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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1997 > Nov > Nov 26

Re: Clark and ETH [Solved Abduction Cases?]

From: clark@mn.frontiercomm.net [Jerome Clark]
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 1997 11:15:49 PST
Fwd Date: Wed, 26 Nov 1997 03:55:59 -0500
Subject: Re:  Clark and ETH [Solved Abduction Cases?]

> From: DevereuxP@aol.com
> Date: Fri, 21 Nov 1997 23:48:44 -0500 (EST)
> To: updates@globalserve.net
> Subject: Solved Abduction Cases?

> Greetings.

> Jerry Clark wrote:

> >From: clark@canby.mn.frontiercomm.net [Jerome Clark]
> >Date: Tue, 04 Nov 1997 11:18:38 PST
> >To: updates@globalserve.net
> >Subject: re: solved abduction cases

> >Dear list,
> >For reasons unknown I can't get into Paul Devereux's
> >recent posting, so I'm having to respond in an independent
> >posting.

> >I guess the good news is that there is so little of substance
> >in it, beyond Paul's by now well-worn ax-grinding act, that
> >little comment is warranted.  Suffice it to say I stand by
> >everything I've said.  To Paul I'd simply say that your
> >emotional -- even fanatical -- commitment to a particular
> >reading of the UFO question has apparently led you to
> >chronic incivility, as not a few others, even individuals
> >more sympathetic to your beliefs than I am, have noted.  In
> >other words, guy: chill out.  Not all, or even most, dissents
> >from your treasured beliefs are personal attacks.  By now
> >we've all figured out that you are VERY excited with and
> >defensive about your beliefs, that angry bees are always
> >circling in your bonnet.  You don't have to keep
> >demonstrating it to the rest of us.

> >As for me, I tried to be as pleasant as I could under the
> >circumstances, to no avail, evidently.  So you can go
> >stew elsewhere, Paul.

> >An excellent essay on "Earthlights and Tectonic Stress
> >Theory," by Chris Rutkowski, appears in the forthcoming
> >second edition of my UFO Encyclopedia.  I encourage all
> >who are interested in what Paul's about, beyond all the
> >self-righteous bluster, to read it.

> >Cordially,
> >Jerry Clark

> Dear Jerry,

> I'll only make a couple of responses to this before moving on
> to more important matters:

> a)I think the record shows quite clearly that from my few
> sentences questioning your assertions on specific matters in one
> of your postings to Mendoza, Jerry, it has been you who has
> inflated the personalised verbiage. (And not only in your
> exchanges with me, let it be noted.) In the course of our
> exchanges I have indeed raised points of "substance", or, at
> least, reasonable importance. As to my ripostes to your charges,
> all I can say is if you don't like the echoes you get back, then
> stop making your noise.


I think what you need is a new rhetorical style, an
emphasis on issues rather than on the alleged
personal shortcomings of persons who presume to
disagree with you.  Is this asking too much?  I do,
however, appreciate the more moderate and
thoughtful tone of the current posting, and on my
end I apologize for past responses that may have
sounded flippant or disrespectful.  We need not
agree, but we do need to respect each other's
views if any productive discussion is to be conducted.

> b)I find it breathtaking, Jerry,  that while you have managed to
> avoid responding to any issue I have attempted to raise in our
> exchanges, you can now refer to one that was not so raised --
> earth lights. Neither Mr Rutkowski nor earth lights are topics I
> have been trying to discuss with you. I have dealt with ELs and
> Chris Rutkowski on other occasions, and will doubtless do so in
> the future just as Chris will doubtless keep bashing away at his
> pet hate. All I will say on the topic here - as you raise it - is
> that unusual geophysical luminous and non-luminous phenomena do
> exist, they are undoubtedly a part of the material that passes
> through ufology's alimentary canal, and they just as certainly
> have not been digested by most ufologists - i.e. they have been
> under-recognised and under-researched. A small number of us have
> been doing a heroic job in raising funding for field and other
> research, have involved mainstream science, have already produced
> more than anecdotal results, but instead of that being
> acknowledged, we are almost automatically criticised or even
> derided

I will leave aside the issue of whether or not you are a
"hero," except to say that most would feel this is for others,
not you, to decide.  You have done a good share of "deriding"
yourself, so your complaints on this score border on the
hypocritical, if they don't already cross well over into that
territory.  In any event, I have repeatedly said that all
reasonable ideas, including yours, deserve to be heard.
Even so, you cannot judge your own views above criticism,
especially when you so freely voice critcism of others'.


> The first thing I want to clarify, in case I didn't do so
> sufficiently in in my last response, is that I think it is
> perfectly legitimate for the ETH to stay on the table as one of
> the possible explanations for some UFO sightings. With what I
> have learned so far, I do not think it is an explanation for any,
> but if the evidence should amount to proof in some cases, I will
> have no problems accepting it. I think there are definitely:

> Psychological UFOs
> Sociological UFOs
> Geophysical UFOs

> I'd add the ETH to that list as a possibility. But as someone who
> has seen anomalous luminous and dark aerial objects, and on one
> occasion a craft, I can say in total honesty I have not found it
> necessary to invoke the ETH to cope with any of them.

