Stanton Friedman is one of the world’s most famous ufologists, and a man who understands the workings of mainstream science and academia. Employed for 14 years as a nuclear physicist for companies like General Electric, General Motors, Westinghouse and Aerojet General Nucleonics, he worked on highly classified US programs involving nuclear aircraft, fission and fusion rockets.
In 1958, UFOs caught his attention, and Friedman has since lectured about this subject at more than 600 colleges and professional groups in all 50 states of the US and around the world.
His most significant and controversial book Top Secret/Majic revealed much about how the US government dealt with the 1947 crash of a “flying saucer” near Roswell, New Mexico.
In their new book Science Was Wrong: Startling Truths About Cures, Theories, and Inventions “They” Declared Impossible, Friedman and social scientist Kathleen Marden discuss various examples throughout history when scientists misjudged or ignored scientific evidence or breakthroughs.
Having worked as an insider for many years, Friedman understands what is wrong with the system and the reasons why otherwise intelligent people refuse to acknowledge hard truths and continue to resist change.
New Dawn magazine recently spoke to Stanton Friedman…
What do you think about Global Warming and Cold Fusion?
There is no question that climate changes – sometimes the world gets warmer and sometimes it gets colder. The much more important question is whether man is responsible for these changes (so called Anthropogenic Global Warming) and whether billions of dollars should be spent to control evil CO2. The data do not support the claims of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Al Gore. Mother nature has far more to do with overall weather cycles than man. Contrary to the IPCC’s claim that all scientists agree with them, there are many examples of serious scientists who do not. Politics has become the major issue not science.
Cold Fusion is still being investigated by such respectable institutions as Toyota, The Electric Power Research Institute and the US Navy. More and more supporting evidence has been found that scientists Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann were on the right track, even if not “politically correct.” Their debunkers were guilty of the typical false claims based on bias rather than on the facts. It will be interesting to see how this story plays out.
Several of the chapters in Science Was Wrong deal with medical issues such as the Hemophilia Holocaust. Why are they important?
The medical chapters, with most of the work being done by Kathleen Marden, are important because they demonstrate there can be serious consequences (often fatal) when well educated authority figures make totally wrong claims. 10,000 American hemophiliacs were made HIV positive because it was claimed that the chance of HIV being transmitted via transfusions was one in a million. The clotting factor used by hemophiliacs is batch processed from many thousands of individual units of blood. If one was contaminated, the entire batch would be. It was already known that heat treatment could get rid of the viruses. But that was considered too much trouble and expense and not required anyway. Strong claims were made without any supporting evidence.
Why is that so many smart people make what turns out to be stupid statements?
I am a physicist not a psychiatrist, but I have certainly encountered many “smart” debunkers. There seem to be major problems of arrogance and ignorance. The “smart person” assumes that if something as obviously significant as alien visitations were taking place, that would be important and therefore he would know about it because he keeps track of what is important. Since he doesn’t know about it, it must not be true and there is no point in wasting his time becoming familiar with the relevant data since there must not be any.
The basic rules for these arrogant opinion setters are: 1. Don’t bother me with the facts, my mind is made up; 2. What the public doesn’t know, I won’t tell them; 3. If one can’t attack the data, attack the people, it is easier, and 4. Do “research” by proclamation rather than admitting ignorance and doing a serious investigation.
From a more philosophical viewpoint I would like to quote a serious debunker, Dr. Michael Shermer, founder of the Skeptics Society and author of Why People Believe Weird Things, for why he believes such a weird notion there is no evidence indicating some UFOs are alien space craft.
First comes this on page 283: “Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons.” BINGO. Clearly this applies not only to Michael, but to Dr. Joseph Nickell, the paid “scientific” investigator for the newly named “Committee for Skeptical Inquiry” which used to be CSICOP. His three degrees in English and experience as a magician (master of deception) hardly provide scientific training as demonstrated by his nonsensical explanation of a six foot owl for the Flatwoods, W.V. Monster. He did actually visit Flatwoods but didn’t talk to the witnesses nor visit the site.
The second quote from Michael’s book that applies to the debunkers is on page 299: “The Confirmation Bias, or the tendency to seek or interpret evidence favourable to already existing beliefs, and to ignore or reinterpret evidence unfavourable to already existing beliefs.”
It was no wonder that at the end of a three hour debate that Michael and I had about UFOs on Coast to Coast Radio, the audience voted on a winner. I got 80% of the vote. He, of course, had not read any of my books.
Have there really been serious consequences resulting from the wrong claims made by scientists?
As documented in Science Was Wrong, thousands died because of the resistance to the use of vaccinations against smallpox. When Dr. Ignatz Semmelweiss was forced out of his hospital in Vienna because he insisted doctors seriously wash their hands between doing autopsies and delivering babies, 20% of the woman came down with child bed fever and died as did their babies. Fewer than 3% delivered by mid wives with clean hands died. Many women were sterilised because of the loud advocacy of the leaders of the Eugenics movement bound on creating a super race by eliminating reproduction by those not deemed suitable. Hitler used their justifications for his ethnic cleansing work.
