The UFO Iconoclast(s)

Monday, September 05, 2011

The Unraveling of Ufology


It is obvious to the observer who’s paying attention that the topic of UFOs has reached a nadir.

The problem is much worse than when we noted the submersion several months ago or when Paul Kimball saw the writing on the wall causing him to ostensibly withdraw from the UFO scene, again, in July.

UFO debate is either totally bizarre, as practiced by newbies stumbling on the raft of UFO blogs and web-sites extant or the UFO debate has become impotent and irrelevant because of the site-tracking of substantive issues by protracted and silly confrontations about peripheral issues – really peripheral – as one can see at Kevin Randles’ blog or UFO Updates (about Phil Klass at Randle’s site and totally inane topics at UpDates).

The UFO subject matter has been weakened more than ever by the onslaught of stupid argumentation -- and I really mean stupid!

The oneupsmanship desired by some skeptics (and UFO advocates) has pulled UFO hypothesizing and investigation from the realm of intellectual or intelligent discourse to a realm of petty bickering about minutiae that is so much farther on the fringe of practical reality that it makes ufology as a “discipline” seem positively profound.

Visitors to our blog(s) and Randle’s, among others, more often than not, skew the original posting premise and take the material to the outskirts of banality.

I thought that we might corral some intellectual discussions here, but I was wrong.

For instance, Anthony Bragalia has done research on the 1966 Wanaque sighting that is intriguing but his work has been stiffed by most who’ve read it.

And we note that a discussion at Randle’s blog, about UFO curmudgeon Phil Klass’s malevolence had some sidebars about the alleged Socorro sighting, as a set-up job or hoax.

Yet, no one had the temerity or smarts to incorporate Anthony Bragalia’s hoax hypothesis (which, even if discounted, has enough circumstantial elements that allow a sensible person to see the possibility that a hoax was in place during or concomitant to the 1964 sighting) into the comment section where Randle, himself, has succumbed to the red-herrings and non-topical broadsides of the commentators.

One-time UFO devotees has become harpies, persons who want to show how much UFO minutiae they’ve accumulated and how that puts them atop the Ufological mountain which, itself, has been a dung-heap for a long-time now.

UFOs, as a topic, have become slimier and slimier of late and we, like Paul Kimball and a few others, have to weigh whether or not we wish to muck around in the effluvia any longer….

RR

27 Comments:

  • I was rereading a post I wrote about the UFO in Israel earlier this year (or was it late last...) and I lamented that UFO proponents all want to go on and on and on about UFO accounts from 70 years ago, but could do little more than toss out armchair opinions in regards to something that was extremely current. Groups like MUFON weren't looking into it, none of the commentors on the various videos were testing the logic and veracity of these images, etc... UFOlogy has become lazy. I can only picture the fat people on the spaceship in Wall-E. That's UFOlogy these days. If it's not mental masturbation, it's a size contest over who has the most books, videos, published articles, etc... But few seem to be getting out in the field. MUFON has become an accountant of dubious testimony, cataloging unverified statements. And while some are pushing the boundaries of UFO theory, they do so at the expense of any proof. I say before we start floating off into the ether, we should get back to evidence gathering. As it stands, in my humble opinion, there is precious littel evidence of merit and almost no physical proof. The best we seem to aspire to these days, is the ability to debunk videos and to craft "truth" from the spaces between innuendo and conspiracy.

    By Blogger Cullan Hudson, at Monday, September 05, 2011  

  • You, Cullan, are an optimist, betting that UFO investigation and research (ufology -- a term I hate, as you know) can get back on track.

    I'm thinking that the study and sensible dsicussion of UFOs is so muddled that it can't recover or arrive at a renascence.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, September 05, 2011  

  • "Yet, no one had the temerity or smarts to incorporate Anthony Bragalia’s hoax hypothesis (which, even if discounted, has enough circumstantial elements that allow a sensible person to see the possibility that a hoax was in place during or concomitant to the 1964 sighting)..."

    Hypothesis? You are referring to the article titled "THE SOCORRO UFO HOAX EXPOSED! (Famous 1964 sighting was a college prank)"

    The expose is based on a note written on a letter, and what some people say some people said -- but no one actually involved is identified and quoted. So, what's to say about it?

    Klass had no better evidence. Unfortunately for Klass, it appears what he thought was the Zamora site, and the site his informants knew about, had nothing to do with the Zamora incident, but he didn't know it.

