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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1998 > Jul > Jul 26

Re: Sturrock Panel

From: James Easton <pulsar@compuserve.com>
Date: Sun, 26 Jul 1998 22:55:15 -0400
Fwd Date: Sun, 26 Jul 1998 23:49:27 -0400
Subject: Re: Sturrock Panel


>From: Greg Sandow <gsandow@prodigy.net>
>To: "'UFO UpDates - Toronto'" <updates@globalserve.net>
>Subject: RE: UFO UpDate: Re: Sturrock Panel
>Date: Wed, 15 Jul 1998 10:42:24 -0400

Greg wrote:

>>Date: Sun, 12 Jul 1998 23:58:50 -0400
>>From: James Easton <pulsar@compuserve.com>
>>Subject: UFO UpDate: Re: Sturrock Panel
>>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <updates@globalserve.net>


>>>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".

>[I've also posted this to the Project 1947 list (Greg)]

[Likewise - James]


>I suspect you've only read media accounts of the Sturrock panel, and
>haven't read the complete report.


It wasn't a rhetorical question expressing a belief. It was, as
I've said on similar points, simply a straightforward question.

No 'hidden agenda', nothing up my sleeve. ;)

I have read the complete report and even before raising this
question had written to the panel members on some issues arising
from same, Prof. Sturrock being one of those who replied.

As an aside, on whether the 'best evidence' was heard, Francois
Louange, comments:

"The cases chosen by UFO specialists were not necessarily the
best possible ones (this could be a long debate...) but nobody
could consider that a reasonable proof of violation of laws of
Physics or even stranger explanations came out at Pocantico
although enough elements were there to raise some scientific

As he says, that's a lengthy debate and perhaps best left as an

>You may draw any conclusions you like, but the scientists on the
>panel don't agree with you.

I hadn't actually formed any conclusions, merely interested in
what any agreed conclusions might be.

Your response, that from Steven Kaeser:

From: Steven Kaeser <steve@konsulting.com>
To: "UFO UpDates - Toronto" <updates@globalserve.net>
Subject: Re: UFO UpDate: Re: Sturrock Panel
Date: Mon, 13 Jul 1998 08:57:26 -0400

and John White:

From: John White <mjawhite@digitaldune.net>
To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <updates@globalserve.net>
Subject: Re: UFO UpDate: Re: Sturrock Panel
Date: Tue, 7 Jul 1998 07:01:15 -0700

and any others I haven't acknowledged were appreciated and noted.

Welcome contributions to the discussion, they express
alternative views of the 'Sturrock panel' report and mercifully
prove this is possible without defending intransigent dogma and
in Jerry Clark's case, which I regret it's necessary to comment
on, imploding at a mere perceived insinuation the
'extraterrestrial hypothesis' is being fundamentally challenged.

The 'Sturrock panel' report does require careful reading, for
example, Mark Cashman and Bruce Maccabee have highlighted
apparent paradoxes, i.e.:

Subject: UFO UpDate: Re: Sturrock Panel
From: Mark Cashman <mcashman@ix.netcom.com>
Date: Wed, 15 Jul 1998 23:25:46 -0400
To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <updates@globalserve.net>

Sturrock's panel summary seems contradictory. On the one hand,
they conclude that

"It may be valuable to carefully evaluate UFO reports to extract
information about unusual phenomena currently unknown to

but then

"The review panel was not convinced that any of the evidence
involved currently unknown physical processes or pointed to the
involvement of an extraterrestrial intelligence."

It is difficult to understand how they came to the first
conclusion in light of the second.

