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

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Fortunately, we have the superb Professor David Kipping to come to the rescue, with a genuinely scientific and statistical approach...that may disappoint some but is the correct way of seeing the problem....

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zcInt58juL4
The quotations are in the actual video ( see around 2 minutes 18 seconds ). Is this a confession that you didn't watch it ?
No, no, if you require me to watch your video, that's a confession on your part that you didn't put the salient bits in your post explicitly, as proscribed by Metabunk policy.
Thank you for pointing out the source!

Sure he's saying we don't know. The message doesn't seem to have got across to Michio Kaku, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Brian Cox, The Science Guy, and a large host of others.
From the video (see the start of this post):
[2:19] Bill Nye (the science guy): "Absolutely there is life elsewhere, and almost certainly intelligent life."
[2:40] Neil deGrasse Tyson: "My best guess is that there is intelligent life"
[2:48] Brian Cox: "Surely there's other civilisations out there"
Content from External Source
Note that these are only reduced talk show sound bites, but still Bill Nye and NDT don't put it as a certainty, saying "almost certainly" and "best guess". They do not know, and say so. The video fails to support your point.

Brian Cox's position is still not in favor of alien contact, because while he's certain of intelligent life elsewhere, he says there may be no other intelligent life in our galaxy:
Article:
Professor Brian Cox has suggested that microbial life might be relatively common – and even found in our own solar system – but that intelligent life might be "extremely rare". [...] "it [is] possible that this is the only, let’s say, the only island of meaning in a galaxy of 400 billion Suns."
 
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Any argument that ignores the existence of the earth is committing a graver error than confirmation bias. Earth exists, that is a valid input into any argument, that's not confirmation bias. Seemingly not knowing it, he's using fine tuning.

The "we know nothing apart from our own existence, and have no reason to think our situation is special" argument leads to a conclusion that the probability there's life on another planet is 42%. Any conclusion different from that must be taking different premises, which would need to be justified.
But our situation is special. We're not plucking a planet uniformly at random out of any of the trillions that exist; we evolved in this one and our intelligence is the only thing allowing us to ask this sort of question. We're self-selected; whether the expected mean distance between intelligent civilizations is a few parsecs, a few megaparsecs, or 10^8142 universe-widths, our experience (so far) would be identical. It follows that the only thing enabling the conclusion that there must be intelligent life elsewhere in the universe is a prior probability, i.e., an opinion that the probability that intelligent life arises on any given planet can't be too small. But we have no basis for such an opinion. It could very well be that the evolution of life (esp. intelligent life) relies on such an freakish series of unlikely and independent accidents that the overall probability comes out extremely small. We just don't know.
 
PS; please notice that the idea of 'fine tuning' refers to model parameters, not model outcomes. For example, the probability that a fair coin (p = 0.5) lands on "heads" 50 times in a row is p^50 ≈ 10^-15. That's perfectly fine and natural. What would be concerning for the modeler would be if to explain some series of observations he required p to be some very specific number.

In the Drake equation, terms like "the probability that life arises" are sort of model parameters, but the Drake equation is a sloppy, large, aggregate model, that hides a lot of complexity behind seemingly simple terms. "The probability that life arises" is really a probability that some presumably complex sequence of events is carried out to completion, and that sequence can have vanishingly small probability even if each step taken individually is not too unlikely.

The thing about fine-tuning is not that it inherently disfavors a model. It merely cries for a more fundamental explanation. Physicists care about fine-tuning because the goal is to find a fundamental theory of the universe, something that can't be explained in terms of more elementary constituents. We can take fine-tuning as evidence that we haven't gotten there yet. But since the Drake equation was never intended to be a fundamental model in the first place, whether or not its parameters end up "finely tuned" is not a very useful check for the purpose of discriminating between likely ranges for the various parameters.
 
It follows that the only thing enabling the conclusion that there must be intelligent life elsewhere in the universe is a prior probability, i.e., an opinion that the probability that intelligent life arises on any given planet can't be too small. But we have no basis for such an opinion.
The point is that our existence is that basis.

Consider this analogy:

A: Husband comes home from shopping, produces a wine bottle from his shopping bag, what's the probability pA that there's an unseen bottle of wine in the shopping bag?

B: Husband comes home from shopping, what's the probability pB that there's a bottle of wine in the shopping bag?

I submit that pA > pB, because pA provides evidence that the conditions on his shopping trip were such that he could've bought another bottle; in situation B we're uncertain that he ever came near the wine section, or that the husband drinks alcohol at all.
 
Brian Cox's position is still not in favor of alien contact, because while he's certain of intelligent life elsewhere, he says there may be no other intelligent life in our galaxy
He might be right. But whatever the probability of life elsewhere, we have to ask whether their period of intelligent life overlaps with ours, which of course diminishes the probability of any kind of contact. If we use some very round numbers (and if I've managed not to lose a zero here or there) there has been cellular life on earth for 4,000,000,000 years, humans have been around for 1,000,000 years, but (using a wild supposition and the age of cave paintings as a guideline) what most of us would recognise as "intelligent" life might only have been here for 20,000 years. That comes out to 1/200,000 of a percent of the time there has been life on this planet. and much of that time is, as far as we can determine, pre-city formation. A tiny sliver of that time is in the industrial age, an even tinier portion is in the age of rocket-powered flight.

