Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Paranormality of UFOs

Jason Gammon, a very vocal pro-ETH proponent, has left a few comments on a previous post wherein he decries the people who consider UFOs as part of what can loosely be called "the paranormal." As one of those people, I thought I should offer a few comments as to why Gammon is off-base.

Merriam-Webster's on-line dictionary defines "paranormal" as follows:

"Very strange and not able to be explained by what scientists know about nature and the world; not scientifically explainable."

I can see where Gammon (and others like him) are coming from. They want to be taken seriously with their die-hard belief that space aliens are visiting Earth, and they believe that wrapping themselves in the cloak of "science" will lend a veneer of credibility. But they're wrong.


Because UFOs are no more or less amenable to scientific inquiry than ghosts, or near death experiences, or bigfoot, or any of the other things usually lumped into the realm of the paranormal; indeed, in many ways I would argue that UFOs are actually less amenable to scientific study and analysis than something like bigfoot or NDEs. 

Gammon is correct when he writes in one of his comments that the ETH could possibly be proved, but he's wrong when he suggests that the proof can somehow be discovered by us. The only way that we are ever going to have proof of extraterrestrial visitation here, should it be happening, is if the visitors choose to reveal themselves to us. The idea floated by Gammon that perhaps they might crash and we could recover the debris and use that as proof is patently ridiculous (as I've noted before), and betrays a form of wish fulfillment that has nothing to do with science and everything to do with what the late Karl Pflock correctly called "the will to believe."

Until aliens reveal themselves to be the cause of the UFO phenomenon we are left with are a lot of interesting stories that may or may not be true, and that are by their very nature "paranormal" - very strange, and not explainable by what scientists currently know about nature and our world. If these aliens really are well in advance of us, then it will be a very long time before our science manages to catch up to them... by which time they may well have moved even further away from us. Gammon and others like him might be convinced that we know that someday we will turn ourselves into cyborgs / AI and travel out to the stars, and therefore others before us must have done it and therefore must be here, but they can't possibly know that... anymore than Joe Ghost Hunter can know that a "ghost" is the spirit of dead Aunt Mabel.

Gammon wants to pretend that UFOs are not mysterious (echoing all of the pro-ETH believers before him), which in a weird and very ironic way makes him no different than the very ETH-disbeliever that he so often rails against. Like them, he has his answer, mystery be damned.

Too bad for Gammon, because his confirmation bias has blinded him to the reality that the mystery is where the real wonder may someday be found.

Paul Kimball


Red Pill Junkie said...

And even if the aliens did choose to reveal themselves to us --as they allegedly have to the so-called Contactees-- why should we believe them?

Telling a befuddled Earthling they come from Venus or Andromeda, might be similar to how many parents in this planet opt to dodge the feared 'where do babies come from' question, with a white lie involving storks.

Maybe asking them their point of origin is as useless & silly as trying to determine the origin of the Big Bang ;)

Paul Kimball said...

Salient point, RPJ.

Bruce Duensing said...

The parsing over the terminology of a anomalous phenomenon is a wasted effort.
Of course every term has a bank of associations locked into imagery and in this case, we require a redefining of what constitutes the term "alien." The phenomenon exhibits both the familiar and strange behaviors as hybridised.
In strict terms of definition,what we call ghost phenomenon does not represent human beings, rather what resembles one at face values, rather than constituting one.
This specific anomaly may be a form of cellular intelligence that mimics sentience through the self organisation of information we provide it in a feedback loop. It may not be corporeal,yet can mimic that state. More mirror than an originating root of it's own volition. In a quantum state that is transient, physicality can be mimicked and attenuated by the observer.We define consciousness as a self referential term as applied to ourselves whereas we may be more like mirrors reflecting our own environment. Consequently, this phenomenon may be doing the same.