Sunday, August 21, 2005

Michael Salla's "Dan Quayle" Moment

One should always be careful about comparing oneself to an icon.

For example, former Vice-President Dan Quayle may be best remembered for his 1988 debate with Democratic VP candidate, Senator Lloyd Bentsen.



Quayle (above), who was perceived as a lightweight who did not have the experience to be President, should the need arise, compared his length of experience with that of John Kennedy.

Bentsen, in what was one of the most devastating political exchanges in American history, pounced:

"Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy."

Quayle tried to answer:

"That remark was uncalled for, Senator."

Bentsen twisted the dagger:

"You're the one making the comparison, Senator... Frankly, I think you're so far apart in the objectives you choose for your country that I did not think the comparison was well taken."

And that was that.

Fortunately for the Republicans, people vote for the top of the ticket, so George Bush survived his selection of Quayle as his running-mate, but Quayle never recovered from the impression created by that one moment. It defined him. [For anyone interested, the full debate transcript can be found at www.debates.org/pages/trans88c.html]

I call this a "Dan Quayle" moment.

Exopolitics-guru Dr. Michael Salla has just had one.

It all began when Dr. Salla, who was getting rhetorically and logically pounded by Brad Sparks, Kevin Randle, Stan Friedman and others at UFO Updates, sought to invoke the memory of Major Donald Keyhoe, one of ufology's early pioneers, by claiming that Keyhoe was, in fact, the idealogical father of exopolitics. When some suggested that this was "a bit much" (to be polite), Salla reiterated the comparison.

That was a mistake.

Dick Hall, playing the role of Lloyd Bentsen, has now weighed in on Salla's attempt to compare himself to Keyhoe (which, in ufological circles, is sort of like comparing yourself to Kennedy in politics).

Here's what Dick had to say at UFO Updates today, in response to Salla (who had the effrontery to call Dick - and by implication anyone else who disagreed with Salla - "naive"):

"Michael, I will venture to say without fear of contradiction that I knew and understood Major Keyhoe and his thinking far better than you did or ever will... Major Keyhoe never believed what you say. We all thought UFOs probably were spaceships; that's no secret. But Maj. Keyhoe always depicted two opposing camps within the Air Force, one of which favored total secrecy and one that wanted the full truth to come out. This analysis has been totally confirmed by historical documentation, and is a far cry from what you are claiming. Later he came to believe that the CIA was behind the secrecy policy, and there also is good evidence of that being true after 1952. You go right ahead and spout your exocranial blatherings. No real scholar is going to pay any attention to them, and as Paul Kimball pointed out, the dubious and often badly flawed "sources" that you continually cite will go a long way toward further discrediting the subject in the eyes of the people whose help we badly need. - Dick" [The full post can be found at www.virtuallystrange.net/ufo/updates/2005/aug/m21-005.shtml]

Allow me to translate:

Dick - "Dr. Salla, I served with Donald Keyhoe. I knew Donald Keyhoe. Donald Keyhoe was a friend of mine. Dr. Salla, you're no Donald Keyhoe."

Salla (as I anticipate his response will be) - "That remark was uncalled for, Mr. Hall."

Dick - "You're the one making the comparison, Dr. Salla. Frankly, I think you're so apart in the objectives that you choose for ufology that I did not think the comparison was well taken."

Exactly.

The only difference between the 1988 vice-presidential debate and the 2005 ufological debate is that, unlike Quayle and Bentsen, Hall and Salla are pretty much at the top of their respective "tickets."

It's time for ufology to choose.

The UFO Evidence vs. Exopolitics.

The Real Inheritor of Keyhoe's legacy vs. The Imposter.

Fact vs. Fiction.

I know where my vote goes.

Paul Kimball

26 comments:

RRRGroup said...

Paul:

Just one caveat -- about Dan Quayle.

I worked with his campaign when he ran for office in Indiana.

The guy was not and is not as dumb as the mythology has it.

He was no JFK perhaps -- he didn't fool around on his wife and is an honest guy -- but he did know his foreign policy and was rather astute while in office, suggesting some bills and admendments that show his acumen.

Your analogy is cute, as usual, just a bit off the mark in a few places.

Rich Reynolds

Roger Glass said...

There's an interesting parallel between UFOs and Dan Quayle.

