Friday, April 13, 2007

The Human Factor

An interesting observation by "Skeptical", the moderator of the UFO forum at X-Planet (here):

The real constant in the paranormal is not the phenomenon itself - it is the human observer. Hydrogen is hydrogen, regardless of whether a person sees it. But what is a ghost if there isn't a person there to swear it's the shade of dear, departed Uncle Ned? What is a meandering light in the night sky if there is no person there to label it an interplanetary spaceship? Do paranormal events have any life beyond what is observed or interpreted by people?
An interesting question, along the lines of the old "if a tree falls in a forest and no-one is around to hear it, does it make a sound" conundrum - to which I have always answered, "well, d'uh - of course it does", although I recognize that philosophy students need questions like this to justify the tuition that they've shelled out for their undergraduate degrees.

"Skeptical", who was inspired by a recent post at Kevin Randle's blog, concluded:

To quote Agent Mulder, I want to believe. But the vast majority of what I've seen lately actually leads me away from that conclusion. I've seen nothing but chicanery, muddled thinking and mysticism. It may be fun to think about, but at the end of the day, it appears that it is truly a tale told by an idiot - full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
That seems to be an apt description of public ufology, but it isn't necessarily an apt description of the serious study of the UFO phenomenon, particularly the work which goes on sub rosa.

Still, I can understand and sympathize with Skeptical, with the caveat that I neither want to believe, nor disbelieve. I'm just curious.

Paul Kimball


The Odd Emperor said...

Two thing s that I’ve always gotten out of UFOlogy.

1) The evidence is very meager.
2) There is SOME evidence……

Mac said...

Something I've gotten out of ufology: Dispense with the need to believe. And if you cherish weirdness, don't worry: reality is actually weirder without belief anyway.

name: SG said...

Again, we have here an example of someone who does not want to deal with scores of alleged military and career pilot reports.

I do understand the argument being made. But there are (so I've read over and over) many credible reports to look into. Forget about ET, ET, ET!
Skeptics don't want to talk about ufos. They want to talk about the lack of proof of ETH.

Who invades our airspace?
Any skeptic who offers mysticism as an example of "ufo cases" is not speaking on the subject from a serious stand point.

I was just going over Jenny Randles' UFO CONSPIRACY (1987).
Her personal investigation of The Rendlesham event revealed the MOD must have been practicing mysticism, considering their assurance that there was no defense significance to the report - while maintaining that no files are available attesting to that fact.

There is a mystery. Proove that people like Jenny Randles is a liar and never wrote to the MOD and then talk abuout mysticism and muddled thinking.