Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Concise History of Alien Encounters

Fore-word - Legitimate search for extraterrestrials aside, a lunatic (or a prophetic genius, if you believe so), has kick started a petition campaign to force the London natural history museum to allow DNA analysis of the skeletal remains of the so called "Goddess". The petition service is provided by 'ipetitions' and you can sign the petition  here. If the museum does go for the DNA testing, you'll finally be able to either do away with your 'Crosses' or laugh your ass off at Sitchin, at any rate it'll be an interesting exercise! 

In its most basic manifestation as an aerial anomaly the UFO was, to borrow a phrase from C. G. Jung, a “myth of things seen in the sky.” In its simplest form as night lights and anomalous daylight disks, it presented formidable challenges to the grassroots organizations of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s who were dedicated to solving the mystery. Ideas about crashed saucers and a government cover-up conspiracy added layers of complexity to the basic myth and siphoned time and energy away from study of the core phenomenon while, some felt, yielding little of concrete value in return. The notion of a cover-up provided the frustrated with a partial explanation for ufology’s otherwise slow progress in discovering more about the phenomenon. But the merit of conspiracy allegations and, as the years passed, their usefulness in advancing UFO research were subject to dispute. 2 After the closing of Project Blue Book, the entire public responsibility for UFO research fell to the UFO community. It only made sense that the priority for ufology from that point forward should be to find proof that UFOs were real rather than proof of conspiracy. But as ufologists well knew, proving UFO reality would be easier said than done. A major problem in studying UFOs and proving their existence was the ever-changing conception of just what might constitute irrefutable proof. Project Blue Book’s first director, Edward Ruppelt, pointed out that the UFO phenomenon had in fact exhibited in increasingly sophisticated ways that it was a physical phenomenon and not just an illusion.

Simple visual sightings, prone to human error, had been followed by instrumented sightings such as radar returns, followed shortly thereafter by simultaneous radar and visual sightings, multiple-witness sightings, and reports of ground traces found after sightings. But though each increase in the complexity of the reports was important, ufologists were still left with just that: reports. What was wanted was “something you could get your teeth into,” not just anecdotal data. The failure of UFOs to “make predictable appearances at convenient times and places,” to fly into a laboratory “for a physical and a chemical checkup,” meant different things to different people. To the skeptics, it meant that UFOs were not a scientific problem because there was no physical, tangible evidence for the scientist to study. Ufologists pointed out, in response, that if scientists were to wait until they could personally see a UFO or its remains before they began to take a serious interest in them, ufology could be at a standstill for another fifty years. “If we had waited until we ‘captured’ an electron,” wrote one interested scientist, “we would never even have suspected that they exist!” To the ufologist, the fact that the evidence for UFO reality ultimately came down to various kinds of sighting reports meant that UFOs presented a “new kind of scientific puzzle” that might have to be studied in a slightly different manner. Jacques Vallee shared other scientists’ mistrust of a “simple report” as constituting adequate proof of the existence of UFOs. He argued, however, that the data contained in many individual reports could be useful if studied and analyzed cumulatively with a view toward apprehending the phenomenon for what it was in itself, without prejudice toward making it appear to be something recognizable and ordinary. Thus, as ufology approached its silver anniversary it had a clear goal in mind: to prove that UFOs were real phenomena deserving of serious scientific funding and study.

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