Saturday, July 26, 2008

Skepticism: Oh those wacky ufologists!

In regards to: http://www.dailygazette.com/news/2008/jul/20/op-ed-column-story-ufo-watcher-raised-some-disturb/

About a week ago, the local paper ran an op-ed piece I'd written in response to a piece on the local MUFON chapter and its head. (MUFON is the Mutual UFO Network, the largest "Oooh! Oooh! I don't know what it is but it's a thingie in the sky that I cannot identify so the universe must be about to change and then everyone will know I'm a cosmic genius" club in the United States.)

It had been a long time since I'd written about UFOs and I'm beginning to remember exactly why. Reasons like this:

Response #1:

"July 20, 2008 10:44 a.m. TheAvenger ( no real name given ) says...

I believe that if one reads the recently released Mufon radar report on the Stephenville, Texas mass sightings, you must acknowledge that a decent scientific report about the U.F.O. phenomenon does exist. Granted, it only proves that the dozens of witnesses saw a real object, but multiple visual reports that correctly locate an object's position coupled with radar data is quite compelling evidence.

Several of us real scientists are now having a look into the U.F.O. enigma and hope to have a better understanding of what they are or aren't in the next few years."

Please note that this response, 1) cites MUFON literature as its source. It is my strong belief that anything a ufologist writes on UFOs is probably a second-hand source. As a historian, and I'm as much a historian, academically speaking, as anything else, it's important to get as close to the source as possible particularly when controversy over the facts of the matter exist.

2) Proves nothing of any sort even if accepted as fact because all it claims is that many people saw something in the sky and that radar confirms it. This does not prove anything except that there was something in the sky and nobody knows what it was. There are lots of things in the sky. There are lots of things in the ground and there are lots of things in the water too. Many people do not know what they are either. Hello MUFON people. Please call me when you figure something out. Better yet, when that happens, if it's truly significant, I feel safe I'll hear about it elsewhere, probably through multiple sources.

3) This post was allegedly done by a "real scientist." What the *&$#@%$!! kind of real scientist? Come to think of it the last time I heard a reference to generic scientists as a source of anything it was also from a ufologist trying to get someone to take his alleged implant seriously after a physicist had said it appeared to be nothing out of the ordinary. And why does he not give his real name? (I have.)

There was a time these things amused me. Now they just make me grouchy.

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