Szydagis' Rebuttal of the "Why no Good UFO Photos" Argument

FatPhil

Senior Member.

Addressing the Most Common Criticisms Against Studying UAP​


https://uapx-media.medium.com/addre...-criticisms-against-studying-uap-5663335fe8c8

From the article:

Despite numerous newspaper articles from trustworthy sources in the
mainstream media [1], despite Pentagon admissions [2] and Congressional hearings [3], interest in UAP studies is met with laughter and derision, both from inside and outside of the scientific community, including from prominent science communicators [4]. Why is this the case? Let’s break down the common criticisms of UFOlogy/UAP studies and debunk the debunkers for a change. While some of the arguments will be generic, I will spend a great deal of time on aliens, a common hypothesis requiring significant attention, but this essay should not be read as a list of counter-arguments only in favor of aliens.
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A fairly well written (and lengthy) article that addresses many of the arguments we commonly see here. I don't agree with a number of Dr Szydagis' conclusions based strictly on what he presented, but think he makes enough good points that I felt the article would generate discussion here.

I never seriously use "(1) Cameras continue to improve in resolution, but there is still no good image or “smoking gun” video of UAP.", but it's one I believe can be made rigorous. His so-called debunking of it is certainly at least as fluffy as his framing of what a rigorous debunk would be. I think the problem is that the debunk is too often framed in a "proving a negative" (or an "AoE != EoA") way. We can't prove things aren't there by repeatedly not getting good photos of them. It needs to be turned round, into something where the claimants need to support their claim or position, rather than us ours.
How about:
(1) Given that technology has advanced such that modern evidence for the same kinds of claims that were unresolvable in the past are easily identifiable as being mundane, what is different about the more modern claims of evidence that are unresolvable from prior ones?
Of course this has the obvious counter-argument: Aliens know how good our tech is, and always keep just out of sight. Citation: the "Debunking Humor" thread. However, if they're making that counter, then they're assuming the thing they wish to deduce, so I don't mind if they go there.

Anyone got any better wordings?
 
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Duke

Active Member
I personally can relate to his point about cameras and less than quality photos. I can't take a good photo to save my butt, never have been able to. A Bigfeetz could be standing five feet in front of me and I'd get a poor picture. I was disappointed he didn't mention CGI and image editing software have created the potential for creating or modifying UFO photos.
 

LilWabbit

Senior Member
I personally can relate to his point about cameras and less than quality photos. I can't take a good photo to save my butt, never have been able to. A Bigfeetz could be standing five feet in front of me and I'd get a poor picture. I was disappointed he didn't mention CGI and image editing software have created the potential for creating or modifying UFO photos.

The camera argument propounded by the ufologist usually assumes the following: Sensor-data on UFOs is grainy because of inadequate sensor performance to capture something amazingly advanced. But like @FatPhil pointed out, for decades until now, UFO data has invariably been grainy despite ever-improving sensor performance.

In Mick's words, the UFOs seem to live in each sensor's Low Information Zone (LIZ). Since technology keeps advancing, yesterday's LIZ is today's High Information Zone (HIZ), and today's LIZ is tomorrow's HIZ. But we'll never not have a LIZ. And hence we will always have mundane objects looking like obscure fluff at the LIZ that would be reported as UAP/UFO.

At any given point in time, whether in the past, today or the year 2222, there's a great range of cameras and sensors available with highly varied specs. And yet, the UAP seem to have an uncanny knack at loitering (I mean, "hovering") right at the far range of each sensor's performance, even when it's a state-of-the-art long-range high-definition sensor. As for UAP images that are not out of range, they tend to be invariably out of focus, taken in poor visibility or blurred by motion. These are all performance limits of sensors and they will always continue to have performance limits unless we develop a God-sensor that sees everything perfectly under all conditions.

UFOs follow our technological trend, and keep perfectly out of range, or out of focus, for each camera used. Near or far, new camera or old. Therefore we'll always have UFOs, and they'll always be (all warm and) fuzzy.

