What evidence of aliens would convince skeptics?

Edward Current

Active Member
(I've posted screenshots of this to Twitter. It's a draft of a video script, and right now it's just my personal opinion, but I think it would be good if a bunch of skeptics agreed upon such a statement — what exactly are we asking for? Some of these requirements might be too weak or too stringent, or the descriptions too vague. Are there other categories?)

People who believe that advanced beings have visited Earth, or already live here, sometimes say that no evidence could ever convince skeptics. This isn’t true. It’s just that advanced beings visiting Earth is a far-breakthrough claim, so we need far-breakthrough evidence. Most people say “extraordinary evidence,” but that term is so overused it’s meaningless. The evidence needs to transcend a merely breakthrough discovery to something that requires significant revision of the science associated with it — because the claim is equally transcendent.

Far-breakthrough evidence could come in four forms, any one of them confirmed via reproducible tests by multiple teams of experts in the associated field.

A far-breakthrough life form. A life form (broadly defined) that is not based on carbon/DNA, or does not have cells, or lacks some other characteristic shared by all known forms of life, but otherwise shows characteristics we associate with life. For the claim that it’s an “advanced” being, it must be able to outperform any human at some information-processing task, such as factoring high polynomials. Not good enough: A breakthrough type of genetic engineering. A new species. Something that biologists merely “can’t explain.” Those things might be breakthrough, but a far-breakthrough life form needs to rewrite what we know about biology.

A far-breakthrough material. Something we do not know how to manufacture and do not have the first clue about how it ever could be manufactured. For example, a material that is nonatomic in structure; a material that distorts spacetime orders of magnitude beyond ordinary gravitation; a material that incorporates functional magnetic monopoles; massive nanostructures with machine-like moving parts on the molecular scale. Not good enough: A radioisotope rare on Earth (they can be manufactured). A never-before-seen alloy. A breakthrough example of a 3D-printed material. A material with breakthrough properties of elasticity, ductility, etc. There would have to be something extraordinary about the sample to rise to the claim of advanced beings having left it here — maybe it can repair itself or “smartly” change its shape or phase. A far-breakthrough material needs to rewrite what we know about materials science.

A far-breakthrough technology. Something that is not only not known to be presently achievable, but which leverages natural principles or laws not presently known. For example, anti-gravity technology; the ability to eliminate the inertial effects of acceleration; technology to produce large amounts of antimatter plus the technology to safely contain it. Not good enough: Breakthrough technology that leverages known natural principles or laws, like the atomic bomb was in the 1940s. Even being able to convert ordinary matter into useful energy is insufficient, the relation between mass and energy being well understood. A far-breakthrough technology needs to rewrite what we know about engineering.

Far-breakthough information. Something that tells us how we can produce far-breakthrough life forms, materials, and/or technologies ourselves. That alone could be sufficient evidence of intelligent aliens somewhere, but additional evidence is needed if the claim is that the aliens are or have been on this planet. Not good enough: An affidavit that someone was visited and told how to do these things, but they’re keeping it secret.
 
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Woolery

Banned
Banned
If this is the critera, I think it would be considerate to make it abundantly clear to people looking to post videos/eyewitness accounts of UFOs on this site that Metabunk doesn’t even need to review any particular video/account to determine that it isn't proof of aliens.

You could put the disclaimer in the posting guidelines.

I always thought metabunk should say something like this anyways.
 

Edward Current

Active Member
If this is the critera, I think it would be considerate to make it abundantly clear to people looking to post videos/eyewitness accounts of UFOs on this site that Metabunk doesn’t even need to review any particular video/account to determine that it isn't proof of aliens.
Did they say anything about aliens? Because I don't think they ever said anything about aliens ;)

A robust set of goalposts would be intended for the bold few who aren't just asking questions, but who legitimately believe either (1) there is evidence of alien visitation, or (2) no matter what evidence of alien visitation is presented, skeptics will just move the goalposts. It doesn't really apply to folks who just want to know about something mysterious they saw.

But the idea of telling posters, "If you're claiming to have evidence of aliens.." is interesting.
 

Woolery

Banned
Banned
A robust set of goalposts would be intended for the bold few who aren't just asking questions, but who legitimately believe either (1) there is evidence of alien visitation, or (2) no matter what evidence of alien visitation is presented, skeptics will just move the goalposts.
I see. My suggestion would be intended for the likely majority of everyday folks who believe the right video could potentially represent proof of alien visitation. Which by your thoughtful and fair criteria (and by the criteria of skeptics at large) it could not.
 

