UFO Conjecture(s)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

For Potential UFO Cognoscenti

Here are emended excerpts from an important symposium that readers here and UFO buffs generally should be aware of and have in their UFO library.



                                                 JULY 29, 1968


Dr. J. Allen Hynek Head, Department of Astronomy, Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill

Prof. James E. McDonald Department of Meteorology, University of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz.

Dr. Carl Sagan Associate professor of astronomy, Center for Radiophysics and Space Research, Cornell University

Dr. Robert L. Hall Head, Department of Sociology, University of Illinois, Chicago, Ill.

Dr. James A. Harder Associate professor of civil engineering, University of California

Dr. Robert M. L. Baker, Jr. Senior scientist, System Sciences Corp., 650 North Sepulveda Boulevard, El Segundo, Calif.

To get a taste of what the participants believe about UFOs, you should get this paper.

But, for now, here is what Carl Sagan presented as his view, in part, about flying saucers:

The interest in unidentified flying objects derives, perhaps, not so much from scientific curiosity as from unfulfilled religious needs. Flying saucers serve, for some, to replace the gods that science has deposed. With their distant and exotic worlds and their pseudoscientific overlay, the contact accounts are acceptable to many people who reject the older religious frameworks.

But precisely because people desire so intensely that unidentified flying objects be of benign, intelligent, and extraterrestrial origin, honesty requires that, in evaluating the observations, we accept only the most rigorous logic and the most convincing evidence. At the present time, there is no evidence that unambiguously connects the various flying saucer sightings and contact tales with extraterrestrial intelligence.

And the always self-regarded insert of CIA operative and UFO debunker Donald Menzel (who sent this to the Chairman of the Symposium):

Received your letter of July and will contribute paper as you suggest. Am amazed, however, that you could plan so unbalanced a symposium, weighted by persons known to favor Government support of a continuing, expensive, and pointless investigation of UFOs without inviting me, the leading exponent of opposing views and author of two major books on the subject.

         Donald H. Menzel, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory

I like to think that most of our visitors here are well-versed or well-read in the varied and extensive UFO literature, some of it outside their areas of interest, too.

Having to explain the context of postings by me and others is often taxing and irksome.

Dialoguing with those who have a bounty of UFO materials under their belts might prove productive.

That would eliminate the often ill-conceived retorts of some skeptics and believers also, who argue from a death of knowledge, and they know, I would hope, who they are.



  • There was another symposium on UFOs, this one at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) at Boston on Dec 26-27, 1969.

    These proceedings are collected in a book "UFOs, a Scientific Debate", published in 1972, edited by Carl Sagan and Thornton Page.

    I mention this only because most of the presenters at the Congressional hearings were also at the AAAS conference some 18 months later.

    I assume their views at the Congressional hearings match theirs at the AAAS conference.

    Sagan talks about 'contactees'. Remember that the abduction era had not really begun in 1968.

    By Blogger cda, at Thursday, June 27, 2013  

  • Thank you CDA,

    It's good to have access to all such proceedings.

    They help us to understand the mind-set(s) of those who've impacted the UFO history.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, June 27, 2013  

  • Here's more:


    Sagan was there . . . .

    "I do not think the evidence is at all persuasive, that UFO's are of intelligent extraterrestrial origin, nor do I think the evidence is convincing that no UFO's are of intelligent extraterrestrial origin." -Carl Sagan


    By Blogger Frank Stalter, at Thursday, June 27, 2013  

  • ...also in 1968, an AIAA committee looked at the subject and called for further research:


    By Blogger Kurt Peters, at Thursday, June 27, 2013  

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