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Skeptologists attack Ufologists

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Image credit: Paul Trent, 1950
Image credit: Paul Trent, 1950
Greg Taylor: The skeptical superstar team pushing for their own (spectacularly ugly-named) reality TV series - 'The Skeptologists' - have gone out of their way this week to pick on ufology, in particular two researchers: Stanton Friedman and Chris Rutkowski (or maybe they just don't like Canadian residents?). 'Skeptoid' host Brian Dunning rushed into battle with his post "Stanton Friedman Doesn't Like Me". As Dunning points out in his own post though, Stan's probably got good reason not to like him, considering Dunning has previously labeled Stan (and continues to) “an obsessed UFO wacko."

Now, ufology has plenty of problems - there's no real 'group authority', and plenty of hucksters and deluded people. I'm not criticising them here, because basically they're hucksters and deluded people...whom most people can see right through. Skeptics on the other hand, take on a heavy burden in giving themselves that name - it means they're imposing themselves as guardians or gatekeepers to science and the collective body of human knowledge. As such, when they fail to uphold fairness, and fail to understand something when criticising it, they deserve every bit of blowback that they get.

linked-imageView Full Article | linked-imageSource: Daily Grail

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while I don't believe alot if not most of abduction claims and think most UFO's seen have logical explanations ........ having said that it amuses me to no end that there are some skeptics that deny even the possibility that what is being reported is in fact exactly what is claimed. Especially when it comes from professionals and multiple witnesses.

why ? only one reason I can see . Fear.

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Pesky Skeptologists!

I blame Tom cruise and John Travolta..

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The Skeptologists

linked-image

I think that deserve a Ironhide face palm.

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'Skeptoid' host Brian Dunning rushed into battle with his post "Stanton Friedman Doesn't Like Me". As Dunning points out in his own post though, Stan's probably got good reason not to like him, considering Dunning has previously labeled Stan (and continues to) “an obsessed UFO wacko."

:o exsqueeze me??

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Sad isnt it?

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'Skeptoid' host Brian Dunning rushed into battle with his post "Stanton Friedman Doesn't Like Me". As Dunning points out in his own post though, Stan's probably got good reason not to like him, considering Dunning has previously labeled Stan (and continues to) “an obsessed UFO wacko."

:o exsqueeze me??

presumably you aren't actually stanton friedman?

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while I don't believe alot if not most of abduction claims and think most UFO's seen have logical explanations ........ having said that it amuses me to no end that there are some skeptics that deny even the possibility that what is being reported is in fact exactly what is claimed. Especially when it comes from professionals and multiple witnesses.

why ? only one reason I can see . Fear.

:D Extreme skepticism is not a new phenomenon. Galileo could not get a single one of his fellow faculty members from the

U. of Padua to look through his telescope. Or even at his telescope! He and his friend Kepler had a good laugh about it.

Fortunately, the Princes of the time were hard-headed businessmen, and were used to the discovery of new things by their

globe-girdling ships. They supported Galileo the rest of his life, even after the Pope and the Inquisition forced him to abjure

over the question of whether the Earth really moves. He did some of his best physics after that, working in a palace loaned

to him by a Florentine prince.

Galileo and Kepler were the most intelligent men of their kind. Nonetheless, it took more than a century for Galileo, Kepler and

Newton to be accepted and included in the academic curriculuum. So, we should not be discouraged by putrid skeptics. We

shall have the last laugh. Eventually.

