Ufology: Atrophy of a Study

This morning a friend recommended I interview a certain ufologist on The Experience whose work was influential to her. I won’t name him because this isn’t about singling anyone out, it’s about the whole rotten mess.

I cannot in good conscience invite him on, for he has given a glowing blurb to David Jacobs’ new book on the back cover and anyone who supports Jacobs doesn’t care about these topics in any meaningful way. That is, anyone who supports his “work” and knows of the damning evidence that it is all nonsense. I checked out this guy’s presentation at a recent conference and I’m not certain he’s aware of Emma Woods, Brian Reed, or any of the recordings that in any legitimate field of study would have Jacobs run out of it. And so, this brings me to another glaring issue with ufology:

Can you be a good ufologist if you never reexamine your own evidence through time?

This man’s presentation is not unique but the standard in ufology in that it groups together evidence from the 1940s on up to present day. Some of the cases have been debunked; some not. Is this acceptable? Are we to pretend we’ve learned nothing since the 40s about things like photography, hypnosis, and witness testimony? Are we to never look for the solution to a case and find an Emma Woods website, discover Carol Rainey, or contemplate George Hansen?

The intriguing thing to me about this subculture study begging to be taken seriously by the main is that it is so outdated. It’s counterintuitive that the PhD putting it all on the line with career and being made a laughing stock to prove that this elusive thing is real would be satisfied with a mixture of debunked data and not debunked, but so old that we can’t do much with it except hold it up and go, “See?” It smacks of a type of laziness that you don’t know you’re practicing until someone points it out–the type that occurs when time becomes a blur because you’ve been able to cite the same several cases over and over again to applause and now ten years has gone by, twenty years, and you never noticed. You don’t realize that the photo in your hand, which still feels fresh to you, is from 25 years ago (and perhaps debunked) because you hold it up with the same energy, the same vigor you did 25 years ago. This, because you’re up against the same wall of mainstream denial from 25 years ago and garnering the same amount of applause for your bravery in putting these clues together to form the picture of this reality denied by all but the free thinkers in the room.

Except you’re trapped.

There is no free-thinking in that at all. You’re trapped in time like a ghost: all manic energy and no substance. When you let your excitement get the best of you, your passion run wild, and your sense of elitism take over, it’s easy to forget that the alien abduction case you’re hot about right now was alleged to have occurred in the 1980s and has recently been shown to probably have never happened.

So which is it we are supposed to be enamored with: your energetic display of certainty about the reality of something or the evidence for it? If it’s the evidence, you’d better be darned sure that what you present is still relevant.

And when you allow your name and quote to be used to promote another completely and legitimately  debunked researcher, it would behoove you to google search what he has been up to these past few decades just in case the person you befriended and were intrigued with in the 80s isn’t the same person you’re helping out now.


17 thoughts on “Ufology: Atrophy of a Study

    • Okie doke. So you would rather follow a guy who says we are being taken over by aliens, from off this planet ie extra-terrestrials, and has no evidence for it whatsoever than go with the woman who has evidence for abuse from Jacobs coming out of her ears. Makes sense to me …

      I find it incredible that people will believe Jacobs wholeheartedly without a jot of substantiating evidence from him. They just blithely believe every thing he says, and ignore the stacks of evidence which Emma has thankfully preserved, and put out, that he is a cold-hearted abusive psychopath and has damaged people’s lives. As I’ve said somewhere before, it seems to be a matter of faith for some people that they would just go along with what Jacobs makes up rather than using their critical thinking skills (if they have any, of course).

      People also think, I believe, that since Jacobs has been on tv and radio, he must be telling the truth. Why they think he is telling the truth? Because he has been on tv and radio. The TV/radio people wouldn’t have anyone on their programmes who would lie or who have an agenda of any kind, would they? It’s a sort of circular argument that keeps them corralled in their mindless little world, and stops them from seeing the real truth.