:p
 
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
2022-10-17_13-56-41.jpg

In 1979, one of the most data-rich studies of UFO sightings was the UFO Handbook by Allan Hendry. He said the primary reason for the lack of photos was the lack of a camera or a film.

That reason basically no longer exists, except as a LIZ multiplier (i.e. if they took a photo it would have been identified.)

A secondary reason was the lack of presence of mind. But the UFOs can only be lucky for so long.
 

JMartJr

Senior Member
As for UAP images that are not out of range, they tend to be invariably out of focus, taken in poor visibility or blurred by motion.
Or rapidly identifiable once enough people look at the pictures that one of them recognizes, say, a Batman balloon.
 

NorCal Dave

Senior Member.
I've said before that one problem with modern phone cameras is the same problem with Kodak Brownie cameras of the '50s/'60s, Polaroid cameras of the '70s and point and shoot digital cameras of the '00s. They're designed first and foremost to take pictures of people and things relatively close. The goal is to get great pictures of your friends at a party or your new car in the driveway, not aircraft at 10,000'. Sports and nature photographers still use specialized equipment for the most part, not camera phones.

That being said, the "lack of camera and film argument" is no longer valid. Camera phones may not be great for UAP photos, but there are a lot of them all over the place and they're getting better. The author seems to anticipate this argument and suggests that UAPs are by nature "fuzzy":

Giving many human beings cameras, even decent cameras, does not make them all great photographers. But before I get inundated with countless pics of faraway birds and planes, let us consider if UAP might be inherently fuzzy. What if some are naturally occurring gaseous anomalies or plasma (ionized gas)?
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He goes on to say that, according to Dr. Kevin Knuth (footnote 15 in the quote below takes one to a YouTube presentation by Knuth) being unobservable is an observable of UAPs:

Low observability is, in fact, one of the five UAP observables: according to [15], UAP are often blurry and change in size and shape (14:28) and can exhibit multi-imaging effects and refraction of light around the UAP (19:00).
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So, I guess one knows that if one observes something that's partially unobservable, one is dealing with a genuine UAP? I guess that makes sense, as if one observed a Southwest 737, and it was observable enough to distinguish it as, in fact, a Southwest 737, then it's not a UAP.

The author also suggests that in addition to things like a "plasma sheath" making UAPs fuzzy, they just move to fast:

Pictures may be necessarily poor quality. You try photographing something exhibiting O(100–1,000+) g’s of acceleration [12,13]. It is true that most of this is just hearsay… except for radar data from the JAL incident [14] and calculations from my friend Dr. Kevin Knuth and our SCU colleagues [15], not to mention Hermann Oberth, mentor to Werner von Braun, mentioning this many decades ago [124].
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Interestingly, he says the massive G's are just "hearsay", but not for the JAL (1628?) incident. Following footnote 14 above gives us a record of the ATCs talking to JAL 1628's report of a UFO. There is some hit and miss radar contacts, but even after the ATC vectors a United Airlines and a C130 to visualy identifiy UAL 1628, they never see a UFO. Nore is there any mention of high G acceleration. What gives?

It appears that a separate flight on 1/29/1987, or two months after the JAL flight, there was a possible high G radar contact by Alaska Air 53. Even in the Wikipedia file on JAL 1628, the AA 53 flight is mentioned, so it seems they are often confabulated:

On November 17, 1986, the Japanese crew of a JAL Boeing 747 cargo freighter witnessed three unidentified objects after sunset while flying over eastern Alaska.

Anchorage found nothing on their radar, but Elmendorf's NORAD Regional Operations Control Center (ROCC), directly in his flight path, reported a "surge primary return" after some minutes.[4]

The short-range radar at Fairbanks airport failed, however, to register the object.


On 29 January 1987[12][note 5] at 18:40,[19] Alaska Airlines Flight 53 observed a fast moving object on their onboard weather radar.

