Based upon unreliable and unscientific surmises as data, the Air Force develops elaborate statistical findings which seem impressive to the uninitiated public unschooled in the fallacies of the statistical method. One must conclude that the highly publicized Air Force pronouncements based upon unsound statistics serve merely to misrepresent the true character of the UFO phenomena."
Yale Scientific Magazine (Yale University) Volume XXXVII, Number 7, April 1963
UFO percentages - when you hear people say only 5% of UFO reports are worth studying..
5% of what?
5 million?, 1 million?
Do they even know the number of UFO reports they are referring to?
When it comes to 'government sponsered' UFO studies like Bluebook and Condon there have always been concerns that figures could be 'massaged' and the true nature of unexplained report percentages be overlooked - even if a person willfully ignores many of the highly dubious USAF UFO explanations (as propounded by people like Major Hector Quintanilla) there certainly seems to be quite a number of very intriguing UFO cases out there.
NICAP's Francis Ridge makes some interesting comments below about the true number of Bluebook's 'unexplained' reports and the study carried out for the U.S. Government by the Battelle Institute - there are also some relevant statements made about the statistical conclusions of the Condon report (even though they omitted some of the most puzzling UFO cases on record) and how its high ratio of unexplained cases (about 30%) 'should arouse sufficient scientific curiosity to continue UFO study'.
Air Force Figures Tell Real Story: 88.79% Unexplained?Captain Edward Ruppelt, in his 1956 book, "The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects", gave some interesting statistics on the Air Force's Project Blue Book findings. Ruppelt's tenure was at a time when the Air Force was putting its best foot forward and the figures presented were based on 1,593 sightings. Less than 20 years later, in 1969 when Blue Book closed down, there were over 12,618 sightings on the books with 741 Unknowns. That equates to to only 5.8%. I later found out that these figures were derived from the Battelle Institude study which produced Project Blue Book Special Report 14. Let's look at those figures a little closer, the one's Ruppelt quoted in his book.
According to Ruppelt the percentage of Unknowns was 26.94%. A scientific approach to these figures shows that only 11.21% were actually proven explained (total of column 1 which represents 179 cases) leaving, in actuality, 88.79% unexplained! These Blue Book figures (during the most serious time of it's life) were based on the then 1,593 sightings the Air Force had studied.
Actually it's worse! They only "studied" 1,593 sightings, but had "received" over 4,400 with only 179 explained!!! That's less than 4% "explained"! If we were to state that a certain percentage of UFOs were "possible" or "probable" ET, the debunkers would remind us that, "scientifically", only the "proven" could be used in such an analysis. Using the Air Forces's actual numbers11.21% were proven explained, leaving over 88% without a proven explanation.
With something like that going on in U.S. air space, somebody in the Air Force should have been more concerned. This was a matter of national security and/or scientific interest.
ON STATISTICAL METHODS EMPLOYED BY BLUE BOOK
1966 - 1968--The University of Colorado Study
Of some 90 cases considered, almost 30 were not explained. As an indication of the lack of serious intent of the study, only three unexplained cases from the Air Force's total of almost 600 were looked into.[/b] It should have been obvious that if there was anything truly mysterious or even mildly interesting about UFOs, it could probably have been found in the cases that the Air Force admitted it could not explain..
Among the conclusions for cases the Condon Committee staff failed to explain were these samples of several they obviously found quite baffling:5/11/50, Oregon. "This is one of the few UFO reports in which all factors investigated, geometric, psychological and physical, appear to be consistent with the assertion that an extraordinary flying object, silvery, metallic, disk-shaped, tens of meters in diameter and evidently artificial, flew within sight of two witnesses."
5/7/52, Brazil. ". . . one of the strongest and demonstrably 'genuine' flying saucer sightings."
8/5/53, South Dakota. ". . . no tenable conclusions can be reached."
6/23/55, New York. ". . . this sighting defies explanation by conventional means."
8/13/56, England. "The preponderance of evidence indicates the possibility of a genuine UFO in this case . . . ." [Unfortunately, the intriguing phrase "a genuine UFO" is not defined.]
5/13/67, Colorado. "This must remain as one of the most puzzling radar cases on record."
Despite the failure of the Condon Committee's final report to explain more than 30% of the cases investigated, it had the desired effect. In December 1969, the Air Force's Project Blue Book investigation was shut down, and a 25-year period of official silence began.