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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2001 > Apr > Apr 21

Re: Debunkers' Guidebook - Randles

From: Jenny Randles <nufon@currantbun.com>
Date: Fri, 20 Apr 2001 13:36:19 +0100
Fwd Date: Sat, 21 Apr 2001 09:58:27 -0400
Subject: Re: Debunkers' Guidebook - Randles

 >From: Richard Hall <hallrichard99@hotmail.com>
 >To: updates@sympatico.ca
 >Subject: Re: Debunkers' Guidebook
 >Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2001 22:26:16 -0000

 >>From: Jenny Randles <nufon@currantbun.com>
 >>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <updates@sympatico.ca>
 >>Subject: Re: Debunkers' Guidebook
 >>Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2001 11:36:33 +0100



 >Although my admiration for your true "skepticism" and admirably
 >objective approach to UFO studies (let's stop using the oxymoron
 >"ufology") remains undiminished, I am at a loss to understand
 >your statement that "it is pointless looking for patterns." It
 >is very much to the point to look for patterns, and I have found
 >them in UFOE: II. Have you not received the review copy that I
 >arranged to be sent to you, or have you not had time to peruse


Yes, I have very recently received it and it is an excellent and
most valuable book that will rightly earn a place in Ufology's
hall of fame.

But you need to see what I was saying in a broader context. I
didn't say (or didn't mean to say) that pattern hunting in
Ufology's (sorry habits die hard!) is a waste of time. I've
engaged in that pursuit myself more than a little.

What I actually said was...

 >...'Because it is pointless looking for patterns in a
 >rag bag of cases  that comprise ufology'

And then I went on to clarify what I meant by this.

Ufology is is a mixture of various different phenomena being
reported under a single convenient catch phrase - 'its a UFO'.
But - IMO - these assorted cases have various - and often very
different - interpretations. I set out some of what these were
(eg UAP, consciousness phenomena, perhaps craft piloted by
another intelligence).

So it stands to reason that you cannot hunt for patterns in
these with any hope of meaningful success 'unless' you first
appreciate that you are not merely looking at a single
homogeneous collection of evidence.

If you take any 100 cases there are going to be examples of IFOs
(some of which are aircraft lights, some meteors, some balloons
etc etc etc) and some of which will be UAP (possibly even two or
three different kinds of atmospheric anomaly) and maybe a few
cases that will point elsewhere.

These 100 cases will be a lot of very different things that
simply cannot have patterns because a meteor has very different
parameters from an optical mirage which has very different
features to an alien spaceship - and so on.

Dennis's post to which I replied was arguing - look at these 4
UFO cases - look how different they all are? And I was pointing
out that this is inevitable - because UFO cases 'are' inherently
different -  and even unsolved cases stimulated by some sort of
real UFO probably have a range of causes that are as yet

Seeking patterns in the chaos is - of course - the way to go. My
most current book (Time Storms) does exactly that by having
chapter after chapter that specifically defines the parameters
found within this one type of UFO case. But that's the point. It
looks at a group of cases that have consistent features and that
at least have a reasonable prospect of thus being explained by
the same sort of process.

But unless you recognise that Ufology's is 'not' one mystery
that has 'one' solution waiting to be found - but is a
collection of mysteries with multiple solutions then you are
looking for patterns in many cases that will actively mislead
should they not turn up.

If you have a bag of mixed fruit and pick out all the red ones
and say - aha fruit is red - lets study it - then you may reject
all the orange and green ones on that basis. Which, of course,
could be a big mistake. Because only 'some' fruit is red.

Moreover - if you discover that some red fruit has a core and
call it an apple - then you may have made a discovery. But you
have to be careful not to eliminate from all consideration red
fruit that has a core but is 'not' an apple - or indeed from
mixing up the two and assuming they are the same thing.

Now we can understand this process with fruit because we know
what fruit is. But with UFOs, we don't and that's the problem.

This is not really angled at you - Richard - because it is self
evident that you know what you are doing and your pattern
hunting is carried out with care and recognition of the
problems. And - of course - you ultimately do only learn to
categorise fruit by pattern searching in the way that you

So my point was not to deny the value of seeking out patterns
but to warn of its limitations and how it can lead the unwary
into making false assumptions.  I was arguing against treating
Ufology's as a single set of data within which we ought to
expect clearly defined rules. There 'will' be rules and the
patterns within them will help shape our understanding of the
many things that comprise the UFO mystery. But that only works
when you know you are looking for more than one thing - each
with its own set of patterns. It falls apart if you hunt for the
elusive pattern behind all UFO cases - because its elusive for a
very good reason. It doesn't exist.

Best wishes,

Jenny Randles

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