Letter To Dr. Michael Swords

The message below to Dr. Michael Swords concerns a post at his blog in which he apologetically presented some information casting doubt upon the validity of hypnosis as a memory retrieval enhancer and investigative tool. When Emma Woods attempted to contribute to the comments section of the post, Dr. Swords chose to edit those comments to omit the name of Emma Woods, as well as Dr. David Jacobs, who was referenced in her comments. The letter below was submitted today in the comments section of the post in question.Dear Dr. Swords:

This message is in response to your April 19 blog post, ‘Abduction and Hypnosis: a Letter from the Past.’ [sic], and particularly your remarks contained in the comments section. While your stance on preferring to remain independent of controversy surrounding hypnosis used as a memory enhancer and the extremely questionable activities of some of its proponents, such as Dr. David Jacobs, is noted, a reasonable argument could be made that a man in your position within ufology is not afforded any such skirting of the issues. This is by no means to suggest that you should be disproportionately criticized for the actions of others, but to moderately point out that a community should expect to look to its leaders for guidance on relevant issues.

In addition to subjecting hypotheses to direct tests, scientists employ a regular regimen of intense introspection. No less important than the basic investigations is the essential activity of critiquing the results and the means to obtain them. Are the data accurate and precise? Was the methodology sound? These questioning processes begin before the first experiment is conducted. Careers, money and prestige may all be on the line, but they all take a back seat to the review processes. In no case would the demands imposed for the responsible conduct of research ever be considered stirring up controversy. The bottom line is simple – scientists question everything, including each other.

A concern over the possible reactions of colleagues and friends for bringing up issues with hypnosis is a clear sign something is amiss. Your choice to edit the comments of Emma Woods and refuse to allow her to specifically name Dr. Jacobs as a controversial figure at your blog is indeed your prerogative. However, it could be interpreted to be much more of the problem than the solution. While reticence to delve into matters requiring legal remedies is both wise and appreciated, the fundamental problems with abduction research itself embodied by extraordinary reliance on a single problematic methodology and exposed by a long running public dispute warrant a broader discussion. Abduction research has imitated some facets of science, but without the underlying and critical procedures to ensure data quality and subject protections. The thin veneer of this faux ‘scientific’ process works well enough to mislead some, but those who know the difference have an obligation to sound the alarm.

While you are entitled to your perspective, an alternative and reasonable stance would be that denying public discussion of relevant issues impedes abduction research while indirectly supporting some perpetrators of unethical acts and adding to their undeserved credibility. Due to your position as a longtime member of the board of directors of the Center for UFO Studies, the UFO community might expect to count on you, as well as your peers and others holding similar positions in UFO organizations, to clarify and resolve relevant issues. Perhaps you will opt for alternative choices in the future, and contribute in more substantial manners to the much needed improvements in leadership within abduction research specifically and ufology in general. Notwithstanding friendships, loyalties and worries over making someone feel bad, it is impossible to have this both ways.

Sincerely,

Jack Brewer

Tyler A. Kokjohn, Ph.D.

Alfred Lehmberg

Harvey Price

Carol Rainey

Jeff Ritzmann

Jeremy Vaeni

Emma Woods

Try a New Hypothesis, Sherlock

Try a New Hypothesis, Sherlock
by Guest Blogger,
Tyler Kokjohn, PhD.

How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?

– Sherlock Holmes, The Sign of the Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 

Sherlock Holmes’s sage scolding reminds us not to fall easy prey to unwarranted assumptions and the limits of human imagination.  It, or something similar, is often invoked to defend the extraterrestrial hypothesis (ETH) as the best explanation for UFO observations.  Unfortunately, little thought has been given to the bias inherent in using this technique.  It may work well provided the roster of potential possibilities is complete.  However, attempting to establish the ETH represents the best explanation presumes a thorough working knowledge of all the possibilities and the application of reliable methods to assess them.  It is not clear either of these conditions have been met.  But what constitutes the so-called best proposition is telling; it is the hypothesis that fits specific preconceived notions regarding what seems sensible.  That approach is risky because Nature is not obliged to function in ways humans will comprehend easily.  Worse, some facts simply defy common sense.  For example, while our eyes tell us it is clear the sun revolves around our flat Earth, science ultimately overruled those illusions.

ETH proponents have invoked this validity establishment approach because after decades of hard work, they have failed to bring forward sufficient definitive evidence to achieve a direct confirmation.  Note that this exclusion argument only certifies the ETH as the ‘best’ proposition to investigate while not advancing that investigation.  Unfortunately, after knocking down some straw men, the bottom line is we have circled back to the same place and face the same nagging doubts about the ETH.  Rationalizing is a subtle, but sure sign a hypothesis needs to be retooled or abandoned.

