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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2002 > Nov > Nov 22

Re: Jimmy Carter The Nobel Prize & ETs

From: Jim Speiser <jimspeiser.nul>
Date: Thu, 21 Nov 2002 12:51:09 -0700
Archived: Fri, 22 Nov 2002 08:11:57 -0500
Subject: Re: Jimmy Carter The Nobel Prize & ETs

>From: Catherine Reason <CathyM.nul>
>To: <ufoupdates.nul>
>Date: Wed, 20 Nov 2002 15:10:11 -0000
>Subject: Re: Jimmy Carter The Nobel Prize & ETs

>>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.

Bravo, Cathy.

You have stated quite empirically and eloquently what I have
suspected all along: that the old skeptical chestnut, "If they
report an object and _don't_ report a star we know to have been
nearby, then the object was really the star" is flawed at best.
It may hold true in some cases, but skeptics seem to cling to it
as if it were a Newtonian Law.

My own wife's sighting is a case in point. When I grilled her, I
asked her if it was possible she was looking at Venus, which was
in that sector of the sky. "What Venus??" she said, "I was
looking at a flying saucer! Do you think I would have even
noticed Venus??"


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