Monday, April 25, 2011

Carol Rainey and UFO Updates

I've been a subscriber to UFO Updates, a long-time e-mail discussion list, for a decade now. I cancelled my subscription once before, when I thought someone was poorly treated by the moderator, Errol Bruce-Knapp, and I've done so again, this time because of his banning of Carol Rainey as a result of her defending her recent critiques of Budd Hopkins and his "alien abduction research".

I consider Errol a friend, and wish him all the best personally, but this was a mistake. I know a number of researchers who support Rainey behind the scenes, including some very senior and popular ones, but they won't get involved publicly.

That's a shame. There is a real discussion to be had about the "alien abduction" phenomenon, and Ms. Rainey has been making a substantial, and documented, contribution to it, by way of her critique of Hopkin's methodology, particularly as it concerns the "Linda Cortile" case. But the Luddites of so-called "ufology" don't want anything to do with it, just as they largely ignored earlier critiques, from Dr. Susan Clancy all the way to Jacques Vallee and Kevin Randle.

In the end, UFO Updates is small beans in and of itself, but this says something about UFO research, which should be cutting edge, revolutionary stuff, full of new ideas and open minds.

In many quarters, of course, it is indeed exactly that - but not in "ufology", which has absolutely nothing to do with research into the UFO phenomenon, and whose practitioners have no understanding of what real research and discovery are about.

Like old men playing chess in the park, and swapping the same stories about supposedly better days, they are irrelevant to anyone or anything other than the pigeons who occasionally wander by to gather up the stale breadcrumbs they still toss to the ground.

Paul Kimball


Anonymous said...

Thank you for continuing to speak up about this in public.

"Ufology" indeed has no relation with research into this phenomenon. Well said, sir.

Paul Kimball said...

Thank you, Anon. I just call them like I see them.


Bruce Duensing said...

By what you concisely reported, the name of "UFO Update" is a worn irony. Instead of welcoming new perspectives of analysis, or revisionist theories,it sounds as though it became a cloistered cell of devotees clinging to a script. I have nothing but admiration for those who can respectfully roast sacred cows without resorting to poor manners. You are, in my book, one of them. I joined MUFON as an experiment and the first issue as well as the second I received was focused on the teachings of Bud Hopkins. I my mind I kept hearing the Bee Gees tune, "I Started A Joke." Is the editorial policy of UFO updates damage control? If so, that is beyond silly kitsch.

Carol Rainey said...

I'd be happier if I could disagree with you about the stale and close-minded nature of UFO research, particularly in the area of the abduction or personal experience phenomenon. Neuroscience, psychiatry, microbiology, DNA technology--there are so many ways this could be researched where the "knowledge" could be validated. If there's nothing there, well, then we'd know that. Right now, we're just guessing what it all means. And..closing the discussion threads to ideas we don't care to examine. Thanks for what you see and say.
Carol Rainey

Tyler Kokjohn said...


While Mr. Bruce-Knapp has been exceptionally kind to me and my interactions with UFO Updates subscribers quite positive, I also cancelled my subscription due to this unwarranted banning of Carol Rainey.

I do not expect to find myself in agreement with everyone on such a forum. However, I draw the line when voices are stifled for the sin of questioning dubious orthodoxy.

Those with vested interests or who need their opinions 'validated' will probably cheer the return to a comfortable and secure insularity through censorship of heresy. For others who value real debate he might as well have removed all the oxygen from the air.

Where is the intellectual leadership in this realm? Steadfastly demonstrating through their enabling silence why disdain and dismissal from mainstream science and journalism is so richly deserved.

The sad culmination of Ufology - suffocated by the very individuals who tout themselves keepers of the flame. May they revel in revisting self-perceived past glories. Heaven for sanctioned, true hell for anyone with an independent mind.

Thank you for allowing me to comment.

Tyler Kokjohn

Regan Lee said...

Paul, agreed, I too thank you for speaking out about this ...

Paul Kimball said...

Thank you all, but...

Carol, I read your reply at Paratopia, and it was a mistake. The thing about asking people to focus on the research is that you have to do so as well. Nobody - and I mean nobody - really cares about the happenings between you, Velez and Hopkins years ago. It is irrelevant. Bringing it up is no different than their constantly claiming that you're just the scorned wife. It's all petty, and unbecoming.

I understand your frustration, but if you want to take the high ground, then you have to stay there.


Ryan P. said...

