From Abracadabra to Zombies
reader comments: Roswell
01 Aug 1996
I've just begun reading your dictionary. I must say I'm not an avid believer of paranormal phenomena. I think some people would believe just about anything to give life more meaning and to plug some of their soul's loopholes about their purpose on this earth. Nonetheless, I do find your rebuttal of UFOs not only symptomatic of cynical skepticism, but also very obstinate.
reply: First of all, what I have written is not a "rebuttal" or any other kind of butt. Secondly, I take it that "cynical skepticism" is skepticism applied to something you believe in. Fair enough. Anyway, you might have gotten more bite by saying that my argument is obstinately skeptical and also very cynical. Still, you'd be wrong. To be cynical is to be scornful of the motives or virtue of others, or to bitterly mock or sneer at them. 'Cynical' is too strong a word. I'm a skeptic and I'm obstinate and proud of it, but I wouldn't say I'm cynical nor is my argument against the belief that aliens landed on earth in 1947 at Roswell. Anyway, let's get to the meat of this debate. I'm sure the world can't wait to hear what we have to say on this earth shattering subject.
As you said, it is probable we are not the only intelligent beings in existence. Out of the billions of stars out there, maybe only a couple million would harbor planets where life could develop. Maybe only a small percent of that number would have more intelligent life forms than earth. We cannot as terrans make predictions as to how these life forms would think, much less extrapolate on their motives for visiting other worlds. How can we explain other worldly life forms when we can't even explain our own? How do you explain the fact that there is a species of insect that incubates 17 years in the ground and lives only one day subsequent to hatching?
reply: I think we're losing our audience here. Let's get to the point.
I don't believe in abductions, but I believe there is just too much evidence supporting the fact that we are visited by more advanced life forms to simply say that witnesses are deluded, and though most don't have ulterior motives, they didn't really see what they claimed to have seen.
reply: Now we're talking! Let's get to this evidence.
Let's talk about Roswell. Why doesn't the U.S. government release the files pertaining to the 1947 incident to the public if nothing really did happen. They quote national security as a reason for not disclosing information. National security? What does national security have to do with it if nothing really happened.
reply: The government has released information on Roswell, but if the government released every file in the universe relating to aliens, what do you think the response would be from those camping out near Area 51 or those going to the UFO museums in Roswell? You can't trust the government! Those files are fake files, meant to deceive us! Only a fool would believe the government is releasing real files. And the reason they aren't releasing those fake files is because they have so much to hide! If they didn't, why don't they release the fake files? Huh? You see, people, it's as simple as ABC. You know it. I know it, but the buttpickers in Washington just don't get it.
I believe extremism of any kind is the nemesis of the truly open mind. Unfortunately, your obstinate skepticism is a form of extremism.
reply: Good, because I don't mind being called an extremist. It's better than being called a cynic. Or a nemesis.
You seem to have a very analytical mind. The type that warrants scientific explanation in order to validate an existence, an event, a process. Sometimes life holds mysteries that just cannot be explained in this manner. You should open up your mind, and although you shouldn't believe everything you hear, you should try to accept certain things as unexplained but plausible.
reply: Joey, far be it from me to claim that life is not full of mysteries. Life itself is a great mystery. I'm a mystery to myself. Some things can't be explained. We don't have enough data in some cases. In other cases, we'll never have enough data. Why mysteries are so intriguing is a mystery. Still, it is a quantum leap of faith to jump from "mystery" to "plausible" in the case Roswell and the ten little aliens.
8 Aug 1996
Hmm... I start wondering who are the real true believers out there when I read your statement on the Roswell crash. All it says is: Something crashed in the desert near Roswell and everybody who believes that the crash was of alien origin is crazy.
reply: Are you crazy? If you read what I said and think I said that everyone who believes the crash was of alien origin is crazy then you are crazy. I never said that, and only a crazy person would say that I did. It would be crazy to believe that everyone is crazy who believes aliens landed at Roswell and signed a treaty with the U.S. Government.
This is despite the fact that over 100 witnesses plus highly ranked military personnel support that theory. One of the military (Jesse Marcel I think) even said on his deathbed that the craft was not of this earth (would you lie on your deathbed??).
reply: My mother taught me never to lie, especially on my deathbed. However, she also taught me how to make reasonable inferences. Just because a person is dying and believes something is true, doesn't make his or her belief true and it doesn't make the person a liar if he or she is wrong.
Second, do you REALLY think that the only airfield in the world that holds nuclear weapons would mistake a crashed disc for a weather balloon? (In case you didn't know, General Ramey issued a press release stating that the debris was from a "crashed disc" from space.) I wouldn't trust them with nuclear weapons in my life.
reply: Good for General Ramey, but I thought you wouldn't trust these military types. Why do you trust this particular general and the other 100 you mentioned but not the ones who were there and can't confirm these allegations?
I seriously doubt that
you even bothered to find out anything about the crash before you wrote the
article. Just because the scenario doesn't fit in your narrow-minded view of the
world you dismiss it as fantasy. And don't try to throw the autopsy film in
my face 'cause I think that is a fake. I would be glad for a reply.
reply: My mother also taught me not to throw films at faces, especially alien autopsy films. But I am encouraged by your expression "serious doubts." You may make a good skeptic someday after all.
17 Jul 1997
I just finished reading your entry in the Skeptic's Dictionary on Roswell.... If it was a military test gone awry, then why have they changed their explanation before? What they should have said in that event is that it was a secret military test! That would've satisfied most of the curiosity around it. Isn't it strange that these intelligent people of the military let that by? The military has admitted to testing in the past, and refused to divulge details. But on this notable occasion, they didn't. They chose to attempt a cover-up with an idiotic explanation. Very interesting...
reply: The military is in a no-win situation. Had they told the truth and a consistent story, they would still have been accused of a cover-up and lying. What I find amazing is that anyone can say with a straight face that the military has been able to keep anything a secret for 50 years.
.... An alien craft could certainly be pieced together with some guess work, and examined in the same fashion. It's very possible that we do have technology copied from aliens.... technology has suddenly jumped at the start of the 1900s. Remember that the first modern UFO sighting was in 1902 (I'm a bit unsure on this because I'm without my reference material on this) by a businessman in his private airplane. Statisticians have found that if we keep on at this rate, we will double our knowledge every 6 years. Some have speculated that we will hit a major slump at some point in the future because mankind won't know what else to try, what else to invent. Could it be that we did piece together an alien craft?
reply: Sure. Then again, could be that we didn't.
I welcome a response from whoever else should happen to read this!
Phil White firstname.lastname@example.org
21 Jul 1997
I was just reading the section on Roswell in The Skeptic's Dictionary, and decided to contribute. A person I met at work was in the Air Force Intelligence in the 50's and was actually at Roswell at the time of the commotion. He said that it was just a pile of junk and a reflector, and definitely man-made. Oh, well, that's probably not inherently more reliable than the other testimony, but infinitely more realistic. BTW, nice piece of work on getting all that info.
reply: Your source's testimony may seem more believable to you and me, but the true believers will denounce him as an imposter!