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Commander Fravor on Joe Rogan

Retired Navy Commander David Fravor sat down for two hours with Joe Rogan on his podcast earlier this month. While it is too much to say that this appearance settled forever the question of the existence of UFOs, we can certainly say that it came very close.

To declare with finality that UFOs do not exist, one must perforce label Fravor a liar, a fool, or a lunatic. Given his credentials, such a declaration opens the declarer to the same triad of reproach.

(For readers who don’t know, Joe Rogan podcasts about everything and anything that interests him, to a gigantic and influential audience. His guests vary enormously. As perhaps befits a standup comedian, he doesn’t appear to care what people think of him; and that defiance of conformity has earned him a reputation as a kind of right-winger. Such is the character of left-wing orthodoxy today: you can agree with them on most everything, but by talking amiably with confirmed conservatives, withholding censure or denunciations -- why, by that alone you have committed an unforgivable sin. I will add that Rogan’s Netflix stand-up specials are hilarious, if you can tolerate the vulgarity.)

Anyway, I will not attempt an extended description the Joe Rogan Experience podcast here, confining myself only to a very strong language warning and a qualified endorsement.

Back to the meat of thing:

A Top Gun graduate, Cmdr. Fravor flew the US Navy’s most advanced F-18 Super Hornet for the bulk of his career; 4,000 hours as a combat pilot. On September 11, 2001, he launched with an active mission to defend the skies over Los Angeles.

In 2004, newly in command of a squadron, Fravor’s training mission was cut short for another active mission. Fravor, though initially left in the dark about the details, was ordered to chase a UFO operating above the Pacific near San Diego. The other F-18, on his wing, recorded tracking data with its most advanced aerial detection equipment, data which has been made public by the Navy. He and the other three airmen (the Super Hornet is a two-seater: pilot and weapons officer) also watched with their own eyes.

Cmdr. Fravor has given other interviews, but if I’m not mistaken this is the longest we have in public. In addition to his professional credentials, the effect of his demeanor during the podcast bespeaks level-headed normalcy. He completely refrains from any conjecture unconnected with what he saw that day. (A secondary guest, filmmaker Jeremy Corbell, interjects occasional speculation; but Rogan keeps that to a minimum.) Fravor states plainly that he’s “not a UFO guy” and shows some jocular irritation for the attention from cranks his public statements have earned him. He conveys that touch of mischievous adventurism so common among military pilots. Everyone laughs when he admits to moments of weakness where he played a UFO to terrified campers in the California woods, by cutting his plane’s illumination, dropping to low altitude, then gunning the afterburners to stupefying effect.

The Navy absolutely could have forbidden Cmdr. Fravor from speaking on this subject, and punished him severely for doing so in defiance of instructions; but for some reason it didn’t. It also tacitly confirmed his account by the release of video evidence, with chain-of-custody documentation. To that, DOD added several other more recent videos from Air Force pilots over the Atlantic.

In my opinion, what all this comes down to is this: To the question, Are UFOs real? the rational observer must now answer with about 80% confidence, Yes.

Comments (10)

There are enough seemingly independent witnesses of UFOs to where it would feel like gross special pleading to deny the existence of them, whatever they are or happen to be.

I've always wondered how they fit into a Christian worldview:
(1) If they are non-human rational animals created by God (somehow, some way) but not simply mentioned in scripture?
(2) Are they physical manifestations of noncorporeal intelligences? (e.g., demonic manifestations)
(3) Are they something completely different than (1) or (2)?

Personally, the existence of other rational creatures would give me pause because the creation order and end times seem to revolve around humans. Maybe something like CS Lewis' Space Trilogy would be closer to the truth in that case.

Joe, I don't know how we could easily discount (2), certainly not before we got direct, very extensive access to these aliens and could interact with them on a vast array of contexts to experience them. It gives one pause, because there is no easy way to know what limits are imposed on demons in their interactions with us.

