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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Mar > Mar 12

Re: UFO Photos The Future - Shough

From: Martin Shough <parcellular.nul>
Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2007 14:52:21 -0000
Fwd Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2007 12:13:00 -0400
Subject: Re: UFO Photos The Future - Shough

>From: Mike Good <boneheadart.nul>
>To: ufoupdates.nul
>Date: Sun, 11 Mar 2007 11:48:10 -0700 (PDT)
>Subject: UFO Photos The Future

>>From: Dave Haith <visions.nul>
>>To: UFO UpDates <UFOupdates.nul>
>>Date: Sat, 10 Mar 2007 19:16:08 -0000
>>Subject: UFO Photos The Future

>>I have heard stories of UFO witnesses with cameras who
>>'forget' to take a picture or others where the pictures
>>unaccountably turn out blank or fogged.


>When a scientist submits a proof to a scientific journal, it is
>taken for granted that the scientist has done his homework and
>actually performed all of the experiments he says he has. Well
>we just accept that it is so. Maybe he did it, maybe he didn't.
>So the empirical evidence, most often, is subjective too.

Hi Mike

If this was the situation then science would indeed be a mere
tissue of untested anecdote. The reason it is more than that is
that experimental results are always offered subject to
independent replication. It isn't true that "we just accept" and
"take for granted" anything that anyone claims. Initial
screening by peer review can result in papers being rejected,
and papers that are eventually accepted may have been rewritten
repeatedly to address criticisms of basic method, theory,
calculation or reasoning by multiple expert reviewers. A new
published result is then regarded as potentially interesting,
subject to verification. If replications fail, people rapidly
lose faith in the original work. If the experiment survives,
still theoretical arguments may force reinterpretation of its

It isn't a mechanised process and of course human factors enter
in. People and institutions that have a track record of bringing
work to this stage will earn a credibility for new results that
others with no such record can't hope for. There are personal
biases on the part of experimenters, and errors and even frauds
do happen. But in the long term the safeguards work, and the
result is the only thing anywhere in human experience that
resembles genuine advance in the understanding of nature.

The situation you describe would be an anarchic one, a
structureless free-for-all, possibly one that some members of
the internet generations - happy with the sheer "fun" of
believing in ET - might thoughtlessly cheer for, but one
guaranteed to be, in the long run, a destructive recipe for
misery and calamity. But your charge that science is no
different from beliefs in religions or the tooth fairy is,
fortunately for all of us, not only a bit silly but also
factually in error.


>It would take a major change in the consciousness of those
>making the rules! The problem here is not one of empirical
>proofs, but of subjective prejudices. I imagine that if a UFO
>landed on "the Amazing Randi's" lawn and the little guys sat
>down to dinner with him, he would still swear up and down that
>it was a big hoax promulagated to trick him!

>In other words, there is no amount of physical evidence that
>will change the minds of those who refuse to be convinced. At
>the end of the day, science itself is just another belief
>system, no different than religion or the tooth fairy.

If a hundred known, named and ordinarily accredited citizens
witnessed a highly anomalous object, and a dozen of them
independently took time-stamped stills and/or clips of it from
many different locations, and if they cooperated openly with a
public scientific investigation, then, even despite reservations
about digital manipulation etc, we would definitely be in a
different evidential ball game. The amount of latent
photogrammetric and other information would be enormous. Never
mind landings on famous lawns: a case like this would be
ufology's true equivalent of the meteorite "proof", a case in
what we might call the Chladni class. But such a case has never,
to my knoweldge, occurred, and so science has not had the
opporunity to fail in its responsibilities even to that extent.

You're not wrong to say that "the evidence is pretty much all
subjective and open to interpretation". There are intriguing and
puzzling cases aplenty, lots of imperfect evidence of somethings
- but I agree with you that some critical level of confidence is
consistently fallen short of. What does this mean? One is free
to argue that there may be something special about UFOs, or
about the UFO experience, that puts it into a different category
from traditional scientific problems regarding odd phenomena in
the atmosphere. But it would be monstrous to conclude from a
perceived conflict between ambiguous UFO evidence and several
centuries of scientific method that the latter comes off worst
and is reduced in the encounter to a wreckage of arbitrary and
subjective prejudices. Let's keep a sense of proportion.

Martin Shough

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