Non-technical debunking for broader audiences


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This new article mentions some of Mick's recent work on Grusch and the Navy videos. But I also wanted to try to get the message to a broader audience that much can be explained by understanding how people misperceive things, and how normal group processes amplify and perpetuate false claims. My past articles with have garnered hundreds of thousands of downloads, mostly through the big media outlets to which they release and share their publications. So I hope this one gets out there, too!

Many people would love to know whether or not we’re alone in the universe. But so far, the evidence on UFO origins is ambiguous at best. Being averse to ambiguity, people want answers. However, being highly motivated to find those answers can bias judgments. People are more likely to accept weak evidence or fall prey to optical illusions if they support preexisting beliefs.

For example, in the 2017 Navy video, the UFO appears as a cylindrical aircraft moving rapidly over the background, rotating and darting in a manner unlike any terrestrial machine. Science writer Mick West’s analysis challenged this interpretation using data displayed on the tracking screen and some basic geometry. He explained how the movements attributed to the blurry UFO are an illusion. They stem from the plane’s trajectory relative to the object, the quick adjustments of the belly-mounted camera, and misperceptions based on our tendency to assume cameras and backgrounds are stationary.

West found the UFO’s flight characteristics were more like a bird’s or a weather balloon’s than an acrobatic interstellar spacecraft. But the illusion is compelling, especially with the Navy’s still deeming the object unidentified.
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Anyone, including pilots and intelligence officers, can be socially influenced to see things that aren’t there. Research shows that hearing from others who claim to have seen something extraordinary is enough to induce similar judgments. The effect is heightened when the influencers are numerous or higher in status. Even recognized experts aren’t immune from misjudging unfamiliar images obtained under unusual conditions.
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This is where Metabunk can make a difference, by setting expectations differently and influence people to look for ordinary explanations.

True to form, users are posting countless shaky images and videos of UFOs. Usually they’re nondescript lights in the sky captured on cellphone cameras. But they can go viral on social media and reach millions of users. With no higher authority or organization propelling the content, social scientists call this a bottom-up social diffusion process.

In contrast, top-down diffusion occurs when information emanates from centralized agents or organizations. In the case of UFOs, sources have included social institutions like the military, individuals with large public platforms like U.S. senators, and major media outlets like CBS.

Top-down and bottom-up diffusion processes can combine into self-reinforcing loops. Mass media spreads UFO content and piques worldwide interest in UFOs. More people aim their cameras at the skies, creating more opportunities to capture and share odd-looking content. Poorly documented UFO pics and videos spread on social media, leading media outlets to grab and republish the most intriguing. Whistleblowers emerge periodically, fanning the flames with claims of secret evidence.

Despite the hoopla, nothing ever comes of it.
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This is why we're asking for first-hand experience and are skeptical of hearsay, no matter the source.
Unless Raytheon / Boeing and the US Navy publically explain the Navy videos, which will probably involve revealing classified information about the technical working of a US frontline combat system and classified training missions. They will linger on as evidence. In order for that to happen someone has to authorise the spending and revealing of US military secrets. This seems unlikely, maybe if the public and congressional clamour gets serious enough.

Like someone asks Rep. Burchett what exactly has him so convinced and then publically analyses it to his apparent satisfaction.

For all we know the only analysis ever done was done by Travis Taylor currently presenting flies and the absence of LIDAR data as UFOs and wormholes on the Skinwalker ranch TV show.

It's like they would need to start from scratch with a team not already prone to the UFO bias, this is supposed to be AARO iirc but I am unconvinced they are free from UFO fans. They would then need to vet this team.
Also even that article which is about the nature of communication manages to mix up Gimbal and Go Fast in terms of its paraphrasing of Mick/metabunks analysis of the US Navy videos.

I also sometimes feel Mick's name is used in the press a lot like an independent expert, but the process behind it which involves many people on this forum is missed.