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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2010 > Oct > Oct 8

Re: Shostak's Search Shift?

From: J. Maynard Gelinas <j.maynard.gelinas.nul>
Date: Thu, 7 Oct 2010 18:38:57 -0400
Archived: Fri, 08 Oct 2010 06:39:46 -0400
Subject: Re: Shostak's Search Shift?


This post is a combined response to David Rudiak, Stanton
Friedman, and Jerome Clarke. My apologies for not responding
sooner as I've been ill. I'm responding in this manner simply to
cut back on redundant replies to the List. I'd like to thank
each of them for taking the time to respond, even if each
staunchly disagree with my position. And I also recognize that
as a newcomer here, I'm challenging several. very well known and
highly respected researchers of this topic. This is not meant to
be personally disrespectful.

To start with, David Rudiak responded to my argument against
evolutionarily common bilateral bipedalism. Here is the salient
portion of David's reply

>From: David Rudiak <drudiak.nul>
>To: post.nul
>Date: Mon, 4 Oct 2010 10:23:23 -0700 (PDT)
>Subject: Re: Shostak's Search Shift?

>This point keeps coming up, that there are supposedly strong
>scientific arguments that (biological) space aliens would not be
>humanoid but some other unimaginable form. These arguments are
>neither strong, informed, nor particularly scientific, at best
>highly speculative, and also at odds with what we observe
>evolution creating here on planet Earth, where natural selection
>forces in particular environmental niches produce many examples
>of convergent evolution of form. Or as the jingle goes, form
>follows function.

<snip>

Mr. Rudiak follows that up a prior UPDATES post and link which goes
into more detail. My response follows:

Hi David, thank you for your reply. Of course, I'm not a professional
Evolutionary Biologist, so please understand if I make an error.
However, I think your argument rests on a shaky foundation. Allow me
to repeat your point in my own words, so we both know our various
assertions are understood by the other. My interpretation is that you
are arguing that because some morphological forms show repetition
across varying Earth environments, that such might be the case across
extraterrestrial planetary environments. For example, mammals Europe
and North America might have a marsupial homologue in Australia.
Here's a web site that discusses common evolutionary traits between
mammals and marsupials:

http://www.nwcreation.net/marsupials.html

So, on the one hand you're correct. Certainly, across two
isolated habitats similar morphology to fill in similar
ecological niches evolved. However, I think there's a flaw in
your argument. First, you ignore just how close mammals and
marsupials are to one another on the evolutionary tree compared
to - say - long since extinct organisms from the Pre-Cambrian
and Cambrian era. This is a critical point, as many organisms
from that period do not follow bilateral forms. Most organisms
from that period are long since extinct. The question then
becomes, did they go extinct by chance, selecting one set of
branches on the tree of life for Earth's current set of
organisms, or did they go extinct because such forms are
unsuitable across most environments? We won't know the answer to
that question until we've surveyed life and its progenitors
across several exoplanets. But right now I'd bet that most
professional evolutionary biologists would argue that former and
not the latter. That is was random chance that led to the
prevalence of bilateralism here on Earth.

So, my counterargument to you is that while homologous form
across isolated ecological niches may be prevalent on Earth,
such as mammalian and marsupial forms, that is only because they
were so close on the evolutionary tree to begin with. Thus,
extrapolating similarities between mammals and marsupials in
order to argue for similarities between evolved organisms on
Earth to other unknown exoplanets may not be a valid argument.

On to the next response:

On Tue, Oct 5, 2010 at 11:04 AM, UFO UpDates - Toronto
<post.nul>wrote:
>From: Stanton Friedman <fsphys.nul>
>To: post.nul
>Date: Mon, 4 Oct 2010 13:52:31 -0700 (PDT)
>Subject: Re: Shostak's Search Shift?

>I find the above missive quite fascinating and unreal. Let us
>face the simple fact that the SETI movement has provided no
>evidence whatsoever of any kind that there are ETs out there
>sending radio or laser signals here. _None, _zero_, Zzilch. I
>certainly derive my conclusions from a great deal of evidence
>which they refuse to examine.

[Blue book SR14 cited as backing evidence ...]

