NEWS CLIPPING SERVICE DATE OF ARTICLE: December 13, 1989 SOURCE OF ARTICLE: Las Vegas Revi
NEWS CLIPPING SERVICE
DATE OF ARTICLE: December 13, 1989
SOURCE OF ARTICLE: Las Vegas Review-Journal
LOCATION: Las Vegas, Nevada
BYLINE: Arthur A. Chevalier
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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
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
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
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
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
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
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
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank