Tuesday, July 25, 2017

A question about Richard Dolan

        Richard Dolan is the egghead of Ufology. For a start, he has actual academic credentials (M.A. in history from the University of Rochester, 1995.) His books are praised by Amazon readers (unlike those of Mike Bara, for example.) He publishes other authors' books as well as his own. But most important to my way of thinking, he understands the idea that unfalsifiable propositions are not very interesting and form no part of scientific debate. Here he is on the subject of Andrew Basiago, Randy Kramer, and Corey Goode:
"These three individuals have each claimed to have gone to Mars for extended periods of time. That’s explosive enough, of course, but they have also stated that they have engaged in time travel. I met Andy back in 2012 at a conference in Santa Clara, California. I found him to be very personable and intelligent. Of course, that doesn’t mean I believe his story. I don’t believe that he went through a “jumproom” to Mars. I don’t believe that he did these things with a young Barack Obama in the 1980s. And I don’t believe that, as a child, he time travelled back to Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, despite the fact that he claimed he was in a photograph depicting it. I realize there are strange things beyond the circumscribed fence of our officially sanctioned reality. But I am not obligated to believe every story that crosses my path, especially those that are obviously self-aggrandising, and particularly those that don’t provide evidence."
::
"My main issue when it comes to Corey Goode (or Andy or Randy Kramer for that matter) isn’t that I “disbelieve” them, per se. Yes, I find their stories to be unlikely. But the real problem has been that none of these people have provided the evidence that an independent investigator needs to make a determination one way or the other. There is a concept in science and philosophy called falsifiability. If something is falsifiable, it doesn’t mean it’s false.  It means you have the ability to test it, to investigate it, to determine whether it is true or false."
        That was from Dolan's blog, dated 16 July. Last Sunday night he was on Coast-to-Coast AM, interviewed by George Knapp, making the same points. The topic came to the front of his mind because he was an invited speaker at the recent MUFONnote 1 Symposium in George Knapp's stamping ground (and Mike Bara's, but restricted to the cocktail bars and strip joints), Las Vegas. He said he was somewhat taken aback to see that he was scheduled to be on a Secret Space Program panel along with Corey Goode, Andrew Basiago, William Tompkins, and Dr. Michael Salla. He said, in fact, that he considered bowing out but finally agreed to go ahead with it. Listening to the interview, my impression was that he regretted agreeing to that panel, and being connected to those posturers by association. He wrote later:
"I want to make this point as clear as I can. My opinions (and yours, for that matter) don’t mean very much. What matters is the evidence that can be brought forward for these stories. I hold it as possible that there is something in these accounts that is true. After all, I believe that radical technology is being withheld from us. I believe the ARV storynote 2 and more. But if a story gives me no chance to confirm or deny its basic claims, then it’s essentially useless to me as a researcher. This is especially so if I cannot even confirm the basics of the person’s alleged career. I’ve said this many times. You can’t be considered a whistleblower if you can’t confirm that you are who you say you are."

Spineless?
        ufowatchdog evidently noticed Dolan's discomfort with that conference gig, too; writing yesterday "Perhaps Dolan could take a lesson from [James] Clarkson and grow a spine along with some integrity." The author (unnamed, but probably Royce Myers) also expressed shock that Dolan was paid to appear.


        I think that's a little harsh, personally. For one thing, there's nothing unusual or venal about conference speakers being paid—How else could Hoagland make a living? And then, I think we should applaud Dolan's measured skepticism on the likes of Basiago and Goode. We may write them off as con-men, but Dolan's approach is more scientific.

Falling Apart
        The main topic of ufowatchdog's piece was the resignation of  former Director James Clarkson from MUFON, in protest of the acceptance of a woman called J.Z. Knight into MUFON's Inner Circle. Knight is quite a piece of work—her excesses make entertaining reading but I'm not sure I'd want to be associated with her either. Clarkson dismisses her as a channeler and cult leader.

        MUFON, and Ufology in general, seem to be fragmenting—riven by the same jealousies and doctrinal differences that notoriously plague extreme left-wing political movements (that's you, Workers Revolutionary Party and Sendera Luminosa.) Good riddance, I say. It does no good for plodders like Peter Davenport of the National UFO Reporting Center to record 100 sightings a month (and breathlessly report a selection of them on Coast-to-Coast AM monthly) without any semblance of analysis. Yes, we all know unexplained things are seen in the skies—it's been true for so fucking long that it's reached the point of boredom. As much as Richard Dolan tries to force this topic into the box labeled SCIENCE, I'm afraid that applies to his work, too.

