Man calls emergency service to report flashing lights in the sky…

By Phil Plait | October 29, 2011 7:41 am

Recently, a man called the Hertfordshire (UK) police to report flashing lights in the sky… and, well, listen for yourself:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtYwqM2a-7o

Heh. Well, I’m actually glad he called back to admit his mistake!

You might think this is really unusual, but this call doesn’t surprise me at all. Take a look at the links in the Related Posts section below; people have reported Jupiter and balloons as UFOs, and the Moon has made an appearance once or twice as well. Even dust motes on old photographic plates have spurred warnings of a menace from space…

Tip o’ the tin foil beanie to Nancy Atkinson.


Related posts:

NYC Fox station reports Jupiter and balloons as UFOs
It’s a UFO, by Jove
That’s no moon… oh, wait, yes it is.
Giant spaceships to attack December 2012?
9-1-1, that spells "Moon"

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Humor

Comments (53)

Links to this Post

  1. U.K. Man Reports UFO, it’s Actually the Moon | My Blog | October 29, 2011
  1. cletus

    Ha! A few weeks ago a group from our local astro society was setting up at sundown, preparing to show some students the skies, when Deneb appeared … early … well before Vega. Thinking that pretty odd, as Vega is always the first thing to pop out of the early fall twilight, we put our scopes on it to reveal that it was a weather balloon, floating by chance precisely where Deneb would be expected. For a few minutes, though, it had half a dozen experienced observers scratching their heads.

  2. Weather balloons make great UFOs. I saw one when I lived in Dallas in 1975; because of its altitude it remained an orange glowing blob for some time after the sun set. I was puzzled by it until I got out the telescope and took a better look (and even then it took a few seconds before I remembered the image was upside down and realized what it was).

  3. PayasYouStargaze

    Not only did he call back and admit his mistake but he sounded really embarrassed about it. I bet he had a good laugh about it afterwards. The policewoman probably had a good laugh about it too after she hung up. Maybe he was a bit too quick to call the police in this occasion.

  4. I do have to wonder, however, how the Moon was “flashing”.

    (Cue “flasher” and “full moon” jokes.)

  5. Naked Bunny with a Whip

    Perhaps all such calls should be forwarded to Phil from now on.

    He gets far too much sleep right now, in my opinion. :-P

  6. noen

    He was obviously drunk.

    Drunk idiots calling 999 does not mean everyone else is a drunken idiot.

    One drunk calling the police doesn’t make all other reports false. That’s a pretty obvious logical fallacy.

    Laughing at drunks doesn’t make you better than they are.

  7. pete

    noen (#6) – Sure the caller was drunk, but the point is that he saw a quite ordinary thing (the Moon, probably low in the sky), and because it did not look exactly like the typical Moon, he assumed it was something else. He did not perform the simple checks for motion (line up two landmarks with the light), direction (if it’s low in the sky to the east or west near sunrise/sunset or moonrise/moonset, and so on.

    Maybe we need a “light in the sky” hotline, staffed by astronomers, to help people identify all these ordinary lights in the sky

  8. Chris

    @6 and 7
    He wasn’t drunk, that’s just the way the British talk.

    A week or so ago I thought I saw ROSAT burning up, but it turned out to be the sun reflecting off a regular plane. With the contrail it looked quite convincing for about 5 seconds.

  9. VinceRN

    It’s great how emergency operators stay calm no matter what is happening. Whether it’s crazy old drunks thinking the moon is a UFO or bullets are flying.

    @noen – no one is saying all people report UFOs are drunken idiots. Also, there is absolutely nothing wrong with laughing at drunken idiots.

