’m sure will give you a sense of comfort to know that your pilot can’t tell the difference between Venus and a solid, physical craft.

    Actually, it wouldn’t bother me at all, given that I know the planet Venus is millions of miles away and cannot harm me in any way. The pilot can mistake it for a flying marshmallow, for all I care.

    You are not a skeptic. And what if I automatically did think that ufos were alien spaceships? Is it any different than you automatically thinking they’re not?

    In the first place, I don’t know what it means to be a “skeptic.” That sounds like some sort of club you have to pay dues to enter. I consider myself rational. I believe in rational thought and reason, and I don’t like stupidity. For the reasons, see earlier posts.

    And once again, you make the mistake that I automatically think UFOs are not spaceships. I do nothing of the kind. I look at the evidence, or lack thereof as the case usually is, and conclude that that is one of the least likely explanations anyone could come up with. That is, and probably will always be, the biggest difference between me and UFO nuts. I have no preconceived notions about the issue. But I do come to conclusions, which are supported by sound reasoning. The fact those conclusions piss off the nuts isn’t my concern.

    Well, my friend, you have no evidence that they’re not.

    It is not my job to provide evidence that they are not. It is your job to provide evidence they ARE.

    As to my imagination, I’m sorry, but you’ve failed again. I have no difficulty imagining all sorts of things. Where I differ from you, however, is that I don’t confuse my imagination with testable, verifiable reality.

    Enjoy your fantasies.

  198. Shalom Einstoss

    kuhnigget
    Do they pay well in your federal agencie ? I hope so… that’s why you use a puppet name… your very existance prove that there is much more than we know…. And still, not even a letter about vid number 2…oh, you forget, event in the face of my call… you are a funny guy ! Never mind. I hope also that the secrecy is for a good and justifiable reason, one wich I would agree. You know, in general, I like your country very much and would think so…
    but the day will come and everybody will know…

  199. Paranoia will destroy ya…

    Shalom, I realize English is not your first language, but are you really that dumb? Please see post #180.

    but the day will come and everybody will know…

    You sound like a preacher, and I guess the mindset is much the same: faith trumps lack of evidence.

    As for my nom de blog, all you need to do is click on it and you’ll find out exactly who I am. No secrets.

  200. Nigel Depledge

    Conan the Barbarian (188) said:

    +Some of them really may have seen a UFO but will not admit it publicly. The reason is the professional fear of ridicule, of not knowing about something the astronomer observer should know.

    Nonsense.

    If an astronomer sees something that (s)he cannot identify, (s)he will conclude either “I didn’t get a good enough look at it, so it could be anything” or “That was weird, I’ll try to work out what it was” and then go on to enumerate some possibilities. Failure to identify something does not preclude coming up with a shortlist of possibilities. And then a typical astronomer will think no more of it, because it’s no big deal.

    It certainly isn’t evidence of some new phenomenon or alien spaceships.

    +Some astronomers indeed have seen UFOs, one example is Clyde Tombaugh, who saw UFOs, on three occasions.

    So what?

    +If UFO’s are intelligently controlled vehicles, they may be willing to avoid contact with beings called astronomers. The rule for extraterrestrials could be “Strictly avoid contact with people who are smart enough to collect hard evidence on us”. (Clearly, this one has an overestimation of astronomers’ intelligence).

    Clearly you overestimate the ability of the putative alien visitors to identify a person’s profession from a distant vantage point without being visible to that person! This idea is wholly implausible.

    +Many UFOs DO NOT show up in the starry sky (as the “appalling astronomer” loves to believe). Some UFOs have been reported touching the ground, passing across trees, burning plants and people, getting out of water and lakes, etc. UFO’s are basically atmospheric phenomena, NOT astronomic.

    Yes, you’re quite right. All astronomers are blind from the horizon downwards. It’s all those years of squinting through telescope eyepieces – anything that other people see against a background of trees or hills is completely invisible to astronomers. [/sarcasm]

    This idea is also implausible.

    Additionally, you are lending far more credence to unreliable stories than can be justified in any way at all.

    +Better atmosphere observers than astronomers could be the truck drivers, airplane pilots, astronauts, air controllers, etc.

    Truck drivers would (I sincerely hope) spend more time looking at the road ahead than at the night sky. There is (a) no reason to suspect that they are more likely to see a specific phenomenon than an astronomer and (b) no reason to suspect that they are more able than your typical astronomer to identify those objects that are most commonly reported as UFOs (Venus, birds illuminated by streetlights, noctilucent clouds etc. etc.).

    Airplane pilots flying at night tend to concentrate on their instruments except when getting close to an airfield (obviously they do also look out of the windows, but their attention is on other aircraft and the weather – they have been known to misidentify Venus – so there is no justification for calling them better observers than astronomers).

    And so on…

    None of your examples are people who spend a large proportion of their working time looking at the night sky.

    +Astronomers who have vast physics knowledge do not have much training in watching the sky, and, astronomers who have much training watching the stars, do not have vast physics knowledge, so generally speaking, astronomers are not 100% trustable in this topic.

    This is just rubbish.

    Astrophysicists may occasionally observe the sky (or may, indeed, be amateur astronomers on a regular basis). All professional astronomers will have at least a degree-level understanding of physics. Most amateur astronomers will also have at least a good high-school-level understanding of physics. What astronomers get is experience of looking at the sky. They also know how to look stuff up. They learn about phenomena in the night sky by seeing them – and if they see something they cannot immediately identify, most of them know it is likely to be something mundane. Even when they see something that displays weitd behaviour, they will wait and see if they can observe it again, rather than go rushing to the tabloids with tales of alien visitors.

    Phil’s main point still stands.

    Since astronomers (both amateur and professional) spend a lot of their time looking at the night sky, we would expect them to see more UFOs than people in other lines of work (or with other hobbies). This prediction is not born out by the facts. Therefore, at least the vast majority (if not all) of UFO sightings are mundane objects or phenomena that have been either misidentified or mis-described.

  201. Nigel Depledge

    Bernie (197) said:

    I don’t particularly care whether the so-called skeptics “believe” or not. Reason number one is that even if they themselves saw a ufo they would refuse to believe it and would come up with some explanation as to why what they were seeing wasn’t really a ufo.

    You are ignoring here the definition of UFO – Unidentified flying object.

    Sceptics see UFOs from time to time – i.e. things in the sky that they cannot identify. The difference between a sceptic and a UFO nut (such as, apparently, yourself) is that a sceptic will shrug and go “no big deal – I could not work out what that thing I saw was” whereas a UFO nut will take it as evidence of alien spaceships.

    In the scpetic’s case, the thing remains unidentified but the sceptic knows that this doesn’t mean anything. The UFO nut, instead, invents “meaning” where there really is none.

    Most sceptics will be quite happy to accept the existence of alien visitations after we have real evidence. Random eyewitness accounts are real evidence only of the fallability of human observation.

    Reason number 2 is their refusal to give credence to any of the hundreds of thousands of sightings. Apparently, to the pseudo- skeptic, every single one of those hundreds of thousands of people were wrong. Every single one. That’s amazing.

    This is a strawman.

    First, you inflate the number to make it sound impressive. The number of reported “sightings” that have not been identified as something known or mundane is really much smaller (maybe in the hundreds at most).

    Second, most sceptics know better than to claim someone is wrong on the basis of little or no evidence. What we do know, however, is that (a) human observation is appallingly fallible, especially when dealing with an unfamiliar sight; and (b) the concept of alien visitation as an “explanation” for the sightings is implausible. There are so many more possibilities that are known. Failing that, there is always the possibility of unknown but terrestrial phenomena (go and look up “Sprites” on Wikipedia).

    There are no mysteries to the pseudo-skeptic.

    Rubbish. A sceptic is quite happy with the conclusion “we don’t know what that person saw, and we may never know.” You, OTOH, seem to conflate a failure to identify an object with evidence that the object is something new to science.

    If it can’t be 100% proven it doesn’t exist.

    Nonsense. Nothing is 100% proven in an empirical sense anyway. For example, I cannot “prove” that the sun will rise tomorrow morning, but I’d bet that it will. The evidence for alien spaceships currently stands at 0.

    The fact that people see stuff in the sky from time to time that they cannot identify has precisely no meaning at all.

    They speak of the mindset of the “true believer,” but they are the other side of the coin.

    Projection much?

    They are true non-believers, unwilling to entertain anything that disagrees with their mindset.

    Actually, I think you’ll find that most of the regular commenters here would be delighted if we discovered evidence of alien civilisations (extant or extinct). I certainly would. However, until we have real evidence that such things exist, it is illogical to assume that they must exist in such a way that they are clandestinely visiting us.

    As true believers will come with a myriad of reasons why a craft they see is ET, pseudo-skeptics will come up with just as many reasons why it isn’t, whether those reasons are legitimate or not.

    This is indeed the opposite of scepticism. It is, sadly, another strawman.

    Sceptics don’t say “ETI doesn’t exist”. They say “There is no evidence for ET spaceships visiting Earth. Therefore, it is irrational to conclude that a person’s failure to identify something in the night sky constitutes evidence for alien visitation.”

    I remember a skeptic being asked what he would think if he saw a ufo. He responded that he would say he was misidentifying or hallucinating. I wish I could remember who it was. If anyone knows who I’m talking about I’d like to know.

    Yes. Think about what the U in UFO stands for.

    If I cannot identify an object in the night sky, I will tend to assume it’s a plane or a satellite or a bird or some other such mundane phenomenon. Why? Because we know that these things exist, and that they can occasionally be seen in the night sky. So, yes, I would indeed assume I had mis-identified something mundane.

  202. Nigel Depledge

    Bernie (201) said (in response to kuhnigget):

    Your post just proves my point You want to believe that’s what I believe. I have no clue what ufos are and don’t claim to.

    Really?

    ‘Cos your previous post sure seemed set on the UFO = alien spaceship fallacy.

    I just know that there are sightings of ‘crafts” that can’t be explained away. Not simply lights in the sky, but physical crafts.

    Actually, you do not know that any reported sightings are of “crafts”. People have reported a UFO, only to find out that it was the planet Venus. People have reported noctilucent clouds as UFOs. People have reported birds reflecting streetlighting as UFOs. None of these is a physical “craft”, although they are physical – and known – phenomena.

    Where the eye perceives two or three or four lights in a dark sky, our brains are quite able to fool us into perceiving something connecting those lights, whether there is really anything there or not.

    The human brain is primed to see patterns, even where there are none. This includes when seeing things in the sky.

    You want to say that because of that I automatically see ET, then go right ahead.

    Actually, you have just proven kuhnigget’s point yourself. On precisely zero evidence, you conclude that the reported phenomena are “crafts” (your word). Based on the meaning of that word, you indeed mean made (as opposed to naturally-occurring) objects. Therefore, unless you subscribe to the idea that ALL reported sightings are secret military aircraft, you are indeed equating UFOs with alien spaceships.

    Just because you claim not to know doesn’t mean you don’t have a belief about what the objects are. Your belief in “UFOs = alien spaceships” show up in your use of the word “crafts”.

  203. Sam

    Ok, let’s try a slightly different angle on this debate…

    I think the smart folks at the Brookings Institute nailed this one 50 years ago. Phil Plait and his sheep and the many other devout debunkers in the mainstream scientific community (e.g., James Oberg, Seth Shostak) merely exemplify the problem predicted by the Brookings Institute in its 1961 report, “Proposed Studies on the Implications of Peaceful Space Activities for Human Affairs,” which was commissioned by NASA and subsequently submitted to the U.S. House of Reps, Committee on Science and Astronautics, and entered into the Congressional Record (87th Congr., 4/18/61). The purpose of the report was to assist the govt in identifying and preparing for the myriad issues that space exploration could raise. One section in the report addressed the implications of potentially discovering extraterrestrial life.

