A skeptic's argument

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

A skeptic gives his views on the UFO situation

A confirmed skeptic of UFOs, Marc McMasters wrote on Quora.com:

"LOL, people will believe anything, right?"

A former ANU student responded:

For some people perhaps. For others, we have to be extremely careful not to assume that they have seen nothing or are making up stories.

After an ANU researcher has conducted a study into UFOs and looked more closely at the reports, it has become apparent that an electromagnetic technology exists in genuine UFO reports. The area of physics supporting the observations and shows how UFO occupants can cover the distances in ridiculously small spacecraft is explained by the solution of the Abraham-Lorentz formula where exponential acceleration is the expected trend for any charged object emitting radiation for propulsion. It is a poorly understood area of physics with the few physicists who have seen it giving diverse views about it and how likely it could be real. Unfortunately no one has yet conducted the experiment to really find out. Now that we have a good idea on the engineering requirements to build one of these UFOs, all it will take is to build a prototype and test the concept.

As there are a growing number of scientists giving support to the witnesses claims as we speak, what happens next in terms of the behaviour of these UFO occupants starts to make sense from a scientific perspective. If you are going to visit a planet like ours and need to acquire some biological samples from the humanoid natives living on planet Earth, how would you approach the situation while keeping in mind you would want to avoid being seen by too many natives and must minimise interference on their affairs?

In other words, would anything the aliens do be any different from how a human scientist might do if given the opportunity to study alien life on another planet?

I think there are people who have seen something and have good reason to believe what they saw. It is only fair that we keep an open-mind and be prepared for the unexpected.

McMasters replied to this comment as follows (with the ANU student's counter arguments):

"...in genuine UFO reports" How do you distinguish 'genuine' from 'non-genuine'?

"...the solution of the Abraham-Lorentz formula where exponential acceleration..." This needs fact checking. Please provide the data that shows 'aliens' in "...in ridiculously small spacecraft... etc etc" ( *and* please define 'ridiculously small').

The ANU student said:

Do I detect considerable scepticism and disbelief from the way you have constructed your statement to state that you want to see the "aliens" in the mathematics? For the sake of argument, let's leave aliens aside for a moment. I suggest that you study one physicist's perspective, in this case try Dr. David J. Griffiths (of the Department of Physics at Reed College, in Portland, Oregon). Now he is an expert who has conducted an analysis of the Abraham-Lorentz formula. Furthermore, he doesn't see the mathematics as a crackpot idea having no bearing in reality. Indeed, he has made an interesting statement stating that there could be reality in this formula. At any rate, other scientists have looked at this problem in recent times, and it seems the issue here is that:

(a) the solution sounds too incredible to be true so why bother testing it in a real-life experiment;
(b) how does one implement this solution in reality; and
(c) the few scientists who have studied the formula have differing views and interpretations as well as various mathematical ways to try to repress the solution to avoid the disturbing implications of this exponential solution.

But let us assume for now that there is a way to implement this solution. Like you say, you want to see the "aliens" in the mathematics, or rather how probable "aliens" might exist based on this solution. We have already seen a basic mathematical analysis by other physicists on Quora showing how long it takes for a human accelerating and decelerating at 1g throughout a journey to reach a destination. Three days to reach Mars. Less than 1 year to reach one light year, about 1.5 years to reach 4.3 light years. And well within a human lifetime of 27 years to cover a million light years. It doesn't seem too hard. So, imagine exponential acceleration in accordance with the solution from the Abraham-Lorentz formula and what this can do to speed up a journey to a nearby star system. If we use simple techniques to control the inertial forces a little better (e.g., skin tight metal suits to push blood flow to the brain, use a symmetrical metal box to reduce radiation and its gravitational field that causes inertial forces to be exerted on the human body, use short and thin pilots to participate in the flights, and so on), another simple analysis will show how much faster and quicker we can achieve the same distances. Indeed, would it not allow humans to participate in the journeys? If the answer from your mathematical analysis says it could be feasible, then perhaps it is time for you to take the UFO subject a little more seriously as any good scientist would.

And probably it is about time that we all do, especially considering that we are here to be curious individuals willing to be astonished and looking for things to advance science. UFO reports are just as good as any other subject to study on a scientific level.

McMasters wrote:

"It is a poorly understood area of physics..." Yet you seem to accept it without question. That's weird, so can you elaborate why you'd accept it, or are you the only guy who gets it?

The ANU student responded by saying:

Dr [David J.] Griffiths gets it. And a number of other physicists 'get it'. The only way for you to 'get it' is for you to study the Abraham-Lorentz formula and familiarise yourself with the controversy surrounding this unusual area of electromagnetism and why physicists are unsure what to make of this solution. It is one of those areas of science that does need more careful study.

McMasters wrote:

"Unfortunately no one has yet conducted the experiment to really find out" Oops, that answered the previous question, right?

The ANU student said:

No. It just means some people don't know how to set up the experiment to find out. Another American physicist has figured it out and saw in his observation of an unusual non-linear acceleration of his invention. It is up to us to redo the work and check the results again.

