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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1998 > Jul > Jul 7

Re: Sturrock Panel

From: John White <mjawhite@digitaldune.net>
Date: Tue, 7 Jul 1998 07:01:15 -0700
Fwd Date: Tue, 07 Jul 1998 10:04:48 -0400
Subject: Re: Sturrock Panel

Dear List:

>Date: Sat, 4 Jul 1998 23:56:12 -0400
>From: James Easton <pulsar@compuserve.com>
>Subject: Sturrock Panel
>To: UFO UpDates <updates@globalserve.net>

>>Date: Sat, 4 Jul 1998 11:01:29 PDT
>>From: Jerome Clark <jkclark@FRONTIERNET.NET>
>>Subject: Re: Re.  Sturrock Panel

>[Taking the liberty of copying this to the UFO UpDates list}

>Jerry wrote:

>>The Sturrock panel report is the best thing that's happened in a long
>>time, and the wide and respectful attention it has received is indeed


>Can a small group of scientists, in such a short period,
>evaluate so few cases as an overall perspective of some 50 years
>evidence for the possibility of any extraterrestrial contact?

>Would you disagree that hardly constitutes a thorough scientific



James, Jerry, List, ebk, . . .

While our thoughts are stirred by having the Sturrock Panel
examine accumulated evidence,  the idea that UFOs account for
that evidence will, at some point, have to rest on a rational
basis. It is an ironic, but interesting thought, that we might
learn as much about UFOs from a debate between the Sitchinistas
and the the panel over the anecdotal evidence from ancient
writings as we would learn from the panel's examination of more
current anecdotal "evidence."

Whether the UFO conclusion arises from revelation, authority or
analogy (each of which has its own form of rationality -
weak/robust depending on your particular mindset), or is on a
more scientfically acceptable basis of inductive/deductive
analysis of experience, backed up by repeatability of analysis,
will be largely irrelevant to certainty, unless we can kick the
tires and take a ride. . .And even this is problematic.

Thorough scientific studies of readily observable events,
(carbon dating comes to mind), abound whose premises are found
wanting, defective, and, in some cases, downright fraudulent, as
support for a scientific conclusion. Can we expect more from
the Sturrock panel, given the quantum and quality of the
evidence it will have to examine?

Until relatively recently, as those things go, the best
'scientists' could prove that the sun moved around the earth
based on then unassailable premises whose objective reality was
'certain'. Those who thought otherwise were brought before peer
review committees (panels) who examined their evidence.
Nowadays we chuckle at the blinders worn by the panelists.
Except for flat earthers and other assorted cranks, we easily
disregard the reasoning of those 'panelists'.

The problem with a scientific analysis of UFOs, however, is not
one involving reasoning from objectively observable events such
as the earth-sun system.  The problem is that there is no
analogous UFO system which can be subjected to any form of
analysis or reasoning other than speculative hypothesizing from
anecdotal or one-trick pony evidence of an observed event.

Each one of the observed events is unique to the observer. That
doesn't mean it didn't happen. That doesn't mean that it is not
similiar to, or indeed the same as, other reports of
observations. What it does mean is that the Sturrock panel is
left to putting paid to a theory of UFOs based on unique
observations forming a network of premises, without one of those
premises having any testability beyond examining the observer's
report of an observation.

Whether the 'observer' is a radar picture, or a circle in the
wheat, or a person with a tale to tell, or an anomaly in
background radiation, or a set of physical ailments and injuries
not explicable based on the reported event,  there is no
'observer' whose specific observations can be repeated as a
support to even rudimentary analytic verification.

So, I suspect that the panel will be left to discussing the
source of angels dancing on the head of a pin, there being no way
to count their number, regardless of the strength and rationality
of the wisdom of the idea that we are not alone in the universe.