Monday, November 17, 2008

UFOs & Science: If One Can't Attack the Data, Attack the People - It's Easier!

UFOs & Science - If One Can't Attack the Data, Attack the People - It's Easier!

     As 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
Frank Warren
By Frank Warren
The UFO Chronicles
© 11-16-08
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.


  1. I wrote the below letter to Professor Cottle
    You can send your own protest to him at

    Prof. Dr Paul Cottle Florida State University 15 November, 2008

    Dear Dr Cottle

    I am a retired professional journalist in the UK and frankly am appalled at your attack on Stanton Friedman as a 'charlatan' and his subject of UFOs - 'pseudoscience'.

    I am even more disgusted that you don't have the decency to defend your stance with any evidence - obviously because there is none.

    This all reeks of prejudice and is a million miles from the science of which one expects you to be an honest representative.

    Please read Billy Cox's piece below, eat some 'humble pie' and then if you have any courage at all, apologise to Mr Friedman and all the other serious UFO researchers you malign with your pathetic weasly words.

    David Haith

    Source: Billy Cox's Blog De Void- Sarasota, Florida

    Friday, November 14, 2008

    Scientists Decline To Defend Themselves

    By Billy Cox

    It's a rare thing to see the conceits of establishment science splashed out in the Letters to the Editor. But that's just what happened over the past week in The Tallahassee Democrat. Check it out:

    Since late August, the Mary Brogan Museum of Art & Science in Tallahassee has been hosting a Roswell Exhibit. Old news clippings from that 1947 UFO event, audio, space aliens, all that. The display runs through December.

    Last weekend, the Museum also sponsored two lectures by Stan Friedman, who helped revive public curiosity in the coverup by turning his research into several books. Florida State University physics Prof. Dr. Paul Cottle, an otherwise thoughtful guy who helped revise teaching standards in Florida schools, hit the roof and uncorked an ad hominem tirade.

    Leading with how his peers had worked hard to protect students from "the threat of pseudoscience undermining scientific literacy in our state," Cottle labeled Friedman "a well known charlatan," questioned his credentials as a nuclear physicist, and accused the Museum of undermining efforts to "improve the scientific environment in Tallahassee."

    That sparked a swift riposte from Museum executive director Chucha Barber. Friedman, she wrote, "received B.S. and M.S. degrees in physics from the University of Chicago in 1956 and 1956. He was employed for 14 years as a nuclear physicist for such companies as GE, GM, Westinghouse, TRW Systems, Aerojet General Nucleonics and McDonnell Douglas."

    Furthermore, "Last I checked, Florida public education was not including beliefs about UFOs among testing standards." In defending the Museum's mission, Barber added: "UFOs and dinosaurs attract people of all ages to, we hope, seek truth, learn more and perhaps be entertained while inspired."

    That generated a broadside from Dr. Gregory Boebinger, director of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee. Boebinger said Barber's letter "misses the point" of Cottle's critique.

    "Is the Brogan planning to host future exhibits on palm reading and astrology? Surely," he wrote, "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."

    UFOs = palm reading and astrology? Boebinger forgot to add pedophilia.

    Anyhow, the best efforts of Cottle and Boebinger went for naught. According to Barber, Friedman lectured to a packed house; people had to be turned away.

    "But what troubled me about it," Barber says, "is that I've been in this business for 25 years and I've never felt compelled to write a letter to the editor defending my museum experiences. Getting people to think is what we're supposed to do."

    Barber recalls the spirited debate that unfolded last summer when members of the Museum's science and arts committees contemplated staging the Roswell Exhibit. "One of the science guys said, 'This isn't science,' and one of the others said, 'I don't know why it wouldn't be science.' A great dialogue ensued and my board president turned to me and said, 'We're gonna host the Roswell Exhibit.'

    "The museum doesn't promote a particular ideology or a point of view on Roswell. But clearly, it creates a lot of emotion, and who's to say a kid who sees this stuff won't be motivated to learn more about the universe?"

    From his home in New Brunswick, Canada, Friedman is still smarting from Cottle's attack. "Since when is name-calling a scientist's appropriate response to something?" he says. "He calls me a charlatan without giving any reason for it, and he labels UFOs a pseudoscience without stating why. It's science by proclamation."

    Being scientists, no doubt Cottle and Boebinger are familiar with Project Blue Book Special Report #14, in which Air Force analysts determined that roughly 20 percent of their UFO reports were legitimate unknowns by the mid-1950s. And of course they'd read the disturbing 1999 French COMETA Report, presented by the Institute of Higher Studies for National Defense with a foreword by the former chair of the French National Center for Space Studies.

    Naturally, being scientists, they had also acquainted themselves with The UFO Enigma: A New Review Of The Physical Evidence, authored by a team of scientists assembled by Dr. Peter Sturrock, professor emeritus of applied physics at Stanford University.

    And, in the rigorous spirit of scientific inquiry, they had probably already reviewed the FAA/National Weather Service radar records of the Stephenville, Tex., UFO incident in January. Surely, they had perfectly logical explanations for why the military refuses to release its own radar records, as well as the uncensored flight logs of the F-16s that pursued the object.