Date: Sat, 25 Jul 1998 15:40:53 -0400
From: Bruce Maccabee <brumac@compuserve.com>
Subject: UFO UpDate: P-1947: The Sturrock Panel: The Next Step
To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <updates@globalserve.net>

The claim that there is no "definitive information that will
settle the UFO problem once and for all" may be correct.
However, more basic claim that they panel had...no evidence of
anything truly unusual or "physics breaking"....is not accepted
as a fact by the UFO community (otherwise there probably would
be no such "community") and an important response to the panel
would be to lean why the panel members essentially claimed that
everything could be explained (no unconventional physics) while
admitting that some sightings were"difficult to explain." What
new but not ET/Other Intelligences (OI) related phenomena might
be invoked to explain the unexplainable? Or did the panel catch
itself in a "paradox" (all cases are basically a result of known
natural or manmade phenomena and we think we know about all
natural phenomena that could be related to sightings such as
there, but there are some cases which we can't explain and
therefore must involve unknown natural phenomena.)

>From Eshelman's summary of the panel's work and conclusions:


>"The panel concluded that further analysis of the evidence
>presented at the workshop is unlikely to elucidate the cause or
>causes of the reports. However, the panel considers that new
>data, scientifically acquired and analyzed (especially of well
>documented, recurrent events), could yield useful information.
>In this case, physical scientists would have an opportunity to
>contribute to the resolution of the UFO problem."

I had asked Prof. Von Eshleman [correct spelling] how the
panel's recommendations might be implemented and how this might
be achieved against a background where the 'UFO phenomena'
incorporates elements that were perhaps detrimental to any
perceived scientific credibility.

He wrote:

"The extremes of the UFO reports and the adamant ridicule by
much of the scientific community irreconcilably stands. However,
I believe that there is a middle ground where it is possible to
conclude something sensible about the subject, and that this
could possibly represent progress".

>Note this phrase: "further analysis of the evidence presented at
>the workshop." In other words, a certain limited amount of data
>was presented at the workshop, from which preliminary
>conclusions were drawn. One conclusion was in the phrase you've
>quotated ad nauseum: "The review panel was not convinced that
>any of the evidence involved currently unknown physical
>processes or pointed to the involvement of an extraterrestrial

>That refers only to the evidence presented to the workshop. The
>panel concluded -- precisely in the spirit of Sturrock's
>introduction -- that much more study is needed, because nothing
>more can be determined from the evidence presented at the
>workshop. Only after far more study of much more data can any
>conclusions be drawn -- and "rival hypotheses" be evaluated.

Which data merits further study?

Certainly not the 'best evidence' presented to the panel.

The press release summarises:

"Further analysis of the evidence presented to the panel is
unlikely to shed added light on the causes underlying the
reports, the scientists said. Most current UFO investigations
lack the level of rigor required by the scientific community,
despite the initiative and dedication of the investigators
involved. But new data, scientifically acquired and analyzed,
could yield useful information and advance our understanding of
the UFO problem, the panel said".

Eshleman's conclusion, echoed in the panel's, appears to imply
that only _new data_, which has been "scientifically acquired
and analyzed" might yield information to advance understanding.

It's stated that current investigations, despite the best
intentions, do _not_ meet the criteria for scientific

One interpretation and certainly my own until I see evidence to
the contrary, is that consequently the panel's report does not
support either further investigation of the 'best evidence'
presented, that fact beyond any dispute, or any other historical

Perhaps this latter point should first be clarified before any
determination on the panel's report.

>Note also the following, from Sturrock's recommendations for
>implementation of the panel's findings:


>Note this phrase: ""It is quite impossible to predict what might
>emerge from research into this area."

>The ETH is not excluded.

Noting I never suggested it had been, a statement to the effect
that it is impossible to predict the outcome of any relevant
research, isn't supportive of the ETH.

Any suggestions otherwise would be 'grasping at straws'.

In summary, the 'Sturrock panel' report does not appear to
support the ETH in any way and is a proverbial 'double edged
sword', on the basis that it's apparent recommendations for
future 'scientific' progress', would effectively sever any links
with previous 'unscientific' data.

That's maybe not the intended implication and I have asked some
of the panel members if they might clarify this important issue.

So far, only Prof. Sturrock has replied and states we should
"refer to the panel summary".

Further 'insight', would I'm sure be desirable and we can
perhaps then see the 'Sturrock panel' report in it's true

Which was all I had ever set to accomplish.

E-mail: pulsar@compuserve.com