  10. Wzrd1

    Over my half century of life, I’ve witnessed many, many, many UFO’s.
    Usually, it’s because I only had a glimpse of whatever was flying and hence, it was unidentified. On a few occasions, I was unable to identify what was flying, WITH a good look. But, that was far from unexpected, as I WAS on military bases where classified things “didn’t exist or fly”. ;)
    Now, do I believe in some extraterrestrial beings buzzing the Earth? Nope.
    Are most UFO sightings mistaken identification of other phenomena? Yep.
    Are some UFO sightings correct in that they are not known aircraft? Yep, there are quite a few things “not flying around or existing”, it’s called classified projects. Consider how long that the SR-71 Blackbird was classified. The stealth fighter and stealth bomber. Military satellites going up. UAV prototypes.
    Note that ET isn’t mentioned anywhere, trying to phone home. :D
    But then, I speak with two voices.
    The voice of reason.
    The voice of experience, experienced enough to have been present for the Osprey’s first horizontal flight, which was NOT the “first horizontal flight” witnessed by the VIP’s. ;)
    And a first hand experiencer of, “Wow! Did you see THAT?!”
    “No and neither did you.”
    “Yeah, but it wasn’t pretty cool, huh?”
    “Yep, it wasn’t.”

  11. BJN

    I didn’t hear a drunk. And the fellow was intelligent enough and humble enough to figure out and own his mistake. What kind of skeptic calls someone a drunk with no evidence?

  12. Joseph G

    @8 Chris @6 and 7
    He wasn’t drunk, that’s just the way the British talk.

    I’m sure they have similar misconceptions about Americans, particularly folks with southern accents :-P
    Heh, reminds me of this gag I saw on a comedy show once, with someone making reference to how Sean Connery talks and inferring that he’s drunk, and Sean (not the real one, obviously) replying “I’m not drunk, I’m Scottish!”

  13. Joseph G

    @Wzrd1: The voice of experience, experienced enough to have been present for the Osprey’s first horizontal flight, which was NOT the “first horizontal flight” witnessed by the VIP’s.
    And a first hand experiencer of, “Wow! Did you see THAT?!”
    “No and neither did you.”
    “Yeah, but it wasn’t pretty cool, huh?”
    “Yep, it wasn’t.”

    Hahaha, I love it!!
    Also, you must be in an interesting line of work to be privy to stuff like that. Is it your opinion, then, that there are still things not flying around that would be mistaken for UFOs (if they existed)?
    It’s been quite a few years since an aircraft was declassified (the F-117 was something like 20 years ago, wasn’t it?), unless I’m mistaken, but I suppose it’d be a mistake to assume that there aren’t any in the works…

  14. Robin Byron

    As a fire department captain in charge of an engine company, I always got a kick out of being a first responder on UFO calls. On the few occasions we collared ‘aliens’, they usually turned out to be teenagers attaching road flares to helium balloons (a pretty serious offense in the dry foothills of SoCal). All others were reported as “Children playing with lightening”, if my battalion chief had a sense of humor.

  15. Tim G

    I don’t like the way he used the phrase “per se”. He used it to mean “in actuality” rather than “in itself”.

    Anyway, perhaps clouds were playing a role.

  16. Nemo

    He didn’t say “flashing”, that I heard. I did hear “blazing”.

  17. MKS

    *chuckle* How British that clip was :)

    (I can imagine in the stereotypical USA the guy would be relentlessly ridiculed and/or sued)

    (which makes me think that again, the USA, I think, needs some sort of place where people can phone in ‘UFO’ sightings)

  18. Jason A.

    Clearly the men in black showed up and forced him to call back and rescind his sighting of the alien spacecraft.

  19. truthspeaker

    Noen, where do you get off calling this guy a drunk?

  20. WJM

    Isn’t there some place in the states where people have a ritual involving viewing the “UFO” that keeps appearing in the western sky in the evening right around the time, oddly enough, that Venus is at its maximum elongation?

