Friday, January 17, 2014

JUST TO BE DOING SOMETHING


Hello, folks. I've been almost completely "dry" on anomalies pursuits lately, both the sustainable house project and "rumbling innards" {stomach flu?} taking precedence. The rumbling at least is gone, albeit the malaise remaining. But I feel guilty enough that I hear the duty to the blog calling.

I tried six volumes of my 19th century bound magazines and struck out. The best thing I found was the report of a near-original observer of the weirdness surrounding the Cardiff Giant hoax. Alas, though an enjoyable read, there was nothing new there to pass on. Out of desperation I've just sat down with a chaotic box of stuff "I'll have to get to later", and began paging through. This "first fruit" of that "ain't great" but it's a start maybe.


There was an article which had been torn out of the magazine above --- I swear my innocence: I DID NOT tear up this copy of Fantastic Universe myself. Anyway, it's July 1959, and Ivan Sanderson and the CSI-NY crew [Davis, Bloecher, & Mebane] were publishing fairly regularly on flying saucers then.

In this number Ivan had an article entitled: " What Could They Be?". I thought that it was interesting enough to extract some of its thoughts here.


Ivan does two things with this article: 1). he comments about what science really should be about, and who does and doesn't actually act like a scientist; and 2). approaches his essay analysis about the nature of UFOs with the direction which is comfortable to him, the biologist's method of taxonomy.

On the scientific approach:

Ivan reflects on his interactions with many people as regards anomalies [and basically everything]. He says that in his experience, skeptics are more intelligent and knowledgeable on average, but they "are lacking in any true grounding in scientific methodology." Sanderson means here that although they work often in fields which address "scientific subjects" or technological work on material things having to do with scientific subjects, they somehow missed some important tenets of what Science is supposed to be about in terms of attitudes. I, by the way, have had exactly the same experience as Ivan as to "scientists" not understanding [or at least being functionally aware of] the foundational mindset of the "Method."

Ivan gives us this neat phrasing of this mindset: " The basis of Science is the investigation of possibilities; the business of Technology is the proving of probabilities." I think that given its brevity, it's rather brilliant. It tells us that when investigation has proceeded far enough that little doubt in the validity of the discovery exists, technology can take over and solidly "prove" the accuracy of the analysis by making it jump when told to jump on the lab bench, or even finding useful application for that "jumping." But even more importantly, it tells us that the scientific method does not reject possibilities while they are still possible. THAT is the great Sin of modern so-called scientists who blithely march in step violating the "Prime Directive" of the Method.


Ivan would say: sure exploring some of these things is hard, but one has not earned any right to an opinion on them, if one has not done that study. Ivan would demand that commenters make the effort, or be shunned. If they at least make the effort they will understand, a bit, what the issue actually is about, and, like Fermi, be confused but at a higher level. Skeptics of today are almost all bottom feeders .


The other half of the article then discussed the possible natures of UFOs. Ivan-the-biologist could never really shake his training [and shouldn't have], so he approached this dilemma from his zoological perspective. For him, the case reports spoke of a wide variety of things. And, of course, they do. But he wanted to ram this home and so said:

"To say that there is a 'thing' in our skies which has not been identified is just like saying that there is only one kind of animal in the North Atlantic Ocean. It is so illogical it cannot be regarded as just stupid; it is manifestly an example of deliberate non-thinking."

He was setting up his "Baconian-style" taxonomic approach to classifying sky-anomaly reports. He after a few more paragraphs, listed his types of possibilities, based on differences in physicality, animation, natural/artificial, et al. I find some of his divisions awkward but not bad; but I'm going to just list some of his categories [occasionally with some word smoothing], because I believe that you will see his breadth easier that way.

He divides possibilities from inside our Universe from those without. Since we have no firm knowledge about the latter, he wisely just lets that sit there. Other ideas are more imaginable:

a]. hallucinations, natural or induced;
b]. radiation and plasmas [he said "energy packets"];
c]. ghosts/apparitions;
d]. holograms [he said "projections"];
e]. mirages/ tricks of light;
f]. terrestrial biological forms;
g]. non-terrestrial biological forms;
h]. artificial life forms;
i]. non-animate matter [he said "minerals"];
j]. terrestrial technology;
k]. non-terrestrial technology.


Sanderson, as we know, had several views of UFOs, one of which was that they were aerial lifeforms of significant size. He didn't pursue any individual theory here. While I admire the broad Baconian net that he casts, for me UFOlogy has moved somewhat on. For me, the great core pile of sound reports screams "TECHNOLOGY!"

