UFO Conjectures

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Big Picture (is made up of small pixels)

The October 27th issue of The New York Review of Books has a review by G. W. Bowersock (an Emeritus Professor of Ancient History at Princeton) of three books about The Bible.

No, I’m not going to go into the content of the books, interesting as that content is, but will note the gist of the review: “An obsession with the big picture has now become widespread in historical analysis. This has meant a salutary breakdown of both chronological and geographical boundaries. Historical inquiry can begin with the end of the Ice Age and roam freely across continents all the way down to modern times.” [Page 35]

Kevin Randle (and others, including me) keeps contending that the classic UFO cases need to be looked at in detail, still, in 2016, to get at the reality of those UFO incidents and UFOs themselves.

The NYRB review tells readers that the big picture is important, but that the big picture needs the supplementary materials of the period events being scrutinized, evaluated with the methodologies of history, as it always has been, but now, today, with the scientific methods at historians’ disposal: genome sequencing, DNA, and other forensic materials and methods.

This goes deeper than “context” which I presented, a few weeks back, as necessary and avoided by me over the years, and still avoided, today, by UFO researchers, who often resort to archaic methods and slipshod investigation.

Since anthropology, archaeology, along with various scientific technologies are needed to really get at what is being studied, from the historical past, such disciplines are needed to get at the truth of a UFO episode.

To dismiss many of the bizarre UFO sightings of the past, because they have been worked to death by UFO buffs and “ufologists,” is wrong-headed, as the NYRB piece suggests, about Biblical tales – one being the corporeality of God; that is, why does God often appear in the Hebrew texts as having form and substance.

But as reviewer Professor Bowersock writes, “ …how illuminating the big picture can be, even without science … to be authoritative it must be a picture created with deep learning and judgment … It is not enough for a picture just to be big.” [Page 37] It needs the tools of contemporary science.

Yes, we can “deep six” past UFO reports and all that attended to them, but that would be shirking our responsibility to get at the truth.

It’s more than fun, as Kevin offered his dissenting readers. It’s incumbent upon us, if we’re truly serious about flying saucer and UFO stories – their history, as it were -- to pursue them with the diligence of real historians and scientists.



  • Recent UFO analysis could be legimately criticized for being too local in it's examination. That is, it's almost invariable that we analyze things based on our current context, missing the forest for the trees. The simple example of this is how ancients defined their odd things in terms of gods, where we think of them as space aliens. That is a certainly good reason to accept the only the observations of recent UFO studies, but dump the conclusions and start over with a more global attitude. No good can come from looking at the same problem over and over again without changing position!

    By Blogger Michael, at Friday, October 14, 2016  

  • All good Michael,exactly right! I for one, agree with this. The thinking of ancient times,would be in some ways, so different from today's concept of thought, in expressing our understanding of what we know, because of technology, for which, in ancient times never had, to the degree we understand today..............

    By Blogger Daniel Yang-Clark, at Friday, October 14, 2016  

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