Now on the assumption that we could drop in on another life-bearing planet, would we be more likely to encounter that planet's version of humanoids with advanced technology, apes banging together two rocks to give a sharp edge, or an oozing slime of cells? Even with a similar evolutionary progress as ours but on a very slightly different timeline, all three of those would be possible. I think it's fair to say that if they ever contacted us, it would only be the first of those three to do so.
 
But whatever the probability of life elsewhere, we have to ask whether their period of intelligent life overlaps with ours, which of course diminishes the probability of any kind of contact.
Yes, that's already factored into the Drake equation.
Article:
Screenshot_20230520-165543_Samsung Internet.jpg
The result is N, the average number of transmitting societies in the Galaxy now. Clearly, if this number is very small, then the chances of a signal detection by SETI are also small.

So when someone talks about intelligent life in the galaxy, if they don't say otherwise, contemporaneousness should probably be taken as implied. (Though signal propagation time makes that rather subjective—a civilisation we receive signals from may already have ceased to be.)
 
The factor 'L' is one of the biggest uncertainties in the Drake equation. Once an advanced civilisation has colonies on several planets, or has constructed life-supporting structures around several stars, they might be immune from economic or catastrophic collapse for millions, or billions of years. Once an advanced civilisation has created infrastructure capable of extracting resources from planets and asteroids, and energy from stars, they may persist for the foreseeable future (and well into the unforeseeable future).
 
Acknowledgements to Metabunkers Mendel and Eburacum, who have both posted about L while I was ploddingly typing this.

A tiny sliver of that time is in the industrial age, an even tinier portion is in the age of rocket-powered flight.
One of the more depressing variables to be considered when thinking about the possibility of extra-terrestrial intelligence which we might notice is the last factor in the Drake equation, L- the length of time that a detectable ET civilisation (including those actively attempting to communicate) endures.

Our few decades of spaceflight and radio astronomy coincide with the development of nuclear weapons, organophosphate nerve agents and a dramatic increase in environmental pollutants (e.g. lead in petrol [gasoline], chlorofluorocarbons, radionuclides from atmospheric nuclear testing, DDT, microplastics).

As an aside, the development and everyday use of leaded petrol and CFCs were largely the work of one man, Thomas Midgley Jr. Environmentalist J.R. McNeill said Midgley "had more adverse impact on the atmosphere than any other single organism in Earth's history", https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Midgley_Jr..

Despite more knowledge being available to more people than ever before, and (what I believe are) the clear historical lessons of the 20th century, there are millions of people across all nations who subscribe to demonstrably false ideas, conspiracy theories and extremist and/ or aggressively partisan ideologies. Some powerful leaders and politicians are amongst them; others court their support.

The end of the Cold War and effective action limiting CFCs, leaded petrol, DDT and some other pollutants all show that we can address issues that threaten or degrade our environment.

The return of serious tensions between powerful nations, our rather lacklustre response to global warming and the presence of possibly problematic pollutants (e.g. phthalates) are worrying. There might be significant risks emanating from the development and accessibility of "AI", and biotechnologies.

I think it's unlikely that any of the above problems will prove to be existential risks for homo sapiens in the near- to medium-term, but I could be wrong. A worst-case scenario nuclear exchange causing a reduction in ozone protection, combined with rising sea levels (already maybe inevitable) threatening the surviving coastal communities and agricultural areas might set us back a very long time indeed.

Maybe an unforeseen threat, caused by our behaviours but wholly unanticipated, could hit us.
It perplexes me that the following example seems to be widely forgotten:

In the 1980s, UK farmers used cattle remains as a source of additional protein in cattle feed. The prion disease bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) -which might have arisen spontaneously in one animal- was spread amongst cattle.
Infected cattle entered the human food chain, causing the 1990s outbreak of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD),
a new, invariably fatal disease.
For a short period, from the identification of BSE as the cause of vCJD to the realisation that (thankfully rare) genetic susceptibility also played a role, there was quiet concern that vCJD could possibly affect the whole UK population (including vegetarians) and very large parts of the west European and North American population (30% of the latter IIRC).
Everyone in the United Kingdom has eaten on average over 50 meals of the tissues of cattle infected with BSE; this figure would be lower in other countries.
Content from External Source
New variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease: the critique that never was, Will, R.G., Knight, R.S.G., Ward, H.J.T., Ironside, J.W.;
BMJ, 13 July 2002 https://www.bmj.com/rapid-response/...-creutzfeldt-jakob-disease-critique-never-was

There is a (hopefully very small, but) non-zero possibility that our own existence as a listening and signalling civilisation endures for only a century or so.

We obviously don't have any insight into the politics or psychology of hypothetical alien cultures, other than our own example.
Humans might be unusually warlike, or careless with threats to health or the environment. Conversely, maybe we're better than average (if extra-terrestrial civilisations exist) at looking after ourselves. Like L, the duration of a detectable civilisation in Drake's equation, an accurate estimate of these qualities is paradoxical (and maybe a logical contradiction); we won't know unless we receive proof of extra-terrestrial technological cultures (extant and/ or extinct).

