From: Peregrine Mendoza <email@example.com> [Peter Brookesmith] Date: Thu, 6 Nov 1997 22:02:22 -0500 Fwd Date: Thu, 06 Nov 1997 22:58:42 -0500 Subject: Re: ETH &c The Duke of Mendoza presents his compliments to the List. >From: firstname.lastname@example.org [Jerome Clark] >Date: Sun, 02 Nov 1997 14:57:25 PST >To: email@example.com >Subject: RE: UFO UpDate: Re: ETH &c Phew. Something like a concrete response, at last, for which I am duly grateful, and I'm sure many another is too. It remains a mystery as to why Jerome will not say what *he* thinks are the factual, reasonable and even natural scientific arguments in favor of the ETH or even the genuine UFO, just as it remains a mystery as to why (despite his protestations) he thinks he has actually answered my questions and why he cannot bring himself to cite a few cases in which he considers the ETH or even the U-ness of the UFO to have been advanced. Possibly this is because he is not confident of being able to defend either his selection of cases or the nature of the "science" involved; which may in turn explain why he prefers citing others' opinions to stating his own. Curiously, I'm not alone I'm wondering if this is the case. I had this from a fellow subscriber not too many days ago (I quote with permission): "I have to admit, I can't figure the guy out. Jerry castigates Mack for the errors of his ways, but doesn't see, or refuses to admit, that his bud, Budd [Hopkins], makes the same errors. He constantly claims that certain cases provide "intriguing evidence" for the ETH, but then refuses to commit himself on which cases. (I assume because he has seen too many of "the best case[s]," like Roswell, crumble when carefully studied.) He scorns the description of problems with the ETH based on current scientific knowledge as appeals to authority, and then counters by saying "Read Appelle, Read Bullard, Read Swords." I could at least respect Jerry's point if he could summarize the relevant parts of their arguments, but he doesn't so it makes me suspect he doesn't really get it. This is especially true of Appelle, who doesn't do the ETH any favors by any means." But as neither my correspondent nor I can read minds I have to admit that these are but speculations. Jerome, however, despite his further protestations to the contrary, as in: >I think you're wrong, but I take your ideas at face >value. In other words, I don't feel the need to make up >mental, emotional, cultural, or intellectual [...lacuna...] to >"explain" why you believe as you do. [*1] continues to regale us all with the results of his incautious researches into my thoughts, motives and erudition, with results that are either imaginative, fictional or the product of privately engaging Major Ed Dames and being deservedly ripped off by said charlatan. I take the opportunity to remind Jerome of what he wrote back on 1 Oct 97, in the "Questions for Abductees" thread: 'Declaring "abnormal psychology" every time we hear something we don't like is the functional equivalent of shouting "shut up." Emotionally satisfying, no doubt, but not intellectually productive.' There are several errors of fact and judgement in those two sentences, but they launched the mind-reading career of Jerome K. Jerome Clark. This continues in his latest post with all the latest news that's fit to print from the seething theater of my mind: >The scientific UFO literature, with which I gather you are >largely unfamiliar, Asking for citations was a desperate attempt to get something like a straight answer to a simple question. A compromise, even, in light of the many demands upon your constricted time. At least one would be able to see on what you were basing the opinions you were not prepared (or at sufficient leisure) to justify in your own voice. Kindly do not presume. And then there is: >As the cliche goes, you can take a horse to water, but >you can't make him drink. One way of saying that Duke >seems intent on confining his reading to list chitchat. This one's a keeper for sure. Definitely one for the big black book. Some subscribers to this List may be slightly less than whelmed to know Jerome regards their considered opinions as no more than "chitchat" (and before he gets the Major in for another look at Zoe's knees, delightful as they are, I am excluding myself from that "some"). Apart from the diplomatic angle, I remain amazed that Jerome thinks he can know or predict what my reading has been, is, or will be. In any case he's wrong on all counts. And then we have: >Your huffing and puffing seem not a trifle hypocritical >coming from one who, not all that long ago, was putting >off Greg Sandow's probing questions on the