As a curious footnote, the actual proof that the Earth moves only came with the observation of parallax in the 1800s, with telescopes

having a 6 foot mirror.

~~~Cebrakon

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'The Skeptologists' - have gone out of their way this week to pick on ufology

First things first: "pick on" makes it sound like the nasty ol' sceptics - sorry, skeptics - are bullying poor little ufology, the beastly people.

If ufology fancies itself a science - which I hope any reasonable ufologist would agree that it's not, despite its label - then it's expected to be able to take care of itself. Like all science, if it's challenged, it should have ways to rebut those challenges. The main way in which ufology can do this is by pointing out that, regardless of what sceptics think, people have always seen, and I suspect will continue to see, UFOs. By which is meant 'Unidentified Flying Objects'.

Of course, many ufologists don't see them as mere 'unidentified objects'. They see them instead as alien spacecraft - and that's why ufology has a problem with sceptics. Sceptics can't honestly deny that these things are seen - although many try - but after that, it's presumptions all round. Advocates of the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis presume that they're aliens, and build all their subsequent reasoning and actions on that premise ("Million Fax on Washington", anyone?). Sceptics presume that they're all weather balloons, or the Moon reflecting off ducks; and based on that presumption they form their assessment of the loonies and nutballs who don't share their supposed 'rationalism'. Rationalism that all too often consists of dismissing possibilities out of hand simply because they're unknown or unrecognised by existing scientific models.

Each side has its dogma, and it's the conflict of that dogma that causes the trouble. Even the arguments used are contrived. Ufologists love to compare themselves with Galileo, or other misunderstood geniuses, based on a spectacularly bad leap of logic: "They persecuted and mocked Galileo, and he was right. So because they laugh at us, we must also be right."

Sceptics laugh at ufology for many reasons. Key amongst those reasons is the fact that a sceptic is a stubborn creature, prone to disbelief, while the ufologist is more credulous (or, as they prefer to say, 'open-minded'), and prone to belief. That's simple enough. A sceptic often won't entertain a notion until there's evidence. That in itself isn't unreasonable - in fact, it's very reasonable. That approach is the reason we no longer live in a superstitious dark age, so hurray for it. But the problem is often that despite the sceptic's demand for 'objective evidence', what s/he's really looking for is evidence that s/he finds personally convincing. That often goes with an iron-hard conviction that their approach makes them more intelligent than deluded or stupid believers; and that in turn can feed an arrogance that alienates the very people the sceptic should surely find most valuable: the people who've experienced these things and who can provide evidence, albeit probably anecdotal.

Not that ufologists are squeaky-clean in the arrogance department either: I've seen too many put themselves on a pedestal, convinced that they're the intellectual elite, and that everyone else seems to be sleepwalking through life oblivious to the conspiracies going on around them. How many times have I seen UFO enthusiasts telling people to "WAKE UP" (or, worse, using the worn-out word "sheeple")?

I think the key to mutual understanding would be to have sceptics loosen up a little and at least consider the possibility that their methods might not be the be-all and end-all of knowledge; and for ufologists to start asking a few more questions before buying eagerly into every piece of tenuous 'evidence' that someone presents them with. (And if you think that last is unfair, just do a search on 'Penetrating Photographic Process'. I rest my case.)

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I think the key to mutual understanding would be to have sceptics loosen up a little and at least consider the possibility that their methods might not be the be-all and end-all of knowledge; and for ufologists to start asking a few more questions before buying eagerly into every piece of tenuous 'evidence' that someone presents them with. (And if you think that last is unfair, just do a search on 'Penetrating Photographic Process'. I rest my case.)

agreed. As an educated person who has seen something unexplainable and very obviously not something man made nor natural , I don't believe most of what is said in regards to the subject. I think the area is polluted with too many that are delusional .

that being said however , the fact that many people from single to groups have witnessed objects that they know are impossible for man or nature , need not be thrown out with the bulk of reports. Science is as well observation and many have been recorded be it video , photo to ancient text . ( I find it sad that many skeptics think this is a new phenomenon only existing since 1947 or only since man has taken to flight . I find it equally sad that so many hoax such material.)

