Clarifying "Just UFO Fans"

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5stjbueE9Sg


So I wanted to clarify a quote that I made, that was taken somewhat out of context, mostly because the context wasn't available. But the quote appeared most recently in Newsweek, where it said,

"One prolific debunker, Mick West dismissed the interest by members of Congress like Reid before and Rubio now, with 'they're just UFO fans', he told The New Yorker, they've been convinced there's something to it. And so are trying to push for disclosure. Now, this is actually something I said. And it's something that's actually in the New Yorker. And in the New Yorker, if you read that article, which I recommend, there's a little bit more context in that a former Pentagon official conceded that "there were a lot of government people who are enthusiasts on the subjects who watch the History Channel and eat this stuff up 24 seven", but he didn't think that "the current mood was set by a small cadre of true believers".

But really the context here is that I'm not trying to dismiss the entire field of UAP studies and the concern about UAPs because what UAPs are from a military perspective are simply things that are unidentified. This includes unidentified planes and unidentified drones that go into military airspace, or just things that pilots see when they're up in the sky doing their usual things, and they see something off in the distance, or sometimes something quite close, that they can't identify. This is a problem. It can be a serious national security issue. And I think it's something that needs to be studied. And it needs to be something that needs to be improved, the situation needs to be improved. If there are failures of technology or training or personnel that mean that we're not identifying things, and those failures need to be addressed. If there is, in fact, some new technology out there by a foreign adversary, then that needs to be discovered. And that needs to be revealed. If there are simply things like sneaky drones going around sneaking into our bases or being launched from submarines near battle groups and going over those battle groups, that is something that needs to be addressed. That is something that is a very real concern, and should be looked into.

What I'm referring to when I say they're just UFO fans, isn't that what I'm referring to is the interest in the idea that they might be aliens. I think this is a idea that really isn't taken very seriously within the US government, within the military and within the scientific community, and with good reason, because there isn't really any very good evidence for it. And I think when people like Rubio and Harry Reid, entertain this idea, which they do very, very gently, they don't really lean into it very much. When they do entertain it. It is somewhat prompted by the fact that they are somewhat UFO fans, Harry Reid, especially we know Harry Reid is big [friends] with Bigelow who is a local businessman who's very into UFOs. Marco Rubio, I don't know so much, but he does seem to want to entertain the idea and you know, it runs well with certain people, it's a popular story. People like to talk about UFOs. And so it's something he can talk about. He's a bit of a UFO fan, but that's not what I'm talking about.

So if I'm a little bit dismissive of people and dismissive of their interest in UFOs as aliens, which I don't think is very well founded. I'm not at all dismissive of the interest in the UAP idea, the UAP phenomena, the fact that sometimes there are things in the sky that are unidentified, this obviously is a very real issue, and is something that should be looked into. So I'm not dismissive of that. I'm just dismissive of aliens.



References:
Newsweek: https://www.newsweek.com/marco-rubi...us-seriously-investigating-encounters-1590554
The New Yorker: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/05/10/how-the-pentagon-started-taking-ufos-seriously
 

Alphadunk

Member
Do you recall the source of the quote from the Pentagon official?

When one starts examining the interest in fringe topics like UFOs or the paranormal by the government it always seems to lead back to the same couple of people.
 

Todd Feinman

Active Member
Mick, you say there is no evidence for UFOs. So if we toss out all witness testimony of "real" UFO encounters as unreliable or misidentified mundane phenomena or objects, as well as all of the photographs as hoaxes or misidentifications. What for you would constitute evidence of alien contact or surveillance from an intelligent agency that would likely be more advanced? Would there be something like a signal sent in advance to us because it would be such a momentous occasion for them to contact a species.. like us? Would we see their big spaceship approaching from a long distance? Would it be like Independence Day? Would there only be intelligent communication from a distance --assuming that they are landlocked in the vastness of space? Or would they show up another way? Would you believe the government if they showed you pics of debris and reports but would not let you analyze it personally? At this point, I'm not sure if UFO believers or skeptics would believe the results of a government report if it didn't confirm their beliefs. Would film of an object like this off a fighter wingtip for several minutes do it if the government provided it? By UFO I mean advanced non-human technology; not the spaceship paradigm where spaceships come across the galaxy every time only to crash at the last second in the desert. I'm asking in all honesty and respect.


