Ivan said:There are two separate issues here. If true and accurate, do any sightings indicate unequivocally that ET is here? In other words, if the report is true, is ET a reasonable conclusion?
Russ said:I'm not sure what you mean here. If the report is "I saw ET," then if its true, its ET (obviously). If the report is "I saw something that looked like it might have been ET (description follows)," and the report is confirmed to be true, all that says is the person truthfully may have seen ET. Accurate just means he didn't say blue when he actually saw green. Saying he saw a blue light may be accurate, but it doesn't necessarily mean that blue light was ET.
What I am trying to distinguish are the apparently reliable reports that leave a lot of room for interpretation, and those that strongly suggest or even require the existence of a super-technology beyond anything a reasonable person might imagine possible. Granted, an eyewitness or ten is not scientific evidence for ET, but in many cases there is no justification to ignore the claims as trivial. You often seem to imply that all apparently credible claims are trivial and subject to interpretation as Venus or swamp gas.
Ivan said:Next, do we have unequivocal scientific proof that ET is here?
Russ said:Certainly, we don't.
Allegedly. You certainly don't know that.
Russ said:Again, that's not what I'm saying - what you are saying here is circular and that's not my opinion. I'm saying that in order for ETUFO research to be worth the effort, there has to both be a reasonable chance that ET exists and a reasonable chance that research will find it. You have seemed to object to this before, but please tell me: would anyone have funded a neutrino detector if the consensus of the scientific community was that neutrinos probably did not exist and even if they did, a neutrino detector probably would not find them?
No, I object to your random assignment of the odds and acceptable risk. If you believe only one of thousands of reports, then we have nearly a 100% chance that ET is here. This is where I think you get things crossed. The odds depend on the evidence that you choose to accept. If you reject all but proof as sufficient to indicate a strong likelihood, which is what you do, then the odds don’t really apply do they. It seems to me that your logic is circular. Consider this, what evidence would you accept that is not proof or nearly proof? What evidence would yield a 10% chance of ET in your mind?
Ivan said:To say that a 90% chance that ET is here is not sufficient to motivate an interest is absurd, IMO. So how low do we go; 50%, 10%, 1%? This then becomes a matter of interpretation of significance and certainty. The lines are not clear.
Russ said:That's not what I said at all. I said to prove ET is here requires 90%+ certainty in the evidence, just like with any scientific theory. To be worth researching, I'd say you need a good 10% chance that ET exists, and if so, a 10% chance we could find him (for a total of a 1% chance that ETUFO research could succeed).
Certainly, this point is debateable, since first, not everyone will agree that 10% is the right probability and second, not everyone will agree on what the probability is (or even if the probability can be calculated). SETI is considered fringe for that very reason.
You see this is where I find that two issues get blurred. First of all, do ETUFOs exist? Next, what else are people seeing? IMO there is nearly a 100% chance that people are seeing genuine but unexplained phenomena. So I think the entire subject must be considered as one with near certainty of new discoveries. Whether you are looking for raw data for ET, earthlights, ball lightning, plasma ellipsoids, or earthquake lights, you may well find yourself looking at UFO data. There are classes of sightings that cross many lines. Until we know the explanations, we really can’t be sure what to look for. So, near certainty in ET? No. Near certainty that a scientific mystery exists that has real solutions that can be found? IMO, nearly 100%. It doesn’t have to be ET in order to be worth pursing.
Ivan said:I’m saying that you created your own truth here. Consider that one UFO film was recognized as significant, or even a near extinction event; valuable to the study of meteors. This film was preserved as a UFO sighting. Many who postulate models for ball lighting and related phenomenon use UFO data to identify trends in certain types of sightings. Ball lightning people found that plasma phenomena are often found near power lines, water falls, and I think also RR tracks. Next we find that seismologists use UFO data to study potential cases of earthquake lights. Also, Persinger references UFO accounts in his study of EM effects on the brain. So without even thinking hard I can name five fields of study that have benefited from data in the UFO achieves.
