The truth is stranger than fiction. I’m going to make a point and I’m going to use one of the wildest conspiracy theories out there to make it: the idea that UFOs exist and that they are spying on us. Indeed, that they are spying on nuclear weapons facilities around the globe as if a preface to global invasion. Good stuff, but let’s read between the lines and I think the truth might be in there somewhere. Something is going on, but it’s not what some think. Call me a skeptic, but first we need to explain what that word means, which takes me right to my point.
First, the term “skeptic” is confusing in the UFO research arena. Apparently, those that hold the orthodox view that UFOs do not exist seem to view themselves as “skeptics”. This was a bit confusing to me at first but it’s only a matter of semantics. Or is it? I think it is more accurate to call those that challenge the orthodox opinion to be skeptics, not the reverse. For the view that UFOs are real is a heterodox opinion and, by definition, skeptical of the orthodox view.
Having said this, most attempts by the orthodoxy to refute UFO evidence seems to revolve around a style that is frustrating to read and research: most attempts to “debunk” seem to be tomes of Ignoratio elenchi (basically, making arguments that are cleverly irrelevant to the presenting claim). And that itself gives the appearance of dishonesty. Whether it is honest or not, those that make these arguments should consider this in their analysis because it is a source of considerable suspicion for most readers. One of the common tools used in this approach, among many others, is the tendency to over-emphasize things like witness credibility, particularly the credibility of the researcher themselves. For if the researcher can be found to be dishonest or misleading (or just crazy), then it is assumed that everything they say or claim is false. Ironically, this is the same approach used in Western law and it has been shown in numerous psychological studies to be fallacious. This is because there are two types of “believers”; those that are charlatans and do not in fact believe and those who engage in wishful thinking but still believe the over-arching premise. And for most researchers who reach heterodox conclusions the latter is more common. It’s the age-old fallacy of throwing the baby out with the bath water without realizing that while some parts of a person’s research may be fallacious or faulty, that does not, by itself, imply that all of it is. The astute researcher has to know how to sort this out.
But what many orthodox researchers do, once they find any fault or error in an analysis, is engage in an argument of Ignoratio elenchi by focusing only on the matters of credibility, not the actual claims being made. Thus they spend volumes discussing tangential factors to the overall story that, by themselves, have nothing to do with the truth or falsity of the over-arching claim. That is not to say that credibility has no place: if one finds that, for example, the so-called “Majestic 12” documents originated from U.S. Air Force counter-intelligence agents (Special Agent Richard Doty, to be precise), then it can be safely assumed that any document referencing Majestic 12 is probably a fabrication. That is a credibility assessment. But what makes it germane and different than broad, context-void assessments of credibility, is the fact that it is contextually relevant. On the other hand, suggesting that Robert Hastings, who researches odd events at nuclear weapons facilities, has deliberately fudged facts about one incident at one location, say, in 1967 or 1968, does not by itself provide sufficient evidence to “debunk” evidence that exists for the same kind of phenomenon at another site in 1975, whether that evidence originated with Hastings or someone else. Critical analysis just isn’t that simple and explanations that try to do this are catch-penny arguments used to appeal to human bias and prejudices; namely those having to do with people’s natural tendency to disbelieve anything that comes from a source that has been dishonest at some point in the past. This is the same reason why a known and admitted prostitute on the witness stand is not guaranteed to lie for any and all questions posed to her. It just isn’t that simple. And what we are doing here has nothing to do with trying an individual; we are seeking confirmation of facts and assertions that may or may not be independent of that witness.
