Friday, August 03, 2007

UFOdom & Boredom

Tautology induces yawning.

A man observes strange lights in the night sky. The lights might be extra-terrestrial craft. Or might not be.

A woman finds a small scar on her leg after she recalls under hypnosis her abduction by small gray aliens. The scar could be proof of her abduction. Or it could be just an ordinary scar.

The data keeps repeating itself, maybe with a new riff here and there, but essentially there is no solid evidence. A UFO sighting in 2007 sounds like one reported in 1947.

OK, so the mystery can’t be solved. But with ufology the mind can still be exercised, stretched a bit. Intelligent people can theorize and speculate. Ufology can be interdisciplinary: psychology, metaphysics, folklore, etc. Discussion and debate can keep one mentally toned up.

But another feud erupts. A says that B is a liar, B says A is wrong, A says something else to prove B is a liar, and C, D, E, etc. chime in with their takes on the subject. It’s not a matter of who’s lying or who’s right. The whole conflict is nothing but a distraction. Energies could be used for better ends, directed elsewhere. There’s always someone who craves attention. He flames away, baiting in the suckers. Ufology becomes ufoology.

And I yawn.

To the data collectors, keep pressing on. You’re doing valuable work, although its true importance might never be realized. But unless there’s a breakthrough bit of data, or someone sees the answer hiding in the vast sea of reports, sorry, I’m not interested.

Speculators, theorists, and historians: if you have a new angle on UFOs, I’ll listen, unless it devolves into a puerile pissing match with someone who holds an opposing view. I have enough assholes to deal with here in Plattsburgh, NY, thank you.

Ufology drew me in because it wasn’t like other subjects. It was offbeat, fascinating. Lately it’s been humdrum.

I have better things to do than struggle with ennui.

If UFOdom keeps creating boredom, I might be driven to a more traditional subject like professional sports. (Ugh. Then again…)


X. Dell said...

Actually, that might be a suggestion. Maybe we can re-spark interest in the subject by forming a Fantasy UFO league.

It's simple. Here's how it could work.

(1) All players draft a number of case studies in such various categories (analogous to player positions) military/intelligence cover up, (the X Files position), Roswell, Alien Abduction, MILABs, Ancient Astronauts (including Biblical and medieval references), sightings, Nazi technology, USOs, ET communication and celebrity sightings.

(2) The Arbiter figures out a schedule for head-to-head play among various players. Depending on the number of players, the Arbiter will separate teams into divisions, with playoffs and a Final Game (dubbed 'The Super Triangle').

(3) Every week, the contestants have to outline what has to the knowledge deficiency of a specific case study at that week's position to either prove or disprove the case study. The Arbiter then ranks all of the players in the league, and awards them points inverse to their ranking.

For example, a six-team league will pit three players against three other players in head-to-head matches. In Match A of the first week, in the position of Roswell, Contestant 1 points out lack of explicit government declassified documents relevant to the saucer landing, and testimony of surviving witnesses that never gave interviews before. Contestant 2 points out lack of explicit government documents (classified and declassified) latent eyewitness testing, lack of forensic evidence, Mogul operation in 1947, and confidentiality oaths of surviving military and intelligence officials.

In the above match, the Arbiter might decide that Contestant 2's answer is better than Contestant 1's, but only the third best response in the league overall, while Contestant 1's is the worst. So the Arbiter will award 4 points to Contestant 2, and 0 points to contestant. Thus, Contestant 1 is the winner that first week with a record of 1-0, Contestant 2 is 0-1.

(4) Playoffs: each division winner will square off (seeded) in an elimination tournament. The same scoring rules apply. Depending on the number of teams in each division, the Arbiter will then select one or two Wild Cards. Record ties will be settled by an elimination playoff round.

(5) Prize: something tangible, but cheap. The Stevens Point trivia contest awards a rock as its prize. Perhaps you could offer one too.

I don't know if trying to prove falsifiability (Popper's approach) to the subject area of UFOs would help. But you could get some spirited competition.

BTW, in case you're wondering if I've gone off the deep end, I'm kidding about the UFO Fantasy league.

Actually, you don't have to look at UFO research very long to realize that a number of issues repeated to mind-numbing exasperation in ufology. I don't recommend taking up professional sports. A new approach, however, might yield new information. And approaching ufology from the standpoint of falsifiability (in Popper's sense) might help us make some connections that we didn't make before--especially if you have supporting evidence from the guys who simply catalog case studies but do little else.

Ray said...

X. Dell:

Actually, your Fantasy UFO League makes more sense than some other projects I've seen. If the feuds and bickering could be kept under control, such a League would discover the truth before anyone else.


dr.alistair said...

are you familiar with this?

Ray said...

Dr. Alistair:

Yes, I'm familiar with it. All I can say is that while I can't state for certain that this is another hoax, it appears to be one. With programs like Photoshop it's easy to fake UFO-like craft. It's ironical that new technology makes it easier for someone to capture an image while at the same time easier for someone to fake one.