Saturday, August 12, 2017

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

In keeping with the tradition that no good deed goes unpublished, and as a way of explaining how I was dragged into this nasty fight over the reality of the Billy Meier contact claims, I thought a note of explanation was warranted. In the words of Robert E. Lee, I didn’t want this fight but the fight is here.

I had criticized MUFON for the choice of speakers at the recent symposium thinking that guys claiming to have traveled through time or some such nonsense were just not credible. Jan Harzan said that they were invited to tell their stories so that the membership could decide for themselves if there was any reason to believe them. A nice thought, but I had wondered why the same opportunity wasn’t extended to Michael Horn who is the official American spokesman for Billy Meier. Horn responded with a kind note about that.

Then I created the trouble. In a comment to one of the posts, I wanted it to be clear that I was not an advocate of Billy Meier. I included what I believed to be a somewhat innocuous statement. I wrote, “This post was about some of those invited to speak at the next MUFON Symposium and not an avenue to promote a contactee case that I believe to be untrue. Let's take it back to that discussion.”

This ignited the firestorm. I had now defamed Billy Meier. I needed to retract the statement immediately or offer evidence that Meier was not in contact with alien creatures (to be fair, they really aren’t creatures but are very human and speak in the vernacular of the day, but of course that could be translation trouble rather than their actual words). I really didn’t want to get into this because it seemed it would be a colossal waste of time. But the attacks became more vicious and more personal. It was even announced that I would debate Michael Horn. Of course, I had agreed to no such debate but as Horn told me, he’d already announced it on his site. That made no difference to me because I hadn’t even been asked before he made the announcement.

I did mention that I had read a couple of the books about Meier, but that was rejected as too little. I needed to retract my statement which was my opinion based on what I had seen or read. There were demands for evidence that Meier was not in communication with these aliens. I thought it was they who should be offering proof that the contacts had taken place. Why, according to them, there were hundreds of pictures, 125 witnesses, metal from the aliens, and all those predictions made by Meier which had come true and been confirmed by later events as we had been told, repeatedly.

There was another challenge for a debate, this one engineered by Horn with Rob McConnell. I said, “No.” I could see no good coming from this, but once again Horn had jumped the gun promoting this debate and then claiming I had backed out. No such thing. I had never agreed.

In the meantime, knowing that it was a lost cause, I put together some information about the Meier contacts, including an article that suggested a number of photographs that were allegedly taken by Meier had been shown to be fakes. These were blurry, out of focus, hard to see photographs of many things including satellites in space, these aliens he was in contact with and even dinosaurs. I was informed that although the pictures were linked to Meier, he had never taken them. All these dozens of faked photographs had been planted on Meier with an eye to discrediting him. The Men in Black had done it. The CIA was responsible for it. It made no difference that the photographs had originally been credited to Meier, they were now saying that they had not been taken by him.

In the meantime, Rob McConnell had worked to set up a debate between Horn and me. I was reluctant but agreed to do it. Almost the next day, Horn published an article calling me all sorts of names including a coward. McConnell, incensed by the attack, cancelled the debate. Please notice here that I didn’t back out of this either. It was cancelled by the host for reasons that he explained at length in a news release.

I will note here one thing that Horn didn’t know because, frankly, it’s none of his business. Many of the anti-Meier comments to my blog, while interesting and filled with good information, contained claims I was not comfortable posting such as allegations of plagiarism by Meier. I have tried to keep everything relevant and have criticized some of those posting that the tone of the comment was not in keeping with the civilized discourse that I want on this blog. Some of them made allegations that while they might be true (though I don’t know they are) and certainly suggest something about the character of those involved, this isn’t the place to discuss them. All those comments have been rejected whether they have come from Horn or others or whether they support Meier or don’t.

I was looking into some of the claims of Meier (and not allegations about his personal life), that is his predictions that came out of the contacts and there were a lot to choose from. I learned that Meier had predicted that the ozone layer had been damaged and that, according to him, terrestrial scientists were unaware of this. Turned out, based on documentation, terrestrial scientists were aware of this and one of the earliest comments was published in 1969, seven years before Meier mentioned it. Made no difference because the Meier supporters said that he would have no way of seeing these articles and journal papers in which this information had been published. The real point, however, was that the information was out, in the public world before Meier had addressed the problem, and out there in forms that Meier could have seen.

