Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Alien abduction stories

An atheist trope is to cite alien abduction stories to cast doubt on the reliability of testimonial evidence. There are, however, several problems with his comparison:

1. An atheist depends on testimonial evidence to even be aware of alien abduction stories. 

2. Unless a Christian happens to be an expert on ufology, he has no informed opinion to offer on alien abduction stories. Ufology is a study unto itself. A huge swamp. 

3. In addition, the comparison suffers from a basic equivocation. In assessing alien abduction stories, we need to differentiate actual eyewitnesses to something from people who fraudulently claim to be eyewitnesses. Not everyone who claims to be an eyewitness is in fact an eyewitness. Sifting testimonial evidence requires us to distinguish between people who simply make stuff up from actual observers.

When the reliability of testimonial evidence is challenged, what is being challenged? The credibility of a witness to be an actual witness? Or the accuracy of his perception, recollection, and/or interpretation of the experience?

4. To take a comparison, suppose someone claims to be an eyewitness to the sinking of the Titanic, assassination of Bobby Kennedy, or demise of Jack Ruby. In that case, we have independent evidence that there was something to be observed. Evidence that the Titanic, Jack Ruby, and Bobby Kennedy existed. 

But the evidence for alien abductions is circular inasmuch as reports just are the putative evidence that extraterrestrials are kidnapping humans. Yet there can only be alien abductions if extraterrestrials exist. They can only be observed in case they exist. So what's our basis to classify these reports as eyewitness testimony? There can only be observers if there's something to observe. 


  1. "Yet there can only be alien abductions if extraterrestrials exist" Isn't that the point of atheists raising the objection in the first place? Eyewitness evidence of something whose existence is the very thing in question?

    1. Reported miracles are not all of a kind. In many cases, we have corroborative evidence that the beneficiary of a reported miracle exists, that he was, say, irreversibly ill, that he recovered.

      Not all reported miracles enjoy that kind of corroboration, but there are veridical miracles, whereas, to my knowledge, there are no veridical alien abductions. So the evidence for *some* miracles isn't circular in the way putative evidence for alien abductions is. And you only need a few well-attested examples of something to prove its existence or occurrence.

  2. Also, if some Christians are right that at least some alleged alien abductions are actually cases of demonic oppression, then it shouldn't be surprising that the empirical evidence for such "abductions" would be sparse and meager. Since, demons are immaterial, they wouldn't normally leave empirical evidence laying around.

    Atheists beg the question by assuming that veridicality necessitates (at least in principle) empirical verification. But that's often a result of the assumption of metaphysical naturalism. And so, since there's sparse evidence for UFOs and alien abductions, they too quickly dismiss testimonial evidence. But if there's more to reality than the physical, then testimonial evidence will naturally include things beyond the physical or empirically verifiable.

    Atheists who appeal analogically to alien abductions and/or UFOs merely want people's incredulity of abductions and/or UFOs to be blindly applied to Christianity and the resurrection accounts. As if Christian incredulity [wherever and to whatever degree it might exist] is based on the same reasons as their own incredulity. Which it isn't. Christians have differing views regarding these issues. Besides, most atheists haven't really examined the abduction and/or UFO phenomena with any real depth. If they did, they'd realize that even non-Christian investigators have sometimes concluded that something like a supernatural, or hyper-physical or immaterial reality is the cause of many of them.

    One of the most famous UFO researchers (and UFO authors) of all time is Ph.D. scientist Dr Jacques Vallée. As far back as 1977, he wrote:

    “I propose the hypothesis that there is a control system for human consciousness … I am suggesting that what takes place through close encounters with UFOs is control of human beliefs, control of the relationship between our consciousness and physical reality, that this control has been in force throughout history and that it is of secondary importance that it should now assume the form of sightings of space visitors.”

    He also concluded that:

    “ … human belief … is being controlled and conditioned, man’s concepts are being rearranged, and we may be headed toward a massive change of human attitudes toward paranormal abilities and extraterrestrial life.”

    Quotes taken from here:

    Look out for the up coming documentary Alien Intrusion: Unmasking the Deception (website)

    See Gary Bates book with the same title.

    See also the videos at YouTube channel Alien Resistance:

    One of lectures is by Gary Bates himself. See here: Also checkout Joseph Jordan and Guy Malone's presentations.