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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1999 > Oct > Oct 31

Re: British Ufology Has Been Reborn!

From: David Clarke <crazydiamonds@compuserve.com>
Date: Sun, 31 Oct 1999 13:29:56 -0500
Fwd Date: Sun, 31 Oct 1999 18:58:12 -0500
Subject: Re: British Ufology Has Been Reborn!


 >From: Jerome Clark <jkclark@frontiernet.net>
 >Subject: Re: British Ufology Has Been Reborn!
 >Date: Sat, 30 Oct 99 11:23:38 PDT
 >To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <updates@globalserve.net>

 >>Date: Fri, 29 Oct 1999 15:40:30 -0400
 >>From: David Clarke <crazydiamonds@compuserve.com>
 >>Subject: Re: British Ufology Has Been Reborn!
 >>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <updates@globalserve.net>

 >I regard as empty posturing the assertion that the ETH and the
 >larger notion of ETI are equivalent to a belief in elves and fairies.
 >I would like to think that you would have a more interesting
 >argument than that by now well-worn cliche.  Notions such as
 >ETH and ETI may be right or wrong, but they are not mere
 >superstition.

That's where we will have to agree to disagree. I find the
notion quite an interesting argument, and certainly as
interesting as the "now well-worn cliche" that UFOs are visitors
from outer space.

Your adherence to that particular theory, to use the phrase you
are so fond of, says more about you than it does about UFOs and
their ultimate origins.

 >>And you have unwittingly hit the nail on the head - it is
 >>precisely because the physical sciences are so "narrow" in
 >>themselves that the disciplines I have cited are more suited to
 >>this subject.

 >Nope.  The disciplines you have cited are not qualified to study
 >physical evidence.

You miss my point. What physical evidence?

We hear a lot about physical evidence, viz the "highly significant"
radiation supposedly left by the UFO in Rendlesham Forest.
Eventually, a physical scientist looked at the so-called evidence
and found it was not significant at all.

The "evidence" was only significant because someone like you
proclaimed it to be - folklore in the making, I would say.

How much more of the "physical evidence" you make so much
of will equally melt away when it is looked at by physical
scientists who have no vested interest in the subject?

Going back to Rendlesham, radiation experts quickly dismissed
the significance of those readings, but that in itself tells us nothing
about what the people who *believed* those initial claims
(including me!) then went on to do -
i.e. use the Rendlesham "radiation" as further evidence to
suggest UFOs are real and extraterrestrial because the evidence
proves they  *do* leave ground traces.

That claim, added to the growing folklore of the subject, helped convince
a few more people, and added to the growing mythology.

That's just one example of why claims about "physical evidence"
  leave me unconvinced.

But that's not to say there isn't more convincing physical evidence
elsewhere, and I'm ready to see what properly qualified physical
scientists have to say about it.

Jenny has made a good point elsewhere that both physical scientists
and the disciplines I have cited can complement each other
in the study of UFOs.

I was not trying to suggest that physical scientists have no role to play,
but countering your "empty posturing" which I interpreted as a
sweeping dismissal of the contribution which human and social
scientists can make to the study of this phenomenon.
Only someone with a completely closed mind could suggest that;
and I don't believe you have one.

 >Since you have already decided UFOs are a "myth," I guess
 >those physical scientists -- whose evidence suggests otherwise --
 >re unwelcome at your table.  From my perspective, however,
 >you're serving up empty calories while vehemently declaring your
 >meal to be the only nutritional one.

Nice prose but this meal is simply fairy food. I don't dismiss
the usefulness of physical scientists, because if you were to
take a look at my writings on this subject I regularly invoke
the work of Persinger, Derr and others who have studied
earthquake lights/earthlights and other
geophysical/meteorological aspects of the phenomena that *are*
undoubtedly real, and of which there is plentiful evidence.

Where I don't see the evidence, is in regards to the much
trumpeted "proof" of extraterrestrial UFOs, which seems to be a
particular obsession of Jerry Clark.

 >>You can talk all you like about "astrobiology" and unprovable
 >>arguments about the possibility of life in outer space.

 >>The arguments of the SETI crowd might have some validity, but
 >>they have absolutely no connection with some funny light someone
 >>saw over Arkansas the other night.

 >I am sure you are sincere in your belief, Dave, but your
 >touching sincerity does not make your statement of faith any
 >more persuasive to those of us who think such questions will be
 >settled by evidence.

I agree - so let's see the evidence!

 >The sorts of arguments you're using have been thoroughly trashed
 >by a number of folklorists, including David Hufford, Thomas E.
 >Bullard, Bill Ellis, and more.  You tend to speak as if from on
 >high -- as if your degree grants you the authority to render
 >sweeping judgments to which we lesser mortals can only nod our
 >heads in unison, and vigorously -- when in fact, as I know from
 >my own interactions with folklorists, many are sympathetic to
 >anomalous claims, closet or not-so-closet heretics.

Not so - I may be sweeping, but I'm certainly not dismissive of
anomalous claims. I agree with the tradition you are describing,
that there are real anomalous phenomena at the core of much of
the UFO/paranormal pantheon and much folklore itself.

My writings on this subject - dating back to 1981 - demonstrate
that has always been my stance.

It's just that I do not accept that this core experience _has_
to be extraterrestrial in nature - to me, that is where the
modern myth takes its place.

A modern myth, born in the USA and exactly what you would
expect in the late 20th century.

In 1897 people expected to see Jules Verne airships, and saw
them; in 1913 people expected to see Zeppelins, and saw them.
Why are ET UFOs any different in 1999?

That's the cultural part - ie. the interpretation, as Isaac
Asimov is supposed to have said when told "so many people have
seen objects that looked like spaceships that 'there must be
something in it'... "Maybe there is, but think of all the people
in the history of the world who have seen ghosts and spirits and
angels. It's not what you see that's suspect, but how you
interpret what you see." That is my whole point, and what you
seem to be missing - there can be a real phenomena - and one
which physical scientists can study - without it necessarily
being ET in nature.

So there may be some folklorists who subscribe to a "tradition
of unbelief", but I'm not one of them.

 >>>Among these I can count equally well qualified and experienced
 >>>sociologists, folklorists, psychologists and historians, and
 >>>that's just in one small hick Yorkshire town, noted for its
 >>>open-minded academics.

 >I'm sure Sheffield is a nice town, Dave.  Don't put it down, or
 >I'll be forced to follow your example and judge my own beloved
 >Canby "one small hick Minnesota town. "  Actually, come to think
 >of it, John Rimmer did it for me the other week on this very
 >list.  Oh well, we can't _all_ live in London.

Sheffield's a lovely place actually - if you don't mind the odd
Tornado jet crashing into the moors while pursuing ET, that is.
It would be great if you could pay the home of the Full Monty a
visit sometime, join me for a Guinness or two in one of the
plentiful pubs, and you might find that our views are not as
divergent as what you seem to believe!

All best wishes,


Dave Clarke



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