Friday, February 11, 2011

The "Research" Scam

I ran across a recent link at The Anomalist - one I've since lost - in which a gaggle of pointy-heads were discussing a novel approach to the study of UFOs.  It went something like this:  "Since ufology is a stagnant pool in a very old hat, let's try something different.  Let's start studying people who report contact experiences, aka contactees or experiencers." 

It reminded me of Judy Garland suggesting she and Mickey Rooney "put on a show" to help out a destitute neighbor.

Studying experiencers is a swell idea.  For The Researcher.

The Experiencer, not so much. Those who pass The Researcher's litany of litmus tests will be filtered in a way that objectifies The Researcher's biases, overt and covert. 

"Experiencers.  Contactees.  Fruit Loops:  On your mark.  Get set. Go!   ...and get your credentials in order!"   Lawyer.  Veteran.  Doctor (of anything).  Pilot.  Mayor of Podunkus, California (or New York, or some other credible state). Cop. World Class Hero.  They will be deemed "credible" by The Researcher who, like all people, perceives his or her own "credibility" above reproach.  Good spellers have all the fun.

What's that, you say?  No credentials?  Loser.  Chump.  Sucker.  Delusional.  Mistaken.  Desperate. Just Plain Ignorant.  Attention whore.  Jesus complex.  Cultist.  Can't tell a lens flare from a 747. Wouldn't know a landing light if it bonked 'em on the head.  

Back to the grease bin, burger flipper.  You don't count.

This, of course, can only come once The Experiencer spills their guts to The Credible Researcher "Now, I know this sounds crazy, but..." 

Whereupon The Credible Researcher, having heard the anecdote, and obtained the necessary signature, breaks the news: "Go read my book.  Maybe you'll learn something.  Oh, and thanks for pics, which I'll use to show the world what an idiot you are."  Spiritual?  "The New Age section is over there, Twinkle Toes. Give us a shout when you grow up and start living in the real world - the one the rest of us live in."

This is what I have heard, seen and, to various degrees, encountered upon naively attempting to share or exchange information with "experts" of various stripes.  At my most fortunate, I got silence, which I only began to fully appreciate with the vanishing point in the rearview mirror.  Close call.  Sometimes it all works out just fine.

Let me get something clear:  I wasn't looking for validation.  Still ain't.

I'm sure there are thoughtful researchers open to possibilities which might require a quark of humility and, maybe - just maybe - the ability to admit everything they've been saying for the last twenty years - okay, maybe twenty minutes - is wrong. Are you aware of anyone who has done this lately?  Ever?  I'm aware of no such Researcher - you know, the bona fide type - with the audacity to tell the world "I had absolutely no idea what I was talking about."  Perhaps they've all been Right About Everything.  Every one of 'em. All right, All the time.  Like one of those smooth jazz FM radio stations from 1992 that didn't play jazz.

Come to think of it, this is all pure speculation.  Another theory I can't prove.  And, more importantly, I don't have to. 

Do you think Science doesn't have a billion or so faith-based adherents?  I think it does. You're probably one of them.  Most of us are.  I try very hard not to be.

One thing is for sure when it comes to Science As We Know It:  No one gets their money back.  That hatch swings one way:  toward funding.

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