Friday, February 24, 2012

Billy Cox and Philip Klass

Billy Cox, over at the Herald-Tribune has written a short piece called, “Klass act, no principles,” (see http://tinyurl.com/8793hjt). In it he suggests that Steve Pierce, a buddy of Travis Walton, he of Fire in the Sky and abduction fame (see here at the 2011 Roswell Festival), had been offered, by Klass, ten thousand dollars to say that they had hoaxed the whole thing.

My first reaction was to reject this idea because, even for Klass, it seemed a bit excessive. And then I thought back to the long article I had posted here about Klass and his attacks on witnesses and researchers and his attempts to make their lives miserable. For a full analysis, see my September 11, 2011 blog entry about Klass’ letter writing campaign.

Klass was one of those who knew that there had been no alien visitation and because there had been none, anything suggesting otherwise was a misinterpretation at best and an outright lie at worst. He was not above leaping to conclusions or providing information that was, at best, misleading. In the Socorro UFO landing case, he invented a plot between the mayor of the town and Patrolman Lonnie Zamora to create a UFO landing to boost tourism.

Oh, I suppose you could say that he just got the timing wrong, and that the attempt to promote tourism followed the UFO sighting rather than the other way around. It was an explanation that was weak to begin with and I don’t believe there are many who accept it today. But it is out there for those who don’t have much in the way of critical thinking skills.

So, given all that, it really isn’t much of a leap to believe that Klass (see here) would offer money to Pierce to “admit” to the hoax. I’m sure Klass just rationalized it by thinking that he wasn’t bribing him to make up a story, but paying him for his honesty in finally telling the “truth”... or rather what Klass wanted to believe was the truth.

The bottom line here is that Klass was certainly capable of trying something like this. Klass was rabidly anti-alien and anti-saucer, and for some reason thought everyone should believe as he did. He wanted to get his way, and this might just be another example of his zeal for his point of view... which is to say, that it is an example of what should not be done regardless of your belief structure. Klass wasn’t in search of the truth, he was attempting to bend us all to his way of thinking... and if he had to manipulate the data, the witnesses or the world, that was just the way it had to be. He was only protecting us from ourselves...

83 comments:

Terry the Censor said...

Kevin, your willingness to embrace such a libellous rumour, without bothering to check it out, is shameful.

Sheaffer has recently written about these allegations, which seem totally baseless and even delusional (Walton has made a habit of suggesting Klass was a paid government agent).

Travis Walton vs. Philip J. Klass
http://badufos.blogspot.com/2012/02/travis-walton-vs-philip-j-klass.html

A Skeptic at the 2012 International UFO Congress - Part 3
http://badufos.blogspot.com/2012/02/skeptic-at-2012-international-ufo_24.html

cda said...

There is a tale in one of Kevin's and Don Schmitt's books about a 'slush fund' in order to pay off certain guys to keep their mouths shut about Roswell. There was once a tale about Scully being offered $25,000 to admit his book was a hoax. Any others...?

Now we hear of a new explosive book on the Aztec crash due in April.

What next? Was Zamora ever offered anything to reverse his Socorro story? Even if he wasn't, someone will come up with a tale that he was.

KRandle said...

Terry -

I suggest my first reaction was to reject this idea... and to suggest that Klass could rationalize it by claiming he was offering a reward to the guy who told the truth...

But then I put it together with other Klassless actions... The attack of Bob Jacobs, writing to his employer was shameful. His hounding of McDonald was shameful... and his suggestion to Hynek's publisher was shameful... his allegation that Zamora and the mayor of Socorro was shameful... his suggestion that the mayor owned the land where the UFO landed was shameful...

I could go on but won't.

Lance said...

Having now heard more about how Pierce is selling this claim (and denying his earlier opinion that Walton WAS a fake--something there is documented evidence he actually said) this new bandwagon certainly fits those on board.

One new claim is apparently that Pierce had to move several times to get away from Klass. I'm sure that makes make sense when those suffering from the paranoid style let it run through their sharp minds.

That Kevin would lower himself to piling on is unfortunate.

The high standards of Saucer Nutterty are all being followed to the letter: no documentation, years after the event, in direct opposition to known truth.

Yep...that's reason no one laughs at UFO believers. Carry on!

Excelsior,

Lance

David Rudiak said...

Terry wrote:

"(Walton has made a habit of suggesting Klass was a paid government agent)."

I wouldn't call it a "habit." In his book (I'm going from memory here), Walton spent about 100 pages rebutting Klass' accusations. In that, he brings up the subject of whether Klass was acting as a government agent, something he says others had accused Klass of being. But Walton didn't think so. He thought instead he was just a skeptical fanatic who twisted facts to suit his own beliefs. I remember being surprised at how magnanimous Walton was towards Klass overall, given how nasty Klass was towards him.

