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Posted: 10 August 2008 06:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]  
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JETurnbull - 03 August 2008 02:25 PM

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.

Once more with feeling:

The world does not “owe” anyone answers to their “burning questions”. Speculations about UFOs being visitors from beyond the solar system should depend on (hang from) plausible explanations about how it is possible to travel such great distances, and more information about how common are the conditions for abiogenesis. I submit that whatever we find out in the investigation of those questions is likely to be at least as satisfying as anything that could come out of soothing attempts to take seriously the anecdotes of people who claim to have been visited by extraterrestrials.

Theories about extraterrestrials involving their being non-biological or going from point A to point B without visiting the points in between hang from plausible knowledge about the details of such alternatives. We already have science fiction, and that, I think, is the best explanation of where these tabloid stories come from: writers of bad science fiction who cannot get their stuff published in usual channels, or people for whom reality as it is does not quite seem to be enough. It’s woo-woo, that old wishful “conviction’’ that there be “more than this”.

We can romanticize these visionaries just as much as we romanticize the prophets of old. It’s all the same kettle of fish to me. Complaining about the hegemonic aspect of the current scientific establishment is not the way to get my attention. There’s a lot of injustice in the world, and we get our fill of all those narratives that envision overturning the power structure and ushering a day when

the first ones now will later be last
Just as the present now will later be past
For the times they are a-changin

These narratives don’t go away, because nothing really changes except the names of the characters in the stories.

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Posted: 15 September 2008 11:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]  
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Salt Creek: 10 August 2008 09:56 AM
Speculations about UFOs being visitors from beyond the solar system should depend on (hang from) plausible explanations about how it is possible to travel such great distances, and more information about how common are the conditions for abiogenesis.  I submit that whatever we find out in the investigation of those questions is likely to be at least as satisfying as anything that could come out of soothing attempts to take seriously the anecdotes of people who claim to have been visited by extraterrestrials.

...We’ll see.  Tuesday (tonight: 9/16, 9:30 PM on ABC) …

“But leading theoretical physicist Michio Kaku told ABC, ‘You simply cannot dismiss the possibility that some of these UFO sightings are actually sightings from some object created by an advanced civilization because … on the off chance that there is something there, that could literally change the course of human history.’”

Could So Many UFO Witnesses Be Right?
“Primetime” Examines the Evidence for UFOs and Aliens
Tuesday, September 16, 9:30 - 11:00 PM

http://www.abcnews.go.com/Primetime/story?id=5790432&page=1
http://www.abcnews.go.com/Primetime/story?id=5790432

ABC News’ David Muir examines the evidence behind UFO sightings in a new “Primetime” special.

For decades, millions of people around the world have reported seeing UFOs hovering in their skies. It is a mystery that science has been unable to solve, and the phenomenon remains largely unexamined. Much of the reporting on this subject holds those who claim to have seen UFOs up to ridicule.
“UFOs: Seeing is Believing” takes a serious look at the phenomenon in today’s world. The 90-minute special includes interviews with scientists searching for proof of life beyond earth and UFO witnesses who claim aliens are already here. Building on the original Peter Jennings report in 2005, David Muir reports on new sightings, as well as NASA’s current search for life on Mars.

“UFOs: Seeing is Believing,” to be broadcast in HDTV, airs on a special edition of “Primetime” Tuesday, September 16 from 9:30 - 11:00 p.m. ET.
The program follows the entire scope of the UFO experience, from the first famous sighting by Kenneth Arnold in 1947 to the present day. Muir reports on a recent UFO sighting in Stephenville, Texas, where multiple witnesses reported seeing enormous lights moving in strange configurations on the evening of January 8, 2008. He interviews some of the most credible witnesses of the sighting and a radar expert who evaluated their claims and found something surprising in the data. Sophisticated animations approved by the eyewitnesses allow viewers to get a feel for the experience first hand. The special draws on interviews with police officers, pilots, military personnel, scientists and ordinary citizens who give extraordinary accounts of encounters with the unexplained. While professional skeptics about UFOs speak out, including scientists who are leading the search for life forms elsewhere in the universe. The special also examines the most recent advances in the search for life on other planets. This past summer, NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander, a robot that tests and analyzes soil on the planet, found conclusive evidence of water ice on Mars. You’ll hear from scientists on the project about the real possibility of finding life on Earth’s next-door neighbor.