The pilot however relayed a speed of 'a mile a second' to the control tower, or a speed of 3,600 mph (5,800 km/h),[21] but confirmed that the target exceeded both the 50 mi (80 km) and 100 mi (160 km) ranges of their radar scope in a matter of seconds.[19][20] The object was outside the radar range of the Anchorage ARTCC,[19] and additional radar data covering the specified time and location failed to substantiate the pilots' claim.[20]
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japan_Air_Lines_Cargo_Flight_1628_incident

I may be a bit off topic with this, but it's typical of the whole article. Straw Men, quotes from Skinwalker Ranch alums and a bit of Gish Galloping with old cases, often presented as fact.
 

FatPhil

Senior Member.
I may be a bit off topic with this, but it's typical of the whole article. Straw Men, quotes from Skinwalker Ranch alums and a bit of Gish Galloping with old cases, often presented as fact.
I agree, which is why I think a "core" or "root" thread that links out to any individual threads based on any of the individual claims may have some merit - there is some commonality separate from the individual claims. But yes, it's in the "broader discussion" bucket.

One reason why I went in the direction of "let's make a better argument", rather than "let's address his rebuttal of his own by-design-mostly-straw argument that apparently we make", was because his rebuttal was just a vast wall of barely-incoherent noise. And that seems to be a common attribute of the other rebuttals too. There's a lot of "not even wrong" going on, he's introducing immeasurable and unevaluable concepts like motive, which simply can't be disproved. If we can refine our arguments to avoid such comebacks, we can head some of that off at the pass.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I've said before that one problem with modern phone cameras is the same problem with Kodak Brownie cameras of the '50s/'60s, Polaroid cameras of the '70s and point and shoot digital cameras of the '00s. They're designed first and foremost to take pictures of people and things relatively close. The goal is to get great pictures of your friends at a party or your new car in the driveway, not aircraft at 10,000'. Sports and nature photographers still use specialized equipment for the most part, not camera phones.
I feel like this is a bit of an urban legend when you look at modern phone cameras. Half of the people in this survey said their camera was as good as, or better than, their eyes when it comes to resolving detail.

2022-10-17_16-24-14.jpg

My own experiments with an iPhone 13 pro (last year's iPhone Pro, the new one is better) show it's distinctly better. This image might not look wonderful, but it has more detail than I could make out with my eyes alone.
Image

And more objectively, I could read text with it.
2022-10-17_16-27-50.jpg

Iphones also have a very fast shutter speed in sunlight, typically well faster than 1/1000, capable of clearly stopping the action. Much better than older point-and-shoot cameras.

And, literally millions of people have a Samsung S21 Ultra or better, with 10x optical and very high resolution sensor giving something that approaches 100x zoom.

https://www.youtube.com/shorts/wY6CQzvcZ68
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
And more objectively, I could read text with it.
2022-10-17_16-27-50.jpg
Just playing around with this again. The phone at 3x zoom resolves detail as well as my eyes at around 2/3 the distance. That means anything that has 2x zoom or better will probably be as good as, or better than, eyes alone. A phone with no zoom may be worse, unless it has a high-resolution sensor - e.g. the Google Pixel 7, 50MP 82° FOV

I'm thinking probably more than half of all phones sold now are better than human vision.
 

Alexandria Nick

Active Member
Let's look at an actual UFO photograph: the so-called Texas Dorito.

2022-10-17_17-07-22.jpg

https://jalopnik.com/another-triangular-mystery-aircraft-spotted-over-the-u-1564690286

Twice in a little over a month, photos of unknown triangular aircraft have been revealed to America. The aircraft depicted above, shot by photographer Jeff Templin of Wichita, also happens to match the trio of flying wings photographed flying over Amarillo Texas five weeks ago. This new photo, along with other developments regarding the original story, may offer up new clues as to the origins of these mysterious machines.

On two separate occasions, two casual observations were caught on camera of an unusual and likely secret aircraft. Everything about the nature, the warning time, and the reaction time identical to every other "UFO" case. Yet these were readily photographed with greater quality of image. What makes them special? Not much, but they do demonstrate that it shouldn't be as hard to photograph a flying saucer in my book.
 
