Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Oscar Flight Mystery: Dwynne Arneson

Dwynne Arneson presents as an "odd" puzzle piece to both Echo and Oscar UFO stories.  Both Hastings and Salas have used Arneson's affidavit statement as a means to collaborate their respective claims.  Arneson was among those former Air Force members appearing at the September 27, 2010 Washington DC press conference.  His affidavit can be viewed here.

Based on the provided affidavit, Arneson was assigned to the 28th Air Division then located at Malmstrom AFB in 1967.  The 28th was part of the Air Defense Command, not the Strategic Air Command.  Though there may have been some tasks which the 28th would have worked in concert with SAC, generally there would have been a well established line of demarcation between the two commands.  It's within this organization confine that highlights some of Arneson's claims.

Per Arneson's affidavit, as a member of the 28th Air Division, and being the Top Secret Control Officer, he states that he was responsible for the dispatching of all of the nuclear launch authentication codes to the Minuteman missile crews.  I found this to be an odd responsibility for a member of the Air Defense Command (ADC) handling and dispatching SAC launch authentication codes. To me, the idea that a "paranoid" command such as SAC allowing another command this type of access and distribution of it's launch material was unthinkable.

I opened an inquiry thread over at themissileforums.com site asking about any possible involvement of ADC's handling of SAC launch authenticators and all that responded gave the indication that this would have been impossible for a non-SAC command, even an air division, to have this responsibility even back in 1967.  On a personal note, back in the early 1980s as a launch crew member, we had received launch authentication codes strictly form the wing's Emergency War Order and Planning Division, DO22.  These documents were transported out to the LCC and locked in a safe and inventoried during each and every crew change over.

My thoughts on Arneson's claim is that he may have been mistaken as to who's launch authentication codes he was referring to as the ADC/NORAD flying unit at the Great Falls Airport (Montana Air National Guard) flew the F-102 in 1967 and was capable of carrying the nuclear tipped Genie air to air missile.  Arneson may well have been responsible for issuing the authentication codes to the ADC air crews.

With the above said, the reader may be asking of the relevance concerning UFO activity.  Perhaps nothing, yet its possible to correlate Arneson's claims of responsibility with the over all UFO story's aura of confusion and lacking of clarity of its witnesses.  Let's look at other claims in Arneson's affidavit:

"On some date that I do not recall, a UFO-related message came through the communications center.  While I recall neither the sender nor to whom it was directed, I do recall reading that a UFO was seen near some missile silos and that it had been hovering.  The message stated that both the missile crew going on duty and the crew coming off duty saw the UFO just hovering in mid-air.  It was described as a metallic, circular object and, from what I understand, the missiles were all shut down immediately thereafter.  That is, they went dead.  Someone, presumably aboard the UFO, turned those missiles off, so they could not be put in a mode for launching."

Arneson is in doubt of the date of either the alleged incident or the date of the message.  Based on previous research, it would be reasonable to assume that he may well had seen a message describing alleged UFO activity since rumors of such had permeated both the missile wing and the surrounding Great Falls area.  This would also correspond to the 341st Strategic Missile Wing's Unit History statement concerning UFO rumors as being present, but also disproven.

Did the message that Arneson read referred to Echo or Oscar?  This is were Arneson's story may well fall apart.  If the message referred to Echo, then the notion that both off going and on coming crews saw a UFO hovering in mid-air is seriously in error.  Carlson/Figel made no assertions of such a sighting.  Don Crawford, the on coming crew commander also made no statements to support this version of events.  Simply no UFO was ever reported near or over Echo's launch control facility.

Could the message had been referring to Oscar Flight?  Again, as was the case with Carlson and Figel, both Meiwald and Salas never stated that they themselves had seen a UFO over Oscar as this alleged report came from the FSC and/or a security response team which is solely dependent on who's version, Salas or Meiwald, is taken into consideration.