Rocky

Active Member
People who believe that advanced beings have visited Earth, or already live here, sometimes say that no evidence could ever convince skeptics. This isn’t true. It’s just that advanced beings visiting Earth is a far-breakthrough claim, so we need far-breakthrough evidence. Most people say “extraordinary evidence,” but that term is so overused it’s meaningless.
I don't think that term is so overused therefore it's meaningless . The term still holds true. Extraordinary claims DO require extraordinary evidence. Plain and simple. No matter how many times it is said. We skeptics have a hard time believing in these UFO stories because the math and logic do not make any sense. The time it would require for a civilization to reach us, why do they come here and mutilate cows and anal probe people, etc. And please do not use theoretical science of worm holes or any Star Trek tech to explain how it may be done. Extraordinary evidence has never been sufficiently produced.
 

NoParty

Senior Member.
...what exactly are we asking for?
I must say, that question hit me funny, as I don't think of myself as asking for anything.

I can envision dozens of possible weird scenarios that would make me question:
"Hmmmm...are aliens actually a better explanation for what I'm encountering,
than more prosaic, unexciting explanations?"


I don't feel like I have any dog in a "must disprove aliens" fight.
But, like many here, I've been promised "aliens" hundreds of times over the years,
without a single instance in which "aliens!" turned out to be the best explanation,
so I am probably (rightfully, I reckon) a bit jaded.

p.s. Not trying to be argumentative re. the premise...just sharing that I never thought of it like that...
 

NorCal Dave

Senior Member.
I don't think that term is so overused therefore it's meaningless . The term still holds true. Extraordinary claims DO require extraordinary evidence. Plain and simple. No matter how many times it is said. We skeptics have a hard time believing in these UFO stories because the math and logic do not make any sense. The time it would require for a civilization to reach us, why do they come here and mutilate cows and anal probe people, etc. And please do not use theoretical science of worm holes or any Star Trek tech to explain how it may be done. Extraordinary evidence has never been sufficiently produced.
I completely agree with you Rocky, but I think what's happened is the UFO crowd has caught on and now claims everything they have is "extraordinary", even though you and I would not think so.

The trailer for the movie A Tear in the Sky which Mick posted about today on Metabunk, has several talking heads saying "crazy!", "insane!" and I thought "extraordinary" (but I will have to go back and watch again). Like most of the UFOlogists, at least in the trailer, they seem to think any strange thing on a screen is "extraordinary" and therefore the proof skeptics ask for.

I agree that just because someone says their evidence is "extraordinary" doesn't mean it is, but I think they have managed to water the word down.
 

Edward Current

Active Member
I must say, that question hit me funny, as I don't think of myself as asking for anything.
That's a great point. I am probably spending too much time on Twitter.

Perhaps unnecessarily, I feel the urge to respond when someone says "nothing would ever convince you, nothing would be good enough." I feel the same way about some believers — there are many folks who, at this point, might never concede that Gimbal was a plane or that the rotation happened at the camera. But if a bunch of them hammered out a well-defined, rigorous document regarding what evidence they'd need to see to cross this or any general UFO off their list (with examples), I would like to see that.

In an area where people tend to accuse others of moving goalposts, a robust set of goalposts, as a reference point, might be a good thing to have. It would also highlight how weak and far-off the existing evidence actually is.

Pointless? Unfeasible? Over-legitimizing UFOlogists?
 

JMartJr

Senior Member
I got two thoughts.

One, I'm not looking for proof of aliens, I'm just looking for evidence of something not explicable by normal known phenomena. If I'm told "This video shows an object zipping low over the ocean at impossible speeds for known aircraft," but the video shows something moving at wind speed at 10,000 ft, that doesn't cross my threshold of compelling evidence. Before we worry too much about proof of aliens, I'd want to see decent evidence that does not even rise to the level of proof, not necessarily of aliens but if something not explicable without considering some currently unknown cause.

Which brings me to my second thought, that "it's a balloon/plane/bird/lensflare, or it is aliens" does not encompass the full range of what true believers believe... some think it's aliens, some think its spiritual beings like demons or Angel's, some opt for interdimensional manifestations, some opt for Antarctic Nazis and their secret advanced tech, some think it's folkloric creatures... and that list is not complete. So setting an Aliens Threshold would not even satisfy the wider UFO buff community.
 

captancourgette

Active Member
Surely only the first criteria qualifies

the other 3 humans will occur in the future (unless we wipe ourselves out)
eg in the past, with a material, show steel to a caveman, plastic to Caesar, a smartphone or airplane to either etc

