UFO Conjectures

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

An Interesting take on the UFO Phenomenon

Joel Crook (aka gishzida) sent me this material in an e-mail.  I find it interesting and think you might also:

I thought you might like to see the full context of the letter my father, Gaines M. Crook, sent to Cynthia Hind in 1998. Also you will find a copy of his Resume from May of 2000 to give you an idea of what his qualifications were.
I have been trying to recover some of the documents he wrote but only have a few of them and they are mostly in "WordStar" format.  To make matters worse most of what I have is fragments or  file backups which are garbled or missing information which is sad.
What is even sadder is that I have not read or seen a single scientifically "qualified" hard science researcher who might make something of my father's speculations concerning the 'technology' used by whatever / whoever is responsible 

Joel Crook

GMC Laboratories  

Septemebr [sic] 9, 1998

Mrs. Cynthia Hind  Mount Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe

Dear Mrs. Hind,

Thank you for arranging to have your publisher send me a copy of your latest book, "UFOs OVER AFRICA". I just completed reading it and enjoyed it more than I have any UFO book which I have read in years. Most UFO writers seem to have the idea that UFOs are an open book and they know everything there is to know about them even though it is completely obvious that they don't. I enjoyed your honesty and your style as well as the content of the book.

I appreciate your comment on Allen Hynek's remark that UFOs are something we "just don't understand". No one else seems to be satisfied of the magnitude and truth of the statement, but the "Father of Ufology" was completely wise and honest in his assessment. 

In the mid 1970s, I was chasing lights at night over the Antelope Valley (in an area about 30 miles west of Edwards Air Force Base) which left burned triangular tracks on the ground. In examining many of these tracks in the area, I came upon a big cottonwood tree in an earthquake fault canyon which had branches all the way to the ground. It was so enclosed until I had trouble getting myself through into the area enclosed by the branches. Inside, I found a set of burned "landing tracks". I wrote Alan Hynek a letter and told him what I had found and remarked that whatever it was, it certainly didn't fly into this enclosed space. He wrote back that he was not at all surprised and that he had heard from credible witnesses who had observed UFOs both emerge from the ground and sink into it.

A high percentage of the tales told and books written about UFOs in recent times here in the US are blatant misinformation.

I have no idea who is behind it nor does it seem to matter, but I do know that it is present because many things do not square with experience. The more amazing thing is that most people who are interested in UFOs don't seem to be aware of it. The only one who didn't completely get away with it was Col. Corso, but some of the others are just as bad. I used to follow the researches of the late Len Stringfield very closely. I don't think there was ever a more honest and straightforward person than Len, but some of the stories he was handed were pure garbage and cannot stand close technical scrutiny. One of the often repeated stories related to Lin as well as others was that of transporting downed UFOs. 

There are tales of tarpaulin covered 30 foot and larger UFOs being transported on military trucks and railroads. This just doesn't wash. A truck bed is about 8 feet wide and a rail car about 10 feet. For a 30 foot UFO centered on the truck, this means that 12 feet is going to hang off each side of a truck and 10 feet hang off each side of a rail car. Trying to move either is blatantly ridiculous. In my work, I have built a number of large magnetic coils of generally circular shape, which were used to demagnetize components of scientific spacecraft or the spacecraft themselves. The largest which was movable by truck was an octagonal coil about 12 feet in diameter and it had to be turned major axis vertical in order to do so. One time I was asked to bid on building an 18 foot coil by TRW, Inc. in Redondo Beach, CA. I determined that there was no way that it could be built at my location in Chatsworth, CA and hauled to Redondo Beach, 35 miles away. It would have had to be built on site.

I worked at the Savannah River Atomic Energy site in South Carolina from 1951 through the middle of 1956. The reactor tube sheets were about 20 feet in diameter and weighed 120 tons. They were transported from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by ship, which came down the eastern coast of the US and then went up the Savan¬nah River at Savannah, Georgia to the plant. When they were unloaded from the ship, they were moved by a special truck with a 36 wheel trailer over roads completely cleared of traffic at a rate of three miles per hour. These are real experiences. The UFOs on trailers aren't.

