UFOs (UAPs): Explanations?

Discussion in 'UFOs, Ghosts and Monsters' started by Magical Realist, Oct 10, 2017.

  1. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    More dishonesty. You edited the post after the fact.

    Shame.
     
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  3. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

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    As I put forward in another post this thread IF it rose to the level of fact there would be a flood of grant applications and those applying putting on their application their theory and how much it would cost to test said theory

    Had one idea put to me about my strange object. The person looked at the photos a said was a alien artefact and it works somewhat like Dr Who's Sonic Screwdriver

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  5. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    I think it is both an inference and a fact, in the sense that if you saw it was all wet outside you could infer that it rained last night. "It rained last night" is in this sense both a fact and an inference based on solid evidence. I don't subscribe to the simplistic dichotomy of fact vs interpretation. There is a gray area in between. The listed traits are both facts and inferences of fact not just interpretations.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2022
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  7. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Your example is an example of the logical fallacy of affirming the consequent. So unfortunately not a good example to give. The reason it is a logical fallacy is because "raining last night" is not the only reason it could be wet outside. I.e. you have made a fallacious inference that it is because of the specific reason you have concluded.
    I.e. If P then Q
    Q
    Therefore P.
    It might seem to you to be logical, but it is actually not valid. There may be other things that lead to Q.
    Your thinking above, and in general on this particular subject, has completely omitted all other possible things that could lead to Q, because you want the answer to be P.
    Which means you consider "fact" to include things that aren't actually "fact". You are, in essence, redefining the word to suit your assertion that things are "fact" when they are merely interpretation of facts, interpretations as yet undemonstrated/proven to themselves be fact.
    This is not correct. The listed traits are interpretations. Interpretations are inferences from a specific point of view, that view being that they are alien/advanced craft/tech, which is simply not a valid conclusion from the facts that we have.
    You are incorrectly mixing your terms and ideas, and as such your thinking of what is a fact is flawed.
     
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  8. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Sarkus makes really great points. It doesn't mean we can't interpret or speculate as to what some of these ''traits'' may be that the tic tac object (for example) is exhibiting, but we need to be careful not to blur interpretations and facts.

    Your rain example, MR - because we know for a fact that rain exists, then the ground being wet the next morning, even though we were asleep and didn't hear or see the rain actually falling, would cause us to conclude it had rained. There could be other explanations, but I've found when things are based on facts, Occam's Razor takes out the need to keep guessing.
     
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  9. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    It also depends on the circumstances. If your yard is wet then it probably rained last night. If you are amazed that your yard is wet and your neighbor's yards aren't wet then it probably didn't rain last night and someone probably just watered your yard.

    It probably wasn't something highly unusual like it just raining in your yard.

    When the only evidence is a tic tac image on a radar screen it's likely unlikely (to say the least) for the explanation to be physics defying "anti-gravity" technology.
     
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  10. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    But radar wasn't the only evidence of the tic tac object. Pilots confirm seeing the object with their own eyes as well as tracking it on FLIR camera. A total of 3 sensory modalities all backing each other up as to the existence and extraordinary behavior of the UAP.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2022
  11. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    I think Sarkus has noticed something important about MR's faulty reasoning: MR's tendency to resort to logical fallacy of affirming the consequent in order to attempt to justify his beliefs.

    Just to expand a little on what Sarkus wrote, this logical fallacy is any (invalid) argument of the following form:
    1. If P then Q.
    2. Q.
    3. Therefore P.

    Here's an example of the fallacy:
    1. If an arsonist sets my house on fire, then my house will suffer damage from fire.
    2. My house has suffered damage from fire.
    3. Therefore, an arsonist must have set my house on fire.

    See the problem?

    There are lots of things that might cause my house to suffer damage from fire. One of those is arson, but there are plenty of others: faulty electrical wiring, napalm being dropped on the house, a gas explosion, leaving a towel draped over a bar heater, etc. etc. Therefore, merely observing that the house has suffered fire damage does not justify jumping to the conclusion that the damage must be a result of arson.

    Similarly, when it comes to observations that look like they could be caused by, say, alien spaceships, a similarly invalid argument might go like this:
    1. If alien spaceships are visiting Earth and they are seen, then they will be seen to exhibit extraordinary flight characteristics.
    2. An eyewitness reported seeing a UFO with what looked like extraordinary flight characteristics.
    3. Therefore, the reported UFO must have been an alien spaceship.

    See the problem?

