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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Nov > Nov 2

Re: Percentage Of UFOs That Are Unknowns?

From: Brad Sparks <RB47x.nul>
Date: Fri, 2 Nov 2007 09:26:17 EDT
Archived: Fri, 02 Nov 2007 12:36:16 -0400
Subject: Re: Percentage Of UFOs That Are Unknowns?

>From: Chris Rutkowski <rutkows.nul>
>To: ufoupdates.nul
>Date: Wed, 31 Oct 2007 16:16:18 -0500 (CDT)
>Subject: Percentage Of UFOs That Are Unknowns?

>In reviewing the debate that has ensued regarding the "true
>percentage" of UFOs that are classified as "Unknown", I must say
>that I am puzzled by the exchanges, and the attacks on me and my

Any time there is criticism that cannot be refuted, it is of course
called an "attack" rather than "valid criticism."

>Some have invoked the figures and statistics offered by eminent
>ufologists who laid the foundation for "modern" ufology, namely
>Hynek and McDonald. Is the percentage of "real UFOs" as high as
>25%? 40% or as low as a few percent?

Notice how there is no mention here of the fact that it was
McDonald specifically who, after extensive investigation of Blue
Book cases, estimated the true percentage of USAF Project Blue
Book Unknowns at 30% to 40% and disputed with Hynek over Hynek's
low figures hovering around 5%.

This is not a trivial issue or some hypertechnical matter of
little importance, as has been rudely suggested offline. The
very survival of UFO study is at stake here, for reasons I will
explain _again_ (below) after having done so repeated times

No mention is made of my review of the sorry history of
deliberate, intentional fabrication of lying statistics by Blue
Book to mammothly raise the percentages of IFO's from a mere 11%
to an enormous 80%+ and to reduce the percentages of UFO
Unknowns from 27% down to 5% and less. No mention that the main
dishonest trick used by BB was to recategorize all Possible and
Probable IFO's into the definitely certain IFO category and to
recategorize any Unknown with a doubt into the IFO category,
instead of "Possible Unknown" or "Probable Unknown" as fairness
and objectivity would have dictated.

No mention that BB's lying tricks continue to be used by UFO
investigators without a thought about their falsity and
dishonesty. No mention that witnesses who report sightings are
done a disservice by UFO investigators who tell them they saw a
"UFO" or have them fill out "UFO" sighting report forms and now
come on UFO UpDates to slander them as thus intentionally using
the term when before their interaction with the UFO community
the witnesses had been careful to say only that they saw an
"object" or a "light" not judging whether it was a "UFO."

No mention that this trick with labeling witness sightings as
"UFO" sightings biases the reporting process, vastly inflates
the "UFO" statistics that are churned out, and vastly lowers the
UFO Unknown percentages which get swamped with poor cases and
poor data.

No mention that this "UFO sighting" label and use of other
improper leading-question techniques with witnesses
misrepresents the witnesses' careful attempts to be neutral in
saying they only saw an "object" or "light" instead of "UFO" or

No mention that by violating the witness reporting process by
mindlessly insisting on calling all incoming reports as "UFO's"
that this aids the debunker cause which gets to claim victory
year after year with UFO researchers "admitting only a small 5%
[or the like] percentage are actual UFO's" and that witnesses
are stupid and incompetent because 95% of their "UFO" reports
turn out to be mistakes, IFO's. When in reality the witnesses
never said they saw a "UFO" in the first place in most cases. In
almost all cases the witnesses accurately report an "object" or
"light," there is no mistake.

My review of thousands of recent NUFORC reports dated post- 2000
and many early BB cases shows that most witnesses in their own
words - not words put in their mouths by UFO "investigators" -
 are careful never to say "UFO" or "flying saucer" or
"spacecraft" or other loaded terms, but use scientifically
neutral terms like "object" and "light." Witnesses should be
applauded for this carefulness and not subjected to abuse from
debunkers accusing them of stupidity or pro-UFO types biasing
their sighting reports with self-serving "UFO" labeling.

No mention is made of debunker slander of "UFO" witnesses
for making stupid mistakes of "saying they saw a UFO" when
"any PhD meteorologist or physicist" could have explained their
errors and stupidity, according to debunkers in their typical
condescending and insulting way. No mention that the pro-UFO
types who slap the "UFO" labels on witness reports are the ones
who set witnesses up for this kind of public abuse by debunkers.

No mention that because of this mislabeling of all incoming
reports as "UFO reports" by UFO researchers, the debunkers then
can get away with saying that the witnesses stupidly thought
they sighted "alien spacecraft" because they (purportedly)
_said_ they saw a "UFO" and everyone understands that to mean
"aliens." Regardless whether that is the correct understanding
of the popular connotation of the term "UFO" or not, most
witnesses realize "UFO" is a loaded term and tend to avoid it -
 unless influenced and led by UFO researchers.