Investigating UFOs is challenging, so is it fair to criticize researchers who are doing their best against a frustrating target?  Hard evidence is clearly in short supply meaning all opportunities to secure it should be seized immediately.  Ufology’s greatest failing is a persistent and almost universal studied indifference toward doing that.  Multiple opportunities to obtain hypothesis-confirming hard evidence have been and continue to be ignored.

Some scrupulously overlooked opportunities to investigate readily accessible evidence

On September 2, 2009, Major George Filer offered for sale a medical device, ‘flu lights,’ he claimed prevented or cured influenza infections in humans as well as dogs and cats (Filer’s Files #36-2009).  The source of this amazing new medical technology – testimony from alien abductees explaining they had been cured of ailments after exposure to blue or green lights employed by aliens.  This purported influenza cure/preventative measure, unknown to medical science, would constitute an astonishing example of an alien technology transfer to humans.  And priced at only $50 this miracle cure was also a true bargain.  An influenza pandemic was emerging in 2009, so the Major must have felt it necessary to get his flu lights on the market with all due haste.  Now, nearly 5 years after the crisis, neither he nor anyone else has yet come forward with a report on what would be nothing less than a lifesaving medical breakthrough and paradigm shattering discovery. The Holy Grail for ufology and medicine literally in hand and no one tests it, publishes any further information about the technology or details its amazing history?  Welcome to ufology.

Dr. David Jacobs and other abduction researchers have presented numerous, detailed accounts of missing pregnancies and creation of human-alien genetic hybrids.  It is now clear that during gestation mother and fetus exchange cells which may persist for years or decades after birth or termination of the pregnancy (M. Barinaga, “Cells Exchanged During Pregnancy Live On,’Science, 21 June 2002 [296:2169-2172]). Powerful new genetic analysis methods now enable investigators to perform prenatal examinations of the fetal genome after a simple blood draw from the mother (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120704182127.htm)  In the event of an alleged missing pregnancy, it may still be possible to recognize such hybrid cells for decades.  Whether or not the hybrid baby is removed by aliens and taken to an inaccessible location, these mothers are known to the investigators and represent a potential source of critical hypothesis corroborating genetic data.

Abduction investigators have revealed varying degrees of direct personal involvement in the phenomenon with one claiming she knows the identities of hybrids and another asserting on an episode of Future Theater (18 May 2013) that she was employed by aliens as a “breeder.” Robert Sheaffer reported from the 2014 UFO Congress that one featured speaker revealed she has seven alien grandchildren (http://badufos.blogspot.com/2014_02_01_archive.html).  These situations have afforded these investigators the unique opportunity to acquire and test samples at their leisure.  A human-alien genetic hybrid might be detected with the simplest of genetic tests requiring only that the subject spit into a tube and the investigator mail it off to a commercial facility to await the report.  Possibly the easiest opportunity in all history to collect what could be the most scientifically significant samples of the century and not one of them seems to have bothered.

It is important to recognize that these are not fleeting situations transpiring by dark of night at unpredictable times. These sources of critical evidence are readily and conveniently available to the investigators.  However, despite the ease of collection, the most direct pathways to uncover substantive proof of nefarious alien intervention on our planet and provide concrete evidence strongly supporting the ETH have been ignored and left to lie fallow.

The best way to investigate any hypothesis is to actually investigate it. In contrast, ETH proponents devise arguments to disguise and rationalize failure.  Reduced to defending a hypothesis because of the consistent inability to marshal convincing supporting evidence, it is astonishing they have so long, so diligently and uniformly refused to explore the obvious opportunities available to reach what should be their supreme goal.  Worse, the experts or opinion leaders never demand investigators get this job done or even note these glaring discrepancies.

It is time to break the futile cycle of ufology.  Try a new hypothesis, Sherlock. You certainly haven’t investigated the one you like.

I’m Sorry, Your Hypothesis Appears to be Dead

by Guest Blogger,
Tyler Kokjohn, PhD.

603px-Serpiente_alquimica

Scientists formulate and test hypotheses.  Participants in an intensely competitive enterprise, their success or failure hinges on devising productive approaches to solve problems and uncover new information.  Consequently, they are always alert for the arrival of new tools and technologies which often offer them new capabilities to extend the limits of knowledge.  The drive to be credited with priority for important discoveries means that scientists cannot afford to waste any time in putting their ideas to the most rigorous tests possible.  If you don’t, your competition may be delighted to do it for you.      

