What evidence of aliens would convince skeptics?

jarlrmai

Senior Member
Yeah, I used Bird.net Ap as well -- but the version I have, at least, starts with your location and does not consider birds that wouldn't be there -- to save comparing zillions of birds that don't live where you are listening. There may be some way to set it for Spain, or Hawaii, or somewhere else, but if so I can't find it. It just goes by my phone's GPS. (I'm in NC, I got Carolina Wren as well, but with low probability.) I'm going to put a note in that thread asking if anybody in Spain or Hawaii wants to give it a go...
You can upload an mp3 here, I am in the UK and still get Carolina Wren.

https://birdnet.cornell.edu/api/
 

JMartJr

Senior Member
Ah, thanks, I was using the App. I have Carolina Wrens nesting on the porch, I'll keep an ear on them.
Sorry for going off topic, all, I'll be good now...
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
What evidence is needed to convince a person that it is a tomato salad? A tomato.
The only evidence that my instant tomato soup contains tomatoes is the declaration on the package that there's 20% tomato powder in it, an assertion that I am in no position to verify. Should I be skeptical?
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Evidence of aliens is not acceptable if it requires us to believe the aliens have supernatural powers; and "breaks the known laws of physics" is just code for that.

I have great confidence in the laws of physics. Arguments of the type "this fuzzy blob of pixels does impossible stuff and therefore is extraterrestrial" are destined to fail from the start.

We've posited in this thread that unprecedented technology or scientific breakthroughs could be used as evidence of aliens; but because it is unprecedented, this evidence would need to be quite strong to be convincing.
 

nmarsollier

New Member
The only evidence that my instant tomato soup contains tomatoes is the declaration on the package that there's 20% tomato powder in it, an assertion that I am in no position to verify. Should I be skeptical?
Of course, they only way to be sure, is a physical evidence. In your case there should be a receipe and a goverment departament that verifies that the receipe is followed. An even in that case could not be any tomato there.
But if tomatoes where extinct whould you trust in the declaration? Or you would like to see it?
You need an alien. You can trust science when the time comes, but you need not 'in theory' you need the scientific fact.
 

Woolery

Active Member
so how do I verify that if I don't know what an alien looks like?
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.

Sorry for being dense. But can you help me understand how nmarsollier’s requirement of an alien for “evidence of aliens” is flawed but your previous requirement of an alien for “evidence of aliens” is not?

Edit: I’m sure there’s a simple explanation I’m just missing. Can anyone who shares Mendel’s perspective clarify it for me?
 
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nmarsollier

New Member
The only evidence that my instant tomato soup contains tomatoes is the declaration on the package that there's 20% tomato powder in it, an assertion that I am in no position to verify. Should I be skeptical?
That claim, means that if someone finds some kind of package with a declaration outside that there is an alien life inside, we should just 'believe' that aliens exists? or we should verify that?

Sould be a breach about believes and facts
 
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Mendel

Senior Member.
That claim, means that if someone finds some kind of package with a declaration outside that there is an alien life inside, we should just 'believe' that aliens exists? or we should verify that?

Sould be a breach about believes and facts
yes. the conundrum is that there really is tomato in there, even if it's not obvious.

Your 'tomato salad argument' has us reject all aliens that aren't obviously aliens, so you're setting yourself up to potentially overlook an alien with that approach.

If we telescopically tracked an object from outside the solar system into an Earth object, and we could establish some communications with it, that'd be a convincing proof.
 
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nmarsollier

New Member
yes. the conundrum is that there really is tomato in there, even if it's not obvious.

Your 'tomato salad argument' has us reject all aliens that aren't obviously aliens, so you're setting yourself up to potentially overlook an alien with that approach.

If we telescopically tracked an object from outside the solar system into an Earth object, and we could establish some communications with it, that'd be a convincing proof.
Why?
Such scenario should open doors to many theories, why aliens would be the only one?

Why cannot be:

- Good
- Time travel
- Atlantis humans comming back from excursion
- A matrix error

All depends on the evidence. As sceptik I would say that If we are scientifically 100% sure that we are communicating with alien life, then there is an alien to believe in, otherwise we have only theories.
 

Ann K

Senior Member.
Why?
Such scenario should open doors to many theories, why aliens would be the only one?

Why cannot be:

- Good
- Time travel
- Atlantis humans comming back from excursion
- A matrix error

All depends on the evidence. As sceptik I would say that If we are scientifically 100% sure that we are communicating with alien life, then there is an alien to believe in, otherwise we have only theories.
I understand the original question to mean "What would convince YOU". That would convince Mandel, and I would find it rather persuasive too, but there's no reason it has to be your standard as well. After all, there is no such thing as a standard regulation skeptic. But since an alien from another planet would be a natural entity (although not yet demonstrated), it's a thing I'd consider to be far more likely than any supernatural one, which seems to be the common characteristic of your alternatives. We know natural things exist, but have yet to see evidence of the supernatural at all.
 

nmarsollier

New Member
You are right, I agree that there is no standard here, sorry about explaing myself boyond the question.

