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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1999 > Oct > Oct 28

Re: British Ufology Has Been Reborn!

From: Jerome Clark <jkclark@frontiernet.net>
Date: Tue, 26 Oct 99 22:52:54 PDT
Fwd Date: Thu, 28 Oct 1999 01:45:08 -0400
Subject: Re: British Ufology Has Been Reborn!

 >Date: Tue, 26 Oct 1999 13:30:44 -0400
 >From: Andy Roberts <Brigantia@compuserve.com>
 >Subject: Re: British Ufology Has Been Reborn!
 >To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <updates@globalserve.net>

 >>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <updates@globalserve.net>
 >>From: Jerome Clark <jkclark@frontiernet.net>
 >>Subject: Re: British Ufology Has Been Reborn!
 >>Date: Mon, 25 Oct 99 09:42:17 PDT

Hey, Andy guy,

 >In response to Dave Clarke's

 >>The ET explanation for UFOs is simply an artefact of the era in
 >>which we live. Go back 500 years Sean and if we had email I
 >>would venture to suggest you would be blaming UFOs on the
 >>fairies and little folk.

 >>What I'm trying to say is that opinions about the ultimate
 >>origin of unknown UFOs are legion and ETs are just one tiny,
 >>remote possibility, and are themselves a product of our Space
 >>Age culture.

 >>>These are not the sorts of statements designed to encourage
 >>>confidence in your judgment, my friend. They tell us more about
 >>>you (and maybe about UFOIN as well), I'm afraid, than about the
 >>>UFO phenomenon or the ETH.

 >Innit great how Jerry uses 'my friend' when he's attempting
 >sarcasm? Dave's (a Doctor of Folklore I hasten to add) statement
 >tells us about his experience after 20 years in the field and
 >his research Jerry. It tells us what _he_ has come to believe
 >about the UFO phenomenon, based on more research than most
 >ufologists will ever be able to shake a stick at.

Interesting that you think a genuine expression of regard and
good feeling for Dave Clarke is "attempting sarcasm." (Believe
me, Andy, I don't have to "attempt" sarcasm.  It ain't that hard
to do.  You of all people should know that.) I have nothing but
respect for Clarke (even if he persists with the unnecessary "e"
at the end of his name), who among other accomplishments has a
splendid two-part article running in IUR. (And somebody named
Andy Roberts -- presumably no relation to our present
correspondent -- has a fine article in the upcoming issue.)
Can't you grasp the elemental fact, Andy, that people can
disagree and still respect each other without "attempting
sarcasm"?  Whatever "attempting sarcasm" is.  Perhaps you could

 >And Dave has
 >changed his views dramatically in the fifteen or so years I have
 >known him from being postive that some UFO cases were ETH in
 >nature to a far more sceptical position. All based on research
 >and investigation. Surely not a bad way of reaching conclusions?

And all sorts of people can make the identical claim from the
opposite direction, most dramatically and visibly the astronomer
who for 20 years was the U.S. Air Force's chief scientific
consultant on UFOs. Interesting, of course, that this man was a
physical scientist, whereas Dave Clarke is a folklorist.  There
is room for both hard science and softer social science (and
folklore, a field in which I have deep interest and for which I
have high regard [I once seriously considered pursuing a Ph.D.
in it], has been derided as not even a "soft" science but a
branch of literary study; most academic folklorists in the US
are in the English department) in this field, but I think that
on the larger scientific questions about the nature of the UFO
phenomenon and its possible relationship to ETI, most of us
would go with the hard scientists.

 >>>One hopes that this sort of empty posturing -- especially coming
 >>>from someone smart enough to know better -- disappears from
 >>>ufological discourse soon.  It is, as we have already seen
 >>>demonstrated repeatedly, much less than helpful, and among other
 >>>things, it betrays a fairly shocking ignorance of the literature
 >>>of astrobiology.

 >'Smart enough to know better' - sheer brilliance Jerry! It's not
 >empty posturing - see above. 'Astrobiology'? Yor avin' a laarf
 >incha? Don't we have to actually have some hard biological
 >evidence before we can talk about such a thing?

Tell that to the SETI crowd, and then get all those university
presses to stop publishing books on extraterrestrial life, such
as the one I just read which Oxford University Press will
publish in February.  I'm sure they'll appreciate your insights,
Andy. (See, I did it; no mere "attempt" there.)

Congratulations on the Northbritspeak and a brave attempt to
change the subject.  But as I say, if you reduce astrobiology's
concerns to a folklore of elves and fairies, my friend (no sarcasm
here, and I assume you'll get the song allusion to follow), you
ain't goin' nowhere.

Jerry Clark

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