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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1999 > Apr > Apr 6

Re: Friedman vs. Krauss Debate

From: Mark Cashman <mcashman@ix.netcom.com>
Date: Tue, 6 Apr 1999 01:26:19 -0400
Fwd Date: Tue, 06 Apr 1999 09:41:58 -0400
Subject: Re: Friedman vs. Krauss Debate

>Date: Mon, 5 Apr 1999 22:15:35 +0100
>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <updates@globalserve.net>
>From: John Rimmer <magonia@magonia.demon.co.uk>
> Subject: Re: Friedman vs. Krauss Debate

I wrote:

>>John also seems to hold the odd idea that failing to prove the
>>ETH renders the whole phenomenon moot.

John replied:

>I'm not quite sure what you mean by this. Are you saying that I
>think that if one is unable to prove the ETH then the UFO
>phenomenon is not worthy of study? This is obviously not the
>case, otherwise why would I be spending my time publishing a
>magazine and wearing my fingertips away replying to these
>postings? My dictionary defines "moot" as "debatable" or
>"discussion of a hypothetical case", in which case I certainly
>think the whole phenomenon is "moot" - isn't that the whole
>point of this debate and discussion forum?

Perhaps I should have been more precise.

I used the definition of moot:

"2. Specifically: To discuss by way of exercise; to argue for
practice; to propound and discuss in a mock court."

	Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary

In other words, to simply use it as a framework for practicing
debating skills.

Though I suspect most everyone on the list took my meaning even
with the lower word count.

>>As he and most of the
>>readers on this list know, while I am not an ETH proponent, I am
>>an OEH (Objective Existence Hypothesis) proponent. Objective
>>existence is the most parsimonious explanation of a phenomenon
>>whose many highest quality cases include the hundreds in the
>>Project 1947 EM Effects catalog, the BUFORA and CUFOS vehicle
>>interference studies, the Schuessler catalog of medical effects
>>from UFOs and the Phillips Physical Trace catalog.

>Yes, we did go through this a few months ago, but only one
>person came up with a list of ten cases. Rather more replies
>were in the nature of Mark Cashman's response above; that there
>were "hundreds" of cases which could not be explained in mundane
>terms and so must represent some novel (if not necessarily
>extraterrestrial) phenomenon. Does Mark Cashman think that
>_every_one_ of the cases in the BUFORA, CUFOS, Phillips, etc.,
>catalogues has been so thoroughly investigated at source that
>all more parsimonious explanations can be ruled out? Surely not!

Please, don't call me Shirley (grin). Now...

Let's step back into the arena of science. Was the germ theory
of disease proven by the ten best cases? Were all of the
observations of Pasteur of equal quality? How many observations
were used to suggest and then confirm general relativity?

What all of these important scientific processes have in common
is discovery of pattern. A pattern which can only be revealed by
studying the body of observations _as a whole_. A pattern which
is stronger than its weakest link.

Thus, the stress that those interested in science place on
pattern and on large numbers of cases.

Let me repeat what has been said elsewhere: after 50 years of
attempts to explain every single UFO case as if it were the only
UFO case in existence, without the slightest reference to
consistency and pattern, the effort has been a failure. It fails
more and more strongly as the universe of cases is filtered for
higher quality. When the Air Force allowed any jittering star
point in the sky into their study, it led to something averaging
90% explained. When the Condon Committee restricted the cases
more tightly, the level of explained cases descended to around
70%. And with the documentation of the methodological bias of
the Condon effort _against_ finding unknowns, it is even more

This pattern suggests that a better answer is needed.

Such a better answer is not an appeal to the fallibility of the
reconstructive nature of memory. All investigators know that.
That's why they go into the field as fast as possible, rely on
original historical accounts over press reports, and why they
use interview techniques designed to let the witness tell their
story as they saw it, first, before investigators can even
inadvertently provide suggestions.

Yes, there is a place for debates and discussion of single
cases. There is a need for better investigation and
investigative techniques. Those who distort, confabulate, or
simply make up data must be exposed and reviled.

