Saturday, June 25, 2005

Kenny-boy 1...what hath he wraught?

It was a 58 years ago (plus a day) when pilot Kenneth Arnold saw [choose one: a flock of birds; a fleet of UFOs; swamp gas; light reflection; all of the above; none of the above] and forever changed the tenor of UFO conversation and debate.

That the Arnold case still stands as a source of division and fierce argument is testament to the true strangeness of Arnold's experience, and either to the gullibility shared by those that hold to an ET solution or the unflappable(pun?) nature of skeptics.

Like Roswell, the Flatwoods Monster, Gulf Breeze, Billy Meier and Bob Lazar, the Arnold case will never be "solved". Seemingly that is not even a goal with any of these cases any longer. The incessant bickering between the "Hatfield's" of Ufology...the true believers...are forever at war with the "McCoys" of Ufology...the hardened skeptic...and the resulting mudbath does little beyond get mud on everyone involved AND whoever happens by.

Ufology as a discipline and/or science, displays little of either in most public forums. As a result, anyone who has yet to reach any conclusion on which to base a belief, and asserts so, is lambasted by both sides with a sort of, "My God, how can you still not be convinced" kind of barrage. Invoking the old 80/20 law, I will assume that 80 percent of this never-ending noise is created by 20% of the participants. Unfortunately, this noise often drives away all but the...uhh...hardened skeptics and the true believers. And so it goes.

I think that groups like Terry Groff's UFO Blog Coalition may go a ways toward providing a safe haven for thinking folk who want to know more but don't know where to go without incurring the wrath of one side or the other...or both...for asking a question that appears to "lean" one way or the other. I sincerely hope so.

I have said this many times in different forums, as well as face-to-face discussions..."I am neither an advocate for the ETH, nor am I an advocate for the skeptical crowd."

I am an advocate for common sense. I am an advocate for everyone having a full understanding that UFO evidence...especially video and image evidence...can easily be created, hoaxed, and foisted on an eager public. I also am an advocate for recognizing that sometimes the strangeness of a case is the BEST evidence of its veracity, particularly when no other evidence, pro or con, is at hand.

For my part, I can leverage my digital imaging, photography, and web development skills to attempt to recreate UFO images and videos; to provide a primer on how easy it is to create convincing output; to educate the public and the field on these techniques, and to help reduce the amount of spurious cases which serve as distractions from more significant cases. I do this knowing that I may fail, but even the process of failure is a valuable lesson.

I fully agree that being able to easily recreate an alleged UFO image or video does NOT mean that the pic or clip is a hoax, but it can at least reduce the "strangeness" level for those that initially are stunned and amazed. Likewise, if it cannot be easily recreated or duplicated, this does NOT mean that the pic or clip is real, either. But one of the first things one should ask when assessing such things is, "How strange is this really?" An educated viewer is our best asset.

If groups like the UBC grow, and more folks are drawn into the debate simply because they're not treated like crap, the field of Ufology may very well achieve discipline, and then it may be well-nominated for status as a true science.

Kenneth Arnold was rather excited by his experience, but was soon very fearful, and eventually did not want to talk about it. Not much has changed...

He would have been horrified at the state of Ufology today...a field he had a large (though unintended) hand in creating.

Oh, and on what Arnold saw...put me down for UFO fleet. The strangeness factor seems very high to me, and the bird explanation remains unconvincing in my view. I could be persuaded otherwise, but haven't yet.

Kenny-boy...what have you wraught, indeed?

Nicely put Kyle...

Commonsense in its purest form


Rich Reynolds
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