  21. Wzrd1

    @#14,Joseph G: Yes, my life was PLENTY interesting. Enough to cause me loss of sleep, some nights. Indeed, enough to drive me to drink other nights.
    Interestingly enough, never saw a UFO that would drive me to call 911 or 999 over whist drinking said sufficiency.
    Yes, I saw a LOT of things that “didn’t exist”.
    Saw a lot of other things I wish didn’t happen or exist.
    One would, at first blush, consider it a blessing.
    Upon further consideration of what one sees on the ground, it’s a curse.
    As when I presented mom with her 5 year old, who was deceased, with a skull so mobile that he no longer owned a stable face, courtesy of my own round (seeking his elder brother, who had dropped two of my men, the kid poked out at the same spot his elder brother shot from, 30 seconds before.)
    So, it’s a REAL mixed bag. Cool at times, major suckage at others.
    But, I try to go for the absurd and positive.
    My mirror in the morning being absurd.
    Life, being positive. :)
    Still, some things hurt. A lot.

  22. flip

    Sigh… I wonder about how intelligent people are sometimes. I don’t think I could ever confuse the moon with something else, and even if I did, I’d go research before thinking it was a UFO. People who don’t think to look something up before wasting police time. Who calls emergency over a strange flashing light? Unless you hear engine noise or a crash landing, why waste their time with it?

    I live under a flight path too, but I’ve never once gotten a plane (at night or day) confused with a star, planet, the sun or the moon. (He’s obviously more familiar with planes than seeing the moon… which makes me wonder about why society is more attuned to that than the more natural phenomena of you know, our solar system)

    #6, noen

    “He was obviously drunk”

    What gave you that impression? I certainly didn’t get that from the call.

    #15 Robin Byron,

    What’s “children playing with lightening”? Hope you meant “lighting”.

  23. noen

    truthspeaker said:
    Noen, where do you get off calling this guy a drunk?

    Because there is evidence he is intoxicated (drugs or alcohol):
    1. He slurs his words in addition to his accent.
    2. He thinks it’s moving. “It’s coming towards me”

    People who are intoxicated often mistake their own eye movements for an object moving on it’s own. I consider his belief that the moon was moving in the sky to be strong evidence of intoxication. Been there, done that, had trees leap out and hit me, the b@stards.

    VinceRN said:
    no one is saying all people report UFOs are drunken idiots. Also, there is absolutely nothing wrong with laughing at drunken idiots.

    The subtext is certainly there and yes, it is wrong to put other people down to make yourself feel superior. It is a bone that I have to pick with the “geek culture” found on the internet that it tends towards arrogance and snobbery of anyone perceived to be of a lower class than they are. I will always call people out when they do that.

    Wzrd1 said:
    “But, I try to go for the absurd and positive.”

    Ah yes, I recognize that, it’s a common enough reaction to trauma. I know it well. The thing to remember is that the reason people ridicule others is because they are afraid. They are not secure enough in themselves to be able to withstand the shock of something outside of their little world. Laughing at the drunk who was frightened by the moon has the consequence of silencing the Iraq vet who saw things that were truly frightening. That’s very sad.

  24. I had this same experience myself once. It was a few weeks after I saw the Peter Jennings special on UFOs, in which one of the anecdotes involved a pilot reporting the Moon emerging from behind some clouds as an enormous, bright UFO. I was walking around outside my house, looking at the young Moon playing hide-and-seek in the clouds, and at come point got distracted by something else – and looked back to the West to see an huge, glowing, pointed object coming out of the clouds. Of course, it was one of the horns of the Moon, but for a second I forgot myself in the excitement.

  25. Joseph G

    @Wzrd1: So, it’s a REAL mixed bag. Cool at times, major suckage at others.
    Truer words. You’ve pretty much captured life in a nutshell.

    Still, some things hurt. A lot.
    Damn, I can’t imagine!! I’m sorry you had to go through that (and very grateful that you volunteered so folks like me wouldn’t have to).

  26. Joseph G

    @25 noen: The subtext is certainly there and yes, it is wrong to put other people down to make yourself feel superior. It is a bone that I have to pick with the “geek culture” found on the internet that it tends towards arrogance and snobbery of anyone perceived to be of a lower class than they are. I will always call people out when they do that.

