Saturday, April 11, 2009



NOTE: If the title of this post seems rather odd to you, watch Jody Foster in CONTACT before continuing. You will then grasp the richness and totality of both the message and the discussion surrounding it. Sincerely -Michael M. Hobby

To discuss our subject, let us use the metaphor and allegory of SPORTS. Sports, in our sense and use, are activities in which two or more parties engage in a form of COMPETITION, with the object of either winning or achieving a higher score than others.

Let us resolve COMPETITION further by focusing upon a specific subcategory of Sports, FOOTBALL, establishing a few of its basic elements:


-The Team is the property of the Owner.
-The Coach, Quarterback, Tackle, and Receiver are members of the Team.
-The Team competes with other Teams.
-The Goal is the objective of all Teams.

How do Teams win? They engage in Games.

-Teams meet on the Field to Play the Game.
-How do Teams Play on the Field? They conduct Plays.
-The Coach designs the Plays, or adopts the plays of others, and adds them to the Play Book.
-The Quarterback is expected to learn the Plays. He then selects Plays from the Play Book, subject to the approval of the Coach, and may also design Plays of his own; these Plays are also subject to the approval of the Coach.

How is the Game Played?

All Games begin when a member of one Team Kicks the Ball to the opposing Team. A member of the opposing Team acts as the Receiver and catches the Ball. He then attempts to run (move) the Ball as far as possible toward the Goal line until he is tackled by one or more members of the opposing team. The Umpire then marks how far the Ball was moved toward the Goal line. Where the Umpire places, or allows others to place, the Ball becomes the Starting Line for the next Play. The team in possession of the Football then proceeds with the next play or Hovers to determine which Play they believe will enable them to move the Ball the farthest distance toward the Goal Line. They then return to the Starting Line and the next Play then commences. During the game, the Coach may call a timeout. The Teams then leave the Field and muster with the Coach to receive instructions or commence a discussion. Following the timeout, the Teams return to the Field and the Game resumes. The Umpire may also halt the Game by blowing his whistle and/or throwing a white flag upon the Field. This typically occurs either when a member of a Team violates the Rules of the game or commits a Foul. Rules define what actions can legitimately be conducted during a Game, and which cannot. A Foul occurs when a member or members of one Team inappropriately or unprofessionally either contact a member of the opposing Team, or interfere with the actions of a member of the opposing Team. If a Rule is violated, a Penalty applies. If a Foul occurs, a penalty applies. Generally, Penalties for Fouls are the most severe. Penalties may apply to the member(s) who commit(s) the Foul, or, more often, to the member's entire Team. Until the Team in possession of the Ball completes four Plays (IE, the passage of TIME), it remains in their possession, unless the Ball comes into the possession of a member of the opposing Team, either because the member of the Team in possession of the Ball either Fumbles it, or the Ball is Intercepted by a member of the opposing Team.

A Fumble occurs when the member carrying the BALL either drops it, thereby losing possession, or it is knocked from his grasp. If a member of the opposing Team recovers the Ball, the opposing Team comes into possession, PROVIDED THAT the Fumble did not occur as the result of a Foul being committed against the member in possession, or violate one of the Rues governing recovery of the Ball. The Team now in possession attempts to move the Ball as far as possible in the direction of their Goal line.

An Interception occurs when the Ball thrown by the opposing Team is not caught by the member intended, but instead, by a member of the opposing Team, PROVIDED THAT the member Intercepting the Ball does not commit a Foul against the member intended to catch it, and/or violate one of the Rules governing Interception.

If the Team in possession of the Ball fails to reach their Goal line within four Plays (a passage of Time), the opposing Team comes into possession of the Ball at the farthest point it was moved down the field. That point becomes the Starting Line for the first play of that Team. If the Team in possession of the Ball reaches their Goal line, they achieve a Touchdown (a Goal), and six Points are awarded. Additionally, the Team making the Touchdown gains the opportunity to earn an extra point by kicking the Ball between the Goal posts behind their Goal line. They may attempt to gain two extra points by, instead of kicking the Ball between the Goal posts, electing to attempt to run it across their Goal line a second time without being tackled before they cross it.

This description of the Game of Football is sufficient to establish metaphors and allegories pertinent to the purpose of our discussion.

LIFE in many ways resembles a SPORT in its competitive aspects. The competitive aspect of LIFE our discussion pertains to is the Pursuit of Truth. The Pursuit of Truth in many ways resembles the Sport of FOOTBALL. Individuals and/or Groups of individuals sharing a common Idea or Belief resemble a TEAM.

