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Old 08-18-2003, 03:44 AM   #5
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Join Date: May 2002
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In dealing with subjects, such as UFOs, the evidence is typically one of two types: anecdotal or graphic imagery.

The problem with both is that they are easily contrived. It takes a great many corroborating sources to allow either as legitimate evidence. Or it requires a corroborating alternative source of evidence.

Take the video of a subject in a convenience store during the time of a robbery. The video (hypothetical) shows only the subject walking through the store, going off camera, then hurridly running out. If this were the only evidence, a conviction could not be forthcoming. How do we know this video was shot at the correct time or even the correct day? How do we know this is even the suspect on trial (these videos are rarely of any clarity)? How do we know that the store was actually robbed?

Easily answered questions when corroborated by witnesses, fingerprints, clothing matches, video date/time stamps, recovered items, etc. But without any or even all of these, a jury cannot say that the person in the video is our suspect.

In looking at a video and hearing an eyewitness testimony, one has to ask what other evidence is available and is it secured? A grainy photo or even a relatively sharp video of an object that cannot be discerned cannot be said to be anything more than unidentified.

Take the Bigfoot case for instance. Mr. Wallace perpetuated his hoax until the day he died. Only after his death did his family come clean. The famous video of Bigfoot walking from a small clearing into some trees was actually his wife in an ape suit made by the same people who did the original Planet of the Apes!

All that existed was a video and some casts of foot prints. I remember distinctly the hype that occured during the '70s and '80s about how the footprints could not have been faked, since they contained anatomically correct flaws; the many eyewitnesses that came forward to speak of their experiences; the anecdotal claim that there was a distinct odor that accompanied Bigfoot sightings; etc., etc.

Skeptical examination of the evidence was given little attention. Never mind that there was an extremely limited amount of physical evidence, all of which was easily hoaxed. But who would go to such lengths? Mr. Wallace.... for one.

This is an important subject. Evidence is important in other areas of our lives, not just in debunking claims of UFOs, Bigfoot, and the paranormal. We cannot expect people to be truthful when there is a possibility to gain status. There's little harm in 15 minutes of fame at being the "one who saw Bigfoot" or "took a ride in a UFO."

But not everybody seeking status to cares about the well-being of others. A look at Enron, WorldCom/MCI, and Montana Power will prove that. A look at government will demonstrate it as well. There are those within our governments (if you think corruption is uniquely American, this Multi-Thread is for you) who will stop at very little to get what they want.

This is an old thread, but it seemed the most appropriate to become home for the side-topic that erupted in the Why Atheism? thread.

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Last edited by SkinWalker; 01-07-2007 at 11:57 PM.
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