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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1997 > Nov > Nov 11

Re: Kenneth Arnold's testimony

From: Mark Cashman <mcashman@ix.netcom.com>
Date: Tue, 11 Nov 1997 10:33:22 -0800
Fwd Date: Tue, 11 Nov 1997 17:26:57 -0500
Subject: Re: Kenneth Arnold's testimony

>  Date: Mon, 10 Nov 1997 23:04:47 -0500
>  From: James Easton <pulsar@compuserve.com>
>  Subject: UFO UpDate: Re: Kenneth Arnold's testimony
>  To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <updates@globalserve.net>

>  Regarding...

>  >Date: Sun, 09 Nov 1997 18:56:23 -0600
>  >From: Michael Christol <mchristo@mindspring.com>
>  >Subject: Re: UFO UpDate: Kenneth Arnold's testimony


>  Kottmeyer writes:

>  "Returning to Arnold's report: 'They flew like many times I have
>  observed geese to fly in a rather diagonal chain-like line as if they
>  were linked together'. That is what they certainly seem like. Geese
>  do fly in chains. A number of nine makes sense. The arrangement of the
>  leader being higher than the others, unlike military formations, is
>  sensible for geese who take advantage of the downdraft turbulence of
>  others in the formation for easier flying. Geese chains do undulate
>  like kite tails. They do present a basically flat side profile when
>  seen edge-on.

>  >From above they have a bilateral symmetry like the heel drawn by
>  Arnold. In his Congress paper he however emphatically denies this
>  idea, '-- but they were not geese!'

>  He does not explain the reasoning".

When this "explanation" by Kottmeyer was brought to my attention,
I initially considered writing something about it. Then I decided
it was a waste of time, since the "explanation" was as ludicrous
as something Donald Menzel would have put forth.

But, OK, here it is, lying on the table, so I'll offer a few

1) When was the last time you noticed a specular reflection from
a goose or a swan - especially when said goose or swan was backed
by either clear sky or a snowfield? The answer - birds do not
generate specular reflections.

2) When was the last time a goose or swan in flight gave the
impression of being 20 times longer than thick? The answer -
Neither geese nor swans have this ratio, even with necks

3) The shape of the objects as shown in the original drawing must
be regarded as definitive. A description can only go so far in
suggesting size, shape and proportion, and a picture created
immediately after the incident must be considered more reliable
than one created considerably later. The original drawing does
not show something which looks like a swan or goose, or like swan
or goose wings, which are invariable held straight to the side
like aircraft wings.

4) Arnold was clearly able to identify a nearby aircraft (which
was at a significantly higher altitude and at 15 miles distance).
Thus, there is no reason to expect him to fail to identify
another aircraft. And since he also thought of the "goose"
analogy for the flight pattern, one can expect that he spent
nearly two minutes looking at something for which he had already
held the hypothesis of being an aircraft or a bird, and still was
unable to identify it. As Arnold points out: "Even though two
minutes seems like a very short time to one on the ground, in the
air in two minutes time, a pilot can observe a great many things,
and anything within his sight of vision probably as many as fifty
or sixty times".

The style of argumentation reflected in every one of Kottmeyer's
"explanations" is to seize upon a single characteristic of a
report, construct a hypothesis based on that single aspect,
discard or distort any testimony inconvenient to the explanation,
and declare the case solved. That is hardly scientific.

If one is allowed to say that the witness misperceived this,
that, and the other thing, and therefore one can pick any actual
perception in place, this is fantasizing, not analysis.

Let's give credibility to explanations which account for all of
the witness testimony and the actual facts of reality.

Mark Cashman, creator of The Temporal Doorway at
- Original digital art, writing, and UFO research -
Author of SF novels available at...

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