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NorCal Dave

Senior Member.
My own experiments with an iPhone 13 pro (last year's iPhone Pro, the new one is better) show it's distinctly better. This image might not look wonderful, but it has more detail than I could make out with my eyes alone.
I'll give that a try in the next few days. I have a number of U60 helicopters coming over daily between 1900' and 3000' (I'm at 1100') heading to do work in the Mosquito fire scar area, I think. And the approach to SMF is right over me with 737s at ~16,000' all day. I can clearly discern between Southwest and Alaska/Skywest with the naked eye. I'll see what I can get.
 

LilWabbit

Senior Member
The OP argument concerns an epistemological point often made by the debunker/skeptic which could indeed be articulated better and developed into a logically sound argument to be employed alongside ontological arguments (i.e. technical debunks of the amazing physics-defying characteristics claimed to be demonstrated by grainy footage).

Here is one simple formulation of the epistemological argument -- let me tentatively call it the Grainy-Footage Argument for Bias:

UFO speculation invariably concerning itself with low-information footage is to be expected from an exercise requiring speculative latitude. The historical consistency of low-information UFO footage despite significant improvement of sensors and their availability demonstrates a bias for a type of evidence that does not easily lend itself to a rebuttal of the more extraordinary UFO speculations.

However, the inconclusivity of low-quality evidence of limited quantity does not demonstrate the extraordinariness of the objects featured in it and to claim so constitutes a logical fallacy.
 
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jarlrmai

Senior Member
There will always be a LIZ, but there's another big factor for public UFOs there's the zone where initial detectability of objects by the human eye unaided is possible then there's the ability of camera systems to then let you know what that thing you first detected is. This zone is basically covered by spotting telescopes, often binoculars and cameras with good range 300-600mm FF equiv telephoto lenses.

There are probably niche scenarios where the telephoto might not help, a very bright light glinting in the far distance through haze for example. Or a bright point light source that has no actual detail.

Phone cameras don't cut it there for 100% identification yet for everything, especially amorphous objects like balloons or objects behaving 'strangely' or in odd light like the classic reddit "white birds in the sun against a dark cloudy background."

However when I am out with by birding camera gear generally anything I see with my eyes can be identified to they type of object by my equipment. Always they are Balloons, birds, insects, aircraft, kites, plastic bags in the wind etc. This is of course in daylight, lights at night will likely remain impossible to 100% id without ADSB etc correlation. And anything smaller or further away I never even know it is there.

Whether most phones will get to the point they are good enough for this kind of range I am unsure.

What they more often do now which is in most cases is making things worse via compression artifacts, odd aberrations, post processing algorithms etc. I think they are clearly better than they have ever been but whether they'll get to the point they are matching a 400mm lens on a ILC I am unsure, the laws of physics and consumer needs might work against it.
 

Ann K

Senior Member.
The camera argument propounded by the ufologist usually assumes the following: Sensor-data on UFOs is grainy because of inadequate sensor performance to capture something amazingly advanced.
Occam and I suggest the simpler way to think of it. The better the photo, the more likely we are to identify it. "UFO" sightings are just the ones left over.

Granted, this is unconvincing to the devotees of the esoteric, but a good many of them still cling to their interpretations of sightings that have already been thoroughly debunked. There's profit to be made from a good gee-whiz story, and their followers get satisfaction from thinking of themselves as part of the "enlightened" ones who "know the truth".
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
There will always be a LIZ, but there's another big factor for public UFOs there's the zone where initial detectability of objects by the human eye unaided is possible then there's the ability of camera systems to then let you know what that thing you first detected is.
That's actually a happy thought: if anything you can detect with the eye can be identified by a photograph, the LIZ will effectively no longer matter for amateur UFO reports. We're not there yet, but that's the future.

Military can use radar for detection, but I have a feeling that, if there are sane minds on the Pentagon UAP group, they'll try to automate, correlate and categorize as much data as they can, so that when a UAP report comes in, they can tell e.g. that it's a drone and where it came from.

[Knuth:] UAP are often blurry and change in size and shape
yet ill-defined changing shapes can be accurately photographed, e.g.
fb_pipe_kits_guys_love__69414.jpg
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Nitpicks [...]