If you're having a discussion with mainstream intellectuals, and you mention the UFO issue, you have to say it's ridiculous, for fear they'll mock you.

Correspondingly, if you're with ordinary people, and Dan Quayle comes up, you have to say he's an idiot, for fear that THEY will think you're an idiot.

Well, flying saucers are real, and Dan Quayle is no idiot.

As to the federal government specifically, Quayle is a strict constructionist, a constitutionalist - he thinks that the federal goverment should be exercising only those powers specicically enumerated and granted to it in the Constitution. As to government in general, he opposes socialism, and favors free enterprise. I consider myself a libertarian conservative, and I agree with him in both areas.

If you want to know about John F. Kennedy, then the writings of Thomas C. Reeves and P.J. O'Rourke will tell you more than I ever could. I will say that if you disregard the Kennedy legend and look at the real man, JFK does not measure up to Quayle.

Of course, I have great respect for Mr. Hall, and I find Dr. Salla's UFO writings laughable.

All I know about Roswell is what I read in Moore, Friedman, Randle/Schmitt, Korf, ad Pflock. I think any reasonable peson, relying only on these materials, would conclude that Roswell was a balloon.

Roger Glass said...

Over the years I have been fortunate enough to develop an e-mail friendship with a few conservative commentators of national stature. I have never been able to get any of them to take flying saucers seriously. The following is what I wrote to one:

"If you were to waste your time making a detailed study of UFOs in general, I think you would come to two conclusions:

(a) PROBABLY some UFOS are extraterrestrial; and

(b) PROBABLY there is (are) some compartment(s) within the U.S. government that know(s) everything human beings can discover on the subject - however much or little that may be. And undoubtedly for very good reasons, the feds aren't talking.

If you were to waste your time making a detailed study of Roswell in particular, I think you would conclude that it was nothing more than a balloon. A secret government balloon, but still a balloon.

Anyway, so as to the general UFO question, why do I say 'waste'? After all, earth being visited from another planet - very likely from one or more other solar systems - is a very big deal.

Firstly, because unless you have some access unavailable to the general public (and I myself certainly don't), (a) and (b) are ALL you are going to find out - and they aren't much. You're not going find out anything you really want to know - where they come from, what they're like, why they are here, and how they do it.

Secondly, because the vast majority of stuff out there about UFOs is horrible, and the vast majority of those addressing the subject aren't worth listening to. And for heaven's sake, don't ever go to a UFO convention.

Hermann Oberth thought UFOs are real, and Peter Sturrock and Michio Kaku think so too.

Since UFOs probably are real, and their reality HAS to be enormously important to humanity, then why don't serious commentators, of national stature, seriously address this issue? I don't know.

So for someone like myself, the only thing to do is, very occasionally, check the few reputable sources, to see if something worthwhile has surfaced. In the past few years the more interesting things have been from old, retired military and government guys who aren't receiving remuneration for their revelations, are at a point where they don't feel bound by their secrecy oaths, and don't care about the consequences.

So why don't investigative reporters pursue leads from these old guys? Again, I dunno."

Paul Kimball said...

Paul Kimball said...
Rich & Roger:

I never said that Quayle was an idiot, but that's certainly what the majority of Americans think, and the debate had a great deal to do with that.

Personally, I don't think that anyone who gets elected VP is an idiot. On the other hand, some are brighter than others (Gore vs. Quayle, for example).

I was talking about the "moment" which comes to define a person - when outlandish claims are thrown back in his or her face. Quayle comparing himself to Kennedy (whether you like Kennedy or not) was ridiculous, if for NO other reason than it was certain to backfire, as it did. As I tell people, there are three possible things that can happen as a result of any action - (1) good can come from it, (2) no good can come from it, or (3) it could go either way. Quayle comparing himself to Kennedy fell into category (2).

Salla comparing himself to Keyhoe was similarly stupid.

Paul

Frank Warren said...

Paul,

Couldn’t help myself . . . I had to chime in; I thought your missive, and specifically your analogy of the “Hall/Salla” dispute was a “fun read.” (There’s no denying your talent with the pen); however, aside from the fact that Hall unquestionably knows more about the mindset of the now deceased Donald Keyhoe I fail to see any further similarities. Unlike Quayle, who said,” I have as much experience in the Congress as Jack Kennedy did when he sought the presidency,” Salla did not liken himself to Kehoe, he “praised him” for being “the first to offer an ‘exopolitical analysis.’"