    I'll wait for his supporters to offer chapter and verse that proves Klass ever knew about the actual site (and the Chamber of Commerce one) and that his opinion was informed by it.



    Regards,

    Don

    By Blogger Sourcerer, at Monday, September 05, 2011  

  • Dammit Don...

    I love ya, but don't start that Klass crap over here.

    Klass's views, about Socorro or anything else don't take us to areas that might be ripe for UFO probabilities or possibilities.

    It's nonsense and time-wasting to ruminate about whether Klass was an ass (about Socorro or McDonald).

    It's not substantive re: UFOs.

    And it's surprising to me that you, Lance, CDA, and Randle got bogged down in a go-nowhere discussion.

    Rudiak I understand. He has lost his way and cachet with UFO cognoscenti. He keeps trying to regain his footing.

    But you fellows I thought were more sensible.

    Am I wrong?

    As for Bragalia's prank thesis for Socorro -- it has more credibility than Klass's plasma view, Stanford's ET view, or even my Hughes prototype view.

    The material that Bragalia has marshalled is worthy of debate.

    Klass's banal malevolence isn't.

    That's just my view...

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, September 05, 2011  

  • Hi Rich,

    I'll suggest that the UFO field isn't at it's nadir.

    Instead I see it as exactly where it has been since 1947.

    One has to wonder what the collection of more sighting reports and data could possibly do that the uncountable pile already collected didn't and doesn't?

    I know that I am guilty of the minutiae discussions you lament about old cases but, in my defense, I can tell you that I see newbies bring up old cases all the time (always as though they are first responders), getting many of the facts wrong and rehashing stuff that was settled many years ago.

    It's sort of a UFO Groundhog Day.

    I've discussed Tony's Socorro theory elsewhere. I have to reject it as interesting but unproven. I know that in the worldview of many, skeptics will take any lousy story in order to debunk a case but I don't know any skeptics like that. The ones I know require the same kind of support for confirming as well as disconfirming ideas.

    Cullan mentions the Israel case. I took the time to carefully make still frames that show how the first video from that case was absolutely a fraud (my work only clarified someone else's). But then there were two videos and three and four, each of them with proponents demanding (with no sense of the hilarious irony) that skeptics disprove those, too.

    Groundhog Day.

    Same as it ever was.

    Lance

    By Blogger Lance, at Monday, September 05, 2011  

  • Lance,

    I agree (somewhat).

    The UFO topic has always been awash in nonsense and pettiness.

    But the picayune material that Randle's blog seems to attract is intellectually unsettling.

    Above Top Secret always gathers a gaggle of UFO carpetbaggers.

    And thers are many other sites and blogs which replenish the UFO swill.

    It's just that the back-and-forths you fellows engage in (at Randle's blog) stupifies.

    It's such a waste of intellect.

    Randle is trying to keep his UFO legacy alive and without opprobrium. I get that.

    Rudiak is trying to enter the hallowed halls of ufology, even though those halls are replete with frass or worse. He's always been on the fringe, even with cognoscenti.

    I would hope that you guys would take a sighting or hypothesis and deconstruct it, intellectually; old or new sighting.

    Phil Klass's intrusions on UFO sightings were always egregiously skeptical, but not for scientific reasons -- rather out of distress that aviation was being invaded by a species of craft (perhaps) that he or his magazine couldn't cope with.

    To drag him back into the UFO discussion is regurgitation of a vile time in UFO history or story-telling.

    It's beneath the intelligence of some of you guys.

    Thats' all.

    Discouraging...

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, September 05, 2011  

  • And therein lies the difficulty, Lance. "Proof" as you seek it is not possible. If I were to produce one of the perpetrators and he made a "confession" - then you would say that is just some guy saying something. In other words, "words" will never prove it was a hoax in the way that you
    wish.

    As Rich is confidentially aware, there is much more that has been learned about the Socorro affair in the intervening time since the three-part series was written. It is hoped that at some point I will be able to openly explain what has been learned and who was involved.

    Lance, whether I write something that is pro-ET or anti-ET, you eem hell-bent on taking a contrary side to mine. And on Socorro you should really maintain your skeptical nature. This is because:

    There is now no doubt whatsoever that Lonnie Zamora was fooled by pranksters. At least some "names and methods" have now been firmly and conclusively established.

    But for you and your ilk it would still not be enough were they to be
    revealed.

