Friday, August 12, 2005

Dick Hall's Guidebook for Debunkers

For those who think that someone is a debunker, Dick Hall has provided a handy little list of debunker tactics. It's not as well known as Stan Friedman's four rules for debunkers, but it's a better summation of all things "debunkery," and should provide you with a pretty good indication of whether a person is a skeptic, or a debunker.

Here they are:

"How to debunk UFOs and Discredit UFO Proponents:

1. Point out that very large percentages of things reported as UFOs turn out to have conventional explanations - but don't talk about individual observers' varying abilities or how believers screen and investigate cases;

2. Always refer to them as UFO believers or ETH believers, implying that their position is faith-based.

3. Argue that any given case could have been something conventional and we will never know because we never have all the facts - but don't acknowledge that well-qualified observers have reported unexplained craft-like objects displaying extraordinary performance totaling in the hundreds or thousands;

4. (Corollary to 3): Avoid any mention of the patterns of appearance and behavior in unexplained cases worldwide for many decades;

5. Focus on the well-known problems and limitations of human perception - but never mention that people are incarcerated on the basis of eye-witness testimony, that our court systems could not function without it, and that if human perception were as inadequate as claimed, nobody would dare to cross a busy street or fly an airplane;

6. Comment regularly on human credulity and wishful thinking, in a desire for saviors from space - just don't mention that it applies only to cultists on the fringes of ufology, nor that close encounter cases typically scare the pants off of the witnesses rather than inspire them;

7. Always act as if no one before you has really conducted a thorough investigation in classic UFO cases so that it's only a matter of time and diligence before the answers will be found - but avoid mentioning that the suggested answers you propose either have already been found wanting or fail to account for the salient features of the case; and

8. Demand that UFO believers produce just one spaceship or physical evidence that one has been here - never mind that other scientific topics don't require that degree of concrete proof in order to consider something worth studying, such as Agent Orange, SETI signals, or Black Holes.

Richard H. Hall"

Like all sorts of other interesting information, this can be found at Hall's website,, which is definitely worth a look for those interested in the serious study of the UFO phenomenon.

Paul Kimball

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