[Admin: Off Topic Material removed]
 
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Obviously, I cannot speak for anyone else, but I'd offer an answer of what would constitute "evidence." It would have to be unambiguous and irrefutable. Not a fuzzy blob on a gun camera, but a steady, clear image of a vehicle keeping pace with an intercepting fighter that cannot be interpreted as any other type of object. It doesn't need to be an official DoD release. If a WSO filmed a couple minutes of a silver disc-shaped vehicle keeping 50 feet off his wing (better yet if it shows reaction to the fighter, perhaps the pilot waggles his wings and the UFO rocked in response) and there's no telltales of hoaxery, then I'm likely to accept it.

Of course, if a vehicle were to land on the South Lawn and some fellow comes out, I'm inclined to accept it immediately. Especially if he's followed by a big robot.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Mick, you say there is no evidence for UFOs.
I didn't say that. I said "there isn't really any very good evidence for it"

The simplest "good evidence" would be two reasonable quality videos from independent sources that could be triangulated to show "impossible" maneuvers. Close-ups would be great too.
 

Todd Feinman

Active Member
I didn't say that. I said "there isn't really any very good evidence for it"

The simplest "good evidence" would be two reasonable quality videos from independent sources that could be triangulated to show "impossible" maneuvers. Close-ups would be great too.
Thanks Mick! I hope that happens.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Do you recall the source of the quote from the Pentagon official?
It was an anonymous person, quoted in The New Yorker

When one starts examining the interest in fringe topics like UFOs or the paranormal by the government it always seems to lead back to the same couple of people.
This fringe nature is another indication as to how little good evidence there actually is. If there actually was commonplace evidence of visiting aliens, then many people worldwide would be all over it.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
The "just UFO Fans" comment cropped up again today:

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mlpIWG2EICQ&t=265s


 

Kavkaz1

New Member
It was an anonymous person, quoted in The New Yorker


This fringe nature is another indication as to how little good evidence there actually is. If there actually was commonplace evidence of visiting aliens, then many people worldwide would be all over it.
The latter comment has been my exact point for a while, @Mick West.

There are a number of well educated, public-facing science enthusiasts out there who commonly speculate on the topic of intelligent extra terrestrial life, and I'm not just talking about pop-cultural scientists (but scientists nonetheless) like NDT. You've got guys like Dr. Sean Carrol, Dr. Katie Mack, Dr. Paul Joseph Steinhardt, Dr. Brian Greene, many, many more. I am graduating with a minor in Physics from UH next semester; all of the professors I've been exposed to are deeply and unwaveringly interested in the many, many mysteries of the universe, including whether or not we are alone in it.

If there was really commonplace evidence to support the visitation of an advanced alien race to this planet from as far out as we now know they would have to be (given where astronomers have looked with open arms and NOT found them so far), more people than just Luis Elizondo, George Knapp, Marco Rubio, and other fringe-scientists/ufo-believers/career-politicians/pseudoscientific-researchers would be all over it. There is not enough substance in any number of fuzzy videos or eye witness accounts to scientifically render any extraordinary conclusions or working theories. Think about Darwinian evolution or any of Newton's laws or really anything in classical mechanics; these things came to be because they were supported by an abundance of highly reliable evidence over long periods of time. This allowed them to be repeatedly observed, tested in numerous different settings over many years, and become very, very well demonstrated (in the case of laws, so well demonstrated that they are beyond reproach).


If you aggregate all of the ETI evidence that we have - and all that there supposedly is in government coffers or something - you would not have enough substance for any reasonable scientist to run any experiment, test any hypothesis, or draw any conclusions from. You would have anecdotes, which have time and time again been shown to be unreliable, unclear imagery, and dubious sensor-data. You have a bunch of things that can be explained in a much more mundane way; you cannot explain what evolution explains in a more reasonable, evidence backed way than it does. Do you all see what I'm getting at? This is a speculative domain of interest more than it is a concrete scientific one.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
You've got guys like Dr. Sean Carrol, Dr. Katie Mack, Dr. Paul Joseph Steinhardt, Dr. Brian Greene, many, many more. I am graduating with a minor in Physics from UH next semester; all of the professors I've been exposed to are deeply and unwaveringly interested in the many, many mysteries of the universe, including whether or not we are alone in it.
Not just scientists, there's interested and very rich engineers, like Elon Musk:

Source: https://youtu.be/1GZDJLEcIB4?t=94
Here's a guy who probably makes more than $22 million (the five year budget for AATIP) in a day. He's the prime mover in current efforts to colonize the solar system (and then the galaxy). If there was real evidence, then he would be all over it. He's not, because there isn't.

