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Poll. The staff summaries are followed by 240 pages of case studies. The entire report, with supplementary and peripheral material, is almost 1,000 pages in length.
The general impression given by Condon’s summary is that there is nothing unusual or significant in the UFO phenomenon. This view gains significant additional weight from the fact that the Condon Report was reviewed by a panel of eminent scientists of the National Academy of Sciences who endorsed both the methodology and findings of the report (Condon & Gillmor, 1968, pp. vii-ix). We shall consider the NAS Panel Report only briefly in Section V.
The attitudes of scientists towards the UFO problem will be discussed in Section II. An overview of the Condon Report then follows in Section III. In Section IV, we compare Condon’s “Summary of the Study” with the six staff summaries, and then proceed to compare each staff summary with the case summaries on which it was based. Section V is devoted to a discussion of scientific methodology, and Section VI is given to a discussion of the present analysis. At the time of revising this article in accordance with the referee’s report, I have taken the opportunity to add a short postscript based on material released by the Central Intelligence Agency after this analysis was first prepared.
Some readers may be interested in reading other reviews of the Condon Report. Soon after the Report was published, Icarus carried two reviews, one by McDonald (1969) and the other by Chiu (1969). Hynek (1972) and Jacobs (1975), in their books on the UFO problem, each devote a chapter to the Condon Report.
Although, as indicated in Section I, the scientific community has tended to minimize the significance of the UFO phenomenon, certain individual scientists have argued that the phenomenon is both real and significant. Such views have been presented in the Hearings of the House Committee on Science and Astronautics (Roush, 1968) and in the book by Hynek (1972). It is also notable that one major national scientific society, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, set up a subcommittee in 1967 to “gain a fresh and objective perspective on the UFO phenomenon.” This subcommittee published a position statement (Kuettner, 1970) and sponsored the publication of analyses of two UFO cases (McDonald, 1971; Thayer, 1971), each of which was considered also by the Condon team. The AIAA versions of these cases are more detailed than those found in the Condon Report and are clearly based on more extensive data.
In their public statements (but not necessarily in their private statements; see Sturrock, 1978), scientists express a generally negative attitude towards the UFO problem, and it is interesting to try to understand this attitude. Most scientists have never had the occasion to confront evidence concerning the UFO phenomenon. To a scientist, the main source of hard information (other than his own experiments or observations) is provided by the scientific journals.