Upon receipt of the Paracast newsletter last night, I composed a blog entry, which I did not post--and I'm glad that I didn't, since others have responded more effectively to him than I could have. Plus, I have downloaded the "tabloid" mentioned by Gene Steinberg but haven't read it yet, and I haven't read the UFO Magazine article yet. So not only am I a slacker par excellence, but I am a non-informed slacker. (I actually spent one of my few free afternoons today looking for my Kroger gift card that I got for Christmas and have apparently lost.) But I will indeed read those articles, since they seem to have incited an unusually pointed rejoinder by the generally general Gene Steinberg. In the mean time, if I can weigh in a couple of points that I think I am informed enough to address, I would like to.
First of all... One of the very few memorable quotes about UFOlogy made on Coast To Coast was given by hearsay from a guest that I remember as being credible. I can't remember who he was (I don't think it was Richard Dolan), but he was recounting a conversation that he (or some he knew) had had with Bill and Hillary Clinton. He was visiting the Clintons socially at one of the vacation places that Presidents go to, when he abruptly asked the Clintons what they knew about UFOs. There was a chilled silence, and then, later, Hillary reportedly told the individual, "I would appreciate it if you never mention UFOs around us again." And then, a day later, the individual was riding horses with Bill when they stopped, and Clinton remarked, off-hand, "You know, the subject of UFOs is like a tar baby. Once you hit it, you get sucked in and it's impossible to extract yourself." This is a rough paraphrase, but I have always remembered it because not only did it sound like something both Clintons would say, it was nonetheless "true," even if they indeed never said it. And if true, it's likely the closest we will ever get to anything resembling "disclosure." But I interpret the statement as warning UFO investigators that the UFO phenomenon is not benign, and if you delve too far into it, you will likely encounter negative consequences, personally and professionally. It is for this reason that I stopped reading Hopkins and Jacobs a while back; their work, while appearing scientific and analytical on the surface, was leading their audience down a very dark path, and I sensed that they been seduced by the deceptive nature of the phenomenon and had lost objectivity. I personally spent the better part of a decade convinced that our world was being gripped by an alien force that ultimately wanted our extermination. If you seriously believe this, it becomes hard to live any kind of life. If in fact David Jacobs got pulled into the UFO morass too far, it's no surprise that he became a bit untethered from the real world and behaved the way he did on the Emma Woods tapes.
I would like to know if the Clinton account is real or not; but even if it's fabrication, the point was well-made--by whoever.
Second, and most importantly, as dark as the writings by Hopkins and Jacobs are, it doesn't matter if their research is solid and their conclusions are correct: it is what it is. But what if they aren't? What if? Wouldn't we need to know? This is a point more important than defending Hopkins and Jacobs, or of discrediting Emma Woods. Either their research and conclusions are valid, or their methodology flawed and their conclusions faulty. What the Emma Woods story did, for me, is for the first time raise significant questions about "mainstream" UFO abduction research. Leave out, for now, questions of Ms. Woods' credibility or veracity. In fact, leave Emma Woods out entirely. You are still left with the core question: Can hypnosis as practiced by non-medical professionals, without safeguards, consistent protocols, or basic standards, be relied upon to establish the activities and motives of those (assuming that they are a "they") behind the Human Abduction Phenomenon? For me, personally, there is sufficient doubt about this core premise that still guides the abduction mainstream that I no longer want to listen to their researchers.
A truism that I've heard several times recently is that science is one of the few endeavors where you get points for being wrong. If we want to approach the UFO question scientifically (and everyone says that we do), then if Hopkins and Jacobs are wrong, this is actually a good thing. At the very least, the standard abduction hypothesis is unproven; at most (and quite likely), it is wrong. Only until we are willing to rigorously examine the Human Abduction Syndrome phenomenon dispassionately, objectively, and scientifically, willingly discarding what is wrong, will we stand any chance of understanding it, and avoid being pulled onto the tar baby.