A storm in a teacup saucer last week after high-profile ufologist Stanton Friedman gave a talk at The Brogan Museum in Florida to accompany their exhibit about Roswell. Dr Paul Cottle of Florida State University got himself in a tizzy and wrote a letter of complaint about the museum’s invitation to a “well-known charlatan” (really, his description of Friedman) discussing “UFO pseudoscience”.
Billy Cox of the always interesting newspaper column DeVoid explains how it all unfolded. Perhaps most notably, he quotes a wonderfully common sense reply to Cottle from Museum executive director Chucha Barber: “UFOs and dinosaurs attract people of all ages to, we hope, seek truth, learn more and perhaps be entertained while inspired.” However, that only served to stoke the fires, with Dr. Gregory Boebinger, director of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee joining the fray:
Is the Brogan planning to host future exhibits on palm reading and astrology? Surely when a science museum hosts often-debunked pseudoscience, it is not only using ‘a variety of entertaining experiences to attract audiences to science,’ as Ms. Barber contends, but also insidiously endorsing pseudoscience and attracting our children and the public away from science.
Mmmm, the skeptics and their “insidious pseudoscience” – such paranoia! Anyhow, the rest of Billy Cox’s opinion piece is well worth a read, so check it out. Further reading on the matter can be found at Frank Warren’s blog and also at A Different Perspective (Kevin Randle’s blog). Like Randle, I don’t necessarily agree with everything Stanton Friedman claims, but “I do have something against those who express uninformed opinions”.