ABC News explores the facts behind the mystery of the incident at Roswell, New Mexico, where, in 1947, the story goes, the U.S. Government collected the wreckage from a crashed flying saucer. And you’ll hear from the people who claim they’ve been abducted by aliens.
Among the UFO cases presented:

Minot Air Force Base, October 1968—Sixteen airmen on the ground and the crew of an airborne B-52 witness a massive unidentified object hovering near the base. Phoenix, Ariz., March 1997—Thousands witness what many believe was a huge triangular craft moving slowly over the city.

St. Clair County, Ill., January 2000—Police officers in five adjoining towns all independently report witnessing a giant craft with multiple bright lights moving silently across the sky at a very low altitude. Today, if you report a UFO to the U.S. government, you will be informed that the Air Force conducted a 22-year investigation which ended in 1969 and concluded that UFOs are not a threat to national security and are of no scientific interest.

But leading theoretical physicist Michio Kaku told ABC, “You simply cannot dismiss the possibility that some of these UFO sightings are actually sightings from some object created by an advanced civilization because & on the off chance that there is something there, that could literally change the course of human history.”

Copyright © 2008 ABC News Internet Ventures

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Posted: 16 September 2008 09:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]  
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JETurnbull - 16 September 2008 03:47 AM

...We’ll see.  Tuesday (tonight: 9/16, 9:30 PM on ABC) …

“But leading theoretical physicist Michio Kaku told ABC, ‘You simply cannot dismiss the possibility that some of these UFO sightings are actually sightings from some object created by an advanced civilization because … on the off chance that there is something there, that could literally change the course of human history.’”

What’s your point, Jed? You can’t go anywhere with this without my objections. Please don’t tell me it is simply that:

“You simply cannot dismiss the possibility…”.

Holding open the possibility, plus a shiny coin. You know the drill. This kind of crap helps to make the Sam Harris Forum one of the premier internet sites where coherent thought goes to die.

Holding open the possibility is about hope. And hope (in this context) is nothing more than faith. Sam Harris wrote a book entitled “The End of Faith”, but when you get right down to it, most people don’t want to go there; not even SH himself. Hence, the website dedicated to promoting his publications attracts lots of woo-heads. Don’t feel bad. You’re not alone.

As for the UFOs? Just another woo-ish way of trying to tell ourselves “We are not ALONE”.

We probably are not, if a probability in the fractions of a per cent is enough to convince you that something isn’t impossible. The most likely scenario is that they are in another galaxy, far, far away, and we won’t be able to do more than infer the likelihood of their existence through something like the Drake equation and its successors. Why is it not enough that intelligent organisms are probable, say at the 0.01% level? Why is it necessary for them to visit us?

Is it because most people are incapable of any kind of abstraction that does not simply brim over with woo-woo?

Using Kaku’s woo-physics nonsense to convince yourself that “they” could actually be visiting us is… Well. I don’t want to insult anyone here, today, but the “physics of possibility” is a cottage industry among woo-heads.

Fuck “possibility”. I want “probability”. If you don’t, that’s your business. Publish it, and I will critique it for you.

In my teens and twenties, I read a lot of SF and entertained lots of wishes that this drab human stupidity was not all I was ever going to get to see, and that the saucers would come and help us snap out of it. I outgrew this phase.

[ Edited: 16 September 2008 09:53 AM by Traces Elk]
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Posted: 16 September 2008 11:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]  
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Welcome back Mr. Creek.

