UFO UpDates
A mailing list for the study of UFO-related phenomena
'Its All Here In Black & White'
Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1998 > Jul > Jul 16

Re: CE: Open Letter to The Cincinnati Enquirer

From: Steven Kaeser <steve@konsulting.com>
Date: Thu, 16 Jul 1998 15:39:20 -0400
Fwd Date: Thu, 16 Jul 1998 16:31:51 -0400
Subject: Re: CE: Open Letter to The Cincinnati Enquirer


>From: Greg St. Pierre <StrmNut@aol.com>
>Date: Thu, 16 Jul 1998 07:16:46 EDT
>To: updates@globalserve.net
>Subject: Re: UFO UpDate: Re: CE: Open Letter to The Cincinnati Enquirer

>It HAS been recorded properly.

>I brought up crop circles to demonstrate the treatment of that
>sort of subject by the media. Sadly, there is a correlation
>between press coverage and interest by scientists in UFOs and
>crop circles. I believe only the independent thinkers pursue
>them. The group thinkers hold off until the "group" begins to
>change "its" mind. I'm probably oversimplifying things, but
>that's the impression I have. The evidence for some crop circles
>being of genuinely mysterious origin is there to be seen, and if
>it holds any advantages over ufology, they are repeatability and
>the physical nature of the phenomenon. Since only circumstantial
>evidence links crop circles to UFOs they were not the focus of
>the panel. I suspect that if a comprehensive report were given to
>the panel without interference by the media, they might just have
>a look at it. At the moment however, I'm sure they have enough on
>their plate.

>Greg

I think you're treading on thin ice by equating "media" with
"press coverage", and would suggest that the issue is, as you
note, more complex than you have described.

The media, including both entertainment and news, are
financially driven. Right now there is a great deal of
entertainment value to stories related to UFOs, Crop Circles,
Alien Abduction, and other paranormal subjects. This has in part
been amplified by programs like "Sightings" and "The X-Files",
and also because of the approaching millenium.  As these subject
are given a "tabloid" treatment by the media, there is little
chance that mainstream scientists are going to become publicly
involved.

Press coverage is a different matter, and when the actual news
departments of various networks have become involved in the
subject they have usually done a decent job of analysis.  Keep
in mind that the Press is not made up of scientific researchers,
but reporters who rely on the statements of others from which
they can draw their conclusions.  If a scientific panel would be
willing to put their reputations on the line and declare that a
Crop Circle is "genuinely mysterious", then the press would
probably report it (if it's important enough to make the news
that day).  A single scientist making that claim might not, but
that would depend on his reputation in his field.

IMHO, scientists don't avoid this genre because of the media's
portrayal of it.  It doesn't help, of course, but the primary
reason is that there is no reason to take a chance on damaging
your reputation and future when there's so much other resarch
that is so much safer.

The belief system of the "group thinkers" is ususally
represented in (and ultimately defined by) scientific journals,
and there are few articles related to this genre that appear in
those publications.  The recent "Sturrock" report is one such
article, having been published in the Journal of Scientific
Exploration.

Journal articles have to be accepted for publication, and the
panel that reviews them can help to define the viewpoints that
are expressed.  If one is required to "publish or perish", then
it would be unlikely that a controversial subject would be
selected.  On the other hand, a Journal that publishes a
controversial article could alienate a portion of its
readership, and damage its reputation in the scientific
community.  There are multiple forces at work to keep science on
a narrow, accepted, path. Science tends to be very conservative
when it comes to new ideas or change, and the bureaucracy that
has built up during the past several centuries in science is the
primary reason.

Just a few rambling thoughts.

Steve