Saturday, May 30, 2009

Pseudo-Science of Anti-Ufology

By Stanton T. Friedman
© 2009

There have been a number of remarks by people calling themselves scientists attacking the notion that any flying saucers are of alien origin. The arguments aren’t scientific, but rather represent research by proclamation rather than investigation. We can learn a lot about how to deal with these attacks by focusing on the claims that are made and what is irrational or illogical or just plain wrong about them. This is worth doing because often the claims are left unchallenged and college level students in science and journalism and the general public are taught baloney as if it were truth. They need ammunition from those of us in the scientific Ufological community in order to deal with the false arguments and illogicality of the pseudo-scientific anti-Ufologists. There are a number of demonstrably false claims which have been put forth such as there is no evidence, one can’t get here from there, Governments can’t keep secrets, if aliens were visiting they would want to talk to me, or land on the White House lawn. They also falsely claim that Occam’s Razor rules out UFO reality. Moreover, they claim that no scientists have seen a UFO. Phil Plait of the blog Bad Astronomy falsely claims that no astronomers or amateur astronomers have seen a UFO. This paper provides a guide for the perplexed about UFOs and their critics.


For more than 60 years the primary approach by the media and scientific communities to the subject of UFOs and Flying Saucers has been based on pseudo-science. Proclamations and attacks, often given the appearance of being scientific, have been launched at every aspect of the phenomena. Despite an enormous array of real evidence and data, we have been treated to false claims, false reasoning, bias and ignorance. The basic rules of pseudo-science have been followed, including especially that there are no good reasons to present solid scientific information, that absence of evidence in the hands of the writers and proclaimers is proof of absence of such evidence, that everything claimed by a debunker must be true, that everything claimed by a believer is false, that one must denigrate “believers” and “buffs”, but accept all attacks as legitimate.


Stan Friedman     Most graduate students are taught to begin a new research project with a literature search. See what has already been published before doing ones own work. No sense reinventing the wheel and certainly don’t make claims that can be destroyed by those more familiar with relevant past publications. Yet one of the most common and distressing aspects of the pseudo-scientific anti-Ufological literature is the failure of the pseudo-scientists to do their homework before putting their mouths or computers in gear. I am referring to evidence about large scale studies of sightings, landings, abductions, multiple witness radar visual cases, saucer crashes, government cover-ups, etc. As somebody very much concerned with advanced nuclear and space technology, I have been appalled by the silly pseudo-scientific statements that have been made about space travel, high acceleration travel and interstellar travel. As the original civilian investigator of the Roswell Incident, and a long-term investigator of the abduction of Betty and Barney Hill, I am equally appalled at the unscientific arguments made against these two bell-weather cases. The common features of these attacks include:
A. A failure to look at the literature that is available about all of these.

B. An unwillingness to recognize that the “specific details of how something is to be done” are very much more important than broad general notions about the laws of physics.

C. An enormous arrogance in thinking that if certain things were true or certain technologies were real, these all-wise pseudo-scientists would know about them. They don’t, so the notions must not be true. None of this is to say that there hasn’t been a lot of pro-UFO garbage published as well. But Ufologists tend to be critical of their own kind. The pseudo-scientific anti-Ufologists never seem to want to critique another debunker no matter how false the claims. They repeat the claims rather than pointing out the fallacies.

Some of my concerns go back to the time I spent in industry on highly classified advanced technology programs for big industrial concerns. Everything you wanted to publish outside the company, or at a professional meeting, had to be approved by more than one level of management. After all, the company’s good name was involved. Double-check everything. Equally relevant for me were the weekly science commentaries I did (for 6 years) for the Fredericton, New Brunswick, CBC radio station. I covered a huge range of topics and, since some people would believe me no matter what I said, I felt I had to check things out. I read widely and covered, medical, nuclear, Ufological, technological, etc, topics. I found that often the summaries and conclusions at the beginnings of the articles did not accurately reflect the actual findings. Axes were being ground. I found government agencies had no qualms about being pseudo-scientific, if it suited them. For example, I had done a radio piece on the importance of adequate intake of magnesium to assure a healthy cardiovascular system. Then I was surprised to see that the Canadian government had issued a new Recommended Daily Allotment that I felt was much too low. I found the person who had written the justification and wondered why there was no mention of the importance of Mg to a healthy heart. He said there was no connection. I rattled off some references. He changed direction and said there were no epidemiological studies. I asked about the outstanding work of Dr. Heikki Karppanen of Finland. The government “expert” hadn’t heard of any of HK’s six studies. HK had found a region of Finland where the people lived entirely off their own land and their Mg intake was determined by the local geology, since the amount in beef, grain, water, etc reflected local numbers. The greater the Mg level, the lower the heart disease problems. Such studies would be very hard to do in the USA or Canada. The official was speaking from ignorance. Sounded very much like a conversation with a pseudo-scientific anti-Ufologist.

