“Mainstream science rejects eyewitness testimony…. It is the lowest form of evidence.”
So said one of the scientists appearing in behalf of the skeptics In a documentary aired on ABC-TV, on February 2005. It was entitled “Seeing is Believing: The Truth about UFOs.” So apparently not everyone believes that seeing is believing, especially not mainstream scientists. This quote is not the only instance of the skeptics’ creed on this issue as it pertains to the extraterrestrial. It is scattered throughout their literature like salt and pepper. Too seldom have they been challenged.
Though it may come as a shock to mainstream scientists, not everything is, or needs to be proved by the particular strictures of mainstream, or any other kind of science. Whether a person is believable or not is a judgment all of us make throughout our lives, thank you, without any help from a peer review. We are not talking now about some exotic new scientific theory, or making judgments as to how the craft are propelled. We are talking about what people see with their eyes. Two points need to be made for the benefit of these or any other skeptics who love to say “But there is no proof.”
One point is that there is plenty of scientific proof, enough that should satisfy the most demanding of them, if they would but look at it, which they do not deign to do. But first it might be preferable to explain a few things about eyewitness testimony. Some scientist may consider it to be the lowest form of evidence, but other well established institutions of our culture do not. Among them are the law courts. I know very little about science, but I do know a few things about law, having actively practiced as a trial lawyer for almost 35 years, in civil, criminal and military courts.
Our legal system, whatever its faults, has a well established process for discovering truth, based on thousands of years experience. Evaluating eyewitness testimony requires no scientific skill. It takes skill of another sort.We make judgments every day about the reliability of people around us, or perfect strangers. We size up the apparent intelligence of the witness, his (understood to include ‘her’) ability to give details, his interest, or lack of interest in the issue involved, or other motivation to falsify or exaggerate, his opportunity to observe, his demeanor, and many other factors.
On the testimony, often uncorroborated, of an apparently observant witness, with no motive to falsify, and with no interest in the outcome, huge sums of money have often changed hands; and men have been sentenced to long terms in the penitentiary, sometimes to death. Of course there are sometimes mistakes, tragic mistakes, just as there have been in the application of scientific methods. But on the whole, it works well.
Sometimes, one witness is not enough. One witness testifying to the color of a traffic light at the time of collision, even such a witness as just described, may not carry the day. A second such witness observing from a different perspective, testifying to the same thing, will not double the chances that the observation is correct; it will more likely increase the odds fourfold or more. A third witness, unless they are all contradicted by others, will increase the odds overwhelmingly. It will, as a matter of common sense be considered that they cannot all be wrong.
So, what does that have to do with UFOs? Quite a bit. The modern preoccupation with the subject began on June 24th 1947 with an observation by Kenneth Arnold, owner of a fire control company and private pilot with over 9000 hours logged in small aircraft. Flying across his plane’s path in Washington State were nine silver disks. They were as big as four engine aircraft, with no tails and reflected sun like a mirror. He clocked their speed at over 1700 miles an hour, something like two and a half times the then existing world speed limit for aircraft. So there was one eyewitness.
Five other named persons reported much the same thing during the same time frame and from various places in the neighborhood. Perhaps to many people however, it will mean more that a Captain E.J. Smith and other crew members of a United airliner en route to Seattle, saw 5 to 9 disks pace their plane for 10 to 15 minutes before ‘disappearing.’ The Captain met with Arnold and compared notes. Their conclusion: They had seen the same formation. Two eyewitnesses. Did they both have hallucinations, the same one? Pulling a joint hoax are they?
On march 6th, 1950, Captain W.H. Kerr and two other TWA pilots reported a UFO hovering at high altitude. It was also seen by several ATIC control tower operators. We pretermit that it was also picked up on radar; that is science and we are talking eyewitnesses here. Four fighters were sent after it. Two pilots made contact and it was described as “huge and metallic.” Five witnesses minimum, plus some number of tower controllers.
On February 24th, 1959, at 8500 feet over Bedford, Pennsylvania Captain Peter W. Killian saw three objects south of his plane. One left their formation, approached his plane and slowed. Killian was awed by the size of it which he estimated as three times the size of his plane. He also felt obliged to try to calm the jittery passengers. The object soon returned to the formation, but Killian was then joined by another of the objects. He transmitted the frightening experience to other planes in the vicinity, and quickly heard from six other airliners in the vicinity that they had seen the formation and all agreed that the objects were no known aircraft. Number of witnesses: Plenty.
The record books are filled with hundreds of such reports from airliners, but,omitting the erroneous, the illusionary, the imaginings and the hoaxes etc. . , it is filled also with probably hundreds of thousands of corroborated eyewitness reports of equal persuasiveness.We cite one as typical of thousands.It is recounted by both Stanton T. Friedman and John G. Fuller.
At about 2:00 A.M. on September 3rd, 1965, Norman Muscarello, a young man from Exeter, New Hampshire was in Kensington trying to hitch hike home. He suddenly found himself confronted with something bigger than a house and coming directly at him. It was circular and had pulsating brilliant red lights around the rim. It made not a sound and just seemed to be floating toward him. Terrified, he dove into a shallow shoulder of the road, and when the “thing,” as he later called it, backed off, he ran to the nearest house screaming. No one answered but a passing car offered asylum and he was taken to a police station in Exeter.
Officer Toland, the bewildered officer on duty,did not know quite what to make of the story the chain smoking Muscarello blurted out. A patrolman, one Eugene Bertrand was summoned to investigate. On his arrival at the station he told of a near hysterical woman who described how an “airborne something” with flashing lights that trailed her for almost 12 miles. Asked if this sounded like what he saw, Muscarello replied: “Sounds exactly like it.” Two witnesses now.
Bertrand accompanied Muscarello to the field where he claimed he had seen the “thing.” There was nothing there. They walked the field to investigate. Still nothing. Then, amidst suddenly barking dogs and whinnying horses, Muscarello shouted “I see it; I see it.” Bertrand shouted into his radio “My god, I see the damn thing myself!”. Witness number three.
The object hovered about 100 feet over them for several minutes, and the entire area was bathed in a brilliant red. The “thing’ was soundless. It rocked back and forth. Said Bertram: It was erratic, defying all aerodynamic patterns. “It could turn on a dime. Then slow down.” A patrolman,David Hunt, having heard the Bertrand-Toland conversation on his radio came to the scene. Hunt later described the pulsating lights, the rocking, “A creepy type of look. Airplanes don’t do this.” Witness number four.
We leave our friends here. There is much more, and a whole town full of witnesses who turned out every night for weeks to look for, and often see the UFOs returning to draw electricity from the lines there. But this is enough for our purposes.
On a later segment of this tale we will examine the other aspect of the vapid claim of the scientists, and some laymen, that there is no proof because it is all so unscientific.
The author’s web site is www.ourintrplanetaryfuture.com