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Woo or Wow?
Posted: 28 July 2008 03:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]  
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JETurnbull - 27 July 2008 02:41 AM

As for the woo or wow factor, either the government has spent countless millions training demented, psycho, testosterone poisoned lunatic flyboys with the “wrong stuff” to be bivouacked across the zenith, or we’re missing one of (if not) the greatest stories in the history of civilization…

Are you sure you’re not Tom Wolfe, or somebody like that?

The fact that ET spaceships appear in such diverse manifestations indicates that the galaxy must be crawling with advanced civilizations capable of interstellar voyages. Why are they all so furtive once they get to planet Earth?

“The Sand People are easily startled, but they will soon return, and in greater numbers!”—Obi Wan Kenobi

“Into the garbage chute, flyboy!”—Princess Leia

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Posted: 28 July 2008 08:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]  
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Salt Creek - 28 July 2008 07:08 PM

The fact that ET spaceships appear in such diverse manifestations indicates that the galaxy must be crawling with advanced civilizations capable of interstellar voyages. Why are they all so furtive once they get to planet Earth?

It is also remarkable that aliens never abduct, say, a Danish physicist or land in the center of Paris on a Saturday afternoon.
For reasons unknown these little green fellows have a special affinity for colorful, but toothless yokels who live on a remote farm near Shitville Arkansas.

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Posted: 28 July 2008 08:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]  
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Sander - 29 July 2008 12:29 AM

toothless yokels who live on a remote farm near Shitville Arkansas.

I thought the “nearby” locality was some place like Polished Knob, North Carolina, or Broken Dog Dick, Mississippi

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Posted: 29 July 2008 09:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]  
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Carstonio: 27 July 2008 09:10 PM
That’s simply the C.S. Lewis lunatic/liar/Lord argument as reimagined by Ray Harryhausen or Steven Spielberg. If Earth has not (yet) been visited by alien races, it’s a mistake to assume that belief in such visitors could only be caused by mental illness. That ignores the possibility that Edgar Mitchell may be in full possession of his faculties but may simply be making a factual error.

How true Cars, how true.
They very well may be making many factual errors.  So?  Eliminate those and see what’s left.  Just you simply saying “That’s simply the C.S. Lewis lunatic/liar/Lord argument as reimagined by Ray Harryhausen or Steven Spielberg” is not an argument nor does it dispute anything.  The fact that they may be making factual errors doesn’t address all the possibilities.  Let me be more definitive.
1)  They’re making it up.  Translation: intentional hoaxes and/or deception, they’re cashing in, they want attention, etc.
2)  They’re mistaken or crazies.  Translation: they really believe they saw or experienced something but they didn’t. (i.e., factual errors)
3)  What they say happened to them happened.

Your point is covered by #2, and I agree.  But again, what about the others?  Isn’t it good science willing cover all three?

Carstonio:
Honest skepticism would not rule out the possibility of either alien visitors or a government coverup, but would also demand hard evidence for claims of both. This is especially true of the latter, since it’s too convenient to claim the latter to explain the lack of evidence for the former.

Indisputably true.  Honest skepticism is a very healthy approach and particularly important with a topic that inherently attracts fuckwits.  It’s the “honest” part of skepticism that I believe is at issue here. 

Salt Creek: 28 July 2008 06:08 PM
Are you sure you’re not Tom Wolfe, or somebody like that?

If only.  I’d lose the white suits, cane, and keep the parody.

Salty:
The fact that ET spaceships appear in such diverse manifestations indicates that the galaxy must be crawling with advanced civilizations capable of interstellar voyages. Why are they all so furtive once they get to planet Earth?

This brings up another bias and/or assumption.  If (and that’s a really big if) there is shit buzzing around that remains unidentified, why do we assume it’s “extraterrestrial”? or “space”ships?  Or how they “get to planet Earth”?  How could we even know this much?  Ezekiel had his own primitive bias: his frigging “burning wheel” in the sky and all its flashing lightning and center of fire.  If it is phenomena, who’s to say we are not filtering it through our own biases? 
Maybe there’s some mass psychiatric condition still to be defined or unraveled, or it’s an inner-dimensional or temporal phenomenon.  Who knew?

