Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Friedman vs Shermer

The 'Thrilla' On C2C

Friedman vs Shermer-2
By Frank Warren
© 8-1-07

     Noted Physicist, as well as renowned Ufologist, “Stanton Friedman” will debate skeptic, “Dr. Michael Shermer” on “Coast To Coast Radio” with host, “George Noory” tonight.

On their web site, C2C writes, that they will be “debating SETI, UFOs, ET’s and religion, making contact, myth-making and aliens, space travel, and abduction cases.”

Friedman, Shermer as well as George Noory all appeared on the “Larry King Show” recently; however, the anticipated rational, balanced, intelligent dialogue that was expected never came to pass. In its place was what appeared to be a predisposition on King’s part, reflected by, his at times, mildly sardonic attitude, combined with his meek administration as moderator of his own show. The latter permitted Michael Shermer to exercise his belief that “talking louder” and or “over people” would make him right.

This being the case, there is great anticipation for a “properly moderated” debate where “both sides” can make their respective cases, and given equal time to rebut.

Personally, one of the things that irked me the most on LK’s show was Shermer’s relentless discourse on science, or from “his position,” “the lack thereof” in regards to Ufology. He yielded the word like a sword, but wouldn’t let anyone, particularly Stan, to respond (or at least be heard) and “enlighten” him on the “supportive scientific evidence” apropos to the subject.

Another faux pas of the King show was having so many guests on at one time; this might be a “lure” for viewers to “tune in” but makes for an “impossible forum” for an hour show less the commercials. Obviously, giving a couple of hours, or more for just two speakers/guests will allow for points to be made, as well as their respective rebuttals.

Tonight’s show will certainly be one “not to miss!” Your editor predicts a “first round KO” by Friedman, after “pounding sagacity into” his opponent’s “incredulous noodle.”


  1. I look forward to the debate myself, although I disagree with your statement about Shermer on Larry King. He was simply caught between multiple people challenging them and alternating cutting him off and avoiding his direct arguments. I'm not discounting anything that Friedman said or saying he was wrong, just that Shermer wasn't as abrasive as you say.

    But you are 100% RIGHT about the real debate being tonight on C2C when both sides can make a real and intelligent debate.

  2. I didn't see the King piece but Friedman certainly took that role on C2C: interrupting all the time, talking louder and dismissing opinions he disagrees with by presuming UFO evidence is unassailable.

  3. what a match. Friedman comes across so condescending, he's annoying to listen to. He must be a professor or something. Then you have Shermer, the dismissive, "I'll believe it when I see it" guy. I think those two traits illustrate the most common additude of "scientists" today. Its kind of like a skitzo arguing with himself. beautiful.

  4. Gentlemen,

    Thank you for your comments they are greatly appreciated.

    Tobacco Magnate, you wrote:

    "Shermer wasn't as abrasive as you say"

    "Abrasive" isn't the term I would use (or used for that matter) . . . "irritating" would be a better description; however, that was "also" in part due to King's poor moderation of the show, as well as having to many people on.

    WRand, you wrote:

    "Friedman certainly took that role on C2C: interrupting all the time, talking louder and dismissing opinions he disagrees with by presuming UFO evidence is unassailable."

    There's no denying that Stan is guilty as charged; however, knowing him and sharing his frustration, as well as conceding the angst left over from the King show it's understandable in my view.

    Friedman, isn't "dismissing Shermer's opinion," he's just saying in order to have one that has merit, you have to familiarize yourself with the subject matter; in this case "the evidence"; time and time again he illustrates that he (Shermer) hasn't done that, e.g., citing the only evidence (over and over again) as blurry pictures and anecdotes from "flawed human perception."

    Stan doesn't take a position that UFO evidence is 100% "unassailable" it's just that Shermer's arguments don't address the evidence "specifically."

    Mike R, you wrote:

    "Friedman comes across so condescending, he's annoying to listen to."

