Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Review: Science Was Wrong

Kenn Thomas,

Stanton Friedman is a very similar personality, a long-time UFO investigator who has outlasted his many critics in the public arena. Friedman spent the mid 1950s getting degrees in Physics from the University of Chicago--a classmate to Carl Sagan!-- and fourteen years working as a nuclear physicist. His interest in UFOs began in the late 1950s and has spent decades rooting out information from witnesses and archives, famously coining the situation as "the cosmic Watergate," a catch phrase the dates the era of his largest popularity. Newbies to UFOlogy may yet still be impressed by his hard science background, but he's more impressive to enthusiasts of the subject for his long list of hard-researched UFO books. Among them: Captured! The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Experience; TOP SECRET/MAJIC, and Crash At Corona: The Definitive Study of the Roswell Incident. His last most recent book was entitled Flying Saucers and Science, and this current one, co-authored with educator Kathleen Marden, niece of the earliest of modern abductees, Betty and Barney Hill, is called Science Was Wrong.

The book catalogs in an almost Fortean way the long list of scientific developments initially derided and dismissed by the scientific community. This includes air travel itself, of course, but also meteors, X-Rays, the telegraph, space exploration, germ theory--it's a long, sad list. Friedman, in fact, underscores the damage done not only from neglect of new discoveries, such as the slow governmental response to HIV/AIDS, but also by misguided official response to notions such as Social Darwinism, which led to the Eugenics movement in Germany and America. The connection to UFOs is obvious, of course, but the book does not get bogged down in, say, the particulars of the Roswell debate where Friedman often finds himself. Rather, it draws broader conclusions about the responsibility of scientists to get ahead of the UFO phenom, whatever it is. Whether one is a UFO believer or not, this is an essential ethical argument connected to that topic, science in general and the necessity of historical review. Whether or not the Roswell crash story breaks open one day, Friedman's role in bringing this debate before audiences for decades makes him an indispensable public figure.


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