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Re: Trindade Photos A Fake? - Maccabee

From: Bruce Maccabee <brumac@compuserve.com>
Date: Mon, 1 Dec 2003 22:25:03 -0500
Fwd Date: Tue, 02 Dec 2003 09:52:54 -0500
Subject: Re: Trindade Photos A Fake? - Maccabee

>From: Jerome Clark <jkclark@frontiernet.net>
>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <ufoupdates@virtuallystrange.net>
>Date: Sun, 30 Nov 2003 10:50:41 -0600
>Subject: Re: Trindade Photos A Fake?

>>From: Kentaro Mori <airdown@ig.com.br>
>>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <ufoupdates@virtuallystrange.net>
>>Date: Sun, 30 Nov 2003 10:52:18 -0300
>>Subject: Re: Trindade Photos A Fake?

>>I don't know. I do have great respect for Klass.

>Though I honestly appreciate your forthrightness here, I am very
>sorry to hear it, and sad to say, it immediately makes me view
>what you're up to with doubt and suspicion. As we say out here
i>n Midwestern America, we've already been to that rodeo.

>Having had long experience with Klass, both observing him and
>interacting with him (we exchanged hundreds of letters over the
>years), I came to same conclusion that virtually every American
>ufologist -- starting with James McDonald, the victim of one of
>Klass's most notorious vilification campaigns -- is forced to:
>that he was an obsessed crank who contributed little to the UFO
>debate except noise, strange rhetoric, pseudoscientific
>speculation, and character assassination.

>Long ago, in its February 1981 issue, Fate ran an extended
>article I wrote documenting Klass's deceptive strategies. I
>believe it's out there on the Internet somewhere; it's titled
>"Phil Klass vs. the 'UFO Promoters.'" I wouldn't change a word
>of it. Everything Klass did in the years afterwards, up till
>his recent retirement, simply underscored all of my observations
>of his behavior.

>This view of Klass is also held by many skeptics I have known,
>including my late friends Gordon Stein (who worked at CSICOP
>headquarters as its librarian and archivist, as well as writing
>his own fine skeptical books) and Marcello Truzzi (who cofounded
>CSICOP but left it when he saw that it would be dominated by
>Klass types).

>One does not have to be pro-UFO to hold Klass and his methods in
>disdain. A particularly devastating portrayal of Klass appears
i>n Dennis Rawlins's "Starbaby" (which I believe is also out
>there on the Internet), and it's hard to find a harder-core
>skeptic (or a more honest one) than Rawlins. Other prominent
>skeptics, including Jim Lippard, Tom McIver, and Daniel Cohen,
>have also told of their unhappy encounters with Klass. Lippard
>and McIver were so stunned by their experiences, in fact, that
>each independently went to me afterwards for information and
>enlightenment as a longtime Klass watcher.

>If you admire Klass, you and I are living in very different
>worlds, with very different expectations of what intellectual
i>ntegrity is and of how inquiry ought to be conducted, what is
>reasonable argument and what is not, and what is fair game and
>what is not.

I feel I must lend support to Jerry's discussion about Klass and
the "Klassical technique" of "solving" the UFO problem.

I, too, have exchanged many letters with PJK, mostly between
1974 and 1985. the great bulk of these related to McMinnville
(photos, Trent, 1950) and New Zealand (Dec. 31, 1978). IN the
New Zealand discussion we exchanged, not a few hundred, but
perhaps as many as several_thousand_ single spaced pages over
about a 5 year period. I dare say it was the largest letter
exchange over any one case in history.

And the bottom line was that, in his 1983 book, "UFOs, the
Public Deceived," PJK deceived the public by claiming to have
explained the NZ sightings.H is explanation was, however,
completely erroneous, as I had pointed out to him in many
letters previous to the writing of his book.

My 'professional opinion' of the way PJK treated the UFO subject
is expressed at the following location:


which is a paper I wrote several years ago (at the behest of
Eugene Mallove, Editor of Infinite Energy Magazine). In that
paper you will see several cases for which PJK provided "prosaic
explanations", including the Val Johnson case mentioned
previously by Jerry.

One good thing I could say about PJK was that he seemed to be
the only skeptic who really took the subject seriously enough to
spend a lot of time studying the cases. Also, he "trained" me in
how to approach a sighting as might a lawyer, looking for weak
points in the case. Unfortunatly, he was not competent to argue
all the different types of physics one encounters in UFO cases
(few people are) but this didn't stop him. He invented and then
published explanations even when they were unphysical,
explanations that would not have gone unchallenged by
conventional physicists had they been published in conventional
refereed journals. But explanations published in papers an books
can establish an impression that "the case(s) has (have) been
explained" and then any refutation that might come later doesn't
get the same level of recognition or publicity. The case(s)
remain ":explained" in the minds of the scientists and general
public. Examples of this are in the paper at the above cited web

Many years ago I was told (by William Hartmann of the Condon
study) with regard to the McMinnville photo case, "You don't
need a better, you need a better case." I will paraphrase that
remark and apply it to the present situation: "We don't need
better cases; we need better skeptics."