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5.0 out of 5 stars Book of Answers: Skeptics Beware, June 3, 2008
This review is from: Flying Saucers and Science: A Scientist Investigates the Mysteries of UFOs: Interstellar Travel, Crashes, and Government Cover-Ups (Paperback)
Simply put: Flying Saucers and Science answers all the big questions pertaining to the subject of Unidentified Flying Objects. If you are skeptical of the subject of UFOs and the hypothesis of extraterrestrial origin, or find the very idea of such visitation to be irrational, this is a book for you.

UFO researcher/lecturer and former Nuclear physicist Stanton Friedman effectively establishes the reality of UFOs by referencing several large scale scientific studies and declassified government documents that point invariably to the likely hypothesis that some UFOs may indeed be extraterrestrial spacecraft. (As hard as that is to believe)

In addition, Mr. Friedman effectively demolishes dismissive arguments put forth by the skeptical community against UFO reality; from well respected scientists, such as the SETI specialists, to famous science fiction writers, such as Isaac Asimov, Ben Bova, and Arthur C. Clarke.

A common argument in Ufology is that you can't get here from there. That travel between stars is simply science fiction. Skeptics often argue:

"The distances between stars are simply too vast for interstellar travel to be a reality."

"The Voyager probe would take 70,000 years to reach the nearest star."

"Energy requirements for such a voyage would be astronomical."

"Even traveling to the nearest star at the speed of light would take more than 4 years." (A common misconception that is addressed)

Friedman thinks otherwise. An entire chapter is devoted to the feasibility of interstellar travel with a strict adherence to the laws of physics. Friedman effectively demonstrates, in layman's terms, that star travel is by no means science fiction, but a very real possibility -- without faster than light travel.

Another common misconception Friedman corrected is that of public opinion. It is often assumed that most people don't believe in UFOs, and most scientists certainly don't believe in them. Friedman shows that statistics garnered through public polls indicate a correlation to belief in UFOs and higher education and uses charts to help illustrate these results. Additionally, Friedman cites a poll taken by Industrial Research and Development Magazine, which was a controlled circulation monthly publication going to about 100,000 people involved in research and development activities, in 1971 and 1979 that shows equally startling results.

As alluded to earlier, a large volume of commonly asked questions are addressed throughout the book. From common technical questions such as, "Why do the flight characteristics of UFOs appear to violate the laws of physics?" (They don't), or "Why don't some UFOs produce a sonic boom while clearly traveling at supersonic speed?", or "How would aliens even find us?" to philosophical questions such as, "Why would alien visitors choose not to make contact?", "Why would aliens come to Earth?", and of course "Why the cover-up?"

If you have a question you need answered, there's a pretty good chance you will find it in this book.

Rounding out Flying Saucers and Science was a wonderful final chapter describing to the apathetic why the study of UFOs matters.

Negatives:

-- Although the bibliography is rather helpful, it would have been even more helpful if each chapter was footnoted. This would make it easier to verify particular statements as you go. However, Friedman does do a good job of providing website links and other references in parentheses as he goes along to help the curious verify claims or investigate further.

-- Very few individual cases are discussed, unlike most UFO books on the market. This may be a huge turn-off to many, so I am making it known right now. Friedman does, however, list several sources upon which you can find a collection of quality cases.

-- Those who have attended Friedman's lectures, read many of his articles, and/or frequented his website may find much of the material to be very familiar. However, Friedman does go into more detail in the book than he would be able to in a lecture (especially in the chapter on interstellar travel), not to mention the various rebuttals. There is little new evidential material here for people who have read much of the UFO literature, but it is still well worth the purchase for reference purposes, in my opinion.

(Despite these minor drawbacks, I did not feel that any were severe enough to warrant the deduction of a star from the overall rating of the book.)

**Highly recommended for the curious layperson (or scientist) as well as the open-minded skeptic. A book that belongs in every library!**
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 20, 2008 8:37:34 PM PDT
Regnal says:
Great review, however, quote: "Friedman shows that statistics garnered through public polls indicate a correlation to belief in UFOs and higher education and uses charts to help illustrate these results."