In another story given to Len, a UFO was supposedly shot down over the bay south of Long Island, New York by a "CW Radar", the power of which was not specified but the story stated that it was powerful enough to ionize the air along the beam path to make the air glow. By inference, I can show that radar transmitters with 6 megawatts (six  million  watts) of power will NOT cause ionization.

I was in charge of installing an ancillary electronic warfare jammer locater system which worked with a 6 megawatt pulsed radar at the Experimental SAGE Sector at South Truro, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod in 1960. This radar caused no ionization of the air with it's 6 megawatt output pulses, so it is entirely plausible that a "CW" (continuous wave) radar would not cause ionization of the air at the same power level. Now a 6 megawatt CW radar would take probably 20 megawatts of input power. In the story however, the radar is powered by a portable power generator. There was never in all of history a portable power plant which could supply this much power. I recall that at the Savannah River Plant in each reactor building area there was a steam plant of  25  Megawatts. It would have taken a small steam power plant to operate this mythical radar which shoots down UFOs. This certainly was not available in the swamps of the bay.

Another myth that has been propagated by the powers of misinformation is the idea that UFO technology has been "reverse engineered". This has showed up in many stories, the latest of which is Col. Corso's book, "The Day After Roswell". He claims, for instance that the transistor was not invented at Bell Labs but was "reverse engineered" from something out of a crashed UFO. This is blatant nonsense. There was a research program at Bell Labs by Russell Ohl which started in the mid 1930s and resulted in his discovery of the PN semiconductor junction in 1940. Soon afterwards, even though not theoretically well understood at the time, the point contact diodes were developed to be used as detectors in radars. This program was so secret until the diodes were carried from the US to England in diplomatic pouches during World War II and The patent applications filed during the war were top secret and were not declassified en only a small part of the reported effects are true. We have no scientific capability to do the things reported time and again by people who experience encounters with UFOs, such as stopping car engines. As an engineer, I have always been given assignments and required to produce results. Most of the people who envision all the convenient theories of how UFOs stop car engines have never been required to back up their speculations with results.

There are others who think that the study of the UFO phenomenon will lead to great strides in all of our scientific knowledge. This also is very doubtful. The reason for this is that in order for that to be true, there would need to be a reasonable interface between the UFO intelligence and mankind, which must bridge an enormous gap. The ethnocentricity (SIC - anthrocentricity would probably been a better word) of mankind is probably it's strongest trait and it would probably be next to impossible to establish such an interface. If there are other intelligences in the universe, we must get used to the idea that they are not what we imagine them to be and they exist in different "spaces" than we have picked out for them to be in.

The one thing which mankind needs more than anything else is to establish an non-anthrocentric mode of thought; the ability to think as an "outsider". Only then can mankind expect to think in a mode which is valid for non-human affairs. This will be next to impossible to do, but must be done if space research is to break out of the "shallows and miseries" within which it is presently bogged. Until then we will still be in the frame Allen Hynek mentioned “We just will not understand.”

Best Regards and Thanks again,

Gaines Crook


May 2000


BS in Electrical Engineering, University of South Carolina, 1952.

Extension Courses
        Digital Computers 
        Government Contracts Administration
        Space Science
    L.A. Pierce College
    Cal Poly, Pomona


February, 1972 to May 2000
Self Employed, Gaines M. Crook & Associates/GMC LABS, 
Consulting engineer

January 1959 to February 1972
Ramo-Wooldridge/Space Technology Laboratories/TRW Systems, Redondo Beach, CA. 
Member of the Technical Staff/Section Head/Department Manager/Senior Staff Engineer.

June 1956 to December 1958
Douglas Aircraft Co, Inc., Missiles Div., Santa Monica, CA. 
Design Engineer/Group Leader.