    De Void wanted to discuss the pseudo-scientific aspects of these and other studies with the offended parties. But Cottle's e-mail response was terse: "I'm not going to comment further. My letter to the editor was a message to my local community, and I'm going to leave it at that."

    Boebinger didn't bother to respond at all.

  2. David,

    Thank you for your input . . . keep 'em coming!


  3. Employing my usual verbose prolixity, I commented over at the blog site myself.

    I talked about people who'd burn a gagged Monk Bruno at the stake or make Galileo the castrated subject of the ignorant intellectual inquisition. I provided that the antagonists were an example of the noisome negativist laughing up his damp sleeve at that which he allows himself no capacity to understand, no aptitude to accept, no ability to incorporate, and no skill to recognize.

    These persons can no longer hide in respectability. Gloves decidedly off, huh?

    Charlatan, eh? I hope Stanton eats him. Enough is too much.

  4. Good Day Alfred,

    Thank you for taking the time to make comment!

    Sadly this "cognitive bias" that these men exhibit is common within mainstream science; fortunately, this contemptuous behavior exhibited by same is more infrequent! In the end, when slinging mud, the muckrakers end up being the ones who look dirty!


  5. Basically it never changes. Now Stan's the bad man. But is it pseudo science, Or a Mystery. The truth is it is not pseudo-science, if it the phenomenon has never been adequately explained. Scientist like Stanton, Absent any research money, have not only a right, but a duty to science to build a hypostasis... and if he believes he has the best answer; Lecture on it. he certainly has not tried to duck a fight since he has debated and defeated everyone they put front of him.

    Is it good science to tell people a box kite(rarwin target) left out in the dessert for a month was mistaken for a "flying Saucer". Is it science to base this on a MOGUL that never went up from a man named Moore who's bad memory and hoax calculations are blindly excepted by mainstream sciencetist without a peep.

    I think this great scientist does "protest to much". A sign of fear in the face of an avalanche of recent, still unexplained, UFO sightings worldwide. UFO are open to active research. Instead of calling everyone nuts. Why not prove your right the old fashion way INVESTIGATE AND STOP BEING A NEO-CON

    Joseph Capp
    UFO Media Matters
    Non-Commercial Blog.

  6. Good Day Joseph,

    My thanks to you for taking the time to put in your two cents!

    Conveniently, after offering up the slander and innuendo, neither will make their case.

    Paradoxically, although these men label Ufology as "pseudoscience"; it's "science itself that proves that to be false!

    Although UFOs are a "transient phenomenon" scientific methodology can, and "is" employed.

    The phenomenon does/has re-occurred often; it can/has been recorded in a number of ways to allow for scientific investigation; for example:

    1). In most cases involving a "craft" there is "direct evidence," i.e., "eye witnesses.

    2). The craft "occupies space."

    3). It moves as time passes.

    4). It emits "thermal effects."

    5). It exhibits light emission and absorption.

    6). It effects the atmosphere.

    7). It can be photographed.

    8). It has left residual "after-effects," i.e., forensic evidence etc.

    9). It has caused electric, magnetic and gravitational disorders.

    10). It has been tracked by radar

    The list goes on . . .

    These are all "scientific" facts and cannot be denied.

    Ironically, and as Stan quite correctly points out in his book "Anti-Ufology" is the real "pseudoscience!"


  7. Let Boebinger and Cottle meet Friedman and Hastings on the field of debate to hear the lamentations from which defeated's camp, do you think.

    C'mon slanderers! Put your money where your mouth presently makes meaninglessly moot noises!

    Debate! Debate! Debate!

    Don't carp and cut & Run like a terrorist troll! Show some nads; show some sand; show some stone!

  8. The other day the first images were published depicting actual exoplanets, (as opposed to mere illustrations representing mathematically inferred hypothetical ones).

    Looking at them reminded me of the strange excited but anxious sensation one experiences when new houses are being built in one's neighbourhood: will the folk one's inevitably going to encounter as a result of these places going up prove to be peaceable types, or menaces? (I come from a 'tough' part of the 'tough' city, Liverpool in the UK).

    I then immediately made the observation to my brother, "A lot of anti-UFO scientists out there'll start freaking out as a result of experiencing exactly that same sensation about these pictures. Even some people who actually believe in UFOs'll start having more and more mixed feelings as more and more pictures of REAL planets start turning up, closer and closer to Earth."

    My mind then flashed back to the early '70s, when Alvin Toffler wrote a book called Future Shock which purported to explain away all this New Age supposed 'woo woo' (such as ufology) as being due to the inability of weaker minds to handle unprecedented accelerations in cultural transformation.

    Of course it never occurred to adherents of Toffler that the ones with the weaker minds undergoing the future shock might be themselves.

    Anyway, when these guys started going ballistic on poor Stan Friedman's arse, it didn't surprise me in the least.

    As the possibility of alien real estate properties being spotted popping up all over our neck of the cosmos becomes more and more realistic, people like Stan'll assume the proportions of Benedict Arnold crossed with the Antichrist in some circles.

  9. Borky,

    Are you trying to say that "you're an "exoplanet believer?" You really believe that those "blurry pictures" of a spec of light are a planet in another solar system? It's nothing but a hoax by astro-biologists to acquire more grant money! :>)))



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