UFO UpDates
A mailing list for the study of UFO-related phenomena
'Its All Here In Black & White'
Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1999 > Apr > Apr 1

Friedman vs. Krauss Debate

From: Joe Murgia <Ufojoe1@aol.com>
Date: Sun, 28 Mar 1999 23:53:15 EST
Fwd Date: Thu, 01 Apr 1999 15:41:17 -0500
Subject: Friedman vs. Krauss Debate


On Tuesday March 30th at 10:00pm EST, Sightings on the Radio and
Jeff Rense will be hosting a debate between Stanton Friedman and
Lawrence Krauss. Stanton needs no introduction but many of you
may not be aware of who Krauss is.

Lawrence Krauss is the chair of the physics department at Case
Western University. He is also the author of the opinion
editorial piece that ran in the New York Times regarding NBC's
Confirmation special. Mr. Krauss was very hard on the special
and especially on Whitley Strieber. Krauss is a skeptic when it
comes to UFOs and ETs visiting our planet.

I wrote to Krauss and expressed my feelings on the subject of
Ufology and on what I thought were unfair attacks on the special
and on Strieber. He didn't back down. This is some of what he
sent to me. He said it was okay to share. First his editorial.
Don't miss this show. Jeff Rense as usual is covering the most
important topics and has the most entertaining shows. Thank god
for him! I originally suggested to Krauss that he go on Art
Bell's program. Bell ignored my emails to him on this. I have
seen the light and its name is Rense!

Make sure you read where Krauss talks about how the Times
scoured the web for information that would give the article
color. They used the web as a source? This is the New York
Times? Last week I asked Whitley if there was anything on his
site that said he was injected with chemicals in his brain by
aliens. He said no and that the Times was lieing. Here's the Op
Ed piece, then my response to Krauss and finally his response to
me. Some interesting stuff...

Try tolisten and call in some good questions for Krauss.

Joe Murgia
Tampa, Florida

---

Krauss wrote:

"I view the fact that Strieber was an ex-horror story writer as
a factor which makes me more dubious, not less, of his writing.
In any case, the statement about injection with chemicals was
obtained from my new York Times researchers, who went to his web
site and others for a description of his abduction experience.
(for what it is worth, this is something the NYT wanted to add
for color, so they scoured the web for this information..)."



New York Times Opinion Editorial Section

February 22, 1999


Stop the Flying Saucer, I Want to Get Off

By LAWRENCE M. KRAUSS

There was a great deal of concern expressed during the Monica
Lewinsky scandal that the distinction between mainstream
journalism and the tabloids had all but van- ished. But the
public, bombarded day and night with salacious and irrelevant
revelations, managed to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Is it too much to hope that this innate good sense will apply to
the tabloid fare that television is peddling now, during the
ratings sweeps? No longer able to rely on Washington to provide
a steady supply of sensationalism, at least one net- work has
started looking to outer space. I am talking, of course, about
alien abductions.

Last Wednesday night, while channel-surfing toward the PBS end
of the spectrum, I was stopped by the title shots of a program
called "Confirmation: The Hard Evidence of Aliens Among Us?"
Grainy images of flying saucers, aliens' faces and an
eerie-looking operating table filled the screen. It must be a
Fox TV promo for "The X-Files," I thought.

Then I noticed the NBC peacock in the corner. The two-hour
special, produced by the network's entertainment division,
purported to explore reports of alien visitation, from mind-
altering implants to abductions.

Chief among the purveyors of "hard evidence" was the author
Whitley Strieber, whose big-eyed alien abductors snatched him
from his home one night, injected chemicals into his brain and
helped him get onto the best-seller lists. NBC presented Mr.
Strieber as both an "expert" source and a journalistic
interviewer. I learned later that he was also an executive
producer of the show. Is it unfair to suspect that his personal
stake in the alien abduction phenomenon biased the presentation?

I watched what was touted as "the first on-camera removal of an
alleged alien implant" from the hand of a purported abductee.
The operating physician noted that there was nothing nec-
essarily extraterrestrial about a small fragment of metal lodged
under someone's skin. But once the blackened spur was ex-
tracted, an abductee "expert" on the scene told us excitedly
that this was the most remarkable piece of metal he had ever
seen removed from a person. (It looked to me like a small
watermelon seed, but alas I am not an expert on alien implants.)

The fragment was then sent, for reasons unexplained, to be an-
alyzed by a geologist. It was magnified by a scanning electron
microscope, and we learned -- to our amazement! -- that it ap-
peared to be a bit of iron. We were then informed that -- even
more mysteriously -- although it did indeed contain iron, the
geologist "couldn't classify it."

