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

Re: Larry King Live: Friday, November 9th, 2007

From: Jerome Clark <jkclark.nul>
Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2007 08:44:57 -0600
Archived: Wed, 14 Nov 2007 07:06:21 -0500
Subject: Re: Larry King Live: Friday, November 9th, 2007


>From: Brian Ally <ufoupdates.nul>
>To: ufoupdates.nul
>Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2007 01:50:03 -0500
>Subject: Re: Larry King Live: Friday, November 9th, 2007

>>From: Jerome Clark <jkclark.nul>
>>To: <ufoupdates.nul>
>>Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2007 17:24:44 -0600
>>Subject: Re: Larry King Live: Friday, November 9th, 2007

>>>From: Brian Ally <ufoupdates.nul>
>>>To: ufoupdates.nul
>>>Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2007 12:22:58 -0500
>>>Subject: Re: Larry King Live: Friday, November 9th, 2007


>Granted, my throw-away comment could have been worded more
>carefully. A sweeping proposition it was. But the kernel of my
>argument stands: we are cognitively fallible beings, often
>miserably so. We easily misinterpret phenomena, especially if it
>is a surprise. We are susceptible to the most irrational
>choices, often through superstition or ignorance. Ask a
>magician, a politician, a thief what they think about how easily
>we humans can be fooled at times.

Well, these are red herrings, irrelevant to what I was trying to
address, which - contrary to your reading - was intended a
general comment and no attack on you personally. I am sorry you
have responded so defensively, and if that was because I did not
make my meaning sufficiently clear, I apologize for my
imprecision.

I was writing, as I thought you were, about human perception in
ordinary circumstances. Not, in other words, about traumatic
crimes, not deliberate, sophisticated misdirection, not
ignorance of complicated public-policy issues. I was simply
arguing something that I should think is undeniable: that if you
tell me a rabbit suddenly ran across your path in reasonable
viewing conditions, chances are strong that it was a rabbit and
not a large dog or a newspaper page pushed by the wind.

If, on the other hand, you reported something out of the
ordinary, I could - were I so inclined - mutter, without further
justification, that since people are "easily fooled," I can
confidently proceed to tell you what you _really_ saw and make
up any explanation I want, then declare the case solved. Project
Blue Book did it all the time, and UFO history is littered with
innumerable other instances. That's why our "serious" media now
believe that ridicule is response enough to any UFO report,
whatever the level of evidence or the ostensible credibility of
the witnesses. It's not much of a stretch to go from people are
"easily fooled" to people are stupid, meriting only contempt if
they report an observation of something anomalous. Yesterday's
CNN coverage of the National Press Club gathering is a case in
point.

>>It seems to me that there may be an implicit but empirically
>>dubious presumption underlying such claims generally: namely,
>>people report extraordinary anomalies. Extraordinary anomalies
>>don't exist. Therefore, people are easily fooled.

>I said nothing of the sort. It seems that there is an implicit
>suggestion that I am an idiot who doesn't understand the first
>thing about logic. I would be ashamed to make such a dubious
>claim, even as a throw-away comment.

(1) You are not an idiot but among the most interesting and
thoughtful contributors to this forum. (2) I was not referring
to you but, as I wrote, "such claims generally." Even anomalists
internalize debunker arguments without critically examining
them. I certainly do not think you consciously endorse
presumptions drawn from disbelief tradition. I simply insisted,
and continue to insist, that the proposition that people are
"easily fooled" warrants critical - dare I say skeptical? -
 scrutiny.


Jerry Clark



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