I did a report on another highly touted study supposedly showing that everybody should reduce his or her intake of cholesterol. The small print in the back showed that the study was of the effectiveness of a cholesterol-reducing drug. The very large scale, long term, double blind placebo controlled (and very expensive) study included only men over the age of 40 whose cholesterol levels were in the top 10% or so. The results, highly touted in the press, could not at all be interpreted as showing that men and women, young and old, should use their drug. As a matter of fact the death rate was higher for stomach cancer amongst those on the drug than on the placebo. What is that old line about statistics and lies?


One of the least scientific and most often claimed aspects of UFO sightings is that the only reason sightings can’t be explained is that there isn’t enough data. For more than 50 years this false, inaccurate, unsubstantiated claim has been repeated over and over again.

Here are some examples:
1. “The reliable cases are uninteresting and the interesting cases are unreliable. Unfortunately, there are no cases that are both reliable and interesting”. Dr. Carl Sagan, Astronomer, “Other Worlds” Bantam,1975, p. 113

2. “The unexplained sightings are simply those for which there is too little information to provide a solid factual basis for an explanation.” Ben Bova, Editor, ANALOG, December 1975.

3. “Almost every sighting is either a mistake or a hoax. These reports are so riddled with hoaxes and the flying saucers enthusiasts have so many cranks, freaks and nuts among them that Hynek [Dr. J. Allen] is constantly running the risk of innocently damaging his reputation by being confused with them.” Dr. Isaac Asimov “The Rocketing Dutchman” FANTASY and Science Fiction, February 1975, p.132

4. ”All non-explained sightings are from poor observers”. Dr. Donald Menzel, Astronomer, PHYSICS TODAY, June 1976

Perhaps the above 4 examples are all derived from this obviously (seemingly) scientific claim: 5. “On the basis of this study we believe that no objects such as those popularly described as flying saucers have over-flown the United States. I feel certain that even the unknown three percent could have been explained as conventional phenomena or illusions if more complete observational data had been obtained”. Donald A. Quarles, Secretary of the United States Air Force, October 25, 1955, Dept. of Defense press Release 1053-55. Very widely published in the press.

All the comments falsely sound as if they are based upon careful study of a large number of cases by professionals. Perhaps the first four represent an echo of the fifth. Obviously there could be no higher authority that the Secretary. of the USAF. The strange thing is that the press release, though given very wide distribution, never gave the title of the “study” on which the conclusions were supposedly based: “Blue Book Special Report Number 14(Ref.1) More important, none of the data in 240 charts, tables, graphs and maps, were actually included in the supposed summary that accompanied the release. The release also didn’t mention who did the work: “Battelle Memorial Institute.” So far as I have been able to determine, none of the many newspapers that carried the release bothered to ask about any of these items. As far as the first four comments above went, no sources or references were cited. This is pseudo-science, especially considering that all the comments are totally and completely false… not just slanted or biased.

I have made a habit of starting most of my more than 700 college and professional group lectures with the data from BBSR 14. I also ask how many have read it; Typically 1-2%, sometimes 0. I discuss the actual facts at length in Chapter 1 of “Flying Saucers and Science(Ref.2). In summary, the UNKNOWNS were 21.5% of the 3201 cases which were evaluated.(not 3%) They were completely separate and distinct from the 9.3% listed as Insufficient Information, despite the lie told by Quarles. It was also found that the better the quality of the sighting report, the more likely it was unexplainable. It was found that UNKNOWNS were observed for longer than KNOWNS. It was found that the probability that the UNKNOWNS were just missed knowns, based on a chi squared statistical comparison between the two groups, was less than 1%.Fewer than 2% were hoaxes despite Asimov’s false claim. How in the world can any professional continue, as they do, to make false claims such as those noted above? Why isn’t BBSR 14 cited in the debunking books? I know that Menzel had a copy from correspondence in his files at Harvard. Carl Sagan has volumes in which the data appear. I sent copies of data tables to Ben Bova and Isaac Asimov. Totally ignored. The rule is clearly “don’t bother me with the facts, my mind is made up.”

I found it very interesting when I read the University of Colorado “Scientific Study of UFOs (The Condon Report)”(Ref.3) that, despite its length (965 pages), and the presence of a whole chapter on government involvement in UFO investigations, that it, too, makes no mention of BBSR 14 which covered more than 25 times as many cases as Condon. I had written a letter to Condon talking about it, and he acknowledged it. This is pseudo-science, as was the press release sent out implying that nothing of interest to science came from the $539,000 study. As a matter of fact, according to a special UFO subcommittee that had been established by the world’s largest group of space scientists, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics,(Ref.4) “The opposite conclusions [to Condon’s negative statements] could have been drawn from the content of the report, namely that a phenomenon with such a high ratio of unexplained cases (30%) should arouse sufficient scientific curiosity to continue its study.” And yet numerous pseudo-scientific anti-Ufologists have acted as though the Condon report with its very strange statement of approval from Condon’s colleagues at the National Academy of Sciences,(no investigations had been checked) answered the question once and for all. Dr. Susan Clancy a pseudo-scientific abduction debunker totally misrepresented both the Condon Study and abductions in her book (Ref.5). I have detailed many of these in my review at

An important aspect of the scientific method is the requirement for focusing on the data relevant to the problem at hand. That most isotopes are not fissionable, or fusionable, does not mean none are; and that most metals are not heavier than uranium and don’t have melting points higher than that of tungsten does NOT mean that none do. That most possibly beneficial drugs do not cure any disease, doesn’t mean than none do. That most UFO sightings wind up, after investigation, as being Identifiable Flying Objects, does NOT mean that none are intelligently controlled extraterrestrial spacecraft, Their behavior and appearance indicate that they couldn’t have been built here, because we couldn’t then build things that look like that or fly like that. If we Earthlings could have, they would have been used in warfare.