To me undeniable evidence would me
For me it would be a trope that I've read in a few stories,films we are sending out all this info out into space the images of our wars, soap operas etc
Now if we could pick up an aliens civilizations TV broadcasts, one could make a short CGI clip of aliens living on a world going about their lives, but millions of hours of varied footage! No way you can fake this

We don't even need to receive this from space, it could be on their spaceships computers, eg todays longrange aircraft typically have 100s if not 1000s of hours of movies/TV shows onboard and thats for a journey that lasts a few hours. Better storage tech, longer journey = prolly millions of hours of footage
 

FatPhil

Senior Member.
The first thing I'd ask for is evidence clear enough that there's *no known connection* to anything that we have on earth presently. Everything we see has been a gradual evolution. You can trivially connect today's smartphones to the old dumbphones to the old field radios - and the bits that aren't the mobile comms are similarly just evolutions of prior computers. Even the revolutionary are evolutions from the "that's weird" moments that scientists were previously not able to exploit. A plane isn't so weird if you've seen a glider, and a glider isn't so weird if you've seen a paper aeroplane or a kite, and neither of those is that weird.

I believe our knowledge of the laws of physics leaves so little room for anything we don't know of to be able to have an effect over what we are aware of, that I don't even think most of the "far-breakthrough technology" category most people consider is even meaningful. Anything entering the to-me meangless zone would be a dead giveaway of something not from earth. But it would look like magic, or something that channels the power of a science-defying god, and need to be examinable at such detail such that you could be sure it wasn't just a scam.

Life-wise, rather than tech - something without nucleotides would fit the bill. However, even if something like that were discovered, it would have been discovered on earth, so there's no strong argument for it being not-of-this-earth. And anything created in a lab on earth would be of earthly origin too.

Aliens is almost never the answer unless you have both the "can't be of this earth" evidence *and* the "came from somewhere else" evidence.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
A far-breakthrough life form.

A far-breakthrough material.

A far-breakthrough technology.

Far-breakthough information.
For "evidence of aliens", I'd require far less.

An alien lifeform would be great. It could be sentient dolphins, or sentient wolves; if the aliens were humanoids but had tentacled birds as pets, that'd do me. Any lifeform that's obviously extraterrestrial, and can be examined to be, would suffice. I expect the genetic sequence of a humanoid alien would already suffice. No need to be "advanced".

In the 19th century, plastics, foam concrete, or semiconductors would represent "breakthrough materials", in the 20th century it'd be room-temperature superconductors. Most likely breakthrough materials will also enable breakthrough technologies, or be the result of them.

Non-breakthrough technologies have a history of science and engineering they're based on. If technologies appear that ought to have history, but don't, that'd qualify as alien.

I'd likewise accept any information that doesn't have a history. As an example, if someone had a map of a corner of space more detailed than we could previously have, and we point the Webb telescope there and confirm it, that'd suffice. Or a new mathematical field that's been established to maturity out of nowhere.

A spaceship that can be re-examined would be great. There'd be proof it came from outer space, or it'd be in orbit, and since we have a pretty good handle what we're putting up there, it'd be easy to tell it's not human even if it didn't have unknown technology. Like, if our Voyager probes arrive anywhere, the aliens are going to know it came from another civilisation.

Fleeting sightings are just not enough, unless there are many people seeing something technically impossible. Big spaceship hovering, teleportation, that sort of thing.


It's really hard to show that these "aliens" aren't actually time travellers, though, especially with advances in genetic engineering.
 
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markus

Active Member
The inherent problem with UFOs as potential evidence of extraterrestrial life (or worse, extradimensional/psychic stuff) is that, by their very nature, objects performing maneuvers that would be "impossible according to the known laws of physics" behave in ways that are completely unconstrained. It's a hypothesis that explains everything, and because of it, explains nothing. The best that you can hope for is a diagnostic of exclusion, and that is always subject to the same question as always: is this really a flying saucer, or am I just not clever enough to come up with another explanation?

Evidence of extraterrestrial visitation would be much easier to swallow if it, instead of being associated with claims of far-off physics and technologies we have no conception for, were predicated on physics concepts and ideas we have good reason to believe are reliable. A dim star with a large IR excess could be a Dyson sphere. An x-ray coherent light beam with some sort of structured information could be an interstellar message. A flat shiny object going through the solar system could be a light sail. That is, an actual alien visitor would probably look more like 'Oumuamua than a blurry dot on FLIR. That is not a diagnostic of exclusion: we know what e.g. a light sail would have to look like because we understand the physics, and we don't have to postulate that it's an antigravity craft using subpolariton hyperspace chronitons to feed off the quantum vacuum or whatever is the technobabble du jour.