Article:
(1) is a variant of monkeys typing Shakespeare. Giving many human beings cameras, even decent cameras, does not make them all great photographers.
Compare:
Article:
The infinite monkey theorem states that a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type any given text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare. [..] The theorem can be generalized to state that any sequence of events which has a non-zero probability of happening will almost certainly eventually occur, given enough time.
The infinite monkey theorem does not support Szydagis's argument: given enough monkeys, one of them must eventually produce a masterwork, even though monkeys are bad authors; given enough cameras, one must eventually produce a clear UFO photo, even though most people are bad photographers.

Szydagis uses an argument without recognizing that it contradicts his own point. [...]

Article:
You try photographing something exhibiting O(100–1,000+) g’s of acceleration [12,13].
Most people will read this as "exhibiting 100–1,000+ g’s", which is perfectly fine (except that a 100g acceleration produces 1 km/s (mach 3) in 1 second, and 1000g produces mach 30 in one second, with pressures likely to crush anything known to man), but Szydagis tried to be smart and used big O notation—which is defined such that constant factors don't matter: O(1000) = O(100) = O(1), it's all the same. If you throw your dog a ball, once you let go, it experiences O(1000) g acceleration, because 1 g is constant and O(n) just means "constant" no matter which n you use.

[...]


(P.S. "O(n) just means constant" is a simplification, for example sin(x) is also O(1) because it has constant bounds.)
 
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Mendel

Senior Member.
It needs to be turned round, into something where the claimants need to support their claim or position, rather than us ours.
You do that by pointing at the elephant in the room that Szydagis conveniently overlooked:

There is no good evidence of UFOs. Why not?

There's a simple answer to this ("there are no UFOs") and a bunch of answers that remind me of a kid caught with their hand in a cookie jar, i.e. they're all bad excuses made up on the spot, barely disguised with some science-y sounding mumbo-jumbo (what metabunk calls "woo"). There's no evidence of UFOs, and no evidence for the excuses "explaining" the absence of evidence.

UFOs and aliens make fun and interesting fiction as devices that make us ponder what it means to be human, but there is no evidence that they're worth serious study. And that's the hurdle the "UFO researchers" have to jump.
 

LilWabbit

Senior Member
You do that by pointing at the elephant in the room that Szydagis conveniently overlooked:

There is no good evidence of UFOs. Why not?

There's a simple answer to this ("there are no UFOs") and a bunch of answers that remind me of a kid caught with their hand in a cookie jar, i.e. they're all bad excuses made up on the spot, barely disguised with some science-y sounding mumbo-jumbo (what metabunk calls "woo"). There's no evidence of UFOs, and no evidence for the excuses "explaining" the absence of evidence.

UFOs and aliens make fun and interesting fiction as devices that make us ponder what it means to be human, but there is no evidence that they're worth serious study. And that's the hurdle the "UFO researchers" have to jump.

Well put, Mendel.

To build on your apt encapsulation:

There is no good evidence on UFOs. Why not? Because there aren't any UFOs.

There is only poor evidence claimed to show UFOs. Why? Because the claimant so badly wants that there are.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
Most people will read this as "exhibiting 100–1,000+ g’s", which is perfectly fine (except that a 100g acceleration produces 1 km/s (mach 3) in 1 second, and 1000g produces mach 30 in one second, with pressures likely to crush anything known to man), but Szydagis tried to be smart and used big O notation—which is defined such that constant factors don't matter: O(1000) = O(100) = O(1), it's all the same. If you throw your dog a ball, once you let go, it experiences O(1000) g acceleration, because 1 g is constant and O(n) just means "constant" no matter which n you use.

[...]


(P.S. "O(n) just means constant" is a simplification, for example sin(x) is also O(1) because it has constant bounds.)

what?
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
The infinite monkey theorem does not support Szydagis's argument: given enough monkeys, one of them must eventually produce a masterwork, even though monkeys are bad authors; given enough cameras, one must eventually produce a clear UFO photo, even though most people are bad photographers.

i don't know. i think he's saying the monkeys know how to use the device ie. the typewriter.
 

