From: Alfred Lehmberg <alienview.nul> Date: Sun, 21 Mar 2004 16:27:46 -0600 Fwd Date: Mon, 22 Mar 2004 10:52:04 -0500 Subject: The Friedman/McGaha Debate - The Day CSICOP Died! The Friedman/McGaha Debate - The Day CSICOP Died! Lately, over the last couple of months, I've instituted a personal attitude shift for myself that was a little more subtle for me than it's going to be for another, perhaps. Three hots and a cot provided by a small military retirement has provided me a lot of time to think - out of the box - as I endure an unemployment born of pique and persecution, unjustified and not of my manufacture. I've come to some interesting conclusions as a result of that thinking that are serious about cultural criticism (to facilitate a more efficacious reality), so, I'm trying to encourage as many individuals as I can to 'shift' with me. I feel it's the future. Why not? Each day that goes by seems to provide a little more external validation for this invigorating attitudinal 'shift', so bear with me if you can - and can decipher the "personal code" I've been accused of writing in - <g> - because the result, I think, is the more timely acceptance of an unavoidable and quickly approaching future that we are all ignorant of... and for which we are generally unprepared, myself included. I think we would do well to prepare, more, for this future. Presently, we are being denied, by our conflicted culture - its governments, agencies, and institutions - the tools and materials for that preparation. That future could be wonderful, folks. We'd do well to be reasonably prepared for it. Before my "attitude adjustment," and while maintaining a general profile as a confident proponent for the extraterrestrial hypothesis (no apologies there!), I still endured an undercurrent of personal embarrassment, actually, regarding any discussion I might try to initiate regarding my ufological activities, projects, or concerns... with the mainstream world I'm immersed in... forgetting for a moment the off-line world of friends and acquaintances also sharing that mainstream world with me. Prudence locally practiced... seemed indicated. Lack of it, apparently, got me disqualified from a second career, after all... I was a tad gun-shy..... On sidebar, If "the man" is going to deny a person a living wage for lawful thinking out of the box... what will "he" do if a person persists? I intend to find out..... Anyway, I used to be oversensitive and demonstratively 'understanding' (ironic, that!) about the discomfort of persons around me regarding the subject of UFOs, 'indulgent' of their lack of ufological interest, and 'disappointed', more than a little, by their own lack of understanding - their pitying or scornful expressions and abrupt subject changes (if I tried to bring the subject up cold?). What follows is a brief composite conversation with the "mainstream," over the years, for illustration... "I saw a strange light in the sky this morning doing some really impossible things..." I might start... "Oh yeah..."? ...is the guarded response... "Yeah... it looked like the shuttle or the space station going over, was brighter than Venus, and..." "...It likely -was- the shuttle or the space station going over..." he'd interrupt. "I've got an animated schedule from the NASA site that ruled them out...," I'd counter. "Well - it was some other satellite, then... there's hundreds of them up there." "Well... yeah," I'd concede, "but none as bright as Venus... I get forecasts on those too. Additionally, these lights..." "...Still" He interrupts quickly, "...it had to be a satellite, or a plane or a balloon, or something..." He shakes an impatient head... "Well - it changed speed and direction, stopped, and was traveling more or less due west..." "So"? "Well - it was comparatively erratic in flight and absolutely silent with no navigation lights, ruling out a plane; balloons and satellites don't abruptly change direction, rate of speed, and... stop. Moreover, satellites generally don't go west." "...Um-hmm... so it must be aliens, then, huh?" His pitying smirk begins its slow bloom. "Well, no, not necessarily... it just seems to be a logical thing to wonder given that as the 'impossible' begins to be eliminated about UFOs... ...whatever remains, however improbable, might be the truth about UFOs..." ...Blank look from the addressed, followed most usually by a subject change or retreat, or even open hostility... ...Look. I know these people have lives - families, jobs, and mortgages. Further, I know that it's me making the waves, rocking their boat, or kicking at the last-century wooden spokes of the wheels on their aggregate cultural applecart. I know that I can be discomfiting with regard to my ready willingness to question general reality or providing for an invalidation of everyone's, too comfortable, status quo. I understand the need to believe in something rock solid so the night shadows are held at bay, and I can appreciate that it's difficult to contemplate that "'everything' one 'knows' is 'wrong'"... That's what kept me at bay with regard to a more strident and challenging approach in some chance discussion with the ufologically unwashed. This is what embarrassed me, reader, provided for my over-sensitivity to an another's arguably specious or contrived sensibilities, and compelled an understanding, an acceptance even, of their lack of intellectual bravery. I figured they were innocent and victims in the social duplicity just like I was. I was worried about their feelings. It's not that way anymore. I would be remiss if I didn't