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Dr. David R. Saunders

David Saunders was a professor of psychology at the University of Colorado when the Air Force grant was proposed. He became involved in the Colorado Project, the so-called independent civilian scientific research effort on UFO reports led by Dr. Edward Condon, and thus known as the Condon Report. He was extremely interested in the UFO subject and immediately volunteered to be part of the project team. Saunders was probably somewhat in violation of one of the criteria for project members in that none were supposed to be actively involved with UFO organizations. He was a member of NICAP.

He thought that this effort would be an unbiased evaluation, but soon discovered an internal memo which proved that the conclusion was already decided in the minds of Edward Condon and his project assistant, Robert Low. Because he dared protest publicly on the bias of the latter and showed the internal memo to the press, he and Dr. Levine, co-discoverer of the infamous memo, were sacked under the motive of "incompetence". Subsequently, half of the members of the group resigned, as a protestation against the obvious bias of the project.

With hindsight, one could say that Saunders let the UFO community down in one significant way. It was his responsibility primarily to champion the "Case Book" of great old cases, which Bob Low had happily agreed to, despite Condon not liking it. This would have produced many anchor points in the final report difficult to deny by nay-sayers. Instead, Saunders focussed himself almost entirely on statistical analysis and no one did the Case Book at all. Thus, the final report was severely impoverished.

Soon after Saunders was fired from the Condon study group, he wrote a much ignored book, UFOs? Yes! Where the Condon Committee Went Wrong, in which he detailed the reasons why Condon and Low decided to ignore legitimate UFO cases, and how their conclusion was formulated in advance in a biased manner. He also detailed why other scientists on the project determined that UFOs are likely to be vehicles from outer space, and how they were fired or their conclusion ignored.

As member of the "Condon" group, Dr. Saunders had established the UFOCAT computer database of UFO reports, stored using a coding system he devised. He continued this work after the end of the Colorado Project with the help of the J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS) until 1980. It had more than 106,000 entries. UFOCAT was not maintained during some ten years after 1980, but it has now been reactivated by Dr. Donald Johnson, a former associate of Dr. Saunders and CUFOS board member.

References

UFOs? Yes! Where the Condon Committee Went Wrong - The inside story by an ex-member of the official study group, book by Dr. David Saunders and R. Roger Harkins, World Publishing, New York, 1969.
"A spatio-temporal invariant for major UFO waves", paper, proceedings of the 1976 CUFOS Conference Center for UFO Studies, Evanston, Illinois, 1976.

 

Sources:

http://ufologie.patrickgross.org/bio/saunders.htm
http://www.nicap.org/photobio.htm
 
 
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