I might add, on paper (rereading his statement) Quayle’s comment (and I believe accurate for the most part) seems harmless; however, having watched the debate, it was easy to deduce the motive for “invoking the Kennedy name” which in turn, in my view, made Bentsen’s rejoinder all that much more prominent. I liken the Kennedy/Quayle example to “Bush comparing WWII to the Iraq conflict—aside from the obvious, there’s no correlation to either.

Finally, the arguments involving “Exopolitics” seems to be contingent on its definition, as well as the level of acceptance in regards to the evidence in support of the theorem.

Cheers,
Frank

RRRGroup said...

What's irritating, Paul, as you note, is how Salla has sullied the name of Donald keyhoe with his nonsensical attribution of Keyhoe's work as exopolitical.

Salla is co-opting the thrust of Keyhoe's anger with AF and military or government cover-up.

This is a slander (in the vernacular sense) of a great kind.

Even Richard Hall can't tamp down Salla's egregious misstatement of Keyhoe's role in ufology, which is greater than almost everyone else's.

How does one stop the guy?

RR

Paul Kimball said...

Frank:

Always nice to see you stop by.

You wrote:

"Unlike Quayle, who said,” I have as much experience in the Congress as Jack Kennedy did when he sought the presidency,” Salla did not liken himself to Kehoe, he “praised him” for being “the first to offer an ‘exopolitical analysis.’"

Sorry, but that's too simplistic. Salla was indeed comparing himself to Keyhoe, perhaps not as directly as Quayle did re: Kennedy, but the whole thrust of Salla's argument (as Dick picked up on) is that Keyhoe was the original exopolitician, using the same methodology and arguments that Salla uses now, and therefore, by implication (and this was clearly what Salla was implying), Salla is following in his footsteps. He was trying to co-opt Keyhoe's legacy for his own purposes, and Dick (and others) rightly called him on it.

Paul

Frank Warren said...

Paul,

I'm afraid we'll just have to "agree to disagree" (surprise!) as I didn't perceive Salla's declaration in the way you did; I sensed he used Keyhoe in particular with Dick as he knows the respect he has for the man, his work and his memory; e.g., he said, (Salla) "The cover up of data concerning UFOs/ETH has been commented upon by many including your former mentor Donald Keyhoe."

Salla defines "Exopolitics" as:

My favored definition is "Exopolitics is the study of the key
actors, institutions and processes associated with the
extraterrestrial hypothesis (ETH)."

Another definition was raised in an earlier post and is based on
the exobiology model:

Exopolitics is "a branch of politics concerned with the
possibility that life forms are visiting the Earth, and with the
problems of adapting Earth politics to deal with visiting
aliens."


I'm curious as how "you" define Exopolitics?

Cheers,
Frank

Paul Kimball said...

Frank:

The problem is that well-meaning guys like you take Dr. Salla at his word, as posted at Updates, where he plays to a certain audience.

I have pointed out his disingenousness with respect to a "definition" of exopolitics at a previous blog post:

http://redstarfilms.blogspot.com/2005/08/dr-salla-strikes-out-again.html

One is defined by what one says and does in action, not by what one would like to have some people believe.

It isn't a question of how I define exopolitics. I accept Salla's definition - not the one he peddles at Updates on occasion, but the one that is gleaned from HIS writings, at HIS website.

The definitions you cite above are - to be blunt - carefully crafted propaganda, with no basis in reality.

Paul

Paul Kimball said...

Frank:

As for Salla not trying to co-opt Keyhoe's legacy, you're reading from the wrong post. Try www.virtuallystrange.net/ufo/updates/2005/aug/m08-021.shtml

Here are the relevant bits:

"...exopolitics is not new at all and something that began with Keyhoe's analysis of the government
cover up. It is not a fringe approach that threatens to dilute
"serious UFO research" but an important approach that was
practiced by Keyhoe in establishing the parameters of serious UFO research."

That seems pretty clear to me - "Keyhoe practised the exopolitics approach, just as I do."

