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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2011 > May > May 31

Re: Review Of Jacobsen's Area 51 Book

From: Jerome Clark <jkclark.nul>
Date: Tue, 31 May 2011 09:30:00 -0500
Archived: Tue, 31 May 2011 11:32:47 -0400
Subject: Re: Review Of Jacobsen's Area 51 Book

>From: Kathy Kasten <catraja.nul>
>To: <post.nul>
>Date: Mon, 30 May 2011 18:13:54 +0000
>Subject: Re: Review Of Jacobsen's Area 51 Book

>From: Jerome Clark <jkclark.nul>
>>To: <post.nul>
>>Date: Sun, 29 May 2011 17:35:26 -0500
>>Subject: Re: Review Of Jacobsen's Area 51 Book

>>>From: Kathy Kasten <catraja.nul>
>>>To: <post.nul>
>>>Date: Sun, 29 May 2011 18:36:09 +0000
>>>Subject: Re: Review Of Jacobsen's Area 51 Book

>>>>From: Jerome Clark <jkclark.nul>
>>>>To: <post.nul>
>>>>Date: Sun, 29 May 2011 05:56:31 -0500
>>>>Subject: Re: Review Of Jacobsen's Area 51 Book

>>>>>From: Kathy Kasten <catraja.nul>
>>>>>To: <post.nul>
>>>>>Date: Fri, 27 May 2011 18:57:10 +0000
>>>>>Subject: Re: Review Of Jacobsen's Area 51 Book

>>>>>>From: Terry W. Colvin <fortean1.nul>
>>>>>>To: post.nul
>>>>>>Date: Mon, 23 May 2011 20:17:54 -0500 (GMT-05:00)
>>>>>>Subject: Review Of Jacobsen's Area 51 Book

>>Considering how much effort and expense have gone into the
>>Roswell investigation, responsible investigators have every
>>right to complain about somebody who seems to know nothing but
>>who in her ignorance - and, of course, desire to sell books, for
>>which I don't really blame her; writing is hard work, the
>>rewards mostly meager - promotes what even outside observers
>>(i.e., non-ufologists) view as a deeply suspect story. Is it
>>your view that people who know what they're talking about, such
>>as those who've devoted many years to the study of the Roswell
>>event (whatever it was), should just shut up? Or are they
>>obligated to have you vet their remarks before they air them?

>>Incidentally, lest I be misunderstood and to forestall the
>>inevitable, I am a Roswell agnostic of long standing. I am
>>willing to listen to and consider any point of view that, if it
>>is based in arguable evidence and discernible logic, does not
>>insult my intelligence. (Not wishing to stir anybody up, I will
>>not here detail which views insult my intelligence.) It is my
>>observation that reasonable people have arrived at different,
>>even conflicting conclusions. Eventually, when all is at last
>>sorted out, some will be proven wrong, which doesn't make them
>>bad people, stupid people, or crazy people. Until every piece is
>>put into place, disagreement about what the assembled puzzle
>>will look like is only to be expected.

>>It helps me in my own thinking about this that as a lifelong
>>student of history, I have some grasp of how historical
>>investigations of poorly understood, inadequately documented
>>events in the past are conducted. If you remove the toxic
>>initials "UFO" - which seem to drive you nuts, or at least to
>>rhetorical excess - from the equation, you'll find that whatever
>>the ultimate answer is to this particular question (prosaic or
>>extraordinary), Roswell is for now just one more historical
>>mystery among many.

>>>Please, Roswell orthodoxy is alive and well with 'the
>>>community' ready to defend their anointed spokespersons. They
>>>just plain bore me.

>>Which explains, perhaps, why you're paying no attention to
>>what's actually going on all around you. It would behoove you to
>>follow what ufologists say about the case. In fact, the issue is
>>so controversial and contentious that an important UFO List -
>>not this one, obviously - bans any discussion of it because
>>ufologists have such radically conflicting assessments that they
>>tend to end up in flame wars. Since there is no ufological
>>consensus on Roswell, there is no orthodoxy, just a range of
>>strongly held opinions. Or perhaps you define orthodoxy as any
>>opinion you disagree with.

>>>Jacobsen presents a totally new approach.

>>A "totally new approach"? An anonymous informant tells her a
>>>fantastic story, with self-contradicting details which ought to
>>raise a red flag to anybody who's paying attention, and that's a
>>"totally new approach". I don't think so. It looks rather like
>>an all-too-familiar, ordinarily dubious one to me. Just, in
>>fact, still more noise around an already faint and receding

>After 30 years "the community" has been collecting cases and
>testimonies. The analysis: the alien's did it.

If one heeds a broad body of reasonably coherent testimony, the
notion that aliens - not "alien's" (sic) - did it would be
inescapable. Even the Air Force and Jacobsen's anonymous
informant were forced to acknowledge as much by conjuring up
counter-explanations, however flimsy, which conceded the
significance of the testimony to that effect.

In my own view, as I've written elsewhere (see my Fate review of
the Carey/Schmitt book Witness to Roswell earlier this year),
there are nonetheless significant unaddressed problems with the
alien explanation. They have nothing to do with silly claims
about runaway balloons or wild-eyed speculations about Stalin's
Cold War strategic experiments. The simple, or not so simple,
fact about Roswell is: something happened, but we still don't
know what it was. As with abduction experiences, every
explanation to date fails to resolve some significant issue.

