Thursday, December 28, 2006

Lorenzo Kent Kimball - Update

Back in March, 2005, I wrote a post about Captain Lorenzo Kent Kimball, a participant in the Roswell incident - or, to be more precise, a non-participant, but in a way which made his story worthy of consideration (you can read it here). I took Stan Friedman, Kevin Randle and others to task for ignoring Kimball's story, or at the very least not giving the story its due.

Kevin replied to me privately at the time, but now he's put a public reply up at his blog, A Different Perspective (which you should put on your reading list, if you haven't already). You can read it here. I replied in the comments section.

Kevin remains one of my favourite UFO researchers out there, and I appreciate him taking the time to answer my questions about Captain Kimball (who was not a relation of mine).

Paul Kimball

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The CTH - On the Other Hand...

I think a few people have misunderstood me lately, and assumed that by discussing the difference between proven fact and an unproven but valid hypothesis with Stan Friedman, I am somehow a supporter of the cryptoterrestrial hypothesis. I'm not - I simply think that people, like Jerry Clark, should suspend judgment until they read Mac's work in its entirety. That's what I'm doing.

However, as Mac is happily blogging away some of his CTH ideas, I feel free to comment on them, particularly as it relates to the general commentary on my general commentary on the ETH lately.

Recently he wrote:

I've always been intrigued by the essentially clumsy methods employed by the purported aliens. Their induced amnesia has a way of crumbling over a curiously brief period of time. Their craft -- which proponents of the ETH would have us believe are arbitrarily more advanced than our own -- tend to leave incriminating scars on the terrain, if not crash with worrisome frequency. Coupled with their occupants' human mannerisms, such seeming anachronisms suggest that we rethink an extraterrestrial origin; instead of dealing with beings wielding technology "indistinguishable from magic," UFO files reveal beings with surprisingly limited capabilities.

Indeed, their arsenal of gadgets, while impressive, is only a few decades in advance of our own. This observation, culled from a near-inexhaustible catalog of close encounters, hints that the phenomenon is at least partly physical, yet extraordinarily unlikely to represent ET visitation.
The same logic that applies to Stan Friedman applies to Mac here with the use of the term "extraordinarily unlikely". Indeed, here Mac comes perilously close to doing to the ETH what Jerry Clark did to the CTH (although, to be fair, at least Mac is familiar with the ETH) - he presents an absolute conclusion, or one pretty close to it, instead of a more nuanced, "who knows?"

I see nothing "extraordinarily unlikely" about the ETH based on the various reports. Let us suppose, for example, and just for the sake of argument, that the aliens are perhaps no more than 30 or 40 years more advanced than us. This is not unreasonable, at least as a hypothesis. Who knows where we will be in 30 or 40 years? Perhaps we will discover a technology that allows us to travel to the nearest stars within a reasonable period of time, but not to solve all of our other problems. In other words, we will be a significantly improved version of ourselves in terms of technological knowledge, but not so significant as to be unrecognizable as human.

And here's a thought about supposed crashes - Murphy's Law probably applies to any alien space travellers, should they exist, just as it is likely to apply to us (indeed, it does - just ask NASA). That may seem trite, but it covers a host of possibilities - indeed, probabilities, although I admit that I find it unlikely the aliens would just leave a crashed spaceship lying around for humans to discover it, a la Roswell, especially as they supposedly have huge motherships (just ask Stan).

The point is, I wouldn't rule it out. Indeed, I still think it more likely than the other paranormal explanations on offer. But unlike some, I don't rule those other explanations out, because I genuinely understand that we are still dealing with an enigma here, in all respects. That leaves all options open (although some are, logically, more open than others) - including the option that it can all be explained prosaically.

In presenting a theory that competes with, or questions, the ETH, however, one should always be careful not to do what the ETH as ETF advocates do - overstep the evidence, and dismiss the possibilities. Including the ETH.

Further, one should make one's case stand or fall not on the weaknesses of other possible explanations, but on the strength of their own.

Which is, the slight hiccup above notwithstanding, what I expect Mac is going to do.

Paul Kimball

Dear Stan - Concluded

The last installment in my recent colloquy with Stan Friedman over at UFO Updates (which, if you're interested in the UFO phenomenon, should be something you subscribe to). I've said all I have to say on the subject, so I'll leave Stan with the last word, should he choose to respond (if he does, I'll let you know here).

Paul Kimball


What are the arguements against some UFOs as alien space craft? Basically that there are no other civilizations - ot a loud argument - that one can't get here from out there, that "they don't behave they way they might be expected to behave".
Again, absolutely irrelevant, although I understand why you talk about all this stuff, because it gives you a perceived air of authority, and it distracts from the central question.

Again, I am not saying space travel is impossible. Mac is not saying that. No-one, to the best of my knowledge, is saying that it is impossible, although some (er... most scientists) seem to think it would be harder than you are implying.

So, no more talk about whether space travel is possible or not. It isn't relevant, because no-one disagrees that it is. At the very least, I don't, and as it's you and I chatting here...

Therefore what has been observed in those investigated cases that survive careful examination are manifestations of alien civilization or civilizations.
Now that is the question. Your conclusion is that aliens have and continue to visit us. Everything you wrote before that, however, doesn't make it so.

