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Objectivist stance on paranormal/ufos?

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Many people have seen unidentified flying objects at some point. They're usually weather baloons, satellites, experimental (or not so experimental) aircraft, shooting stars. When you don't know what they are, orthey're too far away to see what they are, it means that they are unidentifiable to you.

What does that have to do with the paranormal? Why would you assume that something you failed to identify is a supernatural phenomenon?

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Is there any official word on how an Objectivist would approach the paranormal, or research into it? I ask because I live in a lesser-known UFO hotspot and I've seen about a half-dozen of them in my lifetime.

Jake: "Many people have seen unidentified flying objects at some point. They're usually weather baloons, satellites, experimental (or not so experimental) aircraft, shooting stars. When you don't know what they are, orthey're too far away to see what they are, it means that they are unidentifiable to you.

What does that have to do with the paranormal? Why would you assume that something you failed to identify is a supernatural phenomenon?"

Oh, this is an easy one. To address ufo, all one needs to know is that it's an "unidentified flying object." If we could say a certain ufo is an alien or a balloon, it would no longer be unidentified. But in the absence of knowledge, we can speculate, investigate, and create theories based on evidence, but what we can't do is make arbitrary assertions. That's how Objectivism would approach it.

Jake, I think you know why ufo's are identified with the paranormal. The treatment of ufo's throughout history is just a sci-fi version of mysticism. Aliens and gods have been intermingled for a while, think Stargate for an explanation of the Egyptian gods and pyramids, or ufo's as an explanation for Ezekiel's wheel, or aliens for the nephalim, and so forth. There's a new age explanation for aliens, as cosmic overseers. The little grey man who resemble babies as a metaphor for our psychological states. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera...

One reason for all this is the assigning of arbitrary reasons, but also, what connects ufos and the paranormal is the same thing that connects mythology/religion to philosophy, alchemy to chemistry, and astrology to astronomy. It's an early attempt to explain the world, but there's also a psychological reason. These explanations fail to address physical reality, but they do provide a projection of psychological states. The Greek gods are anthropomorphic versions of human emotions and states. Alien warnings usually project our fears of loss of external authority, and act as an attempt to recreate that authority when religious symbols become less plausible. Alien beings MAY be more plausible, given the vast reaches of the universe, but that's not what's happening when people tell of abductions and come back with warnings from aliens to stop polluting the planet or developing nuclear weapons; they're saying, "you won't listen to me, but you'll listen to authority, so listen to these godly aliens." That's why aliens are presented as "superior" and beyond "our technology," etc. They're cosmic father figures.

I'd still like to see first contact in my lifetime, though. :)

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Is there any official word on how an Objectivist would approach the paranormal, or research into it? I ask because I live in a lesser-known UFO hotspot and I've seen about a half-dozen of them in my lifetime.

You mean you've seen alien crafts? Or you've seen flying objects and couldn't tell what they were?

If you saw something in the sky and you couldn't identify it, then while it is a UFO to you (as in: unidentified), that doesn't make it alien, anymore than if you caught a glimpse of fur through a privacy fence and assumed it belonged to a water buffalo.

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A friend of mine called in a report on the radio of an unidentified flying object when we were in Kosovo. He was told in no uncertain terms not to use that terminology again.

:)

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I've seen lots of UFOS, too. Everyone has. There's a lot of activity up in the sky and most people know little about it. Aside from clouds, birds, balloons, aircraft and stars, there are many other things up there: satellites, ice layers (temporary ones), planets, meteoroids, condensation trails, bugs, etc.

I'll just repeat Arthur Clarke's advice concerning UFOs: even if the license plate says Alpha Centauri, if it doesn't stop you can just forget about it.

As to the paranormal, look up James Randi.

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As to the question of how an Objectivist would approach the paranormal...

The simple answer is: we wouldn't, because the paranormal doesn't exist.

of or pertaining to the claimed occurrence of an event or perception without scientific explanation, as psychokinesis, extrasensory perception, or other purportedly supernatural phenomena.

A is A.

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A friend of mine called in a report on the radio of an unidentified flying object when we were in Kosovo. He was told in no uncertain terms not to use that terminology again.

:)

Ahahaha! I can just imagine what the resultant chewing-out must have been like.

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Don't be too quick to dismiss UFO's as strictly "natural phenomena". I think that there are visitors from other planets here on earth. Can I prove it?-no. But I stand by my conclusion based on all the available information to be had on the subject.

Hey Erik. What are your sources?

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Don't be too quick to dismiss UFO's as strictly "natural phenomena". I think that there are visitors from other planets here on earth. Can I prove it?-no. But I stand by my conclusion based on all the available information to be had on the subject.

A statement like that demands and explanation. Would you care to give one?

BTW if you meant meteorites, particularly the known ones of Lunar and Martian origin, then the joke should ahve ahd a smiley like this one: :)

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Don't be too quick to dismiss UFO's as strictly "natural phenomena". I think that there are visitors from other planets here on earth. Can I prove it?-no. But I stand by my conclusion based on all the available information to be had on the subject.

I think you need to update your definition of "natural".

