Do you think linking UFOs with the paranormal is healthy for either discussion?

The trouble here is that UFO means a few different things:

  1. Unidentified Flying Object - Bo-ring. I’m sure untold thousands of people have seen flying objects they were unable to identify. Big Whoop.

  2. Alien Life Out There… Somewhere - Pretty non-controversial, really. There is a possibility of other life in the universe. Scientifically interesting concept, but ultimately doesn’t affect our day to day lives.

  3. Alien Visitation - Aliens visited the Earth and:
    Seeded the Earth with human life
    Helped the Egyptians build the Pyramids
    Drew the Nazca Lines
    Live in Atlantis
    Cause the Bermuda Triangle strangeness
    Make Crop Circles
    Kidnap Billy Joe Redneck from his pickup truck and stick a probe in his ass

This stuff is complete crapola, and doesn’t deserve to occupy the same thoughtspace as item #2. Lump this shit in with Ghosts, Angels and ESP, it’s all nonsense anyway.

If a military officer tells of how he saw something in the sky that he couldn’t identify, I give that complete respect. If a palm reader says that a person’s crease in the skin of their palm is somewhat longer than average, I give her respect.

If either of them goes on to give unsubstantiated interpretations of their observations, that’s when I don’t give them respect.

We didn’t just land a rover on Mars? Exploration is about discovery. Not just about where physically we put bodies. We didn’t put humans in orbit first either. It’s a step. As a species, we have reached further into the universe and continue to do so with each generation. We went into the sky, then into space, then into orbit, then to the moon, then beyond , and now to Mars. Said another way - probes count.

When life is most likely to start in this universe is blind guesswork, since we are the only example on hand so far.

Agree. Its not the data, but the conclusions that I tend to have problems with. The thing is that UFOs are by name “unidentified”. I’ve yet to see a palm reader or psychic give the same deference to the facts. Having said that, I agree with your point.

Perhaps, but science requires hypothesis.

And hypothesis is based on data. For all we know life is such a complicated and rare process that we got our start a couple of billion years early-we have absolutely no way of telling at this time.

Faulty reasoning.

The earth is 4.5 billion years old. Our species was recognizably homo sapiens 200 thousand years ago.

So, unless the Earth sat there empty while our species wasn’t formed for 99% of that time, there are other intelligent life forms that would have had a 4.5 minus 200 thousand year head start on us.

Of course this makes no sense.

Conditions on earth weren’t conducive to life at all for 3 billion years. And conditions weren’t conducive to multicellular life or anything more complex than simple bacteria for hundreds of millions of years after that.

Likewise, the conditions for forming life in the galaxy wouldn’t have been present for some time. There’s a reason the Earth is roughly 4.5 billion years old and not 13.9 billion years old. It takes some time for galaxies to produce G2 type stars (actually, you kind of need older stars to collapse first).

And? We first landed the Viking probe on Mars in the 70s.

Your original statement was that we were traveling “further into the universe” with each generation. That was clearly untrue.

If you meant we were “getting more technologically advanced with our probes”, I have no argument with that. But that’s hardly traveling further into the universe.

The best estimates that I’ve seen are that life started on Earth about 3.8 billion years ago, so the statement should be that conditions on Earth weren’t conducive to life at all for about 800 million years.

I was speaking to exploration, not to mileage. As I said, we didn’t put humans into orbit first, but we did reach into orbit. You’re not pretending that we don’t know more today than in the 70’s, right? So, how about you cut me some slack on the literal and give my original point a try?

The point is, that we don’t know what we don’t know and as another poster said earlier (I’m paraphrasing) it’s not the data, but the conclusions that are probably worth the majority of our cynicism. My thinking is that we should apply scientific approach to any question worth asking. I think linking these two subjects doesn’t do either that kind of service.

That’s a gross over simplification and I think you probably know that. You’re smart enough to make the argument, so I am guessing that you know we’ve dated material retrieved from space. I’m equally sure that you know that I know, that it’s a pretty big guess, but then again you kind of make my point.

If we are to understand whatever it is that UFOs represent, shouldn’t we gather data? Actual, factual data? Like Stanton Friedman (UFO dude and physicist) said, “We shouldn’t be asking if all UFO sightings are fake, but rather what if only one of them is real?” I like the way he thinks.

If it weren’t for that fact that a large portion of “Ufologists” make the link between U.F.O.s and the paranormal themselves the subject would never come up at all. If you want there to be a separation between U.F.O.s and the paranormal, you’re speaking to the wrong crowd.

You guys really can’t see that just by throwing around numbers in the millions and billions, you’re kind of making my point?

I’m not pretending to know how old Earth is, but its probably not the oldest thing in the planet. It’s called “possibility”.

Is it POSSIBLE that not every person who has seen a UFO is a nut job? Yes. Is it possible that there is some scientific value in finding out what these things are when they are credible sightings? Yes. Do they have anything to do with the ghost in my attic? No.

