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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1997 > Nov > Nov 6

Re: ETH &c

From: Peregrine Mendoza <101653.2205@compuserve.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: clark@canby.mn.frontiercomm.net [Jerome Clark]
>Date: Sun, 02 Nov 1997 14:57:25 PST
>To: updates@globalserve.net
>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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