THE GREAT UFO DEBATE: INTRODUCTION In April of 1986, I attended the 10th Anniversary Conve

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THE GREAT UFO DEBATE: INTRODUCTION In April of 1986, I attended the 10th Anniversary Convention and Banquet of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP). There I sat next to a charming gentleman named Lucien Kemble, who told me to my surprise that he was a Fran- ciscan monk. Fr. Kemble and I talked and dined together often at the convention, and we have maintained a correspondence ever since. His skeptical attitude towards the paranormal stems from his desire not to see the true works of God and Christ get lost in a flurry of meta- magical fluff and nonsense. As an accomplished amateur star-gazer, he views the beautifully integrated mechanics of the universe itself as the one true "paranormal" occurrence. In our correspondence, I raised with him my disagreement with CSICOP's attitude on UFOs. "SOMETHING is going on up there," I told him, "and Science is missing the boat." Rather than sneering at me condescendingly, as others have, he very politely and with genuine curiosity asked me my reasons for believing thus. It was then that the idea of a public electronic debate on the subject occurred to me. The fortieth anniversary of the traditional beginning of the UFO era presents an appropriate time frame for a reasoned, objective dis- cussion of the UFO issue, specifically, whether UFOs represent a gen- uine opportunity to add significantly to our knowledge of the uni- verse, or are simply a figment of the collective imagination. As Para- Net is philosophically neutral territory, a sort of electronic "Hyde Park" of the paranormal, what better venue for such a discussion to take place. Here, therefore, begins the second ParaNet Debate: UFOs, 1987 - After 40 Years, Have We Got ANYTHING? I will begin the debate with a brief article, which will be posted here and submitted to Fr. Kemble for his reply. Copies of the submissions will be sent to various others in the field, skeptics and believers alike, for their perusal and possible response. In addition, all ParaNet users are invited to participate. You can submit a response by typing it on an ASCII word processor and uploading it to Section 1 - Ufology, or if it is less than 2000 characters, simply post it to the message base. Non-users can simply send a typewritten submission of up to 3000 words to: ParaNet, PO Box 17675, Fountain Hills, AZ, 85268. (If you happen to have access to IBM-formatted disks, you can submit in that manner as well.) As ParaNet is an eleemosynary entity, we regret that we cannot compensate anyone for a submission; we ask that you do this in the interest of public education. However, all copyrights will be honored and posted as requested. The fruits of the debate will be stored in the ParaNet Library for reference by future generations of Truth-seekers. And now, let the debate begin! --Jim Speiser


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