One of the possible solutions to the Fermi paradox, or "the great silence", is that the chances of technological civilisations existing are constrained by a "Great Filter". For example, if extra-solar planets were incredibly rare, the opportunities for life to arise might also be rare. We now know that there are many extra-solar planets, so their number in itself cannot be a "filter".
There is a possible, grim corollary to the Fermi paradox:

If habitats suitable for life are common, and life arises frequently, and technological intelligence arbitrarily similar to our own often evolves on life-bearing planets, then the "great silence" might be an indication that, on average, those cultures don't last very long.
And we are one of those cultures.
According to this line of reasoning, the more frequently we find evidence of non-intelligent extra-terrestrial life in the absence of any evidence for technological extra-terrestrial life, the bleaker the outlook for us is, if we're an "average" civilisation.
Technological civilisation is itself the Great Filter.

Ideas discussed here: "The Great Filter: Are We Almost Past It?", Robin Hanson, 15/07/1998 http://mason.gmu.edu/~rhanson/greatfilter.html,

and "Where Are They? Why I hope The Search For Extraterrestrial Life Finds Nothing", Nick Bostrom, MIT Technology Review, May/June 2008, https://nickbostrom.com/extraterrestrial.pdf
(PDF attached, I found it very readable).

"It's being so cheerful that keeps us going!" as my late Mum used to say.
 

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Maybe an unforeseen threat, caused by our behaviours but wholly unanticipated, could hit us.
It may be as close as the next variant of Covid. (You know, that "just like the flu" thing that killed many millions of us, and continues to evolve.) Or perhaps a major tsunami / earthquake / volcanic eruption. Anything that severely impacts one population has ripple effects in a global society, disrupting government or food supplies or financial investments to the point that we may, as a society, have to respond to our bigger problems and decide to abandon the programs that probe (or listen to) any extraterrestrial entities. Civilization would not be destroyed, but the means to fund such research may have to be directed elsewhere.
 
Once an advanced civilisation has created infrastructure capable of extracting resources from planets and asteroids, and energy from stars, they may persist for the foreseeable future
We have infrastructure to extract energy from our star, it's called solar, wind, and hydro.

Any economy based on extracting resources has a limited life span, a sustainable economy must be (and has historically been) founded on renewable resources.
 
The point is that our existence is that basis.

Consider this analogy:

A: Husband comes home from shopping, produces a wine bottle from his shopping bag, what's the probability pA that there's an unseen bottle of wine in the shopping bag?

B: Husband comes home from shopping, what's the probability pB that there's a bottle of wine in the shopping bag?

I submit that pA > pB, because pA provides evidence that the conditions on his shopping trip were such that he could've bought another bottle; in situation B we're uncertain that he ever came near the wine section, or that the husband drinks alcohol at all.

I tend to agree. Under the assumption there's only one, our, bubble (universe), the prior that we exist strengthens, under Bayesian logic, the probability of >1 intelligent planetary population within the same bubble. But even then it obviously doesn't imply high probability without other variables factoring in.

Under the assumption there's an infinity of bubbles whose parameters randomly vary the same Bayesian logic would still hold within our bubble.

The scientific weakness of the latter assumption is the very fact that it's an unnecessary and additional empirically untestable metaphysical assumption beyond the known fact of our universe.

Fine-tuning is a metaphysical discussion that has very little relevance to experimental physics. Its populariy is due to atheism-theism debates and movies about multiverses. A particular type of obsession with multiverse theories has sprung from a need to allay the psychological discomort of the apparent 'fine-tuning' of our bubble for intelligent life which some atheists may experience. However, where the theists get it wrong is in overreach. They read into this apparent 'fine-tuning' and jump into conclusions without appreciating the virtual impossibility of the task of exhaustively defining the parametres and variables that make up a universe, and hence the impossibility of coming up with a plausible probability value.

Both the theists and atheists in the debate unwittingly think of themselves as all-knowing (knowing all the relevant parameters of a universe and proceeding with rather simplistic calculations based on these parameters). This is also partly the issue with the Drake equation and the Fermi paradox, despite not directly concerned with the said debate.

But now I'm digressing.
 
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Ideas discussed here: "The Great Filter: Are We Almost Past It?", Robin Hanson, 15/07/1998 http://mason.gmu.edu/~rhanson/greatfilter.html,

and "Where Are They? Why I hope The Search For Extraterrestrial Life Finds Nothing", Nick Bostrom, MIT Technology Review, May/June 2008, https://nickbostrom.com/extraterrestrial.pdf
(PDF attached, I found it very readable).

"It's being so cheerful that keeps us going!" as my late Mum used to say.
Thank you for the links, good readings!
 
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We have infrastructure to extract energy from our star, it's called solar, wind, and hydro.
That's right, and this is one reason why I am hopeful for the long term future of humanity. Fossil fuels have a limited timespan of usefulness, while solar-based sources of energy will continue to be useful for billions of years.

Any economy based on extracting resources has a limited life span, a sustainable economy must be (and has historically been) founded on renewable resources.
We can divide the resources that can be extracted from planets and asteroids into to two types; volatiles and non-volatiles. Non-volatiles, such as iron, silicon, aluminium, copper and other solid elements, can be recycled almost indefinitely.

Volatile elements such as hydrogen, oxygen and helium may be lost over time, either from the top of a planet's atmosphere or from leakages from space habitats. Luckily, hydrogen and helium are very common elements in the universe, present in the gas giants of our solar system in almost inexhaustible amounts, and oxygen is present in very large quantities, in ices and rocks throughout the system. With careful management these volatile elements should be present in sufficient quantities to last at least as long as the Sun's power is available.

