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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1998 > Jun > Jun 8

Re: ETH and Occam's Razor [was: Area 51 still

From: Mark Cashman <mcashman@ix.netcom.com>
Date: Mon, 8 Jun 1998 01:49:33 -0400
Fwd Date: Mon, 08 Jun 1998 09:13:14 -0400
Subject: Re: ETH and Occam's Razor [was: Area 51 still

>Date: Sat, 6 Jun 1998 22:58:08 +0100
>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <updates@globalserve.net>
>From: John Rimmer <johnr@magonia.demon.co.uk>
>Subject: Re: UFO UpDate: Re: Area 51 Still Operational

>>Gee, John, how about Soccorro, Levelland, Exeter, Delphos...

>These are all, in ufological terms, "good" cases and there are
>puzzling factors about each of them. I think you will also find
>that each case has been "explained" by one researcher or another
>-- and I'm not talking about your usual-suspect skeptics here,
>but bona fide ufologists -- so that no one case can be quoted as
>the smoking gun.

Which "bona-fide ufologists" explained which of these?

>50 years' worth of
>disputed and inconclusive investigations is no more convincing
>that one disputes and inconclusive investigation.

Yeah, it's just like cosmology, and biology, and paleontology,
with all that disputing and controversy.

>Well, I have my doubts, and I've expressed them on another
>posting, about the accuracy of triangulations based on memories
>and guestimates, but the real point is distances and sizes of
>*what* exactly? I'm sure you're not implying that because two
>people saw something roughly the same size in roughly the same
>place it's got to be an extraterrestrial spacecraft.

You can have doubts, and there are a couple of things you can
do about them, one of which is to develop better methods rather
than sitting around tut-tutting about how bad the measurements are.
Personally, that's my main focus when it comes to this kind of

The second thing is to substantiate how bad they are and what
effect that has on distance estimates. Let's take an example. A
baseline of 0.1 mi and a triangulation showing an object to be
670 feet from the baseline center. Now let's imagine that each
of the two sightlines are about 20 degrees off, each outward from
center - this being the worst case. The additional distance provided
is about 700 feet, for a total distance of about a quarter mile.

Further, the accuracy will be better when the witness can align
the object to a known landmark. This is often possible, and
can preclude even 20 degree errors.

Don't forget, we're not expecting to get results accurate to the
inch, or even the foot. All we need is reasonable accuracy to
eliminate natural causes. And we can derive some range of
sizes and energy outputs from the result. No, it's not perfect,
it's not like having a light meter or something other instrument,
but it's something.

And, what I am stating is that when you get a triangulation, like
it or not, it is a result implying the presence of an objectively
existent phenomenon, in the same way trace evidence does.

Now, your attempt to suggest someone as an ETH proponent
due to making field measurements and not automatically
discounting witness testimony or the results of such statistical
studies as Rodeghier's Vehicle Interference work, is no better
than guilt by association, and it really carries no weight. About
all I can claim is that the material accumulated over the years,
contentious and disputed though it may be, lacking in some of
the rigor I might prefer though it may be, definitely indicates
the presence of an objectively existent phenomenon worthy
of scientific attention - that is, the best investigation and
analysis we can mount given current resources. Sadly, this
sort of squabble is exactly what distracts many with the
potential to contibute from actually doing so.

Also, your insistence on a "smoking gun" for ETH is pointless
unless you or someone else may be prepared to identify the
predictions which the theory makes that a "smoking gun"
will support or refute.

The OEH (objectively existent hypothesis) is fairly
straightforward in its predictions. One of the most important
is that multiple independent observers (of whatever kind)
will observe a phenomenon to which they assign similar or
identical characteristics, within the limits of error of the
observer, and that those observations will not be able
to be correlated with any known natural or technological
phenomenon. This prediction, I venture to say, is supported
by 50 years of failure to successfully identify the natural
or technological phenomenon behind many incidents witnessed
by multiple independent persons and instruments.

ETH requires OEH be proven first. But what can ETH
require otherwise as a prediction?

First, it will predict that the source of UFOs is non-terrestrial,
and, therefore, since UFOs must come here from there, that
they will be detected in space. Currently, we have
very few candidate cases in this category. This can be explained
by our lack of available witnesses and instrumentation capable
of making such detections, and the possibility of intentional
evasion of any such observational capability. Nevertheless,
ETH proponents should necessarily focus their search in this

An indicator that such cases will be found may be seen in the
number of events which describe the objects descending from
great altitudes and returning to such altitudes. In addition,
cases showing UFOs capable of escape velocity would also
be an indicator.

Secondly, ETH will predict that UFOs are technological in nature,
but operate according to engineering principles more advanced
than our own, and may apply physical principles with which
we are unfamiliar, or with whose engineering consequences
we are unfamiliar. This would appear to be supported by the
reports of metallic and structured objects displaying
unconventional performance and and appearance; these
tend to refute non-tech hypotheses such as the Earthlights

Thirdly, it will predict that the behavior of UFOs will
demonstrate an unconventional interest in earth and in humanity.
Certainly the "loitering", "spying" and "drop-in" behaviors, as
well as sample or souvenir gathering, and apparent attempts to
communicate using lighting or gestures with isolated witnesses
seem to support this prediction, while denying other tech
hypotheses, such as the secret weapon hypothesis.

So of three major predictions of ETH, two seem to be
supported and one needs more focus.

Now it might be contended that predictions 2 and 3 could
be evidence of the TTH (Time Travel Hypothesis). This
is where Occam's Razor comes in. We have extensive
evidence that space travel is possible. We have no evidence
that any manipulation of time, other than slowing its rate,
is possible. Thus, when choosing between ETH and TTH,
Occam's Razor suggests that ETH should be preferred.

I hope this makes it clear that ETH is not an unreasonable
provisional hypothesis. It cannot be refuted by a priori
assumptions about the nature, behavior, or possible logistics
of an ETI. It can only be refuted by refuting prediction 1.

Mark Cashman, creator of The Temporal Doorway at
- Original digital art, writing, and UFO research -
Author of SF novels available at...

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