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

Re: Friedman vs. Krauss Debate

From: Peter Brookesmith Mendoza <DarkSecretPB@compuserve.com>
Date: Tue, 6 Apr 1999 18:53:07 -0400
Fwd Date: Tue, 06 Apr 1999 23:55:19 -0400
Subject: Re: Friedman vs. Krauss Debate

With the Duke's compliments:

>From: Brad Sparks <RB47Expert@aol.com>
>Date: Sun, 4 Apr 1999 13:11:43 EDT
>Subject: Re: Friedman vs. Krauss Debate
>To: updates@globalserve.net

Before going on to anything else I must note suffering a degree
of confusion at Brad Sparks's responding to a post on UpDates
with one on PJ-47, and vice-versa, sometimes out of the blue, so
members of one list may have no idea of the context, etc of the
debate. I know there is a lot of overlap between the two lists,
but it does help in the Bandwidth & General Hard Drive
Department, as well as being a matter of courtesy, if we can
stick to the one list while shewing through a given thread.
Ergo, this reply goes to UpDates, which is where the discussion

>COMMENTS: We can excuse Brookesmith's ill-informed opinion as
>that of a latecomer to the field of UFO research. (&c &c)

Let's excuse Brad's ill-informed opinion as that of a latecomer
to UFO UpDates. I was referring to the last time pro-ETH
ufologists were asked to come up with their Top Ten "suggestive"
cases _on_this_List_. Some absolutely refused, calling the idea
various rude names. The usual suspects waved arms. And so on.

I shall not celebrate come the Spring of next year when the 20th
anniversary of my acquaintance of this weird field falls.

I possess both the Vallee and Story books that Brad cites and
have done for some years. One is 35 years old, the other 18 years
old. The Condon report (also on my shelves) is 30 years old this
year. If there were anything to the ETH, one could at least hope
that in the intervening years some few cases or other might have
outboggled anything in those studies (tho' I wouldn't elevate the
Story volume that high). So the request for current opinion isn't
entirely fatuous.

Indeed it might be said to be entirely necessary to have recent
cases to consider: the older ones become less and less amenable
to (re)investigation and (re)evaluation, as witnesses have the
bad grace to snuff it, contemporaneous records vanish, and so on.
This was a point also implied by the Sturrock panel, RIP.

>COMMENTS:  Excuse me but we are not talking about _literary_
>_interpretations_ of UFO cases but _scientific_investigations_
>that have overturned and devastatingly refuted the BEST
>investigations ever put forward by UFO skeptics.

Nor am I. In part I was freewheeling around the thought put more
plainly above. Without, I hope, being misconstrued as questioning
the integrity of Brad's analysis, his re-investigation of the
RB-47 case surely had to beware of the years that had passed and
their effect. Klass too was aware of the problem. The
difficulties get considerably worse in cases like Roswell.

In part I was also needling Jerome Clark over his own lack of
commitment to his own arguments. If Brad wants to consider
Jerome's work as "literary interpretations" and Jerome as a
closet (and by inference guilt-ridden) literary critic in the
dappled world of ufology, that is fine by me. It would at least
explain some of his more spectacular apoplexies at the PSH -
which, as we've just seen, does not even have to be mentioned to
release a fine spray of irrelevant blather, but which so often
deals in narrative details.

>It is incumbent on skeptics to tackle the unexplained best UFO
>cases on these lists published by the pre-eminent Jacques
>Vallee in 1966 and by Ron Story and Richard Greenwell in 1981.

Not at all. Of course it's gratifying to have an explanation, but
it's not obligatory. Skeptics are obliged to do no more than
demonstrate the flaws in the data and their interpretation by
True Believers. This is particularly true of the ETH, which
essentially goes from "unexplained" to "alien presence" in one
leap, often without even considering (let alone demolishing)
psychosocial factors.

>It is also obligatory that skeptics explain the _many_
>UFO cases that their own "anti-UFO" side, the Condon Committee,
>could not explain.

I may as well raise a few more hackles by pointing out that
Menzel and Taves already did. Now, anyone may disagree with their
interpretations and their use of the data, in some instances; but
surely no one of good faith can disagree with their comments on
numerous cases that are simply too vaguely reported to be
meaningful of anything at all.

Nonetheless, the previous point remains. It's up to believers to
demonstrate what justifies the ETH in these cases. An unexplained
event is just that. After all, a weird rattle somewhere in the
the car that even the best mechanics can't explain doesn't prove
polts are at work, or the presence of my father's ghost in the
back seat.

Finally, I have no difficulty at all with what Mark Cashman
calls "the OEH (Objective Existence Hypothesis)". I doubt there
is a single cause for UFO sightings and experiences. Were any
fully-agreed-upon-by-the-grandest-fromages list of Top Ten
Strangest Cases to arise, and were they by some miracle all to
be solved with indisputably watertight prosaic explanations, I'd
be amazed if those explanations were all the same. Thus I look
askance at the blanket conclusions of, say, a Steuart Campbell.

But I wasn't talking about that. I was talking, however, about
the ETH, and about Jerome Clark's tendencies to irrelevance, so
engagingly displayed yet again, along with a humor yet more
laborious than Phil Klass's and a very interesting example of the
reconstructive nature of memory, in his reply; which also
disappointed his many fans by his noting only one of my many
deliberate errors; oh well. So Brad and I probably have less to
argue about, and more to discuss, than he may have thought when
he wrote his post.

On a purely technical matter I'm curious to know why Brad refers
to the Trent pix as "stereo", when they weren't taken
simultaneously, let alone by a two-lens camera.

best wishes
Piewacket D. Macbeth
Dunsinane Forester

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