Russ said:First off, I did state several times that my main concern here was ET, so those other uses for the info are somewhat OT. Second, it sounds to me like these UFO sightings already have explanations - that makes them not UFOs (yes, there is a catch-22 there, but I'm comfortable with it).
First of all, you addressed the entire subject of Ufology; note the title of your thread. To artificially limit this to a discussion of ET is evasive and arbitrary. Next, having a name for a phenomenon doesn’t mean it’s explained. This is one of the greatest sins of the debunkers: “They were only earthlights” is not an explanation until we know what earthlights are and what they do. Still, beyond a doubt, when people look for evidence of ball lighting phenomenon, UFO reports probably offer some of the best raw information available.
What you are describing is scientists scouring UFO records for easily explainable events.
I never said anything like that. Having a name for something that we don’t understand does not make an event easily explainable. It means we have a name.
There is nothing wrong with or contrary to my opinion in that. The incidents this thread is concerned with are those that defy easy explanation. The ones you just cited are scientists looking for mis-categorized examples of the already-known phenomena they are studying - not looking for new phenomena (or, more to the point, ET). Those things you listed are not "UFOology."
Why are you randomly assigning definitions? This is a simple evasion of the facts IMO.
[quote[Russ]And besides, I disagree with your assesment of scientists' willingness to investigate things on such long odds of success. What makes scientists become scientists is that they think it is possible to find answers. Science itself is predicated on the belief that we're not just mind-masturbating here. Maybe I need to start a poll in philosophy on this, but the question would be "if you believed there was only a 1% chance that the pursuit of science would yeild further advancement, would you still study it?"[/quote]
This again depends on your artificial limits and random assessment of the facts.
And the subtext, of course, would be: "Be honest with yourself." A great many people play the lottery even though intellectually they know the odds are very long. Emotion overcomes logic. But those who buy lottery tickets are, by and large, uneducated - ie, educated people don't buy lottery tickets. But that's just a dollar. With the pursuit of science, we're talking about a life's work. Scienctists are educated people and they don't bet a lifetime of work on long odds.
Who is asking anyone to bet a lifetime of work?
Russ said:Ivan, I don't think I'm being at all crypic here, but you are vastly misinterpreting my points on all of the above. Please read them carefully.
Ivan said:On bluebook: Hynek was the chief scientific consultant to Bluebook and he knew the facts as well as anyone. He and many other scientists involved felt that summary was slanted and inaccurate. In fact a similar French study – the COMETA Report - came to exactly the opposite conclusion as did the Bluebook [one person] summary.
Bluebook was closed because it yeilded nothing (that is, it yeilded no alien technology or useful information about threats to the US). This French study that came to the opposite conclusion: what alien technology did it find and commercialize?
First of all this is an engineering question. Commercialization! Give me a break. This again is a loaded question. What has string theory, LQG, or even GR produced? So what if the universe is accelerating.
The French study proves that UFOs deserve to be studied and it strongly suggests that ET may really be here.
Ivan said:In its conclusion, COMETA claims that the physical reality of UFOs, under control of intelligent beings, is "quasi-certain." Only one hypothesis takes into account the available data: the hypothesis of extraterrestrial visitors. This hypothesis is of course unproven[emphasis added], but has far-reaching consequences. The goals of these alleged visitors remain unknown but must be the subject of speculations and prospective scenarios.
Russ said:Ivan, I see a clear contradiction in that. Which is it, "quasi-certain" (is that a scientific term?) or "unproven"? Either way, it immediately jumps tracks, as many true beleivers do and considers the question dead - time to move on to studying the aliens we alread know are here. But wait, didn't they just say "unproven"...? Whatever though, if they want to investigate the motives of ET, I'd certainly be interested in hearing an interview with him.
Well it says right in the quote that this is in lieu of any other theory that can take into account all available evidence.