McMasters wrote:

"...a growing number of scientists giving support to the witnesses claims as we speak" This requires fact checking. 'Growing number' means what? An extra two from last week?

The ANU student said:

You have a chance to add your voice to the 'growing chorus' of scientists that perhaps there is some validity in the UFO reports and what they may represent. The aim here is to find out if there is something in the reports to help advance science. If your analysis of the formula shows it is feasible for a biological entity to cover even a distance of 4.3 light years in a spacecraft that is merely 10 metres in diameter (and I have quotes from traditional scientists from last century who have looked at this and claimed the subject must be hogwash because no one can survive the journey in such small objects without enough food, water and fuel, so surely people cannot have seen UFO occupants), you may have to start eating humble pie.

McMasters wrote:

"...how would you approach the situation while keeping in mind you would want to avoid being seen" You're making an assumption here -- how do you know they don't want to be seen? Clearly, they're failing at that, right?

The ANU student said:

Look at the formula and find out if "aliens" are failing. Do you think so now? Furthermore, there are cases on record where it seems some UFO occupants are willing to give demonstrations of their flying technology to witnesses, provide messages and warnings to UFO human abductees about our activities here on Earth, allow humans on an escorted tour of the spacecraft etc. While enough people here on Earth are willing to pooh-pooh the possibility that it could have happened, the ETs continue to succeed in hiding from us, and enough people here are failing to see what is going on.

McMasters wrote:

"...you would want to avoid being seen by too many natives and must minimise interference on their affairs..." You are now anthropomorphising aliens; you have yet to demonstrate they actually exist. Another big assumption.

The ANU student said:

You can do the mathematics to show how probable the ETs existence might be. I understand that we cannot be expected to know exactly how aliens think. But we have enough indirect evidence from the UFO reports of the way a reasonable number of UFO occupants behave. And I can see it doesn't seem too far fetched the way they think compared to us. If we faced the same situation of visiting another planet with alien life and we made efforts to minimise interference and avoid been seen by too many alien "people", would the choices you make to gather biological samples be significantly different from the way UFO occupants behave and achieve their goals while they are here? I doubt it personally.

McMasters wrote:

"In other words, would anything the aliens do be any different from how (sic) a human scientist might do if given the opportunity to study alien life on another planet?" How the heck would we know this? Why are you making these assumptions? You and I don't know what a human scientist *might* do. And which human scientist?

The ANU student said:

But you can make reasonable and probable statements based on the likely trend of a group of human scientists when faced with this situation. It is like you are saying you cannot know what a single quantum particle will do because you cannot directly observe it, but we all know that we can make probabilities of how likely a group of such particles will behave. The same is true when we look at a group of UFO reports with UFO occupants and determine their behaviours and see a consistency in their approach. And from what I can see, I know I would do the same as a scientist visiting another planet. You might not think so yourself. Perhaps you are going to go there and land right in the middle of a populated area just to announce your arrival and say, "Hello". Not sure if that is such a good idea. We have scientists who would disagree with your approach and why minimising interference with another species is a reasonable and valid approach, especially if they are at the same or lower level of development. Even with advanced aliens, you have to be careful not to pass on Earthly viruses that could devastate an alien civilisation. Okay. So for those who do choose to stay away and minimise interference while gathering biological samples, would there be any differences in how we would approach this compared to the aliens? I am sure most scientists would agree with me that there is likely to be no difference. We can apply our thinking on this issue in a very sound way based on good sociological principles. Or, if you like, we can always do a survey and carry out a statistical analysis to see what the result is.

McMasters wrote:

"I think there are people who have seen something and have good reason to believe what they saw." Yep, agreed. They are either lying, plain old mistaken or they have actually seen 'alien' space craft. Guess which two of the three have actually been *demonstrated* to be true?

The ANU student said:

Demonstrated can also mean doing the experiment to find out if the solution of the Abraham-Lorentz formula is true and can occur in reality. We do have another way to find out.

I agree that there are many UFOs that turn out to be misidentification of known natural or man-made phenomena, or the occasional hallucinations. And yes, we do have people who can fake seeing UFOs. But when you have people who have died from radiation poisoning very soon after a UFO encounter, you have to be careful not to assume all UFOs are nonsense. If just one UFO report turns out to be bona fide and contains plenty of useful information about the nature of these flying objects, including the type of radiation being emitted, as well as the positions of fuselages attached to the central body, positions of glowing regions, the non-linear speed displayed of UFOs and how this increases with higher frequency rate of the blinking on-and-off of the glowing regions and so on, it is in the interest of science to find out. That's the hallmark of a true scientist — being curious and being able to be astonished. If I and others can see something to be astonished about and do the work and discover something that we can implement right now and test it, that is what good science is about.

McMasters wrote:

"It is only fair that we keep an open-mind..." Yep, but not so open that our brains fall out. And rejecting hypotheses like these until they have been demonstrated to be true *is not* being closed minded.

The ANU student said:

Let me know when things do start to fall out at your end when doing the mathematical analysis of the formula. Yes, it can be a little hair-raising sometimes. Now demonstrate it and you will have the answer.