The burden of proof is a double-edged sword

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 Deutsche Version: Die Beweislast ist ein zweischneidiges Schwert

A mighty man pushes forward a huge rock representing the burden of proof.

Is the burden of proof unidirectional?

I recently had a short but pretty interesting exchange with a German Skeptic.
It concerned my recent introduction as well as this blog post of mine.

Here is what he wrote to me:

***************************************************************

Hi there! 

Well, I don’t have a huge hope on learning anything new so far as your future contributions are concerned.





To put it in a nutshell, you left me with the following impressions:

Quote:

scholarly and open treatment of UFOs

 I’ve been for too long underway on forums with corresponding contents for not getting suspicious while noticing the word „open“ in any discussion about UFOs (especially when Aliens are involved). 

Generally such a call to „openness“ aims at demanding from „Science and the Skeptics“ to take seriously incredibly far-fetched assertions before accepting them as facts.

Alas, an open and neutral examination of rational explanations doesn’t come into play in such a model.

Quote:
Why should I not believe them [reliable UFO witnesses] in that specific case?

 Because believing has nothing to do with scientific work and its methods.

Now I hope you can disappoint my expectations.


And this was my answer:
First of all I want to stress one more time that for me a „UFO“ is a flying object (such as a nocturnal light) which we cannot account for with our CURRENT knowledge.

A bright white light can be seen behind trees.

An enigmatic nocturnal light which might or might not turn out to be a genuine UFO or UAP.

Thus I don’t employ by any means that word as a synonym for a starship populated with gray beings.
Naturally I agree that one ought to reject „far fetched“ hypotheses.
But in the first place it must be shown that they’re extremely improbable.

If I as a scientist know absolutely nothing about a hypothesis, I’m going to take on a neutral attitude towards it.

Let us for instance use the so-called Belgian UFO-Wave as an illustration.
Why should it be strongly implausible that:
1) this was a purely earthly experimental craft with a triangular shape?

2) it was an experiment of psychological warfare carried out through holograms?

3) it was the visit of beings from elsewhere?

It’s quite possible that these three options are outlandish.

But this should not only be asserted confidently but also shown to be the case.
If we have no ground whatsoever for considering one of the hypotheses as extremely unlikely, then we should behave neutrally towards it.

This is what I meant with the word „open“: everything must be justified.

Zitat:
 Because believing has nothing to do with scientific work and its methods.

The word „belief“ has various meanings.

In that context, I meant that in other situations (such as criminal investigations) the accounts of reliable witnesses would be accepted without hesitation.

The street is blocked because the police is investigating.

Criminal investigation

If Skeptics affirm that certain things are incredibly implausible to begin with, they then have the burden of proof to explain us why this is so.

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Eine Antwort zu The burden of proof is a double-edged sword

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