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ROSWELL

 

PAGE 10

 

THE "IT'S NOT SCIENTIFIC" ARGUMENT

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Here's another argument of a kind that's often made against those who believe that flying saucers are real:

 

Skeptic. 432 [vs. 85 (p. 1c)] You claim, "if it is true that a large number of witnesses confirmed the exotic nature of the crashed object, the properties of the debris, the bodies, and the ship itself, and the witnesses included a large proportion of the responsible, respectable, level-headed people who would be expected to have been most centrally involved, then the object was in fact exotic, otherworldly."

433 But your claim here is just not proven at all. In fact, it seems completely possible that all these respectable witnesses could have claimed that the material was exotic when in fact it was not. In other words, just because these witnesses claimed to have seen exotic materials and creatures, we are not, on that basis, justified in the least to believe that the crash was exotic.

434 In general, countless examples of eyewitness error, and what we know about the psychology of misremembering, and of the confabulation of different memories, show us that eyewitness testimony is utterly unreliable.

435 This is why eyewitness testimony, mere anecdotes, cannot reasonably be taken to justify even the smallest degree of belief in anything, and so does not constitute evidence at all. 436 (And this is why, despite the fact that we have plenty of eyewitness testimony about flying saucers, we have no evidence of visitation by exotic beings or aliens.) 437 In the Roswell case, the fact that 40 years after the event, people start "remembering" things is not in the slightest compelling. 438 Lt. Haut, for example, said that he saw exotic materials, a craft and bodies. He saw something, but could all too easily have misinterpreted what he saw.

439 So, eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable and is worthless as evidence.

440 If something can be dissected, photographed, discussed, looked at, etc.,  then it can be used as evidence to justify our beliefs in things.

440.01 Physical evidence can be dissected, photographed, discussed, looked at, etc.

440.02  So, Physical evidence can be used as evidence to justify our belief in things.*

440.03 On the other hand, if something cannot be dissected, photographed, discussed, looked at, etc., then it cannot be used as evidence to justify our belief in anything.

440.04 Eyewitness testimony cannot be dissected, photographed, discussed, looked at, etc.

440.05 So, eyewitness testimony cannot be used as evidence to justify our belief in anything.*

 

441 In the Roswell case, you can't produce any physical evidence. (You say the government has it. But we don't have it.)

442 So, there's simply no reason to believe something exotic was retrieved near Roswell in 1947.

 

 

443 Furthermore, if a belief is not arrived at through a scientific approach, then it is not a justified belief.

444 If a belief is not supported by physical evidence, but only by mere anecdote, by eyewitness testimony, then it is not scientific. For instance, "if you're a biologist and you want to name a new species, you have to actually have a type specimen, an actual body....Once we have that, then we have what scientists consider to be empirical data, where we can dissect it ..., look at it and so forth."*

445 Your belief is based on mere anecdote. "Where is the spacecraft? You say they hid it. Where is the documentation?"*

446 Therefore, your belief was not arrived at through a scientific approach. Your belief is not scientific.*

447 Therefore, your belief is not justified.*

 

448 [vs. 434]I refer anyone who  finds the above argument convincing to "The 'Eyewitness Testimony is not Evidential' Argument" in the Logikon (The Philosophical Dialectic). 449 I believe that Archae there shows that eyewitness testimony can indeed often justify our belief in things. 450 He claims that the following are the criteria that we can use to determine whether or not to treat any particular eyewitness testimony as good evidence:

 

Criterion 1. Is the character of the witness good?

Criterion 2. Is what's reported susceptible to multiple interpretations?

Criterion 3. Are there multiple witnesses?

 

451 My claim (85 (pg. 1c.)) stands, because this eyewitness testimony is, by these criteria, evidential:

Re Criterion 1: 452 The character of the witnesses here, in general, is superb. Many were hand-picked members of an elite group, the only atomic bomb group in the world. 453 These included, as I pointed out above (86, p. 1c.), Maj. Marcel, the base security officer at Roswell Army Air Field;  453a Lt. Haut, the base public information officer who was a trusted aid and friend of the base commander, Col. Blanchard*;  453b Gen. Exon, who was to become, in 1964,  base commander of Wright-Patterson AFB, where the materials and bodies were said to have been shipped in 1947;  453c Counter Intelligence Corps noncommissioned officer, Bill Rickett, who worked for Capt. Cavitt;  453d Maj. Saunders, who was the RAAF base adjutant.

Re Criterion 2: 454 The things observed by these witnesses are not susceptible to multiple interpretations. 455 When a witness says, for instance, that she saw a small, silvery sheet that, if wadded up in the hand and dropped onto the surface of a table, would spread out like mercury into a thin irregular sheet in one or two seconds--a piece of metal foil that could not be cut with scissors, scratched or burned and could not be permanently creased, it can not be that she misperceived what she saw, and that the material she saw was something prosaic. 456 When Gen. Exon, for example, said that "Everyone from the White House down knew that what we had found was not of this world within 24 hours of our finding it," we cannot imagine what prosaic fact he could have misinterpreted in order to form the belief that everyone knew that the material was not of this world--we are entitled to believe him.

Re Criterion 3. 457 In this case, multiple witnesses attest to the same extraordinary things.

458 Therefore, the eyewitness testimony in this case is highly evidential, and my conclusions stand.

 

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Notes

 

440.02.   440, 440.01  Id + MP

440  If something can be dissected, . . . , then it can be used as evidence . .

α Physical evidence = something

β If physical evidence can be dissected, . . . , then it can be used as evidence . . .   440, α  Id.

440.01  Physical evidence can be dissected, photographed, discussed, looked at, etc.

440.02  So, Physical evidence can be used as evidence to justify our belief in things.  β,440.01  MP

440.05.  440.03, 440.03   Id + MP    

444. Michael Shermer, Larry King Live

445.  ibid.

4446.  444, 445   MP

4447.  443, 446  MP

4453a.  C&S p. 212

 

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© Richard Crist, 2007