“How do we qualify Ufology information?”
How do we ‘vet’ the information and people providing it so that the quality is there; so that sense is made common?
What kind of tell-tale signs does ‘truth’ have in this environment?
Here’s some considerations from the works of Brent Cunningham…
1. Internal Coherence — This is a test for rational consistency in ufology information. This asks if a belief makes sense? We need to determine whether beliefs are rationally consistent within themselves and in relation to others beliefs of one’s larger worldview. Some beliefs are known to be self-referentially inconsistent, or self-defeating. An example might be the belief that all “knowledge” is scientific knowledge. This is obviously self-defeating because the belief itself is not a scientific statement. Therefore, the belief dies by its own standard for knowledge.
Another way a belief can fail this test is when two beliefs are in contradiction with each other, meaning that at least one of the beliefs must be false. So, we must ask if the beliefs hold together? For example, if a person is a Naturalist (believing that human life is accidental, random, and without ultimate purpose), he cannot then introduce the belief that we have an objective moral obligation to treat another person justly or with kindness.
2. External Correspondence — This test asks if a belief fits the facts of reality in ufology information. Does it correspond to the real world? Proposed truth-claims must have explanatory power, or the ability to give account for our experience of the world (whether it be history, science, psychology, human nature, etc.). For instance, a worldview can be tested by its ability to explain cosmological questions like the origin of the universe; anthropological questions like the existence of minds and free will; moral questions like the existence of evil and our experience with guilt.
Further, the explanatory power of truth-claims should (a) be comprehensive in scope—able to explain more or better than alternative theories; (b) have predictive power—suggesting new evidence and problems; (c) have precision—accounting for more details; (d) be illuminating—integrating otherwise unrelated data; (e) avoid ad hoc hypotheses—functioning only to explain away counter-evidence; (f) be simple—not needlessly multiplying the basic concepts, assumptions, and principles of an explanation.
3. Functional Adequacy — This tests the livability of a truth-claim as a belief in ufology information. Is it a viable belief “on the street”? Does it work in real life? Some views sound good on paper, but are proven false in the laboratory of life. Consider an eastern guru who asserts that the physical world is an illusion, yet he still looks both ways before crossing the street. A person cannot live out such an illusory belief of the world for very long (or he’ll be hit by a bus before long!). Even more than that, a belief system must integrate one’s life. It must incorporate and meet the deepest human needs.
In evaluating the truth or falsity of propositions/truth-claims/beliefs of ufology information, we must be sure to always look for three things: internal coherence (the logical), external correspondence (the factual), and functional adequacy (the livable). For a belief to be true it must be meaningful, it must line up with the real world, and it must not only help us survive in daily life, but allow us to flourish. Consequently, these are also the three areas in which our thinking can and does go wrong: logic, facts, and values.
Perhaps this will generate further discussion. We’ve created a forum area for that purpose.
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