Maybe Walton's opinion has changed since then, but he wasn't accusing Klass of being a guvmint agent in "Fire in the Sky."

KRandle said...

Lance -

Nope, this ain't gonna fly. I do not believe that you continue to defend Klass after you wanted my to prove that he routinely wrote letters to cause trouble for those who witnessed and those who investigated UFOs. Until then, I hadn't realized just how nasty he could get.

I said that my first reaction was not to believe this... but, upon reflection, and what I had learned, I thought that it had some merit.

But really, defending the indefensible... Klass did attempt to cause grief for those with whom he disagreed.

Lance said...

"I said that my first reaction was not to believe this... but, upon reflection, and what I had learned, I thought that it had some merit."

Sure, as long as you are using the same standards you use for Rowell, I certainly understand.

As I mentioned earlier, the story stinks and has NO supporting evidence at all. Indeed, as we hear more about it, it seems to become more and more unlikely.

Do you also believe that Pierce moved his home three times to get away from Klass?

What a shameful and embarrassing standard of evidence you require.

Again, excelsior!

Lance

Lance said...

To push the point, that if someone did one thing, this does not mean that every other thing you hear about them is true. How sad that I have to point this out.

Hey Hitler was bad, right?

Therefore there are Nazi bases on the moon.

This is UFO science in action?

Lance

dukemedia_uk said...

Personally, I'm astonished by the civility that was ever displayed toward Klass, whose McCarthyite zeal was- as Kevin has illustrated in teh past- was not merely figurative.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that given how few scruples, and how little legitimate and honest enquiry Klass displayed, that any rationale or theory he championed should be viewed as fraudulent unless stridently proved otherwise. A position some may consider severe- but one that displays a great deal more respect for his intentions, integrity and method that he ever showed anyone else.

Lance said...

Aw heck, why stop there? I propose making up stuff about Klass. Then using the same standards of evidence on display here, those things will miraculously become "true".

This will get you closer to proving the "reality" of the UFO mythology, surely.

I love how the rabid believers forget the liars and scum bags that Klass exposed.

Hey Travis Walton, what happened to that first lie detector test you took?

Hey, Stanton Friedman, explain how the Eisenhower signature is EXACTLY the same as a known example.

Hey, how about that cover photo for Incident at Exeter? Held up by UFO dumb asses as "authentic" for years. Klass suspected it was a fake and figured out exactly how it was faked (the hoaxer later admitted it).

Hey how about Klass' ingenious solution for RB-47, now given new life by Tim Printy--Printy's recent epic examination of this case has not been commented upon by even one UFO "investigator".

Hey, how about how Klass exposed the idiotic methods of Hopkins and Jacobs--only now are some of those transgressions coming to light.

Yeah, there's a reason people laugh about UFO's.

Lance

Terry the Censor said...

> But then I put it together with other Klassless actions

So Klass is guilty of attempted bribery not on the evidence but because he performed other crimes?

In court, that would result in a dismissal of the charge.

Terry the Censor said...

> whether Klass was acting as a government agent...Walton didn't think so.

Thanks for the info, Mr. Rudiak.

Klass was accused by the Walton camp on the March 12 1993 episode of Larry King Live. However, there are varying accounts of who said it. I cannot find a tape or transcript to verify, just this:

March/April 1993 issue of The Georgia Skeptic:

“Walton hardly seemed naive when he accused Phil Klass of being a government disinformation agent on Larry King Live, a charge for which he has absolutely no proof.”

http://debunker.com/texts/walton.html

Don Ecker says it was Mike Rogers who made the claim on that programme.

http://www.theparacast.com/forum/threads/skeptics-honesty-and-ufos.6761/

Check the links in the first comment for recent examples.

It's interesting that in the UFO Book, Jerome Clark reports Klass calling Mike Rogers a "goddamn liar," but does not report the "government agent" charge. Tsk.

ilfakiro said...

hey lance,
do you trust 1975's lie detector technology?
have you ever visited innocenceproject.org?
try, you'll find a lot of interesting examples of men convicted for not well studied and not standardized technologies.
oh, lie detector is not used in civilized countries, guess why.

cda said...

Lance:

Be careful, it was Truman's signature not Ike's that was lifted and copied. Stanton will get at you over this mistake!

Oh and it was Stan who first discovered the very memorandum in the archives that Truman's signature was lifted from! But of course he will never concede this, preferring instead to waffle on and on about who did what on certain dates (all of which he and Moore got from the same archives).

Stan was the first to discover all those highly important and relevant (to Stan) unknown facts about Menzel, Bush, Hillenkoetter and so on.

But Stan did win a $1000 bet against Klass about typefaces. Stan loves to boast about this, proudly displaying a replica of the cheque (check) Phil sent him.