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As an educated person who has seen something unexplainable and very obviously not something man made nor natural , I don't believe most of what is said in regards to the subject. I think the area is polluted with too many that are delusional .

Yes I agree,as the General of the French Air Forces of NATO said..

"The number of thoughtful,intelligent,educated people in full possession of their faculties who have 'seen something' and described it grows every day.We can say catergoricaly that mysterious objects have indeed appeared and continue to appear in the sky that surrounds us".

General Lionel M Chassin,

French Air Forces,

Air Defense Coodinator of the allied forces of NATO

...but it 'is' fair to say there are some fair wacky delusional folk on 'either' side of the debate.

Perhaps this is why the objective,impartial,analytical method should always attempted when looking into this subject.

The most prominent and famous scientist to be hired by the US government to look into the UFO subject was the very well respected Dr Allen J Hyneck.

He was initialy very sceptical of the reports but after years of dispassionately studying evidence and employing the scientific tool of arriving at judgements 'after' examining evidence he said this:

"For the government to continue to maintain that UFOs are non-existent in the face of the documents already released and of other cogent evidence presented in this book is puerile and ,in a sense, an insult to the American people".

Dr J Allen Hyneck,Phd.

http://web.archive.org/web/20010411064849/...box/science.htm

I think the people in the link on the opening post are just well paid and noisy 'pseudosceptics' who have absolutely no interest in objectivity.

Pseudosceptic defintion:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pseudoskepticism

""A variety of pseudoscience: the behavior of highly biased 'sneering scoffers' who try to legitimize their prejudice by donning the mantle of science and proper skepticism. They claim to support reason/logic while in fact filling their arguments with plenty of ad-hominems, straw-man, poisoning-the-well, and numerous other emotion-enflaming fallacies and debating tactics.""

Pseudosceptics are just as bad (and a mirror image of ) people who think 'everything' is a UFO.

Both do a great disservice to objective study and perhaps should learn that the best place to attempt to put oneself when looking into this subject is somewhere between hystericaly prejudiced,close minded cynicism and extremely naive, open minded gullibility.

Edited by karl 12

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I think the key to mutual understanding would be to have sceptics loosen up a little and at least consider the possibility that their methods might not be the be-all and end-all of knowledge; and for ufologists to start asking a few more questions before buying eagerly into every piece of tenuous 'evidence' that someone presents them with. (And if you think that last is unfair, just do a search on 'Penetrating Photographic Process'. I rest my case.)

I don't think skeptics like James Randi or Penn and Teller have any training in science or any knowledge of scientific method. Gardner, who wrote a column for Scientific American on mathematical recreations, had no college degree of any kind, and his "debunking" methods showed that he also had no knowledge of scientific method.

The essence of scientific method was classically stated by Sherlock Holmes: "When you have ruled out the alternatives, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth." That is also the method used by "House", the TV diagnosis sleuth.

Consider the Professor Johanson case, one of many excellent studies from The Humanoids, edited by Charles Bowen. The Professor was fond of hiking up in the accessible high valleys of the Alps. In just such a valley in Friuli, the NE most province of Italy, he came across a large red disk stuck into the side of the mountain. Flabbergasted, he began running towards some boys in the distance, talking incoherently. When he came close, he realized they were not boys at all, but humanoids not of this Earth. They had an earthy green skin, and bulging eyes something of a greenish yellow color. They were dressed in blue overalls, with red cuffs and wore a kind of cloth cap.

They ignored his questions, but were fascinated by his alpine walking stick with the ice axe as the handle. One of them did something at his waistband and the Professor became partially paralyzed. They took his stick. He was able to turn over and watch them take-off. Landing in a crevace of the mountain did not damage the disk at all. It backed out with boulders flying. It paused a moment, and quickly vanished, silently, into the distance. This happened in 1947, a few weeks after Roswell.

I believe you are quite wrong in saying that professional Ufologists are credulous and will believe anything.

Consider how this case rules out all the usual debunkings. It was in full daylight. It wasn't some mysterious light in the sky that might have many possible explanations that could not be eliminated. It was clearly not a secret military aircraft. Nor was it swamp gas, Venus, a distant Piper Cub, etc. etc. You see how we are left with only one hypothesis. These are star-traveling humanoids.