There's a vast disconnect between the tiny little UFOs-are-ET community and the real world.
 

JMartJr

Active Member
There is not enough substance in any number of fuzzy videos or eye witness accounts to scientifically render any extraordinary conclusions or working theories.
and
If you aggregate all of the ETI evidence that we have - and all that there supposedly is in government coffers or something - you would not have enough substance for any reasonable scientist to run any experiment, test any hypothesis, or draw any conclusions from.
In addition, your aggregate evidence is not consistent. What do the aliens look like? There are dozens of different answers, mixed in with the common ones that become trendy. What do their ships look like? Dozens, if not hundreds, of shapes, sizes and materials. This suggests to me that it's an "all noise, no signal" situation. But maybe I'm wrong, maybe there is a signal in there somewhere, swamped in tons of extraneous noise as UFO devotees insist that each and every report is genuine, and go the the barricades to defend them against any mundane explanation. If there is a signal n there, the devotees would do better to ruthlessly reject obvious misidentifications of mundane objects, so false data does not make it impossible to figure out what the purported mysterious, unknown ones really are.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
There's a vast disconnect between the tiny little UFOs-are-ET
actually polls show that at least 20% of americans believe ufos have been to Earth. so i'm not sure i'd characterize that as "tiny".

Of course something like 75% of North Americans believe in Angels and 20% believe a Guardian angel has helped them at some point, so.... i guess it's all relative.
 

Kavkaz1

New Member
and

In addition, your aggregate evidence is not consistent. What do the aliens look like? There are dozens of different answers, mixed in with the common ones that become trendy. What do their ships look like? Dozens, if not hundreds, of shapes, sizes and materials. This suggests to me that it's an "all noise, no signal" situation. But maybe I'm wrong, maybe there is a signal in there somewhere, swamped in tons of extraneous noise as UFO devotees insist that each and every report is genuine, and go the the barricades to defend them against any mundane explanation. If there is a signal n there, the devotees would do better to ruthlessly reject obvious misidentifications of mundane objects, so false data does not make it impossible to figure out what the purported mysterious, unknown ones really are.
I dont think there is much of a signal regarding ET life. And I say that because the amount of detection they would have to get past in order for eye witnesses to see extraordinary things happen with them is pretty hefty. I dont see how NASA, SETI, etc. could miss something entering our planet like that only for it to suddenly become obvious enough for earth dwellers to record videos of or see. I just dont get it.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
actually polls show that at least 20% of americans believe ufos have been to Earth. so i'm not sure i'd characterize that as "tiny".
Yeah, but probably most of them hadn't really given it much thought before they took the survey (or even after). There's a bunch of mystical people, but the actual core set of current UFO researchers is very small. I've probably interacted with a lot of them. It's a fringe group - which they attribute to some kind of government disinformation campaign, but is more likely due to the dearth of good evidence.
 

ParanoidSkeptic2

Active Member
So if we toss out all witness testimony of "real" UFO encounters as unreliable or misidentified mundane phenomena or objects, as well as all of the photographs as hoaxes or misidentifications.
Witness testimonies are not proof, they’re a staring point for a discussion but the burden of proof lies on the person making their claim. If all they have is purely anecdotal evidence, well, there’s quite literally nothing we can do with it and we need something more substantial and empirical to go off.

When it comes to photos, I get the impression that you feel like we handwave them away, but we analyse them to point out other, more likely explanations (as per Occam’s razor). We would only accept the fringe explanation if it was proven beyond reasonable doubt, however, when it comes to ufo photos in the sky a lot of them equate to this: “I saw a weird thing in the sky, it looked odd therefore it must be aliens” which is a huge and unreasonable leap in logic (as per aliensdidit).

Also, some friendly advice, the latter part of your comment felt like gish galloping, I would refrain from using so many questions in one argument :) try to keep it more concise.
 
actually polls show that at least 20% of americans believe ufos have been to Earth. so i'm not sure i'd characterize that as "tiny".
That does feel like a "what was the question" sort of issue.

You phrase the question right and you have me in that 20 percent. There's been a lot of time between the Late Heavy Bombardment and Today. Also plenty of time for an interstellar civilization to have risen, developed faster than light travel, seen an Earth teeming with life, zipped over, took some dinosaur samples, and then their civilization collapsed.
 

