Thursday, August 23, 2007

Nick Redfern on Ufology

In two comments at one of his UFO Mystic posts, Nick Redfern hits the nail square on the head with a spot-on analysis that will make many people within ufology cringe, or complain, or argue... but that won't change the fact that he's absolutely right.

Nick writes:

I predict that ufology will never be anymore than a subject that attracts a few thousand people on a regular basis (and maybe less now).

Many ufologists confidently think that the world is waiting for them to finally deliver the ET goods and go down in history.

They’re not. Most people outside could not care less about the petty arguments in ufology (and don’t know about it anyway) and unless someone really makes a major breakthrough (along the lines of proving that Roswell was ET, for example), we will not be remembered by science, the media or the public.

A good many ufologists are ego-driven and full of self-importance. But at the end of the day, we are just a group of largely unrecognized people who argue with each other, and publish things here and there that get read by a few thousand people. And that’s it.

Same as it ever was. Same as it always will be. I think the biggest problems facing ufology are (a) the image that we have with the scientific community and with the media - namely that we are all viewed as nutcases, eccentrics etc; (b) the fact that we lack any hard evidence in terms of something tangible that can be studied and proved to be anomalous (rather than different people having different opinions on something that remains enigmatic or unresolved); and (c) that we lack large funding to really devote to a deep study of the data.

I’m not sure how we change things, but I believe that things can only change if we can find some form of hard evidence to support the idea that UFOs exist.

But that will only ever happen (I personally think) if UFOs are literal nuts and bolts craft. If they have far stranger origins, it may well be impossible to get tangible, hard evidence. In which case, we may be perceived by the human race of the late 21st century and 22nd century in the same way that we view people who - 100 years ago - searched for fairies, or knocked on tables trying to contact the dead, etc.

In other words, we’ll be viewed as a group of people who looked into some unusual areas in search of the truth about aliens, but never really found any hard evidence that proved ET was visiting.

Ironically, if ET really does land, I personally think that ufology will be swept away in an instant as the public demands answers from the media, who in turn demand answeres [sic] from the government and the mainstream scientific community.

We may get a brief 5 minutes to say “we told you so,” but that will be it.

Unless we stumble on it first somehow.

The odds of anyone in ufology stumbling onto "the truth" (whatever that may be) are somewhere between slim and none, and most likely much closer to "none".

The one thing I'm absolutely certain of (and I talked about this on a Binnall of America appearance last year) is that if aliens ever do land, Nick is spot-on right that ufologists will be lucky to get 5 minutes to say "we told you so".

So, in the meantime, everyone should focus on the intriguing mystery, and have some fun, because that's what mysteries should be - fun.

This means that there should be room for some of the more "out there" theories (FYI - as far as the mainstream is concerned, that includes the ETH), even to the point of speculation. Where would I draw the line? When people are clearly lying, or when the theories and speculation goes so far as to be preposterous, at which point let 'em have it.

But that's me. Everyone needs to draw their own line in the sand, and then move forward from there.

Meanwhile, this doesn't mean that one can't make an effort to get science to take the UFO phenomenon seriously. We just have to remember that "ufology" is not a scientific endeavour - it is, by and large, a hobby, or entertainment. This is like the difference between serious scientists who study Mars on the one hand, and people like Richard Hoagland on the other - one should never confuse Hoagland with serious scientific study of anything, but he is entertaining, and that has its place, in the same way that the Jerry Springer Show is not real therapy for the people involved, but it has its place as entertainment.

Of course, there are people, like Nick and I, who walk the line between the two - serious study on the one hand, and entertainment on the other - but we understand that there is a difference.

Paul Kimball

The MJ-12 Brouhaha

At the moment controversy is raging within the "hallowed halls of ufology" about MJ-12.

"What," you ask. "MJ-12. I thought that was a dead fish".

Indeed. MJ-12 itself is a dead fish. It was a scam. Whether it was for disinformation purposes or financial gain is a secondary matter, as far as I'm concerned. Except for a few die-hard defenders (Stan Friedman foremost among them), everybody else has come to that conclusion some time ago, and for the most part moved on.

No, the controversy is not about MJ-12 itself, really, but rather about a paper written by Brad Sparks and Barry Greenwood, and presented at the recent MUFON Symposium. I had an advance peek at the paper weeks before the Symposium courtesy of Brad, and was going to provide some editorial input (mostly re: spelling, grammar, and overall construction, which it badly needed at that stage), but work and life got in the way, and I never got a chance to send back my suggestions, which Brad had asked for (putting the boots to any assertion that Brad can't take constructive criticism).

Anyway, the controversy, which is unedifying for all concerned, is between who wrote what, and when, and how much, and... well, you get the picture. Stuart Miller sums it all up nicely here.

Now, Brad is my friend, and was instrumental in making Best Evidence a well-received film, so I accept his account of how it all went down. Besides, I can't see what the point of all the argument is anyway. It is, in my opinion, a waste of time and energy.

With one exception.