We deduce that if they are not from here, they are from somewhere else. Therefore intelligently controlled ET spacecraft.
Stan, this is false reasoning. You're the one doing the deducing, but you can't show definitively that they're not from here. You say that we can't do the things that UFOs have been observed doing? How do you know? As you yourself say, the black budget is huge. Unless you're working for the government, a la Bill Moore, only much further up the food chain, I assume you don't know what they're working on - what they might have, and might not have. After all, technological progress comes from doing things differently - maybe there are other people working for the government in industry who were doing different things than you were "back in the day", and maybe those things were even more successful and more advanced than the nuclear rocket program?

Since you like stories, here is one for you - particularly as you and others cite USAF pilots as some of the best types of witnesses. It comes from Flying the RB47, by Lieut. Col. Bruce Bailey. The section is subtitled "UFO" - at pp. 38-39:

"We were returning from one of our RB-47 'spy' flights, which had been a joint mission involving our aircraft and a U-2. We were entering controlled air space near Alaska when U.S. radar sites began picking us up. All our missions were strictly radio silent, so we didn't identify ourselves and were treated as an enemy aircraft each time, until fighters could be scrambled to visually ID us. We had great fun our running and fooling the older F-89 fighters during those times.

However, the newer and more advanced F-102 had recently been deployed to that area. We couldn't out run it and couldn't deceive their radar without using some of the equipment that would get us into real trouble (those units were to be used only as a last resort to save the airplane when under attack).

When radar picked us up, we were at 38,000 feet and the U-2 was directly above us at 72,000 feet. The radar operator couldn't believe that, figuring it had to be a malfunction or reflection or spurious response, etc. So he kinda averaged the two returns and reported a bogie at 55,000 feet.

Two F-102s were vectored to the spot between the U-2 and us. They were about to fall out of the sky near 50,000 feet, but could see nothing. We could see their contrails well above us and listened to their radio talk. They reported 'No Joy', meaning they could not see a target, but the radar site assured them the bogie was still there.

The U-2 was also listening to their radar chatter, but had reached the point to begin his descent, which he could not delay. It took much longer for the U-2 to come down than go up. He was coming down through about 55,000 feet when the F-102 pilots spotted him. They had never seen a U-2 and probably didn't even know of its existence at that time.

One pilot radioed the other, 'What in the world is that?'

'I don't know. I've never seen anything like it.'

'Well, what do we do? Should we shoot it?'

'That's what we were sent up here for.'

The U-2 pilot heard all that and stood the U-2 on its tail and began climbing at an unbelievable rate. The two F-102 pilots were flying our latest and greatest interceptor and were barely hanging in the air at that altitude. Then that unknown plane, which was still well above them, climbed away nearly straight up.

One said, 'Cheez, did you see that?'

The other one answered, 'No, and I'll never tell if you don't.'

The two fighters went away, reporting no visual contact on the target."

Who knows how many cases like this were reported, or how many things we have up there, like the U-2, of which even our top fighter pilots have been and remain unaware?

Or, maybe it really is extradimensionals, or cryptoterrestrials, or ultraterrestrials, time travellers, or monkeys with super-large brains (okay, I'm just kidding about that last one)...

The point is - what proof is there that it has to be aliens from another world?

We further know that the development of our advanced flying craft has been done for military purposes and at enormous costs. We Earthlings have a long history of developing craft and spying on other countries to see what their capabilities are along lines that we would either have to defend against or copy.
Er... thanks. See above.

Of course we can say for sure what many UFOs are: some are Venus, some are meteors, some are searchlights on clouds, some are balloons,are high performance military craft, some are a whole host of other relatively conventional phenomena perhaps seen under unconventional circumstances.

You are indeed asserting that no UFOs are alien spacecraft.
Nope. Again, that's an old debater's trick, designed to distract people's attention from the real issue. It's also false, and unworthy of you - I never said any such thing. Ever.

For the final time, I simply said that we can't prove they are ET spacecraft. Big, gigantic, huge, Yukon-UFO sized difference.

Something you not only have not established but which assertion is clearly contradicted by the evidence that some are.
A. I have never said it, so I don't have to establish it. The burden of proof is one you, because you're the one trying to establish a positive proposition, i.e. that some UFOs are indeed intelligently controlled alien spacecraft.

B. You have not presented any evidence to support that proposed fact.

There you go again back to the murder conviction.
No, Stan, I never mentioned murder. I have news for you - the standard of proof in criminal cases is the same regardless of the crime. Murder, armed robbery, assault, theft under $5,000 - it's all beyond a reasonable doubt. Why? Because it is the ultimate type of case, one where, if the accused is found guilty, he may be deprived of his liberty, which is the harshest sentence that can be imposed (short of the death penalty, which, thankfully, my country doesn't have anymore). Therefore, it requires a higher standard of proof. That's the rationale for it.

Ditto UFOs as ET spacecraft - it is the ultimate scientific proposition, life elsewhere in the universe that is coming here. Such a proposition requires the ultimate standard of proof before it can be asserted as a fact.

I wasn't aware that Carl was ordained the judge of all claims.
Another debating trick - no-one said he had, Stan. I was merely pointing out the standard of proof which he called for, and which is the correct one, not because Sagan said it, but because he was right.

Since he was often wrong, as I have noted in TOP SECRET/MAJIC, in response to his "Demon Haunted World",I have no reason to accept this dogmatic claim from him and many reasons not to as I noted in a fairly recent MUFON Journal Column.
Okay, Stan - you've been wrong. Glenn Dennis, Gerald Anderson, MJ-12 (I think the majority would agree with me on that last one). Similarly, I have no reason to accept your dogmatic claim about aliens being here.