It is interesting, at least to me, that the alien visitors have changed their attitude somewhat over the last 60 years or so.
Back in the fifties it was believed that the little green critters from Mars, the moon and elsewhere were hostile and ready to put us on their dinner menus.
For reasons inscrutable the current attitude towards the aliens is that they either have an otherworldly medical fascination with our various orifices and travel great distances to uncover the miracle that is Billy Bob Zeek’s ass, or they are enlightened and friendly creatures of the sort we starry-eyed terrestrials hope we will one day be.

I say that for once our parents’ generation had it right.
There is no reason to assume that species from another world will act in any other way than most species on this here planet.

Or perhaps we will be visited by an intergalactic cleaning crew, sent by the sanitation department of the council of Torrus VI to put a bunch of hysterical, deluded, gullible apes out of their misery.

Farfetched?  Well, you simply cannot dismiss the possibility.

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Posted: 16 September 2008 01:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]  
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We certainly would not want anyone to ever speculate beyond what is currently accepted as within the realm of scientific possibility. The scientist realizes that concepts previously used by other researchers may not exhaust all possible causes or effects. Previous researchers may have overlooked the “real” cause because they were not aware of its existence. For example, for all the time that physicians were not aware of the existence of viruses, they could not consider them as causes of disease. Bad humor was accepted as a cause of disease and I may well suffer from that malady.

By logic, insight, or observation, the scientist may consider new concepts. The scientist is always considering alternative concepts and processes, and seeing if these radical ideas might explain the phenomenon being studied more clearly. What if scientists had never considered possibilities which were considered ridiculous in their time? Natural selection would have been called naïve inquiry in the 16th century. It may not have held up to scrutiny if Mendel’s work with peas had not been ultimately discovered and saved from obscurity.

We certainly have no published data at present to indicate the existence of any life other than that found on this planet. Personally I do no really give a crap whether little green guys with big heads exist or not. Nevertheless, to exclude that possibility a priori and assume that our present understanding of physics excludes possibilities of travel beyond our current understanding requires more faith than I can muster.

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Posted: 16 September 2008 03:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]  
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Beam_Me_Up - 16 September 2008 05:06 PM

We certainly would not want anyone to ever speculate beyond what is currently accepted as within the realm of scientific possibility. The scientist realizes that concepts previously used by other researchers may not exhaust all possible causes or effects. Previous researchers may have overlooked the “real” cause because they were not aware of its existence. For example, for all the time that physicians were not aware of the existence of viruses, they could not consider them as causes of disease. Bad humor was accepted as a cause of disease and I may well suffer from that malady.

By logic, insight, or observation, the scientist may consider new concepts. The scientist is always considering alternative concepts and processes, and seeing if these radical ideas might explain the phenomenon being studied more clearly. What if scientists had never considered possibilities which were considered ridiculous in their time? Natural selection would have been called naïve inquiry in the 16th century. It may not have held up to scrutiny if Mendel’s work with peas had not been ultimately discovered and saved from obscurity.

We certainly have no published data at present to indicate the existence of any life other than that found on this planet. Personally I do no really give a crap whether little green guys with big heads exist or not. Nevertheless, to exclude that possibility a priori and assume that our present understanding of physics excludes possibilities of travel beyond our current understanding requires more faith than I can muster.

What’s your point, Beamster? That a failure to consider “all the possibilities” is going to prevent us from detecting visitors from beyond the solar system? If they are material entities, we have all the physics we need to detect them. If they are not material entities, they are woo-woo entities. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings, but the more parsimonious explanation that people are hallucinating the images of their wishful thinking is much more likely as well. After all, people hallucinating is not front page news any more. The speculative physics crapola is just there as an a posteriori rationalization.

One sure thing about woo-woo entities (i.e., that for which no repeatable observations are possible and to which no existing science can be linked, the better to direct us toward repeatable observation):  They really are all made of the same sort of non-stuff.

I am thankful that people whose only exposure to science is the kind of speculative entertainment they see on cable TV are not the primary filters through which research proposals need to pass before being funded. However, they are the voters who are primarily responsible for the funding of education and for understanding the priorities in science education. The results are before you as you survey the monumental scientific ignorance of the electorate of the US.