For this reason, I can't come up with a good answer to the question posed in the OP. As long as it's a diagnostic of exclusion, each case has to be treated separately and it's hard to imagine one-size-fits-all criteria that can exclude every conceivable natural explanation, because I don't know what those are yet.
 

DavidB66

Senior Member
People who believe that advanced beings have visited Earth, or already live here, sometimes say that no evidence could ever convince skeptics. This isn’t true.
I'm not clear if we are including the case where the ETs actually want us to know they are here. If they do, there are many ways that would satisfy the most diehard skeptic (e.g. me). Classic sci fi movies provide plenty of examples, usually involving giant death rays. A more subtle approach would be for the aliens to publish proofs of major unsolved (by humans) mathematical problems, like the twin-prime conjecture.

If we are excluding the case of voluntary self-disclosure, discovery of an undeniably alien artifact should do the trick. Again there are sci fi examples, like the discovery of a buried alien spaceship in Quatermass and the Pit. Though if I recall correctly the bone-headed British army officer in charge insisted it was just a German V-weapon, right up until it vaporised him!
 

Edward Current

Active Member
Lots of great comments! If I/we were to pursue some kind of "robust skeptic goalposts for UFOs," it would need to incorporate the following:
1. The distinction and separation between UFOlogists' "extraordinary" criteria and skeptics' "extraordinary" (or far-breakthough) criteria needs to be made clear. (NorCal Dave)
2. The category of "aliens" needs to be broadened to something like "non-conventional intelligent entities" so as to encompass all of the various extraordinary claims associated with UFOlogy, such as spiritual beings, interdimensional travelers, time travelers, folkloric beings, etc. (JMartJr) Question, would this include far-breakthough human technology, such as, "the Chinese discovered anti-gravity"? I would argue yes, because:
3. An important criterion is discontinuity: All conventional known organisms, material, technology, and information are derived step-wise from previous iterations.* (FatPhil & Mendel) There are no great leaps. As noted in the OP, the atomic bomb — while being arguably breakthrough technology — wasn't extraordinary, because its antecedents included rigorous theory, rigorous experiments, a functional nuclear reactor, etc. An extraordinary organism, material, technology, or database would come out of nowhere, with no known antecedents. It would look like magic — our reaction would be like the proverbial isolated tribesman encountering his first magnet or radio. However:
4. It's highly preferred that evidence leverage existing theory, rather than leaning on the ad hoc hypothesis of new physics, which is a "theory of anything" that explains nothing. (Markus)

There were mentions of "undeniable alien artifact" (DavidB66) and a "life form that's obviously extraterrestrial" (Mendel), but I feel like such obviousness/undeniability needs to be quantified somehow, or else we have loose goalposts. However, it may be impossible to quantify this criterion.

I'd like people's opinions on the big picture: Do you think this is something worth pursuing, or it's just too messy, won't go anywhere, no one will care, it's unnecessary, impossible, etc.?

*I was thinking about this yesterday. I don't think I can name any extraordinary evidence for any extraordinary claim, except for two: The origin of the universe (the evidence being the universe), and the origin of life (the evidence being life among non-living matter). And both of those are discontinuities. Sure, life had chemical antecedents, but abiogenesis is such a presently intractable mystery, I'd consider it a discontinuity. The unambiguous appearance of a non-conventional intelligent entity would be the 3rd extraordinary event in known history.
 

Woolery

Banned
Banned
I think any effort to bridge the gap is commendable. But I disagree with you in that I don’t think most believers are saying that no evidence could ever convince skeptics.

I think most believers are saying that even if the videos/photos/witness testimony being presented to skeptics were the result of an actual alien visitation, that evidence would still not be sufficient to convince skeptics. And I think it’s within the skeptic community’s best interest to confirm this and say clearly that yes, even if a video were to capture an actual alien visitation, that video would still not constitute proof of alien visitation.

For some reason skeptics seem shy about saying this outright though it is reasonable to do so:

-No video will ever constitute proof to a skeptic
-No photo will ever constitute proof to a skeptic.
-No testimony will ever constitute proof to a skeptic.

I would add that it’s important to continue to stress that it is certainly possible (though very unlikely) some of the evidence that’s already been presented by witnesses could legitimately be alien in nature. But without more evidence it falls short of proof to a skeptic.

Edit: I should add, I’m not really a skeptic.
 
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Mendel

Senior Member.
Think about what it takes for us to be convinced something unknown exists.
1) many people saw it at different times
2) it stayed the same between sightings

I'm convinced the Hessdalen Lights exist.

