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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1998 > Jun > Jun 24

Re: The Ten Cases

From: bruce maccabee <brumac@compuserve.com>
Date: Tue, 23 Jun 1998 16:04:44 -0400
Fwd Date: Wed, 24 Jun 1998 00:00:20 -0400
Subject: Re: The Ten Cases

>Subject: UFO UpDate: Re: The Ten Cases
>From: Mark Cashman <mcashman@ix.netcom.com>
>Date: Sun, 21 Jun 1998 16:27:16 -0400
>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto >updates@globalserve.net>

>> From: RobIrving@aol.com
>> Date: Sat, 20 Jun 1998 21:15:46 EDT
>> To: updates@globalserve.net
>> Subject: Re: UFO UpDate: Re: The Ten Cases

>Rob -

>I do not believe that witness testimony is

>1) Infallible.

>2) Perfectly represents the observed events.

>3) or is in all cases credible.

>What I do believe is that

>1) Witness testimony is not useless. Witness information
>represents qualitative rather than quantitative data. Such
i>nformation is not unheard of in science, where it forms an
i>mportant part of the history of physics, astronomy, and natural

>4) A UFO report has a probability of representing an objectively
>existent UFO event. That probability is never 100, and only
>initial reports determined not to be UFOs have a probaility of
>0. The reports of interest are those where the probability is

Let "U" be "Unexplainable and representent the status as a
function of the investigation. U as "unexplained" suggests the
end of the investigation.B ut could there be more investigation
that would provide an explanation? What really counts is if the
report is - or appears to be - unexplainable or not able to be
explained AFTER investigation. And any explanation should be in
terms o conventional UNINTELLIGENT phenomena. Note the
importance of UNINTELLIGENT because if a TRuly Unexplainable
Flying Object - TRUFO- were to be discovered and if it gave no
indications of humanlike intelligence, it would be subsumed by
conventional science without too much fuss. Where the rubber
meets the road in ufology is in the claim that SOME TRUFOS
REPRESENT OTHER INTELLIGENCES where "other" means ET, time
travelers, dimension jumpers, whatever...but definitely not
human intelligence.)

Now, using U as "unexplainable to this point in the
investigation" we may find for any given sighting that the
probability "probably" starts somewhere between 10 and 50% at
the beginning of the investigation and then changes as the
invesigation continues. Obviously if the initial probability
were 0 there would be no need for an investigation since 0
probabiliy is just as certain as 100%. (Note: this is comparable
to Dr. Peter Sturrock's discussion of a-priori and a-posteriori
probabilities of explanation.) As investigation proceeds the
probability could go uniformly upwards as one Candidate
Explanatory Phenomenon (CEP) after another is ruled out, or it
could level out the stay constant if there is Insufficient
Information to arrive at a definite explanation or to reject all
possible explanations, or it could drop as one or more
explanations seems to reasonably fit the
circumstances/description of the sighting.

Mark has said that the probability never reaches 100%, but this
has to be tempered with the observation that FOR PRACTICAL
PURPOSES the probability can be assigned 100% if after
investigation there just are no CEP remaining. This requires, of
course, a complete analysis of the accuracy of the report (must
be, or at least seem to be, very accurate, and perhaps supported
with multiple witness testimony and /or physical evidence) and a
complete comparison of the characteristics of the phenomenon
reported with all possible CEP.

On the other hand, it is really bogus to assign probability to
something like this. each sighting is a "singleton," an event
unique in some or many ways. There may be similarities to other
sightings, but that's all. Probability can really only be
assigned AFTER numerous events which fall into a limited set or
group of particular types, are recorded and the "answer" for
each one is POSITIVELY KNOWN, which presumably includes a
fraction of sightings which are POSITIVELY UNKNOWN
(Unexplainable). This approach was taken during the Battelle
study in 1952-53 which became Project Blue Book Special Report
#14. The two basic classes of sightings were KNOWN and UNKNOWN,
and under KNOWN was a list of possible explanations
(astronomical, aircraft, birds, balloons, etc.) They studied
3201 sighting reports. The major problem with their
investigation was that in most cases they could not be
absolutely certain about identifications. Hence they broke the
KNOWN classification into two parts, CERTAIN and DOUBTFUL. This
was very "scientific" of them, but when they proceeded to their
final statistical analysis they combined CERTAIN and DOUBTFUL
identifications and treated them all as CERTAIN. Many years ago
I reviewed the Battelle study and recalculated their statistics
leaving out the DOUBTFUL to get closer to the ideal statistics
for the KNOWNS. The result was that the statistical difference
between KNOWNS and UNKNOWNS increased.

>5) High probability UFO reports do exist and should be studied.
>Some of those cases have already been cited. Many others


>7) UFO misperceptions are extremely unlikely when the reported
>event involves an object of large angular extent or determinate
>close distance. However, a UFO witness will not necessarily
>perceive all aspects of a novel phenomenon correctly or the same
>as another witness to the same phenomenon.

Also when the reported object/phenomenon is witnessed by several
observers under lighting conditions such that overall shape and
other descriptive characteristics can be clearly seen. Also,
when unusual dynamics can be accurately recalled by the
observer(s). (See, e.g., case 10 of Special report #14)

>9) Debates about whether UFOlogy in general can justify its
>existence are debates I have already spent enough time with. I
>am more interested in trying to get better information and
>deriving more patterns from the existing information. I admit
>that I have a fair amount of confidence that OEH is justified,
>and I do not consider ETH as a working hypothesis to be

>Yes, we may all be wasting our time. But it's worth looking.

>'Nuff said.

Now, let's get down to work!

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