Two excellent examples of deceptive “debunking” are the Air Force “Case Closed” report of 1995 and the internet article by James Carlson found at http://www.realityuncovered.net/blog/2011/12/by-their-works-shall-ye-know-them-part-1/. In the case of the Air Force an attempt to debunk the skeptical claims about the official narrative of the Roswell incident of 1947 was proffered in 1994 and 1995 when the Air Force changed its official story of it being due to weather balloons to a claim that it was due to something called project Mogul. This tells us, implicitly but loudly, that the Air Force was engaged in counter-intelligence when it lied about the weather balloons. Forgetting for the moment that germane questions of credibility about the Mogul claim are thus obvious, the Air Force spent almost all of its report talking about project Mogul. It was basically a history lession about Mogul. But that is really not relevant to the skeptical claim. And sure enough, the explanation was riddled with problems. There were crash dummies employed in 1947 that didn’t exist until 1952, the Ramey memo in which it can clearly be seen by any modern computer user to have referenced “victims of the wreck”, and so on. Thus, given that we know that disinformation was the source of the weather balloon explanation, and given the obvious application of Ignoratio elenchi in its 1995 Mogul diatribe, it is no wonder the American public doesn’t believe it. That USG can’t see this is astonishing but reinforces the view that they are out of touch with the public.
In a similar way, Carlson makes an elaborate argument that the 1967 and 1968 phenomenon at one missile base was, at best, wishful thinking of a skeptic named Robert Hastings. Once the “gotcha” was in place, it was then assumed by character assassination that all the other events must be of a similar nature. It was an exercise in Ignoratio elenchi.
And this is why these kinds of analyses are a turn-off for most readers. Most readers see this as a personal attack on a person rather than an honest pursuit of truth. That Establishment figures in government, who do the same thing, have not apparently noticed this is astonshing but it shows how out of touch they are with everyday people. If there were ever a sign of elitism sticking out like a sore thumb, this is it. Thus, in order to examine the Hastings research, we need to examine each case of purported tampering at each base on each date and ask only the questions of merit:
1.) Who actually witnessed the visible phenomenon? Are their names known to us? What is the chain through which this information reaches us now? What have they said? What written or electronic data is available to corroborate it? Where is it? Can we see it? Is it clear and convincing?
2.) What witnesses can report on the radar data? Have they also been identified? What is the chain through which this information reaches us now? Do records of these radar sweeps exist? Can we see them? Is it clear and convincing that solid objects were present?
3.) What failure mode, if any, was witnessed and who witnessed this? Have they been identified? What is the chain through which this information reaches us now? Did anything actually fail? What was the nature of the failure? What records exist to corroborate this failure? Is it clear and convincing that a failure mode without prosaic explanation occurred? (classified aspects of their operation can still be protected by a careful review of how the systems are explained – we don’t need to know how they work).
4.) Does the movement of objects, if established as above, correlate well between visual sightings and radar tracks? Does it appear to be intelligently directed as a response or anticipation of human behavior? Time, location and altitude are critical here.
We don’t need diatribes and tomes of personal attacks, tangential information and digressions of Ignoratio elenchi to resolve this. We need data.
The global public is becoming more and more sophisticated in their understanding of geopolitics and disinformation. They more easily recognize it and its common attendants, such as catch-penny reasoning, Ignoratio elenchi, the role of greed and money and the extremes to which power corrupts. It’s time for USG to catch up.
Virtually every government “investigation” and every “debunker” out there has done nothing to address the four questions that could be equally applied, in different form, to just about any “conspiracy theory”. And the field is chock-full of charlatans and fairy tales that can be easily discounted with a modicum of background research into the provenance of documents and the nature of the claims by simply applying the questions above, even if they cannot be fully answered. There is truth between the lies.
I would submit that USG should rethink the way it approaches conspiracy theories by avoiding catchpenny silliness and responding to them directly and in a hyper focused manner by releasing data specific to the claims of merit because the tactic they’ve been using, since at least 1947, is itself becoming a National Security issue because of the distrust in government it has caused. And Popular Mechanics commentary – which most who have two brain cells to put together know this to be a USG shill – in their replies isn’t needed. Just the relevant data. They need to do this with the Kennedy assassination, 911, UFOs and anything else of popular lore. Sadly, I’m afraid their hubris is too inflated now to ever do that, but for my part, I’ve illuminated the path. Listen to me now, hear me later.
P.S. Watch how disinformation works. Everybody is focused on Edward Snowden. But is that really the story? How about the fact that his revelations have confirmed that you are being watched, Orwell-style? All the way down to your Safeway discount card application and purchasing data. Yep, that’s right. Go read what he actually handed over to the journalist that reported it. Google is your friend.