What did it take for Europeans to believe in cangaroos?

Here's a video that convinced me a 1:1 model of a Russian spaceship exists:
Source: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=zmBBSrxGfPQ


There are many more videos on Youtube that show things I didn't know existed. None of them show their "evidence" in the low information zone, the things are recorded in detail from several angles, with humans inside the scene.

There's a borderline area where a movie clip may show something that may exist, but is actually fake. I submit that very few movie sequences are credibly fake.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
There's a borderline area where a movie clip may show something that may exist, but is actually fake. I submit that very few movie sequences are credibly fake.
Source: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rZc9kgEIjKU&t=45


After Jurassic Park came out, there were other "dinosaur documentaries" that looked very convincing. The problem with believing in living dinosaurs vs. believing in the Buran is that there is no connection to other knowledge that make dinosaurs likely to exist.

Amateur sightings of UFOs are always tainted by the fact that these clips come out of nowhere and are very limited in what we know about them. These limitations that make the clips unconvincing are usually recognized by ufologists, and some people who try to address them do so via the "government conspiracy" canard which itself lacks evidence.
 

Rocky

Active Member
The first thing I'd ask for is evidence clear enough that there's *no known connection* to anything that we have on earth presently. Everything we see has been a gradual evolution. You can trivially connect today's smartphones to the old dumbphones to the old field radios - and the bits that aren't the mobile comms are similarly just evolutions of prior computers. Even the revolutionary are evolutions from the "that's weird" moments that scientists were previously not able to exploit. A plane isn't so weird if you've seen a glider, and a glider isn't so weird if you've seen a paper aeroplane or a kite, and neither of those is that weird.
I totally agree. The problem is that the ones pushing the alien narrative are not well educated in fields of technology and have a hard time comprehending how a laser might work, microchips, or that fiber optics came from crashed UFO's. See Col. Philip J. Corso Roswell. They don't understand the scientific evolution of the modern tech we have today so they attribute it to aliens. I also believe as Mick West has done so many times in his debunking videos of how fighter pilot camera systems and radar work that the pilot may not understand. They are viewing objects from many miles away not visible to the naked eye and they are trying to interpret what they see on a view screen. Tech has advanced so much on fighter planes etc. that we are able to detect objects at such great distances than ever before. So naturally those are "weird" to some of them.
 

Rocky

Active Member
Lots of great comments! If I/we were to pursue some kind of "robust skeptic goalposts for UFOs," it would need to incorporate the following:
1. The distinction and separation between UFOlogists' "extraordinary" criteria and skeptics' "extraordinary" (or far-breakthough) criteria needs to be made clear. (NorCal Dave)
2. The category of "aliens" needs to be broadened to something like "non-conventional intelligent entities" so as to encompass all of the various extraordinary claims associated with UFOlogy, such as spiritual beings, interdimensional travelers, time travelers, folkloric beings, etc. (JMartJr) Question, would this include far-breakthough human technology, such as, "the Chinese discovered anti-gravity"? I would argue yes, because:
3. An important criterion is discontinuity: All conventional known organisms, material, technology, and information are derived step-wise from previous iterations.* (FatPhil & Mendel) There are no great leaps. As noted in the OP, the atomic bomb — while being arguably breakthrough technology — wasn't extraordinary, because its antecedents included rigorous theory, rigorous experiments, a functional nuclear reactor, etc. An extraordinary organism, material, technology, or database would come out of nowhere, with no known antecedents. It would look like magic — our reaction would be like the proverbial isolated tribesman encountering his first magnet or radio. However:
4. It's highly preferred that evidence leverage existing theory, rather than leaning on the ad hoc hypothesis of new physics, which is a "theory of anything" that explains nothing. (Markus)

There were mentions of "undeniable alien artifact" (DavidB66) and a "life form that's obviously extraterrestrial" (Mendel), but I feel like such obviousness/undeniability needs to be quantified somehow, or else we have loose goalposts. However, it may be impossible to quantify this criterion.

I'd like people's opinions on the big picture: Do you think this is something worth pursuing, or it's just too messy, won't go anywhere, no one will care, it's unnecessary, impossible, etc.?

*I was thinking about this yesterday. I don't think I can name any extraordinary evidence for any extraordinary claim, except for two: The origin of the universe (the evidence being the universe), and the origin of life (the evidence being life among non-living matter). And both of those are discontinuities. Sure, life had chemical antecedents, but abiogenesis is such a presently intractable mystery, I'd consider it a discontinuity. The unambiguous appearance of a non-conventional intelligent entity would be the 3rd extraordinary event in known history.
I believe that we will get more answers from the James Webb telescope which will create more questions. :) However, we will find evidence of life or at least planets with the elements that can sustain life from this new tech. We skeptics just don't believe we are being visited. It doesn't pass the scientific method or the smell test. Lol.
 