But that's not the point, and you know it. The point is about what level of proof is required. That's what Sagan was talking about. It has nothing to do with whether he was right or wrong about other things, just as it has nothing to do with whether or not you were right or wrong about other things.

As noted above I see no reason to say that worldwide claims of observations of manufactured craft behaving in ways beyond the scope of Earthling craft are extraordinary.
As noted above, how do we know they behaved in ways that are beyond our capabilities, as, with that giant black budget, we can't really be sure what our capabilities are? Further, there is the question of the quality of witness testimony, i.e. the ability of people to observe what they saw - not form, but performance - accurately. I'll leave that for another day (although I would suggest you re-read Lieut. Col. Bailey's story above).

Happens all the time all over the planet. So these are ordinary... not extraordinary. It his claim that is extraordinary.
Nice try, but false reasoning. Sagan never said these things didn't happen - he said there was no definitive evidence that they were ET spacecraft. Again, big difference.

And again, his "claim" was simply to establish the burden of proof required of your claim that some UFOs are alien spacecraft. And he was absolutely right when he said it.

Clever words oft repeated, but signifying nothing.
The flip response for me here would be to say, "you should know".


Often they are used by well educated people to avoid dealing with surprising claims... The doubters think that, if the claim were true, they would have known about it. They didn't, so it must not be true... the evidence be damned. The world of science is loaded with such resistance in a host of different areas. It may take years to create acceptance of new ideas because of the demanding of extraordinary evidence... not obtainable without huge funding, more sophisticated equipment,etc. Many ideas currently accepted are accepted on the basis of less than extraordinary evidence... continental drift, destruction of dinosaurs by an asteroid, causation of ulcers by bacteria,etc.
None of which is relevant, except in this ironic way - you are guilty of exactly what you are decrying with science. You look at something like parallel universes (and other earths), or time travel, or cryptoterrestrials, or... well, fill in the blank. Then you say, "nope, it's gotta be the ETH." Even when you grudgingly admit that these other things can't be ruled out, it's always with the caveat that "but they're just theories, with no evidence, but the ETFact has all sorts of evidence."

Paul wrote:
Now, I understand why you don't like that, because you know that you can't do it. But that's what thinking people require in order to assert that something like alien visitation to Earth is a fact, and not just a good working theory.

Stan replied:
I should say some thinking people.. certainly not all.
I think it would be pretty safe to say that the vast majority think that way, but this isn't about opinion polls. It's about objective standards of proof, whether legal, or scientific. And with the ETH as ETFact claim, I have no doubt that the correct standard of proof, which you haven't met, and can't meet, is beyond a reasonable doubt.

Still, as noted before, for the purpose of argument, I'm willing to work with a slightly lower standard.

Paul wrote:
But I'll play along with the lower standard, just for fun. Clear and convincing evidence it is.

Accordingly, I'll ask my original question, which you didn't answer (you didn't answer it when you were asked it by Seth Shostak a couple of years ago during your "debate" on C2C).

Here it is again, with the lower standard of proof substituted for "beyond a reasonable doubt":

Name the one case that proves clear and convincing evidence that the ETH is the ETFact, and not something else. One case, Stan. That shouldn't be so hard.

Don't cite stats like "hundreds of physical trace cases", or "thousands of witnesses". That's ducking the question. It's non-responsive, and it proves nothing, other than that we have a mystery, which is what I and others are saying here.

Stan replied:
No, it means we have evidence of ordinary events involving observations of alien spacecraft.
No, it doesn't. No matter how many times you repeat it, it doesn't make it so, although I understand that you're not going to change your mind.

I can think of several, some of which you have covered in your soon to be broadcast documentary. One, that isn't, is my favorite: The Betty and Barney Hill case.

But what if you aren't satisfied? Will that prove no UFO is of ET origin? Obviously not.
But, as noted above, I don't have to prove that they aren't - it's up to you to prove that they are ET spacecraft. The Hill case, which even amongst ufologists remains controversial, hardly constitutes clear and convincing evidence to that effect. It certainly doesn't prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.

Even if one accepts that something genuinely weird did indeed happen to the Hills (and remember, not everyone does), that doesn't prove it was aliens. It doesn't rule out the other paranormal hypotheses, even as, under those circumstances I would agree that the ET explanation would be the most likely one. But that's a long way from proof.

At the end of the day, Stan, you and I are looking for different things, in different ways. You're looking to convince people of a conclusion you came to decades ago, whereas I am looking to explore what I still consider a mystery. I think your conclusion outran the available evidence, then and now, and is more of a belief than a proven fact, whereas you no doubt look at me as some kind of Hynek-esque wishy-washy apologist ufologist.

Fair enough. I can live with that. People can judge for themselves which is the right approach.

Happy New Year.

Best regards,

Countdown to 40 - Part III

U2 - New Year's Day

When I first heard this song, it was like I had been hit with a ton of bricks, that's the kind of impact it had.

I saw U2 live in Montreal a couple of years ago, which was great, but the first time I saw anyone live playing their songs was a U2 cover band that I saw at a high school in Montreal back in 1985, when I was representing Nova Scotia at the National Debating Championships (I finished eleventh out of a hundred or so, and the team came in second, which was pretty good for a small province).