And of course others, including scientists and other trained
observers, have felt otherwise.  I respect your opinion and your
experience but feel no obligation to judge either as definitive.

> As for alien abductions, I do not personally think the ETH is a
> legitimate option, though in many cases the experience itself is
> real for those reporting it. The reason I hold this view, is that
> a study of alien abductions without recourse to the ETH reveals
> evidence amounting to proof as to what the "alien abduction"
> experience actually is.

Again, a matter of continuing discussion.  The ETH has to be
considered as one possible reasonable interpretation of a small
number of well investigated, multiple-participant cases. Other
explanations simply lack compelling explanatory power in these
instances.  At the same time, as I have stated repeatedly, there
is no reason to hold a dogmatic stance at this early stage of the
discussion/investigation.  The evidence that would settle the
issue to the satisfaction of all observers is nowhere in sight.

> I say this because the literature
> relevant to this finding is available to anyone who wishes to
> undertake the research -- at the end of the day, it is not a
> question of it being my opinion. As someone who has been within
> 20 feet of a prefectly "real-looking" non-human entity or alien,
> I can say the above without any fear whatsoever of people who
> would wish to claim they have had the abduction experience and I
> have not.

> (I am amazed that I have already made this deliberately
> provocative statement without there being the least ripple of
> interest by either Jerry or, apparently, more than a couple of
> people on this list.)

Somehow I have the sense that we're being set up here for a big
anticlimax, but go ahead, tell the story, and let the rest of us
judge its relevance.

> It seems to me that there are two aspects to the question of the
> ETH in ufology: is the ETH truly the dominant paradigm, and if
> so, is it affecting thinking within ufology - i.e. is it actually
> inhibiting the range of knowledge that we could be establishing
> within ufology?

As I have said before, the ETH -- which I happen to like, by
the way -- has not been ufology's "dominant paradigm" since
the mid-1960s.  Anybody can determine that for himself or
herself by reading this list, where we've actually had to endure
a long, tedious exchange on whether Ken Arnold saw birds,
for god's sake.  One would like to think this was all done
tongue in cheek, but this is the sort of thing that passes for
thinking in influential corners of ufology these days.

> Dealing with the latter possibility first, it is my contention,
> as I expressed in an early posting to you, Jerry, that it is
> indeed skewing several stands of research and inhibiting the
> disclosure of other possibilities. In this sense, it is acting
> like a self-fulfilling pattern of thought. As a matter of fact, I
> would go further: I think that within mainstream ufology anything
> that is not ETH-based in some form or other is viewed as
> non-ufological, and essentially of minor or no interest. Further
> still, if it was finally proven that the ETH is not the answer in
> ufology, I suggest that most people now attracted to ufology
> would go elsewhere and the subject would drop to a minor strand
> of intellectual curiosity within our culture, notwithstanding
> other important scientific and philosophical matters that might
> emerge in the ETH's stead.

I would like to know of a funded mainstream science investigation
of UFOs and the ETH.  I know the literature pretty well, and I've
never heard of one.  I doubt that one exists.  The ETH has been
the subject of hand-waving dismissal in the mainstream scientific
literature but never of balanced, searching appraisal.  One way
to read your argument is that science's neglect of the ETH
justifies its continued neglect.

> ALIEN ABDUCTION: I think we could set about raising the data
> within ufology itself (it has already been raised outside of
> ufology) to demonstrate that the alien abduction experience, for
> example, is just one modest strand of a broader literature
> relating to an extremely deep-seated human experience as old as
> the human mind.

So you believe.  And others disagree.  The discussion continues,
as well it should.

> AERIAL PHENOMENA: In the case of things seen-in-the sky, while
> the ETH should stay on the table, it should not be as overbearing
> as it currently is and has been for nearly 50 years. It should be
> given nothing more than equal weighting with social,
> psychological and geophysical UFOs - and perhaps UFOs of a type
> we haven't even thought of as yet. After all, the ETH is still
> solely a matter of conjecture and anecdote (radar-visuals and
> physical traces can apply equally to geophysical UFOs as to ET
> craft).

It is a myth that the ETH dominates ufology.  I have my theories
about why the ETH lost that dominance, when probably it ought not
to have, but I'll save that for a piece I intend to write in the
future.  I'll say this much: I expect the ETH to enter mainstream
science probably within two generations, for reasons that have
little to do with what goes on inside ufology.  Meantime, it
seems to me your dispute is with all scientists who think ETs
exist and could visit here, even if they happen to reject the
idea that it's happening now.  The ETH is so consistent with many
streams of exobiological/SETI theory that you ought to put aside
your unique obsession with ufologists and take on ETI theorists
in mainstream science.

