Sunday, October 22, 2017

My semi-regular ufology check-in

I confess that while I am still interested in UFOs, I’m not interested in ufology, however... Unfortunately, web searches for UFO information invariably returns results relating to *ufology*. So my search this week inevitably led to articles on ufology.  There was no escape. Deciding that it was time for my ufological checkup, I decided to just go with it.

The ufologists that I respected years ago are either dead or inactive. So I was left to check in with those that remain, or at least those that I know about.

My first check-in concerned a well-known paranormal podcaster who is notorious for begging his audience for money. I always return to him because I was duped once into actually giving him some, and this still bothers me. His compulsive begging is probably due to an illness or personality disorder, which bothers everyone except himself. It’s regrettable, because when I listened to his podcast a few years back, I thought that it was actually good. He exposed a couple of ufological frauds. The respect for and interest in ufology is currently so low, however, that any good work that he might be doing is apparently not enough to meet his basic financial needs.

This search led me to two podcasters who once had an excellent podcast that I supported for a while. They have gone their separate ways but currently have UFO-centric (but not ufological) blogs, and they are still attempting to wrangle meaning from the phenomenon. I was glad to see that they are still blogging.

From them, I learned that there was a recent controversy involving a noted author in the field, and his attendance at a forum involving a time-traveler and other attendees of questionable discernment. There was some back-and-forth about whether it was kosher to be on the same stage with apparent lunatics.

The writer in question surprised me last year by seeming to support the election of Donald Trump, arguing that it would result in the demise of both neoliberalism and neo-conservatism. It actually might, if one is willing to accept authoritarianism as the replacement.

I haven’t checked in with Coast To Coast very much, except recently to see if Alex Jones is still a regular guest. (He is.) A while back, I argued that giving guests like Alex Jones a platform on a paranormal show was probably dangerous. I am not the least bit happy to see that my fear was correct. In fact, the proto-fascist overtones of some of the Coast guests did more to sour me on the paranormal than anything else.

It’s all well and good to entertain the hypothesis that there is a “breakaway” civilization still tinkering with Roswell debris and taking ET back home. It’s quite another thing to actually *believe* this, without proof... It undermines basic civic trust.

My cursory searches left me pessimistic about the future of ufology. It is now seemingly impossible to rescue the belief in UFOs from thought movements that are corrosive, authoritarian, unscientific, and nihilistic. This is why science, the general public—and I—have rejected it.

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