    Brookings presciently advised NASA that, “…of all groups, scientists and engineers might be the most devastated by the discovery of relatively superior creatures, since these professions are most clearly associated with the mastery of nature… Advanced understanding of nature might vitiate all our theories at the very least, if not also require a culture and perhaps a brain inaccessible to earth scientists.” (p. 225, n.34)

    Seems to me, that’s exactly what we see playing out in the sad “debate” here and in similar forums where scientists are fighting tooth and nail to deny any credibility whatsoever to the ET hypothesis, even though there is no solid reason to rule it out and (in the 5% of serious cases like those featured in Kean’s book) every conventional explanation HAS BEEN methodically and conclusively ruled out. So here we are, with a mounting body of credible evidence that strongly suggests (while, I agree, not proving) that intelligent ETs may exist and be visiting, and yet the mainstream scientific community reacts with irrational mockery and dismissiveness instead of the open-minded intellectual curiosity and ambitious search for answers one would normally expect from this community.

    So, my fellow rationalists, I beseech you: Please reconsider whether you might possibly — just possibly — be on the wrong side of this debate.

  204. Sam

    And btw, @ Nigel (207) — You have GOT to stop conflating (a) belief that the existence of sightings of unexplained physical craft has been proven (which it has, as Kean documents) with (b) belief that the ET hypothesis has been proven (it has not, as Kean concedes). If you actually are a scientist, or are scientifically inclined, you must realize the importance of being precise and should recognize that such nuanced distinctions as this one are often pivotal in untangling logic puzzles and other mysteries.

    YOU are the one saying that the validity of sightings of advanced, unidentifiable “craft” = belief in ETs. In fact, this misconception appears to be at the center of your frantic attempts to shut down discussion of UFOs — you just can’t handle the implications of the UFO phenomenon (by which I mean credible sightings of what appear to be — after the process of elimination has ruled out every conventional explanation — advanced craft). The seriousness of the ET hypothesis is an implication of the UFO phenomenon; it is not the phenomenon itself. Why don’t you try focusing on the discussion of how best to handle the UFO phenomenon instead of skipping ahead to its implications — I think you’re kind of freaking yourself out (not to mention conflating two distinct logical inquiries).

    So, Nigel Depledge, what is your position on inquiry “a”? Does the evidence suggest that a small % of UFO cases (e.g., the ones featured in Kean’s book) must be attributable to intelligently created physical “craft”? If you say No, please provide a plausible alternative explanation to a few of these cases (or even just ONE!) where there were multiple credible witnesses and corroborating physical evidence such as radar reports.

    If you can provide a plausible argument that there are no UFO cases where the evidence suggests the existence of highly advanced physical craft, then you have some justification in refusing to explain why the ET hypothesis need not be seriously considered. However, if you can’t make a dent in the body of truly unexplained UFO cases which, according to Kean and her witnesses, prove that such craft exist (in other words, if you can’t win issue “a”), then it’s incumbent on you to address issue “b” and explain why the ET hypothesis should be ruled out.

    So, instead of relying on red herring arguments and ad hominem attacks, how about you try explaining yourself methodically and logically like I’m suggesting?

  205. Sam

    @ Nigel (207) — one more thing, regarding the last sentence of your post to Bernie (207)…

    There’s a distinction between “believing” something and “knowing” it (i.e., believing that it has been proven to be true). You don’t seem to have any concept of this distinction.

    Bernie, like me, may believe that the UFO phenomenon has been proven to include some cases of highly advanced physical craft (yes, craft that are “made”) — or, put differently, we “know” that the UFO phenomenon is (for lack of a better word) “real.” But he may also (again, like me, like Leslie Kean and her witnesses) concede that the ET hypothesis has not been proven and that other possibilities (ones that seem equally far-fetched if not more so) remain — in other words, we do not “know” what these craft are. We BELIEVE that the most likely explanation is the ET hypothesis, but we concede we do not know and it could still be other things, like time travellers or an astonishingly improbable human conspiracy.

    This distinction may be subtle, but rational debate is built on respect for such nuanced positions. I don’t see what points you think you’re scoring by fighting over whether this distinction makes a difference. It does make a difference because it isolates one issue at a time and allows for methodical analysis. In conflating the issues, all you’re really doing is showing your own cards:

    First, you’re revealing your own fuzzy and unorganized logic, where the end (“Of course ETs aren’t visiting, you weirdo!”) is used to justify the means (“UFO analyses MUST be flawed”).

    Second, you’re showing that what you really want to do (and all you’re really prepared to do) is skip right to the name calling, where you mock your opponent with emotionally charged sound bytes about “little green men,” distracting from the real issue and allowing you to avoid having to do the intellectual heavy lifting necessary when arguing with someone whose views are well informed and thoroughly logical.

  206. Shalom Einstoss

    After many unknow ‘objects’, or ‘debris’, as Nasa call them, were seen by the crew of STS-115 Shuttle’s mission, they got to explain in some way the ocurrencies.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRz8-jnjcxM&feature=related
    4:35 When the guy in the left were asked about how many objects the NORAD was currently tracking he turned his right while he was laughing about it !
    4:52 The guy in the center said that Nasa could not estimate the distance and the size of the object. Comme on ! Tell me another lie !! Could be this, could be that… than he says the word ‘object’ and everybody laughs…
    Everyone that sees the vid knows that they are hidding something. It is pretty obvious. Take a look….

  207. Shalom, you’re just being retarded for the sake of being retarded.

    4:35 When the guy in the left were asked about how many objects the NORAD was currently tracking he turned his right while he was laughing about it !

    As well he should, Shalom. A 2009 study estimates there are over 19,000 small objects in low earth orbit. Are you suggesting NASA employees can’t have a sense of humor? Does your cult of alien spaceships forbid that?

    The “guy” in the center, entry flight director Steve Stich, says they can’t say specifically how large the object was. He also can’t confirm that it was a piece of equipment that had been noted during the inspection as missing from the payload bay. (The “stent” you hear the reporter ask about.) Like any good scientist, he does not immediately jump to a conclusion. However, since you watched the previous video you linked to so closely, I’m sure you heard the astronauts who were conducting the inspection note that their camera was focused at 1oo feet when they were tracking the debris. An object that small on the image at 100 feet would be a few inches across at most. Is it 5 inches? Or three inches? The flight director cannot say precisely. Does that mean it’s a spaceship? No, Shalom, it does not.

    BTW, your excited transcription in all-caps up there made a serious error. Again, I know English is your second language, but the astronaut did not say “quad”, but “wad”, as in, a wadded up piece of fabric or insulation, the sort of thing that flight director Paul Dye confirms the astronauts see all the time. Once again, Shalom, you are ignoring the obvious in your rush to find support for your preconceived notion.

    The only people who “know” these people are hiding something are the people like you who so desperately need them to be hiding something.

    Again, enjoy your fantasies.

  208. Mark Hansen

    Sam, you don’t like name callers but can handle calling anyone that agrees with Phil Plait sheep. Hypocrisy much?

    Shalom, the only obvious thing is that you want to see/hear something that isn’t there.
    I used your link and there was no laughing at any mention of object until Steve gave the question over to Paul instead of answering it himself. They were laughing at the handover, not “object”.
    Paul turned to his right because he says “Thanks Steve, you’re the ex-fido”. Why don’t you look up what an ex-fido is? Tell you what; I’ll save you the trouble. He is, or was, a Flight Dynamics Officer.
    I’ll preempt the next obvious question. “Why doesn’t he know how many objects”? Maybe because they were talking about the shuttle flight and he didn’t expect to have to know exactly how many objects NORAD is tracking. Which changes over time as some re-enter the atmosphere and others are added by booster debris, amongst other items.

    Shalom, you see and hear things that aren’t there. Either you’re clutching at straws or you need your hearing and vision checking. kuhnigget is right; enjoy your fantasies because it’s clear that you only hear and see what you want to.

  209. Sam

    @kuhnigget – please read my comments to Nigel. In reading your posts I now see that you’re just as arrogant, logic-challenged and, ultimately, delusional as he is. The Brooking Institute had your number back in 1961.

  210. @ Sam (written before you’re delightful screed above, but nonetheless…)

    Brookings presciently advised NASA that, “…of all groups, scientists and engineers might be the most devastated by the discovery of relatively superior creatures, since these professions are most clearly associated with the mastery of nature… Advanced understanding of nature might vitiate all our theories at the very least, if not also require a culture and perhaps a brain inaccessible to earth scientists.”

    I think the past 49 years have not been kind to this conclusion from the Brookings Institute. Here’s why: Compare pretty much ANY other revolutionary technology discovered/developed in the modern era. Unless you can name an exception, I believe every major discovery has led to an explosion of excited research and — here’s the kicker — product development in the field in question. From heavy industrial techniques, to synthetic materials, to what is perhaps the best example of all, the boom following the development of integrated circuits, initial discoveries have led to waves of excited research, entire new departments in universities and private R&D labs, and whole new industries that made people, including scientists, tons of money and gave them opportunities they never would have had.

    Simply put, the report’s conclusion seems to be disregarding this history, and instead is based on a very questionable assumption that I can’t see a great deal of support for. If extra terrestrial knowledge — technology or “pure” science — were suddenly made available, scientists would be clamoring at the gates to give their squinties a peek at it.


    You have GOT to stop conflating (a) belief that the existence of sightings of unexplained physical craft has been proven (which it has, as Kean documents)…

    I watched an interview with Kean this afternoon. She did not seem to claim that this has been “proven” at all. I haven’t read her book, but plan to, but based on what she says in her interviews it seems all she is saying is that something is there to look at.

    Although, the fact that she considers former Arizona governor Fife Symington as an expert witness casts a bit of a shadow on her “journalism.” Like our friend Shalom, Mr. Symington has agendas of his own, including the strong desire to re-establish a career for himself, after his political position was seriously damaged by his “alien” press conference following the so-called Phoenix Lights incident.

    This is the sort of real-world consideration I see so often missing from UFO studies. It seems UFO=spaceship fans have no problem considering the most fantastic scenarios when they concern extraterrestrials, but completely ignore the very mundane possibilities presented by human nature, including, in Mr. Symington’s case, the desire to cash in on a decade-old event by rewriting his own behavior while in the midst of it. Every politician does this. It’s what they do. The fact that this doesn’t seem to enter into Ms. Kean’s investigation raises some serious questions.

    Or, perhaps it does enter her investigation. I will reserve final comment until I’ve read her book.

  211. Sam

    @kuhnigget (215) – re Brookings… The last 49 yrs haven’t changed a thing re this point. The developments you’re referring to were not paradigm-shattering, nor did they involve the discovery of other life forms whose knowledge makes us look ignorant on fundamental scientific principles with far-reaching implications (which would be most disturbing for scientists, as the ones whose identities are proudly tied to the advancement of human knowledge — an endeavor the status of which might suddenly, in this hypothetical scenario, feel relatively small & disappointing). As with virtually everything else you devout debunkers post, you’re pushing a red herring here that has little if any meaningful relationship to the actual issue (which is, in this case: Is it reasonable to predict that most classically trained scientists would be unduly (read: inappropriately or counter-productively) skeptical when confronted with evidence suggestive of superior, non-human intelligence acting within (and yet, figuratively, also above) our world? Nothing you’ve written on this point suggests Brookings was wrong.

