How the Pentagon Started Taking U.F.O.s Seriously

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How the Pentagon Started Taking U.F.O.s Seriously

by Gideon Lewis-Kraus

Quote:Leslie Kean, an independent investigative journalist and a novice U.F.O. researcher who had worked with Greer, watched the proceedings with unease. She had recently published an article in the Boston Globe about a new omnibus of compelling evidence concerning U.F.O.s, and she couldn’t understand why a speaker would make an unsupported assertion about alien cadavers when he could be talking about hard data. To Kean, the corpus of genuinely baffling reports deserved scientific scrutiny, regardless of how you felt about aliens. “There were some good people at that conference, but some of them were making outrageous, grandiose claims,” Kean told me. “I knew then that I had to walk away.” Greer had hoped that members of the media would cover the event, and they did, with frolicsome derision. He also hoped that Congress would hold hearings. By all accounts, it did not.

Quote:...later, David Clarke, a known U.F.O. skeptic, along with three collaborators, published an audit. The “Report on Aerial Phenomena Observed Near the Channel Islands, UK, April 23 2007” was drafted with the coöperation of dozens of domain experts—meteorologists, oceanographers, harbormasters—and various French institutes and British ministries, and it culminated with sixteen prevailing hypotheses, ranked by plausibility. Largely ruled out were such atmospheric aberrations as sun dogs and lenticular clouds, and an exceedingly rare and poorly understood seismological phenomenon known as “earthquake lights,” in which tectonic distress expresses itself in bluish auroras or orbs. The report concluded, “In summary, we are unable to explain the UAP sightings satisfactorily.”

Quote:“An informed skeptic is a very different thing from a debunker on a mission,” she wrote to me. “There are many out there who are on a mission to debunk UFOs at all costs. They’re not rational and they’re not informed.” Kean thought that they were blinded by zealotry. The skeptic Michael Shermer, for example, in a review of Kean’s book, had idly adduced that a wave of silent black triangles seen over Belgium in 1989 and 1990 were probably experimental, classified stealth bombers—despite official attestations to the fact that any government would be crazy to trot out its latest devices over heavily populated areas of Western Europe.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell

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