~~~Cebrakon

Edited by Cebrakon

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Cebrakon good post,I found myself agreeing with Stanton Friedman's first paragraph.

http://dailygrail.com/news/friedman-response-to-skeptologist

Stanton Friedman's rebuttal:

Brian Dunning Running for Top UFO Debunker

Debunker Brian Dunning must be congratulated for adhering so closely to the basic rules for debunking: A. What the public doesn't know, I won't tell them. B. Don't bother me with the facts, my mind is made up. C. If one can't attack the data, attack the people. D. Do one's research by proclamation, investigation is too much trouble.

He demonstrated these in his off the wall attack on Skeptoid on the Betty and Barney Hill case about which I have written a detailed critique. Then he reacted like a spoiled brat caught with his hand in the cookie charge by insulting me after hearing on a radio station that I had said his piece was loaded with false claims. He said Friedman was "the principal Author of the Roswell, Travis Walton, and Betty and Barney Hill UFO mythologies". I haven't written any mythologies and certainly didn't write a book about Travis Walton. More: "he wrote the most significant books inventing the most popular stories". Wow, I am impressed. He must be jealous of my being a nuclear physicist.. "in fact his only career since 1970, was writing UFO books". I must be a very slow writer. My first book, "Crash at Corona", co-authored with Don Berliner, was published in 1992. My second book "TOP SECRET/MAJIC" was published in 1997. "Captured! The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Experience", co-authored with Kathleen Marden, Betty's niece, was published in 2007. My most recent book "Flying Saucers and Science" was published in June, 2008. He quite obviously hadn't read "Captured!" and I seriously doubt if he has read any of the others either. He thinks TV producers should "call a spade a spade and call me an "Obsessed UFO Wacko". He then makes the out of this world claim that his claims in his skeptical piece "are corroborated by Stanton Friedman's own books." This is hogwash to the 4th power.

He says "the facts of the case aren't really in question [so why didn't he get them right?], it's the interpretation of the facts that are. Betty Hill spent two years writing a UFO story and sharing it with her husband, and then when asked about that story under hypnosis, Barney Hill was able to rattle it off pretty much as she wrote it". This is a total and complete lie as he and anybody else would know if he had read "Captured". I can only wonder what the source for this completely wrong claim was. Dunning calls me "a successful author busy with book tours and UFO conventions". Fact is I have never done a book tour. I have spoken at over 600 colleges and 100 professional groups. After 1970 and prior to "Crash at Corona", I was involved in a lot of professional activities. I worked on the commissioning of the Pt. Lepreau nuclear generating station. I measured radon levels in houses and wells in the Fredericton area. I did a study for the Canadian Electrical Association on "The Recovery and Utilization of Waste Heat from Power-plants"(visiting a number of facilities) and another for them on "The Use of Electron Beams to Treat Flue Gas." I did a study "Future Technology Scenarios for New Brunswick" for the Province, and other studies on food irradiation, and seed stimulation. I gave professional papers at meetings of the European Society for Nuclear methods in Agriculture in Piacenza, Italy, and Warsaw, Poland, among others.

So it is clear Brian Dunning is a skilled liar, not a skeptic. He deserves "Debunker of the Year" award. And he should apologize to his readers and me for gross misrepresentation.

Stan Friedman

Edited by karl 12

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In just such a valley in Friuli, the NE most province of Italy, he came across a large red disk stuck into the side of the mountain. Flabbergasted, he began running towards some boys in the distance, talking incoherently. When he came close, he realized they were not boys at all, but humanoids not of this Earth. They had an earthy green skin, and bulging eyes something of a greenish yellow color. They were dressed in blue overalls, with red cuffs and wore a kind of cloth cap.

'Humanoids not of this Earth', you say. And that's partly what I mean. Say 'not of this Earth' and most people will take it that you mean extraterrestrials - aliens from another planet. We can - and probably do - both accept at least the possibility that the Professor saw the creatures he described. It's possible that he was deluded - but it's also perfectly possible that he wasn't. Claiming that he was would furnish us with a nice, easy solution: he's mad (or he's lying), so we needn't trouble ourselves with something that our beloved rationalism just won't help us with. The existence of such creatures would force us to recognise the limits of our current knowledge - and a lot of sceptics really don't like to do that.

