Friday, June 20, 2008

Flying Saucer Fundamentalists

In Why the ETH supporters probably have it right... and wrong I used an analogy - that we would appear to advanced aliens as ants appear to us - that ruffled a few feathers amongst some nuts-and-bolts types, who pointed out that at least a few humans do indeed study ants - entomologists.

Quite so.

But for them I have the following question:

How many entomologists spend 60 years - or longer, if you are a proponent of the notion that ET has been coming here for centuries - studying the exact same ant hill?

That idea strikes me as ridiculous. It's a desperate attempt to force fit our own way of thinking onto potential life forms that would be far more advanced than we are - and they would have to be much more advanced in order to get here from there (ignore someone like Stan Friedman, who will try to tell you about how it's actually relatively easy to get to our local galactic neigbours, if only we would try harder).

Again, I'm not saying that the ETH isn't a good hypothesis... indeed, as I noted before, I think it's the most plausible one amongst the various paranormal hypotheses on offer. It's the claim by nuts-and-bolts ufologists like Friedman and Keyhoe - and hucksters like Billy Meier - that ET is making his way here aboard flyings saucers and acting like we do that I take issue with, because, despite the misleading title of Friedman's new book, that contention is far more science fiction than science fact.

Ufologists like Friedman and Keyhoe who try to convince you that aliens are basically just like us are no different from religious fundamentalists who portray God as a kindly, white-haired anglo saxon. Such portrayals tell you a great deal about the people who put those images and beliefs forward, but absolutely nothing about the possible entity or entities under discussion.

They are flying saucer fundamentalists, and in their own way they have done as much damage to the serious scientific study of the UFO phenomenon as people like Dr. Edward Condon, Dr. Donald Menzel, or Philip J. Klass.

Paul Kimball


Jeff Ritzmann said...

I'm actually surprised you see the ETH as the most plausible when after all these years of modern UFO investigation we don't have a single definitive "nut" or "bolt" from these allegedly "ping a rock" real machines. Or, for that matter, anything that would seal the hypothesis.

Die hard believers will tell you the govt has all this under wraps, which is always the convenient excuse. Unfortunately the UFO community (if it can be called that) has long held fast to the ETH and researchers from that angle show no signs of changing their tune to consider other opinions...ones that might include the more paranormal aspects long ignored (mostly)in the study by the mainstream.

Mac said...

I've always been bothered by the Roswell aliens (assuming, of course, that there *were* aliens) as depicted by both Friedman and Randle. Both describe essentially human-like beings. If their depiction is accurate, then I'm forced to wonder if we're indeed dealing with misdirection or a cover-up dealing with human experimentation a la Redfern's book.

Anonymous said...

I have a pretty agnostic view of both UFO and alien abduction phenomena. I am sure there are many possible explanations for them. However, the ETH nuts and bolts explanation does fit some of the features, such as objects that look and act like intelligently controlled structured aircraft. It is different to religious people making up a God in a particular human image, as there do not appear to have been any real recorded sightings of God. That is more easily explainable as coming from human psychology. Whereas, with UFOs, many of them have been filmed, tracked on radar, sighted simultaneously by well-trained observers and so on.

One thing we do know, is that there have been UFO sightings, and reports of interactions with "alien" beings, over a long period of time. Whatever it is, it appears to be operating over time. I don’t think it can be reduced down to a single case of “if it is aliens of the nuts and bolts type, then they must be studying the same thing over and over again, which is ridiculous, so they can’t be aliens of that type.” Perhaps there are aliens of that type studying a constantly changing planet, with constantly changing species over time? Perhaps they have an ongoing program over time that we know nothing about? Perhaps they are monitoring something over time? The possibilities are endless. Perhaps it is something else entirely.

What do you think is the most plausible explanation for sightings of UFOs that appear to be intelligently controlled structured aircraft of some description that do not appear to be explainable as our own aircraft?

Don Maor said...

Hi Paul,

I admit, with very little shame, that i am very close to the definition of a "saucer fundamentalist". My personal answers to your entomological question is:

First: I remain skeptic of the validity of your comparation of a ant hill to an entire planet.

Second: Why are you so sure about the fact that they are in this moment studying only _this_ ant hill?

Third: I wouldn't be surprised to find an entomologist, or more generally, a zoologist, that may stay o had stayed for YEARS (10 or may more) with the same animal group or familly of animals, apes, etc. Those guys, zoologists, really love animals. I repeat, I woudn't be surprised.

Fourth: You speak about 60 years, or, centuries, but time is relative. If their presumable advanced technology permits them to live, for example, a 500-years old life, then they may find that 60 or 100 years is not much time, for them. (The notion that technology will make a longer life for humans, is a very plausible one.)

I hope I answered your question.