Where is everybody?

Not on Fermi ground…

Just over two years ago Mike Hallowell vomited a confused mess of an article over a page in the Shields Gazette, generally having a go at an imagined army of ‘rabid’ sceptics who dared to cast doubt on the belief that extra-terrestrials are visiting our planet in UFOs.  I found nothing convincing in his argument, nor in his lengthy responses to my blog post dissecting his nonsense.

Tonight he’s tilting at sceptics again, regurgitating the same arguments, albeit with a twist at the end where he offers a different opinion on the source of UFOs.  I could offer a similar robust critique to tonight’s article, but my original response pretty much stands up to the same teetering Jenga tower of logical fallacies.  Essentially he’s trying a play on the Fermi paradox but without any serious analysis of elephant in the room: where is the convincing incontrovertible evidence?  As Fermi said “Where is everybody?”  All of the ‘sceptics’ I know agree that there is a good probability that there is life elsewhere in our galaxy of 300 billion stars, and further into the universe.  Indeed, the ‘irrational’ Carl Sagan was hugely optimistic that life was out there.  It would be sad if there wasn’t.

But that doesn’t mean ETs have been here (yet at least), and there’s nothing that definitively proves that they have.  The best challenge Hallowell could muster for the lack of evidence was this painfully desperate gambit

One sceptic argued with me that “not a single piece of evidence exists that UFOS ever visited 
earth” .

This is a staggering claim, and one which could only be verified by searching every square inch of our planet – overground, underground, land-based and oceanic.

That’s right.  His argument is ‘you can’t say there’s no evidence if you haven’t found that there’s no evidence’.  Not a single piece of evidence has been found that flying horses exist or have existed either, but there are many people who suffer the delusion that flying horses existed.  Perhaps evidence for them is underground or underwater somewhere.

The headline to the article was “UFO sceptics’ claims are wearing thin”, but the burden of proof doesn’t lie at the feet of sceptics, it’s with those who are making claims of visitations by ETs.  Perhaps we will be visited one day, or perhaps it will be us who visit life on other worlds.

Amusingly, Hallowell spent nearly the whole article telling us how sceptics are wrong to doubt that extra-terrestrials have visited Earth, but then finishes with an astonishing

Do UFOs hail from other planets, and are their occupants truly extraterrestrial? Or, could they instead be interdimensional and hail from an alternate dimension or parallel world?

Personally I plump for the latter idea…

That’s right, he lambasts sceptics for not believing in something he doesn’t believe in.

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9 responses to “Where is everybody?”

  1. Kevin Rigg says :

    I fully agree, it strikes me that some are keen to get a name for themselves focusing on those in society who believe in, ghosts, speaking to the dead, the so called black arts, UFOs, etc. etc. Of course this is just another way of advertising books, videos etc. Why do we have to have people promoting such issues? Of what benefit is such hyperbole to society? How sad that some are taken in by it all.

    There are UFOs; these are simply objects that have been viewed that have not been identified. I remember being driven along the coast at Ryhope a year or so ago by my wife and I was astonished that I saw what appeared to be a large whale! My wife thought I was joking. Two days later a large whale was beached further up the coast.

    Yes, we can see things that appear odd but there is generally a sound explanation for them. On the other hand, those who see such oddities are suffering a delusion…not me of course!

    • Mike Hallowell says :

      “I fully agree, it strikes me that some are keen to get a name for themselves focusing on those in society who believe in, ghosts, speaking to the dead, the so called black arts, UFOs, etc. etc. Of course this is just another way of advertising books, videos etc.”

      Of course, you could apply the same negative interpretation to anyone who writes about anything, from anthropology to zoo-keeping. Why should those who write about the paranormal be demonised?
      “Why do we have to have people promoting such issues?”
      I think it goes back to that old democratic concept of free speech; you know, that people have the right to state what they believe even if others disagree with it. It’s the same right that allows Brian, the Anonymous Keyboard Warrior Currently Known as Skeptic and your good self to expound your own take on things. If it upsets you, you could always try not watching that programme or not purchasing the book.

      “Of what benefit is such hyperbole to society? How sad that some are taken in by it all.”

      Well. One man’s hyperbole is another man’s fact, and although you might think it sad that some believe in things that you find unacceptable, that’s life, I’m afraid. You might also want to consider that these “sad” people might have grasped something important that you’re oblivious to. Some people believe that Jesus was resurrected from the dead, that Paul saw him on the road to Damascus and that saints can intercede for us. No doubt the Anonymous Keyboard Warrior Currently Known as Skeptic and Brian will find these ideas ridiculous, but that in itself doesn’t make them right – or wrong, does it?
      “There are UFOs;”

      I agree.

      “these are simply objects that have been viewed that have not been identified.”

      True.

