Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Dear Stan - Continued

The latest, from UFO Updates, with Stan's response, and my reply (original here).

Paul Kimball

Stan:

Virtually all of this response is, well, non-responsive, but I'll go though it anyway, and then get back to the central question, which you completely evaded.

Proof also has scientific and technical meanings as well as legal. As does evidence. Where is an adversary? Who is on trial?
If using the Anglo-Saxon legal standard of proof bothers you or confuses you so much, then I would suggest that you stop referencing it at your lectures, and in your media interviews.

I like the recent decision of the Washington State Supreme Court (Ongom vs State of Washington Department of Health)which reversed a lower court and the appeals court in a manner involving professional competence, licensing, etc., by claiming that the lower decisions were based on a "prepondernce of evidence" standard wheras they should have used a tougher standard "clear and convincing evidence". They did not require "beyond a reasonable doubt".
Stan, with all due respect, you should stick to nuclear physics, and leave the law to we lawyers. Of course they would be talking about a standard of proof lesser than "beyond a reasonable doubt", because it was a non-criminal case.

Did you even read my post all the way through?

Many things in science are deduced based upon "clear and convincing evidence"... We know that people can build apparently metallic structured maneuverable vehicles capable of flight. We have not come up with any evidence that Earth is unique. We know that the age of our current vehicle building civilization is very very much less than the age of the planet or of the solar system or of the galaxy or the universe.
None of which is even remotely relevant, but it makes for good eyewash for some I suppose.

We have, so far as I can judge from this discussion, not seen any evidence of the existence of ultraterrestrial or cryptoterrestrial beings. This doesn't mean we have established that they don't exist. We do know of many observations of the flight, landing, take off of highly maneuverable manufactured craft that move up up and away and sometimes are seen in the company of very very large airborne craft.
None of which proves that any of these sightings are of an intelligently controlled, extraterrestrial spacecraft, which is what you assert as a fact.

We further know that the development of our advanced flying craft has been done for military purposes and at enormous costs. We Earthlings have a long history of developing craft and spying on other countries to see what their capabilities are along lines that we would either have to defend against or copy.
Not relevant to the discussion in the least.

Nobody has presented "clear and convincing evidence" that the items seen in the best cases originated from any group on earth.
They don't have to Stan. The burden of proof lies on the party making the assertion of fact, which in this case is you, as you assert that some UFOs are intelligently controlled alien spacecraft. I don't assert that they are not - I merely state that we can't say for sure what any UFOs are.

Your stance reminds me a lot of the Billy Meier defenders - they tell everyone who calls the photos/films into question to prove that they are frauds. That's not required - the Meier-ites have to prove that they are real, not the other way around. Ditto you and the ETH as the ETF.

Anything less is intellectually dishonest.

They were, therefore, produced by intelligent beings from somewhere else. That, of course, doesn't answer with "clear and convincing evidence" where they originate, why they are here, or why they don't seem to do a host of things. I would say that the Star Map work associated with the Hill case makes a very strong case that the base planets (not necessarily the homes of any of the crew) are near Zeta 1 or Zeta 2 Reticulum for those particular craft crew-members.
I notice throughout that you've latched onto that "clear and convincing evidence" line. Again you miss the point - your old buddy Carl Sagan was 100% correct when he said that extraordinary claims, which is certainly what the ETH as ETF is, require extraordinary proof. In other words, beyond any reasonable doubt.

Now, I understand why you don't like that, because you know that you can't do it. But that's what thinking people require in order to assert that something like alien visitation to Earth is a fact, and not just a good working theory.

But I'll play along with the lower standard, just for fun. Clear and convincing evidence it is.

Accordingly, I'll ask my original question, which you didn't answer (you didn't answer it when you were asked it by Seth Shostak a couple of years ago during your "debate" on C2C).

Here it is again, with the lower standard of proof substituted for "beyond a reasonable doubt":

Name the one case that proves clear and convincing evidence that the ETH is the ETFact, and not something else.

One case, Stan. That shouldn't be so hard.

Don't cite stats like "hundreds of physical trace cases", or "thousands of witnesses". That's ducking the question. It's non-responsive, and it proves nothing, other than that we have a mystery, which is what I and others are saying here.