Rory

Senior Member.
Szydagis is saying that debunkers who say "there are loads of cameras, we should have a good picture by now" is a bit like ("a variant of") the infinite monkey idea.

He's saying that's the debunker's argument rather than his argument - but by extension his argument is: just because a trillion billion monkeys have been hitting a typewriter for a trillion billion years and produced nothing it doesn't means there's a problem with the theorem.

It's not an equivalent analogy - we know the desired result (Shakespeare's words) are real, whereas we don't know that about ETs or their having visited us - but as a casual loose "variant" reference it seems okay to me.
 
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MyMatesBrainwashed

Active Member
Pretty sure he's not going for infinite monkeys.

But it's still wrong cos monkeys and typewriters works on probability. With a finite number of keys there's always a probability of the monkey pressing the correct key.

There is no judgement of a monkey's typewriting abilities in the theorem.

Nevermind the claim he starts to dispute is about the quality of cameras, not how many cameras there are.
 

Ann K

Senior Member.
There's a simple answer to this ("there are no UFOs") and a bunch of answers that remind me of a kid caught with their hand in a cookie jar, i.e. they're all bad excuses made up on the spot, barely disguised with some science-y sounding mumbo-jumbo (what metabunk calls "woo"). There's no evidence of UFOs, and no evidence for the excuses "explaining" the absence of evidence.
UFO believers commonly have the axiom in mind that "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence", which, while true, fails to note that it is also not "evidence of presence". "Well, it could be true" could also be said of pixies, leprechauns, ghosts, and unicorns, with unicorns being, hands down, the least improbable of the lot.
 

NorCal Dave

Senior Member.
There's a simple answer to this ("there are no UFOs")
Yes, but when one removes that answer from the discussion, this article is what we get. Szydagis, tries to say UAPs may not exist as ETs, but there is too much evidence of "The Phenomenon", to say it's nothing. Therefore, it's something. The result is this tangled rehash of old cases and speculative thinking.

That being said, I am certainly not going to sit here and tell you that we have definitive evidence of “alien spacecraft” operating in Earth’s atmosphere. But I will tell you that we have definitive evidence that “The Phenomenon,” whatever it is, is real and worth studying.
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It's also got a "nobody came to my party" aspect to it. One of Szydagis' gripes is that mainstream science and acidemia won't join him and people like Gary Nolin or Chris Mellon. So what? If you have a theory, do the research:

Let us start with some nuts and bolts by, for example, considering seriously the hypothesis that some tiny fraction of UAP may be craft designed, constructed, and operated by some form of non-human sentience. This hypothesis is arguably even testable.
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So, go test it and let us know.

Szydakis uses a mathematical notation to appear smart, but uses it in a way that reveals he doesn't actually understand it. Using stuff you don't really understand to explain things is sloppy thinking.

I'm not disagreeing with you, as the math is over my head, but I don't think that was his point. In an attempt to stay on topic, which is really getting hard having read this whole thing, let's look at the quote about why UAPs might be hard to photograph:

You
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try photographing something exhibiting O(100–1,000+) g’s of acceleration [12,13]. It is true that most of this is just hearsay… except for radar data from the JAL incident [14] and calculations from my friend Dr. Kevin Knuth and our SCU colleagues [15],
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Just at first read by a layperson, it appears to say "It's difficult to photograph objects that can acceralte up to 1000 G's and even if some of these accounts of very fast acceleration are hearsay, there is radar data from the JAL incident that confirms this. As does Knuth's and other calculations". All duly footnoted.

So, am I wrong to assume that there is: 1. There is some circumstantial or hearsay evidence for very fast acceleration of UAPs. 2. There is radar data from JAL confirming very fast acceleration of UAPs. 3. Scientists have shown calculations for evidence of very fast acceleration of UAPs.

While his math or notation may be wrong, the point of the sentence is to say UAPs are hard to photograph because they can accelerate very fast, and we have radar data to show that.

But in a true Gish Gallop format, that one sentence confabulates at least 3, if not more, different UFO stories together to create an overall appearance of cohesive evidence. And as it's a GG, it's up to us the reader to track down and try to understand what is actually being referred to.