      I remember being driven along the coast at Ryhope a year or so ago by my wife and I was astonished that I saw what appeared to be a large whale! My wife thought I was joking. Two days later a large whale was beached further up the coast.

      Be careful, Kevin. If the Anonymous Keyboard Warrior Currently Known as Skeptic finds this hard to believe, he’ll bludgeon you with Sagan’s standard.
      “Yes, we can see things that appear odd but there is generally a sound explanation for them.”

      I don’t know any UFO researcher who would disagree with this.
      “On the other hand, those who see such oddities are suffering a delusion…not me of course!”

      Of course.

  2. Swiftsure says :

    Mike Hallowell insists that aliens (from another planet, or another galaxy, or another “dimension”) are here. That’s an objective claim that is not open to subjective interpretation.

    The claim is either true or false.

    Objective claims require objective evidence.

    OK, Mike, we’re ready for it…

    • Mike Hallowell says :

      My point wasn’t to prove to you they exist, as you’ve clearly demonstrated your breathtaking ability to reject any logical arguments put to you and I’m not going to waste my time going down that road again. . My point was that one can’t argue we haven’t been “visited” simply on the basis that we personally may not have seen the proof. Neither can we sensibly argue that such proof does not exist just because we haven’t seen it ourselves. . . As for “objective evidence”, its pointless providing it to someone who will simply pull down Sagan’s Standard from the shelf and calibrate it to their own, absurd liking. Sagan’;s Standard employs the subjective term “extraordinary”, which people like you can apply in any way that suits you, In any event, you might do better to answer some of the information I have provided regarding the existence of UFOs instead of repeating your tired, old generalisations . “OK, Mike, we’re ready for it.” . .
      I’ve been ready to engage with you in a public debate for years on this matter, but every time I lay down the challenge you run away from it. You bristle with confidence in your stance anonymously on the internet; but sadly not enough to present your demolition of my arguments in front of a live audience where you won’t be able to cherry-pick which of my arguments you want to respond to. Until you man up and accept the challenge, or at least identify who you are publicly as i have done, you really don’t have much credibility. Its not as if there’s anything about your circumstances that prevents you doing this, is there?

      • Swiftsure says :

        Mike,

        I don’t reject logical arguments; you have yet to come up with one that is not fallacious in one way or another.

        Regarding “objective evidence,” it would not be pointless showing it to me because I do not pull down (your version of) “Sagan’s Standard”and calibrate it to my “own absurd liking.” You don’t present any objective evidence. Do you have any?

        I also don’t confuse the objective with the subjective. That would be a fallacy called the “subjectivist fallacy.” I dealt with that here:

        http://badthinking.wordpress.com/2013/06/20/extraordinary-claims-are-objective-claims/

        Read it and see if you can learn something.

        Objective claims are not open to subjective interpretation. An objective claim is either true or false.

        You claim that aliens are here. They either are or they aren’t.

        Personal belief has nothing to do with the reality or otherwise of extraterrestrials (or anything else).

        Now back up your claim with confirmable evidence, or “man up” and admit that you can’t.

  3. Mike Hallowell says :

    “That’s right, he lambasts sceptics for not believing in something he doesn’t believe in.”

    Not exactly. The term “UFO” simply means “unidentified flying object”, and carries no inherent bias towards the extraterrestrial hypothesis. Even if you were right, that doesn’t make the skeptics’ arguments any more logical, and to say that something doesn’t exist or can’t exist simply because you haven’t seen it is unscientific, and, well, just plain daft.

    “vomited a confused mess of an article”.

    Still haven’t lost your ability to insert inflammatory rhetoric at every opportunity, i see.

    • brian paget says :

      Mike, I used the term UFO in the same context that you used, so you can dismount that tall steed. UFOs are simply unidentified flying objects, nothing more. You provided your own narrative in the article, which I referenced.

      ” to say that something doesn’t exist or can’t exist simply because you haven’t seen it is unscientific, and, well, just plain daft.”

      That’s pretty much a misrepresentation of my argument. Try again.

    • Paul Meade says :

      As an astronomer all be it an amateur one, I have the chance to stand outside usually in the dark and usually in a deserted spot and usually bloody cold and I for one can say that Ive seen HUNDEREDS of UFO’s and I do mean hundreds, BUT not once have I ever thought that I was looking at a craft being driven by an alien. Now don’t get me wrong I do have a belief that there is other life out there in the Universe even in our galaxy and yes there could even be basic life in our own solar system but I have no belief that theres ever been any alien life to this planet.
      There are an awful lot of people like myself who are out every night possible to look up at the skies and I know a great deal of people that do this hobby and I don’t know of one person that has ever claimed to see a craft being driven by an alien. Amateurs are out there al the time, you can prove this by the fact that its nearly always the amateur astronomer that finds new astronomical events before any of the big boys do.

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