>Since when are witness statements not part of science?.
>Astronomers have made many observations of meteors in the air
>and use them to find them on the ground. They can't control or
>repeat observations of eclipses or solar storms or earthquakes..
>They can and do record observations when the opportunity
>presents itself. Science is a method of approach to determine
>the truth. ... I will take the testimony of retired military
>officers with high level security clearances about simultaneous
>UFO observations over nuclear tipped missiles as the missiles go
>to a no-go situations.Leslie Kean's"UFOs" provides multiple
>witness/instrument confirmations. SETI has provided none.

[...]

>How scientific is it to say if I haven't seen something, it doesn't
>exist? But if I want to receive a radio signal from ET it must exist?

Hi Mr. Friedman, I think I've included enough of your reply to
cover your two most salient points. I'll restate them here:

1) *UNLIKE* with UFOs, there is no evidence of alien radio or laser
signals from distant stars. You then cited Blue Book SR14 as backing
evidence for the existence of UFO phenomena.

2) Witness testimony is often used as data in collection for science.
Included was then a list of intermittent phenomena under scientific
study such as "eclipses or solar storms or earthquakes."

Based upon this you concluded that SETI was a "pathetic" waste
of resources:

>If there was no evidence that aliens were visiting, I suppose I
>could say why not look for radio signals?. But that evidence is
>plentiful. [...]

First of all,

I'll start with your second point as I don't think your
comparison between the highly intermittent nature of UFO
phenomena to "eclipses or solar storms or earthquakes" follows.
Eclipses are well understood and predictable; they have been for
centuries. Solar storms are now watched by satellites to give we
on Earth some time to prepare before they hit. Earthquakes are
also detected by seismometers, which generate seismographs for
data interpretation. In each of these cases, what's under study
is well defined and the data easily normalized statistically. I
don't think it's fair to compare data collection and analysis in
these fields with the data collected by various UFO studies. One
objection is that in fields like seismology various participants
in the field have long since agreed on data collection
standards, which makes analysis much easier across institutions.
UFO data analysis is still held back by the varying collection
standards in use across the years. However, in counterpoint I do
admit that there's quite a lot of public data that's been
collected across the last sixty five years or so.

Second,

going to the first point - as I think it gets to the heart of
our disagreement - I agree that there exists more than enough
evidence on record to conclude that *some percentage* of
"credible reports of incredible things" in the air most
certainly does exist. SR14 was an excellent example to cite, and
I do not take issue with the analysis or your claims of its
relevance here. But I do ask you to note the difference between
the conclusions of SR14, which assert that a certain percentage
of "unknowns" were of high quality. But I don't think this
report concluded that alien space craft were the cause of those
unknowns. They were classified as "unknown" for the reason that
they were reported by highly credible individuals, they were
highly strange, and no prosaic answers were found by
investigators.

It is quite the leap to jump from "unknown" to "alien space
craft". And an even greater leap to jump from "alien space
craft" to "specific alien types observed". One could view this
as three sets of thresholds of acceptance: That some UFO
phenomena exist and are not understood; that some UFO phenomena
represents alien life; that some UFO phenomena are alien space
ships flown by Gray / Reptilian / Nordic / etc bipedal life
forms. I've come to accept the first threshold, but I've got
serious problems with #2 and especially #3.

You cited Leslie Kean and her recent book _UFOs: Generals,
Pilots and Government Officials Go On the Record_ to make your
point about the validity of alien spacecraft and visitors
buzzing Earth. However, I've read that book. That is *not* what
Ms. Kean said in her book. She certainly discussed the ETH as a
potential explanation for UFO phenomena, but she did *NOT*
assert that the ETH was more than just a hypothesis. You do. You
say it is a *fact*. Aliens are buzzing the earth. There's a huge
difference. From my perspective, there is "plentiful" evidence
of something physical in our skies that we do not understand.
But I do not see that "plentiful" evidence of alien bipedal
creatures flying alien space ships around our skies. Thus, I
don't think your argument invalidates the viability of SETI at
all. And I can think of several arguments to continue SETI
research regardless of whether UFOs do - in fact - turn out to
be due to biological aliens flying space ships to earth.