voice my concern, express my opinion, or make my contribution to the thought pool available. It's the least I can do, reader, when I have the manipulating and programming thoughts of others imposed upon me in an even more forceful manner, and in an authoritarian way considerably less efficacious than I would dispense or have dispensed to me. I'm expected to be honest, forthright and dependable with regard to my society while my society is, plainly, not honest, forthright or dependable to me in return. I have difficulty respecting a society that has no respect for me. I have solid ethics, myself, but my society, seemingly, has no morals. This creates problems for me that are not of my manufacture..... You see, it's not my problem that the scales have begun to fall from my own eyes. It's not my problem that I still have a bravery honed, refined, and made baldly mandatory in the social conditionings of two decades of combat, combat aviation training, and troop leadership in the armed forces. It's not my problem that another will choose to turn a blind eye to a substantially abundant ufological evidentiary base... and masquerade their equally blind ignorance with obligatory debunker-isms, spoon-fed CSICOPian platitudes, and head-in-the- sand congested worldviews! It's not my problem that people prefer to trust the realities manufactured for them by a thoroughly corrupted lap-dog and imposter mainstream, or put their faith and cognitive stock into the canted thinking contrived for them by those who would try to manipulate them to ends the manipulated would not appreciate if we knew what those ends were - no apologies here either! And remember: It's not my song, folks, and you'd be remiss shooting the piano player. Do enough of that and pretty soon you won't hear any music at all... with the exception of the state approved! It's not my problem, friends and neighbors! Rather, it's a problem inflicted upon me by an imposed, encouraged, or even nurtured cultural naivete - I once gleefully supported - that society was ultimately predisposed to provide the greatest good for the greatest number. Upon discovering that the truth was more... uh... 'oblique' than that - that society was actually only interested in providing the credible [and grudging] illusion of "providing the greatest-good-for-the- greatest- number". I'm compelled to hold the mainstream authorities, their representatives, and their faith-based apologists to the same fire that has been held to me, and protest, stridently (if needs be!) where they can be found to be breaking the 'rules', advantaging themselves in the codification of these 'rules', or selectively interpreting the 'rules' to suit the aforementioned few. That's a discredited CSICOPian charter, good reader! I'll have no part of it. The arguments and the credibilities of the 'mainstream' (and CSICOPia!) are dead, flatly, become more decomposed and odiferous with each accelerating second, and can no longer be counted upon to be the common-sense-retreat-to-traditional- solid-ground that a reflexive conservative apologist might, shrilly, advise that they were. No. They're decidedly not a "step back to better times." They're a step back to medieval times of feudal social atrocity and the unrestricted lusts of cold-fish and elitist psychopaths! Devoid of any responsibility for fairness, and with zero regard for the sensibilities of individual persons ground up in the institutional machines of these "neo-lords of imposed ignorance", they destroy the middle class, supplant the "freer republic" and replace it with an anti-individualist "new theocracy" every bit as bad (for the rising and the advancing of the individual human spirit) as fundamentalist Islam. Even worse in many ways. Which brings me, albeit the long way around, at last, to the Friedman/McGaha debate at TSUM on January 24, 2004, or what may come to be known as, "The Day CSICOP Died...". There is precious little hyperbole in the preceding and the preceding is an apt citation in strong support of the ufological attitude change - alluded to at the beginning of this essay. A "standing room only" crowd witnessed the complete and total demolition of all of CSICOPia in the person of one - decidedly less than intrepid - Mr. McGaha, apparently the only person in all of CSICOPia willing to stand toe to toe with Mr. Friedman in a controlled debate. The reader can witness the carnage on tape, herself, for a small (tres reasonable!) fee. Goliath gets stomped, again, by David. The, plainly one-sided, debate began with Mr. Friedman, his usual faultless ufological rationality in full sail! He stuck to the facts, outlined his justifications splendidly, and did one more significant thing. He refrained from any gratuitous insult. Mr. McGaha failed to perform in a, remotely, similar fashion. His facts were blustery proclamations, his justifications were silly, specious, and unconvincing, and he was sneering thinly veiled insult from one end of his unpracticed presentation to the other, lightly intimating that Mr. Friedman was a fool to be discounted out of hand. The reader will understand when I say it was perfectly obvious who the fool, really, was. Mr. McGaha paid - and will continue to pay - heavily, I'm sure, for his easy insolence and reflex disrespect. He was rude, presumptuous, condescending, unclear, pedantic, arrogant, patronizing, and not a little duplicitous where Friedman was the textbook opposite of these things. Additionally, McGaha was a case study of Friedman's Four Laws of Fraudulent debunkery..... To wit: 1). "What the public doesn't know, we certainly won't tell them." A look of flawless innocence on his moon-like face, he resold the Robertson Panel and the Condon Report as straight-up peer reviewed reports born of balanced science... instead of the admitted torpedoes to serious ufology they were first designed to be and then actually were! There were dozens of these anecdotes proffered by Mr. McGaha... some of them real head- scratchers... He claimed, for example that the sheer volume of reports regarding different UFO appearances was proof they didn't exist!!! All the descriptions of UFOs should be the same to demonstrate verity, McGaha seems to think... ??? Astonishing. 