    I leave you with this: Lonnie was led to the site. The speeding car is the clue to solution to the "mystery."

    OK, yet another: Lonnie was hardly "St. Lonnie of Socorro" as his "supporters" seem to feel. His perception may well have been impeded - and not just by his fallen glasses.

    You will say I have not said enough. I will say that I have said too much.

    AJB

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, September 05, 2011  

  • Yeah maybe it's just the way we are wired or age or whatever. I enjoy my discussions, even with Dr. Rudiak.

    But I don't imagine that they have much value.

    I never could generate much enthusiasm for the stuff that Bishop, Kimball, Tonnies and so forth seemed to find so interesting: alternative theories for UFO's.

    Most of what I heard sounded a lot like the kind of "deep" discussions I had when I was a teenager:

    "What if we are only dreaming and the real world doesn't exist, man! Except in our dreams!!!!"

    Not my cup of tea.

    Lance

    By Blogger Lance, at Monday, September 05, 2011  

  • @Tony:

    As soon as the word, "ilk" get used, you know the conversation has taken a good turn!

    Tony, by "proven", I really just mean reasonably supported. In the Socorro thing, you are a long ways from that.

    For instance, you have never even presented a clear account of exactly what the pranksters supposedly did to create the illusion of the UFO. I don't want to tell you your business, but that should probably be step one.

    We all know that your contention is that Zamora was a drunk. But you have to support that and support the prank idea.

    Do that and I will be your biggest cheerleader.

    Best,

    Lance

    By Blogger Lance, at Monday, September 05, 2011  

  • Lance:

    It's obvious you like the give-and-take that Rudiak and sometimes Randle co-join.

    I understand the fun in that.

    But you are feeding the monster that those fellows have created; the idea that UFOs are authentic ET craft, which has yet to be proven, and isn't exactly right, as I see it.

    You are encouraging dolts and rewarding them with Skinnerian feedback that keeps them alive and kicking in the UFO arena, when they should have been knocked out long ago.

    I just saw at UpDates that Friedman is propounding his bromides and platitudes once more:
    Cosmic watergate, MJ-12 is a bona fide reality, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, and so on.

    Puleeze...

    Enough already.

    Is there no omnipresent editor to quell the sh*t?

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, September 05, 2011  

  • Rich "I love ya, but don't start that Klass crap over here."

    Hey. You brought it up, and from over there.

    "It's nonsense and time-wasting to ruminate about whether Klass was an ass (about Socorro or McDonald)."

    I don't care about Klass at all. This is about the quality of an investigation, which is a subject you write about often enough.

    "Am I wrong?"

    I don't speak for others. I'm not bogged down. I have legitamate questions about the investigation(s) of Zamora.

    Lance: "I see newbies bring up old cases all the time (always as though they are first responders), getting many of the facts wrong and rehashing stuff that was settled many years ago."

    It is worth asking why.

    Tony: "There is now no doubt whatsoever that Lonnie Zamora was fooled by pranksters. At least some "names and methods" have now been firmly and conclusively established."

    And as soon as you present it, I take a looksee. Until then, there is no proof on the table.

    Rich: "Is there no omnipresent editor to quell the sh*t?"

    Being right and proving it.

    Regards,

    Don

    By Blogger Sourcerer, at Monday, September 05, 2011  

  • Don:

    You're an intrepid UFO researcher.

    Why not take a look at the Socorro sighting forensically?

    We did at our Forensic Ufology blog.

    Someone like you could do better.

    My bitching is how cavalierly some who visit here take on items that are clearly off-base or just plain goofy.

    The Klass thing -- his plasma theory is goofy, his approach often mendacious, like a fellow who criticizes my nonsense, not because it's obtuse but because he just hates that I get attention with such obtuse items, whether that attention is merited or not.

    This is the Klass discussion at Randle's blog.

    It's just silly.

    Klass didn't add anything substantive to the Socorro sighting.

    Bragalia has, something that has meat on it, to be chewed, and scrutinized.

    Klass's intrusions were either benign or just a matter of troublemaking, like the fellow who visits here occasionally, but no longer, as we caught on to his schtick.

    The Klass schtick is similar; a diversion for purposes that have nothing to do with the search for truth.

    Regardless of how one feels about Tony Bragalia's theses, about Roswell, Socorro, or Wanaque, I know and can assure you that he doesn't do it to be obnoxious or to debunk for debunking's sake.

