Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence?
This article was written by one local webmaster. It finally put into words what I've been thinking about a lot. So I translated it, and now I introduce it here to you. The original author is unlikely to care about this, because his page is more than 2 years without update and he also didn't reply yet. So if the sentence composition seems weird, don't complain, I translated it in quite a hurry and enthusiasm. I think the reasoning is correct and very relevant for those who proudly call themselves skeptics. Please try to not freak out.
Logical fallacy of skeptics
Skeptics say, that extraterrestrial visits are an extraordinary claim, this is why they require extraordinary evidence. This is why no evidence supports the alien visit, unless it is accompanied by irrevocable physical evidence, even if observations would directly point, within the boundaries of normal scientific evidence, to presence of a material object under intelligent control, with technology of propulsion beyond human understanding. It doesn't matter then how direct the observations show an anomalous vessel of non-human origin, skeptics insist, that the simpliest explanation must be accepted, unless there is physical evidence.
Skeptics also didn't define boundaries of extraordinarity. All evidence of any kind and quality is rejected, unless a physical sample is acquired. For example, if SETI radiotelescopes search for an anomalous, repeating signal with intelligent content, for example, mathemathical constant, and they filter out all noise of Earth and deep space, they need a piece of alien radio parabola or a dead alien, to determine extraterrestrial origin of the signal? It would be simplier to use the logic of UFO skepticists and claim, that the signal is nothing more than anomaly, until we get a physical evidence of extraterrestrials. But why then they search for a radio signal of extraterrestrial origin, if we don't yet have a physical evidence of the alien existence? We can't exclude a mistake, fraud, or human mistake with 100% certainity, so the simpliest explanation is the undetected mistake, not extraterrestrial signal. Right?
What is an "extraordinary claim"? We can understand extraordinary claim as a claim, that violates basic laws of physics. But extraterrestrial visits don't violate them. No matter how complicated it seems to us, interstellar travel does not violate physical laws. We simply don't know how probable it is, this is why it's not necessary to call extraterrestrial visits "extraordinary claims."
Despite of that, skeptics for a special reason insist on the idea, that probability of extraterrestrial visits is close to zero. This allows them to reject evidence, that would confirm presence of material object under intelligent control and with propulsion non-producible by humans. Skeptics say efficiently, that radar evidence is too "ordinary" evidence to satisfy "extraordinary claim".
This logic can be succesfully applied on any claim. For example, let's say that dinosaurs are an extraordinary claim. This claim does not require any logical justification, just as skeptics use their practically zero probability of extraterrestrial visitors. So we defined dinosaurs as an extraordinary claim. The next step is to reject all fossil evidence for dinosaurs, because fossils are acceptable only for ordinary claims, like mammoths; for extraordinary claim of dinosaurs the fossils are worthless. As dinosaur skeptics we need physical evidence of intact whole dinosaur. To make it even more similar to skeptical approach, we don't need to defend the demand for a physical evidence of dinosaurs; the fact that it is an extraordinary claim allows us to demand the highest possible evidence. So we can demand a physical evidence, but will we get it? Is it worthy to ignore fossil evidence in our wait for physical evidence?
But we can broaden the analogy by using another logical tricks of skeptics. For example, dinosaur articles are published in magazines, that already believe in dinosaurs, so this is biased, preconceived, unilateral and hardly representative as a real critical view. We can proclaim, that all fossils are best explainable as frauds, misidentifications with known and unknown geological processes and hallucinations and/or bad interpretation of fervent archeologists putting their faith into mere anomalous stone. This is the "simpliest explanation" and because there's missing physical evidence of dinosaurs' existence, any explanation is simplier, no matter what it is.
This means, that we can use this logic by claim, that the existence of dinosaurs shouldn't be accepted, unless we find an intact frozen and preserved dinosaur, still with meat on bones and if that's not possible -- well, that's a pity. Is it reasonable to reject fossils just like skeptics reject radar-visual cases and ground-trace cases by UFO and demand a sample of preserved dinosaur, like skeptics demand an extraterrestrial sample?
The UFO evidence satisfied a proof threshold of common scientific rules; unfortunately the evidence is rejected by dogmatic demands of scientific evidence.
Occam's Razor and skeptics
UFO skeptics don't understand the Occam's razor and misuse it regularly. They think they understand it, but they don't. It means that if several hypotheses of various complexity can explain a number of observations, the one with least number of proofless suppositions should be tried first. If this simpliest hypothesis is found to be wrong, then the next simpliest one shoud be tried, and so on.
But skeptics forget about two parts: the part about testing the simplier hypothesis and the part about explaining of all observations. What skeptic does is distorting and truncating of hypothesis, util it is "explained" by one of the simpliest hypotheses, which is opposite to the correct approach. The correct approach is to modify the hypotheses, until they fit observations. Nobody should modify observations, to make them fit a hypothesis and say: "if the object wouldn't be physical, we could also consider that it didn't move, didn't radiate orange color and wasn't 50 feet in diameter as it's described, then we can proclaim, that it really was Venus."
But this is all right for skeptics, because it is an "extraordinary claim", which is necessary to explain as soon as possible. Now, modifying observation, to make it fit on preferred hypothesis -- that is science? Or is it dogma? The answer is of course dogma.
Science versus skepticism
Skeptics are skilled propagandists, who succumb to basic emotions. Skeptics like to veil themselves into the robe of science with claim, that their approach and conclusions are "scientific". But is skepticism really so scientific as skeptics want us to think? It ensues from what was already written, that not. Skeptics are often in dissent with opinion of scientific community. If public consensus is in dissent with scientific, then scientists start a public campaign to discredit it's opinion. So the scientists are devoured by presupposed correctness of their opinions, that as fervent religional fanatics they must convert crowds on the side of truth, to save their own image.
Another reason for pseudo-scientific skepticism is, that these scientists do not represent all scientists, but rather a mere gang of propagandists, who think that science is the master of nature. When the nature showsn an anomaly, there is a violation of expectations, and that anomaly must be destroyed for science. How dares the nature to violate scientific laws and principles! Anomaly is a threat to validity of their work, so the scientists must get rid of it and convince themselves through wild logical fallacies, that this anomaly doesn't exist and to return the public on the side of truth about nature, approved by scientific community.
Beings who deserve worship don't demand it. Beings who demand worship don't deserve it.