Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Stan Friedman on UFO Skeptics and SETI

Below is an extract of an interview with Stan from issue 4 of Alien Worlds Magazine.

When you are on shows like Larry King, why don’t you hammer the sceptics? You need to be ruder.

I’ve been that. I’ve been strong and harsh. I’m not a namby pamby proponent. I’m a hard hitting nasty guy when it comes to not tolerating crap from idiots like Michael Shermer for example or Seth Shostak when we’ve been on Coast to Coast radio. I give no mercy to those guys because as a scientist I resent somebody standing up and acting as if he was a scientist and yet who knows nothing about the subject. That’s not a good database for a sensible thought if you know what I mean. Bill Nye for example who I’ve recently been on Larry King with is a science educator who’s done a lot of television and he’s worked in aerospace a little bit many years ago, but he’s basically just an entertainer.

Isn’t he a children’s TV scientist?

Yes. He did a lot of that. I was looking on Amazon and I couldn’t find any books by him on UFOs, of course, because that would take some work, just as Shostak hasn’t written one, nor has Shermer. It takes work and you’ve got to look at some evidence and these guys don’t want to bother with that. Whenever I meet them, I always look forward to a nasty, noisy, negative bashing going on. I’ve lost my patience with these guys a long time ago to tell you the truth. I did an interview yesterday with a guy I’ve known for forty years and he was a little surprised about how strong I came on in the new book about the SETI guys and astronomers in general and mostly in particular.

But I’m at an age in my life when I feel no need to be kind. I’m not looking for jobs from any of these people and I’ve got to tell it as it is. This shocks some people and that’s too bad. But I give specifics when I blast these guys. I’ll give you an example of that because it illustrates the difference. When I was on Coast to Coast radio with Michael Shermer he starts off by saying, “Look, there’s nothing to this. You get a 5% residue of crap when you look at anything unusual.” So I blasted him with “That’s obviously untrue. In the biggest study ever done for the Air Force Project Blue Book Special Report 14, 21.5% of the 3,201 examined could not be explained completely separate from the 9.3% for which there was insufficient information. In the University of Colorado study, according to a special UFO sub committee of the world’s largest group of Space scientists, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 30% of the 117 cases studied in detail could not be examined.”

“In the UFO Evidence, 18% of the 4,500 cases examined by the mostly professional members of NICAP could not be explained.” I think I gave them a couple of other examples as well. He never recovered and I got 80% of the vote at the end of the show. But the comment I kept getting from people was, “Shermer didn’t know anything”. I had read two of his books.

But they won’t know anything, will they, because it’s very easy for them to say, “There’s no evidence”. I know that you jump back in and say there is but the bottom line is Stan you cannot show them a UFO and you cannot show them an alien and they’ve got that. Whatever other evidence you can hold up…………..

I’ve got physical trace cases, I’ve got multiple witness radar/visual cases, I’ve got five large scale scientific studies and I also point out there are many other areas where we don’t have a hunk of something. Give me a piece of a neutron star please. Give me a piece of a super nova. They’re real. If a 747 goes by and I look up and say, “Oh that’s interesting. They don’t usually fly by here” and I write it down, well, I can’t prove that it flew over. Will thy ask me to give them the 747? That’s nonsense. Have I got to shoot it down? You have to adapt your method, your evidential method of proof, to the situation at hand.

I think that is a justified comment in relation to the subject of UFOs. But what happens if you are dealing with a scientist who is based in practicality and hard science and who can conduct an experiment and has a result that he can see and that he can test and replicate. How do you convince somebody like that?

Carl Sagan raised that argument the last time I visited him. Reproducibility; that is the essence of science. I sent him a letter with details about this. There are at least four kinds of science. Yes, one is the reproducible, controllable experiment. You set it up and describe exactly what you’ve done and what your results are. You submit it for peer review, you publish a paper and you hope other people can duplicate it. That’s fine. We need a lot of that sort of science.

There’s a second kind of science however where you can predict but you can’t control. If I tell you that sometimes the Moon comes between the Earth and the Sun and makes it dark, well you know that to be true but I can’t control it but I can predict when an eclipse will occur. And if I have equipment and the weather is clear, then I should be able to make some measurements. That’s science even though I can’t control it.

The third kind however is when I can neither predict nor control but I can hope to observe. Earthquakes for example: I can set up a network of seismographs and I can’t tell you when and where one is going to happen but when it does, I can examine the seismographs.

The full interview is published in issue 4 of Alien Worlds magazine.

http://www.alienworldsmag.com.

To buy a copy, please go to
http://alienworldsmag.com/index.php?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=101

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