A much more recent example of pseudo-science than those cited above occurred during a 3 hour debate on Coast to Coast Radio between myself and Dr. Michael Shermer, Editor and Publisher of SKEPTIC Magazine on August 1, 2007. We and host George Noory and others had appeared on Larry King 2 weeks earlier. Michael’s major activity on LK besides making false claims had consisted of playing with small alien dolls. Many asked why I hadn’t just punched him out (not my style). Anyway, he started on C to C by claiming that the only reason some sightings can’t be explained is that, as with other paranormal events, there is always in such matters a residue of about 5% that can’t be explained. Needless to say I blasted that bit of pseudo-science by quoting the numbers from BBSR 14 and the Condon report (21.5% and 30%) and from the other key sources noted above and below. It was interesting that Michael still had done no homework. In the interval I had examined two of his books and was able to quote from him as to why debunkers believe what they believe
1.”Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons”p.297 “Why People Believe Weird Things” Owl Books, 2002, p.297

2. The Confirmation Bias: “The tendency to seek or interpret evidence favorable to already existing beliefs, and to ignore or reinterpret evidence unfavorable to already existing beliefs”. Why People Believe Weird Things” p. 299.

Obviously these are right on about the pseudo-scientists.
The vote taken of listeners at the end was that 80% thought I had won the debate and 20% voted for Michael.


There are all kinds of comments to the effect that all there is on the UFO scene is anecdotal data. This is more pseudo-science. “Anecdote” is defined as “a short account of an interesting incident or event, often biographical” (Webster’s Encyclopedic Dictionary); also “a short story narrating a detached incident or fact of an interesting nature; a biographical incident; a single passage of private life” (New Webster’s Dictionary).

Only a pseudo-scientific anti-Ufologist could ignore the myriad of detailed investigations of important sightings that have been published. An excellent sampling of these is included in the US Government publication “Symposium on Unidentified Flying Objects”, July 29,1968, “Hearings by the House Committee on Science and Astronautics”.(Ref.6) The 246 page volume includes papers by 12 scientists covering a wide range of backgrounds. The best paper (71 pages long) is by Dr. James E. McDonald, which covers 41 cases. The famous RB 47 case involves detailed testimony from a well trained military crew of 7 flying a very sophisticated USAF RB-47 aircraft whose encounter with a UFO lasted almost an hour and was visually observed and by radar on the ground as well. This is absolutely not a detached incident and certainly not an anecdote. Of course the pseudo-scientific anti-Ufologists ignore it. Another important source, also ignored is, Richard Hall’s “The UFO Evidence(Ref.7), 1964) and the updated 1999 (Ref.8) version. Of particular concern is the avoidance, especially by pseudo-scientific anti-Ufologist astronomers, of the book “The UFO Experience” by Dr. J Allen Hynek (Ref.9) . After all he was the USAF Project Blue Book scientific consultant for more than 20 years. He was head of the Astronomy Department at Northwestern University. He contributed to the Congressional hearings as well. I suppose it is understandable that the astronomers so enamored with SETI (the Silly Effort to Investigate) and astrobiology would want to stay as far away as possible from data indicating the planet is being visited by aliens, especially when collected by a fellow astronomer. Who would then need SETI? I discuss this in detail in chapter 5 “The Cult of SETI” in “Flying Saucers and Science(Ref.2). Several astronomers, most notably Phil Plait, who writes a Bad Astronomy column (I agree with some pieces he has written, not about UFOs) is totally uninformed about the UFO evidence. They have tried to claim that if aliens were visiting, astronomers would be expected to see them, but never do. I discuss (Ref.2) their failure to pay any attention to the surveys showing astronomers, both amateur and professional, do see UFOs even if they, like most others, are reluctant to report them; both Hynek and McDonald and Dr. Peter Sturrock, a Stanford Astrophysicist, discussed sightings by astronomers. It is pseudo-scientific for a so-called scientist to make false claims and ignore the very data he claims doesn’t exist, even when published by noted colleagues..

It is also amusing how often the SETI cultists bring up the Drake Equation, which supposedly allows one to determine the number of advanced civilizations in the galaxy. One might as well use a dartboard with numbers on it. It is not a scientific equation. People get all kinds of answers because the choices for certain terms are completely arbitrary and without factual basis. For example, what is the average life span of a civilization? We have data on one planet in one solar system. There are a few hundred billion stars in the galaxy. The Drake Equation assumes no colonization and no migration; this goes along with the silly assumption that nobody is coming to Earth despite all the evidence.

