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Re: that ol' Extra Terrestrial Hypothesis

From: Dennis <dstacy@texas.net> [Dennis Stacy]
Date: Sun, 9 Nov 1997 00:29:32 -0600 (CST)
Fwd Date: Sun, 09 Nov 1997 09:55:49 -0500
Subject: Re: that ol' Extra Terrestrial Hypothesis

>From: Greg Sandow <gsandow@prodigy.net>
>To: "'UFO UpDates - Toronto'" <updates@globalserve.net>
>Subject: RE: UFO UpDate: Re: that ol' Extra Terrestrial Hypothesis
>Date: Fri, 7 Nov 1997 17:19:24 -0500

>Dennis....forgive me, but what exactly is your logic?

Greg...Forgive me for asking the same of you. Did I catch you on
a bad hair day or what?

>You think some people who believe in the ETH also believe other
>things you think are silly. So is this somehow the fault of
>anyone who believes the ETH? Or who's merely willing to entertain

No, Greg, what I'm saying is that there is a range of options one can take
(or deny) in association with the adoption, promotion, or merely
entertainment of the ETH...and that they don't necessarily follow. What's so
hard to understand? Are you saying that they do? I didn't think so.

>Is anyone interested in the ETH now somehow responsible for
>denouncing any silliness even remotely associated with it?

But of course. If you were a doctor, wouldn't you defend your
profession against demonstrable quacks? If a lawyer, journalist
or stockbroker against traitors to the trade, people who sully
your own profession? Of course you would. What's so illogical --
or difficult to grasp -- about that? When people who you
associate with --if only in the public's perception -- do things
that you don't agree with, or blatantly embarrass you simply by
association, I think you ought to speak up and defend yourself.
Or maybe you agree with the Coopers, Lazars, Deans and Corsos of
the field and think they aren't doing anything detrimental to
your pristine belief in ETH?

>Is ufology now expected to work the way white people think
>African-American politics should? A black person becomes vocal
>about affirmative action and other civil rights issues -- and
>suddenly white people ask her to denounce Louis Farrakhan. Is
>that the kind of ufological litmus test you have in mind?

No. See above. I would expect many people within the civil rights
movement, prominent African-American leaders included, to
denounce Farrakhan for what he is -- while at the same time
promoting their own point of view and distancing themselves from
Farrakhan's. Surely you're not arguing that we let the Farrakhans
of our own field hold forth without so much as a burp of
indignation and/or criticism? I didn't think so, but correct me
if I'm wrong.

>And if you don't, what in Zeta Reticuli could your original post
>have meant? "Yes, the ETH is fine, but look what it's spawned!"
>(I'm paraphrasing.) If you don't mean what I just suggested, what
>DO you mean?

Pardon me, but I'm not sure what *you* mean here. I meant to
originally point out that the ETH, in and of itself, is fine as
long as it's constrained or confined to just that -- one theory
among several. It's when it gets out of hand, simply by its
original assumption or adoption, and then is used to account for
everything else associated with UFOs, but as yet unproved
(advanced alien technology=magic, for example), that I objected
to. Is this illogical on my part, or am I missing something? I
didn't think so.

>> Even something like the Anthropic Principle has a Weak vesion
>> 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.

>Strangely enough, he even thinks he has evidence. Stranger still,
>that evidence -- no matter how it holds up in the long run --
>isn't ridiculous on its face. He's free to make his arguments
>(which, unless I somehow stumbled on a private shipments of Crash
>at Corona and Stan's MJ-12 book), he even dares to make in

I never said or suggested that Friedman wasn't entitled to make
any argument of which he was enamored. What I suggested was that
Friedman's own passionate advocacy of the ETH might have resulted
in his being something less than an impartial observer (and
reporter) of the UFO scene. If you want to accept Friedman's
books, including his inclusion of Gerald Anderson's long
discredited Roswell testimony, as reflective of UFO reality and
the ETH, then I certainly don't want to stand in your way. (And
obviously couldn't even if I wanted to.)

>What exactly is the problem here? Are we all supposed to think
>that only a lunatic would believe what Stan does? And that
>therefore the ETH is gravely polluted each time he opens his
>vociferous mouth?

No, see the above, and how did you arrive at this assumption

>> 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.

>No way. Not at all. Silliness. Take Stan Friedman. His MJ-12 and
>Roswell work doesn't proceed logically from his embrace of the
>ETH. See my remarks above. He thinks he has separate evidence for
>MJ-12 and Roswell. You think he's SO dumb that his ETH belief
>leaves him open for anything? Why doesn't he believe in jars of
>human body parts?

If properly prodded, for all I know he does believe in body
parts. Why don't you ask him? But who are you to say that "his
MJ-12 and Roswell work doesn't proceed logically from his embrace
of the ETH"? Do you know something that I don't, that maybe
Friedman was merely hovering on the verge of objectivity and/or
agnosticism before he just chanced to look into Roswell and
MJ-12? Then I've got some theories I would like to promote about
the origins of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto Numero Uno, one of
which is that the latter was actually present at, and survived,
the battle of the Alamo.

