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Hoaxes are essential to establish a baseline of believability

  1. Jul 31, 2011 #1
    You've all seen the many YouTube videos claiming to be of some type of alien craft. The video editing techniques used in those videos are rather convincing to the eye.

    But at what point does the technology behind any given hoax supplant our power to reason? If the technology is superior enough, would not science itself prove to be a hoax?

    In order to believe in the reality of ET's, all that would be needed is a science of hoaxing that ultimately, and slowly, encroaches upon the very same thinking processes that we use to arrive at our scientific methods, analysis, and conclusions.

    There never needs to be a real ET. Historically and culturally embedded axiomatic intrusion will suffice!
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2011
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 1, 2011 #2


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    I'm thinking there are two ideas here:
    1. Your post subject: hoaxes are useful for establishing a baseline for credibility
    2. Your post content: A sufficiently elaborate hoax has no interpretive boundaries

    Your presentation of the ideas is a bit confusing, but let me see if I can capture them here.

    Hoaxes are useful for establishing a baseline for credibility
    I took this to mean that for any given "ET" claim, the evidence must be at least as good as the ability to fake that evidence. I agree with this. Given only two options, the the least likely explanation (ET visitation) must have evidence of sufficient veracity as to make the opposing explanation (hoax) impossible.

    Therefore, however convincing a hoax may be, the real thing must be even more convincing.

    Unfortunately, this presents us with a false dichotomy: either it is a hoax, or it is real. In actuality, a third option is much more prevalent: honest misidentification. So, while i agree with the thinking here, the conclusion is a little flimsy.​

    Any sufficiently elaborate hoax could have no boundaries for interpretation
    This one is harder for me to buy into. You're essentially arguing that it would be possible to hoax any part of our understanding of existence. This is a REALLY abstract idea. Given that the only means by which we have to measure our existence is science, and your proposition is that science could be a hoax of understanding, we're left with no tools to create the hoax, and no tools with which to identify the hoax. A hopeless situation.

    As an idea, it has almost no merit. Sorry. There are no ways to design an experiment to test the validity of science that isn't already a scientific experiment. In fact, science is constantly questioning itself, so in a way it's always trying to debunk itself as if it were a hoax. So if you start with the supposition that the efforts them selves are hopeless, then there's not much point in a discussion.

    Fortunately, hoax or not, science gives us real results: better medicine, new technology, and a means by which to better understand our place in the universe.​
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