Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

UFOs: Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go On the Record

  1. Sep 6, 2010 #1

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    ... a new book by Leslie Kean.
    https://www.amazon.com/UFOs-Generals-Pilots-Government-Officials/dp/0307716848

    I don't normally promote something like this, but I was struck by Stephen Colbert's soft-glove treatment of Kean when she appeared on his show recently. I have always liked Kean, so eventually I planned to get around to reading this. But after reading the reviews, cripes, this sounds pretty good! I guess I had better get a copy on its way. If anyone has read this, reviews are welcome.

     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2010
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 7, 2010 #2

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Last edited: Sep 7, 2010
  4. Sep 7, 2010 #3

    FlexGunship

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I'm not sure I can take any UFO books seriously, anymore. The most honest treatment of any UFO sighting would end in the phrase: "...or it could've been, you know, whatever."

    Frankly, people put too much credence on their own observations. The human sensory system is amazing by any standard; really, a marvel of biological engineering and evolutionary achievement. But, c'mon, we're routinely fooled by optical illusions, tricked peripheral aberrations, and stumped by lateral inhibition.

    I've seen UFOs. For real. But I certainly don't ascribe them to alien intelligences (as many do)... I simply disregard them as "you know, whatever."

    That being said, maybe this book doesn't handle UFOs in the traditional manner. Kaku seems to have something nice to say; but then again, he's been getting more and more fanciful the whiter his hair gets.
     
  5. Sep 7, 2010 #4

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Wouldn't it make sense to read the book before commenting?

    I can tell that you know little to nothing about this subject.
     
  6. Sep 7, 2010 #5

    FlexGunship

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Well, I think I was fair in my disclaimer. I stated clearly that I didn't know how the book handled UFOs. But don't you think it's fair to say that most books treat UFOs as though they were intelligently controlled craft?

    Furthermore, if you read the description on Amazon (which you didn't quote), you can see that the author seems to harbor (hide?) the idea that UFOs might actually be intelligently controlled aircraft (or spacecraft).

    I agree that it fun to fantasize about this stuff! Wouldn't it be cool if an alien civilization discovered life on a distant planet out here on the Western Spiral Arm of the Milky Way?

    But it's a bit silly to think that their best scientific minds (the same ones responsible for creating their incredible spacecraft) drafted proposals for first contact situations. Submitted them for review, debated for years, and carefully selected the crews to make first contact with new life. They then chose the best pilots for these spacecraft, trained them for years, fueled up and set off to meet human beings.

    Finally... they arrive at Earth. And they just dick around with airplanes, and buzz corn fields, and blink lights over cities?!

    Can't we get past the "alien" theory?

    EDIT: BTW, I just ordered the book. I'll have a look.
     
  7. Sep 7, 2010 #6

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    That has nothing to do with my response. And I don't know what "most UFO books say", however I do know a bit about the facts. I can tell by the nature of your comments that you know little about the subject.

    If you want to start a thread to learn the basics, go ahead, but please don't derail this thread with uninformed comments.

    You might want to review the UFO napster at the top of the page, before commenting further. There you will find many of the cases that Kean addresses in her book.
    https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=2805
     
  8. Sep 7, 2010 #7

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I get that impression from this sort of thing all the time. From the description in Amazon:
    Actual fying objects that seem to defy the laws of physics. Theres's really only two possibilities about what "these objects" are:

    1. Military aircraft/spacecraft with capabilities well beyond what non-military scientists are aware is possible (ie, the government has its own laws of physics that are different than what is known outside of government).

    2. Alien spacecraft (also operating on different laws of physics than what is accepted by scientists).

    These possibilities are inescapable and profound and mentioned very briefly on her website, but only briefly and are only hinted at obliquely here. Why? Why avoid dealing with the stakes of the game?
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2010
  9. Sep 7, 2010 #8
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
  10. Sep 7, 2010 #9

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    If you wish to artificially limit the possibilities, that's your leap of faith, not hers or mine. The general consensus, according to her, according to the officials involved, is precisely what I've been saying for years: No one really knows what is going on. We only know that there are plenty of cases that are well supported, exotic, and unexplained. Sometimes they do clearly involve objects that are structured crafts, or appear to be, by all accounts. They also show up on one or more RADAR screens, in some cases.

