This first appeared on API Case Files in audio form in 2014. It has been edited a bit to make it more suitable for a text post.
In the first installment of Unidentified Science, I said I was going to emphasize four important virtues: humility, patience, integrity, and skepticism. Of these, I think the first – humility – has been the most neglected in the UFO field. The kind of humility I am talking about here is “epistemic” humility: being honest with ourselves and each other about how little we reliably know, and how much what we know is overwhelmed by what we don’t know, understand, or have even imagined.
An example of one type of failure of humility – epistemic arrogance, let us call it – is the wide range of conjectures about non-human intelligence, and our eagerness to assign anomalous experiences to their activity.
I want to state plainly that it is not a stupid question to ask whether there are other intelligences than humans in the universe -beings like us in some ways – and whether we have ever been in direct contact with them. The arrogance comes in with connecting this naive but reasonable question with any claimed evidence or absence of evidence of alien visitation. It is overreaching to think we should somehow know what an alien visitation would look like, how they and their technology would behave, what the purposes of their visits would be, and what sort of phenomena we would detect should they be present.
Not only are we safe in saying that we simply don’t know these things, but just as likely in my view, ET intelligence – if it exists – is not only stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine – to paraphrase the famous pronouncement know as “Haldane’s Law”. We just have no idea what to look for, except that it’s unlikely to be what we expect.
I will call the notion that an ET intelligence is responsible for some UFO events the “Extraterrestrial Conjecture” , and I’d like to explain why I don’t call it the “Extraterrestrial Hypothesis.”
Protecting witness privacy and anonymity is very important to us. We want anyone to be able to file a report with confidence that their identify will not become public.
So, let’s sum up the policy:
- We don’t make witness names or contact information public.
- We are careful not reveal ancillary information that may help someone to identify the witness
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Released: 10 December 2017
Download the .mp3 audio file
- Kiwi UFO—A blazing cylinder over New Zealand.
- Blank Spots on the Map “outs” spy satellites whose operations may trigger UFO reports.
- API introduces a new team member, chats about some interesting cases, and discusses explanations for common misidentifications.
In Episode 12 of Case Files, API Director Paul Carr, Chief of Investigations Marsha Barnhart, and new Lead Investigator Savannah Dollison join in a Team Round Table discussion about some of their more recent cases.
Marsha spotlighted her investigation of an unidentified case that was set in New Zealand. She also discussed a book, Blank Spots on the Map, by Trevor Paglen—a book that contains a chapter identifying characteristics of Spy Satellites which researchers might find useful when investigating reports of anomalous lights in the night sky.
Blank Spots on the Map
Article on Trevor Paglen
US Government FOIA Requests
Report A UFO
The Script for this Episode (Creative Commons)
Host and Producer: Marsha Barnhart
Post Production: Paul Carr
Episode 12 Music
BoxCat Games: https://soundcloud.com/search?q=Box%20Cat%20Games
Alien Chronicler: https://soundcloud.com/search?q=Alien%20Chronicler
D J Spooky
We aren’t looking to become a very large organization in the foreseeable future, but we would like to add one more Field Investigator to our rolls at present. Of course, this is an unpaid volunteer position, but we also don’t charge membership dues. No experience is required.
After training as a field investigator, you will work cases on a regular basis, participate in our monthly virtual meetings, and have an opportunity to contribute to our official podcast, API Case Files.
Please read our Join API page, and if the description there sounds like you, then please consider filling out the form at the bottom of the page as completely as you can, and we’ll be back to you soon.
This is about why going into the field can be valuable.
Case 2013-20 actually took place in late 2012 in Carroll and Frederick Counties, Maryland. Although we closed the case Unidentified, I wonder if we’re really done with this area, just southeast of Camp David.
This is the script of Unidentified Science 1, which was first presented in audio form on API Case Files, Episode 1. It has been edited a little to make it more suitable for a text post.
We’re here because we sense that the universe can present itself to us in ways that no one entirely understands, but we live in hope for that moment when the light comes on, and we see further into the unknown, and recognize the wonder it holds for us. That moment will never come unless we prepare, explore, search, question and fail many times.
The light will stay off forever unless we work together with a set of tried and true processes and tools that help us harvest meaningful knowledge from our experience. We call this careful and reasoned way of failing better each time science – and without science we are almost certainly going to spend our lives stumbling backwards in the dark.
Did you hear Marsha Barnhart’s recent appearance on Martin Willis’ Podcast UFO? Check it out!
We have renamed our “Podcast” page. It is now “Media Appearances,” where you will find links to API team media appearances. The API Case Files podcast will soon occupy the “Podcast” tab, but that will take a little longer.
We’ve revamped our investigator resource page to make it more useful. We’re going to continue to add resources and more descriptive information to help investigators find their way through the maze.