It comes as no surprise to me that an alien abduction book-writing hypnotist’s consent form reads more like an amateurish cover my ass form. But that’s because I’m from here. What happens when an actual scientist the likes of whom alien abduction researchers have been screaming at for years to take this subject seriously does so and reads these consent forms? Well, your answer is below. And it begs the question: Do these abduction researchers really want scientists and the mainstream to take their work seriously or is that smoke and mirrors because they assume such people will not anyway? It’s easy to yell “Take me seriously!” or demand disclosure from the government when you know it’s not going to happen. Then you get to look like a hero of the people and profit from that.
This begs another question and another: Are these researchers really researchers? If there are no standards, no ethics, only the defense of misused tools like hypnosis and book reviews… speeches about the coherence of cherry-picked data… should this be considered a field of study to begin with?
Intruders Foundation Consent Forms: Consent or Exploitation?
Jack Brewer’s recent blog post on The UFO Trail regarding access to confidential hypnosis tapes exposed far more than a thoughtless violation of research confidentiality standards. The Intruders Foundation consent form Jack published with his essay is shocking and virtually nothing like an informed consent form that would be employed for biomedical research.
First and foremost it served as notice that Budd Hopkins had claimed all publication rights to every utterance and any created entity of interest he could collect from his subjects. Any privacy or confidentiality issues for the participant were apparently entirely secondary matters. Worse, possible psychological issues emerging following participation were fully foreseeable adverse events – the document clearly informs the subject of that. But then Budd simply washed his hands of them. In effect, subjects assumed risks that were never adequately explained and if anything went wrong were left on their own.
Unfortunately, risk is an unavoidable part of some biomedical research. Potential foreseeable risks are managed through a comprehensive informed consent process to provide full, detailed information in advance to all subjects. Written informed consent documents provide potential subjects with information about the nature of the research, how it will be used, the risks incurred and the rights of all participants. Potential adverse events must be described in sufficient detail and in an understandable fashion so that every subject knows completely what might go wrong BEFORE agreeing to participate. Adverse events are mitigated through meticulous followup care during and after the study term if necessary. No research may commence until the investigator has devised an appropriate and complete written informed consent form and obtains full institutional approval for it as well as a detailed written plan to recognize and mitigate all adverse events arising from the investigation. The investigator and institution are responsible for completely informing all individuals of the attendant risks involved and assume full responsibility for the welfare of the subject and any/all needs that emerge as a consequence of participation in the study. Attempting to insulate oneself from lawsuits through the invocation of a vague disclaimer or withholding vital information to thwart informed decision-making by possible participants is never permitted.
The evidence suggests Budd Hopkins realized serious problems might develop from his investigations – and he took steps to try to avoid the trouble they might cause him. After taking pains to highlight his own incompetence and lack of medical training, he persisted in rooting around where he effectively admitted he had no business whatsoever. Holding himself legally blameless for all consequential damages, he was seemingly disinterested in mitigating any injuries he induced.
The implications are far reaching. If Budd Hopkins knew his work could create serious issues, it would seem that others using similar methods must have had analogous experiences with the induction of adverse events. In other words, hypnosis investigators know this or reasonably should know of the potential for investigations to produce trouble in their subjects. Authors Philip Klass, Jim Schnabel and Kevin Randle et al. had the situation well figured years ago, but were ignored. Recognizing this is no parlor game and what really can happen is something many hypnotists probably hope no one else ever figures out. Anyone contemplating taking part in research is well advised to read and consider the informed consent documents carefully before participating.