The bottom line: what ever it is, what I take issue with is bad science.  To quote you Salty…

“What science does is to try to answer at least a few questions so that those questions actually stop being a distraction.”
And…
“A scientist is never wedded emotionally, as you seem so clearly to be, to his or her ideas.”

I might add that: “a ‘good’ scientist is never wedded emotionally…”  That means in either a positive or negative tenor.  Remember, if there is something buzzing around (and I know it’s a big if), then it is subject to the riggers of hard science and it can be hard scientists (<it’s all yours Salty) that can resolve it.  Where are they?

“There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments, and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance—that principle is contempt prior to investigation.”
~Herbert Spencer

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“The Sand People are easily startled, but they will soon return, and in greater numbers!”—Obi Wan Kenobi

“Into the garbage chute, flyboy!”—Princess Leia

“If there is a bright spot in the universe, this place is the farthest thing from it.” ~Luke Skywalker

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Posted: 30 July 2008 09:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]  
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Okay, I know that I will be called a woo-monger and a liar. I hesitate to write this, but I will do so anyway. I am skeptical as I have never seen any evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence. Nevertheless, In the 1960s, my father took several astronauts and test pilots on guided hunts. He says that many of the fliers claim that they have seen objects that they believe to be extraterrestrial.

My father could be lying or crazy. I admittedly cannot help but be subjective about my own father. I have seen no reason to believe that the canary has left his cage. The astronauts could certainly have been yanking his chain. He has dozens of photos of the hunts and I have never seen him show anyone or tell anyone other than me and my siblings. I honestly do not know what to believe. I am not really arguing one way or the other. I just agree with JETurnbull that one cannot exclude the possibility that their may be evidence that is not yet published or released. I don’t claim to know. I doubt that several astronauts would make these claims just to get attention-although that is certainly plausible. That type of attention is not generally viewed positively unless one is trying to sell a book. This post will likely draw some sneers and eye rolls also-not that I am assuming anyone gives a shit.  It is not entirely impossible to think that NASA might be worried about a loss of funding if they were to make any statements supporting the possibility of something that is generally associated with whackos and bubbas.

Now, where is my Haldol?

[ Edited: 30 July 2008 11:05 AM by Beam]
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Posted: 30 July 2008 03:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]  
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Beam_Me_Up - 30 July 2008 01:03 PM

Okay, I know that I will be called a woo-monger and a liar.

The claim that extraterrestrial beings are visiting (or have visited) planet Earth is not falsifiable.

See also, falsifiability.

Now, consider the alternate claim, and how confident we are of its potential falsifiability.

There are not now, and have never been, any extra-terrestrial beings visiting planet Earth.

This could simply and straightforwardly be falsified by evidence of extraterrestrial beings visiting or having visited our planet.

No, sorry: Anecdotes do not count. I heard an anecdote once about how Jesus appeared to someone on a slice of toast.

Beam_Me_Up - 30 July 2008 01:03 PM

I just agree with JETurnbull that one cannot exclude the possibility that their may be evidence that is not yet published or released.

The extra-terrestrials themselves destroyed all evidence of their visit. That is to say, “The dog ate my homework.”

[ Edited: 30 July 2008 03:23 PM by Traces Elk]
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Posted: 30 July 2008 03:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]  
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Salt Creek - 30 July 2008 07:15 PM
Beam_Me_Up - 30 July 2008 01:03 PM

Okay, I know that I will be called a woo-monger and a liar.

The claim that extraterrestrial beings are visiting (or have visited) planet Earth is not falsifiable.

See also, falsifiability.

Now, consider the alternate claim, and how confident we are of its potential falsifiability.

There are not now, and have never been, any extra-terrestrial beings visiting planet Earth.

This could simply and straightforwardly be falsified by evidence of extraterrestrial beings visiting or having visited our planet.

No, sorry: Anecdotes do not count. I heard an anecdote once about how Jesus appeared to someone on a slice of toast.

“The dog ate my homework.”

I agree with you. Anecdotes are not evidence. Where the heck are the photos? I just could not stop myself from relating that second hand story. I have always found it interesting. I would have to say that until there is some solid evidence, you have to file ufo stories in the same file with any other speculation.

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Posted: 30 July 2008 04:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]  
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Beam_Me_Up - 30 July 2008 07:36 PM

I agree with you. Anecdotes are not evidence.

