There is some controversy going on concerning an exhibit and talk going on at The Mary Brogan Museum of Art and Science. I’ll let Dr. Paul Cottle tell you all about it via his letter to the editor:

Brogan should give up UFO ‘pseudoscience’

Florida’s scientists and science educators recently completed a year’s work revising the standards for teaching and learning science in the state’s public schools. In the end, most of the energy spent by the standards writers, policymakers and citizens was focused on the threat of pseudoscience undermining scientific literacy in our state.

That’s why it is so discouraging that the Brogan Museum of Arts and Sciences has chosen to feature an exhibit (“The Roswell Exhibit”) and to host a speaker (well-known charlatan Stanton Friedman) that feature UFO pseudoscience.

The Brogan is going to alarming lengths to sell tickets to Friedman’s talks. Last week, the museum sent an e-mail to a number of FSU physics professors asking them to award extra credit to students in their classes for attending Friedman’s lectures and coughing up the $10 ticket price. The Brogan staff was presumably inspired to make this request by Friedman’s claim that he is a nuclear physicist.

The Brogan should make a new commitment to promoting genuine science. There are too many scientists and educators working hard to improve the scientific environment in Tallahassee to allow the Brogan to undermine it.


The museum executive director responded with his own letter to the editor:

Learning inspires, should not be shamed

Kudos to Florida scientists and science educators who recently spent a year revising the standards for teaching and learning science in the state’s public schools. Much energy was spent by standards writers addressing the controversy between creationism and Darwin’s theory of evolution. I think this is what Mr. Cottle was really referring to in his recent letter when he mentioned “pseudoscience undermining scientific literacy in our state.” Last I checked, Florida public education was not including beliefs about UFOs among testing standards. The state’s first science center opened more than 50 years ago with a conch shell, a goat and an iguana on a string. Then and now, museums use a variety of entertaining experiences to attract audiences to science, mathematics, technology and other ultimate educational goals. UFOs and dinosaurs attract people of all ages to, we hope, seek truth, learn more and perhaps be entertained while inspired.

Brogan staff did send an e-mail to Florida State University professors hoping that they would encourage students to visit the museum, experience the exhibit and the lectures. Shame on us. In addition to some members of the Physics Department, the e-mail was also sent to professors who teach about UFOs in literature, history, pop culture and astronomy.

Stanton T. Friedman received B.S. and M.S. degrees in physics from the University of Chicago in 1955 and 1956. He was employed for 14 years as a nuclear physicist for such companies as GE, GM, Westinghouse, TRW Systems, Aerojet General Nucleonics and McDonnell Douglas.

He has provided written testimony to congressional hearings and appeared twice at the UN. Friedman takes an unambiguous stand that some UFOs are alien spacecraft. Maybe, just maybe, he will inspire a child to learn more.

Executive director
The Mary Brogan Museum of Art and Science

About Brandon Haught

Communications Director for Florida Citizens for Science.
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4 Responses to UFOs

  1. B.S. & M.S. from 1955 & 1956. Six employers in 14 years. Interesting.

    Why would any museum that’s supposed to promote science actively promote an anti-science exhibit? That’s as ridiculous as expecting General Motors to advertise Yugos. Or Edsels.

  2. I set a record for working on exciting classified government sponsored programs that were cancelled. That is why I have pretty much been on my own since, except for some consulting work.Those who attended my lectures thought it was very scientific as do those who have read my 4 books. Try my 2008 “Flying Saucers and Science”. Might learn something. Stanton Friedman

  3. Frank Warren says:

    Stanton Friedman is credentialed both academically, and by his tenure as a nuclear physicist. The latter involved “classified programs” which necessitated a “Q clearance.” The DOE’s “Q Clearance” is equivalent to the DoD’s “Top Secret Clearance (TS)”; his achievements have been such that he has been called on by The Untied Nations, as well as Congress . . . hardly the accolades of a charlatan!

    Equally important is the fact he his a man of impeccable character, ethics, and principals—a true gentlemen in every sense of the word; fortunately, for those who choose to slander him, fear not, as he need not slither down to the level of ad hominem attacks.

    One other attribute Stan possesses is “courage!” He crossed a line long ago that most “academics and or mainstream scientists” won’t dare! He became cognizant of a “global phenomenon” decades past and took action! He did what science prescribes, setting aside “cognitive bias” as well as selfishness, then began to research and investigate. He is a Copernicus of his time, defying the status quo, and staying true to science.

    I might add for those that feel that Ufology isn’t worthy of science, let me remind them that the first physicists who broached the subject (albeit by mandate) are names they might recognize e.g., Dr. Edward Teller, Dr. Norris Bradbury, Dr. Frederick, Dr. Reines, Dr. John Manley to name a few.

    One final note for those who don’t know him, yet choose to malign the man; Stanton Friedman vindicates his thesis with factual data; he lays it on the table for all to see, and he invites logical inquiry; he takes on any all challengers with plausible arguments; those who can’t step up and argue the scientific points, and can only sling mud certainly don’t conform to science or common decency for that matter.

    Frank Warren

  4. Dae Haith says:

    I wrote the below letter to Professor Cottle
    You can also protest to him on cottle@nucott.physics.fsu.edu or phone him on 850 644 5777

    Here’s my letter:
    Prof. Dr Paul Cottle Florida State University 15 November, 2008

    Dear Dr Cottle

    I am a retired professional journalist in the UK and frankly am appalled at your attack on Stanton Friedman as a ‘charlatan’ and his subject of UFOs – ‘pseudoscience’.

