Herein I try to filter for you those controversial scientists who have real credentials and who - in my imperfect judgment - retain some or all of their intellectual integrity. This narrows the field considerably. Omitted are the more obvious frauds, true believers and paranoid conspiracy mongers, or folks like Whitley Strieber, who rely primarily on anecdotal evidence. Included are the skeptics, except I try to filter out the knee-jerk cynics and ridiculers, leaving only those responsible skeptics who respond to extraordinary claims with calm, reasoned argument based upon evidence. My purpose here is not to make fun of anyone, but to provide some signposts for your own journey to beyond the frontier.

As always, never swallow anything whole and keep your brain in active mode. Sadly, this world really is crowded with swindlers, charlatans and the self-deluded. Trust must be earned.

Feel free to e-mail if you have any comments or suggestions, or if you find a dead link.

Also, see my page on Exobiology and SETI.

Last Updated: 31 October 2000

http://www.jse.com/The Society for Scientific Exploration

This group, headed by university researchers, is trying to bring calm, rational consideration to extraordinary claims, in contrast to the shrill hysteria from both believers and skeptics which normally characterizes the debate. They publish the Journal of Scientific Exploration, which is just about the only refereed journal that many researchers can publish in. To quote:

The primary goal of the international Society for Scientific Exploration (SSE) is to provide a professional forum for presentations, criticism, and debate concerning topics which are for various reasons ignored or studied inadequately within mainstream science. A secondary goal is to promote improved understanding of those factors that unnecessarily limit the scope of scientific inquiry, such as sociological constraints, restrictive world views, hidden theoretical assumptions, and the temptation to convert prevailing theory into prevailing dogma

The Aquatic Ape Theory

This might be one of those rare examples of a theory moving from the fringe to the mainstream. The AAT submits that between five and seven million years ago, our ancestors lived in and near the water, and there they lost their fur and developed bipedal walking.

Links

Seafood was Brain Food.

One researcher argues that a seafood diet was necessary for human evolution.

Pachyderms Evolved Wet?

If elephant ancestors were aquatic, what does that say about us?

Elaine Morgan's book The Scars of Evolution,

which updates the case for the AAT based on evidence from human physiology.

A leaflet summarizing the evidence for the AAT.

It appears to have originated with Elaine Morgan.

An article by Philip V. Tobias

outlining why the Savannah Hypothesis is dead, and urging scientists to start taking the AAT seriously.

 

Halton Arp and the Redshift Controversy

Links:

About Arp's book, Seeing Red.

Halton C. Arp and the Peculiar Galaxies.

A brief, fairly neutral, plain English explanation of Arp's ideas.

Arp's catalog of peculiar galaxies.

The Writings of Halton Arp.

A Text file.

The Arp Peculiar Galaxy Club.

A Group of fairly advanced amateur observers interested in irregular galaxies.

Meta Research.

Ton Van Flandern's site. He feels that Arp provides evidence that a radically new cosmology is needed.

Martian and Lunar Anomalies

I once had a fairly extensive section of links here on the Mars Face and other Cydonia anomalies. I don't think there's much controversy about this anymore, so I've moved the entire section to the Archives.

Psi Phenomena

Although a lot of spoon-bending frauds have been unmasked, no large psi effects have ever been scientifically demonstrated. Because this has been the province of so many charlatans, most legitimate scientists shy away from the question on whether there are any psi effects whatever. Not all, however. After all, if there are any psi effects at all, though they might be very small and difficult to reliably measure, then this fact would be crucially important to the future direction of science and to all of our world views.

The Researchers

PEAR.

This is a research group at a respected ivy league university which is looking for very small but measurable psi effects. Their research has touched off loads of controversy.

Roger Nelson's Homepage.

Coordinator of experimental work at PEAR.

Some very interesting links here.

The Retropsychokinesis Project.

Now we're getting into high strangeness. Visit here if really want to torque your Weltanschauung.

The Laboratories for Fundamental Research.