As The Masked Chicken mentioned in a prior post on this subject, James Blish's "A Case of Conscience" sort of, kind of, gets into this question. I found it very unsatifying, but then I would probably find the reality very unsatisfying also. I suspect - but I hesitate to be stronger than that - that the Catholic Church's exorcists would indeed have something to say (and do) about a (2) event, and that they would be able to address it fruitfully. Hmmm, Blish wrote in the 1950's, and inserted a Jesuit priest/scientist into the first space mission to the aliens (explicitly to consider the moral and spiritual dimensions as well as scientific); that was back when Jesuits were known to be really strong on their education, including their science. Now that we are 65 years past that, and we have our first Jesuit pope, I don't know anyone who would feel relieved at including a Jesuit in the exploratory mission.

I have no strong philosophical or theological horrors at there being other intelligent corporeal beings created by God. I do, however, have strong theological worries about the prospect, and immense psychological / sociological / cultural worries, especially if some (or all) such other races are unfallen.

I read somewhere recently the assertion that, as a sociological phenomenon, many unbelievers are drawn to a preoccupation with UFOs on the assumption that the demonstration of their existence will undermine what is derisively referred to as organized religion. This seems highly implausible to me: an artifact of those same unbelievers' ignorance of the religion they denigrate. In fact, paranormal activity is a common feature of Scripture, from the mysterious Nephilim of the antediluvian age to St. Paul's "cosmic powers in the heavenly places."

What seems to reduce the possibility of Joe's (2), at least in my mind, is the presence of technology of some kind. While demons might use technology for evil purposes, they are generally thought to be incapable of the kind of creative discipline required to develop it.

Another factor here is the Cold War context at back of all this. Just as mankind was developing the technological resources capable of detecting and tracking vehicles such as these, geopolitical circumstances imposed a regime of secrecy and paranoia. There were entirely understandable reasons for this, but the whole business distorts our perspective quite markedly.

It's certainly a lot to think about.

While demons might use technology for evil purposes, they are generally thought to be incapable of the kind of creative discipline required to develop it.

Paul, can you point to a source for this notion? Because, as far as my understanding of demons goes (admittedly, almost completely from whatever is in the Bible, and from St. Thomas), I see no such limitations.

Rather the reverse: demons are fallen angels, but their fall regards their wills, not their intellects. Angels are capable of seeing first principles and all that follows from them in a single act of reason, unlike our intellects that operate discursively, from premise to premise to conclusion to additional premise to further conclusion, in steps. From that, I would suppose that they are capable of vastly more comprehensive science than we are, once they have access to the principles. And for that, I assume their minds are at least as capable as our of grasping first principles - probably much more so, not less.

Perhaps angels are incapable of the kinds of "creative" expression that comprises art and literature, but even that I would doubt strongly: the seraphim are (metaphorically, I am sure) depicted as singing the glories of God before his throne. Whatever elements are covered by the metaphor, the idea (I would suppose) still allows the angels are in some sense praising God via their own praises - which sounds like creative activity to me.

Even if demons did not have the power (or were blocked from using it by God's special providence interfering with their objectives) to (a) make artifacts that DO ACTUALLY to operate in those wild ways (incredibly high speeds and quick changes in momentum), still and all I believe that in principle they might alternatively (b) make artifacts that APPEAR to operate that way (but are really just being manipulated behind the scenes the way puppets are), or (c) make real effects ON OUR artifacts (radar, video tape) and senses (eyes and ears) that represent what we would see if there really were such artifacts, or (d) affect our internal organs (especially our brain processing faculties) to manipulate them AS IF our optic and auditory nerves had reported those objects (I would treat this as less likely, for situations like our video tapes that sit in storage and continue to have the same "information" at each use). Some elements of (a), (b) (c) and (d) are (or seem to be) implied in the angelic interactions with humans in the Bible, Abraham being stopped from sacrificing Isaac, Tobias being helped by Raphael, etc.

For another view of the incident: https://skepticalinquirer.org/2018/05/navy_pilots_2004_ufo_a_comedy_of_errors/?%2Fsi%2Fshow%2Fnavy_pilots_2004_ufo_a_comedy_of_errors

May I remind readers that in this interview, Fravor is talking about an incident he observed many years earlier. Human memory tends to distort details over that period of time. One would want to see Fravor's original report. Fravor also admits to having fooled some campers into thinking they were seeing a UFO, by performing tricks with his plane.

That said, if Fravor's account of the events he witnessed is an accurate one, it does sound like advanced technology.

