From: Dennis <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Fri, 7 Nov 1997 00:53:06 -0600 (CST) Fwd Date: Fri, 07 Nov 1997 08:35:20 -0500 Subject: Re: that ol' Extra Terrestrial Hypothesis >From: Greg Sandow <email@example.com> >To: "'UFO UpDates - Toronto'" <firstname.lastname@example.org> >Subject: RE: UFO UpDate: Re: that ol' Extra Terrestrial Hypothesis >Date: Thu, 6 Nov 1997 09:13:19 -0500 >This fish stew -- whose ingredients you enumerate -- isn't the >ETH. The ETH is the simple proposal that UFOs might come from >other planets. What you're objecting to are specific beliefs, >factual allegations made by certain people who believe the ETH. Even something like the Anthropic Principle has a Weak version and a Strong one, in other words, variations on a theme. If you can get orthodox ufology to adopt a conservative ETH (*some* UFOs are alien spacecraft), I'm all for you. That's what Stanton Friedman, for example, does in public -- but he also associates the ETH with a worldwide government coverup, a shadow organization known as MJ-12, and plentiful crashes and retrievals of alien bodies near Roswell. All I was pointing out is that it doesn't work that way. Before you know it, all sorts of paths are leading into the briar patch, each proponent of which believes the evidence for same follows "logically" from the fact that we're being visited not just once or sporadically, but daily and routinely by extraterrestrials. You don't need to play six degrees of Bacon to see that this is so. One or two will do just as well in this instance. An excellent and recent case history of the process can be seen in what happened to cerealogoy, a microcosm of ufology. People could have gone into the field and done good science -- and perhaps a handful did, but in the main it was soon overrun by claims the available evidence couldn't even begin to support, let alone prove, ranging from claims of a government cover-up, intelligent contact, a floating raft of associated paranormal (and paranoid) claims, and so on, including even the involvement of the Vatican, black helicopters, and the Pope only knows what else. It really was an enlightening show. >Feel free to crusade against some or all of these (as if I could >stop you!). But if disgust with abducted secretaries-general >leads you to trumpet theories by Mike Davies, simply because they >cast doubt on the ETH, then you've eaten too much stew. Logically >and scientifically, the ETH has no relation to anything anyone >thinks is going on underground at Dulce, NM. Mike Davis's article is approximately 75 pages long. I think there might be one paragraph in it that contains the word extraterrestrial, or maybe as many as three or four. The article is about the history and nature of the solar system. UFOs aren't on his mind, one way or the other. Branch out and read it. You might like it -- or you might not. But at least you would know what you are referring to. And you might come away with a somewhat enhanced appreciation of our local corner of the Cosmos in the bargain. In any event, if you accept abducted secretaries-general before reading it, I assure you you'll still be able to accept them after having read it as well. It won't do you no harm, in other words, to paraphrase James Brown. >I think you've got it backwards. Mainstream science -- or, >anyway, the leading mainstream scientists who've paid unfavorable >attention to UFOs -- gets irrational the moment UFOs are >mentioned. That's been true since the beginning. The likes of >Sagan and Menzel needed no help from Hale-Bopp crazies to distort >and misunderstand everything ufologists say, while introducing >hilarious irrationalities of their own. You should know better, Greg. Sagan may have ended up like a Menzel, but he certainly didn't start out as one. Or maybe you've forgotten his and Thornton Page's UFOs: A Scientific Debate. If so, you can pick up a nice cheap hardback edition of same at your local Barnes & Noble. James McDonald got almost 75 pages in same, probably his largest exposure to a popular audience. The book was the result of a UFO symposium held by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which Sagan was instrumental in organizing. There's some dispute as to how instrumental his role in saving Blue Book records was, but he certainly wasn't in favor of their destruction. >If you ask me, the excesses of ufology exist partly because >mainstream science has neglected UFOs. If scientists had been >serious about UFOs, the study of UFOs would be a scientific >subject, and people who talk about vats of floating body parts >would have the same standing in ufology as inventors of perpetual >motion machines have in physics. Thanks to scientific neglect, >ufology became a cottage industry, with all kinds of dotty >relatives making up dotty theories in the back rooms of the >cottage. I hate to be the one to inform you that evidence is evidence and suggestive evidence isn't -- it's only suggestive. For example, if an alien flying saucer had crashed into downtown Cincinatti in, say, 1957, we wouldn't be having this discussion, would we? I think the situation is a bit more complicated than you make it out, Greg. For instance, scientists have been serious about evolution for, what, a century and a half now? By your lights, the number of creationists should have gone down and people should have stopped saying all those crazy things about angels, miracles, and the Virgin Mary. You also overlook the fact that mainstream science has its own Weak version of the ETH already -- it's called SETI, not to be confused with Steven Greer's CSETI. Whoever gets the first unambiguous intelligent signal from outer space gets the Nobel, simple as that. And ufology's stock goes up accordingly. In a very related way, then, as opposed to a purely metaphorical one, mainstream science *is* looking for our UFOs -- they just haven't found them yet. Finally, I'm reminded of what Vallee once said, that the Air Force could no more cover up the UFO phenomenon than it could the Andromeda Galaxy, because there was nothing to prevent you or I from hauling a telescope into our backyards and seeing for ourselves. Similarly, who convinced mainstream science that there was nothing to UFOs? After all, if UFOs are as physically prevalent as everyone seems to think they are, you would think that enough scientists would have seen or been abducted by them now to the extent that they wouldn't believe anything the Air Force said, no matter what it said. Obviously, not enough of them have yet had a personal experience to turn the tide. But who knows? Maybe critical mass is just around the corner. I don't think McDonald ever had a personal sighting, yet he was quite passionate about the subject. Wouldn't scientists with a personal experience be even more vocal and passionate? >Why don't you just ignore all that, and concentrate on the >ufology you think makes sense? >Greg Sandow Because I don't want to be associated by name or anything else with the stuff that doesn't make sense. And that stuff, in case you haven't noticed, Greg, is growing by the minute. Besides, what's wrong with me criticizing what I think needs criticizing about ufology's excesses? Aren't there enough people already concentrating on the ufology they think makes sense? I edited 157 issues (13 years) of the MUFON UFO Journal. Anyone who wants to wade through all the back issues can see that I did quite a bit of what you suggested already. I happen to think that it's time ufology put it's best two feet forward and disavowed -- not just ignored -- the other 998 of the slinky millipede it's become.
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