By Stanton FriedmanI see so much false and misleading material about flying saucers and related matters (especially on the internet) that I am sure one could do a column every day pointing out the errors and false claims and still not cover all the garbage. But who would pay somebody to do that? And who would read it anyway?
I very recently received the 2nd issue (April/May 2008) of a new, six times a year, slick magazine from England known as Alien Worlds. The editor/publisher is Stuart Miller who has been busy posting on the internet about UFOs for some time. This issue is in large format with relatively small print, sometimes hard to read for us old guys, often with blue print on black paper. It is glossy and, because of all the color, would be hard to Xerox. There are many articles covering a wide variety of subjects. I strongly disagree with some, but find others of interest. The magazine isn’t cheap costing 3 pounds 99 or about $8.00 US. More information can be obtained from Stuart at The New House, Church Bank, Richmond road, Bowdon, Altrincham, Cheshire WA14 3NW, UK . His email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
Several things caught my eye. One is that there is, somewhat surprisingly, a lot of SETI related material. My new book Flying Saucers and Science has an entire chapter on the cult of SETI.I note that Dr. Ian Morrison head of the Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire, the UK, misrepresents the Fermi Paradox as do most SETI specialists. He says, page 78,“. . . in something like about 10million years, maybe a hundred million years, you could, in principle, colonize the whole galaxy." All the suitable planets. What Fermi said was if that’s possible, then why aren’t they here, why have we never come across any other alien life form?”. Sounds like he wants them to be waiting at the bus stop or airport. This is certainly not what Fermi said though many astronomers would like to believe that is what he said. He actually said (assuming the colonizing capability) “So where is everybody?” Whole books have been written with various answers to the question known as the Fermi Paradox.
My own answer, based on what I heard about Fermi at the University of Chicago (he died while I was there) was that he was very fond of using questions as a teaching tool. One obvious answer (mine) is “We don’t know where all of them are, but we know some are visiting Earth, some few people within the government in intelligence and military circles know a great deal about them and have even recovered wreckage and bodies, tried to shoot them down (see Frank Feschino’s Shoot Them Down), and has been lying about what it knows big time”.
Fermi who, unlike most of the SETI guys, academic astronomers, ancient academics and fossilized physicists who attack ufology, knew very well, from his very important work on the multi Billion Dollar Black Budget Manhattan Project, that huge and very expensive projects involving world class scientists can be conducted in total secrecy… no publications in the Physical Review. Obviously, it is very difficult to justify searching for ET signals with radio telescopes, if aliens are already coming here and some Earthlings know it.
Another article that caught my eye was a relatively brief one (pp16,17) by Paul Kimball (producer of a number of high quality TV Documentaries)Above and Beyond: Ufology’s two Biggest Problems: The Condon Effect and Roswellism. I agree with Paul that the widespread publicity given to the University of Colorado’s loudly proclaimed (by Dr. Edward U. Condon)1969 “scientific” conclusions that there was nothing to UFOs had a devastating effect on many who might have been willing to investigate UFOs, or teach classes, or sponsor PhD theses about them, but had now no willingness to risk their professional reputations by doing so. Membership in NICAP and APRO dropped precipitously. Lazy and busy journalists and scientists now had an excellent excuse to ignore the entire question of UFOs and have very often done so.
There were courageous ufologists such as James E. MacDonald and J. Allen Hynek who pointed out that Condon’s conclusions were contradicted by the data in his report. Their views certainly reached fewer people than the paeans of Condon praise from such reporters as Walter Sullivan, science editor of the New York Times, and the National Academy of Sciences. We slowly seem to be overcoming Condonism ,to some extent illustrating physicist Max Planck’s comment that “New ideas come to be accepted, not because their opponents come to believe in them, but because their opponents die and a new generation grows up that is accustomed to them”.
Paul defines Roswellism “in broad strokes, it is:1.The unequivocal acceptance of the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis (i.e.UFOs are alien spacecraft) as fact; 2. The unequivocal acceptance that alien spacecraft crash landed near Roswell in 1947 (and the resulting acceptance that any other crashed flying saucer story may be true) ; and 3. The unequivocal acceptance that the American Government has covered up the truth about 1 and 2 since1947, in an organized conspiracy of silence that represents a “Cosmic Watergate”.