Examples of Teams are Politcal parties with differing Ideas and Beliefs, Religions or religious groups with differing Ideas or Beliefs, Scientists with differing Ideas or Beliefs, Nations with differing Ideas or Beliefs, Cultures with differing customs, Ideas, or Beliefs, and other opposition groups.

The Idea or Belief possessed by the Team seeking to advance or promote it resembles a BALL. The individuals and/or group in possession of the Ball encounters OPPOSITION from other individuals or groups which do not accept, and therefore, oppose the efforts of those attempting to advance it. That Group is the Opposing Team.

Teams believe that the Ideas or Beliefs of the opposing Team are MOOT. Moot is defined as “Open to question,” with the principal synonyms, “debatable, arguable, disputable, doubtful, problematic, questionable, and uncertain.”

The arguments and debates between the Teams resemble a GAME. DEBATE ( or its equivalent, Argumentation) is defined as “the act, art, or an exercise of one's powers of argument.” DEBATES may be Formal, like Games played by Teams which are members of the NFL (National Football League), debates between political candidates, but also may be Informal, like Football Games between Teams drawn from neighborhoods or communities, such as the Little League, and include the forums, editorial sections of Newspapers or Internet sites, or any other contexts within which the Teams oppose each other. Little League players have the opportunity to advance to members of larger Teams, and even to more Formal Teams, like the NFL. Small forums, such as on Internet sites, have the opportunity to advance to more Formal forums with many more hits, and opportunities to publish in more prestigious Scientific, Political, Religious, Economic, Social, or other published Journals or other broader or more influential contexts.

The GOAL is the audience the opposing Teams are addressing in their Games. The GOAL LINE is convincing the audience the opposing Teams are addressing in their Games that the BALL in their possession is most correct.

A TOUCHDOWN resembles reaching the Goal Line.

The UMPIRE is Sportsmanship (Ethics and Professionalism). A FOUL is a violation of Sportsmanship (unethical or unprofessional behavior). In this respect, in Formal debates, both the Goal and the Government act as the Umpire. If a FOUL occurs, a PENALTY results.

As in Football, the severity of the Penalty depends upon the nature of the Foul, which could be reduced credibility, or a Civil penalty resulting from a lawsuit. In enormous Formal Games, such as between Pharmaceutical companies racing to produce a drug, a Foul (such as when the drug results in the death or disablement of many children in a test group) penalties can reach billions of dollars. In the most Informal Games, such as between two individuals, the penalty may be as severe as the halting of the Game, such as, “Only those who respect the personality of others can be of real use to them”-Albert Schweitzer.

Nicholas Humphrey offers the following assertion in his book, “LEAPS OF FAITH. Science, Miracles, and the Search for Supernatural Consolation.” [ (1996) Basic Books, p.51]:

“For those who would resist the drift towards materialism, there might therefore be an intellectually honorable way forward. Rather than ignoring or deriding science, the better way could be to try to beat science at its own game.
We want a future state. We cannot expect to get it unless we have good reason to posit a special explanation of present facts. As things stand, however, contemporary scientific doctrine tells us this special explanation is not required. Then our strategy, should perhaps, be to go out and uncover new facts that do require it; facts that prove the present doctrine wrong.”

In his chapter, “Uncommon Sense,” is the following:

“ . . . A search uniting the Jesus street people at one end, and laboratory-based parapsychologists at the other, in pursuit of any such facts as might force a revision of the prospects for mankind. [p.52]

“Mark Ridley, the evolutionary theorist, has gone further still in saying . . . 'It is likely therefore that the first human brains evolved to impose symbolic meaning on the external world, and the scientific virus later infected a minority of their descendants, where it now flourishes in nerve circuits that originally evolved to carry other ideas' [Mark Ridley (1993), 'Infected with Science', New Scientist, 25 December 1993]
Such arguments, however, greatly exaggerate the supposedly unscientific and irrational character of the pre-scientific mind. Chambers Dictionary defines science, broadly but quite appropriately, as 'knowledge ascertained by observation and experiment, critically tested, systematized and brought under general principles.” But just such is the typically human way of gaining knowledge. So much so that, by these criteria, all human beings are almost from birth inveterate 'minor natural scientists' – keen observers of the universe, collectors of facts, framers of hypotheses, investigators of the as yet unexplained.' [p.53]