Just one case. That's all I need - the one case that shows clear and convincing evidence that aliens have visited Earth, which is the standard that you have adopted, and which sits higher than the preponderance of evidence standard (i.e. the balance of probabilities).

Then we can talk about that one case.

Best regards,

Paul

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

That was a very good response...no, that was an excellent response to Stan, Paul! This kind of honest thinking that you have demonstrated gives me hope that you have some real potential to change the UFO community for good.

My impression of Stan is that he is an arrogant, pompous, smart-arse. It is one thing to pretend what you are doing is science -- it is quite another thing to do it, and Stan has never done it. He is great at insults and armchair proclamations, but when you scratch him on the surface, you will find somebody who is not up on what he claims to be. A real scientist makes discoveries or claims and then must communicate that those discoveries are correct. Any flaw in their logic, demonstrable experiment, reasoning, or justification will discredit their discovery or claim and that is what the scientific method really is all about in a nutshell...finding flaws. And because not all scientists actually practice science or they tend to make mistakes, any discovery or claim must also be put up for peer review, so that it can be subjected under scrutiny for any flaws. To simply believe in someone's discovery or claim without doubt or scrutiny, is called blind faith, stupidity, or just plain being gullible. If someone wants to practice or preach legitimate science, they had better be very familiar with any flaws that could be present in whatever claim they make, otherwise their "science" career may be very short lived or without credibility.

Flying saucers and visiting ETs is a claim that has flaws with every
test of logic, experiment, reasoning, or justification that has ever been presented. I know five year olds who can make up better and more believable UFO/ET stories than are out there. For an example of real science, take a look at this excerpt from a University science textbook on the topic of UFOs...

"Those who believe that at least some unidentified flying objects
(UFOs) do contain intelligent aliens are able to cite lots of 'facts' to support this belief. Why is it that scientists do not pay more attention to this 'evidence'? What makes the belief in an expanding universe scientifically acceptable and the belief in extraterrestrial visitation unacceptable? At the end of Part Two we will examine several examples in which the 'facts' fail to provide genuine evidence for the hypothesis in question. You will thus learn what distinguishes REAL SCIENCE from mere SPECULATION or PSUEDOSCIENCE
" (UNDERSTANDING SCIENTIFIC REASONING, Ronald N Giere, pg 6).

Fast forwarding to part two...

"Even EU Condon, the physicist who headed the government-sponsored
study of UFOs in 1966-1968, said that he would believe ETV [ExtraTerrestrial Visitations] if a spaceship landed in front of his laboratory and its occupants came out to greet him. Lacking a well-formulated version of the ETV hypothesis that can be subjected to a good test, this seems the only kind of evidence that could justify this hypothesis. IN THE MEANTIME, IT REMAINS IN THE REALM OF SPECULATION -- FASCINATING PERHAPS, BUT STILL SPECULATION
" (Ibid, pgs 168-9).

Most interestingly, Ronald makes a good point about UFOs, namely, "I said that the basic data consist of REPORTS of UFO sightings, not the EXISTENCE of what was reported. This distinction is crucial because the fact that some people have reported such things has been verified by many investigators. There can be no doubt that people have made such reports. That the people in question actually saw or experienced what they say they did, however, is open to question" (Ibid, pg 166).

The comical elusiveness of ET and flying saucers, has made UFO believers the laughingstock of the world. If ET's goal was to lie low and not interfere, then ET blew it! If ET's goal was to become involved in human affairs, then ET blew that too! No, either ET is a juvenile delinquent who is wasting our time or ET has a teenage crush on us but is too shy to ever do anything openly about it. Or maybe as Bufo Calvin would say, "The aliens must be idiots". I too have heard all about the stories of broken-down spaceships, or of abductees being put back into bed with their clothes on backwards or in the wrong vehicles, or of aliens using a wheat field as a method of communication. I'm not willing to buy into the silly story that an intellectually superior race that could travel interstellar distances, would go through all the trouble to come to our planet just to put on a second-rate airshow for our viewing pleasure, especially when the highlight of this show is to create silly patterns in wheat fields and mutilate cattle. As we have seen so far, the only ones putting on a show for us here are UFO believers -- people who will stop at nothing to descend the deepest depths of gullibility in order to justify their make believe religion.

