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Mutual mistrust may have added a few X-files to the UFO era

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posted on Feb, 17 2016 @ 08:17 AM
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An historian from Penn State has been examining the Cold War era and tracking the development of the public's attitude towards UFOs, and how ufology diverged from the mainstream of science:


Uncloaking the flying saucer movement in the United States could offer historians a snapshot of Cold War attitudes at work in society, as well as insights into how science communication may be tied to current denialism and conspiracy theory movements, according to a Penn State historian.

Scientists, military officials and amateur unidentified flying object investigators -- often called ufologists -- have clashed almost since the start of the modern flying saucer era, which began in 1947 when aviator Kenneth Arnold spotted what he claimed were nine silver flying discs in the Cascade Mountains of Washington, said Greg Eghigian, associate professor of modern history, Penn State.

"From that event, this very quickly explodes and becomes a focus of media attention, but the question for me as a historian is why haven't historians been more curious about what took place and what has been going on for some time now," said Eghigian. "It's had clear impact on the way people think about science, the way people think about technology and the way they think about government and authority."


www.sciencedaily.com...

He points out the Cold War era's climate of mistrust and obsession with national security. Newspaper reports of UFOs increased steadily during the 1950s, but have since dwindled away, showing a decrease in public interest. Meanwhile, mutual distrust began to grow between the scientific establish, which saw the UFO phenomenon riddled with hoaxes and pseudo-religion and, therefore, not entirely reputable, and Ufologists, who began to form a parallel establishment.

Serious Ufologists imitated the scientific methodology, but lacking, for the most part, the ability to examine the phenomena under controlled conditions, began to draw broader conclusions than necessarily warranted. Eventually, ufology became an entirely separate discipline with a self referential, virtuous circle of procedures and beliefs. The belief that the "establishment" was concealing the truth about the topic tapped into the growing mistrust of government, attracting a new wave of conspiracy theorists to the field. Eventually, ufology diverged so far from the standards of academic inquiry that it devolved into pure pseudoscience in the eyes of scientists.

Ironically, this has made even the history of ufology something of a taboo subject among serious academics. There have been a few sociological studies that place "flying saucers" in the context of American religious revivalism and political utopianism, but the history of UFOs has generally been written by people who are invested in the "UFO establishment," treating the phenomena reported as accounts of material occurrences, usually with an assumption that extraterrestrial intelligences are involved. This makes Eghigian's study unique.




posted on Feb, 17 2016 @ 08:51 AM
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a reply to: DJW001

Interesting, I really enjoy academic perspectives on the topic - or in this case on "the topic of 'the topic'." Will be checking out the link for further reading.



posted on Feb, 17 2016 @ 08:54 AM
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originally posted by: dogstar23
a reply to: DJW001

Interesting, I really enjoy academic perspectives on the topic - or in this case on "the topic of 'the topic'." Will be checking out the link for further reading.


The full paper is available online, but requires a subscription:

pus.sagepub.com...

You might be able to access it through a university or large public library.



posted on Feb, 17 2016 @ 12:41 PM
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a reply to: dogstar23

I agree My Illinois neighbor! Interesting for sure!
UFO's/Aliens are what originally brought Me to ATS years ago.
I was hooked from day one and signed up right away!
The subject is very intriguing to Me.
I know We are not alone is this vast universe.
Or in others as far as that goes...
Syx...



posted on Feb, 17 2016 @ 12:41 PM
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a reply to: DJW001

S+F DJ! Interesting material here. Thanx for the Share! Syx...



posted on Feb, 18 2016 @ 02:37 AM
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a reply to: DJW001

I agree 100% ,its just been one big pyramid scheme!



posted on Feb, 18 2016 @ 07:24 AM
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originally posted by: ImmortalLegend527
a reply to: DJW001

I agree 100% ,its just been one big pyramid scheme!


Not exactly a pyramid scheme. Most people who are interested in ufology are sincere, but lack scientific training. The field is dominated by a few charismatic hoaxers who have pretty much tainted it. The few serious researchers are stuck trying to sort out fact from fiction, but most of the classic cases have become lore and cannot be investigated directly. Even in the "Golden Age," serious researchers like Vallee and Hynek would get sidetracked into dubious areas like orthoteny and "high weirdness." At least now there is a scholar willing to approach the history of the field in an unbiased way. I hope he publishes a book.



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