Friday, January 5, 2018

You believe your wild improbabilities, I'll believe mine

A Section of the Constellation Cygnus, (August 13, 1885) by Paul Henry (Metropolitan Museum of Art)



     Taylor Swift lives in my basement. I saw her. Well, saw a flash of something once out of the corner of my eye on the stairs. But I'm convinced it was her. I've also snapped a photograph — it looks like a murky blotch, because it was dark, but it's definitely her. I know it. Some nights I awake to catch a scurrying sound, which seems like a few faint notes of "Shake It Off" filtering through the walls. It's the only explanation.
     Convinced? Would it help if I point out that I am a professional journalist, for whom honesty and observation are vital skills?
     No? What's the matter? Closed-minded? Hostile to Swift, an intelligent and talented young woman? Can you prove she isn't there?
     If you don't believe Taylor Swift lives in my basement, then why would you — or anybody — ever believe that UFOs are visitors from outer space? A far more incredible claim, incidentally, since there can be no question whatsoever that Taylor Swift exists somewhere. The same could never be said about visiting space aliens.
     Why is this important? As if 2017 hadn't been a carnival of fabrication already, thanks to the current occupant of the Oval Office alone, in mid-December came news of a government program investigating UFO sightings, and Navy pilots' encounter with — something unexplained. Exactly the sort of mixture to add fuel to the fires of uncritical belief: a secret program, a murky video, testimony from Top Gun types.
     The murky photographic evidence — is there ever any other kind? — is of a "white tic tac" that appeared in 2004, supposedly, on the cameras of a U.S. Navy pilot, Cmdr. David Fravor, whose encounter off the coast of San Diego while flying a F/A-18F Super Hornet was enough to immediately convince him that whatever he was seeing was "something not from this Earth."
     That's quite a leap.


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15 comments:

  1. I like Karl Popper's "falsifiability principle." If I make a claim that cannot be proven wrong, the claim is futile and not discussable. I think Neil's assertion that Taylor Swift lives in his basement could be disproved rather easily, whereas if I insist that supernatural beings have co-inhabited the earth with us for thousands of years, no amount of evidence could show that I'm mistaken. And science shouldn't bother.

    It's dark matter and dark energy that concern me. They seem as fanciful as angels and aliens. Yet science is making great efforts to show that they exist or that something else is responsible for the effects attributed to them.

    john

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  2. Taylor Swift? Of course I believe it. She stayed in my Attic B&B for a a few months. Good kid. Quiet. I always wondered where she went. I have Enya staying with me now, but only while her marble halls are being polished. Should be a couple more weeks. 😉

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    1. Enya? Lucky you. Somehow Kenny G snuck into our basement, and we can't get rid of him. Hopefully his mouthpiece reed breaks soon, dude never stops playing.

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    2. Nikki, sorry to hear that. Try those plug-in ultrasonic pest control things. The manufacturer claims they repel rodents, cockroaches, and smarmy saxophone players.

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    3. Oh that's a good idea. We tried baiting a trap with some leftover Michael Bolton, but the slippery bugger got out of it.

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    4. Leftover Bolton? Careful with that. Best to wear a hazmat suit.

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  3. You think UFO believers are weird, I have a neighbor that believe there is a man with orange hair and skin that lives in Washington that has the answers to all of mankind's problems. Thanks goodness there aren't too many people that crazy.

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  4. Before UFO's there was Spiritualism, the belief that dead folks can and are inclined to communicate with the living. Throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries many prominent and intelligent people were engaged in either trying to prove its validity or debunk the performance of mediums and others claiming contact. The casualty count of WW 1 invigorated interest as people like Arthur Conan Doyle, who had lost a son in the war, became proponents. On the other side, Harry Houdini famously demonstrated the fraudulent techniques practiced by many mediums, greatly reducing their credibility.

    Tom

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  5. I've never understood why beings who supposedly have the technological capability to travel light-years across the galaxy somehow can't identify the brightly lit cities of Earth as places to study and manifest themselves, and instead choose to become visible only to Jimmy Joe and Billy Bob Peanuthead of Gooberville, Ga.

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  6. When I saw the headline "You believe your wild improbabilities, I'll believe mine," coupled with that photo of the stars, my first thought was that this would be a post further exploring the "wishing upon a star" strategy mentioned at the end of your New Year's Day piece. ; )

    Unidentified Flying Object is an interesting catch-all term. The "Unidentified" has to carry most of the baggage, though, because it often turns out that what folks have photographed are neither "flying," nor "objects," alas...

    Oh, and it took *way* too long for me to register that the "saucers" in the top photo pertained to the post. I was pondering what an unidentified escalator had to do with anything. D'oh!

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  7. Don't forget The Flat Earth Society. Rudyard Kipling wrote the lyrics to a song for them.

    Hear the truth our tongues are telling,
    Spread the light from shore to shore,
    God hath given man a dwelling
    Flat and flat for evermore.
    When the Primal Dark retreated,
    When the deeps were undesigned,
    He with rule and level meted
    Habitation for mankind!
    Hear the truth our tongues are telling,
    Spread the light from shore to shore,
    Oh, be faithful! Oh, be truthful!
    Earth is flat for evermore.

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  8. If the earth is 50 million years and we been here 200,000 years, and made to outer space already. Is it possible there isn't another earth like ball out in deep space, inhabitated with with beings that been around for 20 million years and perfected space travel and just simply find us mere youngsters to boring to interact with. Kinda like us trying to communicate with a microbe.

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    Replies
    1. The Earth is more like 4.5 billion years, actually.

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    2. I stand corrected, but my point remains the same.

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  9. If any of you do have a "close encounter" with the beings flying UFOs, I'd like you to ask them a simple question - "Why are you here?".

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