Ann K

Senior Member.
-No video will ever constitute proof to a skeptic
-No photo will ever constitute proof to a skeptic.
-No testimony will ever constitute proof to a skeptic.
Similarly, debunking videos or photos or testimony tend to fall on the deaf ears of UFO/alien believers. They have the support of others who believe in them, and I suggest that that community and that support are sufficiently important to them that they do not want to hear any evidence to the contrary. A campaign to explain alternative scenarios to them would probably meet with very little success. I've found that to be the case with a good friend (since the second grade!) a well-educated person, who has found validation for her beliefs in writing books and giving lectures on UFOs. She and I have agreed to disagree, but I find that discouraging.
 

Murray

Member

"What evidence of aliens would convince skeptics?"


The same level of evidence that's expected of anything else.

People asking this question know they have poor evidence. What you're really asking for is an exception to the evidence requirements that apply to every other subject.

If aliens were here and had been here since roswell, this question wouldn't need to be asked because you'd have all the evidence you'd need.
 

MapperGuy

New Member
What evidence would convince me? Watch the 1951 movie "The Day the Earth Stood Still", events like those depicted in that movie would convince me. Videos and pictures can be faked or misinterpreted, testimony can be false or the words of unwell minds. Physical evidence visible to millions would be nice, a mile tall spaceship parked next to the United Nations building would be even better.

Seeing spacecraft we could never build flying by Earth would also probably do it, but I think any passing this way would stop and say Hello. Which is to me the most unbelievable part of "aliens are here" claims, come all this way and hide away while mutilating cattle? Aliens would have nothing to fear from us and would not be concerned about any momentary panic their arrival might cause. If they have not loudly and unmistakably announced their presence, like landing that mile tall spaceship, we can be quite confident they are not here.
 

FatPhil

Senior Member.
"Spacecraft we have never built" would suffice for me.

To evaluate that with certainty, you need knowledge of everything that has ever been built, which is probably an impossibility, as much is done in secrecy. "Could" is possibly easier to evaluate, as any property that we can't replicate would suffice. It doesn't have to be anything sci-fi that breaks the current laws of physics, if the hull of the craft is made from a metal that you can't scratch with your diamond ring, that would probably do (you'd then take it to a lab and compare it to the theoretical lonsdalite to be sure).
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
much is done in secrecy
I don't believe there is any spacecraft capable of sustained propulsion (i.e. ruling out satellites and missiles) that's secret. There's no re-entry vehicle that's secret, and there's no secret launch platform. Nobody can launch anything undetected, and everything up there is examinable.
 

Edward Current

Active Member
If aliens were here and had been here since roswell, this question wouldn't need to be asked because you'd have all the evidence you'd need.
Maybe. But maybe not. Dark matter might be all around us and has been here since the beginning of time, but we don't have all of the evidence yet to know that. So far the evidence has been indirect, and that's not good enough. Additionally we cannot do thought experiments about how ETs would or should behave, based upon human models. An advanced intelligence might not even "behave" at all, for all we know.

The theme I keep coming back to is continuity, the "chain of command." Unconventional-but-advanced life, materials, technology, or information would (pretty much by definition) share no history with our own, and there would be no known antecedents here. A possible exception might be the "ancient aliens" conjecture, which supposes that ETs influenced an early history of humanity or of Earth. Still, those same ETs arriving today would almost certainly exhibit discontinuities with ourselves.

One easy way to think of it is a family Thanksgiving dinner that occurs every year. Everyone has a shared history and photographs of each other growing up, etc. But then the kids get older, and one year, a boyfriend is invited to dinner. He doesn't have a history or old photographs of the family, and they don't have a history or photographs of him. It's obvious who at the table is the "alien."

I guess the question then is, how does one measure discontinuity, unshared histories, or independent evolutions? Can it be quantified in any sense? If someone showed me a material with an apparent discontinuity, and claimed it was a piece of an alien spaceship, I want to be able to say something more substantial than "that's not discontinuous enough."
 

Edward Current

Active Member
Spotted on Twitter today. These kinds of recurring sentiments are why I'm interested in the question and the prospect of building robust goalposts for these guys to aim for. ("That has been denied to us intentionally" is your basic as hoc hypothesis.)

