# Are All UFO Reports Wrong, Or Are They Evidence That UFOs Exist?

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Ah. So if they're not independent then the probability is always 5% no matter how many events occur?

I thought FatPhil was questioning the maths, rather than the dependence/indepence.

Perhaps his post could have used a little more detail/explanation?

For example:

Doesn't seem to help.

Ah. So if they're not independent then the probability is always 5% no matter how many events occur?

I thought FatPhil was questioning the maths, rather than the dependence/indepence.
The maths is wrong if the data points are not statistically independent. If you'd have gone to the wikipedia page in your screenshot, the disambiguation page for independence would've led you to "Independence (probability theory)", which I admit might not have been that helpful either.

For example, if you work in quality control in a light bulb factory, and you pick a broken light bulb out of a box, it's probable that there's an above-average number of broken bulbs in that box because the machine that produced them is defective. Your formula wouldn't work right.

Now if you live in Washington State, you may be part of a "factory" that turns lights in the sky into UFO sightings because people there have been conditioned like that. Then the UFO reports in that state are no longer independent data points, and that means the simple maths no longer works.
You need a more complex statistical model to account for the interdependencies.

That said, since we havd ZERO identified UFOs (extraterrestrial craft), any probability (5% or otherwise) is just guesswork and imagination. We had a thread on this a while back: https://www.metabunk.org/threads/bayesian-argument-to-believe-in-aliens.12400/

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The maths is wrong if the data points are not statistically independent. If you'd have gone to the wikipedia page in your screenshot, the disambiguation page for independence would've led you to "Independence (probability theory)", which I admit might not have been that helpful either.

Exactly. Needed a little more than "google independence".

Exactly. Needed a little more than "google independence".
and here I thought you yearned for knowledge when all you really wanted was to grind an axe

So true. Saying "post needed more info" is EXACTLY the same as having an axe to grind (???).

/s

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Yet again, you make yourself look foolish.

Saying "post needed more info" has nothing to do with anything you've just said.
" your posts sucks" = axe grinding (in the second degree if you add screenshots)

"could you explain more" = thirst for knowledge

#83 was not "thanks for the explanation" but rather "thanks for helping me grind my axe". Which was not what I expected from you.

"your posts sucks" = axe grinding (in the second degree if you add screenshots)

Can you screenshot where I wrote "your post sucks" please (or "could you explain more")? It's not showing up on my computer. All I see is "Perhaps his post could have used a little more detail/explanation?"

I have zero axe to grind with Phil.

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#83 was not "thanks for the explanation" but rather "thanks for helping me grind my axe". Which was not what I expected from you.

Your interpretation is skewwhiff. Trust me: I know what I meant, and to say it was what you said is an infinite number of miles from the truth. Seems like you've just got a little het up because I replied with something different to that which you were hoping for (and maybe something else).

Also, don't forget the screenshot of my "quote" please. Or do I add it to the ever-increasing list of questions Mendel 'ghosts' when he realises answering them will show him he was wrong? Well into the teens now - and that's just with me.

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Nope. Say 0.000000001%. And I'm being generous.

...

As others have pointed out, you took me out of context. The words before the part you quoted were "I think you're looking at it roughly like this:", and my words after were "This is simply not a valid approach" (except I had a typo and wrote "valie", can't edit posts apparently).

The 5% I used is a figure I've heard before for the number of UFO sightings that remained unexplained. Obviously this doesn't mean 5% chance of aliens, but some people take it that way. Again, this was my point when I wrote: "5% remain unknown because we don't have enough information to be sure what they are. It's not that the remaining 5% are likely aliens".

5% remain unknown because we don't have enough information to be sure what they are.
In the largest statistical UFO study thus far, a distinction was made between "insufficient information" and "unknown". For the "unknowns", there had to be sufficient information to be sure what they are NOT, i.e., the "unknowns" had to have sufficient information to determine they did not fit in any of the IFO categories such as balloons, aircraft, meteors, hoaxes etc.

Project Blue Book Special Report No. 14 was their massive statistical analysis of Blue Book cases to date, some 3200 by the time the report was completed in 1954. Even today, it represents the largest such study ever undertaken. Battelle employed four scientific analysts, who sought to divide cases into "knowns", "unknowns", and a third category of "insufficient information." They also broke down knowns and unknowns into four categories of quality, from excellent to poor. E.g., cases deemed excellent might typically involve experienced witnesses such as airline pilots or trained military personnel, multiple witnesses, corroborating evidence such as radar contact or photographs, etc. In order for a case to be deemed a "known", only two analysts had to independently agree on a solution. However, for a case to be called an "unknown", all four analysts had to agree. Thus the criterion for an "unknown" was quite stringent.

The main results of the statistical analysis were:
• About 69% of the cases were judged known or identified (38% were considered conclusively identified while 31% were still "doubtfully" explained); about 9% fell into insufficient information. About 22% were deemed "unknown", down from the earlier 28% value of the Air Force studies.
• In the known category, 86% of the knowns were aircraft, balloons, or had astronomical explanations. Only 1.5% of all cases were judged to be psychological or "crackpot" cases. A "miscellaneous" category comprised 8% of all cases and included possible hoaxes.
• The higher the quality of the case, the more likely it was to be classified unknown. 35% of the excellent cases were deemed unknowns, as opposed to only 18% of the poorest cases.
Content from External Source
Source: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Blue_Book#Project_Blue_Book_Special_Report_No._14

For those interested here's a link to the full 1954 report:
http://www.nicap.org/docs/pbbsr/BBA-PBSR14.pdf

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In the largest statistical UFO study thus far, a distinction was made between "insufficient information" and "unknown". For the "unknowns", there had to be sufficient information to be sure what they are NOT, i.e., the "unknowns" had to have sufficient information to determine they did not fit in any of the IFO categories such as balloons, aircraft, meteors, hoaxes etc.

