Monday, August 1, 2011

A Skeptic does the MUFON Symposium - Part 1

MUFON's 2011 International Symposium was held in Irvine, California, not so far from where I live in San Diego County, after several years of being held in Colorado.  I hadn't been to a UFO conference in about eight years, and had never been to a MUFON Symposium, so I decided to go up there to see it. Phil Klass used to attend the MUFON Symposium regularly, so I figured that somebody has got to do it.

I didn't hear the Keynote Speaker on Friday night, veteran astronaut Story Musgrave. Last year he had been quoted in some news stories making wild UFO claims, but he had been badly misquoted. Musgrave's message was, I was told, that "the universe is very, very big," and so extraterrestrials must exist somewhere. However, he does not believe that there is any evidence that they have arrived on earth. Or as Musgrave earlier told reporter Billy Cox, “Life is everywhere in this universe, there is no evidence that it has visited earth.”

One of the first things I saw upon entering the hall Saturday morning was a vendor table peddling a lot of amazingly dubious stuff. Glenn Steckling is the coordinator of the George Adamski Foundation. I expressed surprise that anybody was still interested in the fables of Adamski, who claimed to be good friends with the people from Venus, and took lots of cheesy, fake-looking UFO photos. Steckling said that there was a lot of interest in Adamski, and that he had known Adamski personally. Knowing that Adamski had been dead for 46 years, I told him, "you must have been just a kid when you knew him." "I was," he replied, "I have been doing this all my life. My mother and father also knew Adamski." It's good to keep it in the family, I suppose. At the same table, Maurice Osborn (below, wearing glasses) was providing lots of useful information, like "Alien Abduction resistance" and "Beware of the Grays and Human Slavery."

Glenn Steckling promoting the books and fables of George Adamski

The first speaker of Saturday was Richard Dolan, author and TV producer who has been keeping a pretty high profile lately. His talk was titled, "A Secret Space Program : From Rumor to reality After Disclosure." (Read my earlier Blog posting on "World Disclosure Day", the UFOlogical equivalent of the Second Coming, fervently rumored and eagerly anticipated but never occurring.) Dolan gave the audience what it wanted to hear: lots and lots of wild, unsubstantiated claims, mostly about UFOs in outer space. Like UFOs supposedly following the space shuttle missions STS-96, STS-106, and STS-111 - little blurry blips of light that might have been anything. There is lots of alien activity going on on the Moon, says Dolan,  but NASA airbrushes its photos to keep them hidden.  Those objects that astronomers call "shepherd moons" that keep Saturn's rings sharply-defined are actually UFOs, too. Frankly, I felt that Dolan was scraping the bottom of the barrel in terms of the credibility of his claims, but later on Linda Moulton Howe and George Filer gave him some very serious competition in that regard.

The next speaker, Dr. Ted Peters,  asked "Will ET Contact End World Religions?" He and a colleague did a survey of many different religious groups concerning a possible ET religious crisis. The short answer is, practically nobody said that an official announcement of the existence of ETI would cause them a serious crisis of faith. MUFONers consider this very good news, because one common argument against "Disclosure," possible social upheaval from the breakdown of religion, appears to be a non-problem. Interestingly, Peters found that religious non-believers, however, seemed convinced that ET disclosure would cause religious believers to lose their faith!

(To Be Continued)

This fellow was bored by all those long-winded speakers.


  1. I was at a Macedonian Studies conference once, where partisans of "Macedonians are Greeks!" got into a fist fight with the "Macedonians are Slavs!" crowd.

    Does anything like that happen between the people who view the alien abductors as saviors and those who see them as slavers?

  2. A close friend of mine recently fell in with a bunch of people who refer to themselves as spiritual warriors. The meet several times a month, and watch a video or listen to a guest speaker. First time out- 9/11 conspiracy. My friend came back to me with terrifying evidence that the whole thing was done with some kind of advanced energy weapons. It took me a couple of days to compile the appropriate research, but I did eventually help her to see past this stuff.

    My approach was... to not deny the possibility of a conspiracy, but to explain the errors with that particular set of ideas. A technique I used several more times, dealing with crystals, homeopathy, and so on.

    I was very happy with my friend here- she wasn't accepting what they were telling her at face value, nor was she accepting my counter arguments without question. Her reasoning skills were sharp.

    Then we got to Alien visitations. And there was literally nothing that I could say. No solid proof, no incontrovertible evidence, where's the "Smoking Saucer" and so on.

    It's just an amazing hold, this idea has on people. Like angels and our pets waiting for us in Heaven, I guess- it's just too attractive for reason.

  3. It is easy to be skeptic if you have not had any personal experience.

  4. I don't think anyone can be an honest "sceptical investigator". Either you are open-minded and look at and present the evidence without judgment, esp. a-priori judgment, as Linda Moulton Howe and Rich Dolan have done in their books, or you have an alternative agenda. Unfortunately, too many have fallen for the "snicker factor". . .


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