Klass took what I consider a restrained attitude towards MJ-12. He had a very good idea who perpetrated it, but wisely did not shout about it. He took the commonsense view that the whole thing was an obvious fake from the start and could not understand how a highly intelligent nuclear physicist, well versed in scientific principles, could fall for such garbage.

The only time I would fault Klass was when he referred to Ufologists as lefties in comments he once made.

Lance said...

Thanks CDA,

Of course it is Truman, my apologies.

@ilfakiro:
I certainly agree with your assessment of lie detector tests. I think they are useless. But my jibe isn't about their efficacy. It's about Walton taking (and badly failing) a test and then hiding that result.

Lance

Christopher Knowles said...

I love these skeptics. I'm sure Klass was on someone's pad, but he was mostly just another douchebag with a chip on his shoulder. He also looked to me like an impotent alcoholic- with full gin blossoms and the whole works- looking for someone to bully. Because deep inside he was just another self-loathing little dork who grew old without ever growing up.

Lance said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christopher Knowles said...

For instance, I am aware of one "researcher" who lied about his background continually and made up some spectacular whoppers to support his lackluster (and possibly fraudulent) "research".

Gee, that's all quite rich coming from you, "Lance," seeing as how you don't even have the courage of your convictions enough to sign your real name or use a proper log-in, "Lance." Which is par for the course for most of the skeptics you encounter, "Lance."

Maybe because you don't want anyone looking into your background, perhaps? Is that right, "Lance?"

Lance said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lance said...

Most of us here know each other, Christopher.

I'm Lance Moody.


Lance

cda said...

Klass an "impotent alcoholic"?
Boy what a description of someone. Is there any evidence for either adjective? None at all, just like there is no real evidence that anything alien crashed in the NM desert in July '47, and never will be. Same is true for abductions.

OK, I am sticking my neck out, just like Klass did many times. The 'dream team'? If its object is to settle Roswell as ET once and for all, it is purely a dream.

None of those documents, wreckage or bodies exist, except as a dream.

Lance said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lance said...

CDA,

You clearly don't understand how saucer science works.

Lance

Christopher Knowles said...

Lance Moody? Pleasure to meet you. Have you been following the "Carlos" identity fraud case? Man, one of the primary officers of the largest, most prominent skeptic organizations was stealing someone's identity and defrauding the IRS for 25 years, allegedly. Did you cover that on your blog? Post a link to your article on it.

Hey, I got some interesting MP3s of Randi from the 70s- have you heard them? Hard to forget them once you have. I've got a huge file on the Amazing One and people like Vern Bullough and Underwager the rest of the CSICOP creeps. I'm sure you'd like to post some of it- I'd be happy to pitch in.

Terry the Censor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lance said...

Hi Christopher,

I write (slowly) about stuff that I am interested in and don't take requests.

Perhaps you might want to write about the topics you bring up?

Lance

Terry the Censor said...

So here we are chuffing Kevin for embracing a rumour about Klass and Christopher is fabricating even more. Nothing about facts, just character assassination.

Is that how it's done in the science journals?

Christopher Knowles said...

Terry, you calling me a liar? You accusing me of making things up? Typical skeptic- leads with his face. That's OK, I have a hard fist. Here's a good place to start to learn the ugly truth about your little hero.

http://www.dailygrail.com/Skepticism/2011/10/Randis-Alien-Problem

Here's the original story from the Sun Sentinel: http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2011-09-15/news/fl-jose-alvarez-artist-identity-theft-20110914_1_id-theft-identity-frauds

Here's a long thread on the JREF board: http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?t=218996&page=9

You see, it's always the same. I'm sure Terry will immediately move the goalpost, just like skeptics always do when you respond to their demands for evidence.

Terry the Censor said...

I am making reference to your Klass fabulations.

You have changed the subject.

Christopher Knowles said...

Nice recovery, but what rumors did I fabricate about Klass? I just expressed an opinion.

I'm glad he's rotting in the ground, but I don't lose any sleep over it.

Terry the Censor said...

You expressed a medical opinion designed to show he is an unreliable character.

Should I look at your thumbmail and express a totally unfounded opinion about your character? Or would that be wrong?

Christopher Knowles said...

Well, seeing as how he never had biological children, the impotence analysis seems well-grounded. And I'm not the first one to observe he might have had a problem with the sauce.

But listen- I don't waste my time arguing with skeptics anymore. I stopped pretending you people are interested in honest discussion a long, long time ago.

Terry the Censor said...

Chris, you appear to be an expert on dishonesty.

It's no wonder you don't argue with skeptics: you don't know how to argue.

Christopher Knowles said...

By the way, Lance, I'm really surprised you're not interested in exposing the fraud of James Randi and "Carlos," especially since the so-called hoax he pulled was itself exposed as a hoax by Australian skeptics.

