Response to Jacques Poulet By Martin Kottmeyer I think it might be helpful to provide some

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Response to Jacques Poulet By Martin Kottmeyer I think it might be helpful to provide some background to "Entirely Unpredisposed" to understand the assumptions that underlie it and clarify its intentions. The paper was written specifically to appear in the British magazine, _Magonia_ which is a long-running forum for psycho-social explorations of the UFO phenomenon. British, French, and other European ufologists have developed a theoretical tradition with major differences from American ufology. Their studies and reasonings convinced them over a decade ago that the extraterrestrial hypothesis wasn't working and that they had better bone up on subjects line psychology, folklore, mythology, sociology, anthropology, and other strictly terrestrial subjects if they ever hope to understand what is going on in the UFO phenomenon. The problems with the ETH are well-known to long-time readers of _Magonia_ from several articles. I share their sensibilities and would not bore them talking about axioms we already accept. American UFO buffs rarely bother to acquaint themselves with the European psychosocial tradition so I empathise to some degree with why he has difficulties in knowing why I don't seem to care about some unarticulated assumptions and unexplored defenses of the ETH. Poulet and I come from different ufological cultures. "Entirely Unpredisposed" is first and foremost a rebuttal of claims by three major ufologists that a psychosocial framework could not make sense of this or that observation. I found the claims unusually instructive because once a psychosocial worker encounters them they are obviously wrong and makes certain facts suddenly visible that you didn't realize were as important as they are. My intent was to show a psychosocial framework does too make sense of their observations and in fact maybe even considerably better than the ETH. Poulet should be able to deduce from this background why my article is the way it is. I'll next address a few of the points that aren't implicitly answered by the above remarks. Poulet observes that if aliens have been with us long before 1947 then the cultural prefigurements of ufological imagery and thought I put forward might be explained. My response is simply that Jacobs, Hopkins, and Bullard then were wrong to advance the propositions that they did. I am rebutting _their_ claims that psychosocial explanations are not possible. I know of John Martin's 1878 flying saucer and other pre-47 discs. I ignore them because Jacobs ignores them. He probably dismisses them for the same reason I would. They are mere curiosities and coincidences. Name any common geometric form and you will find ancient aerial figures possessing the chose form somewhere in the historical record -- spheres, cubes, pyramids, cylinders, etc. (I'm fond of aerial pollywogs, personally, whether ancient or modern.) What Jacobs was getting at is that flying discs suddenly became dominant in 1947. He beieved it was because the aliens arrived in 1947. In reality it was because Bill Bequette pinned the phrase flying saucers on Arnold's amazingly fast objects and this made the front page across the nation and beyond. The prior discs and saucers were known only to local papers and specialists in meteorology or the offbeat, like Fort. I ignore the variants -- the orange balls, boomerangs, cigars, bells -- because Jacobs ignores them too. I have no reason to infer from Jacobs' remarks that he would regard the variants as spaceships. The present variety in part reflects the fact that the phrase "unidentified flying object" has virtually replaced the original term and does not have the same shape-restricting qualities as "flying saucers." There were some shape variants in the 1947 wave like flying washtubs and flying lobsters, but these were attempts at creativity and parody. I might add that some ufologists, John Keel is one, regard a wide divergence of forms as a point against the ETH. I don't understand how Poulet could consider it a point in its favor. Poulet's comments on abduction ordering suggest he is unacquainted with Bullard's argument. Bullard implies the psychosocial framework cannot make sense of this ordering -- only aliens could probably account for it. My remarks are a response to that challenge. One can't definitely argue about the behavior of beings with arbitrary wills. Aliens will undoubtedly do some things in ways we would not. Nevertheless, conference before exam is the way we do things in real life and that arrangement is not arbitrary. A little sensitivity to our mores would not be a priori unreasonable for social beings with the cooperative skills necessary for the creation of an advanced technology capable of spanning the stars. But, to quote Bill Warren, "Aliens are weird." So, who knows. Poulet might be right. Why aren't the Hill abductors 10 feet tall? If I recall correctly, it is because Keyhoe rejected giant aliens as laughable. He endorsed the Venezuelan aliens, which were short. The Invaders from Mars mutants were somewhat taller than average. The final product is 5' to 5'4" in Betty's dream -- none as tall as Barney. (I think they were somewhat shorter in the TV movie, but I won't swear it.) This is interpretable as a compromise between the two influences identified. Whether that is right or wrong, I will say 10 foot aliens would definitely present a minor puzzle had they been present in association with observations that show Keyhoe's and Invaders' influences. Five footers make sense. Poulet isn't convinced aliens aren't involved. In one sense I wouldn't expect him to on the basis of one article. Indeed, none of the things that convinced me of that particular proposition are in "Entirely Unpredisposed." Not knowing the particular reasons that lead him to prefer hearing pro-ETH theorizing, I can't guess what all would be needed to convince him of the validity of the psycho-social position. Some of the things which bother me about the ETH include the problem of noncontact, the incoherent presence of furtive behavior and alleged evidential clues, the interpretive ambiguities of the physical evidence, the incoherent presence of diverse alien forms and unanimous furtive behavior, the unscientific or unadvanced and largely inscrutible nature of their investigative behavior, the apparent presence of dramatic license, the unsubtle presence of absurdities more resembling dreams and fantasy than believable quirks of alien cultures, the failed landing prophecies and fears of invasion voiced by most of the early ufologists, the breakability of some of the best cases and how they never convincingly gel to form a sensible campaign of coordinated activity, the fact (which deeply puzzled Jung) that humans seem to desire news that aliens exist and will ignore and censor news that they don't, and continuities in the quality of evidence between obvious nut cases and the most believable cases which parallel continuities in other belief systems. These, I hope you realize, are points condensed from a large body of thought. Hilary Evans wrote a whole book on the last point. The ins and outs of the problem of noncontact make up a rather lengthy chapter of something I wrote nearly a decade ago. I don't expect them to convince in this bare form. It is only to give a sense of why I assume we are dealing with a terrestrial mythos and not an extraterrestrial reality. I don't ask you to agree wtih my position, but please make allowance for the gulf between our traditions in assessing "Entirely Unpredisposed"'s arguments.


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