Content from External Source
My statement would still be true that they remain unknown because we lack enough information. Even if they were aliens, this is still true. It's not hard to imagine data so good that it clearly represented an alien visitation.

The implication of the above extract though is that there are examples of UFO sightings for which no mundane explanation can be found. I've yet to ever see such a case. I thought GoFast was impressive till I watched Mick West's debunking (not convincing, but still impressive). Some people from the navy were (and still are) impressed by it. So I wouldn't trust their "unknown" categorization without seeing the evidence.

Do you have any examples from this "unknown" category?

Do you have any examples from this "unknown" category?
I went to a lot of trouble today to post an answer. It only contained facts and some links. But it got deleted by "Landru". I'm getting tired of this forum to be honest... It's sloooooow and the moderation is not exactly neutral. Debunkers are welcome. Fact finders...not so much.

I went to a lot of trouble today to post an answer. It only contained facts and some links. But it got deleted by "Landru".

You still have a copy of it in the moderation message?

It only contained facts and some links. But it got deleted by "Landru".
i guess the reason @Landru gave for the deletion wasn't "contains facts"?

i've had posts deleted that I had put a lot of work into. it's frustrating. you always have a choice: abandon it, or bring it to compliance and repost (where it is ontopic).

i've had posts deleted that I had put a lot of work into. it's frustrating. you always have a choice: abandon it, or bring it to compliance and repost (where it is ontopic).

Agreed: I've had plenty of posts deleted. Usually it's not much work to bring them into line and most of the time the reasons for deletion are understandable.

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i guess the reason @Landru gave for the deletion wasn't "contains facts"?

i've had posts deleted that I had put a lot of work into. it's frustrating. you always have a choice: abandon it, or bring it to compliance and repost (where it is ontopic).
It was a violation of the Link Policy.

"I believe that witchcraft is real. There were hundreds, probably thousands of witches burned in the middle ages. They can't all be fake."
Yet they were.

Article:
Argument from incredulity

Argument from incredulity, also known as argument from personal incredulity, appeal to common sense, or the divine fallacy, is a fallacy in informal logic. It asserts that a proposition must be false because it contradicts one's personal expectations or beliefs, or is difficult to imagine.

Arguments from incredulity can sometimes arise from inappropriate emotional involvement, the conflation of fantasy and reality, a lack of understanding, or an instinctive 'gut' reaction, especially where time is scarce. They are also frequently used to argue that something must be supernatural in origin. This form of reasoning is fallacious because one's inability to imagine how a statement can be true or false gives no information about whether the statement is true or false in reality.

UFOs are a cultural phenomenon. There are millions of people ready to interpret unexplained sightings as UFOs, and that's how you get thousands of reports. The amount means nothing.

Consider:
• if we had 1 true report of a Bigfoot sighting and 99 false reports, would the 99 false reports contribute to the truth of the 1 report?
• how can we distinguish this from 1 false report and 99 other false reports?

The only way is to find a UFO sighting that is definitely true. And we don't have one.

Conclusion: UFOs may well exist, or they may not; we have no evidence of them.

Which pictures? The issue of the "what about all this evidence" argument, be it pictures or reports or experiences, is that each photo or report is an individual incident. As noted earlier, in formal debate the idea of just recounting one argument after another to keep one's opponent constantly trying to offer individual rebuttals is known as a "Gish Gallop":

The Gish gallop is a term for an eristic technique in which a debater attempts to overwhelm an opponent by excessive number of arguments, without regard for the accuracy or strength of those arguments. The term was coined by Eugenie Scott and named after the creationist Duane Gish, who used the technique frequently against proponents of evolution.
Content from External Source
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gish_gallop

Note that the idea is to overload with "excessive number of arguments, without regard for the accuracy or strength of those arguments".

There does not seem to be a similar fallacy for the same idea outside of formal debate, but we've kicked around a few names. I'm partial to "The sum of the parts fallacy". Or maybe the "where there's smoke there's fire fallacy". It's the idea that, if there is a lot of bits of evidence for something, then it must be true. But the problem is, if more and more of the many bits of evidence turn out to be wrong, then the conclusion is suspect. That is to say, there was no fire, just some smoldering ashes.

So, what people here strive to do is look at EACH piece of evidence, rather than get overwhelmed by the volume. It's tedious and time consuming, but the work gets split up across many people with different interests.

Taken as a whole, it may seem like the overwhelming amount of photos of UFO/UAPs indicates they are real, as in alien/supernatural. But as each photo is taken as a single piece of evidence and systematically looked at, that may not be the case.

If one were to present 10 photos of UFO/UAPs and say "Look at all these, it's conclusive" the response here would be to look at each individual photo. IF it turns out, 2 where bohka or some other type of camera glitch/reflection, 1 was an identifiable aircraft, 2 were stars or planets, 1 was an obvious hoax, that leaves 4 that may just fall into the Low Information Zone (LIZ). They're just to fuzzy or there isn't enough information to get an idea about what we're seeing. We've gone from 10 "for sures" to 4 "maybes". Not nearly as conclusive.

If you have specific photos in mind, maybe share them and we can see if they have been discussed here before or if not, maybe they would constitute their own thread.

Which pictures? The issue of the "what about all this evidence" argument, be it pictures or reports or experiences, is that each photo or report is an individual incident. As noted earlier, in formal debate the idea of just recounting one argument after another to keep one's opponent constantly trying to offer individual rebuttals is known as a "Gish Gallop":

The Gish gallop is a term for an eristic technique in which a debater attempts to overwhelm an opponent by excessive number of arguments, without regard for the accuracy or strength of those arguments. The term was coined by Eugenie Scott and named after the creationist Duane Gish, who used the technique frequently against proponents of evolution.
Content from External Source
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gish_gallop

Note that the idea is to overload with "excessive number of arguments, without regard for the accuracy or strength of those arguments".

