Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Condon's Last Stand

A letter from the man himself, Dr. Edward U. Condon, June of 1967. Forty years, how quickly they pass.

Whatever comments I've made about the Colorado University UFO study and Dr. Condon, there is no denying his brilliance as a physicist with a colorful background and an enviable career -- and he certainly wasn't one to be force-fed government nonsense, as his history of government encounters indicates. By all accounts, he should have been a perfect choice to lead the UFO project. But how wrong, how horribly wrong, everything went as the project's months passed..

Those "very fine relations" with the organizations NICAP and APRO proclaimed by Condon in his letter deteriorated quickly -- particularly from NICAP's point of view, because their personnel worked a long and grueling period to provide the best UFO evidence NICAP had to offer. As it turned out, NICAP's efforts were mostly ignored by the project.

The South Hill, VA, incident of April, 1967, mentioned in the letter, in which UFO "landing marks" were evident, was briefly mentioned in the Colorado project's final report, but what amazed me most in Condon's letter was his apparent disregard for the profoundly important Socorro, NM (Office Lonnie Zamora) UFO landing case of April, 1964. The Socorro incident, impressive enough to influence Air Force UFO consultant Dr. J. Allen Hynek's opinion about UFOs, should have been a key component of any truly scientific investigation of Condon's era.

Several months before Condon's letter to me (in January, 1967, for one instance), the physicist was out on the lecture circuit making disparaging comments about the UFO phenomenon, obviously indicative of a scientist displaying a most unscientific attitude toward the subject he was charged to investigate. We, the public, expected more and deserved more, for nobody twisted Dr. Condon's arm to make him research the UFO issue with taxpayer funding.

After the Colorado study report's release, Condon continued attempts to convince fellow scientists not to take a positive stand on the UFO issue. Fortunately, a substantial number of his colleagues were familiar enough with the evidence to ignore him, but despite Colorado University's sloppy and overwhelming negatively inflated conclusions, damage to the public mind had been accomplished and the usual members of the press in large part swallowed everything spoon-fed to them by the government, which was more than pleased to trumpet the Colorado report -- this, the crowbar that finally succeeded in prying the UFO monkey off the Air Force's back. UFOs were no more. UFOs were nothing special. And, oh, by the way, what about the evidence? The evidence be damned. Who cares about the evidence? After all, Colorado said. . . Colorado said. . . Colorado said. . .