You would be far better off making it your business to see that children do not graduate from primary and secondary schools with too much proclivity to fantasize about little green men and not enough training in basic chemistry, physics, biology and mathematics. It’s too late for that, I’m afraid, because the people developing education policy in the US are a lot like you.

[ Edited: 16 September 2008 03:23 PM by Traces Elk]
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Posted: 16 September 2008 03:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]  
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The program follows the entire scope of the UFO experience, from the first famous sighting by Kenneth Arnold in 1947 to the present day.

Parsimony demands also that we consider the fact that the history of UFO sightings is coincident with the era of human space exploration and nuclear technology. The story blossoms by a posteriori rationale that the ETs started visiting us as soon as we had suborbital ballistic rocketry and nuclear explosive devices, but not decades or even centuries earlier. Somebody’s looking out for us, right? Or is it a bit of hysteria spawned by existential angst in the face of radically-destructive technology?

This shit started during the height of the Cold War. How much of a coincidence could that be? Know why these stories did not start floating around before then? Most people could not even imagine space vehicles until they actually existed, and until they did, people who were not themselves authors of science fiction narratives knew how their stories would be received as anecdotes of purported historical events.

Looked at from beyond the solar system, the possibility of ET intelligence detecting the human species in order to motivate a visit is an absurd speculation. Even given “the possibilities”, human beings were not detectable in any event before 100,000 years ago, and before 10,000 years ago no settlements were detectable by any means whatsoever.

So, in order to alert the little ETs to our presence, to motivate a visit, what kind of woo has emanated through the cosmos to points 100,000 light years distant or less (by physical communication) or farther (by some process of woo, such as “universal consciousnessness”)? Hm? Let’s flesh out those speculations, folks, but don’t forget to explain away those facts.

Yes. Of course. The whole contraption floats on woo, and the victims of speculative entertainment-oriented broadcasts have not gotten around to realizing how flimsy and ragged their sad little ET narrative has become.

[ Edited: 16 September 2008 03:51 PM by Traces Elk]
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Posted: 16 September 2008 06:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]  
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Jefe - 16 September 2008 08:51 PM

Plan 9 from Outerspace, anyone?

Hey!  Don’t diss one of the best movies ever.

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Posted: 16 September 2008 08:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]  
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Salt Creek: 16 September 2008 12:40 PM
What’s your point, JET? You can’t go anywhere with this without my objections. Please don’t tell me it is simply that:

“You simply cannot dismiss the possibility…”.

Holding open the possibility, plus a shiny coin. You know the drill. This kind of crap helps to make the Sam Harris Forum one of the premier internet sites where coherent thought goes to die.

Easy brother, it’s not personal.  You know I love ya.  I was just trying to get you to come out of hiding.

“Holding open the possibility is about hope.  And hope (in this context) is nothing more than faith.”

“Hope” implies optimism.  I find it hard to be any more cynical than I already am, and maybe that’s what it is.  In truly scientific terms, the harsh realities of an ‘advanced civilization’ aren’t pretty.  Just take a quick glance at our own history to find the ineluctable results of a more technically advanced culture meeting a less developed one (viz., the American Indians). 

Hence, the website dedicated to promoting [Sam’s] publications attracts lots of woo-heads.  Don’t feel bad.  You’re not alone.

OUCH!!!

Why is it not enough that intelligent organisms are probable, say at the 0.01% level? Why is it necessary for them to visit us?

Hmmmmmm?  As a flippant demonstration of who’s the real master of everything?  Maybe to harness our proclivity for unbridled reproduction as a rich source of inexhaustible free labor?  Or — maybe still — our deranged propensity to turn any mystery into a god has become for them a novel source of puerile amusement?

Fuck “possibility”. I want “probability”. If you don’t, that’s your business. Publish it, and I will critique it for you.

I’m okay with “plausibility,” but hell, that’s just me. 