Screen Shot 2022-04-09 at 4.26.12 PM.png
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
The irony is that you have these other guys who think the moon landing is CGI... :p

I chose my Buran expedition video precisely because it is hard to CGI. I had looked at airliner "cockpit tour" videos that either had no humans in them, or looked like they could've been greenscreened. The Buran video provides context that is much harder to fake.

An alien vessel has to come from somewhere and go somewhere; or it has to be examinable. If it's neither, it shares vital characteristics with known CGI hoaxes, so obvious I'm going to want to see evidence that it's not.
 

MapperGuy

New Member
The biggest problem with any definitive answer to your question of what minimum evidence would convince skeptics is that it instantly becomes a handbook for hoaxers. "If I can make something with characteristics A and B and C that will be definitive!" What better motive could there be for someone to try and figure out how to make something that appears to have those specific characteristics? Rather than defining some absolute minimum level of evidence we should be asking what level of evidence would constitute "beyond any possible doubt" evidence. The lack of any evidence of that class is the problem for believers.

A mile tall spaceship landing next to the UN Headquarters in New York City and standing there for all the world to see and touch for a month would be definitive. The idea that skeptics cannot be convinced is wrong, what is lacking is the evidence that does so.

A spacecraft/aircraft that we could build, but whose building we are unaware of, is not definitive evidence. Someone built it and did not tell us about it. A spacecraft/aircraft we could never build, that is definitive.
 

Edward Current

Active Member
Rather than defining some absolute minimum level of evidence we should be asking what level of evidence would constitute "beyond any possible doubt" evidence. The lack of any evidence of that class is the problem for believers.
Welcome to the discussion. I can't speak for everyone, but I'm not convinced by minimal evidence. For breakthrough claims, I'm convinced by "beyond any possible doubt" evidence. It is a very high evidentiary wall, but there is eventually a way to get over that wall. That is what I'd like to show.

The biggest problem with any definitive answer to your question of what minimum evidence would convince skeptics is that it instantly becomes a handbook for hoaxers.
Well, as a skeptic I always need to know that something isn't a hoax. It's the first thing to cross off the list — it's like half of Snopes' workload. So the standard needs to be hoax-proof. That's why, I think, discontinuity (discussed above) is a great criterion. You can't hoax a technological leap, unless it's only a picture or a video, which is never good enough. And that raises a point....

The photorealism that people can do with CGI nowadays, just on their laptops, is incredible. Even in Blender, a free program that anyone can download, you can create a scene as photorealistic as your skills and as fantastical as your imagination, and capture it from many angles with cameras of different types and focal lengths and output formats. There's one checkbox to output a stereoscopic ("3D") movie. So, even multiple videos of one event is not good enough. The standard needs to include a certain number of in-person eyewitnesses who are not previously associated. And their reports need to be speedy — they did not communicate before giving their reports, and they most certainly didn't live in a house or an aircraft carrier for months or years afterward before appearing on TV shows.
 
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Mendel

Senior Member.
An alien vessel has to come from somewhere and go somewhere; or it has to be examinable. If it's neither, it shares vital characteristics with known CGI hoaxes, so obvious I'm going to want to see evidence that it's not.
To elaborate on that:
  • I want astronomers to report they've found an object approaching Earth.
  • I want NASA (or another agency) to report they've tracked it.
  • I want video from locations NASA has tracked it to that are detailed/not blurry blobs/not in the low information zone (LIZ)
  • I want astronomers/NASA tracking this object away from Earth, OR
  • I want credible reports from the crash site, OR
  • I want credible reports about the landed spaceship.
"Just the video" isn't going to cut it.
 

Ann K

Senior Member.
The biggest problem with any definitive answer to your question of what minimum evidence would convince skeptics is that it instantly becomes a handbook for hoaxers.
Perhaps I'm more skeptical than most, but the presence of an unknown substance or an unknown craft, even if verified, is just "something we haven't explained YET". I'd be more impressed with mechanisms rather than artifacts. And unless the mechanism and details of far-interstellar travel (repeated many, many times over the course of a few decades, as the UFOlogists have claimed) can be explained, I'd definitely reserve my belief.
 

Edward Current

Active Member
To elaborate on that:
  • I want astronomers to report they've found an object approaching Earth.
  • I want NASA (or another agency) to report they've tracked it.
  • I want video from locations NASA has tracked it to that are detailed/not blurry blobs/not in the low information zone (LIZ)
  • I want astronomers/NASA tracking this object away from Earth, OR
  • I want credible reports from the crash site, OR
  • I want credible reports about the landed spaceship.
What if it never approaches Earth? What if it doesn't land or leave artifacts? I mean, I don't believe for a second that it's possible or will ever happen, but if in the unlikely event there were such a thing as "inter-dimensional travelers," I should think it could be possible to gather robust evidence of such a visit. If some giant craft did appear over New York City and stayed for five minutes, and then zapped out when things got too close, that would be difficult to dismiss.