The idea about rabid acceleration is from footnotes 12, 13. Number 12 is a news story about the Navy videos and 13 is about the TicTak UAP. So, he's referring to claims made about the objects in GIMBAL GoFast and TicTak. Those have been delt with on this forum, and Szydagis probably knows this so offers the caveat that it's "hearsay". This begs the question of why include this as evidence if he has to say it's hearsay? Because it plants the idea of very rapid acceleration, then he brings in the radar data from JAL to confirm the hearsay.

As he does in most of the article, old cases are just sprinkled in with little or no explanation, like the reference to JAL. It's offered here as a case that includes radar data confirming rapid acceleration, but does it? It's actually known as "JAL 1628" and it has not a thing to do with the Navy videos. As I noted above, footnote 14 takes one to a pdf on The Blackvault, which is a complete transcript of the flight crew and various ATCs as JAL 1628 reports a UFO back in 1986 in Alaska.

As it's part of a GG, it's up to the reader to plow through the various pages of transcripts, which at least upon my first read, seems to make NO MENTION of rapid acceleration or radar data confirming this.

Footnote 15 takes us to a YouTube presentation by Knuth, that I just don't have the time to sit through right now.

So, either Szydagis is unaware of what's in his 150+ footnotes, or he's being disingenuous by seeming to pass off evidence for a claim that isn't really there.
 

MyMatesBrainwashed

Active Member
OK, so I think I came at that wrong.

I think he might be equating more monkeys to more pixels. Like more monkeys would make it more likely you get Shakespeare, but more pixels doesn't mean you're more more likely to get a better picture.

I think it's that he's saying debunkers are using a variant of the monkey theorem for their argument of better quality camera. And he's saying it's wrong to.

Maybe.
 

Rory

Senior Member.
I think it's that he's saying debunkers are using a variant of the monkey theorem for their argument of better quality camera. And he's saying it's wrong to.

I believe he's saying that the debunker's argument that "because we have loads of people with cameras but no good pictures" is akin to having watched a billion trillion monkeys with a billion trillion typewriters produce nothing after a billion trillion years and coming to the conclusion that the infinite monkey theory is false. But that would be a premature and illogical conclusion since we simply haven't given it enough monkeys/typewriters/time (aka, people/cameras/incidents/years).
 
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Mendel

Senior Member.
UFO believers commonly have the axiom in mind that "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence", which, while true, fails to note that it is also not "evidence of presence". "Well, it could be true" could also be said of pixies, leprechauns, ghosts, and unicorns, with unicorns being, hands down, the least improbable of the lot.
Time travelers is my favorite alternative explanation for every UFO sighting.
 
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Mendel

Senior Member.
So, either Szydagis is unaware of what's in his 150+ footnotes, or he's being disingenuous by seeming to pass off evidence for a claim that isn't really there.
I don't recall any evidence in that article, do I need to read it again?
But I will tell you that we have definitive evidence that “The Phenomenon,” whatever it is, is real and worth studying.
Content from External Source
What "definitive evidence" is he referring to?


Let us start with some nuts and bolts by, for example, considering seriously the hypothesis that some tiny fraction of UAP may be craft designed, constructed, and operated by some form of non-human sentience. This hypothesis is arguably even testable.
Content from External Source
How is it testable, as long as the craft remain unidentified?

I don't see how either claim is supported or even supportable, in the light of the Blue Book and everything since then.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
The incidents he references and points to in his footnotes.
Really? which ones? he doesn't point to any in that paragraph, and the best footnote I could find is a Scientific American opinion piece that lacks any reference to 'definitive evidence':
Article:
‘Unidentified Aerial Phenomena,’ Better Known as UFOs, Deserve Scientific Investigation

UAP represent observations that are puzzling and waiting to be explained. Just like any other science discovery.

There's no claim that we're going to discover anything we don't already know when we investigate UFO reports.
 