Arneson's affidavit further mentions his acquaintance with Robert Kaminsky while employed with Boeing.  Supposedly Kaminsky had confided in Arneson about the Echo investigation and that no known technical reason could be found for the malfunctions and that there had been reports of UFOs near the missiles at the time of the failures.

To a certain extent, Kaminsky was correct as the initial Echo investigation had showed no known causation, but as the investigation dragged on for over a year eventually the EMP-like noise pulse was isolated as the cause for the failure.  Interesting that since Arneson was employed by Boeing he would have had access to the Engineering Change Proposals submitted by Boeing and the results of the ECP installations at all of SAC's Minuteman launch facilities (this also included Vandenberg's training launch facilities).  As far as Kaminsky's stating that there had been UFO reports, he is merely one of many who had heard of the various rumours that had swept through Malmstrom and central Montana.  Like others, Kaminsky saw no UFOs himself, but only heard of them second and third hand.

What has been an area of curiosity concerning Echo and Oscar, is the lack of any data showing that NORAD/ADC radars from Malmstrom's SAGE facility had tracked any "unknown" targets over central Montana for both 16 and 24 March.  Being assigned to the SAGE facility at Malmstrom, Arneson would have been in position to know if this had happened and if any subsequent launching of Montana Air Guard interceptors had occurred.  Since Arneson never mentions this type of event/mission, then this lends credence that the UFO reports were merely rumors.

Did Arneson make this all up?  Its entirely possible that the contents of the message was basically as Arneson stated.  If the message was one of the first that was up-channeled to higher command, in this case Air Defense Command, then it reflects the initial confusion surrounding the magnitude of the Echo shutdowns followed by the disjointed statements concerning the error-proned mentioning of UFO sightings by the missile crews.  It appears obvious to me that the source for the alleged message content was not "officially" from the SAC component at Malmstrom, but from various unidentified sources not familiar with the actual situation. (This is assuming that the Arneson message actually existed in the first place)

Updated June 10, 2013:

I've been researching the Minot October 1968 UFO incident and came across information that appears to clarify Col. Arneson's statements concerning his receipt of a message relating to "UFO(s) sighted around missile silos."

It is readily apparent that all UFO sightings/reports were sent to the affected region's ADC Air Division regardless of the command making the report.  Since Minot AFB, ND was in the 28th Air Division's jurisdiction all of it's UFO reports were sent to Malmstrom (28th's location).

With this in mind, Col Arneson's recollection of a message listing a UFO(s) sighting would have been consistent with the protocols in place during his tenure at Malmstrom.  Based on Arneson's responsibilities within the air division, he would have had access to these types of message traffic.  The Minot message sent to Malmstrom (October time frame of 1968) was "Unclassified."

I'll post a copy of the Minot message with a future blog post on that specific incident once the article is completed.

Tim Hebert

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Coast to Coast...Delusions Part 2

So what's the clinical answer to the previous post?  Let's look at the definition for the term "delusion."

A delusion is a false belief held with absolute conviction despite superior evidence. Unlike hallucinations, delusions are always pathological (the result of an illness or illness process).   As a pathology, it is distinct from a belief based on false or incomplete information, dogma, poor memory, illusion, or other effects of perception.

The patient was not being treated for a delusional disorder, but was treated for an anxiety disorder. The patient's daughter was unaware of the source of her mother's belief, thereby, believing that her mother made it all up. The attending physician never made note of these thought contents because the patient did not perseverate on it. She only brought it up when I politely inquired during an interview session. In other words C2C/Hoagland did not cognitive-wise over rule her daily routine. She simply found pleasure listening to the program and thoroughly enjoyed the program. Simply, it was good entertainment for an elderly widowed woman.

I hold that her belief in moon bases and ancient alien lunar civilizations simply suffered from incomplete information due to her only quoting from one source: C2C/Hoagland.   Hoagland was her only point of reference.  There was no indication of a pathological source.  But in the end, the patient was not delusional.

Contrast this with another case.

