Sheeps and Goats: World UFO Day Approaches
July 2nd is World UFO Day, a self-proclaimed day of recognition by MUFON and other lesser-known UFO organizations. The day “celebrates” all things which contain 2 qualities: intelligent extra-terrestrials, and their alleged interactions with Earth. There will no doubt be some media outlets who will treat it as light-hearted fodder during an otherwise (traditionally) slow news week. But give credit to the writers and editors over at the International Business Times (IBT) for approaching the subject appropriately. Their article does not focus on the various claims made by the UFO crowds, nor do they focus on the day of celebration itself. Rather, they report about how some people have a predisposition to believe in things such as E.T. visitations or alien abduction phenomena.
Another thing the article touches on is something called The Australian Sheep Goat Test, or more accurately, the Australian Sheep Goat Scale (ASGS) It refers to a questionnaire measure (or family of measures) of belief in various aspects of the paranormal, such as extrasensory perception (ESP), life after death, and psychokinesis (PK). The term ‘sheep’ is traditionally used for ‘believer’ in some aspect of psychic phenomena, while ‘goat’ is used for ‘disbeliever’. It is sometimes also referred to as simply The Sheep-Goat Effect.
Susan Krauss Whitbourne, professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst summarizes:
“It’s the uncritical nature of the judgments people make or the conclusions people reach. Because if you want to believe something and go down that pathway and not be critical. And it is important to maintain a healthy scepticism. In true scientific scepticism, that would be that you let the data drive the conclusions. If you go in wanting to believe something, it’s going to be pretty hard for you to take that hypothesis-testing approach.”
ASGS is not mentioned often enough in news articles pertaining to the paranormal, so it is nice (and refreshing) to see outlets like the IBT providing a reminder to us all.