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UFO Skeptic Robert Sheaffer



Gene Steinberg

Forum Super Hero
Staff member
I've known UFO/paranormal skeptic Robert Sheaffer for years, and it's time we have him on The Paracast to answer the hard questions.

According to his Wikipedia bio, Shearer "is a freelance writer and a prominent investigator of unidentified flying objects, Christianity, academic feminism, and many other subjects. He is an outspoken skeptic and critic of the above topics, and has written numerous critiques of feminist beliefs and ideas, Christian beliefs regarding the divinity of Jesus Christ, and the theory that UFOs may be alien spacecraft or some other unknown phenomena and not simply hoaxes or misidentifications of known phenomena. He is also a strong defender of the theory of evolution, and a critic of the theory of creationism, or the belief that God or a supernatural being created the universe. He is a graduate of Northwestern University.

"Sheaffer writes for Skeptical Inquirer (for which he writes the regular "Psychic Vibrations" column), Fate Magazine, and Spaceflight. He was a founding member (with Philip J. Klass and James Oberg) of the UFO Subcommittee of the Committeefor Skeptical Inquiry (formerly Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal), and is a fellow of that organization. He is a member of MENSA."

In other words, he's a real smart dude, so you have to be on your toes to come up with the best questions.
 

Randall

J. Randall Murphy
Question:

In your Prepared Talk for the Smithsonian UFO Symposium, Sept. 6, 1980, you start off claiming that UFO proponents have often suggested that the study of UFOs is an infant science. Can you please tell us who those proponents were then, and who in ufology presently considers ufology to be a science unto itself ( if anyone at all )?
 

Ufocurious

Paranormal Maven
Oh Boy
I was at his site. The debunker side of Mr. Sheaffer only goes after what is flimsy to begin with. And he is not nice to Leslie Kean book. OUCH!



Ok.I really want him to debunk 2 cases.
  1. The Official Brazilian UFO Night in 1986 (from Leslie Kean book)
  2. VASP flight 169 with many witnesses
Since I have never done this before, can someone help me to construct my questions?
Or give me any advice whatsoever.
Thanks


Note to all:
I am not going into the feminist stuff because I cannot even start on that. I am not a feminist to begin with, and I do think the field has many problems. It would take forever for me to build an academic response. However, men are stronger than women and they do harm & kill them in Brazil, and everywhere else. Are Indian women raping men on public buses? This guy has no clue how mean he sounds when he wrote this:

Feminists can only get away with claiming that "domestic violence" equals "men beating up women" because people are unaware of the massive documentation of female-instigated domestic violence.
It is what I call biased statistics. I bet that for each of the articles he's amassed there must be many more saying the opposite. I know women can be mean and violent. But I am suspicious that in many cases is out of frustration by having their self esteem undermined by their "loving" partners.
 

E. L. Wisty

Skilled Investigator
Since Mr. Sheaffer is a skeptic in general but a UFO skeptic in particular, I would like to ask him if he considers the entire subject, bearing in mind that "UFO" stands for "Unidentified Flying Object", not "alien spacecraft", to be entirely without merit? There's some evidence to suggest that mainstream legitimate research into such phenomena as earthquake lights, ball lightning (which may involve some interesting plasma physics about which we know very little), and similar things simply hasn't happened because no reputable scientist wants to risk his reputation and perhaps damage his career irreparably by associating himself with a subject which has gained such an embarrassing reputation, even if he suspects that there may be something worth looking into. Has the skeptical movement done enough to separate the truly bad from the potentially worthwhile? And if not, is it perhaps contributing to the problem by helping to put people with the necessary expertise to solve the problem off trying to do so?

PS - Since it's apparently something to brag about, I passed the MENSA entrance test too , you know! Though I didn't stick around long - for a club composed entirely of so-called geniuses, it's curiously boring. Oh, and Sir Jimmy Saville got in as well. Just saying...
 

S.R.L.

Paranormal Adept
I’d like to ask Bob what he thinks about the research of aerial anomalies being conducted through NARCAP. In Bob’s view, is this a waste of time since the military, (for the most part), has suggested there is nothing to pilot’s sightings, and can be explained in prosaic terms. Is Ted Roe along with the members of NARCAP part of the lunatic fringe for pursuing these mysteries?
 

Micah Hanks

Paranormal Novice
Greetings Paracast Forums members... so thinking things over about questions for Mr. Sheaffer, a few that come to mind are as follows:

1) Are all purported UFO witnesses just "liars"? If not, what else could constitute the fallibility of the UFO claims?

2) Would you ever make the case for a physical phenomena underlying any eyewitness reports?

3) What are your thoughts about Edward Condon's further statements on UFO research, following the release of the Condon Committee's report in 1968, such as this one? "The difficulty about using objective means of study lies in the rarity of the apparitions, their short durations, and the tendency of observers not to report their experience until long after it has ended… These difficulties led [the Condon Committee] to conclude that it is quite unproductive of results of scientific value to study UFOs in the traditional manner (emphasis added). But, contrary to popular belief, we do not rule out all future study."

4) Does suggesting "ball lighting", plasmas, and little-understood natural phenomena as solutions to purported UFO reports (as Phillip J. Klass did early on) constitute only using a speculative theory to "answer" another speculative theory, and if so, is this logically unsound? Or does it suggest that some speculation is warranted in UFO studies, as often Klass seemed to do?

Very much looking forward to this interview...
 
