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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1998 > Jun > Jun 14

Re: Occam's Razor and UFOs

From: Greg Sandow <gsandow@prodigy.net>
Date: Sat, 13 Jun 1998 23:24:48 -0400
Fwd Date: Sun, 14 Jun 1998 07:37:01 -0400
Subject: Re: Occam's Razor and UFOs


>From: RobIrving@aol.com
>Date: Fri, 12 Jun 1998 09:02:09 EDT
>To: updates@globalserve.net
>Subject: Re: UFO UpDate: Re: Occam's Razor and UFOs

>>From: Greg Sandow <gsandow@prodigy.net>
>> To: "'UFO UpDates - Toronto'" <updates@globalserve.net>
>> Subject: RE: UFO UpDate: Re: Occam's Razor and UFOs
>> Date: Thu, 11 Jun 1998 10:31:04 -0400

>Greg,

>> Suppose we substituted "spousal abuse" for "UFOs" in what you've
>> written here:

>Purely as a thought experiment, now substitute Satanic Ritual
>Abuse...

>> Would this suggest that spousal abuse isn't real, and that
>> complaints about it are generated simply by cultural factors?
>> Hardly.

>...then ask yourself the same question.

Same answer. You can't tell -- from the mere fact that Western
countries have reports of something, and less developed places
don't -- whether that something is real or not.

John Rimmer seems to think the opposite. If countries that
aren't strongly Westernized don't have as many publicized UFO
reports as the West does, he evidently thinks that's evidence
that the Western reports are cultural artifacts. To emphasize
how arbitrary that conclusion is, I rephrased his words,
substituting "spousal abuse" for UFOs. We know that spousal
abuse exists. When you read John's paragraphs with something
whose reality we know as the subject, the structure of his
reasoning is unmistakable, and unmistakably wrong.

Rob evidently misunderstands, and thinks I was trying to prove
UFOs are real. So he plays my game, and gives John's paragraphs
yet another subject, this time something we know does NOT exist.
In doing so, he proves yet again that John's reasoning is
flawed. We know that satanic abuse doesn't exist, but not
because of John's argument. There's no way to deduce from John's
argument that satanic abuse does or does not occur -- which, in
all the guises this paragraph has assumed, is exactly my point.

What's really ironic here is that you don't need fancy Rimmer
reasons to understand the cultural sources of satanic abuse
reports. They usually come from fundamentalist Christians.

But then Mark Cashman has, without using impolite language,
decisively shown why Rob is a dilettante. He talks like an
expert about UFOs, without knowing (or even thinking he ought to
know) many of the principal cases. He makes pronouncements about
abduction research, too, but In his discussion with me, he said
he hadn't heard about David Pritchard. Evidently, then, his
knowledge of abductions is limited to what he derisively calls
"populist ufology." Anyone who seriously studies abduction
research -- as opposed to someone who just reads John Mack, Budd
Hopkins, and David Jacobs, and shakes his head in dismay --
would HAVE to know Pritchard's name. Pritchard co-edited the
only published collection of serious scientific papers on
abductions (the proceedings of the abduction conference at MIT,
which Pritchard co-organized with John Mack).

I wonder if Rob has read Stuart Appelle's paper on the abduction
evidence in JUFOS, which Jerry Clark mentioned not long ago.
Don't worry, Rob -- it doesn't say abductions are real. It just
summarizes -- exhaustively -- what's actually known, and lays
out what both skeptics and proponents of abduction reality need
to prove before they can say they've settled the question.

Greg Sandow



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