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NEWS CLIPPING SERVICE DATE OF ARTICLE: December 13, 1989 SOURCE OF ARTICLE: Las Vegas Review-Journal LOCATION: Las Vegas, Nevada BYLINE: Arthur A. Chevalier ======================================================== (C) Copyright 1989 ParaNet Information Service All Rights Reserved. THIS FILE WAS PROVIDED BY THE UFO NEWSCLIPPING SERVICE AND PREPARED BY PARANET ALPHA -- PARANET INFORMATION SERVICE 1-303-232-6115 9600 BAUD (DATA) 1-303-232-8303 (VOICE) DENVER, COLORADO NOTE: THESE FILES ARE NOT FOR REDISTRIBUTION OUTSIDE OF THE PARANET INFORMATION SERVICE NETWORK ======================================================== CLAIMS OF UFO 'EXPERTS' HAVE NO BASIS IN FACT By Arthur A. Chevalier Let me begin by saying I have seen a UFO -- that's right, an unidentified flying object. But I have not seen a spaceship or "flying saucer." An important distinction must be made here because of the recent rash of local broadcasts, produced by KLAS-TV's George "Geraldo" Knapp, pretending to be balanced, in-depth reports on UFOs. Knapp claims to have seen documents that show the government has engaged in a massive cover-up of UFOs so we civilians won't be frightened into mass panic. It would appear Knapp obtained most of his information from the fringe groups that make a living selling books and videotapes about UFOs. In fact, the primary sponsor of this TV program repeatedly urged viewers to call a 900 number to get the lowdown on UFOs at $2 a minute and also receive a free videotape (for only $6.95 shipping and handling). Throughout the two-hour program, UFO "experts" were portrayed as intelligent researchers with nothing to gain (other than book and tape sales), while skeptics were usually just plain wrong. Scientific research about UFOs was given only a few minutes. Phillip Klass, editor of Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine and world-renowned investigator into UFO claims, was given maybe five minutes to speak, and he said all UFO sightings have logical explanations. Knapp and his UFOlogist friends said Klass is wrong and is just a mouthpiece of the government's cover-up. These UFO "experts" maintain that when they are proven wrong regarding some of their claims, it is because the government is spreading disinformation to discredit them. Sounds like paranoid to me. This "Cosmic Watergate," as Knapp calls it, is just about to bust wide open and he intends to be in the forefront. The famous MJ-12 papers so often cited by the "experts" as proof of a government cover-up have been scientifically proven a forgery and a fraud. These UFO "experts" also say scientists no longer look into UFO sightings because they have been proven wrong too many times. Science has researched this subject and found there is no tangible evidence to verify the existence of UFOs. How long must scientists try to disprove something that can't even be proven to exist? Carl Sagan and most astronomers believe there is an abundance of life in the universe. It is almost impossible that there is not. But Sagan, after researching UFOs, says there is no conclusive scientific evidence verifying the existence of flying saucers. In fact, Sagan feels it rather egotistical of us to believe we are constantly being observed by aliens who have nothing better to do than travel unimaginable distances to play cat and mouse with us. Why didn't Knapp interview Sagan? Could it be he didn't want to have to contradict this most respected scientist? A quarterly publication called the Skeptical Inquirer is available at the local library and should be required reading by all. It contains discussions by Sagan and other scientists with impeccable credentials regarding claims of the paranormal. Their position is that while none of these claims (UFOs, astrology, mental telepathy, etc.) are impossible, there has been no scientificaly verified evidence that any of them are valid. Skepticism has been described as having a closed mind, when in fact it is exactly the opposite. Skepticism is simply an approach to the problem of telling what is counterfeit from what is genuine -- and a recognition of how costly it may be to fail to do so. To be a skeptic is to cultivate "street smarts" in the battle for control of one's mind, one's money, one's allegiances. To be a skeptic is to refuse to be a victim. Although I believe it is all right for broadcasters to do programs regarding the pseudosciences, balancing such programs with viewpoints from both sides is essential. The growing belief in the pseudosciences in this country is alarming. Why is it that many humans suspend all rationality when confronted with certain, as yet unexplained, natural phenomena? The human brain and our vast universe are incredible mysteries currently being explored by science, yet somehow logical thinking is discarded by intelligent people when they are confronted with claims of the paranormal. ================================================================= Arthur Chevalier is a financial adviser and nine-year resident of Las Vegas. =================================================================


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