  212. @ Sam:

    We will disagree on this:


    The developments you’re referring to were not paradigm-shattering

    They were absolutely paradigm shattering. Our world is not the same as the pre-digital age, taking just one example. Much of the scientific work that goes on now was inconceivable only a few decades ago. Entire fields of study have opened up that were not even suspected. In science, discovery leads to further discovery, regardless of the source.


    nor did they involve the discovery of other life forms whose knowledge makes us look ignorant on fundamental scientific principles with far-reaching implications

    Ignoring the unsupported assumptions that other life forms would automatically “make us look ignorant”, once again I don’t see this as anything but speculation on your part. The very fact that we’ve never discovered life forms as, or more intelligent than us means we have no data on which to base a conclusion. We can speculate all we want about how people, including scientists, might react, but we cannot conclude with your degree of certainty how they will react. Speculation is just that.


    which would be most disturbing for scientists, as the ones whose identities are proudly tied to the advancement of human knowledge — an endeavor the status of which might suddenly, in this hypothetical scenario, feel relatively small & disappointing)

    Again, Sam, you are making assumptions for which you have no data to back them up. “Mights” and “hypotheticals” don’t add up to conclusive evidence of fact.


    As with virtually everything else you devout debunkers post, you’re pushing a red herring here that has little if any meaningful relationship to the actual issue (which is, in this case: Is it reasonable to predict that most classically trained scientists would be unduly (read: inappropriately or counter-productively) skeptical when confronted with evidence suggestive of superior, non-human intelligence acting within (and yet, figuratively, also above) our world?

    I’m sorry, but I don’t understand what you are trying to argue. What is the “red herring” I am pushing? As to the reasonableness of your prediction, or the prediction of the Brookings Institute, see my statement above. I do not think their conclusion is supported at all, and hence I don’t see it as being the motivational force behind any proposed cover-up or hesitancy on the part of scientists to investigate the possibility that UFOs are some extraordinary phenomenon.

  213. papageno

    Sam (post 208):
    …scientists are fighting tooth and nail to deny any credibility whatsoever to the ET hypothesis, even though there is no solid reason to rule it out…

    And there is no solid reason to rule out Santa Claus, the Flying Spaghetti Monster and Cthulhu hypotheses either. Yet I don’t see UFOlogists propose them as reasonable explanation of UFO sightings.

  214. Shalom Einstoss

    Mark said

    Shalom, you see and hear things that aren’t there.

    Could be, isn’t it ? People use to behave like this. They like to talk and hear and see what they want, but they also like to project their own feellings to the supposed opponent. Human beings behave like this. In Freudian psychology, Psychological projection or projection bias is a psychological defense mechanism where a person unconsciously denies their own attributes, thoughts, and emotions, which are then ascribed to the outside world, such as to the weather, a tool, or to other people. Thus, it involves imagining or projecting that others have those feelings (Wikipedia).
    Ok. So please comment the vid of Mr. Gordon Cooper under the link above. And tell me what do you think. After that, follow the link to the FBI papers and tell me your government is not interested in the matter. Than, find the following text, by the “Ufo Nut” J. Edgar Hoover and comment it: “I would do it [study UFOs], but before agreeing to do it, we must insist upon full access to discs recovered. For instance in the L.A. case, the Army grabbed it and would not let us have it for cursory examination.”
    And, about the STS-115 please comment the commander speech ‘THE BEST WAY I CAN DESCRIBE IT [an unidentified object outside the shuttle] IS THAT THERE IS SOME KIND OF QUAD, OR A METALLIC LOOKING TYPE OF REFLECTIVE QUAD, A STRUCTURE THAT DEFINETELY … DEFINETLY DOESN’T LOOK LIKE ANYTHING I’VE EVER SEEN OUTSIDE THE SHUTTLE AND THAT IS FOR SURE !”
    And please, don’t take advantage of my poor english. It’s a low blow.

  215. Allow me, Mark.

    Shalom:


    Mark said
    Shalom, you see and hear things that aren’t there.
    Could be, isn’t it ? People use to behave like this.

    Yes, and people still DO behave like this. Glad you recognize that.

    Ok. So please comment the vid of Mr. Gordon Cooper under the link above

    Mr. Cooper is entitled to his opinion, as is everyone. He still has to produce EVIDENCE to back it up. Where is that evidence, Shalom?

    With regards to J. Edgar Hoover, the key word missing from your paraphrased quote is “phenomenon.” Again, Shalom, you have to take into account factors that don’t involve ET spacecraft. In the case of the FBI, that factor is communism. The first great wave of flying saucer sightings occurred during, and mostly because of, the Cold War. Communists were everywhere, or so people like J. Edgar Hoover thought. As far as they were concerned, flying saucers were just another commie weapon leveled at God’s own country. The FBI was going to investigate this just as it investigated unions, political activists, the movie industry, pretty much every facet of American life. You must understand that, Shalom, if you are to make sense of Hoover’s, and the FBI’s actions.

    BTW, regarding the final part of that quote, could you please provide more context? I have never seen that before and I suspect it has been added, post facto. So, since you are placing so much weight on it, please provide an original source, preferably not buried in 8 gigabytes of pdf files. Thank you.

    And finally…


    And, about the STS-115 please comment the commander speech ‘THE BEST WAY I CAN DESCRIBE IT [an unidentified object outside the shuttle] IS THAT THERE IS SOME KIND OF QUAD, OR A METALLIC LOOKING TYPE OF REFLECTIVE QUAD, A STRUCTURE THAT DEFINETELY … DEFINETLY DOESN’T LOOK LIKE ANYTHING I’VE EVER SEEN OUTSIDE THE SHUTTLE AND THAT IS FOR SURE !”

    Shalom, Shalom, Shalom. We’ve been over this one before. Twice, now.

    First, let’s remove the capital letters and exclamation points that you added:


    “The best way I can describe it…is that there is some kind of quad, or a metallic looking type of reflective quad, a structure that definitely…definitely doesn’t look like anything I’ve ever seen outside the shuttle and that is for sure.”

    Not quite so thrilling, is it? And now, let’s correct your mistake, noted in my post above:


    “The best way I can describe it…is that there is some kind of WAD, or a metallic looking type of reflective WAD, a structure that definitely…definitely doesn’t look like anything I’ve ever seen outside the shuttle and that is for sure.”

    Wad, not quad. He is referring to a WAD of material, like crumpled fabric or metallic insulation, the sort of fabric that covers the entire interior payload bay of the shuttle.

    Again, Shalom, flight director Paul Dye explained, when a reporter asked about this object, that such things are seen all the time. That is in fact why they perform these inspections, Shalom, because they know that sometimes, the tiniest damage to the shuttle’s protective insulation can have catastrophic consequences.

    Honestly, what part of that can you not understand?

  216. Mark Hansen

    Shalom, I was referring to your hearing and seeing things in the link you posted that aren’t there. In that video, you claimed things that simply weren’t true. And your not understanding English isn’t part of it. You said that they laughed at the mention of object – they did not. You said they laughed at how many objects were being tracked – they did not. That is not an inability to understand English; that is hearing what you want to believe they are saying or laughing at. Look at the video again and see where and what they are laughing at. It’s far different from your interpretation of it. But please feel free to make baseless accusations about what you perceive to be my bias against people whose first language isn’t English. Lawyers love dealing in bul**hit.

    By the way, I’m not from the U.S. so I don’t care what their government does unless it impacts on my life.

  217. Shalom

    kuhnigget

    Mr. Cooper is entitled to his opinion, as is everyone. He still has to produce EVIDENCE to back it up. Where is that evidence, Shalom?

    No, he is not. At least not like me. Perhaps you can answer differently Who knows? He was just a test pilot and an astronaut. He surpassed all kind of possible tests in his psychological and physical abilities. He had a degree in aerospace engineering. Cooper logged more than 7,000 hours of flight time, with 4,000 hours in jet aircraft. He flew all types of commercial and general aviation airplanes and helicopters. Perhaps would help you to understand exactly what I’m talking about:
    Cooper claimed to have seen his first UFO while flying over West Germany in 1951, although he denied reports he had seen a UFO during his Mercury flight.[5] However, these claims are controversial due to a conflict Cooper had with NASA’s management.

    In 1957, when Cooper was 30 and a captain, he was assigned to Fighter Section of the Experimental Flight Test Engineering Division at Edwards Air Force Base in California. He acted as a test pilot and project manager. On May 3 of that year, he had a crew setting up an Askania-cinetheodolite precision landing system on a dry lake bed. This cinetheodolite system would take pictures at one frame per second as an aircraft landed. The crew consisted of James Bittick and Jack Gettys who began work at the site just before 0800, using both still and motion picture cameras. According to his accounts, later that morning they returned to report to Cooper that they saw a “strange-looking saucer” like aircraft that did not make a sound either on landing or take off.

    According to his accounts, Cooper realized that these men, who on a regular basis have seen experimental aircraft flying and landing around them as part of their job of filming those aircraft, were clearly worked up and unnerved. They explained how the saucer hovered over them, landed 50 yards away from them using three extended landing gears and then took off as they approached for a closer look. Being photographers with cameras in hand, they of course shot images with 35mm and 4-by-5 still cameras as well as motion film. There was a special Pentagon number to call to report incidents like this. He called and it immediately went up the chain of command until he was instructed by a general to have the film developed (but to make no prints of it) and send it right away in a locked courier pouch. As he hadn’t been instructed to not look at the negatives before sending them, he did. He said the quality of the photography was excellent as would be expected from the experienced photographers who took them. What he saw was exactly what they had described to him. He did not see the movie film before everything was sent away. He expected that there would be a follow up investigation since an aircraft of unknown origin had landed in a highly classified military installation, but nothing was ever said of the incident again. He was never able to track down what happened to those photos. He assumed that they ended up going to the Air Force’s official UFO investigation, Project Blue Book, which was based at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

    He held claim until his death that the government is indeed covering up information about UFOs. He gives the example of President Harry Truman who said on April 4, 1950, “I can assure you that flying saucers, given that they exist, are not constructed by any power on Earth.” He also pointed out that there were hundreds of reports made by his fellow pilots, many coming from military jet pilots sent to respond to radar or visual sightings from the ground. He was quite convinced till the day he died that he had seen UFOs and was a strong advocate to make the government come clean with what it knew. [1]

    In his memoirs Cooper wrote he had seen other unexplained aircraft several times during his career and also said hundreds of similar reports had been made, often by military jet pilots responding to radar or visual sightings from the ground. He further claimed these sightings had been “swept under the rug” by the US government.[3] Throughout his later life Cooper expressed repeatedly in interviews he had seen extra-terrestrial crafts and described his recollections for the documentary Out of the Blue.[3]
    Source: Wikipedia

    About the problem with what you called ‘lack of evidence’: In the law, testimony is a form of evidence that is obtained from a witness who makes a solemn statement or declaration of fact. Even stronger if we are talking about a massive public statement that poses him as a lunatic (by some people that believe that they know). And if we are talking about evidence, there are thousand of autentic photographs, films, radar tracking, pilots testimony, both military and civil, between many things.

    You may say: well, there’s a lack of hard evidence. And I would answer: yes, there is, at least to the public, but the evidence we already have, above mentioned, is enough to demand further study without those narrow minded that say that everything is just ‘venus’, ‘flare’, a meteor, LSD, or stupidity. Instead, stupidity is to ignore such phenomenon.

  218. Shalom

    “Let there be no doubt. Alien technology harvested from the infamous saucer crash in Roswell, N.Mex., in July 1947 led directly to the development of the integrated circuit chip, laser and fibre optic technologies, particle beams, electromagnetic propulsion systems, depleted uranium projectiles, stealth capabilities, and many others.

