A friend sent me a link to a Newsweek story on the recent Texas UFO flap, which apparently discussed what scientists think of UFOs. “How exciting,” I thought, wondering which scientists they had talked to…Jacques Vallee, perhaps Bernard Haisch? Umm, no.
Instead we get CSICOP Fellow Bob Park, Skeptic magazine editor Michael Shermer, and Theodore Schick (author of How to Think About Weird Things: Critical thinking for a New Age). Park does a wonderful job of not even understanding what the UFO acronym stands for, which ends up making each of his statements rather ridiculous if you read them correctly. Michael Shermer lets us in on what it really might have been (a Stealth bomber flanked by fighter jets). But wait, the “scientists” are really on the side of “UFO believers”:
Scientists defend UFO believers against charges that they’re psychologically deranged. People who report UFO sightings and abductions, a 1993 study in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology concluded, are just as intelligent, psychologically healthy, and free of fantasies as people without such experiences. People with UFO experiences differed on only one known measure: sleep deprivation.
But really, it’s worth wading through the article to get to Bob Park’s own UFO encounter, which had a prosaic explanation. Because what did it do for Bob?
With that, Park learned the ultimate lesson for a scientist: humility.
OMG, the irony…my eyes are burning.