Salla then went after Stan Friedman, as follows (note how he shifts Keyhoe to his "camp" and away from Hall, Friedman, Hynek and McDonald"):

"You are clearly part of a cadre of UFO researchers marking out
and enforcing the methodological boundaries of 'serious UFO
research' in terms of the need for documents and other forms of
'hard evidence'. Exopolitics does accept 'soft evidence' in the
form of whistleblower testimonies, and this is not a new
development since Keyhoe did something very similar with his own
approach to the cover up of the ETH."

Not content with likening exopolitics, and by extension Dr. Salla himself, as a leading "practitioner" of exopolitics, to Keyhoe, he tosses in Steven Greer for good measure:

"I fully agree with the criteria
established by Greer in his Disclosure Project which is very
similar to the approach taken by Donald Keyhoe."

He finishes with:

"Since you and others on Kimball's A-Team have publically stated your
opposition to Greer and his methodology, then we are clearly on
opposing camps as to what constitutes 'serious UFO research'."

For the logically impaired, here's the equation Salla sets out:

"A = Kimball's A Team (Friedman, Hall, Hynek, Sparks, McDonald)

B = Exopolitics (Salla, Greer AND Keyhoe)

B is better than A."

Thus does he not only compare himself and exopolitics with Keyhoe, but he seeks to divorce Keyhoe everyone else.

As Dick said, "horse-hockey."

Paul

Paul Kimball said...

Frank:

As for Salla not trying to co-opt Keyhoe's legacy, you're reading from the wrong post. Try www.virtuallystrange.net/ufo/updates/2005/aug/m08-021.shtml

Here are the relevant bits:

"...exopolitics is not new at all and something that began with Keyhoe's analysis of the government cover up. It is not a fringe approach that threatens to dilute 'serious UFO research' but an important approach that was practiced by Keyhoe in establishing the parameters of serious UFO research."

That seems pretty clear to me - "Keyhoe practised the exopolitics approach, just as I do."

Salla then went after Stan Friedman, as follows (note how he shifts Keyhoe to his "camp" and away from Hall, Friedman, Hynek and McDonald"):

"You are clearly part of a cadre of UFO researchers marking out and enforcing the methodological boundaries of 'serious UFO research' in terms of the need for documents and other forms of 'hard
evidence'. Exopolitics does accept 'soft evidence' in the form of whistleblower testimonies, and this is not a new development since Keyhoe did something very similar with his own approach to the cover up of the ETH."

Not content with likening exopolitics, and by extension Dr. Salla himself, as a leading "practitioner" of exopolitics, to Keyhoe, he tosses in Steven Greer for good measure:

"I fully agree with the criteria established by Greer in his Disclosure Project which is very similar to the approach taken by Donald Keyhoe."

He finishes with:

"Since you and others on Kimball's A-Team have publically stated your opposition to Greer and his methodology, then we are clearly on opposing camps as to what constitutes 'serious UFO research'."

For the logically impaired, here's the equation Salla sets out:

"A = Kimball's A Team (Friedman, Hall, Hynek, Sparks, McDonald)

B = Exopolitics (Salla, Greer AND Keyhoe)

B is better than A."

Thus does he not only compare himself and exopolitics with Keyhoe, but he seeks to divorce Keyhoe everyone else.

As Dick said, "horse-hockey."

As I said, somewhere Donald Keyhoe is spinning in his grave.

Paul

Anonymous said...

Blog in haste; repent at leisure?
On the blogs, we're seeing a more thoughtful response to the same problem. There's a temptation to comment on an event straight away, but it sometimes takes a while for all the facts to emerge.

My mother learned me hoe to enjoy rosegardening, so I made myself a planting roses site. Recently I started looking for planting roses related blogs, too! But they're hard to find... maybe someday I'll start writing one as well... :-) Sorry for bothering you - was just curious how it would look if I would post something somewhere... cool!

Frank Warren said...

Paul,

After rereading your earlier piece on Salla and his declarations, I certainly am clearer on “your position” of his views; however, I have not read all, or for that matter a good part of Salla’s assertions, in that vein I’ll pause for further review; nevertheless, I will say that I don’t believe the issue of “Exopolitics” is as “black and white” as you make it out to be. Moreover, I have to reiterate that I believe “Exopolitics” is contingent upon “its definition” and the acceptance (or not) of the evidence in support of any theorem; certainly as you have said Salla takes it to its extreme as evidenced by his web-site.