Anecdotes are not evidence regarding scientific matters. Anecdotes are evidence regarding legal or historical matters. They are often the only forms of evidence that exist in such endeavors, because the events at issue are not repeatable as in scientific experiments. People are convicted everyday on the basis of anecdotal evidence - it’s called “eyewitness testimony.” Historical events are accepted regularly on the basis of anecdotal evidence, as well. Someone reports that Caesar won a battle and writes an account of it. It becomes history.

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Posted: 30 July 2008 06:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]  
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JETurnbull - 30 July 2008 01:59 AM

But again, what about the others?  Isn’t it good science willing cover all three?

Absolutely. My Lewis comment was directed at the automatic dismissal of UFO believers as crazies without considering the other possibilities that you listed Lewis’ argument ignored the possibility that the Jesus stories were legends. That’s a possibility that belongs in your list - perhaps some or most reports of UFOs have been filtered through people who want to believe in alien visitors.

JETurnbull - 30 July 2008 01:59 AM

It’s the “honest” part of skepticism that I believe is at issue here.

How so? Are you suggesting that the automatic dismissal I mentioned involves an agenda? That’s possible, although I don’t know what such an agenda would be.

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Posted: 01 August 2008 10:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]  
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Carstonio - 30 July 2008 10:10 PM
JETurnbull - 30 July 2008 01:59 AM

But again, what about the others?  Isn’t it good science willing cover all three?

Absolutely. My Lewis comment was directed at the automatic dismissal of UFO believers as crazies without considering the other possibilities that you listed Lewis’ argument ignored the possibility that the Jesus stories were legends. That’s a possibility that belongs in your list - perhaps some or most reports of UFOs have been filtered through people who want to believe in alien visitors.

Perhaps “legends” could belong to the list in some corroborative sense; however, science can only evaluate information using the three options I mentioned and they for the most part involve first-hand testimony.
As far as those “wanting to believe,” I think this is a good point.  There are those out there who, like religion, want it to be true.  It’s the ‘space brothers,’ new agey types that want to be rescued or saved or healed or enlightened or anything rather than take responsibility for their own existence or deal realistically with their own fears.  Good scientific study usually doesn’t take these nose-picks into consideration, and they shouldn’t take them into consideration now.  Nevertheless, the scientific community fails to approach this subject with any rigor or objectivity.  Perhaps one of the reasons for that is the near circus-like stigma created by these fringe believers that subsequently becomes associated with any attempt at serious study.

Carstonio - 30 July 2008 10:10 PM
JETurnbull - 30 July 2008 01:59 AM

JETurnbull - 30 July 2008 12:59 AM
It’s the “honest” part of skepticism that I believe is at issue here.

How so? Are you suggesting that the automatic dismissal I mentioned involves an agenda? That’s possible, although I don’t know what such an agenda would be.

Yes.  Skepticism, (the tendency to doubt or question accepted truths or opinions), is one thing—and when true-to-form, it is the healthiest and most scientifically sound position to have.  Debunking (the intention to show that something is false or wrong), is quite another and usually involves a pre-conceived intent or agenda.  There are reputable spokespersons for the scientific community who portray themselves as ‘skeptics’ and yet when questioned, their reactions to it suggest that they either know very little about the subject or have an agenda to outright dismiss or debunk any and all testimony before objectively weighing it’s credibility and significance.

If there is a fraction of a fraction of a chance that there is something to this, and we do not begin to look at it realistically and with an agenda-free awareness, what hope will we ever have in dealing with it on a level that will provide us the opportunity to understand this phenomenon and shape our own destiny in synchronicity with both its conceivable and inconceivable implications?

“The right to search for truth is also a duty: one must not conceal any part of what one has recognized to be true.” ~ A Einstein

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Posted: 02 August 2008 08:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]  
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JETurnbull - 02 August 2008 02:35 AM

There are reputable spokespersons for the scientific community who portray themselves as ‘skeptics’ and yet when questioned, their reactions to it suggest that they either know very little about the subject or have an agenda to outright dismiss or debunk any and all testimony before objectively weighing it’s credibility and significance.