There does not seem to be a similar fallacy for the same idea outside of formal debate, but we've kicked around a few names. I'm partial to "The sum of the parts fallacy". Or maybe the "where there's smoke there's fire fallacy". It's the idea that, if there is a lot of bits of evidence for something, then it must be true. But the problem is, if more and more of the many bits of evidence turn out to be wrong, then the conclusion is suspect. That is to say, there was no fire, just some smoldering ashes.

So, what people here strive to do is look at EACH piece of evidence, rather than get overwhelmed by the volume. It's tedious and time consuming, but the work gets split up across many people with different interests.

Taken as a whole, it may seem like the overwhelming amount of photos of UFO/UAPs indicates they are real, as in alien/supernatural. But as each photo is taken as a single piece of evidence and systematically looked at, that may not be the case.

If one were to present 10 photos of UFO/UAPs and say "Look at all these, it's conclusive" the response here would be to look at each individual photo. IF it turns out, 2 where bohka or some other type of camera glitch/reflection, 1 was an identifiable aircraft, 2 were stars or planets, 1 was an obvious hoax, that leaves 4 that may just fall into the Low Information Zone (LIZ). They're just to fuzzy or there isn't enough information to get an idea about what we're seeing. We've gone from 10 "for sures" to 4 "maybes". Not nearly as conclusive.

If you have specific photos in mind, maybe share them and we can see if they have been discussed here before or if not, maybe they would constitute their own thread.
I see. The mountain of evidence is meaningless. Thank you!

Every photograph that was taken before computers would have to be fake
Which pictures? The issue of the "what about all this evidence" argument, be it pictures or reports or experiences, is that each photo or report is an individual incident. As noted earlier, in formal debate the idea of just recounting one argument after another to keep one's opponent constantly trying to offer individual rebuttals is known as a "Gish Gallop":

The Gish gallop is a term for an eristic technique in which a debater attempts to overwhelm an opponent by excessive number of arguments, without regard for the accuracy or strength of those arguments. The term was coined by Eugenie Scott and named after the creationist Duane Gish, who used the technique frequently against proponents of evolution.
Content from External Source
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gish_gallop

Note that the idea is to overload with "excessive number of arguments, without regard for the accuracy or strength of those arguments".

There does not seem to be a similar fallacy for the same idea outside of formal debate, but we've kicked around a few names. I'm partial to "The sum of the parts fallacy". Or maybe the "where there's smoke there's fire fallacy". It's the idea that, if there is a lot of bits of evidence for something, then it must be true. But the problem is, if more and more of the many bits of evidence turn out to be wrong, then the conclusion is suspect. That is to say, there was no fire, just some smoldering ashes.

So, what people here strive to do is look at EACH piece of evidence, rather than get overwhelmed by the volume. It's tedious and time consuming, but the work gets split up across many people with different interests.

Taken as a whole, it may seem like the overwhelming amount of photos of UFO/UAPs indicates they are real, as in alien/supernatural. But as each photo is taken as a single piece of evidence and systematically looked at, that may not be the case.

If one were to present 10 photos of UFO/UAPs and say "Look at all these, it's conclusive" the response here would be to look at each individual photo. IF it turns out, 2 where bohka or some other type of camera glitch/reflection, 1 was an identifiable aircraft, 2 were stars or planets, 1 was an obvious hoax, that leaves 4 that may just fall into the Low Information Zone (LIZ). They're just to fuzzy or there isn't enough information to get an idea about what we're seeing. We've gone from 10 "for sures" to 4 "maybes". Not nearly as conclusive.

If you have specific photos in mind, maybe share them and we can see if they have been discussed here before or if not, maybe they would constitute their own thread.
I'm not here for a formal debate with a de-bunker. My point is that you give the "volume" of indirect evidence no weight. That's too convenient. It is a fact that thousands of photographs exist. Every one of them would have to be fake. 100% of the photographs ever published. Do you believe that each and every one of them are fake? If so, is that a claim I can post to have investigated by Metabunk?

I see. The mountain of evidence is meaningless. Thank you!
That isn't what NorCal Dave said.
It is a fact that thousands of photographs exist. Every one of them would have to be fake.
...Or misidentification. But many UFO photos have been shown to be fake.
I could be wrong, but I think all photos of Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster and faeries are misidentifications or fake.

If we add the populations of the US, Canada, the EU, the UK and Australia we get about 910.5 million people in relatively high-income countries, most of whom have cell-phones or other cameras.

If, literally, one in a million of those people over the course of a year decides to fake a photo / video of a UFO , you've got 910 photos/ videos every year.
If we reduce the odds to 1 in 100,000- which is a little less likely than the chance of you being murdered in those nations,
you get 9,100 photos.

And that's not including the efforts of people in Latin America, Africa, Japan, India, China...

I see. The mountain of evidence is meaningless. Thank you!

It's the quality of the evidence that matters, not the quantity. One close-up clear photo of an alien spacecraft would be worth thousands of blurry could-be-anything images. But I see, quality is meaningless to you.

Every photograph that was taken before computers would have to be fake

It's not hard to fake UFO images without a computer. Fishing line, hub caps etc. But no one's saying they're all "fake", as in intentionally fake. Many were taken with people only noticing afterwards that something weird was in the photo. There are many lighting effects in photography that came make such images. Or a fly flies past the camera and leaves a blurry blob which looks like something large in the distance etc etc etc.

It is a fact that thousands of photographs exist. Every one of them would have to be fake. 100% of the photographs ever published. Do you believe that each and every one of them are fake? If so, is that a claim I can post to have investigated by Metabunk?

