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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Oct > Oct 4

Re: Is Ufology 'Anti-Science'?

From: Brian Ally <ufoupdates.nul>
Date: Wed, 03 Oct 2007 22:37:25 -0400
Archived: Thu, 04 Oct 2007 12:52:15 -0400
Subject: Re: Is Ufology 'Anti-Science'?

>From: Rick Nielsen <nilthchi.nul>
>To: ufoupdates.nul
>Date: Tue, 2 Oct 2007 19:04:41 -0700 (PDT)
>Subject: Re: Is Ufology 'Anti-Science'?

>>From: Claude Mauge <claudemauge.nul>
>>To: UFO UpDates <ufoupdates.nul>
>>Date: Mon, 1 Oct 2007 08:41:03 +0200 (CEST)
>>Subject: Re: Is Ufology 'Anti-Science'?

>>For the time being, I think it is premature to decide that
>>ufology is a science (where is experimentation, on a global
>>scale?), or a pseudo-science (although it have some features of
>>it), or an anti-science (does not the word applies better to a
>>state of mind rather to a discipline?), or a proto-science (a
>>science on the making: only the future will say). A parascience
>>could be the best term.

>Excellent discussion Claude, Ray and Isaac!

>But I'm thinking about the fields of forensics. In these
>bonafide sciences, the dots are connected, conclusions are
>drawn, with extremely minimal information.

>Granted the realm of forensics is tied to mostly criminal
>investigations, at least in the mass media, and the burden of
>proofs is linked with concepts like preponderance and "beyond
>reasonable doubt." But surely, ufology would qualify as a
>forensic science. Wouldn't it?

Continuing with the analogy though, it must be pointed out that
not all professionals involved with criminal investigations
where forensics are used are scientists. That is to say,
"UFOlogy" can certainly *benefit* from scientific investigation
(and has done!) but it is not, in itself, a science. Indeed, I
think to claim such a position could serve to alienate (heh)
many of those scientists whom we all would like to see paying
more attention to this subject.

But to the question of whether or not the study of UFOs is
"pseudo-science" or "anti-science", I have to say that it all
depends upon whom it is that we're talking about. There are
scads of people out there who make wild, unsubstantiated claims
that are in some way connected to the "UFO" phenomenon. My
stance is that each case must be taken on its own merits (or
lack, thereof). Which, I suppose, suggests that my overall
position is that the UFO phenomenon *is* worthy of scientific
study. If only to set some baseline with which we can measure
the silly and opportunistic bandwagon-riders.

>Do you think the study of UFOs has added to scientific knowledge?

I don't think the study of UFOs has added anything at all to
scientific knowledge because there just is not any established
"scientifically accepted" material from which to measure. Any
committed researcher can compile and analyze the data but there
are painfully few hard conclusions that any of us can yet make
(short of a lot of hand-waving, and we get enough of that).

But I don't mean to be dismissive of anybody's efforts at
understanding what we're dealing with. We're just not at the
level of understanding this thing where we can pronounce
judgement or make any real predictions about this with any
intellectual honesty, IMHO.

Will science be advanced in some way by all of this? Certainly,
if it truly is what many of us think it is. Personally, I think
it's inevitable that our civilisation will be forced to confront
the reality of others outside of our tiny planet (or within it,
to throw a bone to some readers here). Hey, even annihilation at
the hands (tentacles?) of blood-thirsty aliens would provide
plenty of subject matter for some quick research. And talk about
exciting thesis topics one would have available!

>One of the most common questions in opinion polls regarding UFOs
>is whether a person "believes" that "UFOs are real". What do you
>think about this question?

I loathe the term "believe" as pertains to this subject. It
smacks of quasi-religious fervour, of the sorts of things crowds
of people are capable of fooling themselves into hanging onto as
a source of mystical, all-curing, personal validation. I prefer
to say that I am aware of the phenomenon, that I am not
dismissive of it, and that I would like more serious attention
paid to it.

>Would you expect polling data to indicate that belief in UFOs is
>inversely related to levels of intelligence?

>Would you expect polling data to indicate that belief in UFOs is
>inversely related to levels of education?

I've never really thought about it. I can well imagine that a
goodly number of "educated" individuals are dismissive of UFOs
simply because they see it as being just so much rubbish
employed by the tabloids to keep the unruly mobs buying crap.

Conversely, many less educated individuals would probably
describe themselves as being quite skeptical of the
establishment, be it the government, academia, or what have you.
And we all know that UFOs provide plenty of fodder in that area.

Are either of those two conjectures the rule? I've no idea, but
I think the entire subject has become so loaded, in so many
ways, that it would be extremely difficult to pin anything down.


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