Great OP Paul, and great follow-up point re: CR's Paratopia response.

Anonymous said...

As a genuine skeptic with a couple of inexplicable 'ufo' sightings under my belt, I have some interest in online offerings.

I have to say that for several years now I've really only read these offerings for entertainment purposes only. When any research endeavour is subverted for the purpose of supporting the researcher's ego then all becomes a circus.

This latest brouhaha simply adds value, albeit questionable, to what I've come to understand as our age's contribution to humankind's long history of promulgating myths and legends.

I imagine the internecine activities were just as dastardly between Mediaeval troubadours and court jesters - all of whom also concerned with earning their bread.

I have to say though that I feel more sympathetic for , e.g. Ms Rainey and Emma, the lady who had an unfortunate encounter with one of these latter day troubadours. No doubt these ladies invested a great deal of trust, time and energy in supporting these men to make names for themselves.

Wintermuse said...

I also agree that Errol Bruce-Knapp made a serious ethical mistake in banning Carol Rainey from being able to respond to criticisms of her research on the UFO UpDates list, to which I have also been a long-time subscriber.

I will not be canceling my own subscription to UpDates, however, as I still find some real value in a number of subscriber's comments there.

I recommend those interested in this issue click on the following link to see Bruce-Knapp's message as to his reasoning for banning Rainey from UpDates:

On the other hand, I also don't agree with you, Paul, that the mail-list is completely moribund or simply reflects the statements of "old geezers" ruminating about the past of ufology, or that "...'ufology', which has absolutely nothing to do with research into the UFO phenomenon, and whose practitioners have no understanding of what real research and discovery are about."

This kind of statement is just too simplistic and overly broad, and in fact is not altogether true, as it depends on one's definition of the term "ufology" itself. There are many, although they are in the minority on UpDates, who would consider themselves "ufologists" and have done good, genuine research into the UFO phenomenon.

There were and are several defenders of both Rainey's efforts and statements about Budd Hopkins poorly-designed, deeply biased "research" into so-called "alien abductions" and the interpretations and evaluation of such anomalous experiences by Hopkins (and Dr. David Jacobs) on the UpDates list, myself among them.

So there is no uniform or lock-step endorsement of either Bruce-Knapp's position or other supporters of Hopkins (or Jacobs) on the list, in reality.

In fact, when the dialogue became so acrimonious and personal between opposing factions that the primary issue of whether Hopkins (or Jacobs) approach, techniques, and interpretations of the "abduction" phenomena began to be subsumed by the interpersonal arguments about the issues, Bruce-Knapp stopped that very heated argument when it clearly became quite unproductive to continuing, genuine dialogue about the merits about the case of Hopkins' practices and very misguided, fabricated findings and conclusions.

Examine the UpDates Archives to see what I mean. Whether you agree or disagree, those interested should at least examine the record to gain a fuller, more direct understanding of the debate that raged for some relatively brief time on UpDates over these issues prior to the debate being stopped or Rainey being banned.

However, my feeling is that Bruce-Knapp, as list owner and moderator, has acted incorrectly as arbiter and censor of Rainey's statements on UpDates, mischaracterizing them as a "vendetta," and as such has committed a very real error in objective judgment, since, while he obviously disagrees with Rainey's writings and documentary excerpts critiquing Hopkins, the cure for speech you don't agree with is more speech, not less, or to censor others stated positions you may happen to disagree with, in order to present both or all sides of an issue,

Adults can determine for themselves who they feel is right or wrong in this controversy, and whose position is based on relevant facts rather than defensive hyperbole, critical omissions, or simply bias and belief.

Bruce made the poor choice to censor, and by doing so he's lost a great degree of authority and respect from me and several others as an open, honest, and even-handed moderator, very unfortunately for him.

I find Rainey's comments and interpretations of the obvious logical errors, bias, and egregious use of manipulative "regressive hypnosis" techniques by Hopkins on his subjects to be essentially well-founded and that Hopkins use of such techniques to be leading, tend to implant false memories, and terribly misbegotten and abusive to his subjects’ inherent human rights.

Anonymous said...

The keepers of the religion of Science are not able to provide you with an out to this problem. It exists in spite of their recognition and you should respond to this as you would any predator moving in on your camp. With immediate concern. You may not have the time they need and the resources they demand to save yourselves. We have never used science to survive decisively in the last 4 million years and recently it still kills more of us than it saves.