Plus, there's the Paedika issue and Randi and CSICOP's many links to that despicable pack of vile predators. There's a huge story there- are you going to let someone else scoop you? Start googling- maybe you'll think twice about who you break bread with.

You know, Imbrogno might have padded his resume but he was an interesting raconteur. I wish he'd get back out there- he was an interesting mythologist, if nothing else. Randi, on the other hand- whoa. How much longer will you carry his water? He's going to die sooner than later and the floodgates will open and people will want to know who had the balls to speak out against Randi's many shortcomings, if you get my meaning.

There are a lot of people out there who are going to be keeping score of stuff like that, mark my words. Quite a few indeed.

cda said...

Why are we talking about Randi? He is not the subject of this blog. He certainly got it right about Uri Geller, but we are not talking (I hope) about Geller either.

Any comparison between Randi and Klass is preposterous anyway.

Lance said...

"There are a lot of people out there who are going to be keeping score of stuff like that, mark my words. Quite a few indeed."

Oooh..scary.

I was not aware of this particular shady underhanded stuff being passed around by paranormal nuts.

I see that David Icke and the Bill Meiers folks use the same unreferenced accusations (if they can be called that--they are so stupidly veiled that I'm not sure) so you are certainly in high company there.

One must wonder why these morons would be concerned with such trivial matters, when there are OMG!!! Alien Lizards in charge of everything!

The dumbassery is astounding but I'm sure that is also quite common among "esoteric researchers".

Maybe you ought to drop the veiled references yourself and just write the thing yourself? What's stopping you from the big scoop? What are you lacking? (cue ominous music) What are you lacking, indeed?

Best,

Lance

Christopher Knowles said...

Holy crap- you really are clueless. Go back to sleep.

Steve M said...

Christopher

I don't know much about Phillip Klass so cannot speak about his personality. However, I am disapponted that your first post on this topic appears to be a personal attack on this man based on his looks without any facts or evidence to back this up. I could look at your photo ( assuming itnis your photo) and make assumptions about you eg does your hand over your mouth indicate you are hiding something, not speaking the truth, etc,etc.

Perhaps everyone commenting on this posting should stick to discussing the facts and evidence instead of hurling insults and attitude at each other.

KRandle said...

Gentlemen (and I use the term loosely) -

This is getting out of hand. Way out of hand. I don’t want to censor this blog but will do so if the rhetoric is not toned down.

Lance -

I am tired of your snarky little comments. You seem to forget that we inside the UFO community have exposed many of the frauds and charlatans ourselves. Do I need to remind you of Robert Willingham, for one.

So, using your argument, then delving into Walton’s background and exposing his juvenile record is irrelevant. Just because he did one thing doesn’t mean he did another.

Walton is not responsible for hiding the test. That falls to the Lorenzens and the National Enquirer... and I don’t know why I’m defending Walton here.

Terry -

In a court prior bad acts are admissible as evidence, so Klass’ behavior in other matters is directly on point. He wasn’t above this sort of thing...

I do not understand this rabid defense of Klass by so many.

CDA -

Peter Tytell credited Klass with finding the original signature that we have all seen on the MJ-12 documents.

And the purpose of the Dream Team is to get to the facts and not the various opinions about Roswell.

Christopher Knowles -

Your characterizations of Klass are unfounded and inappropriate. A lack of children does not suggest impotence... it suggests a lack of children. And I have no knowledge that Klass was an alcoholic. I will note that people of his generation seemed to drink more than mine... but then people in the younger generation seem to binge drink more than mine. You are out of bounds on this.

cda said...

Kevin:

A small correction:

It was Stan Friedman who first located the telling document in the National Archives. He tells us this in IUR Sept/Oct 1987 on p.16 - "The signature matches that on an October 1947 letter from Truman to Bush".

This was the very letter that Truman's signature was lifted from, yet STF to this day refuses to admit the forger did this. STF would only concede that it "matches" (but not closely enough for him) the one on the MJ-12 papers.

I pointed out this Friedman article to Klass in 1989 or 1990 and Klass then went along to the library and found it. The point is that Friedman knew of it at least two years earlier but refused point blank to concede it was the one the forger used. Klass therefore had to do the donkey work.

I certainly agree this debate, on other matters, has got out of hand.

KRandle said...

CDA -

I'm not sure that it matters, other than we have the donor document for the signature. Peter Tytell told me that Klass had found it.

If Friedman had it prior to that, well, good for him. He did say, originally since it was an exact match, it proved that it was a real signature. Learning that an exact match meant it was probably a forgery, he changed his tune.

Tytell also said that there were signs that the signature on MJ-12 had been doctored which to him proved it was a forgery.

Dennis Toth said...

