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Why the skeptics fear UFOs; AKA The debunkers have something to hide

  1. Dec 6, 2003 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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    First I want to say that some of the harsher comments made here are not intended towards anyone at this forum. This applies more to the trench warfare that takes place in lesser forums, on television, and in the popular media in general.

    My first serious review of the UFO literature was for a college English essay. Before this, I found the subject to be bizarre, cultish, and mostly nonsense. I had some interest, but any actual story was too far out for my worldview. Only after reading about 10 books for my essay writing - The Hynek UFO Report being the most significant of these – did the subject carry any real weight in my own thoughts. From my own experience, it is easy to ignore or ridicule the subject, if you have ignored the subject, but an informed opinion is another matter altogether.

    Now, any two people may interpret the same information is different ways; this is an unavoidable consequence of being human. And to say that the subject of UFOs opens the floodgates for conflict is an understatement at least, but to say the subject is all hogwash is to demonstrate ignorance. On the other hand, if this comes as an informed opinion, there is only one explanation for this behavior that makes sense: Fear. This would explain quite a few paradoxical aspects of our beloved debunkers. Here are a few of these paradoxes.

    If this subject is all nonsense, then why do so many people spend so much time and energy trying to disprove it. This is really strange since for one, the subject never can be disproved. This would violate basic logic. We can never prove that some elusive visitor is not here. Any good skeptic would know this so this begs the question: Why do they try so hard? Some might say they dedicate their time to help free the world of its nonsense notions? Nonsense! If they have half a clue about human nature they know this is not possible. Also, given that any good skeptic must know this, one must wonder why they don’t have something better to do? Of all the things that one might do with their time, why spend so much effort trying to show everyone else how silly they are? Even if this results from plain old meanness, or unfulfilled potential, failed dreams, boredom, or even if dad or mom didn’t love them enough, even if some reason like this exists, why attack the UFO crowd?

    I have considered this question a bit, and it seems to me that the answer is fear. This is why the attacks are so misguided and personal. Note that the debunkers often try to debunk the messenger and not the message. This is one reason that I tend to stick with the study of government files as my focal point; this is the only source of UFO records that have some built in validation. But when faced even with intelligence reports that went to all of the highest levels of government including the White House, I have had debunkers ignore these official records as if they were from the National Enquirer. This leaves only one possible conclusion: the debunkers are rarely objective. This implies motive, or at least insincerity. What kind of motive? The preservation of their world view seems the only consistent explanation. What else could it be? What else would be so important that a person would donate so much time to a hopeless pursuit to disprove what they believe is nonsense, and which can never be disproved? Clearly our skeptics are quite uniquely bothered by this particular phenomenon. The reason is that deep down they realize just how important the subject might be.

    Of course, as for our TV skeptics, it’s about the money.

    Of course, we do still have to account for the insincere attackers: These are mostly people with personality disorders. They know that since UFOs are so elusive and controversial, the UFO buffs are easy targets. This allows them to be mean and lazy, which is usually all they really want.

    To those who attack but have not studied the subject, I can understand your misguided malice. I once felt the same way about much this stuff.
     
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  3. Dec 6, 2003 #2
    WHat about the obvious points you miss? Here's a few I picked up on while reading your rant(well-reasoned rant, but a rant nevertheless):

    1) UFOers mostly don't have any evidence, so of course skeptics will attack their credibility. It isn't a personal attack, so much as it is that an eyewitness has no evidence, and expects you to trust their integrity; if you later discover that the person has lied about other things, thier integrity is shot.

    2) I don't know of any skeptic who is trying to disprove the existance of UFOs. I do know alot of skeptics who actually care about the truth, which the more credulous sometimes actively disregard.
     
  4. Dec 6, 2003 #3
    I don't think skeptics have selected ET believers out to concentrate on. Believers in all unproven claims get equal attention as far as I can see.

    Producing an argument against skeptics per se doesn't further your stance at all. All I can hear you saying when you concentrate on the personality defects of skeptics you don't like is that you wish the people who disagreed with you would go away.

    I would rather you lead us through the train of evidence (documents) in a given case that is particularly convincing to you, and explain your reasoning as you go along.

    -zoob
     
  5. Dec 6, 2003 #4

    Ivan Seeking

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    Zero, you obviously need to learn much more about the subject before forming an opinion.
     
  6. Dec 6, 2003 #5

    Ivan Seeking

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    check the book shelves. Look at the number of UFO debates at various forums. There are probably as many UFO threads as all other fringe subjects combined - less religion.

    There are many who insist on personal attacks in place of considered debate or discussion. These are the people I reference. Also, I am furthering no position. I am simply making an observation. The degree of effort put forth by those who consider this subject nonesense makes no sense. Just as in any business meeting, the hostility is the dead giveaway.

