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Response to Logical (Reply #43)

Mon Apr 23, 2012, 08:20 PM

44. Speaking of Allen Hynek:

Early evidence of the shift in Hynek's opinions appeared in 1953, when Hynek wrote an article for the April 1953 issue of the Journal of the Optical Society of America titled "Unusual Aerial Phenomena," which contained what would become perhaps Hynek's best known statement:

"Ridicule is not part of the scientific method, and people should not be taught that it is. The steady flow of reports, often made in concert by reliable observers, raises questions of scientific obligation and responsibility. Is there ... any residue that is worthy of scientific attention? Or, if there isn't, does not an obligation exist to say so to the public—not in words of open ridicule but seriously, to keep faith with the trust the public places in science and scientists?" (Emphasis in original)


The essay was very carefully worded: Hynek never states that UFOs are an extraordinary phenomenon. But it is clear that, whatever his own views, Hynek was increasingly distressed by what he saw as the superficial manner most scientists looked at UFOs. In 1953, Hynek was an associate member of the Robertson Panel, which concluded that there was nothing anomalous about UFOs, and that a public relations campaign should be undertaken to debunk the subject and reduce public interest. Hynek would later come to lament that the Robertson Panel had helped make UFOs a disreputable field of study.

When the UFO reports continued at a steady pace, Hynek devoted some time to studying the reports and determined that some were deeply puzzling, even after considerable study. He once said, "As a scientist I must be mindful of the past; all too often it has happened that matters of great value to science were overlooked because the new phenomenon did not fit the accepted scientific outlook of the time."

In a 1985 interview, when asked what caused his change of opinion, Hynek responded, "Two things, really. One was the completely negative and unyielding attitude of the Air Force. They wouldn't give UFOs the chance of existing, even if they were flying up and down the street in broad daylight. Everything had to have an explanation. I began to resent that, even though I basically felt the same way, because I still thought they weren't going about it in the right way. You can't assume that everything is black no matter what. Secondly, the caliber of the witnesses began to trouble me. Quite a few instances were reported by military pilots, for example, and I knew them to be fairly well-trained, so this is when I first began to think that, well, maybe there was something to all this."


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._Allen_Hynek

Did you see Allen Hynek in Close Enclunters of the Thrid Kind? He was the man smoking a pipe in the scene after the mother ship landed.

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