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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2004 > Mar > Mar 17

Re: UFO Spies Vanish Into Black Hole - Clark

From: Jerome Clark <jkclark.nul>
Date: Wed, 17 Mar 2004 03:02:23 -0600
Fwd Date: Wed, 17 Mar 2004 17:14:57 -0500
Subject: Re: UFO Spies Vanish Into Black Hole - Clark


>From: Steven Kaeser <steve.nul>
>To: <ufoupdates.nul>
>Date: Tue, 16 Mar 2004 11:28:58 -0500
>Subject: Re: UFO Spies Vanish Into Black Hole

>>From: Wendy Connors <fadeddiscs.nul>
>>To: UFO UpDates <ufoupdates.nul>
>>Date: Tue, 16 Mar 2004 06:58:25 -0700
>>Subject: Re: UFO Spies Vanish Into Black Hole

>For all of the projects you've mentioned, who is the target
>audiance and where will that information eventually end up?
>While I would not agree with Andy completely, he makes a point.
>I don't think the field is "dead", but how the field is defined
>has been vastly changed by the Internet and the media. How
>ufology is viewed by the general public (not the subset of those
>that are involved in research) is far different than it was
>during the last half of of the 20th Century, and even during
>that time period the public's view evolved. Richard Hall's UFO
>Evidence II is a tremendous collection of information, updating
>one of the classic NICAP publications, but it hasn't really made
>any difference among those who aren't already involved in the
>field. Libraries didn't race out to purchase it, and I would
>suspect that sales have levelled off at this point.

Could you explain to me what you mean by the phrase "how ufology
is viewed by the general public"? You apparently assume that the
"general public" - whatever that entity is - (a) is aware of
ufology and (b) has an opinion about it. I see very little
evidence that this is the case, or even that the word "ufology"
is in many vocabularies outside ufologists'. People are aware of
UFOs, of course, but the number who worry about something called
"ufology" or who could even name a single "ufologist" comes
close to zero. I don't count Ufophobic polemicists who like to
sneer at "true believers" while betraying no knowledge whatever
of ufology's history, personalities, debates, and nature.

If libraries aren't rushing to buy Dick Hall's fine book, why do
you assume that's a judgment on ufology and not a function of
social and economic phenomena unrelated to ufology? For example,
declining reference-book sales in general, owing to the impact
of the Internet, cutbacks in library funding for books
generally, and other matters. Ufology exists in the world and is
subject to the same social forces everything else is.

Ufology and ufologists have their faults, obviously, and fair
and pointed criticism is essential to honest inquiry. But where
the rest of the world is concerned, ufology - good, bad, or
indifferent - lacks the resources to make any difference in the
larger world or even to be noticed there. That is no reason for
ufology to discontinue the productive work that it does,
including the research projects Wendy Connors cites and actively
participates in herself. As Allen Hynek used to remark
privately, it may well be that our work is for a future
generation of scientists and scholars to rediscover. If that's
the way it is - it certainly looks that way - I can live with
that.

>IMO, ufology is far from a scientific pursuit at this point,

Now, there's a cliche. With no institutional support from
mainstream science at all, the wonder is not that ufology is
mostly nonscientific, but that science gets done at all inside
it. That it does from time to time is something to be grateful
for, I should think. And to support, as in putting one's own
money into subscriptions to, for two importance instances, the
refereed, scientific Journal of UFO Studies and the Journal of
Scientific Exploration.

>while there are those within the field doing good work, it
>largely goes unnoticed by all but the hard-core among us.

Well, yes, as noted above. So why are you trying to have it both
ways, arguing, as I understand it, that the "general public" at
once (a) has found ufology wanting and (b) scarcely observes
ufology's existence and is ignorant of its concerns?


Jerry Clark




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