    He's a truth-seeker. And he gathers material to help in that seeking, often finding stuff that goes against the grain or even against his own proclivities.

    To "debate" Klass endlessly at Randle's blog, while ignoring Bragalia's work is tantamount to plebian ignorance.

    It insults my intelligence, as Michael Corleone stated such in The (first) Godfather movie.

    That's all. It's nothing personal, just business....Corleone again.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, September 05, 2011  

  • Having played some role in bringing the NM Tech hoax in Socorro to light, I can say I've found the reaction of "Ufology" to be nothing short of intellectually dishonest, then and now.

    Of course Klass and Menzel too, said hoax and I think they were right on that but wrong about who did it. The NM Tech explanation fits the established facts best.

    By Blogger Frank Stalter, at Monday, September 05, 2011  

  • "Why not take a look at the Socorro sighting forensically?"

    Because it is outside my area of interest.

    I can't consider the quality of the articles you refer to without having first read the incident report. I'd have to have absorbed it, not merely read it over. Some things in those articles taken as fact might not be accurate -- for example, the retellings of what Zamora said, such as found in BB, are not transcripts of interviews of Zamora, and so, as statements, cannot be taken as "what he said".

    "The Klass thing -- his plasma theory...

    This is the Klass discussion at Randle's blog.

    It's just silly."

    I must have missed it. I though we were discussing his Zamora hoax theory. At least, I was.

    I am definitely not a "truth-seeker". I'm reading documents and try not to forget that's what I'm doing. I look for accuracies and inaccuracies and the patterns they weave. I don't expect to get truth out of them about anything except themselves.

    Regards,

    Don

    By Blogger Sourcerer, at Monday, September 05, 2011  

  • Don:

    You are a truth-finder.

    I like that you approach materials as objectively as possible.

    That's why I'm surprised to see you correcting, or trying to, the immaterial items that others foist upon the UFO topic, out of glee to beat their opponents with sophistic details that have little or nothing to do with the UFO mystery.

    I get it that you are concerned with the methodology of fact gathering.

    The process is your obsession, not what UFOs are or may be.

    I understand.

    And you need to step into the argumentative arena to have access to the tools of your trade (or obsession).

    I really get it.

    But life is short, and if the search for how investigations and news or data is acquired is what makes you happy, so be it.

    And least you have a modus, which is more than I can say about many others who fill the UFO void with extraneous information.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, September 05, 2011  

  • Frank:

    I know you have added important and relevant information to the Socorro story.

    You are not one of those who has to insert dollops of what you've found out, in order to appear erudite about UFOs (or Socorro or anything else).

    Your one-liners are pregnant with insights.

    You are without sin, my friend, just as Bragalia is sinless.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, September 05, 2011  

  • "That's why I'm surprised to see you correcting, or trying to, the immaterial items that others foist upon the UFO topic..."

    If you are referring to Klass about Zamora. I knew nothing about the case except whatever stuck in my subconscious from discussions I browsed looking for something else (as you can see, I was not a commenter on Tony's article on Zamora).

    I searched for Klass' on the case and found an interview. I posted it. Reading it I realized that what Klass had actually investigated was the Socorro Chamber of Commerce "landing site", and not the one Zamora reported.

    Someone correct me if I'm wrong, demonstrating that Klass was aware there were two sites when he implicated Zamora in the hoax.

    I'd rather you didn't characterize me as participating in a discussion of Klass' plasma theory, or whether he was a sinner or saint. I just made the observation about the two sites, is all. I do not advise dismissing what Klass wrote, though. I'm think it likely he was right -- except for the Zamora (and Chavez) participation. In fact, if I were you and Tony, I'd read him very carefully.

    For you and Tony, as well, re: NM Tech. You be careful around those NMT alumni. I heard somewhere they have a reputation for pranking.


    Regards,

    Don

    By Blogger Sourcerer, at Monday, September 05, 2011  

  • One of the issues are issues of written communication going back to Summeria, is that without any "live" nuance being capable of being added as a carrier to get a full portrait of what the sender is saying, whose vested stance is often "between the lines, and so perhaps communication on this subject has stalled in large part due to the means it is discussed ( written), which more often than not, is turgid and uninteresting.
    If intelligent open minded parties had a "live conversation", not only would it provoke thought, it would be more dimensional and interesting. It has gotten to the point where I read the title of a post and predict with some accuracy what will be said. Not exactly a provocation to thought. Who knows? Perhaps this phenomenon is not so much ( in real terms) solvable but a process in of itself, an instigator..Perhaps we need a better forum. It could perhaps stir up some new ideas. That being said, the shows I have listened to have a equally stilted format. "Expert" has a platform..blah, blah blah.. (Sigh)
    Pragmatic optimism is at a premium.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Tuesday, September 06, 2011  

  • The essence of the problem as I see it, Bruce, lies in the desire of participants to show off or showcase their "knowledge" of UFOs and the attendant minutiae.

