Thursday, June 22, 2006
Leonard David posts an interesting article at Space.com, and includes comments by a number of big names in the space/UFO game...Seth Shostak, Ted Roe, Kevin Randle, and Bruce Maccabee among others.
Shostak predictably plays his rational dry "science-y" part, deducing in part that current UFOlogy is "argument from ignorance". Ever the fence-mender and concensus-builder, that Seth. LOL
Odd that the "hypothesis" underpinning his SETI project has even less supporting evidence than the much-maligned extra-terrestrial hypothesis (ETH). At least the ETH-ers have photos, video clips, and eyewitness testimony to wave. SETI just has money...LOTS of money. Oh well...
Randle laments the fact that UFOlogy is basically down to a "rehash the old trash" game these days. The current imbroglio over the vaunted and near-discredited Heflin photos would seem to bear out "Randle's Lament".
Maccabee offers up a stalwart if hackneyed defense, implying that the lack of hard UFO evidence is partly "Air Force tradition", and partly the reluctance of science to delve into the field.
While the tradition argument seems pretty weak, there is in fact evidence that science might be starting to take a different look at the UFO enigma.
NARCAP head Ted Roe suggests that using the approach that UFOs...or UAPs...represent a threat to aviation is one way to attract science. I heartily agree. Ted's idea is the most exciting point in the article. By shifting the emphasis from "weird lights in the sky" to potential electromagnetic and other types of "threats" to general aviation, we invite science to help SOLVE A REAL PROBLEM, rather than look at photos and movie clips, or listen to breathless sighting reports.
Ted's idea is nothing less than a "paradigm shift"...something I and several others have advocated for a very long time. I think his idea has tremendous potential to help redefine UFOlogy as a serious scientific line of inquiry.
The most odd comment in the article comes from Dr. Maccabee.
When asked "Why is there precious little to show [the] world of science that UFOs merit attention?", Bruce responded in part...
"Obviously there is not a simple answer...".
Actually there IS a simple answer. And while it may not be THE answer, it is very likely NOT one Dr. Maccabee or other ETH adherents would like to hear.
The TRUTH remains elusive.
All in all, an excellent thought-provoking article. Kudos to Leonard David for a reasoned and balanced approach, and a nice...if brief...capsule of the range of thought on the current state of UFOlogy.
A great deal of work was done during the Columbia accident investigation about possible hazards in the high altitude range it was in during the rentry. The scientists said that although it was a high probability that the phenomena of that altitude did not cause the accident, more research and data needed to be collected for that altitude range to better assess the hazards for reentry and launch. I'll have to dig out the report I got about it.
UFOs, whether ET or natural phenomena, seem to be a threat to aviation and spacecraft and thus definitely needs to be investigated with proactive data collection.
Yes, I remember the story about the guy that took a photo apparently showing a purple "plasma" or lightning strike during the shuttle re-entry, which was thought to be a possible factor in the loss of the craft.
Certainly there is enough discussion of electromagnetic and "state-change" fields to warrant concern about these phenomena, even if they have nothing to do with ET visitation.
I'm looking into NARCAPs mission and methods of promotion. Looks like a worthy endeavor... :)