To answer the questioon as skeptic, my answer is: An alien life.

So, someone please take notes about many skeptics answers and make some stats to get to some conclusion about a general answer to this question.
 

Hawkeye

New Member
Definitely not just hearsay and rumors, which is what the vast majority of “evidence” seems to be, including supposed government official types such as Elizondo and co
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Why cannot be:

- Good
- Time travel
- Atlantis humans comming back from excursion
- A matrix error
Occam's razor.
Intelligent beings (they communicate!) that have been tracked from outside the solar system (extraterrestrial) are your tomato salad tomatoes.

Your 4 suggestions all introduce additional elements that have no supporting evidence and don't add explanatory power.
 

Edward Current

Active Member
Why cannot be:

- Good
- Time travel
- Atlantis humans comming back from excursion
- A matrix error

To quote an earlier comment:
Ok now we are just making stuff up.

Seriously though, back at the beginning of this thread, we realized that "aliens" in the question needed to be generalized to something like "non-conventional intelligent entities," which would cover everything on the list. So the question becomes, what would convince skeptics that non-conventional intelligent entities here on Earth are actually a thing, and not just the products of colorful imaginations.
 

Woolery

Active Member
So the question becomes, what would convince skeptics that non-conventional intelligent entities here on Earth are actually a thing, and not just the products of colorful imaginations.
The fact that there can be no formulaic answer is a pretty big stumbling block in the way of consensus, in my opinion.

Taking into account the feedback of others, I edited a previous suggestion. I think the following very broad criteria might be worth considering as a jumping off point.

Evidence of non-conventional intelligent entities (in the form of alien life, ships, tech, communications, space trash , etc.) must:

-Be widely corroborated
-Withstand detailed analysis
-Invite independent scientific review
-Include verifiable, transparent chain of custody

The obvious criticism to the above is that it’s too general. But since no one knows in what form evidence might reach us if it did, I don’t know how to be more specific without making it into a laundry list of make-believe scenarios.

Maybe an alternative way to think about it is: if a Mars rover collected evidence suggesting life once existed on Mars—a scenario for which science is preparing—what would the process of collection, analysis and verification of the evidence look like in the broadest terms? It’s a difficult question to answer.
 
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Domzh

Active Member
indeed! its an alien mothership with clearly visible marsians showing the peace sign. john and jack junior. a little bit blurred of course due to the alcubierre drive that causes gravitational lensing (obviously)
 

Ann K

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.
Here's a thought experiment. Imagine the situation where carbon-based life forms (because chemically, carbon is the most probable building material) land on earth after a journey that took centuries (because the limitations of physics and the size of the universe suggest that would have to be the case). We might discover the descendants of the original voyagers, possibly young people without the knowledge of their original home or without the expertise to build the hardware. We might only find the plant-like materials grown for consumption during the journey, or the equivalent of a fungus that's grown around a leaky valve.

Now how are we to determine they're all extraterrestrial? Morphology of the creatures, probably, if indeed they survived the trip and are found. But the plants and the fungus might just have researchers saying "Ooh, a new species!". There's no reason for any super-intelligence to have made such a journey If the original creators are not present, Our best question might well be "show me the alien devices".
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
But the plants and the fungus might just have researchers saying "Ooh, a new species!"
Their DNA (if they don't have any, that's VERY alien) won't be placeable within terrestrial genetic lines.
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.
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".
 

Woolery

Active Member
An alien lifeform would be great. It could be sentient dolphins, or sentient wolves;
Most biologists (and a lot of other people) believe that sentient dolphins and wolves are the only kind there is. You might consider striking these examples from your list.

Article:
The definition of sentient is simply “able to perceive or feel things”. Today most of us would probably also say that animals are able to feel emotion, form attachments and have distinct personalities. Yet for many decades the idea of animals feeling emotions or having personalities was dismissed by behavioural scientists. This strange view that arose from the 17th century philosopher René Descartes’ alleged assertion that animals are without feelings, physical or emotional.
Source:https://theconversation.com/amp/heres-what-the-science-says-about-animal-sentience-88047
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Most biologists (and a lot of other people) believe that sentient dolphins and wolves are the only kind there is. You might consider striking these examples from your list.
Sure. As soon as you show me one with an interest in space flight.

I have chosen these examples because it is easily imaginable that a life form similar to these evolved further on another planet than it did on ours.

Not all sentient life forms are aliens.
 

jarlrmai

Senior Member
Sure. As soon as you show me one with an interest in space flight.

