SCEPTICS AND DEBUNKERS

This article, penned by Site Author Geoff Richardson, was published in EYE Magazine - Autumn 2002.

Let's get Sceptical with the Sceptics!

"There's UFOs over New York and I ain't too surprised!  .strange days indeed"  John Lennon

Some years ago, after spending some time in South London, my wife and I were driving back to the North of England along the M1. It was early Sunday evening at the end of a glorious September day and my wife suggested that we stopped at the next "services" for a short break. This we did and whilst we drank our coffee the sun set, followed by the usual drop in temperature.
On returning to the M1 we soon realised that the change in temperature had caused patchy fog to form - typical of the time of year.
We had only driven a few more miles when it felt as though we had been transported to a war zone - the motorway was littered with crashed cars and people stood on the hard shoulder, probably shocked but also, no doubt, thankful to be still alive. I pulled the car to a halt amongst flashing "hazard lights" and looked around. Thankfully no-one seemed to be injured and the police, along with rescue services, soon arrived.
Then began the "long wait" and as the recovery vehicles trundled their way up and down the hard shoulder I decided to count the number of crashed vehicles being towed away. On the hour a traffic warning was given out on a National radio station advising of a nine mile tailback on the M1 caused by a multi-vehicle crash involving twenty cars. I had already counted in excess of thirty vehicles at this point but did not give the matter any more thought.
Another hour passed, vehicles were still being towed away and, once again, the traffic warning came over the radio - still reported as involving twenty cars.
A short time later the motorway was clear enough for us to continue our journey - I drove along thanking our lucky stars that we had stopped for a break, almost certainly avoiding being directly involved in the "pile -up".
However, another thought struck me - the discrepancy between the media report of the event, namely twenty cars being involved, and the truth of the matter which, in fact, involved nearly forty crashed vehicles. The thought also struck me that if on the following Monday morning I had to prove the fact that the radio report was inaccurate, I would definitely have great difficulty in doing so. You see we had been involved in a highly unusual event, multi car pile-ups are, thankfully, quite rare and when we set off on our journey I never thought to carry my camera, camcorder or audio recorder - we were unwitting witnesses to something out of the usual.
In much the same way as the ordinary, unsuspecting people who, out of the blue, become unwitting witnesses to UFO sightings or events. If they had advanced warning of what they were soon to experience they almost certainly would take steps to obtain some form of evidence or as the sceptics like to say - proof.
Last Autumn I was unfortunate enough to witness another far less serious event but one which, certainly at the time, I would have preferred to have missed - namely a television programme discussing UFOs. During the programme two ordinary, sensible ladies described a UFO sighting they had experienced - their account was clear and to the point - it seemed perfectly honest. Also it seemed, understandably, the ladies were somewhat perplexed and confused over the event.
Enter the sceptic, who, obviously believing that a "powerful personality" indicates a superior point of view, continued to insist that the ladies' joint account had no value - repeating his almost "chant- like" demand - "Give me proof!" This was despite a correlating report from someone else that substantiated the ladies' claims - yet once more - "Give me proof!"
What this sceptic failed to take into account (and is probably unwilling to acknowledge to this day) is that these two people, going about their everyday business, had become unwitting witnesses to an highly unusual event, leaving them with the urge to find an explanation for and the desire (need?) to understand their experience.
Historically anyone who has reported a UFO sighting or experience has risked ridicule and scepticism - these attitudes having been almost "programmed in" over the years - even though less "provable" beliefs, often based on some form of illogical folklore and involving the certainty of the existence of various deities, are regarded as perfectly acceptable and indeed deserving of respect.
It is obvious ,therefore, that any person who has a genuine UFO experience will think (at least) twice before even talking about it in private - never mind disclosing it in public. It cannot be denied that some reported UFO sightings are fictitious, but not all. It is almost certainly true that most genuine sightings go unreported.
To demand proof from the two ladies on the television show was, in fact, a very easy route to take as it does not take someone of genius I.Q. to predetermine the fact that it was impossible for them to meet this demand - he might as well have asked me to prove my observations of the motorway pile-up. Certainly to provide physical "nuts and bolts" proof of UFOs can be regarded as impossible for the "ordinary guy on the street" - in fact just as impossible as providing the same "nuts and bolts" proof of the existence of stealth aircraft. 
Perhaps the sceptics' argument that there is no proof that UFOs are craft from elsewhere in the universe or, in effect, E.T. does not exist may "hold water". However, there is no doubt that various "Agency" and Military documents do refer to the existence of UFOs and intelligent life forms from without this speck of cosmic dust we call Earth.
In fact, despite views that some Ufologists are "in it for the money" and are perpetuating the subject to that effect, there can be no doubt that some dedicated researchers have put a colossal amount of effort into investigating and researching Military and Government documents.
Perhaps - just perhaps - the Human Race has to make a "quantum leap" in it's thoughts on this subject - perhaps we may have to accept that our relationship to a life form from elsewhere in the Universe (or in deed another universe) may be similar to the relationship of chimpanzees to humans. About two years ago a representative of SETI stated on (local) Radio Humberside words to the effect:
"E.T. has not been visiting this planet - the proof is that beings of such superior intelligence would contact similar beings with similar interests, they would not be interested in ordinary people - as yet we have heard nothing". This may explain a lot.

But let's have a look at a couple of truly odd but fascinating statements:

"We are dealing with technologies that are fifty years beyond that which we can comprehend. Visualise in your mind - then fifty years beyond that - we are working on it".

"I believe that nature does not speak English. What Nature tells us is what must be honoured - it has been speaking to us in many domains. We have data-sets that we are still trying to understand.
We listen where languages are not talked and verbalisation is not used".

Surely these statements are as strange as many UFO sighting and as bizarre as any reports of "reverse engineering" at Area 51?

Could these statements be part of an advert for a new SCI-FI film or well known U.S. television programme?

Are they the words of a prominent UFOlogist promoting his latest "best seller"?

Do they come from the mouth of some deluded individual, desperate for attention?
Surely these "meaty" statements are just the stuff that the average sceptic can't wait to get his teeth into?

This is unlikely, because the first of the above statements comes from the mouth of George Schmidt - Chief, Propulsion and Research Technology - NASA.
The second are words spoken by Boyd Bushman - Head of Lockheed Martin.

Would any sceptic be prepared to tackle these guys - regardless of how incredible their words seem to "ordinary mortals"?

But possibly all of this is of no consequence; perhaps the words of a gentleman who experienced a spectacular UFO sighting over fifty years ago may sum the situation up:

"I have never had the need to talk about it.
I don't need to believe because I know.
All these clever people research and investigate, discuss and argue, they never seem to get anywhere.
And I can go to my grave with a smile on my face Because I know".
Strange days indeed".


Quotes

"Albert Einstein was travelling across London by bus. When it came to buying his ticket, Einstein argued with the conductor about the amount of change he had received - the conductor's calculations proved to be correct".


Copyright 2001 by [The Why? Files]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 10 Nov 2003 19:37:26 -0000 .