Breaking Out of the Bubble

Breaking Out of the Bubble

 by Guest Blogger,
Tyler Kokjohn

41agyl5ktvl-_sx331_bo1204203200_A Review of
The UFO Phenomenon: Should I Believe?
by Dr. Robert Davis

Dr. Davis has taken on an extraordinarily challenging task; outlining the many and disparate elements linked to UFOs and providing a broad perspective on the issues surrounding them.  The literature of ufology is vast, but he manages to condense each area into cogent summaries.  His writing is clear and concise and he has carefully referenced his sources.  A thoughtfully crafted, thoroughly edited product, this book offers some of the background and controversies of each topic from a somewhat neutral and mostly scientific perspective.  Dr. Davis is explicit he remains agnostic as to whether currently inexplicable UFO events reveal the activities of a non-human intelligence.  Consistent with this stance, he examines the topic in a manner that will provide readers some appreciation for the controversies that plague the field.

One of the most interesting things Dr. Davis does is to combine his overviews with insightful assessments of the situations.  Convinced a fundamentally more scientific approach and formally organized governance of the new efforts are the way forward, he offers specific recommendations for future work to improve understanding.

Ufology has fallen far behind the times and bringing new-found information to the fore should be a priority effort.  Although farsighted, Dr. Davis failed to escape the bubble that has suffocated ufology.  Insular and hostile to criticism this field collapsed into scientific stasis a long time ago.  As long as investigators remain reluctant to accept the verdict of data, acknowledge the implications when it is conspicuously absent or even gauge its overall reliability, they will continue circling the same ground endlessly.  Unfortunately, Dr. Davis overlooked some critical developments such as the Innocence Project and offers readers  scant detail on revolutionary new DNA analysis technologies.  These interrelated topics pose a substantial challenge to ufology and failing to address them adequately is a major oversight.

The Innocence Project (1) has upended the justice system completely by using DNA evidence to exonerate persons convicted of serious crimes.  These efforts have forced a fundamental reconsideration of the accuracy and reliability of eyewitness testimony.  How far can such evidence be trusted?  In his book, How UFOs Conquered the World, David Clarke describes experiments which reveal eyewitnesses may produce accounts that differ from actual events (“Purple Lights and March Foolishness” chapter).  These findings – relatively new and not-so-new – pose a significant challenge to the field and have never been integrated into the canon of ufology.

A failure to exploit new scientific advances may have contributed to the persistence of hypotheses in an absence of corroborating evidence.  The prime example is alien abduction investigation which is now more akin to a literary genre than scientific research.  Several investigators have issued specific claims that are potentially verifiable through genetic testing.  Uncorroborated accounts of missing pregnancies, breeders, hybrids and more have been published and presented at meetings for years.  The means to validate the claims have existed for years and still no one can deliver the genetic evidence or simply provide samples for independent analyses to prove them.  Suggesting investigators document the validity of alien hybrid babies is a weak call-to-action that simply ignores the obvious failures and apparent refusals to conduct truly scientific investigations.  Alien abduction writers have no incentive to get off the amazing stories treadmill until their books stop selling.  Life in a bubble has been good for their business.

Scientific progress hinges on integrating new developments that open up new vistas and opportunities.  Scientists and physicians have leaped on new DNA analysis and sequencing technologies to employ them in new situations.  The pace of advancement is furious.  In contrast, ufology abduction writers have been clinging to the same clearly problematic investigation methods for decades.  This sad situation has not been appreciated within ufology although a number of investigators, authors and experiencers including Jack Brewer, Philip Klass, Kevin Randle, Carol Rainey, Jeff Ritzmann, Jim Schnabel, Jeremy Vaeni, Emma Woods and more have published devastating critiques of the methods and conclusions of abduction researchers.

Perhaps the UFO experience is like Plato’s Cave where we play the role of prisoners imputing motivations and deducing ‘facts’ from shadows cast on walls.  The ambiguous nature of the phenomena may have enabled the non-human intelligence narrative to endure in an otherwise unsympathetic environment.  Ignoring contradictory information and methodological challenges has kept unsubstantiated ideas alive far beyond their scientifically productive lifespans.  Dr. Davis has provided some background material and suggested approaches that may help some readers decide if UFOs have any deeper significance.  However, the scientific community abandoned UFO study half a century ago and nothing that has come forward since then has altered the consensus.  Unless new ideas penetrate and new ways of conducting research take hold, ufology will remain voluntarily imprisoned in a static void.

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Hypnosis Used Illegally. This Looks Familiar.

UFOLOGY

http://ktla.com/2017/01/18/disturbing-video-shows-attorney-apparently-trying-to-hypnotize-clients-for-sexual-pleasure/

Watching the news package in the above link about a divorce attorney who used hypnosis to sexually abuse female clients got me back to thinking about ufology’s own David Jacobs. Specifically, how he was caught on tape asking a female subject under hypnosis to send him her soiled panties and not remember she had done so. And at another time, offered to buy her a chastity belt with nails at the vaginal opening he found at a sex shop he frequented, to keep away rapey alien/human hybrids. He had convinced her such beings existed in her life through numerous hypnotic sessions conducted after telling her all about them from other subjects he had put under.

When Jeff Ritzmann and I exposed this those many years ago, there was a lot of resistance from within the ufological community. Friends stuck by him, of course, and some podcasting and radio people. UFO conventions hosted him. MUFON gave him a lifetime achievement award. It was an embarrassing wakeup call the likes of which might completely fall on deaf ears today, when we’ve got a president-elect who was caught on tape bragging about grabbing women by the pussy and getting away with it because he’s famous.