> Also, a study of the history of ufology shows conclusively that
> there is not one, single hypothesis that can be called the ETH,
> as Dennis Stacy has pointed out in another posting. There is
> and/or has been a riot of manifestations of what should more
> properly be called the ET Motif, the ETM.

Actually, I agree and write as much in my just published The UFO
Book.  Only a small number of ufologists have formulated a
detailed, comprehensive ETH.  Most writers have patterned their
ideas, and only sketchily, after speculations current in  current
mainstream science (I here exclude contactees and other
extremists, obviously). Interestingly, in the 1950s Keyhoe and
Menzel shared many ideas in common about ETs, disagreeing in good
part only about whether they were actually visiting at the
moment. Much post-1947 ETH theorizing -- up till the mid-1960s or
so -- reflected what might be called post-Lowellism, which still
had a small constituency among astronomers.

As I have said more than once in this space, the finest writing
on the ETH is by Michael D. Swords.  ETH-bashers ignore him to a
man or woman.  Tellingly, I should think.

> I contend that all the above points are true, and observably so.

And so you believe.  And others disagree.  The discussion

> The other aspect of the matter, however, concerns whether or not
> the ETH/ETM is actually dominant, colouring in one form or
> another most of the thinking and intellectual drive within
> ufology. I assumed this was also a matter of simple observation,
> yet you, Jerry, in an earlier posting, asked that we should agree
> to disagree over it, along with other issues I have raised. Your
> failure to treat the points I am raising as of some consequence
> to the future of ufological research - to apparently consider
> them to be not even worthy of discussion - placed me in something
> of a quandry. What could I do to demonstrate that the ETH/ETM as
> a disproportionate influence within ufology wasn't just a matter
> of opinion?

I have never said your ideas are not "worthy of discussion."
I have said the contrary.  I just happen to think you're
wrong -- though interestingly so, which is more than I can
say for many UFO theorists.

> So, as a preliminary test, I took the first 100 postings of the
> list in my electronic in-tray - I have not selected them,  etc.,
> so it is effectively a random sample - and marked each one as
> relating to the ETH/ETM or not. 'Related' means literally that:
> postings that involve explicit or implicit discussion of ET
> concerns; postings that assume the ETH/ETM as a given, or that
> follow on from the starting point of a strand that was ETH/ETM
> oriented in one form or another (and this of course includes
> postings actually arguing *against* the ETH/ETM),etc. In short,
> anything that reveals the presence of the ETH/ETM in some way,
> shape or form in the intellectual environment of the posting.

> This is what I found.

> My UpDates sample of 100 postings started on 11/04 and ended 11/08.

> ETH/ETM-related:      62%
> Not ETH/ETM related:  38%

An imaginative reading, I should think.  Most posters don't refer
to specific theories about UFOs,  The exchanges usually are about
specific or general issues.  The ETH receded in power and
influence in the mid-1960s, with the rise of occult ufology as
proposed by Keel and Vallee. Today the ETH has stiff competition
from occultists, psychosociologists, debunkers, and
TST/earthlighters. I confess I don't understand your particular
obsession, but to each his or her own.  Most rank-and-file
ufologists I run into seem to hold some version of an occult
theory about UFOs and reject the ETH.  Vallee and Keel hold
greater sway over many modern ufologists than do Keyhoe and
Lorenzen (to more than a few, barely remembered historical

> This very modest bit of research suggests that, despite its
> protean and unproven nature,  the ETH/ETM is the most dominant
> paradigm operating within mainstream ufological thinking. (Bear
> in mind this specific result means *all* other ideas within
> ufology have to share out the 33% between them.) Even those not
> espousing the ETH/ETM are obliged to take time from what might be
> more productive lines of research to deal with it. In short, the
> ETH/ETM sets the agenda. And it is insidious.

And so you believe.  Others disagree.  The discussion

> This means, therefore, that my contention that it is skewing
> thinking within ufology should be taken seriously and is a
> legitimate subject of discussion and consideration by those
> claiming to be UFO researchers. IMO, it cannot possibly be
> healthy for a single motif to take such a giant bite out of the
> energies going into the ufological sphere as a whole. It cannot
> possibly serve the purposes of objective research.

Lighten up, Paul.  Ufology's universe strikes me as
more pluralistic than your own.

Meantime, best of luck in your research endeavors, the results of
which all thoughtful ufologists, including the undersigned, will
be following with interest.  I also encourage our readers to
spend not just 14 days but 365 of 1998 in following their
thoughts where logic and evidence take them.  If we're to take 14
days off, let us take them off from credulity, dogma, and sloppy
thinking -- errors that are hardly the sole property of
proponents of the extraterrestrial hypothesis.


Jerry Clark

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