The other day, when I had Robert Sheaffer on the program, I had asked him some questions about skeptics that always bugged me. It seemed, from my perspective, that skeptics would accept any anti-UFO document as authentic without question and reject any pro-UFO document regardless of the provenance.* I had thought the true skeptic would be, well, skeptical of everything until the evidence was in hand, which might mean the acceptance of a document or point of view as logical once the investigation was completed even if that might not reinforce the skeptical beliefs.
As an example of this, I suggested that skeptics accepted the Project Mogul explanation as if it had been proven, even when there was sufficient documentation to question it. I used Dr. Albert Crary’s diary and field notes as an example. Since the only possible culprit for dropping metallic debris on the Brazel ranch (and yes, I know that Brazel didn’t own it, the ranch belonged to the Fosters) was Mogul Flight No. 4 because all other flights have been accounted for or had been launched too late to leave the debris, and Crary’s diary said Flight No. 4 had been cancelled, why do skeptics seem to think that doesn’t matter. The point was not to argue about Mogul, but to suggest that the acceptance of that flight as the culprit in the face of the documentation that suggested otherwise seemed not to be a very skeptical position.
Again, the point is not to argue the merits of the Mogul explanation, but to question the skeptics about this apparent contradiction.
Look at the other side. UFO proponents, who believe Roswell was an extraterrestrial craft, have a similar problem with the Twining Letter. This is a document written in September 1947 that provided information about UFOs and in one line, said that the lack of crash recovered debris which would prove the existence of these objects, seemed to argue against the Roswell crash. Proponents reject it because any alien crash recovered debris would be classified Top Secret and the letter is only classified as Secret. Security regulations would prohibit the inclusion of Top Secret material in a Secret document. This argument is without merit.
So we have the same set of circumstances. Skeptics criticizing the proponents when the documentation is clear… of course it does not completely rule out the Roswell crash because of the way the document was created**… but then we add other documents to the mix, as I outline in Roswell in the 21st Century, and the support of a UFO crash is significantly reduced.
If I can look at this documentation or these documents and admit this, then why do skeptics continue to support the Mogul explanation with the same religious fervor as the UFO proponents support Roswell? Sure, you can say that they launched a cluster of balloons later in the day and we don’t have a definition of what that meant… except that definition was outlined in another document relevant to Mogul. Sure, you can say that the lack of data for Flight No. 4, and the exclusion of it in the data table created for all the other flights means they recovered nothing of scientific value and that suggests the reasons for the exclusion… even when other flights that failed to produce scientific data are mentioned in that table. Aren’t the skeptics now doing the same thing of which they accuse the proponents? Aren’t they cherry-picking the data to support their conclusion and rejecting that data that do not support them?
|Charles Moore: The man who launched the Roswell Craft|
The point of my question then, and now, is that some skeptics seem to ignore what I think of the tenets of skepticism by not applying the same standards to both sides of the question. Are they any worse than the true believers, who know, absolutely know, that there is alien visitation, and reject negative data because of that belief? Shouldn’t the skeptics be questioning all the data before accepting it, and if they don’t, then aren’t they actually debunkers rather than skeptics? What are the reasons for rejecting the documentation supplied by the man who lead the Mogul team (yes, I know it was the New York University balloon project) in favor of testimony from a man who claimed he had launched the Roswell saucer but has no documentation to support his claim? Is this evidence of a double standard in the investigation of UFOs (or any other disputed claim) or is there some reason that allows the rejection of the documentation that doesn’t favor the skeptical argument that I don’t know?
I have said, many times, that this shouldn’t be a debate where we ignore the information that is inconvenient, but an investigation in which the truth is the standard. Not my truth, or your truth, or someone else’s truth, but the truth. The question remains unanswered at this point as we’re dragged off into a discussion about Mogul which is a red herring… my narrative here is about skepticism and not Mogul. The conversation has been diverted and this, I hope drags it kicking and screaming back to the point.
*Robert Sheaffer did his best to answer the question for himself and I have no complaint about it. I mentioned him only because the point arose in the interview I conducted with him and lead to this longer line of thought.
**For those interested, the Twining Letter was written by Howard McCoy in response to information passed to him by Brigadier General George Schulgen and Lieutenant Colonel George Garrett. They supplied 18 specific sightings and asked for analysis. In those sightings, they mentioned nothing about a crash and since the analysis was based on those cases and nothing else, the argument can be made that no mention was made of crash recovered debris because none was submitted with the original request. That is the reason there is nothing about crash recovered debris and not this ridiculous argument about levels of classification. But before everyone jumps on this, there are other documents and statements that are relevant to that discussion (which is not made here) that add weight to the anti-Roswell argument.