The radio astronomers not only assume nobody is coming, but that some aliens somewhere are sending signals in our direction to attract our attention and that we are so smart we can determine what techniques they are using, what frequencies, what kind of modulation, whether they are analog or digital. If the latter, there is no way for us to interpret the signals. (Generally if they are using lasers or gravitational waves or Who knows what, WE KNOW NOTHING)


The astronomical community has, not surprisingly, a long history of making totally false pronouncements about flight. After all, there is nothing in their training or education that gives any professional insight about the aeronautical and astronautical aspects of flight. The best known American astronomer of the 19th Century, Dr. Simon Newcomb (1835-1909), had written: “The demonstration that no possible combination of known substances, known forms of machinery, and known forms of force can be united in a practical machine by which man shall fly long distances through the air, seems to this writer as complete as it is possible for the demonstration of any physical fact to be.”

He was so prominent and highly respected that his funeral was attended by numerous dignitaries including the President of the United States; his expertise involved the making of accurate determinations of the positions of the heavenly bodies and mathematical procedures for using that data for navigation and related problems. None of this has anything to do with flight. The first sustained powered flight be the Wright brothers took place only 2 months later. They, and others, had made numerous measurements determining the influence of various factors on lift and drag.

In the course of preparing Chapter 2 (“You Can Get Here from There” of “Flying Saucers and Science(Ref.2) and while working on a new book “But It’s Impossible” with my co-author Kathleen Marden, I ran across numerous false or pseudo-scientific claims about flight in the atmosphere and then in space by smart people who didn’t know what they were talking about. These savants said it would be impossible to fly across the ocean, to sink a battleship with a bomb dropped from an airplane, to go faster than the speed of sound, etc. The attacks on the feasibility of space flight also showed ignorance. For example, Dr. Alexander Bickerton in a paper presented to the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1926 showed that because our best explosive had only 1/10th the energy per pound required to move at orbital velocity, that it would be impossible to give anything sufficient energy to place it in orbit,. He obviously didn’t know that other chemical combinations give more energy per pound in a rocket and are easier to use than explosives. He also neglected the small detail that it is the payload that needs to go into orbit, not the propellant. Another astronomer Dr. John Campbell of Canada in 1941 scientifically (really pseudo-scientifically) calculated the required initial launch weight for a rocket able to get a man to the moon and back as a million tons. Less than 30 years later, 3 men were sent to the moon with a chemical rocket whose initial launch weight was all of 3000 tons. To say he didn’t know what he was talking about would be a gross understatement.

He made a host of really inappropriate (stupid would be a better word) assumptions that he wouldn’t have made if he had studied research papers that had been published years earlier. He assumed a single stage rocket, limited to 1-G acceleration, providing all the energy for the trip, launched vertically, requiring a retrorocket to slow it down when returning, and assuming a very low exhaust velocity for the propellant. The engineers responsible for planning our lunar excursions used a multistage rocket, a much higher but appropriate exhaust velocity, a much higher maximum acceleration, launched from as close to the equator as possible to the East, and used the earth’s atmosphere to slow it down upon return, but being sure to get the entry angle correct. They, of course, used the gravitational field of the moon (hence a launch window), the rotation of the earth and good sensible engineering. Launching from near the equator takes advantage of the fact, apparently unknown to the pseudo-scientists that the earth rotates at about 1000 miles per hour there. The moon also provides some energy, free, if the timing is right. The atmosphere charges nothing for providing the energy to slow the rocket down; as a matter of fact all our deep space probes have used as much cosmic freeloading as possible to reduce the propellant load. Mother nature can be very helpful.

The British Astronomer Royal, Sir Richard van der Riet Wooley (1906-1986) made many silly claims about space flight including when speaking to Time Magazine in 1956 “It’s utter bilge. I don’t think anybody will ever put up enough money to do such a thing. What good would it do us? If we spent the same amount of money on preparing first-class astronomical equipment we would learn much more about the universe. It is all rather rot.” This was one year before Sputnik, and 13 years before the first manned landing on the moon. Isn’t it ironic that Astronomy has been so enriched by data obtained by such extraordinary space based observatories as Hubble, Chandra, Fermi, Spitzer and many more?

I suppose it is safe to say today that most astronomers recognize that man has indeed gone to the moon and back and has sent probes past all the planets except Pluto. Some have left the solar system. In another excellent example of pseudoscience, we have the statement by Hayden Planetarium director Dr. Neil de Grasse Tyson that our fastest spacecraft, the Voyager would take 70,000 years to go the distance to the nearest star, 4.3 light years. He said this on the Peter Jennings ABC TV Mockumentary of February 24, 2005. This is as pseudo-scientific and misleading as Dr. Campbell’s work. Voyager has no propulsion system on it. It has been coasting much as a balloon or kite might in the sky or a bottle tossed into the ocean.

