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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2002 > Nov > Nov 20

Re: Jimmy Carter The Nobel Prize &

From: Catherine Reason <CathyM.nul>
Date: Wed, 20 Nov 2002 15:10:11 -0000
Archived: Wed, 20 Nov 2002 07:24:49 -0500
Subject: Re: Jimmy Carter The Nobel Prize &

>From: Bob Young <YoungBob2.nul>
>To: ufoupdates.nul
>Date: Tue, 19 Nov 2002 02:42:28 EST
>Subject: Jimmy Carter The Nobel Prize & Extraterrestrials

I was away last week and I'm only just catching up on my mail,
but this one caught my attention. (If anyone would like to
forward this to Robert Sheaffer, that would be ok with me.)

>Robert Sheaffer has asked me to post the following comment about
>this discussion and one on another List about the Betty Hill


>In both cases, the ufologists are ignoring an important
>skeptical argument: If Betty Hill was seeing a real UFO, then
>there would have been _3_ starlike objects near the moon:
>Jupiter, Saturn, and the UFO. But she reported seeing only two.
>Similarly, Carter did not say that he saw two bright objects
>towards the west - Venus and his UFO - he saw only one."

No, this isn't actually true.

One can't emphasize too much that the human visual system isn't
a kind of video camera, passively recording everything that
happens in front of it. The starry sky is a repeated texture,
and bright objects selected as a focus for visual attention are
treated differently by the visual system than background
textures. The process is called figure/ground segmentation, and
is intrinsic to the way the visual system works. In the Betty
Hill case, for example, the visual system may simply have
segemented Saturn out as part of the starry background texture -
 there is plenty of experimental evidence that such background
features are suppressed from visual attention, and mechanisms
for doing this may be hardwired into primary visual cortex.

Another problem is that only a very restricted portion of our
field of view is actually perceived with optimal resolution, and
that to overcome this problem the eye is constantly moving as
the visual system shifts its attention from one focus to
another. It's actually quite easy for even prominent objects to
"disappear" in this process, if the eye's attention is
constantly being directed elsewhere.

As far as the Betty Hill case goes, none of this is diagnostic
of anything in particular. The significant features of this case
are presumably those which came later during the sighting.


[Catherine Reason]

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