In this case, “debunking” is not the issue. Science is not a profession in which “all voices deserve an equal chance to be heard”. Those are the arenas of politics and cocktail parties. Even there, one can be snubbed. Science has a very specific term for what it uses to “snub” people, and this term is “quality of data”.

Science, sensu strictu, has prerequisites of on-demand, repeatable experience. Even sciences that are largely historical, such as paleontology, require scientists to describe the locality where a particular fossil was collected in such a way that anyone may revisit that locality. Sometimes scientists are cagey about the instructions, because they want to protect a particular interpretation of the local geology, since paleontology is often used to date rock layers for modeling paleo-tectonic events. In a sense, scientific dishonesty (or lack of complete disclosure) in the case of understanding the timing of an ancient tectonic event is a small fight over a small issue, and scientists do protect their turf, because that is where their funding comes from.

Contrast this with reports of “unidentified flying objects”. As with paleo-tectonics, what is interesting is the interpretation of the “data”. Except, in this case there is no data of any kind, unless you consider anecdotes to be data. These anecdotes, as some here point out, may be evidence only of the psychological state of the “reporters”. Since no one may check the reports of such “phenomena”, and no one may reproduce the “phenomena” at will, we have a situation equivalent to “paranormalism”.

We cannot make the requirement for “on-demand, repeatable experience” disappear in a puff of rhetoric. Even rhetoric that chastises us for ignoring the possibility (yes, the possibility) of phenomena that would “change the course of history”. Appeal to emotion (absent any other appeal) is a bad sign for any subject that aspires to scientific status.

All I ever ask in cases when the possibility of events of (supposedly) “cosmic significance” is brought up is:

Significant to whom? Data that may be laid on the table for all to see, with instructions for how to obtain the data oneself are the only kind of data that a scientist can describe as “significant”. Many lay persons interested in the data from Mars or Titan are interested in the implications of finding microbes on other planets (independent abiogenesis). In many cases, such persons are only interested because of the implication they imagine it would have for traditional forms of theistic religious belief.

Do these people not realize that, regardless of the data that science turns up, traditional theistic religious belief will modify its rationalizations regarding the origin of life in the cosmos? A belief that scientific data is a universal solute for religious belief is itself an irrational hope. I remind people that science is not about “possibility”. Speculation is not science.

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Posted: 02 August 2008 02:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]  
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If I was an astronaut…

If I was a former astronaut with a good deal of spare time and if I were to ask myself what would be the most fun I could possibly have, it wouldn’t take long to land on a good ET story. How often do you get a chance to yank the chain of (potentially) everybody in western civilization? I know I could not resist.
Places like Roswell and Hanger Whatever are created to harmlessly absorb the energy released by all our unbridled curiosity.

I think they are waiting until we are good and ripe. Yum.

And frankly, I think it is much more spooky that the toast looks like me (more than the Imaginary Registered Trademark).
Does that mean I’m an alien? Or that I’m going to be eaten by aliens?

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Posted: 02 August 2008 08:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]  
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Nhoj Morley - 02 August 2008 06:12 PM

And frankly, I think it is much more spooky that the toast looks like me (more than the Imaginary Registered Trademark).
Does that mean I’m an alien? Or that I’m going to be eaten by aliens?

A recently discovered inscription on a loaf-shaped tablet found in Karnak quotes Osiris as saying “I will make Nhoj in my image.” Even more recently, an ancient papyrus was found on which a priest, interpreting the Osiris inscription, related that he understood the inscription to mean that “Nhoj is toast.”

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Posted: 02 August 2008 10:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]  
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…the Osiris inscription, … understood… to mean that “Nhoj is toast.”

Now that is even spookier. That’s exactly what my workmates said before they showed me the picture.
To whom can I turn? Whom I gonna call?
Toastbusters?

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Posted: 03 August 2008 10:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]  
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Salty: 02 August 2008 11:03 AM
In this case, “debunking” is not the issue.  Science is not a profession in which “all voices deserve an equal chance to be heard”.  Those are the arenas of politics and cocktail parties.  Even there, one can be snubbed. Science has a very specific term for what it uses to “snub” people, and this term is “quality of data”.

This is true.  It is simply a matter of separating out the things (e.g., dog psychics, earthquake divination, exorcism, virgin births, etc.) that are not equidistant to those that, through more disciplined procedures have earned “an equal chance to be heard.”  If this is the case, and there are good reasons to believe that it is, than the “scientific snub” is a lot more about debunking than “quality of data.”

