The Contactee Issue
The Air Force Response
The Academic Response
The Public Response
The Politics of Science
The Personal Politics of Science
The Growth of Knowledge
The Scientific Process as a Political Process
The Scientific Process and the Scientific Method
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Although there have been efforts to relate the post World War II UFO phenomenon to the foo-fighters (balls of light seen by fighter pilots) of World War II, the airship wave of 1897, Medieval accounts of things seen in the sky and the miraculous events recounted in the Bible,  for our purposes this kind of information is too esoteric and the links too tenuous for it to be relevant to setting the stage for McDonald's entrance. We can be content to engage the subject in 1947 when it first came to the attention of the American public as a result of the publicity afforded the sighting made by Kenneth Arnold as he flew his plane over Mt. Rainier, Washington, on June 24, 1947. Arnold allegedly saw eight disc-shaped objects flying at an estimated 1500 miles per
J. Allen Hynek, Chairman of the Department of Astronomy at Northwestern University, has provided us with a typology of UFO reports which is useful for obtaining an initial grasp of the data. His typology consists of: nocturnal lights, daylight discs, radar-visual reports, close encounters of the first kind, close encounters of the second kind and close encounters of the third kind.
Nocturnal Lights are the most common UFO report and consist of unidentified lights in the night sky. As a class of reports they are numerically large, but evidentially not as significant as the other types. Hynek argues that: 
One remarkable reported physical effect involves interference in electrical circuits, causing car engines to cease functioning temporarily, radios to cut out or to exhibit uncommon static, car headlights to dim or be extinguished for a short while, and, on occasion, car batteries to overheat and deteriorate rapidly.
Project Blue Book,
Project Blue Book Information Office,
SAFOI, Washington, D.C.,
August 1, 1967, p. 7.
THE CONTACTEE ISSUE
THE AIR FORCE RESPONSE
The Air Force maintained the sole official responsibility for explaining UFO data between 1947 and 1969. Volumes could be written on this subject alone. However, such detail is not necessary for the purposes of this study. What is important is that the Air Force staffed a small investigatory project which from 1947-49 was called Project Sign, from 1949-51 was named Project Grudge and from 1952-69 bore the code name Project Blue Book. The reports and press releases of each of the projects assured the public that the sightings were not a threat to the national security and could be explained as misidentifications of stars, planets and man-made objects, or were natural atmospheric phenomena, or hoaxes.  The Air Force adhered to this public position for 22 years until the closing of Blue Book in 1969.
The Air Force made its pronouncements against a background of claims that it did so after careful investigation of sightings with the aid of some of America's finest scientific talent. The implication for members of the scientific community became obvious. The Air Force, through the use of the ample scientific muscle at its disposal, could readily explain the UFO sightings which perplexed the untrained layman.
THE ACADEMIC RESPONSE
In 1963 he followed it with a second book entitled The World of Flying Saucers written with Lyle Boyd.  He drafted it in the same vein, treating the entire UFO phenomenon as preposterous pseudoscience. However, Menzel did get closer to the data, not through personal investigation of cases, but by gaining access to and explaining away official Air Force UFO reports from the Project Blue Book files. This book further ensconced Menzel as the definitive academic word on UFOs.
Consequently, prior to 1966 academics did very little to elucidate the UFO problem. Two UFO groups, the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP) and the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization
THE PUBLIC RESPONSE
Many privately funded UFO organizations were formed during this time, however, only two still survive. The Aerial Phenomena Research Organization (APRO) began in 1952 under the direction of Coral Lorenzen, while the National Investigation Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP) formed in 1956 with Harrison Brown as its head. Both functioned primarily as repositories for UFO sighting reports while they attempted to obtain a hearing for the data before the scientific community. Each recruited individuals on an international basis to investigate sightings and forward the ensuing reports to national headquarters; for APRO Tucson, Arizona, and for NICAP Washington, D.C. The NICAP group reorganized under the leadership of Donald Keyhoe (1956-69), attacked the Air Force vigorously and constantly lobbied on Capitol Hill for Congressional Hearings on the UFO question. On the other hand, the APRO leadership, recognizing the inadvisability of trying to attack the Air Force from its remote Tucson base of operations,
The contactees referred to above, along with various charlatans and hucksters, did much harm to the attempt to acquire scientific legitimacy for the UFO phenomenon. The relatively quiet, by and large non-sensational, efforts of NICAP and APRO took a back seat to the bizarre tales of those individuals only interested in making a fast dollar from the excitement generated by UFO reports. As a result as time passed the first thought that crossed people's minds when the subject of UFOs arose was "little green men." This was obviously the last thing on the minds of the few serious researchers in the field, but it is representative of the type of image that had to be altered if the scientific community was going to consider the subject a legitimate topic of inquiry.
Therefore, we can see that between 1947 and 1965 there were a number of factors working to keep UFO data from undergoing scientific scrutiny. The Air Force had consistently written the matter off for 18 years. With these assurances, as well as those from Donald Menzel of Harvard, most scientists found no need to delve further into the problem. Moreover, this conclusion was additionally reinforced by the conspiracy claims of Keyhoe and various contactee and charlatan assertions which most reasonable men viewed as fraudulent.
