Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Who Knows What Knows Who?

Physician Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (father of famed U.S. jurist, Oliver Wendell Homes, Jr.), who lived from 1809 to 1894, reportedly made a house call one day, and encountered a priest departing the premises.  "Your patient is very ill," warned the priest, "he is going to die."

Holmes, not missing a beat, said "Yes, and he's going to hell."

Stunned and outraged, the man of the cloth admonished Holmes. "You must not say such things!"

"Well,"  Holmes responded, "you expressed a medical opinion, and I have just as much right to a theological opinion."

The Holmes anecdote reminds me of that universal question, long associated with those who eagerly step forth to offer instant explanations when UFO reports surface :   So what makes you an expert? 

As long as UFO sightings have occurred in the USA, media representatives historically rushed off to interview the first convenient astronomer in their line of sight.  Why is that?  Because things are observed in the sky, astronomers are assumed to have answers all ready to go, like microwave burritos?  Yes, right or wrong, very often they do -- since they are asked and need to come up with something rational, so as not to become the laughingstock of colleagues.

The late Dr. J. Allen Hynek, obviously, was an astronomer whose talents the Air Force enlisted when its UFO investigations began, and he did provide valuable insight, all the while slowly shedding his skepticism.  Yet -- how interesting that astronomy was the first tell-me-why discipline that came to mind both officially and publicly as the UFO phenomenon took form in the modern world, particularly when one considers that astronomers primarily concern themselves with places in the universe other than our planet's atmosphere and things which come and go within its confines.

A few days ago, Frank Warren's  The UFO Chronicles  (see site link) updated the Knowles Family UFO car chase (Australia) from the eighties, a fascinating case, and when I took a walk  through "memory lane" via old news reports I discovered that one all-knowing expert astronomer had suggested the UFO encounter -- which involved an object that not only chased, but apparently lifted the family's car off the road -- was not a UFO incident at all, but merely something related to a meteor shower! 

Many involved in UFO investigations over the years are particularly familiar with "experts" who step out of the woodwork to claim ownership of UFO mysteries with the application of a dab or two of the soothing ointment of any save-the-day explanation that blows with the wind.  Unfortunately, the "cure" often bamboozles both media and public because (gasp!) impressive credentials abound.

Credentials rarely impress me anymore.  Probably because the White House is so full of them -- and so full of "it."

And while I'm momentarily alighting upon the subject of politics, I need to make it clear that my political rant has nothing  whatsoever to do with the non-political links in this blog.  I don't know the political opinions of most folks in the link list and don't care to know -- they appear here because of their own clearly-defined interests in other areas.

I must, however, make note of something conservative talk show host/author Michael Savage said last week.  A fervent contributor to various animal charities, Savage half-joked that when he's retired in his eighties or nineties someday, his wish would be to fly on a helicopter with Navy SEALS, serve as a tail gunner and mow down poachers of elephant herds who kill monstrously and beyond redemption for ivory -- a highly valued substance, particularly among the Chinese.  Hey Michael, wouldn't it be super to wipe out those folks, too?

But meanwhile, you're wondering why I don't write more about UFOs, the intent of this blog for its first few years.  Well, it's because I've said it all, scanned and posted it all, and by now it's best to let folks in the link list keep you updated -- and they do some great work.  Am I through with the UFO subject?  Have I changed my opinions?  Let's put it this way:  When I was allowed a thrilling tour of a SAGE facility (tied in with NORAD) as a teenager * in the sixties, and a crusty old Air Force chief master sergeant, steeped in USAF intelligence, took me aside and suggested that he and I probably share the same views regarding the UFO issue, I knew what I needed to know -- that UFOs are real, and that people in high places know it, too.

*I wrote all about this for Argosy UFO  magazine, and later included a lengthy blog entry here:  http://robert-barrow.blogspot.com/2007/09/i-was-teenage-us-air-force-spy.html