Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson on why your eye witness testimony isn’t good enough.

Invariably when I get into a discussion, be it on religion or ghosts or some other supernatural phenomena, someone will eventually accuse me of calling them a liar. “Are you telling me,” they’ll begin to ask with an air of righteous indignation, “That I don’t know what I saw?” Yes, I’ll reply. That’s exactly what I’m telling you. I don’t doubt you believe you saw what you think you saw, but I doubt that you actually saw what you claim to have seen. Quite often that’ll put an end to the conversation as the other person stamps off in a huff over the outrage of having his perceptions challenged.

The next time I come across a conversation like that I’ll point to this video clip of from Cosmic Quandaries with Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson. In it he’s just been asked if he believes in UFOs and he goes on to explain the argument from ignorance and why your eyewitness account isn’t enough for scientists to accept by itself. Check it:

Good stuff and points made with a bit more tact than I’m usually capable of.

Update: Looks like you can watch the whole thing on YouTube.

Found via Greg Laden’s blog.

Mediums predict aliens will arrive on October 14th, 2008.

Get ready ‘cause E.T. has left home and is headed straight to Earth to save us from ourselves. Or so say a couple of whackjobs mediums:

The mediums, Blossom Goodchild, an Australian actress, author and direct-voice medium, and Mike Quinsey, a well-known United States-based medium [SEB Ed. Note: I’ve never heard of this yahoo], say they have been contacted by the galactic Federation of Light who have made it known that they will park their massive space ship over Alabama “in the south of your hemisphere” on October 14, and will remain there for three days.

Uh, does Australia have an Alabama? Because the one here in America isn’t in the southern hemisphere.

The visitation to humans has been brought forward from the initially planned End of Days in 2012 because of the damage being caused to the planet by man and the fact that “dark forces” remain in charge.

The most recent message was channelled to Mike Quinsey this week from SaLuSa of Sirius on behalf of the federation, which warned that it would not be long before people would get a clear indication of where humanity was going.

“There are events that are approaching manifestation that will be the precursor of greater happenings… You are being helped to break away from the iron grip of the dark forces, and this is vital if you are to tread a different path that shall allow you full expression in the Light,” part of the message said.

SaLuSa continued that soon there would be “irrefutable proof” that we are not alone in this universe and that extraterrestrial craft were no strangers to the planet.

“What will be different is that the event of October 14 will happen in such a way that it will be undeniable and will open the door to first contact,” the being apparently told Quinsey, who was also informed that without the help of extraterrestrials, man would have been unable to progress as far.

It always amuses me how much people deluded by beliefs in UFOs sound so much like people deluded by beliefs in God(s). Take any religious nutter’s prediction of Jesus’ return to free us from the grip of Satan and replace the words Jesus and Satan with Aliens and Dark Forces and you’ll be surprised at how well it still works. The reverse often works just a swell as illustrated below:

The [return to Earth] has been brought forward from the initially planned [Apocalypse] because of the damage being caused to the planet by man and the fact that [agents of Satan] remain in charge.

The most recent message was channelled to Mike Quinsey this week from [Jesus of Nazareth] on behalf of [God], which warned that it would not be long before people would get a clear indication of where humanity was going.

“There are events that are approaching manifestation that will be the precursor of greater happenings… You are being helped to break away from the iron grip of the [agents of Satan], and this is vital if you are to tread a different path that shall allow you full expression in [God’s] Light,” part of the message said.

[Jesus] continued that soon there would be “irrefutable proof” that we are not alone in this universe and that [angels] were no strangers to the planet.

“What will be different is that the event of October 14 will happen in such a way that it will be undeniable and will open the door to [acceptance of Christ],” the [angel] apparently told Quinsey, who was also informed that without the help of [God], man would have been unable to progress as far.

Kind of eerie, ain’t it? These people have replaced one delusion with another and, much like their religious counterparts, they take the fact that they are ridiculed and mocked for their beliefs as evidence that they are right in their beliefs.

Though I have to give credit to the UFO nutters for saying things even more nonsensical than what most religious folks say. Things like:

[I]n her most recent contacts the beings informed her that they come to “help us and our planet move to a new higher vibration of love”.

A higher vibration of love? What the hell does that even mean? Whatever it means it’s suppose to start with the landing of the aliens on October 14th so be sure to mark your calendars. And if that little taste of insanity wasn’t enough to satiate your curiosity then you can always check out Blossom Goodchild blog and the Geocities-ish nightmare that Mike Quinsey writes on that isn’t quite blog. Fair warning: Mike’s color choices alone can make your eyes bleed.

Hat tip to Hubert Xapier over at Bad Thinking for the link.