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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1997 > Nov > Nov 17

Re: ETH [Extra Terrestrial Hypothesis] &c

From: clark@mn.frontiercomm.net [Jerome Clark]
Date: Sun, 16 Nov 1997 14:11:03 PST
Fwd Date: Mon, 17 Nov 1997 02:50:24 -0500
Subject: Re: ETH [Extra Terrestrial Hypothesis] &c


> Date: Sat, 15 Nov 1997 11:39:53 -0600 (CST)
> To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <updates@globalserve.net>
> From: Dennis <dstacy@texas.net> [Dennis Stacy]
> Subject: Re: UFO UpDate: Re: ETH [Extra Terrestrial Hypothesis] &c

> >Date: Fri, 14 Nov 1997 18:08:43 -0800 (PST)
> >From: Jim Deardorff <deardorj@ucs.orst.edu>
> >To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <updates@globalserve.net>
> >Subject: Re: UFO UpDate: Re: ETH [Extra Terrestrial Hypothesis] &c

> <snip>

> >> At the current level of specialization in the sciences, a general
> >> paper on UFOs would find it difficult to fit into the narrow
> >> scheme of many journals.

> >> But I suspect that one might be able to write narrowly tailored
> >> articles (I believe Bruce M. has done this) for narrow journals.
> >> Optics journals might take some papers where a UFO observation
> >> could be clearly related to an important optical topic.

> >Hello Mark,

> >And this reminds me that one Dr. Levengood published a couple
> >articles on crop circles in some plant-pathology journal, but got
> >away with it because he didn't ever mention UFOs and instead
> >blamed it on "plasma vortices" that descend from the upper
> >atmosphere, do their thing, and then exit the scene.  A matter of
> >terminology!

> >But if the paper is narrowly tailored to one specific phenomenon
> >or event and if you assiduously refrain from using any UFO
> >terminology, you're right -- it's sometimes possible then to get
> >a paper on it accepted within a mainstream scientific journal.

> >Jim Deardorff

> The world isn't quite that simple, Jim. Science, and therefore
> science journals, dealy primarily with repeatable laboratory
> tests and analyses. Other scientists read the papers, and, if
> they're interested, repeat the results in their own
> laboratories.

> Science is not primarily interested in anecdotes. Thus there are
> scientific journals on vulcanology not because of poorly
> substantianted eyewitness accounts of volcanoes erupting, but
> because any scientists who wants to can witness one in action,
> acquire samples in the field, and haul them back to the lab.

> As you know, that rarely happens in ufology. Take the famous
> Linda Cortile case, for example, about which an entire book has
> been written. The only thing that can be considered even remotely
> of interest to science in that book is the presence of some sand
> samples which have allegedly been altered "somehow." Despite the
> cases's sensational claims, there's not much there to interest a
> scientist of any persuasion, or a science journal either. How is
> science even going to attempt to prove, for example, theat the
> Secretary General of the United Nations was abducted by a
> spaceship from another planet which then dove under the Hudson
> River?

> "Ah, yes, I see...and you acquired these samples _how_?"

> After stating where the samples were supposed to have come from,
> you'll probably be asked if you recognize that rectangular shape
> in the wall over there and how it works. "You see that little
> round thing on one side, about half way up? Well, you turn it to
> the right and then push. That will take you to the street, which
> is the wide, paved avenue with cars on it. Please pass along it
> in either direction until you are completely out of sight. And
> don't call us -- we'll call you. All in good time."

> Fact is, ufology itself suffers from much the same problem. If
> you look at the latest issue of the Journal of UFO Studies, the
> field's only referreed journal, for example, you'll see that only
> one of the major articles deals with what might be described as a
> UFO sighting or report. All the rest, along with the usual book
> reviews, are essentially historical or analytical in nature.

> By the same token, the last MUFON Symposium Proceedings published
> this summer contained 13 papers, only two of which could be
> considered a scientific analysis of anything, and one of those is
> an analysis of abduction accounts, not hard abduction evidence.
> The rest are all commentary or reflection.

> Now, suppose Paul Deveruex or Robert Baker wanted to submit a
> scientific article to JUFOS that attributed the abduction
> phenomenon to lucid dreams or sleep paralysis, respectively? How
> far along the peer review process do you think it would get
> before being rejected?

There is so much in Dennis' posting here that is wrong-
headed, goofy, and just plain strange -- not to mention
its naive view of what constitutes scientific inquiry.
(I encourage interested readers to turn to the writings of
Bauer, Westrum, Hufford, Truzzi, and others for a more
sensible, balanced view of why science has such a hard
time dealing with anomalies such as UFOs, cryptozoological
animals, parapsychological phenomena, and so on.)
This last sentence, however, is just plain offensive.

JUFOS is open to all reasonable points of view on all UFO-
related questions, and both Baker and Devereux have already
been published in its pages.  Were they to write solid papers,
they would be published again.  What a load of rubbish,
and what an insult to the integrity of CUFOS officers (of whom
I am one), JUFOS' past editor Mike Swords, and its current editor
Stuart Appelle.  And, may I said, what a desperate exercise in
special pleading and victomology.

The real question is, why the enormous difficulty of getting
scientific papers on UFOs published in mainstream scientific
journals?  Dennis is so ufologist-phobic by now that he has
become an apologist for just about every debunking excess,
and for science's shameful neglect of one of the most interesting
questions of the 20th Century.  Hynek and McDonald, who wrote
eloquently on the subject, must be spinning in their graves. The
question has to be asked: Is Dennis on ufology's side in ANY
question?

Jerry Clark



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