Unless an advanced civilisation does something stupid like expanding exponentially, the resources in a single solar system should be adequate for billions of years.
 
Unless an advanced civilisation does something stupid like expanding exponentially, the resources in a single solar system should be adequate for billions of years.
Yes, but I feel some qualifications are needed, the most important (ihmo) is there is no guarantee we have enough resources on our own planet to be able to start up the industrial exploitation of space, it's easier said than done (this could be a facet of the 'great filter').

All these topics are very interesting, but unfortunately we're drifting very far from the thread original focus... maybe someone wants to open a new thread in Chitchat?
 
With careful management these volatile elements should be present in sufficient quantities to last at least as long as the Sun's power is available.

Unless an advanced civilisation does something stupid like expanding exponentially, the resources in a single solar system should be adequate for billions of years.
Indeed. And once they mastered this, what would a technological civilisation do?
I would assume curiousity and some sense of adventure is needed to develop technology in the first place. Will this curiousity and sense of adventure ultimately drive them to travel to other star systems? And if not, would they eventually be driven by the limited lifespan of their home star?
Once they start expanding this way, even at leasure, they would cover their whole galaxy in just tens of millions of years. This is where Fermi's paradox comes in, and with it the reason to seriously study the UAP phenomenon.

(On a side note: For SETI, Drake was interested in the number of civilizations emitting radio signals at any moment in time. That is why L is the length of time they are using radio communication, which does not necessarily equal their entire lifespan.)
 
But our situation is special. We're not plucking a planet uniformly at random out of any of the trillions that exist; we evolved in this one and our intelligence is the only thing allowing us to ask this sort of question. We're self-selected; whether the expected mean distance between intelligent civilizations is a few parsecs, a few megaparsecs, or 10^8142 universe-widths, our experience (so far) would be identical. It follows that the only thing enabling the conclusion that there must be intelligent life elsewhere in the universe is a prior probability, i.e., an opinion that the probability that intelligent life arises on any given planet can't be too small. But we have no basis for such an opinion. It could very well be that the evolution of life (esp. intelligent life) relies on such an freakish series of unlikely and independent accidents that the overall probability comes out extremely small. We just don't know.

Our situation being special is precisely the input that comes up with the value 42%, I have not overlooked that at all.

? (2-exp(1))/(1-exp(1))
0.4180

However, you are right in noticing that the important question is "how large a region of space to we need to consider such that we are no longer special".
 
It could very well be that the evolution of life (esp. intelligent life) relies on such a freakish series of unlikely and independent accidents that the overall probability comes out extremely small.
Considering the presence of amino acids in meteorites (as just one tiny indicator that life may not be as difficult as we once thought) I would want to consider the number of planets (with appropriate chemical composition and moderate temperature range, things which we might be able to discern at a distance) as ALL being potential sources of life of some sort. No expectation of silvery-grey humanoids with big eyes, to be sure, but life nonetheless.

I'll point out that (1) the immense number of billions of atoms on a planet makes "freakish" reactions far more likely, and (2) there is no reason to think they were all independent. We don't even know how many forms of life were developed on our own early planet; all we know is that we are all descendants of the one that prevailed.
 
I don't doubt people report seeing unidentified things in the sky. Most people are not "professional" observers like pilots for example.
I would thing there would be some solid tangible evidence ... objects that are not from nature but "manufactured"... tools and so forth.
Given the time scale... I don't thing it's impossible that past civilizations may have existed and there is now little evidence of it. Maybe.
As I believe humans want to and likely will explore "space" why would other advanced "life forms" be interested in what Earth produced?
 
No, no, if you require me to watch your video, that's a confession on your part that you didn't put the salient bits in your post explicitly, as proscribed by Metabunk policy.
Thank you for pointing out the source!


From the video (see the start of this post):
[2:19] Bill Nye (the science guy): "Absolutely there is life elsewhere, and almost certainly intelligent life."
[2:40] Neil deGrasse Tyson: "My best guess is that there is intelligent life"
[2:48] Brian Cox: "Surely there's other civilisations out there"
Content from External Source
Note that these are only reduced talk show sound bites, but still Bill Nye and NDT don't put it as a certainty, saying "almost certainly" and "best guess". They do not know, and say so. The video fails to support your point.

Brian Cox's position is still not in favor of alien contact, because while he's certain of intelligent life elsewhere, he says there may be no other intelligent life in our galaxy:
Article:
Professor Brian Cox has suggested that microbial life might be relatively common – and even found in our own solar system – but that intelligent life might be "extremely rare". [...] "it [is] possible that this is the only, let’s say, the only island of meaning in a galaxy of 400 billion Suns."

I was initially specifically responding to a Michio Kaku 'quote' from Bill Ferguson...which nobody asked him to provide a source for. I wasn't making a point...I was rejecting someone else's with a video who's intent was to show the argument ( which it does ) for why any 'there must be life out there ' argument may be wrong regardless of who says it. That was the purpose of posting the video. Nit-picking over who exactly said what was never the intent.
 
Considering the presence of amino acids in meteorites (as just one tiny indicator that life may not be as difficult as we once thought) I would want to consider the number of planets (with appropriate chemical composition and moderate temperature range, things which we might be able to discern at a distance) as ALL being potential sources of life of some sort. No expectation of silvery-grey humanoids with big eyes, to be sure, but life nonetheless.

