UFO over Chilean Air Base

by Steven Novella via NeuroLogica Blog

It seems the HuffPo, not content to promote medical pseudoscience, is branching out into UFO nuttery. UFO author Leslie Kean, blogging in the Huff Po Science section, give a breathless and completely gullible account of a recent apparent UFO encounter over an air base in Santiago. You can watch the video for yourself and decide how impressive it is. View the video before reading on, as it will put everything into context.

Kean gives us this quick summary of the UFO situation:

As agreed by authorities around the world, these truly unexplainable unidentified flying objects appear solid, metallic and luminous, able to operate with speeds and maneuvers that defy the laws of physics. And, most chilling of all, they often behave as if under intelligent control.

Let’s count the logical fallacies she packed into this one paragraph. First she opens up with an argument from authority (even using the term). I doubt there is any consensus among world governments or “authorities” (whichever authorities she is referring to) that UFOs are space craft. There is certainly no scientific consensus that this is the case. But even if your average politician thought that UFOs were alien craft – so what. Politicians are generally not scientists and not exactly authorities on such topics.

Next she commits the fallacy of confusing currently unexplained with unexplainable. Most UFO sightings, in fact, when investigated turn out to be completely explainable. UFO believers (meaning that UFOs are alien spacecraft) point to the residue of unexplained cases to support their claims. However, given the number of UFO sightings, and the number of quirky phenomena that could result in such sightings, it is not surprising that some sightings remain unexplained – simply because there is not enough information to nail down exactly what was seen. This does not mean we are dealing with an unexplainable phenomenon, or alien visitation (that would be the argument from ignorance).

She next gives a description of some UFOs that would be truly impressive if it were true, but it’s not. Once we exclude demonstrable hoaxes, we are left with blobs, points of light, streaks, and other vague and fuzzy objects. What we do not have is a single smoking-gun piece of evidence. There is no picture or video that clearly shows an artificial craft capable of flight with good focus and reference for scale. There is not a single unambiguous piece of evidence.

Keep Reading: NeuroLogica Blog » UFO over Chilean Air Base.

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