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Damage Control - Ufology in Flames

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Introduction

So far the 2013 Citizen's Hearing on Disclosure has had little influence officialdom. Worse still, there has been an increase in the perception of ufology as a group of social misfits and eccentrics who are out of touch with reality. As a consequence people are distancing themselves from ufology by taking on a more skeptical tone or severing any association with groups that endorse the idea that UFOs are extraterrestrial visitors. In certain cases these changes aren't necessarily bad things, perhaps even overdue, but in this cleansing there's also serious risk of throwing the baby out with the bathwater and returning the academic pursuit of ufology to the dark ages. Much of what follows here has been touched on in other threads already and will be familiar to the regular participants. It is being included again below in some further detail for the benefit of organization and those who are new to the forum who are interested in this issue.

Forum Links for Those Not Familiar With The Debate & Prehistory of this Topic?
Defining the Problem

To fully appreciate the depth of this problem an accurate background is required. The first place to start is to review the links on the USI website that detail and define the words alien, UFO, and ufology within the context of ufology studies and to not simply take them for granted. The misuse of these words has led to widespread misinformation about UFOs and ufology in general. If after reviewing the above articles you have some disagreement with them, please bring it up by referencing the specific points made and providing a rational and supported counterpoint. Valid counterpoint will be discussed and if successful will result in an amendment to the related article.

Assuming that you have already visited the links above and are familiar with the basic terminology, the problem we are dealing with has historically been a triple threat consisting of:
  1. Overzealous skeptics who find any excuse to attack ufology as a legitimate form of study.
  2. The fringe element that makes fantastical unsubstantiated claims about UFOs and the alien agenda.
  3. Opportunists, including con-men and hoaxers, who exploit ufology for personal gain.
Today however a fourth and even more destructive trend has emerged that threatens the core of ufology itself, that core being our primary objective, which has been to establish the true nature of UFOs and from that determine if any of them constitute or are associated directly with alien technology or life. This objective arose out of the Great Divide in ufology that happened during the early USAF investigations ( late 1940s ). When the phenomenon first began appearing in numbers, it was studied from a neutral point of view and an open mind in order to determine what it was. There was no bias because few people had been faced with the problem before and therefore no social stigma existed.

However as it became increasingly clear that the objects weren't anything natural or manmade, theories regarding an other worldly explanation began to take shape. This became known as the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis (ETH) and it was initially received without much controversy. In fact the ETH was initially deemed by USAF specialists to have been the most likely explanation, and a not insignificant number of those in the Air Force were of that opinion, particularly those who had experience with UFOs. However the climate of acceptance quickly changed when a few key people in authority decided that the ETH wasn't to be embraced and began a systematic marginalization of the ETH through official policy.

So the question in the Great Divide became, are UFOs extraterrestrial spacecraft or are they merely mundane objects or phenomena that had not been explained due to a lack of sufficient information? Ufologists have been trying to answer this question since the late 1940s and therefore it is the very heart of the matter when it comes to serious ufology. So what is this new trend that threatens the very core of ufology? Brace yourselves.

UFO Celebrities Bashing Ufology

The Great Divide spurred on by post Robertson Panel politics, and fuelled by the UFO fringe element, skeptics, and opportunists has fostered an environment of ridicule in some places, particularly the media, that has come to be called the dreaded "giggle factor". For UFO celebrities and those seeking funding this giggle factor is dreaded because it implies that the subject is silly and isn't worthy of serious consideration. Few things could be more corrosive to one's pubic relations and funding campaigns. Consequently we have seen deliberate moves by UFO celebrities and researchers to distance themselves from ufology and any association with the idea that UFOs are alien in origin.

Two of the most high profile examples are Leslie Kean and NARCAP. Ms. Kean is a certified UFO celebrity with a best selling book and numerous high profile television and pubic appearances. NARCAP is a group dedicated to investigating sightings of anomalous objects by pilots. At the time this post was written NARCAP was looking for people to assist with a focused marketing and fund raising campaign. So on one hand, while Ms. Kean is going about her business of being a UFO celebrity, she's simultaneously relegated serious ufology to the realm of UFO nuts and wackos, and fewer people could be more saddened by this news than yours truly, who once considered himself to be a proud owner of UFOs Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go On Record. and who had considered both Kean and NARCAP to have been beacons of hope for ufology.