What we were not told was why a geologist should be able to
"classify" an object removed from someone's finger, or what
particular aspect was unclassifiable. Moreover, we were not told
why -- if this supposed evidence was so important -- NBC did not
have the resources to have it analyzed by another lab- oratory.
But, of course, if the fragment had turned out to be part of the
edge of a car door, or a shard from a metal fence post, it might
have been somewhat harder to justify its alien origin.

So we were left to conclude that, yes, extraterrestrials must
have planted a mysterious device in some guy's hand. Tech-
nically, I suppose, the iron chip is hard evidence. But it de-
pends on what the meaning of "is" is.

This minor bit of yellow journalism and the press coverage of
President Clinton's problems are related, and in a way I find
unnerving.

After years of watching displays of righteous indignation from
politicians, the public has become largely immune to them. In
fact, it has been comforting to see how the moderating effect of
popular opinion can silence zealots on both the right and the
left. When it comes to scientific zealots, however, it's a
different story.


When a big network strips away the pretense of journalistic
integrity to promote alien abduction claims by interested
parties, where is the moderating influence? The excuse that
NBC's special came from its entertainment division rather than
its news division is a feeble one, because the distinction is
lost on most viewers.

Mountains of statistics suggest that the public is far more
susceptible to scientific nonsense than political nonsense. More
than half of Americans are unaware that the earth orbits the sun
and takes a year to do it. Many people simply do not have the
tools to distinguish charlatans from honest researchers.

Still, people crave more information about the scientific break-
throughs that are changing our world, and television is an
important source of that knowledge. But if "science" on net-
work television consists mostly of either programs hyping alien
visitation or news segments detailing diet break- throughs, is
it any wonder that the border between sense and nonsense becomes
blurred?

The late Carl Sagan called science a "candle in the dark," a
method of inquiry that illuminates the true nature of myths and
superstitions. He also proved that science -- even tele- vised
science -- could be both accurate and entertaining.

If NBC's executives had devoted those two hours to any of the
actual mysteries being faced in medicine, biology, chemistry,
astronomy or physics, they might have discovered something that
everyone who has honestly explored the physical universe knows:
yes, truth often is stranger than fiction.

As for me, after getting my fill of NBC's alien "investigation,"
I tuned in to the more compelling science fiction of "Star
Trek."

Lawrence M. Krauss, chairman of the physics department at Case
Western Reserve University, is the author of ``The Physics of
Star Trek'' and the forthcoming ``Genesis: The Lives of an
Atom.''

***************My letter to Krauss********************


Hi Mr. Krauss,

I wanted to make some comments regarding your editorial on the
Confirmation special on NBC. I'll take each part one ay a time.
I'll only deal with the parts that refer specifically to the
special and/or UFOs.

>Stop the Flying Saucer, I Want to Get Off

>By LAWRENCE M. KRAUSS

>Then I noticed the NBC peacock in the corner. The two-hour
>special, produced by the network's entertainment division,
>purported to explore reports of alien visitation, from
>mind-altering implants to abductions.

Was there anything that said "mind altering" implants? Maybe I
missed that. It did explore alleged alien visitation and alleged
abduction.

>Chief among the purveyors of "hard evidence" was the author
>Whitley Strieber, whose big-eyed alien abductors snatched him
>from his home one night, injected chemicals into his brain and
>helped him get onto the best-seller lists.

Strieber was a very successful author before writing Communion.
He had two of his horror novels, Wolfen and The Hunger made into
successful films. For what it's worth, he has allegedly had
numerous experiences with non-human beings, not just one
experience. Where did you find information that Strieber claimed
"they" injected chemicals into his brain? This is a
sensationalized statement. The same kind of sensationalization
that you complain about.

>NBC presented Mr. Strieber as both an "expert" source and a
>journalistic interviewer. I learned later that he was also an
>executive producer of the show. Is it unfair to suspect that
>his personal >stake in the alien abduction phenomenon biased the
>presentation?


Not unfair at all. To tell you the truth, Strieber is not a very
good interviewer and he shouldn't have been put in that
position. There was another executive producer also I believe.
It would have been nice to have a hard hitting journalist take a
look at this subject in depth but they're so afraid of being
labeled a nut and losing their job. Can you blame them? Just
reading your editorial is enough to scare off any serious
journalist who might want to examine this topic.

