Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Conversations with
Dr Frank Drake:
The Evidentiary Hypocrisy With UFOs Exhibited By Mainstream Science

UFO Hypocrisy
By Frank Warren
The UFO Chronicles
© 2005-2009

Frank Drake In November I sent the following correspondence to Frank Drake:

Dear Dr. Drake,

Seth ShostakStan FreidmanBack in July a colleague of yours, Seth Shostak, debated a colleague of mine, Stanton Friedman, on the idea that some UFOs are indeed ET spacecraft; Friedman took the "pro position" and Shostak of course opposed the notion.

One thing the two men agreed upon was that they both adhered to the concept of “intelligent life existing in the universe.” As the debate progressed Shostak took issue with the evidence that Ufologists in general present for their theorem—this brings me to my question:

It would seem that most of the ideologies presented today from “mainstream Astronomers” e.g., extra-solar planets, rogue planets, black holes etc., are based on “circumstantial evidence”; for example, the idea of “extra-solar planets” is deduced by a “star’s wobble”; my observation, as well as the question, is why the guidelines for Astronomers in regards to evidence is acceptable in “their field” but they won’t apply the same rules to Ufology.

I would certainly appreciate your thoughts on the “evidence or data methodologies” used in Astronomy, and why said methodologies don’t seem to be adequate for Ufology.

Thank You,
Respectfully,
Frank Warren

He kindly responded:

Hi:

Well, it is hard to give a short answer to your query.

However, the rules of evidence for mainstream astronomy and UFOlogy are actually the same.In both cases we look for well-observed, calibrated data, which can be verified by repeat observations or experiments, best done by more than one observer.

All the astronomical claims of actual existence you mention are supported by such solid, repeatable evidence. The wobbles in stars are seen to repeat, and to follow a complicated pattern which fits precisely the wobble expected when a star is being pulled on by a planet moving with a changing speed in an elliptical orbit. This is a very definitive requirement, which is met precisely by the observations. Furthermore, in some cases there is more than the wobble to go on—the light of the star is decreased by just the right amount and with the complex time history expected if the planet passes in front of the star. And it repeats as it should. So there is no doubt here.

Some things are still speculations, of course. Rogue planets are one. There are no observations of such a planet. But it is fair to speculate they exist from our growing modeling of what takes place as a planetary system is formed, and the prediction from this modeling that some planets will be ejected from the system. Indeed, it would be amazing if this did not occur.

When it comes to UFO reports, none of the evidence criterion are satisfied. No observations can be repeated. None has ever been definitively recorded. So the rigid standards of science are far from met. As Carl Sagan said, "Grand claims require grand evidence", and that evidence is not there.

Frank Drake

I replied:

FW: Dear Mr. Drake, Thank you for you for your expeditious reply to my inquiry.

FD: Hi:

Well, it is hard to give a short answer to your query. Actually I was looking forward to a "detailed explanation." However, the rules of evidence for mainstream astronomy and UFOlogy are actually the same. In both cases we look for well-observed, calibrated data, which can be verified by repeat observations or experiments, best done by more than one observer.

FW: Allow me to play devil's advocate based on your affirmation of equality in regards to evidentiary protocol of Astronomy and Ufology.

FD: All the astronomical claims of actual existence you mention are supported by such solid, repeatable evidence. The wobbles in stars are seen to repeat, and to follow a complicated pattern which fits precisely the wobble expected when a star is being pulled on by a planet moving with a changing speed in an elliptical orbit. This is a very definitive requirement, which is met precisely by the observations. Furthermore, in some cases there is more than the wobble to go on—the light of the star is decreased by just the right amount and with the complex time history expected if the planet passes in front of the star. And it repeats as it should. So there is no doubt here.

FW: To be clear, (from a layman's [me] point of view) since we have "empirical evidence" of our own sun's orbit presumably being affected by the gravity (pull) of Jupiter (and other large planets in our own solar system), and the orbit (wobble) seems to be directly proportional to the mass of said planet; we therefore can presume the "same effect" takes place in other solar systems, with their stars, and although we cannot see the planets, we can observe the wobble, via "Doppler Shift" etc. Since the "wobble" is directly proportional to the "mass of a planet" (at least it appears to be here, in our solar system) we can determine the mass of said planet by mathematical equation.

In addition to the wobble of a distant star, going on the assumption that it is indeed a planet's gravity causing the wobble, one could assume that if said planet were to cross between the earth and the star being observed, the light from the star would be measurably diminished.

You finally, state, that "there is no doubt here." I take that to mean that this is going "beyond theory" and is accepted as fact . . . interesting.

First I'd like to state that the "circumstantial (indirect) evidence" put on the table for "extra-solar planets" is more then enough "for me," for validation of their existence; however, playing "Devil's Advocate":
1). Can we state emphatically that there aren't "other forces" in the universe that aren't currently known that would "mimic the pull" caused by gravity of a "Jupiter sized planet?" Could another "space borne" object of the same mass cause the wobble?

2). Are there other actions that could affect "Doppler Shift," or any other form of detection in the same manner that "star wobble" does, e.g., pulsations etc.?

3). Given the fact that the most detection methods of "extra-solar planets" is relatively new, (with technology expanding by leaps and bounds) and not without controversy, i.e., ("Barnard's Star and possible planetary bodies, David Gray's disputation of 51 Peg,") isn't possible that either "new information" could surface, or the interpretation of the data may change, and affect the current conclusions?
IMHO if the answers to any of the afore mentioned questions is "unknown" or "it's possible," then that would leave "some" doubt, albeit little to the "absolute existence" of extra-solar planets based on the current methodologies used for their reality; that said, what we're left with is strong "circumstantial evidence" in support of the "theory" of extra-solar planets."