    The problem is that many people cannot simply accept the facts, according to the best information available, without drawing conclusions. That is why, for example, I have had to explain many times that "UFO" does not automatically imply alien spacecraft. In fact the military started using the term UFO to avoid such automatic implications. Dr. Haines, a well knows researcher, had adopted the term UAP - unidentified aerial phenomenon - to further generalize the concept as per the range of the reports.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2010
  11. Sep 7, 2010 #10

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Is it being argued that highly credible and well supported reports, including those coming from official government sources, such as the FAA, the DOD, the NSA, or the CIA, should be accepted, or rejected, based on the expectations of the investigator? Should language and descriptions that might be suggestive of an ET presense be deleted for the sake of comfort?
     
  12. Sep 8, 2010 #11

    FlexGunship

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Ad hoc dismissal? Dissenting ideas aren't welcome? I hadn't realized that UFO conspiracy theories were tolerated on PF (this is my first time mucking about in the Skepticism and Debunking section).

    How about you read the basics about honest inquiry into this subject? I understand I'm replying to someone with significantly more posts than me so I'm trying to retain a significant amount of respect.

    Keep in mind this phenomenon consists of observations of objects that have the follow characteristics:

    I'm sure people who see UFOs honestly believe whatever they say. ("Never attribute to malice that which can adequately be explained by stupidity.") But, honestly, can't we get past the idea at this point? It was fun for... maybe, 30 years.

    EDIT: I tried my best not to pick from single sources too much. And, where possible, I always used an article from a major newspaper. However, you'll notice that some sources are less than reliable. My point is that they run the full spectrum.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  13. Sep 8, 2010 #12

    FlexGunship

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

  14. Sep 8, 2010 #13
    Come on, really? You want to add to the discussion with a statement that all documented UFO sightings can be explained by "what ever". It really makes no sense. Rather than adding anything to the discussion, your just obfuscating it.

    If your going to partake in a serious discussion, as a skeptic, you have to be a little more mature than that don't you?

    Perhaps you could pick one of the most "convincing UFO sightings", and explain your theory that it could have been whatever.
     
  15. Sep 8, 2010 #14
    In what way does that link support the statement he has a conspiracy fetish?

    And I'm sure you probably mean conspiracy theory fetish right?
     
  16. Sep 8, 2010 #15
    Honestly, I do not get it? You compile a long list of links. You say sure some of them are not credible. You say your point is that "they" (I guess your referring to the internet?) cover everything. But then to help obfuscate what the big idea your trying to get across you add some quote about malice and stupidity.

    If I had to guess what your trying to say, it's "see, here are a bunch of links", now you guys are going to take me serious, it now appears I do have some knowledge of the subject. It would be nice to hear your explanation of what your point of the malice and stupidity quote is supposed to mean in this context.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  17. Sep 8, 2010 #16

    FlexGunship

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Eh, your criticism is fair enough. I don't take the phenomenon very seriously anymore, so you're right to say I didn't handle it very maturely.

    Allow me to state my position formally: the UFO phenomenon readily accepts into it such a widely varied set of observations unquestioningly that ANY investigation is suspect. The entire realm is so muddled with inane reports that it is impossible to take them seriously. The terms on which a single report is deemed "reliable" is arbitrarily determined by a person's credentials and not be the evidence supporting their claim.

    As such, I'd invite you to point towards a single claim that includes with it a significant amount of evidence that does not rely on the credibility of eye-witness observers. Furthermore, the evidence must be compelling enough such that's its fabrication is LESS likely than the thing which it is trying to prove.
     
  18. Sep 8, 2010 #17
    It's a bit silly to assume that the engineers of the spacecrafts would be the ones to draft the expedition proposals.

    It is also kind of silly to assume that they would necessarily send live biological crews rather than just robots.

    And third, it is silly to assume they necessarily intended to make contact with humans.

    And lastly, say they were/are here, how would you know that all they came to do is duck around planes..... etc.

    My point is that your attacking a straw man.
     
  19. Sep 8, 2010 #18

    Chronos

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    UFO's are a real puzzle to me, as well. Clearly, people have been seeing something over the years, but, what is a mystery. Their behavior is enigmatic. If piloted by alien intelligence, it is an intelligence unlike our own. Then again, their technology is also unlike our own. Our inability to fathom their purposes may not be unlike the paleo indians when confronted with europeon technology. Personally, I doubt the government knows a great deal more than the general public. In that case, their reluctance to comment is understandable. Perhaps they [the aliens] hold us in contempt, but, try do the 'humane' thing - avoid causing needless panic while going about whatever business they are conducting.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2010
  20. Sep 8, 2010 #19
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2010
  21. Sep 8, 2010 #20

    FlexGunship

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I've raised my quality of discussion. Waiting on you.
     