I see the heated nature of Klass's work continues to divide opinions. Too bad. He actually practiced an odd amount of bad science (his thinking about ball plasma was a wild hoot), had a terrible habit of radically altering the data to fit his theories, and was well known to the FBI for sending cranky letters attacking scientists who were working on government projects. BTW, the Feds appear to have concluded that Klass kept doing this because of an inferiority complex. He was a strange guy with some major chips on his shoulders (not all of which had to do with UFOs). Too be honest, I thought that nobody in their right mind had paid any attention to his stuff in over forty years.

But he was helpful in coining the phrase "What they really saw was the planet Venus." For that classic punchline he will always be remembered.

Dennis Toth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christopher Knowles said...

Wonderful, Dennis. I'm glad someone here has something interesting to offer. What you mention about the Feds ties in with my observations- there was obviously something deeply wrong with the guy, I was simply speculating what that might be. I've noticed that his type of skeptic is usually driven by a deep sense of intense (and justified) self-loathing- they're really no different than schoolyard bullies.

Lawrence said...

Wow what an uh amusing thread, Knowles and Moody full-bore at it. And Randles in between!

Knowles, I know your stuff, always check out your 'secret sun' blog, even if I hardly always agree with you, I am somewhat obsessed with the collective unconscious, synchronicities and related.

Moody I appreciate what you did exposing Imbrogno. I think a middle-ground approach is best here, but nobody is willing to compromise and admit it when their side screws up, or may be mistaken. Moody, James Randi is the biggest liar and con. What Knowles references is tip of the iceberg stuff (the lies Sheldrake exposes on Randi alone re animal psi tests discredit Randi totally). Not that you will ever admit it. And Knowles, Imbrogno is a liar and it doesn't say much for the sad state of ufology that he was ever taken seriously. Rationalizing the guy as an entertaining trickster (I agree with you, I am obsessed with tricksters) doesn't change that though.

I don't really have a problem with Klass's extreme skepticism per se, it's his odious tactics and bullying that really grates (like Randi coming to think of it). This is why I respect an arch-skeptic like Menzel (for all his hand-waving and absurd rationalizations of a mystery nobody understands, but is real nonetheless), at least he didn't get caught in such chicanery.

To Randles and Knowles: American ufology is no longer a bad joke, it has moved beyond that into a kind of self-parody. It's the likes of Greer, Paola Harris, David Jacobs and yes Stanton Friedman (and soooo many others) that give arch-skeptics like Moody such easy targets.

I guess a middle-way approach is not playing to any of the polarized camps, it's not popular and who wants to be a voice in the wilderness?

Lawrence said...

Oops sorry Kevin for calling you Randles, not Randle. Maybe it's Jenny Randles on my mind!

Christopher Knowles said...

Lawrence, you'll get no argument with me on UFOlogy- it's an absolute horror show. But I have no use for the ETH or any of that, I'm one of the Jacques Vallee/ John Keel weirdos who doesn't give a fig about the "science" of it-- I find it works wonderfully well when you ignore the nuts and bolts. Plus, if you look at what science has become, it's nothing less than the beaten-down, submissive handmaiden of the transnational elite (or the one tenth of the 1%), so leaning on it is going to make you nothing but bitter enemies among the non-Asberger's population in the days to come, as the self-loathing dorks in the "skeptic" community are going to quite painfully discover. Notice that these skeptics are never skeptical about Big Pharma, for instance. I've even seen skepdicks defend Monsanto, if you can believe that.

Wonderful insights and comments otherwise, Lawrence- thank you very much.

Your

Christopher Knowles said...

And think about it, Lawrence- if these "skeptics" are so worried about science, why do they spend all their time writing about ghosts and Bigfoot? Why aren't they working on their PhD dissertation about the oral secretions of the Hungarian fruit fly? Why aren't they huddled away in some cubicle, banging out lines of code for nanobots or RFID chips 20 hours a day? It's all a big joke. They want to play with the toys and then poop in the sandbox, just like a spoiled three year-old.

Lance said...

@Lawrence

Hey, they're all easy targets once they have been punctured! I tried to write a bit about the resistance I got when I was working on the Imbrogno thing. Many of the "respected" UFO personalities were less than helpful (On the other hand, Kevin was supportive and helpful).

I appreciate and mostly agree with your comments. You know, I wrote a long piece on the mostly forgotten sTarbaby flap at CSCIOP and never got even one response for it. I interviewed Dennis Rawlings and I did find fault among those at CSICOP as well. And yet above I am castigated as a blind follower.

It's infuriating--especially since I never invoke Randi or his work even though I find what most of what I know to be wholly admirable.

After admitting that Klass did do some questionable things, I am called a rabid defender. I suspect that ANY defense of Klass would be seen as "rabid".

The fact is that this latest claim by Pierce appears to be highly dubious and Kevin lowers himself by accepting it.

Here is Robert Sheaffer's account of how Pierce presents his story:

"He flew out to Texas to wine and dine me and try to persuade me. He kept following me, I had to move to like three different states, to get away from him."

