SETI public: Fw: CSICOP List: Alien Abductions in NY Times & Award for Phil Klass

Date: Wed Jul 30 2003 - 08:37:04 PDT

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    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Barry Karr
    Sent: Thursday, July 24, 2003 12:37 PM
    Subject: CSICOP List: Alien Abductions in NY Times & Award for Phil Klass

    Items of Note

    1) Alien Abduction Feature in New York Times Sunday Magazine
    2) Honors to Phil Klass and the end of Skeptics UFO Newsletter
    3) Wikipedia needs skeptics

    1) NY Times Article

    CSICOP Fellow James Oberg forwards the following from Will Bueche - Center for Psychology & Social Change:

    A feature article on the alien encounter experience, by Times
    writer Bruce Grierson will appear in the Sunday July 27th
    edition of The New York Times Magazine.** The article is not
    expected to be favorable towards experiencers of alien contact
    (though stranger things have happened).

    The article focuses on a young Harvard researcher, Susan Clancy,
    who designed a memory experiment in an effort to disprove the
    validity of repressed memories of childhood sexual abuse. For
    the experiment, she recruited subjects whose memories are, in
    her opinion, patently false: "experiencers" of alien contact.

    The article is expected to highlight Clancy's remarkable
    resistance to criticism from researchers such as Dr. John Mack
    who believe that alien encounters are real, and from her Harvard
    Medical School colleagues who believe that traumatic memories
    are routinely repressed.

    Interviews were conducted in Cambridge, Massachusetts earlier
    this year with Susan Clancy, her colleague Richard McNally, John
    Mack, filmmaker Laurel Chiten (of the documentary film
    "Touched"), some of the subjects who took part in Clancy's
    experiment and went on to speak out against her conclusions, and
    others from Harvard (the final article may or may not include
    all of these perspectives).

    **Those wishing to get an advance look at the article should
    sign on to the New York Times website on the Friday before that
    Sunday's issue: the Times' website gets a head start on the
    print edition. Here is the direct link:

    2) Phil Klass

    Also From James Oberg:

    The July 14, 2003 issue of 'Aviation Week & Space Technology', on page 5, has a news item and photograph (attached) -- my apologies to the copyright-holders, I felt that this story (and a second one, below) needed to be spread around to all of Phil's colleagues and friends, among whom I count myself for more than a quarter century.

    BEHIND THE SCENES: Philip J. Klass, a longtime avionics editor for 'Aviation Week & Space Technology' recently received the Senior Wingman Award from Editor-in-Chief David M. North at a ceremony in Washington. Klass was honored for professionalism and teamwork during his 51 years with the magazine. He joined the magazine as avionics editor in early 1952. Klass is credited with popularizing the word 'avionics' to best describe airborne electronics. He later became senior avionics editor and remains a contributing avionics editor. Photo: Mary Francis Koerner.

    The same day, I received my 'Skeptics UFO Newsletter' (SUN) #76, whose last news item credits some recent review work I did, and then concludes: "Regrettably, advancing years (I am nearly 84 years old) and physical disabilities . . . prompt a very difficult decision: I HAVE DECIDED TO TERMINATE PUBLICATION OF "SKEPTICS UFO NEWSLETTER" with this issue." Phil explicitly thanked Gary Posner for many years of crucial support -- and I'm sure we all second that motion.

    As I've followed Phil's humor for more than a quarter century, I skeptically checked around for stuff such as a suspicious date or a clue that he was just teasing, or was fiendishly leading UFO believers onto a path of hope that would be suddenly dashed with another dose of Phil's incisive argumentation and evidence analysis.

    But I've seen him face to face enough in the last year or two to realize that he's not joking. However, that's no ground for hope of relief or amnesty in the world of UFOria, I'll bet. Phil will still have views, opinions, assessments, and new angles, and we can probably find a modern means of disseminating them with less overhead than the newsletter. Maybe (see the first clip, above) he can invent a new term such as 'webionics', and become the elder master of it, to all of our benefit.

    Well done, across the board and across the decades and beyond all boundaries of time and space, Phil! You found long ago that you never could retire -- you've never been a retiring sort of guy -- and your inner energy has been astonishing and heroic and inspirational -- I know it is to me and I'm counting on a lot more along those lines. Long may it surge!

    Jim Oberg

    3) Wikipedia needs skeptics

    Many of you may already have heard of Wikipedia ( ). It is an open, non-profit encyclopedia
    project which already has more than 140,000 articles in the English
    version alone. Many of these articles are much more detailed than what
    you would expect in traditional encyclopedias -- see for a collection
    of our current favorites. Anyone can contribute to Wikipedia, and its
    contents may be freely distributed and modified, making them eligible
    for almost any use and ensuring that the work of Wikipedia authors can
    never be lost. In fact, you can download a copy of the entire Wikipedia
    database and set up your own copy if you desire to do so.

    Wikipedia articles are written from a "neutral point of view" ( ), meaning
    that controversial views that are presented on Wikipedia must be
    attributed to their adherents. This way we ensure that people who think
    that abortion is murder and those who think that it is a legitimate
    choice can work together to produce a reasonable article that discusses
    all arguments on the matter. In many if not most cases, we succeed at
    giving a balanced picture that nevertheless often reveals quite clearly
    the holes in certain arguments. For example, several Scientology critics
    have commended our current article about the group and added material.

    Given that anyone can contribute to Wikipedia, people with strong
    beliefs sometimes dominate an article until others fill in the gaps (or
    rather, expose them). As a result, there are, of course, many articles
    on Wikipedia that would benefit greatly from input by knowledgeable
    scientists and skeptics. If you count yourself as part of that group, we
    especially invite you to edit articles. You can also help by granting us
    permission to include existing material you have written. Because
    Wikipedia grants the right to use our material to everyone, including
    third parties, giving permission to Wikipedia alone to use material is
    not sufficient -- it must either be in the public domain or licensed
    under our so-called "copyleft" license, the GNU Free Documentation
    License (developed by the GNU project, which is responsible for large
    parts of the open source GNU/Linux operating system). See for details.

    Articles of interest

    Which articles might you want to work on? The following topics are
    particularly controversial and in need of good arguments, scientific
    references and a neutral tone. Just visit one of the following URLs,
    click "Edit this page" and start working:

    There's plenty more, so just consider these some starting points. If you
    have material that you want to use, and you are the copyright holder,
    feel free to paste it right in -- you implicitly license text under the
    GNU FDL open content license by submitting it, but that does not
    preclude you from licensing it in other ways. If you become a regular
    contributor, please do create a user account ( ), so that
    your contributions are assigned to a name; anonymous edits are generally
    regarded with some suspicion.

    Hopefully, you'll get hooked on Wikipedia soon and can add yourself to
    the list of "Wikipediholics" ;-). If you have any questions, feel free
    to drop me an email or leave a message on my user page:


    Erik Möller
    Wikipedia user, sysop and developer
    Scientific Reviewer, Freelancer, Humanist -- Berlin / Germany
    Phone: +49 (0)30 45491008 -- Web:
    Editor of:,
        Save the Public Domain:

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