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 Listen to 'Strange Days... Indeed' - The PodCast At: http://www.virtuallystrange.net/ufo/sdi/program/ These contents above are copyright of the author and UFO UpDates - Toronto. They may not be reproduced without the express permission of both parties and are intended for educational use only.
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