Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Friedman's follies

I recently wrote a review, for the main Magonia blog, of the book UFOs and Aliens: Is there anybody out there?. This book consists of 13 essays, two of which are by Stanton Friedman, and I mentioned both of them in my review.

Friedman took exception to my comments and has devoted about half of his regular column to them in the current issue (No. 520, August 2011) of MUFON UFO Journal. He begins by objecting that he never wrote that evidence of alien spacecraft can be kept secret indefinitely, but this is a mere quibble, as he obviously thinks that the US government has no intention of releasing the proof of UFO reality, which he he believes it possesses, at any time soon. He is usually keen to emphasise that they are very efficient at keeping secret information from leaking out.

The main problem about UFO secrecy, of course, is that it is nearly always assumed that the rest of the world will follow America's alleged policy on the subject and is not only willing but capable of doing so. In my review I suggested what might happen if a UFO crashed in some nation whose rulers decided to display the wreckage as a tourist attraction, so that UFO reality would be displayed to the world at a stroke. Friedman's answer to this is, "No nation would be so foolish". Brilliant! Why didn't I think of this myself? But, hang on a minute; in what way would it be foolish? And even if it were, some nations are ruled by people who are not merely foolish, but manifestly insane. However, I reckon that this could be a new addition to Friedman's collection of his famous "rules for debunkers", for it is followed by the all-too-familiar "Don't bother me with the facts, my mind is made up". What it really means is that you should not raise any questions for which it is not possible to devise what seem, to UFO believers, to be plausible answers.

He also objects to my mention of non-sceptical ufologists who have "allegedly" dismissed Frank Feschino's "outstanding" book, Shoot Them Down, by describing it as "science fiction" and by noting the lack of references or any evidence to support his fantastic claims about a great battle between US Air Force planes and flying saucers in 1952. To find such dismissive comments, by UFO believers, all you need to do is go to the UFO UpDates archive and search for "Feschino". Many similar comments can be found on other websites and blogs.

Friedman also criticises me for failing to publish the details to back up my critical remarks, but this is obviously not possible in a short review. I also did not review all 13 essays in the book, as this would have made it too long to hold the attention of most readers. But, of course, Friedman already knows this and thus knows that I am not following his first rule for debunkers: "What the public doesn't know, we certainly won't tell them".

Nuclear Physicist Stan Friedman (to give him his full title) is, I believe, on record as saying that nothing now will ever persuade him that Roswell was anything other than the crash of an ET craft. So there is no proof or evidence of any kind that you or anyone else can offer to affect his set-in-concrete views on this case.

Perhaps we ought to now ask him whether he accepts the tales told in Feschino's book that ETs and the USAF engaged in aerial battles in 1952, and whether there is anything we could produce that might change his mind on this.

I believe Friedman also now accepts the Aztec crashed disc story as an ET event. According to Robert Sheaffer's blog, Friedman has made some slight concessions on the Hill abduction (re the famous star map) but still basically accepts it as a genuine ET abduction.
You seem to havereally got under Stanton Friedmans skin with this. He's got a whole big article on his web site going on about how you have got his book totally wrong. With Kathleem Marden as well. You've touched a nerve.
It should also be pointed out that Friedman's absolute faith in the Hill-Fish map has not been swayed by recent HIPPARCHOS star measurements that blow this evidence to pieces. This has been pointed out by Peter Brookesmith, Kevin Randle and Brett Holman, but Friedman hasn't commented. Then in 2008, Friedman indulged in some haughty scolding on UFOUpdates regarding the map, including a blatant falsehood. Martin Shough lashed SF on this, then proceded to demolish Stan's outdated arguments, bringing up the HIPPARCHOS data. Faced with a direct challenge to his facts, SF declined to respond.
When the subject re-appeared earlier this year, Mr. Shough took it up again. This Stan responded -- with an evasive non-response of:
"I would be happy to help anybody interested in digging into the
puzzle. I think it would make a great graduate thesis. I can't
get heavily involved right now."
Robert Sheaffer recently brought this up with Stan directly at a MUFON conference. SF seemed intrigued but hasn't changed his mind.
When will Stan admit that, by his own definition, he is a pseudoscientist?
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