>I watched what was touted as "the first on-camera removal of an
>alleged alien implant" from the hand of a purported abductee.
>The operating physician noted that there was nothing necessarily
>extraterrestrial about a small fragment of metal lodged under
>someone's skin. But once the blackened spur was extracted, an
>abductee "expert" on the scene told us excitedly that this was
>the most remarkable piece of metal he had ever seen removed from
>a person. (It looked to me like a small watermelon seed, but
>alas I am not an expert on alien implants.)

Nobody says that they are alien implants. The objects are inside
of people and these people don't know how they got there. Plus,
these people have some type of memories of a non-human
intelligence interacting with them.

>The fragment was then sent, for reasons unexplained, to be
>analyzed by a geologist. It was magnified by a scanning electron
>microscope, and we learned -- to our amazement! -- that it
>appear ed to be a bit of iron. We were then informed that --
>even more mysteriously -- although it did indeed contain iron,
>the geologist "couldn't classify it."

What we were not told was why a geologist should be able to
"classify" an object removed from someone's finger, or what par-
ticular aspect was unclassifiable. Moreover, we were not told
why -- if this supposed evidence was so important -- NBC did not
have the resources to have it analyzed by another laboratory.
But, of course, if the fragment had turned out to be part of the
edge of a car door, or a shard from a metal fence post, it might
have been somewhat harder to justify its alien origin.>

There was more testing done but there's only so much you can do
in two hours. If I were producing the special, I would have had
two or three labs do the testing. Problem is, this can be
expensive. I doubt NBC gave them unlimited funds. In the book,
Confirmation, Strieber goes into more detail regarding this
testing. The guy said that of the 65,000 materials in their
database, they could not match this object to any of them. I too
would have like to see another lab on camera, say the same
thing. Aren't you at least curious about this? If you know labs
that would do the testing for free, I'm sure Mr. Strieber would
accept. his email is whitley@strieber.com

>
>So we were left to conclude that, yes, extraterrestrials must
>have planted a mysterious device in some guy's hand.
>Technically, I suppose, the iron chip is hard evidence. But it
>depends on what the meaning of "is" is.

I did not have sexual relations with that alien, Ms.
Liw-alien-ski.

No, we're left to conclude that that is one possibility. Maybe
somebody is doing testing on humans. It has happened
before and it's documented by our own gov't. The gov't fed
plutonium to babies. What else would our gov't do? Or
maybe, it's just an innocent object found in the person. I
don't know, but more science is needed and it would be
nice if people like yourself could look at this evidence in
an objective way. We need more mainstream scientists
to get involved!

>When a big network strips away the pretense of journalistic
>integrity to promote alien abduction claims by interested
>parties, where is the moderating influence? The excuse that
>NBC's special came from its entertainment division rather than
>its news division is a feeble one, because the distinction is
>lost on most viewers.

I agree. I would love to see 60 minutes or Dateline do just
one show on this topic. Investigate the hell out of it and
see if there is enough data to support any of the claims.
If not, then drop it. Problem is, they won't do it! They're
too scared to be ridiculed by science and by sponsors.
So, we take what we can get and deal with Confirmation.
Not a perfect show, I realize this.

>Mountains of statistics suggest that the public is far more
>susceptible to scientific nonsense than political nonsense. More
>than half of Americans are unaware that the earth orbits the sun
>and takes a year to do it. Many people simply do not have the
>tools to distinguish charlatans from honest researchers.

If you lived in the days when people thought the Earth was flat,
would you have called the round earth theory scientific
nonsense? No, you probably would have said that in order to test
that hypothesis, we need to collect data. If the data points to
a round Earth, then so be it. If not, then watch out for that
edge, it's a doozy! Who are you calling a charlatan? Have you
ever met or talked with any of the people in the special?

Is pulitzer prize winning author Dr. John Mack, who has
researched abductions, a charalatan? Harvard tried to get his
tenure removed but he founght and won. You think his research
into abductions had anything to do with that push to get him
out? That's why people shut their mouths and
don't talk about this subject. Fear of ridicule.

>Still, people crave more information about the scientific
>breakthroughs that are changing our world, and television is an
>important source of that knowledge. But if "science" on network
>television consists mostly of either programs hyping alien
>visitation or news segments detailing diet breakthroughs, is it
>any wonder that the border between sense and nonsense becomes
>blurred?

Have you done any serious research on UFOs at all? Have you read
Project Blue Book? Are you open to the possibility of a
propulsion system that manipulates gravity in a way that makes
faster than light travel possible?