Development in space and communication technology and in aviation were often seriously delayed by the arrogance of the leaders claiming man would never fly, space travel was utter bilge, battleships could not be sunk by bombs dropped from an airplane, planes couldn’t go faster than the speed of sound, jet engines had no place in aviation, etc. One expert in the use of explosives insisted to US President Truman that the notion of an atomic bomb was ridiculous.
Have you personally encountered many closed minds in the academic world?
I have encountered a number. Professors seem to believe that only PhDs in academia publishing in standard peer reviewed scientific journals can do research. They seem totally oblivious to the huge amounts of money being spent in classified programs in industry and in the various major laboratories operated for the government. They are shocked when I point out that when I worked for the General Electric Aircraft Nuclear Propulsion Department near Cincinnati in 1958, we spent $100,000,000 that year and employed 3,500 people of whom 1,100 were engineers and scientists. We published many classified reports, but were certainly not in the publish or perish mode of academia. The three nuclear weapons labs (Los Alamos, Sandia, Lawrence Livermore) several years ago each employed over 8,000 people and each had an annual budget over $1 billion. Together just those three labs were spending more than the amount spent on all its projects by the National Science Foundation.
When it comes to flying saucers and the notions of interstellar travel, the academics seem to think the only possibility would be chemical rockets… the Pony Express of the propulsion system business. In contrast, the first nuclear powered submarine was operated in 1956. Hundreds have been built since. There are several nuclear powered aircraft carriers that can operate for 18 years without refuelling. Think how many tankers of diesel fuel would be required. The academic astronomers all know that the stars produce their energy via nuclear fusion. But they are totally unaware of the studies done in industry using appropriate nuclear fusion reactions for deep space propulsion. Using the right isotopes, particles can be ejected having 10 million times as much energy per particle as can be obtained in a chemical rocket. They have all heard of nuclear weapons, but can provide no sensible context. A World War II big bomb was a 10 ton blockbuster. Hiroshima was about 15,000 tons of TNT equivalent. The first H Bomb released 10 million tons of TNT equivalent and had a three mile wide fireball. The biggest Russian bomb was equivalent to 57 million tons of TNT and these guys are thinking of chemical rockets. I worked on a study of fusion rockets back in 1962.
You spent 14 years working in industry, but have lectured at over 600 colleges and universities. Did you find industry different from academia?
Industry was much more concerned with results – not the publish or perish business, not outside honours, or tenure – but how can we get our systems to work. We had access to fine equipment, sophisticated facilities, exotic materials. Yes, much work was done under security. The academic guys don’t understand the national security aspects of flying saucer reality. Every country would surely like to duplicate the flight behaviour. Young engineers and scientists had great opportunities as programs expanded and could learn a lot from working closely with more experienced professionals.
In universities I have found many are afraid to even talk about such unacceptable topics as flying saucers and the cosmic Watergate. Sometimes I have had to wake them up with the fact that Lockheed built the Stealth aircraft at a cost of $10 billion dollars over 10 years in total secrecy. The existence of the Corona spy satellite wasn’t revealed until 35 years after the first one obtained more data about Soviet military installations than all the U-2 flights that preceded it.
Astronomers seem to be a favourite target in Science Was Wrong. Can you give some examples?
An astronomer (British Astronomer Royal) in 1956 said space travel was utter bilge and nobody would pay the cost, and what good would it be anyway. Astronomy has benefitted more from the space program than any other science. One claimed in 1903 that man would never fly in a machine. The Wright brothers’ flight happened quietly two months later. The negative attitudes had discouraged many from seeking development funds or doing experiments. One astronomer computed in 1941 that to send a man to the moon and back would require an initial launch weight of a million tons. Turns out he was too high by a factor of 300 million. Turns out, as one might expect, that he was totally unfamiliar with the literature that already had been published, that he made all the wrong assumptions. He like other academics think you can determine feasibility from basic physics. In the real world the initial assumptions are very important. He assumed a single stage rocket launched vertically with much too low an exhaust velocity and much too low an acceleration and using a retrorocket to slow the vehicle down upon return. We use the atmosphere and take advantage of cosmic freeloading at every turn including taking advantage of the moon’s gravitational field.
The SETI [Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence] cultists assume that interstellar travel is impossible even though they know nothing about it. They assume that aliens would send signals using technology compatible with our techniques roughly 100 years into the age of radio. There are stars less than 40 light years away that are over a billion years older than the sun. Surely their technology is more advanced. Rarely do astronomers point out how terribly wrong they have been in the past. Venus is not a tropical jungle. Mars has had water, and electromagnetic effects are very important in the solar system. Obviously if aliens are visiting, listening for signals using our technology makes no sense. So many cases of arrogance coupled with ignorance. They even would have us believe that they know how aliens would behave. They don’t understand earthlings no less aliens.
