Monday, May 01, 2006

Random notes...

Musings on a cocktail napkin -

...The govt. has been saying it has no secret UFO info, and most UFO researchers state they are lying. If the govt. tomorrow announced that UFOs are real, would those researchers believe the govt. was now telling the truth?...

...Many UFO researchers seem to feel that instrumented field data-gathering is a waste of time or that it could never get funding or earn legitimacy. My question to them is, "Compared to what...the CURRENT methods of UFOlogy?". I cannot understand the objection to attempting to gather more than anecdotal or archival data....

...From this moment, today, the best way to attempt to divine the truth of the UFO enigma is to move in two directions...backward, to glean whatever tidbits of solid data are to be found in newspaper archives, libraries, and other sources of the past...and forward, to new ways to monitor the skies, capture information about the things flying around in them, and perhaps to catalog the findings so that some reasonable hypotheses may be formulated and experiments conducted to support (or not) those hypotheses...

...Why are there not many more UFO sightings these days, with relatively high-quality digital cameras available in myriad forms, and with security cameras becoming more ubiquitous every day? Are the better quality images simply revealing the mundanity of the vast majority of sightings, or are the UFOs reacting to our better "eyes" by moving just out of their view? Or did the UFOs just get bored when we failed to nuke ourselves into oblivion, spoiling their eagerly anticipated fireworks show?...

...Should UFOlogy NEED photographs or videos? Can we ever really trust them? Wouldn't radar returns, IR radiation readings, spectrographic and magnetic data do more to depict a true UFO than a blurry photo or a herky-jerky video clip? Heck, couldn't the same be said for eyewitness accounts? SETI garners more legitimate press, and far more scientific acknowledgement than UFOlogy ever has, and yet they have not one single coherent signal to show for it. Perhaps the reliance on anecdotal and photographic evidence actually hinders the field...?...

...With UFO organizations like BUFO, is it any wonder that UFO researchers are treated like lepers by the mainstream scientific community? Should we expect otherwise?...

Hmmm...last call...I'm outta here.

Comments:
Kyle:

Some trenchant observations there. Well said. This one might be the best:

"Perhaps the reliance on anecdotal and photographic evidence actually hinders the field."

A law degree instilled in me a great deal of respect for witness testimony, and a great deal of wariness for its reliability, especially when unsubstantiated. Perhaps it is time, as you suggest, to move away from just collecting witness statements, to a more instrumented, dare I say it, scientific, approach to studying the UFO phenomenon?

Of course, that requires some money (more, I think, than you suppose), and that money will never be forthcoming so long as the "true believers" control the agenda, the ETH is treated as the ETF(act), i.e. the cart is put before the horse, and ufologists insist on labeling every skeptic as a debunker, or a pelicanist.

Paul
 
Hey Paul -

Thanks for the comments.

There is no question that money is a requirement for any comprehensive instrumented approach.

But money seems to get coughed up for storm-chasing gear, amateur seismological and archaeology projects, etc.

As you say, the first step is to set up operation outside the UFOlogical "mainstream".

Not as a replacement for, but as a supplement to, the research into past cases and re-analysis of old data using more modern...and ever cheaper... technology.

And as I've said before, I think any such initiative should NOT include the letters UFO in its name. :)

Kyle
Thanks again.
 
Kyle:

And as I've said before, those letters should be the more scientifically oriented and acceptable (and, frankly, accurate), UAP - Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon.

Paul
 
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