    That’s kinda sad. One reason I like to consider myself “a geek” is that it seems like the culture isn’t (ideally) aimed at conforming to exclusionary social conventions. Your role-playing-game geek isn’t going to look down on your Star Trek geek or vice versa, at least, that’s the way it’s “supposed” to work.
    I do hope you continue to call people on that when you see it.

    That said, I do think it’s fair to ridicule people to whom it is patiently demonstrated that that bright light in the sky is Venus, and who then continue to insist that it was not just an unidentified light, but an interstellar spacecraft full of light-bulb-headed aliens, and that you’re just part of the conspiracy to cover it all up. Sometimes, ridicule is the correct response.

    This guy doesn’t appear to fall into that category, though :)

  27. james

    @Chris

    That isn’t ‘just how the British talk’.

    Firstly, he was Scotish and secondly he was slurring his words, so was almost certainly a little drunk.

  28. Argus

    “No other object has been misidentified as a flying saucer more often than the planet Venus.”

    Somebody had to say it

  29. abadidea

    I don’t get what’s wrong with giggling at drunk people (regardless of whether this individual is drunk – I can’t tell, not familiar enough with the accent), because they (presumably) *chose* to be drunk, knowing full well it might make them do something silly. I shouldn’t even say “make”, because it’s not as it free will goes entirely out the window.

  30. Wzrd1

    Now, I WILL be honest and say that I HAVE watched a flying saucer. It was accompanied in formation with a flying cup.
    OK, more falling than flying.
    But, the authorities weren’t necessary, only a mop, broom and dust pan.
    But then, that is no paranormal event, it was a domestic accident. ;)

    Now, as for putting down a drunk, not at all. I’ve been known to tip back a few too many over the years, to mock them is to mock myself and I have many better things to mock myself over. ;)
    I DO put down people who cannot accept reality, which the caller DID accept reality and reported his gaffe. In THAT, I’d thank him.
    Though I DO wonder what they expect emergency services to do about ANYTHING flying around. Have the police pull the aircraft over? If something landed or crashed, THEN emergency services would have something to do.
    When my wife and I were driving home from the beach some years ago, we witnessed a green fireball moving from west to east and explode over central New Jersey. The only one I called was my wife’s attention to its passage.
    I then remarked how I wish I could have a sample of that meteor, to give to one of our local universities for analysis and study. No calls to the police were necessary.
    Now, had a fragment come down and dented my car, a call to the police would be in order. To provide provenance for the specimen. :)

  31. Robin Byron

    @flip – Right, that was meant to be “Children playing with lightning”; a very old FD scapegoat for fires of unknown origin. A master of superfluous vowels, I still haven’t managed to bring down the Intertubes, yet.

  32. Ganzy

    Man makes mistaken assumption that a blazing light in the sky (the Moon) is a UFO.

    Some commenters make mistaken assumption that the guy calling the cops was drunk.

    Seems a bit ironic…

    Ok, so i’m assuming he was not drunk, by my comment above, but just to make the point.

    He was slurring his words: He could have Multiple Sclerosis. My mother has and she speaks the same way. She was even asked to leave a resteraunt one evening while out with my father, because the owner thought she was drunk. This was 2 months before she was diagnosed with MS 20 years ago.

    He could have been hallucinating: He could have Parkinsons disease and his dopamine overloaded brain could have caused his hallucinations. A close friends father has Parkinsons and she told me only 2 weeks ago, that as she was driving him along the motorway at 70mph he kept looking out the passenger side window convinced that a guy was running along side them.

    As the scientists keep saying, things are not always as they appear – or sound…

  33. flip

    #33, Robin

    How does one play with lightening? With kites?