What Can Be Done?

Dear Paracast readers and members of the ufology community, if you have any suggestions on how to implement damage control, please post them here! The ideal solution would be to convince those who are taking an anti-ufology strategy to rethink their position and come to a mutually beneficial resolve with serious ufologists. Is this reasonable? Would you support such an effort? How should it be done to achieve the best results? Are their any other solutions? Do we abandon ufology and declare as collateral damage all those witnesses who know that UFOs are some kind of alien craft and not merely something to be laughed off or explained away as something mundane? I can't ... I won't ... I'll go down fighting if I have to, but I'd rather find a diplomatic solution. Post your comments and suggestions in this thread.
 
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USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Dealing With The Stigma

There is no shortage of examples of those who promote as fact the presence of various intelligent alien species infiltrating our societal structures for the purpose of nefarious conspiratorial purposes. No wonder some people want to distance themselves from ufology! And yet at the same time those who seriously study ufology can't help but find it reasonable to believe that alien visitation is a reality. This creates an awkward situation for anyone who wants to seriously discuss the topic of UFOs. How do we acknowledge that alien visitation is real but aliens aren't? Logically we can't acknowledge one and dismiss the other. But still conservative ufologists tend to avoid the issue because they're afraid it will send them down that slippery slope into the tar pit of alien abductions and conspiracy theories from which nobody can come away clean, forever stigmatized as having jumped the shark or gone off the deep end. We're seeing this happening now with Stanton Friedman, a respected physicist and accomplished ufologist who teamed up with abduction researcher Kathleen Marden ( recently a guest on the Paracast ).

So how do we deal with this stigma? It would be irresponsible not to engage the topic of alien abductions or any other aspect of alien visitation simply because we're too afraid of the giggle factor. It would also be irresponsible to start promoting all the various theories about why the aliens are here as fact until we have sufficient evidence to substantiate them. This leaves the rest of us in the realm of speculation which many find about as useful as science fiction. But is it really that pointless to speculate? If we base our speculation on critical thinking and the evidence, might we not discover clues as to what direction to take? Might it not provide serious food for thought that could lead to new insights and opportunities? Why deny ourselves the right to engage in this process? Is it once again the fear of the giggle factor? The scorn of the skeptics? Estrangement from the establishment? I say it's past time that we stand up to these intellectual bullies and exercise our right to freely apply our brains to whatever we find interesting, including alien visitation, abduction, hybrids, cloning, societal infiltration ... whatever. It's time to free our minds from the chains of our own making.
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Letter of Concern - Version 1.8
DRAFT PROPOSAL

Dear Fellow Writers and Researchers,

We understand the need to retain healthy skepticism, however segregating responsible ufology from the arena of legitimate study will set the field of ufology back decades, returning it to the Dark Ages when witnesses and researchers of the highest caliber became the subject of ridicule and derision. Not only would that be unfair to contemporary responsible ufologists, it would also have a negative impact on all those who have contributed quality work in the past. Together we can find a better way to address the challenges facing ufology than to relegate ufology to the ranks of misfits charlatans and entertainers.
  • Would you add your name ( or persona ) in support of the above?
  • Is this a reasonable approach?
  • What improvements ( if any ) would you suggest?
 

breddell

Skilled Investigator
Letter of Concern - Version 1.8


  • Would you add your name ( or persona ) in support of the above?
  • Is this a reasonable approach?
  • What improvements ( if any ) would you suggest?
I applaud UFOLOGY and support this declaration and the previous comment above. I personnally feel the only way to gain any credibility is to produce quality research with real data and no speculation. At some point, this research needs to be peer reviewed by qualified people.