In regards to Keyhoe, I think Salla has cleverly used him to support his mind-set, and depending on how you “define” Exopolitics, I think he could get away with it. Did Keyhoe believe “in his heyday” that the government was in cahoots with various alien races? Of course not, was he aware of a conspiracy? Certainly—he wrote about it and then some! I don’t see what he (Salla) wrote as a “Quayle/Kennedy synopsis.”

The ironies that exist in the exopolitical debate are almost laughable, but as I told Rich once it comes down to a matter of acceptance; for example, if one accepts The Roswell Incident” as an ET crash with bodies etc., then what does that say for Salla’s tenets? If one “accepts” that fact that out government has lied to us in a wholesale manner, then where does it end?

Frank

Paul Kimball said...

Frank:

Alas, it isn't "my views" - it's Salla's views, which he expresses in different ways to different audiences. That is the very definition of disingenous.

For all his bashing of the "A Team" he seems to desperately want their acceptance. Go figure.

As for "accepting" something, even if you "accept" that Roswell was an alien spaceship crash, which I do not, or that the government may know more about the UFO phenomenon than they have revealed (which is different from saying there is a Cosmic Watergate, but that's another discussion), it's still a pretty long and twisty road from there to exopolitics, as defined by Greer, Salla and Webre, who, after all, are the founders of exopolitics.

Sorry, but it's just goofy.

Paul

Frank Warren said...

Mornin' Paul,

You wrote: it isn't "my views" - it's Salla's views, which he expresses in different ways to different audiences. That is the very definition of disingenous.

I said previously: After rereading your earlier piece on Salla and his declarations, I certainly am clearer on “your position” of his views.

That said, I do agree that he seems to exude a "milder version" of "Exopolitics" (or a muddied definition) on the List, opposed to his web-site.

You wrote:As for "accepting" something, even if you "accept" that Roswell was an alien spaceship crash, which I do not, or that the government may know more about the UFO phenomenon than they have revealed . . . it's still a pretty long and twisty road from there to exopolitics, as defined by Greer, Salla and Webre, who, after all, are the founders of exopolitics.

First, let me be a little clearer, in my discussion with Rich sometime back, I referred to the "level of acceptance"; for example, SETI folk theorize that there is life in the universe, they just don't think (accept)that it can travel here. Most people adhere to the reality that something happened in Roswell be it a "Mogul balloon," a horrific "inhumane experiment" or a crash of an ET vehicle. (Various levels of acceptance of evidence presented).

If you accept the latter as fact (which you admit that "you" don't) then that makes "additional ideas" about extraterrestrials plausible e.g., if we know ET exists, (based on Roswell) are there more then one species? If we know Roswell was a fact, then that sheds light on other sightings and or crashes, and also opens doors to the various descriptions of ET. (Multiple species).

All agree that there was a cover-up of Roswell (including the powers-that-be)If we knew now that it was a cover-up of an ET crash 60 years ago that certainly raises the bar in regards to the "level of acceptance" pertaining to a large governmental conspiracy. (In keeping things from the public).

So, how long and twisty the road is from there (ET crash at Roswell) to exopolitics (secret government interaction with various ET civilizations) depends upon on one's "level of acceptance" of the evidence.

As one gets more enlightened to the UFO phenomenon, their "level of acceptance" broadens. This is why I made the comment, "The ironies that exist in the exopolitical debate are almost laughable ." SETI folk admit theres life elsewhere, but think that all life in the universe is stuck at our level of technological advancement. (I.e. we can't there, so they can't get here dogma). Ufologists (most)who support ETH think the idea of our government being in cahoots with various ET species (for years) and that there is a worldwide massive conspiracy hiding the fact is absurd. (Level of acceptance doesn't go that far).

It appears to me that most whom take issue with Salla's dogma, take issue with his offerings of evidence in support of his theorem, i.e., anecdotal stories from so-called "government whistleblowers." In the end, this is what is crucial - the evidence!

Makes me think of Cuba Gooding Jr. yelling, "SHOW ME THE MONEY!"

Cheers,
Frank

Paul Kimball said...

Frank:

The difference between you and I is I don't "accept" anything as fact until it is proved, whereas, with respect, you seem to "accept" almost anything.