Update:
        On 1st August, the Bad UFOs blog ran an article by Robert Sheaffer titled MUFON unravels. Sheaffer cited the resignation of not just Clarkson but also Rich Hoffman and Nick Redfern, and the removal of John Ventre as State Director for Pennsylvania after Ventre posted a bizarre racist rant on social media. I still say "good riddance."

=================/ \=================

[1] Mutual UFO Network, a  US National "investigative body."

[2] Alien Reproduction Vehicle: See this.

21 comments:

Chris Lopes said...

The ufo community has always been fractured. The book "Shockingly Close to the Truth" by James Moseley (of Saucer Smear fame) and Karl Pflock chronicles Moseley's 50+ year journey through that world. I suspect the rest of the woo world is too, but they seem to be better at keeping it quiet. Perhaps they need a version of Saucer Smear to spread the gossip.

THE Orbs Whiperer said...

Close encounters occur to groups and individuals, but not to everybody. Those who miss out, may well be the fortunate ones. Peter Davenport does a fine job of collecting reports and interviewing the more credible witnesses. Sometimes he reaches some seemingly inescapable conclusions. With an open mind, it might be considered a possibility, that if an intelligence perpetrates these encounters, that it may be a mischievous practical joker, which enjoys creating controversy and confusion. If you were to have unlimited free energy and super high technology, what would you do for entertainment?

Sean Detente said...

Well, the scene's not fracturing, but aren't the average age people participating in "ufology" going up and up every year? I went to a few of these conferences in the '90s (I was a teenager living in rural Indiana and could drive, heh) and the same big names now were the same big names back then.

Chris Lopes said...

Sean,
Who are the big names in ufology these days?

erickson said...

The MUFON conference was certainly not the first time that Dolan has shared the stage with Bassagio and other questionable characters (the con also included Sean Morton and Douglas Deitrich). Then there is his participation in the BeWitness Roswell slides fiasco where the role of Maussan deterred others. Not to mention a good panel discussionwith Mike Bara and Linda Howe. But perhaps a stage is a stage . . . Or it's just what ufology is about.

Anonymous said...

It is rare - and totally unpopular to tell the truth today,
but the truth IS creeping into UFOlogy. The truth is not
palatable to most mainstream UFOlogists and paid shills.

That truth is that there never were any aliens; the entire
aliens narrative was promoted by the Deep State to coverup
their own projects, and that every single legitimate UFO
ever seen is 100% man-made.

THE Orbs Whiperer said...

The so-called "Deep State" is nothing more than holdover Neocon and Progressive, bureaucrats, appointed by prior administrations. The Department of Defense spins the UFO phenomenon because they can neither prevent it nor hide it. Suffice to say, whatever UFOs are, and whoever or whatever it is that presents them to individuals and groups World wide, could make full disclosure if they so desire.

Two Percent said...

And there ya have it! An Anonymous said so:

"every single legitimate UFO
ever seen is 100% man-made.
"

Just out of curiosity, does "legitimate" mean that it's one of those man-made ones?

Or, born in wedlock, not one of those dirty illegitimates?

Hmmm. How about the ancient drawings and/or engravings depicting things that look like some kind of wheel-less chariot apparently flying in the sky? Maybe with a window in front of the driver?

Come to think of it, how about some of the weird vehicles mentioned in the Bible?

>2%

Two Percent said...

@ THE Orbs Whiperer,

I agree, 100%:

"could make full disclosure if they so desire"

Evidently, they are wiser than that. Maybe as a result of "Been there, Done that!"


A little off the topic, but not entirely, I just read today in Discover June 2017 edition, that mice and humans have 97% the same genes. Not sure how that relates to DNA. Can anyone offer any greater enlightenment?

What I found really interesting is that we humans can cure cancer in mice, but not in ourselves! Ain't that interesting? Actually, for their small brains, some mice are amazingly intelligent. Would you believe they can, without ever being shown, figure out how to use plastic cling film?

expat said...

0.02: Genes ARE DNA. A gene is simply a coherent stretch of DNA that codes for something or other.

Two Percent said...

Haha ep!

Your insistence that I'm 0.02 has exposed your analytical thinking! A preference for a longer, less accurate version over the concise, more accurate one reveals more than it might seem.

At first, I thought it was my mistake... On closer examination, I see 'that' you missed the critical determiner.

As you could have guessed, I do understand that genes are encoded in DNA, generally, I think, and as you put it, as "coherent stretches" of DNA, (not so sure that's 100% correct either) but certainly I don't think your statement:

Genes ARE DNA.

is quite correct. Isn't it a bit of an oversimplification, like saying "Rocks ARE SAND", which I suggest, they are not?