As someone above said, tens of thousands of women were executed for witchcraft. Many would have had trials, with evidence presented, and juries or judges deciding the evidence was sufficient to prove the charge of witchcraft. So every one of those decisions would have to be wrong. All the persuasive evidence presented wrong or fake. Do you believe that every one was fake?

The mistake is you're thinking like this: "each piece of evidence has some small chance of being legitimate, so if there's enough evidence, some must be true". This is wrong. Aliens either have or haven't visited Earth. If they haven't, then yes of course all the claimed evidence must be wrong. If they have, we'd still expect to see blurry photos misinterpreted, but a small percentage, say 5%?, might be legitimate. We'd expect those photos to be much better quality, but lets say they're all of equally bad quality. The difference between the two possibilities is only a small number of extra bad blurry photos in the case where aliens have visited. Not much difference.

Here's another way to think of it: imagine a world where we HAVE been visited by aliens. Say there are 105,000 blurry inconclusive photos/videos claimed as evidence. 90% are proven to actually be other things (weather balloons, flies, fakes etc), 5% are not aliens but there's not enough detail to determine what they really are, and the other 5% is really photos of aliens, but bad ones that also remain inconclusive. You would be pointing at the mountains of evidence, and happy if only a small percentage are true. But now imagine you're transposed to a world where aliens have not visited. What's different? Now there's about 100,000 blurry inconclusive photos claimed as evidence. 95% are shown not to be aliens, and the remaining 5% are also not aliens, but too lacking in detail to determine what they are. This world is almost identical. You would still be pointing at the mountain of evidence and saying that surely at least a small percentage must be real. No, the evidence would be basically the same whether they're real or not. EXCEPT, if aliens had really been here, we would at least expect much more compelling evidence from the small percentage of legitimate photos/videos. We don't see this.

That isn't what NorCal Dave said.

...Or misidentification. But many UFO photos have been shown to be fake.
I could be wrong, but I think all photos of Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster and faeries are misidentifications or fake.

If we add the populations of the US, Canada, the EU, the UK and Australia we get about 910.5 million people in relatively high-income countries, most of whom have cell-phones or other cameras.

If, literally, one in a million of those people over the course of a year decides to fake a photo / video of a UFO , you've got 910 photos/ videos every year.
If we reduce the odds to 1 in 100,000- which is a little less likely than the chance of you being murdered in those nations,
you get 9,100 photos.

And that's not including the efforts of people in Latin America, Africa, Japan, India, China...
I understand. But eliminate cell phone videos, eliminate video and include only those photographs developed from negatives taken from the 40's through the 80s that show a structured object. Not lenticular clouds or atmospheric anomalies but a structured object or craft of some kind. A disc for example. There are still hundreds of them, 100% of which would have to fake. Every eye witness including 100's of military officers and pilots from around the world from US Presidents to school children, 100% of them would have to be lying, mistaken or delusional. In your experience how often is anything 100%?

I understand. But eliminate cell phone videos, eliminate video and include only those photographs developed from negatives taken from the 40's through the 80s that show a structured object. Not lenticular clouds or atmospheric anomalies but a structured object or craft of some kind. A disc for example. There are still hundreds of them, 100% of which would have to fake. Every eye witness including 100's of military officers and pilots from around the world from US Presidents to school children, 100% of them would have to be lying, mistaken or delusional. In your experience how often is anything 100%?
Do you think 100% of photos of Big Foot or Lockness Monster are false? Were 100% of those executed for witchcraft not actually witches? What about 1.9 billion Muslims? Are 100% of them wrong about which is the real god? Or are some of them right? Or if you're Muslim, replace Muslim with Christian. When something isn't true, then yes 100% of the evidence claimed for that thing is false. I feel like we've already addressed the problems with this argument above.

@Bill Ferguson, the mountain of blurry blob pics demonstrates a desparate need for UFO evidence, collected by believers over a century to support a belief in aliens. Belief precedes and explains the mountain. However, scientifically these blobs don't qualify as evidence for aliens. Nor statistically as a high likelihood that a fraction of the mountain features them.

P.S. Wabbit practicing conciseness.

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I understand. But eliminate cell phone videos, eliminate video and include only those photographs developed from negatives taken from the 40's through the 80s that show a structured object. Not lenticular clouds or atmospheric anomalies but a structured object or craft of some kind. A disc for example. There are still hundreds of them, 100% of which would have to fake.
Yes, I agree. All the Coleman lantern lids tricked out as Venusian scout ships would have to be fake, all the tossed hubcaps would have to be fake, all the bridge rivets poking out through a puddle that seem to hover in the reflected sky would have to be fake. There is a HUGE mountain of that sort of rubbish, in which data may, or may not, be submerged. UFO aficionados have made this worse by a tendency to insist even the most obvious fakes cobbled together by the most obvious cranks have to be taken seriously, making it much harder to find out of there is any "signal" in the flood of "noise."
Every eye witness including 100's of military officers and pilots from around the world from US Presidents to school children, 100% of them would have to be lying, mistaken or delusional. In your experience how often is anything 100%?

I note with friendly amusement your examples of "from US Presidents to school children," children are pretty notorious for their active imaginations (which can be made more active if guided by a "researcher" with an axe to grind) and the concept of US Presidents as paragons of honesty seems to have fallen out of favor. (FWIW, I assume you are referring to the famous Jimmy Carter UFO, and I am willing to believe Carter saw more or less what he described seeing, subject to observational errors and memory restructuring that happen to all of us. I am not sure, however, that his sighting leads inescapably to "it was aliens." I don't know what it was.*)

And I do understand the frustration of the "mountain of evidence" not seeming to count for much. You'll find that particularly the case here, I suspect, where the emphasis is on "one thread, one claim" (though often thwarted by thread-drift.) But there is, I think you'd agree, no value in a mound of bad evidence,the question is is there any good evidence? I've somewhat sadly come to the conclusion that there is not, but you may know of cases I don;t know about -- perhaps pick 1 or 2 of the absolute most compelling photos, in your opinion, and start threads for them to be discussed?