    How do I know? I was in charge!

    I think the kids on this planet are wise to the truth, and I think we ought to give it to them. I think they deserve it.”

    Colonel Philip Corso
    Army Intelligence officer, former Head of Foreign Technology at the U.S. Army’s Research and Development Department at the Pentagon. Four years Director of Intelligence on President Eisenhower’s White House National Security Staff

  219. Shalom

    “Of course UFOs are real, and they are interplanetary. The cumulative evidence for the existence of UFOs is quite overwhelming and I accept the fact of their existence.”

    Air Chief Marshall Lord Hugh Dowding
    Commanding Officer of the Royal Air Force during WWII.

  220. Shalom

    A bunch of UFO Nuts:
    Cosmonaut Victor Afanasyev
    “It followed us during half of our orbit. We observed it on the light side, and when we entered the shadow side, it disappeared completely. It was an engineered structure, made from some type of metal, approximately 40 meters long with inner hulls. The object was narrow here and wider here, and inside there were openings. Some places had projections like small wings. The object stayed very close to us. We photographed it, and our photos showed it to be 23 to 28 meters away.”
    Afanasyev commenting on a UFO sighting that occurred while en route to the Solyut 6 space station in April of 1979.

    Eugene Cernan
    “…I’ve been asked about UFOs and I’ve said publicly I thought they were somebody else, some other civilization.”
    Cernan commanded the Apollo 17 Mission-The quote is from a 1973 article in the Los Angeles Times.

    —-
    John Glen
    “I believe certain reports of flying saucers to be legitimate.”

    Yevegni Khrunov
    “Is the presence of extraterrestrial civilizations conceivable? Of course. Before the uniqueness of the earth is demonstrated, this assumption should be taken as quite legitimate. As regards UFOs, their presence cannot be denied: thousands of people have seen them. It may be that their source is optical effects, but some of their properties, for instance, their ability to change course by 90 degrees at great speed, simply stagger the imagination.”
    Sputnik, “UFOs Through the Eyes of Cosmonauts,” December 1980. Yevegni Khrunov was the Soyuz-5 spacecraft pilot in 1969.

    ——–
    Major General Vladimir Kovalyonok
    “On May 5, 1981, we were in orbit [in the Salyut-6 space station]. I saw an object that didn’t resemble any cosmic objects I’m familiar with. It was a round object which resembled a melon, round and a little bit elongated. In front of this object was something that resembled a gyrating depressed cone. I can draw it, it’s difficult to describe. The object resembles a barbell. I saw it becoming transparent and like with a ‘ body’ inside. At the other end I saw something like gas discharging, like a reactive object. Then something happened that is very difficult for me to describe from the point of view of physics. Last year in the magazine Nature I read about a physicist… we tried together to explain this phenomenon and we decided it was a ‘ plasmaform.’ I have to recognize that it did not have an artificial origin. It was not artificial because an artificial object couldn’t attain this form. I don’t know of anything that can make this movement… tightening, then expanding, pulsating. Then as I was observing, something happened, two explosions. One explosion, and then 0.5 seconds later, the second part exploded. I called my colleague Viktor [Savinykh], but he didn’t arrive in time to see anything.”
    “What are the particulars? First conclusion: the object moved in a suborbital path, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to see it. There were two clouds, like smoke, that formed a barbell. It came near me and I watched it. Then we entered in to the shade for two or three minutes after this happened. When we came out of the shade we didn’t see anything. But during a certain time, we and the craft were moving together.”
    Videotaped interview with Giorgio Bongiovanni in the village of Kosnikov, near Moscow, 1993.

  221. Shalom

    Dr. Jerry Linenger
    “In five months in space, I have seen unidentified flying objects for sure. Sometimes I looked out of the window and I could see a metallic thing like a spoon flying methodically.”
    Dr. Linenger was a NASA astronaut and during five months in he logged 50 million miles – the equivalent of over 110 round trips to the moon, travelling at an average speed of 18,000 miles per hour. Dr. Linenger was in Dubai to speak at the BurJuman Retail Conference at the Emirates Towers Hotel.

  222. Shalom

    “Today it can be stated with a high degree of confidence that observed manifestations of UFOs are no longer confined to the modern picture of the world… The historical evidence of the phenomenon… allows us to hypothesize that ever since mankind has been co-existing with this extraordinary substance, it has manifested a high level of intelligence and technology. The UFO sightings have become the constant component of human activity and require a serious global study… The scientific study of the UFO phenomenon should take place in the midst of other sciences dealing with man and the world.”
    Popovich, P., “Ufology in the Commonwealth of Independent States: Organization Problems,” in the MUFON 1992 International UFO Symposium Proceedings. Major General Popovich was a pioneer Cosmonaut, “Hero of the Soviet Union”, and President of All-Union Ufology Association of the Commonwealth of Independent States.
    ————
    Donald Slayton
    “I was testing a P-51 fighter in Minneapolis when I spotted this object. I was at about 10,000 feet on a nice, bright, sunny afternoon. I thought the object was a kite, then I realized that no kite is gonna fly that high. As I got closer it looked like a weather balloon, gray and about three feet in diameter. But as soon as I got behind the darn thing it didn’t look like a balloon anymore. It looked like a saucer, a disk. About the same time, I realized that it was suddenly going way from me-and there I was, running at about 300 miles per hour. I tracked it for a little way, and then all of a sudden the damn thing just took off. It pulled about a 45 degree climbing turn and accelerated and just flat disappeared.”
    Donald Slayton, Mercury astronaut, in a 1951 interview.
    ——————
    “I don’t feel like speculating about them. All I know is what appeared on the film which was developed after the flight.”
    Joseph Walker from May 11, 1962 commenting during a lecture at the Second National Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Space Research in Seattle, Washington after he had filmed five or six UFOs, (he stated one his tasks was to detect UFOs), during his record breaking fifty-mile-high flight in April, 1962 while piloting an X-15.
    ——————
    “There ARE things out there! There absolutely is!”
    White exclaiming over the radio about a UFO encounter taking place on a 58 mile high X-15 flight on July 17, 1962.
    “I have no idea what it could be. It was greyish in color and about thirty to forty feet away.”
    Major Robert White, on July 17, 1962 during his fifty-eight-mile high flight of an X-15.
    ——————-
    Well, you know, we have a problem of quantities and qualities of those Ufo Nuts. I guess thats all, you can keep trying, but you’re loosing. Not for me. For the truth. Shalom Einstoss Granado

  223. Shalom, you are committing the classic mistake of trying to argue from authority, rather than evidence.

    It doesn’t matter one whit if Gordon Cooper or Bugs Bunny is offering their opinion, without evidence, it is just that, opinion.

    I can’t help but notice that NONE of these people have actually provided that evidence.

    And I also can’t help but notice you have yet to admit your own mistakes regarding the silly youtube videos you posted to.

  224. Shalom

    kuhnigget says:

    It doesn’t matter one whit if Gordon Cooper or Bugs Bunny is offering their opinion, without evidence, it is just that, opinion.

    Gordon Cooper and the others are not giving their opinion. They are higly qualified personnel giving testimonies: qualified testimony = > evidence.
    If you want to learn more, you may check out the documentary about the black boxes and radar tracking of UFOs
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlLR9a_0t90

  225. CougarBait

    I agree with you that astronomers are definitely better equipped to identify celestial phenomena. That sometimes even astronomers report UFOs (no matter how rare or not that might be) just illustrates the undeniable fact that there’s a history of unexplained celestial phenomena, “unidentified flying objects” that so far remain UFOs, no matter how many well-equipped experts take on those reports.

    Here’s what puzzles me, especially with you being a scientist – instead of spending time and energy on trying to take on the unexplained, you devote your efforts towards addressing a bunch of true believers who’ve already made up their minds about the unexplained. With you being a vocal skeptic, I can perfectly understand and sympathize with why a mindset like that bothers you. But still, considering the fact that this is a harmless group – especially compared to antivaxxers, homeopaths, religious fanatics etc. – why do you not just let them ramble on and devote said time and energy towards exploring the unknown ? Fascinating cases that so far have been able to defy attempts of explanation by astronomers and other experts ?

    Ignore the people who are convinced there’s Greys, Reptilian, Pleiadians and what have you behind these phenoma, and just focus on the phenomena and what could be behind them. Shouldn’t it be this what inspires your efforts, instead of fueling a useless debate with a harmless bunch of whackos ?

  226. They are higly qualified personnel giving testimonies: qualified testimony = > evidence.

    Maybe in a court of law. In a scientific study it’s just unsupported anecdote.

    @ cougarbait:

    I actually agree with you, to an extent. I would only suggest that their “harmless” stupidity does influence our society, dumbing it down yet another notch, to the point where it becomes difficult to have public discussions about any science-based issue without the lunatic fringe demanding their voice be heard.

  227. CougarBait

    @kuhnigget

    “does influence our society, dumbing it down yet another notch”

    I agree with you on that too. I just don’t think Phil is going about it the right way. Instead of creating a public discussion that provides stage for a fringe group and its far-out speculations, effort should be wisely directed towards finding answers that clear things up and put an end to speculation. In the name of silencing “lunatic fringe” groups in a constructive and peaceful manner, becoming of a free society, where anybody, no matter how “lunatic” is and should be allowed to enter the discussion.

    And in the name of science…I mean, seriously, whatever is behind this small percentage of unexplained reports…shouldn’t that inspire the curiosity of any investigative mind ?

  228. CougarBait

    This is a bit of speculation on my side, but I think why the true believers manage to dumb down society is because largely scientists are not taking the phenomenon seriously. The point is, there is something not yet explained. I think the Average Joe just wants things explained. If he sees that scientists, “the explainers”, are largely ignoring, or even ridiculing the topic, he’s bound to lend an ear to the other camp. And let’s face it, many of the explanations offered by scientists for the more mysterious cases, while they are much more scientific in nature, are ultimately no hard-fact explanations resulting from sincere investigation, but speculation just as much as ideas of Greys interested in your orifices.

  229. This is a bit of speculation on my side, but I think why the true believers manage to dumb down society is because largely scientists are not taking the phenomenon seriously.

    The problem, Cougarbait, is that when scientists do take the subject seriously, studying, for example, the psychology of group hysteria, or the effects of political paranoia (as I noted above), or any number of other angles that do not include spaceships or multiple dimensions, the UFO nutters raise such an outcry and launch into their tried and true conspiracy gibberish, that it turns the whole effort into yet another circus.

    There’s only so much you can do when the huge community/industry dedicated to furthering the “truth” that UFOs=spaceships won’t listen to anything that doesn’t parrot their own squawking.

    Witness the above 150 or so comments on this thread.

  230. moots

    Alright – I have LITERALLY read every post thus far (234 posts at this point). I am inclined to share a few ideas that either haven’t gotten enough analysis, or haven’t been brought up.

    I am a scientist – literally. I have degrees in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. Many times I have had the pleasure of solving problems, coming up with reasonable explanations for situations, etc. in my short career so far. I have an analytical, curious, and imaginative mind because it is required of what I do. I am also writing this at 2 something A.M. (/disclaimer,/background).

    Through my own personal research into the UFO phenomenon, I refuse to acknowledge UFOs as ET, or as secret military craft, or as anything IDENTIFIED. I understand that UFOs are just that – unidentified. Plain and simply, the UFO phenomenon is something that I believe needs more research into it. I agree that there is no hard-evidence available to say one way or another what UFOs are – so I don’t presume to state that they are ET or otherwise. We simply do not know.