I also got to sit in the desk once occupied by Corey Hart on that trip! Wow!!

Here's a live version from a German concert.

When people would ask me in interviews (back when I was a musician) what bands had influenced me the most as a songwriter, I would always say the Beatles, the Smiths and U2. We only did a couple of covers over the years - one of which was "Exit" from the Joshua Tree album.

I always wished I could play the guitar like The Edge!

Paul Kimball

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Ravagers of the Extraterrestrial Orthodoxy

I favour the ETH as the most likely of the paranormal theories - but, unlike Stan and many of his colleagues, I understand that it is just a theory, and I don't assert it as a fact. As a result, I keep an open mind about the other theories on offer - because no matter how much someone like Jerry Clark might try to dismiss Jacques Vallee, or J. Allen Hynek, I don't, because, unlike Clark, imprisoned as he is in his need to be accepted by "science", they understood that the UFO phenomenon was a mystery - perhaps even one that our science could not solve.

And that's what really bothers them - they are unable to face the prospect that there is something "out there" that is far beyond our comprehension, that might resemble "religion", at least in terms of our relationship to it, because they are avowed secularists, and any hint of something "divine", whatever the manifestation, is beyond their self-imposed intellectual walls. To them, it simply has to be nuts and bolts craft from another world that behave pretty much exactly like we do, because that's what they need it to be.

As a result, they are unable to say, without equivocation, that "we just don't know", which runs against everything my dad taught me about the nature of true wisdom.

In their failure to grasp this, to admit it, they forget that the science they claim to adhere to is a method, not an end in and of itself.

Of course, cryptos, or extradimensional beings, or whatever, hardly fit the traditional concept of God, although they might fit the ancient concept of "the gods" (you know, like Thor, Loki, Odin, Zeus, Appollo and Aphrodite). But that doesn't matter, and it isn't the point, because I'm not saying that UFOs are a manifestation of the divine (that's Barry Downing's beat, not mine). The point is that anything which calls into question the ETH as ETFact threatens a certain "ufological orthodoxy", in the same way that the protestant Reformation threatened the Catholic othodoxy hundreds of years ago, or Henry Alline threatened the Calvinist orthodoxy in Atlantic Canada in the late 18th century, to the point where his enemies referred to him as "the ravager of churches".

Today, where the UFO phenomenon is concerned, the "Church" is the dogmatic acceptance of the ETH - and the ravagers are guys like Mac Tonnies, and Nick Redfern, and Greg Bishop. Does that mean they're right? No - but then, unlike the die-hard ETHers, they don't claim to be right, or to have all the answers. They don't dismiss guys like Mack, or Vallee, or Hynek, as "New Agey" types, or "apologist ufologists", because they understand that we're still at the stage of asking the questions.

The journey of discovery isn't over - it hasn't even really begun.

Paul Kimball

Dear Stan - Continued

The latest, from UFO Updates, with Stan's response, and my reply (original here).

Paul Kimball


Virtually all of this response is, well, non-responsive, but I'll go though it anyway, and then get back to the central question, which you completely evaded.

Proof also has scientific and technical meanings as well as legal. As does evidence. Where is an adversary? Who is on trial?
If using the Anglo-Saxon legal standard of proof bothers you or confuses you so much, then I would suggest that you stop referencing it at your lectures, and in your media interviews.

I like the recent decision of the Washington State Supreme Court (Ongom vs State of Washington Department of Health)which reversed a lower court and the appeals court in a manner involving professional competence, licensing, etc., by claiming that the lower decisions were based on a "prepondernce of evidence" standard wheras they should have used a tougher standard "clear and convincing evidence". They did not require "beyond a reasonable doubt".
Stan, with all due respect, you should stick to nuclear physics, and leave the law to we lawyers. Of course they would be talking about a standard of proof lesser than "beyond a reasonable doubt", because it was a non-criminal case.

Did you even read my post all the way through?

Many things in science are deduced based upon "clear and convincing evidence"... We know that people can build apparently metallic structured maneuverable vehicles capable of flight. We have not come up with any evidence that Earth is unique. We know that the age of our current vehicle building civilization is very very much less than the age of the planet or of the solar system or of the galaxy or the universe.
None of which is even remotely relevant, but it makes for good eyewash for some I suppose.

We have, so far as I can judge from this discussion, not seen any evidence of the existence of ultraterrestrial or cryptoterrestrial beings. This doesn't mean we have established that they don't exist. We do know of many observations of the flight, landing, take off of highly maneuverable manufactured craft that move up up and away and sometimes are seen in the company of very very large airborne craft.
None of which proves that any of these sightings are of an intelligently controlled, extraterrestrial spacecraft, which is what you assert as a fact.

We further know that the development of our advanced flying craft has been done for military purposes and at enormous costs. We Earthlings have a long history of developing craft and spying on other countries to see what their capabilities are along lines that we would either have to defend against or copy.
Not relevant to the discussion in the least.

Nobody has presented "clear and convincing evidence" that the items seen in the best cases originated from any group on earth.
They don't have to Stan. The burden of proof lies on the party making the assertion of fact, which in this case is you, as you assert that some UFOs are intelligently controlled alien spacecraft. I don't assert that they are not - I merely state that we can't say for sure what any UFOs are.

