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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2011 > Mar > Mar 10

Re: The Assassination Of Hopkins & Cortile

From: Jerome Clark <jkclark.nul>
Date: Wed, 9 Mar 2011 09:40:02 -0600
Archived: Thu, 10 Mar 2011 08:46:27 -0500
Subject: Re: The Assassination Of Hopkins & Cortile

>From: Kathy Kasten <catraja.nul>
>To: <post.nul>
>Date: Tue, 8 Mar 2011 21:03:43 +0000
>Subject: Re: The Assassination Of Hopkins & Cortile

>>From: Jerome Clark <jkclark.nul>
>>To: <post.nul>
>>Date: Tue, 8 Mar 2011 13:16:57 -0600
>>Subject: Re: The Assassination Of Hopkins & Cortile

>>>From: SMiles Lewis <elfis.nul>
>>>To: post.nul
>>>Date: Tue, 8 Mar 2011 10:37:41 -0800 (PST)
>>>Subject: Re: The Assassination Of Hopkins & Cortile

>>One of the cited critics, incidentally, tried to have me
>>arrested for something or other. (No officer of the law showed
>>up at my door.) I guess that's one way to "improve" the field:
>>have ufologists with whom we disagree locked behind bars. Can
>>we look forward to more of that?

>>I guess that in 2011 this is what ufology has come to. No wonder
>>we're getting nowhere. How truly, truly sad.

>Good grief, ufology can't have it both ways.

>What I mean is that if the field wants to be taken seriously
>challenges to standing theories will be made. Then, the recourse
>is to refute the challenges. That is the 'scientific way'. I
>understand most UFO researchers see their research as a 'new
>baby' needing to be protected from the perceived threats of the
>real world.

As informed Listfolk are aware, I have a long history of
advocacy of debate and internal criticism. I've practiced it,
too. I've even eliminated some reports, including what was once
a major one, from ufology's data base after I've determined them
to be invalid, and I've written critical deconstructions of
theories and approaches I judge flawed (see, for the most recent
example, the latest issue of IUR, where I critique the ideas of
an especially prominent, influential figure in the field). You
would know that if you knew anything about me. For all its
faults, moreover, ufology has a rich tradition of internal
criticism. Ufologists don't walk in lock step, nor should they. 

Unfortunately, on occasion - we are witnessing such a lamentable
diversion now - debates devolve into, or at times commence with,
witch hunts which depend less on the airing of issues than on
the demonizing of particular individuals. (Sometimes it's the
demonizing of an entire field. See, for example, the weirdly
excessive, hate-laced rhetoric of "psychosocial"
theoretician/UFOphobe Peter Rogerson quoted in Nigel Watson's
recent post.)

In my long history in this field, I have observed a range of
human behavior, sometimes admirable, often foolish, just as
frequently merely plodding and unimaginative. Of course, the
same could be said of _all_ human behavior, and though its
critics would like to believe otherwise, nothing distinguishes
ufologists from human beings. In the 50 years I've interacted
with ufologists, the number of ostensible colleagues I would
count as genuinely bad people (as opposed to, say, genuinely
irritating, misguided, incompetent, ill-informed, or
unintelligent people) is one I could count in no more than
single digits.

The conflict that erupted nearly 20 years ago, at heart a witch
hunt, operated as first principle on the presumption of corrupt
hearts and conscious venality. (To put it simply; there's much
else I could go into about the background, but will not. This
long-sleeping dog ought to be let lie.) In my understanding of
the way it works, scientists debate issues, not personalities.
Error is something we encounter every day of our lives. We often
practice it ourselves. Error does make us evil, any more than
the holding of one unfounded belief necessarily makes us

In the specific instance you're learning about for the first
time now but others of us have lived with for nearly two
decades, I had no choice but to be suspicious of the critics'
broader charges. To start with, I knew the ones directed at me
were false, based (I could only infer) in a failed attempt at
mind-reading. Those charges were deeply personal, and so over
the top that one of the critics tried to have me arrested. If I
were to cite an instance of how not to conduct oneself while
attempting to construct a counter-narrative to an alleged UFO
case, this would be it. The scientific way? I think not. I
_hope_ not.

>A very cute and cuddly stance to take. But, isn't it time for
>the baby to learn to walk?

And it's time for debates to conform to the scientific way (no
scare quotes), not to the way of the Inquisition.

Kathy, I have no doubt that you mean well, which is to say I
have no reason whatever to demonize you as a corrupt, malicious
individual. On the other hand, in your many posts on UpDates, I
see no evidence, I'm sad to say, that you know a whole lot about
this complex field: its history, its body of evidence, its
controversies, its approaches, its literature, its
personalities. Still, God knows you have no shortage of opinions
about just about everything that manages to find its way to this
List. I feel no need to pay a whole lot of attention to them not
because I think you're a bad person; it's just that often you
don't seem to know what you're talking about even while,
inexplicably to me, you betray every evidence of being impressed
with your own iconoclastic genius.

If you really are concerned with the scientific way - the kind
without scare quotes - in a more than rhetorical sense, I would
strongly encourage you to educate yourself and, armed with a
broader range of knowledge, to think harder before putting half-
baked assertions, accusations, and speculations out there with
such dizzying abandon. There are individuals on this List with
whom I have profound differences, but they come by their views
from knowledge, experience, and long reflection. To call upon
the hoariest of clich=E9s, they've paid their dues. Yours looks,
on the other hand, more like a free ride.

Jerry Clark

BTW - To anticipate the inevitable: _of course_ your right to
post here whenever you wish to do so is not the issue. It's the
content of those postings. And if you want to dish it out - and
you do at every opportunity - you're going to have to take it in
return. That, after all, is the scientific way.

Listen to 'Strange Days... Indeed' - The PodCast



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