    There are people that claim that ALL anecdotal ‘evidence’ is not evidence at all. I will agree that it is not evidence of many hypotheses presented by ‘UFO nuts’ (Grey agenda, NWO, whatever). It is, however, in my opinion, indicative that something is going on that we do not fully understand. There is nothing wrong with admitting this. Only fools believe they understand everything.

    You CANNOT logically claim that none of these unexplained cases are ET visitations. Frankly, it doesn’t matter to me. The only thing that matters to me is that there is something strange afoot and I want to know what is going on! Claiming that UFOs are people from the future, or alien civilizations are just as folly as claiming that all UFOs are simply weather phenomena we don’t understand. You DO NOT know that. It is unlikely that EVERY witness to UFO phenomena is crazy, and it is unlikely that the Phoenix lights sightings were simply military flares (over the population density of Phoenix, without warning/communication and evidence of it). I’m sure I will have more to say with ample rest.

  231. Shalom

    kuhnigget

    When I said that highly qualified personnel was evidence, it wasn’t supposed to prove anything. Instead, it was just for the purppose of showing how stuborn and dumb is to simply deny it’s existence as a nut’s matter, as you do, instead of a phenomenon that demands continuous research by government and civil society.

    You put science to a function that doesn’t belong to it. It is a political and military task to study the phenomenon, as long as it can’t be repeated under controlled conditions.
    If one nation have a potencially catastrophic discover in its foreign policy, you don’t necessarelly call scientists, you call the political and military staff. All eventually under scrutiny of jounalists.

  232. Shalom

    When government secret parts may be involved in such relevant matters, the better way to uncover the true – however not perfect – is the congressional inquiry, in which legislative representatives of the main political branches, government personnel, journalists and the public become involved.
    Anyway, as I said, the truth will become know by everybody one day.

    “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”
    Abraham Lincoln

  233. Shalom

    CougarBait said:

    Ignore the people who are convinced there’s Greys, Reptilian, Pleiadians and what have you behind these phenoma, and just focus on the phenomena and what could be behind them. Shouldn’t it be this what inspires your efforts, instead of fueling a useless debate with a harmless bunch of whackos ?

    But this is exactly my point. No more, no less.

  234. Shalom

    kuhnigget says:

    It doesn’t matter one whit if Gordon Cooper or Bugs Bunny is offering their opinion, without evidence, it is just that, opinion.

    No, it proves once and for all that you was using illicit debate tactics as showing that everybody that wants further investigation of UFOs or that saw UFOs are nuts, once presidents, highly qualified military personnel don’t fit in your nuts parody.

    American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics UFO Subcommittee
    The AIAA established a subcommittee in 1967 to look into the UFO question. The UFO Subcommittee issued several reports and statements, including in-depth studies of two UFO incidents. The UFO Subcommittee stated that its “most important conclusion” was that government agencies consider funding UFO research:
    “From a scientific and engineering standpoint, it is unacceptable to simply ignore substantial numbers of unexplained observations… the only promising approach is a continuing moderate-level effort with emphasis on improved data collection by objective means… involving available remote sensing capabilities and certain software changes.”
    The Encyclopedia of UFOs, Ronald D.Story, New York: Doubleday, 1980. The Subcommittee of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics criticized the conclusion of The Condon Report as the personal views of Dr. Condon, and added:
    “The opposite conclusion could have been drawn from The Condon Report’s content, namely, that a phenomenon with such a high ratio of unexplained cases (about 30 percent) should arouse sufficient scientific curiosity to continue its study.”
    The Ufobible (its a trademark, not for you to place it as a religion, as you did…)

  235. @ moots:

    It is, however, in my opinion, indicative that something is going on that we do not fully understand. There is nothing wrong with admitting this.

    Agreed. But by opening up the field of inquiry to include group psychology and other disciplines the nutters don’t appreciate, a lot of the unknowns fade considerably.

    it is unlikely that the Phoenix lights sightings were simply military flares (over the population density of Phoenix, without warning/communication and evidence of it).

    You and I will disagree on that one.

    The position of the flares coincides quite nicely with the observations. That people saw them “over” the city is a matter of perspective. Seen from the opposite side of town, and making the assumption that they were part of some solid body, it would be quite easy to conclude, erroneously, that they were actually above the city, instead of beyond its borders. This is further bolstered by the fact that not one of those thousands of witnesses who saw the “craft” above the city, actually produced a photograph of such. ALL the photos and videos show lights in the distance, lights that look exactly like a row of magnesium flares dropped exactly where the military was conducting their exercises.

  236. CougarBait

    @kuhnigget

    “that it turns the whole effort into yet another circus. ”

    When you said they’re dumbing down our society, I thought you were referring to public discourse (e.g. comment threads like this), and I largely agree with you on that, though, as I wrote above, I don’t think the blame for this is entirely with them. However, in this quote, if I understood you correctly, you seem to suggest they’re preventing scientific investigation. On this I disagree with you. I can’t remember that having ever been the case (though it’s entirely possible I might’ve missed something), and I personally think it’s unlikely. Just look at the LHC…you had a whole bunch of crazies gaining publicity for their fears of black holes swallowing up Earth, they even sued…none of that did any damage whatsoever to the actual scientific investigations carried out with the LHC.

    @moots

    I wholeheartedly agree with your post. And despite the numbers of ET devotees in comment threads like this, one thing that can also be seen here is people who show that it’s possible to take this topic seriously without becoming a true believer. Frustratingly, judging from my experience so far, the next time Phil decides to make UFOs the topic, he’s again gonna ignore perspectives like that and again take up the easy task of tearing the ET crowd a new one.

  237. CougarBait

    @Phil

    I guess I tend to use too many words. To briefly sum up why I finally decided to comment here…

    “So remember, despite the claims of the UFO crowd and the media that love to play this stuff up, seeing isn’t believing. Understanding is!”

    Apart from the fact that I’d say understading isn’t believing, but makes believing obsolete…I believe in understanding. And I get the impression that we have this in common. So why use time and energy to poke fun at a bunch of people who make up their minds without evidence, instead of using it to try and understand the not-yet-understood ? Coming up with less lunatic, but still speculative answers to the unsolved cases and then putting them aside doesn’t equal understanding. It’s more on the side of believing.

  238. @ Cougarbait:

    However, in this quote, if I understood you correctly, you seem to suggest they’re preventing scientific investigation.

    Not preventing it, just turing it into something that is so ludicrously uninteresting that few would want to bother. See my comment about psychology and group hysteria. These are truly scientific disciplines that could contribute much (some of us might say much more than “much”) understanding to this supposedly intractable phenomenon. But the vested interests will pay no mind, going on with their conventions and their book tours and their documentaries and their lame petitions to government and “science” to do something.

    Phooey. Things have been done, but they don’t agree with the industry’s message. There are, frankly, much more interesting things to study.

  239. CougarBait

    @kuhnigget

    “These are truly scientific disciplines that could contribute much (some of us might say much more than “much”) understanding to this supposedly intractable phenomenon.”

    Agreed on that…

    “Not preventing it, just turing it into something that is so ludicrously uninteresting that few would want to bother.”

    …but you lost me on this. Among all the questions yet unanswered, to me the ones about consciousness are the most intriguing. The fact that there’s billions out there that claim to know their consciousness is a soul, might go to hell, will be reborn as a slug etc. doesn’t make it less intriguing to me. A fascinating mystery, at least to me, remains a fascinating mystery, no matter what others say about it. I’m sorry, but I don’t follow your logic on this one.

    If someone loses interest in the unexplained because of weird claims made by others about the unexplained, then in my opinion they lack the curios and investigative mind necessary to be a scientist. Often it seems to be fear of being lumped in with the loonies that prevents people from investigating topics like UFOs. But fear is a bad companion if you wanna solve mysteries.

  240. Cougarbait:

    I don’t think you’re getting my drift at all. The point I’m trying to make is, once you strip away the fantastic claims of the UFOs=spaceships crowds, the whole “phenomenon” just isn’t all that interesting. Not to me, anyway, and it seems, not to a whole lot of other scientists who can’t be bothered to study it. The nutters interpret this as some sort of conspiracy, or threat of ridicule, but when you get right down to it, it’s just quite simple: people do all sorts of wacky things and believe all sorts of wacky things, and alien invasions from outer space is pretty low down on the scale of interest when compared with the rest.

    Consciousness IS, a fascinating subject, as you alluded (not sure how you made the jump tho), and currently it’s a pretty hot subject amongst biologists and information specialists and many other disciplines. I’d be more keen to unlock some of the basics of that field, than figure out what is it in particular about human consciousness that makes us want to believe in angels, aliens, fairies, bigfoots (bigfeet?), et al.

    Often it seems to be fear of being lumped in with the loonies that prevents people from investigating topics like UFOs

    Maybe for some, but I honestly don’t think they’d be the majority. It’s really just is a matter of what’s interesting and what isn’t. And this stuff is, not to repeat myself but…boring!

  241. Mark Hansen

    No, it proves once and for all that you was using illicit debate tactics as showing that everybody that wants further investigation of UFOs or that saw UFOs are nuts, once presidents, highly qualified military personnel don’t fit in your nuts parody…

    And that proves once and for all that you don’t understand argument from authority. Surely a Major General would be a reliable, highly qualified source of information. Allow me to introduce Mag-Gen Stubblebine (ret.) of the U.S. Army. It was he that believed that there was a way of being able to walk through walls (amongst other weirdness). So, because he was a Maj-Gen, should I believe that it is not only possible but true? I don’t think so. This is the fallacy of argument from authority. It doesn’t matter whether your witness is a butcher, baker, candlestick maker or a past president or even an experienced airline pilot – they can be wrong and they can believe in the strangest stuff. As you claim to be a lawyer, I would have thought that you would understand this.

  242. papageno

    Shalom (229):
    They are higly qualified personnel giving testimonies: qualified testimony = > evidence.

    What qualifications and experience are required to identify extraterrestrial spacecrafts?

    CougarBait (233):
    The point is, there is something not yet explained.

    moots (235):
    It is, however, in my opinion, indicative that something is going on that we do not fully understand.

    You both talk as if unexplained UFO sightings had one and the same cause.
    What if they are instead a variety of un-related phenomena, whose causes are not apparent and for which there is not enough information?

    Having some unexplained observations does not necessarily mean that the causes of those observations are something unusual.
    “We could not figure out what it was” is not the same as “There is something strange afoot.”

    moots (235):
    You CANNOT logically claim that none of these unexplained cases are ET visitations.

    You cannot logically claim that none of these unexplained cases are visitations by Santa Clause, the Flying Spaghetti Monster and Cthulhu, either.

  243. Nigel Depledge

    Aw, man, you guys have been partying without me!

    So, trying to catch up…

    Sam (210) said:

    Bernie, like me, may believe that the UFO phenomenon has been proven to include some cases of highly advanced physical craft (yes, craft that are “made”) — or, put differently, we “know” that the UFO phenomenon is (for lack of a better word) “real.”

    Based on what?

    What evidence is there that what these people saw is actually what they described seeing?

    But he may also (again, like me, like Leslie Kean and her witnesses) concede that the ET hypothesis has not been proven and that other possibilities (ones that seem equally far-fetched if not more so) remain — in other words, we do not “know” what these craft are.

    My contention is that, by calling them “craft”, you are severely over-interpreting some extraordinarily feeble evidence.

    There is no rational basis for concluding that, when people think they have seen a “craft” in the night sky, that they have seen something that matches what they describe. Obviously, some sightings are craft :- human-made aircraft. Most of the UFOs that I have seen were probably either aeroplanes or satellites. But many reported sightings are not of physical craft.