Your stance reminds me a lot of the Billy Meier defenders - they tell everyone who calls the photos/films into question to prove that they are frauds. That's not required - the Meier-ites have to prove that they are real, not the other way around. Ditto you and the ETH as the ETF.

Anything less is intellectually dishonest.

They were, therefore, produced by intelligent beings from somewhere else. That, of course, doesn't answer with "clear and convincing evidence" where they originate, why they are here, or why they don't seem to do a host of things. I would say that the Star Map work associated with the Hill case makes a very strong case that the base planets (not necessarily the homes of any of the crew) are near Zeta 1 or Zeta 2 Reticulum for those particular craft crew-members.
I notice throughout that you've latched onto that "clear and convincing evidence" line. Again you miss the point - your old buddy Carl Sagan was 100% correct when he said that extraordinary claims, which is certainly what the ETH as ETF is, require extraordinary proof. In other words, beyond any reasonable doubt.

Now, I understand why you don't like that, because you know that you can't do it. But that's what thinking people require in order to assert that something like alien visitation to Earth is a fact, and not just a good working theory.

But I'll play along with the lower standard, just for fun. Clear and convincing evidence it is.

Accordingly, I'll ask my original question, which you didn't answer (you didn't answer it when you were asked it by Seth Shostak a couple of years ago during your "debate" on C2C).

Here it is again, with the lower standard of proof substituted for "beyond a reasonable doubt":

Name the one case that proves clear and convincing evidence that the ETH is the ETFact, and not something else.

One case, Stan. That shouldn't be so hard.

Don't cite stats like "hundreds of physical trace cases", or "thousands of witnesses". That's ducking the question. It's non-responsive, and it proves nothing, other than that we have a mystery, which is what I and others are saying here.

Just one case. That's all I need - the one case that shows clear and convincing evidence that aliens have visited Earth, which is the standard that you have adopted, and which sits higher than the preponderance of evidence standard (i.e. the balance of probabilities).

Then we can talk about that one case.

Best regards,


Saturday, December 23, 2006

Dear Stan - Evidence, Fact, the Burden of Proof, and the ETH

Stan Friedman and I are friends as well as relatives. I like and respect the man. But that doesn't mean I always agree with him. Especially when he's wrong.

Case in point, the following exchange from UFO Updates (Stan's was published today - my response is working it's way through the system - I've edited this version only to correct spelling or grammatical errors I made the first time around).

Paul Kimball

Topic: The ETH, Evidence, Fact and the Burden of Proof

Stan wrote:
I do not use the word 'proof' nor do I insist upon other star systems. I say the evidence is overwhelming that Earth is being visited by intelligently controlled ET spacecraft. In other words SOME UFOs are of ET origin. Please look up 'Extraterrestrial'. It means from outside the Earth. It does _not_ mean only from other solar systems or other galaxies. It includes the moon and other planets in our solar system.

I replied:

Well, d'uh. Poor little plebes, unable to figure out what "extraterrestrial"means. Sheesh...

Perhaps you should look up the term "evidence" in a dictionary, and then the term "proof" - follow it up with "fact", as in "proven fact", which is what you have asserted the ETH is for decades now. While you're at it, you might also want to look up the term "overwhelming".

Aw, heck, I'll save you the trouble, as you were so kind as to provide me with a definition of "extraterrestrial".


From Black's Law Dictionary, 6th Edition (which is the proper source, as you use the legal standards of proof when you're trying to make a point about this):

"Any species of proof, or probative matter, legally presented at the trial of an issue, by the act of the parties and through the medium of witnesses,records, documents, exhibits, concrete objects, etc., for the purpose of inducing belief in the minds of the court or jury, as to their contention." So, that's what evidence is. You use it to prove your point, i.e. induce belief in whatever your target audience is). In this case, the point that you seek to prove is that some UFOs are alien spacecraft. In other words, that the "Extraterrestrial hypothesis" is really the "Extraterrestrial fact".

Here's a brush-up on "prove" (again, from Black's):

"The effect of evidence; the establishment of a fact by evidence".

In other words, while you might not use the word "proof", you should, because that's what the evidence you talk about is designed to do. Now, let's take a look at the term "fact", again, as understood in the context of using evidence to prove something, using, again, the legal standard to which you often refer (more on the exact standard in a second): "A circumstance, event or occurrence as it actually takes or took place; a physical object or appearance, as it usually exists or existed. An actual an absolute reality, as distinguished from mere supposition. A truth, as distinguished from fiction or error."

Now we're getting to it - you say the evidence proves that some UFOs are intelligently controlled extraterrestrial spacecraft. Don't duck from the word "prove" - its what you're really saying.

You assert this proposition as a proven fact. And therein lieth the problem. Because, by any measure of how one weighs evidence, and establishes whether it proves something, the ETH is not a proven fact. Neither is the CTH, or the EDH, or any of the "H's" that are out there, because they all rely on the same evidence, which can be interpreted in different ways (including the "null hypothesis"). One may seem more likely than another, as the ETH does to me when compared to the CTH or the EDH, but I would never assert it as a proven reality, an "absolute reality, as distinguished from supposition", which is what you and some of the ETH proponents do.

Ah, but you might say, we can safely make that claim on a civil standard of the burden of proof, i.e. it is more likely than not that the ETH is the ETF (again, something I've heard you use many times - I have it on tape, in fact).

Well, let's look at those standards which, as the party making the assertion, you are called upon to meet.

