Saturday, August 28, 2010

Truth and Accuracy 101, Part Two of Three

My first descent as an adult into what would prove to be the convoluted and dysfunctional UFO community took place during the early 1990s. Fortean subject matter had been near and dear to my heart and mind as a child. I had understandably, however, taken somewhat of a sabbatical from the considerations of the likes of Sasquatch, ghosts, and aliens as I experienced adolescence and eventual adulthood. I revisited such subject matter during my twenties and subsequently began attending UFO-related public events what has now been some 20 years ago.

Doing so resulted in attending the public presentations, exchanging contact information with individuals that I identified as potentially helpful, developing functional relationships with such individuals, and similar such networking activities. I additionally read a great deal. My efforts were designed to assist me in learning the truth about what was actually known about unidentified flying objects and what at least initially appeared to be the related subject matter, such as the abduction phenomenon.

It became apparent very early on that a great deal of suspension of judgment would be required. This would simply be necessary in order to hear people out, consider their testimonies and claims, and to thoroughly consider the possible validity of the alleged research being conducted.

I sat through virtually countless lectures about what is allegedly known about UFOs and aliens, a combined years upon years of interactions with alleged alien abductees and the investigators thereof, and have participated in more private meetings, phone calls, e-mails, and snail mail with such people than I would ever be able to fully recall. I made it my business to meet some relevant players, meet what became dozens of self-described abductees, and to evaluate my personal observations of the circumstances. This included and continues to include consulting with mental health professionals, certified hypnotists, scientists, and similar such qualified experts that explore ufology. It also includes interacting with both high profile as well as relatively unknown abductees via options such as one-on-one interactions and abductee support groups.

What became completely and absolutely apparent to me, above all else and without any question whatsoever, is that the vast majority of people desire to believe in one thing or another and will go to virtually any extent to do so. They simply do not care about truth and accuracy as compared to finding any tidbit of hearsay whatsoever, no matter how irrational and lacking in credibility, that will support their preferred and premature conclusions. This is primarily the case regardless of the demographic being considered: researcher, author, alleged alien abductee, hard line skeptic, education or lack thereof, or any other such circumstance. They don't care about truth, they just want to “win.”

There are exceptions, but such people are indeed exceptions. When one is identified, they should be enthusiastically supported because they are a rare diamond in the rough.

Those obsessed with winning do not care how many innocent witnesses are exploited, how many families are ruined, or how many careers are sacrificed. They do not care how much of a laughing stock they make of themselves, those around them, or the UFO community as a whole. They do not care how biased their practices may be, how negligently they treat innocent bystanders, or how psychologically damaged any given individual may become that is used in support of promoting their agenda. They only care about promoting the agenda, regardless of its specific details, lack of objectivity, or lack of rational validity.

There are many things that motivate such people. Some of them have been employed to professionally muddy the waters, as is the case with the confirmed connections between the Central Intelligence Agency and the publications of such tabloid nonsense as contained within the National Enquirer.

There are many such reasons for the erratic behavior that is so prevalent within the UFO community. Perhaps the most detrimental behavior of all, though, even more so than the intentional liars and the professional saboteurs, is those who promote the work of the liars without ever so much as initially looking into its validity.

Why do people do such things? Because they want to win.

They do not care if what they say is true. They rationalize that the ends justify the means, as if they are lobbying for the passing of a bill or campaigning for the election of a political candidate. They use the Internet to post tabloid article after tabloid article, without ever so much as running a simple search on the author or witnesses contained therein, much less actually dropping such people an e-mail or giving them a quick phone call. They just want to litter the 'net with more propaganda than can be achieved by their perceived adversaries.

Practicing the identification of truth and accuracy does not require special credentials. It simply requires willingness and responsibility. That's all it takes. It just takes a desire to actually know the truth, identify credible sources such as addressed in part one of this post, and to refrain from adding to the problem by spreading lies and disinformation.

We should all be in absolute agreement that promoting disinformation only hurts all legitimate truth seekers. We should all be in complete agreement that we want accurate, truthful information.

In the third and final part of this post I will address some of the factually supported explanations for select reports of alleged alien abduction. My willingness to rationally listen to the qualified experts, in the same open-minded manners that I originally listened to the witnesses, resulted in both increasing my knowledge of such explanations as well as increasing my credibility among such experts. This should be a shared goal of members of the UFO community.

Doing so builds the collective credibility of the UFO community. Equally importantly, increasing our knowledge of factually supported explanations enables us to have a much higher probability of accurately differentiating between the legitimately interesting reports of alleged alien abduction and the tabloid nonsense.

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