The term "anomalous phenomenon " is used here for lack of a better one. Ordinarily an anomalous observation is one which does not fit into existing theories or frameworks of analysis. What is denoted here is a special case within this class. It is an observation which, according to Kuhn, is potentially a cause of a paradigmatic shift in whatever discipline it occurs.  To accommodate it, entire world views must be revised, it is not enough to "fudge a little" or extend already extant
THE POLITICS OF SCIENCE
Political scientists generally conceive of the politics of science in terms of the relationships between government and science. The areas of principal emphasis have been the impact of government on science, the scientist as decision-maker, and the scientist and foreign policy. A few examples should serve to illustrate this.
A number of studies speak to the question of government impact on science. Price discusses the problems arising from the growth of the federally funded post World War II scientific establishment,  while Reagan examines the funding policies of the federal government with respect to scientific research.  In the same area Knorr and Morgenstern address themselves to policy questions related to the management of military research and development in the United States. 
Several authors treat the scientist as a decision-maker. In this respect Wohlstetter considers the effect scientists have on decisions concerning national and international security  and Schilling explores President Truman's decision to pursue development of the H-Bomb.  Gilpin directs his inquiry to the dispute which developed in the
With regard to foreign policy Schilling outlines the recent history of the scientist in the policy-making process  and Skolnikoff illustrates the importance of scientific input to the Department of State decision-making process.  Lastly, Nelson uses a study of the Pugwash Conference to indicate the increased sensitivity on the part of scientists to international politics. 
THE PERSONAL POLITICS OF SCIENCE
On the other hand, "the personal politics of science" encompasses the everyday interaction of scientists. This approach stresses the interpersonal strategies invoked by scientists in the pursuit of knowledge. It fleshes out the skeleton of scientific research to provide insights into the social processes underlying the formal outcomes which are found in scholarly journals and texts. In so doing this personal politics of science brings one to a better understanding of both the context of discovery and validation. Unlike the traditional politics of science it is concerned with the micro-analysis of the behavior of scientists. Although governmental and scientific institutions play a role, the primary actors in such analyses are the scientists themselves. The point of such endeavors is to break out of the time-honored myth which portrays the scientist as a disinterested observer who, with respect to his research, is neutral both in the laboratory and in the world.
For example, DeGrazia chronicles the treatment given Emmanuel Velikovsky and his work by the scientific community. He concentrates on the interactions of Velikovsky with his critics, the scientific journals, book publishers and other academics.  This personal approach to the politics of science is also utilized by Greenberg. He takes advantage of the knowledge he acquired as an assistant editor of Science to explicate the history of the politics of what he calls "pure science" in the United States. He places emphasis on the period just prior to World War II through 1965 in a discussion directed toward which scientists wanted what projects, where, and why.  In a similar (personal) vein Barber points out that while literature exists which explores political, technological, economic and religious resistance to new ideas in science, virtually none probes resistance to new discoveries on the part of scientists themselves. He goes on to provide examples of this phenomenon. 
There is another stream of literature which converges on these same problems from the perspective of the sociology and history of science. It is concerned with the manner in which knowledge grows.  The building bloc notion has been generally accepted until quite recently. In essence this hypothesis suggests that knowledge grows progressively and incrementally, each new idea following logically from that which has gone before. However, this is not the only position in the literature. According to Kroeber it is the exhaustion of ideas in one area of research which leads to new problems or orientations and the concomitant growth of knowledge.  The identical outcome is produced by a series of
The concept of growth accepted by Crane  and Ziman  is that of Kuhn  which was later reinterpreted by Masterman  and thus accepted by Kuhn.  Kuhn asserts that periods of science-as-usual, what he calls "normal science," are interspersed with periods of crisis and then revolution. Once a revolution occurs a paradigm develops in a discipline, or a part thereof, which attracts scientists to it and permits normal science to continue again. Crisis is precipitated by problems insoluble within the old paradigm. Revolution is the "breaking out" of the old paradigm and the formation of a new one in order to resolve crisis-causing problems. The definition of paradigm is not clear, but Masterman presents three usages gleaned from Kuhn's work:
An aspect of this process which the proponents of all of these hypotheses fail to entertain is the political component. Although Crane comes close, by citing the cognitive and social constituents of knowledge growth,  and Kuhn even uses the revolutionary analogy to describe his paradigm shift,  they nonetheless neglect the political.
It is at that point where this research takes advantage of both the personal politics of science literature and the growth of knowledge hypotheses to suggest how scientific growth, of a revolutionary nature, occurs, not only at the abstract level of theory, but also at the real world level of the scientific arena. The Kuhnian model of growth seems potentially the most appropriate to the UFO phenomenon. It has an appeal regardless of which conception of paradigm one chooses to adopt. For it is a paradigm shift which is necessary, if the UFO phenomenon is truly anomalous, to transform the scientific climate of opinion toward the subject and foster interest in it. Either a change in world view, a critical experiment, or some application of new, or heretofore unused, instrumentation for observational purposes, is required to change the research picture vis-a-vis the subject. This is necessary because research cannot go forward as long as the subject is deemed illegitimate.
