Tyler Kokjohn with Jeremy Vaeni
It can rightly be said that 2013 was the year in which mainstream science found its way back to the esoteric realms of ufology and cryptozoology, thanks to new, affordable methods of DNA testing. But, as with anything in these fields, the research tools are only as useful as the people working them. To note the stark contrast between good research and faulty, one need look no further than our hairy friends, Yeti and Bigfoot. Or, if you prefer smaller humanoids to giant ones, check out the brouhaha surrounding the mummified wee person, Ata. The scientists doing the actual work have dismissed Ata’s alleged alien origins, but the promoters are still raking in the dollars and the speaking engagements off the original story. There will always be charlatans who refuse to let facts get in the way of the story they want to tell, and unfortunately DNA testing does nothing to curb this. On the contrary, if the audience isn’t paying close attention, it might even give the promotor the appearance of doing actual research.
Ufology is about nothing if not a game of appearances. This is true on all levels. It is up to the audience to see through that and find the truth. Or in the case of scientific data, to see the facts. See the facts and stop listening to the story. We now have a better hold on that option, thanks to DNA testing. But will we take it? Or will we continue to let con men take us on an expensive ride through our expectations and desires while crying out for government disclosure and more mainstream coverage… of our fantasies?
Trying to discern the future of ufology, there can be little doubt that 2013 was a remarkable year. To those chanting ‘ufology must die’ I suggest that the events of the past year reveal how some of it will ultimately expire. From Bigfoot evidence to Ata, the alien from the Atacama desert, when mainstream scientists become interested and involved, myths quickly end up dead.
The story of Ata illustrates quite clearly the extreme danger now facing abduction researchers. These strange remains of dubious provenience were suggested to have an extraterrestrial origin. The debate might have gone on for some time had not a competent mainstream scientist volunteered his services to help analyze the mysterious tiny corpse. Within a matter of a few weeks time a genomic assessment effectively put the origin matter to rest by revealing that despite the strange appearance what had been ‘discovered’ was the remains of a probably stillborn human being. These events revealed that experts are now able to conduct reliable and definitive genomic analyses quickly. They also illustrate that these new and penetrating analytical tools are able to deal a swift death blow to cherished, but erroneous, hypotheses making them a menace to charlatans.
A great deal of modern scientific research is multidisciplinary in nature and conducted by teams of investigators. The examination of Ata is a fine example of such efforts. For abduction researchers promoting plots against humanity involving genetic hybridization with aliens, who know the identities of hybrids or claiming that indigo children are the next phase of human evolution, the good news is that the validity of such deductions can now be evaluated quickly. And for that group of investigators the bad news is that the validity of claims can now be evaluated quickly. It is going to be interesting to see if those asserting they follow a scientific approach will now employ the tools that could offer definitive answers.
Perhaps the market for books and lectures based on inconclusive methods will remain lucrative. For them the time may be running short. As genetic analysis methods become more commonplace in medical practice, the general public will become more familiar with their utility and capabilities. At some point in the future a reluctance to adopt such methods will no longer be tolerated by the consumers.
This past year offered an amazing contrast between research approaches. On the one hand was the examination of Ata by mainstream scientists using genomic analysis methods which led to the prompt demolition of some wild assertions. In stark contrast were investigators defending pathetically deficient methodology by claiming they alone possess secret insights enabling them to ferret out truth from hypnosis-induced confabulation. Such faith-based appeals to higher authority are the utter antithesis of the scientific approach.