I also feel that there should be a quality forum/conference dedicated to presenting this research. There should not be any other paranormal topics mixed in, nor should there be any exhibitors selling garbage products or videos, crtstal products, etc. as this completely derails any quality from the main conference.

Now, how to go about this, I'm not sure.
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
I applaud UFOLOGY and support this declaration and the previous comment above. I personnally feel the only way to gain any credibility is to produce quality research with real data and no speculation. At some point, this research needs to be peer reviewed by qualified people.

I also feel that there should be a quality forum/conference dedicated to presenting this research. There should not be any other paranormal topics mixed in, nor should there be any exhibitors selling garbage products or videos, crtstal products, etc. as this completely derails any quality from the main conference.

Now, how to go about this, I'm not sure.
Thank you for your support in the spirit of responsible ufology. However, I'm personally not quite so hard line. I think speculation can be very useful provided that we make it clear that it is speculation. It can be useful in determining a direction to take for more serious investigation, or to better understand what is or isn't possible, and thereby rule out certain claims. Sometimes it's also enjoyable to have informal discussions that involve speculation. Speculation is one of the first steps in the process of critical thinking. The problem is when researchers skip all the other steps and start claiming that their speculations are fact.

I also like your idea regarding a serious conference, but at the same time do we really need to be in physical proximity to get work done or present serious information? No. Consequently, IMO, conferences are little more than grandstanding venues for UFO celebrities. However in defense of ufology culture, provided that we don't confuse responsible and serious research with the more colorful side of ufology culture, the odd conference can be entertaining and enjoyable.

Part of what makes ufology so wonderful is it's full range of study and experience. There is a genuine mystery at its heart that has merged with modern culture on many levels from the scientific to the comedic to the outright absurd. As a ufologist I think it's important to recognize all these facets and keep them in their proper perspective. That way we can not only explore the topic seriously, but we can have a greater appreciation for the humor in movies like Paul or MIB.

How do we go about fostering responsible ufology? Just showing your support in the forum and talking about it with people interested in ufology is more helpful than you know. Be well informed, but open minded and friendly. If you're more action oriented, you can also participate in groups that you support these ideals. I'm with a group called USI ( link below ) that is looking for writers capable of creating quality content for education and public awareness purposes.
 

breddell

Skilled Investigator
I agree that we don't have to have a conference as the only means of accomplishing work. What I was referring to was I have had some really good interchanges with other researchers at conferences. Not only was that a great opportunity to get exposed to current research, i.e. unpublished work or work in progress, but it provides an opportunity to collaborate and discuss areas of research together. But in todays world, it probably isn't so important to meet regularly, especially for a fledgling research area... maybe that is more for down the road once the community is established.

I also agree that it takes more than just chatting about it. Outside my day job, which is quite demanding, I am spending time researching the phenomena as well as trying to connect with others who are serious about the scientific study of ufos. I will take a look at your site/work. In this area, we have little funding to adequately investigate this area. I don't mean to say it can't be done, but the fact of not having enough equipment/sensors and repeatable measurements makes this effort quite a hurdle as compared to most other scientific endeavors. This poses quite a challenge for us.

Sent from my Kindle Fire using Tapatalk 2
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
I am spending time researching the phenomena as well as trying to connect with others who are serious about the scientific study of ufos. I will take a look at your site/work. In this area, we have little funding to adequately investigate this area. I don't mean to say it can't be done, but the fact of not having enough equipment/sensors and repeatable measurements makes this effort quite a hurdle as compared to most other scientific endeavors.
My present resources are only sufficient to maintain the USI website and do little else. The original plan for it was to create a worldwide network of civilians who in the event of a UFO sighting or landing in their area, could go out and obtain evidence prior to the military getting there and intervening. Unfortunately, although we have members around the world, the support for such a project has been in spirit only. It's difficult to get people to self-organize and prepare for such a rare opportunity.