*FWIW -- Carer's comment on his sighting from https://www.gq.com/story/jimmy-carter-ted-kennedy-ufo-republicans

I saw an unidentified flying object. I've never believed that it came from Mars. I know enough physics to know that you can't have vehicles that are tangible in nature flying from Mars, looking around, and then flying back. But I saw an object one night when I was preparing to give a speech to a Lions Club. There were about twentyfive of us men standing around. It was almost time for the Lions Club supper to start, which I would eat and then I would give a speech. I was in charge of fiftysix Lions Clubs in southwest Georgia back in the late '60s. And all of a sudden, one of the men looked up and said, "Look, over in the west!" And there was a bright light in the sky. We all saw it. And then the light, it got closer and closer to us. And then it stopped, I don't know how far away, but it stopped beyond the pine trees. And all of a sudden it changed color to blue, and then it changed to red, then back to white. And we were trying to figure out what in the world it could be, and then it receded into the distance. I had a tape recorder—because as I met with members of Lions Clubs, I would dictate their names on the tapes so I could remember them—and I dictated my observations. And when I got home, I wrote them down. So that's an accurate description of what I saw. It was a flying object that was unidentified. But I have never thought that it was from outer space.

I understand. But eliminate cell phone videos, eliminate video and include only those photographs developed from negatives taken from the 40's through the 80s that show a structured object. Not lenticular clouds or atmospheric anomalies but a structured object or craft of some kind. A disc for example. There are still hundreds of them, 100% of which would have to fake. Every eye witness including 100's of military officers and pilots from around the world from US Presidents to school children, 100% of them would have to be lying, mistaken or delusional. In your experience how often is anything 100%?
Are there a few UFO events you believe to be the gold standard in ufology? Rather than talk about thousands of such events and their statistical relevance, why not name three you believe best support your position on UFOs for discussion. In fact, there is a good chance the sightings you offer up have already been discussed here.

I'm not here for a formal debate with a de-bunker. My point is that you give the "volume" of indirect evidence no weight. That's too convenient.

I give the "volume" of indirect evidence very little weight. A lot of bad songs don't make a good album. It's not about convenience, it's that too many of these incidents, when delt with on an individual basis are often found to be pretty uncompelling. In fact, I would argue that just assuming a whole bunch of pictures adds up to a compelling argument, without scrutinizing each one first, is far more convenient.

It is a fact that thousands of photographs exist

I don't know how many UFO photos exist. If it's "thousands", it seems the same 10-20 are usually presented as evidence.

Every one of them would have to be fake. 100% of the photographs ever published. Do you believe that each and every one of them are fake?

I don't know, because I don't know what photos you're referring to. As noted by me and others, a UFO photo need not be faked, it could be a reflection, a problem in the camera, a distant star planet or aircraft, a blister on the negative, shrimp boats, distant oil rigs or any number of mundane things.

And yes, famous photos like the Belgin UFO which were vetted by all kinds of people as "real" turned out to be fake. There are lots of fakes out there.

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A Belgian UFO photograph that became a worldwide hit was faked with a piece of polystyrene, one of the people behind the picture has revealed more than 20 years later in a TV interview.

“You can do a lot with a little, we managed to trick everyone with a piece of polystyrene,” said one of the forgers, identified only as Patrick, who says he pulled it off at the age of 18 with some colleagues.
Content from External Source
https://www.reuters.com/article/oukoe-uk-belgium-ufo-idAFTRE76Q2DE20110727

If so, is that a claim I can post to have investigated by Metabunk?

Of course. Not "Are all UFO photos 100% Fake", that's an overly large claim and just circles back to the original problem of sheer volume being evidence for something.

But if you have some specific photos in mind, please share them. We can see if there is already a thread on Metabunk that has discussed them or if we need to start a new thread with a photo we haven't seen or talked about before. Start with a few because again, we don't do shotgun style "Here's 1000 photos now prove them all fake!". One photo at a time.

It's the quality of the evidence that matters, not the quantity. One close-up clear photo of an alien spacecraft would be worth thousands of blurry could-be-anything images. But I see, quality is meaningless to you.

It's not hard to fake UFO images without a computer. Fishing line, hub caps etc. But no one's saying they're all "fake", as in intentionally fake. Many were taken with people only noticing afterwards that something weird was in the photo. There are many lighting effects in photography that came make such images. Or a fly flies past the camera and leaves a blurry blob which looks like something large in the distance etc etc etc.

As someone above said, tens of thousands of women were executed for witchcraft. Many would have had trials, with evidence presented, and juries or judges deciding the evidence was sufficient to prove the charge of witchcraft. So every one of those decisions would have to be wrong. All the persuasive evidence presented wrong or fake. Do you believe that every one was fake?

The mistake is you're thinking like this: "each piece of evidence has some small chance of being legitimate, so if there's enough evidence, some must be true". This is wrong. Aliens either have or haven't visited Earth. If they haven't, then yes of course all the claimed evidence must be wrong. If they have, we'd still expect to see blurry photos misinterpreted, but a small percentage, say 5%?, might be legitimate. We'd expect those photos to be much better quality, but lets say they're all of equally bad quality. The difference between the two possibilities is only a small number of extra bad blurry photos in the case where aliens have visited. Not much difference.