>Absolving "the
>community" of any responsibility to analyze. I heard a guy last
>night - Richard Lang - project leader for MUFON. His job, as he
>saw it, was to collect cases, make sure the info was accurate,
>and pass a monthly report on to BASS(?sp) for $56,000 a month.
>After 4 months, MUFON was spending only $26,000/mo and putting
>the rest of the money in a savings account. This project manager
>couldn't design a project that would have included analyzing the
>cases using - oh I don't know - various types of equipment to
>collect samples? No, as long as the answer was "the aliens did
>it" the analyzing stopped. So, yes, "the community" response
>bores me because it is simplistic. Real world possibilities only
>intrude on "the community's" constructed orthodoxy. Give it up
>fellas. Call it Mission Failure, step back and design a new
>approach. One that moves things closer to a resolution. Is that
>so hard? Well, I guess it might be. It is so much easier to say
>"well, it's the way we have done it for the last 30 years."

I'm not sure what this has to do with much of anything. You keep
using the phrase "community" - virtually the only person I know
who thinks that characterizes an enterprise as fractured as
ufology. I guess that's how you can construct elaborate
fantasies of uniformity, the daily contrary evidence of Updates
postings notwithstanding, to suit your convenience. I can say, I
suppose, that my experience with CUFOS has exposed me to some of
the finest thinkers, analysts, and investigators in the field.
If there were a "community" as you imagine, I guess I'd know a
lot more about what MUFON is up to and thus would be answerable
for whatever you're talking about above.

>And, please don't get me started on just how many people read
>Dr. Dolan's Roswell Dig Report.

No, please get started. Tell me. I've never heard of it, never
heard it mentioned by anybody till now. I'm sure a faction of
people read this Dolan thing, but at least in the consensus
world of word definition, "faction" and "community" are not

>Why no one did? The dig didn't
>turn up pieces of a craft. However, there were real artifacts
>that never got to the laboratory to be analyzed. I think I was
>one of five people who read the report and thought about the
>items listed in the report. "The community's" response? Well, it
>wasn't what we wanted and, therefore, we are not interested.
>Really, a truly boring response. My response to that response?

Are we to believe you read "the community's" mind? Seems so. If
you have something to say and evidence to produce, it's up to
you to do so, not up to us to try to read your own mind in
search of same. Till then, your boasts of intellectual
superiority - so far both undemonstrated and endless - are
simply boring.

>Logic informs me that Mission Failure is the reason to skim over
>the "documentation" of collected cases and testimonies. There is
>evidence of nothing tangible except lights in the sky. Alien
>Abductions? Well "the community" response is: "we all just don't
>want to deal with how the mind works, psychic impulses,
>neuropsychological possibilities. "The community's" response is:
>"oh, for gawd's sake, don't bother me."

Oh, for crissake. You're posturing as usual, not to mention
demonstrating amazing ignorance of readily available literature.

The "community" - which exists, alas, only in your mind - has no
uniform view of the abduction phenomenon. Roswell advocate Kevin
Randle even co-authored a book which purported to demonstrate
that these reports are all of psychological origin. My own
perspective isn't even hinted at in the paragraph-screed above.
I'm sure you don't know what it is. As for the claim that the
"community" hasn't considered your favored reductionist beliefs
about the phenomenon's cause, I refer you to a considerable
literature which has weighed - more objectively than you appear
capable of - a range of proposed explanations and found them

Among the most valuable is academic psychologist Stuart
Appelle's "The Abduction Experience: A Critical Evaluation of
Theory and Evidence," JUFOS 6 (n.s., 1995/1996): 29-78. (Prof.
Appelle is a member of the CUFOS board, as I shall assume you're
learning for the first time.) See also "Alien Abduction
Experiences," Stuart Appelle, Steven Jay Lynn, and Leonard
Newman, in Carde=F1a et al., Varieties of Anomalous Experience:
Examining the Scientific Evidence, pp. 253-82, Washington, D.C.:
American Psychological Association, 2000. See also folklorist
(and fellow CUFOS board member) Thomas E. Bullard's voluminous
writings on the nature of the phenomenon and his analyses of the
many so far unsatisfactory attempts to account for it. You can
start with his long essay on the subject in my UFO Encyclopedia,
2nd ed. In each of these cases, these scholars conclude that the
phenomenon resists just about any sort of prosaic or even
extraordinary explanation, prominently including the ones you
mention. I gather that, having no visible tolerance for
ambiguity, you can't handle the concept that some questions are
yet unanswerable.

Rather than concede the obvious - that scholars who look at this
with reasonable objectivity end up puzzled and conclude that the
phenomenon, whatever its ultimate nature (in my own gut feeling,
as opposed to [pretended] certain knowledge, unrelated to ET
visitation), apparently exceeds current knowledge - you imagine
it's a problem created by "the community" for the sole purpose
of pissing you off.

Frankly, I'm bored with reading posts in which you brag of your
superiority to enemies in "the community" real and imagined.
It's time for you to start producing papers in which you do as
the rest of us have to do: lay out your arguments and evidence
in the proper forums (not Updates, which is here for informal
discussion) so that knowledgeable observers can judge what you
have and a real conversation can ensue.

I'm not holding my breath.

Jerry Clark

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