Miscellaneous Books

UFO Sightings - The Evidence by Robert Sheaffer 1998 Beaverton 001.942 SHE

This is the lone debunker book on a shelf of UFO nonsense at the Beaverton Library. Most of it is about the credulousness of UFO cranks, and there is nothing useful in that. Tools for helping others understand and appreciate the real world we live in, and participate more effectively and profitably in the real world, would take away the incentives for UFO story generation. A "field guide to phenomena confused with UFOs" would be a wonderful book.

Shaeffer's model of the UFO Story Victim (my description) begins in the last chapter on page 314. I will quote it at length (I resent overreaching copyright):

And what do we have going on here? Shaeffer puts the blame entirely on the other side of the argument. Perhaps scientists, business leaders, and doctors haven't taken the time to learn how to explain what they do in simple terms to the citizens whose taxes pay their salary. How are the unsuccessful going to become more successful and less resentful? There aren't enough scholarships for everyone to go to college. I was very lucky that financial help was available to get me through college; no doubt I worked hard to make a lot of my own "luck", but not nearly all of it was my own efforts alone. Helping others discover and enjoy the process of scientific thinking takes time, and we must learn simple ways to help others get started. Learning to see the world through a scientific lens takes decades that most people do not have, but a small step every day will improve their lives, and the world, every day. If the scientific establish rewarded public outreach with tenure in preference to specialized journal publications, the journals would be slimmer and more substantive, and the public more willing to pay for research, because they themselves would understand more of it.