grounds >that you were dealing with these matters in print elsewhere. >I didn't knock you for that, and I respected the plea you >copped. Apparently, though, one set of rules applies to >you, another to those who presume to disagree with you. Is Jerome preparing something along these lines for print, and would prefer to keep his latest, brightest thinking to himself? Then why didn't he say so? If he is not, how am I moving the goalposts or being hypocritical? I certainly didn't want to get into a to-and-fro with Greg or anyone about the principles of the ETH, but there again I didn't ask him to justify his stance on the matter while smirking silently the while. Greg thinks (or thought) I'd benefit - sorry, my writing would benefit: I am beyond salvation - from such an exchange. I disagree. With perfect and characteristic good manners and no attempt to speculate on my logic or motives, Greg acknowledges that I should do what I think best. There the matter rests, in perfect neutrality. So the "rules" apply equally. Jerome then pronounces a number of generalities on the scientific respectability of the ETH and I ask him to explain some of the terms he used and otherwise justify his assertion(s). He writes reams trying not to do that and, indeed, in the end succeeds in avoiding giving a straight answer to all but one (and that a compromise-come-lately) of my enquiries. These actions conform to strange rules if they follow any at all, but they have nothing to do with my exchange with Greg. So it is hardly Jerome's place to be moralizing, here. The most spectacular instance of the persistence and irrationality of Jerome's latest venture into displays of paranormal talent come with his demonstration of my "Ameriphobia", a word I put in quotes because it is so grotesque, as well as being barely pronounceable. Jerome first remarks upon: >Duke's fanciful theories about why >Americans report gray-skinned humanoids. They ain't >flattering, folks. [Here incidentally we have a neat bit of Clarkian misrepresentation: my speculations concern why people in general report Grays, but look for the roots of that in American culture, snce that's where the whole abduction syndrome began. In other words, I don't say Americans report Grays because are Americans are very horrid indeed, but Afghans or Brits or Australians report Grays for some other reason and besides are much nicer people altogether. But I do say that behind it all lies not America but the Semitic religions.] And in due course he quotes me: >> But you're really scraping up the ullage if you're trying to >> represent that paper as an exercise in anti-Americana. This >> does not become you. And replies: >I stand by what I said. This is bizarre. Possibly mad. Certainly weird. I deny being anti-American. I did then and I do now. I insist on this. I could even call witnesses, and none of them bribed. But Jerome knows better. He insists I am, er, Ameriphobic. How could he do that without thinking he can read my mind and see into the terrible pit of denial and self-delusion and compulsive lying in which I so pitifully writhe? Well, maybe Jerome *can* read my mind. But in that case why does he keep reading it wrong? If anyone wants to test the degree of my destestation and disgust at all things American, by the way, they can slip over to http://www.magonia.demon.co.uk/authors.html and read the two articles by me available from there (expanded from the lecture concerned, with wicked 12 words still intact), and report to the List, if you want. There is also a piece by Peter Rogerson about alien body shapes, a matter Jerome mentioned in passing, which ought to interest anyone interested in the ETH. Jerome thinks Rogerson is some kind of horror from the Night of the Living Dead, though, so be prepared for your glands to get in an uproar at what you read. >Probably the effect was magnified by >your habit of glaring at Loren Coleman and me while speaking >the offending 12 words. (That's a joke, Duke.) Yes, that sentence I can see was striving for that eminence. That's enough about clairvoyance, I think. I *think* I have made the point. A couple of other matters deserve mention: >The scientific evidence certainly leans >in the pro-UFO direction -- even one of the largest scientific studies, >the University of Colorado project, failed to explain 30% of the cases Pro UFO, perhaps, but not pro ETH. There is a difference, but Jerome slips from one term to the other as if they were synonymous. Does he know he is doing this? And bear in mind that in "The UFO Enigma" (Doubleday 1977) Menzel and Taves demolished (to their own satisfaction at least) these "unexplained" cases, many of which