First, there's the "preponderance of the evidence" standard, i.e. the civil standard, as it is commonly known. From Black's:

"As standard of proof in civil cases, is evidence which is of greater weight or more convincing than the evidence which is offered in opposition to it; that is, evidence which as a whole shows that the fact sought to be proved is more probable than not."

This standard, I agree, has been satisfied if the proposition one wishes to prove is that UFOs are an objective reality, i.e. the phenomenon, whatever it may be, including the "null hypothesis", exists. No-one, not even the most ardent debunker, could logically argue this. However, this standard is wholly inadequate, in my opinion, to prove the much more contentious proposition that the ETH, or any theory, is a proven fact, i.e. that some UFOs are intelligently controlled extraterrestrial spacecraft.

That's not being less than brave, that's just common sense. Sagan was right - extraordinary claims, whatever they may be, require extraordinary evidence. In the terms of the burden of proof, that means something more than just a preponderance of the evidence when one asserts that a theory for the UFO phenomenon is instead a fact.

Further, people like Mac could, using this standard of proof, make the same claim as you do if they wanted to, using the exact same evidence (that Mac doesn't is a point in his favour, and to his credit).

For example, take the Malmstrom case, or the Rendlesham case. What, exactly, about those cases (or any other case, for that matter -Tehran, RB47, Shag Harbour, on and on and on) makes them extraterrestrial, as opposed to interdimensional, or cryptoterrestrial, or explainable as a mundane event misinterpreted? Nothing. Mac could use Rendlesham or Malmstrom to bolster his CTH by saying, as he did in one of the clips I posted, that these beings may be using advanced holographic technology to project these images to us. He could also say that it would be relatively easy for this advanced group, working covertly, to create a device, like the one that was allegedly touched by one of the airmen at Rendlesham (and how hard would that be - after all, you claim the US government has managed to keep things secret all these years, by keeping the information compartmentalized, and limited - what could be more limited than a small group of cryptos?).

Do I buy that as a proven fact? Of course not. But I don't buy the ETH explanation as a proven fact either. No-one should based on the available evidence.

So, which standard does that leave? The one that should be used, indeed, that must be used, if one wants to assert one of these theories as a fact, proven by the available evidence.

Beyond a reasonable doubt.

Indeed, you indicate that this standard is the one to use when you use the word "overwhelmingly".

Again, from Black's: "In evidence means fully satisfied, entirely convinced, satisfied to a moral certainty; and phrase is the equivalent of the words clear, precise and indubitable. In criminal case, the accused's guilt must be established 'beyond reasonable doubt,' which means that the facts proven must, by virtue of their probative force, establish guilt."

Now I know you, and some others, think that you've met that standard Stan, but you haven't. No jury in the world, no group of objective citizens, honest and true, when presented with the best available evidence and then asked, "does this prove that some UFOs are intelligently controlled extraterrestrial spacecraft" will answer in the affirmative. They won't, because they can't (and don't quote me the results of some Oxford debate, or some C2C "debate" with Seth Shostak - those are hardly full, frank discussions of all positions, and the evidence, which if done properly would take days, or weeks, and would involve many different players). You're a man of science, and you've spent enough time with lawyers (thereby covering both bases) - you above all people should know that.

Does this mean that the ETH is not a good theory?

No, and Mac never said it wasn't. He's just saying, as others before him have, that it isn't proven, and there are other theories as well. In a subject where the best that one can say is "something is happening, and we don't know for sure what it is," one cannot assert that any one theory is a proven fact.

Of course, you disagree, but then we're back to the original question - where is the evidence that proves your assertion? Don't just cite me the 5 scientific studies, etc., etc., - unlike most of your audiences, I am familiar with them. Cite me the actual evidence. Name the one case that proves the ETH is the ETF beyond a reasonable doubt, and not something else.

Best regards,

Paul Kimball

Friday, December 22, 2006

Moving Forward

A must-read column from Mac Tonnies.

Here's an excerpt:

While its luminaries might noisily claim otherwise, ufology collectively wants to be marginal. With the lamentable exception of a few spokesmen who feel the need to "explain" the phenomenon's intricacies to a wary public (often in the guise of would-be political discourse), the ostensible UFO community remains afraid of stepping into the rude glow of widespread public attention. And it has a right to be be afraid. Having dotingly constructed a theoretical house of straw, many ufological proponents secretly prefer the tenuous commaraderie of their peers to the much more exciting prospect of being taken seriously by science.

2007 is going to be an interesting year.

I predict people like Mac, Nick Redfern, and Greg Bishop (Nick and Greg at their excellent new site, UFO Mystic) are going to begin a long overdue redefinition of the study of the UFO phenomenon, and in the process bring the subject to a wider and more mainstream audience.

I won't agree with everything they say, or write, but I applaud the effort.

Paul Kimball

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The UFO Phenomenon: The 50 Most Influential People of All Time

I picked up a copy of The Atlantic this month because the cover story is about the 100 most influential Americans of all time, as selected by a group of eminent historians (Abraham Lincoln tops the list).

As I read it, I began to think to myself - who are the most influential people ever in terms of the UFO phenomenon.

Voila - my list, which limits it to the top 50.

There are people, as with The Atlantic's list, who are omitted that others will think deserve a place, and people will no doubt quibble about the order as well. They will also question the definition of influence, which is a subjective judgment.

Good. I hope this list generates discussion, debate and thought about where the UFO phenomenon has been, and where it might be going.

