Sunday, February 02, 2014

Clear Evidence, Part I: Rendlesham?

I'm curious. "UFOs as something paranormal" believers always talk about the "evidence," and how it is overwhelming (and I use "paranormal" rather than "space aliens" even though most of the time "space aliens" is the go-to explanation for believers, but I want to be inclusive here). But on the best cases, where is the evidence that allows one to draw that conclusion? I don't see it... anywhere.

For reference, because many "believer" ufologists like to work with the legal standard of evidence (as opposed to the scientific), let's define our terms. We should be looking for "clear evidence," which Black's Law Dictionary defines as follows:
Evidence which is positive, precise and explicit, as opposed to ambiguous, equivocal, or contradictory proof, and which tends to directly establish to the point to which it is adduced, instead of leaving it a matter of conjecture or presumption, and is sufficient to make out a prima facie case.
Let's add the definition of "best evidence," which is the kind that should be used to establish clear evidence. It is defined as follows:
Primary evidence, as distinguished from secondary; original, as distinguished from substitutionary; the best and highest evidence of which the nature of the case is susceptible.
Combine the two, and you have the minimum standard that one should be looking for in order to support the "paranormal proposition."

Let's go case by case, and start with Rendlesham, which I discussed on Where Did The Road Go recently. What is the evidence that would prove beyond a reasonable doubt that something "paranormal" happened there.


Paul Kimball


Bruce Duensing said...

It might be helpful if you provided a link to the show in question or alternatively, summarize your perspective on this incident to those who have not heard the segment of the show wherein you gave your views on it. What show was it?
As for myself, paranormal is a placeholder term like the word coincidence. Could you be more specific? As for myself, I have no suspicions that hold any water against my own skepticism regarding any theory in regard to Rendlesham. While from a pragmatic point of view one could say as Vallee does that it was a internally generated test of the facilities security personnel but as far as what was reported or alleged to be witnessed, there was too much over the top and unnecessary exotica ( hieroglyphics) added, unless it was a intentional test of witness credibility by intentionally providing sights that would be embarrassing to reveal.
This seems unlikely.
I would be interested in your views in order to engage them ( perhaps) but I have no idea what they are.

BoyintheMachine said...

Hey Paul,

This is Jason Gammon. I want to take the time to apologize to you. I was rude with you on the old UFO Updates list when you first openly posted the info about Kevin Randle. I wrote stuff about you violating his confidence, etc. I just want to apologize. I got banned on the new UFO Collective list via a collaboration of anti-alien abduction crowd and actual UFO debunkers (yeah, blows my mind). My eyes were also opened to the fact that Kevin Randle is so gung ho about criticism against the alien abduction phenomenon but can't stand criticism on Roswell or his research. Apparently that's the line that can't be crossed.

UFO Collective is being over run with actual UFO debunkers, as "It's all b.s!" Perhaps you might consider forming your own forum or group where we can rationally discuss the subject. Just a suggestion. I'm pretty sure that if someone such as yourself where to set up such a group most of the old UFO Update list would rather move there than on a list that currently allows debunkers to hold sway. And it's not a coincidence that the mod on UFO Collective has the Skeptical Inquirer listed on his Facebook page.

Paul Kimball said...

Hi Jason,

No apology necessary. I'm all for people expressing their opinion, even when it's critical of me.

I haven't been following the UFOC - too busy with things that interest me more. I think the UFO subject is dead, really... at least until something new and definitive happens, one way or another. But after having looked at it closely for over a decade, I find myself more inclined to side with the skeptics, particularly when it comes to the ETH.


Doc Conjure said...


I agree with you that Ufology is dying. However, I believe it's the "cult of personality" that is killing it. When the dinosaurs of this field pass, it's all over.

As far as the ETH, that's where we differ. I want my UFO separate from anything paranormal. I, quite frankly, want the kooks who push it to go away. However, if the ETH is not true, as in if we are not being visited by beings from beyond, then I would have no interest in the phenomenon. The ETH could possible be proved in theory. The paranormal stuff doesn't even stand a chance.

