From: Lan Fleming <lfleming6.nul> Date: Wed, 14 Mar 2007 13:35:12 -0500 Fwd Date: Thu, 15 Mar 2007 08:36:57 -0400 Subject: Re: Cultural Taboos & Prejudices - Fleming >From: Martin Shough <parcellular.nul> >To: <ufoupdates.nul> >Date: Wed, 14 Mar 2007 09:07:55 -0000 >Subject: Cultural Taboos & Prejudices [was: UFO Photos The Future] >>From: Lan Fleming <lfleming6.nul> >>To: UFOUpdates <ufoupdates.nul> >>Date: Tue, 13 Mar 2007 12:44:22 -0500 >>Subject: Re: UFO Photos The Future >>>From: Martin Shough <parcellular.nul> >>>To: <ufoupdates.nul> >>>Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2007 14:52:21 -0000 >>>Subject: Re: UFO Photos The Future - Shough >><snip> >>>But it would be monstrous to conclude from a >>>perceived conflict between ambiguous UFO evidence and several >>>centuries of scientific method that the latter comes off worst >>>and is reduced in the encounter to a wreckage of arbitrary and >>>subjective prejudices. Let's keep a sense of proportion. >>As anyone familiar with the history of the Condon Report knows, >>when it comes to UFOs, the officially sanctioned 'science' is >>precisely that: a wreckage of arbitrary and subjective >>prejudices. Of course that's not true of subjects of inquiry >>generally accepted as legitimate, but the cultural taboos >>against UFO research are just too strong. >Of course the Condon Report was a flawed study of UFO reports. >That's very different from the claim made that the scientific >world-view and its methods of discovery are in an equivalence >class with fairy tales and any arbitrary belief system. Of course, it's not the scientific method at fault, it's the people who use it, or profess to use it. >The point that the CR contained some bad science merely >highlights the fact that good science is what we feel entitled >to expect. >Yes there are cultural taboos and prejudices, on all sides of >the question, and I dare say the weight of bad science is not >entirely on what you call the "officially sanctioned" side of >the balance either. But one side's failings can't be allowed to >become an excuse for the other to claim that the whole thing is >a crock of fairy-tale BS. There's undoubtedly bad science on the "other side" by the truckload. But the important difference is that most of the bad science in UFOlogy is done by people who are _not_ scientists (since anyone can call themselves a "Ufologist" or a "researcher"). The bad science done on the official side is mostly done by bona fide scientists. And there is way too much that is _very_ bad, a recent case in point being the treatment of the Apollo 11 UFO sighting by a Ph.D. astronomer and by the Apollo astronauts who witnessed it and then changed their story for public consumption from what they had concluded in the mission debriefing. Some people may reject any explanation proposed by a scientist that conflicts with what they want to believe but a lot more people will take such explanations at face value. It's not always easy or even possible for non-scientists to know whether a "scientific" opinion they read about in the paper really has a scientific basis or if it's merely irrational personal prejudices being promoted under color of scientific authority. The latter should never be the case for supposedly responsible scientists, but it far too often is.
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