Thus, if hundreds of thousands of “typically human” observers and an overwhelming majority of “street people” believe UFOs exist, while on the other hand, relatively few vehement scientists, minuscule by comparison, assert they do not, who is it most “scientific” to believe is correct? To which must be added that they are not alone, for Sagan himself said, regarding the Nommo amphibious race discussed in "The Sirius Mystery,"

" . . . stories like the Oannes legend . . . deserve much more critical studies than have been performed heretofore." [Sagan, Carl, and Shklovskii, I.S. "Intelligent Life in the Universe," Delta Books, New York, 1966; p.461. See also, in Temple, Robert K.G., "The Sirius Mystery," Destiny Books, Rochester, Vermont; 1987, comments on that work made by W.H. McCrea, Emeritus professor of Astronomy at the University of Sussex and former President of the Royal Astronomical Society on pp.222-223]

The search for extraterrestrial life has grown in both intensity and dimension; a good example is the recent launch of the Kepler telescope not into earth orbit but a solar orbit above our own orbital plane. During the 14 years since 1995, when astronomers Michael Mayor and Didier Queloz discovered the planet 51 Pegasus b orbiting the eponymous star 51 Pegasus, astronomers have counted a total of 342 planets orbiting 289 stars, but not a single one of them is of the so-called terrestrial variety, because they are at a greater distance from the parent star than gas giants like Jupiter. Astronomers detected those not by spotting the planet directly but by measuring the minute gravitational wobbles it causes in its parent star as it orbits. With those data, it is possible to calculate the planet's mass, velocity, orbital altitude and more. Earth-like worlds are to small to cause wobbles and must lie within the Habitable zone, the distance from their sun where conditions are within limits which enable the evolution of life as we know it. [to further understand the limitations of the Habitable zone, see, RARE EARTH, 2000, by Ward, Peter D., and Donald Brownlee;Copernicus-Springer-Verlag, New York]

If a solar magnitude of 1 is assigned to the earth to represent its distance from the sun, Venus would have a solar magnitude of 2, and Mars would have a solar magnitude of 0.5. Venus is far too hot and thus its orbit lies beyond the Habitable Zone due to excessive solar radiation. Mars is too cold, because its orbit is at the extreme edge of the Habitable zone. Life may exist and likely does in the subsurface pore space where water is known to exist, but did not form there. Mars previously had abundant water as meandering River valleys attest, but future evolution of subsurface microbial life will be hampered by its present orbit.

"That's what Kepler is trying to change. The new telescope looks a bit like it could be the Hubble telescope's little brother, measuring 15.3 ft. vs. Hubble's 43.5. Kepler is smaller because it carries just one main piece of scientific hardware: a light imager known as a charged couple device that detects fluctuations in light so tiny they're measured by counting the electrons they produce on a silicon surface. This will allow Kepler to spot planets by the previously invisible change in luminosity they cause as their orbit carries them around the facing side of their parent star. . . . An unblinking look at Cygnus-Lyra is important because even if Kepler were to detect any telltale fluctuations in stellar light, that wouldn't be proof of a planet. The telescope would have to keep looking and see if the flickering is repeated roughly once a year, or about the time it would take an Earth-like planet to circle around its star and pass in front again. Record three or four such passes, and you can be pretty sure you've got a planet — hence the 3½-year mission." []

We like programs like Kepler because they are clean and free from the UFO debate, which is muddied by the lack of generally observable proof, something like a craft hovering over an earth city for an extended period too long to be denied or refuted. Nevertheless, the sheer volume of reports defying explanation or dismissal requires that we work on both fronts simultaneously.

Attempts to follow Humphrey's proposed strategy will expose such individuals, whether scientists or religionists, to vigorous, though often, merely authoritative condemnation at best, and being characterized as “zany” at worst. A thick skin and uncommon sense, which for niggardly detractors may add the designations, “madman” and "Hedonistic" to the list, are required. As I fall within both conventional and zany circles, rigorously defending assertions within the former, and directing attention to the outer limits of unexplained phenomena within the latter, I must thus be adept in the use of both Occam's razor and the Axe.

Further, I prefer to deal with each mentality on its own terms, as each is an energetic detractor (opponent) of the other. In doing so, I thus intentionally strive to be perceived as beating myself in both games, a zero-sum, or unity. An example of this paradox is the dispute involving “real” Christians vs. Mormon Christians. As I believe there is truth in the “core” of the Book of Mormon, yet am not a member of the faith to which the designation has become attached, I may be deemed a victim of uncommon sense to the former, and an “apostate” or more gratuitously, a “fellow traveler,” to the latter.