To quote thefreedictionary.com: "DNA sequences are replicated by the cell prior to cell division and may include genes, intergenic spacers, and regions that bind to regulatory proteins."

I guess you could argue that genes do not include the other parts, but are made from DNA, but really, DNA seems to include more than what makes up genes, so again, I say it's not correct.

Anyway... you kinda missed the point of my question.

... how that relates to DNA

really meant, how does "97% the same genes" relate to (our shared amounts of) DNA (as a Percentage, preferably)?

I know that there is a large amount of "Junk DNA" in our chromosomes, which at this point in time, is not recognised to encode for anything. Truth be known, it's probably been inserted by viruses over the millennia, but IMHO, it probably is still 'used' (or 'relevant') in some extremely subtle way, though I'm sure you wouldn't accept the concept of miasm. (NOT miasma, in case you are wondering, but the essence is probably not dissimilar.)

When "they" say that humans and chimps have [exactly] 98% of their DNA in common, is that the same as saying [exactly] 98% of their (our, if you are either) genes are in common?

I think " 'tain't necessarily so... "

What of all the "Junk DNA"? In, or out? Same (unlikely?) or different?

So, thanks for 'that' enlightenment!

Sorry to be so annoyed. Will try to do better.


Meanwhile, I thought this was actually one of your better recent stories, though I think I missed the question about Richard Dolan. Was that the suggestion he is spineless? Doesn't seem fair, to me.

As for MUFon, always thought it was flakey at best.

J.Z. Knight.... The Voice of the Great, Supercilious ("This Day in Your Time"*) "Ramtha"! O. M. G!!!

WTF does she want with MUFon? And vice versa.

As she's "in direct contact" with her own advanced being, how can a bunch of aging conspiracy theorist gossips help her cause? Maybe, she's looking for a "reality injection", since I've read recently that (As JZ grows old) naughty old Ramtha has been quite going off the rails lately, with massive Racist Rants dominating her Booze-fueled channeling sessions. Maybe she's had an epiphany, and finally realised that Ramtha is merely a grand figment of her (sub?)conscious mind.

The whole thing really is a fine example of what absolute BS some people will believe.

As for UFOs.

Now that's a mighty interesting syzygy.

In fact, if you have studied the UFO phenomenon, you would realise that there is FAR, FAR more, reliable, independent evidence validating the existence of UFOs (as highly advanced, intelligently controlled, non-man-made craft), than there is that Apollo astronauts walked on the moon.

How 'bout that!?

2%

* For those interested, the phrase "this day in your time" (with quotes) has, for me, been showing up a possible bug in Google's search system. It's there (7,970 times), but it seems to need Ramtha to help it find it. So there! Ramtha is real.

expat said...

I wrote that genes ARE DNA, which I maintain is correct. WTF else might genes be made of?

If I'd also written DNA IS genes, that would have been very wrong. I don't know about commonality of junk DNA man/mouse or man/chimp. I'm sure the info is available. In general we can say that because a high degree of genetic drift is permissible for junk and intergenetic sequences in general, without affecting the organism's fitness, greater variation in these areas is to be expected not only between species but between individuals of the same species.

Yes, the question about Dolan is "Is he spineless?" I think not, although maybe when he saw the composition of that "Secret Space Program" panel he might have made a better decision.

Two Percent said...

I see the tricky illogic!

You are saying "ARE = "made of" or = "be made of"

Not in my dictionary.

Oranges are fruit. Oranges (be) made of fruit. Oranges (are) made of fruit, even.

Not true, in my mind.

Once again (as in 'Two Percent' == '0.02') [I think] you are misrepresenting the original meaning.

As you like it.

I don't. I agree to disagree.

Two Percent said...

Hi Chris,

I gather you are a disbeliever? Are UFOs "woo" in your mind? What exactly is woo, anyway?

The ufo community has always been fractured.

Isn't this simply the result of it being composed of diverse human beings? Come to that, is it even a community? OK, it does attract a certain kind of person, very different from those attracted to stamp collection, bowling clubs or croquet circles...

Isn't this just part of our being humans?

I mean, haven't humans been dividing (or, collecting?) into smaller and larger groups that compete, argue, fight with (and often, kill) one another since we first came down out of the trees? Before, even.

Isn't this just a consequence of Evolution, and of the variability of DNA? Actually, from a Genetic / DNA / survival point of view, regular "fracturing" is essential, to prevent / decrease inbreeding and the resultant "failure to survive".

As I see it, the only outwardly cohesive human groups are those maintained by serious coercion, and the forcible removal of problematic non-conformers. Can you cite any exceptions?