So it should be no wonder that the UFO community is the laughingstock of the world, when the UFO media appears to report ANYTHING anyone tells them, without regard to reasonable questioning of the alleged facts of the matter. I look forward to seeing whether you will be able to alter the poor but deserved reputation of the UFO community, and either put UFOs on the science map, or banish them forever to the realm of poorly thought out fantasies.

Anonymous said...

That was a very good response...no, that was an excellent response to Stan, Paul! This kind of thinking that you have demonstrated gives me hope that you have some real potential.

My impression of Stan is that he is an arrogant, pompous, smart-arse. It is one thing to pretend what you are doing is science -- it is quite another thing to do it, and Stan has never done it. He is great at insults and armchair proclamations, but when you scratch him on the surface, you will find somebody who is not up on what he claims to be. A real scientist makes discoveries or claims and then must communicate that those discoveries are correct. Any flaw in their logic, demonstrable experiment, reasoning, or justification will discredit their discovery or claim and that is what the scientific method really is all about in a nutshell...finding flaws. And because not all scientists actually practice science or they tend to make mistakes, any discovery or claim must also be put up for peer review, so that it can be subjected under scrutiny for any flaws. To simply believe in someone's discovery or claim without doubt or scrutiny, is called blind faith, stupidity, or just plain being gullible. If someone wants to practice or preach legitimate science, they had better be very familiar with any flaws that could be present in whatever claim they make, otherwise their "science" career may be very short lived or without credibility.

Flying saucers and visiting ETs is a claim that has flaws with every test of logic, experiment, reasoning, or justification that has ever been presented. I know five year olds who can make up better and more believable UFO/ET stories than are out there. For an example of real science, take a look at this excerpt from a University science textbook on the topic of UFOs...

"Those who believe that at least some unidentified flying objects (UFOs) do contain intelligent aliens are able to cite lots of 'facts' to support this belief. Why is it that scientists do not pay more attention to this 'evidence'? What makes the belief in an expanding universe scientifically acceptable and the belief in extraterrestrial visitation unacceptable? At the end of Part Two we will examine several examples in which the 'facts' fail to provide genuine evidence for the hypothesis in question. You will thus learn what distinguishes REAL SCIENCE from mere SPECULATION or PSUEDOSCIENCE" (UNDERSTANDING SCIENTIFIC REASONING, Ronald N Giere, pg 6).

Fast forwarding to part two...

"Even EU Condon, the physicist who headed the government-sponsored
study of UFOs in 1966-1968, said that he would believe ETV [ExtraTerrestrial Visitations] if a spaceship landed in front of his laboratory and its occupants came out to greet him. Lacking a well-formulated version of the ETV hypothesis that can be subjected to a good test, this seems the only kind of evidence that could justify this hypothesis. IN THE MEANTIME, IT REMAINS IN THE REALM OF SPECULATION -- FASCINATING PERHAPS, BUT STILL SPECULATION
" (Ibid, pgs 168-9).

Most interestingly, Ronald makes a good point about UFOs, namely, "I said that the basic data consist of REPORTS of UFO sightings, not the EXISTENCE of what was reported. This distinction is crucial because the fact that some people have reported such things has been verified by many investigators. There can be no doubt that people have made such reports. That the people in question actually saw or experienced what they say they did, however, is open to question" (Ibid, pg 166).

The comical elusiveness of ET and flying saucers, has made UFO believers the laughingstock of the world. If ET's goal was to lie low and not interfere, then ET blew it! If ET's goal was to become involved in human affairs, then ET blew that too! No, either ET is a juvenile delinquent who is wasting our time or ET has a teenage crush on us but is too shy to ever do anything openly about it. Or maybe as Bufo Calvin would say, "The aliens must be idiots". I too have heard all about the stories of broken-down spaceships, or of abductees being put back into bed with their clothes on backwards or in the wrong vehicles, or of aliens using a wheat field as a method of communication. I'm not willing to buy into the silly story that an intellectually superior race that could travel interstellar distances, would go through all the trouble to come to our planet just to put on a second-rate airshow for our viewing pleasure, especially when the highlight of this show is to create silly patterns in wheat fields and mutilate cattle. As we have seen so far, the only ones putting on a show for us here UFO believers, people who will stop at nothing to descend the deepest depths of gullibility in order to justify their make believe religion.