May 1953 to May 1956
E.I. duPont de Nemours & Company, Savannah River Plant,
Aiken, South Carolina. Instrument Engineer.

August 1951 to May 1953
Miller Electric Company, Aiken, S.C. Electrical Engineer.

3. Technical Experience 
Digital Computers, Circuits and Applied Techniques 
Designed digital systems and digital circuitry for many space physics experiments, also in experiment GSE. 
Designed a scanning magnetometer for measuring magnetic fields to 10 -6 of Earth's field at 12 locations, recording it on punched paper tape compatible with computer inputs for computer analysis. Designed a data storage unit and controller for commercial application. 

I am thoroughly familiar with coding, decoding sequencing and data translating logic networks, counters, registers memories A to D and D to A converters and the general subject of microprocessors.

**Data Transmission 
Designed analog and digital data links for many types of systems considering data acquisition rate, commutation, de-commutation, Nyquist rate and information bandwidth, filtering, PLL, synchronous detection and correlation. Computed complete satellite to ground communication budgets. 

Designed a whole facility for extracting analog signals from very noisy tapes and presenting the spectral content in frequency time diagrams identified in real time to one second. 

Received U.S. Patent 3,566,088 on a correlator. 

Designed a data acquisition system for a locomotive wheel tester. Designed a digital data transmission system for converting analog data from a "rheometer" (a device for measuring the viscosity of molten PVC used to manufacture phonograph records) and transmitting it to a remote data terminal and computer.

**Radio Propagation 
Ionospheric radio propagation at very low frequencies through high frequencies. 

Designed a trans-ionospheric propagation experiment. 

Did depolarization and scintillation studies. \

Nuclear blast EMP propogation. Made measurements of the electromagnetic pulse (EMP) of the July 1962 "Starfish" explosion (published - Journal of Geophysical Research Vol. 68, NO. 6, March 15, 1963). 

Path loss calculations and power budgets for space communication. 

Electromagnetic Field Measurements„ 
Established and operated for 16 years an EMC laboratory with a 12'x12' shielded room in Chatsworth, CA and an open field test site in the Mojave Desert/TehachapiMountain area of Kern County, CA in conformance with the requirements of ANSI C63.4 and the Federal Communications Commission. Electromagnetic emission tests are planned and conducted under Part 15, Subparts B and C and Part 18 of the FCC rules , which was continued until December 1996.

Microwave Point to Point Communication 
Site selection and path loss calculations, installation design, remote control and monitor system design. 

Invented a portable analog computer for calculating 1st Fresnell zones in the field, while selecting routes.

Scientific Spacecraft Physics Experiments„ 
Was completely responsible for 20 experiments of the energetic particle and electric, magnetic and electromagnetic field type. This included Project Management, experiment design and most of the detailed circuit design. Never a failure of any kind. 

After it's designed mission was completed, NASA turned off Pioneer 9 for a period of 17 years after which it was again turned on. The only experiment which was still operative was our plasma wave detector and it was operating normally.

These experiments included Plasma Wave Detectors for spacecraft P-11, OV2-1, OV3-3, OV2-5, OGO-5, Pioneers 8, 9, and 10, IMP-H, and the Pioneer-Venus orbiter. Assisted in the design of several magnetometers, micrometeoroid detectors, curved plate analyzers, and mass spectrometers. 

Designed a time-of-flight mass spectrometer micrometeoroid experiment for the "Grand Tour" Mission (which was never built).

Computer Use 
Proficient in the use of the IBM PC computer. 

Primary and Secondary Standards 
Calibration of instruments and responsibility for stan dards. Development of a 1 ppm programmable power supply for driving a 23' three axis magnetic Fensalau Coil for nulling Earth's field.

Test Equipment 
General purpose, missile system, RF equipment, counter-countermeasures systems, special purpose, integrating gyro, rate gyro. Design, development, system test requirements analysis, production design, circuit design, complete test systems and consoles, turntables. Space experiment test equipment and many others.