In my teens and twenties, I read a lot of SF and entertained lots of wishes that this drab human stupidity was not all I was ever going to get to see, and that the saucers would come and help us snap out of it.  I outgrew this phase.

Disappointing wasn’t it?  …I held onto the Peter Pan syndrome for far too long myself, and for years detoured into the non-localities of Michael Talbot and plural realities of Terence McKenna and ayhuasca.  Now I’m sober, jaded, nearly broke, and too old to be anything but invisible to the NYU cuties I’m surrounded by.  And I can’t help thinking how much fun I had. 
Wishful thinking?  Abjuration is always an uphill climb.

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Posted: 17 September 2008 08:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]  
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Salt Creek - 16 September 2008 07:21 PM
Beam_Me_Up - 16 September 2008 05:06 PM

We certainly would not want anyone to ever speculate beyond what is currently accepted as within the realm of scientific possibility. The scientist realizes that concepts previously used by other researchers may not exhaust all possible causes or effects. Previous researchers may have overlooked the “real” cause because they were not aware of its existence. For example, for all the time that physicians were not aware of the existence of viruses, they could not consider them as causes of disease. Bad humor was accepted as a cause of disease and I may well suffer from that malady.

By logic, insight, or observation, the scientist may consider new concepts. The scientist is always considering alternative concepts and processes, and seeing if these radical ideas might explain the phenomenon being studied more clearly. What if scientists had never considered possibilities which were considered ridiculous in their time? Natural selection would have been called naïve inquiry in the 16th century. It may not have held up to scrutiny if Mendel’s work with peas had not been ultimately discovered and saved from obscurity.

We certainly have no published data at present to indicate the existence of any life other than that found on this planet. Personally I do no really give a crap whether little green guys with big heads exist or not. Nevertheless, to exclude that possibility a priori and assume that our present understanding of physics excludes possibilities of travel beyond our current understanding requires more faith than I can muster.

What’s your point, Beamster? That a failure to consider “all the possibilities” is going to prevent us from detecting visitors from beyond the solar system? If they are material entities, we have all the physics we need to detect them. If they are not material entities, they are woo-woo entities. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings, but the more parsimonious explanation that people are hallucinating the images of their wishful thinking is much more likely as well. After all, people hallucinating is not front page news any more. The speculative physics crapola is just there as an a posteriori rationalization.

One sure thing about woo-woo entities (i.e., that for which no repeatable observations are possible and to which no existing science can be linked, the better to direct us toward repeatable observation):  They really are all made of the same sort of non-stuff.

I am thankful that people whose only exposure to science is the kind of speculative entertainment they see on cable TV are not the primary filters through which research proposals need to pass before being funded. However, they are the voters who are primarily responsible for the funding of education and for understanding the priorities in science education. The results are before you as you survey the monumental scientific ignorance of the electorate of the US.

You would be far better off making it your business to see that children do not graduate from primary and secondary schools with too much proclivity to fantasize about little green men and not enough training in basic chemistry, physics, biology and mathematics. It’s too late for that, I’m afraid, because the people developing education policy in the US are a lot like you.

I am honored that you would find my musings worth criticism. I agree with everything you posted except for one. I can assure you that the politicos developing education policy have very little in common with me. I would quickly be tarred and feathered by religious fanatics and Neocons. While I would invite speculation and experimentation from scientists; I would expect a complete absence of woo from publicly funded classrooms. At age 47, I have not been a student for 20 years. This is an internet forum. We are not in a classroom. As long as someone is not telling me that I must believe in The Great Gazoo, I have no problem with speculation as long as it is recognized as being mere naïve inquiry unless hard data can be brought forth in support. Nevertheless, it is occasionally helpful to think outside the box. The problems begin when unsubstantiated speculation is claimed as reality and touted as such.