Here's another way to think of it: imagine a world where we HAVE been visited by aliens. Say there are 105,000 blurry inconclusive photos/videos claimed as evidence. 90% are proven to actually be other things (weather balloons, flies, fakes etc), 5% are not aliens but there's not enough detail to determine what they really are, and the other 5% is really photos of aliens, but bad ones that also remain inconclusive. You would be pointing at the mountains of evidence, and happy if only a small percentage are true. But now imagine you're transposed to a world where aliens have not visited. What's different? Now there's about 100,000 blurry inconclusive photos claimed as evidence. 95% are shown not to be aliens, and the remaining 5% are also not aliens, but too lacking in detail to determine what they are. This world is almost identical. You would still be pointing at the mountain of evidence and saying that surely at least a small percentage must be real. No, the evidence would be basically the same whether they're real or not. EXCEPT, if aliens had really been here, we would at least expect much more compelling evidence from the small percentage of legitimate photos/videos. We don't see this.
When you say "we don't see this" who are the we? A lot of people see exactly this. And you're wrong about the way I'm thinking. I'm simply saying that in order for you to be right:

1. 100% the photographic evidence has been hoaxed;
2. 100% of the eyewitness accounts are mistakes, delusions or lies;
3. 100% of military pilots including Dave Fravor, Chad Pennington, Alex Dietrich and Ryan Graves are hallucinating, or lying and I can go on.
4. 100% of scientist including Dr. Eric W. Davis, Dr. Garry Nolan, and Colm Kelleher are lying:.
5. 100% of the congressmen and senators who claim to have seen classified military videos of unknown anomalous vehicles are lying or mistaken about what they saw.

The way the government has responded to recent calls for transparency is telling in and of itself. On the one hand, they promise more transparency. At the same time, they classify every document, photo and video that even mentions UFOs. They shot down 3 balloons one weekend that they say were not a threat. The video of those shootdowns are classified.

Thanks for responding. I appreciate the discussion.

@NorCalDave already tried to put you on the right direction, but you go on repeating the same arguments so maybe I can add something.

When you say "we don't see this" who are the we? A lot of people see exactly this. And you're wrong about the way I'm thinking. I'm simply saying that in order for you to be right:

1. 100% the photographic evidence has been hoaxed;
2. 100% of the eyewitness accounts are mistakes, delusions or lies;
3. 100% of military pilots including Dave Fravor, Chad Pennington, Alex Dietrich and Ryan Graves are hallucinating, or lying and I can go on.
4. 100% of scientist including Dr. Eric W. Davis, Dr. Garry Nolan, and Colm Kelleher are lying:.
5. 100% of the congressmen and senators who claim to have seen classified military videos of unknown anomalous vehicles are lying or mistaken about what they saw.

This is both wrong and not an argument. Wrong because, for instance, '100% of the photographic evidence has been hoaxed' is a straw man, rather one should say '100% of the photographic evidence has been hoaxed, or it's just the picture of an unrecognizable mundane object, or it's a reflection, or some other optical effect, or,.. or...'. Not an argument because we also have plenty of 'evidence' for a lot of weird things, from extrasensorial perception to unicorns (in ancient books), weeping statues, ghosts, miracles and whatever and using the same reasoning you used for UFOs one could conclude there is actually something 'true' in ESP, unicorns, weeping statues and whatever. This is not a logically valid argument.

The way the government has responded to recent calls for transparency is telling in and of itself. On the one hand, they promise more transparency. At the same time, they classify every document, photo and video that even mentions UFOs. They shot down 3 balloons one weekend that they say were not a threat. The video of those shootdowns are classified.
Did governments ever behave differently? They promise more transparency because the public demands it, then they classify documents nonetheless because there are security reasons not to have them shown to the public.

And the balloons themselves are part of the explanation of why they classify 'UFO' documents: because they are rightly worried about a lot of mundane threats which have recently come to the forefront, namely drones and (now we know) balloons too. There have been reports of drones buzzing around warships and military installations, and a sure proof of a foreign balloon doing exactly the same. They classify 'UFO' reports not because they are worried about aliens, but because they are worried by China (or Russia, or... or...) spying on them, and I bet this is the kind of topic militaris tend to classify.

Thanks for responding. I appreciate the discussion.
We too.

I'm simply saying that in order for you to be right:

1. 100% the photographic evidence has been hoaxed;
Or photos of indistinct distant objects, or misinterpreted photos of mundane objects such as a bug too close to the camera, or camera/photographic glitches, or...

2. 100% of the eyewitness accounts are mistakes, delusions or lies;
With the understanding that mistakes includes all sorts of honest misperceptions, memory errors, or possible cases of a witness being hoaxed by a third party. It is important to be clear that bad faith is not required for folks to have not understood what they saw.

3. 100% of military pilots including Dave Fravor, Chad Pennington, Alex Dietrich and Ryan Graves are hallucinating, or lying and I can go on.
Or mistook what they saw for something else, had an exciting experience grow in memory, etc. Pilots are not infallible any more than the rest of us. They are better at flying planes, that's about it.

4. 100% of scientist including Dr. Eric W. Davis, Dr. Garry Nolan, and Colm Kelleher are lying:.
See #3 above. Substitute "doing science" for "flying planes."

5. 100% of the congressmen and senators who claim to have seen classified military videos of unknown anomalous vehicles are lying or mistaken about what they saw.
See #2 above.

The way the government has responded to recent calls for transparency is telling in and of itself.
I'd agree, but not for the reason I assume you mean. To me, it looks like "the government," largely in this case meaning the Pentagon, has been tasked with being more open about what they know, but have little or no information to be more open about -- however, some of the guys that control their funding want a report, so here's a reort, sorry there is not much in it but there is not much to disclose. That is, of course, my "best guess," I don't work in the Pentagon, I just fly kites. Still, as a hypothesis, it seems to cover the known facts pretty well.

Thanks for responding. I appreciate the discussion.
Ditto -- though I'd still like to get into your choice of best case or two either in existing threads if we already have one, or is a thread for each case.