Radar Counter-countermeasures (jammer locaters) installation, data systems. Integration, installation design, control system design, antenna criteria.

Designed equipment for the measurement of very small magnetic fields of spacecraft and components (10 -6 gauss) as well as very large Helmholz coil systems and controls. Designed and built several large magnetizer/ demagnetizer coils 3'to 11' in diameter while employed by TRW, Inc. A 46"x 46" coil system with a digital controller was designed and built for Martin Marietta Corporation, Denver, CO, under contract to Gaines M. Crook & Associates.

Have done considerable work on electrostatics and the detection and measurement of electric fields and electrostatic (plasma) waves in space. Originated the short capacitive (wire cage) dipole method of E-field measurement and designed and built the instrumentation which first measured electric fields in the ionosphere and magnetosphere with a very short dipole, (satellite 1964-45A). Invented the "Virtually Coexisting Spheres" electric field sensor. Did considerable work on the equilibrium charge on spacecraft in orbit. 

Was a consultant to the German Government Space Agency (Gesells craft fur Weltraumforschung) and to ERNO Raumfohrttech nik, a German Company on the subject of equilibrium charge on orbiting spacecraft.

Electronic Design and Fabrication 
For six years I operated the Advanced Techniques Department within TRW Systems. This Department was a "self-contained" design and fabrication activity which incorporated the system design, electronic design and mechanical design and mechanical and electronic fabrication into one integrated unit. Space Physics experiment packages were designed and built to all levels of Quality Assurance without a single failure in space.

Since having my own company, we have designed and built several pieces of equipment for other companies, under contract, including a Surge Generator to simulate lightning stroke effects as required by Part 68 of the FCC Rules, several telephone loop simulators with ring generators, a magnetizer/demagnetizer coil and controller, several special data acquisition systems. 

Many propagation problems relating primarily to the atmosphere-ionosphere, magnetosphere interface. Designed equipment and measured the electromagnetic pulse (EMP) from the 1962 "Starfish" nuclear explosion in space with homemade equipment in my garage in Canoga Park, CA. Designed many antenna systems. Measurement of electromagnetic fields for control of electromagnetic interference. 

Telephone Terminal Equipment Testing 
Established a Telephone Terminal Equipment Test Facility in 1974 and which has tested, "Certified" and Registered thousands of pieces of terminal equipment for companies throughout the United States, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Italy, Hong Kong, United Kingdom, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia and Singapore. This is still my primary business activity, although at a very low level.

During the period from 1962 through 1971, I became very involved with the various aspects of physics and completed a number of assignments in physics. I am especially qualified in communicating with physicists and reducing their requirements for experiments to practice.

Artificial Heart 
In a design study for the Atomic Energy Commission, I designed the power controls, safeties, motor controls and mechanical mechanism for a plutonium powered im planted ventricular bypass pump with a projected life time of ten years.

Power Plant 
Steam, diesel, gasoline, including instrumentation and control. Installation design, control design system sizing, facilities criteria, instrumentation design. 
Closed cycle Rankine 

Portable Power Plant Controls Design.

Power Distribution 
Line, substation, industrial plant, lighting. Installation design, sizing, mechanical design of prefabricated substation conduit installation.

Nuclear Reactors 
Rod control systems, period meters, power calculators, charge and discharge machines. Maintenance analysis, test equipment design, instrument design, control circuit design.

Nuclear Instrumentation 
Personnel monitor, floor monitors scintillation spectrometry, linear pulse amplifiers, water monitors, proportional counters, neutron chambers (BF and compensated). Geiger counters, scintillation counters, electrometers, space physics particle detectors. 

Circuit design, detector probe design, circuit analysis, calibration methods design, fabrication and integration.

Motor Control 
Crane and door control up to 300 tons, remote hot cell actuators, motors to 3,000 HP. Installation design, control system design, equipment specification. Slow 
speed torque motor servo control.