[ Edited: 17 September 2008 08:36 AM by Beam]
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Posted: 17 September 2008 09:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]  
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Beam_Me_Up - 17 September 2008 12:31 PM

While I would invite speculation and experimentation from scientists; I would expect a complete absence of woo from publicly funded classrooms. At age 47, I have not been a student for 20 years. This is an internet forum. We are not in a classroom. As long as someone is not telling me that I must believe in The Great Gazoo, I have no problem with speculation as long as it is recognized as being mere naïve inquiry unless hard data can be brought forth in support. Nevertheless, it is occasionally helpful to think outside the box. The problems begin when unsubstantiated speculation is claimed as reality and touted as such.

We’re still waiting for you to make a proper case for the value of unbridled speculation. Thinking outside the box is a pat phrase, and is useful in all sorts of problem-solving scenarios. What problem do you think unbridled speculation is solving, BMU?

I see that you have problems with people telling you what to believe. In addition, you also appear to have problems with people telling you what not to believe. This suggests a deficiency in critical thinking skills. If you broadcast your fantasies in public, it’s rather like a Personals ad in which you can get both negative and positive feedback. You have mine, FWIW.

Frankly, it looks to me as if the armor around your special brand of woo-woo has rusted, and your jerkin is hanging out a bit.

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Posted: 17 September 2008 09:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]  
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Salt Creek - 17 September 2008 01:35 PM

We’re still waiting for you to make a proper case for the value of unbridled speculation. Thinking outside the box is a pat phrase, and is useful in all sorts of problem-solving scenarios. What problem do you think unbridled speculation is solving, BMU?

I see that you have problems with people telling you what to believe. In addition, you also appear to have problems with people telling you what not to believe. This suggests a deficiency in critical thinking skills. If you broadcast your fantasies in public, it’s rather like a Personals ad in which you can get both negative and positive feedback. You have mine, FWIW.

Frankly, it looks to me as if the armor around your special brand of woo-woo has rusted, and your jerkin is hanging out a bit.

No such case will be spewed forth from my keyboard. I do not recall ever calling for “unbridled” speculation. That convenient word edition is quite Rove-esque. When ideas cannot be supported by data, then they lie outside the realm of scientific inquiry. What fantasies have I broadcast in public and claimed to be truth? If I have aired a fantasy, have I ever indicated that it existed in reality? I welcome your feedback regardless of its content toward me. I had hoped that I could draw you back to posting on this forum as I learn from and enjoy your posts. I am not claiming to be the reason for your response; but it is good to see your posts again. I am not sure exactly what my special brand of woo woo is. Perhaps you can enlighten me as to the inner workings of my inferior cerebral connections.

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Posted: 17 September 2008 10:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]  
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Beam_Me_Up - 17 September 2008 01:52 PM

When ideas cannot be supported by data, then they lie outside the realm of scientific inquiry.

True dat. IOW, you are a living genius at documenting the obvious. Actually, not so true, since theoreticians can explore the limits of known physics using pure mathematics to set up new experiments. Now, where are you going with it?

Beam_Me_Up - 17 September 2008 01:52 PM

What fantasies have I broadcast in public and claimed to be truth?

Straw man. You concern yourself with “excluding possibilities” not explained by our present understanding of physics. In fact, this discussion is concerned with entities and technology unrelated in any serious way to existing physics and biology. Or perhaps it is just that you wish to advocate for harmless generalized speculation. Nevertheless, see what follows.

Beam_Me_Up - 16 September 2008 05:06 PM

Nevertheless, to exclude that possibility a priori and assume that our present understanding of physics excludes possibilities of travel beyond our current understanding requires more faith than I can muster.

This is a very snide comment. Where did you really want to go with it? Or are you just playing games? Maybe you’re just a guy who hates the very idea of science unless it can be used to entertain him or transport him to the corner grocery.

Beam_Me_Up - 17 September 2008 01:52 PM

If I have aired a fantasy, have I ever indicated that it existed in reality?

Second straw man. OK. I guess I can figure out the game you’re playing here.

