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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1997 > Oct > Oct 28

Re: Questions for Abductees

From: Peregrine Mendoza <101653.2205@compuserve.com> [Peter Brookesmith]
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 1997 09:02:58 -0500
Fwd Date: Tue, 28 Oct 1997 16:39:51 -0500
Subject: Re: Questions for Abductees

The Duke of Mendoza presents his compliments.

>From: Greg Sandow <gsandow@prodigy.net>
>To: "'UFO UpDates - Toronto'" <updates@globalserve.net>
>Subject: RE: UFO UpDate: Re: Questions for Abductees
>Date: Mon, 27 Oct 1997 17:43:42 -0500

>And so here, Peter, there's a wonderful hidden assumption in your
>argument. You talk about the hypotheses we'd have to accept to
>make the ETH viable. One of them is an extremely basic point --
>that life exists elsewhere, something that, as yet, has not been
>conclusively demonstrated. Thus, you argue, one makes an
>intellectual leap in concluding that UFO sightings can be
>attributed to vistitors from beyond. But, Peter, that's only true
>if we tacitly assume that life should be presumed not to exist
>until it's been found.

Greg, you are awfully good at rootling under the elaborately
(some might say extravagantly) patterned Persian carpet of my
thoughts and finding little heaps of dust that you think I have
swept there and that you label "hidden assumptions". There is, I
assure you, no such tacit assumption in what I say or think, nor
is it necessary. You may presume alien life to exist and still an
ET origin for any given UFO sighting will remain a long way down
the list of possible explanations to be eliminated before
fastening on it.

We *know* telephones, faulty electrical connexions, the CIA and
phone tapping technology (and the will to use it) exist. When I
speak to the Sasquatch of San Antone on the phone there are
frequent crackles on the line and the sound breaks up from his
end. What causes this? Do we immediately assume the CIA is
listening in, or do we first investigate the possibility of a
slight technical hitch with the Beast of the Olmos Basin's kit?
How many hurdles does the CIA solution have to jump - including
"Why the CIA and not the FBI?" and "Why are they bugging Dennis
with old & noisy equipment?" - before we decide they're the
culprits? Likewise with terrestrial vs ET explanations for
UFOs - even if we *knew* ET was scuffling around out there.

>Why should we assume that? As I said earlier, we can study
>perception, and come up with at least rough estimates of how
>often people misperceive things. So how can you come up with a
>rough estimate of the likelihood of alien visits? You can't.

No of course you can't, but then you'd be daft to try to conflate
two different sets of reasoning & data like this. You're heading
straight for a false syllogism - and a false *straw* syllogism to
boot. What the data on misperceptions tells you is that about 95%
of UFOs can be translated into IFOs or even NonFOs. That alone by
the usual scientific rule of thumb (p=0.05) would be enough to
say the remainder is acceptable noise. If you then proceed on the
basis that the remaining 5% of perceived objects is not noise,
you move away from the question of (mis)perception and into
another realm of data and argument. For example you may want to
point out that it doesn't automatically follow that a genuine UFO
is ipso facto an ET UFO.


>Somebody else
>could just as reasonably -- or, really, just as unreasonably --
>assume that alien visits are extremely likely, and therefore
>invoke Occam's Razor to suggest that UFO sightings are caused by
>aliens. The reasoning is equally silly on both sides, and equally

This is crackers and confused, but it's possible that a lack of
clarity on my part, in the first place, has contributed to that.
Occam's razor is to do with the number of assumptions,
hypotheses, entities, what you will, required to explain a given
phenomenon. Whether *or not* ET is out there, you multiply
hypotheses inevitably and inexorably if you want to argue that
even one of all the teeming millions of genuinely UFOs reported
is ET. The likelihood of there being any ETs at all is a separate
discussion, but it is, of course, an arm of a pincer movement.
This doesn't crack or annihilate the ETH, but it puts it under
enormous pressure - pressure it does not even remotely receive
from the average UFO buff or even some top-of-the-heap UFO buffs
whom we all know and love.

I have yet to perceive this circle you keep on about. But then
you seem to think too that we are dealing with "a complete
unknown" when we're not (see Mike Davies, PLEASE).

>[more snip]

>Davies' reply was amazing. He modestly
>noted that future science will, of course, invalidate many
>assumptions we now hold dear, but that, nevertheless, it would
>not be "science" to abandon these assumptions in our present

What else could he possibly have said? All this means is that a
scientist can work only with the materials to hand. Or: as far as
we know, hyperspace drives (etc) are fantasy. Davies is merely
stating the blindingly obvious. I might point out in passing that
a wormhole, at least, doesn't violate what we understand to be
the laws of nature, but are (for now) prohibitively expensive to
create from scratch. And speaking for myself, should I have the
misfortune to live a thousand years, I'd be no more surprised to
find that c really is c at the end of that time than I would to
find a teleportation booth on every street corner. Similarly,
much as I should also like one day to exploit the erotic
potential of a domestic anti-gravity machine, for the time being
I'll just have to make do with the trusty herring barrel. I could
be persuaded to swap it for a vat of live eels in molasses,
though, if anyone's got one going.

As ever, best wishes, Greg
Polygamy D. Morepork
Star Gazer

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