I'll point out that (1) the immense number of billions of atoms on a planet makes "freakish" reactions far more likely, and (2) there is no reason to think they were all independent. We don't even know how many forms of life were developed on our own early planet; all we know is that we are all descendants of the one that prevailed.

But...as Professor Kipping says in the video...being impressed with the huge number of planets and chemical reactions and so on is only one side of the equation. People seem to just totally ignore the other side of the equation....where we have absolutely zero idea of the probability of life forming even under perfect conditions. Even a basic RNA strand is vastly more complex than amino acids. We have no idea what chemical jiggery pokery goes on to get amino acids to RNA....and thus far no experiment has replicated the process.

It does not matter if the universe is populated with 10^20 perfect Earth-like planets...if the odds of that chemical chance alignment for life is 10^100 against. That is the thing that all those 'must be other life out there' people consistently ignore.
 
I suspect this is a "probability" kinda thing. It seems to me given the almost infinite nature of the universe.... why couldn't life arise on another planet which might have "favorable" conditions?
 
I suspect this is a "probability" kinda thing. It seems to me given the almost infinite nature of the universe.... why couldn't life arise on another planet which might have "favorable" conditions?

It is a probability thing...and people who argue there 'must' be other life in the observable universe ( all bets are off if its infinite ) clearly don't understand probability.
 
I don't understand your comment. Please elaborate.

The probability has two aspects...

1) The number of habitable planets in the universe ( or galaxy, if one wishes to scale it down )

2) The chances of life forming on any habitable planet.

People get impressed with (1)....there are maybe 4 trillion planets in our galaxy and maybe 100 billion of them are habitable. Wow...that's a big number...surely there 'must' be other life out there.

But....the sheer size of (1), no matter how large it is, has to be weighed up against the size of (2). What if the exact right circumstances for life are SO rare that only 1 habitable planet in 10^18 ( a billion billion ) actually has life ? Then 100 billion habitable planets becomes a pifflingly small number compared with the odds against life forming on any one of them.

This is the thing all the 'must be other life out there' people ignore. We have no idea what (2) is. It could be such that our galaxy is teeming with life. But it equally could be so huge that life on Earth is alone in the entire universe.

Nobody knows. Thus nobody is in any position to argue there 'must' be other life out there.
 
I suspect this is a "probability" kinda thing. It seems to me given the almost infinite nature of the universe.... why couldn't life arise on another planet which might have "favorable" conditions?
'Almost' infinite is infinitely far from infinite, unfortunately (*). Noone is claiming 'life could not arise on another planet which might have favorable conditions', obviously it could, it happened at least once for sure. What is claimed is that it is not possible to say 'there must surely be someone out there' because we have no idea of how much the probability of life arising is, and, as @Ann K said:
It does not matter if the universe is populated with 10^20 perfect Earth-like planets...if the odds of that chemical chance alignment for life is 10^100 against.

The most we can say for sure is simply "we just don't know", as Dr. Kipping says in his video. Anything more, at the moment, is speculation.

As an aside, I find Dr. Kipping a great communicator who never strays from scientific rigour and, nonetheless, succeeds in delivering presentations which are, at times, emotionally touching. I cannot but recommend all of his videos wholeheartedly.


(*) And in any case, even in an infinite Universe we cannot interact with anything beyond the 'bubble' of Universe which is inside our light-cone, so we surely live in a 'finite' Universe for any possible purpose.
 
I believe that UFOs are real. There are hundreds, probably thousands of photos published in the 50's & 60's that show dozens of kinds of UFOs. They can't all be fake. Policemen, pilots and military officers from all over the world have reported craft going back to the 40's. Are all of them confused or lying? I doubt it. Apollo Astronauts have seen and photographed them. Astronaut Gordon Cooper claims to have seen them and filmed them. Robert Salas had 10 minuteman nuclear missiles shut down at the same time security personnel reported seeing one directly over the missile silo. Col. Charles Halt and 80+ USAF personnel witnessed an encounter that Halt recorded contemporaneously on his pocket tape recorder. Is Col. Halt, the radar operators and 80 of his men lying or confused? UFOs appear in 500 year old paintings and 10,000 year old petroglyphs. UFOs not being real would require a global conspiracy to fake photos, videos and radar data, paintings and cave drawings and recruit thousands of policemen, pilots and military officers such as David Fravor come forward and lie. The 62 Ariel school kids who have told the same story for 30+ years would all have had to agree with one another on what lie to tell and how to fake drawings of what they saw that day and continue telling the same false story all these years.

Unlike a lot of UFO enthusiast, I like Mick West and think Metabunk is an asset to ufology. I sent him a scary looking UFO filmed from a plane and he took the time to forward me links on Metabunk that explained to my satisfaction that the UFO was Venus under digital zoom. Basically, it was a huge pixel. I appreciated that and the work done on Apache & racetrack UFOs, examples of how it should be done. Both The Debrief and Ben Hanson should have done this kind of work before they hype and publish videos.

I would appreciate anyone's thoughts.

Thank you.

UFOs are definitely real. I mean they are real Unidentified Flying Objects. They would otherwise be IFOs.
 
