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Stanton and Shermer Stoush

To continue with our week of being skeptical of the skeptics, we have another prime example: the latest eSkeptic newsletter (produced by Michael Shermer and Skeptic magazine) comments on the recent Larry King Live feature on UFOs, in which Shermer was one of the invited guests – along with others including Stanton Friedman and Buzz Aldrin. In this newsletter, there’s some commentary from Shermer about the show that is galling to say the least.

Firstly, Shermer puts on display some of the emails he received after the show, which is simply an attempt to portray the ufological audience as angry little believers who can’t even spell. Instead of such a weak tactic, perhaps it might be better for Shermer to address some of the actual arguments outlined by the real researchers out there? Really, I could paint a false picture of about any group I wanted, based on some of the whacky emails that turn up in my Inbox each day. Shermer – who supposedly carries enough scholarly authority for his very own column in Scientific American – instead portrays himself as the non-scientist that he is.

Shermer also has the gall to say that he finds participation in such shows “to be a frustrating experience”, which is why instead of arguing the facts presented, he “brought along the little toy aliens” which he waved about “to break up the gravitas of the conversation”. Now who is being unscientific here – ufologists want to be serious about the topic and discuss the research, and yet the ‘skeptic’ waves about alien toys to ‘break up the gravitas’? And as for finding such shows ‘frustrating’, once again we find the trusted fall-back of the ‘skeptics’ that somehow they are forced into participating in these shows, to save humanity from its own irrationality. This is disingenous to say the least – Shermer is known as the leading media whore of the skeptical movement (at least in the US…Richard Wiseman might argue from the UK), and he has more than a minor financial stake in ‘keeping up appearances’. So, Mr Shermer – if you find such events frustrating, perhaps it’s time to change jobs?

Lastly, Shermer makes a direct attack on respected ufologist Stanton Friedman, suggesting he is an “incompetent researcher”. Now, I don’t personally agree with Friedman’s conclusions on a number of issues, but Shermer (the panel member who waved around the alien toys) could probably do with some humility when suggesting such a thing. Friedman is well known as the guy who picked up $1000 from UFO skeptic Philip Klass, after Klass wagered that Friedman couldn’t find early government documents in the same typeface as some of the MJ-12 documents. He has a long history of researching deeply into these topics, and we can assume quite confidently that his knowledge of ufological history – not to mention scientific theory, such as nuclear physics – dwarfs that of Michael Shermer. I would accept ‘probably misguided in his conclusions’, but ‘incompetent researcher’? Pure hubris on Shermer’s part – and for anyone that isn’t aware of Shermer’s past history in ‘skeptical defence’, you might like to revisit my essay from a few years back, “The Shermer Sham“.

  1. Septics – Part 2,533
    Hi Greg,
    Forgive the title – just a bit of goading. Actually, I don’t think we can bring up the subject enough. Below is a quote by me which, I think, nicely explains the subject of septicism:

    ‘It was a windy night and it reflected my troubled mood. I looked out the bedroom window before going to bed, and in the next garden I saw a golden cascade of lights. I’ve since called it my UFO, and when I went to bed, I felt at peace and slept well.
    The next morning I wondered what it was. I investigated. I laughed. Stuck on a pile of bricks was a crisp packet. The previous night it had blown in the wind and its shiny inside had reflected the glow of an orange street light.
    Case closed. Or is it? What I saw changed my mood and gave me peace. The cause may be innocuous, but did the illusion have a form of reality at some level? If it didn’t, why did it affect me? Unfortunately, sceptics never look further than the mundane.’

    The piece comes from the introduction to a 4 part overview of the UFO I published before discovering TDG. If anyone wants to read it, they can do so here:
    The problem with septicism is that, not only do they rubbish any paranoremal claims, but love to out clear frauds or delusions with an unattractive smugness. But as I try to show above, even the most mundane event can hold value.
    Even fraudulent cases can add to a ‘culture’ of the subject that can go on to be part of people’s future experiences. This vital area of research should not be ignored. To septics, it doesn’t even exist.

    Reality, like time, is relative to the observer

    Anthony North

    1. The Video of the boy who lived before & Klauss
      Hello, I am sorry if this is not where to post this, but, I want to say I really enjoyed watching that video and I am very glad that is a feature here on teh Grail, I have always wanted to have videos too on the site, Greg is lucky ….Thanks so much for the efforts made in finding them for us to watch and be our little educator Greg, thanks Bunch.

      Now on the post above…

      As far as paranormal and weird things, they would not have come up with words to define them if they had not happened most likely or come up in some one’s brain.

      Phillip Klaus is not a nice man. I had runins with him in the early, way early 90s, a long time ago all ready. He sent me one of his books, something on abducitons, I forget the title now, anyway, he told me everything I was experiencing was just in my head and people liek David Jacobs and Budd Hopkins were dangerous to people of America..Yes, America….and it was some form of conspiracy. “They” and others like them were trying to pull the wool over our eyes and to bring America down and rip our morals apart and make us hysterical. He said teh researchers were making the people beleive things happened. He was too stupid to realize people all ready believed things happened (and yes in their heads because of the brain , it perceives things and is located in the head) otherwise they would not have seen David of Budd,,,phew…real intelligient arguement there. No, bad man, boo boo boo…tomatoes…rotten apples…boo boo..


      Dr. Colette M. Dowell ND
      Circular Times

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