UFOs and the argument from ignorance

In the following video, American astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson gets asked if he believes in UFOs. As usual, the answer he provides is both hilarious and enlightening.

The argument from ignorance, also known as argumentum ad ignorantiam (“appeal to ignorance”), argument by lack of imagination, or negative evidence, is a logical fallacy in which it is claimed that a premise is true only because it has not been proven false, or is false only because it has not been proven true.

The argument from personal incredulity, also known as argument from personal belief or argument from personal conviction, refers to an assertion that because one personally finds a premise unlikely or unbelievable, the premise can be assumed to be false, or alternatively that another preferred but unproven premise is true instead.

Both arguments commonly share this structure: a person regards the lack of evidence for one view as constituting proof that another view is true. The types of fallacies discussed in this article should not be confused with the reductio ad absurdum method of argument, in which a valid logical contradiction of the form “A and not A” is used to disprove a premise. (Source: Wikipedia)

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4 Responses to UFOs and the argument from ignorance

  1. Nice argument, but, by branding all sightings with the same brush, are you not guilty of the same ignorance? When NATO scramble jets after 50 flying triangles over european airspace, which is confirmed by 3 different radar stations and witnessed and photographed by hundreds of civilians in conjunction, shouldn't EVERY scientist be investigating the event? This happened in the late 1980s over Europe (As we are finding out via the freedom of information act). THIS warrants investigation. Very much so.

  2. Nice argument, but, by branding all sightings with the same brush, are you not guilty of the same ignorance? When NATO scramble jets after 50 flying triangles over european airspace, which is confirmed by 3 different radar stations and witnessed and photographed by hundreds of civilians in conjunction, shouldn’t EVERY scientist be investigating the event? This happened in the late 1980s over Europe (As we are finding out via the freedom of information act). THIS warrants investigation. Very much so.

  3. Graham,

    Probably a covert test flight.

    But then again, within the vastness of the universe, I think is naive to think WE are the only ones conscientiously, rationally thinking beings.

    DOES NOT mean we are being "visited" by them.

    Ignorance is correct.

  4. Graham,
    Probably a covert test flight.

    But then again, within the vastness of the universe, I think is naive to think WE are the only ones conscientiously, rationally thinking beings.
    DOES NOT mean we are being “visited” by them.
    Ignorance is correct.