I learned that Meier had predicted that Jupiter had more than the 14 moons that had been found so far in the 1970s. When it happened, that new moons had been discovered, we were told this confirmed what Meier had said, though we learned of the new moons from the Voyager space probes which had an additional mission of finding new Jupiter moons. That mission suggested that our scientists knew there would be more moons orbiting Jupiter. Meier’s suggestion was not the reason for this additional research mission and when we looked at some of Meier’s predictions about Jupiter, we learned they were wrong. There weren’t 17 moons but nearly 70. The one Meier said was closest to Jupiter was, in fact, third from that planet.
Io. This is about the only picture I
could find that was somewhat
relevant to this post. NASA photograph.
Meier also said in his 115th Contact, that “the moon, Io, once was totally covered with water.” He also had claimed, Io’s ocean was “chiefly potassium salts and sulfur combinations would constitute the surface [of Io] and deep into it, and that everything has settled as a very thick crust, after the masses of water on this satellite had receded.” However, Voyager summary papers in Science on June 1 and then on November 23, 1979, cite no evidence that Io ever had a liquid ocean and that “unlike the other satellites, Io has no water absorption features.”
I could go on but the spin will start soon.

In fact, what I found, is that all the websites and information that suggests Meier is in contact with aliens are traceable back to supporters’ websites. The independent sites, that have no connection to Meier almost universally dismiss him. Oh, there are a few exceptions but the arguments used in support are the same trite and often inaccurate ones used by Meier’s supporters. The preponderance of the evidence simply does not line up in support of Meier’s claims.
My point here is that I was challenged to prove that Meier wasn’t in contact with aliens, which is a very difficult task… Oh, not because he is, but that it is very hard to prove a negative. The evidence however, such as the doctored and faked photographs tend to prove he is not. Just how many fakes does it take before someone says, “This is one too many,” and someone else laughs at the idea that the Men in Black had faked them to make him look bad.

How many failed predictions do we need to find before someone says, “This is one too many.” What we find by looking at many of the predictions is that they reflect the terrestrial science of the time and not what we know now. Again, some of the proof revolves around Jupiter’s moons (pun intended), but other proof, about planets beyond Pluto tells us more. Information about two planets beyond Pluto was found to have been published seventy years before Meier said a word about it and we now know that there are not two planets beyond Pluto as he said. There are three accepted by the IAU and another bunch that are awaiting confirmation by the IAU. Whatever the final number is, Meier had it wrong.

There is the metal that was analyzed by Marcel Vogel who had a wonderful career with IBM (and other places) and who holds a number of patents suggesting that he is one smart dude. He was a chemist whose interest in luminescence sparked a number of important discoveries. He also, according to Gary Kinder, in Light Years, analyzed the metal given to Billy Meier by his Pleiadean pals. Vogel said that the sample contained thulium but another investigation by the Independent Investigations Group said that the element was aluminum. Of course, Vogel was involved in a number of “fringe” investigations so his conclusion about the strangeness of the metal is not surprising. However, the Independent Investigations Group is an organization of skeptics who investigate fringe science and extraordinary claims from a rational, scientific viewpoint so that their conclusions are not surprising either. The problem here is that, according to Kinder, the sample has disappeared and it seems that no one in the Meier camp is interested in providing additional samples for independent testing. (Yes, I get that samples of alien metal are difficult to obtain, but then, Meier’s pals have supplied him with many opportunities to prove the contact real.)
The real question here is just how many of these things do we have to show before people realize that the predictions in the Contacts are not as accurate as have been claimed. We have found evidence, a preponderance of the evidence, that Meier has provided no special insight into the things he had discussed, and much can be traced to the scientific thought and the articles in the popular press at the time the claims were made. That not only suggests the source, but that his information did not come from aliens.

But to get back to the original point… why was my rather benign comment suddenly a point of major contention? Aren’t I allowed an opinion of my own rather than one forced on me by the supporters of a rather dubious claim? I mean, all I said was that I didn’t believe in the contact stories, which, had everyone just let that go, would have been buried in the comments section of this blog where, in a couple of weeks, only a few people would see it. Now, thanks to the controversy, there are multiple postings with evidence suggesting that the Meier story may not be based in our shared reality. I don’t think this controversy had done much to change anyone’s mind, but we do have to ask if all the hostility was necessary. I think not, but the last time I expressed an opinion, some people just went nuts.

9 comments:

Lorna Hunter said...

Kevin,

Your next book should be a guide for where ufolgists should really be putting their time, energy, and resources to work. What "old" cases should we focus on, what can we do today to better equip the amateurs in the field (MUFON investigators for instance), how to file FOIA requests..... WHAT can we do now to either prove or disprove alien visitation? Should the focus be on science and exo-planet exploration? Seems we waste an awful lot of energy re-hashing old crap!

albert said...

