Wednesday, November 16, 2011

UFOs and Government: Proposing a New Way Forward

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By Leslie Kean
The Huffington Post
11-15-11
     In UFO circles, much fuss has been made about a recent response by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to two petitions on extraterrestrial/human communications, posted on a government website. Phil Larson, who was tasked to respond, has been accused of everything from lying, to cover-ups, to gross incompetence. But the real problem lies with the inappropriate and fundamentally flawed content of the petitions themselves -- not with the government reply to them. The critics seem to have lost sight of what the petitions actually said and did not say, while insulting and lashing out at Larson.

One petition asks the Obama administration to "immediately disclose the government's knowledge of and communications with extraterrestrial beings" and the other to "formally acknowledge an extraterrestrial presence engaging the human race." The former asks for congressional hearings about "this subject" (communications with ET) while the latter requests the release of documents about "this phenomenon" (an extraterrestrial presence). Thousands of people signed on to the assumptions that extraterrestrial beings have been secretly talking to our government or somehow are involved with the whole human race. Try thinking about these bizarre and murky statements from the perspective of a scientifically-oriented government official. How is he to make sense of such absurd requests?

Neither petition had anything to do with the subject of UFOs, as properly defined; no request for data on UFOs was included. And, chances are, Larson knows very little, if anything, about the evidence for UFOs. Like most government scientists, he likely dismissed the subject long ago as baseless and therefore irrelevant to space policy, and has never looked into it. Consequently, it's entirely logical that Larson would not make the leap from the question of extraterrestrial communications to the issue of physical unidentified flying objects. Did the petitioners not expect that their requests would be taken at face value?

Without asking for acknowledgment of evidence for UFOs, you can't slam Larson for not providing it. . . .

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