An 83 year old widowed woman was admitted onto my unit secondary to her neighbors raising concerns due to her bizarre behaviors: talking to her self, poor nutritional intake/self care deficits, hoarding, neglecting to pay her utility bills and calling the police stating that "people" are coming into her house to steal her food. The local police were called by her concerned neighbors and brought the her to my hospital's emergency department.

On admission, she is calmly sitting in her room. She is alert, presents with a pleasant but superficial guarded demeanor. She is aware of her name, the current day/month/year, aware of what hospital she is in, and the city which the hospital is located. She does express concerns as to why she is in the hospital as she denies any issues and does not know why the police removed her from her home. She further expresses concerns that people may try to break into her house while she is in the hospital.

A check of her personal belongings reveal miscellaneous clothing, a purse, one pair of slippers, and an object that resembles a "Tootsie Roll Pop" ie, small ball-like object with a stick/tube attached.

When asked the purpose of the object, she stated that it was a device that allows her to communicate with aliens from another planet. When asked what planet these aliens are from she states that she does not know for certain. She further stated that she used the device numerous times a day as the aliens provide her with advice and are able to warn her of impending trouble.

She was given the diagnosis of Psychosis NOS, Rule Out Dementia

The first couple of days on the unit were uneventful as she appeared to have settled in to the unit's routine. On the third day she started to make request for two to three cartons of milk with her meals. She stated that the extra milk was important for her "two babies." Further questioning revealed that she was of the strong opinion that she was pregnant and carrying twins. When I asked her if she thought it irrational for an 83 year old woman to be pregnant, she told me that she thought that someone her age being pregnant was indeed impossible, but she had been blessed by God and felt with total certainty that she would soon deliver the twins.

On one particular evening I heard her having a conversation with someone in her room. On entering her room, I found her seated by the room' window facing an empty chair. I told her that I thought that someone else was in her room. She stated that she was having a conversation with her husband (she gestured towards the empty chair). When I reminded her that her husband had been dead for fifteen years, she smiled and said that she was aware but that husband "dropped by" from time to time to check on her. Then she abruptly dismissed me from her room stating that I had interrupted a private conversation between her and her husband and there was more that she had to discuss with him.

This case shows the pathology of the delusional state. Actually, ideations concerning her being "pregnant" had been an on-going issue for a number of years. In reviewing additional history from a family member, she had never had children due to a medical condition that precluded her from conceiving. She had always wanted children so over a period of time she convinced herself that she was pregnant and the delusion became "fixed", hence the inability to convince her otherwise. The psychotic state only made the thoughts more prevalent.

Whether her talking to her dead husband constituted a visual/auditory hallucinations or just an extension of her delusional state is still an interesting question.

Going back to the original theme of my posts:  Does Coast to Coast foster delusional thinking.  Coast to Coast did not cause any delusional ideations with the first case. I contend that programs and forums that tend to cater to the "unusual" have no causative effects on one's state of mind since that "state" was already in place.  Whether C2C exacerbates the issues with individuals who have clinical delusional thoughts is an entirely different matter.

Why the subject matter? From time to time skeptics and Ufologist banter around the term "delusional" to describe one an other's opposing view points. I find it irritating to see people acting as if they are psychologist/psychiatrist rendering a  diagnosis on each other when no one knows what the term "delusional" actually means and in what proper context to use it.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Does "Coast to Coast" Foster Delusional Thinking?

A few months ago on the Realityuncovered Forum I started a discussion about delusional thinking, specifically targeting the popular late night radio program "Coast to Coast."  Since I work 3 pm to 12 midnight at a university teaching hospital, I'll occasionally tune into the program while driving home.  This allows me to gather current insight into what is being discussed concerning any and all things paranormal. 

With Coast to Coast in mind (do not draw any conclusions as to my "bias" towards C2C) I present the following case study.  The patient is not named due to confidentiality.

Most of you only know me as "The former SAC Missile Crew Commander" dealing mostly with UFOs and nuclear ICBMs, yet few may know that I've been involved with the psychiatric health care system for the fast 16 years, all with inpatient care. I have a little case history to present (informally).