But can we seriously talk about going to the stars less than 70 years into the space age? Depends, as one might expect, on the details. The usual objection is to point to Albert Einstein’s relativity and the conclusion that nothing can go faster than the speed of light. However, Einstein also noted that the closer one gets to the speed of light, the more time slows down for things moving that fast. Sounds crazy, but this crazy notion has been verified. How much slower time moves for the high speed systems depends on how close one gets .At 99.9% of the speed of light it only takes 20 months pilot time to go 37 light years. At 99.99 % of the speed of light it would only take 6 months pilot time to go 37 light years . . . and so on. Now at this point the pseudo-scientists jump in “but relativity also indicates that the closer one gets to the speed of light, the more one’s mass increases and the more energy it takes to keep accelerating.” True? Not necessarily. The pseudo-scientists assume one must be accelerating by carrying along propellant, which is sent out the back of the rocket. However, if one uses nuclear fusion reactions such as those between Deuterium (heavy Hydrogen) and Helium 3 (light Helium), the charged particles produced in these reactions are born with more than 10 million times as much energy per particle as they can get in a chemical rocket. They are not “accelerated” by the rocket, but are born that way and electromagnetically shipped out. Furthermore it also takes no energy to take advantage of the gravitational acceleration by massive bodies such as the moon, the sun, Jupiter, nearby stars, very dense black holes, maybe even twin neutron stars as suggested by Physicist Freeman Dyson. Be in the right place at the right time.

The devil is in the details. At Aerojet General Nucleonics in the early 1960s we did a serious study for the USAF on deep space fusion propulsion systems using D-He-3. Reports and papers were written and published such as Ref. 10. Naturally the pseudo-scientist anti-Ufologists never reference these studies. In my 1999 MUFON Paper,“Star Travel? YES!” I gave more details and also noted the problems with pseudo-scientist-anti-Ufologist “Dr. Lawrence Krauss.”

The debunkers don’t even reference the successful ground testing of a number of nuclear fission rockets in the 1960s by Westinghouse Astro-nuclear Laboratory, Aerojet General, and Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory. The most powerful one was the Phoebus 2B of LASL which was less than 7’ in diameter and operated at a power level of 4400 Megawatts.. twice the energy output of Grand Coulee Dam. Do they really think chemical rockets are the ultimate? Are they still using slide rules for their scientific computations (not that I am sure any do any SC)?

It seems to me that every advanced civilization will determine that its star produces its energy by nuclear fusion. We tested the first successful fusion device, a bomb, of course, in late 1952 in the Pacific. It produced the same explosive energy release as exploding 10 million tons of TNT. It created a fireball diameter of 3 miles. By comparison the biggest non-nuclear bombs dropped during WW 2 were 10-ton blockbusters. The Soviets later actually exploded a fusion weapon releasing the energy of 57 million tons of TNT. Remember that we Earthlings only figured out fusion as the energy producing process in the stars in 1938. Surely other civilizations figured out Nuclear fusion long before we did.(A thousand or million or billion years ago??) They probably also figured out something much more powerful a long time ago. One suggestion might be that they noted that as one goes from the big atom to the small nucleus, the size goes way down, but the energy goes way up per particle. This sounds crazy, but is not. What if we figure out how to get inside the small quarks of which neutrons, protons, etc are made? Will the energy go way up per particle?

It is almost laughable how silly some of the reactions are to these scientific facts. For example, UK debunker Peter Brookesmith in a review (Ref.11) of FSS claimed that sure the mass increases, but people would hardly be able to move their bodies, lift their arms etc. This is nonsense. The change in mass occurs from the viewpoint of the observer not the high speed person.

Perhaps I better add that hydrogen and helium are the lightest and most abundant elements in the universe, which means they can be found wherever one is going. That is not true of uranium used in fission systems.

Another sticky wicket to some people is to assume that one would accelerate half way out to a target star and then decelerate the other half, all the while carrying all the propellant needed for the round trip. Obviously when one drives from Fredericton to Miami, one refuels along the way rather than carrying all the fuel for the trip from the beginning. One doesn’t keep the gas pedal to the floor; incidentally at 1G acceleration, it only takes a year to get close to the speed of light. Some have suggested in campus classes that I have conducted that it would take a decade, century, or millennium. A Nobel Prize winning Physicist, Dr. Edward Purcell, assumed accelerating at 1 G for 5 light years and then decelerating for 5 years and repeating the pattern in reverse to get home (from a star 10 light years away) and of course carrying all the fuel for the whole trip from the start. Not much payload fraction for such an absurd trip profile. This is the equivalent of assuming that a 747 keeps at full throttle when it gets to altitude instead of going into cruise mode. And of course it refuels when it lands. Many military planes refuel on the fly for most long missions. How many alien fuel storage stations are out there? Maybe like the coaling stations set up by England to facilitate ocean crossings a century ago!


