Sunday, August 31, 2014

American Association for the Advancement of Science - 1969 Symposium

Hi all,

As a comparison to the recent blog posts on the former SIGMA and the current SIGMA2 of the French 3AF (click here and here) , I also drew readers' attention to the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics' three year study (1967-1970) of UAP (click here.)  One of the reasons for doing this, was to see if we had made any advances in methodology and findings, over the ensuing 44 years. I was then reminded that the American Association for the Advancement of Science (click here), held a symposium on UAP in 1969.

To refresh my own memory, and for the benefit of blog readers who may never have come across that Symposium, I turned to "UFOs:A Scientific Debate" edited by Carl Sagan (click here) and Thornton Page (click here.) The book was published by Cornell University Press, Ithica, in 1972. ISBN 0-8014-0740-0 (click here.)

"In the year preceding the publication of the Condon Report, the editors of this book approached the American Association for the Advancement of Science with the idea of organizing a general symposium at an annual meeting of the Association to discuss the UFO issue. The AAAS Board approved such a symposium for the December 1968 meeting in Dallas...the Symposium was postponed for a year and was finally held on December 26 and 27, 1969, at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston." (p.xii.)

The aim of the Symposium was:

"...to bring the various facts on UFOs to the attention of scientists and to show enthusiasts the implications of the very much better organized facts in the physical, biological and social sciences..." (p.3.)

The talks presented at the Symposium were:

Robert L Baker. "Motion Pictures of UFOs."
Frank D Drake. "On the Abilities and Limitations of Witnesses of UFOs and Similar Phenomenon."
Lester Grinspoon and Alan D Persky. "Psychiatry and UFO Reports."
Robert L Hall. "Sociological Perspectives on UFO Reports."
Kenneth R Hardy. "Unusual Radar Echoes."
William K Hartmann. "Historical Perspectives: Photos of UFOs."
J Allen Hynek. "Twenty-One Years of UFO Reports."
James E McDonald. "Science in Default:Twenty-Two Years of Inadequate UFO Investigations."
Donald H Menzel. "UFOs-the Modern Myth."
Philip Morrison. "The Nature of Scientific Evidence:A Summary."
Thornton Page. "Education and the UFO Phenomenon."
Douglass R Price-Williams. "Psychology and Epistimology of UFO Interpretations."
Franklin Roach. "Astronomers' Views on UFOs."
Carl Sagan. "UFOs: The Extraterrestrial and Other Hypotheses."
Walter Sullivan. "Influence of the Press and Other Mass Media."

I found some interesting quotes in the book:

""I can present only my own experiences, which has shown that in the UFO business one can trust nothing secondhand." William K Hartmann. (p.11.)

"I think it likely that there are many extraterrestrial civilizations in our galaxy, but I think the evidence of UFO sightings does not support the hypothesis of visitation by these extraterrestrials." Franklin Roach. (p.32.)

"The data that I have reviewed and analyzed since 1954 has led me to believe that there is substantial evidence to support the claim that an unexplained phenomenon - or phenomena - is present in the environs of the earth..." R M L Baker. (p.190.)

(Referring to witnesses of bright meteors.) "The first fact we learned was that a witness's memory of such exotic events fades quickly. After one day, about half of the reports were clearly erroneous...after five days, people report more imagination than truth. It became clear that later they were reconstructing in their imagination an event based on some dim memory of what happened. This is something that the UFO investigator rarely appreciates." Frank D Drake. (p.254.)

"No scientifically adequate investigation of the UFO problem has been carried out during the entire twenty-two year period between the first extensive wave of sightings of unidentified aerial objects in the summer of 1947, and the convening of this symposium." James E McDonald. (p.52.)

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