Saturday, April 05, 2014

The Burden of Proof and True Believers

The cartoon above is apropos of a recent discussion on the UFO Updates Facebook page, where a woman made a couple of wild claims about other people that could well be actionable for libel unless she could show that they were true. When Robert Sheaffer and I both asked her for proof that would back up her otherwise wholly unsubstantiated claims, she offered what seems to be the standard response from true believers (which, I might add, you rarely if ever hear from a skeptic when he or she makes a point): "do your own research!" 

Robert and I both tired to inform her that this is not how it works, to which she replied with something along the lines of, "DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH!" I don't know what she has said since, because I blocked her on Facebook at that point. 

The take-away from this is as follows: when one makes a claim it's up to them to provide the proof that backs it up (particularly when your claim is potentially libelous). But in the paranormal "field," particularly with the true believers, we far too often see the fundamentalist religious mindset at work. They make wild, outrageous claims, and then they duck and dodge responsibility through various ploys, the most annoying (to me, at least) being the "do your own research" line. 

It would be sad if it wasn't so pathetic. 

Paul Kimball

Friday, April 04, 2014

The Craziness of John Lear

Has there ever been anyone in ufology quite as crazy as John Lear? Sadly, the answer is yes (William Milton Cooper pops to mind immediately)... but Lear would make any top 20 list of nutters. And yet there are still some people who take him seriously... which tells you nothing about UFOs, but a lot about the fringe elements of the UFO subculture.

Paul Kimball

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

"Jonathan Reed" - A Doctor of Fraudology

During the long and sad history of UFO hoaxers, frauds and hucksters, the case of "Dr. Jonathan Reed" is surely one of the most pathetic. The fact that there are still people who believe this con artist is amazing to me... but then so is the fact that anyone bought his phony act in the first place. 
As a film director, I know good acting when I see it, and I know bad acting when I see it, and Reed's 2000 appearance at the IUFOC is bad with a capital "B". A shameful episode in the history of a "field" with more than its fair share of shameful episodes, but one worth revisiting from time to time as a reminder of just how even the most obvious huckster can find an audience and a paycheck amongst those who are guided solely by their "will to believe."

For an exhaustive expose on "Reed," check out the good work of Royce Myers III at UFO Watchdog, who nailed the conman years ago.

Paul Kimball