It does provide me with a chuckle, however, when I see a condescending statement like "As one gets more enlightened to the UFO phenomenon, their "level of acceptance" broadens," which is the equivalent of saying, "if only you knew as much as I knew, then you'd accept the truth."

But knew what?

Now, I'm sure you'll riposte with something like "It wasn't condescending," but it was. It's the same kind of well-meaning but nevertheless condescending remark one hears from born-again Chistians - "if only you were more enlightened - if only you knew Jesus."

Like I said, always worth a chuckle.

And that's the problem with ufology - too many people who "know" something about what is still "unknowable."

And if you don't agree with that, then prove me wrong. Prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the ETH is the ETF(act). Prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Roswell, or, God forbid, Aztec, were crashed spaceships from another world.

You won't, because you can't.

But you can believe it.

That doesn't mean that they weren't crashed spaceships -although with Aztec I think the jury is in on that one, except for the true believers.

What it does mean is that your "acceptance" isn't based on an objective analysis of the evidence - it's based on your belief in what that evidence means.

That's why most of us still call it the ETH - as in "hypothesis."

Paul

Frank Warren said...

Paul,

You wrote:

The difference between you and I is I don't "accept" anything as fact until it is proved, whereas, with respect, you seem to "accept" almost anything.

I imagine we have many differences; however, what “I” accept as fact in regards to Ufology is “usually” based on my own research; if I put salt into someone else’s research, it’s generally supported by my own, or my earned respect of another.

You wrote:

It does provide me with a chuckle, however, when I see a condescending statement like "As one gets more enlightened to the UFO phenomenon, their "level of acceptance" broadens," which is the equivalent of saying, "if only you knew as much as I knew, then you'd accept the truth."

Paul, I wasn't patronizing you—the statement wasn’t directed toward you , and certainly wasn’t meant to be condescending. It has been my experience in talking to the layman, most are very ignorant to the UFO phenomenon; although that has improved in recent years (not by to much) there was a time when the very mention of the topic evoked chuckles and guffaws, along with talk of “little green men.” My point was, “for those folks” assuming they’re of reasonable intelligence, as they gain more knowledge of the subject their level of acceptance of the facts certainly broadens; for example, a friend of mine’s elderly father worked at White Sands Missile range in the late 40’s and early 50’s, he (the son) and I often talk about UFOs. Initially, I got the “common reaction” from him (based on his ignorance, and what I call societal programming) the chuckle, winks etc. I gave him some names to give to his father to see if he remembered any of them; the next time I saw him, he said his father did in fact know some of them. I then showed him some declassified documents of these scientists, establishing that they were involved in UFO work—he hasn’t laughed since. His level of acceptance was broadened when he became aware that people his father worked with, whom he knew to be very important men doing very important work, (as did his father) were involved in Ufology.

Now this is not to say that this guy overnight started waving the ETH flag; however, he now knows there’s more to UFOs then swamp gas and heat inversions.

You wrote:

And that's the problem with ufology - too many people who "know" something about what is still "unknowable."

And if you don't agree with that, then prove me wrong. Prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the ETH is the ETF(act). Prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Roswell, or, God forbid, Aztec, were crashed spaceships from another world

You won't, because you can't.

But you can believe it.


I concede the fact that “I can’t change your mind”; "respectfully," I don’t think that’ll ever happen, even if ET landed on the White House lawn—your requirements don't seem to exist.

You wrote:

What it does mean is that your "acceptance" isn't based on an objective analysis of the evidence - it's based on your belief in what that evidence means.

That's why most of us still call it the ETH - as in "hypothesis."


"My beliefs" are formulated from "my objective analysis." My level of acceptance has been broadened by my experiences from that methodology.

Respectfully,
Frank
http://frankwarren.blogspot.com

gordon said...

I've seen Frank's objections to SETI in similar forms from many other sources, but to me, this is a gross mis-representation of the underlying logic and position behind SETI.

The SETI initiative does _not_ rely on the position indicated in Frank's statement

"... all life in the universe is stuck at our level of technological advancement ..."

and I don't understand why this keeps being re-iterated. SETI postulates are something like:

1. It is statistically likely that many other intelligences inhabit our galaxy (SETI was conceived before evidence for extra-solar planets, interstellar hydrocarbons etc was found, hence the statistical basis).

