UFO Conjectures

Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Skeptical Mind usurped by Emotional Bias

A UFO friend of mine, when I announced a project about who really wrote Shakespeare’s plays, asked, “ You’re not really going to indulge that nonsense, are you?”

For me, the palpable obviousness of different authors for the Shakespeare oeuvre needed a rehash. Many others doubted that William Shakespeare wrote or was able to write the great works attributed to him; e.g., Delia Bacon, Sigmund Freud, Alden Brooks, Calvin Hoffman, Gilbert Slater [The Group Theory, which I adhere to].

Ms. Bacon was considered, according to James Shapiro (see below), “crank and a madwoman but had favorable views held by Emerson, Hawthorne, and Whitman.”

Delia Bacon may be read about here:

The authorship question here:

The counter work that attempts to offset the controversy (one more time) is Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare by James Shapiro [Simon & Schuster, NY 2010].

But this is a blog about UFOs, so here’s where I make my point from the blog title…

The iconic Kenneth Arnold 1947 sighting, from which the term “flying saucers" came into being, has been interpreted a number of ways, even here, early on, but a great debate ensued and kept erupting on UFO UpDates, exacerbated by UFO ET believers and alleged “open-minded” ufologists.

It seems that one James Easton speculated, eruditely apparently, that Arnold had actually seen, not “flying saucers” but, pelicans. [See Lynn Picknett’s elaborate account in The Mammoth Book of UFOs [Carroll & Graf Publishers, NY, 2001, Pages 45 ff.].

One-time noted author Jerome Clark and various of his cronies coined the term “pelicanist” as an epithet for those adhering to Mr. Easton’s inestimable view.

The debate caused rancor, mostly from UFO proponents, with a few occasional peeps from the Pelican-believers.

That Arnold saw “flying saucers” was, like the believers in Shakespeare’s output, a descent into “faith” rather than logic or rationality.

The “pelicanists” were not and are not the skeptics in this. The Arnold saucerites are; they can’t imagine Ken Arnold being gulled by birds, but he was.

Such biases, as belief in something(s) so patently erroneous, are as maddening to the intellectual mind as the irrationality of a Menzel, James Randi, Philip Klass, Robert Sheaffer, or our friend Zoam Chomsky, who hate UFO belief but hark to an alternative that is equally, maybe even more so, absurd.