Even with a budget, the amount of resources required to do meaningful scientific work would be immense and complicated by bureaucratic roadblocks. For example getting permission to build and operate a civilian optical/radar space tracking grid would conflict with regulations, and existing facilities are either off limits to civilians or used for other scientific work. Even NASA's SETI program, which was our best chance of locating anything ET with current technology was cancelled.

One of the most ambitious low budget civilian projects in the works now is Christopher O'Brien's San Luis Valley monitoring project. It is a very worthwhile effort to gather some recorded observational data. Another project proposed by Peter Davenport is to create a passive radar grid for civilian use.

 

breddell

Skilled Investigator
Maybe one idea is for serious investigators to ban together to produce quality scientific based papers and try to get them published. For now, maybe starting out with the only known journal that accepts this type of topic, i.e. Journal of Scientific Exploration. If enough quality material gets published, sooner or later it will become recognized by more mainstream researchers. Then with some success there, depending on the topics, maybe then trying to branch out to other journals. Occasionally there are some of our topics creeping in to mainstream journals. Some sort of critical mass needs to be developed or established in order to gain recognition. One area that may show promise is with MUFON. MUFON has established a science review board to address the credibility of their products/reports and I think this is a great start towards that goal.
 

mike

Paranormal Adept
I'm currently reading Richard Tambling "Flying Saucers - Where do they come from?" (1967, 1978)

He makes an interesting point in chapter 3

I have often been asked if i believe in flying saucers. My answer is no. I do not. The word believe implys right from the start there is a lack of proof on the subject.It suggests that trust or confidence is necessary on the matter.This is not the case with flying saucers. I do not believe in them for i have seen quite a number of them, and i know that they exist.
Scientists or laymen who have not seen them, people who have no direct knowledge of these things, can theorise for or against their existance, they can invent all sorts of weird things that one could possibly have seen,but to what end ?.
They do not know.Of what use is their opinion ? Is a scientist who does not know any better informed upon the subject than anyone else ?.
Why is a scientist (one who knows or studies the art of knowing)put apon a pedestal by the public if he does not know?
If he does not know,then he is not a scientist on this subject, for the very word "science" means "knowledge"
An interesting pov
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Maybe one idea is for serious investigators to ban together to produce quality scientific based papers and try to get them published.
Your idea is well intentioned, however a more effective approach would be not so much for serious investigators to ban together to produce quality scientific based papers, but to ban together to produce quality scientific evidence. Until then, ufology would gain more respect by backing off from the science front, and to concentrate on getting its house in order. The first step in that direction is to get a firm grip on the basic concepts. Please see the links below if you haven't already.
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
I'm currently reading Richard Tambling "Flying Saucers - Where do they come from?" (1967, 1978)
Mike, the point in the post you quoted is true on two really important levels. First it exposes the fallacy that firsthand experience about UFOs doesn't qualify as sufficient knowledge for confirming their existence. It most certainly does. This is why I refuse to back down on the issue of the reality of UFOs ( alien craft ). Pope and Kean and NARCAP can distance themselves from this reality all they want, but they're only distancing themselves from a far more profound truth. Those of us who know from the evidence of our own unimpaired senses and intellect that UFOs ( alien craft ) are real, are all connected by this truth, and I cannot help but feel that although we may be unrelated in the traditional sense, we're all still part of an extended family. We don't need the scientists or the government to tell us what we already know and our worldviews aren't mere fantasy. For me to abandon my position on this would be to turn my back not only on my own principles, but on all those others out there who are in the same position. I simply cannot do it, nor can I endorse the position of anyone who does.
 

breddell

Skilled Investigator
Your idea is well intentioned, however a more effective approach would be not so much for serious investigators to ban together to produce quality scientific based papers, but to ban together to produce quality scientific evidence. Until then, ufology would gain more respect by backing off from the science front, and to concentrate on getting its house in order. The first step in that direction is to get a firm grip on the basic concepts. Please see the links below if you haven't already.
That is a fair response. When I talk about quality research, that implies there is a quality understanding supported by sound data. It sounds like there may be some folks headed down that right path, but it is not well documented or advertised and this is a major problem with acceptance and credibility. I suspect, in the end, this silence is because there isnt enough funding to capture adequate data or to perform the analysis, and/or not having repeatable data that backs up a theory, all of which lead to little, if any, growth in our understanding of the phenomena. I have a fairly decent skill set to work some of this work and i am willing to devote time to this effort. I have searched for active researchers who are in a need for help and resources, but havent found any who seem to want to share the results or progress of their work or who have anything that can be backed up by reliable analysis methods. I think in most cases, a group or collaborative effort is far more effective than what is produced by a single individual.