I was initially specifically responding to a Michio Kaku 'quote' from Bill Ferguson...which nobody asked him to provide a source for. I wasn't making a point...I was rejecting someone else's with a video who's intent was to show the argument ( which it does ) for why any 'there must be life out there ' argument may be wrong regardless of who says it. That was the purpose of posting the video. Nit-picking over who exactly said what was never the intent.
The quote you responded to was this:
No, sir. What I mean is no different from Michio Kaku saying that the enormous number of planets now known or thought to exists makes extraterrestrial life of some kind near certain.
Note here again that "near certain" does not mean we know.

I saw no reason to challenge that because it's a reasonable position for Kaku to hold, even if it might reflect his belief only approximately.

But what you wrote was this:
The perfect place to interject that Michio Kaku, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and all the scientists who keep insisting there 'must' be other life out there are not arguing from science at all and are actually displaying a misunderstanding of statistics and probability.

Fortunately, we have the superb Professor David Kipping to come to the rescue, with a genuinely scientific and statistical approach...that may disappoint some but is the correct way of seeing the problem....
That might be worth its own thread with a properly quoted claim.
Sure he's saying we don't know. The message doesn't seem to have got across to Michio Kaku, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Brian Cox, The Science Guy, and a large host of others.
This is different, because here you are representing 4 named people as claiming certainty (the opposite of "don't know") when there's at best a probability, which makes them appear incompetent—more incompetent than I thought likely. So as you wrote this, for me there's both an element of disbelief and of slander involved; and that's a combination I felt deserved a challenge.

So that's why I challenged that (twice!). At this point, I was open to two outcomes: either your assertion was valid and you had surprising sources, or you would correct your phrasing. Either reply would've shut me up with a thumbs-up on your reply.

What you did do was bring sources (twice!) that fail to support your claim, and that's why we're having this extended conversation. I hope it drives home the point for everyone who's reading it (not just you; this isn't personal) that it's important to represent the points you are arguing against fairly, ideally with quotes.

Compare this to my initial reaction to Kipping's video:
My impression is that these calculations start from a clearly stated set of assumptions that feel likely, but are obviously highly speculative. David Kipping simply uses a different set of assumptions to start from.
It's not sourced, either, which is why I made only a weak claim to factuality ("my impression"), and I avoided making the strong claim that what they're saying is qualitatively different. It would've probably been interesting to dig deeper on this if challenged: we would've looked at the actual formulas of the different authors, and compared them.

Which we can still do, but I wouldn't recommend using youtube for that.
 
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It is a probability thing...and people who argue there 'must' be other life in the observable universe ( all bets are off if its infinite ) clearly don't understand probability.
If you're going for "life", which includes single-cell organisms, probability can be high enough to justify a "'must'", especially if you don't limit it to this galaxy.
"Clearly don't understand probability" is an insult if you don't support it, and "clearly" is often a sign that a valid argument may be difficult to state or support.
 
It does not matter if the universe is populated with 10^20 perfect Earth-like planets...if the odds of that chemical chance alignment for life is 10^100 against. That is the thing that all those 'must be other life out there' people consistently ignore.

All the while you ignore that earth exists. Lambda's 1.
 
It does not matter if the universe is populated with 10^20 perfect Earth-like planets...if the odds of that chemical chance alignment for life is 10^100 against. That is the thing that all those 'must be other life out there' people consistently ignore.
True ...but we only know of one such earth-like planet, and we know that particular one has life on it, so one thing we can conclude with absolute certainty is that it can be done. There is nothing impossible about life.

And of course it's impossible to address the other point I made with any genuine evidence, which is that it may have arisen on earth many times, of which only one iteration has survived. At this time it's all blue-sky speculation.
 
probability can be high enough to justify a "'must'"

Absolutely - this is a language issue perhaps? There's a clear distinction between the use of the deontic modal "must" and just saying "is". A "must" like those is almost always a conclusion that is predicated upon something, and therefore conditional - if you accept my premises, you have the duty to also accept my conclusions, simply through the application of well-established logical principles.
 
True ...but we only know of one such earth-like planet, and we know that particular one has life on it, so one thing we can conclude with absolute certainty is that it can be done. There is nothing impossible about life.

And of course it's impossible to address the other point I made with any genuine evidence, which is that it may have arisen on earth many times, of which only one iteration has survived. At this time it's all blue-sky speculation.

@Scaramanga isn't wrong about the importance to factor into the overall probability calculation the mathematical likelihood of evolution of biological complexity in planets with optimal conditions for life.

Owing to punctuated equilibrium (Gould & Elderidge) and long periods of evolutionary stasis in earth's evolutionary history, random mutation doesn't seem to occur nearly as frequently as to result, as a purely random parameter, in more complex species in the rapid rate it has in our biosphere. The simple point, from a mathematical perspective, is that given the punctuated equilibrium, and the sheer number of logically possible genetic configurations (most of which would be unfavourable) at any given period of rapid change (no matter how long in lay terms), the critical value of these parameters cannot reasonably be held to have occured by chance. Natural selection does not seem to predict this critical value, either alone or together with chance genetic mutation, whilst both are demonstrably real aspects of evolution to be factored in.

Owing to these considerations modern evolutionary theorists are increasingly hypothesizing the inherent directionality (development bias) of evolution towards complexity owing to some as yet undiscovered parameters in the physical universe which limit the number of possible configurations for chance mutation. If this theory be true, then, in all planets optimal for life, complexification towards sentient species is inevitable within the space of a few billion years. And then we're back to "must".
 