Stats show say for example, that majority of people on Earth believe in some kind of God. Yet it is not valid as a proof of anything.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 27, 2008 12:40:51 PM PDT
Some might also argue that many believe in contact with the dead as well, but is there a correlation between belief and higher education in the same way? At any rate, the polls were never intended to prove anything at all, only to dispell the misconception that most people don't believe in UFOs and that certainly most scientists don't. Polls show otherwise. That was the point.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 31, 2010 6:20:01 PM PST
You are correct that it doesn't prove anything. What I think it illustrates though, is the idea that those of us who believe in UFOs aren't uneducated kooks. I have an undergraduate degree in history.

In reply to an earlier post on May 9, 2010 12:09:22 PM PDT
"I have an undergraduate degree in history," eh? I am reminded of a gun control Web site I once posted, to which one woman protested that I shouldn't lump all gun enthusiasts under uneducated, small-town folk: after all, she had tens of college credits and lived in a world-class metropolis of some sixty thousand. She was creative, though: after I corrected her, she proceeded to question the length of my penis.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2010 8:53:13 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 10, 2010 8:57:22 AM PDT
hazeleyes says:
An undergraduate degree in history, admirable as I think that is, is not enough to convince me that everyone having one is knowledgeable enough in the necessary areas of science to judge whether there are or are not (1) UFOs (2) aliens from outer space or (3) that a majority of the public "believes in" the first two. And it's irrelevant what people "believe" and is not an indicator of anything except how irrational and illogical "beliefs" can be.

Posted on Jun 10, 2010 9:10:54 AM PDT
hazeleyes says:
I feel that this question, like the questions of whether global warming exists and if it does whether humans and/or human activities cause it, are diversions from many other questions that probably need to be answered and studied before this question, which isn't a question for MOST, and that since research funds are finite, this is not an urgent issue, since it doesn't concern MOST.
IF aliens have been visiting earth for centuries or longer as some claim, it doesn't seem that we have benefitted, nor does it seem they want to contact us, and if we do not benefit and they do not want to contact us (IF they exist), why do we want to waste millions or perhaps billions, wastefully and foolishing, when the question may answer itself one way or the other.

What I do not like is all the foot-stomping assertions that it's true when in fact there are no proofs, though admittedly there also are no proofs that it's not true. But since the same can be said of the question of whether God exists, that being a question that might be far more important to humans than whether aliens and space ships exist, it seems to me that there public debate ought to continue as it is going now, before we throw money at questionable projects by questionable researchers who can continue their own studies in their own areas of interest in their own good time without public research dollars being diverted from far more important questions and issues.

Just sayin....

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 13, 2011 6:50:56 PM PDT
I think what amazes me most is the limited vision shown by many on both sides of the UFO question, whether educated or not. Many highly educated scientists assume Einstein was correct in "proving" nothing can exceed the speed of light, but there are problems in physics which call into question many of our most strongly held theories, including relativity. There is no doubt in my mind that relativity is just one more step toward the truth and scientists who refuse to look any further are as impotent and useless as any of their counterparts from a millennia ago. As far advanced as we like to believe we are, the truth is we are just "out of the trees", and the universe is old enough, and our species young enough, to accept that there could be other civilizations a million years, and more, older than ours. Now imagine a civilization a million years older. I hope you see my point.
Never in history has any scientific theory ever held up as the final answer, and I very seriously doubt if any of our current theories will hold up. The problem is we never, for some very odd reason, learn from history. Today's scientists believe they have the answers just as the scientists of old thought they did.

When looked at from this point of view, I think the question of whether or not UFO's are real, and whether they are or are not from another civilization light years from ours, or from another dimension, is moot. I think we have to assume that there are civilizations far more advanced than ours, and that they can visit us at will. Remember, a million years is a long, long time. And I guess my point is this...do we really believe the government hasn't already thought of this possibility, and do we believe they would do nothing to examine it?
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