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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2001 > Nov > Nov 21

Re: More Baloney Detection - Friedman

From: Stan Friedman <fsphys@brunnet.net>
Date: Wed, 21 Nov 2001 18:02:35 -0400
Fwd Date: Wed, 21 Nov 2001 17:40:11 -0500
Subject: Re: More Baloney Detection - Friedman


 >Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2001 02:13:14 -0800
 >From: Larry Hatch <larry@larryhatch.net>
 >To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <ufoupdates@home.com>
 >Subject: Re: More Baloney Detection

 >>Source: Scientific American

 >>http://www.sciam.com/2001/1201issue/1201skeptic.html

 >>More Baloney Detection

 >>How to draw boundaries between science and pseudoscience,
 >>Part II

 >>By Michael Shermer

 >>[Michael Shermer is founding publisher of Skeptic magazine
 >>(www.skeptic.com) and author of The Borderlands of Science.]

 >>When exploring the borderlands of science, we often face a
 >>"boundary problem" of where to draw the line between science and
 >>pseudoscience.

 ><snip>

 >>7. Is the claimant employing the accepted rules of reason and
 >>tools of research, or have these been abandoned in favor of
 >>others that lead to the desired conclusion? A clear distinction
 >>can be made between SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial
 >>Intelligence) scientists and UFOlogists. SETI scientists begin
 >>with the null hypothesis that ETIs do not exist and that they
 >>must provide concrete evidence before making the extraordinary
 >>claim that we are not alone in the universe. UFOlogists begin
 >>with the positive hypothesis that ETIs exist and have visited
 >>us, then employ questionable research techniques to support that
 >>belief, such as hypnotic regression (revelations of abduction
 >>experiences), anecdotal reasoning (countless stories of UFO
 >>sightings), conspiratorial thinking (governmental cover-ups of
 >>alien encounters), low-quality visual evidence (blurry
 >>photographs and grainy videos), and anomalistic thinking
 >>(atmospheric anomalies and visual misperceptions by
 >>eyewitnesses).

Has Shermer really not noticed all the claims of loads of
civilizations based on the Drake equation? None of these claims
involve any evidence that there is ETI out there, but the claims
are made anyway.

Clearly it is the SETI (Silly Effort To Investigate) cultists
who have abandoned the accepted rules of reason and tools of
research. They have almost completely ignored the scientific
data about flying saucers. Check their references. Still they
make many proclamations about them. They have almost completed
neglected the many scientific publications about interstellar
travel by aeronautics and astronautics professionals, though it
is a subject about which they seem to have no professional
knowledge, and about which they make frequent proclamations.
They make proclamations about how aliens would act, despite
having no professional knowledge of the motivation and behavior
of earthlings, no less aliens. They seem totally ignorant of how
security works. I have done a piece showing how using Shermer's
first 5 rules for testing pseudoscience, it is easy to show that
proclamations about UFOs by Asimov, Bova, Sagan, Menzel, and
USAF Sec. Donald Quarles are clearly pseudoscience.

 >While Shermer put in no qualifiers here, he is apparently
 >stating that:

 >1) The vast majority of SETI people proceed from the null
 >hypothesis that there is no intelligent life anywhere out there.

 >2) The overwhelming majority of ufologists take the position
 >that ETI do indeed exist, AND that the ETs have come here to
 >visit us.

Careful here Larry. Who says they are here "to Visit us"? I did
one paper listing 26 reasons for coming to Planet Earth. If I am
looking for gold in them thar hills, it doesn't mean I am there
to visit the prairie dogs.

 >I'm sure this belief/position/opinion is taken by a great many
 >ufologists, but I would not count myself among them.

 >Assuming ET has discovered Earth somehow, and being so advanced,
 >would send intelligent robotic/cybernetic probes; baffling as
 >those might be.

Try doing some homework about interstellar travel to nearby
stars. The shuttle goes around Earth in 90 minutes. Magellan's
ship did it in a couple of years. Nuclear Fusion rockets can
kick particles out the back end having 10 million times as much
energy per particle as in a chemical rocket .

 >Others would argue for beings or machines from "other
 >dimensions", or perhaps time-travel and so forth. A few would
 >argue for religious phenomena, but lets not get into that.

 >How about a straw poll? I'll cast the first vote if
 >nobody beats me to it:

 >* Are there other intelligent beings elsewhere in the cosmos,
 >perhaps within our own galaxy of billions of stars? I would vote
 >yes with a 99% likelihood. Your vote? _________

My vote is YES 99.9%, only because there is so much evidence
that aliens are coming to Earth, not because of grandiose
theories based on a total lack of relevant data such as the
Drake equation which also assumes there has been no interstellar
travel and that aliens, if they exist, use radio (or lasers) for
communication:. A pretty silly assumption roughly equivalent to
saying slide rules are the most advanced type of portable
computer.

 >* Have living beings from other stars come here in the flesh
 >(muck, protoplasm, tentacles or whatever) ? I would vote no.
 >Seems dumb to me, see above. Your vote? _________

Definitely, yes. There still people flying from Los Angeles to
Australia though telephones, faxes, and the internet are much
faster, cheaper and easier.Kind of dumb but real.37 light years
at 99.99% of the speed of light only takes 6 months pilot time.

 >(Now I would like but I don't know how) to ask a large
 >representative group of SETI people, against whom I bear no
 >rancor really, to tell us whether they indeed proceed from the
 >assumption that humankind is alone in the universe, in term of
 >thinking rational beings .. capable of asking these very
 >questions.

 >Maybe they would prefer to speak for themselves; I'm sure the
 >UFO people would.

It seems a pity that the SETI Cultists can't bother to look at
the UFO data or the interstellar travel data. One might hope
that they would preface their remarks with "This is only a
personal opinion, since I have not studied any of the relevant
data which a professional opinion would require"

 >Best wishes

 >- Larry Hatch

 >PS: I rather agree with the rest of Shermer's presentation, odd
 >as that might seem. -LH

Shermer does give some tests which when applied to the
proclamations of SETI Cultists and other UFO debunkers clearly
indicate they are pseudoscience.

Stanton Friedman







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