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@Scaramanga isn't wrong about the importance to factor into the overall probability calculation the mathematical likelihood of evolution of biological complexity in planets with optimal conditions for life.
Since the numerical factors of such calculations are entirely unknown (and unknowable) it can hardly be said to be "factored in", can it?
Owing to these considerations modern evolutionary theorists are increasingly hypothesizing the inherent directionality (development bias) of evolution towards complexity owing to some as yet undiscovered parameters in the physical universe which limit the number of possible configurations for chance mutation.
I am not a trained geneticist, but I suggest that the "as yet undiscovered parameters" have shown no evidence of being "in the physical universe" external to the organism, when the ones that are known appear to be functions of the way genes act within the organism. For example, a single gene (please excuse this oversimplified generalization but my limited understanding doesn't permit me to explain more specifically) seems to control bicolor distribution, and the frequency with which a gene switches on an off during development results in everything from a goat with a single stripe to a zebra with many.

Forgive me if I misunderstand.
 
Since the numerical factors of such calculations are entirely unknown (and unknowable) it can hardly be said to be "factored in", can it?

It can hardly be calculated because we don't know all the variables. But must be factored in if we are to come up with a sensible calculation. Right now we can't.

I am not a trained geneticist, but I suggest that the "as yet undiscovered parameters" have shown no evidence of being "in the physical universe" external to the organism, when the ones that are known appear to be functions of the way genes act within the organism.

Possible genetic configurations for mutation is a real-world 'catalogue' of options in the universe and not a theory. There's really no better way to put it. Such an ontological space demonstrably exists because genetic mutations exist. The question under debate is whether these possible configurations are unlimited in number or limited by some hidden variables biased towards complexity. The theory of punctuated equilibrium by Gould and Elderidge, based on fossil records indicating long periods of stasis (no mutation) and rapid shorter periods of evolution in between, was the first to highlight this bias.

The gene that controls bicolor distribution can be mutated by, say, ultraviolet radiation, in an infinite or limited variety of ways most of which are unfavourable to bicolor distribution and wouldn't result in an adaptive/surviving population. That a gene for bicolor distribution has evolved is highly improbable without such evolutionary bias towards complexity.
 
I wouldn't rule out that "evolution towards complexity" isn't simply an emergent property of the underlying random process, and thus doesn't need to be "factored in" separately, especially if "time to evolve intelligence" is already a factor in the formula.

As a simple example, "regression to the mean" often looks like a bias when it's not, to the extent that people observe the phenomenon and go looking for a factor that causes it when they don't realize it's a property of the underlying stochastical process.

Phenomena like the "punctuated equilibrium", i.e. the observation that many species see evolution periods with little phenotype change, is similar to an inherent property of random walks:
[4:35]Periods of local exploration, punctuated by rapid travel over comparatively long distances, are a common characteristic of random walks.
Content from External Source

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7A83lXbs6Ik


It seems to me that it's more reasonable to try to tune the underlying process model to match the observed behaviour, rather than to look for a hypothetical factor that "forces" this behaviour directly.

Applied to the topic of this thread, the idea that we need to account for unidentified "factors" governing the "direction" or speed of evolution needs good support if it is to prevail over the simpler idea (Occam's razor!) that evolution is a random process that merely looks nonrandom to the incredulous, and that it is adequately reflected in a single factor.
 
I wouldn't rule out that "evolution towards complexity" isn't simply an emergent property of the underlying random process, and thus doesn't need to be "factored in" separately, especially if "time to evolve intelligence" is already a factor in the formula. As a simple example, "regression to the mean" often looks like a bias when it's not, to the extent that people observe the phenomenon and go looking for a factor that causes it when they don't realize it's a property of the underlying stochastical process.

Indeed it's well-established that (1) natural selection (i.e. the cumulative effect on populations of phenotypical environmental impact) and (2) mutation (i.e. spontaneous genetic change) occur at random variance within populations. That's not under dispute. The simple point is that the rate and nature of favourable (increasingly complex) mutations that has occurred in our biosphere hasn't been mathematically accounted for on a premise restricted to, and accurately reflecting, the foregoing two processes without a (3) third factor of some sort of bias towards complexity (or without appeal to a multiverse of infinite bubbles whereby this amazing coincidence can be explained as a feature in one -- our -- planet in one -- our -- universe). If anyone's discovered such a valid calculation, please share. Whatever causes that bias remains a relevant topic of research. There's no scientific basis to rule out, at the outset, that this bias be emergent, non-emergent or any other third possibility.

Natural selection is a kind of purification process by which certain alleomorphs are purged from the population. This narrow process can never, even theoretically, account for the progressive complexification of lifeforms in the evolutionary process. In fact, without mutation, and once the effect of given selective pressures has played itself out, a closed population in a stable environment will quickly converge to a stable equilibrium state (Hardy-Weinberg) in which the proportion of all alleles is constant. Where no further genetic change occurs.