For years, some abduction researchers have produced a steady stream of work alleging they have exposed a secret plan to adulterate the human gene pool.  Contending their investigations reveal a systematic program of criminal battery and sexual molestation perpetrated by extraterrestrial aliens, they have published elaborate narratives describing missing pregnancies, human-alien hybrids and conspiracy.  Researchers report varying degrees of direct personal involvement in these stories with one investigator/subject claiming aliens used her as a ‘breeder’ and another announcing she knows the identities of human-alien hybrids.  These diverse situations share a critical common aspect; each has provided the investigator with ample opportunities to secure critical corroborating genetic data.

Alien abduction investigations have long been stymied by the lack of physical evidence that would definitively corroborate victim testimony.  However, new genetic analysis technologies which could ferret out hybrids or pinpoint genomic adulterations in short order are now available.  Representing nothing less than a potential sea change in the field, abduction researchers have either failed to adopt these methods or have not publicized their results.  This static condition has persisted for years.

Will Hypothesis Finally Confront Data?

Perhaps stunning genetic evidence confirming aliens have adulterated human heredity will be forthcoming soon.  Dr. David Jacobs revealed in an interview with Jack Brewer (The UFO Trail http://ufotrail.blogspot.com/2012/04/bizarre-world-of-doctor-david-jacobs.html) he has collected and analyzed samples for such purposes.  Given the potential extreme significance of such work and the premium placed on priority in awarding credit for new scientific discoveries, he should be anxious to publish detailed descriptions of each effort undertaken to acquire genetic samples, the specific analytic methods he employed and a complete accounting of all results and data.  The information should also include full explanations of chain-of-custody procedures and sample integrity safeguards, quality assessments, all process controls and the precise standards employed for sample inclusion/rejection.  Complete procedural details are critical because they will enable reviewers to determine which, if any, conclusions are rigorously grounded, must be considered tentative or challenged as invalid.  If alien or hybrid DNA cannot be revealed despite repeated attempts, carefully documented and controlled experiments will enable scientists to confidently decide whether his ideas are or are not supported by genetic evidence.

For Dr. Jacobs, time may be running short.  Clearly, since one investigator has claimed she knows some human-alien hybrids personally, he is not the sole investigator with access to potentially critical corroborating genetic samples. In addition, he is not necessarily restricted to collecting the retinue following inconveniently timed alien-perpetrated sexual assaults. He has also described subjects reporting events interpreted as evidence of missing pregnancies that were both initiated and terminated by alien intervention.  While human-alien hybrid progeny are said to be spirited away, these missing pregnancy victims are known to him.  Because cells from the developing baby may remain alive in the mother for decades (M. Barinaga, “Cells Exchanged During Pregnancy Live On,’ Science, 21 June 2002 [296:2169-2172]), these persons represent readily localizable subjects potentially harboring the direct genetic evidence of the nefarious alien manipulation of human genetics.  But again, Dr. Jacobs faces potential competition when it comes to securing the first genetic proof of alien-induced missing pregnancies.  The investigator/subject reporting she was used by aliens as a ‘breeder’ (Future Theater, 18 May 2013, http://www.futuretheater.com/) would both be rather easy to find and literally full of it.

530px-Johannes_Vermeer_-_Woman_Holding_a_Balance_-_Google_Art_ProjectThe Implications of Failure

Formulating testable hypotheses, confronting them with data and impartially assessing the results are core activities ofthe scientific method.  A continuous process of testing and ruthless self-critique is essential to reveal and extend the limits of reliable knowledge.  Analysis methods of sufficient power and precision to reveal corrupted genomes, expose human-alien hybrids or otherwise confirm the allegations of abduction investigators are now in routine use.  Only the abduction investigators themselves can explain why it has taken so long to apply them.

It is not unusual for hypotheses to die or be abandoned as a consequence of testing.  In fact, a central purpose of formulating potentially falsifiable hypotheses is precisely to eliminate ideas that are not supported by objective evidence.  No longer able to deploy the ‘you can’t disprove it’ retort, investigators will be forced to either confirm their claims or modify them in accordance with the genetic evidence they produce.  And the task ahead of them may be far more challenging than trying to tidy up a few loose ends in logic.

A consistent failure to produce any corroborating genetic evidence will have implications extending far beyond that of one investigator’s ideas not withstanding rigorous scrutiny.  It will constitute nothing less than an utterly damning indictment of the methods and deductions of some abduction investigators.  If confirmatory genetic data cannot be produced, these investigators will be forced to explain why their combined decades of work spawned breath-taking tales of a nefarious plot against humankind perpetrated through criminal assaults and sexual molestation all fabricated during a headlong and heedless rush down a scientific blind alley.

A vital aspect of the scientific process is the application of brutally frank quality check procedures.  A long delayed reckoning in the alien abduction field is now at hand as we shall soon see how well ornate hypotheses match authentic genetic data.  That will enable us to judge how effectively the special knowledge and methods certain abduction investigators employed have served to expose the truth.