    The napster is posted. There is only so much value in debate. Any attempt to discuss information here, or at most any forum only tends to degenerate into mudslinging or endless refusals to consider the evidence in any reasonable way. In fact, the one clear lesson for me in this stuff is that people's minds can rarely be changed. If a person is interested, the only thing to do is to study and see for yourself. This post is really intended more for those who already have an interest. Frankly, we take a lot of crap for our honesty. I think it's time to recognize that the debunkers are really only acting to protect their own interests and beliefs. This is why no debunker ever changes his mind. This is also why they insist on equating ET to UFOs. This allows the luxury of denial based on an artificial construct.
     
  7. Dec 6, 2003 #6
    Nah, I think I know enough, thanks.
     
  8. Dec 6, 2003 #7
    Going by television I've seen more shows debunking Nessie than any others. I've seen two good shows debunking Roswell. Most bigfoot shows are balanced pro and con with a little more pro. I've seen three good shows debunking Kennedy assassination conspiracy theories.
    This is their folly. I suggest you arm yourself with some good comebacks to the ad hominem argument, an argument which is not acceptable in debates. Perhaps supermentor Tom could help from his study of logic.
    I was refering to your position on UFOs as stated in past threads, which has been that the phenomenon doesn't get the attention from serious scientists that it deserves.
    I agree with your reasoning about this sort of skeptic but I don't care about this sort of skeptic.
    There is alot of value in good open minded debate. When people start behaving unfairly you can call them on it, as in that one crop circle thread.
    This has happened, but it doesn't always happen.
    With proper evidence you can change almost anyone's mind. If you can flip someone over into believing in Flying Discs from outer space without proper evidence all you've done is located a gullible person, so what's the point? If, on the other hand, you can't present the people here who hang around the "hard" science forums with enough evidence to get them to consider UFOs with more thought, then I think you should question, not your interest, but the large emotional investment you have in the subject.
    The reason I suggested you take us through a case yourself is that I'm sure I won't read any info and interpret it the same way you do. As with the Hoover note.
    Debukers get cr*pped on all the time. Usually by people who are shouting.
    Believers are also just protecting their own interests and ego and world outlook.
    I wasn't aware debunkers were in the habit of equating ET to UFOs. I recall that you seemed to equate them, and that I was the one who pointed out that just because there are strange things flying around doesn't mean they are from another planet.
     
  9. Dec 6, 2003 #8
    Well...there is a difference between accepting the existance of stuff in the sky, and the nonsense that many UFOers promote. If you see something unexplainable in the sky, cool...if you declare that it is proof of anything, prepare for the skeptics to jump you, and for good reason.
     
  10. Dec 6, 2003 #9
    I agree. I'm convinced by the many reports of strange things flying around that unusual things are flying around. Anyone who is sure that they're from another planet has jumped to a conclusion.
     
  11. Dec 6, 2003 #10

    Ivan Seeking

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    I am short on time right now, so until I get caught up on my programming I will say this, I find it difficult to ignore the ETH but I don't accept it. However, and on this point I am rather inflexible, something very strange and incredibly energetic is moving about the skies from time to time. It seems that neither I nor anyone else can explain it. Honest investigation of this subject provokes endless attacks and challenges by people who are not willing to learn about the subject for themselves. For those of us with an interest, this grows most tiresome - the constant antagonism. This stuff just can’t be summed up in an argument or two; it has taken me many years to acquire the conviction that I have. It is just not possible to convey everything that I have seen that has convinced me that UFOs are something real. This would require the recall of everything I have watched, heard or read about the subject for the last eighteen years. But in effect, in order to satisfy the debunker, this is what's required.

    The stalemate is obvious. I can't prove anything beyond the evidence immediately available, and the debunker can never prove a negative. My motivation is my conviction that this is worth figuring out; for one because of the potential truth IF the ET "nuts" are right. If not, then it still qualifies as an interesting natural phenomenon...or something. But lately I keep asking myself, why do some many debunkers act so hostile; and why do they try so hard?

    I try to present good evidence, but as time goes on, everything on the internet is more ad more suspect. This means that unless a person is willing to make the effort to learn about this themselves, I might as well talk until I turn blue. It will make no difference. Again though, as far as personal attacks and internet forums go, the really hostile behavior results from a lack of or absence of moderation in the forum. This really does not apply here at PF. We have a few members that have gotten quite personal at times, but most people here are really pretty docile. Take a look at the UFO discussions in an un-moderated forum some time.


    One last note: If ET is here I would sure like to know it. I can see why so many people think this really is true, but that’s as far as I go.
     
  12. Dec 6, 2003 #11

    Ivan Seeking

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    This is the typical escape route when face with evidence they can't explain.

    Zooby, I just can't do much here unless you can open pdf files.
     
