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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1998 > Jul > Jul 6

Re: 'She Blinded Me with Science'

From: Jerome Clark <jkclark@frontiernet.net>
Date: Mon, 06 Jul 98 09:21:57 PDT
Fwd Date: Mon, 06 Jul 1998 11:10:36 -0400
Subject: Re: 'She Blinded Me with Science'


> From: RobIrving@aol.com
> Date: Sun, 5 Jul 1998 16:04:00 EDT
> To: updates@globalserve.net
> Subject: Re: UFO UpDate: 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: Thu, 02 Jul 98 10:26:38 PDT

>I would be alarmed if no-one were looking at whatever evidence
> exists with an eye to ET as a possible cause. In that sense, I
> see the ETH as viable, just as I see the PSH as viable. My
> recoil from the ETH stems from over-exposure to those who pay
> lip-service to the word 'hypothesis' while spouting off in terms
> that proof, or *hard* evidence is an accepted given, or even
> invoking Occam's Razor in a vain 'scientific' attempt to justify
> it.

It seems to me, based on what I've read on this list, that it's
debunkers, not proponents, who are "invoking Occam's Razor in a
vain `scientific' attempt to justify" their view.  Are we on the
same list?

> Furthermore, I don't see the PSH as being in total opposition to
> the ETH, as you seem to when you equate it with mere
> 'debunking'.

I have no idea why you're taking this complaint to me. As John
Harney, editor of Magonia ETH Bulletin (and I think we can all
agree that Magonia is the flagship publication of PSH ufology),
"Our theory is quite simple ... not one of the available UFO
represents a genuine sighting of an extraterrestrial
spacecraft."  Phil Klass and CSICOP could not have expressed
their view more succinctly.

> It makes me wonder about your own prejudice when
> you say this, as well as reaffirming the feeling I have that a
> majority of ETHers are pathological either/orists. None of the
> people I know who are tagged 'debunkers' seem particularly
> worried by the notion of ET landing on the White House lawn so
> long as it actually happened as reported; that it wasn't just
> another story with no evidence.

Speaking of pathological "either/orists," see John Harney above.
Most either/orists I see, and I have read a whole lot of UFO
literature since 1957, are debunkers and/or PSHers.

My own view, and nothing I've seen so far persuades me otherwise,
is that the ETH is the best provisional theory to explain the
hard evidence (radar/visuals, CE2s, multiply and independently
witnessed sightings, and the like -- the sorts of cases, for
example, the Condon Committee, even with all the ill will in the
world, wasn't able to explain), but it is also clear that other
things, conventional and unconventional, are going on as well.  A
pluralistic approach seems the most profitable.  How that
translates into either/orism is something I don't understand.
Again, I refer you to my essay "On Anomalous Experience" in the
introduction to my Unexplained! (1993).

> By the casual out-of-hand dismissal of the possible
> psychological and social aspects of the UFO phenomenon

What ufologist does that?  Names, please?  Obviously, you are not
referring to me.  Either that, or -- as I suspect -- you've not
read my writings and aren't reading carefully what I have written
here.  In any case, any dismissal of the PSH, as you would know
if (1) you knew my history in this subject and (2) you had read
what I've written about the PSH, is anything but "casual."
Frankly, Rob, it's not a little annoying being lectured by
someone who by his own admission doesn't know a lot about this
subject.

> it
> appears to me that you are resorting to the same level of denial
> that you accuse your opponents of.

Rubbish, rubbish, rubbish.  Please educate yourself before you
start spouting this sort of silliness.  Do me the courtesy of
acquainting yourself with my views before you tell me what they
are.

> Perhaps it's just a debating
> technique but I certainly wouldn't place you in any top ten list
> of most tolerant of ambiguity.

Exactly what of my writings have you read, Rob?

> I suspect that you have seen the
> phrase, liked the sound of it and invested yourself with the
> title. Worse, you think you live up to it.

How, given your admitted lack of familiarity with the UFO
literature generally and my writing specifically, would you know?

> That said, I agree that the most extreme UFO 'sceptics' can be
> just as ridiculous in their denial as the most ardent UFO-as-ET
> believer -- to me they are just different sides of the same
> coin. As Aristotle said, there is nothing between asserting and
> denying.

I agree.  Marcello Truzzi defines the debunker as a denier and a
skeptic as a doubter.  I am much closer in temperament to skeptics
than to uncritical believers.

> > There are several major papers refuting Festinger, whose
> > theories have failed replication. (You might say, I guess, that
> > Festinger's prophecies have failed.) As one critic writes, in
> > the course of showing why ideas like Festinger's are simplistic
> > and reductionistic, "As scholars we should approach religious
> > groups as phenomena to be observed and understood in
> > their own complexity, with at least as much respect for the
> > complexity and integrity of our subject matter as a biologist
> > or a physicist has for the phenomena of nature."

> I'd like to see these papers. From the way you talk of one might
> assume that all his ideas have been refuted. I'm not convinced
> of that. It seems a rather convenient way of avoiding revealing
> insights. I can cite a number of instances within ufology which
> mirror Festinger's ideas.

How would you know whether Festinger has been refuted or not,
when you admit you haven't read the papers in question?

Jerry Clark