For some reason my reader doesn't show the links you posted, I will have to check these out later today. Thanks.
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
... When I talk about quality research, that implies there is a quality understanding supported by sound data. It sounds like there may be some folks headed down that right path, but it is not well documented or advertised and this is a major problem with acceptance and credibility. I suspect, in the end, this silence is because there isnt enough funding to capture adequate data or to perform the analysis, and/or not having repeatable data that backs up a theory, all of which lead to little, if any, growth in our understanding of the phenomena ...
That's one of the best posts I've seen here recently because it not only makes perfect sense, but recognizes the need to do more than just talk about it. The spirit of collaboration is also something I share, but it's been my experience that it's not uncommon for people to talk a good talk, but when it comes down to walking the walk, there's always something else that takes precedence, mostly just excuses, or they'd just as soon go off and run their own show to satisfy their own egos ( or whatever ), and the rest of the people just don't have sufficient interest, skills or resources to contribute other than in a vary casual way. It's a harsh reality for those of us who are willing to come forward and publicly tackle this fascinating topic in a responsible manner.
 

breddell

Skilled Investigator
That's one of the best posts I've seen here recently because it not only makes perfect sense, but recognizes the need to do more than just talk about it. The spirit of collaboration is also something I share, but it's been my experience that it's not uncommon for people to talk a good talk, but when it comes down to walking the walk, there's always something else that takes precedence, mostly just excuses, or they'd just as soon go off and run their own show to satisfy their own egos ( or whatever ), and the rest of the people just don't have sufficient interest, skills or resources to contribute other than in a vary casual way. It's a harsh reality for those of us who are willing to come forward and publicly tackle this fascinating topic in a responsible manner.
I appreciate the kind words. I also agree with what you are stating here. Hopefully people can be motivated at some level to want to 'walk the walk' with respect to this topic by reading this thread. There are obviously some smart folks in these forums and perhaps they are already
doing their part. I would encourage anyone out there to answer Ufology's letter of concern and any suggestions/improvements that you can offer?
 

Gary W. Griffey

Paranormal Novice
This is a very interesting topic of discussion.

It seems to me that the "problem" with Ufology is that, until we all have something we can look at and say, "Hey! That's from another planet!" we are not going to be able to "prove" anything. This puts our research and our conclusions and speculations into the category of belief. The problem with that (other than the obvious subjective slant) is that belief for many (if not most) people is more important than evidence. People will establish their beliefs and fight to the death to make their beliefs right to everyone. We in Ufology tend to take our research as evidence, but until we have that "smoking gun" event, all it can be is belief.

What we do about it is keep on keepin' on. We continue our studies and our research, and when we come across the real, true answer, we put it out there for people to study for themselves. Seems to me that is the way to handle it. As far as the big names in Ufology, all they seem to be trying to do is make a buck while trying to answer the questions we all deal with. It doesn't seem to affect a Ufologist until they publish a book. Once they are under contract to promote a book, their message only becomes about that and doesn't swing toward the idea of doing the on-the-ground research that got them a book to begin with.

Just my thoughts...

Gary
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
This is a very interesting topic of discussion.
It seems to me that the "problem" with Ufology is that, until we all have something we can look at and say, "Hey! That's from another planet!" we are not going to be able to "prove" anything. This puts our research and our conclusions and speculations into the category of belief. The problem with that (other than the obvious subjective slant) is that belief for many (if not most) people is more important than evidence ...
Thanks for your input Gary, and welcome to the forum! Your post makes a good point about belief and evidence and we've discussed those things to some degree on the forum, particularly with respect to how things are defined and the context in which they should be used. Something we might talk about now, since you brought it up, is the relationship between belief and proof and evidence. All to often these words are tossed out there with assumption that we're already familiar with them, but they're a lot more tricky than they seem.