I'm simply saying that in order for you to be right:

1. 100% the photographic evidence has been hoaxed;
2. 100% of the eyewitness accounts are mistakes, delusions or lies;
3. 100% of military pilots including Dave Fravor, Chad Pennington, Alex Dietrich and Ryan Graves are hallucinating, or lying and I can go on.
4. 100% of scientist including Dr. Eric W. Davis, Dr. Garry Nolan, and Colm Kelleher are lying:.
5. 100% of the congressmen and senators who claim to have seen classified military videos of unknown anomalous vehicles are lying or mistaken about what they saw.
That's all been asked and answered on this thread. Do you not READ the responses to you? Firstly, mistaken identities do not mean fakes and do not mean lies. Second, the "100%" to which you refer should be "100% of the small fraction of individuals who have testified/photographed stuff". And of course we have to subtract the portion of the evidence in which nothing can be interpreted because the photo or the testimony is in the Low Information Zone, insufficient to use to draw any conclusions.

And, as in the "witches" discussion, if something simply is not true, it follows that 100% of the evidence in favor of it is incorrect. It's a maxim in science that a negative cannot be proven. We are all still waiting for the ufologists to provide a good, unequivocal positive, and so far that has not happened.

1. 100% the photographic evidence has been hoaxed;
2. 100% of the eyewitness accounts are mistakes, delusions or lies;
3. 100% of military pilots including Dave Fravor, Chad Pennington, Alex Dietrich and Ryan Graves are hallucinating, or lying and I can go on.
4. 100% of scientist including Dr. Eric W. Davis, Dr. Garry Nolan, and Colm Kelleher are lying:.
5. 100% of the congressmen and senators who claim to have seen classified military videos of unknown anomalous vehicles are lying or mistaken about what they saw.

We're going around in circles here. Once again, you're presenting an argument that unless "100%" of something is true, then the opposite is true. Individual cases, at least on this forum, are discussed on an individual bases. We don't try to prove that thousands of photos are 100% fake. We take each photo or claim as presented. For the sake of argument, I'll take 2 of your statements above:

1. 100% the photographic evidence has been hoaxed;

Here are a number of UFO photos. 100% of them are hoaxed. It's not 1000s, but it's a start. So far, you haven't presented any. I'm not going to go into the explanation for each photo here, that's not what this thread is about.

4. 100% of scientist including Dr. Eric W. Davis, Dr. Garry Nolan, and Colm Kelleher are lying:.

Not lying, but have their own agendas maybe? Let's take Dr. Colm Kelleher. Are you suggesting that the case of UFOs should be taken more seriously because of his views on the subject? If so, should the case for remote viewing, poltergiests and 7' tall bipedal wolf creatures be taken seriously as well? Dr. Kelleher endorsed these things as well as UFOs in his own book, Skinwalkers at the Pentagon, discussed here on this thread: https://www.metabunk.org/threads/the-origins-of-aawsap.12484/

I personally find the idea of 7' tall werewolves less then compelling and so for me, I'm a little uncertain what to make of Dr. Kelleher's various claims. Not saying he's lying. And again, this is just one bit of evidence. Each piece is taken in the singular.

A whole lot of questionable claims and photos doesn't add up a conclusion based merely on volume.

I'm not here for a formal debate with a de-bunker. My point is that you give the "volume" of indirect evidence no weight. That's too convenient. It is a fact that thousands of photographs exist. Every one of them would have to be fake. 100% of the photographs ever published. Do you believe that each and every one of them are fake?
Yes, probably.
When you say "we don't see this" who are the we? A lot of people see exactly this. And you're wrong about the way I'm thinking. I'm simply saying that in order for you to be right:

1. 100% the photographic evidence has been hoaxed;
2. 100% of the eyewitness accounts are mistakes, delusions or lies;
3. 100% of military pilots including Dave Fravor, Chad Pennington, Alex Dietrich and Ryan Graves are hallucinating, or lying and I can go on.
4. 100% of scientist including Dr. Eric W. Davis, Dr. Garry Nolan, and Colm Kelleher are lying:.
5. 100% of the congressmen and senators who claim to have seen classified military videos of unknown anomalous vehicles are lying or mistaken about what they saw.
What evidence do you have that any of these 5 statements is untrue?

they all seem overstated, and use needlessly emotional language, but I'd say all photos of a UFO or alien have been misidentified, and witnesses have been wrong about how they interpreted what they saw.

1. 100% the photographic evidence has been hoaxed;
2. 100% of the eyewitness accounts are mistakes, delusions or lies;
3. 100% of military pilots including Dave Fravor, Chad Pennington, Alex Dietrich and Ryan Graves are hallucinating, or lying and I can go on.
4. 100% of scientist including Dr. Eric W. Davis, Dr. Garry Nolan, and Colm Kelleher are lying:.
5. 100% of the congressmen and senators who claim to have seen classified military videos of unknown anomalous vehicles are lying or mistaken about what they saw.
Even if someone could prove that 100% of cases fall in any of the categories above, tomorrow a new photo or report may appear and you will again demand to prove it is any of the above. It is an endless discussion

However, if you are able to prove that only one case is an alien spaceship (or whatever you mean by "UFO"), the discussion is over.

Just one case is all you need. Focus in finding that case, instead of demanding endless demonstrations.

When you say "we don't see this" who are the we? A lot of people see exactly this.

If there was high-quality evidence most people would agree. We, as in most people, most scientists, don't see this. Who is "A lot of people"? I would say it's a small percentage of the population. If you think we have seen high quality tangible evidence for aliens, show me.

1. 100% the photographic evidence has been hoaxed;
You're really not reading or considering people's replies here. People have already answered this multiple times. No it doesn't have to be hoaxed. There are lots of ways to accidentally get a photo of something that can't easily be identified and appears to be in the air.

