Has anyone else read ‘UFOs, Myths, Conspiracies, and realities’ by John Alexander?
Posted: 16 May 2011 03:06 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Interesting read, an atypical author for this genre. Any opinions?

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Posted: 17 May 2011 07:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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No I haven’t read the book and to be honest the topic doesn’t interest me all that much.

But, I thought I’d mention I just got through listening to an interesting, and towards the end trippy interview on WHYYs Fresh Air with Journalist Annie Jacobsen author of “Area 51: An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base.”  If you’re into this stuff you’ll probably find Jacobsen fun.

May 17, 2011
Seventy-five miles north of Las Vegas sits a land parcel in the middle of the desert. Called Area 51, the parcel is just outside of the abandoned Nevada Test and Training Range, where more than 100 atmospheric bomb tests were conducted in the 1950s. Officially, the U.S. government has never acknowledged the existence of Area 51. Unofficially, it has become a place associated with conspiracy theories, alien landings and tiny spaceships.
. . . the site has remained classified for many years — not because of aliens or spaceships, but because the government once used the site for top-secret nuclear testing and weapons development.

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Posted: 06 September 2011 11:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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sixfootbrit - 16 May 2011 03:06 PM

Interesting read, an atypical author for this genre. Any opinions?

Yes, I just bought the book and am reading it now. I agree it’s one of the most interesting UFO books in a long time, far more interesting than Leslie Kean’s.

On the one hand, Alexander is one of the most “skeptical” of UFO believers. Here is a list of stuff he does NOT believe in: the Roswell crash, MJ-12 secret UFO panel, big govt. UFO coverup conspiracy, NASA UFO conspiracies, Corso’s ‘alien reverse engineering’ claims, etc. When he spoke to the recent MUFON Symposium in Irvine, CA, he provoked great hostility in the audience. They viewed him as a debunker (the very worst thing one can be). See my 5-part writeup of the MUFON Symposium on my Blog http://www.BadUFOs.com .

On the other hand, here is a list of stuff he DOES believe in: UFO/ET visitations, Rendlesham, the Belgian UFO wave, etc.

In a nutshell, I’d say that Alexander is Hynekian in his approach, and goes into error for the same reason: great over-reliance on uncorroborated “eyewitness testimony.” He seems to think that if a ‘reliable witness’ reports an anomalous flying craft, then by golly such a craft must exist. Whereas the history of skepticism, past and present, is replete with examples of how “reliable witnesses” aren’t. Remember the Royal Society of London, which rose out of superstition to be the first true scientific body in the world, largely because of its motto “Nullius in Verba” (words alone count for nothing).

I chatted with Alexander a bit at MUFON, and he was reaching out toward the skeptics for discussion and debate. (No way could he have a reasoned discussion with the MUFON crowd.) I don’t think he would ‘join’ us and become a skeptic, but it would be interesting and possibly instructive to have a dialog.

As for the second posting about the Anne Jacobsen book, its claims have been pretty well shredded by reviewers. See my “Commie Nazi Saucer Crashed in Roswell” (Psychic Vibrations, Sept. / Oct 2011). See this review by Robert S. Norris, an authority on the history of the Manhattan Project and other defense-related subjects:
http://www.washingtondecoded.com/site/2011/07/area51.html#more

  Hers is a deeply flawed book—and not only because she has added new, outlandish tales to the story of a top-secret military facility. All too often, Jacobsen’s history of the activities that did occur at the facility is filled with errors of commission and omission. One has to wonder what role her editors played in overseeing this book, and why so many mistakes and preposterous claims survived editorial review.

    Robert Sheaffer

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Posted: 11 September 2011 03:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Thanks for the opinion Roberto. While I agree that Alexander relies on eyewitness testimony to a high degree, I think this simply reflects his AF background and respect for expert observers (this would include many pilots). What he successfully conveys, I think, is that there is room for dissent when it comes to true belief either way. The UFO phenomenon may be almost entirely a mental one, and there is much evidence suggesting just this, and yet there are some cases that skepticism may be overreaching on.

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Posted: 05 October 2011 11:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Roberto - 06 September 2011 11:56 AM

He seems to think that if a ‘reliable witness’ reports an anomalous flying craft, then by golly such a craft must exist.

 

Haha. Yes, you’ve hit the nail on the head there. That is the key mistake that almost all UFO believers make.

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