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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1998 > Jul > Jul 13

Re: Sturrock Panel

From: James Easton <pulsar@compuserve.com>
Date: Sun, 12 Jul 1998 23:58:50 -0400
Fwd Date: Mon, 13 Jul 1998 01:04:12 -0400
Subject: Re: Sturrock Panel


>From: Jerome Clark <jkclark@frontiernet.net>
>Subject: Re: UFO UpDate: Re: Sturrock Panel
>Date: Sun, 05 Jul 98 09:54:18 PDT

Jerry wrote:

>The Sturrock panel got to listen to some of the best evidence from
>some of the best UFO investigators and researchers alive today.

As you appreciate, that's a subjective opinion, especially on
what constitutes 'best evidence'.

However, if this was a 'best shot', isn't it a damning
indictment of the 'extraterrestrial hypothesis' when Prof.
Sturrock writes:

"Concerning the case material presented by the investigators,
the panel concluded that a few reported incidents may have
involved rare but significant phenomena such as electrical
activity, but there was no convincing evidence pointing to
unknown physical processes or to the involvement of
extraterrestrial intelligence".

>It came, it seems to me, to the only conclusion possible, one that
>we ufologists have known for a long time: UFO reports deserve to be
>investigated further, and attempts to explain them away have failed.

To reiterate, the panel agreed that a few incidents may involve
known 'electrical phenomena', whilst others could not be
explained 'in this fashion'.

You seem to be implying that the natural 'failure' to resolve
every single claimed anomalous sighting or incident, is itself
almost tantamount to proof these can not be explained as
anything other than evidence of an extraterrestrial contact.

Would you disagree that the voluminous evidence which _has_ been
explained, whether as misidentifications, hoaxes, proven
unreliable, inaccurate, exaggerated or untrue testimonies, etc.,
indicates the probability of comparative explanations where none
has been proven?

>It seems to me what we saw is scientific SOP. It looked at the
>evidence, as other judging panels do in other areas, and decided that
>thorough scientific study is desirable.

The 'Sturrock panel' was of course no more than a workshop,
however, it has been reported as a 'scientific study', for
example, here in the UK, the BBC featured the story and claimed:

'UFOs mystify scientists'

"The first independent scientific study of UFO sightings in
almost 30 years has concluded that some cases merit further

>>What exactly are you hoping for?

>A thorough scientific study or, better, a whole bunch of 'em.
>Aren't you?

Can't say I had considered it ever being a realistic possibility
and I doubt the 'Sturrock panel' will prove to be even a
tentative step towards that.

You didn't respond to a question I asked, i.e., should a
'thorough scientific study' include, say, research into...

'abductions by aliens'
'alien implants'
'crop circles'
the 'Gulf Breeze' photographs
the 'alien autopsy' footage
'cattle mutilations'
various anomalies caught on film during Space Shuttle missions
the 'face on Mars'


These contentious issues and similar are, after all, the essence
of 'ufology'.

They feature evidence which can, and in many circumstances has,
been subjected to a scientific study. However, would
'mainstream' science see any one of these subjects as meriting a
more thorough, ongoing program of scientific research?

Or would the very idea that time and funds be allocated to them
be an anathema to most scientists, if not provoking outrage.

The answer has been evident.

So, where do you see the data coming from that would change this
perception and be deemed worthy of those 'whole bunch' of
scientific studies?

What case evidence would you like to see mainstream scientists,
of which the 'Sturrock panel' appears to have been a
particularly fair representation, evaluate?

Bearing in mind of course, that the purported 'best cases' which
that panel considered and which you believe to be "some of the
best evidence", was determined to offer "no convincing evidence
pointing to unknown physical processes or to the involvement of
extraterrestrial intelligence".

I asked Prof. Sturrock if he would clarify some points which
have come up in recent discussions and he explained that the
workshop was his suggestion when discussing the "UFO problem"
with "Mr Rockefeller".

The panel, whose summary was unanimous, were selected by Prof.
Sturrock, some of the panel members being known to him and some
being recommended by other scientists.

Prof. Sturrock comments, "I was looking for scientists who are
open minded but tough minded. I did not want anyone gullible,
and none of them is gullible".

From my own research, it seems that the panel members were a
highly significant body of respected scientists, hardly gullible
and with particular expertise in a number of relevant areas.

For example, Prof. James Papike, director of the Institute of
Meteoritics at the University of New Mexico, has been
instrumental in research which challenges the meteorite evidence
for 'life on Mars' and Prof. Charles Tolbert, a renowned
astronomer, has been critical of the "Evidence for
Extraterrestrial Life".

There's further relevant background which I'll mention in due

E-mail: pulsar@compuserve.com