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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1997 > Oct > Oct 26

Re: Questions for Abductees

From: Greg Sandow <gsandow@prodigy.net>
Date: Sun, 19 Oct 1997 19:58:17 -0400
Fwd Date: Sun, 26 Oct 1997 10:05:53 -0500
Subject: Re: Questions for Abductees

Peter finally replies!

> From: Peregrine Mendoza <101653.2205@compuserve.com> [Peter
> Brookesmith]
> Subject: Questions for Abductees
> To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <updates@globalserve.net>

I had observed to and about him that:

> >Any belief that alien visits here are improbable is simply a
> >prejudice. (As would be the belief that they're likely or
> >inevitable.)

> >Allow me to predict, in closing, that any rebuttal you make will
> >prove to be based on circular reasoning.

And he replies:

> I find myself in a slight difficulty here, made slightly more
> embarrassing because it is all my own fault. I've just been asked
> (commissioned) to write at length on this very subject for a
> respected but nonetheless commercial international magazine (oh,
> hype hype). If I spill my best beans here, both the client and I
> are somewhat compromised.

Oh, balderdash, I say, being as much of a professional writer as you
are. You'd only sharpen your ideas in our debate, and write a better
piece. (Interesting, by the way, your assumptions that you have your
best ideas already.)

Why do I anticipate that your argument would be circular? Because
you've made one here before. As I recall, you invoked a picture of
blue sparks shooting from a toaster. What would we assume, I believe
you wrote -- that we should call a toaster repairwoman, or suppose
that something paranormal is going on?

That's circular. We know about toasters. We know what goes wrong
with them. We know nothing about aliens. We have theories, but
absolutely no facts. So if you compare the probability of an
alien visit with the probability of something beyong all
understanding going wrong with a toaster, you're assuming your
conclusion. You're assuming we know about aliens the way we know
about toasters. And we don't.

Elsewhere you've invoked Occam's Razor. According to that
principle, as you understand it, alien visits should be the last
conclusion we ought to come to about any UFO event, because it's
good science to support the more likely explanation over anything
wildly improbable. But again -- how do you know alien visits are
improbable? Frankly, I'm surprised at the vulgarity of your
thinking. Occam's Razor is appropriate when we know the
parameters of what we're dealing with. It's useless when we're
dealing with a complete unknown.

But even if Peter thinks his thinking is inviolable, and not
subject to discussion or debate until he's already made a fool of
himself -- for all he knows -- by publishing prematurely, he at
leasts suggests a reading list.

> Meanwhile, I suggest you bend an eye to:

> Stephen Jay Gould "Wonderful Life" ISBN 0-14-013380-1
> Michio Kaku "Hyperspace" ISBN 0-19-508514-0
> Robert Baker 'Alien Dreamtime' in "The Anomalist" #2
> Mike Davis 'Cosmic Dancers...' in "The Anomalist" #5

Oh, Peter, Peter, Peter, Peter...I've read Hyperspace, haven't
read the others, but have read tons on this subject, particularly
from the SETI scientists. What they offer are theories, which at
the present state of our knowledge can't be proved or disproved.
You're free to believe the theories, but to think you can bring
them to bear on factual arguments -- was that light in the sky a
spotlight or an alien spaceship? -- is just plain silly, and no
less so because all sorts of distinguished scientists have made
the same mistake.

Frank Drake, for instance, is very sure aliens won't visit here,
or in fact travel at all in interstellar space, because of
familiar relativistic difficulties -- can't go faster than light,
takes huge amounts of energy to go even close to that speed,
etc., etc., etc. Theories. Might be true, might be not. Our
science supports these thoughts. An alien science way ahead of us
might not. Main thing, though, is that these theories -- as
they're applied to beings a billion years ahead of us -- as Drake
applies them, are entirely metaphysical. That is, they can't be
disproved in any way. Drake --  and you -- simply assume their
eternal validity.

What you need -- and can't possibly have -- are facts. How many
alien races are there in our galaxy? how many of them travel
through space? How far do they travel? How close are they to us?
Once you have that data, you can begin to make somewhat confident
assumptions about whether an alien visit here is likely. Without
data of that kind, you -- and Michio Kaku )(whose new book was
amusingly demolished in this Sunday's NY Times Book Review -- are
just whistling in the dark.

> In a very oblique way, Teilhard de Chardin's "The Emergence of Man"

> is relevant too, as it shows how a powerful belief system - which
> did not exclude elements of National Socialism - can sophisticate
> itself out of the bleak implications of neo-Darwinism.

Science, too, is a belief system. When you apply Occam's Razor to
alien visits, you're applying the belief system of science,
rather than the scientific method or scientific data. And here I
thought you weren't a religious man!

I'll say it once more -- you have no data -- nada, zero, zilch,
nothing -- from which you can judge the liklihood of alien
visits. You have theories, which find support in our science, but
unfortunately concern the capabilities of alien science, which we
don't know one thing about.

And what makes it all especially funny is this -- while people
still imagine that nobody can travel the distances between stars
at anything exceeding lightspeed, there has already been at least
one respectable scientific conference right here on earth on how
to do that. Not to mention a fair body of scientific opinion
saying that no faster than light drive would be necessary to make
our planet simply swarm with aliens. The argument you're going to
make will not only be circular -- it will be, shall we say,
somewhat selective in its use of science. Good luck!

Greg Sandow

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