Another silly assumption is that it would be ridiculous to suggest that very sophisticated spacecraft from another solar system could possibly crash. Let us, of course, ignore the tragic loss of TWO space shuttles. I try, not always so gently, to point out that crashes occurring near Roswell and Aztec
(in New Mexico), Varginia in Brazil, seem to involve relatively small craft as opposed to the huge “mother ships” observed for example in the JAL Case on November 17, 1986, over Alaska or the Yukon Case of December 11, 1996. and so ably investigated by engineer Martin Jacek.. A useful analogy here is that different systems are designed for different environments. The US Navy operates massive nuclear fission powered aircraft carriers, which can run for 18 years without refueling. Each carries about 75 very much smaller non-nuclear powered jets, which can fly for a few hours at most. Different environments, and one has different systems. The space between stars is very different than that in the vicinity of a planet with an atmosphere and a high gravitational field. and heating and drag.

Some have demanded how could such an advanced tech system possibly crash. I point out that unexpected events and circumstances have often caused aircraft and rocket accidents. How about a sudden lightning and hailstone storm? How about bird strikes, pilot error, unexpected radio or radar signals, that interfered with navigation or propulsion systems?


Over and over again pseudo-scientific anti-Ufologists claim that the reported acceleration of flying saucers is far more than man can stand. “It is impossible” they shriek. One silly book (Ref.12) even claimed that when one gets to 9 G-s one dies!. Sure, if one slams into a brick wall or much of anything else while being accelerated at 9Gs. But properly trained and constrained (seat belts etc) and with the force acting in the proper direction with reference to the body, one can stand quite high accelerations. For example, pilots can perform a tracking task while being accelerated at 14Gs for 2 minutes. That is about 300 miles per hour per second,. Astronauts are launched on their back because they can stand much more acceleration back to front than foot to head. The escape rocket on the Apollo Lunar excursion module would provide 13Gs in the event of a quick escape because of a fire down below. Colonel John Paul Stapp (1910-1999) once withstood 41Gs when a rocket sled very rapidly slowed down from 620mph in less than a second, and lived to tell the tale. Properly constrained one can stand 30Gs for 1 second.. That is 600 miles per hour per second. Obviously it may be that aliens create artificial gravity and are not accelerated in their reference system.


The pseudo-scientists claim that secrets can’t be kept, that there would no reason to keep secret the recovery of a crashed saucer or alien visitations and that they would, using their own protocol, immediately make the world aware of the most important discovery of all time reception by a SETI specialist of a an alien signal.. What would be the big deal, except to improve their funding, of a reception of a possibly intelligent signal from a star hundreds of light years away?.. I suppose if it said “arriving in 2011 your time frame,. Please prepare dinner for 175 and arrange for a guided tour. No need to RSVP” that might be useful. Do they really expect the signal would help us solve our problems? Would we pay any attention if they said your birth rate is too high, you are destroying your planet, you need to learn to live at peace with each other, your religions are based on myths that we created…. We give you 10 years to straighten up,” that might be useful, but the presence and observation of high performance craft in our atmosphere not only tells us we are not alone, but might lead to better military systems for flight, for attack, for defense, for reconnaissance. The best systems for monitoring flight performance would be airborne or space borne and would produce data that is born classified. Wouldn’t any country with access to such technology want to keep it for themselves and not want to make their enemies aware? The Brits developed radar around 1938. They fooled the Germans into thinking they had no radar for the entire war . . . very important for winning the battle of Britain. They didn’t share it. They broke the German enigma codes; should they have announced that? It took 25 years for that little detail to be released after the war was over. The first nuclear chain reaction (leading to fission reactors and atomic bombs) was in December 1942. Should the US have published a paper about it? We had broken the Japanese codes. Should that have been published?

In Chapter 4 “The Cosmic Watergate” of FSS I note several multibillion dollar, multi year development programs conducted in secret for long periods of time. The SETI people are delighted as they should be with Paul Allen’s 35 million dollar contribution to the Hat Creek Observatory. A single B-2 bomber cost more than 2 billion dollars. I keep reminding people who think of research as being conducted at universities by a small group of professors and a bunch of graduate students who are very anxious to publish lest they perish, that way back in 1958, I was working as a nuclear physicist at the General Electric Aircraft Nuclear Propulsion Department near Cincinnati. We employed 3500 people full time of whom 1100 were engineers and scientists. We spent $100,000,000 that year. That was a great deal of money in 1958. The test data were all classified. And that wasn’t a “Black” program.


I am truly shocked by claims that there would be no good reason for alien visitors to come here or to be frightened of us Earthlings. I have an entire chapter in FSS about what is special about Earth and why aliens would of course be interested in coming here, besides the simple fact that we provide many opportunities for thesis research on a primitive society (us) whose major activity is clearly tribal warfare. Have we forgotten that we destroyed 1700 cities and killed 50 million Earthlings during WW 2 and that many millions more have been killed since? I would bet that we would be able to go to the stars before 2l00 using new developments in nuclear propulsion. Everybody in the neighborhood would rightfully be concerned. We also have a plethora of natural resources that may have been used by them for millennia. An awful lot of people traveled difficult journeys during the 19th century in search of gold to California, Alaska, Australia.. We spend 10s of billions of dollars on defensive and offensive weapons and on elaborate reconnaissance activities on the ground, in the air, and in space…. To make sure nobody will surprise us with an attack. Remember Pearl Harbor? The United States alone has tested 331 nuclear weapons. Peaceful Planet??