And when the UFO researchers slap that "UFO" label on every
single case that comes in, no matter how good or poor the data,
they set up witnesses to be slandered and abused publicly by
debunkers. The debunkers have an implicit premise that when
someone says they saw a "UFO" it represents a scientific
judgment, so when they can prove that the "UFO" was actually the
planet Venus or a meteor or an advertising plane, they claim to
"prove" that "UFO" witnesses are unscientific and everything
they say should be disregarded and that the whole field of "UFO
study" itself consists of nothing more than this kind of thing
hence is just "pseudoscience."

But the dumbass mistakes are not made by the witnesses here but
are made by the so-called UFO "investigators" who want to
inflate their "UFO" statistics because it is more impressive to
say that they have processed 5,000 "UFO" reports - even though
most are poor reports that have "Insufficient Information"
and/or are not investigated. That is why I proposed the new term
"NFO" for these indeterminate reports - Non-investigated or non-
 sufficint data Flying Objects (NFO's). They are neither IFO's
or UFO's. They are garbage that does not properly belong in any
scientific statistical reporting. But no mention is made of my
"NFO" terminology proposal.

Here is what Hynek said about Insufficient Data cases, as part
of his discussion of Blue Book's " 'crackdown' on the
Unidentifieds... in 1953" by use of " 'unfair' statistical
processes" in order to follow "Pentagon instructions in 1953 to
'debunk' and play down the [UFO] phenomenon" (Hynek UFO Report,
pp. 258-9).

Hynek described the trick of turning Possible and Probable into
Knowns or IFO's, and "the qualifying words 'possible' or
'probable' were dropped." Then he stated a general principle of
great importance in the very definition of the UFO problem:

J. Allen Hynek: "Clearly, the 'Insufficient Information' cases
should have been excluded from the statistical computations
altogether. Instead, these cases were treated statistically as
if they had been solved!" (Hynek UFO Report, 1977, p. 259)

Did you catch that? "Insufficient Info" cases, what I call
NFO's, should be completely _excluded_ from UFO/IFO statistics,
"altogether". You don't know for sure what they are, whether IFO
or UFO, so they can't just be assumed to be one or the other
(I've seen it argued both ways). It's garbage and not valid
data, and does not belong in the statistics. It inflates and
distorts "UFO" statistics.

Furthermore, as Hynek explains, the IFO categories must not
be inflated with bogus "Possible" and "Probable" so-called
"explanations." If you don't know for sure what it is then you
do not have Sufficient Info. If you have to guess, then you do
not have Sufficient Info. Is that so hard to grasp? The case
then belongs in "Insuffient Info" or my NFO category, the "gray

Why is this so difficult to get across??? My "NFO" proposal
received support from veteran UFO investigators such as
Dick Hall and Vicente-Juan Ballester-Olmos, but go
unmentioned here in this thread. This "NFO" proposal was
a diplomatic and face-saving effort to congenially get the
point across without acrimony. But it has been
coldly brushed off here, forcing me to be more insistent in
getting the points across when I did not want to have to be.

Nor is there any mention at all of objections to the inclusion of
garbage data in the so-called "UFO statistics," which enables
debunkers to fraudulently claim that about 95% of all sightings
are IFO's and only about 5% are UFO's. Hence the "UFO's"
according to debunker dogma must be some kind of perceptual
mistake which should be completely disregarded as false data.

Supposedly this proves that even UFO researchers have great
difficulty telling the IFO's from the UFO's otherwise why would
so many (supposedly 95%) be IFO's? Debunkers say or imply the
devastating question why can't UFO researchers tell right at the
outset which cases are "real UFO's" and if they cannot tell then
doesn't that just prove there is no real, objective factual
difference between UFO's and IFO's?

Let me be crystal clear here: My position is this, that when
there are sufficient data in a sighting report it is _easy_ to
tell whether it is an IFO or a UFO, that when such cases are
passed through the Hynek Screening that almost _all_ such cases
are UFO Unknowns, not IFO's, and by "sufficient data" I mean
according to objective criteria, _not_ according to subjective
end-results-driven processes (like "because we decided it was a
UFO Unknown therefore it had sufficient data"). My objective
screening criteria include (but are not limited to) the
following for visual sightings (instrument, radar and other
technical cases require different criteria):

"Sufficient Info" Visual reports must have at least: Date, Time,
Location, Multiple Witnesses ID's, Duration, Angular Size,
Object/Light Description and Motion and Directions of
Observation. Visual-only sightings not backed up by instrument
data must be multiple witness cases, and _single_ witness cases
will _not_ be accepted unless there are exceptional
circumstances fully justified in writing.

Angular size must be at least Full Moon and duration at least 1
minute, and again, exceptions only allowed in special
circumstances that are fully justified (e.g., if the witness was
the world-rank astronomer, meteoriticist and mathematician
Lincoln LaPaz who had decades of first-hand sightings in
accurately observing 0.4 second meteors - so if he had a UFO
sighting of less than 1 minute duration he would get a "pass" -
 but these reasons would have to be fully stated in the

There are objective reasons for these stringent Angular Size and
Duration requirements which are too much to go into here (these
are the principal determinants of the data processing rate of a
human observer, if you think of video data equivalents, and
these are the minimums required to distinguish UFO from IFO
based on my years of experience in UFO investigation and

Basically this means the object must be big enough and close
enough and seen long enough to tell it was a UFO not an IFO.

