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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2011 > Apr > Apr 30

Re: SETI Summary

From: Ray Dickenson <r.dickenson.nul>
Date: Sat, 30 Apr 2011 14:09:00 +0100
Archived: Sat, 30 Apr 2011 09:24:38 -0400
Subject: Re: SETI Summary


>From: Jerome Clark <jkclark.nul>
>To: <post.nul>
>Date: Fri, 29 Apr 2011 11:52:55 -0500
>Subject: Re: SETI Summary

>>From: Ray Dickenson <r.dickenson.nul>
>>To: <post.nul>
>>Date: Fri, 29 Apr 2011 15:19:53 +0100
>>Subject: Re: SETI Summary

<snip>

>>Which might account for that radical change in Sagan - from
>>early honesty and open-mindedness to later cynical (and
>>sometimes unscientifically 'abusive') behaviour and writings.
>>That change has always worried/intrigued me.

<snip>

>Championing UFOs on top of that would have placed him far beyond
>the pale. (It did that even for Allen Hynek, a prominent, well-
>established astronomer, when he eventually came out to defend a
>hated phenomenon.) As the saying goes, it's not hard for
>somebody to believe -- or to disbelieve, in this case -- if his
>living depends upon it. Sagan was reasonably sincere in
>disbelieving in the existence of ET-related UFOs (though one
>imagines the occasional late-night doubt about the course he'd
>chosen to take). It's also true that skepticism was convenient
>for him, his career, his respectability, and his income.

Hi Jerry

That's probably all true enough.

I was thinking more of the change in tone of his general
writings and behaviour from the time he became 'prominent' - say
by the time of Cosmos' inception.

He seemed to begin making unscientific and dogmatic assertions:
like on the panspermia question, where his blanket 'debunking'
was eventually proved to be completely wrong, and (from the
little I've read) on the Velikovsky censorship affair, where his
stance seemed initially to be as corrupt and unfair as was the
mainstream science community's - only later backtracking and
coming out with some mealy-mouthed stuff about balance, freedom-
of-speech etc.

By the time of 'Demon-Haunted World' he was sounding jaundiced
and demon haunted himself, seemingly calling for extreme sceptic
(status quo) bias in scientific assessment, when Carl Popper had
much earlier said all that needed to be said on that subject.
I.e that any claims (theories) should be subject to ordinary
falsification and not the demand for "extraordinary evidence" -
a meaningless open-ended term.


Cheers

Ray D




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