      The naiveté of people in the ufo field nowadays makes my mind boggle to heights that I never even deemed possible. Just saw the stuff on Jack Brewer’s blog about Nancy Talbott and the squid tentacles. Hilarious, but a very sad commentary on how people just believe whatever they want to believe without switching their brains on. I wonder how some people get out of bed in the morning without doing themselves a mischief.

      Still you’ve got to laugh, eh??

      • > misogynists provoked by hateful divorce experiences

        That seems to be how it played out on UFO Updates when the Woods/Rainey articles came out a few years ago. Ugly stuff.

  1. Thanks for the post, Jeremy. The ugly, persistent truth is that one cannot conduct scientific study (by definition) in which research subjects are suspected of being, much less labeled, alien abductees. In order to be objective, systematic research, which are requirements of earning the classification of scientific, one must inventory the facts, demonstrate methodologies to be credible and so on.

    Nonetheless, ufology icons often continue to start from preconceived, unsubstantiated conclusions and work backwards, presenting everything they can think of to inflate an argument built on unstable principals in the first place. That includes the use of investigative techniques/research methodologies long since conclusively demonstrated to be ineffective and potentially harmful to the subject. To add insult to injury, they fail to employ methodologies that could actually shed light on the objects of their poorly conceived investigations.

    And they still persist in falsely calling it science. It is among the most flagrant, blatant attempts in all of pseudo-science to add undeserved credibility (via terming it scientific study) to activities completely lacking merit.

    • Here’s the problem: While you talk like this–intelligently–the actual researcher goes on Coast To Coast last night and says that the way the hybrids make money is by going into banks and telepathically influencing tellers to give them money. And the host doesn’t challenge this basic and stupid assertion. Neither does the audience.

      So, your rational dissection of what’s missing scientifically isn’t in the cards on their end. That’s not the prize they’re playing for. It’s just idiocracy where science is whatever they say it is. They want to tell that story not do good research.

      • > hybrids make money is by going into banks and telepathically influencing tellers to give them money

        That is blowing my mind.

      • > They want to tell that story not do good research.

        It would seem Jacobs and the Roswell slides are good tests of “epistemic values,” as philosophers call it. Lots of believers have said “enough” when it comes to these subjects. They show a basic respect for facts and logic. Those who persist in supporting these subjects are lost, or dogmatists.

        (Has anyone seen one article in the MUFON journal about the Roswell slides? Not me.)

    • Yes, frankly. …And it was some ugly stuff. All that seemed to dry up at UFOUD as the evidence began to know some notoriety, howsomever. Where David Jacobs in his own voice and on national radio admits that which is tantamount to admitting that he, too, stuck his penis in a dead pig’s mouth, how can one continue to celebrate him… or Budd Hopkins, for that matter, in addition to standing foursquare behind Jacobs, was outed by the late Anne Schreiber on her radio show as using vulnerable professional women tortured by abduction fears as sexual toys… let their memories eat fish heads, eh?

  2. What is so puzzling is that the evidence is so plain, so incontrovertible, and so resolutely damning. This is forgetting that his questionable professionalism is unwound and invalidated in his own words and self-disclosures. That reasonable persons would line up with him in admiration and in his defense given the preceding is an insult to the brave person who refuses to roll over for it like a good little girl—refuses to be the victim _blamed_!

  3. I was a huge Jacobs booster, a consummate fan. I bought his books, attended his lectures, and wrote glowingly when occasion presented. I defended his premise even as that premise unsettled me and was decidedly worrisome. When someone you respect says that such may be so, so much will have cache. Then I saw the incontrovertible evidence of his abundant malfeasance. All cache vanishes in light of that evidence. Everything. Dragged along with Jacobs was Budd Hopkins and a host of others who defended or continue to defend Jacobs without discounting the evidence… …Which. Is. Incontrovertible. Cognitive dissonance is a _terrible_ thing.

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