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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Nov > Nov 15

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

From: Brian Ally <ufoupdates.nul>
Date: Wed, 14 Nov 2007 11:37:33 -0500
Archived: Thu, 15 Nov 2007 13:55:58 -0500
Subject: Re: Larry King Live: Friday, November 9th, 2007

>From: Jerome Clark <jkclark.nul>
>To: <ufoupdates.nul>
>Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2007 08:44:57 -0600
>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

>>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

Don't apologise! I was really rather bemused, not upset at all.

>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.

No, I was referring more to our reactions - generally - to
unexpected or confusing situations.

>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

Agreed. That certainly was not my intention. However, I stand by
my suggestion that - in general - an average witness's
recounting of an unexpected, surprising event is not all that
it's been cracked up to be.

>(1) You are not an idiot but among the most interesting and
>thoughtful contributors to this forum.

OK, now you're being absurd.

(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? -

Fair enough. I shouldn't have said that people, generally, are
"easily fooled" but that it is easy for people to be mistaken in
their perceptions of unexpected phenomena.

I don't wish to side with the "debunkers" but remain sceptical
of reported "UFO events" for which there is nothing but witness
testimony to work with. This isn't because I am inherently
sceptical of the veracity of the phenomenon as a whole. And I
certainly don't mean to say that all of such testimony is


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