    #25, noen

    I think there could be other explanations for thinking the moon is moving; for a start, cloud cover and tree branches waving in the dark that might not be clearly differentiated against the sky. He doesn’t really say much about distance or the general appearance of the sky and his surroundings, so if it’s a good way off with nothing much in the way of background or foreground information, it might be easy to think something is moving when it isn’t. That is all assuming he’s standing still too, and not moving about trying to get a better look which would heighten the effects. As you said: I’ve been there and done that.

  34. R2K

    ‘I don’t know what it is.” x 15 times

  35. John P

    ‘That isn’t ‘just how the British talk’.
    Firstly, he was Scotish….’

    Eh? Isn’t that like saying ‘he hasn’t got an American accent, he’s from Montana’?

  36. Nigel Depledge

    Joseph G (13) said:

    I’m sure they have similar misconceptions about Americans, particularly folks with southern accents

    Probably not so much these days, as about a third of the shows on TV here come from America.

    Heh, reminds me of this gag I saw on a comedy show once, with someone making reference to how Sean Connery talks and inferring that he’s drunk, and Sean (not the real one, obviously) replying “I’m not drunk, I’m Scottish!”

    Particularly when playing a Russian sub captain.

    “Give me a ping, Vasily. One ping only.”

    Classic.

  37. Nigel Depledge

    Noen (25) said:

    truthspeaker said:
    Noen, where do you get off calling this guy a drunk?

    Because there is evidence he is intoxicated (drugs or alcohol):
    1. He slurs his words in addition to his accent.

    Could be a speech impediment, or extreme tiredness. I’ve found it pretty hard to enunciate clearly after arriving home following a 12-hour night-shift. This is not – by itself – indicative of drunkenness.

    2. He thinks it’s moving. “It’s coming towards me”

    This means nothing – it’s just a consequence of the rather inadequate way that human perceptions deal with stuff that it outside the familiar.

    People who are intoxicated often mistake their own eye movements for an object moving on it’s own.

    Perhaps this is so, but “A results in B” does not mean “B, therefore A”.

    There are many other reasons why a person might see motion that is illusory. If you don’t believe me, get a piece of plain paper and a black marker pen. Mark a point in the middle of the paper and then draw many straight lines radiating from that point, so many that you cannot easily see how many without counting them. Then stare at the pattern it for about 10 seconds. Most people will see movement of some kind that is nothing to do with the movement of their eyeballs or their head, and is obviously not real movement of the pattern. It is an illusion.

    I consider his belief that the moon was moving in the sky to be strong evidence of intoxication.

    It ain’t.

    Been there, done that, had trees leap out and hit me, the b@stards.

    Do you know someone named Durkon, perchance? (yes, this is a geeky pop-culture reference)

    VinceRN said:
    no one is saying all people report UFOs are drunken idiots. Also, there is absolutely nothing wrong with laughing at drunken idiots.

    The subtext is certainly there and yes, it is wrong to put other people down to make yourself feel superior.

    No. There is no implication that all reports of UFOs are by drunken idiots. Many of the reports are made by deluded idiots. And some are by poeple who genuinely have no idea what they saw and some vague curiosity about what it might actually be, and aren’t idiots at all, merely ignorant.

    And it really is OK to laugh at drunken idiots unless (a) their drinks were spiked and their drunkenness is involuntary, or (b) they actually hurt someone. Laughing at a drunken idiot is not putting anyone down – I am sure that they (once they were sober) would be among the first people to describe themselves as idiots. And even if it were putting someone down, it does not mean that the person doing the put-down does it to feel superior.

    It is a bone that I have to pick with the “geek culture” found on the internet that it tends towards arrogance and snobbery of anyone perceived to be of a lower class than they are. I will always call people out when they do that.

    And you often perceive it when it does not exist.

    This has (IIRC) cropped up on previous threads. You assume that you understand the motivation and emotions of someone who dissects a poor or unsupported argument, when you have no grounds to do so.

    Wzrd1 said:
    “But, I try to go for the absurd and positive.”

    Ah yes, I recognize that, it’s a common enough reaction to trauma. I know it well. The thing to remember is that the reason people ridicule others is because they are afraid.