Enter bad science: The scientific orthodoxy hates a mystery, they hate saying “I don’t know.”  Scientism is the true belief system of the 20th and 21st Centuries and for good reasons — I sure bet the chalk, and it would be foolish to do otherwise.  Conversely, this amount of power and status has far too often created hubris to match.  Egos become involved that would rather dismiss phenomena capriciously than “not know.”  The scientific community has its own hierarchy and traditions; it is often cumbersome, slow to respond, and conservative by nature.  Consequently, it is a disempowering and humbling experience for the high-priests of science to not have any solutions when the plebeian minions look to them for answers they can not provide. 

Salty: 02 August 2008 11:03 AM
Science, sensu strictu, has prerequisites of on-demand, repeatable experience. Even sciences that are largely historical, such as paleontology, require scientists to describe the locality where a particular fossil was collected in such a way that anyone may revisit that locality. Sometimes scientists are cagey about the instructions, because they want to protect a particular interpretation of the local geology, since paleontology is often used to date rock layers for modeling paleo-tectonic events. In a sense, scientific dishonesty (or lack of complete disclosure) in the case of understanding the timing of an ancient tectonic event is a small fight over a small issue, and scientists do protect their turf, because that is where their funding comes from.

My sentiments exactly.  “…scientists protect their turf, because that is where their funding comes from,” …and in their so doing — whether or not it is a “small fight over a small issue,” — you have exposed an “agenda.”  This agenda, regardless of it being conscious or unconscious, underscores the point that scientists, and consequently their commitment to the full truth, can be compromised by self-interest.  That self-interest has many currencies: ego, money, career advancement, celebrity, radio and television airtime, status, power, etc., that easily shape the psychology of these scientists to create overt or covert biases. 

Salty writes:
Contrast this with reports of “unidentified flying objects”. As with paleo-tectonics, what is interesting is the interpretation of the “data”. Except, in this case there is no data of any kind, unless you consider anecdotes to be data. These anecdotes, as some here point out, may be evidence only of the psychological state of the “reporters”. Since no one may check the reports of such “phenomena”, and no one may reproduce the “phenomena” at will, we have a situation equivalent to “paranormalism”.

Although science usually is the gatekeeper of information and is considered the sine qua non in any theory, it is not the only profession that collects and analyzes evidence.  To put the almost universal rejection of UFO phenomena by scientists into perspective, contrast scientific orthodoxy with two other professional communities: the legal profession (as Bruce alluded to above) and military intelligence analysis. 

Science, sensu latu, routinely limits its investigation to only those natural phenomena that can be built on, explained, or extended by other, general scientific theories that underscore the field of study that is associated with a phenomenon.  For the most part, this effort requires patience and specialized knowledge.  This creates temporary paradigms that of course, are subject to change with new and better information.  During periods of scientific change (e.g., Newtonian mechanics vs. general relativity), an original theory can no longer adequately explain certain phenomena.  As newer observations are investigated, the old theory begins to explain the phenomenon less and less well. 

What scientists tend to do when there is an inadequacy within an accepted paradigm is to extend or expand the paradigm itself, often at the expense of reducing its credibility — and sometimes to the point where such modifications no longer succeed in explaining the paradigm itself. 
In science, there is no toleration for facts that cannot be explained by the old paradigm or used in building a new one.  Thus, the scientific community is often among the worst suited to accommodate evidence that has no place in current or developing theories.  They are nearly incapable of dealing with truly anomalous evidence. 


The legal profession.  The standard of proof in criminal law is “beyond a reasonable doubt,” civil law: “the preponderance of evidence” or the “balance of probabilities.”  Evidence must be relevant, material, and admissible.  Relevance is based on the connection between evidence and the facts to be proved.  Evidence is immaterial if it does not relate to an issue in the case, and must be obtained by procedures that conform to the rules of evidentiary admissibility. 
Unlike the scientific method, the legal system is built on a foundation of alleged facts presented as evidence.  Anecdotal evidence is weighed, compared, analyzed, challenged, evaluated, assessed and treated for its worth and credibility.  Then, through inductive reasoning, a legal theory follows the evidence. 