Who 'enforces' the UFO community? Unlike the Military, it's a volunteer 'group'.

Maybe our ability to survive is now our greatest threat.

Chris Lopes said...

Woo is pseudo science that has no basis in reality. I use it as a pejorative when talking about the folks who use it to take money off of people who have little disposable income to begin with. Believing in alt-reality is one thing, using it to con people is another.

I have watched Hoagland for instance, tell a man he should skip a meal to pay for one of his conference streams. That kind of cold blooded money grab, while preaching about saving the world is just plain sickening. Woo is actually the kindest thing I can call it.

As to UFO's, I was a believer in my youth, but am skeptical these days. Even so, I sometimes find myself hoping that they are true. It's the 8 year old boy in me.

Yes I understand that differences are common in any group. Part of the charm of the book I talked about was in seeing humans doing very human things. The UFO community (folks who belong to groups like MUFON for instance) has always been pretty open about their disagreements. That's something I can really respect.

The rest of the alt-reality community on the other hand, does everything in its power to keep such differences buried. Everyone seems to believe everyone else's BS, so jump rooms, ancient astronauts, indigo children, and space NAZIS with death rays all inhabit the same reality. It's just a way to maintain the fragie business model that keeps them all going to BS conferences in exotic locals.

expat said...

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Woo

As practiced by all the charlatans that this blog regularly calls out.

Two Percent said...

xp@,

Do you think Chris would mind if you (perhaps silently) corrected the typo in the last word of his rather excellent post? I.e. locals -> locales. I'm sure he knows that.

More to follow.... (Yippee!)

Two Percent said...

xp@,

Would you mind posting a suitable definition of charlatan? Please...

expat said...

Correction of comments is not a feature available to me.

char·la·tan
ˈSHärlədən,ˈSHärlətn/
noun

a person falsely claiming to have a special knowledge or skill; a fraud.

Two Percent said...

Hi Chris,

I think your comments on Woo are excellent!

Maybe I was fortunate that I didn't begin my study of the UFO phenomenon until I reached my early teens, and never really outgrew it. Yes, these days, thanks I guess, to the egalitarian nature of the Internet, it's difficult to discern what is real and what is fake. That has been a problem 'since Adam was a boy', but it seems a lot worse now.

However, if you are still interested, or would like to revive your interest, there are a number of pre-Internet books that are worth the read. Most of the books by Jacques Vallee are good, though I haven't read them all.

Another, in particular, (if you disregard the famous "ampersand" photo as probably due to camera "shake" from being knocked against something in the cockpit while filming, and therefore irrelevant), is still incredible and amazing. "Obviously", at one stage, they were performing a very specific, methodical search or probing pattern. It's undoubtedly very hard to imagine, but my belief (which I have not seen suggested elsewhere) is that they were desperately searching for something BENEATH the surface. Some of the reported activity reminds me of what I do when I lose something vitally important and urgently needed, like my keys. Eventually, I start searching in ridiculous places, and asking people who would not know...

If/When you read the book, you'll understand what that something must have been and why it warranted such risks. The question would be how it could get there. And why, in the first place.

The book: "The Kaikoura UFOs" by Bill Startup & Neil Illingworth.

Bill was the pilot. I met him, but sadly, only after he had suffered 'the stroke' that affected his mental abilities drastically. Interestingly, it happened shortly before he was due to set off for the US on a Book Promo tour. Some say, "No coincidence."

I also met one of the other key witnesses, though he could not add much that hadn't already been said. At least, I was able to meet and assess the guy, and see for myself his topographical location and outlook, which all stacked up. Just meeting witnesses adds credibility, in my mind. I have no reason to suspect he was anything but genuine and sincere. What he observed was not a fleeting glimpse of some "light in the sky"... On its own, it might be unbelievable, but subsequent events that he could not have predicted, lend great additional credibility to his account. It's an awesome story.

As for hope - as I am convinced, I have an entirely different perspective. Unfortunately, probably no more hopeful than yours though. From what I have concluded, we humans are about as precious as an orphanage full of delinquent orphans, or as a full mental hospital... Despite already having been told, we are never going to 'figure it out', so the doors are, and must be kept locked! I think we are merely pawns in a highly esoteric chess game / duel / battle of wills - and are not performing anywhere near as well as was hoped by the White side.

Two Percent said...

xp@:

Thanks!

char·la·tan

a person falsely claiming to have a special knowledge or skill; a fraud.


You've got your hands very full, then! Better get busy... ;-)

I was going to comment on woo. Maybe later.