Many mechanisms including a reciprocator for artificial heart pump. Specialist on differential gearing. Holds a patent (3,468,191) on a binary control gear train. 
Holds a patent (3,397,586) on a differential mechanism for quick reverse orienting three axes of orthogonal magnetic field sensors on a spacecraft.

Optical Instrumentation, Ultraviolet and Infrared Radiometers Electronic system design including low noise detectors with mechanical choppers. Surface to air missile detectors. Meteor Flash Analyzer space experiment, gas dynamic laser temperature profile plotter.

(1) Designed a miniature but highly efficient electron ic ignition system for a rocket engine.

(2) Designed the motor actuator system for an artificial heart, including a power load sharing system, electronic speed controls, motor commutation system, power converter and sized the rotating gear train.

(3) Have designed many solid state power inverters.

(4) While I received my degree in electrical engineering, I have considerable experience in mechanical engineering, especially mechanism and gearing. I am a Registered Mechanical Engineer in California. 

(5) Invented and patented a binary controlled gear train which produces a ratio determined by a binary coded input. 

(6) Developed and patented a controller for gasoline driven generators in the 5 KW class which causes the generator to start and furnish 120/240 VAC power to a load connected to it within 3 seconds of when the load is turned on and run as long as power is needed and to shut the generator engine down after a preset timeout period is completed from when the load is switched off. A patent application for improvements was filed and has been allowed and will be issued in the first half of 2000.

(1) Group Leader, Thor Missile Test Equipment, Douglas Aircraft, Missiles Div.
Supervised 60 engineers. Responsible for test equipment design and fabrication. Contract value -- $10 Million.

(2) Section Head - Project Engineer of AN/TLQ-8 Counter-Countermeasures System at Ramo Woolridge. 
Supervised 25 technical people. Responsible for field deployment site selection, installation and field test. Contract value -- $5.5 Million.

(3) Section Head, Spacecraft Integration, Space Technnology Labs. Supervised 20-25 people.

(4) Project Manager, OGO-E Plasma Wave Detector Project. TRW Systems - contract value -- $1.3 Million.

(5) Project Manager, Pioneer Electric Field Detector Project. TRW Systems - contract value $235 K.

(6) Assistant Project Manager for Scientific Experiments for the Particles and Fields Satellite Project.(This was a scientific spacecraft that was launched into an orbit around the moon from the Apollo 16 spacecraft.) TRW Systems - contract value (experiments) $1 Million.

(7) Department Manager, Advanced Techniques Department, TRW Systems for 5 -3/4 years. Department's burdened expenditure rate was about $400 K/year.

(8) Very active in proposals and have managed and contributed to many proposals.

(9) In 1972, I left TRW and became self employed as a design consultant, under the name of "Gaines M. Crook & Associates". In 1974, there appeared to be an opportunity for testing telephone terminal equipment for "Certification" under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission. Due to my considerable experience in the interpretation of specifications and design of equipment to test to specific specifications, I decided that I would enter this activity. Later (late 1975) the FCC preempted the CPUC in the terminal equipment field with its "Registration" program under Part 68. I then established my company as a qualified laboratory to perform this work. This has been the prime support of the company, since. 

In 1978, the name of the company was changed to GMC Laboratories, after my initials. When the FCC established Subpart J of Part 15 of its Rules requiring the measurement of the electromagnetic emissions of electronic equipment we decided to become a qualified laboratory in this field also, since by this time much of the telephone terminal equipment we received for test contained microprocessors and had to be tested for Part 15, Subpart J also. This deals with the measurement of electromagnetic interference generated by electronic equipment. This activity continued until the end of 1996.

[1] Registered Professional Engineer in California in both Mechanical and Electrical Engineering.

[2] Senior Life Member, Institute of Electrical and Elec tronics Engineers.

[3] Member, (although not active in many years) US Commission IV (Magnetospheric Radio) of URSI (International Scientific Radio Union).