Whereas the photo or the glowing energy ellipse [two pictures up] could be argued to be many things, cases which report structure like in the Balwyn photo above [it doesn't make a difference whether you buy this exact photo; it's there to illustrate the concept] clearly cannot be viewed as anything but somehow involved with technology. So, for me, many of Ivan's hypothesis concepts vanish for what I see as the core UFO phenomenon.


If I concentrate on Ivan's list to emphasize the technological, I could try to organize my thoughts in a punnett square, Let's imagine across the top the designators "Clear technological appearance" vs " Not necessarily technological appearance". I would be interested in cases and hypotheses which resided on the left side.

If along the left side I listed "Clearly outside of current Earth technology" at the top, and "Not necessarily outside of Earth technology" at the bottom, then the top left red square [obviously technological and outside of current Earth technological ability] is where the cases in which I am interested AND the possible theories for them reside.

What Sanderson lists, which would land there, are: non-terrestrial inanimate technology [possible containing bioforms, but we're talking about the "craft" here], engineered non-terrestrial lifeforms [think StarTrek's V'Ger], elaborate holographic projections [non-terrestrial, since we can't pull that off yet], and stuff from outside our Universe. ...... well, I can deal with that deck.


So, that's it. Not a Ball-of-Fire, I'll admit, but at least a little amusement to lighten your day.

Peace and Warmth, friends.

5 comments:

  1. Prof I've just written somethin' only for it t'vanish the moment I pressed preview.

    I don't know if it's me [I seem t'have someone playin' various games on me for a while now] but I'm attemptin' t'alert y't'what's goin' on just in case y'losin' other commenters efforts as a result o' some glitch your side.

    [It might be Google Account profile related]

    Here goes...

    ps just in case this goes through try cuttin' out all wheat an' switchin' t'rye/pumpernickel for health improvements.

    I thought all that wheat induced illness schtick was a load o' b*ll*cks but recently I've inexplicably found meself eatin' rye an' my god!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I delete comments when they have little to do with what the posts are about, or are not understandable, or are non-collegial --- there is no reason in my mind to put readers through any of that. In the past, though not lately, I've deleted some of yours [you may not remember your "English Football Stage" when you'd go on ego-trips with long capital letter "GOAL" screams, but I do.] I came close to deleting this latest thing about pumpernickel bread --- we're not talking about that and this isn't a random chat site. Stick to the topics and moderate whatever commentary with respect for the many readers who come here expecting information and clarity on the anomaly of the day.

      Delete
  2. "Robot Justice" would be an amazing title for just about anything: book, band, song, painting, proposed act of legislation...

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sanderson means here that although they work often in fields which address "scientific subjects" or technological work on material things having to do with scientific subjects, they somehow missed some important tenets of what Science is supposed to be about in terms of attitudes. I, by the way, have had exactly the same experience as Ivan as to "scientists" not understanding [or at least being functionally aware of] the foundational mindset of the "Method."

    As a scientist (an astronomer, if it matters), I too come across this same attitude on a regular basis. Colleagues who are brilliant, rigorous and thorough in their field of research will apply a totally different set of standards to UFOs. The reason, of course, "because they don't exist." Whenever the subject has come up (never from my lips) and someone has scoffed at the mere thought of UFOs being real, I enthusiastically say "I never knew you did UFO research! I'd love to read some of your papers on the subject." I am met with a puzzled look. I then proceed to explain: "well, you denied their existence so emphatically that I assumed that, as a scientist, you had researched the matter in some depth to arrive at your logical conclusion, just the same as you do with your other research." An awkward silence usually follows and the other people around us stare uncomfortably into their beverages. I've yet to have a colleague say "by Jove, you're right! I'm being an arrogant scientific ass by arriving at a definitive statement without having even looked at the evidence! I will suspend judgement on this matter until I have educated myself further." To me this would be the only appropriate reaction to being called a bad scientist.

    The thing I love the most about Science is the ability to be able to say "I don't know", and that being something good, because it means exciting times lie ahead as one researches in order to know, to find out The Truth. Sadly, most of my colleagues consider "not knowing" a sin, when it is, in fact, the cornerstone of Science.

    I think I'll stop now; I know you get the point, Professor, because everything I've read from you suggests we think alike on this matter.

    ReplyDelete

Followers