    We BELIEVE that the most likely explanation is the ET hypothesis, but we concede we do not know and it could still be other things, like time travellers or an astonishingly improbable human conspiracy.

    But you are immediately and pointlessly ruling out human fallibility.

    You seem to be ignoring the possibility that what the “witnesses” have described isn’t what they actually saw. And yet we have very strong evidence from other scientific disciplines (such as psychology) that humans are utterly rubbish observers – especially of unfamiliar phenomena. Our brains supply images for us that simply are not there.

    So, on what basis have you ruled this out?

    This distinction may be subtle, but rational debate is built on respect for such nuanced positions. I don’t see what points you think you’re scoring by fighting over whether this distinction makes a difference. It does make a difference because it isolates one issue at a time and allows for methodical analysis.

    The simplest point of all: that ET visitation is an extraordinary claim, and we should all be highly sceptical of it unless there is some utterly unambiguous evidence that it occurs.

    In conflating the issues, all you’re really doing is showing your own cards:

    First, you’re revealing your own fuzzy and unorganized logic, where the end (”Of course ETs aren’t visiting, you weirdo!”) is used to justify the means (”UFO analyses MUST be flawed”).

    Unfortunately, now you are building a strawman.

    Of all the possible explanations of UFO sightings, by far the least likely is ET visitation. The two main reasons for this are that (1) we have no evidence that ET intelligence exists, and (2) everything we have so far discovered about the universe tells us that interstellar travel is extremely hard to do.

    The UFO “analyses”, however, are intrinsically flawed by virtue of basing all their conclusions on rubbish data. Have you heard the expression “garbage in, garbage out”? This is a classic example. It doesn’t matter what analysis you perform on UFO sightings – your starting point is unreliable. Anything you build on that foundation is built on sand.

    So, no. I do not link the unlikeliness of ET visitation with the flaws of UFO “analyses”. I use the two arguments to arrive at a conclusion, that is that “ET visitation” as an explanation for UFO reports is implausible and unjustifiable.

    Second, you’re showing that what you really want to do (and all you’re really prepared to do) is skip right to the name calling, where you mock your opponent with emotionally charged sound bytes about “little green men,” distracting from the real issue and allowing you to avoid having to do the intellectual heavy lifting necessary when arguing with someone whose views are well informed and thoroughly logical.

    Several things here:
    (1) If you make the claim, it’s up to you to supply evidence, so the “intellectual heavy lifting” is your responsibility, not mine.
    (2) I have yet to see any proponent of the “UFOs = alien spaceships” or some similarly unlikely conclusion perform any intellectual heavy lifting. Not one of you seems able to comprehend that human eyewitness accounts are no basis for what could be the greatest discovery of all time.
    (3) If you could please point out, chapter and verse, where I have gone “straight to the name-calling”, I’d be happy to rectify my errors. However, since I cannot recall doing any name-calling in this thread, I will assume (until shown otherwise) that you are merely employing rhetoric to score trivial points.

  244. Nigel Depledge

    Sam (214) said:

    @kuhnigget – please read my comments to Nigel. In reading your posts I now see that you’re just as arrogant, logic-challenged and, ultimately, delusional as he is. The Brooking Institute had your number back in 1961.

    OK, Sam, I’m calling you out on this.

    Please cite where I have been:
    (1) Arrogant;
    (2) Logic-challenged; and
    (3) Delusional.

    Include a careful explanation of why you think these adjectives are applicable. If you cannot back up your accusations with facts, then you show yourself to be a hypocrite.

    I notice that your posts have contained no knowledge of the simplest form of logic – the principle of parsimony. Put simply, don’t assume anything without a good reason. You (and Shalom Einstoss) have been assuming that the reports of UFOs are reliable descriptions of what actually occurred. There is simply no basis for doing so.

  245. Nigel Depledge

    Oops, I got some of this out of sequence…

    Sam (209) said:

    And btw, @ Nigel (207) — You have GOT to stop conflating (a) belief that the existence of sightings of unexplained physical craft has been proven (which it has, as Kean documents)

    This is wrong, wrong, wrong.

    All that Kean has proved is that a bunch of people believe that they saw some kind of made objects in the sky that they could not identify according to what they know of human air and space flight.

    This is proof of precisely nothing.

    with (b) belief that the ET hypothesis has been proven (it has not, as Kean concedes).

    That ET life exists is actually far more likely than the conclusion you reach, that someone or something with beyond-human technology has been visiting us.

    You claim that you feel this is not proven, and yet you seem to give it the same credence as the hypothesis that some UFOs are secret military tests, and you give it less credence than the hypothesis that the people reporting UFOs saw something that was actually different from what they thought they saw.

    If you actually are a scientist,

    As it happens, I am.

    or are scientifically inclined, you must realize the importance of being precise and should recognize that such nuanced distinctions as this one are often pivotal in untangling logic puzzles and other mysteries.

    And you must realise that your point (a) is far from proven. The only “data” you have are inconsistent eyewitness accounts given by people who either have very little experience of watching the night sky or whose experience has been focussed on one type of phenomenon (for example, pilots are indeed trained to identify human-made aircraft but they are no more likely to be able to identify noctilucent clouds or geese illuminated from below than the next man).

    Therefore, the distinction you make between points (a) and (b) is mostly irrelevant.

    It doesn’t matter whether you think these “unidentified but definitely made craft” [my paraphrase] are aliens or time travellers or whatever. The fact that you think there are some types of vehicles flying around our planet that are not of modern-day human origin betrays your lack of understanding of the scientific process. Your (and Kean’s) conclusion that these definitely are made vehicles of some kind is built on sand. It is illogical, implausible and unjustifiable.

  246. @ Nigel:

    Aw, man, you guys have been partying without me!

    Not much of a party. The usual “but so and so, who is an important blah blah, said, ‘blertle blet,’ therefore ufos are spaceships/pandimensional whozeewhatzits and if you don’t believe then wah! wah! wah! wah!”

  247. moots

    “You both talk as if unexplained UFO sightings had one and the same cause. What if they are instead a variety of un-related phenomena, whose causes are not apparent and for which there is not enough information?” – papageno

    I do not assume that UFO sightings have one cause – in fact, I would be just as inclined to say that the UFO phenomenon does have multiple causes because as I said before I plain don’t know. It is easier for someone arguing against my points to assume that I am talking about a single cause because it is easier to organize against it. You want to assume that I believe UFOs to be ET craft so you can categorize me the same way you categorize ‘nutters’.

    “You cannot logically claim that none of these unexplained cases are visitations by Santa Clause, the Flying Spaghetti Monster and Cthulhu, either.” – papegeno

    That is a moot point = irrelevant. The point I am making is that you cannot claim to know the identity of UFOs by saying that they are NOT something that hasn’t been ruled out.

  248. Shalom Einstoss

    papageno

    To be an astronaut, you should know metheorological phenomena, and to be a test pilot, you know all kind of planes and understand as they behave, and yes, identify rapidly objects in the sky, anyway, have a good sight, fast reactions, solid psychological traces (you are not a mitomano), and I am certain Mr. Cooper had plenty of all those qualities, what gives him a good chance to tell the truth about a very weird phenomena like this.
    This entitles him to give a testimony, as he was such a credible source, not a simple opinion, like I myself could do.
    Other people above mentioned had solid carrers in the army, some of them were top brass, what tells me those guys aren’t nuts, like kuhnigget tried unhappilly to claim.
    And last, but not least, he was such a brave man that he risked his reputation for such an astonishing reality to came to light against the people who believe they know.
    It wouldn’t be the first time in history that a new paradigm have to be mocked. And would not be the least. I’m used to it. I’m vegetarian. When I was a child it was like being crazy, but today it is almost a plus. This is it.

  249. Mark Hansen

    @kuhnigget (251)
    Let’s not forget that when you show someone that they were A) in error or B) just plain making it up, they don’t bother to acknowledge it.

    cougarbait,
    “…So why use time and energy to poke fun at a bunch of people who make up their minds without evidence, instead of using it to try and understand the not-yet-understood ?…”

    This isn’t people making up their minds without evidence, it’s people, e.g. Shalom, making up evidence to fit their particular hypothesis. Plese check his assertions in post #211 against the video which he linked to. You’ll find that they don’t match up with what he claims. Challenging someone on their claim isn’t poking fun at them; it’s trying to hold them to the truth.

  250. papageno

    moots (252):
    I do not assume that UFO sightings have one cause – in fact, I would be just as inclined to say that the UFO phenomenon does have multiple causes because as I said before I plain don’t know.

    Then what did you mean when you said: “The only thing that matters to me is that there is something strange afoot and I want to know what is going on!” (235) ?

    What do you mean with “something strange afoot” ?

    moots (252):
    It is easier for someone arguing against my points to assume that I am talking about a single cause because it is easier to organize against it. You want to assume that I believe UFOs to be ET craft so you can categorize me the same way you categorize ‘nutters’.

    Please do not presume to know what my intentions are.

    moots (252):
    That is a moot point = irrelevant. The point I am making is that you cannot claim to know the identity of UFOs by saying that they are NOT something that hasn’t been ruled out.

    You brought up the point, so it cannot be irrelevant to you.
    We are not claiming to know the identity of UFOs, that’s why we are calling them unidentified. But we have good reasons to exclude extraterrestrial spacecrafts, because there is no evidence of the existence of such things. For the same reasons we exclude Santa Claus, the Flying Spaghetti Monster and Cthulhu.

    If you do not want to exclude extraterrestrial spacecrafts by appealing to logic, by the same logic you cannot exclude Santa Claus, the Flying Spaghetti Monster and Cthulhu.

  251. papageno

    papageno (247):
    “What qualifications and experience are required to identify extraterrestrial spacecrafts?”

    Shalom Einstoss (253):
    To be an astronaut, you should know metheorological phenomena, and to be a test pilot, you know all kind of planes and understand as they behave, and yes, identify rapidly objects in the sky, anyway, have a good sight, fast reactions, solid psychological traces (you are not a mitomano), and I am certain Mr. Cooper had plenty of all those qualities, what gives him a good chance to tell the truth about a very weird phenomena like this.

    This is not about telling the truth. This is about identifying aerial phenomena.
    What qualities do you need to identify something of which you have no experience?

    Shalom Einstoss (253):
    This entitles him to give a testimony, as he was such a credible source, not a simple opinion, like I myself could do.

    This is not about credibility, but about accuracy.
    Being mistaken is not the same as lying.

    Shalom Einstoss (253):
    Other people above mentioned had solid carrers in the army, some of them were top brass, what tells me those guys aren’t nuts, like kuhnigget tried unhappilly to claim.

    And what qualifications and experience have they got in identifying extraterrestrial spacecrafts?
    How can we verify independently those qualifications?

    Shalom Einstoss (253):
    And last, but not least, he was such a brave man that he risked his reputation for such an astonishing reality to came to light against the people who believe they know.

    Spare us the conspiracist rhetoric.

    Shalom Einstoss (253):
    It wouldn’t be the first time in history that a new paradigm have to be mocked. And would not be the least. I’m used to it. I’m vegetarian. When I was a child it was like being crazy, but today it is almost a plus. This is it.

    You have not really answered my question.
    How does knowing meteorological phenomena and terrestrial technology make a person qualified and expert in identifying extraterrestrial technology?

  252. Nigel Depledge

    Sam (216) said:

    @kuhnigget (215) – re Brookings… The last 49 yrs haven’t changed a thing re this point. The developments you’re referring to were not paradigm-shattering,

    Erm … DNA technology has revolutionised the study of biology and spawned a new industry.

