Saturday, April 14, 2007

George Bush and the UFO Phenomenon

[ed. note - No, it's not quite what some of you might be thinking given the title...]

President George Bush the Younger has spent his entire term looking at the world in black and white, at least on the major issues of the day. This Manichean outlook on things (which is not unique to Bush - see Ted Kennedy) is one of the biggest single failings of the political leadership in the United States today (ditto in Canada, but to a slightly lesser extent), because it's just not an "us vs. them", "good vs. evil" world out there. Things are usually more complicated than that.

In many respects, ufology suffers from the same the same "you're either with us or agin' us" attitude. This is particularly true of die-hard ETH believers and disbelievers (the Bush and Kennedy, or vice versa, of what passes for ufological discourse).

As with modern politics, so too in ufology does the moderate centrist feel left out. There often seems to be no room for what Greg Bishop has called "The Excluded Middle".

What's this? You agree with Phil Klass on something?? Then you must be one of "them"!

Huh? You think that Stan Friedman made a good point? Then you must be one of "them"!

A pox on the Manichean outlook, I say. It's high time for "The Excluded Middle" in ufology to reassert itself, just as it is for "The Excluded Middle" in society as a whole to reassert itself.

People need to recognize that:

a. they're not always going to be right;

b. people make mistakes; and

c. reasonable people can disagree reasonably over just about any issue.

But it takes two to tango. So, if you run into someone who comes from an "us vs. them" perspective, my advice would be to ignore them (ed. note - in other words, do as Paul says, not as he always does). Find people who keep an open mind, and are willing to listen to what you have to say. Then, if they disagree with you, don't beat them over the head with a rhetorical bat (or any other kind) - counter their arguments, have a dialogue, and, if necessary at the end of it all, agree to disagree (preferably over a beer or several).

That's what Nick Redfern (Roswell theory - "boo, hiss"), Greg Bishop (remote viewing - "I don't buy it"), Mac Tonnies (Whitley Strieber - "Ugh") and I all manage to do on a regular basis. It's what Kevin Randle did recently with his balanced look at the controversy over Jesse Marcel's record, which isn't as cut-and-dried as either Marcel's detractors or his defenders would make out.

Kevin wrote:


... it seems that which ever side you decide to come down on, you’re going to run into some trouble. Marcel apparently embellished his record, though it seems only a single time and that he was who he said he was in July 1947. [Sheridan] Cavitt, it seems, changed his story on a number of occasions and then never explained why he’d never told Marcel or Blanchard it was a balloon if he knew the truth. So, as in so much of the Roswell case, you can look at the spin of the researchers and skeptics, look at the records of the soldiers, and still not know, for certain, where the truth lies.
None of this means that you can't have strongly held opinions, and express them just as strongly. Rather, it means that you should try not to label other people as "them" simply because they disagree with you, and you should always recognize that history may show that "they" were right and "you" were wrong... or, even more likely, you were both partly wrong and party right, and the truth was somewhere in the middle.

It's a valuable lesson I've learned from first-hand experience over the years, and try to always remember to put into practice.

Paul Kimball

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Greetings, Mr. Kimball. I couldn't agree more with your position. I've been interested in the subject of UFOs since my fellow Cub Scout(at the time)Richard Botta and myself first read Flying Saucers: Serious Business by Frank Warren, around 1968, and started going around the neighborhood armed with binoculars and a polaroid camera at every opportunity that Summer. I've regularly sought out information on the subject ever since, and in the ensuing years I have read volumes of print and watched hours of screen time regarding UFOs. I see no reason why I shouldn't lend some creedence to the aspects of the ideas of, for example, both Stanton Friedman and Jacques Vallee. Both researchers make persuasive arguments in support of their views, and I feel there is room for a broad range of phenomena in our vastly complex universe, tiny portions of which we are just beginning to understand.

Corvus

not_anonymous said...

I have a fairly extensive collection of films and videos on the subject and I was thinking the other day about how every single one of them attempts to make a case for a particular argument. Ufos are/are not spacecraft, abductions are real/not real, people who see ufos are credible/not credible and so on.

I was thinking how interesting it would be to see a movie that seriously attempted to present a look at the giant ball of string that is our ufological history; one that was only interested in making the case that if you really take a serious look at the whole thing from all the angles it is one hell of a mindfuck.

You've got your ancient astronauts, a few centuries of accounts/myths of visitors of various types, your 19th century airships, your Nazi occult societies and weird experiments, your foo fighters, your Roswell, your spycraft and psyops on every side, contactees in the desert meeting hottie blond spacefarers, grandma channeling AFFA and telling the Admiral next door, MJ-12, people taking DMT and meeting the mantis people, the abductions, the massive government studies, the cults, the rampant commercialization and on and on and on.

You've simultaneously got the most credible and soberly vetted military, scientific and government people on the planet alongside the flakiest crystal packing granola girls and the batshitinsane religious and conspiracy types all standing next to each other with the leaders of the world's governments privately all really interested in what the hell is going on.

I wonder if you could sell that story in 2 hours. You could probably manage to piss off every last faction in 2 hours just by associating all the elements. Or maybe not. I was thinking it might be better suited as an underground video mashup than a proper film.

Joseph Capp said...