Proof

Let's suppose for the sake of argument that you have proof of the reality of some thing or another. What's stopping someone from saying you don't really have the proof, you just believe you have the proof? Nothing. So then what? Your post suggests that you should then be able to provide sufficient evidence for your critic to also believe your claim. If you can do that, then your claim has been proven to that critic. Therefore, outside the realm of mathematics, proof can be defined as evidence that is sufficient to warrant a belief in the truth of a claim.

Evidence

The above calls into question the nature and value of evidence. Logically, if the above makes sense ( which it does ), then we can define evidence as something that gives a sign or proof of the existence or truth of something, or that helps somebody to come to a particular conclusion, and indeed this definition is exactly how the Encarta dictionary defines evidence. It also leads us right back around in a circle to where we started. All we need to do is substitute the word "proof" for that of "evidence". What's stopping someone from saying you don't really have sufficient evidence, you just believe you have sufficient evidence? Nothing. And this is where the skeptics will continuously move the goalposts farther and farther down the field. In the end there is evidence to suggest that nothing is real and therefore it doesn't matter what evidence you present, you'll never be able to prove it's real.

Let's Be Reasonable

Given the conundrum above, what we all have to settle on are standards of evidence that are reasonable. Unless we can do this, we'll never be able to establish a solid foundation from which to proceed. On this issue there's a certain faction who are proponents of strict scientific standards, there are others who are proponents of a democratic view based on consensus, there are others who don't really have any standards at all, and simply require that you convince them somehow, and there are some who are much more open to suggestion who tend to take on the beliefs of whatever they're exposed to. Of the choices above, scientific standards are the most rigorous and well supported, however the scientific method cannot be applied to every reality or field of study, including ufology. Therefore we need another approach to fall back on that is still intellectually respectable. Enter the process of critical thinking.

Critical Thinking

The group I'm with ( USI ) endorses the process of critical thinking as outlined by the Foundation For Critical Thinking. According to the FFCT there are eight basic structures present in all thinking: Whenever we think, we think for a purpose within a point of view based on assumptions leading to implications and consequences. We use concepts, ideas and theories to interpret data, facts, and experiences in order to answer questions, solve problems, and resolve issues. Thinking, then:
  • generates purposes
  • raises questions
  • uses information
  • utilizes concepts
  • makes inferences
  • makes assumptions
  • generates implications
  • embodies a point of view
See more specifics on critical thinking see the model outlined on the FFCT website. I don't claim to be an expert who can recite all the various facets but I think I manage to apply the essential principles reasonably consistently. By doing this, I also believe that we can ascertain more from the evidence we've been given and back it up sufficiently to create a reasonable case for the reality of UFOs ( alien craft ).
 

Gary W. Griffey

Paranormal Novice
Thank you for the kind words, and I completely agree that a set of standards must be agreed upon before something can be considered as truth. The critical thinking method you touch on is crucial, I believe, to the dissemination of truth in the context of nearly every field of research. The catch, though, is that humans have a seemingly constant inability to agree on something as bedrock as truth.

While we could work together here on the forums to develop a set of standards for the field of Ufology, I think it would become problematic in that, no matter how many people agreed with those standards, there will always be those who only partially agree or completely disagree with those standards. This might sound cliché, but the ideal situation is for each individual to become set in their procedures and conclusions, and then to present those conclusions in a way that gives people the chance to judge for themselves. If a group of Ufologists develops a set of standards for research methods and investigative technique, and then presents their work within the structure of that context, it will establish one method by which people can gain information and perhaps join in on their efforts. In that way, a group of people who follow a consistent set of principles in their work keep producing that work and making it available for review and study by others, that group would be seen as a group of knowledgeable individuals with a seemingly common purpose. That, of course, is also an ideal world for the Ufologist at this point, and I'm pretty sure that this method of doing things is a worthwhile effort. The differences and disagreements can be discussed and, if not resolved, those involved can be willing to agree to disagree.