    Nope. Very often people ridicule someone because that person is being ridiculous. This almost always crops up on the BA’s UFO threads. Anyone who makes the leap “UFO = space aliens” and who does not accept the fallacy when it is explicitly pointed out is being ridiculous and is therefore fair game for laughing and pointing.

  38. R2K

    It is annoying when people ignore the sky for 99% of their life, only to look up one day and instantly know they are seeing UFOs. If you don’t put in the time to understand what you see, do us all a favor and just keep your head down as usual.

  39. Nigel Depledge

    James (29) said:

    That isn’t ‘just how the British talk’.

    Well, I’m not able to hear the recording due to the firewall at my place of work (maybe I’ll listen to it if I get the chance while I’m at home this evening), but the last time I looked Scotland was indeed located in the British Isles. And mainland Scotland is about one-third of Great Britain.

    Firstly, he was [Scots] . . . so was almost certainly a little drunk.

    (My correction of a terminological inexactitude.)

    OK, I’ll grant you that.

    Just kidding, folks ! ;-)

  40. That_Guy

    #39
    Do you know someone named Durkon, perchance? (yes, this is a geeky pop-culture reference)

    OOTS +1

    #41
    Firstly, he was [Scots] . . . so was almost certainly a little drunk.

    (My correction of a terminological inexactitude.)

    OK, I’ll grant you that.

    Wait.. a LITTLE drunk??? ;)

  41. noen

    Nigel —— You see…. I am a skeptic so what happens to me is that I get accused of being a conservative on liberal sites when I question whatever gossip or rumor they are passing around that day and I get accused of being a UFO believer when I question the extremely poor arguments some people use and I get accused of being a Christian when I criticize atheists of their dumb arguments against religion….. and so it goes and goes and goes.

    Is the guy drunk? Of course he is…. he thinks the moon is a spacecraft! That’s really all the evidence I need for that. NO ONE believes or has ever believed that the moon is a UFO. No one.

    “This means nothing – it’s just a consequence of the rather inadequate way that human perceptions deal with stuff that it outside the familiar.”

    Are you SERIOUSLY arguing that there are people in the UK who are unfamiliar with what the moon is? Do you ever listen to yourself?

    “Do you know someone named Durkon, perchance?”

    I’m not a geek and I have a life outside of the internet and have never played WoW. It was a joke honey. Try and relax. It’s not like any of this is actually important.

    “This has (IIRC) cropped up on previous threads.”

    Yes it has. I am a liberal but I criticize liberals when I think they are unfairly judging others. I am a skeptic but I criticize other skeptics when they are unfair to believers in woo. I am an agnostic but I criticize atheists when they are unfair to theists. I also criticize conservatives and they think I am a radical Leftist and… you can fill in the rest.

    Silly me.

    “Very often people ridicule someone because that person is being ridiculous.”

    But it doesn’t work. That isn’t how you get people to change their minds. Or…. if you like… then if you have the right to ridicule those you believe are ridiculous then I have the right to do the same. See how that works?

  42. PayasYouStargaze

    @43 neon

    I am a skeptic so what happens to me is that I get accused of being a conservative on liberal sites when I question whatever gossip or rumor they are passing around that day and I get accused of being a UFO believer when I question the extremely poor arguments some people use and I get accused of being a Christian when I criticize atheists of their dumb arguments against religion….. and so it goes and goes and goes.

    You may claim to be a sceptic but your history here shows that you actually support any woo and nonsense. A sceptic questions whether something is possible. What you do is question those who question that which there is no evidence.

    Is the guy drunk? Of course he is…. he thinks the moon is a spacecraft! That’s really all the evidence I need for that. NO ONE believes or has ever believed that the moon is a UFO. No one.

    He doesn’t sound drunk to me. Are you seriously trying to claim that sober people have never been mistaken by what they’ve seen? We can’t tell if the man is drunk, but at least the poor guy realised he was being silly and apologised.