So it should be no wonder that the UFO community is the laughingstock of the world, when the UFO media appears to report ANYTHING anyone tells them, without regard to reasonable questioning of the alleged facts of the matter. I look forward to seeing whether you will be able to alter the poor but deserved reputation of the UFO community, and either put UFOs on the science map, or banish them forever to the realm of poorly thought out fantasies.

rdbrock said...

"clear and convincing evidence"

The use of language like this is precisely why Friedman has always grated on me. In fact, when I listen to his arguments for the ETH, they are so weasel-worded as to qualify as sophistry, imho.

I could go through and start picking apart some of the quotes from him you've included here, but you've done an able job yourself.

However, I will address a comment Friedman made in a slightly more recent post at UpDates, because it's such an excellent opportunity to address his manner of argumentation:

http://www.virtuallystrange.net/ufo/updates/2006/dec/m26-007.shtml

I had friendly conversations with Hynek, Mack, and Vallee. It
was pretty clear that none were familiar with the advanced
technology that could get us to the stars. Probably the main
reason is that the work was done in industry and not in academia
and was done under security rather than out in the open.

Each was obviously convinced that something very unusual was
going on, but that since star travel is "impossible" there must
be a non-high tech solution. As well educated people in other
areas, it is not too surprising that they were interested in far
out "paranormal" stuff.

I once asked Hynek what he thought was the highest power level
at which a nuclear fission rocket had been tested. His response
was 4 megawatts. The right answer was 4000 megawatts


Stan Friedman


The first paragraph is "guilt by implication. He has first of all taken three of the foremost "experts" in ufology and cast doubt upon their "expertise" in the area of nuclear rocketry, compared to his. He frequently uses this as a roundabout "defense" of the ETH.

Probably the main
reason is that the work was done in industry and not in academia
and was done under security rather than out in the open.


Ergo, "I Stan, was there working on nuclear rockets."

Each was obviously convinced that something very unusual was
going on, but that since star travel is "impossible" there must
be a non-high tech solution. As well educated people in other
areas, it is not too surprising that they were interested in far
out "paranormal" stuff.


Scare-quotes around "impossible" to
suggest that starflight is, in fact, possible. Throws in the comment about the paranormal to further distance himself, Stanton Friedman, nuclear physicist, from the witch-doctory of these others.

His final statement is the most vulnerable:

I once asked Hynek what he thought was the highest power level
at which a nuclear fission rocket had been tested. His response
was 4 megawatts. The right answer was 4000 megawatts.


Ergo, Hynek took note of the embarassment of riches, rejected the ETH, but LOOK! he was a dumb ass about nuclear fission rockets! So, Hynek is wrong, Stan is right.

But all Stan's blathering about nuclear rockets is just that: blathering. Because when we consult a reliable source, we learn the following:

Just how limited are rockets for interstellar travel? Although rockets are reasonable for journeys into orbit or to the moon, they become unreasonable for interstellar travel. If you want to deliver a modest size payload, say a full Shuttle cargo (20,000 kg), and you are patient enough to wait 900 years for it to just fly by the nearest star, here's how much propellant you'll need: If you use a rocket like on the Shuttle (Isp~ 500s), there isn't enough mass in the universe to get you there. If you use a nuclear fission rocket (Isp~ 5,000s) you need about a billion super-tankers of propellant. If you use a nuclear fusion rocket (Isp~ 10,000s) you only need about a thousand super-tankers. And if you assume that you'll have a super-duper Ion or Antimatter rocket (Isp~ 50,000s), well now you only need about ten railway tankers. It gets even worse if you want to get there sooner.

http://www.nasa.gov/centers/glenn/research/warp/ipspaper.html

Calculations based on 1.Mallove, E.F., and Matloff, G.L., The Starflight Handbook, Wiley Science Editions, John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York (1989).

Other sources which say essentially the same thing exist, and could have been cited as well.

Point: Your feeding us a line of bull Stan. The only reason people buy it is because you speak nonsense with animation and authority.