Why won't you respond to our other examples? Do you agree that 100% of the 40,000+ people executed for witchcraft were falsely accused? Were 100% of the judges and politicians that must have been involved lying or delusional? Are 100% of Muslims and/or Christians wrong about the nature of God?

It's not weird for 100% of claimed evidence to be false if the thing itself is false.

2. 100% of the eyewitness accounts are mistakes, delusions or lies;
"Delusions" implies some kind of mental problem, and no none of them require that. It's just an emotive term to use. Mistakes and lies would cover it. I'd say mostly mistakes. Also memories change over time, and changing UFO stories over time has been documented.

3. 100% of military pilots including Dave Fravor, Chad Pennington, Alex Dietrich and Ryan Graves are hallucinating, or lying and I can go on.

Again, not "hallucinating", which suggests some kind of mental impairment. I'd say they're mistaken in these cases. The only tangible evidence we've seen from the Fravor case (one video) was easily explained in mundane ways. Beyond that, I don't know what he saw, and you don't know what he saw, and he doesn't know what he saw. Maybe if we saw actual video of what he saw we'd be able to explain that in mundane ways too.

And it's 100% of a small percentage of pilots, since most see things they can't identify and think nothing of it, because they know how easy it is to misidentify mundane things up there.

4. 100% of scientist including Dr. Eric W. Davis, Dr. Garry Nolan, and Colm Kelleher are lying:.

You mean 100% of a very small percentage of scientists? And again, not lying, just wrong.

5. 100% of the congressmen and senators who claim to have seen classified military videos of unknown anomalous vehicles are lying or mistaken about what they saw.

Correct. Don't forget the 3 leaked videos a while back. All have been explained in mundane ways. There's no reason to think they show anything out of the ordinary. Yet even people in the military were fooled by them. They claimed they showed supersonic craft etc, which was false. Politicians are considerably less equipped to know what they're looking at, so they would just take the word of whoever showed them the video. I have no doubt if we saw those classified videos, we'd find mundane explanations for them, or they'd just be too blurry to identify at all.

It's only the photos and videos we can actually see that can potentially count as good evidence, not just some politician saying how amazing they are.

Every piece of solid evidence that has ever been analysed and correctly identified has NOT been aliens. 100%. It's reasonable to presume the same of the others UNTIL something comes along that breaks the pattern. But the pattern so far has always been: it's not aliens. 100%.

...they classify every document, photo and video that even mentions UFOs.

True, because they classify every photo and video that they take. UFOs or not. If the military video something, it will be classified by default. So? And if they're considering what to declassify, and there's something in the photo/video they can't identify, then I imagine it will stay classified, because they literally don't know what's in the photo, and don't know what they're declassifying. Nothing weird about this.

I think it's also important to understand that there isn't anything wrong with misidentification. By saying that people are mistaking one natural phenomenon for a paranormal/extraterrestrial phenomenon, we are not saying that they are incompetent or confused. Other people have mentioned this, but it's important. Everyone misidentifies things all the time. When you consider that, these statements change to something more mundane:

2. 100% of the eyewitness accounts are mistakes, delusions or lies;
3. 100% of military pilots including Dave Fravor, Chad Pennington, Alex Dietrich and Ryan Graves are hallucinating, or lying and I can go on.
4. 100% of scientist including Dr. Eric W. Davis, Dr. Garry Nolan, and Colm Kelleher are lying:.
5. 100% of the congressmen and senators who claim to have seen classified military videos of unknown anomalous vehicles are lying or mistaken about what they saw.

2: Yes, and that's to be expected. People mistake things for other things all the time, regardless of expertise, because they are flawed humans. It happens, and it isn't a bad thing.
3: Not necessarily, they could be mistaken because people mistake things all the time. Even experts trained to observe.
4. Not necessarily, they could also be mistaken. Or, as NorCal Dave suggested, there may be other motives at play. I'm not going to get into a detailed debunk of each scientist listed because they're not the focus of this thread.
5. No, because (as others have mentioned) it's a) to be expected that the military would have classified photos of unknown vehicles because anything unknown could be unfriendly to us, and b) senators are humans too, and can be mistaken just as much as anyone else.

I don't see it as this huge binary issue of "if this isn't true, then automatically thousands of people are hallucinating/lying/etc". When we take things case-by-case, as is the Metabunk way, we see a huge spectrum of options for why someone might see or photograph something and think it's extraterrestrial. You do not have to be a liar or delusional to think you've seen a UFO, you could just be a human with a human brain.

Here are a number of UFO photos. 100% of them are hoaxed. It's not 1000s, but it's a start.

Slow down, cowboy!

If you post enough of those hoaxes, eventually one of them will become real because of the sheer quantity of them, surely!?

That is a mischaracterization of what I said.

That is a mischaracterization of what I said.
If you are responding to a specific post of mine, such as the one that immediately precedes the post of yours I'm responding to, then "reply" to that post, so that everyone can know who and what you are responding to.

And I disagree: you are attempting - repeatedly - to imply that the increased quantity of something somehow increases its quality or the quality of some of its parts.

My response isolated that (il)logical step and showed how it was absurd.

Quantity can turn half-decent evidence into strong evidence, it can't turn noise into evidence.

You're also falling for the fallacy that if you can't tell what it is the odds that it's something inexplainably weird is countable on fingers and toes. It's not, the bayesian prior is that it's one-to-billions odds something mundane, and billions-to-one odds that it's something inexplainably weird, because that's how almost the entirety of the world around us has been seen to work almost all the rest of the time. The galactic supercluster of evidence for mundanity makes the mountain of so-called evidence for weirdness look like less than a speck of dust. And that's strong evidence for mundanity. Of course, I'm looking through a modern lens, but getting sparks from rubbing wool on amber is genuinely mundane, even if it once wasn't, that's the correct perspective to use.

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