[4] Author or coauthor of 14 technical papers for scientif ic journals and a chapter in the book, ”Plasma Waves in Space and Laboratory,”edited by F. O. Thomas and B. F. Landmark , Edinburgh University Press.

[5] Selected by NASA Headquarters Office of Science and Technology as Principal Investigator for a Plasma Wave Detector Experiment (E-24) on the OGO-E spacecraft. 

[6] Acted as a consultant to the German Government Space Agency (Gesellschaft fur Weltraumforschung) on matters of magnetic fields and electrostatic equipotential surfaces on spacecraft (spacecraft charging).

[7] Member of the 1967-1969 TRW Corporation's "Future Probe" technology forecasting team.

[8] Holds eight patents and an additional one has been allowed and will be issued shortly.

[9] F.C.C. Radiotelephone, General Class License (formerly First Class).

[10] Acted as expert witness for Pacific Bell in a court case with Phonetele, Inc., concerning the registerability of the Phonemaster toll restrictor. Also have been re-tained by Pacific Bell legal Dept. concerning in other matters.

[11] Past-President of the San Fernando Valley Chapter of the California Society of Professional Engineers.

Crook, G.M., E.W. Greenstadt and G.T. Inouye
Distant Electromagnetic Observations of the High Altitude 
Nuclear Detonations of July 9, 1962.
J.Geophys. Res., 68, 1781, 1963 

Scarf, F.L., G.M. Crook, and R.W. Fredricks 
Preliminary Report on Detection of Electrostatic Ion Waves 
in the Magnetosphere.
J. Geophys. Res., 70, 3045, 1965

Scarf, F.L., G.M. Crook and R.W. Fredricks
Survey of VLF Electric Fields in the Magnetosphere with the 
Polar Orbiting Spacecraft 1964-45A 
Radio Science, 1, 939, 1966
Scarf, F.L., R.W. Fredricks and G.M. Crook
Detection of Electromagnetic and Electrostatic Waves on 
J. Geophys., Res. 73, 1723, 1968

Scarf, F.L., G.M. Crook, R.W. Fredricks, I.M. Green and C.F. Kennel.
Observation of Plasma Waves in Space. Plasma Waves in Space and in the Laboratory. (Edinburgh University Press, 1969)

Scarf, F.L., G.M. Crook, I.M. Green, and P. Virobik. 
Initial Results of the Pioneer 8 VLF Electric Field Experiment.
J. Geophys. Res., 73, 6665, 1968

Fredricks, R.W., C.F. Kennel, F.L. Scarf, G.M. Crook and I.M. Green.
Detections of Electric Field Turbulence in the Earth's Bow Shock.
Phys. Rev. Letters. (no date) 

Crook, G.M., F.L. Scarf, R.W. Fredricks, I.M. Green and P. Lukas.
The OGO-5 Plasma Wave Detector: Instrumentation and In-Flight Operations.
Invited Contributions for the IEEE Transactions on Geoscience Electronics: Special Issue on Orbiting Geophysical Observatory Instrumentation, 31 Jan. 1969

Scarf, F.L., C.F. Kennel, R.W. Fredricks, I.M. Green and 
G.M. Crook.
AC Fields and Wave Particle Interactions in “Particle and Fields in the Magnetosphere”.
Edited by B.M. McCormac, D. Reidel Publishing Co.
Dordrecht - Holland 1970

R.W. Fredricks, G.M. Crook, C.F. Kennel, I.M. Green, F.L. Scarf, P.J. Coleman and C.T. Russell.
OGO-5 Observations of Electrostatic Turbulence in the Bow 
Shock Magnetic Structure.
J. Geophys. Res., 75, 3751, 1970.

Crook, Gaines M.
A Binary Controlled Transmission
Paper presented at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Mechanisms Conference and International Symposium on Gearing and Transmissions, San Francisco,California, October 8-12, 1972. Published in ASME Paper 72-Mech-59
“Mechanism Case Studies”, R.S. Berkof, American Can Co.,
Princeton, N.J. 