>The late Carl Sagan called science a "candle in the dark," a
>method of inquiry that illuminates the true nature of myths and
>superstitions. He also proved that science -- even televised
>science -- could be both accurate and entertaining.

Myths and superstitions? Is that what UFOs are to you? Once
again, what reasearch have you conducted?

>If NBC's executives had devoted those two hours to any of the
>actual mysteries being faced in medicine, biology, chemistry,
>astronomy or physics, they might have discovered something that
>everyone who has honestly explored the physical universe knows:
>yes, truth often is stranger than fiction.


UFOs have direct links to studying physics. If there is a
propulsion system that UFOs use and we're not familar with,
think of how that would change our world if we gained use of
such a thing. Paul Hill, a Chief Scientist-Manager at NASA's
Langley Research Center compiled data over decades of research.
He  acted as an informal clearing- house for UFO-related data
and wrote Unconventional Flying Objects. He argued that UFOs
don't break the laws of physics. Unfortunately this book is over
my head and more on your level so I can't comment on it.

Mr. Krauss, I realize you hated the special but are your
feelings towards the subject matter the same or are you willing
to look at the data? Would you be willing to go on a national
talk show and debate the topic? I'm sure Art Bell would love to
have you on. Could your reputation handle being linked to such a
topic and/or show? He examines UFOs and other "strange" topics.

As far as humans getting abducted or not, I don't know. But you
really need to talk to these people face to face before you
judge their truthfulness. I know some of these people and they
are so afraid to talk about what might have happened to them.
They fear being ridiculed and labeled kooks. Can you blame them?
What would you do if something like that happened to you? Just
take that into consideration.

I don't what UFOs are or who, if anybody, is piloting them, but
I know that they are physical objects. I believe the
evidence is overwhelming and compelling that this is so.


********Krauss Responds********

Dear Mr. Mrugia:

Thank you for your letter, which was in no way mean- spirited or
rude. I do not have time go into all things you discussed in
detail, but let me just comment on the main things one by one,
to let you know where I am coming from on this.

1.  In the segment I referred to in the article, the person from
who the alleged implant was removed, was interviewed afterwards,
and he said he had an "empty feeling".  I took that to mean that
the implant was purported to have had some mind altering effect.

2.  I view the fact that Strieber was an ex-horror story writer
as a factor which makes me more dubious, not less, of his
writing.  In any case, the statement about injection with
chemicals was obtained from my new York Times researchers, who
went to his web site and others for a description of his
abduction experience. (for what it is worth, this is something
the NYT wanted to add for color, so they scoured the web for
this information..).

3. For a two hour prime-time special NBC's resources could cover
100 lab analyses...

4.  I have read the statements for Dr. Mack and I believe he is
a charlatan, in the sense that he is not scientific.  The
statement that if all these people believe something happened to
them then it must have happened is just plain silly.  Alas,
tenure is such that once you have it, you have the freedom to be
silly.  Dr. Mack is enjoying that freedom.

5. Indeed, if you read my books, the Physics of STar Trek, and
Beyond Star Trek, you will see that I have thought a great deal
about the physics of space travel--- in particular I have
discussed the issues of gravity and faster than light travel
there, and with NASA.

This last point gets to the heart of the matter.  The general
issue of alien visitation is so a prior ludicrous, on the basis
of any sound physical reasoning, that any claim that it has
actually happened would have to meet the strongest skepticism
and scrutiny.  There are many strange things in the world, but
as the physicist Richard Feynman used to point out, scien- tists
only have a finite amount of time to work on projects. So they
choose exciting projects, but more important they work on things
which are likely to have some possibility of being right.  The
reason that most people, such as myself, don't spend time
investigating each detailed claim is that the a priori
probability that it is true is almost zero....  Thus, I cannot
prove that the claims are false, I can just say that I expect
that they are... and each time I see something like the
purported hard evidence, I find it isn't.  The point is that any
explanation, no matter how implausible, of the claims, is more
plausible than ascribing them to alien visitation. Thus, as long
as there is any other explanation which remains equally, or more
plausible, why should I, or anyone jump to the conclusion that
aliens are involved.

I hope this addresses your questions, and in the spirit of your
email, that it is not rude or mean-sprited.   I am certainly
open to discussing this issues on national TV or radio with or
without Mr. Strieber.  I do so often, in fact.

Best regards

Lawrence Krauss


[ Next Message | Previous Message | This Day's Messages ]
This Month's Index |

UFO UpDates Main Index

UFO UpDates - Toronto - Operated by Errol Bruce-Knapp


Archive programming by Glenn Campbell at Glenn-Campbell.com