As Stuart notes, Dick Hall has critiqued Brad for making reference to ongoing Roswell research, and big revelations on the horizon, without providing any specifics. Worse, Brad slams other researchers for their lousy methodology (fair game), but does so by comparing it with his own, which we can't check, because Brad hasn't published anything yet.

Dick is right, Brad - and I say this as a friend who has a great deal of respect for you and your work over the years. It is decidedly un-academic to use vague references to ongoing research that has not been made public to support your MJ-12 contentions, or anything else, including criticism of other researchers. If someone else tried this in a different context, I suspect that Brad would be one of the first people to go after them, and rightly so. This was the one part of Brad and Barry's MJ-12 paper that I immediately highlighted in yellow, with a couple of exclamation marks, and meant to send Brad a note saying I thought it was a bad, bad idea, but I never got around to it.

The unfortunate thing is that all of this petty to-and-froing has taken attention away from the real story, which was a paper that, by and large, was an excellent examination of the hows and whys of the MJ-12 fiasco, and should have been the final nail (if one was really needed) in the MJ-12 coffin.

Paul Kimball

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Man as God?

In case you missed it, some scientists are claiming that we are within a decade of being able to create (basic) artificial life.

The quote that has me just a bit worried is this one:

"We're talking about a technology that could change our world in pretty fundamental ways - in fact, in ways that are impossible to predict."

Of course, that's followed by this one:

"When these things are created, they're going to be so weak, it'll be a huge achievement if you can keep them alive for an hour in the lab," he said. "But them getting out and taking over, never in our imagination could this happen."

Hmm... I guess I should feel better now.

Still, I'm left to wonder - are we really wise enough to be messing about with these things?

Perhaps it's time Joe Q. Public tuned in and started really, seriously thinking about what is coming down the pike.

In other words, perhaps they should stop watching Oprah and Springer, and start watching Battlestar Galactica.

Paul Kimball

Thursday, August 16, 2007

D'Arcy O'Connor - Some Oak Island "theories"

Author D'Arcy O'Connor discusses some of the more "out there" theories for Oak Island - could it be UFOs, leprechauns, or German submarines in World War II?

Mac Tonnies should take note of the leprechaun theory - cryptoterrestrials, perhaps?

Paul Kimball

D'Arcy O'Connor discusses the Knights Templar theory for Oak Island

Author D'Arcy O'Connor discusses the theory that the Knights Templar were behind whatever might be hidden on Oak Island, Nova Scotia in this clip from the interview I filmed with him on August 12, 2007, at the Oak Island Resort (you can see Oak Island in the background on the left). The questions were asked by Halifax-based esoteric researcher Graham Simms, with whom I'm working on developing a documentary about Oak Island.

Paul Kimball

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Other Side of Truth - Halls of Fame and Shame Inductees, 2007

Ladies and gentlemen, the voting is now closed, the results have been tabulated, and the first five members of The Other Side of Truth's UFO Hall of Fame and UFO Hall of Shame have been chosen by you, the readers. They are:

UFO Hall of Fame
Dr. J. Allen Hynek
Dr. Jacques Vallee
Stanton T. Friedman
Major Donald Keyhoe
Dr. James McDonald

You can view the final Hall of Fame poll results here.

UFO Hall of Shame
Billy Meier
Philip J. Klass
Dr. Steven Greer
Dr. Edward U. Condon
Marshall Applewhite

You can view the final Hall of Shame poll results here.

I can't argue with any of the choices for the initial inductees in either Hall - all are deserving, for reasons that I will elaborate on in a future post. For now, however, thanks to everyone who voted - and see you again next year when the polling for the class of 2008 begins.

Paul Kimball

D'Arcy O'Connor discusses Oak Island, folklore and the paranormal

Author D'Arcy O'Connor discusses some of the paranormal myths and folklore surrounding Oak Island, Nova Scotia, in this clip from an interview conducted with him August 12th, 2007, at the Oak Island Resort.

D'Arcy's book The Secret Treasure of Oak Island: The Amazing True Story of a Centuries-Old Treasure Hunt, is a cracking good read, and an excellent overview of the Oak Island saga from the perspective of someone who is convinced that there really is some sort of treasure buried there. His lecture this past weekend at Explore Oak Island Days was "Debunking the Debunkers", a title many in the UFO field might find familiar.

More to come...

Paul Kimball

Psychic Eugenia Macer Story discusses the paranormal and Oak Island

Psychic and clairvoyant Eugenia Macer Story discusses Oak Island, Nova Scotia, and the paranormal, in this brief clip I filmed at the Oak Island Resort, 12 August, 2007:

This is raw, unmixed footage, so the audio is a bit low, and the camera mic is still mixed in with the lapel mic. Still, a sample of some of the stuff we got while we were down at Explore Oak Island Days this past weekend.

More Oak Island stuff to come.

Paul Kimball

Monday, August 13, 2007

5 Questions with Tim Binnall

A short Q & A I conducted this past weekend with Tim Binnall while we were camping in Martin's River, Nova Scotia, and attending a conference on Oak Island.

Yes, folks - the first Kimbinnall Summit has been a rousing success. More photos, video and anecdotes to follow.

Paul Kimball