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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2003 > Dec > Dec 12

Ufology In Mysticism

From: Eustaquio Andrea Patounas <socex@terra.com.br>
Date: Fri, 12 Dec 2003 02:39:58 -0200
Fwd Date: Fri, 12 Dec 2003 15:45:04 -0500
Subject: Ufology In Mysticism 


Source: China Daily, China

http://www1.chinadaily.com.cn/en/doc/2003-12/12/content_289788.htm

12-12-03

Focus: Ufology in mysticism

UFOs, flying saucers and ET conjure up images from Hollywood
films and blurred photos in tabloid newspapers. But a number of
true believers in China, many of them highly educated, see merit
in exploring unidentified flying objects and alien encounters
scientifically.

Meng Zhaoguo, a 35-year-old tree grower from Wuchang City in
Heilongjiang Province, can still vividly describe the Steven
Spielberg-type scenario he claims to have witnessed nearly 10
years ago: As he sat in a huge white, gleaming spaceship, a tall
creature with a large head and eyes like light bulbs and clad in
an inflated seamless rubber suit perched on a metal sheet that
hovered in the air. In a metallic-tinged voice, this
interplanetary visitor communicated with a man via a television-
like screen, predicting a collision between a comet and Jupiter.

As sensational as it sounds, Meng insists he was taken aboard
the ship a month after being shocked by some sort of waves
emitted by a silver-coloured object on a mountain he and some
other villagers attempted to approach in June 1994.

Such accounts have served to shroud ufology - the study of UFOs
- in a kind of mysticism, a word often used when referring to
the subject.

The Chinese public first learned about UFOs in 1978, when
leading State newspaper the People's Daily ran an article about
the phenomenon. Although many accounts of UFO sightings have
appeared in the media in the ensuing two decades, the voices of
doubt are as strong as people's curiosity.

But despite the cynicism, more than 40 ufology associations
across the country have registered some 5,000 believers, not
including academicians interested in UFOs. With no State funding
and little private sponsorship, the community feels
discriminated against and excluded from mainstream scientific
circles.

The sceptics's main demand seems simple enough, but satisfying
it is harder: Show me the evidence. A photo or video footage,
which can be easily fabricated, is not sufficient. They want to
see a real object, a flying saucer, something of a mission
impossible for ufologists.

Describing ufologists as Rmantics, Sima Nan, a popular science
writer and a leading figure in the country's fight against
pseudo-science, says the most important thing in scientific
research is to base a study on concrete evidence and avoid
subjectivism. Those who alleged to have seen UFOs or had
extraterrestrial (ET) encounters, be they an innocent child,
sincere woman or down-to-earth farmer or a retired cadre, all
lack hard evidence to prove their claims via objective and
scientific methods.

"Research work based mostly on imagination is not research at
all, "says the writer, adding that the standard telescopes and
hand-held video cameras commonly used by ufologists cannot meet
the stringent demands of scientific research.

Ufologists, however, believe their research to be as significant
as the country's space exploration programme, even if it is not
currently being taken seriously. If space exploration includes
the search for alien civilizations, they argue, UFO research can
serve to supplement it.

Tian Daojun, a professor at the Nanjing University of Aviation
and Aeronautics, says that human fantasy is not totally
meaningless in scientific research, as some UFO sceptics assume,
pointing out that the fanciful notions of human beings did
eventually put a man on the moon.

The numerous UFO sightings reported should never be ignored or
denied, Tian says. Any information gleaned about the way alien
spacecraft function might serve to upgrade scientific research,
resulting in breakthroughs in aviation and aeronautics
technologies on Earth.

But what upsets UFO researchers most is the suggestion that UFOs
are nothing but mythology and ufology is just a new form of
pseudo-science.

Ji Jianmin, a UFO enthusiast in Feixiang County in northern
China's Hebei Province, dismisses such assertions as too
opinionated and unfriendly to UFO researchers and criticizes
detractors for their own unscientific approach to the subject.

Ji, a former high school art teacher who currently runs a
nameplate design service, became interested in UFOs in the
1980s. He firmly believes in the existence of civilizations on
other planets as well as the potential for a kind of psychic
connection between residents of Earth and aliens.

A graduate from a local vocational teacher training college, Ji
admits that his education falls short of arming him to study
UFOs scientifically. But, he adds:" that does not necessarily
mean I'mnot qualified to do my part. When it comes to UFO
research, everyone is a primary-school pupil, from fans with
scant education to established experts in various scientific
fields."

