Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Oberg vs. Bassett

        James Oberg was recently interviewed by a journalist with the delightful name Faye Flam, for an article for Bloomberg Opinion about the recent reports of UFO sightings by US Navy pilots.

        Ms. Flam noted that both the New York Times and the Washington Post have both tentatively proposed that these sightings are evidence of alien visitation. She then wrote:
"But the pro-extraterrestrial visitation arguments rest on two serious errors. One is the confusion of observations with interpretations, and the other is a slight twist on an error called god of the gaps. The UFO sightings should be investigated in a scientific way, but the errors are undermining the effort.
The first error made in most of the news coverage was to claim that Navy pilots observed craft that accelerated, rose upwards or turned faster than was physically possible. But pilots can’t know any object’s speed or acceleration without knowing whether these were little things, seen close up, or bigger things, that were farther away. It’s just one clue that the vocabulary is being blurred.
James Oberg, a former NASA engineer turned space journalist, pointed out: “The bizarre events reported by Navy pilots are not ‘observations’; they are interpretations of what the raw observations might mean.” To start an investigation from a conclusion rather than from data is, he says, “a recipe for confusion and frustration and dead-ended detours.”
        Stephen  Bassett is one of the foremost believers in the alien invasion and a tireless advocate of official disclosure. His org, The Paradigm Research Group, proclaims that it represents "the people's right to know the truth regarding an extraterrestrial presence engaging the human race." Another slogan is "It's not just about lights in the sky, it's about lies on the ground."

        Reacting to the Bloomberg article, Bassett wrote:
"This article's argument rests on two serious errors. One is a deep ignorance of the history of the phenomena. The other is calling on James Oberg who hasn't been right about anything since the Nixon administration".
       Oberg's comment was that he took criticism from Bassett as a mark of honor.

Here's a NYT article dated 26th May this year detailing what the Navy pilots have reported. Leslie Kean, who Oberg says is clearly biased, is one of the authors.


Dick Harder said...

Trained pilot's observations aren't observations? This is great. James Oberg is changing the minds of the English speaking World! Someday that boy will really, make something of himself.

jim oberg said...

"Trained pilot's observations aren't observations?" == If there is a community college near you, I volunteer to contribute to your tuition for the standard 'Reading for Comprehension" course that most of them offer. The pilots had no way to 'observe' G-forces on the putative 'objects', only [at best] angular rates, from which G-forces could be inferred by assuming additional facts which were not observed. Pilots train to be survivors first, observers much lower in priority. For the safety of themselves and their passengers they MUST respond to the most hazardous possible interpretations of their visual input -- where 'false positives' are merely embarrassing and 'false negatives' can mean death.

Several years ago, I described the ‘questionable foundation’ of Leslie Kean’s book as the na├»ve and unverified faith in pilot reports. She has insisted the UFOs show intelligent purpose based on the nature of their witnesses, since they behave differently when seen by military pilots than when seen by civilian pilots [when the more common-sense explanation is that different pilots report obervations in terms of what they expect from their own different experience bases]. The data archives she touts as ‘unexplainable’ pilot sightings [such as the French ‘Weinstein Report’] can easily be shown to contain numerous pilot misinterpreations of unregnized space and missile activity aroud the world, so who knows how many other prosaic explanations were never found by the ‘investigators’?

See here [descriptions of factual/logical flaws would be appreciated, with documentation]:

Dick Harder said...

I guess those highly trained, over paid pilots ought to be fired for being so stupid. The should all be replaced by James Oberg from his remote control joy stick of a fleet of drones.

jim oberg said...

The offer to partially subsidize your 'reading for comprehension' course still stands.

Are these the kinds of 'trained observers' you say pilots are?

Trekker said...

Then there was the Air Canada pilot a few years ago, who woke up from his nap, took over from his co-pilot, saw Venus straight ahead outside his window, and put the plane into a steep nose-dive, injuring a few passengers in the process. So much for 'trained observers'.

Chris Lopes said...

Pilots are observers in the sense that they know what's going on in and around their aircraft. They aren't astronomers or atmospheric scientists. Their specific skill set revolves around getting complicated machines into the air, moving those machines to a desired location, and bringing those machines back down to earth with both passengers and property intact. None of that qualifies them to be Carl Sagan.

Dick Harder said...

I think it's important to ridicule those dumbass pilots, so they don't dare to alarm the public with such irresponsible gossip.

Trekker said...

Ridicule isn't necessary, but a good eye-roll is quite appropriate in the circumstances, especially where such a known object as Venus is concerned.

Chris Lopes said...

I'm not ridiculing anyone. I'm just pointing out the limits of their expertise. Just like being a scientist doesn't mean you know the answers to every public policy question, being a pilot doesn't mean you know about everything in the sky.

David Evans said...

The Venus incident is understandable. I have mistaken Venus for an aircraft landing light (both being essentially a bright white dot), and if you actually have a landing light straight ahead there's not much time for thinking.

This does not mean that if a pilot, or anyone else, reports seeing a solid metallic-looking disk of an appreciable size Venus is a good explanation.

Dick Harder said...

There must be no law against military pilots drinking and flying. Boy, are they flying.

Trekker said...

David Evans, wouldn't you think, though, that pilots should make it their business to know when Venus is visible, which direction it's in, and how bright it is, etc., given the fact that it CAN be mistaken for an oncoming aircraft? It would prevent incidents like the Air Canada one, and the ensuing embarrassment to the pilot, not to mention the claims from the 14 injured passengers.

Dirk Hardly said...

Thank you Trekker; a breath of fresh air, here. Such an obviously reasonable observation which seems to elude the obfuscatorious, Jiminy Oddbird.