Crook, Gaines M.
Designing to Pass Part 15
IEEE/Wescon invited paper presented at the 1986 Wescon Show & Convention, Anaheim, CA, November 18-20, 1986 and published in the "Professional Program Session Record 37".


  • From the letter of the late Gaines Crook: " He wrote back that he was not at all surprised and that he had heard from credible witnesses who had observed UFOs both emerge from the ground and sink into it." - - -

    Hynek was wise. Vallee also picked up on apparently solid UFOs that were seen going into the ground some distance to the point of nearly being covered - without disturbing the ground. [I think it was noted in either Confrontations or Messengers of Deception]

    These outlier reports seem deeply uncomfortable to most ETH proponents and are laughable to the debunkers.

    ~ Susan

    By Blogger brownie, at Tuesday, January 28, 2014  

  • One more thing that did not appear on his resume since it did not occur until later-- He was granted full membership in the Society for Scientific Exploration in 2006 and the President Emeritus of the Society, Peter Sturrock, sponsored him.

    Unfortunately this was also about the same time which his medical condition began to effect his interest in the subject.

    By Blogger gishzida, at Wednesday, January 29, 2014  

  • Brownie, I don't understand why reports of UFOs passing through solid objects would, by necessity, invalidate the extraterrestrial hypothesis. The extraterrestrial hypothesis already assumes that the aliens achieved a feat of technical wizardry wholly incomprehensible to our science, namely the invention of a means of conveyance that would permit these space people to travel interstellar distances at superluminal speeds, speeds which special relativity asserts are physically impossible to achieve because even accelerating a massive object just to the speed of light and not over it would, according to the mathematics of the theory, require an infinite amount of energy. If the extraterrestrial hypothesis already takes for granted that just to get here, the aliens would have had to know how to violate a fundamental law contained in our understanding of physics, then how much more credulity would it really strain for us to further posit that these aliens would know how to do other things completely inscrutable to our understanding of the universe, such as passing through solid objects as if they weren't even there?

    And I don't understand Jacques Vallée's contention that UFOs might be "nonphysical." First of all, what does that even mean? This debate over the "physicality" of UFOs calls to mind Noam Chomsky's famous critique of "materialism": Chomsky observes that "materialism" is a meaningless concept because the concept of "matter" itself, throughout history, has been continually revised to reflect more advanced scientific explanations about the inner workings of reality. In other words, whenever something "immaterial" or "metaphysical" or "nonphysical" is properly documented by science, science does not continue to refer to the phenomenon as "immaterial"; rather, it adjusts our beliefs about what the physical world actually is to accommodate the existence of the new phenomenon. If flying saucers and these weird "people" are observable and abide by behaviors around which a tangible, straightforward theory could be constructed, then they are accessible to being documented by science; and if they are eventually documented by science properly, then no matter whatever it is they turn out to be, science will, as it always has in the past, adjust our idea of what "materialism" is to make it compatible with who they are and what they represent. So Vallée's hypothesizing about UFOs being "nonphysical" is really nothing more than a semantic game with no real import.

    By Blogger Jok Mlok, at Wednesday, January 29, 2014  

  • @Jok
    Let me give you a 2-d version of a "non-physical" object which is real to an observer but does not actually exist-- we use it every time we sit down in front of a computer: a mouse cursor. Now imagine the same thing as a 3D 'object'. Think about the "what if?" of that kind of technology. What if UFOs are only 'cursors'? It implies somethings completely different about "them" than the ETH.

    The ETH starts by assuming that "they" are like us, that "they" think like us, that "they" have the same motivations we do... but since obviously "they" are not like us, the simplest conjecture is that there is nothing about them, their technology, or there origin that we can or should make assumptions about.

    All things being equal there is no reason to logically prefer that "they" have come all the way from another star system to lie / mislead / deceive us poor less advanced beings... and yet the ETH seems to say they are coming trillions of miles to do just that.

