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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Nov > Nov 3

Re: Percentage Of UFOs That Are Unknowns?

From: Chris Rutkowski <rutkows.nul>
Date: Fri, 2 Nov 2007 16:55:55 -0500 (CDT)
Archived: Sat, 03 Nov 2007 09:35:20 -0400
Subject: Re: Percentage Of UFOs That Are Unknowns?

>From: Brad Sparks <RB47x.nul>
>To: ufoupdates.nul
>Date: Fri, 2 Nov 2007 09:26:17 EDT
>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?

Whew! You've really spent a lot of time replying to my last
post. I simply don't have the time to refute it line by line,
nor do I think I need to.

The gist seems to be the "Insufficient Information" cases which
you think should be changed somehow to "Non Investigated
Objects." You also cite Hynek's caution that Insufficient
Information cases should not be included in UFO statistics at

I think that if Hynek saw what we were doing, he would be in
complete support of it. I think this because while he was alive
he and I discussed UFO data many times.

>>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."

Sure seems like an attack. You don't seem to be listening to my
points at all, just reiterating your view: that mine is wrong. I
am at least agreeing that there are limitations to the studies
and that I understand your argument.

>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%.

In previous posts, I have already said that I am not disputing
McDonald or Hynek's studies of Blue Book. I am talking
specifically about our database of UFO reports using in the
Canadian UFO Survey. Any further mention of Blue Book shows you
are not listening to what I am saying.

>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


>No mention that BB's lying tricks continue to be used by UFO
>investigators without a thought about their falsity and


>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.

Brad, what would you like the reports to be called? LITS? TOPA?
(Both of which were proposed and used by researchers who thought
"UFO" was too loaded of a term.)

I just had a phone call from a witness reporting a "UFO." Yes,
he actually said "UFO." In fact, it was a follow-up call to a
report I received from the airport, which sent me a "UFO
Report." In the body of the report, there is no mention of the
term "UFO" at all, as the witness was describing four "lights."
They gave him my number if he wanted further information, and he
just called me. But even though nothing in the original report
said "UFO," that's what he told me he wanted to report when he
called me and spoke with me on the phone.

He is typical of the witnesses who file UFO reports. I know. I
deal with several hundred such reports a year, in one way or

Yes, Brad, I know one case does not refute your view.

>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.

...but I would charge that in person, they would use the term
"UFO" too.

>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.

I wouldn't mention this because it has nothing to do with our

>And when the UFO researchers slap that "UFO" label on every
>single case that comes in, no matter how good or poor the data,

That's how the reports are filed. Live with it.

>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"

Your implication that I am a "dumbass" is an "attack." I am not
going to return the epithet.

>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.

I've looked back at the posts, and I did mention it. I don't
agree with it, but I know your passion for it.

>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.

Ah, but here's the thing. If we eliminate all the reports of
objects that are "Insufficient Information" or "NFOs" we will
effectively decimate the database. In fact, all we would be left
with would be UFOs and IFOs. So out of, let's say, 5,000
received reports, we would have a database of about what, 1,000?
Populated about equally by UFOs and IFOs. Then you could say
that 50% of the reports were UFOs! But it would not say anything
about the actual nature of the reports received.

_That_ is our point. We are looking at the full set of reports
received, of lights, "objects" and whatever. Even UFOs.

>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.

And our annual survey has received support from other
ufologists. Give me Dick's phone number. I'm willing to discuss
this with him.

I agree with you that there are problems with UFO data. I do not
agree that "NFO" will work as a term when looking at general UFO
data. I don't see a solution, though. Cases will always be
under-investigated and there will always be doubts. Do we ignore
them entirely?

>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

Some can't. It's not that researchers can't tell IFOs from UFOs,
but that investigation is all but gone as a ufological process.
Cases are investigated cursorily, if at all, so labeling a UFO
as such is very, very difficult.

>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


>"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

You have just eliminated most of the reports in our database. I
thought this was the problem in your disagreement with our
methodology. Based on your criteria (and I am not disagreeing
that these are excellent criteria), the ratio of UFOs to IFOs
would likely remain about the same, but we'd be looking at a
very small sample size.

The guy who just called me had a very interesting sighting to
report. (Kept me on the phone for 15 minutes.) But the duration
was about 7-10 seconds. And single witness. So the report would
either be eliminated or I'd have to state explicitly why I
thought it should be included. And frankly, I'm not sure if it
should be, though I don't *think* it was aircraft or birds.

>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.

And when you went through NUFORC you didn't just chuck most of
those reports out, based on that criteria? I would have to,
based on that.

>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.

I have not ignored your points in the past, and not now. I
disagree with you, but I think I'm allowed to do that. Your
belittling of me shows where you're coming from.

>I do accuse him and his group of carelessly accepting "UFO"

We're not careless. We consider the implications and the sources
in our studies.

>>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 posts that in my study of recent thousands of NUFORC

It _is_ true.

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

>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

_This_is something I will take grave exception to. I treat
witnesses with great respect, and I have done so for my 30+
years of investigation. My investigative attitude has never been
called into question, and you are deeply insulting my integrity.
Furthermore, you have no knowledge of how I treat witnesses. I
spent 15 minutes on the phone with a guy just now who greatly
appreciated my comments, willingness to listen and my insight.
He thanked me before we hung up. A skeptic wouldn't have given
him the time of day.

>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.

Yes, it's true. That's why we're not prejudging reports as alien
spacecraft, nor hallucinations.

>>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."

You state you dispute the callers to Ufology Research, but cite
NUFORC. That doesn't make any sense. I just gave an example of
someone who called me and used the term "UFO." You are wrong.

>>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."

Have you ever had any experience with media? I can pull out many
interviews I did where the reporter cited me accurately. My news
release that got the media to call states "high quality
unknowns" explicitly. You believe news reports completely? Hmmm.

>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.

You're right, Brad. I apologize. You did read them.

Our statistics are not faulty. Geoff is a pretty darned good
statistician who knows his stuff. We are not debunkers. We are
looking very carefully at the data.

>So where's the beef?
>You mean your E.coli and Mad Cow Diseased beef don't you?


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