Tag Archives: UFO sightings

Top 10 Ways Skeptics Debunk the Paranormal

30 Apr

the Amazing Randi-former magician/professional skeptic

Skeptics have been around long before Galileo insisted the earth revolves around the sun. They shouldn’t be confused with their newer cousins the Spin Doctors, who are of a slightly different breed. One is chronically in denial about strange new ideas; the other interprets current events within a self-serving context that has little to do with the truth. We could do without both as easily as we could do without mosquitoes, but I suppose they must serve some kind of ecological purpose in keeping the culture honest.

These days Skeptics love to muck around paranormal phenomena, digging their sharp sticks into all kinds of theories that don’t fit traditional beliefs. Spin Doctors ply their trade in today’s political arenas. One could make a good living being either one. Professional Skeptics have their own magazine, and the Spin M.D.’s operate on the news shows every day. Both bend or outright disregard the truth in order to prove their points.

Mind you I don’t object to folks being skeptical, which is having a healthy doubt about unknown things until proven otherwise. I don’t mind those who try and explain things to their own advantage either– that’s human nature. But the skeptics and spinners I’m referring to cross the line.

Let’s have a closer encounter with the first kind . . .

the Top Ten Ways Skeptics Debunk the Paranormal

Using their most common target, the paranormal, the worst Skeptics typically start their criticisms with a pre-conceived negative attitude toward their quarry. Then they proceed to use bad research techniques and a faulty version of the scientific method to “disprove” some aspect of paranormal phenomena.  Occupationally, these folks tend to be magicians, illusionists, therapists, scientists, teachers, priests, and other secretive explainers. Here’s how they tend to think:

1. If I can simulate the phenomenon, what you saw cannot be real. Skeptics delight in inventing ways of simulating what eyewitnesses claim to have seen in the wild, whether it’s Sasquatch or the Loch Ness Monster. An old MonsterQuest episode shows a friendly Skeptic building cardboard cutouts of Sasquatch and planting them along a roadside where numerous sightings had been reported. He then had observers drive slowly by and later estimate their size. The “observers,” who incidentally were not the original witnesses, generally gave observations in the 6 to 8 foot range. The cutouts were no more than 4 feet high. “Aha!” said the Skeptic. “See, the folks who claimed to have seen a Sasquatch had to be imagining a creature who was very tall.” Boy, he sure got them on that one, these people who never claimed to have seen a real one to begin with.

2. If I can think of a Plausible Rival Hypothesis, it automatically nullifies your hypothesis. The best example I can think of for this brand of Skeptic goes back to Roswell, New Mexico in 1947. A few days after the alleged crash of a UFO, the federal government came up with the rival hypothesis that the UFO was really a weather balloon. Plausible?- sure. Correct? Unlikely. It was proven no more than the existence of a UFO itself, but it was a nice and easy rational explanation for what people thought they saw. Since it was a normal thing in the sky, the Feds reasoned, it couldn’t be extraterrestrial.

3. I simply don’t believe in such things, so they cannot be true. Many skeptics just don’t believe in the thing they’re analyzing, and aren’t shy about saying it. For them, the phenomena must be (insert rational explanation). Perhaps the best example of this way of thinking comes from the likes of “the Amazing Randi” and his friends (one of his best was Alice Cooper, the 60’s rock star who got rich by putting on the grossest stage shows he could think of. Kind of tacky, but he was one of the best at simulating horror via rock music. When they performed as a team, the show would end by the Amazing Randi chopping off Alice’s head). But back to the old pro Randi. He is a former magician and virulent Skeptic who concluded after zero years of research and investigation that paranormal stuff just couldn’t be real. He had always relied on trickery and illusion in his successful stage career, believing that the paranormal is only what he and his buddies did best–stagecraft. If not that, he would fall back on the “natural causes” façade.

4. If some or most reported cases of weird things have proven to be from natural causes, then all cases are from natural causes. This is one of those “neither logical nor true” assertions.  Example: studies have shown that most UFO observations are misidentified conventional objects or natural phenomena—aircraft, balloons, certain kinds of clouds, or celestial objects such as meteors or bright planets (a small percentage turn out to be hoaxes). But between 5% and 20% of reported sightings are unexplained. According to the National UFO Reporting Center (NUFORC), there were 5,555 sightings reported in 2016. That’s anywhere from 278 to 1,111 that could not be explained by natural causes! If these stats are right, that’s still a whole lot of folks who said they saw an unexplained UFO. So even though most sightings could be from explainable events, it is simply not true that all are.