From sexism to sycophants to friendship to preservation of a cottage industry that ran on many of the memes culled from alien abduction hypnosis–there was no shortage of reasons for people to turn a blind eye to Jacobs’ unethical behavior. But there was one excuse given–that even Jacobs trumped up a bit–that bothered me in that I couldn’t figure out if it was true or not. It was the notion that a subject under hypnosis is still in control because they are self-aware. If true, then she is allowing this to happen. It’s her dirty secret. This is how people give themselves permission to act out repressions that are taboo.

She wanted it. That old rapey chestnut. And the answer hadn’t come to me until watching the above video package. The answer is this: self-awareness and self-control are two different things. They are so intertwined that it’s easy to forget they can be pulled apart.

Ever take a psychedelic? Scream all you want from the back of your mind–you ain’t snapping out of it on command. Ever have a lucid dream where you think you have full control because you’re aware you are asleep, then find out you don’t? Ever struggle with sleep paralysis where you cannot even in waking consciousness will your own body to move? There are certain spiritual experiences where this is the case as well, such as talking in tongues, spontaneous movements–go down the list. You’re there and not in control. Why would we assume it is otherwise with hypnosis?

Clearly the police officers in that video did not assume it. And neither did the judge. Heck, even the man accused admitted to what he was doing. He didn’t blame the victims because he knew there were several and he wasn’t one of them.

Now apply this to other forms of mesmerism. Like television and dictatorial speeches. Sporting events. Mob mentality. Think how controllable we all are in masses if not individually. Some people most certainly let go their repression and act out in the right circumstances. But most? Not most. To say most is to ignore all of the hard work and dedication our own intelligence community has put into fostering hypnosis as a means of controlling people. (I say with a nod to the work of Jack Brewer.)

We have not and will likely not get legal justice in Ufology Land for all the damage done by numerous amateur hypnotists. What we are left with is ourselves and our responses to unethical behavior. It’s never too late to give up the sacred cows and change our minds with the facts. I’d argue that our response is our responsibility. In this, we are in full control.

Dog Won’t Hunt: Awaiting a MUFON Renaissance

Dog Won’t Hunt:
Awaiting a MUFON Renaissance

by Guest Blogger,
Tyler Kokjohn, Ph.D.

dogs-and-catsThe Mutual UFO Network, MUFON (1), has launched a public relations campaign to update its brand and recruit more members (2).  Inching toward the 50th anniversary of its founding, this organization is facing significant challenges.

The MUFON core mission is the scientific investigation of UFO reports and reporting of the findings.  However, the passage of time, replacement of personnel and technological advancements may cause even the most vibrant organizations to lose momentum and focus.  Recognizing the situation, research organizations may undertake periodic reviews to ensure program goals are being achieved and remain relevant.  To obtain the most unbiased evaluations possible, review groups typically include scientific community peers drawn from other institutions.  Hopefully, the MUFON leaders utilized a similar approach when they assessed the condition of their organization.

It seems the MUFON directors have decided a key selling point of the organization is its scientific approach toward the UFO mystery.  A good decision given that competing with Ancient Aliens for a TV audience looks hopeless.  How well is the MUFON doing with its brand of science?

I have to wonder how any external scientific reviewers reconciled the information posted on the MUFON website with some statements of Executive Director Jan Harzan (2) “… we are a team of trained and certified investigators, researchers and enthusiasts who share a healthy curiosity and skepticism of the UFO phenomenon.”  A well-crafted public relations campaign may arouse interest, but any prospective recruits viewing the current MUFON website will see a picture radically at odds with Director Harzan’s words.  A competent and comprehensive evaluation would have alerted the MUFON leadership to the obvious contradictions.  Perhaps work to harmonize web page content with the newly crafted brand is in progress.

The dilemma for the MUFON is that even the most artful narrative shaping cannot conceal deep deficiencies in fundamental approaches to research and ethics.  Researchers featured prominently at MUFON symposia and honored with lifetime achievement awards spout unsubstantiated, patently pseudo-scientific nonsense (3).  Compounding the problem are high-ranking leaders in the organization and/or affiliates unleashing embarrassing, wholly uncorroborated claims such as having served as a “breeder” for aliens (4).  Worse, one MUFON region director sells an unproven, alien technology-inspired, medical device to prevent influenza (5).  Perhaps the necessity to offer members an opportunity to purchase “support seats” at the 2016 Symposium (1) reflects a free market in which consumers have become more discerning than the mystified meeting organizers.

It is unclear what sort of evaluation process sparked the MUFON leaders to rebrand.  However, it will not take long to recognize whether their new narrative is a renaissance or a superficial cover story to stave off collapse.  Yes, they can spray paint it gold, drench it with perfume and send it to the finest obedience school, but unless the systemic problems are solved that dog will never hunt.

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(1)   http://www.mufon.com/
(2)   L. Fullerton.  2016.  The ‘Real X-Files’- MUFON – Motivated by Increasing Interest in UFOs, Company Orders Rebrand.  The Drum.com, 12 September 2016.   http://www.thedrum.com/news/2016/09/12/the-real-x-files-mufon-motivated-increasing-interest-ufos-company-orders-rebrand
(3)   J. Brewer.  2015.  MUFON, Sham Inquiry and the Woods-Jacobs Scandal.  The UFO Trail, 11 August 2015.  http://ufotrail.blogspot.com/2015/08/mufon-sham-inquiry-and-woodsjacobs.html
(4)   T. Kokjohn.  2014.  Try a New Hypothesis, Sherlock. JayVay, 18 February 2014.  (https://jayvay.wordpress.com/2014/02/18/try-a-new-hypothesis-sherlock/).
(5)   National UFO Center, Filer’s Files #36-2009.   http://www.nationalufocenter.com/artman/publish/article_295.php

 

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