Wednesday, November 02, 2005

A Code of Conduct for Ufology, Part III

In one sense, it's nice to know that a position you are advocating is shared by others. However, in this case at least, it's sad to see that nothing has changed.

From UFO Updates Archives, at

The "Rod" is Rod Brock, who finally left Updates about a year ago, for many of the same reasons as I have. He was right then and, unfortunately, he still is today.

The post below is from seven years ago, however. The lesson is that nothing will ever change - indeed, things will just get worse - unless people want it to change, and then actually do something about it. If they don't, then they have no-one else to blame but themselves - not the government, or the media, or anyone else - for their irrelevance to society as a whole, and the scientific community in particular.

Paul Kimball

[For The Record]- P-47: Seti Signal Hoax
From: Rod Brock <rodbrock@HOTMAIL.COM>
Date: Wed, 4 Nov 1998 20:19:36 PST
Fwd Date: Thu, 05 Nov 1998 08:17:36 -0500
Subject: -[For The Record]- P-47: Seti Signal Hoax

Jan Aldrich wrote:
No one seems to analysis [sic] the actual stories; they are too caught up in the sensation to use rational thought. Instead of a critical examination of the content and context; an immediate furor ensues and God only help the "Nay Sayer" as he is brand a "debunker" for life. This Seti example is not strictly "fringe ufological," of course, but the craziness bubbles up from the same wellspring of misguided humanity.

Brock responded:

Sounds about right. I quietly fumed about this sort of thing for years; more recently I have begun to speak out. And, in fine form, I have been called a liar, a debunker, a "small-minded puppet of the educational establisment," a "killer of truth," a "disinformation agent," a skeptic (uttered with the tone of a four letter word), and, most recently, the "biggest ego I have ever seen." (when you can't win the argument, call them an egomaniac or a skeptic, etc..oldest tactic in the book).

The website I have established is being developed with a mind to highlighting the sort of thing you speak of above - identifying and critiquing the irrationality, while encouraging rational thinking in ufology. However, of late, it has become abidingly clear to me what a small thing my attempt is in the context of all this madness - just one more voice trying to rise above the din, one faint signal in all that noise.

Nevertheless, to quote a song: "Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way." How well I take after my forefathers...

The kind of thing you speak about, above, Jan. It's more than just a "problem." It's a disease. And it's spreading. Typhoid Mary is out there. This time, however, she can't be
quarantined. The best one can hope for is to educate people, and warn them away from her.

Cordially, Rod


Anonymous said...

Hi Paul:

Honestly, I don't think there is any hope of curing this disease but there is a strategy that might lead to progress.

When I was in college I dual-majored in philosophy and religion. As this was a good liberal arts college the religious studies faculty contained a good mix of religious believers, atheists, and agnostics.

Like Ufology, religion is a contentious topic. Notably, our religious studies faculty realized that if they tried to engage every religious fanatic, or uninformed yet opinionated layman for that matter, in a debate that the discussion would inevitably degenerated to the level of the lowest common denominator and they would never have time for serious work. As a result, ardent religious fundamentalist and strident atheists alike were ignored when they didn't respond to conventional means of addressing their deficits like teaching them in a class or writing books and articles for their benefit.

Likewise, serious Ufology needs to simply ignore/dismiss the fringe and focus on their own particular research interests and on insuring that good quality pre-digested information is readily available to those members of the public with sufficient discretion to understand its value.

Amongst those that matter this strategy will win the day. As you well know, goofy religious types get almost all of the media's attention and sell almost all of the most popular books on the subject. That said, well researched works of historical, textual, and redaction criticism on important religious topics are still being published by well respected journals.

Every field has its fringe and at this point Ufology has more fringe than anything else. From what I can tell, the best way to address this situation is just to ignore the true believers and the agenda-driven debunkers and focus on creating something that serious students of history and science and respect. Maybe then they won't mind taking the risk of associating themselves with the subject since they will consider their interest defensible.

Take care,

Paul Kimball said...


As I always say, you are wise, indeed!

I agree wholeheartedly about ignoring them (although I admit that I haven't always practised what I preach, but when someone publicly labels you a "Christo-fascist" it does occasionally provoke a response, alas). Still, it goes beyond just ignoring them - it means disassociating yourselves from them, publicly, just as Clinton did with the radical left of the Democratic Party when he took on Sistah Souljah (one example of many), and just as Tony Blair has done with the Looney Left of the British Labour Party (before they did these things, Democrats and Labout were virtually unelectable). And just as both Britain and Canada's Conservative Parties (it works both ways) has started to do with the far right elements within their ranks, after they have both spent a decade or so (more in Canada, slightly less in the UK) in the political wilderness.


Anonymous said...

"Nobody will ever give you or me a dime to do serious research on UFOs.
But if we were to cross the line of professional ethics and went back
on stage pretending we had the answer with a capital A, and told these
people Ufology was the cure to all their spiritual anxieties, we could
raise a million dollars today."- J. Allen Hynek

Anonymous said...

The Two Groups

Check this for the "Two Groups", too.