    Admittedly, Stan can come across as "condescending" to some; however, he speaks "from authority" in regards to the subject (Ufology). Shermer touts science, but refuses to accept anything less then bodies or a craft . . . which is "unscientific unto itself"; it's an "old, fruitless argument" and tends to be frustrating for the seasoned Ufologist.


  5. I thought the Larry King interviews would be good since he tended to give time to either side. However, all Shermer did was say "no, you're wrong" to everything said on the show. He used gimmicks to try and make his "points" and his logic was not that sound. Also the main problem I had was Buzz Aldrin. Ok, Buzz...we get it! You know about the spaceship you were in. I taped the show and had to fast forward through his meandering. What a waste of good time it could have been spent on something worthwhile.


  6. Anonymous6:01 PM

    The Larry King show was disappointing but that was predictable. I once, as the engineer, set up and supervised his radio show on a remote from California. Larry merely repeats what he hears somebody say into his earpiece, most of the time, and contributes little from his own thought processes...he is sometimes almost on 'autopilot'. In person I found him to be extremely diffident, detached, and rather supercilious: not an "avuncular nice guy", the character he "plays on TV". Now, in the television debate, Shermer's body language, smurking, and expressions of condescension showed that he never had, for a single MOMENT, the intention of listening and addressing these topics SERIOUSLY -- as a scientific investigator (and, I've studied science and worked with famous astophysicists; done research; written papers: I know the process.)

    The behavior of Shermer on TV demeaned serious scientists, in my opinion.

    On C2C last night, one was spared his physical antics. But Shermer seems to me to refuse -- almost EVER -- to address a specific question, comment, or reaction of Friedman, preferring simply to deny everything and anything and move on to this own agenda.

    This, again, seems to me to be a "not serious approach". That's the problem with HIS -- Shermer's -- method of debating the subject. He is, one must realize, a DEBATER. He's not investigating anything, looking at evidence, thinking about it, and allowing for one instant the practical and necessary scientific possibility that any aspect of the topic that does not fit his preconceived nego-skeptical bias should be considered.

    I do not believe that Shermer 'won' this debate, because he let us all down.

    However, when Stan debated Seth Shostak on C2C, I felt - very strongly - that Seth definitely won the debate: but the C2C audience voted strongly the other way!

    Shostak is a genuine experimental scientist; Shermer is merely a psychologist and historian.

    A scientist, IMO, won the debate with Friedman the physicist and amateur (turned pro, as in the sense he gets money from his activities) UFO investigator.

    A condescending psychologist, however, LOST the debate -- because he never came close to the issues that Friedman brought up.

    Personally, as an atheist, I don't have a horse in this race. If "aliens are visiting" it would not upset any socio-religious-psychological belief systems of my own. I am also an advanced amateur astronomer, and DO NOT see "alien spacecraft" in the sky, after about 5,000 hours out in the dark with my scopes. Nor, in fact, have ANY of the many amateur astronomer friends and acquaintances of mine. Period!

    So, I need some evidence, as does Shermer. It might someday exist. So far, I'm dissatisfied.

    SRW - San Jose, CA.

  7. I am also an advanced amateur astronomer and guess what? I actually saw one. I have spent many hours in the night observing planets the moon ect.

    I have not seen one before or since.
    I do not know what was inside the craft only that I was impressed by its size angular velocity and color.

    As you know looking through the eyepiece you have a very narrow FOV so your not going to see much of anything other than celestial object that its fixed on.
    Your more apt to see one just by using your two eyes vs a telescope.

    They must be rare because most of my astronomy buddies have not seen one.

  8. Anonymous3:19 AM

    The comments by "Bobby J" who alleges himself to be an "advanced" amateur astronomer are utterly preposterous. Not one thing he has said has convinced me he IS an "advanced" amateur astronomer nor that he saw what he claims. The assertions about telescopic field of view are rubbish. Furthermore, one cannot accurately judge velocity of an object of unknown size and distance, nor see 'more' or 'less' in the way he proposes -- it's all relative, and telescopes can make some things more visible than the unaided eye.


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