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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1998 > Jul > Jul 2

Re: Scientists: UFOs Warrant Study

From: Jim Deardorff <deardorj@proaxis.com>
Date: Wed, 1 Jul 1998 22:55:02 -0700 (PDT)
Fwd Date: Thu, 02 Jul 1998 19:41:58 -0400
Subject: Re: Scientists: UFOs Warrant Study

>Date: Wed, 1 Jul 1998 07:54:03 -0400
>From: bruce maccabee <brumac@compuserve.com>
>Subject: UFO UpDate: Re: Scientists: UFOs Warrant Study
>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <updates@globalserve.net>

>>Date: Mon, 29 Jun 1998 17:58:59 -0700 (PDT)
>>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <updates@globalserve.net>
>>From: Jim Deardorff <deardorj@proaxis.com>
>>Subject: Re: UFO UpDate: Scientists: UFOs Warrant Study

>As I read the full report in the Journal of Scientific
>Exploration my emotions ranged from surpise/shock to anger to
>disappointment. Have we learned nothing in 30 years since the
>Condum report? (intentional) This looked to me like deja vue
>all over again... especially in comparison to the 1953 Robertson
>Panel where several scientists - a Nobel guy included - decided
>that all sightings could be explained and then recommended
>debunking... (CIA sponsored, by the way).

Hi Bruce,

I guess what we're "celebrating" is that the panel report
received a fairly favorable press coverage, and also that now,
after 30 years of advances in astronomy, the ETH will seem less
implausible to the outside scientist.

>[...]
>However, I would argue that there is "physical evidence." I
>presume that the presenters were not aware of the Project
>Twinkle movies of May 1950 when cinetheodolite cameras at the
>White Sands proving Range obtained film and triangulation of
>objects flying over the area. Triangulation and film analysis
>showed 30 ft diameter, flying rapidly at about 150,000 ft. Look,
>skeptics, we didn't have anything that flew that high in 1950
>(and precious little now). Film was analyzed by experts. Film
>was lost by "experts". We know of its existence through the
>records of Project Blue Book. So... the tilm was lost....no
>physical evidence? Also, physical scientists are going to have
>to come to grips with the FACT that you can't take the easy way
>out and reject sightings simply because they consist only of
>witness testimony. In some cases teh witness testimony is
>EXTREMELY compelling and furthermore involves descriptions of
>phenomena that remain unexplainable after analysis.... and some
>of these cases point toward Other Intelligences. (Uh oh,
>banishment to UFO Hell again!)

But keep in mind the saying that Sagan followers kept mouthing:
The more bizarre the phenomenon, the more convincing its
supporting evidence must be to be convincing (or however it was
worded).  Thus the scientist who thinks that the status quo of
human thinking will persist forever will demand 99.9999%
certainty in all the evidence of a case before conceding its
reality, if it involves non-understood phenomena. That saying of
Sagan (though not original with him, as I recall) is the negative
skeptic's salvation. He won't worry about there being large
numbers of other cases up in the 99% level, though a decent
scientist should.

But with a case of multiple events, you could perhaps treat them
all together without the skeptic insisting that each sighting or
photo occasion be treated as if it were the only one. How about
with Gulf Breeze and Ed Walters? You could estimate the odds that
Ed could have hoaxed pictures taken on one occasion and not have
slipped up in some irrefutable way; then the same for a different
occasion with different lighting conditions, etc., and so on,
including photos of identical or similar craft by other people in
Gulf Breeze, and including Ed's photo of the UFO with its shadow
moving along rapidly. You've already sort of done this,
qualitatively. Most of these instances would have required
different means of hoaxing, all with large probability of being
unsuccessful. So the odds that Ed could have done it successfully
would be the product of a large number of small fractions. You
might come up with 10**-20 or less odds of success overall for Ed
as a hoaxer.  By rights, this kind of analysis should be extended
to the masses of other sightings of UFOs. But even after the
resulting odds that it's not a genuine unknown phenomenon have
dropped below 10**-100, the negative skeptic will cling to the
infinitessimal odds that it *was* a hoax! But it might convince
some true skeptics.

Jim Deardorff
Web Page: http://www.proaxis.com/~deardorj/index.htm