Legal evidence does not require the imprimatur of scientific theory.  It stands or falls on the basis of its contribution to understanding a case.  It is deliberate, two-sided and — at least in theory — evenhanded.  All evidence is open to criticism. 
It is the goal of the legal process to regulate the relationship among its citizens and the state.  Its importance in human development cannot be overstated.  It attempts to oversee the delicate balance of rules that bookend civilization — protections from anarchy or a return to primitive nature. 

Military analysis.  Time is neutral toward science and even the law, however, this isn’t the case with military intelligence.  When resolving any doubts about enemy capabilities it is almost never acceptable to do ‘another experiment,’ as there is always a penalty for deciding too late.  Unlike the scientist, military intelligence must pay attention to, and follow up on, all available facts and evidence — including anecdotal information.  As soon as something unusual is reported, a competent analyst focuses all resources into finding out more about it, regardless of whether it fits into the accepted paradigm or the possibility it might lead to a new one. 

Military analysis needs timely evidence about foreign developments that are potentially threatening.  The analysis cannot assume that scientific theorists and weapons designers understand what is possible and what is not.  Military intelligence analysis has to be brutally empirical and there can be no a priori theoretical reason for a military analyst to discard evidence.  The cost of ignoring evidence that scientific orthodoxy cannot explain or dismisses can and has had fatal consequences and we need only look at the lessons of history to see the results of those who ignored or seconded guessed their opposition’s technologies because it is supposedly “not possible.” 

These three perspectives on evidence represent three different routes to an understanding of the world.  Unfortunately, because of its own self-imposed position and systemic limitations, the scientific community cannot be expected to take the lead in any proper investigation of UFO phenomena, except for criticism. 
Legal evidence, not restrained by scientific theory, could at the very least take a more integrated approach to UFO evidence if any evidence ever came before the court.  Here, the facts come first and the theories follow. 
Since military intelligence does not dismiss evidence simply because they do not understand it, they — regrettably — are the most likely to be making sense of any evidence and doing something about it.  Sadly for all of us, they work in secrecy. 

The empirical manner of a skilled attorney or the awareness and sensibilities of a military analyst out lap the scientist in this regard.  Hopefully, the two former will eventually get the attention of the latter. 

Bad science: “You cannot see impossible things.  Therefore you didn’t see them.”  …A teleologism if ever there was one. 
Good science: “We don’t know. …But we better start looking”

JETurnbull: 02 August 2008 01:35 AM
If there is a fraction of a fraction of a chance that there is something to this, and we do not begin to look at it realistically and with an agenda-free awareness, what hope will we ever have in dealing with it on a level that will provide us the opportunity to understand this phenomenon and shape our own destiny in synchronicity with both its conceivable and inconceivable implications?

Salty writes:
We cannot make the requirement for “on-demand, repeatable experience” disappear in a puff of rhetoric. Even rhetoric that chastises us for ignoring the possibility (yes, the possibility) of phenomena that would “change the course of history”. Appeal to emotion (absent any other appeal) is a bad sign for any subject that aspires to scientific status.

Not necessarily.  Take for example the two mothers of boys from Lyme, Connecticut, whose “emotional” appeals to the scientific and medical community were systematically dismissed by the Connecticut State Health Department and the Yale Medical Center.  Due to the frustration they were experiencing over the lack of concern for an illness that they felt was spreading in their community, they raised the clarion call’s volume till it was enough to get noticed.  After years of effort, there is now a broad understanding, knowledge, assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and acceptance of the debilitating deer tick-generated “Lyme Disease.”
In fact, an “appeal to emotion” can be a very good sign for anyone wanting to wake up the somnambulant scientific orthodoxy. 

Salty writes:
All I ever ask in cases when the possibility of events of (supposedly) “cosmic significance” is brought up is:

Significant to whom? Data that may be laid on the table for all to see, with instructions for how to obtain the data oneself are the only kind of data that a scientist can describe as “significant”.

Significance is descendent to investigation.  Provided one is willing to ask the right questions, consider the unpopular, explore a range of possibilities, and challenge the accepted preconceived beliefs of a system: significance can follow (or not).  The truth, whatever it turns out to be, is significant to (almost) everyone, I would suggest.

[ Edited: 04 August 2008 09:52 PM by JET]
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