Confusing this demarcation between accepting UFO phenomena as
something real and worthy of study, to next representative of
some kind of intelligence from outside earth, to finally
biological bipedal aliens flying space ships is where I find the
most difficulty. I'll give my perspective as to why. Back when
Donald Keyhoe wrote his classics, like _Flying Saucers are
Real,_  _The Flying Saucer Conspiracy,_ and _Aliens from Space:
The Real Story of Unidentified Flying Objects_ he may well have
been right but his abuse of anonymous sourcing was just
terrible. I'm sure there are plenty on this list who will defend
him, saying that 'he had no choice as the subject matter was top
secret and no military officers were willing to violate that
oath on the record.' Which is right. But it didn't help his
credibility. One could reasonably compare Judy Miller's abuse of
anonymous sources in her Iraq War coverage at the NY Times for a
modern day example of why.

Keyhoe set a bad precedent. Combine that with intelligence
operatives who clearly intended to confuse open source
researchers and damage their public credibility by having them
publish ridiculous claims and the UFO community has the
foundations for a massive disinformation set up. Richard Doty?
William Cooper? John Lear? Bob Lazar? Do these names ring a
bell? By entertaining and accepting known forgeries, like the
so-called initial batch of MJ-12 documents you, Linda Howe, and
later Timothy Good (who now calls them forgeries) handled, the
community only set itself up. The argument is that while these
documents may have been forgeries, they may well contain _some_
correct information. The problem is untangling lies from truth
with no secondary sources.

But think about the issue from the perspective of an outsider.
If *you* can't generate valid and on the record sources to
untangle and verify aspects of forged documents, how the hell am
I - the outsider - supposed to judge the veracity of those
claims? And that is how every professional journalist and print
news source has responded. Of course, with the help of
intelligence sources who also debunk the subject per the
Robertson Panel. Ms. Kean is following the only rational choice
under these circumstances, she's taken the whole kit and
caboodle learned since the 1970s and thrown it away.

She did not report that Grey aliens have underground bases,
formed an agreement with the United States, and are conducting a
cross-breeding experiment between aliens and humans. She did not
report that a "shooting war" took place in a secure facility
between aliens and US soldiers in 1979, leading to the
dissolution of that agreement. Nor did she report that aliens
have 'vats full of human body parts' which they use for feeding
purposes. I would guess she doesn't think much of John Lear's
anonymously sourced claims. Or Bob Lazar's, for that matter.

As it turns out, I have read two of your books: _Crash at
Corona_ and _Top Secret/Majic_ (I also bought and paid for
them). I know that you spent a great deal of time finding and
interviewing witnesses both on the record and off the record to
piece together your work. I bought it, I read it, and I thought
about it. But I'm not - yet - convinced. And much of that has to
do with the tremendous confusion surrounding post 1980s
conclusions. Hell, even Richard Dolan (whose work I like) cites
some 'facts' obtained by Remote Viewing. Where did this
evidentiary standard come from?  Why even pay attention? I mean,
I've - unfortunately - read Courtney Brown's _Cosmac Voyage_ and
felt as though in the process I had actually degraded my
learning capacity. Frankly, I'd have been better off drinking
too much. (Though, strangely, I'm in the pro RV camp as far as
it's utility when claims can be easily verified. But, like
Schroedinger's cat, if you can't perform the measurement the
outcome will remain neither dead nor alive).

So, where am I going with this? Well, based on what I saw, one
could lead me to the second threshold explanation of "this must
represent some kind of extraterrestrial intelligence." What I
saw looked intelligently controlled. But that does not mean a
collection of bipedal aliens is the ultimate cause. It _could_
be. But I want physical evidence before I accept that
conclusion. But right now, in public sources, there is none.
Whereas the evidence for a physical cause to some anomalous UFO
reports is pretty good.

To Jerome Clarke:

You cited:

>Michael D. Swords, "Science and the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis
>in Ufology." Journal of UFO Studies 1 (n.s., 1989): 67-102.

Unfortunately, I don't have access to that journal. I did find
Could Extraterrestrial Intelligences Be Expected To Breathe Our
Air? at the JSE site, which I did read. Thank you for that
suggestion.

Anyway, that's my perspective. Thanks for your time.


-M


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