I do think that it is very significant that the Navy and/or Pentagon seem to be simply not interested in keeping Cmd. Fravor from speaking about this. Given his level (Commander), and that he clearly is not a nut-job, there was virtually no likelihood that everyone would blow this off as "one more kook story". Which means that the Pentagon DOES NOT MIND that people believe this is true, or very probably true.

Perhaps, given the range of possibilities, they have decided to allow the high probability of UFOs representing aliens to simply start percolating through the populace, as being a lower-cost option compared to the other options, including (if it ever happens) absolute panic and riots when the aliens come out from behind the cloaking devices.

As I indicated back in February, I remain too skeptical to simply grant that there are aliens out there, based on one aspect of the overall phenomenon: I simply cannot come up with a rationale for why there are so many different technologies out there for the vast number of different phenomena, (indicating, probably, a high number of different species or agents or agencies involved), and yet there appears to be virtually uniform consent on the part of ALL such agents as to NEARLY, but NOT QUITE, making it impossible for us to verify their existence with - i.e. leaving us with strong evidence but not direct proof. What possible rationale explains that? Why don't they either observe us without intrusion that we can detect, or just come on down and announce themselves? (Or simply leave us alone?)

My comment with links appears to not have gone through, but the website The Drive in it's War Zone has dug into this. There are a number of intriguing patents for seemingly impossible technology filed recently by the Navy, and a Naval officer reporting to the patent office some are operable in order to secure the patent. Another intriguing detail is that the Navy UFO encounters, particularly the 04 incident, have happened near full carrier groups. Anyway, short story, these UFOs may be advanced human tech. The evidence is strong enough in my opinion that this is the most likely of the various theories.

DR84, I am a little puzzled: surely the Navy doesn't apply for patents - I didn't think the US government could get a patent on inventions? In any case, surely they are not applying for patents for technology that is that far in advance of current military capabilities - patents are public and give the game away in terms of how-to. That's why their R&D programs are secret. And surely nobody thinks that they have DE-classified Navy R&D-developed technology so advanced that they haven't even gotten it into production. That doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

I can see the US gov. de-classifying information that no longer has a need for secrecy: given the usual standards of secrecy, it would typically be de-classified somewhere around 20 to 30 years after the need for secrecy had withered away, "just to be sure". (There are always "methods" involved along with the simple content, that have to be considered.) But that's not what we are talking about here. I would have to take any second-hand report to the contrary with a grain of salt.

Vincent Torley: Many of the objections mentioned in the link you provided were addressed during Fravor's interview with Rogan, including the "pilot was confused by a drone" claim and the "Fravor’s sighting has become merged with the separate incident" claim. Also, I believe it is inaccurate to characterize the 2004 mission as Fravor's first Super Hornet flight. That variant of the F-18 went into active service several years earlier; in the recent interview, Fravor says that the specific plane in question was new, not that he was new to that type of plane. The article also approvingly quotes another one in criticizing a supposed attempt "to shroud Fravor’s account in a spooky fog of faux top secrecy." In fact, the reverse is true: what is most noteworthy here (as well as in the two other videos recorded by Air Force pilots, more recently) is the absence of secrecy.

Tony: fair enough on the point about demons and technology.

DR84's point about advanced human tech seems plausible to me, but if that's the case, the level of secrecy involved here is quite extraordinary. Some government or organization could deploy something like an artificial gravity device 15 years ago, but nothing has leaked to the public until now? I mean, the Soviets had our atomic weapons secrets within about five years.

I realize there are serious issues with the human developed theory. Also, I will admit I am a biased in that direction. The condensed argument for it to me is that we have evidence this sort of tech exists, we know humans are interested in developing it, and we know humans exist to do it.

I wish I could post the links to the articles from The Drive. I think most are written by Tyler Rogoway or under his direction, and I have no reason to believe he is anything but a legitimate journalist specializing in covering the military. The information is better than spurious just happened to find it on the internet info. They also never to my recollection themselves conclude the UFO sightings are of human made craft. I only think the information they have collected makes the human theory more plausible.

Lastly, there is a connection between the Navys patent filings and China. It appears as if there is concern that China has or or developing this tech by the Navy. Which I can only assume means they wanted to file US parents before the Chinese could. If this stuff is real or if only someone in the Navy believes it's becoming real, perhaps they don't want the Chinese to be able to tie us up in US court.

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