Here's a provocative question, what if the military released high-quality, multi-camera footage and announced that it was a genuine recording of an encounter? I think we'd still need speedy eyewitness reports. So, if five officers immediately signed affadavits in addition to this high-quality video, is the standard met? Are we convinced? (Keeping in mind that opinion can always be changed later with new information.)
 

JMartJr

Senior Member
It intrigues me how strongly this discussion is geared towards machinery and tech. We seem as a group to be more interested in "show me the alien devices" than in "show me the aliens." Not a criticism, just an observation that interested me.
 

Jeffrey Orling

Senior Member
You need multiple reliable witness, with multiple hi res... images and vids. No reason to assume that they wouldn't be "stealth" and invisible to radar.

But what is the implication for humanity? Do we go "defensive" to protect against the invaders? Or do we try to reach out and welcome and interact... and learn something?
 

Jeffrey Orling

Senior Member
I was just about to ask about a similar scenario.

Imagine you heard your neighbors outside talking excitedly one night and you went out to see what was up. You go out to see a giant dull black triangle blotting out the stars for what appears to be at least two miles along each of its edges. You see nine circular, recessed cavities underneath it that contain a warm globular amber glow. Whatever it is is slowly passing directly overhead and, of course, it’s silent. After watching it for 45 seconds or so and attempting to film it with your phone it suddenly shoots straight up at impossible speed and disappears. You say to your neighbors, “did you see that?” and they say of course they did. It’s the most breathtaking thing you and your neighbors have ever witnessed.

You reluctantly post your less-than-ideal video on metabunk and we predictably say: inconclusive. Could be drones plus optical illusions. Could be doctored. Regardless it’s just a video. You explain your neighbors’ reactions, link to their even shakier nighttime videos. Metabunk confirms what you already know: inconclusive. Proof of nothing.

If the intellectually honest thing to do is admit it almost certainly wasn’t anything otherworldly (eyewitness testimony and videos are unreliable) could you, as baffled witness, genuinely accept that conclusion? When describing what you saw to others, how would you frame it? Or, since you can’t have known what you saw, would it be wise to avoid mentioning it altogether?

Note: Edward Current, if this is too off-topic, say the word and I’ll gladly delete this.
Almost nobody can estimate the size of an object in the sky.
 

Woolery

Banned
Banned
Almost nobody can estimate the size of an object in the sky.
some giant craft did appear over New York City and stayed for five minutes, and then zapped out when things got too close, that would be difficult to dismiss.
True. And things can’t “zap out.” Yet we sometimes discuss these things.

Edit: If the reply above might represent the quality of response my question will generate allow me to delete the question so as not to derail the OP’s thoughtful topic.
 
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Mendel

Senior Member.
What if it never approaches Earth?
It'd need to manoeuver or communicate.
What if it doesn't land or leave artifacts?
Communication would be great. Wouldn't even need to be "breakthrough", just be very much confirmed (ideally by receivers on separate continents) to be coming from outer space.
Here's a provocative question, what if the military released high-quality, multi-camera footage and announced that it was a genuine recording of an encounter?
I'd probably believe it, but it still needs a plausible context.
If some giant craft did appear over New York City and stayed for five minutes, and then zapped out when things got too close, that would be difficult to dismiss.
Super easy to dismiss.
 

Edward Current

Active Member
Almost nobody can estimate the size of an object in the sky.
Well...if folks in the Battery and Uptown both reported part of the same object directly overhead, that would suggest a minimum size.
And things can’t “zap out.” Yet we sometimes discuss these things.
Maybe someday we'll figure out how to make objects or ourselves do this. There are plenty of people who believe that such things have been witnessed. They should know what evidence they need to bring, too. I don't think it's defensible to say, "This could and will never happen, and you will never have evidence to prove otherwise." Let's keep everything on the table, no matter how high the evidentiary wall.
It'd need to manoeuver or communicate.
Again...I'd use caution regarding such assumptions. Our imaginations — even about what humans could achieve 1,000 or 10,000 years from now — are not unbounded.
Super easy to dismiss.
Yeah? If thousands of New Yorkers recorded it on their phones? At minimum, I'd take this as evidence of some advanced holography technique, which itself is a far-breakthrough thing because it's discontinuous with existing technology.
 
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