FD: Some things are still speculations, of course. Rogue planets are one. There are no observations of such a planet. But it is fair to speculate they exist from our growing modeling of what takes place as a planetary system is formed, and the prediction from this modeling that some planets will be ejected from the system. Indeed, it would be amazing if this did not occur.

FW: Agreed.

FD: When it comes to UFO reports, none of the evidence criterion are satisfied. No observations can be repeated. None has ever been definitively recorded. So the rigid standards of science are far from met. As Carl Sagan said, "Grand claims require grand evidence", and that evidence is not there.

FW: Here I have to respectfully disagree; you stated that the criterion for the rules of evidence for mainstream astronomy and UFOlogy are actually the same. In both cases we look for:
1). Well-observed, calibrated data.

2). Verification by repeat observations or experiments.

3). Multiple observers.
First let me clarify some points: The bulk of UFO reports over the last 60 years after thorough investigation, can be attributed to more conventional explanations, e.g., known aircraft, celestial bodies etc.; however, the ones addressed
here are the smaller percentage that cannot be explained in a conventional manner.

The ones I speak of are of an "unknown airborne craft" that exhibit characteristics beyond man-made technologies. It is true, that this phenomena can't for the most part be repeated "on demand" it is a "transient uncontrollable unpredictable event"; however, it certainly does repeat, and observations are to numerous to count. It of course isn't the same as observing a "fixed celestial body" and doesn't have the same obvious advantages for scientific research. It does/has re-occurred, often, and can/has been recorded in a number of ways to allow for scientific investigation; for example:
1). In most cases involving a "craft" there is "direct evidence," i.e., "eye witnesses.

2). The craft "occupies space."

3). It moves as time passes.

4). It emits "thermal effects."

5). It exhibits light emission and absorption.

6). It effects the atmosphere.

7). It can be photographed.

8). It has left residual "after-effects," i.e., forensic evidence etc.

9). It has caused electric, magnetic and gravitational disorders.

10). It has been tracked by radar
The list goes on . . .

You've stated that none (UFOs) have been "definitively recorded." This is inaccurate. UFOs, in this instance "unknown craft" have been photographed, video taped, tracked by radar, and those readings recorded. In addition, they have been pursued by "our aircraft," and those of other countries.

Finally, "all" the criterion you cite for evidence have been met for Ufology with one more addition, "eye witnesses." One only need to look at the data. This is not to say that all the questions have been answered; in fact, it evokes this one—"why doesn't Ufology receive that attention it deserves from mainstream science?"

You quoted one of Carl Sagan's often used statements; I might add that he also said, "In physics, as in much of all science, there are no permanent truths; there is a set of approximations, getting closer and closer, and people must always be ready to revise what has been in the past thought to be the absolute gospel truth."

But back to the quote you mention, "grand claims require grand evidence." Is what Ufologists suggest so grand, so far out? By your own device, ("Drake's Equation") you suggest the number of planets in our galaxy with intelligent, technological civilizations. Is it so far out that one of these civilizations is far more advanced then we, and have mastered space travel; or travel in ways beyond our comprehension. Using our own technological advancement as a baseline we have progressed in a few generations to what only our ancestors could describe as "magic" given some examples; think what might and most assuredly would happen in thousands of years, or more! I've always found it odd that intelligent people admit to advance ETI, yet believe that when it comes to traveling to earth--they (ET) "played hooky" from that class!

Omitting the evidence, the data, for a moment (regarding Ufology) and agreeing on the common point(s) that there is "abundant intelligent life in the universe," the question is not "are they here," but "why wouldn't they be?"

I would like to hear your thoughts on what I've presented, as well as my last question if you would be so kind.

Thank you for your attention to this matter, and I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Frank Warren

Dr. Drake hasn't responded to date.

3 comments :

  1. You've hit the nail on the head, here, as pertains to the hypocracy of the "mainstream" vocalizations.

    The problem is simply that you can not have it both ways. When "they" make statements to the effect that the UFO data doesn't meet the proper criteria, like it or not, they are either part of a collusion to "cover-up" the truth, or, more likely, they are guilty of NOT VIEWING THE EVIDENCE!

    When George Valley reported his findings in 1948, on behalf of the Air Force's Scientific Advisory Board, he said this: "...The writer has studied summary abstracts, and comments pertaining to Unidentified Flying Objects, which were forwarded by Air Force Intelligence..."

    He, from his own admittance, did not study actual reports dealing with the phenomena. He did not see any first generation evidence that was obtained from acceptable witnesses. He did not review any of the actual reports generated by Air Force pilots. No, he studied summaries, and abstracts.

    This has been the way "experts" have been utilized from the beginning! Its no wonder that none of them came away with the same picture of the phenomena as those of us who have actually read, at least some, of the these reports.

    Even still, strangely enough, Dr. Valley's criteria for Extra Terrestrial visitation has been met...and then some!

    Keep us posted Frank, and thanks for the update.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Mornin' Bob,

    Thanks for your input! I was greatly disappointed that Dr Drake "opted out" of our conversation just when it was getting good!!

    Cheers,
    Frank

    ReplyDelete
  3. Perhaps next time you should query a seismologist rather than an astronomer. I imagine that they would be far more comfortable dealing with a phenomena whose timing is difficult to predict.

    ReplyDelete

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