Embrace The Unknown And
Seek The Truth - Part 2

By Michael Goodspeed

One of the most oft-quoted truisms of civilized man is, "The pen is mightier than the sword." The correct implication behind this is that words have the power to effect change on a prodigious scale. But make no mistake, this sword is double-edged. The problem with all instruments of "war" is that they can harm the innocent as well as destroy the evil, imprison the just as well as prosecute the guilty. Rather than lancing the flesh and maiming the body, the pen in the hands of the misguided and arrogant can assault the spirit with lies and half-truths,
desecrate the mind with illogic and flawed reason.
Nothing is more dangerous than the words of a pseudo-skeptic. To whom do I refer when I use this disparaging term? The pseudo-skeptic is not someone to underestimate. He often speaks and writes with with impeccable grammar and poetic flare. His educational background is sometimes based in the "hard sciences" of medicine, physics, mathematics, and biology. Through years of training and arduous study, he has come to see the world as it "really" is, in black and white and three dimensions. Although he presents himself as an ambassador of science, a paragon of intellectual integrity, and an open-minded rational thinker, he simply KNOWS that he and his ilk can not be wrong about anything of real import. After all, he's just too darn smart. Sun comes up, sun goes down, gravity dominates, and nary a mystery remains in all the glory of Creation.
Even hopelessly flawed arguments posited by the pseudo-skeptic can have the power to flummox his opponents. In heated debates, he need not speak Truth to emerge "victorious." Games of semantics, creative ad hominem, and the deliberate misstatement of his opponents' positions are quite effective and oft-used tactics in his intellectual battles. The potential violence of King's English is brought to its greatest fruition by the pseudo-skeptic. With his back against the ropes, he will daze his opponent with a well-placed quote from Carl Sagan ("Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence!"), send him reeling with the words "You can't prove a negative!", then slash his throat with Occam's Razor ("The simplest explanation is also the most likely!").
These ordinarily sound scientific platitudes are used as the ultimate "get out of jail free" cards for pseudo-skeptics who have no answers to inconvenient questions. Let's examine Sagan's assertion that "extrarordinary" claims require "extraordinary" evidence. The problem with this statement is that popular science does not require extraordinary evidence for its extraordinary claims. Big Bang theory may be the most extraordinary claim in the history of popular science. Here we have an idea that can be neatly encapsulated in eight words: "At first, there was nothing...then it exploded." (Source: But how can NOTHING explode? Big Bang theory "defies gravity" and violates innumerable laws of physics, it remains a HYPOTHETICAL mathematical model, yet it is promoted as truth by NASA and institutions of higher learning around the world. Why has the mainstream never demanded the same standards of Big Bang theorists that it does of "paranormal" proponents?
Where are the "double-blind tests" validating Big Bang theory? Has Big Bang theory been tested by JREF or other skeptical organizations?
What about Einstein's theory of relativity? The general public seems unaware that it has always been and is stil a matter of contention among accredited scientists. As Marcus Coleman writes (From
"Einstein's relativity was not accepted by a number of his contemporaries. Rutherford, widely thought of as the 'father of nuclear physics', considered it to be nonsense. Columbia University astronomer C.L. Poor in 1922,'26 & '30 gave unassailable refutations of the claims of Eddington, i.e., that observations of the 1919 South American solar eclipse confirmed Einstein's predicted gravitational attraction of light. (Poor also documents a similar situation existing with the 1922 West Australian eclipse and the claims of Campbell & Trumpler.) It was this 'proof' espoused by Eddington however, which brought Einstein his first acclaim and greatest fame.
"Poor showed clearly that the actual observations were not what was claimed and that they did not support Einstein's prediction. This is still a valid refutation of Einstein's presumed gravitational attraction of light, and notwithstanding the 'Gravitational Lensing' phenomenon, still remains standing as an unanswered challenge to Einstein's general theory of relativity and theory of gravitation. As a side issue, this relegates the concept of 'black holes' to pure science fiction as many non-conventional scientists contend - that is, despite evidence of the most recent discoveries being claimed as proof of their existence (even to including the latest data concerning the centre of the Milky Way), such 'proof' does not survive close scrutiny."
