Saturday, February 26, 2022

Copernicus Did Not Cite Esotericism

    There is an argument that "the phenomenon" is ambiguous and fleeting. The elusive apparitions act with intent and even a sense of humor, or so say many of those who believe they have met the UFOs, Bigfoot, and similar oddities up close and personal.

My friend tells me if there are such goings ons, the instigator simply refuses to be corralled. They say it's like a soap bubble drifting on the breeze, colorful and attracting our interest, yet disintegrating under the very grasp which tries to contain it. 

The sights and events often interpreted to be related to UFOs and similar reported phenomena, some suggest, must surely all be from the same mold. This would account for its elusive nature and an overwhelming lack of confirmed physical evidence, even as cost effective technologies have advanced which would make the collection of hitherto absent evidence all the more feasible.   

Such theories of an intelligence behind an overarching and elusive "phenomenon" teeter on the edge of subjectively assigning definitive characteristics to apparitions not yet shown to so much as exist, at least not "exist" in more commonly accepted definitions of the word. Some would argue therein lies the rub, and perhaps they are correct. Maybe further knowledge of UFOs and things that go bump in the night indeed lies in the realms of the esoteric and traditions passed down among indigenous populations. 

If that is the case, however, they must also take responsibility for understanding they cannot expect those who prioritize evidence-based research to embrace their assertions on faith alone. They must effectively demonstrate a specific difference between their chosen endeavors and searching the snow on the television screen for patterns of intelligence. If there is a difference, it should be demonstrable.

If knowledge of the "phenomenon," "other," "visitors," or whatever labels one chooses to project upon it, is more likely found in monasteries than science labs, the scientist trying to simultaneously sell both ideas to the public - and funders - must come to terms with the dilemma. At the least, it is unreasonable to take the role of a persecuted Copernicus, suggesting those who argue alternative views will not accept your evidence, when your argument advantageously relies upon the notion your white whale leaves no evidence when convenient. It can't be both.

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Value Those Who Know Fact From Opinion

    We all disagree on many things, even with our closest friends and loved ones. Preferences in restaurants, football teams, and styles of music are likely to invoke wide ranges of comments from those around us.

The more meaning we assign an issue - the more we value it - the less tolerant we tend to become of those who have different values. A friendly rivalry about a ballgame is one thing, falling on different sides of Roe v. Wade is another. 

Some of us lean towards treading softly into such issues. We've all heard the saying about not talking religion and politics at social gatherings, but what about social media? And what about groups where emotionally charged subject matter is the very focus of discussion?

Fact or Opinion

    A challenge that typically arises is accurately differentiating between fact and opinion. We would be wise to recognize those who consistently show an ability to know the difference between what the facts are and what the facts indicate. The former should be universally recognized, while the latter may be matters of opinion and subject to debate.

It is a fact I write this blog. Its value is subject to debate.

Likewise, it is a fact people report UFOs. What that fact indicates becomes a matter of debate, often interpreted through a variety of filters. 

Fork in the Road

    Recognizing someone's ability to appropriately differentiate between fact and opinion offers us opportunities to widen our horizons. It is at this fork in the road, separating those more skilled at it from those less skilled, we may be surprised to find valuable common ground where we might otherwise disagree. The key factor in this context is not the opinion one takes on any given issue, but their ability to recognize it as a personal preference and empathize with those in disagreement.

In practice, this means we might find worthy discussion among a group of socially diverse people; the antithesis of an echo chamber. The most important factor is not socioeconomic class, level of education, religious affiliation, or similar category, but their willingness to identify where facts end and beliefs begin. 

This allows opportunities to exchange support and participate in shared learning. Our differences can be celebrated, encouraged, and valued, rather than hidden and unmentioned out of fear of inciting anger and wrath. 

We should choose the people in our inner circles wisely. Empower those to express disagreement who have earned the right to your valuable time and attention. Demonstrate to them it is emotionally safe to challenge your position, and cultivate reciprocation. Doing so supports original thinking and individuality. There just have to be guidelines for it to be functional, and those guidelines involve accurately differentiating between fact and opinion. 


Recommended reading:

UFO Research Integrity