META: Pseudo Science

Rick Knight (
Thu, 04 Sep 97 10:38:26 CST

The responses to my ad hoc analysis of the question of legitimacy of
supernatural or speculative phenomenon (modern folk lore) dealt with
personal experiences as to how, as youths, each author confessed to a
UFO hoax of some kind. It's all a child's prank, folks, back to work.

The point of my post was in the social and emotional dynamics
*associated* with the responses to such fringe/pseudo/junk topics.
This is an area where extropian principles get quite disoriented,
where the impossible remains irrefutably the impossible because there
are presently no scientific strings to hold it up. The dreaming is
big as long as its in a qualified arena which is all well and good.
The speculations of that which would be regarded scientifically as
outrageous have a purpose just as imaginary friends, fairies, and
Santa Claus have to children.

I, for one, would not dismiss the impulse of a child to fabricate a
UFO sighting or a drunken young man to rig a hoax. Neither of these
things serve to *invalidate* anything except for that person's
individual actions. Sure, there are gobs of people likely
perpetrating similar hoaxes. I don't go chasing after them, have no
obsessive interest in their potential authenticity but I am intrigued
by the motivation.

There's a children's movie coming out soon that is loosely based on a
prank two little British girls played at the turn of the century.
Using what was then, relatively new technology, they photographed
themselves with "cut-out" fairies they constructed and made headlines
that they had discovered real fairies. As grown women, the girls
reportedly confessed to the hoax. At the time, their community was in
a frenzy to see the fairies, to believe, to get in touch with
something very deeply ingrained in all of us, a desire to see the
extraordinary, the unbelievable. I regard those impulses as anything
but coincidental.

Incidentally, from what I can tell from the trailer for this film, the
story is being pitched as "true" with special-effects fairies all the
rage. Look for them in your Toys-R-Us real soon. But y'know, fairies
have quite a lot of appeal as mythic figures go.

Thus far, events like The Singularity, for all their assurance to
evolve us beyond the brink of our imagination, have all the appeal of
a Borg assimilation.

I have no need to read books that *debunk* any more than I have time
to read those in favor because I don't invest enough energy into
believing them in the first place. BELIEVING IS A CHOICE. Although I
haven't read the book on which the film is based, a central point of
the film "Contact" was that empirical truth was superseded by one
person's unique and unexplained experience. I don't know if the same
series of events existed in the book but I found it ironic that the
senate inquiry at the end of the film actually proposed that, per
Occam's Razor, it was more likely that the world's richest eccentric
perpetrated an immense and costly hoax on the world. Of course, only
Ellie Arroway *knew* (or thought she knew) differently. Everyone else
had to go on faith and a covetous group are we when we don't get our
own experience.

If on the scales we can imagine, we've a sense hat we're being lead
along by big government, big business, big media, whoever, who's to
say that on the grandest scales we are not so apt to consider, that
reality as we know it might be an immense, cosmological play. Perhaps
that notion has something to do with the fact that when I see a film
like "Contact", no matter how many times, I'm moved to tears because
somehow I know, without being able to prove, that "the game is afoot"
and my sudden emotion is more attributed to the folly of my myopic
thinking and the consequential pain that it has caused. Is it true?
No, it's what I feel. Truth is but varying levels of agreement based
upon observations and repetition. We're so confident now that we
won't fall off the edge of the world but we know so little of it, much
less the rest of the universe, whether physical or non-physical.

Perhaps the dream is dreaming us.