Are Earthlings peaceful? Every new frontier is a new place to do battle. Of course others in the neighborhood would be worried about us with our advanced nuclear destruction technology. We are not talking slingshots vs. laser weapons. It is easy to forget that the rate of the new development of advanced military technology has been exponential, mostly because of the enormous a expenditures that have been made, despite all the starvation. Look at the changes in just the past 62 years since Roswell. Earthlings can go much faster, and higher now than ever before at least in the past several thousand years. Think of lasers, microwaves, DNA, incredible devices for storing information, manipulating, and transmitting it. Think of Terabyte hard drives, cell phones, the internet, etc . . ..


It is very interesting, and distressing to look at debunkerdom. Basically it is based on several underlying assumptions:
1. There cannot be any alien visitors to Earth.

2. Governments cannot keep secrets.

3. There is no scientific data about flying saucers. Only anecdotal tales from uneducated observers. Please ignore the PhD Theses.

4. People are notoriously poor observers . . . except, of course, when we depend on their testimony to make identification. He must have been observing Venus because the characteristic behavior and location, as described by the witness, point to Venus.

5. There is no need for collection of large-scale studies because, after all, there are none.

6. There is certainly no physical evidence, so we can neglect the so-called physical trace cases,(Ted Phillips has collected several thousand cases from almost 90 countries) the radar visual cases, photographs that can withstand careful investigation.

7. The best way to investigate UFO sightings is to repeat the explanations of other debunkers. Proclaim, don’t investigate. Spreading the word, wrong though the explanations might be, is an effective way to suppress reportage and investigation by open minded people.

8. Always cast doubt upon the honesty and capability of witnesses and serious investigators alike. Whenever possible use such terms as believers, buffs, profit seekers, paranormal., new age.


If at all possible, don’t mention that the military group involved; the 509th, was the most elite military group in the world having dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 and two more at Operation Crossroads in the Pacific in 1946. Avoid the testimony of retired General Thomas Jefferson DuBose as to the instructions he received as Chief of Staff to General Roger Ramey head of the 8th Air Force from Ramey’s boss, General Clements McMullen“—cover it up, send some wreckage here, don’t talk about it again”.

Ignore the fact that Major Jesse Marcel, was the intelligence Officer of the 509th,the only atomic bombing outfit in the world and the first military man to collect wreckage from the debris field. Ignore the testimony of Colonel Jesse Marcel Jr. Medical doctor, flight surgeon,, helicopter pilot with 225 combat flying hours in Iraq and somebody who handled wreckage in 1947. Ignore the testimony of William Brazel (son of the rancher Mack Brazel) who also handled wreckage. Ignore the testimony of 27 first hand witnesses on the DVD “Recollections of Roswell” (Ref.13). Don’t mention that Colonel Blanchard, base commander, went on to be a 4 star General and Vice Chief of Staff of the USAF.

Focus on the Roswell Daily Record of July 9,1947; ignore the many front page stories across the country from Chicago West on July 8, published before rancher Brazel had been reprogrammed..

Claim that witnesses came running to me and Bill Moore, Don Schmitt, Tom Carey, and Kevin Randle seeking attention, when in fact we all spent a huge amount of time and money seeking them out.

Claim, as the head of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry has on several occasions, that nothing happened, but an inexperienced public relations man put out an unauthorized press story to garner attention. In summary “Don’t bother us debunkers with the facts, our minds are made up”. This is pseudoscience.


Constantly claim that Betty and Barney only saw a bright light in the sky, everything that came out under hypnosis is suspect. Claim Barney only repeated the stuff of Betty’s dreams since she was always telling him about them. Don’t mention the strange spots on their car, or the warts on his groin, or the analysis of Betty’s dress, . The missing time is only because they got lost on the country roads, Barney must have watched a special TV program. Betty was a UFO buff before her so called abduction. Sources are never given for these outlandish claims. The facts indicate that Betty and Barney saw the flying object FROM within a few hundred feet. Barney using binoculars saw beings behind a double row of windows. The object was seen in front of the moon (strange behavior for Jupiter) all without hypnosis. As a direct comparative analysis by Kathleen Marden in “Captured! The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Experience(Ref.14), shows, Barney’s testimony did not match Betty’s dreams, and on and on. Numerous debunkers have picked up on the false claims despite their being made up. Pseudoscience is once again in the forefront.


Then of course there are the personal attacks. I have been told that I was only in Ufology for the money. “Why do you say that?” “I see you on a host of TV programs”.

“I don’t get paid for them”.

“Really? Not even Larry King?”

“ No.. I spend 2 days of my life to go to Los Angeles; they put me up at a hotel and cover transportation. They don’t provide meals or money for them and there is no fee.”

“Oh.. But you get publicity for your books.”

“Yes, and why not? They make a lot of money by selling commercials.”