The very survival of UFO research is at stake here. If UFO
researchers and investigators cannot tell IFO from UFO without
great effort and difficulty, then the debunkers and legitimate
skeptics have a valid point. Their point is that there is really
little or no difference between IFO's and UFO's hence the great
difficulty distinguishing them and the supposed high percentage
of IFO's (95%) which just vastly overwhelms the tiny percentage
of UFO Unknowns which must be stray errors, they say.

Chris Rutkowski ignores these disturbing and fundamental issues
raised and plays the game of pretending not to understand what
is at stake or at issue, the "golly shucks I don't know what the
fuss is all about" or "where's the beef?" pretenses.

>There's even some odd controversy about labeling the data as
>"UFOs" instead of "unidentified aerial object" or something a
>bit more obtuse. We've been accused of calling case reports UFOs
>when witnesses only report odd lights in the sky.

This is completely disingenuous. The NFO term was what I had
proposed for "Non-investigated" or "Non-sufficient info" Flying
Objects (NFO's) (see above and see earlier postings) and I
nothing at all about any "unidentified aerial object"

I do accuse him and his group of carelessly accepting "UFO"
labeling regardless whether the witnesses actually used the
term, and of helping to plant the "UFO" terminology on witnesses
so he can blame _them_ (as he does here below) of guilty-
mindedly accepting the "UFO" terminology for their sightings,
and he now has the gall and audacity to defend this
misrepresentation of honest witnesses. Don't make me repeat all
the argumentation earlier in this posting (a typical trick used
to evade the issues).

>I have to set the record straight because this is getting out of

>First of all, Ufology Research collects Canadian UFO reports and
>does some simple statistical analyses on the data every year in
>order to get an idea of the demographics, trends and
>characteristics of the reports.

>We call the reports "UFO Reports" because that's what most are
>called _before_ we get them.

This is flatly not true and pointedly ignores what I had said in
earlier postings that in my study of recent thousands of NUFORC
reports I found 95% of the witnesses used neutral terms like
"object" or "light" and not loaded or biased terms like "UFO" or
"spacecraft." Furthermore Rutkowksi's group states that they get
many of their reports from NUFORC (the recent Canadian UFO
Survey says 22%). Likewise in my study of many witness
narratives (in their own words not the words put in their
mouths) in the Blue Book files, most witnesses never use the
loaded terms "flying saucer" or "UFO" or "spacecraft."

>They're labeled as "UFOs" by the
>websites which post witnesses' sighting reports and they're
>called "UFOs" by official government sources.

Not by NUFORC. This again is where Rutkowski disingenuously uses
cheap-shot tricks like saying in an offlist response that
because witnesses knowingly report to a "UFO" reporting service
that means they are guilty of accepting the "UFO" label for
their sightings and that this justifies _his_ misuse of their
reports as "UFO" reports (to jack up his "UFO" statistics to
5,000+ "UFO" reports) based on this misleading tactic.

He claims he is not responsible for any of this, that he does
not have any obligation to the witness to treat their reports
with more respect and to correct possible misimpressions. It's
the witness' fault he says, it's the websites' fault, it's the
official government sources' fault, not his fault, he says.

>I can't believe I
>have to remind anyone on this List that UFO simply means
>Unidentified Flying Object and does not necessarily eman 'alien

More disingenuous and blatant disregard of what I actually said.
The term "UFO" is a loaded term regardless what you claim. I
can't believe I have to remind anyone on this List of that
indisputable fact.

>As for witnesses not calling them UFOs, I find that few
>witnesses who contact Ufology Research directly call them
>anything other than that.

I dispute that. Your latest Survey claims 22% of _your_ cases
come from NUFORC but I find that 95% of NUFORC cases show that
witnesses carefully use neutral terms like "object" or "light"
not loaded terms like "UFO."


>If you look in our annual Canadian UFO Surveys (and apparently
>some people do), you see that we have about 15% of the cases
>listed as "unknowns" every year.

That is now what you told the press earlier this year. You said
and I quote:

>>>Strange Sky Sights Pick Up
>>>UFO reports near-triple average

>>>"Every year, it's whittled down to about 3% to 5% that don't
>>>have an easy explanation," said Rutkowski.

Nowhere did you tell the press that your actual figure was 15%
Unknowns, not "3% to 5%," and nowhere did you tell the press
anything about a special category of "high-quality unknowns."
You left that buried in the fine-print, so to speak, in your
Survey which you know few journalists would read carefully or
read at all.

Contrary to your smartaleck insinuation that I never read your
Canadian UFO Surveys, you disingenuously evade my detailed
criticism of your faulty and confused Survey statistics - which
I had indeed "read" - and which perpetuates the debunker Blue
Book trick of lumping Possible, Probable and Known IFO's all
together into one lump and then treat them as "IFO's" period.

>So where's the beef?

You mean your E.coli and Mad Cow Diseased beef don't you?

Brad Sparks

Listen to 'Strange Days... Indeed' - The PodCast



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