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Fwd = Refuting Fermi: No Evidence for Extraterrestrial Life?

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  • Frits Westra
    Forwarded by: fwestra@hetnet.nl (Frits Westra) URL (FDF file): http://www.nidsci.org/articles/alexander/fermi.pdf Original Date: Sun, 2 Dec 2001
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 2, 2001
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      Forwarded by: fwestra@... (Frits Westra)
      URL (FDF file): http://www.nidsci.org/articles/alexander/fermi.pdf
      Original Date: Sun, 2 Dec 2001 13:17:34 -0800 (PST)

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      Refuting Fermi: No Evidence for Extraterrestrial Life?

      John B. Alexander
      National Institute for Discovery Science

      In a recent article, Seth Shostak drew attention to what has
      become known as the Fermi Paradox. [1] Typically discussants
      raise the famous off-hand luncheon comment by Enrico Fermi,
      "Where is everybody?" when dismissing the existence of
      intelligent extraterrestrial life. The invocation of such a
      distinguished figure is polemic and used to make the position
      academically unassailable. In the ranks of scientific loyalists
      there is a constant refrain pertaining to the existence of
      intelligent extraterrestrial life. Best phrased by Carl Sagan,
      known for his "billions and billions" quotation in developing
      the hypothesis that we share the universe with other forms of
      intelligence, he added "but there is not one shred of evidence
      to support it." Really? Actually, the book he co-edited with
      Thornton Page, UFOs: A Scientific Debate, refutes his own
      statement. [2] The deductive error is conflation of lack of
      evidence with proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

      Edward Condon fostered this misconstruction in his fatally
      flawed and internally inconsistent report on UFOs. Despite the
      widely published conclusions, his report too contained
      substantial evidence supporting the physical existence of these
      objects. [3] The error is the a priori assumption that UFOs
      cannot exist therefore no evidence to the contrary will be
      considered, never mind accepted. Few scientists would allow such
      faulty logic to prevail in their own field of expertise. Yet, in
      the emotionally laden field of UFOs, scientists let Condon
      stand uncorrected and disregarding pertinent facts has become
      the accepted norm.

      The undeniable reality is that there are a substantial number of
      multi-sensor UFO cases backed by thousands of credible
      witnesses. In the physical domain there are many photos, videos,
      radar tracking, satellite sensor reports, landing traces
      including depressions and anomalous residual radiation,
      electromagnetic interference, and confirmed physiological
      effects. Personal observations have been made both day and
      night, often under excellent visibility with some at close
      range. Included are reports from multiple independent witnesses
      to the same event. Psychological testing of some observers has
      confirmed their mentally competence. Why is none of this
      considered evidence?

      There are over 3000 cases reported by pilots, some of which
      include interference with flight controls. On numerous
      occasions air traffic controllers and other radar operators have
      noted unexplained objects on their scopes. So too have several
      astronomers and other competent scientists reported their
      personal observations. Many military officials from several
      countries have confirmed multi-sensor observations of UFOs. The
      most senior air defense officers of Russia, Brazil, Belgium and
      recently a former Chief of Naval Operations in Chile all have
      stated that UFOs are real. These cases and comments are a
      miniscule fraction of the total body of evidence.

      Of course they do not constitute irrefutable proof. However, to
      state there is no evidence suggestive of intelligent
      extraterrestrial life simply belies the facts. Decades in
      duration and global in nature, there are too many hard sensor
      data-points and millions of eyewitnesses to ignore. We
      certainly can debate the significance of specific data and
      question whether or not it establishes a causal relationship
      between the observations and extraterrestrial life. However, it
      is only through ignorance or pomposity that one can say no
      evidence exists.


      1. Shostak, S. 2001. "Fermi's Paradox III: Zookeepers, Alien
      Visitors, or Simple Life; How Can We Explain Our Isolation?"
      Space. com, Nov.
      www.space.com/searchforlife/shostak_fermi3_011129.html

      2. Sagan, C. & T. Page 1972. UFO's: A Scientific Debate. New
      York: W. W. Norton Co.

      3. Condon, E. U. 1969. Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying
      Objects. Ed. D. S. Gillmore. New York: Bantam Books-NY Times.

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