The Sciences


Bad AstronomyBy Phil PlaitDec 1, 2008 4:06 AM


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Much of what I have read about and from Obama leads me to think that he is part of the reality-based community (at least in part). That's why I'm not too concerned that UFOs-are-visiting-us proponent (and, evidently, BABloggee) Stephen Bassett wrote an OpEd asking Obama to lift the "truth embargo" about aliens coming to Earth and posing for blurry photos while masquerading as Venus, balloons, the Moon, satellites, military aircraft, atmospheric distortions, and hoaxes. Now, let me make this as absolutely clear as possible (which will be to no avail, because I have been very clear before, and UFO proponents still manage to completely mangle what I'm saying): if you want me to think that UFOs are not just misidentified mundane objects, then all you have to do -- and it really is this simple -- is provide me with evidence. Here, let me make this even clearer: PROVIDE ME WITH EVIDENCE. What do I count as evidence? Hard, physical data. Not eyewitness reports (because even the most highly-credentialed person in the world can misidentify something, or not understand what they are seeing, or may suffer from an episode, or decide to lie, or just be simply wrong). Not fuzzy photos. Not fuzzy video. I want hard, physical data. I want an alien on the White House lawn. I want a piece of metal with clearly non-terrestrial isotope ratios of components, or be composed of some currently non-discovered element. I want some piece of predictive evidence -- a map of an alien world that can eventually be verified, or an alien-given advance in physics that can later be verified with the LHC or some other cutting-edge technology. And nothing vague like "a unified field theory exists"; it has to be definite and precise, so that there is no controversy. Do you think this is too demanding? I have news for you: you're asking me to believe in something that will revolutionize all of human existence. I think demanding some actual evidence for such a thing is not only not too much to ask, but is to be demanded. Of course, by asking for actual evidence, I'll be called a cynic, a liar, a government stooge, and (my favorite) a debunker (since you can't debunk something that isn't already bunk). I'll also be called closed minded, which is incredibly ironic, since I can be persuaded by evidence of the existence of actual alien visitation, but people like Stephen Bassett cannot be persuaded out of their beliefs by the lack of the same evidence. If you have this sort of evidence, then by all means let me know. I'll report it here. But in the meantime, I suggest people read Mr. Bassett's demands of President-elect Obama, and keep an open mind yourself on which of us is being more open minded.

Tip o' the tin foil beanie to Fark.

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