Dear Mr. Kimball,
Thank you for the Post. I believe some of the anger that spills over when you mention debunkers like Klass is completely understandable. What Klass did throughout the years could be easily characterized as underhanded. Even to his own friends who he secretly taped.
I have no problem with any skeptic who uses Data to call into question some sighting or cases, there are usually hundreds to take it's place. For me anyone attacking the ET hypothesis is fine, fact I welcome ideas. I believe that UFOs are from us and that the data speaks for itself, from those who have first hand knowledge, the witnesses.
However, if you decide to attack the data, and when the data proves you wrong, admit it. I have never witness this have you? I don't know how many times Klass was proven wrong even by non UFO people and still he went on like auto pilot.I have noticed MUFON, and some other researchers mention they no longer support a certain witness because they found out they were no longer credible. Also If you attack a witnesses character and your wrong apologies. Some of their character attacks hurt real people not just shadows on the wall, and that pisses me off.

Who does this remind you of. A person who as never wrong even when their wrong. A person who is so rigid in their belief system that they will not stray even though there is overwhelming evidence that are they are wrong and hurting people.

My God Bush has the personality of a UFO Debunker!

Thank You
Joseph Capp
UFO Media Matters

Mac said...

Bravo. Good post.

Nick Redfern said...

Amen to that! Perhaps you could phone up the White House and inform the Texan Ranger himself of that approach too! He won't listen, mind. Nope, he's too busy doing god's work, getting ready for the final countdown and armageddon. right....

alanborky said...

I have a saying:

Cool Head, Warm Heart!*

And - ah! - if only we could ALL be ALWAYS so cool-headed and warm-hearted as your today's blog is...

*[World (im)famous Norfokkerunian, Nick Redfern has an advantage over most of the rest of us in this respect, of course - well, at least when it comes to the cool-headed bit!]

Anonymous said...

In the pursuit of truth, people just don't agree to disagree. That's avoiding being accountable -- the exact opposite of what the pursuit of truth would have you do. You keep at it until you find the truth. That is what "pursuit" implies. In the pursuit of truth, you just don't sit around and say you aren't taking sides because you are "just curious". I'll call that lying bluff everytime. That is not taking sides so you won't have to be accountable if you make a mistake in judgment or fact. You think you can just sit back and try to pretend you aren't involved and laugh at everybody else's expense. That is so dishonest and weak. You are taking sides and you are interested, hence the reason for your blog and your film.

Screw the ten best UFO cases. There is no such thing. Not even close. All UFO stories are stupid. The people that tell the stories are stupid. And screw comparing this to a court of law and saying that any mere unproven testimony has any credibility. A court of law has never done anything good for science or the pursuit of truth. The only story I want to hear is the one that can be backed up with physical evidence along with people and stories that aren't stupid.

I know of only one such case -- why else do you think I'm interested in UFOs, just like you are? Which case would that be? The 1942 "Battle Of Los Angeles". This was front page news. There were multiple non-anonymous witnesses. People and property were documented as dying or damaged during this battle. Planes were documented as being unable to gun the UFO down and heavy artillery shells were unable to budge it. There is a news film reel of it and a few photos as well. The film and photos were taken from different vantage points.

Thankfully, no stupid military personal were involved as witnesses, but a vast many years later, the stupid debunkers came along and claimed it was a weather balloon -- which is a stupider story than most UFO stories are because how do you explain that Americans were so ill-equipped that they couldn't shoot down a simple weather balloon using machine gun fire and heavy artillery? If the Americans couldn't shoot down a simple weather balloon, how in the world did they defend themselves during the war?

Yet no one in UFOlogy has ever been intelligent enough to notice this story for it's importance. I just sat down and watched a Canadian film production DVD set called THE ALIEN FILES. It too had the top ten cases of all time. It seems like everyone in Canada right now is trying to get in on the UFO cash cow. They aren't pioneering anything new and neither are you. They are all the same ol' stupid stories we've all heard before. It's all about fame and fortune -- you know, making a name for yourself, making a fast buck, and meeting all kinds of hot chicks desperate to be on-screen and so you can claim they are your "best friend" after you film them.

Why don't you do something different then everybody else?

name: SG said...

Well said.

I think people in today's capitalist societies develop a "black or white" outlook. Sort of a cultural side effect of our fast food, resealable, instant, disposable existance.

Maybe?

Paul Kimball said...

Joseph:

Here's the problem - you toss the term "debunker" around in a pejorative way, in the same manner that some people on the other side of the aisle use "believer" or, even more directly, "wacko".

Neither is helpful.

Take someone with whom I've had some recent disagreements, Kal Korff. He's often called a debunker. With respect to some cases, he is - Roswell, Billy Meier. But with respect to others, like the RB47 case, which he consistently touts (as do I) as one that indicates we may well be dealing with some form of intelligence, he is far from a debunker - he's actually a promoter (another misunderstood term).

I'm happily a debunker, when things are bunk. Aztec and MJ-12 pop to mind, as does Wilbert Smith's story. Of course, it's possible that I'm wrong about these things, but if I am (and I don't think I am), argue the evidence with me, don't just call me names or lump me in a convenient category. And then we can all have a drink afterwards.

Here are some other debunkers you might be familiar with:

Nick Redfern - Roswell as an ET crash

Stan Friedman - Bob Lazar as a credible source of information

Dick Hall - exopolitics in general

Brad Sparks - MJ-12

Kevin Randle - MJ-12

And on and on and on...

Labels usually aren't useful (there are always exceptions that prove the rule). Reasoned discourse is.

Best regards,
Paul

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