At one point Wikipedia had an article claiming I had only worked on paper studies in industry. I did a lot of expensive experiments while working in industry on a number of large budget programs. I guess they don’t count.


If one makes an appropriately objective and careful examination of the pro and anti-UFO arguments, one finds that the evidence is overwhelming that Earth is being visited by intelligently controlled vehicles of extraterrestrial origin and that only pseudo-scientific arguments of a vocal but small group of debunkers stand in the way of reaching that conclusion.. along with a fear of ridicule for being logical. Take courage. I have had only 11 hecklers at more than 700 lectures and 2 of them were drunk.


1.Project Blue Book Special Report Number 14 1955, Battelle Memorial Institute for the USAF. 246 Charts, Tables, maps and graphs. $25. including shipping from Stan Friedman, UFORI, POB 958, Houlton, ME 04730-0958.. or paypal at website

2.Friedman, Stanton T. Flying Saucers and Science, New Page Division of Career Press, Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, 320pages, 2008. $19. from UFORI, or Paypal including priority mail, Autographed

3. Condon, Edward U. Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects Bantam Press, New York, 1969, 965 pages

4. AIAA UFO Subcommittee UFO: A Scientific Appraisal of the Problem Astronautics and Aeronautics 8:11, l970, p.49

5. Clancy, Susan Kidnapped: Why People Come to Believe They have been Kidnapped by Aliens, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA 2000

6. House Committee on Science and Astronautics Symposium on UFOS, July 29, 1968

7.Hall, Richard The UFO Evidence 1964, NICAP, Washington, D.C.

8. Hall, Richard The UFO Evidence Vol. 2. A Thirty Year Report, Scarecrow Press, Lanham, MD 2003

9.Hynek, J. Allen The UFO Experience: A Scientific Inquiry, Henry Regnery, Chicago,1972

10. Luce, John S. Controlled Fusion Propulsion, Proceedings of the third Symposium on Advanced Propulsion Concepts. Vol. 1 Gordon and Breach Science Publishers, 1963pp 343-380

11. Brookesmith, Peter “Review of Flying Saucers and Science”, Fortean Times FT 243, December 2008,p.61

12. Faughn, Jerry S. and Karl F. Kuhn Physics for People Who Think They Don’t Like Physics, Saunders, Philadelphia, l976

13. Recollections of Roswell, DVD, 105 Minutes, $20. including shipping from UFORI or via Paypal

14. Friedman, Stanton T. and Kathleen Marden Captured!The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Experience Career Press, Franklin Lakes NJ 2007, 319p. $18.99 including Priority Mail , from UFORI, or via PayPal From Website. Autographed by both authors


  1. Stanton, the fact British and US military've taken the OFFICIAL position for decades now that UFOs are not a national security issue continues to astound me.

    Even after 9-11, it still seems to remain the case if any terrorists want to perpetrate an attrocity in the presence of civilian or military security, all they have to do is dress up as little green men or disguise their weapons as flying saucers and they'll be blithely ignored.

    What I mean is, if various presidents and prime ministers can unembarassedly get up on their soap boxes before the whole world and demand massive and very expensive attacks be launched and sustained against various dangerous regimes or ideologies, why the reluctance to say as well as keeping your eyes open for terrorists, keep a lookout for strange aerial phenomena which may be evidence of hostile powers?

    If, say, instead of UFOs, the breaching of Rendlesham/Bentwater could've been remotely attributable to the actions of the Soviet Union, or even the IRA, then we'd've never've heard the end of diplomatic protests, or off-the-record governmental statements insisting it justified especially hardline SAS retribution in Northern Ireland.

    But instead it's almost as if officialdom, possibly thanks to long experience, has become so worn out by the UFOs' inconceivable capacities and their incomprehensible motivation, they're reduced to treating them not as nuts and bolt technology - i.e. something which can be guarded against - but as irrational unpredictable forces about which little or nothing can be done - in short, something akin to ghosts.

  2. Nice work, Stanton.

    My only caveat would be to state that the SETI program and others like them, although admittedly self-serving (which are not?), still provides a general benefit to Ufology, namely, that it helps to increase awareness and generate interest among the JQP-crowd, and, to a lesser extent, the MSM.

    In my view, even if the SETI-ists are looking in the wrong place, at the wrong time, and on the wrong frequencies, they give many a sense of hope, of belonging, a way to express that hope and belief that something -someone- is out there.

    Not much more than simple-minded wishful thinking perhaps, but at least it's thinking. It's the rest of humanity that has me more concerned.

    In most respects, however, it is hard to disagree with you, Mr. Friedman. My overall sentiment, therefore, should you care to hear it, is to please, "Carry On..." my good sir...


Dear Contributor,

Your comments are greatly appreciated, and coveted; however, blatant mis-use of this site's bandwidth will not be tolerated (e.g., SPAM etc).

Additionally, healthy debate is invited; however, ad hominem and or vitriolic attacks will not be published. Please keep your arguments "to the issues" and present them with civility and proper decorum-FW