ParanoidSkeptic2

Active Member
That does feel like a "what was the question" sort of issue.

You phrase the question right and you have me in that 20 percent. There's been a lot of time between the Late Heavy Bombardment and Today. Also plenty of time for an interstellar civilization to have risen, developed faster than light travel, seen an Earth teeming with life, zipped over, took some dinosaur samples, and then their civilization collapsed.
That makes me ponder, do people still automatically assume that UFO automatically means extraterrestrial? Or are people more aware that it means a thing in the sky we can’t explain?
 

Kavkaz1

New Member
That does feel like a "what was the question" sort of issue.

You phrase the question right and you have me in that 20 percent. There's been a lot of time between the Late Heavy Bombardment and Today. Also plenty of time for an interstellar civilization to have risen, developed faster than light travel, seen an Earth teeming with life, zipped over, took some dinosaur samples, and then their civilization collapsed.

So much of this is now entering the realm of speculative discussion and whatnot, so I'll minimize my commentary on it, but the biggest piece of foundation you can build that kind of belief on is "that's not impossible, so maybe so..." type of thinking. We have absolutely no way of knowing whether or not a spacefaring civilization lived, visited us, and died before the dawn of man. That you think they did is fine, but it's like gambling for invisible money with blank cards; "something happened before anyone could record it in such a way that no one could record it even if they were there and ended long before anyone who could record it came around." Well.

Mick West is correct about the distinction between a passive-believer who answered "yes" on a survey and a deeply dedicated UFOlogist. You're dealing with the difference between the number of people who believe in miracles and those who claim to have themselves witnessed loved ones rise from the dead at the hands of divinity (or a clerical person).

It is tiring to hear even the more moderate UFO hopefuls talk about "the numerous eye witness accounts." I've addressed anecdotal evidence of this type before, but to put the final nail in the coffin (as far as my commentary here is concerned), unless by "numerous" you mean several different independent people all viewing roughly the same extraordinary phenomenon, clear as day, then it doesnt matter what any isolated group of people think of the confusing thing they saw in the moment. Please roll back into history far enough to remember a time when eye witness accounts were all we had for deciding guilt in criminal situations and recall all the injustices that happened due to lying and misremembering and superstitious thinking.
 

Todd Feinman

Active Member
...When it comes to photos, I get the impression that you feel like we handwave them away, but we analyse them to point out other, more likely explanations (as per Occam’s razor). We would only accept the fringe explanation if it was proven beyond reasonable doubt, however, when it comes to ufo photos in the sky a lot of them equate to this: “I saw a weird thing in the sky, it looked odd therefore it must be aliens” which is a huge and unreasonable leap in logic (as per aliensdidit).

Also, some friendly advice, the latter part of your comment felt like gish galloping, I would refrain from using so many questions in one argument :) try to keep it more concise.
The photos and cases I've seen many skeptics try to debunk in the past are debunkable. But just because one can find a planetary conjunction in the general direction or mundane explanation doesn't mean that is the answer. Occam's razor simply provides a path of least possible resistance based on the current paradigm --it doesn't mean that the conclusions are accurate.
I spent a decade going through all the available newspaper databases, free and paid.
I can provide cases where UFOs are observed through theodolites, telescopes and gun sights, some are seen by many people at once. The discs flying up the sides of missiles at White Sands were seen by many people at different about 15 different observation stations, iirc. There are Australian cases where a crescent-shaped object was seen to haunt an airport for days; at least 100 people saw it and there were attempts to photograph it. Why has not a singe person attempted to debunk the Nellis footage? It is pretty clear.....
Debunk my experience; I've provided rendering and even volunteered to take a lie detector test.
BTW, circumstantial evidence and anecdotal evidence is evidence. McVey was convicted on circumstantial evidence, iirc: https://www.britannica.com/topic/circumstantial-evidence
LOL, by the time skeptics get the hard evidence to test for themselves from a more advanced intelligent agency, we'd all have had our brains sucked out by then. I've sen folks spend soo much time on Rendlesham --heck I wouldn't even touch that case with a ten-foot pole anymore. There were always better cases.. And still are, of the same type! There are many here:
https://forums.forteana.org/index.php?threads/historic-ufo-encounters-newspaper-articles.65811/
P.S. I've seen many examples where folks ARE trying to explain or debunk anecdotal evidence / witness testimony.
 