5. If a phenomenon cannot be validated by replication in a controlled environment by other researchers, then the phenomenon does not exist. According to these Skeptics, no phenom can be the result of rare or transient events; they must be happening anywhere at any point in time so they could easily be captured and put into a cage or a test tube. Unfortunately, that’s not the way supernature works. Ghosts are transient events. UFO sightings are rare. That defies capturing their data, but does not disprove their existence.

6. I shall proceed to prove my hypothesis in order to support the theory I’m paid to believe in. The scientific method does not presuppose an outcome. Testing an hypothesis requires objective analysis, regardless of the investigator’s bias. Unfortunately too many “scientific studies” often require making the boss happy. He/she may be paying them to test a given hypothesis in order to get a pre-determined result. Legalized medical marijuana has of late been the target of the pharmaceutical industry. In its effort to keep home-grown weed from competing with their own for-profit medications, Big Pharma is suspected of producing “scientific” studies that negate the beneficial medical effects of a natural plant. Their attitude is “if ya can’t join ’em, beat ’em with bad science.”

7. My religion commands me to not believe in anything it does not sanction. Case-in-Point: the Catholic Church. One priest-member of the Vatican community has said that telepathic dreams with deceased loved ones communicating with survivors can only be the result of a) the Devil whispering in your ear; b) God whispering in your ear, or c) your own subconscious making up things. He quite emphatically said that the dead cannot talk to you in dreams or otherwise–a Church teaching.

8. I rely on my own way of investigating and analyzing the paranormal. That’s very nice, but many Skeptics fail to use some basic and necessary tools, including logic. Remember “if A is greater than B, and C is lesser than B, therefore C is lesser than A” kind of stuff? Basic logic comes in handy when doing field investigations or lab work. So does deductive reasoning, where a researcher starts with a general principal and deduces individual facts logically following from it. Inductive reasoning starts with a bunch of independent though related facts and builds a working principal. Most skeptical arguments can be attacked for failing to use these basic tools of investigation and analysis.

9. I rely only on settled science to explain nature. This person ignores or minimizes new information since traditional science has not yet proven its existence.  In spite of a plethora of evidence for the existence of ghosts, including that garnered from the over-the-top ghost “reality” shows, this Skeptic will never accept it. As if science has discovered all its going to discover, this one relies only on the proven and substantiated, leaving by the wayside legitimate phenomena waiting for the scientific community to validate. Unfortunately, there is only a handful of scientists doing any kind of field work in the paranormal realm, and they have to be careful to not be laughed off campus or out of their labs.

10. Witnesses of paranormal events have something wrong with them. This kind of debunker believes only in the drunken fisherman who thinks he sees a UFO flying over his boat, or the ignorant person who confuses a UFO with the bright planet Venus. To them, experiencers of spirit visitations are people who have recently lost a loved one, and are prone to hallucinating what they want to see. Everybody else is just plain nuts.

For this category of Skeptic, if you can’t disprove the phenomenon, attack the credibility of the observer. That being said, there is an opposing position from an otherwise prominent parapsychologist who says There is one thing I feel absolutely secure in saying after spending the last forty-four years of my life conducting parapsychological research; that the paranormal attracts more emotionally disturbed people than any other area of human interest or endeavor. This may be true in Dr. Barry Taff’s (Aliens Above, Ghosts Below) experience. But to paraphrase #4, above: if some reports of paranormal experiences come from nut jobs, not all experiencers are nuts.

By the way, true believers in the paranormal can be just as guilty of their own faulty thinking and practices. But that’s for another post.

 

Copyright 2017, Paul Hill
All Rights Reserved
For ALL Light in the Dark Paranormal postings
(most recent at top), visit our home blog:
http://www.lightinthedarkparanormal.wordpress.com
Visit our website: http://www.lightinthedarkparanormal.com
All posts on this blog are written and owned by Paul Hill

 

 

Email Conversations With My Ol’ Friend Bill (about UFO’s!)