@Kevin,

When you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.

Of course, you were pushed into the pit, so you bear no criticism.

Sociopaths like Horn, etc. have no use for concepts like truthfulness, rational judgment, protected speech, common decency, and so on.

In my opinion, anyone who lies about -anything- (like claiming you backed down from a debate that you never agreed to) should be dismissed out of hand.

No discussion required.

Still, it was interesting to see the comments, from a psychological point of view. It's like a horrible disaster that, despite your best efforts, you can avoid watching.

So thanks for that.

. .. . .. --- ....

purrlgurrl said...

I'll admit it. I just couldn't get through the post. Meier has been so thoroughly discredited that only the most gullible or the dimmest light bulbs in Ufology still pay any attention to his lies and hoaxes. Nothing concerning him is of any interest to those of us who are rational.

You did choose to open this Pandora's Box . . .

Best to file it all away under the heading,"Lessons Learned", and ignore Meier's advocates. Pretty soon they'll get tired of shadow boxing and move on to harassing someone else.

Steve M said...

Kevin

I've read you blog for a number of years, and while I may disagree with you occasionally, I have found that you always base your arguments on the available evidence. There then follows a healthy discussion between the posters and yourself.

Unfortunately in the case of Billy Meier's, it seems to be a case that as they can't disprove what you say, they resort to "going for the man and not the ball" as we say in the UK.

You've raised a valid point about MUFON and Meier but it's now time to move on to more interesting and worthwhile subjects

Anthony Mugan said...

Hello

I tend to agree with the previous comments (four are visible at the time I'm writing this).

Unfortunately the situation as a whole was summed quite well by a CIA analyst way back in 1952 when he wrote that large sections of the population seem conditioned to the acceptance of the incredible.

Solving that problem (and the UFO community part of this is just a symptom of a much more serious and deeper problem we have) is well beyond the scope of anything we can achieve here.

I can't think of a better approach than when something comes up that might actually add to our knowledge take a look at it, if it's nonsense then dismiss it and leave it a that and let the fruitcakes enjoy their fantasy. In this area it at least is a relatively harmless fantasy beyond the rather objectionable noise and trolling that goes along with it.

I would add that I think it is pretty clear that nothing to do with Meier will add anything at all to our knowledge, so beyond noting the lack of credibility of the claims, to be honest I would just ignore it. Much of what seems to go on looks more like a commercial approach to generating business by courting controversy and by a gradual escalation of claims to keep up the excitement levels of the punters.

It would be great to have a group that just ignores this sort of drivel and just occasionally writes about the more solid evidence based work that comes up from time to time from mainstream scientific developments and from the rare real developments in ufology. Not 'exciting' and probably not all that practical in a commercial sense, but it would be interesting to a small number of people. In the meantime we all just have to plough through the noise and try to pick out the useful nuggets.

Brian Bell said...

I think there's ample and overwhelming evidence that Meier is a complete fraud. His "time traveling" dinosaur photos, highlighted by Kevin, are just the tip of the iceberg. Contactees seem to have their own "cultish" worldview on these matters. Like a questionable religion, if one disagrees with their theology, they come after you -- but not with viable evidence and rational discourse --- rather pitchforks and knives.

KRandle said...

Purrlgurrl -

All I said, originally, was that Meier was a contactee and that I did not believe his tale. Didn't call him a name, didn't suggest it was a hoax, only that I didn't believe it. This implied, at least to my way of thinking, was that with sufficient evidence, I could change my mind. Instead, I was told that I had defamed Billy Meier, and the assault began on my character. Not a discussion of the evidence but an assault that was filled with bullying statements. All this because I had originally suggested that Michael Horn be offered the same opportunity to make his case to MUFON that a couple of others, whose tales were clearly hoaxes had been offered to them.

So, no, I didn't open this Pandoras's Box, it was opened for me. Once it was opened, I can see no reason not to defend myself. Please note that I have not engaged in name calling or bullying...

All this because I expressed an opinion that was contrary to what others believed.

KRandle said...

dubious -

Your comment was rejected because I do not allow political discourse on this blog. Your response, which made sense was fine until you just had to make a political comment. This post had nothing to do with politics, well, those inside the UFO field, but you took it to a level that seems to permeate too much on the Internet today.

Ben Moss said...

Like Fry and Adamski, Meir has no proof of anything he says. Many investigations have shown the fakes he has used, and it is sad that some still follow these guys. Lorna's dig at Mufon Investigators is the usual stuff we hear from armchair opinionaters.