On your points about proof and evidence, I was taught when I trained to be a private investigator that my job was to obtain evidence. Proof was the job of the courts of jurisdiction. I was also taught that evidence is not truth. It is simply fact as we find it. Evidence was material used to prove a thing by others. I tend to do investigations in this way to this day. I might draw conclusions based on the evidence I have acquired, but it was never my "job" to decide. It was simply my job to collect.

Gary
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Thank you for the kind words, and I completely agree that a set of standards must be agreed upon before something can be considered as truth. The critical thinking method you touch on is crucial, I believe, to the dissemination of truth in the context of nearly every field of research. The catch, though, is that humans have a seemingly constant inability to agree on something as bedrock as truth.
Another insightful post. Thank you, and I couldn't agree more. I've argued over what constitutes truth more times than I care to recount, but I always come back to the same model, which personally, for well over 30 years now, has been a variation on the correspondence theory of truth that dates back to the ancient Greeks. Basically it states that truth corresponds to the actual state of reality. The variation I add takes into account the context of various realities, both objective and subjective so that they can be properly differentiated to accommodate a recognition of the truth within each context. For example one might claim that they see a red Ferrari parked in their driveway, and if there is actually a red Ferrari parked their driveway, then the claim corresponds to the reality making the claim true.

The other reality is that one might visualize a red Ferrari in their driveway, and there is no question that when that happens, they also see a red Ferrari parked in their driveway, and therefore their claim is also true. However we're dealing with two different kinds of realities, and it's important to distinguish between the two, otherwise we end up with a lot of the nonsense we get from new agey types who believe that if they simply visualize hard enough they'll manifest a materially real red Ferrari in their driveway; or in the context of ufology, believe that the UFOs and aliens they see in their dreams or hypnotic regressions or meditations are of the same nature as the ones we track on radar.
While we could work together here on the forums to develop a set of standards for the field of Ufology, I think it would become problematic in that, no matter how many people agreed with those standards, there will always be those who only partially agree or completely disagree with those standards ...
True. However by using the process of critical thinking, and sticking to the model of truth outlined above, I think we can weed out what is reasonable from what is not. Furthermore, I don't subscribe to the "agree to disagree" method of resolution, mainly because it's not a resolution. If someone takes a position counter to an existing viewpoint, then it's up to them to substantiate their view with valid counterpoint, otherwise they have failed to substantiate their position. They have not reached the stalemate implied by invoking the wishy-washy "agree to disagree" clause.
On your points about proof and evidence, I was taught when I trained to be a private investigator that my job was to obtain evidence. Proof was the job of the courts of jurisdiction. I was also taught that evidence is not fact. It is simply evidence. Evidence was material used to prove a thing by others. I tend to do investigations in this way to this day. I might draw conclusions based on the evidence I have acquired, but it was never my "job" to decide. It was simply my job to collect.
I suspect that you might be selling yourself a little short. As we've seen above, proof is simply evidence that is sufficient enough to justify a belief. In law the evidence needs to be sufficient enough for a judge and/or jury to believe an accused is either guilty or innocent, or some condition is either true or false. The more times you can collect sufficient evidence to make that happen, the better an investigator you are. Therefore I suspect that in your own mind, you have some idea of what evidence should qualify as sufficient proof. All they're doing with the "Proof is the job of the courts" crap is to impress upon you your place in the pecking order ( that's bureaucrats for you :rolleyes: ). Using the CT principle of precision, it would have been more accurate of them to say that it isn't your place to deliver a verdict.
 

stonehart

Paranormal Adept
There are no answers, so we can either settle for that or try and exrapolate an answer based on the balance of probability.

For me the balance of probability puts the ETH at the very top of the pile
That would seem the logical answer given what little information we have to go on.
 


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