    They think this gives them a scholarly patina. It doesn't.

    Displaying obscure elements of the topic takes us nowhere.

    There are too many wannabes, people without advanced schooling or extreme literacy.

    I find that most are ill-read, and miss the gist of what they do read, here and elsewhere.

    It's discouraging and pathetically sad....

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, September 06, 2011  

  • Agreed

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Tuesday, September 06, 2011  

  • I have often thought that it would be easy to end some of the arguments I have had about these matters face to face.

    In my imagination, I devastatingly destroy my opponent with a few well aimed words.

    In reality I suspect I might learn something from the other side, something that I might not have properly considered, something that I might have overlooked.

    I would still win the argument, of course :)

    Lance

    By Blogger Lance, at Tuesday, September 06, 2011  

  • Lance:

    As I see it, you always win your arguments.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, September 06, 2011  

  • Another issue is that accounts are largely and astonishingly vague in second or third hand reports with equally vague followup to ascertain the nature of what was reported.
    I just read an account of someone who reported seeing a plasma like "ball" near a lake, had horrific visions of cryptid creatures and the apocolypse afterward ( not surprisingly this fellow was immersed in cryptozoology) and then was supposedly questioned by the alleged MIB. That's it. Period. It may as well not have been reported. Whats the point of these vague account?
    The relativity of reports in the eyes of most makes the mind boggle, as if belief once again supersedes critical thinking. Junk food reportage for junk food addicts signifying nothing. The information field is one exclusively of inferences disguised as looking deeply. Not surprisingly this pervades our culture whether it is politics or other "social issues".
    Background information is blithely bypassed as if it were unnecessary as a context. Killing time with a unknown phenomenon seems de rigor.. filled with intentionally vague innuendo instead of information. Why bother?

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Tuesday, September 06, 2011  

  • Yet, Bruce, looking at such episodes, psychologically (or pathologically), they, like outsider art, tell us something(s).

    Does the percipient have access to a reality that most do not have access to?

    A Dicovery Channel program, the other night, about parallel universes allows for an intrusive reality that may be perceived by a chosen few.

    Why or how they perceive such things is unanswered.

    So while I'm rooted in practical reality, I don't rule out the possibility of intercession by other worlds or beings from those worlds.

    Aberrant behavior or observations. even by schizophrenics, may be divine attributes. (Joan of Arc, for instance.)

    I won't slough them off, even as I'd like to work around them, with things tangible.

    Let me put my hand in his side.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, September 06, 2011  

  • I was referring to yellow journalism which is the dominant mode of communications these days. I just wrote a piece on this phenomenon and parallel worlds so I don't necessarily disagree outside of a specific context. I know that wound, when I found my 21 year old son dead on the living room couch two years ago. It is not an abstraction, yet as a provocation to my own certainties about things, it opened a hole you could drive a truck through that will never close. You learn or don't learn to live with uncertainty. To me, its a way of life I prefer not to sweep under my own carpet.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Tuesday, September 06, 2011  

  • Bruce:

    You remain stalwart and brilliant, even after adversity.

    That's why we love you...

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, September 06, 2011  

  • Mr. Duensing, as usual, makes some excellent points. the 'level of ufo discourse' remains pretty vapid, indeed.

    i agree that more rigorous and careful collection of reports would be a big help. at the same time, i'm convinced that we will not further our understanding of these phenomena without new theoretical approaches to that 'data'.

    i've been arguing for this approach here:

    http://tinyurl.com/3o2edvk

    it's going over like the proverbial lead balloon. However, George Hansen has some great links to various scholarly articles at his site, i'm slowly reading these and it's quite interesting.

    even thought-provoking!

    www.tricksterbook.com

    steph
    "pygmyowl" "tinyjunco" "lunarose"

    By Blogger tinyjunco, at Wednesday, September 07, 2011  

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