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Posts by scienceoftheunexplained
This is an exciting episode! It is one that takes a positive look at the possible future of energy creation. Our blogger was a lot of help on this one in explaining some of the interesting facts behind the science of this episodes topic. Hopefully the E-CAT will not be under the topic of unexplained science for long. Enjoy!
Hey everyone! Just wanted to let you all know that our anonymous scientist blogger is going to be a bit delayed in writing their next article. They will still be blogging for us, but is currently busy traveling. You can expect to read some interesting articles in the not to distant future though. Also, feel free to post your comments on the current posted articles. They’d love to see your response and thoughts. Thanks!
Hey everyone! We are in the process of moving our recording studio so it may be another week before we can get another episode up. Sorry for the wait! Hopefully once things get set up, we’ll have plenty of great content rolling out for you!
An argument from ignorance is a logical fallacy arguing that a particular explanation must be correct simply because the person making the argument can’t think of any other explanation. For example, creationists often argue that God must have created life in its present form because life is so complicated, it’s inconceivable for it to arise through any natural process. However, just because they can’t imagine any natural process that could do this doesn’t mean that there isn’t one. We have to acknowledge the possibility of explanations we may not have thought of yet.
Many skeptics say that UFO proponents also argue from ignorance when they assert that some UFOs represent alien spacecraft. For example, the Top 20 Logical Fallacies page of the Skeptics Guide to the Universe states:
“UFO proponents are probably the most frequent violators of this fallacy. Almost all UFO eyewitness evidence is ultimately an argument from ignorance – lights or objects sighted in the sky are unknown, and therefore they are alien spacecraft.”
But are UFO proponents really arguing from ignorance? Do they simply assume that any unknown light or object must have an extraterrestrial origin, or are there reasons to think that they do?
It would obviously be a fallacy to conclude that just because we don’t have a good explanation for something, it must be an alien spacecraft. But no one who seriously investigates UFOs thinks this is the case, nor have I even heard a layperson who was witness to a UFO make this claim. The conclusion that some (not all) UFOs are alien spacecraft is based on positive evidence, not an argument from ignorance.
Because we are intelligent beings who design aircraft and spacecraft, we have a good idea what kinds of features a designed craft should have. These features are quite distinct from those of natural atmospheric and astronomical phenomena that could be mistaken for a spacecraft. Among other things, we would expect for a craft designed and operated by intelligent beings to:
1) Have a well-defined geometric shape,
2) Have lights (whenever present) that are arranged in some meaningful pattern,
3) Be able to stay in the air for an arbitrarily long time without falling to the ground,
4) Be able to change its direction of motion in response to the commands of its operators, and
5) Respond to external stimuli, such as another approaching aircraft.
These are features that we have reason to expect if the alien spacecraft hypothesis is correct, and every single one of these features has been observed and corroborated in many modern UFO reports by large numbers of eyewitnesses. Furthermore, few if any naturally occurring phenomena display these features. So UFO proponents are not using an argument from ignorance at all…. they are simply matching the observed evidence with a particular explanation, and at the same time pointing out that there are inconsistencies between the evidence and all other proposed explanations. In other words, UFO proponents are doing good hypothesis testing, just as would happen in any other area of science.
Unfortunately, many skeptics are handicapped by an underlying assumption that the alien spacecraft hypothesis can’t possibly be right, so when it shows up at the conclusion of an argument, they will often start seeing “phantom fallacies” where none exist. Labeling any argument in favor of extraterrestrial spacecraft as an “argument from ignorance” is a vast oversimplification of the evidence, and ironically, demonstrates an ignorance of the very eyewitness testimony they want to debunk.