Tuesday, December 07, 2010

UFOs - A TURNING POINT?

In the current issue of the Australian newstand magazine "Ufologist" I review “UFOs – Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials go on the record”

From that review some quotes:

One of the great strengths of Leslie Kean’s book is the detailed presence of key players in the official French investigations of the UFO subject. There is Major General Denis Letty describing the birth and content of the 1999 COMETA report “UFOs and Defense: What should we prepare for?” This independent report from 13 retired generals, scientists, and space experts has a profound effect on official French investigations. It was also the catalyst for Leslie Kean’s entry into the UFO subject. The long time head of the official French UFO agency GEPAN – Jean-Jacques Velasco – describes the organisations activities and his own evolution in UFO thinking in “France and the UFO Question.” A major bonus for the book is the former head of CNES the French equivalent to NASA, and current chairman of the steering committee for GEIPAN (the current incarnation of GEPAN), Yves Sillard giving his own commentary and position on the UFO question. For him it is a matter “no longer in doubt.” He even wrote his own landmark book in 2007 (in French) “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena: A Challenge to Science.”

Another potent contribution comes from two prominent political scientists Dr. Alexander Wendt and Dr. Raymond Duvall – “Militant Agnosticism and the UFO Taboo.” This essay was based on their 2008 paper in the leading scholarly journal Political Theory – “Sovereignty and UFO” which gave a deep insight into why governments “systematically ignore the UFO phenomenon despite the overwhelming evidence for its existence.” For Leslie Kean’s book the authors incorporated the ideas from the 2008 paper into an excellent piece for non-academic readers with additional new material. This essay is particularly important. Apart from the impact of global sovereignty issues on the “taboo” associated with the UFO issue Wendt and Duvall conclude in a manner very close to my position, namely “what is needed above all else is a systematic science of UFOs, on the basis of which we might eventually be able to make informed judgements about them, as apposed to simply reiterating dogmas one way or the other.”

Leslie Kean concludes in her important book in a similar vein arguing for a new agency to scientifically examine the UFO phenomenon in a more appropriate way. Indeed she responds to the standard sceptical argument that “extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence” with Budd Hopkins perceptive response: “An extraordinary phenomenon demands an extraordinary investigation.” Until that becomes a substantial part of the established mainstream response to the UFO phenomenon Leslie Kean’s book “UFOs” will stand as a powerful signpost in the argument for taking the UFO subject seriously. This book deserves to be read far and wide. It might just provide the catalyst for the turning point needed in this much maligned and neglected mystery.

Photo: Leslie Kean and me at Campbelltown, near Sydney in 2004. Courtesy of Peter Khoury

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