Rory

Senior Member.
Seems clear he thinks the 'weight' of reports - as well as certain specific ones - constitute "definitive evidence" that there's an actual phenomenon worth studying.
 

purpleivan

Active Member
The issues of photographing objects exhibiting extreme (100, 1000... random number of your choice) g manoeuvres is such a weak reason for the lack of quality photographs of UFO's. If this was the true cause then the accompanying eye witness reports would begin with such wording as "It was zig-zagging constantly at unbelievable speed from the moment I saw it".

Instead they typically start with some gravity defying feat of hovering motionless, or slow motion manoeuvre, as if just begging to be photographed. Only after some teasing on the part of the UFO, does it take off like a scolded cat.

If only one one of the hundreds of millions of people with a phone in their pocket could get a lucky break.

For some reason I'm reminded of the photographer in the "Roswell that ends well" episode of Futurama.
Source: https://youtu.be/XvQyL8827Ww?t=6
 

NorCal Dave

Senior Member.
I don't recall any evidence in that article,
Correct. There really isn't any, at least by the standards we use around here. There is just a litany of offhand references to old cases without really talking about them which is supposed to add up to "evidence of the Phenomenon", whatever it is.

He is either willfully ignorant or considers long explained cases still about UAPs. He rattles off the Chilean UFO and Rendelsham Forest as well as UFOs shutting down a missile silo, all as if no explanations have ever been offered for any of these.

Reading it again, it also becomes increasingly obvious that he chose the word "debunker" and not skeptic for a reason. I wonder if he has a specific debunker in mind:

...debunk the debunkers for a change.

I can already hear debunkers shouting at me that the only “evidence” which backs up those technological leaps comes from anecdotes and not empirical evidence.

But debunkers consider their blog posts and YouTube videos to be rigorous and trustworthy.

The debunkers then default to human civilian aircraft even when records show none in the area, or seagulls with such perfect feathery insulation that they show up on IR as being in equilibrium with the air or colder, both physically impossible from the standpoint of thermodynamics.

But we must differentiate between a skeptic and a debunker: good scientists should always be skeptical and stand up for scientific truth, but never attempt to rewrite facts to suit our own comfy worldview when we find them challenging.

...the next time a debunker is bugging you about all UFO pictures being fuzzy...
Content from External Source
Hmmmm...
 

JMartJr

Senior Member
The argument that "the weight if all these sightings" indicates a phenomenon exists that can be studied may be correct, though the field of study may be closer to the field of sociologists and folklorists than anything related to physicists or astronomers.

I do not mean that sarcastically or dismissively: we love our UFO stories and have since at least the Arnold "saucers," arguably since the "Phantom Airships" and possibly as far back as Ezekial's Wheel. We like them in our movies, sometimes friendly Favorite Martians or Close Encounterers, sometimes malevolent Invading Saucer Men Things from Another World.

That may well be worth studying... why does this particular meme appeal to us so much? Why do so many if us see a distant light and think "alien" or "mysterious X-files something" instead of "far away plane" or "satellite flare?"
 

Rory

Senior Member.
how does he rule out sensor glitches?

No idea. I'm just answering that he references what he considers "definitive evidence". But I'm with you on not considering it much in the way of evidence of extraordinary physical craft or something.

which ones?

I guess whatever he mentions as an example of why a specific debunkers' point isn't necessarily a good one in his opinion.
 
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Mendel

Senior Member.
The argument that "the weight if all these sightings" indicates a phenomenon exists that can be studied may be correct, though the field of study may be closer to the field of sociologists and folklorists than anything related to physicists or astronomers.
I expect "actual phenomenon" refers to something physical.
 

jarlrmai

Senior Member
The funny this is that the word phenomenon was used in UAP to remove the requirement for there to be a physical object..
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
The funny this is that the word phenomenon was used in UAP to remove the requirement for there to be a physical object..
My "something physical" includes optical effects or gases (clouds), not necessarily a solid object—it was meant to contrast @Rory's "sociology and folklore". In that sense, most observations (that aren't outright hallucinations) are probably based on something physical, but that physical phenomenon is most likely not worth studying. You're never going to find a college chair of "balloonology, nocturnal aircraft, and satellite flares".
 
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