  13. Dec 7, 2003 #12

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    The stalemate is obvious. I can't prove anything beyond the evidence immediately available

    Here’s where your logic fails miserably – there is no stalemate. The so-called evidence in which believers tend to find compelling is little more than testimonial hyperbole, which is far from the evidence required to even form a hypothesis.

    the debunker can never prove a negative.

    Debunkers are not interested in proving negatives. Debunkers have already successfully proven that believers have nothing to base their assertions aside from their own over-active imaginations. Of course, the believer ignores their own lack of validity and credibility.

    why do some many debunkers act so hostile; and why do they try so hard?

    Most likely, they are sick and tired of believers demanding funding for their fallacious projects - trying to find ET. As well, believers tend to mislead and deceive others with their ridiculous claims, thus having a negative effect on the perception of the scientific community. In short, believers do more damage to science than any good that might come about from their claims.

    The hostility is well grounded.

    If ET is here I would sure like to know it. I can see why so many people think this really is true

    Quite frankly, I am dumb-founded by the amount of people willing to believe anything they are told. Most have little or no formal education and can’t even begin to fathom the problems associated with interstellar travel, yet are perfectly willing to accept the possibility that ET walks the Earth. The amount of UFOlogy crap on the internet only serves to feed their delusions.

    It would be laughable if it weren’t so sadly tragic.
     
  14. Dec 7, 2003 #13

    FZ+

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    I dunno, but you seem to be mounting a bit of an ad-hominem attack, right now... :wink:

    Ok, now with greater seriousness...

    It is indeed true that one of the occupational harzards of skeptics are the so-called seige mentality, which is often connected with a sort of slippery slope logic. I've probably been guilty of it, myself. The fear is that (a) admitting insecurity about a case can lead to the loss of confidence of the general populace in established science etc as a whole, and (b) allowing claims to lie would only contrast with the claims that have been vigourously attack, giving apparent credence.

    But I think that extending this sort of thinking to the borders of irrational paranoia only applies to a limited number of cases.
    Most probably act out of a sense of duty, or as a kind of public service. If you see someone you know is a con man making a deal, would you prevent it?
     
  15. Dec 7, 2003 #14

    Ivan Seeking

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    Really I haven't visited any un-moderated forums lately. I know that about 5 years ago place like Deja used to get absolutely out of control. Of the forums that I still visit, sciforums still allows this kind of garbage.

    As for a public service, if the skeptics typically knew anything about the subject they were attacking I might agree. Instead, what we typically find are people who are willing to commit a great deal of time debunking something they know virtually nothing about.
     
  16. Dec 8, 2003 #15
    Really? I don't believe it...I mean, not counting me, of course! I have found over the last few years that many skeptics who spend time debunking a certain area are also experts in that area. For instance, James Randi is pretty accomplished in cold reading and magician's tricks, and Joe Nickell, who writes well and often in the skeptical journals, is really knowledgable as regards the techniques and history of paranormal 'experience'. I can't imagine that somehow the UFO skeptics are exempt from that sort of expertise...myself excluded, of course.
     
  17. Dec 8, 2003 #16

    Ivan Seeking

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    There are good skeptics and bad skeptics. In my experience, most are not very reliable. They are usually trying to win; not to discover the truth.
     
  18. Dec 8, 2003 #17
    something similar could easily be said about the UFO crowd. When the evidence is hearsay, comes from repeat liars, or is simply eyewitness accounts of strage lights in the sky, there really isn't much to work with, is there?
     
  19. Dec 8, 2003 #18

    Ivan Seeking

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    This is true. It takes a lot of work to filter out the credible cases. This is why the skeptics are so transparent.
     
  20. Dec 8, 2003 #19
    Some things require a book length explanation.

    It isn't fruitful for you to say that the information is out there and then become frustrated when people don't look into it. Since you are the one raising the subject for discussion so often I feel it is encumbent on you to be able to put the information you want people to see right in front of their eyes.

    If you can't quite remember what lead you to this conclusion or that point of view after 18 years, where the info is, what your train of thought was, it isn't sporting of you to get frustrated with anyone else for not being persuaded by you. If these things aren't consciously organized in your mind in a presentable form, there's a good chance people won't even really be able to understand what point it is you're making.
     
  21. Dec 8, 2003 #20
    This sounds like clear thinking to me. Having never had an encounter convincing me such things are even worth the time to look into, or known anyone in person who had, I feel that an extraordinary claim needs to be accompanied by extraordinary evidence. I can only acknowledge that claims are made by certain people, some of whom are fakes and others who are no doubt sincere. From a practical position I have to place UFO’s in a similar category to that in which I place claims of the knowledge of god(s), of which I know precisely as little. It is, for the present, something outside my condition and hence nothing I can make a 100% claim either for or against. All that remains is for me to live my life until such time as I either develop a strong interest, or at least have more to work with.
     
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