Recently I cared for an elderly 87 year old female patient admitted for severe anxiety and panic attacks. For all practical reasoning this patient was alert and oriented to name, time and place. Well stable concerning medical issues. Some what socially out going, though did have difficult time with interacting with our other patients. I observed that she was predominantly reclusive to her room, yet at times briefly would come out into the milieu (day room activities/environment).

Upon reading her History and Physical (H&P), I noticed where the patient's daughter had expressed concerns of recent belief systems regarding government conspiracies and expressing thoughts that there were secret bases on the moon. This caught my eye, yet not surprisingly, glossed over by the attending physician as he never mentioned nor appeared to press the patient on this ideation on any subsequent chart notes.

Later that night, the patient asked me to help her with getting her radio set up for a particular radio program...C2C. Immediately, the meaning of that small segment of the H&P became evident of the source of this lady's thought content. What follows was the patient's answers to questions that I politely and in a social manner put to her:

1. She always listens to her radio vs. that of watching TV.
2. She listens to C2C regularly.
3. Richard Hoagland was her favorite guest of C2C and was intrigued with his theories. (This accounts for daughter's recent concerns)
4. Hoagland's "Dark Mission" was her favorite book. (Further cementing the source of her daughter's concerns)

Further questions of mine evoked a belief of absolute faith in Hoagland's assertion of ancient moon bases by alien civilizations and the companion belief that the government was withholding this information to the public. During my interview, I had asked the patient if she had sought out other explanations concerning Hoagland's theories. Her replies were always polite yet showing of absolute faith in Hoagland's views.

So my question for the readers to ponder:  Does this woman suffer from a delusional disorder? If so, tell me why.

I leave this post up for a few days then I'll follow with the clinical answer.  Again, as stated at the start of the blog, do not draw any conclusions concerning bias towards Coast to Coast.  

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Oscar Flight Mystery: Robert Jamison

Note to reader, as of 5 April 2012 I've added an addendum at the bottom of this post.

As I've posited concerning UFO activity at Oscar's LCF and flight area, the lack of official documentation and eye witness corroboration has sorely hampered any legitimate UFO claims.  Similar to that of Echo Flight's UFO report to Walter Figel, Oscar Flight's incident rests on the claims of Robert Salas.  As shown in my last post, Fred Meiwald provides only a story involving a UFO near one of the flight's LFs that allegedly was seen by a security response team, but Meiwald was only telling the story as was told to him by Oscar's FSC...a story that Salas was unaware of until his 1996 interview of Fred Meiwald.   Fred Meiwald, in both Hastings and Salas interviews had no recollection of Salas' claim that a UFO had been sighted topside and reported by Oscars FSC, yet it appears that the FSC is the same individual that reported both UFO encounters in one fashion or another to both crew members on different occasions before and after crew changeover!

Robert Jamison's Story

The story of Robert Jamison is an interesting one.  Robert Hastings had been in contact with Jamison concerning his role as a combat targeting officer that was tasked with responding to a full flight shutdown during the time period of the Echo Flight incident (16 March 1967).  During the interview, which I believe to be in 1992, Jamison had recalled being dispatched during the night of the sighting of a UFO near Belt, Mt which occurred 24 March 1967.  On hearing this Hastings would eventually (four years later) contact Robert Salas believing Jamison's story not having anything to do with Echo but possibly with Salas' claim.  At that time, Salas had thought that he was actually on duty 16 March at Echo, but on hearing of Jamison story and confirming with Fred Meiwald, Salas determined that his incident had occurred at Oscar on 24 March 1967.

As did Salas, Robert Jamison had provided a signed affidavit and was in attendance on 27 September 2010 for the Washington DC press conference.  Does Jamison's affidavit information show consistency with his original statements to Robert Hastings?  To answer that questions we need to break down both stories and do a comparison.

