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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Jul > Jul 14

Re: Shostak "Happy Birthday, Hysterics!" - Tonnies

From: Mac Tonnies <macbot.nul>
Date: Fri, 13 Jul 2007 21:53:07 -0700 (PDT)
Archived: Sat, 14 Jul 2007 11:53:16 -0400
Subject: Re: Shostak "Happy Birthday, Hysterics!" - Tonnies


Reply To Shostak's Roswell Essay

I found Seth Shostak's take on the Roswell case rather
porous. Here's my response (from my blog, Posthuman


Shostak seems to assume, perhaps unwisely, that if Roswell was
the crash of an ET vehicle, we should have been able to figure
it out by now - despite his well-made point about ancient Rome's
certain inability to make sense of laptop computers. He forces
himself into an evidential cul-de-sac: we should know all about
Roswell because of the event's importance, he complains, but
that very importance is rooted in an assumed alien technology we
don't have a chance of understanding. Ironically, Shostak's case
against Roswell as an ET event actually compliments the idea
that an alien craft was recovered and duly covered up by an
understandably concerned military.

Regarding the Roswell crash's technosocial impact being "too
subtle" for Shostak's taste, it's worth noting that
technological forecasters such as Ray Kurzweil argue that
technology even a few centuries ahead of our own will likely
underscore Arthur C. Clarke's maxim that "any sufficiently
advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" - in which
case classified laboratories could still be attempting to make
sense of the Roswell debris in order to reproduce it for
military or industrial applications.

In this scenario, we could hardly expect to have benefited from
ET technology. Yet Shostak appears committed to the idea that
human history should have been visibly changed by a single UFO
crash despite the extraordinarily advanced (indeed
incomprehensible) technology supposedly involved... to say
nothing of the purported military cover-up.

But Shostak's arguments betray further naivete. For example,
careful readers have likely noted his unaccountable insistence
that the Roswell craft must have crossed interstellar distances
by itself, dismissing the more logical speculation that the
downed craft was more along the lines of a fighter jet launched
from a nearby aircraft carrier. (Even a cursory reading of the
UFO literature reveals a "wave" of UFO sightings in 1947. If
even some of these objects were extraterrestrial, are we to
think that each made the voyage to Earth individually? While we
obviously can't outguess the propulsion savvy of alien
physicists, ignoring the implications posed by observations of
small craft exiting larger objects smacks of selective

I don't know if the infamous "Roswell Incident" was the crash of
an alien vehicle, nor do I know anyone who does. But Shostak's
eager acceptance of the Air Force's belated Project Mogul
explanation, coupled with the mercurial standards for evidence
demanded of the "hysterics" of his essay's title, reveal a
pundit whose need to believe casts a troubling shadow on
claims of scientific objectivity.



Mac Tonnies <macbot.nul>

Mac's website: http://www.mactonnies.com

Posthuman Blues: http://posthumanblues.blogspot.com

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