From: Martin Shough <parcellular.nul> Date: Wed, 11 Apr 2012 17:43:19 +0100 Archived: Wed, 11 Apr 2012 16:10:34 -0400 Subject: Re: Debate Over Kean's Book In Skeptical Newsletter >From: Giuliano Marinkovic <giuliano.marinkovic.nul> >To: <post.nul> >Date: Wed, 11 Apr 2012 11:04:33 +0200 >Subject: Debate Over Kean's Book In Skeptical Newsletter >Dear colleagues. >In case you missed these rebuttals between skeptics George >Michael and Robert Sheaffer over Leslie Kean's book UFOs: >Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go on the Record, >here is the complete chronology: >On the March 28, 2012, in the newsletter eSkeptic, George >Michael reviewed Leslie Kean's book. His review is titled Best >Evidence For UFOs: >http://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/12-03-28/#feature >On the April 4, 2012 issue of eSkeptic, Robert Sheaffer rebutted >George Michael's review. Sheaffer's rebuttal is The Day The >Skeptics Society Wasn't Skeptical: >http://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/12-04-04/#feature >Two days before, Sheaffer also posted it on his blog where >users also started a debate within the comment section: >http://tinyurl.com/cbc68va >And finally, in the latest issue of eSkeptic from April 11, >2012; George Michael rebuts Robert Sheaffer's rebuttal. It is >titled: Reply To Robert Sheaffer. Immediately, below you can >find another rebuttal of the George Michael's rebuttal to >Sheaffer original rebuttal, titled: Response To George Michael:) >Link of latest two rebuttals: >http://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/12-04-11/#feature "There seems to be a pattern here" says Shaeffer. "It's easy to tout UFO cases as having no conventional explanations as long as you completely ignore everything that's been written to the contrary." True enough. But remove the word "no" from this sentence and it remains true. This flaccid Battle of the Rebuttals gets us nowhere. Michael's readiness to be impressed by superficially amazing narratives might strike a seasoned ufologist as a little innocent. Shaeffer's willingness to regard almost any "skeptical" opinion at all as a lethal blow to any case's credibility would strike the same ufologist as cavalier. And it is all infinitely wearisome. I limit myself to two comments touching my own knowledge of cases cited by Kean and Shaeffer. Shaeffer repeatedly complains that Kean's failure to acknowledge where her literature sources have been overtaken by later sceptical critiques is "not scholarly". He properly criticises Kean's reliance on COMETA as authority for the 1956 Lakenheath- Bentwaters affair, but then blithely invokes the pallid ghost of Phil Klass from 1974 to dismiss the sightings as "demolished", even though very little of Klass's sometimes-plausible but often ill-informed speculation from 1974 survives as relevant after huge developments in investigation and analysis of this complex case during the ensuing decades - the results of which are documented in many books and articles (and exhaustively on my own website). Kean's own reliance on COMETA is scarcely more out-of-date and scarcely more uncritical. Shaeffer does not specifically mention the April 2007 Channel Islands sighting in these essays, but he did ask me privately for my opinion of the status of the case when preparing his critique. I referred him to our investigation report produced with the full exclusive cooperation of Capt Bowyer and all other named witnesses and the Jerset Zone ATC authority. But evidently my conscientious reply - that after months of work our group felt there was still some reason to suspect an atmospheric- optical phenomenon, but that we could not find one to explain it - was insufficiently clear-cut for his purpose. On the other hand, Kean did not contact us at all, and I am not aware that her book contains any reference to our findings or any appreciation of the difficulty of trying to work out what was seen by Bowyer and the others that day. Instead the exciting headline story suffices. I'm tempted to add some comments on Shaeffer's treatment of the Keesler AFB radar issue (consistently mis-spelt "Kessler" on his blog) in the RB-47 case, for which he cites Tim Printy's mostly very respectable and interesting analysis. But I'd better not open that can of worms at the moment! Martin Shough Listen to 'Strange Days... Indeed' - The PodCast At: http://www.virtuallystrange.net/ufo/sdi/program/ These contents above are copyright of the author and UFO UpDates - Toronto. They may not be reproduced without the express permission of both parties and are intended for educational use only.
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