    I am even more disgusted that you don’t have the decency to defend your stance with any evidence – obviously because there is none.

    This all reeks of prejudice and is a million miles from the science of which one expects you to be an honest representative.

    Please read Billy Cox’s piece below, eat some ‘humble pie’ and then if you have any courage at all, apologise to Mr Friedman and all the other serious UFO researchers you malign with your pathetic weasly words.

    David Haith


    Source: Billy Cox’s Blog De Void- Sarasota, Florida


    Friday, November 14, 2008

    Scientists Decline To Defend Themselves

    By Billy Cox

    It’s a rare thing to see the conceits of establishment science splashed out in the Letters to the Editor. But that’s just what happened over the past week in The Tallahassee Democrat. Check it out:

    Since late August, the Mary Brogan Museum of Art & Science in Tallahassee has been hosting a Roswell Exhibit. Old news clippings from that 1947 UFO event, audio, space aliens, all that. The display runs through December.

    Last weekend, the Museum also sponsored two lectures by Stan Friedman, who helped revive public curiosity in the coverup by turning his research into several books. Florida State University physics Prof. Dr. Paul Cottle, an otherwise thoughtful guy who helped revise teaching standards in Florida schools, hit the roof and uncorked an ad hominem tirade.

    Leading with how his peers had worked hard to protect students from “the threat of pseudoscience undermining scientific literacy in our state,” Cottle labeled Friedman “a well known charlatan,” questioned his credentials as a nuclear physicist, and accused the Museum of undermining efforts to “improve the scientific environment in Tallahassee.”

    That sparked a swift riposte from Museum executive director Chucha Barber. Friedman, she wrote, “received B.S. and M.S. degrees in physics from the University of Chicago in 1956 and 1956. He was employed for 14 years as a nuclear physicist for such companies as GE, GM, Westinghouse, TRW Systems, Aerojet General Nucleonics and McDonnell Douglas.”

    Furthermore, “Last I checked, Florida public education was not including beliefs about UFOs among testing standards.” In defending the Museum’s mission, Barber added: “UFOs and dinosaurs attract people of all ages to, we hope, seek truth, learn more and perhaps be entertained while inspired.”

    That generated a broadside from Dr. Gregory Boebinger, director of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee. Boebinger said Barber’s letter “misses the point” of Cottle’s critique.

    “Is the Brogan planning to host future exhibits on palm reading and astrology? Surely,” he wrote, “when a science museum hosts often-debunked pseudoscience, it is not only using ‘a variety of entertaining experiences to attract audiences to science,’ as Ms. Barber contends, but also insidiously endorsing pseudoscience and attracting our children and the public away from science.”

    UFOs = palm reading and astrology? Boebinger forgot to add pedophilia.

    Anyhow, the best efforts of Cottle and Boebinger went for naught. According to Barber, Friedman lectured to a packed house; people had to be turned away.

    “But what troubled me about it,” Barber says, “is that I’ve been in this business for 25 years and I’ve never felt compelled to write a letter to the editor defending my museum experiences. Getting people to think is what we’re supposed to do.”

    Barber recalls the spirited debate that unfolded last summer when members of the Museum’s science and arts committees contemplated staging the Roswell Exhibit. “One of the science guys said, ‘This isn’t science,’ and one of the others said, ‘I don’t know why it wouldn’t be science.’ A great dialogue ensued and my board president turned to me and said, ‘We’re gonna host the Roswell Exhibit.’

    “The museum doesn’t promote a particular ideology or a point of view on Roswell. But clearly, it creates a lot of emotion, and who’s to say a kid who sees this stuff won’t be motivated to learn more about the universe?”

    From his home in New Brunswick, Canada, Friedman is still smarting from Cottle’s attack. “Since when is name-calling a scientist’s appropriate response to something?” he says. “He calls me a charlatan without giving any reason for it, and he labels UFOs a pseudoscience without stating why. It’s science by proclamation.”

    Being scientists, no doubt Cottle and Boebinger are familiar with Project Blue Book Special Report #14, in which Air Force analysts determined that roughly 20 percent of their UFO reports were legitimate unknowns by the mid-1950s. And of course they’d read the disturbing 1999 French COMETA Report, presented by the Institute of Higher Studies for National Defense with a foreword by the former chair of the French National Center for Space Studies.

    Naturally, being scientists, they had also acquainted themselves with The UFO Enigma: A New Review Of The Physical Evidence, authored by a team of scientists assembled by Dr. Peter Sturrock, professor emeritus of applied physics at Stanford University.

    And, in the rigorous spirit of scientific inquiry, they had probably already reviewed the FAA/National Weather Service radar records of the Stephenville, Tex., UFO incident in January. Surely, they had perfectly logical explanations for why the military refuses to release its own radar records, as well as the uncensored flight logs of the F-16s that pursued the object.

    De Void wanted to discuss the pseudo-scientific aspects of these and other studies with the offended parties. But Cottle’s e-mail response was terse: “I’m not going to comment further. My letter to the editor was a message to my local community, and I’m going to leave it at that.”

    Boebinger didn’t bother to respond at all.

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