they felt were "unexplained" because the data was so sparse that nothing sensible could be said about them one way or the other. Bear in mind too that Condon remarked that what he was being asked to do was the exact opposite of what science usually does. Not to take those thoughts on board (or to ignore them) distorts the picture. For myself, I do not see how anyone can arrive at the conclusion that 30 "unexplained" cases versus 70 solved ones constitutes a "leaning" in the "direction" of the unexplained ones. This is odd arithmetic, even in a democracy. >A major forthcoming study of a >seminal UFO case will document, in a way that is going to be >enormously difficult to refute, the operation of an >extraordinary technology in the context of a complex >instrument-recorded encounter. O, go on, Jerry, it's rude to tease. Where is this gem to be published or presented, and when? I mean, someone could get some extra advance orders if you at least let us know where to look. >And with this I bow out of a discussion which has become >ever more pointless and tedious and now, I note, degenerated >into an exercise in name-calling. (I rapidly lose interest in >somebody who has nothing better to do than call me a "twit." Everyone has his twittish moments. This may even be another one. Ne'er mind. Lighten up, it'll soon pass. Hardly anyone will remember it anyway. But they may recall Jerome's describing me as hypocritical, disingenuous, a shouter (of "shut up"), selectively outraged, and probably a few other things, which is not in the grammatical sense name-calling, but amounts to it. None of which bothers me much in itself, and it certainly doesn't match the smokescreens of insults put up by the Princess of South Street or the sheer loopiness of Henny the Tulipomaniac. This passage, despite moving on to some flattering remarks about my books, has all the marks of a *flounce* and a thin excuse to sweep off stage in the best traditions of amateur histrionics, from someone who has not yet, in three enormous posts (made larger by squeamish underapplication of the delete key), actually offered us anything concrete of his own by way of argument or justification for assertions that he himself first introduced into this forum in the course of a dialogue with the Metaphysical Michaelangelo of Mesa, AZ, aka Mr Clarke Hathaway, but refuses even to illustrate by way of specific instances, and has many times compounded one's suspicions by advertising a number of his own works (available at great expense) from which he recommends the writings of others. [How'd I do, Mr Whitewolf?:-)] A bit of money where the mouth is doesn't do any harm. Now the hosts of Mendoza are packing up their tents in the night, to slither over to the 'Abductions' thread and have a go at these claims that Chief Eddie Hard Bull is some kind of empiricist, among other things. The fat lady ain't sung by a long way. best wishes Pedantic D. Marlinspike Wittgensteinian Beetle NOTE *1: At around this point Jerome remarked: "I don't recall, for example, your protesting when your pal Paul Devereux launched into a mind-reading act directed at me." Nor, I may I point out, did hundreds of others. The essential initial point Paul made was that Jerome was getting hot under the collar while saying some insupportable things about folklore. By and large, I tended to agree. I also tend to agree with Paul that much of Jerome's response was needlessly ad hominem, a ploy that does tend to corkscrew into the Devereux sinuses, and was likely to be produce a somewhat irritated response. Jerome had the choice of ignoring that and getting on with a debate, but now refuses (more flounce, and the rattle of bells and the whistle of silks). This, we are invited to believe, is not an emotional exit, as some contrast seems to be implied with the notoriously hot-headed and irrational Devereux. Who has merely pointed out - sometimes in quite up-front language - that Jerome is confusing personality with propositions. When Jerome stops worrying about his personal dignity and notices (for example) that Paul casually remarked on having been within 20ft of an alien, and wonders as follows: "How come?", and pursues the question, we shall perhaps see how he justifies being an agnostic on the abduction issue - and, I hope, how he does it without moral abdication. In other words, "pals" has nothing to do with it. That isn't the level on which I want to argue (I can ferociously agree or disagree with the best of friends), and why Jerome thinks - or seems to think - it should be is another mystery. What an enigmatic fellow he is turning out to be.
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