Even the assumption of pure randomness is probably over-optimistic, because the known physical causes of mutations are events such as incomplete chemical processes or radiation trauma which by their very nature tend to produce unfavourable mutations. In any case, under neo-Darwinian assumptions, mutations favourable to increased complexity would, at best, only be sporadic or sparse. They're insufficiently frequent to allow for any significant process of convergence towards greater complexity. To achieve multigenerational convergence towards complexity, one needs much more than an occasional favourable mutation. One needs a certain minimal transgenerational rate of favourable mutations within the same population for a considerable period (e.g. a 1% constant rate).

In order to have a process of complexification, one would need a consistent string of favourable mutations within the same (increasingly narrow) mutant subpopulation. This requirement multiplies the (already tiny) probabilities for individual favourable mutation-events, thereby further and significantly reducing the probability of a purely random process independent of other factors. Also the alternation between long periods of stasis and short periods of rapid change towards complexification shortens considerably the time interval during which successive processes of complexification occurred. This, again, decreases dramatically the probability values in favour of a spontaneous increase in complexity.

@Scaramanga raises a valid point on simplistic existing calculations resulting in high degree of improbability for life to evolve in complexity anywhere in the universe, unless some other variables are factored in. However, you and @FatPhil are absolutely correct that the prior that is us and our biosphere should cause us to be very cautious in putting stock in any such calculations.
 
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The point Kipping is making is that being impressed with the sheer number of planets in the galaxy or the universe is not good enough. It does not matter if there are a trillion planets in the galaxy....if the odds of life forming on a planet are one in a quintillion. It does not matter if there are 10^15 planets in the universe, if the odds of life on any planet are 1 in 10^50 or some such huge number. Kipping is simply pointing out that the odds against life may be larger than the number of planets.
If the Universe is infinite, then Tyson, Cox and the others are probably correct - there is almost certainly life elsewhere. The same combination of events that caused abiogenesis on Earth will have happened an infinite number of times in an infinite universe, which would almost certainly lead to an infinite number of instances of life in the universe.

However. if the probability of abiogenesis is very low, then it may be so infrequent that not one single instance of extraterrestrial life has emerged within our Hubble Volume - the region of space which we can receive information from. All extraterrrestrial life might be so far away that the expansion of the universe will keep it forever hidden from us.

So Tyson, Cox and the rest could be right, but at the same time Kipping could be right too. We just don't know.
 
Owing to these considerations modern evolutionary theorists are increasingly hypothesizing the inherent directionality (development bias) of evolution towards complexity owing to some as yet undiscovered parameters in the physical universe which limit the number of possible configurations for chance mutation. If this theory be true, then, in all planets optimal for life, complexification towards sentient species is inevitable within the space of a few billion years. And then we're back to "must".

Are they? Or just the mavericks?

Arthur describes himself as "a bit of a maverick" who likes "making connections across disciplinary boundaries".
Content from External Source
-- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wallace_Arthur

I can't say I've heard of the guy, but just from a quick scan of his wikipedia page, he seems to not see the inherent friction between evo-devo and ever increasing complexity. Evo-devo acts *against* continuing increase in complexity, because it adds additional costs to further change. Not that I'm disagreeing with him, it's just strange that he should be pushing two contradictory viewpoints without apparently attempting to resolve their differences. I wouldn't have thought that was too hard - evo-devo makes it easier to back out of dead ends. Entropy means no connected corners of the maze are intrinsically unavailable. I don't see where the "undiscovered parameters" are even necessary here. Then again, I don't see why something that limits mutation would encourage complexity. I guess he's just a bit too "maverick" for me.

I've just started to listen to an interview with him, and I'm already getting moments where I want to interrupt him, he's already started to show his bias. For example:
Science to me is interplay between imagination and evidence; so we think about possibilities, we turn possibilities into concrete hypotheses, and then we try and bring evidence to bear in some way. Now astrobiology has some ways to go yet, we haven't yet discovered the evidence, but I think it's going to come sooner than most people think.
Content from External Source
--
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16cFlBB4PN0?t=354

My "life almost certainly exists elsewhere in the universe" stance in no way even expects we will *ever* be able to gather any evidence of it. I don't consider fingerprints of one or two unusual or, worse, horrifically common, simple inorganic chemicals to be evidence of life - If you're near your sun, and you've got H2O, you're going to have O2 too - that photochemistry is abiotic. I'd demand a wide range of corroborating evidence before I'd call it "life" that's been detected.
 
That a gene for bicolor distribution has evolved is highly improbable without such evolutionary bias towards complexity
Is it? Or is the outer appearance of an animal merely a thing that conveys an evolutionary advantage (camouflage and/or enhanced attractiveness to a mate) with no appeal to complexity?
 
Owing to these considerations modern evolutionary theorists are increasingly hypothesizing the inherent directionality (development bias) of evolution towards complexity owing to some as yet undiscovered parameters in the physical universe which limit the number of possible configurations for chance mutation.
Uh? I never heard of that, but surely I heard the opposite: the teleological (meaning 'which tends toward some goal') interpretation of evolution is nonsensical (which is, btw, pretty obvious considering how evolution works). For what concerns 'evolution towards complexity' in particular there are lots of examples where evolution brought on a simplification instead (ie., but not only, these being just the most extreme example: parasitic organisms). The only 'goal' evolution knows of is maximizing the reproductive fitness, if this happens by an increase of complexity that's good, if it happens by decreasing complexity it's as good as well.

PS.: the article you referenced is behind a paywall, I have no means of judging its merits (or lack of).
 
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