THE SCIENTIFIC PROCESS AS A POLITICAL PROCESS
To understand the efforts which have been made in this direction it is constructive to conceive of the scientific process as a political process. While this is heresy to the positivist, it is fundamental to bridging the gap between paradigms. As Kuhn points out there is always resistance to new ideas from the old guard. In some instances it is overcome, in others the younger
generation of scientists is forced to wait for the older generation to die off before acceptance of the new ideas can occur. However, Kuhn does not give much consideration to the nature of the struggle to obtain acceptance. The struggle results from the incommensurability of the old and the new paradigm. Each carries with it a set of criteria for evidence claims and acceptable methods of validation. Unfortunately, the criteria and methods of the new paradigm may not be admissible under the standards of the old. Since the latter has proven itself many times in the past and its adherents, who are legion, have world views and careers securely anchored within it, resistance to the new paradigm develops. Yet, because the standard bearers, of each do not accept one another's basic assumptions about the world and/or how to do research they can only talk at, not with, one another; intersubjectively verifiable claims are not possible because the followers of each approach speak different languages. When such a situation exists the outcome becomes a matter of persuading those of the old school to accept the new. Kuhn is cognizant of this and points out that proponents of the new paradigm try to make their case by showing that their paradigm solves the problems which had previously caused a crisis, predicts further unexpected solutions to other problems and is more aesthetically pleasing than its predecessor. However, Kuhn does not see this as a political process and does not elaborate on it.
In fact, he admits that the research which could throw light on the conversion question has not been done. I believe this attempt to gain acceptance can usefully be viewed as politicking, often in a revolutionary way, for purposes of securing an assenting constituency. These behaviors, and those related to them, constitute the personal politics of science of this study.
THE SCIENTIFIC PROCESS AND THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD
We are well under way to grasping this concept if we define the scientific process as any and all behaviors engaged in by scientists to further their science-related interests. This is a considerable embellishment of the concept of scientific method which is usually used interchangeably with scientific process. When traditionally used it consists of an objective scientist hypothesizing an outcome, doing an experiment, collecting the resulting data, interpreting the outcome and writing up the findings for publication. The result of the above expanded definition, on the other hand, is to suggest that science consists of much more than what scientists do in their labs or report in books and journal articles. The scientific process viewed as a political process does not conceive of the scientist as neutral, but rather as an advocate. He has a position with respect to the problems he studies, possibly to a greater extent on controversial issues, and he desires to promulgate this position. Therefore, he engages in
behaviors which he believes will foster his substantive findings, argumentation and other research ends. These behaviors are political and constitute the tactics of the strategy which he feels will best serve to resolve the issue which is at stake. This view, then, enlarges the repertoire of activities which comprise the scientific process and makes it possible to speak of the scientist as a political actor.
This orientation has certain distasteful aspects to some. For instance, it makes the behaviors associated with the scientific method, namely those enumerated above, a subset of the behaviors included in the scientific process. The figure which appears below serves to illustrate this. The schematic itself is the scientific process. It consists of the scientific method represented by the behaviors in the inner box and the associated political activities shown peripherally outside the inner box. The latter are not intended to be all inclusive, but should serve as a useful heuristic.
Another difficulty with this enlarged conception of the scientific process is that it permits individuals other than scientists to participate. This implication should not be interpreted as a covert means of legitimating as scientific the actions of those who take part in the scientific process, but who are not scientists; for this is not the intention of the definition. An individual can be a party to the scientific process without the
necessity that the inference be drawn, either that he is a scientist, or that his work is scientific. For these labels are reserved for the professional scientist in the first instance and for anyone who adheres to the scientific method in the second instance.
The elaboration of the normal scientific process definition is a means to a better understanding of the personal politics of science. Informally it has existed since the first scientist penned a biography. In reading The Double Helix  or Lawrence and Oppenheimer,  for instance, all of the above is implicit, but not elaborated. The McDonald UFO case study which follows is a detailed examination of selected aspects of one man's attempt to force a paradigm shift on the American scientific community. The ramifications would have been of major import to society if McDonald had proved successful. Few areas of life would have remained unaffected, at least in the industrialized world; space budgets, military budgets, priorities at all levels would have undergone reassessment along with life styles, careers, and cosmological orientations. That McDonald failed is not to say that he was wrong, nor that the issue is no longer joined. Neither is it to imply that he was correct and championed an idea whose time had not come. The UFO phenomenon is a thorny issue, not readily amenable to scientific investigation; the controversy continues, but is smoldering, rather than burning. Only time will tell if James McDonald pursued, in his own words, "the most important scientific problem of our time," or a will-o'-the-wisp.
In either case, a great deal can be learned about the behavior of scientists when paradigms are at stake from the analysis of his attempt to legitimate the study of the UFO phenomenon. In particular, we can better understand, at least in this case, how a scientist tried to bridge the chasm between an old and a potentially new paradigm.
United States Air Force Air Material Command, Unidentified Flying Objects; Project Grudge, Dayton, Ohio, W.P.A.F.B., 1949.
Assorted Blue Book press releases, 1951 - 65. - Back To Text