Wednesday, December 27, 2006

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,

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