    What about all the other reasons that the eyewitness might report what looked like extraordinary flight characteristics? For instance: the eyewitness was mistaken about what he saw, the eyewitness's report was fabricated (i.e. a lie), the UFO was an advanced human aircraft with extraordinary flight characteristics, the eyewitness's interpretation of what he saw was incorrect (there are many reasons this could be the case), etc.

    Consider this, then:
    No visible means of propulsion does not, of course, mean the propulsion must be extraordinary. It just means that the means of propulsion wasn't identifiable by the eyewitness(es). It is also possible that no propulsion was required, to produce the particular eyewitness report in question (e.g. if the reported flight characteristics were mistaken). The fallacy is in the form of argument (same as in the previous examples):
    1. If advanced unknown craft, then no visible means of propulsion.
    2. No visible means of propulsion.
    3. Therefore, must be an advanced unknown craft.
    1. If craft have no flight surfaces, flight surfaces will not be seen.
    2. No flight surfaces seen.
    3. Therefore craft with no flight surfaces.

    The same fallacy again. There are plenty of other reasons why no flight surfaces were seen. Perhaps the eyewitness was observing something with no flight surfaces (i.e. something other than an "advanced unknown craft"). The planet Venus, for instance, has no visible flight surfaces.
    1. If an advanced alien craft with antigravity exists, then it will be able to accelerate so quickly that a human pilot would not survive under ordinary circumstances.
    2. A UFO was reported to accelerate so quick that a human pilot would not survive under ordinary circumstances.
    3. Therefore, the UFO was an advanced alien craft with antigravity.

    The same fallacy, again. And the logical fallacy is only one of the problems with this particular argument. A more fundamental problem is that premise 1 need not be accepted as reasonable or factual. After all, we have no examples of advanced craft with antigravity that we can use to study whether premise 1 is reasonable, or even possible.
    1. If regular supersonic aircraft then signature (vapor trail or sonic boom).
    2. No vapor trail or sonic boom.
    3. Therefore not regular supersonic aircraft.

    This argument has a different logical form:
    1. If P then Q.
    2. Not Q.
    3. Therefore not P.

    This is a valid logical argument, unlike the previous examples. The problem here is not the logic, but the difficulty in establishing premise 2. The fact that no vapor trail was seen, or no sonic boom heard, does not mean that those things were absent. They might just not have been detected by the particular eyewitness, for instance.

    There's also a problem with premise 1. Regular supersonic aircraft do not always produce vapor trails, for instance.
    1. If cloaked, then difficult to see clearly.
    2. Difficult to see clearly.
    3. Therefore cloaked.

    This is the same fallacy (affirming the consequent) again. There are lots of reasons why something might be difficult to see. It is a mistake to jump to the conclusion that the thing must have had a cloaking device. Besides, no such devices are known, beyond the usual sorts of camouflage, stealth technologies and so on.
    1. If particular type of advanced craft, then it can move freely between air and water.
    2. Something was reported to move freely between air and water.
    3. Therefore, particular type of advanced craft.

    Same problem again. Sea birds can move between air and water, for example. They are not advanced alien craft.

    MR would do well to avoid this fallacy in future, now that it has been pointed out, with numerous examples.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2022
  12. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    To be fair to MR, I'm not sure that he's committing the fallacy quite as often as you suggest. His logical reasoning is, as with most of ours when examining data, abductive rather than deductive. This is where you look at the evidence and try to put the best explanation you can that fits. It's what Sherlock Holmes was famous for, for example.
    So in the example he gave about rain and the streets being wet, what he is most likely doing is going: "well, it's wet outside, therefore the most likely explanation is that it rained last night". This, of course, is not a claim of fact, and leaves open the possibility of something else causing the wet streets. As soon as one tries to claim the conclusion as fact, one pushes into the realm of deductive reasoning where, if the premises are true and the reasoning valid, the conclusion must also be true - i.e. factual.

    The issue I raised was really with what he was regarding as fact, not his actual abductive approach - which we all do. The key is that a conclusion from abductive reasoning is not in and of itself factual. It is just a conclusion that, in the reasoner's opinion, is the best fit. And this thread is, if nothing else, an argument about what we see as "best fit".

    If MR insists that those things are factual then, as JamesR has elaborated above, the deductive reasoning to reach such conclusions are seemingly fallacious.
     