2. That at some time in it's development, an extraterrestrial civilisation would make use of EMR communications.

3. That, given our experience with (and level of) development of EMR technology, we might be able to find evidence of an extraterrestrial civilisation from its EMR signature.

Statement 2, above, does _not_ imply that a civilisation would develop EMR technology and remain stagnant. It simply makes the reasonable assumption that such a ubiquitous phenomenon as EMR, which can be easily controlled by relatively simple technology, would be likely to be used by more civilisations (at some point in their history) than any other that can be identified across interstellar space with our current technologies. It does _not_ require a belief that _all_ ET civilisations have used it (EMR tech), or have advanced no further. Sure, more advanced methods may also be extant in our galaxy - laser/quantum/gravity communications - but we couldn't identify most of these with our technology, so the point is moot.

SETI makes no claims in regards to ET visitation. Whether or not ET is here doesn't negate the SETI postulates (in fact they strenghten them if they are). Individuals within the loose group that is the SETI initiative do, of course, hold their own opinions on that subject.

Cheers,

Gordon

Paul Kimball said...

Gordon:

Well, it's easy - Frank is a "believer." He has suspended objective analysis of anything (no matter how much he might like to think otherwise) - including SETI - because such analysis does not mesh with his beliefs. In truth, SETI and Ufology are not mutually contradictory - there is a fair bit that the one could offer the other, and vice versa, if only BOTH sides would recognise the value of the other.

The Sturrock Panel Report makes some pretty good reading for anti-SETI ufologists (and anti-UFO SETI guys), about the relationship between the two.

Paul

Paul Kimball said...

Frank:

C'mon - the old "ET on the White House lawn" canard??

That's the problem with the believers - they haven't been able to develop any new material, and they can't abide someone who employs an objective analytical approach while at the same time keeping an open mind.

The Sturrock Panel said it best - there is no convincing evidence pointing to unknown physical processes or the involvement of extraterrestrial intelligence, BUT it would be valuable to study UFO reports, because there is a possibility that science could learn something new. "However," Sturrock wrote, "to be credible, such evaluations must take place with a spirit of objectivity and a willingness to evaluate rival hypotheses."

Their 5 point conclusions:

1. The UFO problem is not a simple one, and it is unlikely that there is any simple universal answer;

2. Where there are enexplained observations, there is the possibility that scientists will learn something new by studying those observations;

3. Studies should concentrate on cases which include as much independent physical evidence as possible and strong witness testimony;

4. Some form of regular contact between the UFO community and physical scientists could be productive; and

5. It is desirable that there be institutional support for research in this area.

That's the way forward, because that's what the evidence allows for. But ufology will never get 3 and 4, much less 5, as long as it insists on maintaining that the ETH is a fact, when they can't prove that it is.

Paul

Frank Warren said...

Paul,

Your efforts to not only "mold the statements of others" and even attempt to dictate their mind-sets is certainly a curiosity. Perhaps it’s a defensive mechanism; in any event I meant no “offense” to you. If you took any of my statements that way (mine not your redefinition of them) I apologize.

I’ll close on this note; in regards to “problems with Ufology” pertaining to the public (specifically those ignorant on the subject), interjecting the verb “believe” or the noun, “believers” into the fray suggests a phenomenon based on faith or conjecture; its hard to comprehend but there are still people pondering the ” reality” of UFOs; to associate the afore mentioned terms to the subject fuels the ignorance.

Respectfully,
Frank Warren
http://frankwarren.blogspot.com

Paul Kimball said...

Frank:

I'm sorry, but the term "believer" is, in my opinion, apropos for anyone who "believes" (and that is what they're doing) that the ETH is a proven fact. This is the problem.

You disagree. Fair enough. We have different perspectives, different methodologies, and different standards of proof. However, as I said in "The Sturrock Gambit," it isn't personal for me, so I wish you ETH believers well, and good luck.

Who knows? You may well be right. I'm no debunker, and I believe that there is life out there, somewhere, and accept that it's possible some of it may have come, or is still coming, here. But you haven't proved that yet, to anyone's satisfaction other than yourselves, and certainly not to a standard required by the law, historical study, or science.

But, as I said, we differ on this, so time to move on.

