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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1998 > Jun > Jun 25

Re: Friedman's Laws for 'Debunkers'

From: The Duke of Mendoza <101653.2205@compuserve.com>
Date: Thu, 25 Jun 1998 15:44:42 -0400
Fwd Date: Thu, 25 Jun 1998 18:51:24 -0400
Subject: Re: Friedman's Laws for 'Debunkers'

With the Duke's compliments:

>Date: Wed, 24 Jun 1998 23:02:35 -0400
>From: James Easton <pulsar@compuserve.com>
>Subject: Friedman's Laws for 'Debunkers'
>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <updates@globalserve.net>


>>Date: Wed, 17 Jun 1998 20:17:16 -0300
>>From: Stanton T. Friedman <fsphys@brunnet.net>
>>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <updates@globalserve.net>
>>Subject: Re: UFO UpDate: Re: Who is Jerome Clark?

Thanks, James. And while you wait for me to gather a few
last items necessary to continue my musings on the identity
of Jerome Clark, here's one I prepared earlier:

Stan Friedman's "TOP SECRET/MAJIC" has a chapter on those
who have been negative about the MJ-12 documents, and in it
Friedman shares with us his Top Ten "debunker principles of
logic, gleaned from many years of contact with them". It is
interesting to compare these with Friedman's own practice
here and, occasionally, elsewhere.

1 What the public doesn't know, don't tell them.

If you are not persuaded by the evidence offered by the
proponents of a "Roswell incident" in 1947, you will need
extra help in believing in the MJ-12 papers. Egregious by
its absence from Friedman's book is any mention of Robert
Todd's devastating expose of the lies, fantasies and
half-truths habitually spun by the chief Roswell witness,
Major Jesse Marcel. Todd published his findings in December
1995. Friedman's book went to press no earlier than May

2 Don't bother me with the facts. My mind is made up.

Friedman makes much of the USAF Blue Book Special Report #14
which, he says is "never mentioned" by debunkers, but
"point[s] to the existence of extra-terrestrial vehicles".
SR14 does no such thing and, contrary to Friedman's claims
in hundreds of lectures, is quite explicit on the point
throughout. The famous chi-square tests that show that
"unknowns" in UFO sightings are apparently different in kind
from the "knowns" are not born out by the mirror graphs that
inspired them, and are conclusively qualified by two
comments by the authors.  Of the 12 best reports of
"unknowns", from which the SR14 authors attempted to
construct a generalized model of a flying saucer, they
remark: "...some of the cases of the KNOWNS, before
identification, appeared fully as bizarre as any of the 12
cases of good UNKNOWNS, and, in fact, would have been placed
in the class of good UNKNOWNS had it not been possible to
establish their identity." Earlier, the authors note, "The
danger lies in forgetting the subjectivity of the data at
the time that conclusions are drawn from the analysis. It
must be emphasized, again and again, that any conclusions
contained in this report are based NOT [sic] on facts, but
on what many observers thought and estimated the true facts
to be." This probably explains why most (but not "all")
debunkers don't bother greatly with SR14 - it supports their
case rather powerfully. And one wonders why the USAF would
bother to fund this exhaustive study (or the later Condon
Report) if it already had a crashed saucer and alien corpses
in its possession.

3 Absence of evidence is evidence of absence

In practice, Friedman actually follows the rule "absence of
evidence is evidence". In noting "there was a complete lack
of any valid evidence consisting of physical matter in any
case of a reported unidentified aerial object", SR14 echoes
Gen. Nathan Twining's letter of 23 September 1947,
reproduced by Friedman, which remarks on the "lack of
physical evidence in the shape of crash recovered exhibits
which would undeniably prove the existence of these
objects". Friedman maintains Twining (as an alleged MJ-12
member) knew about the above-top-secret Roswell evidence but
could not say so in a merely 'secret' letter. Given that
Twining says UFOs are "real and not visionary or
fictitious", wouldn't it make more sense for him to have
kept dead silent about physical evidence, if he knew it

4 Select the data that matches your conclusions

Observing this rule, Friedman chooses to quote linguist Dr
Roger Westcott as supporting the authenticity of the
Hillenkoetter briefing, without mentioning that Westcott
later qualified his conclusion so heavily that it amounted
to a retraction. Westcott is not an expert in forged
documents, another fact omitted by Stan. And see above under
Rules 1 and 2.

5 If at first a scenario supporting your theory crumbles
under the weight of the facts, try, try again to prop up
your theory with another scenario, then another

Friedman breaks this rule. He has stuck to his scenario over
both Roswell and MJ-12 through repeated assaults, and
despite the thinness of his evidence. Friedman has objected
to the wretched Santilli "autopsy" film, saying: "What I
cannot do... is tell you that this film was made by company
XYZ, on January 39, 1992 at this studio. I don't have the
genesis of it, but the burden [of proof] isn't on me...."
But with MJ-12 Friedman does carry the burden of proof. And
there is nothing in Top Secret/Magic that, in ufologist Ed
Stewart's words, "provides multiple, independent,
link-by-link, verified and direct chains of evidence that
establishes the genesis/provenance of the MJ-12 documents".

6 Hearsay testimony is acceptable if it supports you, but
unacceptable if it supports the other guy

Friedman accepts the hearsay (and second-hand) evidence of
Barney Barnett that a flying saucer crashed on the Plains of
San Agustin, but rejects archaeologist Dr Winfred Buskirk's
direct denial that he was anywhere near a crashed saucer in
New Mexico in 1947 on the grounds that he was obeying
military orders to remain silent. This logic however need
not apply to Major Jesse Marcel, for some reason.

7 It is important to be right, not truthful

Having been reminded by Friedman that he has in the past
sued those who criticize his work, I leave it to readers to
make up their own minds on this one. However it is curious
that Friedman makes no mention of the rumours circulating in
ufology about MJ-12 from 1980 onward, or the famously fake
"Aquarius" and "CIA/MJ-5" documents that were originally
produced in support of the MJ-12 papers. ( All were
presented as all coming from the same sources.) While there
is no reason to say Friedman is dishonest, he does not
always tell the whole of the truth in this book.

8 Loudly proclaim the truth of your testimony, especially if
no one else can check it

Friedman is meticulous about providing references most of
the time (it has to be said that his bibliography is a model
of its kind, with a full list of works by UFO skeptics).

9 Pepper your publications with references to as many
personal (i.e. unverifiable) interviews as possible

Friedman is no more and no less guilty of spicing his
writings with interview material and personal anecdotes than
anyone else, so it seems fatuous to hold this against his

10  Don't mention references that don't support your theory.
The public won't know the difference.

See Rules 1 & 2 above. On BBSR14, Friedman makes no mention
of Allan Hendry's demolition of the statistics (although
Hendry does appear in the bibliography, and he does seem
genuinely perplexed by the activities of debunkers).
Friedman also seems to have missed Christopher Allan's
authoritative hatchet job on the claim that Canadian
scientist Wilbur Smith ever wrote anything genuinely "top
secret" (he "classified" his writings himself) or wrote
anything trustworthy on UFOs. Nor does he mention the
unsuccessful attempts to sell a fiction book based on MJ-12
by William Moore and a co-writer, believed by many to be
Richard Doty, before the MJ-12 papers were made public.

And so one could go on.

best wishes
Pickanit D. Moriarty
Less Bunk, More Bunkup

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