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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2011 > Sep > Sep 25

Re: New Official Brazilian UFO Files

From: Jerome Clark <jkclark.nul>
Date: Sat, 24 Sep 2011 11:02:55 -0500
Archived: Sun, 25 Sep 2011 08:54:03 -0400
Subject: Re: New Official Brazilian UFO Files


>From: Kentaro Mori <kentaro.mori.nul>
>To: post.nul
>Date: Fri, 23 Sep 2011 11:49:04 -0300
>Subject: Re: New Official Brazilian UFO Files


>>From: Jerome Clark <jkclark.nul>
>>To: <post.nul>
>>Date: Thu, 22 Sep 2011 14:10:47 -0500
>>Subject: Re: New Official Brazilian UFO Files

<snip>

>>Or maybe, so as not to disappoint us who otherwise would be
>>willing to hear you out, you could list some UFO sightings you
>>regard as puzzling and suggestive.

>>Or are we to presume that you conduct your inquiries with the
>>predetermined belief that there are none and that all goes to
>>serve that conclusion?

>On the contrary. There's a plethora of yet to be discovered
>phenomena. And this, I think we all hope, will eventually
>include extraterrestrial intelligence, civilizations, et al. And
>much, much more, including things we don't even dream about.

Are you saying that possibly we may learn one day that UFO
phenomena are related to "extraterrestrial intelligence,
civilizations, et al. and... things we don't even dream about"?
Or are you just saying that as a broad observation about the
likely results of expanded knowledge, stating principles with
which nobody at all, whatever he or she feels about UFOs, could
possibly disagree?

>>If so, I'd argue that's more ideology, which is easy, than
>>actual skepticism, which is hard.

>When I write that the more disclosure we see, the more the
>skeptical position is favored, I'm stating a fact. Would you
>claim that the ETH position is favored instead? Have the dozens
<of thousands of released documents strengthened the ETH case?

In fact, disclosure has not favored the anti-UFO position at
all, a point made elegantly and with much documentation in
Leslie Kean's excellent book (see my review in IUR 33,2 or at
Kean's website) and elsewhere. Your claim to the contrary,
frankly, raised a flag bigger and redder than usual, which is
why I remarked on it.

>Of course, when I mean skeptical position, I mean the skeptical
>position.

>Arguing about ideology is ideology, Jerry, and especially when
>you, like Gevaerd and Tichetti, seem to imply I somehow don't
>deserve to be heard because I'm allegedly a skeptibunker with a
>made up mind or something like that. Even if that were true,
>ignoring relevant information I may bring up is just more
>ideology and made-up minds.

I don't use the term "skeptibunker," which as one who knows
something about the English language I regard as a word both
atrocious and unnecessary. Nor did I say, or even think, that
you don't "deserve to be heard." All I wanted to know is if a
genuinely puzzling, non-trivial UFO case could emerge from any
analysis of yours. It's a legitimate question.

As for your simplistic definition of the "skeptical position,"
as if its meaning were self-evident, I refer you to some very
good writing by academics such as Truzzi, Bauer, Hufford,
McClenon, Westrum, Wendt & Duvall, Kripal, Bullard, and others
on the tangled meaning of "skepticism" in the context of debates
about anomalies and the paranormal. Having discussed these in
too many previous posts, I do not intend to repeat myself.

All I'll say is that in the context of organized debunkerism (a
movement dating, at least in the U.S., to the rise of CSICOP in
the mid-1970s), "skepticism" is arguably not what is happening.
It's better thought of as an ideologically based rejectionism.
Thus, CSICOP's critics early on made much of the organization's
roots in the American humanist movement, a fact that helped
explain its contentious response to what it regarded as
heretical beliefs. To make sure there is no misunderstanding: _I
am not arguing that CSICOP (or whatever it's called these days)
therefore is wrong in every pronouncement it makes_. I'm just
pointing out the obvious: that it staked out an ideological
position to which all anomalous claims ultimately had to come to
heel.

>The ideal that we should all be bias free is an ideal. Of course
>we should be conscious and avoid our own biases, but pointing
>out someone is biased simply to completely ignore his points is
>just more bias. Which is indeed easy.

I wasn't advocating anything as ridiculous as you suggest, of
course. Is it necessary to reduce my perfectly reasonable
question to absurd caricature? Again: most people would regard
it as perfectly reasonable to ask someone who makes persistent
claims (in your case - till now, apparently - uniformly
negative) what his operating assumption is, especially when he
is arguing about matters on which the rest of us have to take
his word. So as to eliminate (I hope) the predictable: no, this
_does not mean_ that you have nothing worthwhile to contribute.
I find it rather incredible that you would put yourself into
that kind of bizarrely defensive, even borderline self-pitying,
posture.

I would want to know something comparable about an individual
who makes persistent positive, extraordinary claims on which I
have to take him as the sole authority. I would want to know,
for example, if this individual has a history of advocating
assertions generally considered outlandish and unjustified by
available evidence (e.g., Adamski's contact claims). Again, that
_does not mean_ that he could never under any circumstance
contribute anything useful to our knowledge. It just means
something like caveat emptor. Or a natural caution. Or a
justified provisional skepticism.

My own comfort level is with those who have a track record of
finding both puzzling and explainable data concerning UFO (and
other anomaly) reports. The long history of investigation, by
civilian ufologists, military personnel, and scientists,
demonstrates that's what ordinarily comes out of reasonably
open-minded inquiry. (Even with the worst will in the world, at
least at the top, that's the actual finding the Condon Committee
arrived at. So did Blue Book [not, by the way, "Bluebook"] when
it was conducting real investigations under Ruppelt in the early
1950s.) Anyone who has everything accounted for, or on the other
side represents every report as evidence of some fantastic
phenomenon, ought to be viewed cautiously by any rational
observer. The history of research into these areas does not
validate an absolutist approach.

I would hope we can agree on these (I should think) fairly self-
evident observations. I don't seek a prolonged exchange on this.
I simply sought clarification of your views. Meantime, I will
continue to read your postings with interest and come to
judgments I deem appropriate.


Jerry Clark




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