Best regards,

Paul

Paul Kimball said...

Frank:

I meant to add that no apology was required, as I did not take offence, just as I don't take offence at my evangelical relatives when they say "oh, if only you (and by "you" they mean both me, and non-believers in general) had more knowledge, and were more enlightened about the Bible, then you'd see the light." They mean well, just as I'm sure you did with the statement "As one gets more enlightened to the UFO phenomenon, their "level of acceptance" broadens." It's still condescending, in that it assumes that if one disagrees with you, then it must be their relative lack of enlightenment that is to blame, but I accept that it's not meant to be condescending, so no harm, no foul.

Paul

Frank Warren said...

Paul,

You are obviously a very intelligent talented young man; however, it’s disappointing to see you “brand” others who don’t conform to “your” ideologies. Moreover, it’s very transparent—nevertheless it is your right.

You wrote:

You disagree. Fair enough. We have different perspectives, different methodologies, and different standards of proof.

This we agree on!

You wrote:

I meant to add that no apology was required, as I did not take offence, just as I don't take offence at my evangelical relatives when they say "oh, if only you (and by "you" they mean both me, and non-believers in general) had more knowledge, and were more enlightened about the Bible, then you'd see the light." They mean well, just as I'm sure you did with the statement "As one gets more enlightened to the UFO phenomenon, their "level of acceptance" broadens." It's still condescending, in that it assumes that if one disagrees with you, then it must be their relative lack of enlightenment that is to blame, but I accept that it's not meant to be condescending, so no harm, no foul.

I’ll make one last attempt for you to understand “what I was saying, and what I meant—not “your redefinition” of it as you see fit.

First, you comparing Ufology to Theology, or faith-based religions is amusing for those that know better; however, for the uniformed it only confuses the issue. As I explained before, when I said, "As one gets more enlightened to the UFO phenomenon, their "level of acceptance" broadens." You obviously took offense to this statement, thinking I was inferring to you; you stated before that it was condescending; I explained,

“I wasn't patronizing you—the statement wasn’t directed toward you, and certainly wasn’t meant to be condescending. (See previous comments).

I further stated,

“I meant no “offense” to you. If you took any of my statements that way (mine not your redefinition of them) I apologize.”

What I was speaking of is a “societal phenomenon.” The minds of (we’ll stick with this country) the populace are formed by what I refer to as “societal programming.” Parameters are established in regards to the norm, or what is “acceptable” behavior, thinking etc. Ufology falls outside those parameters.

As the layman (not you) educates himself in regards to Ufology, he learns that there are indeed facts that “fall within the parameters” of his “societal programming”; for example, I have an associate (a very successful businessman) that while talking about UFOs to him, he admitted that he thought the subject was nothing more then “tabloid fodder” and wouldn’t put any credence in it unless he saw it discussed on 60 Minutes—to his surprise I quickly recounted the “Mike Wallace interview with Donald Keyhoe” amongst other “conventional media” tidbits and mildly “enlightened him,” i.e., “broadened his level of acceptance” in regards to his societal programming.

In this case, this individual was “completely” ignorant to Ufology (hard to believe given his age) and was subject to the parameters that were instilled in him throughout his life. Giving him something to grasp onto that fell within the borders of the dictates of “societal programming,” i.e., what’s “acceptable,” he then was able, (depending on how you look at it) to broaden the parameters of what’s acceptable, or “bring in” a subject albeit partially, that was previously taboo.

Finally, Paul if you don’t agree with this missive I have no problem with that, and I really do respect your opinion and your right to “voice it.” But please don’t “Kimballize” (redefine) what “I say,” or “my meaning” into “your definition.” Simply stating “your” opposition is sufficient.

Respectfully,
Frank Warren
http://frankwarren.blogspot.com

Paul Kimball said...

Frank:

Umm... whatever. I'll let people make their own judgments about what we've written (if they care). I'll just say that you "Warrenize" as much or more as I "Kimballize," but I'm not sure you see that, or appreciate the irony.

Now I'll go back to being a very talented 38 year-old "young man," and I guess I'll have to remember to send you a card on "Grandfather's Day."

Paul

RRRGroup said...

Ah, what fun we've had, and now a respite until mid-September.

How will I survive without the wonderful back-and-forths we've had in these friendly blogs of ours?

RR