Monday, August 15, 2005

Hall on Conceptualizing UFOs

More interesting stuff from Dick Hall that can be found at his website:

In this short article (Conceptualizing UFOs"), Hall provides his view on the type of people involved in ufology. At one extreme are "those already convinced that there is nothing of scientific interest in UFO reports" and who, as a result, "will see no point in investigating further. Their minds are made up." A good term to describe a person who takes this position is Scoffer. At the other extreme are "those who accept practically everything seen in the sky as evidence of extraterrestrial visitation... A good name for [these] uncritical ones would be Believer."

In between - much like in politics - is the great center, which Hall breaks down into four groups.

"Doubter: Tends to think that UFO reports probably have mundane explanations for the most part, but finds the reports interesting and worth studying.

Debunker: Tends to focus on criticizing the foibles of UFO believers and tries to find flaws in hardcore UFO reports.

Advocate: Sees UFO reports as potentially very important and argues for careful scientific study and investigation.

Proponent: Is strongly convinced that UFO reports represent probable other-worldly visitors and focuses on presenting the data in support of that view."

Hall then states, in his usual, sensible way:

"These labels should not be used in a pejorative manner. Members of each category can be entirely rational in discussing and debating the issues, and the sooner that is understood the better chance we will have of engaging in a civil give-and-take that will help all of us to gain an approximation of the truth. Facts, logic, and science should be the means of settling disagreements.

That being said, it would be helpful to confine discussions to one of the two following broad hypotheses which can then be further refined:

(1) Nonexistence. UFOs are a collection of mistaken observations based on sociological, psychological, and other human error factors. If true, this should be of great interest to sociologists, psychologists, and anthropologists given the worldwide nature of the UFO phenomenon.

(2) Existence. UFOs represent a real unexplained phenomenon. The scientific question then would become: What is the nature of the phenomenon? Is it (a) literally a natural phenomenon, (b) evidence of a secret military weapon system, or (c) evidence of some kind of visitors from elsewhere?

If everyone who considers himself part of the rational center (as opposed to the irrational extremes) were to adopt this approach, it would greatly improve communications and expedite scientific research into UFOs. Neither Scoffers nor Believers have very much positive to contribute to a resolution of the UFO controversy. The rest of us in the center, if we could work together and engage in civil discourse, might succeed in accomplishing something worthwhile. And regardless of the outcome, society would benefit substantially from either debunking 'the UFO myth' or establishing it as something very important for once and for all."

I consider myself an "advocate" who adheres to hypothesis #2 above, a category which would include a person like Brad Sparks, whereas someone like Stan Friedman is clearly a "proponent," while also adhering to hypothesis #2.

Ask yourself - which one are you?

Paul Kimball


RRRGroup said...

I'm, it seems, a doubting, advocating proponent with a tendency to debunk on occasion.

(I may need some kind of professional help.)


Paul Kimball said...


I've been saying that for some time now!



fatrobot said...

the only thing i'll say is that people who like to take pictures of ufo's bigfoot, chupacabras or whatever need to spend a few bucks on a decent camera.
shaky hands mcgee on a disposable camera makes for lousy photos.

also my uncle was a lt colonel in the air force, in command of an awacs plane
he saw ufos all the time
always leaving canadian space, straight up, really fast