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Todd Feinman

Active Member
Perhaps I am not being fair. I LOVE science!! And really admire you folks, actually. You know, there are ALL manner of controvertible topics --from the Greek Dark Age, to Global Warming, and many others. Science always comes in last --for a reason! It has to have absolute proof. As it should. In the case of an agency which creates intelligently controlled devices and is more advanced than we are, it may be a long time before science accepts such a thing. But that doesn't mean it isn't real and observing us. It just doesn't. If you yourself witnessed an object at close range for a period of time --and you could see that it had specialization of parts and appeared metallic and there were no visible means of propulsion, yada yada...And then it took off --you would know it was real but have no proof for scientists.. Yet you get to live with the reality that it exists, and know that others are vulnerable and oblivious to it. That is what some UFO witnesses go through --along with the complete destruction of any sense of human normalcy.
 

Alphadunk

Member
That makes me ponder, do people still automatically assume that UFO automatically means extraterrestrial? Or are people more aware that it means a thing in the sky we can’t explain?

I've never encountered anyone online or in person who doesn't understand what the acronym literally means. Nevertheless, when discussing the subject, especially online, people often use the term in almost a colloquial sense to represent some type of intelligence or natural phenomenon unknown to science. I really don't think there is as much confusion within the hobby of ufology about making the distinction between UFO/UAP in the literal sense versus the "alien" sense as outsiders often assume. I do think those within the hobby tend to get a little too excited when the government references UAP because, outside of the "UFO fans", the government seems to use the term in the literal sense.

I don't think is really a large cross section of people interested in UFOs tied to aliens and also UFOs tied to Russia or whatever. :)
 
I've never encountered anyone online or in person who doesn't understand what the acronym literally means. Nevertheless, when discussing the subject, especially online, people often use the term in almost a colloquial sense to represent some type of intelligence or natural phenomenon unknown to science.
Strongly agree with that. "UFO" means "flying saucer," for lack of a better term, to virtual everyone. Pointing at some landing lights (which you can't yet prove are landing lights) and saying "hey look at that UFO" seems needlessly pedantic and misleading.
 

ParanoidSkeptic2

Active Member
lie detector test
Lie detectors are pseudoscience.
BTW, circumstantial evidence and anecdotal evidence is evidence
It may be evidence but it is poor and unreliable evidence, anecdotal evidence, when it comes to extraordinary claims, is near enough useless.
Occam's razor simply provides a path of least possible resistance based on the current paradigm --it doesn't mean that the conclusions are accurate.
Occam's razor is a logical tool that attempts to find the most likely answer given equal amounts of evidence for both sides, it's more likely that something was just misidentified than an interstellar, intelligent beings flew by just to hover a bit.
P.S. I've seen many examples where folks ARE trying to explain or debunk anecdotal evidence / witness testimony.
Well, that seems like a waste of time somewhat, yes one might be able to give an explanation of someone's experience, but beyond that, actually trying to debunk it is useless if no empirical evidence was provided.
can provide cases where UFOs are observed through theodolites, telescopes and gun sights, some are seen by many people at once. The discs flying up the sides of missiles at White Sands were seen by many people at different about 15 different observation stations, iirc.
Oh I don't doubt UFOs exist, I've seen a few myself- in the sense that I saw things in the sky that I didn't know what they were. What I seriously doubt is they're beings from outer space, extra ordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and what we have is fringe at best and pseudoscientific at worst when it comes to the alien explanation.

Nellis footage
I had a look at it and it just looks like those other military videos, the erratic movement seems to be caused by the camera, it's worth investigating, I'll make a post about it later, but honestly it doesn't look like anything extraordinary. It really looks like a balloon or something similar to me.
 

Sgt.Squarehead

New Member
Pretty confident that anybody with the capability to cross interstellar distances, especially as a timely response to some external stimulus (ie: someone with FTL travel) isn't going to be seen or otherwise detected by the likes of us, unless they want to be.
 

ParanoidSkeptic2

Active Member
I had a look at it and it just looks like those other military videos, the erratic movement seems to be caused by the camera, it's worth investigating, I'll make a post about it later, but honestly it doesn't look like anything extraordinary. It really looks like a balloon or something similar to me.
Just as a note, this has already been discussed earlier this year

https://www.metabunk.org/threads/1994-nellis-test-range-ufo-sightings-hard-copy.11682/
 
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