The right answer was 4000 megawatts.

BFD, Stan. Nuclear fission rockets are a lousy starflight technology, and your research with them says nothing about the feasibility of starflight for us, or for an alien race.

Best,
RDB

P.S. - It really surprises me that Stan has all those "standing offers" for debate out there. In a moderated debate, in an academic setting, with someone like, say, Steven Weinberg, he would be eaten alive (and he knows it). His "debate" with Shostak was akin to the shill-stacked forums where Kent Hovind (Dr. Dino) and Duane Gish defend "creationist science."

rdbrock said...

Couple more points:

You raise the apt point:

Again you miss the point - your old buddy Carl Sagan was 100% correct when he said that extraordinary claims, which is certainly what the ETH as ETF is, require extraordinary proof. In other words, beyond any reasonable doubt.

It is well to take note of what "beyond any reasonable doubt" means in this context. It means "beyond any reasonable doubt of any thinking person. "Any thinking person" means Carl Sagan, Paul Kimball, Rod Brock, his neighbor, his neigbor's girlfriend, various high school math teachers, Stephen Hawking, Walter Cronkite, the old man who sits inside Starbucks and reads Civil War histories, etc...

However, since Friedman's "evidence" really does not prove the ETH beyond any reasonable doubt, there will naturally be those who dissent. Those who adhere to Friedman's "party line" then do the dirty work of discrediting the dissenters, by labeling them with various pejorative terms, so that anything they say is suspect, by default (among the faithful).

One thing leads to another...

Meanwhile, serious work languishes. Why do further research? Why entertain any other hypothesis? Stan has given us the answer. UFOs are extraterrestrial vehicles which, in the case of Betty and Barney Hill's abduction, herald from the Zeta Reticulum system, this based on the Fish map (never mind that the Fish map has been discredited).

And Stan is on the job, bringing his curious brand of truth to unwashed masses, at con after con, and they bow down to him like the golden calf.

Let's not forget that Stan is the one who said, in attempt to mimic the skeptical mindset: "don't confuse me with the facts..."

*sound of applause*

Anonymous said...

What Stan can't get through his head is that unexplainability is not identical to extraterrestrial origin. Additional evidence clearly pointing to an ET point of origin is needed beyond mere unexplainability, which alone could fit any number of competing hypotheses of origin. Yet the same fallacy is repeated over and over again. He thinks that if he can dismiss all competing hypotheses of origin leaving only ETH then he has "proven" ETH. But that argument is only as strong as his weakest argument dismissing any one of the alternatives to ETH. And his arguments against alternatives to ETH boil down to picking each one, one by one, in isolation from all others and demanding "proof," while ignoring for the moment making the same demand of all the rest including his precious ETH.

Thus we are returned back to McDonald's 1960's opinion that ETH is merely the least unsatisfactory hypothesis, not the one with the greatest amount of direct evidence. But Stan cannot admit even that.

Anonymous said...

>Thus we are returned back to McDonald's 1960's opinion that ETH is merely the least unsatisfactory hypothesis, not the one with the greatest amount of direct evidence. But Stan cannot admit even that.
*************

Of course he can't. His take on the ETH is part and parcel of his meal ticket. Heaven forbid he should offend the "true believers."

CDA said...

Stan Friedman has claimed that Roswell is the one case that proves ETH, at least to his satisfaction. Unfortunately he ruins his case by including the Plains of San Augustin 'crash' as part of Roswell, for which there is not one iota of contemporary documentation.

He further relies far too much on anecdotal testimony, and seems to think each additional 'witness' he (or others) can find adds credibility to the case. After some 400 to 500 so-called witnesses, what value has one more to the story, especially when all he or she relates is yet more anecdotes? He or she can never, repeat never, produce one iota of hard evidence. The official documentation is (and forever will be) missing, the hardware/wreckage is (and forever will be) missing, the bodies are (and forever will be) missing. Yet still Stan finds a way out of this. It is all, after 6 decades, still under wraps, i.e. above top secret. A preposterous notion and a very feeble excuse, but one that he can always use to further his dotty Roswell claims.

I notice lately that instead of the burnt out Roswell story he is now switching to the Hill case as the proof of ETH. Not a chance Stan, not a chance.