Before we start looking at Jamison's story, I need to describe the purpose and responsibilities of a Combat Targeting Team (CTT) during the Minuteman I era.  CTTs were responsible mainly for loading targeting information into the guidance control system and for aligning the missile correctly to correspond to that sortie's target.  This task was done at night since the team had to align the site with true north (starting point the star Polaris?) and establish a geodetic location or starting point for the missile culminating with the coordinates for the missile's assigned target.  The CTTs were called for during most start ups after a missile guidance system swap out.  During upgrades to Minuteman II, the need for CTTs ceased since the upgraded system had remote retargeting capability from the LCC, plus the launch crew's capability to command the sortie to perform an IMU calibration sequence.

Back in 1992 Robert Hastings had interviewed Jamison while looking into the the Echo Flight shutdowns.  Per Hastings:

1.  Jamison assisted in the re-start of an entire flight of Minuteman missiles that had suddenly shut down after a UFO had was sighted in the flight's vicinity by Air Force security police. 
2.  Jamison was certain that the incident had occurred at one of the flights near Lewistown, MT (perhaps at Oscar Flight).
3.  Jamison and his team, as well as, other teams were ordered to remain at Malmstrom until all UFO reports from the field had ceased.
4.  Jamison and his team was given a special briefing prior to dispatch with regards to reporting UFO sightings.
5.  Prior to dispatching, Jamison overheard radio communication concerning a UFO sighting near Belt, MT. and that a high ranking officer was on-site with others.
6.  Jamison's team restarted three to four missiles.  They did not see any UFO activity while out in the field.
7.  After the shutdown incident, Jamison received special UFO briefings for the next two weeks.
8.  Two weeks after responding to the full flight shutdown, Jamison and his team responded to a four to five missile shutdown after a UFO was reportedly seen in daylight over an LCF located south or southwest of Great Falls (India flight?).

When reading Jamison's story, what is clear to me is that Hastings is telling the story as his subject/witness appears absent or detached.  There are no direct quotes attributed to Jamison.  Did Jamison simply provide Hastings a written statement?  Or, is this simply from notes that Hastings had jotted down during a phone interview?   Last year, I had attempted to contact Hastings via email regarding the methodology used for obtaining Jamison's information.  Unfortunately, I received no reply, but with the publication of this blog post, perhaps Robert would be willing to comment on the actual method of sourcing.

Jamison's seems to be "certain" that the incident occurred near Lewistown, "perhaps" Oscar.  Echo and November flights are also near Lewistown...Mike is not that far away but is situated west of Lewistown, so it may be equally reasonable to believe that one those flights could have been his destination.  Whether the incident that Jamison was responding to was on 24 or 25 March is merely supposition at this point, even with his recall of the Belt sighting, Jamison could have been responding to Echo's full flight shutdown on 16 March and subsequently dispatched to Oscar or November, or even Mike on 24 March for routine retargeting

Robert Jamison's 2010 Affidavit

1.  Jamison called at home by Wing Job Control, between 10 PM and midnight, to report to the maintenance hanger due to "a lot of missile sites were off alert status..."
2.  Upon arriving at the hanger, Jamison overheard other targeting teams discussing rumors of a UFO connection...supposedly all ten missiles at Oscar Flight off alert after a UFO reported in the vicinity of the LCF...a NCO confirmed the reports.
3.  All targeting teams directed to remain at the hanger until all UFO reports had ceased.  Jamison's team waited 2 to 3 hours before dispatching to Oscar Flight.
4.  While waiting to dispatch, Jamison overheard two-way radio traffic about a second UFO which had landed in a deep ravine not far from the base.  Later that night, Jamison's team traveled past the landing site and observed a small group of Air Force vehicles at the top of the ravine.  Based on later newspaper reports, Jamison believes that this was the UFO landing near Belt, MT on 24 March 1967.
5.  Prior to dispatching, Jamison's team briefed on what to do should they encounter a UFO
6.  Jamison's team never saw any UFOs.
7.  After the incident, for about two weeks, the Combat Targeting Teams received the same "UFO briefing" prior to dispatching.
8.  After the Oscar Flight incident, everyone in the missile maintenance squadron had been talking about UFOs...Jamison talked to several people, mostly Security Alert Team guards that personally witnessed these events...they were visibly shaken.  Jamison remembered one guard telling of seeing two small red lights off at a distance, then close in toward the missile site...as he was telling Jamison, the guard broke down and began weeping.
9.  Two weeks later, Jamison believes that it was India Flight, more UFOs were reported and four to five missiles shutdown.  Jamison was dispatched to one of the sites.  While dispatching to India, Jamison did not see any UFOs.  This incident occurred in daylight hours.