The controversy surrounding UFOs is very natural, so long as
each side does not force its ideas on the other, according to Wu
Jialu, a Shanghai aircraft expert.

Wu also finds it natural for people to become interested in the
mysteries of the universe. It's quite nice that people care
about things outside their immediate world, as it shows a
willingness to expand their vision, and the exploration of the
unknown is, after all, both interesting and important. Even
within the UFO community, ufologists differ in their approaches
to research, although they all consider alien spacecraft and
intelligence to be at the very heart of their research.

One school tends to focus on the more practical aspects. Some,
like Wu, expect to get inspiration by contemplating the
mechanics of alien spacecraft as a means of improving Earth
aircraft or even spaceships. Others, including Su Congbo, a
seismologist in Taiyuan, capital of north China's Shanxi
Province, are interested in finding out whether there is a
connection between UFOs and natural phenomena such as
earthquakes.

Beijing-based ufologist Zhang Jingping stands for yet another
school of thought in his persistent attempts to prove the
existence not only of UFOs but also of alien civilizations.

Zhang, the 30-something owner of an advertising firm who
considers ufology his real career, has put a great deal of
energy into investigating UFO encounters. A graduate of the
Beijing University of Aviation and Aeronautics (BUAA), Zhang
says he has no doubt that visitors from other planets have had a
considerable amount of contact with people on Earth. Not one to
shrink from the courage of his convictions, he even named his
advertising company Flying Saucer.

In early September, Zhang invited police technicians and
psychologists to subject Meng Zhaoguo to a lie detector test and
hypnosis experiments in Beijing. The test results, he says,
prove that Meng was telling the truth. Zhang also believes the
scars Meng bears from the incident, which doctors said could not
possibly have been caused by common injuries or surgery, serve
as further evidence of his ET encounter.

But Liu Daoye, a retired expert on national defence based in
Nanjing, capital of eastern China's Jiangsu Province, contends
that a belief cannot be based on something that cannot be
explained, such as the scars Meng says were inflicted during his
alien adventure. However exciting the reports of UFO witnesses
and however sensational the claims of encounters with ETs may
be, Liu says, ufologists must base their studies on serious
research and concrete evidence to avoid misleading the public.

"I believe in the probability of intelligent life on other
planets, but I doubt such beings have ever travelled to Earth,"
he says. "To date, no one who has claimed to have encountered an
ET can produce concrete evidence, so advocating their existence
can only lead UFO research towards mysticism." He says that
while the reports of experiences similar to Meng's are not
necessarily lies, they are more likely the result of some sort
of optical illusion.

Zhang does argue, however, that UFO research should not be
fettered by the limitations of modern science and technology.
"We need new conceptions in UFO research, as current science and
technology theory also need improving." Cao Lixing, a
postgraduate student majoring in computer science at BUAA, says
proving the existence of UFOs or flying saucers is important to
advancing serious study. "As long as the existence of such
phenomena remains unproven, UFO research will never escape the
bounds of scepticism," he says.

The young man became interested in UFO research after listening
to a lecture Zhang and Meng gave in late September. He also
accompanied Zhang to Qinhuangdao, a northern coastal city in
Hebei, in early October to look for the landing site of a flying
saucer in another alleged ET encounter.

Cao says he appreciates Zhang's enthusiasm and devotion, but
admits that it is hard for the average person, himself included,
to believe any ET story unless they have such an experience
themselves.

A farmer with only five years's schooling, Meng Zhaoguo says he
had never heard the term "UFO" before researchers visited him
after his story was reported.

After his experience, Meng was sought out by some locals hoping
he could cure their diseases, as they reckoned his encounter
might have given him special powers. Meng says he refused their
entreaties. And more business-minded people wanted to advertise
Meng as an attraction to encourage tourism to the region.

Acknowledging the overwhelming doubt he sees in people's eyes
when he recalls the incident, the farmer, who has participated
in more than 100 interviews with the media and researchers, says
that UFOs and ufology, which were originally unknown to him,
have disrupted his life and made him feel uneasy.

"But ufologists still take great interest in Meng's UFO
encounter nine years on. they hope there will be a conclusion to
the UFO phenomenon as soon as possible; only then will I feel
released," sighs Meng.