But, on the other hand, nor do a lot of believers. Many of them know - in just the same way - that these are definitely off-world aliens travelling the galaxy in their spaceships, and they tend to cling to that as their own preferred 'true' explanation. It's simple, and some people just don't like to look past it at other possibilities. Those that do are generally sidelined and marginalised within ufology.

Consider how this case rules out all the usual debunkings. It was in full daylight. It wasn't some mysterious light in the sky that might have many possible explanations that could not be eliminated. It was clearly not a secret military aircraft. Nor was it swamp gas, Venus, a distant Piper Cub, etc. etc. You see how we are left with only one hypothesis. These are star-traveling humanoids.

No, I don't see that at all. I've seen a lot of things in broad daylight that aren't secret military aircraft, aren't swamp gas, Venus, a distant Piper Cub, etc etc - but they weren't star-travelling humanoids either. This is quite a good illustration of my point. In no way here have we ruled out every conceivable possibility other than space aliens - and I suggest we probably couldn't hope to do so. Yet, after the briefest run through some of the common 'rational explanations', dismissing each quite casually, you feel confident in declaring this an encounter with space aliens. It is, you say, the only remaining hypothesis.

But of course it's not. There are many others before we accept the possibility that aliens have somehow managed to travel faster than the speed of light; and not only that, have found cause to visit a backward planet such as ours in order to study someone's walking stick in a mountain pass. We have to eliminate the possibility that the Professor was mistaken, deluded, or was lying about his encounter... And even once we've dealt with those possibilities and satisfied ourselves that he did indeed see what he reported seeing, we have to consider numerous possibilities for the origins of the creatures. Did they come from space? It's one explanation - and it's the one most UFO enthusiasts will reach for first. But what of others? Might they be ghosts? Phantoms of some sort? Might they be from some undiscovered underground realm? Might they be from an alternate plane of reality? Might they be from outside our Universe altogether? From some spacetime equivalent domain that's invisible to us and our science except when, occasionally, its inhabitants intersect our own world?

Whichever of these possibilities we prefer, we have to dismiss enormous problems. For interdimensional beings we have to accept that they have some way to cross the barriers of the real - or at least to project themselves across in some form. For subterraneans we have to account for why we've never found this underground world. For space aliens, of course, we have to explain how they've managed to break the light barrier and why, having done so, they'd use their technology to behave in the bizarre manner they apparently do.

The biggest problem I have with the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis personally is the fact that these reports have been coming in not just since 1947 when the 'aliens' craze kicked off, but for thousands of years, right back to the dawn of recorded human history. The wrapping has changed, but the package is the same. There have always been puzzling and frightening encounters in remote places; mysterious disappearances and abductions; accounts of visits to strange realms; injuries to livestock; odd lights and shapes in the sky... The list goes on. What are now 'UFOs' and 'aliens' were once angels and demons. Before that, they were fairies and goblins. I believe the ET Hypothesis fails to account for these phenomena because it's just too simplistic: it offers and explanation for what they are; but it doesn't account for what they've been. Just ask yourself this: how many aliens, as featured in modern UFO encounters, have been described as wearing cloth caps?

I believe you are quite wrong in saying that professional Ufologists are credulous and will believe anything.

Read again: I'm fairly sure I didn't say that. I said that ufologists are generally more prone to believe than sceptics, and that some ufologists will accept absolutely anything at face value and take it as proof of aliens. Would you seriously take issue with that?

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Karl12

I found myself agreeing with Stanton Friedman's first paragraph.

http://dailygrail.com/news/friedman-response-to-skeptologist

Stanton Friedman's rebuttal:

Couldnt agree more there Karl;

Regards;

TFF

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Sad isnt it?

Nah. Just about right.

By the way, most skeptics crave the day when ET will be proven. We just won't hold our breath. Boo ya.

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Skeptologists; lol! I like it, has a nice ring to it.

I'm still a Fenceologist, not quite a Convinceologist yet.

Edited by REBEL

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