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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1997 > Nov > Nov 7

Re: ETH &c

From: clark@mn.frontiercomm.net [Jerome Clark]
Date: Fri, 07 Nov 1997 11:00:28 PST
Fwd Date: Fri, 07 Nov 1997 22:36:54 -0500
Subject: Re: ETH &c

> Date: Thu, 6 Nov 1997 22:02:22 -0500
> From: Peregrine Mendoza <101653.2205@compuserve.com> [Peter Brookesmith]
> Subject: Re: ETH &c
> To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <updates@globalserve.net>

> 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.

Well, Duke, I guess I'm going to have to respond.  You certainly
know how to waste a guy's time.

Let's see now: We have a minimum of five decades of reports
of structured objects (let me explain here, Duke: "structured"
means something somebody apparently built) with extraordinary
performance characteristics beyond those anything we have
been able to duplicate on earth. Some of these objects are
tracked on radar.  Some are photographed. Some leave landing
traces.  Over the decades people of sanity and sincerity report
encounters with the occupants of some of these craft.  Most
do not look like human beings.  Gosh, now, why would anybody
ever think that gosh, just maybe these things could come from
other planets?  Impossible to imagine, isn't it?

> 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."

What a load of crapola here.  When have I ever said Roswell is
one of "the best cases"?  Roswell is difficult, complicated, and
ambiguous and depends, in the absence of more conclusive
evidence, whom one chooses to believe.  Talk about constructing a
straw man.  Budd Hopkins does not "make the same errors" as Mack,
and it amuses me to see abductionphobes speaking of them in the
same breath, despite enormous differences in outlook and
approach.  After my scathing IUR piece on Mack was published,
Hopkins shared with me letters he'd written JM months before
making many of the same points.  A critique of Hopkins would be a
different sort of entity from one of Mack.  As Greg Sandow has
shown, some of Hopkins' loudest critics are the wrongest.  Pardon
me if I don't "summarize the relevant part of [his] argument,"
since I assume list readers are literate; see IUR, spring and
summer 1997. And yes, I stand by what I said about Appelle's
piece.  Literate readers can judge for themselves (JUFOS 6,
1995/1996).  And I did not discuss Appelle in the context of the
ETH; I mentioned him in the context of his careful explication of
the problems of counterexplanations.  Incidentally, I recognize
the prose of the individual whom Duke quotes, for what it's
worth.

> 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.'

Well stated, if I do say so myself.


> >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.

I naively assumed you knew the scientific literature on the ETH.
I beg pardon for my naivete.

> 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.

Most everything on this list, including what I write, is
essentially "chitchat."  Apparently it's Duke's idea of
intellectual enlightenment. Like many of you out there, I have
written books and articles in which my views are outlined at
length.  Those too lazy to read them prefer to engage in the sort
of mind-reading Duke practices.  Anybody who isn't lazy is
referred to my writings or the citations I give.

> 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.

Uh huh.  Your point being?

> 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.

May I suggest less huffing and puffing and more reading, Duke?

> 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.]

Yup. And that and seven bucks will get us into a first-run movie
anywhere.  Someday, just for the sheer perverse amusement of the
exercise, I'm going to read a pile of psychosocial literature (or
maybe just a run of Magonia issues) and recite the dazzling
variety of explanations these armchair speculationists have
advanced for abductions and abduction entities.  A favorite that
comes to mind is from Duke's pal Peter Rogerson, whom Duke takes
deeply seriously.  May I quote:

"Beyond the crashed saucer stories lies the fear that passionless
symbols of pure reason are in command, and somehow need to steal
our passion and our physicality in order to survive and
reproduce.  The atrophied `animal parts' of the alien cadavers
have theiri psychological counterpart  in the `glacial
indifference' of the abductors. These are, of course, literal
`eggheads,' the antithesis of the `red-blooded American male,'
and thus the ultimate symbol of un-Americanism." Elsewhere
Rogerson once wrote that American ufology and UFO experiences are
driven by a deep-seated fear of Hispanic immigrants.  Yes, he was
serious.  They always are.

Commenting on this, I wrote in IUR:

"How many armchair psychosociologists does it take to construct a
falsifiable hypothesis, or even know what one is? Try to prove
that little gray humanoids are NOT `passionless symbols of pure
reason.' Or, for that matter, that they're not `symbolic' of our
deep unconscious fear of dentists (remember Barney Hill's
teeth?). Or short people. Or bald, skinny people. Or people with
cold, unblinking stares and long, thin fingers. Or -- most
horrifying of all -- short, bald, skinny, thin-fingered Jungian
dentists who glare frigidly at their terrified patients. The
possibilities are endless."

Call me a sentimentalist, but I'd take one Walt Webb, Ray Fowler,
Bill Weitzel, Jim McDonald, or Brad Sparks -- guys who actually
investigate cases, interview witnesses, and check all relevant
information over a thousand psychosocial speculationists.  Hell,
make then ten thousand.

More to come.....

Jerry Clark


> 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.

There is so much goofiness in this single paragraph that the mind
boggles and swoons.  First, anyone who would cite Menzel as an
authority has announced that he is not serious. Menzel was not
just a fanatic but a liar.  He never let the facts get in the way
of a good debunking, and when the truth didn't suit him, he just
made stuff up. I cite a number of instances in my Encyclopedia
volumes. In the new version of the Encyclopedia, I have much to
say about Menzel's weird ufological career and the judgments of
his contemporaries. As nonufologist Ian Seymour once wrote,
Menzel "consistently distorted cases."  James McDonald wrote that
Menzel "seems to calmly set aside well-known scientific
principles almost with abandon, in an all-out effort to be sure
that no UFO report survives his attack."

I used to think of Duke as disingenuous.  I now realize I was
doing him a favor.  He may actually be as obtuse as he appears.
Gee, he asks, why should we draw anything from the fact that only
30 of the 100 Condon cases remain unexplained?  The old Jerry
Clark would have responded, Get real, Duke.  But maybe the poor
lad can't get real.  Maybe he really means that questions.  Maybe
he really is that desperate.

I gotta run right now, but there's more to come shortly....

Cheers,

Jerry Clark


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