The “win“ strategy for my line thus becomes to first pose one set of facts to conventional science only in matters of accepted intellectual dispute on the frontiers of science, defending them rigorously to assure my recognition as prescient in the future; secondly, in contrast to this, to pose another set of facts or highly controversial unaccepted or alleged facts, less rigorously defended due to their very nature, to those interested in matters which may or may not be on the frontiers of science. These have a high percentage of popular (“typically human street people”) acceptance or belief, while a low percentage of acceptance or belief among consensus professionals in those same areas, and thus may legitimately-even by myself-be termed, “semi-science” or “popular” science.

Let us now consider the previous paragraph within the context of Fair Play and within the context of Unfair Play:

1) Should “professional” courtesy be extended to the unprofessional?
2) Can a matter or subject clearly popular among the public, IE, the layman, be ethically disparaged as unworthy of the attention of conventional science?
3) Is, or should there be, such a thing as “ethics” or “professionalism” in scientific dispute;? In Popular dispute;? In scientific vs. popular dispute?

The latter is the chicken bone stuck in the throat (scientific vs. popular dispute).

“Zany” is an interesting designation. Its selection may seem warranted, because it does not challenge the irrefutable academic stature of the opposition, but rather introduces the speculation that a matter at hand, the Ball, is “silly,” “foolish,” “cockamamie,” or even “mendacious,” depending upon the ethics and professionalism (Fairness) of the Team asserting as much. It merely serves to reduce the apparent credibility of the specific Ball or the Team having possession, generally. Is this Fair (ethical and professional) or is it Unfair (unethical or unprofessional), merely contemptible.

One cannot claim in a professional journal article-peer reviewers would reject it, “My Daddy can beat up your Daddy.” It is something only a child, physically or intellectually, might say. One can however, if ingenious, effectively say, “My God can beat up your 'god,'” because, however much it may grate upon members of a given Team in any Game, both science and religion at their core are matters of faith, not merely “fact.”

The redeeming hallmark of the Team most likely to ultimately reach the Goal Line [Team A], is a grudging willingness to allow their faith-the interpretation of their “facts”-to evolve. This Team, in my opinion, is likely to complete the most Interceptions of the Ball (Lynne McTaggart, and her book, THE FIELD, is an example of such an interception). Here is a classic example of Team A:

" . . . Hapgood pointed out the 300% to 400% of error in our initial estimates of the last ice age, as discerned through use of the C-14 and Ionium dating methodologies, 'By use of the first method, scientists revised the date of the end of the last ice age, making it only 10,000 years ago, instead of 30,000 years. A still more startling discovery was that the first known phase of this ice age [called the Farmdale Advance] occurred only about 25,000 years ago instead of 100,000 years before the present. . . . in 1955, geologist Leland Horberg showed that, unless the radiocarbon method was entirely fallacious, there was a very marked acceleration of these geological processes during the last part of the ice age. Some factor must, therefore, have been operating that is not operating now. It is clear that volcanic dust, by producing sudden falls in temperature and, at the same time, providing nuclei around which moisture could condense, could increase the rate of rainfall. Therefore, we are sure that a movement of the earth's crust would accelerate all these processes.
[Hapgood also determined, with respect to the Piggot-Urry cores from the North Atlantic, that "Back to 12,300 years ago the material is volcanic glass, indicating volcanic eruption somewhere at no great distance." Path of the Pole, 1958, 1970, 1999, p.176]
The other method of dating which we call the ionium method, has also produced a major upset. Applied to date the sediments obtained in cores from the bottom of the Ross Sea in Antarctica, it has revealed that during the last million years, Antarctica has several times been non-glacial. When the cores were dated, it was found that the most recent 'ice age' in the Ross Sea began only 6,000 years ago! It appears from this that the growth of ice in Antarctica actually occurred SIMULTANEOUSLY with the melting of the North American ice cap." [ibid., p. 66]

"This apparent lack of correlation presents interesting problems. If glaciation is caused by world-wide climatic change, why are the southern oscillations so unlike the North American ones? If, on the other hand, climatic change is not the cause of glaciation, what is?" [MacNeish, Richard, 1971; p. 107]

Scientific progress is often painstakingly slow, but it occurs nonetheless.