2). "My mind is made up, don't bother me with the facts." His nose thrown high in almost laughing scorn he pontificated during one of his pompous verbal faux-pas that there was "...zero physical evidence of UFOs... PERIOD," and this was after Mr. Friedman talked about what constituted physical evidence, indicated some 5000 trace cases, and showed some slides of same. What a feather-brained and oblivious thing for Mr. McGaha to do and say. 3). "If one can't attack the data, attack the people. It is easier." A large portion of Mr. McGaha's presentation was taken up with insult to those of us decidedly not in Mr. McGaha's camp, deriding the abduction community, or dismissing the rest of anyone else with an open mind - forgetting those thoroughly convinced, like myself - as malingering "little" people trying to connect to something "big", patent misleaders, the credulous mislead, or the weak-willed mentally ill! Finally, dismissing the noted professor Dr. Peter Sturrock - a trained scientist with more courage in a nail paring than can be found in a gaggle of pelicanists - as a thoughtless "believer" was simply infuriating. 4). "Do one's research by proclamation rather than investigation." I don't think Mr. McGaha answered one question asked of him that evening, at all, that sparks didn't just fly like angry bees off the CSICOPian axe he ground in the answering of them! Additionally, he was clear as churned mud with half of what he said all evening, too - all of it airy proclamation of his scientistic (sic) faith, bland misinformation, and pointless ideological saber rattling. Moreover, his overuse of the expression, "Period", was amateur, ill-informed, and unconvincing. He used it like it was a citation when all it really was, was a demonstration that he had no citation. "There are no UFOs... (wait for it!) ...Period"! Oh, OK... Mr. McGaha said, "Period"! Everyone turn in your tin- foil hat and laser pointer! We can at last disband and go our separate ways"! Such is the verity and validity of McGaha's citation: "Period"! Mmm... no..... Doing more harm to his denialist CSICOPian position than would have been forecast, Mr. McGaha's strutting patronization pointed up the paucity of his facts, his startling ignorance regarding the topic, his reliance on fallacy and misdirection to make his point, and, finally, illuminated the certainty that the hallmark of CSICOPia is 'reflexive thinking' in support of the suspect status quo... and not 'reflective thinking' in support of the advancement of individual human spirit. He and his knee-jerk reactionary institution are the fuel on the fire of my rejection of same! He allows me - nay, compels me... provokes me... tasks me - to pull off my gloves and be solicitous, no longer, of the specious sensibilities of persons with a ready sneer, a complacent ignorance, or a self-closed mind! He's put me in a situation where I have to "start scaring the straights," (to quote Bill Murray), too, and that's regrettable... but, it's not me kicking the spokes out of their cultural wheels, but that their spokes were bad - or missing altogether - to begin with! Couple the preceding with the stark refusal of these persons to perceive that their 'emperor' (or Mr. McGaha for that matter) is decidedly without a stitch of clothing... and a mandated shift in ufological attitude is more than justified! Shift where - if it hasn't been clear? Shift from the apologetic and unsettled 'fringe' as a reviled and dismissed "believer" - tas purposefully degraded by Mr. McGaha - to the brave and un- conflicted individual... comfortable and confident that he/she holds the higher rational ground, would do the purer, more courageous science - given tools and fundage - is more in line with where the mainstream should be, and so should be the mainstream, in fact! These 'new' mainstreamers can be secure in their more supportable convictions regarding the 'reality of things' as it pertains to the ufological and its peripheral issues... based on a stunning mass of "six kinds" of evidence for same - anecdotal, photographic, historical/artistic, physical, scientific, and personal! Unfounded and unsupported criticisms of canted and denying bias from the 'former' mainstream remove it to the "real" fringe, friends and neighbors, and the higher pressure open-minded move in to supplant the resulting void! That's when we take off in this new millenium, fellow motes, and not before! My feelings. It's a new age. Prepare to live in it. There's no other choice. Oh, and pleasantly surprise both of us and try to do something more than persecute me for reminding you of the just preceding, and thanks. Regardless, I'll give as good as I get. Sincerity and supported convivtion is my protector. To close: Buy the Friedman/McGaha debate tape by contacting Stanton Friedman at fsphys.nul I'd wager Mr. McGaha won't be providing them. Read on.
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