So, without further ado...

Paul Kimball

P.S. The list is limited to humans!

The UFO Phenomenon - The 50 Most Influential People of All Time

1. Dr. Edward Condon - Head of the USAF-funded University of Colorado Project, and author of the Condon Report; his conclusions still shape the way mainstream science views the UFO phenomenon.

2. Major Donald E. Keyhoe - Driving force behind the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP), and original proponent of the Extra-terrestrial hypothesis.

3. Dr. J. Allen Hynek - Project Blue Book scientific advisor, and later founder of the Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS).

4. Dr. Carl Sagan - The great popularizer of science, and the concept of ET life in particular, in the second half of the 20th century, and a leading UFO opponent.

5. Captain Edward Ruppelt - The first head of the United States Air Force's Project Blue Book, and the author of The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects.

6. George Adamski - The founder of the Contactee Movement.

7. Dr. H. Marshall Chadwell - CIA Assistant Director for Scientific Intelligence in 1952, he was a proponent of the need to take the UFO phenomenon seriously.

8. Betty Hill - The first abductee story to gain widespread public attention.

9. Dr. James McDonald - The best case investigator ever, and a passionate advocate for both the serious scientific study of UFOs, and the ETH.

10. Stanton T. Friedman - Researcher / author / lecturer, a leading advocate for the ETH, and the man who, with William Moore, made UFO virtually synonymous with Roswell.

11. Major Jesse Marcel - Army intelligence officer who was a key player in the Roswell case, and whose story breathed new life into the crashed flying saucer mythos.

12. Art Bell - Maverick late-night radio talk-show host, and founder of Coast to Coast AM, he gave ufologists a regular public platform in the 1990s that continues today under George Noory.

13. Kenneth Arnold - The original flying saucer witness - even if he didn't exactly coin the term, it is forever linked with his name.

14. Whitley Strieber - Author / alleged abductee, he popularized the concept of the gray alien and secret government agencies dealing with UFOs.

15. Chris Carter - Creator of The X-Files television series, which made conspiracy theories about aliens popular.

16. Dr. Jacques Vallee - Leading UFO theoretician and investigator, and proponent of the Extra-dimensional hypothesis.

17. Dr. Donald Menzel - Harvard astronomer, author, and the original UFO debunker.

18. Dr. H. P. Robertson - Head of the CIA's Robertson Panel in 1953, which called for the official debunking of UFO reports.

19. Colonel William Blanchard - His decision to issue a press release about the recovery of debris near Roswell would change ufology thirty years later.

20. George Van Tassel - Contactee, founder of the Interplanetary Spacecraft Convention at Giant Rock, California, which ran from 1954 to 1974.

21. Coral Lorenzen - Co-founder and driving force behind the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization (APRO).

22. Maj. Gen. John Samford - Director of Intelligence for the USAF in the early 1950s (and later head of the NSA), most famous for his 1952 press conference to explain the Washington sightings.

23. Nick Pope - British researcher / author, and former head of the Ministry of Defence's UFO desk.

24. Ken Purdy - Editor of True Magazine in the early 1950s, his decision to publish articles about UFOs brought widespread attention to the subject.

25. Erich von Daniken - Author of Chariots of the Gods, and leading proponent of the "ancient astronauts" theory.

26. Dr. John Mack - Harvard professor who beame a leading, and controversial, researcher into the abduction phenomenon.

27. Richard Hall - Longtime NICAP staffer / investigator, and author of The UFO Evidence, Volumes 1 and 2

28. Walt Andrus - Founder of the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON).

29. Lieut. Colonel Philip Corso - Former army officer who claimed in his memoirs The Day After Roswell to have been responsible for seeding alien technology into industry.

30. Dr. Steven Greer - Controversial CSETI founder, exopolitics guru, and head of the Disclosure Project.

31. Frank Edwards - Author / journalist, his book Flying Saucers - Serious Business was a best-seller.

32. Major Hector Quintanilla - The last head of Project Blue Book.

33. Frank Scully - Author of Behind the Flying Saucers, which first popularized the idea of crashed flying saucers (the Aztec hoax).

34. Jerome Clark - Researcher, author, historian and CUFOS member, as well as Editor of International UFO Reporter.

35. Philip J. Klass - CSICOP's UFO "expert", and longtime debunker / bete noir of ufologists.

36. William Moore - Co-author of The Roswell Incident, and perhaps the MJ-12 papers. One of ufology's most controversial figures.

37. Dr. Seth Shostak - SETI spokesperson / scientist, and leading UFO skeptic.

38. Kevin Randle - Leading Roswell investigator, author of numerous books on a variety of UFO subjects, from abductions to 1952 Washington case.

39. Leonard Stringfield - Collector of crash retrieval stories.

40. Brad Sparks - Co-founder of Citizens Against UFO Secrecy, and one of the best researchers of all time.

41. Steven Bassett - Political activist, ran for Congress on UFO platform, speaker, and conference organizer.

42. Linda Moulton Howe - Media entrepreneur, popularizer of stories of crashed UFOs and government cover-ups; best known for her cattle mutilation investigations and theories.

43. Cmdr. Robert McLaughlin - His 1950 article for True Magazine had a tremendous impact on the public, and lent credibility to the ETH.

44. Errol Bruce-Knapp - Radio host and founder of UFO Updates, the premiere on-line discussion forum for ufologists and others interested in the phenomenon.