I have chosen these examples because it is easily imaginable that a life form similar to these evolved further on another planet than it did on ours.
That would be likely be described as a "sapient" dolphin.

Levels of intelligence/awareness are hard to describe/judge though.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Levels of intelligence/awareness are hard to describe/judge though.
For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much—the wheel, New York, wars and so on—whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man—for precisely the same reasons.
Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Content from External Source
 

nmarsollier

New Member
We know almost nothink. It is hard to answer.

I mentioned before

- Good
- Time travel
- Atlantis humans comming back from excursion
- A matrix error

And was meant to be imaginative and paranormal, but indeed that claim is as valid as the claim abput ancient aliens .

Good is supposed to be everywhere, is an alien or it it is part of everything? Who kmows?, there is no evidence

Time travel is indeed a possibility, to the past or future, going back or further may meed some space to move.

Aylantis earth humans, well who knows many folks are saying that they see osnis, no scientific evidence again

A mattix error , well if we are in a simulation can be a rock that works as a radio due a matrix error.

Also the problem is that we dont exactly need to kmow to ensure if some thing is an alien life, we only know just an small piece of the story.

I suggest Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon, puts very imaginative alternatives.
 

Woolery

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.
Another way for skeptics to dispel this notion would be to pick the UFO cases that come closest to meeting a skeptic’s criteria for proof, explain why they come closest by citing the cases’ strengths but then, in an amicable way, explain why the cases still ultimately fall well short of proof by citing the cases’ pivotal weaknesses.

Skeptics often avoid saying that a particular case is “fascinating” or “difficult” and this trivial omission heightens the suspicion of the believer that skeptics select data to fit their conclusions rather than conclusions to fit the data. This suspicion has a powerful effect on believers and skeptics alike.

It might be useful to compile a metabunk’s greatest hits that feature the most convincing UFO cases on record that nevertheless fail to stand up to careful scrutiny. At the very least it might prompt believers to actually examine metabunk.
 

Edward Current

Active Member
Another way for skeptics to dispel this notion would be to pick the UFO cases that come closest to meeting a skeptic’s criteria for proof, explain why they come closest by citing the cases’ strengths but then, in an amicable way, explain why the cases still ultimately fall well short of proof by citing the cases’ pivotal weaknesses.
Probably the most common argument I come across — and this applies to other believer classes as well, such as 9/11 demolition believers — is that there isn't one "smoking gun" piece of killer evidence, but that we must consider the totality of evidence over the past 75 years. And, debunkers are pseudo-skeptics because they deny this mass of evidence. It's essentially "evidence by a thousand cuts," this idea that 100 pieces of weak evidence, or 500 pieces of very weak evidence, somehow adds up to strong evidence.

Even here on Metabunk we had a user doing a Bayesian analysis involving a large number of UFO observations that he falsely characterized as independent events. The interdependency of the events is, of course, part of what makes all of the weak evidence not add up to strong evidence. But toward the end of the thread he wrote, "My problem with Carl Sagan’s 'Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence' is that it squashes each individual paranormal claim without allowing a group of good cases to be combined to offer support for the paranormal."

For years I watched the TV show The Curse of Oak Island, because it was a good look into the believer mentality as well as a wall-to-wall critical thinking exercise. The cast members were constantly waiting to come across what they called "The One Thing": one piece of definitive evidence of treasure buried on the island. Meanwhile, all the little supposed clues (a scrap of parchment here, coconut fibers there, buried wood dated to the 1500s, etc.) kept their faith going that they would eventually turn up The One Thing.

While we all wait for The One Thing in UFOlogy, it's hard to say what single pieces of evidence are best. Gimbal? The schoolchildren eyewitnesses? Lake Cote? From my perspective anyway, they're all terrible and don't come close to the requirements that have been suggested in this thread.
 

Woolery

Active Member
While we all wait for The One Thing in UFOlogy, it's hard to say what single pieces of evidence are best. Gimbal? The schoolchildren eyewitnesses? Lake Cote? From my perspective anyway, they're all terrible and don't come close to the requirements that have been suggested in this thread.
No, they don’t come close. And it’s often very hard (and a matter of opinion) to say which evidence is most compelling but still ultimately insufficient. I might not agree that they are all terrible based on the sheer number of otherwise reasonable people who consider them compelling. That suggests to me UFO cases are not unlike magic tricks. Once you see the mechanics behind them, the explanation is obvious but until then you might be subject to outlandish speculation. The main difference between magic tricks and UFO cases is that everyone who witnesses magic does so under the presumption they are about to be misled.