The first thing that is noticeable is Jamison's now certainty that he was dispatched to Oscar Flight.  Back in 1992, eighteen years before his affidavit, Jamison thought that "perhaps" he went to Oscar, yet now he is 100 percent certain.  As of yet, I can find no documentation or articles in which Jamison uses to reach this conclusion of clarity and certainty. 

Per the affidavit, Jamison states that when he arrived at the maintenance hanger, he over heard other teams discussing that all of Oscar Flight's missile had dropped off alert soon after a UFO had been reported near the LCF.  This precise detail is never mentioned in Hastings' version where Oscar Flight is mentioned by name.  Rather, Jamison's team was being dispatched to a missile flight near Lewistown and there were four flights that could have matched this vague location.

Jamison states that he saw Air Force vehicles parked near the top of the ravine (near Belt) where a UFO had supposedly landed.  This was never mentioned in Hastings version, only that Jamison had overheard two-way radio traffic concerning the alleged UFO landing near Belt.  In fairness to Jamison, this would have been logical since the only wing approved routing to the 10th and 490th squadron's would have taken Jamison through Belt and past the ravine (side of Belt Hill) where the alleged UFO landing site was located.

As far as Jamison's recalling of UFO sightings in the 12th Strategic Missile Squadron some two weeks after the Oscar incident, there are no known documentation/investigative reports that suggest that those incident's may have actually occurred.  This does not rule out the possibility that these sightings may have been the residual psychological effects from the previous weeks of UFO rumors culminating with Echo's incident on 16 March.  MUFON and NICAP archives show that after the Belt sighting on 24 March, there were no further sighting reports from Montana for the rest of 1967.

What of the partial flight missile shutdowns at India after UFOs spotted in that flight area?  That would depend on the accuracy of Jamison's recall.  Per the Unit History, in Dec of 1966 Alpha Flight had three LF's drop off alert in a short period of time (no UFO reports corresponds to this event).  This shows that it was not an unusual event (up to three off alert sorties) to occur and would seem reasonable that Jamison would have responded to a similar event in India flight.  Yet with this said, Hastings' original interview stated that it was "possibly in India flight."  It could have easily been in Juliet, Hotel, or Golf flight areas.

One important similarity with both versions of Jamison's story:  Jamison never sees any UFO activity near Lewistown, nor does he witness any UFO activity in the 12th SMS area some two weeks later.  Once again, we see a UFO incident which no one sees, but everyone hears rumors about.


Based on the two versions of Jamison's story, it's plausible to reach the following conclusions:

1.  With the exception of his recent total certainty of going to Oscar Flight on 24 March 1967, the two versions are basically the same.

2.  It is plausible that Jamison's belief that he responded to a full flight shut down "near" Lewistown was correct, but he was responding to Echo's incident on 16 March as this has been the only documented full flight shutdown.

3.  Jamison more than likely was dispatched on 24/25 March to a flight east of Malmstrom (10th/490th SMS) for routine retargeting/realignment and was in a position to overhear radio communication or loose talk in the maintenance hanger describing the Belt UFO incident.

4.  Jamison was well aware of rumors and/or stories about UFO sightings in the 12th SMS, west of Great Falls, and more than likely, did respond to off alert missile sorties that required retargeting and/or realignment.  Whether or not this was due to UFO activity is questionable due to the lack of any official reporting of such an event.