Adding on Micah question Mr Robert Sheaffer
What's your thoughts on all the military eyewitness , civilian pilots, police officers who reported seeing unknown flying objects?
Furthermore, do you think Earth is the only planet with intelligent life forms in the Universe?
 

Wade

FeralNormal master
What would be the impetus for the government to release to the public any documents regarding military exotic technology when they are so heavy handed in their security measures when it comes to places like Area 51, actions which would suggest that they don't think we need to know about such aircraft ?

(Basing my question on the conversation between Micah and Robert as related to by Micah in the most recent episode. )
 
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S.R.L.

Paranormal Adept
I’d like to ask Bob if he has heard of Michael Persinger, and if so what is his opinion(s) concerning Persinger’s research relating to EMF fields influencing human consciousness? Does he consider Persinger’s research as credible?

Michael Persinger - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Edit: just a few follow up questions for Bob, and these are.., what do you think that the 70,000 individuals really experienced at Fatima in October of 1917, along with the alleged events occurring in the preceding months?

What is your opinion of the Ariel School incident in Ruwa, Zimbabwe in 1994?

What did Ricky Sorrells , and Steve Allen actually witness in Erath County Texas?
 
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S.R.L.

Paranormal Adept
PSYWAR along with PSYOP is occasionally mentioned when in discussing the UFO/UAP enigma. In Bob’s view, to what extent has the US military gone to in developing and deploying exotic technologies? A couple of these include; projecting 3-D images during the day or at night, from land, sea, or space, along with exotic microwave technologies, allegedly beaming various thoughts into the unsuspecting minds of US citizens. There are some who strongly suggest that the US military has such refined exotic capabilities, and have/are using them on a fairly large scale. What might Bob know of such devices?
 

Burnt State

Paranormal Adept
Note to all:
I am not going into the feminist stuff because I cannot even start on that. I am not a feminist to begin with, and I do think the field has many problems. It would take forever for me to build an academic response. However, men are stronger than women and they do harm & kill them in Brazil, and everywhere else. Are Indian women raping men on public buses? This guy has no clue how mean he sounds when he wrote this:

Feminists can only get away with claiming that "domestic violence" equals "men beating up women" because people are unaware of the massive documentation of female-instigated domestic violence.
It is what I call biased statistics. I bet that for each of the articles he's amassed there must be many more saying the opposite. I know women can be mean and violent. But I am suspicious that in many cases is out of frustration by having their self esteem undermined by their "loving" partners.
Looking through Sheaffer's emphasis on Feminism, the promotion of equality between the genders, as something to be "debunked" demonstrates how ridiculously retro he is. I can't see how anyone with an axe to grind about the need for an end to gender based violence, specifically sexual assault, would have anything intelligent to say, well, about anything really.

P.S. we men and women should all be proud to be feminists promoting equality at all levels of society for the betterment of all and specifically to help end dysfunctional violence that is perpetuated in unhealthy family settings by both genders. Pedophilia, abuse, incest, sexual assault and domestic violence do have their roots in patriarchy and control systems engineered to preserve male power over gender equity. Sheaffer's sexist arguments and promotion of male dominance does not do men any favours. It only serves anachronistic values that we need to move away from.
 

Bananas

Paranormal Maven
Looking through Sheaffer's emphasis on Feminism, the promotion of equality between the genders, as something to be "debunked" demonstrates how ridiculously retro he is. I can't see how anyone with an axe to grind about the need for an end to gender based violence, specifically sexual assault, would have anything intelligent to say, well, about anything really.

P.S. we men and women should all be proud to be feminists promoting equality at all levels of society for the betterment of all and specifically to help end dysfunctional violence that is perpetuated in unhealthy family settings by both genders. Pedophilia, abuse, incest, sexual assault and domestic violence do have their roots in patriarchy and control systems engineered to preserve male power over gender equity. Sheaffer's sexist arguments and promotion of male dominance does not do men any favours. It only serves anachronistic values that we need to move away from.

Feminism has nothing, nada, fuck-all to do with equality.
 

Burnt State

Paranormal Adept
Feminism has nothing, nada, fuck-all to do with equality.
Maybe you need to check out a dictionary? Perhaps you've been raised with the media's version of defining feminism; I don't know, but not only will it help you to better understand the word it might also help you with adding some colour to your vocab as well.
 

Bananas

Paranormal Maven
Maybe you need to check out a dictionary? Perhaps you've been raised with the media's version of defining feminism; I don't know, but not only will it help you to better understand the word it might also help you with adding some colour to your vocab as well.

The dictionary definition has nothing to do with feminism of today. It has gone from equality to demeaning and bashing anything masculine. As a side note, I wasn't raised, I grew up.

Oh and, by the way, how's your Finnish? Swedish? Before you start making witty remarks about the vocabulary of someone else, you should probably consider that some of us speak multiple languages, and that English isn't our native language, hmm?
 
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Burnt State

Paranormal Adept
I think I not only expressed admiration of your own capacity for being multi-lingual @Bananas , but even celebrated the particular skill set and for what it brings to the forum as we have many here who translate themselves into English for the enrichment of us monolinguals.

But "fuck-all" in relation to feminism translates pretty clearly to me and betrays your own international lack of appreciating the many benefits feminism offers all cultures. Feminism today has expanded its vision to include more than just white middle class women but all women and men as well. So rejoice and make merry that you too can be a feminist and help us all become more civilized.

Feminism is a personal choice, not something to be condemned. It only offers a healthier society in terms of family, relationships, communities and sex. So get on board, brother.
 
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