Beam_Me_Up - 16 September 2008 05:06 PM

By logic, insight, or observation, the scientist may consider new concepts. The scientist is always considering alternative concepts and processes, and seeing if these radical ideas might explain the phenomenon being studied more clearly.

Indeed. There is no phenomenon being studied in UFOlogy. There are anecdotes being bandied about. What possible relevance can this have for the question at hand? More excellent documentation of the obvious, though, Beamster. Kudos.

Beam_Me_Up - 16 September 2008 05:06 PM

We certainly would not want anyone to ever speculate beyond what is currently accepted as within the realm of scientific possibility.

Sarcasm. Two can play at that game. I think this is at the root of where I get my ideas about your attitude toward science. On the other hand, perhaps you are just an incurable romantic. A measure of advice: Sarcasm and romanticism do not mix well.

Beam_Me_Up - 16 September 2008 05:06 PM

The scientist realizes that concepts previously used by other researchers may not exhaust all possible causes or effects.

Indeed, Beamster, you are a veritable prodigy at documenting the obvious. Now, what phenomenon were we studying to which this most-cogent remark is apposite? Bueller?

Right, Bueller! There is no “phenomenon”. Reports of UFOs are “anecdotes” and are not considered data. So, while you are talking a good game about how science pushes its game to higher competitive levels, you have left out a key element. Science is in the business of studying phenomena. Anecdotes are really second cousins to poems and novels, my friend.

Beam_Me_Up - 16 September 2008 05:06 PM

Previous researchers may have overlooked the “real” cause because they were not aware of its existence. For example, for all the time that physicians were not aware of the existence of viruses, they could not consider them as causes of disease.

Indeed. However, physicians were actually observing disease, and explaining it incorrectly. There are no observations of UFOs to be misinterpreted. So your analogy falls flat. You are a jive-ass mo-fo who thinks he is quite clever. I am a jive-ass mo-fo who actually is clever.

Bad humor was accepted as a cause of disease and I may well suffer from that malady.

No. You suffer from the malady of being a rather naive and bullheaded jive-ass mo-fo. I don’t think you really wanted to get into this argument with me. But you provoked it with your sarcasm. Serves you fucking right.

What if scientists had never considered possibilities which were considered ridiculous in their time?

This sort of “what if”, while not “unbridled speculation”, is inapposite to the problem at hand. It was a rare scientist that considered the art of heavier-than-air flight in the sixteenth century. DaVinci was brave enough to consider it, but his bravery did not enable him to provide the Wright Brothers with much in the way of usable data.

Natural selection would have been called naïve inquiry in the 16th century. It may not have held up to scrutiny if Mendel’s work with peas had not been ultimately discovered and saved from obscurity.

I’m not sure what relevance this has for UFOlogy. Perhaps you will connect the dots for us. I doubt you can show us the goods. Your understanding of the practice and philosophy of science, while not entirely absent, is really very dodgy.

I’ll sum up by suggesting that this is about misusing arguments in the philosophy and practice of science to elevate the status of anecdotal reports of UFOs, and not, in fact, about the value of “speculation” in the advancement of human knowledge.

[ Edited: 17 September 2008 11:06 AM by Traces Elk]
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Posted: 17 September 2008 11:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]  
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I have not stated that the anecdotal reports of flying saucers should be considered data. You are correct; there is an abundance of straw men around here. If you think that I believe in UFOs, then you are mistaken.

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Posted: 17 September 2008 06:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]  
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Beam_Me_Up - 17 September 2008 03:51 PM

I have not stated that the anecdotal reports of flying saucers should be considered data.

You’ve also implied that they should not be discarded. Like woo-heads in general, you’re more or less fucking up the excluded middle with anecdotal reports. Why don’t you try to present an argument for the value of an accommodating reception of permissive speculation? In other words, what’s the prize at the bottom of that crackerjack box? Be careful you don’t become so open-minded that your brain falls out.

By the way, congrats on post #666, if you are numerologically-inclined.

[ Edited: 18 September 2008 10:49 AM by Traces Elk]
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