SCIENCE IN DEFAULT
"No scientific investigation of the UFO problem has beencarried out during the entire twenty-two year period between the first extensive wave of sightings ofunidentified flying objects in the summer of 1947 and theconvening of this symposium."
The above statement was made by the late Dr. James E. McDonald at the UFOsymposium held by the American Association of Science (AAAS) in 1969. (Reference1). Even now 17 [over 33] years later it is still true.
[Note: McDonald was Professor of Atmospheric Physics at the University ofArizona. He was an expert in atmospheric physics. He was one of the firstscientists to propose cloud seeing to cause rain. He was the first to suggestthat the exhaust from a fleet of supersonic transport aircraft could destroy theozone layer in a manner not unlike the more recent "hole" creation caused bychlorofluorocarbons. He became interested in the flying saucer phenomenon in thelate 1950's and became an active investigator in 1966. For the next severalyears he traveled around the country trying to enlist the help of otherscientists. Despondent over his marital life and possibly over the effect of hissaucer investigations on his professional life, he committed suicide in 1971.McDonald's story is presented in the book
by Anne Druffel.]The first wave of sightings in the USA occurred in June and July,1947. Asa result of a large number of sightings, many by Army Air Forces personnel [theAir Force was a branch of the Army until September,1947], the Army Air Forcesbegan an investigation of the sightings. In early 1948 the investigation wasformalized as Project Sign (1948-1949). In the following years, as the sightingscontinued, the Air Force changed the name of the UFO project to Grudge (1949-1952) and then Blue Book (1953 - 1969).The Air Force tried to convince the general public that it was copingwith the UFO problem by presenting the following statements as facts:
No sighting ever investigated threatened the securityof the United States.2.
No sighting provided convincing evidence oftechnological developments "beyond the range of present day scientific knowledge."3.
No sighting provided evidence that extraterrestrialvehicles had been sighted.
To support these claims Air Force spokesmen pointed to the large fractionof the sightings which they
to have explained (90% or so). They thenstated, without proof, that with more information about the individual sightingseven the unexplained sightings would have been explained. Thus to a person whohad no access to the "raw data" (witness interviews, other pertinent informationand analyses of the sightings) it would appear that, at least in principle, all