My point here is not to argue one side or another in debates over specific cosmological questions, but rather to demonstrate that these most sacred "truths" of popular science are in reality EXTRAORDINARY CLAIMS which have never required EXTRAORDINARY EVIDENCE.
A more accurate phrase to describe the standards of pseudo-skeptics (and, I'm sorry to say, much of the mainstream) is, "UNPOPULAR claims require extraordinary evidence." In its time, Galileo's thesis was considered quite extraordinary, as was Newton's. Why should this have been held against them? What is wrong with judging the evidence of a claim on its MERIT, while ignoring all pre-conceived notions of what is possible and impossible?
Other scientific platitudes, and the inappropriateness with which they are used by pseudo-skeptics, will be examined as we continue.
Part one of this essay dealt with the issue of psychic phenomena, and the tactics and arguments used by self-described skeptics to debunk it. I had originally intended to cover the UFO and crop circle enigmas in this piece, but due to constraints of space and the mutually exclusive elements of the two phenomena, I must address them in separate chapters.
The UFO issue is terribly complex, and the body of data massive. I had hoped to address its many aspects in a single chapter, but this can not be done with out omitting tremendous amounts of important evidence. I will break it in to 4 parts to be addressed individually in different chapters:
I. Official government explanations/denials
II. Mass sightings/corroborated eye witness testimony.
III. Photographic and videotape evidence.
Some of the material covered may seem passe to UFO fans, but as I stated in installment one of this series, this essay is written for skeptics and to skeptics - many of whom either ignore or have never heard of the cases I will cite as potentially compelling evidence of UFOs' reality.
1. The Battle of Los Angeles
Popular culture regards the Roswell event of July, 1947 as the birthdate of UFOlogy. However, surprisingly few people are aware of an UFO event which pre-dated Roswell by five years. The Battle of Los Angeles has been characterized by some as the most well-documented UFO mass sighting in history. As national talk show host Jeff Rense writes (from, "Have you ever heard of the Battle of Los Angeles? Few have. Imagine a visiting spacecraft from another world, or dimension, hovering over a panicked and blacked-out LA in the middle of the night just weeks after Pearl Harbor at the height of WWII fear and paranoia. Imagine how this huge ship, assumed to be some unknown Japanese aircraft, was then attacked as it hung, nearly stationary, over Culver City and Santa Monica by dozens of Army anti-aircraft batteries firing nearly 2,000 rounds of 12 pound, high explosive shells in full view of hundreds of thousands of residents. Imagine all of that and you have an idea of what was the Battle of Los Angeles."
On February 24th, 1942, naval intelligence issued a warning that an attack on American soil could be expected within 10 hours. That evening, "flares" and "blinking lights" were reported near defense plants, and on the morning of the 25th, radars picked up an unidentified target 120 miles west of Los Angeles. The object was tracked within a few miles of the coast, and at 0221 a blackout was ordered by the regional controller. The "mysterious object" tracked from sea inexplicably "vanished," but the information center was subsequently flooded with reports of "enemy planes." Shortly before 0300, a coast artillery colonel spotted "about 25 planes" at 12,000 feet over Los Angeles. Shortly after 0300, an object described as a "balloon carrying a red flare" was spotted over Santa Monica, and was subsequently fired upon anti-aircraft artillery.
Over the next three hours, varieties of aircraft described as "balloons" and "planes" were fired upon by Naval forces. >From "'swarms' of planes (or, sometimes, balloons) of all possible sizes, numbering from one to several hundred, traveling at altitudes which ranged from a few thousand feet to more than 20,000 and flying at speeds which were said to have varied from 'very slow' to over 200 miles per hour, were observed to parade across the skies. These mysterious forces dropped no bombs and, despite the fact that 1,440 rounds of anti-aircraft ammunition were directed against them, suffered no losses. There were reports, to be sure, that four enemy planes had been shot down, and one was supposed to have landed in flames at a Hollywood intersection." (Note: Conventional aircraft of the time were generally not capable of flight greater than 200 miles per hour, so the estimated speed of the "swarming planes" at "over 200 miles per hour" may be open to interpretation.)