I have learned how to smell the bulls--t on UFO stories and I certainly get a whiff of it here. Really? Did he really move three states to get away from Klass? This kind of hyperbole must really impress the rubes.

To add to this farce, Pierce now says that he DOESN'T think the Walton story is a hoax even though he is on record as saying precisely the opposite. These are the kind of witnesses that pervade the various crappy UFO stories. It's all so pathetic.

Anyway, thanks for the comment, I think it brings us a bit closer to at least civility. I realize that I wasn't the most controlled in my responses to Christopher Knowles (who seems like a cool guy) but then again, I don't think some his comments were cvil or helpful or supported. Kevin does mostly keep things civil here, which is most appreciated. I offer my apologies for upsetting this standard.

Best,

Lance

Christopher Knowles said...

Well, now that we're being all buddy-buddy-- which judging from my experience with skeptics I'll take to mean I'm next in line for a ratf**king-- I'll still advise Lance to run the hell away from Randi and deal only with reputable skeptics. If the identity fraud scam doesn't show Lance what a total scumbag he is I recommend he give Jim Moseley a call and ask him off the record what he thinks of his former friend. Like, today.

As to UFOlogy itself, it works nicely as mythology for me, though I am convinced of the reality of the phenomena and I'm pretty much a classic-period Vallee disciple (and have had the pleasure of talking with Jacques and hearing him lecture at Esalen) and have no need at all to argue the existence of UFOs with skeptics. I think science is the wrong approach to UFOs and I think there's absolutely nothing that any UFOlogist could ever do to convince the skeptics. They'll simply say they knew it all along and smash you in the face with something else.

Lance said...

Christopher,

Where have you found me dealing with Randi?

Can you at least support your premise?

You brought up Randi without any previous mention of him.

I knew Klass and I know that he was mean-spririted on occasion. But I also know that he was usually right about the morons and clods he dealt with in the field.

I think that the short-sighted admonition to discredit everything he did is another reason that UFO are a topic of derision...there is no sense of history in the topic and the same failures crop up over and over again with the same results.

That is..nothing.

Best,

Lance

Christopher Knowles said...

Lance, I think the problem with UFOlogists and Skeptics is what Freud called the narcissism of minor differences. I mean, seriously- why aren't you off chatting it up with the guys over at the molecular biology message board if you care so much about science?

And screw Klass- he was a hideous old ghoul who wanted to be hated for whatever sick reasons of his own.

Best, Christopher

Lance said...

Caring about science is not just about doing research. Science is a (even if imperfect) way of getting to the truth in most any discussion. I find the topic of UFOs fascinating for the sociology and history of it.

I can see the allure of just saying, "I don't care about the silly old science of it!" What a great way to seem right all the time! Of course smarter people might not accept this pronouncement as readily as the duller ones.

Not to worry: there are plenty of the dull ones, all tuning their crystal energies and aligning their chi. And nodding in sympathetic agreement. Silly old facts...dumb old science!

I notice that you didn't respond to my question above. Any chance you can do so now?

Lance

Christopher Knowles said...

Probably not.


Just out of curiosity, which field of science do you make your living working in?

Lance said...

Christopher,

I am a layperson, a film editor.

You don't have to be a scientist to support the scientific method, thank goodness.

Best,

Lance

cda said...

And even if you are a scientist, you need not always support the scientific method; e.g. Stanton Friedman. A skilled scientist but so grossly deluded by certain ufological matters.

Christopher Knowles said...

Yes, the overwhelming majority of "skeptics" admire science from a safe distance. Don't forget to make that phone call. I need to go wash the UFOlogy off me now...

Ross said...

@Dennis Toth
Where did you hear that the Feds concluded that Phil Klass was motivated by an inferiority complex? I've never heard that one before. (Pardon my skepticism; I guess I caught it from Phil Klass's corpse---call it "the klapp.")

Terry the Censor said...

> delving into Walton’s background and exposing his juvenile record is irrelevant. Just because he did one thing doesn’t mean he did another.

Kevin, that was exactly my point! Just because Klass did other bad things doesn’t mean he did all bad things -- especially those bad things that are mere rumours and haven’t been established as actual events.

> In a court prior bad acts are admissible as evidence

Not true! That would result in an automatic mistrial -- unless the defense introduced such past offenses. However, after conviction, at the sentencing stage, a court will discuss past offenses, levying heavier sanctions against multiple offenders. Perhaps that is what you are thinking of. Or you are thinking of the past offenses of witnesses, not the defendant.

> I do not understand this rabid defense of Klass by so many.

I don’t mean to be sarcastic, but it’s true -- you don’t understand. I am not defending Klass, I am defending due process and by extension justice and truth.

Some months ago I commented at this blog that I had consciously avoided the writings of two arch-partisans: Stanton Friedman and Phil Klass, so I hold no brief for either.

