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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1998 > Jun > Jun 30

Re: MAGONIA ETH Bulletin #4

From: Dennis Stacy <dstacy@texas.net>
Date: Mon, 29 Jun 1998 22:58:02 -0500 (CDT)
Fwd Date: Tue, 30 Jun 1998 06:17:15 -0400
Subject: Re: MAGONIA ETH Bulletin #4

>To: "UFO UpDates - Toronto" <updates@globalserve.net>
>From: "Jerome Clark" <jkclark@frontiernet.net>
>Subject: Re: UFO UpDate: Re: MAGONIA ETH Bulletin #4
>Date: Mon, 29 Jun 98 12:17:09 PDT


>Of course, in some quarters, as we have seen, this is such a
>vile heresy that the heretic -- ESPECIALLY the apostate heretic
>-- must be driven from the field or (by sleazy innuendo, in
>Harney's latest broadside, which Dennis, whom I would have
>judged a good friend, can't bring himself to criticize) called a
>liar and a charlatan whose writing is too contaminated with
>heresy to be of any value. Let's be open about this, Dennis: is
>this your view?


Dear Jerry:

No, of course not. Like almost everyone on this list, I assume,
I'm bombarded with e-mail, which gets varying degrees of
attention, from none to some to full, depending on the
circumstances under which it's received (mood, time of day,
night, blood alcohol content upon arrival & so on).

Even on my best days, I don't usually respond to every paragraph
in those posts that I do respond to. Not enough hours in the
day, etc., hence the big snips. So when I decided to join in on
the Harney-Clark correspondence, no, I didn't go back and reread
every nuanced (or not so nuanced) statement or allegation in
Harney's original post. I took one graf from him and one from
you, both contiguous. I didn't review everything else in both
posts, so if he called you a liar and a charlatan, no, I
definitely don't agree, and my apology if I gave you or the List
that impression. (It was, after all, I who posted the news about
the Franklin Award, although I suppose I could have done so

What I responded to in this instance was the business about the
ten cases, because I think I was partly responsible for getting
the issue started in the first place, as a result of my own
book, just finished, which looks at 50 (more or less best)

You've just finished a UFO encyclopedia, so it would be a fairly
simple matter for you to name ten of the book's best cases off
the top of your head. If you want me to read it and list them
for you, I'll do so. If you want to object to Top Ten Lists on
principle and/or philosophical reasons, then I'll respect that
as well. Duly noted.

For what it's worth, however, I don't think that such exercises
are as totally irrelevant as you apparently do. For instance,
Ronald D. Story compiled a UFO encyclopedia and then went on to
author another book based on just such a "best case" list, UFOs
and the Limits of Science -- presumably because he gave some
thought to the question. I hope I'm not giving away any trade
secrets here, when I say that someone else who occasionally
posts on this List is also presently at work on a UFO book based
on the "ten best cases" approach, and has been actively querying
various ufologists for same as a starting point.

As for the Sturrock or Rockefeller Panel, or whatever it will be
called in the future, I was encouraged by the widespread
publicity and generally respectable media treatment it received
today. Without having read the full report yet (I'm waiting for
the print version), it nonetheless appears to have been based on
a "best evidence" presentation by various UFO investigators.
This was the same approach adopted by the UFO Coalition in 1995,
when they prepared the "Unidentified Flying Objects Briefing
Document: The Best Available Evidence" for distribution. In Part
2, twelve specific cases are referred to in detail; other cases
or aspects are treated in more general terms, i.e., foo
fighters, the Scandinavian ghost rockets, and so on.

All of which is to state the obvious: some cases are better than
others (or at least *should* be), and there must be some system
for establishing gradations of evidence, or "bestness" (multiple
witnesses are theoretically better than single witnesses, and so
on). We all agree that Klaatu landing on the White House lawn in
full view of CNN, CBS, NBC and ABC cameras would tend to rank
number one on anyone's Top Ten list. If one wants to put Roswell
second, then one must have some rationale for doing so, and so
on. At the same time, if the case for the ET UFO is practically
self-evident to anyone who bothers to look at the evidence, then
there must be, say, at least a hundred such air-tight cases
within easy reach, any randomly chosen ten of which should
qualify as "best."

Again, the reason why I brought this whole issue up in the first
place was because I had just finished working on a book which
required 50 reliable cases -- and it wasn't quite the "snap" I
had anticipated. As a sidelight, I might add that the closer one
approaches the present, the harder good case histories are to
come by (a feeling, I believe, expressed by Clark himself on
occasion, although I won't put words in his mouth). Indeed, the
latter is in danger of extinction, being rapidly superceded by
abduction accounts, conspiracy theories, and more and more
Roswell ephemera.

When the Encyclopedia of Ball Lightning is published, I'll be
happy to select my ten best cases, although it would be far
easier for the author of same to provide it for me, since, after
all, he or she would be the acknowledged expert on same.

But since it's unfair to ask another to do what one wouldn't do
oneself, I will shortly post a personal list of 20 UFO cases
drawn (culled?) from the 50 mentioned earlier. I won't
necessarily defend each and everyone of them to the death if
called upon to do so, naturally, but I will throw them out there
for discussion. Or dissection. Whatever


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