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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1998 > Jun > Jun 15

Re: Occam's Razor and UFOs

From: RobIrving@aol.com
Date: Sun, 14 Jun 1998 21:15:33 EDT
Fwd Date: Mon, 15 Jun 1998 09:01:05 -0400
Subject: 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: Sat, 13 Jun 1998 23:24:48 -0400


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

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

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

>>...then ask yourself the same question.

>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.

Nicely manoeuvred, but please don't presume what I think.  You
were discussing the possible cultural influences on witness
testimony, and gave an example wherein this testimony has proved
to be true. I used your reasoning to highlight the flaws in that
reasoning.  It's a spurious, pointless argument, plain and

>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.

If you have read the relevant literature you would know that SRA
has historical connections that pre-date the Christian church.
It appears to be part of the human condition... and very much
affected by cultural & socio-economic factors. That issue (like
UFOs, I suspect) runs greatly deeper than your apparently facile
view of it.

>But then Mark Cashman has, without using impolite language,
>decisively shown why Rob is a dilettante.

Yes, I am a dilettante, at least as the OED describes one. I
like art, and I don't pursue any particular subject full-time -
I keep an eye on many, as I'm sure you do. I like to think I can
rely on people like Mark Cashman if I need specific details.

>He talks like an expert about UFOs, without knowing (or even thinking
>he ought to know) many of the principal cases.

I don't remember ever suggesting that I'm an expert in UFOs -
far from it - or even describing myself as a ufologist. I don't
think this disqualifies me from discussion.  Without me, this
"not the discussion I wanted to start" would not have started.
I'm sure you've learned something from it, even if you are loath
to admit it. Perhaps you will learn more, as I hope to (not
seeing this medium purely as a means to parade knowledge). You
seem quite threatened by disagreement, btw - you really needn't

>He makes pronouncements about abduction research, too, but In his
>discussion with me, he said he hadn't heard about David Pritchard.

I don't remember making any pronouncements about abduction
research, unless you are referring to my comments regarding Dr
Mack. As far as I am aware, you should have no idea of my
thoughts regarding abduction research, because I have never
discussed them with you. Nor as far as I remember have I ever
written on the subject, unless in passing.

If you were to ask me what my actual thoughts are, rather than
settling for your invented version you may be surprised by them.

>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.

Again and again you pay me the discourtesy of presuming my
opinion. You'll describe me as a 'PST supporter' next, if you
haven't already - I think someone has somewhere. You don't know
my opinion on UFOs, only my opinion on the opinion of others.
It's a big, very big difference.


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