But we must start moving to the next level, instead of remaining
mired in foolish discussions which assume that an experienced
pilot focused on a phenomenon for an extended period of time
under excellent observing conditons cannot distinguish between
flat, circular objects of metallic surface, performing manuvers
among mountain peaks with an occasional yaw, travelling faster
than his aircraft - and a formation of birds flapping their
wings in regular time, in close proximity and traveling much
slower that the witness' aircraft.

We need to look for patterns, to develop classification systems
which reveal those patterns, and develop catalogs which capture
the data that supports those patterns. Not spin eerie and
insubstantial fantasies about the capabilities of migranes to
create disk-like visions.

Perhaps we are no more that Tycho waiting for Kepler, but the
time has come to start working on Keplerian level patterns. To
stop wasting time and energy.

>No, he simply thinks that because lots and lots of people have
>been unable to come up with plausible explanations for lots and
>lots of cases, this somehow proves that a novel and previously
>unknown object is present.

I find it difficult to understand the problem with this concept,
since it is at the root of every scientific discovery.

All I can believe is that the following must be a description of
this view of the witnesses whose observations are recorded by
those catalogs:

"The subject in this view does not grasp external facts, it
creates facts out of its own resources. It creates its objects
by its own inner processes. Such processes... are arbitrary,
i.e. not based on or derived from reality."

Like many, I find it impossible to believe that this is true for
the many responsible witnesses to the UFO phenomenon, the
various medical and physical effects, or the consistency of the
pattern of the vehicle interference effects which have been
documented and statistically studied. And, frankly, it is
insulting to the many policemen, military officers, scientists,
and executives who have dared to report their observations in
the face of certain ridicule. Ultimately, it is a self-fufilling
prophecy, since the best witnesses will not come forward only to
be called idiots who cannot perceive the world around them.

>Nevertheless I do give credit to Mr Cashman for coming up with a
>list of cases claimed to be evidential for a physical phenomenon
>- although not indicative of an extraterrestrial origin, which
>is what I asked for - and I am sure that we will take a longer
>look at some of them in Magonia or the Monthly Supplement.

Apparently John did little to note the components of the ETH
discriminators which I described. As I pointed out -

* Every case with a solid, apparently technological object is
suggestive of ETH, since these objects do not demonstrate
behavior which is consistent with terrestrial aerodynamics, do
show performance which is significantly in advance of typical
terrestrial aeronautics, and do exhibit other features such as
luminosity which are not consistent with terrestrial

* Every case with an occupant is suggestive of ETH. There are
many multiple witness cases with occupants seen at close range.
The patterns in the 1954 French wave indicate that the witnesses
were responsible individuals who witnessed these occurrences in
familiar surroundings while engaged in normal work. If the
occupants have the appearance and behavior indicated in the
data, then they are not humans. If they are not humans, the
parsimonious explanation is that they are also not terrestrial.

* Every case with performance suggesting the ability to attain
escape velocity is suggestive of ETH. Any case with measured
speeds in the neighborhood of, say 25k mph can be considered for

* Every case where the object arrives vertically from the great
altitude and departs vertically to great altitude is suggestive
of ETH, since a non-terrestrial origin requires returning to the
non-terrestrial source.

It seems to me that the major barrier so far to the conclusive
proof of ETH is the lack of detection of UFOs in interplanetary
or interstellar space. Given the size of space, however, this is
not surprising.

I'll also point out what I have many times: that is is very
likely to be too early for large-scale theories of the origin
and intent of the UFO phenomenon.

In closing, I resist the effort to tear down the UFO phenomenon
into a disconnected scattering of unrelated cases. I am
interested in patterns, not in futility.

Given these discriminators and a few other criteria, such as
multiple witnesses, angular size greater than a half degree,
etc, John can assemble his own list of the 10 best ETH cases.

Just think, he can free up Bruce, and Brad, and I to do other

Mark Cashman, creator of The Temporal Doorway at
- Original digital art, writing, and UFO research -

UFO cases, analysis, classification systems, and more...

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