Loosen up a bit. It’s more fun that way.

Can you please name ONE UFOlogist who links the two? I’ve read a ton of stuff and I have never seen one do that. I’ll be happy to stand corrected if you have a name of whom you speak.

Gather what data? Why are there absolutely no otherworldly artifacts to study? Why is there such a disparity when it comes to descriptions? Are there thousands of different of aliens out there, and we are the only ones that haven’t figured out how to travel faster than light? Show me evidence.

Have you read on the subject at all? I only started recently and I’m telling you that I won’t even come close to claiming alien life forms had anything to do with them, but there are hundreds of credible sightings. Soldiers, pilots, even Presidents have reported UFO sightings. These are trained observers not some yahoos drinking moonshine on a dirt road somewhere.

It cracks me up that people dismiss a discussion because of a lack of scientific discipline, but they are willing to dismiss the facts that ARE there without even considering them. How scientific is that?

I’m not trying to be snarky or (excessively) argumentative, but it would be easier if you made your original point clear to begin with.

Sure, we are always advancing our knowledge about space and the universe around us.

That doesn’t translate at all into actual exploration or the plausibility of actual exploration of other solar systems by us or by hypothetical advanced extraterrestrials.

As mentioned earlier in the thread, “plausible” doesn’t mean anything has actually happened nor does it mean we can accept something as proven already.

Why not? If, by cross-pollination, it gets more people interested, that can only help with funding the research of both topics, right?

But, still, the idea that the wide variety of UFO sightings are due to extraterrestrial intelligence is a reach.

Remember what the “U” stands for. It’s just “unidentified”. Apply your own standard for hypothesis here. Attributing even a modest fraction of such sightings to extraterrestrial intelligence has no backing in data.

So far, your arguments have been based on incredulity rather than any actual physical evidence or reasoning. Incredulity is fine to start with but scientific work eventually requires you have eventually some actual evidence and not just a vague feeling something feels off.

Thanks for the correction.

That just bolsters the underlying point, of course.

Incredulity over the age of Earth compared to the age of the universe as a basis for arguing the absolute existence of older, more advanced life fails in the same logical fashion as comparing the age of intelligence life on Earth to any sort of life on Earth at all.

“It just stands to reason” is a dangerous sort of logic to employ.

You know there are promoters of psychic phenomena who say “we realize that many psychics are fake or simply deluded, but what if only one of them is actually psychic?”

As with anything else, let’s see the evidence, if any are real. Sure, just because 99% of them are fake, it doesn’t absolutely mean that the other 1% are as well, but it certainly doesn’t help your case.

That’s the same exact thing that psychic promoters say.

So here’s something reasonably scientific to say about extra-terrestrial life:

"While we don’t know the details of how life formed on this planet, we do have some good guesses about the generalities, and given that there now seem to be lots of other planets out there in the universe, it seems likely that other planets somewhere else would have life also.

"However, there probably were conditions on the Earth that made it more favorable for life: the temperature range being right for liquid water, an abundance of carbon, oxygen, and other elements, etc. These would tend to make us think that the vast majority of stars wouldn’t have planets with conditions this favorable, so the chance of intelligent life being anywhere that we could reach it is vanishingly small. Hell, the chance of life being close enough that we could even detect it seems really really small.

"Given the enormous distances, and that we’re pretty sure about that speed of light thing, we can imagine what it would take for our civilization to go out and visit other worlds to look for life, and it’s just not plausible at all. Other civilizations would have the same barriers in looking for us.

"Therefore the idea that we’ve been visited by alien life, here on Earth, is really outlandishly unlikely. We’d love to know that it happened, but we’d need very solid evidence of it. And if it were happening, we think that solid evidence of it should be very easy to obtain.

“Since the little evidence that we do have is so easily attributable to mistakes, fraud, and delusion, it does not come anywhere near being convincing. The only reasonable tentative conclusion is that ALL those reports are wrong. However if we’re wrong we’re certainly willing to have a look and change our minds!”

Do you or do you not want to gather data? Or is it just that you want to gather data that supports your “hypothesis”?

When it comes to intelligent life, how old something is really isn’t much of a factor. A rock could be millions of years old and be just as lifeless as the day it was made.

  1. Nutjob isn’t the only possibility: there’s also mistaken, convinced by someone else that what they thought they saw was actually something else, lonely and looking for attention, ignorant as to what is going on, greedy and looking to sell books etc.
  2. There is no scientific value in the possibility of data when we have no hard data to base that possibility on in the first place. Where’s the actual data itself?
  3. Once again, the tying of U.F.O.s and the supernatural was initially made by the believers, not the skeptics.

Does “loosen up” mean “Accept my ideas without criticizing them”?

You claim that there are hundreds of credible witnesses. Leaving aside what you think a “credible witness” is(for now), could you please tell us what the points are that all these credible witnesses agree on? What common factors concerning these U.F.O.s do they agree on?