Fwd = Refuting Fermi: No Evidence for Extraterrestrial Life?
- 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.  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.  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.  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
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
1. Shostak, S. 2001. "Fermi's Paradox III: Zookeepers, Alien
Visitors, or Simple Life; How Can We Explain Our Isolation?"
Space. com, Nov.
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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