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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1999 > Apr > Apr 4

Re: Friedman vs. Krauss Debate

From: Brad Sparks <RB47Expert@aol.com>
Date: Sat, 3 Apr 1999 19:03:08 EST
Fwd Date: Sun, 04 Apr 1999 00:33:19 -0500
Subject: Re: Friedman vs. Krauss Debate

>From: Mark Cashman <mcashman@ix.netcom.com>
>Date: Fri, 2 Apr 1999 12:54:07 -0500
>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <updates@globalserve.net>
>Subject: Re: Friedman vs. Krauss Debate

>>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <updates@globalserve.net>
>>From: Serge Salvaille <sergesa@connectmmic.net>
>>Subject: Re: Friedman vs. Krauss Debate
>>Date: Thu, 01 Apr 1999 21:23:24 -0500

>>All, and I mean ALL, the 'skeptical' opinions I have ever read
>>or heard regarding the reality of UFOs presented one or all of
>>the following flaws:

>>1. Ignorance of the data at hand;

>>2. Deliberate ignorance of the data at hand.

>>Can an opinion based on ignorance (deliberate or not) be
>>considered objective?


>True enough, but you forgot...

>3. Deliberate distortion or omission of key data (Klass'
>analysis of the Coyne sighting and many, many other examples too
>numerous to cite from his work, Menzel's work, Kottmeyer's work,

>4. Advancement of a hypothesis without any verifiable evidence
>to support it (Exeter was a hoax, Socorro was a hot air balloon,
>Gill saw a mirage...)

Dear Mark & List,

My distinguished coleague Mark Cashman, whom I consider to be
the leading theorist in ufology today, has made some good points
to augment the original, which I'd like to comment on or clarify
a bit.

Firstly, I don't agree with the original author's claim that
every skeptical opinion is based on ignorance of the data
whether deliberate or unintentional.  This betrays a
misunderstanding of the skeptics.  And an opinion can still be
objective even if based on ignorance, because objectivity is not
the same thing as "completeness" or "thoroughness," it simply
means fair, unbiased and even-handed.  A skeptic can be
objective even if uninformed.  (Of course, if they _refuse_ to
become informed that is another matter, indicative of bias and
unfairness.  But no single human being can be expected to know
everything about ufology.)

Some skeptics, such as Menzel and Sheaffer, have provably
distorted or ignored evidence, though I almost never see
specific examples cited on this List (till Mark's posting and
Jerry Clark's).  Menzel distorted the facts of his own sighting
of May 1949 (reducing their angular size, etc.), miscalculated
the setting time of Jupiter in the Gorman case, and invented
nonexistent "atmospheric lenses" to explain UFO cases, which
McDonald pointed out would require absurd temperature inversions
of 100,000's of degrees per unit distance (1000 feet, mile, km,
doesn't much matter when it's 4 to 5 orders of magnitude too

Sheaffer invented a nonexistent "tangle of threads" on a wire
above the Trent/McMinnville UFO in his Plate 19 of his UFO
Verdict book where no such thing is to be found.  When I
personally challenged him on this at a meeting of Bay Area
Skeptics in May 1985 he had no answer at all, instead he tried
to shut off the dialogue by changing the subject and eventually
turned the lights off in the meeting room when his own BAS
skeptics wanted to hear him answer these rebuttal points I made.

Now, 14 years later, Sheaffer points to an amorphous fuzz spot
that is _not_ above the UFO but off to the left and is _above_
the wire and not actually touching it, and it appears in the
wrong Trent photo than that cited in his book.  It is apparently
a film defect not a real object since it does _not_ appear in the
_other_ Trent Photo.

Despite the pro-UFO arguments I've just made, I know I'm going
to get misquoted and misrepresented by having the preceding
paragraph omitted in the responses and only the following
remarks quoted because they are "anti-UFO," so be forewarned
that I won't tolerate it.

Some skeptics such as Klass and Oberg -- whom I have vigorously
fought in the past -- have investigated cases in-depth and come
up with negative results quite genuinely (Klass on RB-47 though
I've proven him totally wrong, Klass on the Iowa Fireball and
Crowder cases;  Oberg on STS-48 and Gemini 4, though we might
disagree on points).  UFOlogists may disagree or fault the
fact-finding but the disagreement is legitimate, e.g., Klass and
Sheaffer are both simply mistaken about the weather report in
the McMinnville case because they misinterpreted the standard
reporting symbols ("O" does _not_ mean 0% cloud cover but 0 to
10%).  Klass and Oberg may be faulted in other cases but in some
they have "done their homework."

The extremism which runs rampant in ufology today is incapable
of acknowledging the merits of its opponents and resorts instead
to destroying them by character assassination -- always excused
of course by the ad hominem arguments and character
assassination from the skeptics camp ("two wrongs making a
right") so there is an endless cycle of rhetorical violence
which frequently escalates and never ends.

This verbal abuse does serve to offend and scare off legitimate
scientists who might otherwise be interested in investigating
the subject of UFOs (I don't mean those establishment scientists
who have chips on their shoulders and taunt ufologists to come
knock them off, but those with genuine interest).  The UFO
UpDates List is notorious for uncontrolled verbal attacks and
abuse and is one reason I try to stay off of it for the most
part.  Saying anything favorable about Klass -- even if
ensconced in loads of criticism -- is the kiss of death on this
list and others.

Secondly, I've given some examples of deliberate
distortion/omission already but can add many more examples,
e.g., Klass ignored data in his own files conclusively proving
that the "American" Airlines plane in the RB-47 case was nowhere
near Ft. Worth-Dallas at the time of the UFO incident (it turns
out it was actually nonexistent, it was a National Airlines
plane and that plane could not possibly have been involved when
it was 600+ miles away).

To the example of Father Gill seeing a "mirage" I can also add
that Menzel falsely claimed that Gill wasn't wearing his
glasses, therefore couldn't have seen anything at all, when in
fact Gill did wear his glasses!

Brad Sparks

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