    Cosmology has gone from the steady-state paradigm to the big-bang paradigm.

    Since about 1950, antibiotics, vaccines and a whole range of new surgical techniques have revolutionised medical care. Nuclear magnetic resonance, computerised tomography and Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays have revolutionised diagnostic science.

    How exactly do you define “paradigm-shattering”? Perhaps this word does not mean what you think it means.

    nor did they involve the discovery of other life forms whose knowledge makes us look ignorant on fundamental scientific principles

    How is this piece of speculation relevant?

    In case you were unaware, we can actually be sure of one thing about our fundamental theories. If they are wrong (and there is good reason to suspect that they are, at best, flawed in certain areas) then they are at least good approximations of how reality behaves. If they (general relativity, quantum electrodynamics, quantum chromodynamics, thermodynamics, evolution and so on) were anything less than good approximations to reality, we would already have spotted this.

    with far-reaching implications (which would be most disturbing for scientists, as the ones whose identities are proudly tied to the advancement of human knowledge — an endeavor the status of which might suddenly, in this hypothetical scenario, feel relatively small & disappointing).

    So, you (and Brookings) speculate that scientists will be made to feel small if we encounter an alien civilisation with technology and science far superior to our own. For what reason do you think this applies?

    As kuhnigget points out, there is every reason to expect (based on past behaviour) that scientists will be clamouring to get access to the new tech and the new knowledge. Your conclusion seems to be based on nothing more than a wish to feel superior yourself. I’m sorry that our knowledge of science makes you feel inadequate. There’s an obvious way to rectify that – go and learn some science.

    As with virtually everything else you devout debunkers post, you’re pushing a red herring here that has little if any meaningful relationship to the actual issue (which is, in this case: Is it reasonable to predict that most classically trained scientists would be unduly (read: inappropriately or counter-productively) skeptical when confronted with evidence suggestive of superior, non-human intelligence acting within (and yet, figuratively, also above) our world? Nothing you’ve written on this point suggests Brookings was wrong.

    I have already demonstrated in this thread why the claim of ET visitation is extraordinary.

    Its support requires at the very least some utterly unambiguous and irrefutable evidence.

    Instead, you reach your conclusions (and, yes, time travellers are just as unlikely as ET) based on zero evidence. Your attempts to point to all of the UFO sightings don’t actually count for anything in a scientific context. If you knew anything about how science progresses, you would already know this.

    Remember the furore that Fleischman and Pons caused when they claimed they had observed cold fusion? That was an extraordinary claim, and the evidence for it was flimsy (and therefore better than the evidence for alien spaceships or time travellers). Once their observations were shown to be irreproducible and unrepeatable, it pretty much destroyed their careers as scientists. But note that, until other groups had tried to replicate their result and failed, there was no consensus about whether cold fusion had genuinely been observed or not.

    Thus, it is entirely appropriate, as I have pointed out before, that all of us be extremely sceptical of claims that people have seen time travellers or ETs. As an explanation for UFO sightings, the conclusion “made craft but not made by humans” is implausible and unjustifiable.

  253. Nigel Depledge

    Shalom (222) said:

    No, he [Gordon Cooper] is not.

    Not what? Entitled to his opinion?

    In my view, he most certainly is entitled to hold an opinion.

    At least not like me. Perhaps you can answer differently Who knows? He was just a test pilot and an astronaut.

    So? He was still human.

    He surpassed all kind of possible tests in his psychological and physical abilities. He had a degree in aerospace engineering. Cooper logged more than 7,000 hours of flight time, with 4,000 hours in jet aircraft. He flew all types of commercial and general aviation airplanes and helicopters. Perhaps would help you to understand exactly what I’m talking about:

    So, at what point did he acquite bionic eyes and an eidetic memory?

    Oh, he didn’t?

    So, his eyes, optic nerves and visual cortex were still 100% human, right?

    Cooper claimed to have seen his first UFO while flying over West Germany in 1951, although he denied reports he had seen a UFO during his Mercury flight.[5] However, these claims are controversial due to a conflict Cooper had with NASA’s management.

    I have no doubt that he saw things he could not identify. That doesn’t mean we have any basis for drawing extraordinary conclusions.

    In 1957, when Cooper was 30 and a captain, …

    [Typical UFOnut blurb omitted for brevity]

    … There was a special Pentagon number to call to report incidents like this. He called and it immediately went up the chain of command until he was instructed by a general to have the film developed (but to make no prints of it) and send it right away in a locked courier pouch. As he hadn’t been instructed to not look at the negatives before sending them, he did. He said the quality of the photography was excellent as would be expected from the experienced photographers who took them. What he saw was exactly what they had described to him. He did not see the movie film before everything was sent away. He expected that there would be a follow up investigation since an aircraft of unknown origin had landed in a highly classified military installation, but nothing was ever said of the incident again. He was never able to track down what happened to those photos. He assumed that they ended up going to the Air Force’s official UFO investigation, Project Blue Book, which was based at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

    So, what you seem to be saying is that, on the one occasion that good evidence is alleged to have been acquired, that evidence is inconveniently unavailable.

    This amounts to nothing more than another story about the one that got away. “It was THIS big! Honest!”

    Still nowhere near good enough for drawing conclusions.

    He held claim until his death that the government is indeed covering up information about UFOs. He gives the example of President Harry Truman who said on April 4, 1950, “I can assure you that flying saucers, given that they exist, are not constructed by any power on Earth.” He also pointed out that there were hundreds of reports made by his fellow pilots, many coming from military jet pilots sent to respond to radar or visual sightings from the ground. He was quite convinced till the day he died that he had seen UFOs and was a strong advocate to make the government come clean with what it knew. [1]

    And so it goes on.

    Irrespective of your reverence for this fellow’s account, it still amounts to nothing more thna another story.

    It certainly isn’t evidence.

    . . .

    About the problem with what you called ‘lack of evidence’: In the law, testimony is a form of evidence that is obtained from a witness who makes a solemn statement or declaration of fact.

    And any decent lawyer will be able to tie pretty nearly any witness in knots about what they think they saw. Did you have a point?

    Even stronger if we are talking about a massive public statement that poses him as a lunatic (by some people that believe that they know).

    I have no idea what you’re even trying to say here.

    And if we are talking about evidence, there are thousand of autentic photographs, films,

    Authentic photographs and films, huh?

    What, you mean, more authentic than those famous “dustbin lid” pics?

    Films, I assume, of something more than just lights in the sky?

    Really?

    radar tracking,

    Flocks of birds can show up on radar.

    pilots testimony, both military and civil, between many things.

    Why is it that you refuse to believe that a pilot can mis-identify an unfamiliar thing in the sky?

    You may say: well, there’s a lack of hard evidence.

    No, there’s an absence of hard evidence.

    And I would answer: yes, there is, at least to the public, but the evidence we already have, above mentioned,

    What evidence?

    Show me a film or a photo that is unambiguously of non-human technology!

    is enough to demand further study without those narrow minded that say that everything is just ‘venus’, ‘flare’, a meteor, LSD, or stupidity. Instead, stupidity is to ignore such phenomenon.

    No. Stupidity is to assume that people cannot be genuinely mistaken about what they think they have seen. The cleverest of people can see something and fail to correctly identify it, especially if it is unfamiliar. Stupidity is to think that such occurrences have any meaning.

  254. Nigel Depledge

    Shalom (223) said:

    “Let there be no doubt. Alien technology harvested from the infamous saucer crash in Roswell, N.Mex., in July 1947 led directly to the development of the integrated circuit chip, laser and fibre optic technologies, particle beams, electromagnetic propulsion systems, depleted uranium projectiles, stealth capabilities, and many others.

    How do I know? I was in charge!

    I think the kids on this planet are wise to the truth, and I think we ought to give it to them. I think they deserve it.”

    Colonel Philip Corso
    Army Intelligence officer, former Head of Foreign Technology at the U.S. Army’s Research and Development Department at the Pentagon. Four years Director of Intelligence on President Eisenhower’s White House National Security Staff

    So why was the first transistor patented in 1925?

    And why is it that NASA had to place an order for a million integrated circuits so that their Apollo vehicles would have lightweight onboard computers for navigation? Was it so the manufacturers could have the financial security to develop the technology to a sufficient level of reliablility? (Hint – yes, it was.)

    Frankly, I think this is either an apocryphal quote or that the person in question was either lying or delusional. I suspect that, if this were real, such a person would be in a position to come up with some hard evidence to support their story. Whatever the truth beghind this quote, you still have no evidence at all that UFO’s are anything other than mis-identified terrestrial (or known celestial) phenomena.

    There is neither need nor reason to believe that any of the technologies listed above owes anything to anything other than human bloodthirstiness and ingenuity.

  255. Nigel Depledge

    Shalom (224) said:

    “Of course UFOs are real, and they are interplanetary. The cumulative evidence for the existence of UFOs is quite overwhelming and I accept the fact of their existence.”

    Air Chief Marshall Lord Hugh Dowding
    Commanding Officer of the Royal Air Force during WWII.

    Argument from authority.

    Air Chief Marshall Dowding was not in a position to give any kind of authoritative evaluation of the evidence. How much scientific training had he?

    You still have presented zero evidence that UFO’s are not mis-ifdentified terrestrial (or known celestial) phenomena.

  256. Nigel Depledge

    Shalom (229) said:

    Gordon Cooper and the others are not giving their opinion. They are higly qualified personnel giving testimonies: qualified testimony = > evidence.

    Here you are really showing your ignorance.

    They are indeed humans giving opinions about matters that are outside their areas of expertise.

    Qualified testimony might be evidence when it is a medical opinion about the condition of a person that doctor has examined; or a forensic scientist giving an opinon about materials found at a crime scene. But this situation is different. Not one of the people you have quoted (#225, 226, 227) has any relevant training (in fact, how could any human have relevant training in identifying non-human technology?). Therefore, what they state is merely opinion.

    It certainly is not evidence of ET visitation (or of time-travellers).

    You still have presented precisely zero evidence that UFOs are anything other than mis-identified terrestrial (or known celestial) phenomena.

  257. moots

    “Then what did you mean when you said: “The only thing that matters to me is that there is something strange afoot and I want to know what is going on!” (235) ?

    What do you mean with “something strange afoot” ?” -papageno

    What I mean is that I don’t believe that everyone claiming to see something unidentified in the sky is crazy, and I don’t believe that every unidentified observation is a fallacy. We don’t understand the phenomenon well enough to say that it is simply the erroneous biology of humans, or that it is secret military craft, or that it is some unclassified weather phenomenon. ‘Something strange is afoot’ means that something is going on that we don’t fully understand and as a scientist I would like it if we were to be able to explain these things. If it is something about our psychology that explains these cases, then okay. If it is military aircraft that someday we can confirm, then okay. Let us prove it and move on.

    “Please do not presume to know what my intentions are.” -papageno

    I will very damn well attempt to understand the intentions of someone with which I am logically arguing points with. If you do not wish to know such information of someone you are debating with, that is your problem. Though with how many times you bring up the ET hypothesis while debating with me, one would only think that you assume my intentions just as much as I assume yours – and I would claim that you are wrong. Don’t be hypocritical here.

    “You brought up the point, so it cannot be irrelevant to you.” -papageno

    No, I’m saying your point is irrelevant, not mine. You are attempting to claim that you can add even more incredible explanations for the phenomenon, while I am saying you cannot rule something out that is unidentified. See below.