*If* there are visitors here from other planets, then reason dictates that they arrived here using some means available within the bounds of reality. That we may not understand those means does not mean they are unnatural, anymore than the first airplane seen by the primitive tribes of the amazon was unnatural.

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Hazmatac, GOOGLE is a great place to start for info. on UFO's. I've been watching UFO Hunters on tv lately, too. They seem to do some pretty good research on the subject. It's mind boggling all the info that can be had via the internet. Call me stubborn or "unobjective", but I refuse to believe that all UFO phenomena is due strictly to weather balloons, meteorlogical phenomena, etc.

There is so much info on the subject that it can be overwhelming. Many UFO sightings are, in fact, due to natural phenomena, but not all. YOUTUBE has a hefty collection of taped sightings, some obviously hoaxes, and others that make you really wonder "how on earth?". I'm not in the UFO camp that believes all sightings or comes up with fantasy interpretations of WHY they are here. I tend to lend credence to those witnesses, scientists, and researchers who I find credible on the subject and who don't explain it away to natural phenomena.

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It's mind boggling all the info that can be had via the internet. Call me stubborn or "unobjective",

You mean subjective?

I'm not going to call you anything, I don't know you that well, but I will call your statements irrational. You are basically refusing to provide any evidence for it, and instead you're trying to restrict our options to only two:

1. Insult you (by calling you those names you mentioned)

2. Accept something without any reason.

My answer is no on both. Since you're making a claim that contradicts all my experiences (you're claiming that the laws of physics don't apply), you need to start by providing us with specific proof of an instance when that happened.

And remember, the absence of evidence to the contrary is not proof.

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Jake, I'm not going to dignify your smugness with answer.

I found Jake's response perfectly rational and not smug at all.

He's right - you've been asked to provide some evidence, and your response has basically been, "Go google it!", coupled with your statement that you are refusing to believe something, solely (it would seem) because you just don't want to.

If you want your argument to carry any weight, you need to provide something to support your claim. The claim is yours, thus the burden of proof is yours. "Go google it, how can you not wonder about ufos?" is no more valid proof than "look around you, how can you NOT believe in God?"

And I want you to bear in mind - I'm saying this as someone who accepts the possibility that there might indeed be alien, intelligent life that has made its way to Earth and is watching us. I think its highly improbable, based on the concrete evidence (or lack thereof), but not *impossible*. If they are here, however, then again - their presence is not supernatural or paranormal, just beyond our own understanding.

But regardless of what I consider to be plausible (even remotely) it still stands, you are shooting yourself in the foot here.

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Erik, you are doing the "If you don't accept my claim I'll take it as an insult." thing. But your claim is arbitrary. I take it as an insult that you asked me to consider it. How dare you? What do you think I'm retarded and don't know the difference between real and imaginary? Is that what you are saying about me when you're asking me to believe some imaginary explanation someone came up with entirely through speculation inside their mind?

I demand an apology. You're not allowed to insult my intelligence on this forum. :)

Greebo: We do have some reason to believe that aliens could exist. (science points toward the possibility of life on other planets) We aren't basing that possibility you mentioned on nothing: we are basing it on some evidence. (real signs of other palnets around other suns-we can actually see and confirm at any time with telescopes, real dirt from Mars containing actual evidence we can see with microscopes)

The whole they could be around us is only supported by the made up-there's no evidence to suggest they're around us.

That is by the way why real scientists are concerned with the possibility of aliens on other planets, but only Internet wackjobs and small time crooks selling merchandise are concerned with aliens on Planet Earth, or abducting people. The first is based on some evidence, the second is just people's imagination used to explain lights in the sky and hypnotic suggestion.

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My astronomy professor used to joke about Roswell. He said he found it funny that people would think that there is an advanced race that where intelligent enough to travel hundreds of light years through the harsh vacuumed of space only to crash in the last mile.

Its funny if you think about.

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Well you certainly not going to crash out in space, where there is nothing. :( Just as planes more often smack into something solid on takeoff or landing, not en route.

(Okay, I realize there are micrometeorites, etc. throughout space and conceivably the craft could hit something the size of a pebble at ultra-high speed and that would be All She Wrote.)

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Is there any official word on how an Objectivist would approach the paranormal, or research into it? I ask because I live in a lesser-known UFO hotspot and I've seen about a half-dozen of them in my lifetime.

I am replying to lodge my complaint against the thread title.

UFO's have nothing to do with philosophy, so of course there is no Objectivist stance.

Just be rational, with all that implies, in all that you do. Identifiying new or unfamiliar phenomena calls for more attention to the process of reasoning.

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Well you certainly not going to crash out in space, where there is nothing. :) Just as planes more often smack into something solid on takeoff or landing, not en route.

(Okay, I realize there are micrometeorites, etc. throughout space and conceivably the craft could hit something the size of a pebble at ultra-high speed and that would be All She Wrote.)

Yeah, your right! However I think his point was that it would be odd that they would mess up the easiest part of the trip. By the way I meant vacuum not vacuumed. Although, I’m all for keeping outer space clean. :(

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