Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Scientist Defends UFO Phenomenon (Greg Bishop)

I always thought that the "extraordinary evidence" argument was not only unfair, but unscientific as well. The extraordinary evidence may have been staring us in the face for the last 60 years, but since it doesn't fit in the protocols we have established for learning about the world and universe around us, perhaps the protocols need to be evolved.

Proponents of rational UFO research are also unfairly saddled with Occam's Razor, which pseudoskeptics interpret as some sort of cosmic statute (along with the "Fermi Paradox"). But Occam's Razor is a scientific guidepost, a helpful suggestion -- not an existential tenet.

Self-described skeptics continually demand that we address the possibility of interaction with some form of nonhuman intelligence in terms of likelihood. "What's more likely?" we're asked. "That we're dealing with something genuinely new or that we're misinterpreting mundane phenomena?" But the pursuit of knowledge seeks the correct answer, not necessarily the simplest.

For that matter, who reserves the privilege of defining "simple" in a universe that, in many respects, remains humiliatingly enigmatic?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

what is most abused about "Occam's Razor" is the debunker type interprets as carte blanche to make things up. To assume that its simpler for a person to be a hoaxer than telling the truth PRESUMES you can prove a history of dishonesty...NOT just make one up. The same can be said for the habit of atmospheric explanations that had not been recorded at the time of the incident.