29 Nov

A few weeks ago, I sent my friend Bill a link to an article in the Denver Post about Steven Hawkings warning that we’re going to need a new planet sometime in the future. He responded; then I responded, then he responded back, etc. After I few exchanges I felt that we had some pretty interesting observations about life, the universe, and everything.  So with Bill’s permission, I’m reprinting those emails here, in the fond hope that someone besides us can have some fun with our arcane comments. Bill is an amateur astronomer, so he’s starry-eyed but still skeptical…

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 12: Professor Stephen Hawking onstage during the New Space Exploration Initiative "Breakthrough Starshot" Announcement at One World Observatory on April 12, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – APRIL 12: Professor Stephen Hawking onstage during the New Space Exploration Initiative “Breakthrough Starshot” Announcement at One World Observatory on April 12, 2016

Email #1:

From: PAUL HILL
To: “taxibill”
Sent: Friday, November 18, 2016 11:43 AM
Subject: Fw: Stephen Hawking just gave humanity a due date for finding another planet – The Denver Post

Interesting take from Hawking…

P.

Email #2:

From: Bill
Sent: Friday, November 18, 2016 1:23 PM
To: PAUL HILL
Subject: Re: Stephen Hawking just gave humanity a due date for finding another planet – The Denver Post

I dunno. Hawking’s always been kind of a pessimist. He’s the one that said we need to quit broadcasting out presence to the universe (via radio/tv/communications, etc.) lest we draw the attention of a hostile alien culture.

I myself am a bit of a pessimist. I agree about the dangers of nuclear annihilation, unsustainable use of resources and the rest. We have a new president coming in January who seems to be determined to set us on a course which will pound us (those who survive) back into the stone age. Mel Gibson’s post apocalyptic “Mad Max” is beginning to look more like prophecy than fiction.

Should we discover an Earth like exoplanet, there is the problem of getting there. Current technologies would take thousands of years to reach the nearest star. I think we’re pretty much stuck with Mother Earth, and we’d better get our shit straight or it’s the end of humanity.

I for one would be satisfied with the discovery of extraterrestrial life, be it intelligent or microbial. I believe the laws of evolution are as universal as the laws of physics. Where there is life, there is evolution. Where there is evolution, the development of intelligence is inevitable.

Maybe those crop circle creating entities will come out of the closet and save us. Who knows?

Email #3:

From: PAUL HILL
To: Bill Kast
Sent: Friday, November 18, 2016 10:46 PM
Subject: Re: Stephen Hawking just gave humanity a due date for finding another planet – The Denver Post

Bill,

Okay. I like you believe that the earth is being run down to the nub, and that Trump will hasten its demise via his anti-scientific policies. I like you believe that there is intelligent life somewhere in the universe other than us.

But you don’t believe we’ll ever have the technology to travel to distant planets. If that’s true, then any other distant civilization would not have developed that technology either. Consequently you can’t believe that the UFO phenomena could be craft from another world, since they would not have that “impossible” technology any more than we would ever have. Am I understanding you correctly?

If so, that’s where our beliefs differ. I believe that a statistically-significant percentage of UFO sightings are real craft from another world who have mastered interplanetary travel in time and/or space. There is simply too much evidence from credible sources. If not, what are they? If I believe that, I have to believe that the corresponding technology exists for these aliens to get here. I don’t have to understand their motivation to believe this. So I believe that if they somehow developed that technology, given enough time and other resources, we will too.

Then as Hawking says, we’ll be able to escape this planet before they hang out the “closed” sign. I find that neither optimistic nor pessimistic; I think its just logical if one believes in the underlying premise of valid UFO phenomena. If I were to conjecture about alien’s motivation to visit us, maybe its to show us that they exist and demonstrate that we too can develop a way to get to their planet. Maybe when they feel the time is right they’ll teach us how. An evolutionary adaptive mutation with a little help from our new friends who don’t want to see our civilization collapse. I know that’s a violation of Star Trek’s “prime directive,” but I digress.

Most unlike the sci-fi cliché of “they’re here to destroy us!” That belief is more a product of our own violent tendencies than anything else. After all, that’s what we tried to do to the First Americans. But I digress again.

Continue the conversation, please…

P.

Email #4:

From: Bill
Sent: Saturday, November 19, 2016 5:25 PM
To: PAUL HILL
Subject: Re: Stephen Hawking just gave humanity a due date for finding another planet – The Denver Post

Paul,

Your logical analysis of my statements are flawless.350px-alcubierre

My conclusions about the unlikelihood of interstellar travel are based on current technology and technology on the near horizon. Who knows what the future may bring? I’m basing my conclusions on the speed of light being the limiting factor. This precludes the possibility of technology that would warp space-time, thus bringing distant points closer. But so far, this technology remains in the realm of science fiction. But not entirely…see
Alcubierre drive – Wikipedia

I’m still not totally sold on UFO’s, but I’m willing to keep an open mind. I agree that if they indeed are here, their intentions are to observe and perhaps at some point guide us along. They may be waiting to see if we will come to our senses before we destroy ourselves and/or the planet. If their intentions were hostile, we’d be toast already!