  22. Sep 8, 2010 #21
    Go to UFO napster sticky in the Skepticism and Debunking forum.

    Credible accounts usually don't come from people trying to prove something. So it is hard to respond how you want. And how can I ascribe the likely hood of this "thing it is trying to prove"? In many cases I find it unlikely that multiple professionals including air traffic control, pilots for airlines, and the airforce, etc are in on a plot to fool everyone. I suppose that is possible though.

    I however do find it plausible that in some of these cases the observers and instruments may have been honest in their descriptions. And I don't find it unlikely that some of these accounts are explainable, and some of these may be classified military craft. I have no solid convictions yet, but I calculate it is possible for a spacecraft to be of ET origins.

    I have other ideas of what some of them could have been, but it might be a violation of forum rules to go too in depth about it.

    I don't mean to be to harsh to you. I understand where your coming from. It is mind numbingly stupid what some people try and sell.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2010
  23. Sep 8, 2010 #22

    FlexGunship

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Firstly, if you admit that "credible reports" and "compelling reports" are mutually exclusive, why bother putting any weight on the UFO phenomenon anyway?

    Secondly, I return to my earlier quote "never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." It doesn't have to be a hoax or a plot to deceive. Instead, many people simply have never been confronted with something their brains have utterly failed to interpret. When encountered with that scenario, rather than go "geeze, I don't know" they ascribe it to ghosts, UFOs, angels, or some other nonsense.
     
  24. Sep 8, 2010 #23
    Just because you don't know what it is, doesn't mean it's non-existent. It's mysterious and some people wonder what's going on. So when the government releases post classified documents which might shed more light on the mystery, curious people will be compelled to read it.

    Calling it a UFO, is kind of like going geeze "I don't know". That is what is so mysterious about it.

    I guess though it does imply that it is both flying, and an object. If it is in the air, and it is an object, I guess it is flying. The question is wether it is actually an object or not. One argument for the object idea, is they say, "only objects can be picked up on radar", I don't know if that is completely true?
     
  25. Sep 8, 2010 #24

    FlexGunship

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Well, everyone believes in "UFOs" in the strictest sense. I've seen plenty of airborne objects that I cannot identify. I've also had "non-normal" experiences in my home (will not call it paranormal).

    My problem is when people anthropomorphisize the mystery. They claim aliens, pan-dimensional beings, ghosts, angels and other exotic things are governing what they see. There's simply no evidence for it. People simply assume that they are immune to trickery, confusion, and illusion; they assume that they are the only bastion of reason and rational thought so 'surely, i cannot be fooled.'

    It doesn't have to be a hoax, just honest misunderstanding. I would be baffled too if I saw lights hovering over a barn that suddenly disappeared. But i would ask myself: "which is more rational: that I, alone or with a group, have become the sole recipient of final proof that intelligences beyond earth have discovered humans and are performing elaborate investigations by flying complex craft from their homeworld to a barn in the middle of nowhere... or that I just saw whatever?"

    Here I use "whatever" as a stand-in for the complexities of human experience. Light shining off of a flock of birds. Atmospheric refraction. Swamp gas. Whatever! Which is honestly more likely? That I have the perfect frame of reference from which to judge the reality of what I'm seeing, or that I (like countless others) have been fooled by something, perhaps mundane, that I'm not equipped to comprehend.

    Furthermore, if you admit that just one credible individual can make an honest mistake, why can't another? If there's one hoax, why not two? If one group is tricked by Venus, why not that other group? Wouldn't that be a reasonable way to think until actual proof arrives? Isn't that really the intellectual high-ground? Can you imagine what real proof would look like?

    I know precisely what it would take to prove to me that the UFO phenomenon is attributable (in part) to extraterrestrial life. But do you know precisely what it would take for someone to prove to you that UFOs are NOT aliens?
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2010
  26. Sep 8, 2010 #25
    I think it depends on what you see. It might be the case that what you see, is not realistically explainable by swamp gas, or birds.
     
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook