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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1998 > Jul > Jul 3

UFOs not worthy of study?

From: Joe Murgia <Ufojoe1@aol.com>
Date: Thu, 2 Jul 1998 19:50:48 EDT
Fwd Date: Fri, 03 Jul 1998 01:20:55 -0400
Subject: UFOs not worthy of study?

I think some of the more eloquent, detail orientated
people on this list should write a response to this
editorial from the N.Y. Post. Bruce Mac. and
Stanton Friedman immediately come to mind
among others.

Editorial email - letters@nypost.com

>From N.Y. Post Online Editorial




"Panel Urges Study of UFO Reports," ran the front-page headline
in Monday's Washington Post. According to that Post, an
independent scientific review directed by a Stanford physicist
said that UFO sightings need serious study. The implication: The
UFO industry has now received the intellectual backing of
serious scientists.

But the sad fact is that The Washington Post has been taken for
a good long ride by one of the more superficially respectable
organizations on the lunatic fringe - an association for the
sort of credulous academic who overdosed on science fiction as a
teen-ager, is a sucker for ESP and Eastern mysticism and is
drawn to the kind of crank who claims that Martians built the

The source of this extraordinary story was the "Society for
Scientific Exploration." The group has put out papers on
"Atlantis and the Earth's Shifting Crust," "The Message of the
Sphinx," "Reincarnation and ... Birthmarks" and one of our
favorites, "Severe Birth Defects Possibly Due to Cursing."

It is all very well to search for explanations for mysterious
crop circles or strange lights in the sky. But nowadays UFOs and
ESP have replaced demonic possession as a superstitious way of
explaining phenomena that are otherwise hard to understand.

Why would actual science professors put their name to a report
like this? Well, there are a lot of scientists in the world and,
not surprisingly, a small number of them are given to wild
fancies. Many truly extraordinary scientists can be completely
"out there" when it comes to subjects other than their own area
of expertise. Sir Isaac Newton was devoted to alchemy; Michael
Faraday, the great theorist of electricity, was a member of an
extremely bizarre religious sect. William Shockley, the father
of the transistor, believed a lot of racist nonsense about IQ.

But what about The Washington Post? All it would have taken for
the newspaper to realize that this announcement did not come
from a serious, respected scientific organization was a quick
search for the SSE on the Internet (www.jse.com). But maybe
something else is going on here. It is very common to hear
supposedly educated, rational peopleproclaim their belief in all
sorts of wispy magic, from crystal power to astrology to curing
AIDS by the laying-on of hands.

One explanation for spreading credulousness among Americans is
the deepening ignorance of basic science among members of the
liberal professions. Even as our technology becomes more
sophisticated, more and more people have no understanding of
scientific method or even the kind of basic science behind the
internal-combustion engine.

Another explanation is the powerful appeal of New Age claptrap
to Baby Boomers who long ago lost the religious and political
ideals they grew up with. Such people are prey to all sorts of
superstition. Faith in "alternative medicine" - some of it
sensible, most of it pure snake oil - is now so common that many
people are as likely to trust a popular witch doctor as their

This partly came about because doctors and scientists oversold
themselves and their abilities during the '50s and '60s. But
just because real scientists cannot explain everything or cure
every disease, there is no cause for 20th-century Americans to
turn to superstitions like frightened savages in the primeval

The SSE's UFO platform is based on a big lie. That lie is that
scientists have never taken UFO claims seriously for fear of
ridicule - or because of a government conspiracy right out of
"The X-Files." The truth is exactly the opposite. UFO
"sightings" have been exhaustively investigated by genuinely
open-minded people over and over again.

And despite the successful efforts of the UFO industry to
convince millions of people otherwise, there is no - repeat no -
credible evidence of space aliens visiting the Earth in
suspiciously Hollywoodesque flying saucers. And the case for
little green men making landings all over the farm belt in order
to kidnap and then have unusual sex with random hicks in pickup
trucks is even more ridiculous.

When a sophisticated civilization starts to nourish weird cults
and an obsession with magic, it is a sign of a retrogressive
sickness that can be fought only with sweet reason and an appeal
to true religion, not false idols.