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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1998 > Jul > Jul 2

Re: 'She Blinded Me with Science'

From: RobIrving@aol.com
Date: Wed, 1 Jul 1998 21:53:42 EDT
Fwd Date: Thu, 02 Jul 1998 09:03:13 -0400
Subject: Re: 'She Blinded Me with Science'

> To: "UFO UpDates - Toronto" <updates@globalserve.net>
>  From: Jerome Clark <jkclark@frontiernet.net>
>  Subject: Re: UFO UpDate: Re: 'She Blinded Me with Science'
>  Date: Wed, 01 Jul 98 11:39:34 PDT


>  All this aside, I look forward to meeting you one of
>  these days. I hope you are as partial to your nation's blessed
>  brewing industry as I am, and we can do our best to support it
>  in each other's company.

We have met. I arranged for you to be interviewed on the Monsters
and Miracles CD-ROM some years ago. This done so efficiently you
probably didn't notice. Yes, I am partial to the odd pint.

>  Interestingly enough, this morning Minnesota Public Radio --
>  which NEVER deals with UFOs -- devoted an hour to a discussion
>  among scientists on, prominently among the issues talked about,
>  it is "professional suicide"

Well, I don't like the idea that anyone feels pressured about
what to study or not to study, and if this latest activity brings
the subject the attention it deserves that's good. I'm all for
it. I suppose we're really talking about differences between the
business of science, and the science business.

>  Unfortunately, "belief" has been reduced in discourse and debate
>  about anomalies into mere rhetoric. You used it in the context
>  of the scoffer, who uses it in this sense (to borrow from David
>  Hufford, who writes amusingly on the subject): "What I know, I
>  KNOW; what you know, you only BELIEVE."

That's not a fair reflection of what I think. It's just more
rhetoric... more projection. I doubt that you could sensibly back
it up with unvarnished examples.

>  Good to hear something refuted I never said or thought. I have
>  repeatedly stated that honorable persons can disagree. My
>  quarrel is with people who think that those who disagree with
>  them are necessarily stupid, gullible, or mere "believers." That
>  is my quarrel with you.

Then you are quarreling with something I have never said or
thought. This character-mirroring is ridiculous Jerry.

To more interesting issues...

>  Is this statement based on anything other than his work with
>  Dorothy Martin's group, with which I gather you are largely
>  unfamilar?

He doesn't specifically say. Although he does summarise the
Martin study. In fact I am familiar with Festinger's work on her
group (only in terms of having read the book a couple of times).
My guess is that he had a 'thing' about flying saucer enthusiasts
generally... for whatever reason, I don't know. All I said was
that he enjoyed using them as an example in support of his

>  > ~ 3. Another way of reducing dissonance between one's own
>  > opinion and the knowledge that someone else holds a different
>  > opinion is to make the other person, in some manner, not
>  > comparable to oneself. Such an allegation can take a number of
>  > forms. One can attribute characteristics, experiences, or
>  > motives to the other person or one can even reject him or
>  > derogate him. ~
>  A pretty good description of the debunker mentality.

I guess this works both ways. But usually when one is debunking
all one has to do is focus on the bunk, rather than falsely

>  "Tolerance for ambiguity" -- in those very words -- is something
>  I have long urged. What it's gotten me on this list is the
>  accusation, hurled by somebody we both know and love, that I am
>  a "pathological fencesitter."

Well Jerry, that's between you, Pete and your analyst. I'll
happily read your book if I can find it.

>  > Equally, in truth I suspect that you are not the
>  > self-important prat your role apparently demands.

>  And I would like to think the same of you.

I've played Desmond Leslie in Neil Oram's 'The Warp' once or
twice. I play him more 'stage-frightened gibbering wreck' than
'self-important prat' though. What a couple of luvvies we are,

>  Ah, would that it were that important. Before I go any further
>  with this, Rob, I want to point out that you are trying to avoid
>  the big issue. You even deleted my reference to it, apparently
>  thinking I wouldn't notice. No such luck. Let me ask you: which
>  whopping historical error do Festinger, et al., make, a mistake
>  bearing directly on their theory?

No deliberate avoidance Jerry. I like a challenge. So, just to
clarify the task, I have to read 'When Prophesy Fails' again and
determine errors relating to which theory, the one concerning
disconfirmation or that of cognitive dissonance?  You read the
book two weeks ago, for me it's around four years. I'll look
through it again and get back to you with an answer (or admit
that I don't have an answer). Do I get a prize, btw?

>  When you've done so, you can send me your regular mail address,
>  and I'll send you Gordon Melton's paper "What Really Hapens When
>  Prophecy Fails" (which, annoyingly, I now discover I've
>  misfiled, after just looking at it a couple of days ago; well,
>  I'll find the damn thing somewhere, and if not, I can ask Melton
>  for another copy).

That would be interesting, but no prize. A worthwhile prize would
be the two-volumes of your encyclopedia, delivered to my door.
That's if I pass the challenge. What's the forfeit if I'm wrong?

>  I am left wondering why, if Deutsch is such a brilliant guy, you
>  chose such a knuckleheaded quote to cite.

Kindly explain what is so knuckleheaded about it. You
concentrated on the least important part, his reference to UFO
enthusiasts, without dealing with its essential part; 'shoddy
explanations that yield correct predictions are two a-penny...'.

Don't like Deutsch?  Historian Felipe Fenandez-Armesto says much
the same thing: '... trustworthy conclusions cannot be based on
unverified premisses'.

Why is this knuckleheaded?