    “We are not claiming to know the identity of UFOs, that’s why we are calling them unidentified.” -papageno

    That’s what I said…

    “But we have good reasons to exclude extraterrestrial spacecrafts, because there is no evidence of the existence of such things. For the same reasons we exclude Santa Claus, the Flying Spaghetti Monster and Cthulhu.” -papageno

    For the record, again, I do not claim UFOs are ET craft, you keep going back into that – you seem to be one obsessed with the ET hypothesis. Lesson time. Just because one does not currently possess evidence for something does NOT prove that such thing doesn’t exist. You claim we can exclude possibilities of which there is no evidence. I do not currently possess evidence that I will die tomorrow, therefore I can exclude this possibility. Using this logic, I can jump off a very tall bridge onto some pavement and I will not die from it because it will be tomorrow. Logical?

  258. papageno

    moots (262):
    What I mean is that I don’t believe that everyone claiming to see something unidentified in the sky is crazy, and I don’t believe that every unidentified observation is a fallacy. We don’t understand the phenomenon well enough to say that it is simply the erroneous biology of humans, or that it is secret military craft, or that it is some unclassified weather phenomenon.

    But we understand the phenomenom of misidentifying known objects or phenomena, and we know that misidentifications happen all the time. This is clearly shown by those UFO sightings that have been investigated and explained.

    moots (262):
    ‘Something strange is afoot’ means that something is going on that we don’t fully understand and as a scientist I would like it if we were to be able to explain these things. If it is something about our psychology that explains these cases, then okay. If it is military aircraft that someday we can confirm, then okay. Let us prove it and move on.

    As a scientist, you should also realize that if there is not enough information regarding an observation, then we probably cannot find an explanation, even if the the cause is a known object or phenomenom.
    You are confusing the lack of sufficient information with the absence of a mundane cause. And you are ignoring that many UFO sightings have been explained as misidentified mundane causes.

    moots (262):
    I will very damn well attempt to understand the intentions of someone with which I am logically arguing points with. If you do not wish to know such information of someone you are debating with, that is your problem.

    You should focus on what I write, instead of trying to guess my intentions.

    moots (262):
    . Though with how many times you bring up the ET hypothesis while debating with me, one would only think that you assume my intentions just as much as I assume yours – and I would claim that you are wrong. Don’t be hypocritical here.

    We shall see who is hypocritical.

    moots (262):
    No, I’m saying your point is irrelevant, not mine. You are attempting to claim that you can add even more incredible explanations for the phenomenon, while I am saying you cannot rule something out that is unidentified. See below.

    My point is exactly the same as yours, because I use exactly the same logic as you did:
    “Some UFO sightings have unknown cause, therefore we cannot exclude it was ET visitors”
    “Some UFO sightings have unknown cause, therefore we cannot exclude it was Santa Claus (or the Flying Spaghetti Monster or Cthulhu)”

    There is no evidence whatsoever of extraterrestrial visitors on Earth, just as there is none for the existence of Santa Claus, the Flying Spaghetti Monster and Cthulhu. Therefore they all are equally valid as alternative hypotheses that cannot be excluded. None of them is more credible than the others, because none of them is known to exists.

    If you do not agree, please provide evidence that ET visitors exist. Only then can you claim that ETs are more credible than Santa Claus, the Flying Spaghetti Monster and Cthulhu.

    moots (262):
    “We are not claiming to know the identity of UFOs, that’s why we are calling them unidentified.” -papageno
    That’s what I said…

    So, do you admit that you misrepresented my position?

    moots (262):
    For the record, again, I do not claim UFOs are ET craft, you keep going back into that – you seem to be one obsessed with the ET hypothesis.

    You are the one bringing up ET visitors as a hypothesis. I added other imaginary beings.
    So, why did you exclude all the other entities, for whose existence in the real world there is no evidence? Why do you consider ET visitors more credible than Santa Claus, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Cthulhu, transvestite space cowboys, invisible flying pink elephants…

    moots (262):
    Lesson time. Just because one does not currently possess evidence for something does NOT prove that such thing doesn’t exist.

    Yep. So, why do exclude Santa Claus, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Cthulhu, transvestite space cowboys, invisible flying pink elephants as hypothesis for unexplained UFO sightings?

    moots (262):
    You claim we can exclude possibilities of which there is no evidence.

    No, we do not exclude ET visitors as possibility, but as credible explanation because there is no evidence of their existence. For the same reason we exclude Santa Claus, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Cthulhu, transvestite space cowboys, and invisible flying pink elephants.
    Also, explained UFO sightings have shown that misidentifications of known objects and phenomena happen all the time.

    Therefore a much more credible hypothesis for unexplained UFO sightings is misidentified mundane phenomena, because we know such phenomena actually exists in the real world and that they have been misidentified before.

    moots (262):
    I do not currently possess evidence that I will die tomorrow, therefore I can exclude this possibility. Using this logic, I can jump off a very tall bridge onto some pavement and I will not die from it because it will be tomorrow. Logical?

    You are comparing apples and oranges.

    Now, can you explain us in all the gory details why you consider Santa Claus, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Cthulhu, transvestite space cowboys, and invisible flying pink elephants are less credible than ET visitors?

  259. I really want to see one of those transvestite space cowboys.

    And actually, that hypothesis might add a whole new spin to the old anal probing phenomenon.

  260. Shalom

    Nigel says:
    Air Chief Marshall Dowding was not in a position to give any kind of authoritative evaluation of the evidence. How much scientific training had he?
    What about Ed Mitchell ? Mitchell earned a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial management from Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1952.[1] The following year he joined the US Navy where he trained as a pilot and flew off the aircraft carriers USS Bon Homme Richard and USS Ticonderoga. He later qualified as a research pilot and taught at the Navy’s research pilot school. While on active duty in the Navy, he earned a Master of Science degree in aeronautical engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School and a Doctor of Science degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[1] He currently resides in suburban West Palm Beach, FL.

  261. Shalom

    Nigel
    I learned from you that scientists are some kind of gods ! UAU. How naive is this kind of thought ! Like we lived in the USSR or in North Korea: “Hear, oh ordinary men, our great master will tell you the truth !” Science is ok, but scientists proved themselves wrong in many, many occasions. If this statement wouldn’t be true, there would be no debate in the scientific method, no peers revision… Come on, give me a break.

  262. Shalom

    Just remembering how perfect is scince: the flaws in data on the UN Climate Panel…

  263. Science is ok, but scientists proved themselves wrong in many, many occasions.

    Shalom thus explains for himself the OPINIONS of Ed Mitchell, et al.

  264. Mark Hansen

    Shalom, if you are the same Shalom Einstoss, please show where Nigel claimed that scientists are some kind of gods. If you cannot, I think an apology would be the honourable thing to do, wouldn’t it? Or is it standard practice for lawyers, if indeed you are one, to lie when convenient?

  265. steve boltzman

    >> Kean’s new book, “UFOs: Generals, Pilots & Govt Officials….<> The Null Hypothesis for UFO reports, of which I am one of a handful of champions, states that no extraordinary stimuli are required to produce the entire array of public UFO perceptions in all their rich variety, wonderment, and terror. Known phenomena have produced all types of what is commonly known as “UFO reports”, including apparitions of flying disks, radar and radio interference, terrifying chases and “intelligent maneuvers”, telepathic messages, “missing time” and hypnogenic narratives, recollections of participation in military UFO retrievals, actual “secret documents”, and so forth. There seem to be no types of reports which have not been, on record, produced at some point or another by prosaic stimuli and/or circumstances.<<

    The Null hypothesis of "UFO" reports: Everything's the same, there just aren't any REAL "UFOs," and there never were.

    http://www.debunker.com/texts/black_box_approach_to_ufo_perceptions.html

  266. This was a lot of years ago so my details will be off but the gist of this is true. I was at a users group meeting in Florida of Gould Computers (used 99% for aerospace & nuclear energy control units) [with analog and hybrid configurations] for reasons of insane real time computation of complex stuff. The RTM (real time core) was hard. – ie- not software but built-in binary code to maximize throughput. Questions from floor revealed that the downrange unit of air force tracking was having problems with a ‘purple cursor’ . Suddenly a purple cursor would pop up and begin tracking UFOs which were ASSUMED to be hostile incoming rockets – maybe even nuclear attack.

    It seems on the first such scramble the interceptor pilot radioed back that he had the object in direct view and was locked on. ‘ It is the moon – shall I destroy it?’

    Say again.

    ‘I have the moon in my sights. Should I shoot it down?

    It took counter programming to predict when this mysterious purple cursor would appear and put out a warning to ignore it. This counter measure made us open to a real attack that would follow the moon in – say from Cuba???

    It turns out the programmer of the purple cursor was now working for General Motors. As is the case with straight binary code, nobody else could read it and being so integral with other stuff not removed lest handskakes get fouled and cause shut downs. So this code was marked in the manusl (5 feet thick manuals) as ‘unsupported code’.

    So, if somebody saw a nice piece of memory sitting there where a scratch calculation could be made – and maybe activate this bit of hardwired code – a UFO was created, and planes sent to intercept yadda yadda yadda.

    I wonder if the folks who were directly involved know more detail here. But this is the first that I am aware of ‘Ghost in the machine’.

  267. charles

    What does everyone think about the 2010 UFO disclosure conference? Do you all believe these men are lying, telling the truth or simply dont know.

  268. Arne

    What a crazy argument imho?

    Astronomers don´t usually move around in the actual space do they?

    …you see this is extra funny when thinking about the real astronauts comming forward with info on the subject. Astronauts and Pilots are imho the very best reliable witnessess there is, not astronomers but sure lets say them to then?

    I´m sure a lot of crap in the sky (on photos) are fakes, but really, just to beleive we are alone in the entire universe is just plain stupid to me! That if anything shows how silly humans are and just cause our tech would be as advanced as a monkeys poking-stick compared to what potential alien visitors would need to have in their arsenal to get here just show how crazy it all sounds , get it now? Hmm most likely not! Agreed 100% charles, what about UFO disclosure project, I think they must have been exposured to swamp gas, lol.. In space, hahahaha…

    Clearly there is a huge force in ancion here making sure we normal people don´t have a chance to expose this but why? Lets just speculate shall we, far, far superior tech on the line if UFO´s are indeed alien ships, US goverment, military (hiding behind private corporations, aka weapons manufacturer) and they wouldn´t be interested in keeping that a secret to take it all by them selfd? Naa doesn´t sound like human behavioiur to me, lol.

    But sure for all what it´s worth let´s just stay were we are and not make progress as a species shall we? The earth was round 500 years ago and you could be burned for saying otherwise, yeah we are really civilised aren´t we? We have a long way to go and if there is a force greater then us up there then I´m glad cause it might be our only protection against blowing our selfs up or destroying our selfs before we can get there to.

    Now I don´t say I know there are aliens here but that is a potential explenation which to me makes perfect sence just like we are studuing other animals. The UFO phenonomen is real though and we all should chase the truth, incl US goverment

    Sorry for my bad language, misspells, grammar etc.. Not english native.

  269. Djin

    I suppose in theory there should be millions of space faring civilizations in the milky way galaxy alone which by averages we should have been visited thousands of times already if science is to be believed, but the fact that we havent detected any signs of et life is very odd. But i suspect that if an alien landed and went up to a astronomer and stuck a probe up his ass he would still say it was just the planet Venus. Just the same there are UFO spotters that claim my fake ufo vids on u-tube are genuine and have seen them also. But i have seen unexplained UFOs myself and alot of disbelievers and professional people like pilots and policemen have also experianced them also.

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