An interesting aside: I have been surprised by both men. Mr. Sheaffer -- of all people-- has told me twice that Mr. Friedman is actually a nice man. Klass, to my shock, was been very fair in representing the facts of the Hill case through four books.

My overall point being: everyone is a human in the end.

Ross said...

I'll defend Klass.

Sure, he could be a blinkered, narrow-minded jerk at times. Sure,some of his "alternative" explanations for UFOs were ridiculous. But I was re-reading some 1990s issues of his SKEPTICS UFO NEWSLETTER the other day, and I really was impressed at times with how adeptly he wielded the critical scalpel, cutting through the tissue of bullshit that constitutes so much of "ufology." Plus, he had a keen sense of humor, a property sorely lacking in so many writers on UFOs.

Of course, I'm not defending the heinous, underhanded tactics he used against many in ufology who disagreed with him.

Lance said...

This canard of saying what is and is not "acceptable in a court of law" crops up a lot in these conversations.

The idea misses the point and means nothing. It seems to me that the goal should be to scientifically establish the idea of UFOs (or Roswell or whatever)

After all, I can legally show you that O.J. Simpson is not guilty of murdering two people. Or, if you want, I can show you that he is legally responsible for the murders.

Unfortunately the goal of scientific acceptance of UFOs has never been even slightly close. And it gets further and further away each day. Instead of the evidence coalescing, and consensus forming, the opposite is taking place.

Yet the skeptical proposition, that the UFO idea is really lots of prosaic events (possibly incuding rare esoteric natural ones) filtered through a pop cultural lens holds steady and gains new support daily.

Speaking about courts of law (especially when you arent a lawyer and may possibly be wrong) gets you nowhere.

Best,

Lance

Christopher Knowles said...

"Yet the skeptical proposition, that the UFO idea is really lots of prosaic events (possibly incuding rare esoteric natural ones) filtered through a pop cultural lens holds steady and gains new support daily."

Indeed it does- among the zeta-males you associate with on the Internet or in your skeptic get-togethers who go from having no opinion or being agnostic to hopping on your bandwagon. At the same time, other self-segregating communities- New Agers, conspiranoids and such- are more over-the-top than ever before with the Space Brothers and disclosure the Pleidian lightworkers and the rest.

And at the end of the day, here you are on a UFO blog, still. Where you can always be found. There's a whole world of science and technology to discuss and here you are. Why do you think that is?

Ross said...

Silence. I think Lance is stumped.

cda said...

No the skeptics are not 'stumped'. True, we could (and the great majority of skeptics do) spend our time discussing important subjects like science, technology, medicine etc. and not fringe matters like ufology.

But there comes a point when skeptics have to partake in UFO debates if only to give some view from the other side. Otherwise the ETH brigade would assume their reasoning is so perfect and they had such a strong case that the skeptics, by their very silence, could not submit a valid counter argument and were therefore 'stumped'.

The real reason why most scientists avoid talking about ufology is that they are fully occupied on more important matters, and have not bothered to familiarise themselves with UFOs and ufology. This is what Stanton Friedman so often brings up in his blasts at science. And if you have not studied the subject in any depth you (according to STF) are not a fit person to debate it.

Lance said...

Ross,

CDA has a nice response above. I'm not going to engage in a one way conversation with Christopher.

Notice that I asked him a question or two above with no response.

And anyway, once someone says that aren't interested in using scientific reasoning, I sort of don't know where to take the conversation.

Maybe your mileage varies?

Best,

Lance

Christopher Knowles said...

Uh, no- the real reason is that "skeptics" are playing the same old juvenile-contrarian game you see everywhere you go on the Internet. Fanboys get together, divide into shirts and skins. It's inevitable- it's all part of the fun.

Anyone with a brain can see that the "skeptics" are flying saucer fanboy lifers, no less than a Phil Imbrogno or a Cliff Stone. But it's boring to agree on everything. And if you're a "skeptic" (sic) you can wallow in the same topics AND project a petulant, adolescent air of unearned superiority. It's a win/win proposition.

Kind of the like the holy roller preacher crusading against porn; that requires a lot of "research", don't you know.

Lance said...

"a petulant, adolescent air of unearned superiority"

Hilariously said without apparent irony.

Lance

Ross said...

I think "skeptics" are drawn to UFOs for the same reason "believers" are: for the numinous, religious (or quai-religious) "high" that the phenomenon delivers. Skeptics are just more wary of investing belief in it. When you've studied UFOs long enough, it's easy to become jaded and cynical about nearly everything ufological. But, at some level, the "sense of wonder" remains.

Ross said...

Let me clarify: skeptics are more wary of investing belief in UFOs, not in the "high" they deliver, which is obviously subjective.

Christopher Knowles said...