The hallmark of the opposing Team is an open unwillingness to allow its interpretation of its "facts" to evolve [Team B], unless social exposure or overwhelming evidence that their faith has been misplaced causes them to Fumble the Ball (forced change by society at large), though it is likely not to be characterized as such (for example, new “discoveries” or “revelations” received from the Owner of that Team are more likely to be presented in a desperate attempt to Recover the Ball). If the Ball is true, it will feel firm in the hands of the interested but dispassionate; if it is made to “appear” true as by an authoritarian pronouncement not subject to dispute except at great personal risk, it may feel soft and under inflated in the same hands. Team B appeals to such irrefutable authority with no obligation to systematically examine scientific credibility:

"St. Augustine in The City of God says, 'As it is not yet six thousand years since the first man . . . are not those to be ridiculed rather than refuted who try to persuade us of anything regarding a space of time so different from, and contrary to, the ascertained truth? . . . We, being sustained by divine authority in the history of our religion, have no doubt that whatever is opposed to it is most false.' He excoriates the ancient Egyptian tradition that the world is as much as a hundred thousand years old as 'abominable lies.' St. Thomas Aquinas, in the Summa Theologica, flatly states that 'the newness of the world cannot be demonstrated from the world itself.' They were so SURE." [Sagan, The Pale Blue Dot, 1994;p. 24]

Veritas [Teams A] vs. fides [Teams B]; requisite periods metaphorically termed “days” [Teams A], vs. six 24-hour days of creation or six days of 1,000 years each [Teams B], for example. Within this context, consider the following:

" . . . Platonism in the general sense is a creed which denies creed, an anti-institutional tradition known to those who adhere to it as the 'Great Tradition.' It resembles the Society of Friends (Quakers) in insisting on nothing in the way of doctrinal dogma. It is truly free, it has no membership, no tithes, no rules which are enforced; it has no Pope, no Caliph. It terrifies those weaker mentalities which crave a structured belief-system; they always try to destroy it, but succeed only in destroying individuals and individual 'movements' within the larger tradition." [Temple, Robert K.G., speaking of Proclus (410-485 A.D.) in "The Sirius Mystery," Appendix I; Destiny Books, Rochester, Vt., p. 229].

By this definition, I am guilty of belonging to the "Great Tradition," IE, Teams A.

A Foul may not always be recognized as such by the Umpire (observers, popular opinion, readership, or the courts). Brawls and skirmishes still occur on the Field, however, if a Team feels the Umpire just missed it. Thus, Fair and Unfair are also matters of opinion and interpretation, because only TIME is the ultimate Umpire. Time is the proximate Owner of both Teams, IE, in Time comes UNITY. It is important that time not be wasted, but that seemingly insignificant issues receive long-enduring attention using a "WHAT IF" model. Within that model, to establish framework within which progress might become possible, the presumption is made that the contested data or evidence are "true," and the resulting implications are then isolated for consideration. The human species needs to consider such questions BEFORE inexorable contact with alien species. Issues which now seem of little or no priority will then leap to the forefront and if never addressed before, will render mankind's position relative to other intelligent species precarious. For example, the question, "what is a sentient being?" arises when considering extraterrestrial life, as discussed somewhat in my post, "Conflicts and Contradiction . . ." Life can arise organically by genetic manipulation, or inorganically, using artifical intelligence and nanno technologies so advanced that we can now scarcely comprehend them. Consider the Star Trek clip at:

Similarly, "what if" the species known as "Greys," together with their "doctors" and anal probe technology actually exist? How then can the anal probe reported to be so uncomfortable be characterized as technology rather than technical sodomy?

Lynn McTaggart recently discussed research indicating that human intelligence and knowledge, though centered in the brain, actually extend throughout the body, and are apparently concentrated in other areas, such as the human gut. If the reported research turns out to be valid, it should come as no surprise that an advanced species need not dissect the brains of abductees, as the same information is available from the gut by use of an anal probe which can "read" it.

These are but two examples of posing "what if" questions, which may then be capable in the very least of forward-thinking science fiction, which as we all know, can eventually lead science to development and understanding of such advanced, if currently incomprehensible, technologies. Thus, the more daring among us must pursue both conventional and unconventional, in the box and out of the box, thinking. The human psyche is capable of achievement not yet dreampt; but we must be willing to exercise it without regard to the dribble of sceptics.

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