My descent into ufology resulted in my book, 'The Greys Have Been Framed: Exploitation in the UFO Community', which contains a lot of the things I think are relevant about the genre. I'm very pleased with the reviews it has received, and I'm grateful for the websites, radio shows and podcasts which have interviewed me about it. Thank you!
Those interviews and related circumstances have provided me opportunities to reflect. Following are a few points that typically come up and I've recently been giving particular consideration:
Kinds of Information
I think there are essentially three kinds of information when we're discussing UFOs, aliens and the related claims and research:
1) That which can be verified to be correct and accepted
2) That which can be confirmed to be incorrect and rejected
3) That which cannot be conclusively confirmed one way or the other, requiring suspension of judgment
While we can often take a pretty good guess at which category a claim or researcher's thesis might fall in, there is no substitute for verification. We then have responsibilities (if we are going to purport to be conducting professional research or scientific investigation) to follow protocols, and particularly the recognition of standards of evidence, as established by the professional research community and academia. We also have responsibilities to recognize those standards of evidence if we purport to be advocates of professional research when promoting various investigators and their work as credible. Which brings us to:
Belief vs. Fact
|I think, therefore I recognize |
standards of evidence
We have responsibilities to accurately differentiate between beliefs and facts when arguing our points. We are allowed to believe as we choose, as well as disagree with one another and debate with passion, but if we neglect to respect professional standards of evidence, we promote confusion rather than clarification.
I find it rather insulting that hypnosis as a memory retrieval tool even continues to be an issue at this point - and is a glaring example of disregard for the points made in the above paragraphs. Here's the bottom line, guys: If a researcher or organization claims to promote scientific investigation and conducts hypnosis, they are incorrect; the two stances are mutually exclusive of one another. That's not my opinion, but the platform of the current scientific paradigm. I just cite it.
What's more, work conducted by professionally qualified researchers concludes that not only are memory enhancing techniques unreliable, but their use may be detrimental. It has additionally been conclusively demonstrated - repeatedly - that the manners questions are asked greatly alters the responses. See the work, which includes clinical trials and peer review, of Shaw, Loftus, French, Lilienfeld, Morgan, etc., etc., etc. All of this and much more is addressed in my book and references are thoroughly provided.
The cow is long out of the gate on this one. Let's move on and recognize unsubstantiated assertions for what they are.
The big MC. I find the topic of interest and I try to write about it responsibly. I think that can be defined as clarifying my opinions, citing facts as to how I form my opinions and suspicions, and differentiating between those and facts.
|Director of Project MKULTRA, |
Dr. Sidney Gottlieb
There are a number of additional possible scenarios which could be relevant to the UFO community. I think that angle of research deserves more attention than it typically receives, and I find it interesting. Much more about this is offered in 'The Greys Have Been Framed'.
What Should Be Done for "Abductees"
First of all, I'm not sure anything should be done. I'm a rather big advocate of allowing people to find their own ways and their own solutions. People usually don't want suggestions until they become convinced they need them, so "alien abduction" might not be much different.
That stated, if I were to make recommendations, based on my own observations and in my admittedly professionally unqualified opinion, I'd say the first thing to do would be to encourage treatment for trauma. Alleged abductees, as well as a number of UFO witnesses, describe the circumstances as traumatic. It therefore stands to reason that professional treatment for trauma would be appropriate regardless of the possible origin of the perception.
Next, I'd say that witnesses, as well as investigators and their organizations, should consciously identify the kind of support they are seeking and providing. Emotional support, therapeutic treatments, and objective investigation are different activities, require different areas of expertise, and should not be intermingled haphazardly for many reasons. All too often, fragmented simulations of such activities are provided by groups and individuals who are qualified at none of them, mix them all together without even realizing it, and the quality suffers of both the life of the witness and the investigation.
So-called "UFO investigation" appears to me, based on years of observations and the work I conducted while writing my book, to frequently become some bastardization of mental health therapy, particularly in the alien abduction genre. However, the investigators typically are neither therapists nor any kind of mental health professional. It would therefore be very beneficial to the community and the well-being of the witnesses if all involved made intentional decisions as to what type of support, be it emotional, therapeutic or investigative, was being sought and offered, and conducted themselves accordingly.