Why are you better equipped to deal with topics such as space travel than the Professors who claim there is nothing to UFOs or to star travel?
I have studied an enormous amount of evidence, books, documents, and reports about the UFO evidence. When I discuss five large scale scientific UFO studies at my lectures, I ask how many have read each one. Usually fewer than 1%. Dr. Seth Shostak’s SETI specialists had read none of the five, yet claimed as did Dr. Jill Tartar there is no evidence.
I have worked on far out propulsion systems such as nuclear airplanes, fission nuclear rockets, fusion nuclear rockets. Our most powerful nuclear rocket operated at a power level of 4400 megawatts or twice the power output of Grand Coulee dam. They are totally ignorant about such matters, but hate to admit it. They know nothing about these topics. I worked under security for 14 years, have visited 20 document archives, wrote many classified reports. They know nothing about the work being done in secret.
Tell us about space travel and other topics you discuss in Science Was Wrong?
I discuss fission and fusion rockets and the need to take advantage of what has been learned in the programs. I also refer readers to the chapter in my 2008 book Flying Saucers and Science which has pictures of fission nuclear rockets, nuclear airplane propulsion systems etc., and other exotic propulsion systems such as the electromagnetic submarine.
You seem to be an admirer of the late Dr. Immanuel Velikovsky and yet many scientists have heaped ridicule on him. Why do you support many of his views?
The first reason is that it turns out he was correct about high temperatures on Venus, radiation from Jupiter and the importance of electromagnetic fields in the solar system. He carefully reviewed many stories from various societies about events in the planet’s past history. Often his opponents attacked him because his background was in medicine and psychiatry not in astronomy. Often they attacked without even reading his books such as Worlds in Collision. He was a true scholar.
Do you believe that the changes in the energy output of the sun are the real cause of climate change as opposed to the production of CO2?
The data seems to strongly support these conclusions. New satellites that can carefully observe the sun, solar storms, particulate radiation etc., are backing up these views. Many scientists also have finally been willing to speak out about the phony arguments such as the Himalayan glaciers will soon melt. That notion was nonsense.
Dr. Robert O. Becker is somebody you obviously admire and consider to have been a pioneer in relating the effects of magnetic fields on people including not only treating certain medical conditions, but influencing people’s behaviour. Can you give some examples of his work?
He did some great work on using magnetic fields to speed healing in fractures that otherwise seemed unable to heal. He looked at limb regeneration in animals that do indeed regenerate limbs such as salamanders. He did a massive study on admissions to Veterans mental hospitals and behaviour in them as a function of the earth’s electric and magnetic field environment. There was indeed a strong connection. He was a fine scientist with the courage to dig in areas where others were unwilling to follow the evidence. His work was a fine example of my mantra that technological progress comes from doing things differently in an unpredictable way. Think about it. Lasers aren’t just better light bulbs. Nuclear rockets aren’t just better chemical rockets. In both cases there were entirely different physics involved.
Can you tell us the general rules as you see them for the methods of approach of scientists who try to debunk such topics as UFOs, Cold Fusion, space travel?
The basic approach is always to assume there is nothing to the crazy notions being put forth. Assume if there had been you would already have known about it. Read only the work of those who think the topics are nonsense. I almost never see an anti-UFO professional refer to the large scale scientific studies or to the more than 10 PhD theses that have been done on UFO related topics, or to the many papers presented by scientists at the 40 annual MUFON Symposia. They never subscribe to the journals. Never admit there has been a great deal of sophisticated research done outside of academia.
Twice I have had academics claim that Roswell couldn’t have happened because if it had loads of academic scientists would have been pulled from their universities to work on figuring out what was going on. I had to strongly point out this was nonsense.
During World War II the US established a large number of major laboratories with all the requisite equipment and facilities for examination of alien wreckage, data on flight performance, biology of aliens, and also large budgets etc. What they required was top notch professionals who already had high level security clearances, access to top notch equipment, places for storing and preparing classified reports. There were well over a dozen such large scale labs available to those wanting very high level work, all outside academia. These academics were totally ignorant about this huge resource. And still their thinking is the equivalent of assuming that the most advanced communication system is the pony express instead of the internet!
Science Was Wrong: Startling Truths About Cures, Theories, and Inventions “They” Declared Impossible (New Page Books, 2010) is a fascinating collection of stories about the pioneers who created or thought up the “impossible” cures, theories, and inventions “they” said couldn’t work. How many have suffered or died because cures weren’t accepted? How many inventions have been quashed? You will end up shaking your head in disbelief and even disgust as you learn the answers.
The above article appeared in New Dawn No. 123 (Nov-Dec 2010).
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