The Great Debate

It’s 1987: 40 years of UFOdom, and where were they? In this episode, we look at a “debate” held on the Paranet BBS, with believers and skeptics alike.

Here are the links to the full debate submissions. Note, these are plain text files, but the file extension on these is .dbt (for debate!) so your browser may melt, or something.
The Great UFO Debate (Introduction)
UFOlogy: After 40 Years, Still No Respect, by Jim Speiser
No Longer a Time to Debate! By Ralph Toscano
Forty Years! By Mr. Howard, the Former Ground Saucer Watch (GSW)
May 27h, 1987: The Great UFO Debate: Have We Got Anything?
Dale Ledoux of ParaNet Gamma in Louisiana
Friar Lucien Kemble on UFOs and UFOlogy
Mr. Klass: World’s Foremost UFO Debunker
The UFO: Forty Years On, by John D. Aultman



  1. I’m not sure how aware I was of the “Internet” prior to 1995. What was it like in 1987? Did it consist entirely of Bulletin Boards? Were there any graphics at all?

    Fr. Kemble’s stance of distinguishing between the “real” supernatural of divine origin, and specious claims of the paranormal, is interesting. His posture is reminiscent of Augustine’s who held that God alone could suspend the normal laws of the universe. On his view, neither Satan nor witches had supernatural powers or were capable of effectively invoking magic of any sort. By extension, the possibility of paranormal phenomena unrelated to the divine should be rejected, or at minimum, strongly doubted. By contrast, Aquinas apparently thought that magic and witchcraft could have real efficacy, though derived from demons. Consonant with this perspective, a variety of paranormal phenomena could indeed be real, though they would have an unsavory origin. (Have I got this right? You, of course, are the real historian.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • BBSes are a little before my time (in the sense that we didn’t have a modem at my house, at least!) I think there could be pics, but you’d have to download them before viewing…
      That’s a good observation of Augustine vs Aquinas and represents their views well, from what I recall!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. As Saucer Life listeners sometimes make donations, if someone ever donates a vintage computer, there are a few BBSes still operational. (At least as recently a 2017)

    As for BBS era graphics, this article explains what the capabilities were.

    I really hope you one day get your hands on an old-timey desktop system, if that’s something you would appreciate, of course.

    Liked by 1 person

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