The next morning, Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox announced that there was no evidence of enemy planes, and the raid was merely a "false alarm." However, his view was not shared by everyone. From "The Army had a hard time making up its mind on the cause of the alert. A report to Washington, made by the Western Defense Command shortly after the raid had ended, indicated that the credibility of reports of an attack had begun to be shaken before the blackout was lifted. This message predicted that developments would prove 'that most previous reports had been greatly exaggerated.' The Fourth Air Force had indicated its belief that there were no planes over Los Angeles. But the Army did not publish these initial conclusions. Instead, it waited a day, until after a thorough examination of witnesses had been finished. On the basis of these hearings, local commanders altered their verdict and indicated a belief that from one to five unidentified airplanes had been over Los Angeles."
Major newspapers across American were unhappy with official explanations offered by the military. On February 28th, the NY Times wrote in an editorial, "If the batteries were firing on nothing at all, as Secretary Knox implies, it is a sign of expensive incompetence and jitters. If the batteries were firing on real planes, some of them as low as 9,000 feet, as Secretary Stimson declares, why were they completely ineffective? Why did no American planes go up to engage them, or even to identify them?..."
While the official testimony remains that no American planes engaged the "enemy", at least one eye witness account contradicts this claim. Jeff Rense documented the story of "Katie," an artist and interior decorator who witnessed these events from her home in west LA. From "In the early morning hours of February 25th, Katie's phone rang. It was the Air Raid supervisor in her district notifying her of an alert and asking if she had seen the object in the sky very close to her home. She immediately walked to a window and looked up. 'It was huge! It was just enormous! And it was practically right over my house. I had never seen anything like it in my life!" she said. "It was just hovering there in the sky and hardly moving at all.' With the city blacked out, Katie, and hundreds of thousands of others, were able to see the eerie visitor with spectacular clarity. 'It was a lovely pale orange and about the most beautiful thing you've ever seen. I could see it perfectly because it was very close. It was big!'
"The U.S. Army anti-aircraft searchlights by this time had the object completely covered. 'They sent fighter planes up (the Army denied any of its fighters were in action) and I watched them in groups approach it and then turn away. There were shooting at it but it didn't seem to matter.' Katie is insistent about the use of planes in the attack on the object. The planes were apparently called off after several minutes and then the ground cannon opened up. 'It was like the Fourth of July but much louder. They were firing like crazy but they couldn't touch it.' The attack on the object lasted over half an hour before the visitor eventually disappeared from sight. Many eyewitnesses talked of numerous 'direct hits' on the big craft but no damage was seen done to it. 'I'll never forget what a magnificent sight it was. Just marvelous. And what a georgeous color!', said Katie."
The mystery of the Battle of Los Angeles is deepened by modern photo analysis, which some feel indicates that the "object" fired upon by Naval forces was a single, enormous craft. ( )
Some have said that the massive anti-air craft fire was the real source of sightings of exotic craft. However, it must be noted that before the "battle" began an unidentified craft was spotted on naval radar, an artillery colonel saw what he described as "25 planes" at over 12,000 feet, and an object described as a "balloon carrying a red flare" was spotted over Santa Monica.
Skeptics of this case insist that it was a case of "mass hysteria" brought on the military's post-Pearl Harbor jitters. But like many "explanations" offered by self-described skeptics, it does not take into account a large body of evidence, including the hopelessly contradictory and illogical assertions we find in the official testimony.
2. Roswell
The 1990's witnessed an emergence of "new" evidence in the famous Roswell case of 1947. Alleged debris from the crash wreckage, new eye witness accounts, and "declassified documents," in conjunction with the 50th anniversay of the event's date, created a maelstorm of Roswell media coverage, much of which was horrendously inaccurate and incompetently researched. Some "news" reports actually asserted that no one cared about Roswell until its anniversay celebration in 1997 - a notion so numbingly ignorant as to be unworthy of comment.
I have always believed that the most interesting aspect of this case is the Air Force's own statements in its series of official press releases. On 3 occasions, the USAF has issued totally contradictory explanations for Roswell, none of which allows for the possibility that any of the others is true.
Press release number one is of course the most famous. On July 8th, 1947, an official USAF press release, approved by Lt. Walter Haut, announced that the "mystery of the flying saucers" had been solved, when wreckage of a "flying disc" was recovered near the home of New Mexico rancher Mac Brazel. Remember the date of this event, as it will prove critical when examining future "official denials" from the USAF.