5.  Jamison stated that he never saw any UFO activity while dispatched to the field.

Does Jamison's statements support Salas' claims of UFO activity in and around Oscar?  In my opinion, its a stretch.  If the Air Force and SAC conducted an investigation that lasted for almost a year regarding the Echo incident and culminating with an Engineering Change Proposal and its implementation, why omit a similar incident occurring at Oscar?  Air Force cover-up?...or, simply nothing out of the ordinary had occurred.  Project Blue Book investigated the alleged Belt sighting on 24 March, yet did not investigate an alleged incident at Oscar.  This is a glaring disconnect in my opinion.  Jamison does illustrate that UFO rumors were an on-going occurrence and this is supported by the Unit History which had acknowledged in a short sentence that rumors were present.

In a future blog post I'll look at some of the other participants of the 2010 press conference.  Since Jamison's statements brings up the Belt sighting, that event will also be explored in a future post.

Addendum added 5 April 2012

Food for thought, if Jamison and his CCT team (presumably all missile maintenance teams and security personnel) received a special UFO briefing prior to dispatching to the field, why does Salas not say the same for him and Fred Meiwald...and other wing operational crews?

Salas, Meiwald, Figel, Barlow and Eric Carlson never mentioned being given special UFO briefings before being dispatched to the field.  Salas and Meiwald would have completed several alert duties well after the 24th of March surpassing Jamison's special briefing claims.  None of the above have ever mentioned receiving these special UFO briefings.

If Salas and Meiwald claim that they were questioned by the Air Force OSI, why was Jamison and his team left untouched?  Surely the OSI would have wanted to debrief all personnel that had been dispatched to the field to ascertain what, if anything, they had witnessed.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Occam's Razor May Still Be Relevant

James Carlson recently posted a reply to Robert Hastings assertions that skeptics will use Occam's Razor as the default argument to the UFO phenomenon.

Learn the Rules Before Playing the Game by James Carlson

While I'm sure that Robert Hastings' take on Occam's Razor is little more than a tool that allows him to suggest alien aircraft from adjacent galaxies cannot be dismissed as a complete impossibility, his defense of such a point of view is simply more embellishment of notions he doesn't understand. You can't compare the possibility of galactic navigation to perceived differences between Newtonian physics and quantum assessments, including Einstein's theory of relativity. After all, when it comes down to physics, the point of view can be discussed, assessed, and in most cases proven as a result of applied mathematics. Physics can be discussed in universal terms that invariably lead to new theories that can in turn be discussed as applied mathematics. His meanderings about UFOs and alien species, however, are based on nothing. They cannot be discussed by the use of scientific and mathematical building blocks, one on top of the other. Hastings is merely suggesting that "anything goes" in this universe of ours, including galactic travel. It's a trick of language that has no meaning outside of blatant guesses. Modern physics may not initially seem "simple or straightforward", but it can be addressed under terms common to science and mathematics. Flying saucers from other galaxies or star systems cannot.

Suggesting that inter-galactic UFOs should be considered "possible" is , of course, a tenet of hypothetical positivism, but establishing any form of measured probabilities can't be applied, because we have no data to assess. Hastings is trying to apply scientific reasoning and logic to a phenomenon that he can't describe. We can describe modern physics under terms common to Newtonian physics, by we can't apply anything at all to the possibility of galactic travel in flying saucers in order to fool around with the natives on our little, blue planet. There are no such common building blocks to establish -- there's only a bunch of guesses that have yet to be applied or properly described. It's an intellectually dishonest argument to make (no surprises here, considering the source). You can't use the relative differences between apples and oranges to describe a duck-billed platypus.