    I can think of at least two other possibilities that have nothing to do with alien FTL ships and as far as I can see no logical reason that these possibilities should not stand on equal footing with ETH as subjects for further research in UFO Science:

    1) "They" possess a device which allows 'apportation' from one universe to another [See the Everett-Wheeler Many Worlds interpretation of Quantum Mechanics http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Many_worlds ]. The reason "They" visit here is because our reality is "congruent" to "theirs" and the energy "cost" to apport here is lower.

    2) The Simulation Hypothesis -- that what we call the universe / multi-verse may actually be a simulation program "They" are running on a quantum computer in an N-th higher dimensional space for purposes unknown [and possibly unknowable] which just happens to have you and I and everyone else as occupants. [See Prof. Nick Bostrom's site http://www.simulation-argument.com/ ].

    The point of *Science* is to experiment, measure, draw conclusions, allow clear and open information sharing, and peer review of the work performed to make sure the work is on solid ground. At the point everyone agrees to the validity of the experiments and the knowledge gained, the cavalcade of Science moves on to the next milestone.. but for the most part that does not happen in "UFO science".

    How might ETH actually be evaluated scientifically? Science is not wishful thinking. To put ETH on solid scientific ground means one must have a way to prove the technology actually exists in a clear, provable manner-- which means building a device or at least showing by "math and thought experiment" that it is possible. As far as I am aware no one who believes the ETH has done that kind of Science.

    On the other hand, if you have read the recent postings here, some proponents of ETH have stood in the way of alternative evaluations of UFO events which do not deny the validity of the observations but questions or denies the evaluation or "the labels" used to describe the events observed. for an example see: http://ufoh.blogspot.com/2014/01/gaines-m-crook-on-ufos-and.html

    For a very long time humanity believed that the universe rotated around the earth. Along came one stubborn scientist with a telescope and suddenly the Earth moved because his "theory" was testable.

    Jok, I'm not saying you are wrong in your belief in ETH nor am I saying that UFOs and "They" do not exist. I have seen a few unusual, inexplicable things over the years. What I am saying is that the ETH is not actually on solid ground as *Science* and I am not aware that anyone has actually made the attempt to show it has a scientific basis.


    By Blogger gishzida, at Thursday, January 30, 2014  

  • Gishzida, thank you for your response. I don't disagree with much of what you say. However, I would still argue that the dichotomy between what is considered "material" and what is considered "immaterial" is an ill-defined one for the reason that "matter" itself, as I stated previously, has been redefined many times to keep pace with our evolving picture of what the universe really is. There's no explicit way of deciding what is "matter" and what isn't.

    In the case of the mouse cursor, though human perception may interpret what a mouse cursor represents in a nonliteral fashion, a mouse cursor still cannot be described as "immaterial" or "nonphysical" given that it is a constellation of several physical phenomena which gives rise to it: the light patterns being emitted by the monitor, the calculations taking place inside the computer, the electronic signals being sent by the mouse, etc. All these phenomena may be combined in the human mind into a kind of reification of the "mouse cursor" as a thing unto itself, but this doesn't mean that mouse cursors are not physical phenomena, only that the human mind likes to use a kind of "mental shorthand," if you will, which obscures what mouse cursors actually are.

    In this sense, yes, it is possible "spaceships" and "aliens" are really just a misleading "mental shorthand" invented by the mind to explain something being witnessed which, in actuality, has a much less intuitive underlying explanation; but I still don't think it correct to refer to UFOs as being "nonphysical" in such a situation because as I said, I don't even know what the word really means. And in fact, no one really does for the reasons I've already gone over.

    Despite these differences of opinion, I wholeheartedly agree with you that a pluralistic approach to the investigation of UFOs, one which embraces many possible interpretations of what the phenomenon represents, is best. I do not "believe" in any one particular hypothesis.

    By Blogger Jok Mlok, at Friday, January 31, 2014  

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