Official accounts of the Roswell event were carried by the Associated Press on July 8th and 9th, 1947, and ran in numerous major newspapers across the country, including the LA Herald Express (Link: ), the New York Times (Link:, and the Washington Post (Link:
Excerpt from the July 8th AP account in the LA Herald Express:
ROSWELL, N. M., July 8--The Army Air Force here today announced a flying disc had been found on a ranch near Roswell and is in Army possession.
Lieut. Warren Haught [sic], public-information officer of the Roswell Army Air Field, announced the find had been made "sometime last week" and had been turned over to the air field through co-operation of the sheriff's office.
"It was inspected at the Roswell Army Air Field and subsequently flown" by Major Jesse A. Marcel, of the 509th Bomb Group Intelligence Office at Roswell 'to higher headquarters.' (END EXCERPT)
Brigadeer General Roger Ramey retracted this story hours later, saying that the "flying disc" was nothing more than a common weather ballon.
This official explanation of the USAF stood until June of 1997, when Air Force spokesman Colonel Weaver announced that the Roswell "flying saucer" was actually the remnants of "anthropomorphic dummies" used by the USAF in "high altitude aircraft escape projects." Colonel Weaver asserted that these "test dummy experiments" were done by the Air Force "from 1953 to 1959."
CNN reported: "But these tests didn't take place until the early 1950's. Three years after the Roswell sightings. Colonel Weaver, who edited the report, says the Pentagon believes witnesses simply got the year wrong." (Source: )
CNN got the dates wrong, as well, as the test dummy experiments were done AT LEAST 6 years after the indisputable Roswell date.
It can not be overemphasized that details of the USAF's "test dummy" theory do not and hold up to any scrutiny. Weaver's assertion that eye witnesses are "confused" about Roswell's date is one of the most egregious lies ever told by any branch of the US government. Archived newspaper accounts from July of 1947, and the audio of an ABC news radio broadcast from July 8th 1947 (Link: ), serve to utterly repudiate the "test dummy" cover story.
Let's apply common sense to this issue. If the "test dummy" explanation is true (which it can't be), then how can anyone explain the "weather balloon" explanation from 1947? Are we to believe that the test dummies traveled back in time 6-12 years, and the Air Force, fearing the effect that public discloure of the dummies' reality would have on national security, contrived the "weather balloon" lie as a cover? As talk show host Craig Kilborn once said, "The government was keeping this secret for all these years to protect the families of the dummies." Again, none of this matters, because we KNOW that Roswell happened in 1947, and by the Air Force's own admission, no test dummy experiments were performed before 1953!
Hello, Roswell skeptics? Anyone home?
Since Occam's Razor is oft-cited by skeptics as a great investigational guideline, let's use it here. What is the simplest explanation to the Roswell question? In answering this, let's reference yet another great investigational guideline, offered by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, through the fictional character Sherlock Holmes. Remove the impossible, and whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.
Official denial number three (the test dummy explanation) can not be true. So what is left? Call me naive, but I can not believe that the Air Force is so staggeringly incompetent as to cite such blatantly false and easily disproven facts through simple error. So if they are indeed lying, the question is, what are they covering up? Some Roswell skeptics have speculated that a SECRET SOVIET SPY BALLOON crashed in New Mexico in 1947 (see Project Mogul), but what rationale would our government have for continuing to keep this secret today, with the Cold War long over?
We glean from the pseudo-skeptics' reaction to Roswell what they REALLY mean when they demand "extraordinary evidence." Anecdotal evidence can be quite extraordinary, and is more than sufficient in judicial proceedings, sometimes resulting in murder convictions and executions. If incontrovertible, physical proof is necessary to remove all "reasonable doubt" of a person's guilt, then we must have imprisoned nothing but innocent people prior to the advent of DNA testing.
In the case of UFO's, the only evidence the pseudo-skeptics will consider "extraordinary" is a dead alien carted out by the President on national television. Skeptics, I ask you, am I wrong?
Michael Goodspeed is a twenty-eight year old writer and radio personality who makes his home in Portland, OR.



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