I have very serious problems with these. I and other serious ufologist are skeptical and critical of much in ufology, so unequivocal seems way too strong. There is a very large difference between my conclusion, after intensive study, that SOME UFOs are alien spacecraft, and the notion, implied by Paul, that ufologists believe ALL UFOs are alien spacecraft. I don’t know of any serious ufologist who has expressed the latter view. Yes, I am certainly convinced on the basis of a great deal of evidence that a crashed flying saucer, and bodies, were recovered near Roswell in 1947.I would be the first to point out, as I have, that there is a lot of irrelevant, false nonsense published about Roswell and other crashes. The garbage (much of it published by the government in lying and misleading volumes), has helped obfuscate the truth.
Paul speaks of the “Aztec hoax in the early 1950s”. Scott and Suzanne Ramsey’s outstanding and persistent research on the Aztec event which was in March , 1948, and should be published in book form by the end of 2008, should certainly dispel the label “hoax”.
What does Paul mean by an organized “conspiracy of silence”? I never thought of highly classified research and development and intelligence programs as organized “conspiracies of silence” when working on them. Nice terminology. Certainly the Manhattan Project would qualify wouldn’t it? How about the Corona Spy Satellite successfully launched for the first of many times in 1960 and which obtained more data on Soviet military installations than all the U-2 flights which preceded it, but was not discussed publicly until 1995? What about the NRO’s 7 very expensive Poppy satellites launched to spy on Soviet shipping between 1962 and 1971 and not discussed until 2005? How about the breaking of the German and Japanese codes involving more than 12,000 people and not disclosed for over 25 years?. I guess you could say “Conspiracies of Silence” which sounds ominous. Covering up data about alien visitations and technology is certainly of no less importance to national security than these major multi-billion dollar programs. What is the big deal?
Paul claims “ Roswellism has achieved nothing of substance . . . based on a flawed unproved set of assumptions masquerading as facts.” He doesn’t really point out what these are other than to say it is unscientific, a-historical, and no different than Condon’s methodology. I beg to differ. We point to clear and unambiguous evidence such as first hand testimony from people directly involved such as retired General T.J. DuBose, Major Marcel, Bill Brazel; contemporary press coverage and research demonstrating government and skeptical misrepresentation. Condon ignored the research of his own people and the data in his own report. So are black holes and worm holes unproved, but they are indeed very useful concepts, so what? Roswell has certainly opened a can of worms for the government and caused many people to look at the UFO question in new ways and certainly made debunkers very unhappy. Too bad. Paul seems to want clear and unambiguous tests such as DNA testing and maybe aliens introduced to the Canadian House of Commons. He does provide details of some interesting events at that august body. Many things in science aren’t like that. . . or in law either.
Newton’s laws are very useful in understanding how the universe operates, even though that aren’t correct at the small and large limits of the universe. The biggest source of outright lies about Roswell are the 2 big reports on Roswell provided by the government not by ufologists. What are we supposed to make of crash test dummies, 6’ tall, weighing 175 pounds, dropped in 1953 and thereafter, and later used as an “explanation” for reports of small bodies observed in 1947? What are we to make of Colonel Cavitt’s claim that the Roswell wreckage covered an area 20 feet square and could easily fit in a single car when even the July 9,1947, contemporary cover-up newspaper account said it covered an area 200 yards in diameter. The New York Times front page coverage of the silly Mogul balloon explanation was indeed as bad as Condonism, since Pulitzer Prize winning Journalist William Broad ignored the relevant evidence (Mogul simply doesn’t fit. . . so one must acquit).I demonstrate government UFO lies in an article on my website www.stantonfriedman.com. Cosmic Watergate is the right phrase.
One must further note that there are no licensing regulations for qualifying ufologists. We in the field can do little to keep people from calling themselves ufologists. There are licensing regulations for doctors and lawyers, electricians and plumbers, not ufologists. Certainly the preponderance of the evidence indicates, some UFOs are alien spacecraft, Roswell involved a crashed flying saucer, and there has been a substantial government cover-up concerning many aspects of ufology