45. John Greenewald, Jr. - Founder of, and master of FOIA applications.

46. J. P. Cahn - Journalist who exposed the Aztec crash hoax in True Magazine.

47. Wilbert Smith - Canadian civil servant who was considered by some to have been involved in super secret UFO research.

48. Wendelle Stevens - UFO researcher / author, and a leading proponent of the Billy Meier story.

49. Paul Hellyer - Former Canadian Minister of Defence who has become a leading advocate of exopolitics.

50. Ray Santilli - Perpetrator of the alien autopsy hoax.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Mac Tonnies explains the Cryptoterrestrial Hypothesis

Author / blogger / essayist Mac Tonnies (After the Martian Apocalypse, Posthuman Blues) discusses the Cryptoterrestrial Hypothesis as an explanation for the UFO phenomenon in this clip from the interview I conducted with him in Kansas City for Best Evidence: Top 10 UFO Cases, in May, 2006.

Mac is currently working on a book, due for release sometime in 2007, about the CTH.

Paul Kimball

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Dick Hall discusses Colorado Project and Condon Report

Dick Hall discusses the University of Colorado Project on UFOs, and the infamous Condon Report which came out of the study.

Paul Kimball

Rev. Barry Downing - Religion and UFOs

Rev. Barry Downing, author of The Bible and Flying Saucers, discusses the relationship between UFOs and religion in this clip from an interview I conducted with him for Stanton T. Friedman is Real in 2001, in Irvine, California, where he was speaking at the 2001 MUFON Symposium.

Paul Kimball

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Kevin Randle discusses the problem of UFO frauds

Kevin discusses the problem of frauds in ufology.

And to think that some people ask me why I like guys such as Kevin, Karl Pflock, and Stan Friedman. It's easy - even when I disagree with them about particular cases, I never lose sight of the fact that they "get" the big picture.

Paul Kimball

Kevin Randle: The difference between a debunker and a skeptic

A clip from the interview I conducted with Kevin Randle back in September, 2001, in Kevin's hometown of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for Stanton T. Friedman is Real. In this heretofore unseen segment, Kevin talks about the difference between true skepticism and debunkery / true believer-ism.

Paul Kimball

Monday, December 11, 2006

Karl Pflock and the ETH - Part 2

In this clip Karl expands a bit upon his theory that aliens were here, but have since left, and comments on the Betty and Barney Hill case - an abduction case that he accepted as real.

I discussed the "here, but gone" theory back in 2005, in The Galactic Barrow's Boys. As I noted then, Karl's theory certainly refelcted our own experience with exploration:

A study of the history of human exploration shows that Karl might be on to something. Even into the first half of the nineteenth century, there were areas of the world (Africa, the Artic, the Antartic, large parts of the Pacific) that were still unknown to the Europeans. The explorations that they sent out were small, almost always under equipped, often poorly managed, and usually had no idea of what they were doing. Being British, they sometimes - but by no means always - muddled through, but almost never without mishaps. Sometimes they would visit a place, and then leave, not to return for decades.

With this is mind, perhaps Karl's theory isn't so crazy after all. What if the aliens are the galactic equivalent of the Europeans, and good old Earth the equivalent of Melville Island? Under Karl's theory, even the Roswell crash would be possible. Consider it the alien Franklin.

Paul Kimball

Stan Friedman on Philip J. Corso

Part 2 of Stan's comments about frauds in ufology - the first one he highlighted was Bob Lazar, and here he talks about the second, Philip Corso, author of The Day After Roswell.

Now, if only Stan would apply this same steady logic to the MJ-12 documents, or Wilbert Smith. Still, where Lazar and Corso are concerned, he hits the nail square on the head.

Paul Kimball

Karl Pflock on the ETH

Karl always maintained that some UFO cases were visits from extraterrestrial visitors, but he was also convinced that "they" came here in the 1950s and 1960s, and then left - perhaps to return someday, perhaps not.

Paul Kimball

Friday, December 08, 2006

Stan Friedman Discusses UFO Frauds and Bob Lazar

I interviewed Stan for 10 hours back in 2001 for the documentary Stanton T. Friedman is Real. As the film was only 48 minutes in length, obviously there was a lot of stuff that didn't make it in the final cut. Here's one of those clips, where Stan talks about the problem of frauds in ufology, and then Bob Lazar in particular.

Note that Stan mentions two examples in the beginning. I'll post the second example that he cited in a couple of days.

Paul Kimball

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Pflock on Greer, Disclosure Project, and Exopolitics

Here's a clip of the late Karl Pflock talking about the direction ufology has been headed in the past decade or so, with things like the Disclosure Project, linking UFOs with political issues, and exopolitics. From the 2001 interview for "Stanton T. Friedman is Real."

Again, I agreed with him 100% on this question.

Paul Kimball

Karl Pflock Discusses Ufology

In this clip from an interview I conducted with the late Karl Pflock in September, 2001, for Stanton T. Friedman is Real, he talks about what's wrong with ufology.

Karl's untimely death earlier this year was a huge blow to the cause of the serious study of the UFO phenomenon, precisely because he was one of the small group of ufologists who understood (or understand) the "big picture", and what ufology needs to do if it ever wants to be taken seriously.

Karl and I had our disagreements, as friends always will, but on the topic he discusses here, we agreed one hundred per cent.

Paul Kimball