If anyone needs a breath of fresh air and some sensible, intelligent talk on UFOs: http://www.spectrumradionetwork.com/Archive/richard-dolan-ufos-a-the-secret-space-program.html

Robert Sheaffer said...

Let's see, we are learning that Klass was supposedly an impotent alcoholic, and that the government somehow determined that he suffered from an inferiority complex.

Alcoholic? I spent a great deal of time in Klass' company. I never saw him drunk, not even once. He did drink the occasional cocktail, but I never thought any time that he was inebriated.

Impotent? Of course I cannot say this for sure, but I find it extremely unlikely. In fact, prior to his marriage in 1980, Klass was definitely something of a ladies' man. One of his ladyfriends was French, if I recall her name was Monique. I met her more than once. I think there were other women, too. Klass had this Bachelor Pad in the Harbor Square apartments in Washington, DC, a prestigious address that would impress many a lady.

"Inferiority complex"? We're supposed to believe that the government analyzes people and comes up with stuff like this? In reality, Klass was closer to a 'superiority complex' than the opposite.

Lance said...

Robert,

You already know this but, for conspiracy types, the evidence made up in their heads is ever so much more precious than the real stuff.

At least above, one correspondent admits that he has thrown out science altogether.

Best,

Lance

Christopher Knowles said...

"Klass had this Bachelor Pad in the Harbor Square apartments in Washington, DC, a prestigious address that would impress many a lady."

On a trade magazine journalist's salary. Yeah, that happens.

KRandle said...

Christopher -

Your unsubstantiated allegations are becoming tiresome. While there was much about Philip I didn't agree with inside the UFO field, he was a funny guy. Aviation Week was not some trade magazine but a powerful entity inside Washington, D.C.

If you have any evidence for what you claim, present it. If you do not, then shut up. I have let you get away with some of this because it provided an opportunity for response as we work our way to the truth, but it has now moved into a realm beyond usefulness.

Christopher Knowles said...

My apologies, Kevin. You're clearly just on the cusp of bringing these skeptics around to your way of thinking and I don't want to do anything to jeopardize that. Carry on.

Ross said...

How sad that Chris was silenced. His comments were consistently stimulating and provocative. Nothing he said or implied about Phil Klass was any worse than the actual truth.

KRandle said...

Christopher was not silenced. He was asked for evidence of his allegations. He said that Klass was impotent because he had no children. All we know is that Klass had no children, not that he was impotent.

He said that he worked for a trade magazine but didn't seem to understand the importance of that magazine to the aviation industry and what it meant to those inside the Beltway.

If he wishes to post here, he is welcome. I just want him to be able to back up what he claims.

Ross said...

Understood. I respect your position. I just got a kick out of Chris's postings, that's all.

cda said...

Why has the potency of Klass come up at all? Is this a proper forum for discussing it? I suggest it is not.

Ross said...

What drove Klass's hatred of UFO "believers" and open-minded investigators? That's what really creeps me out when considering him. Behind his "rationalistic" front, there was all this toxic emotionality. What a hideously twisted man. No wonder he was at home in Washington, D. C.

UFO Joe said...


Why oh why do debunkers play with the truth so much? Facts are facts, playing fast and loose with them doesn't make it true. Taking other debunkers lies and repeating them still doesn't make them true. Talking down like a reprimanding father still doesn't make them true. Spreading false rumors that you would like to be true still doesn't make them true. Bribing witnesses still doesn't make your position true. Ignoring thousands of perfectly top notch witness testimony from pilots, cops and veterans doesn't make your lies true.
One thing I noticed, at least from the debunkers on this blog; I've never seen a more conceded bunch in my life! The snobbery factor on this page is off the charts! Who the hell would believe Lance, Terry and Muffy, a bunch of highbrow stiff necks looking down on everyone like ants.
Is this more about class then truth? Are UFO'ers only in steerage? Only peasants can believe in such nonsense and anyone with them can only be like them! Are debunkers the snobs and want to be snobs of ufology? Maybe, maybe not, but you certainly walk the walk and definitely talk the talk.

UFO Joe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wayne Patterson said...

Kevin
as a retired soldier, and former contractor, I am really sorry to see the level of snark filled creeps you have to deal with. As usual, people who would never speak
to anyone in person the way they do on comment sections.
I have read several of your books, and drank the bug juice in some of the same chow halls as you, and am a fan.
These several massive intellects that hover on your sight, and others, seem to be hiding their great scientific light under a poncho, cant see why they arent solving all the worlds problems and guiding us to scientific nirvana........
As is normally the case, these jerks are more likely real life versions of the simpsons "comic book guy', experts on all except reality, and inflating their wind bag egos sniping at others, getting pay back for all the lunch money the school bullies took over the years, and seething at the sight of people with lives that dont include moms house and phone sex. You handle them with class that an old 18D couldnt muster
Keep up the good work Col....bravo zulu....