If a skeptic were interested in helping UFO believers see the mechanics behind the trick, the first compassionate step would be to let them know how easily everyone of us can be fooled.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
this idea that 100 pieces of weak evidence, or 500 pieces of very weak evidence, somehow adds up to strong evidence.
the counterargument that I failed to produce at the time is this:

Imagine you have ONE genuine UFO event, and 99 mistaken reports. Why should you consider these false 99 reports to be confirmation for the ONE genuine event?

That's worse than your Oak Island example, because it seems there the evidence was at least potentially pointing towards the same fact; while UFO reports regularly contradict each other. But these 99 mistaken reports are just clutter, they don't help us decide whether we're in a 99:1 or a 100:0 situation. I suspect the argument is a type of the "gambler's fallacy": red has come up so many times, the next one just has to be black—when in truth the string of reds hasn't changed the 50% probability a bit. No matter how many false reports we process, that doesn't make a true report more likely.
 

JMartJr

Senior Member
That suggests to me UFO cases are not unlike magic tricks. Once you see the mechanics behind them, the explanation is obvious but until then you might be subject to outlandish speculation.
That is very well put, thank you.
 

Vertigo

New Member
I thought Id point out we dont even have a good definition of terrestrial life. Is a virus alive? Similarly we arent sure what consciousness is, and might soon(ish) be unable to differentiate artificial intelligence from biological.

If little green men land their UFO on the white house lawn, and let us examine their bodies and technology, it shouldnt be hard to reach a conclusion. If its detecting Dyson spheres or measuring biosignatures on distant planets or looking at microscopic features in interstellar rocks, its gonna be extremely difficult, and the existence of alien life will be expressed as a probability, rather than a fact.

Anyway, to answer the question in the title; I cant really imagine seeing or experiencing anything myself that would convince me aliens (visiting earth) are real as I would also need to be convinced I was not hallucinating, dreaming or being tricked -either on purpose, as magicians manage all the time, or by some natural phenomena Im not equipped to explain. So Ill believe it once there is a scientific consensus that something is an alien life form or alien technology.
 
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Vertigo

New Member
. No matter how many false reports we process, that doesn't make a true report more likely.
I would argue its even the opposite. Because we know there have been so many false reports and hoaxers, and people craving attention and so often faking evidence, this raises the bar for evidence of aliens. You can not assume a picture or video posted on reddit has the same credibility as one taken from the hubble telescope, because we have seen a bazillion fakes on reddit (and none from hubble and no good reason to assume nasa astronomers can or does fake theirs). This is also why military reports are taken much more seriously, it seems unlikely the military have an interest in creating fakes. Not impossible (if it leads to more funding, or individual service members might be craving attention at the risk of their career) but at least a whole lot less likely than a post by /u/aliensarereal148579 looking for upvotes.
 

Edward Current

Active Member
Just leaving this here. Seems like we all agree that having a physical alien body available for inspection and verification would convince us skeptics. But at least one person thinks such evidence would not be extraordinary evidence....

Screen Shot 2022-05-23 at 9.56.29 AM.png
 

FatPhil

Senior Member.
Just leaving this here. Seems like we all agree that having a physical alien body available for inspection and verification would convince us skeptics. But at least one person thinks such evidence would not be extraordinary evidence....

Screen Shot 2022-05-23 at 9.56.29 AM.png

I'm not sure he's entirely clear with his point. Is he saying that once we have the evidence in front of us, it's no longer extraordinary?

Which in a way is true, as we've had a physical alien body available for inspection plenty of times. It's just that every time we've had one we've worked out before long that really it was a human birth defect or similar because, ooops, it's a match for some known mtDNA haplotype, or something equally non-extraordinary.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Just leaving this here. Seems like we all agree that having a physical alien body available for inspection and verification would convince us skeptics. But at least one person thinks such evidence would not be extraordinary evidence....

Screen Shot 2022-05-23 at 9.56.29 AM.png
The problem that UFO fans (and other fringe believers) have with a request for "extraordinary evidence" is largely a semantic distraction. It's something they like to leap upon as if it's skeptics being biased and unreasonable. Of course, an alien body would be extraordinary, but I'd recommend avoiding giving them the excuse to digress and just ask for "good", "quality", or "any" evidence.
 

NorCal Dave

Senior Member.
Anyway, to answer the question in the title; I cant really imagine seeing or experiencing anything myself that would convince me aliens (visiting earth) are real as I would also need to be convinced I was not hallucinating, dreaming or being tricked -either on purpose, as magicians manage all the time, or by some natural phenomena Im not equipped to explain. So Ill believe it once there is a scientific consensus that something is an alien life form or alien technology.
Well put. A singular "something" that may be alien is just that, singular. I like to think of myself as a thoughtful skeptic, but that means admitting I can be fooled or misled also. My experience, along with a consensus of people I respect and trust would be closer to the mark.
 
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