Paul Kimball said...

The only way the ETH can ever be proved is when any aliens choose to allow it to be proved by revealing themselves (should they exist(. Until then it is as "paranormal" as any other idea, and therefore deserves no special status... in my opinion, of course.

BoyintheMachine said...

Don't forget accidents. Even a superior race can screw up every now and then. It would have to be a situation where the public could have access to it but that's the problem. Even if Roswell never happened or was just a weather balloon, today's "national security" would imply it would be covered up, assuming they can get to it first. I would imagine that if Roswell happened tomorrow they would fake a terrorist attack to hide it.

I wouldn't use the term paranormal as you would use it. I think if we were all discussing what killed the dinosaurs that we would not tolerate much if any talk of the paranormal. However, for some reason it's become acceptable for such discussion with the subject of UFOs. It wasn't always the case and I personally, as in my opinion, want to keep the paranormal out of UFOs. If UFOs are not ETH, and ETH is a wide hypothesis and means intelligent beings from beyond earth, beyond here and now, then I don't want anything to do with the subject. Luckily, the paranormal crowd can't provide any evidence to back up their claims. They like to say that in 60+ years that the ETH hasn't proved UFOs are real but I would counter that in circa 45 years the paranormal crowd hasn't done squat either, except for muddy the waters. And I think this all boils down to the fact that it is impossible to prove the paranormal. It just can't ever be proven. The ETH could possible be proven. Maybe we will get lucky. Maybe not. Maybe one day the powers that be in the government will admit they had crashed wreckage and/or bodies all along. Only time will tell.

Paul Kimball said...

It's not a contest, Jason. You'll find that you'll probably get a lot further with people, including those who are of a like mind to you, if you adopt a less confrontational, "my way or the highway" attitude.

As for the accident idea, I reject that out of hand as being patently unreasonable, particularly if these ETH beings are as advanced as you claim they are (and as they would have to be in order to get here from "there"). I have outlined my reasoning in this regard at:


BoyintheMachine said...


If you come from a scientific background then you will know that "my way" isn't my way, it's the scientific way and it is that way or nothing. The paranormal never leads to answers, only further questions and mystery. Only science can provide answers. Science can't give you meaning but it does provide answers.

As far as accidents go, even advanced beings eons beyond humans would be vulnerable to accidents. So one must accept that such is a possibility. Now, when it comes to Roswell, I would suggest that if the Roswell crash was extraterrestrial that it was done on purpose, a gift of technology to help boost our development. That's just me though.

FYI: If the ETH is a reality then we would not be dealing with beings traveling to and from a home planet. Instead, we would be dealing with ultra advanced beings that would have ventured out and began colonizing the Universe. The earth would likely exist within their territory. So wherever they are at is there home.

FYI: I like the paranormal. I love watching paranormal documentaries and reading paranormal books. It's just that I have to put my science hat on and realize that paranormal never solves anything. It's wonderful for entertainment and stimulation of the imagination and creativity. It might have philosophical merit but as far as actual answers and advancing our species, science is the way to go.

Paul Kimball said...

Jason, I think your way of looking at this isn't scientific at all. It's based on the need for wish fulfillment and a fair dollop of confirmation bias. You have created a strawman out of the "paranormal" when in fact it's all paranormal, until it's not. For example, ghosts? Who knows - maybe they really are the spirits of the dead, in which case maybe "science" will be able to discover the truth there someday, and find a link to the next life should there be one. That sounds as likely to me as "science" discovering aliens visiting us. Until we know aliens exist (and we can speculate but we don't know), and until we know that they're coming here, then it's clearly paranormal, which is to say outside the realm of what we consider normal.

As I said, perhaps aliens are visiting us. It is clear that you certainly want them to. Nothing wrong with that in and of itself. But when it colours your thinking, and leads you to attacking anyone who disagrees with you, then you start to resemble both those debunkers and true believers that you decry.

Just my two cents.