The fact is that Friedman's vigorous and militant adoption of the
ETH causes him to see its (imagined and implied) consequences
everywhere, even when the evidedence is lacking, hence his
continued waffling about the testimony of one Gerald Anderson.
But maybe GA and the ETH aren't one and the same -- which is what
I've been saying all along. Or maybe you still support GA's
account of what happened at Roswell because you read it in one of
Friedman's books and therefore it must be the truth, the absolute
truth, and nothing but the truth.

>> 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.

>Silly me, relying on your summary. I thought your point was to
>stress, based on Davis's theorizing, how rare life might be in
>this vast universe of ours.

You're right, silly Greg, my comments did emphasize how rare life
might be in the universe. Now do you want to read the original
article for yourself or not? If you can't afford to buy a copy of
The Anomalist 5 from me (and thereby support same, which you've
previously praised on this list), which I seriously doubt, then
Jerry Clark can send you a Xerox of same. Failing that, I'll make
a copy myself.

>> 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.

>Sagan's own comments in the symposium -- which, oddly enough,
>I've read -- strike me as slippery. But then, that's merely my

Greg, slippery they may have been. So what? The man organized the
symposium, thus giving McDonald a public platform, something
Menzel would never have done. I only mentioned the book and the
symposium because you equated Sagan with the "likes" of Menzel --
without any qualifiers. I simply supplied a qualifier. Would you
rather I hadn't?

>If mainstream science didn't embrace UFOs in the '70s, despite
>Hynek and McDonald, what chance do ufologists, however
>scientifically conservative, have of bringing science around now?
>As I remember the "scientific debate" hosted by Sagan and Page,
>the non-believers (if you'll allow me to characterize them that
>way) don't really address  the points made by the believers.
>That's all too typical of the way science has handled, or not
>handled, this problem.

>> 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.

>You've got to be kidding. Here we have David Pritchard, one of
>the few openly sympathetic scientists, begging me a couple of
>years ago not to mention his name in mainstream media, for fear
>of getting him in huge trouble with the MIT physics department,
>and with his federal grants for mainstream research. More
>recently, he told a TV interviewer (who didn't use it in the show
>she produced) that the heat from skeptical colleagues was very
>hard to bear.

Greg, again we appreciate the problem, but this won't wash. In
case you haven't noticed, Pritchard's name appears quite
prominently as one of the editors of (and contributors to) "Alien
Discussions." He was also featured and interviewed in C. D. B.
Bryan's big book (if I have the name right) about abductions. His
involvement in UFO research, in other words, is hardly any media
secret, let alone one closely guarded from his MIT colleagues. I
appreciate your description of the situation, but it just isn't
the case. Sorry.

>Logic is not the issue here. Mainstream science carries a huge
>prejudice against UFOs (and against parapsychology too, for that
>matter; see Jeffrey Mishlove's The Roots of Consciousness for
>documented chapter and verse). And if you ask me what the problem
>really is, I'd say denial. I'd say that, in fact, even if UFOs
>turn out to be nothing more than scraps of my long white hair
>floating in the breeze. The whole question of alien visits has
>our culture in a tizzy. Hardly anyone can face it squarely,
>scientists and ufologists both included.

This is a nice bit of effluvium, Greg, but are you seriously
suggesting that ufologists can't squarely confront the "whole
issue of alien visits [which] has our culture in a tizzy"?
They've been actively promoting it for something like a half
century, and you say they can't get quite squared away about it?
What kind of logic is this? Did it ever occur to you that one
reason why society might be in such a tizzy is because ufologists
have extrapolated the original ETH beyond all bounds of decency
and common sense?

>Come to think of it, that also explains the excesses of ufology.
>The prospect of alien visits makes us so crazy that lots of
>people, attempting to deal with the question, stop making sense.
>Although, if you pin me to the wall, I'll take the better
>ufologists over the scientists, anytime. Whether or not I agree
>with Stan's conclusions on MJ-12, I challenge you to compare
>Stan's work on it with SETI astronomer Frank Drake's reasons why
>interstellar travel is impossible (and, therefore, aliens will
>never visit us). Stan comes off as an apostle of sweet reason,
>and Drake, by contrast, as a frightened idiot.

>Greg Sandow

Greg, the above is so boundlessly beyond belief (or stupidity) on
your part as to beg credibility.

I'm a working writer and so are you.  But if neither of us has
anything else better to do with our time, I'll gladly accept your
"challenge to compare Stan's work on [MJ-12] with SETI astronomer
Frank Drake," having already admitted previously on this post
that I'm no particular fan of Drake's work and conclusions.

Let me also add that you're comparing apples and oranges here.
But if you really and seriously want to adopt the voice of
Friedman's "apostle of sweet reason" as your own, then so be it.

Frightened Idiot

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