    Are you SERIOUSLY arguing that there are people in the UK who are unfamiliar with what the moon is? Do you ever listen to yourself?

    LOL The whole point of UFO sightings is that mundane things are poorly identified. The moon is a very common UFO sighting and not just in the UK. The point is that people can be fooled by their senses.

    I’m not a geek and I have a life outside of the internet and have never played WoW. It was a joke honey. Try and relax. It’s not like any of this is actually important.

    Apparently you didn’t get Nigel’s joke.

    Yes it has. I am a liberal but I criticize liberals when I think they are unfairly judging others. I am a skeptic but I criticize other skeptics when they are unfair to believers in woo. I am an agnostic but I criticize atheists when they are unfair to theists. I also criticize conservatives and they think I am a radical Leftist and… you can fill in the rest.

    The problem is that you treat any and all criticism as unfair. When dealing with absurd branches of woo there is no real unfair criticism because the subject matter is that innane. This includes fundamentalist religious beliefs.

    But it doesn’t work. That isn’t how you get people to change their minds. Or…. if you like… then if you have the right to ridicule those you believe are ridiculous then I have the right to do the same. See how that works?

    Ridicule does work, though not in all cases. In some cases it can be a powerful tool to seed some doubt in the believers mind. The kind of doubt that will eventually build up until they decide to find out the truth for themselves. The problem is that when one tries to ridicule non-ridiculous ideas, then it’s the ridiculer who ends up looking ridiculous. Ridiculous is not necessarily a matter of opinion. In the case of woo, “UFOs” and religion, the subject matter is ridiculous on it’s own merits.

  43. Infinite123Lifer

    And after reading all that I am going to go get drunk and post a whole bunch of stuff. . .or will I be drunk?

    You decide. Or don’t decide.

    That is the question

  44. flip

    #37, John P

    Interesting – I had always thought that British referred to English people only, and that it was often confused with people belonging to the UK. I started off writing this comment in order to correct you, but decided to look up a reference first… glad I did, because it turns out I was wrong! Thanks for teaching me something new :)

  45. flip

    #43, noen

    Is the guy drunk? Of course he is…. he thinks the moon is a spacecraft! That’s really all the evidence I need for that. NO ONE believes or has ever believed that the moon is a UFO. No one.

    Wow, your evidence is basically… ‘no one could be that stupid’. Yeah, that’s really some great evidence you got there.

    Now, before you begin replying:

    To me, he just sounds old and either confused or just frail. But if someone posted a photo dated of the time of the phone call, or a video of the actual phone call, with the person in question and liquor-based drinks in the background or in the person’s hand. If the guy turns up somewhere in an interview or somewhere else and says “yep, I was drunk”.. then I’d say he was probably drunk. What we have is an audio recording and no other context. Including a lot of information about what the sky was like, the weather, the neighbourhood and height of buildings, etc etc. There’s a lot of stuff that’s just unknown, and you’ve gone from “he’s ignorant because he can’t recognise the moon” to “he’s drunk” with no cause.

    I thought the skeptic mantra was “show me the evidence”. In which case I say to you: show me proof he’s drunk.

    It’s not like any of this is actually important.

    Then why are you here complaining?

    This has (IIRC) cropped up on previous threads.

    Yes it has.

    And when we criticise you, you complain about it… Very rarely have I read any comments from you that weren’t criticisms of either what Phil posted or what a commenter posted. Do you leave comments on the pretty Hubble photos? Or do you just come here to vent?

    or as PayasYouStargaze put it

    What you do is question those who question that which there is no evidence.

  46. PayasYouStargaze

    @flip

    Thanks for quoting me, though I’m sure there’s something grammatically incorrect about it. I think there should be a “for” in there somewhere.

    Also, English people from England, Scottish people from Scotland, Welsh people from Wales and Irish people from Northern Ireland can all be described as British people from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The UK is the four nations named there. Great Britain is the largest island of the British Isles comprising England, Wales and Scotland.

