Wednesday, September 15, 2010

UFO Writer Nukes Chance At Smart Read

From his heated, call-to-arms language heavily laden with emotion to his utter reliance upon eye-witness testimony, author and researcher Robert Hasting's site promoting his new book, UFOs and Nukes, left me completely unimpressed.  I was even bothered by the title, but couldn't immediately articulate why. 

As luck would have it, I just stumbled across the following caveat while perusing a writer's style and reference book: "If you are writing for a general audience...and you use the term nukes, some readers...may be irritated by what they see as a frivolous reference to a dealy serious subject."

I think that is what bothered me most; it seemed a cheesy title for a book that aimed to examine intelligently these connections the author posits. His work, while often flawed, is smartly written and he certainly had done his homework. However, once more the bane of UFOlogy rears its head in an over-reliance on anecdotal "evidence" and presumption.

Hastings writes in an article entitled "A Shot Across The Bow: Another Look At The Big Sur Incident" that "Following the dramatic incident (according to witness, then Lt. Bob Jacobs) a 16-mm version of the amazing film was shown to a small, select group at Vandenberg. Immediately thereafter, the crucial frames were cut out and quickly confiscated by two “government agents”—possibly working for the CIA—who had been among those in attendance." Jacobs said that while in the meeting, his superior commanded him to keep quiet about what had been captured on the film, emphasizing that it did not happen.

Herein lie several of the pitfalls facing UFO research today.  While never overbearing, words like amazing, select group, immediately, crucial, and quickly confiscated paint an image of a wondrous event that was capriciously snatched from humanity by sinister "government agents". This brings me to my second concern: presumption. Jacobs, according to Hastings, described these men as possible CIA agents, but provides no evidence to that effect. In fact, in Jacobs' own words (here), he left that meeting without ever knowing who those men were. He also left that meeting before they did, so how can he know they took the film-if indeed any such film existed? In point of fact, I'm not sure we can be assured any such meeting took place.

Some years later, Jacobs broke his silence and sold his story to the National Enquirer.  It is only well after the fact, that he came to several spurious conclusions, including his belief that the entire missile tracking test was a cover for UFO activity that would later evolve into the Reagan-era Star Wars program.

Those who criticize Jacobs' story dug deep into military archives, coming up empty-handed on any documentation to support his claims. This is easily refuted by Jacobs and proponents like Hastings as proof of a government conspiracy. But the logical fallacy this presents is too rudimentary to even examine. Suffice it to say that if a man claims to have invented water, and his skeptics say "well, we can't find any proof of that". That man would be a fool to simply blame it on a government conspiracy.

And that's the crux of the problem with work such as Hastings' books and articles. While they make for interesting, well-written, deeply-researched tales, they simply cannot hold water as compelling evidence. To his credit, Hastings admits this reliance on anecdotal evidence. Yet, he proceeds with his lectures, books, articles, and a forthcoming press conference to shout to any who will listen that the sky is falling. It is obvious that he has a deeply abiding passion and concern when it comes to the correlation between UFOs and our military installations.


RRRGroup said...


I like Hastings but he has become obsessive-compulsive about his thesis (that UFOs are themselves obsessed with nuclear missile sites).

Objectivity has been set aside to make points that are hypothetical.


Cullan Hudson said...

Agreed. And he seems to be trading on this heavily. I admit I was left a bit uncomfortable by the page on his site that asked for donations so that he (and former air force personnel) could go to DC to make a press announcement. You can make a press announcement quite easily without visiting the National Press Club. And he guards his information well, encouraging you to buy the books in order to "learn the truth". I'm reminded of driving along the interstate through New Mexico on the way to Arizona. For miles you see signs advertising to come see "The Thing". Doubtlessly when you get there, you will be faced with some feejee mermaid hokum that would delight even the conniving mind of P. T. Barnum.