UFO UpDates
A mailing list for the study of UFO-related phenomena
'Its All Here In Black & White'
Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Jan > Jan 27

Re: Barksdale Fliers Are Source Of UFO Story -

From: Martin Shough <parcellular.nul>
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2007 15:32:15 -0000
Fwd Date: Sat, 27 Jan 2007 11:38:41 -0500
Subject: Re: Barksdale Fliers Are Source Of UFO Story -

>>From: UFO UpDates - Toronto <ufoupdates.nul>
>>To: - UFO UpDates Subscribers - <UFO-UpDates.nul>
>>Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2007 07:22:23 -0500
>>Subject: UFO UpDate: Barksdale Fliers Are Source Of UFO Story


>Now, I know that some members of this List will scream "cover
>up!" at the explanation that these were flares, but hopefully
>someone with a bit of sense will follow this up and determine
>if the explanation is viable. I also fully expect that it will
>turn out to be so.

>If that is the case, what does that say about the value placed
>on the testimony of "expert witnesses"? I have tried making
>this point in the past, yet some people still seem to place
>inordinate importance on so called "expert witnesses".

Hi Joe

Interesting isn't it. I think we are indeed unrealistic and
unreasonnable about witness expertise. An Air Force Col who has
"never heard of" parachute flares? That made my eyebrows go up a
notch. Well he's no expert on parachute flares, that's for sure.
But what does this mean?

Col Brian said he first thought they were a/c landing lights,
but after watching them a while he decided they weren't.
Apparently he was right to do so, and if it had stopped there I
think one could make a case that this Air Force Col had
demonstrated an unremarkable "expertise" in the area of a/c
landing lights.

But it didn't stop there. Although he had no real idea what he
was watching, his christian mind-set provided him with a
context. He imagnined they were something like weird energy
creatures, not of this world, divine Signs of the Apocalypse.
Pretty wild, and he was not at all shy to tell the world that he
thought these were signs of the End Times. He even thought later
that there might be angels or demons to be found in large blow
ups of his photos.

But what did he actually describe seeing? Patterns of lights
drifting in the sky at distance, about 5 - 10 degrees above the
horizon, sometimes bobbing "like a yo-yo", slowly disappearing
and then reappearing in different positions. He specifically
ruled out flares, because "they didn't descend like flares
typically do." (The National Ledger - Apache Junction, Arizona,
Jan 18, 2007)

Well, this is pretty tame stuff isn't it? Why? How do we square
his powerful predisposition to misinterpret a sighting of an
unfamiliar type of flares as a cosmic miracle with the fact that
he described what sound like... well, parachute flares?

And we "know" what he described sounded like parachute flares,
because we have an "expert witness" - oh yes! "As soon as we saw
the story, we knew it was us," said Lt. Col. Jim Macaulay,
commander of the Air Force Reserve's 47th Fighter Squadron whose
A-10 pilots had been dropping them. The resemblance was "beyond
coincidence" he said.

I find all of this very intriguing and difficult. If Col Brian
had been in the position of Col Macaulay, and if we were (let us
say) making sceptical inquiries about a sighting of bright
meandering lights, and if Col Brian had said "I saw them myself
and based on my 30 years experience there's no doubt in my mind
these were aircraft landing lights/flares/what-have-you", I
suspect some of us would be citing Col Brian as an expert
witness. I would be very tempted, let me confess.

So the lessons to be drawn from events like this are various and
double-edged. For another example, factual inconsistency is one
might say inconsistent with expert credibility. Yet I doubt many
are concerned that according to Col Macaulay LUU-2 flares burn
for 3 1/2 minutes at 5 million candlepower, whilst according to
the Public Relations chief at Barksdale they burn for 5 minutes
at 2 million candlepower.

"Well, what's a few million candlepower here or there," says my
cynical demon, "when we have a good explanation? It only goes to
show that you can't believe anything from anybody in this game."

"Not so," says my sceptical angel." It shows that it is possible
for so-called expert testimony to reveal useful information
about things we don't immediately understand, provided we are
careful to interpret it with all the cunning of the devil!"

Martin Shough

[ Next Message | Previous Message | This Day's Messages ]
This Month's Index |

UFO UpDates Main Index

UFO UpDates - Toronto - Operated by Errol Bruce-Knapp

Archive programming by Glenn Campbell at Glenn-Campbell.com