    Irish people from the Republic of Ireland should not be called British though. They will not like it one bit. However Ireland as a whole is one of the British Isles, the 2nd largest. Be careful out there, it’s a minefield!

  47. Nigel Depledge

    Noen (43) said:

    Are you SERIOUSLY arguing that there are people in the UK who are unfamiliar with what the moon is? Do you ever listen to yourself?

    Er, yes. On both counts.

    Are you seriously suggesting that everyone in the UK would recognise the moon every time they see it no matter what the circumstance, unless they are drunk?

    Oh, wait, that’s exactly what you do suggest. Do you ever listen to yourself?

    And, BTW, the stats are on my side this time. The moon has indeed been reported several times as a UFO, and not just in the UK, and not just by people who were drunk.

    “Do you know someone named Durkon, perchance?”

    I’m not a geek and I have a life outside of the internet and have never played WoW. It was a joke honey.

    Erm, yeah, and you obviously didn’t get my humorous reference. I also have never played WoW (and this is the first time I have ever used this set of initials to refer to it). You also make being a geek sound like a bad thing. I am a geek and I have a life outside the t’internet, but this is not really any kind of big deal. Were you trying to make a point?

    Try and relax. It’s not like any of this is actually important.

    So why were you making such a big deal out of it?

    “This has (IIRC) cropped up on previous threads.”

    Yes it has. I am a liberal but I criticize liberals when I think they are unfairly judging others. I am a skeptic but I criticize other skeptics when they are unfair to believers in woo. I am an agnostic but I criticize atheists when they are unfair to theists. I also criticize conservatives and they think I am a radical Leftist and… you can fill in the rest.

    I have never seen you criticised for anything other than making a bad argument.

    On this thread, you cited two pieces of evidence and concluded that the guy was drunk, and yet there are plenty of other possible explanations for those two pieces of evidence that you did not consider. In what way were you being sceptical?

    Silly me.

    Well, quite, but probably not in the way you meant it.

    “Very often people ridicule someone because that person is being ridiculous.”

    But it doesn’t work. That isn’t how you get people to change their minds.

    Wait, who said anything about trying to do this?

    Or…. if you like… then if you have the right to ridicule those you believe are ridiculous then I have the right to do the same. See how that works?

    Erm, yeah. It’s called human social interaction. It happens everywhere, all the time. The standards of “ridiculous” depend on the context and the social group.

    What I don’t get is why we – in the very broadest sense – refrain from ridiculing the ridiculous in certain circumstances. If someone chooses to believe in – for example – an undetectable and yet all-powerful deity the existence of which is supported by not the slightest shred of evidence, why is it that we are required to respect that choice? I do, of course, respect the person’s right to so believe, in the same way that I respect their right to wear orange and purple at the same time. But why is it that the one ridiculous behaviour is protected from ridicule and the other is not?

  48. John P

    @flip

    No problem! I always wonder why President Obama refers to us (as a nation) as the English so often, didn’t realise it was such a widespread misconception over there. Spread the word! :)

  49. flip

    #48 Payasyoustargaze & #50 John P

    I’m Aussie, but somehow I think the misconception is one I had a long time ago and temporarily got fixed during a stint for a company where I had to know the UK area for categorisation purposes. I did know there was a difference between UK and other terminology, perhaps I just forgot it over time. Thanks for setting me straight.

  50. John P

    Ah, I often automatically assume everyone on the Internet is American in lieu of evidence to the contrary, apologies :) – I must stop doing that!

  51. Matt B.

    I can’t see the video because it’s been made private since it was repeated here.

    Here’s my own story, though: I was once freaked out by the appearance of the moon when a narrow but sharply defined cloud passed in front of it. At first, it made the moon seem to be in the wrong phase. Then it bisected the moon as a dark stripe. I was able to use it as an excuse to end a 10-hour conversation (not that I didn’t enjoy it, but it was 2:30 am).

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