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

Re: Occam's Razor and UFOs

From: Greg Sandow <gsandow@prodigy.net>
Date: Sun, 14 Jun 1998 09:26:51 -0400
Fwd Date: Sun, 14 Jun 1998 17:44:07 -0400
Subject: Re: Occam's Razor and UFOs

> From: RobIrving@aol.com
> Date: Sat, 13 Jun 1998 07:46:16 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: Fri, 12 Jun 1998 10:29:54 -0400>

> Greg,

> >You're now, in other posts, making a virtue of ignorance -- no,
> >sorry, of not clogging your mind with data -- but here it would
> >be helpful to hear the voice of scientists who haven't yet been
> >publicly quoted.

> "Making a virtue of ignorance" isn't necessarily how I see it,
> but if you have to put it that way that's fine. What I mean is
> that ufology is not my primary pursuit, or even interest.
> Therefore I don't carry information about cases around in my
> head, as others seem to. If you were to ask me about specific
> cases concerning subjects of more immediate interest to me, such
> as human attacks on horses, I wouldn't presume to know the
> details of specific cases without referring to my research
> material. Yes I believe that 'not knowing' is something of a
> virtue, but that's perhaps another conversation.

> I gave up needing to appear as if I know everything years ago...

> empty vessels produce the finest resonance, and all that.

> Anyway, as for our discussion about how well research into the
> ETH would be accepted by the powers-that-be in science, soon I am
> to interview a leading theoretical physicist in this country, who
> has in the past made comments on ufology. I'll ask him and let
> you know. Maybe I'll make some other calls too - this might make
> for an interesting project.

> Offhand, apparently unlike you I don't know what they'd say.

No, Rob. When I don't know someone, I don't have a clue how
they're going to answer any question.

You don't seem to understand what's going on here. More or less
off the top of your head, you offered an opinion on scientists
and UFOs. Nothing stops them from examining the evidence, you
think, so if they haven't supported the ETH, that must be
because the evidence for it isn't very good. This seems to be
one of your favorite rhetorical gambits -- mixing opinions in
with facts in your arguments, and treating the opinions as if
they carried as much weight as facts, even if you haven't (or
don't offer) any evidence for them.

Thus you opined that the opposition to John Mack at Harvard
doesn't really tell us much about scientists and UFOs, because
Mack -- or so you speculate -- got into trouble not for his
opinions, but because he publicized them on talk shows. Having
imagined that I invoked Kuhn's theories on scientific paradigms,
you counter me with a shrug, saying that you personally don't
think much of Kuhn's work. (And yes, you gave one quick reason,
but hardly enough for any serious discussion of someone so well

And now you say that you, yourself, personally, don't think
scientists would be discouraged from taking a favorable view of
UFOs. Again, you've offered us a glimpse, not at the actual
subject we're discussing, but of your own mind. Which is why I
get exasperated with you. As you've shown us all, you don't know
very much about UFOs. Nevertheless, you expect us to take your
unsubstantiated opinions seriously. As I and others on this list
have tried to tell you, there's a lot of data about scientists
and UFOs -- quite a lot of it, actually, much of it published,
and none of it ambiguous, especially to anyone who's actually
talked with one or more scientists about this subject.

So now, like an eager puppy, you're dashing off to find out for
yourself. There's nothing wrong with replicating research; I
said I might do it myself (though both of us ought to offer more
than a single sample, if we want our inquiries to mean very
much). But you at least ought to acknowledge that you're tilling
a well-plowed field here, and that whatever answer you get from
your theoretical physicist won't be entered on a blank dossier.
You are not, in other  words, going to find some data on a
subject that has never been investigated before. You're simply
going to discover whether this physicst says the same thing as
the other scientists whose views are already known.

Greg Sandow

And by the way, I just found more published evidence. Kenneth
Ring, who wrote a book called "Project Omega," is an
psychologist at the University of Connecticut who became known
for his studies of near-death experiences. At one point, someone
sent him a copy of Whitley Strieber's "Communion," suggesting
that UFO abductions might interest him as well. His first
reaction was to hide the book, or so I read in a substantial new
book, "Enquete sur les enlevements extraterrestres" ("An Inquiry
into Alien Abductions"), by Marie-Therese de Brosses. (Many
thanks to Jean-Luc, who gave me a copy.)

And why did Ring hide "Communion"? "It was out of the question,"
he said, "that anyone should come into my office and see a book
like that on my desk!" (His exclamation point, my translation
from French.) Now, Rob is free to point out that Ring overcame
his reluctance, and both studied and wrote about abductions. My
own interpretation, however, would go like this. Even Kenneth
Ring, who'd already pushed the envelope by accepting NDEs, was
afraid of what his colleagues would think if they saw him with a
book on UFOs.

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