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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Oct > Oct 22

Re: Non-Investigated Flying Objects

From: Michael Tarbell <mtarbell.nul>
Date: Mon, 22 Oct 2007 10:41:00 -0600
Archived: Mon, 22 Oct 2007 15:54:36 -0400
Subject: Re: Non-Investigated Flying Objects 

>From: Richard Hall <dh12.nul>
>To: ufoupdates.nul
>Date: Sun, 21 Oct 2007 18:37:28 -0400
>Subject: Re: Non-Investigated Flying Objects

>>From: Michael Tarbell <mtarbell.nul>
>>To: ufoupdates.nul
>>Date: Sun, 21 Oct 2007 11:38:20 -0600
>>Subject: Re: Non-Investigated Flying Objects

>>>From: Brad Sparks <RB47x.nul>
>>>To: ufoupdates.nul
>>>Date: Sat, 20 Oct 2007 20:36:21 EDT
>>>Subject: Non-Investigated Flying Objects

>>>I suggest naming the category of non-investigated or
>>>uninvestigated sightings "NFOs" or Non-investigated Flying
>>>Objects (NFOs). This is an indeterminate catchall category for
>>>initial incoming sighting reports prior to any Hynek screening
>>>or investigation. Most cases will fall into this category and
>>>never get reclassified as either IFOs or UFOs. The 'NFO' term
>>>falls nicely in between IFO and UFO alphabetically which is
>>>conceptually where it belongs.

>>While I agree this approach is well-motivated, it may be erring
>>in the other direction. One must at least consider, how would
>>NFOs be distributed if in fact they _were_ all investigated? The
>>reasonable default presumption would seem to be that they would
>>follow the distribution of the investigated cases, i.e., a 2-to-
>>1 ratio of UFOs to IFOs. The implication is that a full
>>investigation of every report would reveal that fully 67% of
>>them represent genuine unknowns. I think this would strike most
>>people, including UFO researchers, as unreasonable.

>>Of course, we may suppose (correctly, I think) that the cases
>>that get investigated do not represent a random sampling from
>>the entire body of reports. Indeed, it is reasonable to think
>>that the more anomalous cases would get higher priority for
>>investigation, with the result that genuine unknowns are over-
>>represented in the UFO/IFO group and under-represented in the
>>NFO group. However, without some way to quantify this bias, it
>>is difficult to estimate the actual fraction of unknowns in the
>>entire data set.

>I see no point at all in considering or assuming or trying to
>calculate how uninvestigated cases might turn out without
>actually investigating them! The whole point is the need to
>investigate before assuming anything.


From your response of 21 Oct to Brad Sparks' proposal:

"Far too much time is wasted on NFOs and far too much confusion
is created by not focusing more on true UFOs (well-investigated
former NFOs)."

This certainly seems to entail an assumption about NFOs in the
absence (by definition) of investigation. How does one reconcile
this with the last sentence of your reply to me?

In any case, I think we are in agreement that Brad's overall
point is well-taken. The essential point of my reply to him is
that, by adjusting the 'filter' on what constitutes a case worth
investigating, one can obtain just about any desired number for
the fraction of genuine unknowns in the investigated set.
However, a debunker can similarly expand the overall 'report'
database such that the fraction of unknowns tends to zero.


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