UFO Conjecture(s)

Monday, January 06, 2014

Where are the skeptics for this?

Gilles Fernandez provided a link to his site of his piece on the Airship wave of the late 1800s.

But our resident skeptics won’t take a look at it or attempt to belittle the common mistakes and erroneous conclusions within Gilles’ work, and there are many of both.

For instance, Gilles writes this:

“The first and probably most famous of the so-called Airships waves is the great one of 1896/1897. The problematic is that there is a large number of testimonies, mainly in newspapers, of sightings of such aircraft. However, until scientific evidence to the contrary comes to light, man-made airship flights at this time and place are unknown to aeronautical history.

In other words, there are no historic or scientific evidence of the realization(s) and flight(s) of 1896/97 of such designs explaining what was observed.

The first historical steerable airship was probably constructed by French inventor Henri Giffard (1852). On 24 September 1852, he made the first powered and controlled flight (27 km) from Paris to Trappes, but the wind was too strong and he was unable to return to the starting point. However, he was able to maneuver, demonstrating a powered airship could be steered and controlled.

In 1884, a french airship took again to the skies and it is generally presented as the first historical truly controlled dirigible. CalledLa France, it was designed by two French Army Captains, Charles Renaud and Arthur Krebs (165 feet long, 2 tons, 12 miles per hour). At least seven flights were performed and five times the dirigible was able to go back to its starting point. It was able to flight a distance of 8 kilometers in 23 minutes.”

That material undercuts the whole tone (and premise) of Gilles’ counter to those who see the observations of the 18986 airships and others as observations of airship technology being tested by engineers and others, as noted here:

And here:

Gilles continues:

“Extraordinary thesis concerning the 1896/97 are not lacking in ufology, as Jean Sider's one in France and in particular in his French on-line article L'airship de 1897. More complex extraordinary hypothesis have been formulated here or there, for example by Swiss ufologist Fabrice Bonvin. More complex because this kind of hypothesis are calling ufological coined terms like "mimic" or "elusivity". Such terms or concept are close those proposed by Jacques Vallée or John Keel: It is defended that the origine of such wave or other so-called anomalistic phenomenons are imputable to an omniscient intelligence having a manipulator or insidious behavior.”

No one, here, or in my circle, thinks that the 1896 wave was a caused by an extraordinary hypothesis or hypotheses involving “omniscient intelligence” – a term Gilles imputes, surreptitiously to what has appeared at this blog about the Airship wave.

No one thinks – I surely don’t – that the Airships seen and reported in the 1896 time-frame were ET flown or derived.

That’s an absurdity, and in the links provided above, pertaining to what has appeared here, will show the discerning reader that no one implied an “omniscient intelligence” to the Airship creations but rather, offer a human origination by innovative engineers and inventors of the period and locale.

Gilles continues:

“The ufologists in favor of exotic hypothesis [sic] behind the UFO would be then devoted in totality or in a very large part to this intrinsic product and result of this inter-individual variability concerning perceptions, memorizations and descriptions. And ufologists themselves projecting their own expectations, and we have here a retro-action loop, a circularity.

The reasons to drive some individuals to not identify a conventional stimulus in reality are numerous. They could be imputable to the observation conditions, because the stimulus is perceived in dark time, or other particular ones (fog, mist, atmospheric refraction, etc.), or because the stimulus is seen fleetingly, or under a non-prototypical angle of vision, or undergone particular artificial or natural light exposure (and so on).

A false memory, created from scratch, results generally in a source of confusion: the subject correctly remembers the information, but no longer knows where it comes from. Some false memories and dreams are then remembered as real events. The literature concerning false memory in cognitive psychology is really abundant and a very fecund field of scientific studies, but Elizabeth Loftus1 is probably the most famous researcher focused on this thematic. These field of researches concerning Human Memory have experimentally demonstrated how our memory is malleable and plastic. In Appendix A, I shortly present some of the memory effects discovered and studied in cognitive psychology as I did in my book (Fernandez, 2010).”

No one who reported an Airship sighting in the time period was operating from memory; the reports were first-hand accounts and not reminiscences dredged up from the unconscious.
Gilles creates a straw man argument to create the impression we are dealing with a academic or scientific evaluation of the topic.

Gilles also presents a view that communication between and among those who reported sightings was limited bb the dearth of vehicles and machines for distributing information, including newspapers:

“The main arguments proposed to exclude any conventional possibilities by the proponents of such thesis and for the 1896/97 airships wave are for example the argument of a telecommunication network too low at this period and a too low literacy rate of the American population... Then, it would exclude all explanations in terms of mass contagion where newspapers and other networks were playing a very strong role:
Insufficient penetration of the communication network and the low literacy rate in 1897 exclude a shared spread of conscious representation of the phantom airship in a predominantly rural population.”

He dismisses the above with this:

“We dont recognize this argument as solid, nor historically valid, but a fallacious one. As Dominique Caudron stated, first, what ever is a publication, the people who have a reading knowledge may read for the others who have not. Second, even if 10% of a population have reading knowledge, there are in fact only tens testimonies at a time, or less, and thoses [sic] knowing the rumor of Airships can repeat and vehiculate [sic] it orally and then become protagonists and actors of this contagion. Concerning a telecommunication network too low, we are at the edge of the Telegraph and Rails for 50 years. Phone is invented from around twenty years and more or less well implemented, mainly in California. For example, if we focuse [sic] on the foremost sighting of Oackland [sic], the San Francisco Call of 22 November 1896 (p.13) – the article is reproduced after for his main parts – and we read that some witnesses... have phoned to the Journal!”

The above hardly makes the point that intercommunication was ubiquitous; it does just the opposite and supports the information and paragraph above it.

Then Gilles presents his explanation for the sightings, using an image that enhances a vision of the planet Venus, making it look as if it were larger and more imposing than it was, in actuality. I’m surprised at the shenanigan, but here it is:

 Here’s Gilles’ view:

The most likely culprit is the planet Venus. During the winter of 1896-97 it was visible in the evening sky, and was at its maximum brightness on March 23 - just at the height of the airship mania. Many of the airship reports were on cloudy or overcast nights. The bright disk of Venus shining through moving clouds might appear to be an airship in flight.

Now, Gilles has friends here in the States – Lance Moody and Christopher Allan among them.

And while those gentlemen would attack anyone else’s work that is so filled with importunate nonsense, they won’t raise an eyebrow to dissect Gilles’ sloppy but, in its way, spectacular attempt to deride the sensible conclusion that the Airships reported in 1896 and around that era were as they were accounted; that is, what was seen and reported is exactly what was seen.

We await Monsieur Gilles’ second, fictional, installment.


Crop circle defined.....nothing to see here, move along.