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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1997 > Oct > Oct 30

Re: Questions for Abductees

From: clark@canby.mn.frontiercomm.net [Jerome Clark]
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 1997 11:35:04 PST
Fwd Date: Thu, 30 Oct 1997 13:19:45 -0500
Subject: Re: Questions for Abductees


> Date: Wed, 29 Oct 1997 09:01:35 -0500
> From: Peregrine Mendoza <101653.2205@compuserve.com> [Peter Brookesmith]
> Subject: Questions for Abductees
> To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <updates@globalserve.net>


> The Duke of Mendoza presents his compliments.

> >From: clark@canby.mn.frontiercomm.net [Jerome Clark}
> >Date: Tue, 28 Oct 1997 11:35:07 PST
> >To: updates@globalserve.net
> >Subject: RE: UFO UpDate: Re: Questions for Abductees

> >In fact, there is a great deal to support the ETH.  So far it is
> >the most reasonable -- or, as Michael Swords has it, "natural" --
> >provisional hypothesis which seeks to explain the hard-core
> >evidence: i.e., the stuff that emerges from CE2s, independently
> >and multiply witnessed cases, and so on.

> "In fact". This enquiring mind would appreciate knowing of what
> such facts may consist. "Reasonable" in what form of logic?
> "Natural" in what sense?

C'mon, Duke, stop the complacent smirking.  It's a tired act by
now. The amount of solid writing on the ETH, unfortunately, is
fairly slight, but an excellent literature exists and is growing.
(In my new book there's a history of the ETH in ufology.  There
I show that most mainstream writing on the subject in the
literature is not crazy, simply naive, though perhaps not notably
more so than that of many astronomers of the 1950s [when the ETH
was in full flower]; as late as the 1950s, for example,
scientists such as Donald Menzel still thought it possible that
Venus harbors intelligent life.)

Mike Swords has written eloquently on the subject in a series of
essays which critics of the ETH like to pretend don't exist.
Right now I'm reading Edward Ashpole's very interesting The UFO
Phenomena. Like Swords, like in fact anybody who bothers to read
SETI literature, Ashpole observes that the UFO data are perfectly
consistent with what we could reasonably expect from spacefaring
aliens. In other words, the ETH cannot be rejected a priori, even
before the evidence is examined. (Ashpole thinks the evidence is
intriguing.) He says astutely that "most rational people who
think UFOs are a lot of nonsense are unaware of the scientific
rationale for SETI."  In any event, most of what could be said
critical of the ETH could be said of SETI theory, except that (as
historian of science Michael J. Crowe once observed) ufologists,
unlike their SETI counterparts, are dealing with actual
evidence.

The ETH may be right, or it may be wrong, but to pretend that it
is outrageous and absurd is simply to engage in the stalest of
rhetorical tricks. That sort of posturing doesn't get any of us
anywhere, and it certainly makes me disinclined to listen to
whatever genuine insights Duke and his cohorts may have to offer.
Or maybe they are more interesting in feeling superior to us
benighted souls than in persuading us.

> >Vallee is simply wrong when he suggests that the UFO question
> >is beyond science.  Here he betrays his occult -- even anti-
> >rationalist -- sympathies.  In any event, how would he know?

> I vaguely recall that the witch-doctor Jacques did his level
> best to apply some scientific principles in "Challenge to Science"
> and "Anatomy of a Phenomenon". Not much anti-rationalism there.
> Can it be that Magic Jacques reached his conclusion through
> frustrating experience?

More likely through the influences of the '60s counterculture and
his longtime fascination with occultism.

> >For one thing, science has barely addressed the question.  The
> >best cases, however, are eminently investigatable by traditional
> >scientific method;

> And *why*, do you suppose, has science barely addressed the
> question?

Good question, and the product of a considerable literature by
sociologists of scientists and scientists themselves.  I urge you
to read it.  As Allen Hynek succinctly observed, science is not
always what scientists do.  Scientists have always had a hard
time dealing with anomalies, especially extraordinary anomalies,
and that fact alone has generated a bunch of interesting writing
by a range of interesting writers: Hufford, Bauer, Westrum,
Truzzi, Mauskopf, McClenon, Hess, Sturrock, Rodeghier et al. --
not to mention, of course, Kuhn and, more radically, Paul
Feyerabend.

> And perhaps Jerome could demonstrate just which parts of
> the scientific method have been applied - scientifically - to
> which cases? Or even one? I am especially looking forward to
> reading about all those repeated and independently verified
> experiments that burden the pages of the scientific or even
> the ufological literature.

Read the literature, Duke.  And in this specific regard, let me
here put in a plug for the forthcoming second edition of The UFO
Encyclopedia and a particular entry of particular importance.

Cheers,

Jerry Clark


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