Sunday, September 07, 2008

Book Review: Flying Saucers and Science

Flying Saucers and Science by Stanton Friedman
By Justin Liuba
The Epoch Times

     Around 1633 Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei found himself defending the Copernican theory that the earth revolves around the sun to a most dangerous court of inquiry.

Jealous rivals brought charges of heresy against him to the Roman Inquisition. Alas, Galileo formally abjured and affirmed the official Aristotelian stance of the Holy Roman Church. But at that moment, or so the story goes, he whispered to those within earshot: "Eppur si muove" ("And yet it moves").

In a somewhat similar position are the scientists, astronauts, military men, journalists and all other believers in the existence of the UFOs (“ Unidentified Flying Objects” or “Flying Saucers”). Until recently, anybody engaged in the research, advocacy or discussion of the phenomenon was met with ridicule or ostracism.

However, the mood is slowly changing. Reports are increasing as reflected in the increasingly number of TV shows about the subject, the frequent domestic and foreign media reports of sightings such as the one at Stephenville, Texas in January 2008 witnessed by hundreds of people.

Well-known public figures, such as Democratic presidential candidates Rep. Dennis Kuchinich (OH) and Arizona Governor Bill Richardson, and astronauts Edgar Mitchell (project “Apollo”) and Gordon Cooper (project “Mercury”), are coming forward with their stories.

Also, not to be ignored is the low-key, but very significant recent statement by the Director of the Vatican Observatory Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes which was recently published in the Vatican's official newspaper L’Osservatore Romano. “Just as we consider earthly creatures as a ‘brother’ and ‘sister’, why should we not talk about an ‘extraterrestrial’ brother? It would be part of creation.”

He added that such a notion “doesn’t contradict our faith” because aliens would still be God’s creatures. These and other factors have contributed to the advent of a general enlightenment of sorts, which makes the idea of UFOs' existence more acceptable to the public and the scientific community.

The Harvard Cathedral was filled with academics a few years ago at the funeral of John E. Mack, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Harvard Medical School professor. Their presence manifested respect for a man of science and of courage.

His research on purported extra-terrestrial abductions generated widespread publicity, culminating in the publication of his best-selling book Abduction. They must have been aware of Mack's interview by The Boston Globe on alleged abductions, when he had the temerity to say: ”No one has been able to come up with a counter-formulation that explains what’s going on… All I want is for people to be convinced that there’s something going on here that is not explainable.”

According to surveys, 33 percent of the U.S. population believes in the existence of UFOs.

One of the believers is Stanton T. Friedman, a nuclear physicist with impeccable credentials. As Friedman notes in his latest book Flying Saucers and Science the ultra-secret files on the subject are available only on a “need to know” basis.

His research launched Friedman into a career as author and UFO lecturer and the alleged, but so far not quite proven, U.S. Government's conspiracy—he calls it "Cosmic Watergate."

He claims that for the past 60 years the U.S. has been not only denying UFOs existence, but also obstructing all research on the subject. Invoking one dubious pretext after another, the U.S. intelligence agencies up to this day are still defaulting in their duty to permit the researchers to go to the bottom of the mystery.

Much to the chagrin of the Pentagon and debunkers, the reality of flying saucers can no longer be ignored or denied. The existence of UFOs has been mentioned throughout recorded history—they were spotted not only by people, but also caught on film and radar. Reports by numerous reliable, qualified sources both in the U.S. and abroad have confirmed it.

Undoubtedly, Friedman feels that it is time to take things in hand. ”I am convinced that there is indeed overwhelming evidence that aliens have been visiting Earth, are being tracked by military radar systems, are abducting earthlings, and are being observed by pilots and others all across the Earth.”

At the same time the great variety of sightings and contacts, as intriguing as they are, raise a number of serious questions, which Friedman does his best to answer.

Although keeping an open mind, the author is not very tolerant with the team of scientists running SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) in spite of their impressive academic credentials. He rejects the theories of Carl Sagan, Frank Drake, Seth Shostak and Jill Tarter, and considers SETI nothing but a "cult," irreverently calling it “Silly Effort To Investigate.”

Friedman's lack of sympathy is triggered by the SETI scientists’ negation of flying saucers’ extra-terrestrial origin and their capacity to visit our planet. He blames it on their evident ignorance of the subject. He applauds however their acceptance of other civilizations’ existence out there, but discards their attempts to get in touch with them via the battery of radio-telescopes installed in California.

Friedman suggests that their operating expenses covered by generous private donations could be more efficiently used for other, more rewarding endeavors. He considers that SETI’s so far futile efforts of sending radio signals to the enormously advanced civilizations in outer-space are at best seen by the aliens as the equivalent of primitive smoke signals.

Friedman notes: “First, I have no reason at all to expect that we will be able to receive and interpret an alien signal from afar. (Would it be AM or FM?) Secondly, we would have no way of knowing if it is coming from an automated device, possibly left to respond when they hear from us. Possibly the civilization that sent it is no longer around…Also, could we believe anything they said, even if we can interpret it?”

He makes reference to Shoot Them Down, a book by Frank Feschino Jr.: “It appears that not only were military pilots in 1952 ordered to shoot down UFOs if they didn’t land when instructed to do so, but it appears that we lost a number of planes to the UFOs. This type of incident would be far more significant than the receipt of a radio signal.”

When the U.S. House Committee on Science and Astronautics held a symposium on Unidentified Flying Objects in Washington, DC in 1968, six scientists testified in person. The results were published as “Symposium on UFO,” which contains irrefutable data about the flying saucers’ existence and their activities.

However, “the reward for Indiana Congressman J. Edward Roush, who presided over the session, was that in the next election he was gerrymandered out of his district.”

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