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  13. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    "Abductive reasoning (also called abduction,[1]abductive inference, or retroduction) is a form of logical inference formulated and advanced by American philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce beginning in the last third of the 19th century. It starts with an observation or set of observations and then seeks the simplest and most likely conclusion from the observations. This process, unlike deductive reasoning, yields a plausible conclusion but does not positively verify it. Abductive conclusions are thus qualified as having a remnant of uncertainty or doubt, which is expressed in retreat terms such as "best available" or "most likely". One can understand abductive reasoning as inference to the best explanation, although not all usages of the terms abduction and inference to the best explanation are exactly equivalent."---- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abductive_reasoning
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2022
  14. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Introducing a never-before-confirmed supernatural thing to explain some observations is never going to be the "most likely conclusion", based on abductive reasoning. It will always be more likely, all things being equal, that an unidentified thing will turn out to be something for which we already have confirmed examples.

    The claim that a UFO is an alien spaceship (never mind more bizarre hypothetical explanations like interdimensional or time travels, for which there is currently zero evidence) is an extraordinary conclusion to reach. Coming to the conclusion that the alien spaceship hypothesis is the "most likely" explanation should require a LOT more convincing evidence than is required to come to the conclusion that if the street is wet the most likely explanation is that it has rained recently. Even in the case of the wet street, of course, the abductive reasoning process might throw up the wrong answer; what is really needed is good direct evidence that there has been rain. But at least we know rain is a real possibility from the start. On the other hand, there is not one confirmed instance of an alien spaceship, a time traveller or an interdimensional being.

    Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence. Somebody's wishful thinking, combined with a failure to consider evidence that doesn't suit one's own pet theory, will never be enough to establish the existence of the supernatural or space aliens.
     
  15. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    I agree with Sarkus. (Sorry Sarkus.) I'm reminded of a quip attributed to the famous logician Morris Cohen. "Logic texts are divided into two parts. In the first part, on deduction, the logical fallacies are explained. In the second part, on induction, they are committed." That would apply equally well to abduction.

    Regarding abduction, I just discovered this 2022 Open Access book from MIT Press. The Art of Abduction by Igor Douven. Each chapter is downloadable in pdf format for free, under a creative commons license. Douven is a big name in formal epistemology and is the author of the article on Abduction in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. This particular book appears to be something of a defense of abduction against attacks from the Bayesians.

    https://direct.mit.edu/books/oa-monograph/5329/The-Art-of-Abduction

    Of particular interest in the context of this thread is the Introduction, which explains what the relevance of abduction is.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2022
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  16. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    I'll get over it. This time. Just don't let it happen too often!

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  17. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    The never-before-thing is called for by the never-before-performance-characteristics of the UAPs as previously listed in this thread. The phenomena and its evidence is already extraordinary, requiring consideration of some relatively extraordinary causes. But as I've said before, nobody knows what UAPs are, so we must content ourselves with fitting speculations and continued accumulative research into their nature and behavior.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2022
  18. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    The problem with this is that it presumes the veracity of the interpretations of the observations. I.e. you are taking as fact that which has not been validated as fact, and which should rationally not thus be considered fact.
    Not really. The interpretation of the evidence is what is giving it is extraordinariness. For example, if one such "extraordinary" bit of evidence turns out to be an artefact of technology filtering, it suddenly becomes "not extraordinary", yet the evidence is still the same, just our interpretation of it will have changed.
    And the one you almost deliberately refuse to consider, in favour of one that is far more extraordinary, is that the interpretations are simply inaccurate.
    No, we don't, hence the U. But that doesn't mean we start assuming a priori that the interpretations are accurate, as that eliminates from the outset all the far more likely explanations.
    Speculations are for flights of fancy, for unsupported beliefs, and should only be the start of rational inquiry, not the conclusion.
     
  19. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    I wonder though - if once you introduce (objective) evidence for something that was thought to be extraordinary, wouldn't it then be considered...ordinary?
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2022
  20. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Seems like it would. I personally am never sure what this demand for extraordinary evidence entails. What else is there other than what is already given---multiple eyewitness accounts, radar, sonar, photographs, FLIR video? Seems like just a big excuse by skeptics to always move the goalposts beyond what is offered.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2022
  21. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Yea, I'm thinking ''extraordinary'' evidence would entail somehow capturing the actual aircraft itself to properly examine it, which would be extraordinary in itself. lol
     
  22. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    The answer to this is obvious to anyone reading in good faith:

    Evidence that does not already have a plausible mundane explanation. There is no evidence to-date that is conclusively extra-ordinary.
     
  23. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    It doesn't matter. If there is no plausible mundane explanation, the skeptics will just say the mundane explanation is unknown. There is thus never any extraordinary evidence for them since it is de facto ruled out.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2022

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