Daniel has offered his second response in the second round of Signal to Noise.
As with Round I, I’m afraid it isn’t much of a smack down; we seem to agree more than we disagree. (Now, take Daniel’s very well thought out and well presented idea for a UFO oversight committee; we could get into some strong disagreements there; he’s all for it, I’m agin’ it.)
So, for those of you who like nasty sneering sarcastic fights between pundits of esoterica, you won’t find it here.
I will get a bit nit picky though, just to show I’m on the job.
Daniel wrote, about “clowns” etc. in UFOlogy:
The charlatans and egomaniacs, and also the authentically disturbed (which are not unique to any field) have nothing to contribute to the study of UFOs. Assuming Truman Bethurum, for example, was sincere and had an actual experience, then his story may be helpful. If he was a liar, his story doesn’t add any illumination to this murky subject — in fact, it does just the opposite. The charlatans need to be weeded out of any study so that whatever data is gleaned has validity. This is just common sense.
We’ll never know if people like Truman Bethrum were telling the truth or not. So we can’t “weed “ him out, since we don’t know what’s true, if anything, and what isn’t. Many have already weeded him out, and others like him, since they’ve decided that by definition they are charlatans. But no one knows that for a fact, and what if the Truman Bethrums of the world are telling the truth? (that doesn’t mean it happened the way they say it did; remember in Round I I said I believe the Contactees, I just didn't take them literally.)
And I can’t let go of the flap of individuals who arose suddenly to announce to the world that they had experienced some extraordinary things in context of the Contactee realm. Something was happening in the world. It wasn’t just one, or two, people who decided they were visited by Venusian. It was a whole lot of people. A whole lot of people believed these things happened to them. They believed they happened either because they all were crazy or liars, or, they were telling the truth. (as they saw it.) That in itself merits investigation.
Aliens. Given the reality of the solar system as we know it today, if these were extraterrestrial beings, they could not be from the places they claimed. All manner of arguments could be served up to justify this, but it seems highly unlikely that beings from elsewhere in the universe would even look like us, let alone communicate with us in English, let alone want to lie about their point of origin. Given the assumption these are real experiences, this seems to me to be the least likely possibility.
Because an entity says hits from Venus, doesn't mean it is from Venus. It could be from Mars, the CIA spook-basement of weird things, inner earth, or who knows. If it is from Mars, (or the Moon) it could get here in no time at all. How do we know what an obviously technological superior species of beings are capable of?
As to knowing the English language; either via telepathy or some other technological means, that isn’t so hard to understand. The entities either were literally speaking English, or they had some way of communicating (telepathy, mind control, hypnosis, etc..) that had the Contactees believing they were communicating in the same language.
Mind Control / “Theater.” We’ve all heard the suggestion that there were “assets” placed in the early UFO research community to some end, be it disinformation or manipulation of the course the community was taking. Some have suggested the contactees themselves may have been these kind of assets. Staging an event for the “benefit” of a witness bypasses the issue of creating sincerity, though the resources to accomplish this on the scale described by the contactees does not seem remotely plausible. Truman Bethurum experience of witnessing a 300 foot wide flying saucer hovering for an extended period a few feet over the desert floor and then flying off at enormous speed is a feat that would be difficult to achieve today — even given existing special effects optical trickery or (publicly disclosed) aviation technology. This doesn’t seem particularly likely to me, either.
Truman Bethrum may have thought he’d seen a craft that large. Holographic projection, hallucinations induced by drugs or hypnosis, could be reasons why the Contactees thought they saw what they saw, and visited places like Venus. Suggestion combined with the right props and stage dressing can make anyone believe anything, when done right.
And if the craft were operated by extraterrestrials, it wouldn't be at all difficult.
Now I would be happy to escalate this possibility if it can be shown the ability to brainwash an individual into believing an experience of this sort could be done at that time seamlessly enough to escape detection.
Oh, I think so. I have no doubt.
Which still leaves us with pretty much two choices: real aliens really came from Venus or the Moon or even outside the solar system, or some sort of human based cabal of mind control evil doers. Both sound pretty nutty, I admit. But we know elements within governments,including the U.S., have a long history of committing mind control and other experimental crimes against civilians. (Of course that doesn’t explain some of the Contactee encounters in other countries.) And I’ll just come and say it: aliens exist. Well, I don’t know that for a fact of course, but I’m of the vehemently strong opinion they do, and they’ve been around here for a long time. Along with all kind of other entities not necessarily from outer space but not human either.
There. I said it.
I don’t know if the Contactees were literally contacted by extraterrestrials, and in fact, I think it’s the least likely, though not at all impossible.
There’s a third possibility; for thousands of years humankind has experienced the liminal, the strange travels from the mundane to what some of us call the sacred, others the supernatural. I suspect that that’s what the Contactees experienced; a sort of time/dimensional flap of Contactees and “Venusian” that encountered each other.
There seems to be a force, an energy, some kind of entity that manifests itself in different ways at different times that's a part of the UFOlogical picture. If we ignore this characteristic (Trickster or call it what you like) or dismiss it as just goofball stuff, we do ourselves a disservice. We can maybe understand more about the UFO phenomenon if we remain open to these types of UFO encounters.