Includes the Cognitive Sciences Laboratory, which has an interesting history.

The Koestler Parapsychology Unit.

At the University of Edinburgh. Includes information on Direct Mental Interaction with Living Systems (DMILS), or the "I feel we're being watched" effect.

The Dean Radin Link Page.

Psi Tech.

Remote Viewing training tapes for sale. I'm very skeptical about the claims these folks make, but I find their web site interesting reading nevertheless.

The Skeptics

The James Randi Educational Foundation.

James Randi, a.k.a "The Amazing Randi," is a professional illusionist who has spent much of his career exposing frauds and con artists of the paranormal variety. I recommend his book Flim-Flam! to anyone who wants to see how he operates. Being a professional trickster himself, he can see behind the veil of deception better than most of us. He has led an effort to offer a substantial sum of money to anyone who demonstrate any supernatural phenomenon.

CSICOP.

I'm unsure about whether to include CSICOP on the list of responsible skeptic organizations. I canceled my Skeptical Inquirer subscription because I thought they were going after too many 'fish in the barrel' and engaging in shrill ridicule far too often. Too often they dogmatically appoint themselves 'debunkers' rather than scientific investigators. They were also publishing articles which contained some really poor arguments - extraordinary claims shot down at any cost, including that of your integrity. Still, there are many responsible skeptics who associate themselves with CSICOP, and I don't want to tar everyone with the same brush.

Ian Rowland.

A sort of British James Randi. A professional mentalist who duplicates psychic feats. He provides a list of the illusions he has performed, including spoon bending, fire walking, tarot reading, etc.

Unidentified Flying Objects

First, let's talk terminology. An Unidentified Flying Object should be defined as just that, unidentified - not known to be the same thing as alien spacecraft or beings from another dimension. I've see several UFOs over the years, but I have no unambiguous evidence that what I saw were in any instance alien spacecraft. They were simply flying objects that with my training and knowledge being what they are (e.g. I know the night sky pretty well and wouldn't mistake Venus for anything else) I could not identify. According to the Center for UFO Studies, 90 - 95% of reported UFOs are identifiable (IFOs). Some (most?) non-trivial UFOs may be deliberate deceptions. For example, see an article on the Pentacle Memo.

Still for all the noise, lies, stupidity and nonsense, this field retains a certain fascination, but not always so much with the phenomenon itself (if there is one), but with the origin, propagation and mutation of the large complex of UFO memes.

UFO Articles

Klass Gets NSA UFO files released.

China's Close Encounters.

Scientists Offer Explanation for Alien Abductions.

One of the most important events in the history of UFO research was the publication of the Condon Report, a scientific investigation which ostensibly concluded that there was nothing to UFOs, and that they were not worth any further investigation. An article in the JSE critically reviews this study.

Just for fun, here are some images of an alleged alien implant. What do you think it is?

UFO Sites

For general UFO information and links, see ufomind.

You can also visit the Internet UFO Skeptic's Site to get the skeptical take on this topic. This site is fairly reasonable and takes some pains to avoid skepticbunkery.

The Center for UFO Studies is a relatively sober-minded group of ufologists.

The NSA's website contains a UFO index.

One place you can report UFO sightings is the National UFO Reporting Center.

Rupert Sheldrake's Morphogenic Fields

I remain completely unconvinced, but judge for yourself. Read Rupert Sheldrake's website.

General Web Sites on Fringe Science

The False Memory Syndrome Foundation

False memories may provide a partial explanation of Alien Abductions - especially those recalled through hypnosis.

The Boundaries of Science Web Ring

Actually, this is many sites. Their statement of purpose sounds promising, but you know this sort of thing attracts cranks. The purpose of this page is to serve as a first order crank filter, but we won't guarantee anything about this web ring. Most of these sites are of the ilk: "there is something wrong with mainstream science, which my ingenious insights will put right, but THEY are ignoring me because I threaten the status quo." Most likely, THEY are ignoring you because you're an annoying waste of time.