–Bill

Email #5:

From: PAUL HILL
Sent: Saturday, November 19, 2016 11:43 PM
To: Bill Kast
Subject: Re: Stephen Hawking just gave humanity a due date for finding another planet – The Denver Post

Speaking of sci fi, here’s quote from the Wiki article:

“Relation to Star Trek warp drive . . .The Star Trek television series used the term “warp drive” to describe their method of faster-than-light travel. Neither the Alcubierre theory, nor anything similar, existed when the series was conceived, but Alcubierre stated in an email to William Shatner that his theory was directly inspired by the term used in the show, and references it in his 1994 paper.”

Legends, myths and stories abound about our ancient ancestors having been visited by ET’s. Petroglyphs and pictographs have been found that depict people in what appear to be space helmets and drawings of UFO’s are not uncommon. How did they know about these things? Dreams? Visits? Could ancient astronauts have really visited our planet during its more primitive development, and were the people given knowledge that otherwise would have taken centuries longer to develop themselves? We really still don’t know how the ancient Egyptians constructed the pyramids; or how the Easter Island statutes were erected, or how the Mayans built perfect brick walls in their cities with only primitive carving and measurement tools. Check out this geo-design (though there are terrestrial theories about these) that can only be recognized from a high altitude. Created from 500 BC to 500 Ad…

nazca
The Nasca are probably best known for the famous “Nazca Lines”, giant geoglyphs which they left etched into the surface of the vast, empty desert plain that lies between the Peruvian towns of Nazca and Palpa.

 

 

This is even scarier… Jesus and UFOs in Religious Art-

The Baptism of Christufojesus2 . . . “Were the Magi aliens? A disk shaped object is shining beams of light down on John the Baptist and Jesus – Fitzwilliam Musuem, Cambridge, England – Painted in 1710 by Flemish artist Aert De Gelder. It depicts a classic, hovering, silvery, saucer shaped UFO shining beams of light down on John the Baptist and Jesus. What could have inspired the artist to combine these two subjects?”

This is all wild speculation to be sure, and there may be the ever-popular “rational explanations,” but how do we know alien influence didn’t happen? And why couldn’t it happen again at a critical stage in our future development if we are at the edge of disaster? Some far off alien society may already have an investment in us, and may not want to lose it!

P.

Email #6 & 7:

From: Bill
Sent: Thursday, November 24, 2016 8:51 PM
To: PAUL HILL
Subject: More on the subject of aliens

http://www.universetoday.com/132102/what-if-we-do-find-aliens/

What If We Do Find Aliens? – Universe Today
www.universetoday.com    Space and Astronomy news
x282-what-if-we-do-find-aliens-700x432-png-pagespeed-ic-mdeevhxjgdp2_e8gwsfu

Re: More on the subject of aliens
PAUL HILL
Reply|
Fri 11/25, 1:17 AM
taxibill

If you recall the 1955 sci fi movie, This Island Earth, you may remember that those aliens gave the puny earthlings plans to build a spaceship to go to their planet. If it wasn’t for the damn mutants once they got there, it could have been the start of a beautiful friendship.

P.

Email #8:

Bill,

Some very interesting footage on this hour long youtube vid. Have no idea of the credibility of same, especially the last clip. But apparently there’s been a surge in UFO activity and reportage since the election and some John Podesta WikiLeaks emails. Conspiracy theories wrapped up UFO stories? In any case, an entertaining hour.

P.

From: PAUL HILL
Sent: Sunday, November 27, 2016 1:40 AM
To: PAUL HILL
Subject: HOLD ON!!! BEST UFO Sightings October 2016!! Global Alien INVASION Happening NOW!! – YouTube

 

Haven’t yet heard back from Bill on this video. Should be interesting. Will keep you posted . . .

 

Feel free to leave a comment below, or send a tweet: @lanesendthebook
Copyright 2016, Paul Hill
All Rights Reserved
For ALL Light in the Dark Paranormal postings
(most recent at top), visit our home blog:
http://www.lightinthedarkparanormal.wordpress.com
Visit our website: http://www.lightinthedarkparanormal.com
All posts on this blog are written and owned by Paul Hill.

 

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