His assessment that "the vast majority of UFO skeptics have yet to consider the possibility that alien visitation might also occur in a counter-intuitive manner, for example, by the utilization of higher-dimensional space - hyperspace - to effectively by-pass Einstein's light-speed limitation" is also meaningless. Hyperspace is a theory that hasn't been proven or measured or discussed in terms applied to both Newtonian and quantum physics, making this whole discussion a waste of time and effort. The possibility of hyperspace travel is insufficient to establish UFOs on our planet -- even the possibility of UFOs originating from different stars. The fact that physics may at times seem "bizarre" is an equally meaningless argument. Physical immortality is also "possible", but that doesn't mean we should all cut our throats tomorrow simply because the "possibility" exists. Robert Hastings is trying to apply rules of complex science to establish the "possibility" of UFOs; fine, that's easy to accept. But it still isn't useful and it can't be used to predict the probability of an event that has yet to be measured.

Robert Hastings' insistence that "UFO skeptics and debunkers ironically resort to quoting Occam's Law as if it were an unassailable pillar of wisdom, applicable to all questions involving UFOs" is a silly conclusion to reach for anybody. Occam's Law was never intended to describe possibility. At best, it can only recommend a very limited and base assessment of probability. Given that his questions regarding galactic travel as used by UFO astronauts can't possibly be assessed and therefore described under scientific terms common to our knowledge of mathematics and physics and quantum theory, it's perfectly reasonable to use Occam's Law to describe such ideas. After all, Occam is simply a tool that attempts to describe probability where no discernible measurements, facts, or mathematical characteristics can be properly applied. It has nothing to do with possibility, making his very generalized discussion about as meaningless as his collection of UFO folk-tales.

In addition, his notion that observed phenomenon provides more usefulness than estimates of probability is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of "observation", which represents a psychological determination -- not one based on physics or mathematical assessments. This is a puerile attempt to link associations that that have nothing to do with each other. You cannot measure "observation" -- you can only attempt to describe it. Human observations are notoriously inexact and are quite often affected far more by the psychological structures of the observer then by any inherent objective qualities of whatever is being observed. To claim that the "preconceived notions" of skeptics tend to be more applicable to their analysis of UFOs than the observations of UFOs by witnesses is equally meaningless. All observations are dependent on preconceived notions -- it's a psychological dependency common to all humans, not just skeptics, and it's an aspect of human character and will that Hastings applies only to those men and women expressing ideas and reaching conclusions different from his own. And that, too, represents a stillborn analysis poorly conceived, another example of intellectual dishonesty.

It's obvious that what Hastings is attempting to suggest in order to denigrate the opinions of skeptics has not been properly applied. It's a word game in which he fails to recognize or even define objectivity in relation to phenomena he can't define on the basis of psychological tenets he fails to apply equally. Apparently it's okay for UFO witnesses to describe an incident in terms that carry no weight, the recognition of elements that can't be objectively analyzed, and the failure to recognize that the actual qualities of observation stem from the psychological character of the observer, but it isn't okay for skeptics to consider the probability that an incident actually occurred in the only terms available. If he was an honest man attempting to discuss an event that he couldn't possibly describe in terms suitable for scientific analysis, and not a dishonest researcher attempting to use irrelevant elements poorly suited to his position in order to posit the assumed superiority of ideas he has repeatedly failed to establish in the first place, he would admit that the argument he has presented is a patently ridiculous one derived entirely from his own prejudices and his obsessional desire to damage the character of any reasonable assessments that reach conclusions contrary to his own. Since he is NOT an honest man, I'm not a bit surprised that he would apply the dishonesty characterizing most of his efforts in this field in order to attack those who at least try to use accepted standards of science to approach a perception-based phenomenon of this sort. People who lack the ability to properly apply known science to a field of study that has only rarely presented data that remains consistent should refrain from reaching conclusions on the basis of their ignorance. When they do, that ignorance becomes immediately obvious.

If Robert Hastings wants to convince the world that UFOs should be considered "possible" in our universe, because 21st century science is more complicated than science was in the 18th century, he's welcome to do so. But using that "possibility" to attempt some silly little attack on those who have decided to look at "probability" instead is little more than the arrogant posturing of a man who clearly has no real understanding of the issues presented.