By Frank WarrenAs most of our readers are undoubtedly aware by now (see Billy Cox’s excellent exposé) , there has been an exercise in character assassination aimed at renowned Ufologist, Stanton Friedman; the culprit in this instance is one Paul Cottle,
Dr. Cottle is no slouch, and has an impressive resume, earning his doctorate at Yale. Currently he resides at the Experimental Nuclear Physics Faculty at FSU, where he has been for quite some time, his accolades there are abundant and impressive. All this begs the question as to why a man of science such as Cottle would resort to ad hominem attacks against a man he doesn’t know, and based on his comments, a subject he’s ignorant of.
For those not familiar with the recent events, here is a brief synopsis:
The Mary Brogan Museum of Art and Science, located in Tallahassee, Florida recently hosted the "Roswell Exhibit" The exhibit focuses on the events that took place near Roswell, N.M. in the summer of 1947 involving the crash of one or more UFOs and the post military/government cover-up.
In association with the exhibit, Stan was tasked to lecture at the Museum as well, this a sensible compliment to the show, given the fact that it was through his efforts that the story was brought to the public’s attention back in 1978, and why "Roswell" has become a household name today.
On November 4th, in a “letter to the editor” to The Tallahassee Democrat, Cottle wrote:
Brogan should give up UFO 'pseudoscience'
Florida's scientists and science educators recently completed a year's work revising the standards for teaching and learning science in the state's public schools. In the end, most of the energy spent by the standards writers, policymakers and citizens was focused on the threat of pseudoscience undermining scientific literacy in our state.
That's why it is so discouraging that the Brogan Museum of Arts and Sciences has chosen to feature an exhibit ("The Roswell Exhibit") and to host a speaker (well-known charlatan Stanton Friedman) that feature UFO pseudoscience.
The Brogan is going to alarming lengths to sell tickets to Friedman's talks. Last week, the museum sent an e-mail to a number of FSU physics professors asking them to award extra credit to students in their classes for attending Friedman's lectures and coughing up the $10 ticket price. The Brogan staff was presumably inspired to make this request by Friedman's claim that he is a nuclear physicist.
The Brogan should make a new commitment to promoting genuine science. There are too many scientists and educators working hard to improve the scientific environment in Tallahassee to allow the Brogan to undermine it.
That slanderous diatribe incited responses from Chucha Barber, the Brogan Museum executive director, who came to Stan’s defense, and then more malevolent innuendo ensued from Dr. Gregory Boebinger, director of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, also at FSU; he in part wrote:
When Professor Cottle expresses concern about "pseudoscience undermining scientific literacy in our state," he means all pseudoscience, including UFOs, palm reading and astrology. Is the Brogan planning to host future exhibits on palm reading and astrology? Surely, when a science museum hosts often-debunked pseudoscience, it is not only using "a variety of entertaining experiences to attract audiences to science" as Ms. Barber contends, but also insidiously endorsing pseudoscience and attracting our children and the public away from science.
Clearly both Cottle and Boebinger are ignorant to the elements of Ufology; however, at least the latter, although he employed innuendo a propos Ufology, he didn’t slander Stan by name; some might argue the difference given the association.
Knowing Stan, as I do, as well as being a proponent of Ufology, and the scientific investigation thereof, to say I was offended by the remarks of these two men would be a great understatement. Feeling compelled to “chime in,” I wrote the following to both the Tallahassee Democrat, as well as the Florida Citizens for Science web-site:
Stanton Friedman is credentialed both academically, and by his tenure as a nuclear physicist. The latter involved “classified programs” which necessitated a “Q clearance.” The DOE’s “Q Clearance” is equivalent to the DoD’s “Top Secret Clearance (TS)”; his achievements have been such that he has been called on by The Untied Nations, as well as Congress . . . hardly the accolades of a charlatan!
Equally important is the fact he his a man of impeccable character, ethics, and principals—a true gentlemen in every sense of the word; fortunately, for those who choose to slander him, fear not, as he need not slither down to the level of ad hominem attacks.
One other attribute Stan possesses is “courage!” He crossed a line long ago that most “academics and or mainstream scientists” won’t dare! He became cognizant of a “global phenomenon” decades past and took action! He did what science prescribes, setting aside “cognitive bias” as well as selfishness, then began to research and investigate. He is a Copernicus of his time, defying the status quo, and staying true to science.
I might add for those that feel that Ufology isn’t worthy of science, let me remind them that the first physicists who broached the subject (albeit by mandate) are names they might recognize e.g., Dr. Edward Teller, Dr. Norris Bradbury, Dr. Frederick, Dr. Reines, Dr. John Manley to name a few.
One final note for those who don’t know him, yet choose to malign the man; Stanton Friedman vindicates his thesis with factual data; he lays it on the table for all to see, and he invites logical inquiry; he takes on any and all challengers with plausible arguments; those who can’t step up and argue the scientific points, and can only sling mud certainly don’t conform to science or common decency for that matter.