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Re: Illegitimacy of CSICOP - Young/Sheaffer

From: Bob Young <YoungBob2@aol.com>
Date: Wed, 5 Jun 2002 16:00:55 EDT
Fwd Date: Thu, 06 Jun 2002 07:11:20 -0400
Subject: Re: Illegitimacy of CSICOP - Young/Sheaffer


Could you please post this response from Robert Sheaffer to
Wendy Connor's recent posting?  Thanks.

Bob Young

From: Robert Sheaffer <robert@debunker.com>
To: YoungBob2@aol.com
Date: 6/5/2002 3:02:54 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Subj: The Illegitimacy of Wendy Connors' Arguments

Wendy Connors claims that CSICOP is "illegitimate," and cites
some comments that I made (apparently a very long time ago - she
doesn't even cite the source) to try to justify this silliness.
I don't want to spend very much time on such lame stuff, for
obvious reasons, so I'll make only a few points:

Wendy angrily says that "None of these people [the National
Enquirer Blue-Ribbon Panel] are ever named by the CSICOP cult
because this blue ribbon panel does not exist." If she had been
in UFOlogy as long as some of us have, she would know that it
**did** exist - about 25 years ago. (Which shows how far back
she had to go to find something to stir up this much animosity.)
And the panel was a very Big Deal at the time. So this argument
reveals nothing more than her own ignorance. If she had read my
book "UFO Sightings," she would have learned about this Blue-
Ribbon panel. Wendy: if you're going to write some very sweeping
criticism of somebody, it's a good idea to read their books
first. Otherwise you will look like a fool.

"By Shaeffer's own admission the CSICOPs cult doesn't do field
investigation of cases. They only opine and call it science."
This shows nothing more than Wendy's problems with reading
comprehension (as well as spelling). The quotation she is
objecting to is "As far as whether there are any genuine
unexplainable cases... obviously nobody has time to look at all
the UFO reports that have ever been made. There are just
thousands of them and if anyone says they have investigated all
of them, obviously they are way off base." This statement is, I
submit, perfectly unobjectionable. We can all agree that nobody
has ever looked at ALL of the many thousands of UFO reports, and
indeed, nobody ever will. Apparently Wendy thinks that 'CSICOP
has not examined all cases' is equivalent to 'CSICOP has
examined no cases.' Duh.

To my statement "But, we've looked at what has been pronounced,
not by ourselves but the UFO believers, to be the cream of the
crop and we haven't found anything in the supposed cream of the
crop, that causes us to be wrong that there is something
unexplainable here" [did she really transcribe that latter part
correctly?] she replies: "Notice the complete lack of data or
documentation to back this CSICOP scientific assessment?".
Wendy, people do not generally cite reams of documentation in TV
interviews (which is what she appears to be quoting here - as I
said, I'm not familiar with the exact source). However, if you
take the trouble read the UFO books written by myself, by Philip
J. Klass, and by James Oberg [or even look at their table of
contents], you would find critical examination of cases such as:
Travis Walton; Betty Hill; "astronaut UFOs" including Gordon
Cooper; Mexico City UFOs, and many, many other "classic" cases.
"An opinion is not science, no matter how fervently CSICOP
desires it to be." To claim that these and other cases examined
are not the 'cream of the crop' as continuously cited by the UFO
proponents themselves is simply ignorant. Wendy appears to be
following in the footsteps of the celebrated Robert Anton Wilson
by vehemently criticising the authors of books she has not read,
and an organization she seems to know nothing about.

Robert Sheaffer - robert at debunker dot com -
Skeptical to the Max!

Visit the Debunker's Domain - http://www.debunker.com
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