Exopolitical Comment # 28
Science and Faith Based Approaches to UFO Research
In the past couple of months that I've been posting on the UFO Updates list it's become clear that many researchers have great difficulty in acknowledging the legitimacy of an exopolitical approach that uses social science criteria for analyzing UFO/ETH data from witnesses, whistleblowers, contactees, etc. For many on this list, the bottom line is hard evidence as the primary criterion for any methodology that qualifies as a rigorous scientific approach to UFO research. Those who diminish the important of hard evidence are criticized as going outside the scientific paradigm and attract pejoratives such 'true believers', 'pseudo scientists', 'conspiracy theorists', 'sloppy', 'Scullys', etc. So is hard evidence the primary basis for a rigorous scientific approach to UFO research?
It would certainly appear to be the case if we base a rigorous scientific method on the natural observations of Aristotle, the parsimonious methodology advocated by William of Occam, the empirical research of David Hume, or the research methodology of James Maxwell. This 'scientific methodology' was appropriated by Allen Hynek in his, The UFO Experience: A Scientific Enquiry. Yet there is the annoying problem for those advocating a rigorous scientific method based on hard evidence. That is obviously the cover up of the UFO phenomenon and the corollary that some national security agencies are tampering with or removing the hard evidence.
From what I have seen there is widespread agreement on UFO updates that national security agencies are engaged in a cover-up based on national security considerations. Scholarship on the Roswell crash demonstrates that a crash did occur, evidence was subsequently removed, witnesses intimidated into silence, and deceptive statements made by various national security agencies. When 'crash retrievals' such as Roswell are combined with Majestic Documents such as the Eisenhower Briefing Document, the Special Operations Manual, these appear as confirmation that national security agencies have regularly covered up evidence, intimidated witnesses, instructed military officials to lie, put out disinformation, etc. I have not seen serious objection on the UFO Updates list to the proposition that national security agencies are engaged in a political cover up concerning UFOs and the ETH. However, there appears to be serious objection to the idea that national security agencies tamper with or remove hard evidence. This extends to such agencies removing the records of former employers in black projects in the manner alleged to have occurred for some whistleblowers.
Many UFO researchers concede that a political cover up exists, but paradoxically contend that this does not negatively impact on their search for sufficient hard evidence to reach definitive conclusions about UFO/ETH hypotheses. This does not appear to be logical to me, and appears to be more a statement of faith than a rigorous scientific approach to the UFO phenomenon. More precisely, I am proposing that advocates of the hard evidence approach are really engaging in a faith based approach to UFO research.
Many UFO researchers mask their faith based approach under the illusion that their research is based on the classical scientific paradigm due to their emphasis on hard evidence. This emphasis on hard evidence has a superficial resemblance to rigorous scientific methodology advocated by Aristotle, etc., hence the illusion that those such as Dr Hynek were engaged in a 'scientific enquiry'. At a deeper level the emphasis on hard evidence masks a dogged denial of the fundamental nature of the national security element that contextualizes UFO research and the need for hard evidence.
The logic of my thesis that the 'hard evidence' school of UFO research is really a 'faith based' approach is as follows. We can start from some of the following premises. First, the initial US Air Force inquiry into the UFO sightings phenomenon, Project Sign, provided a conclusive statement confirming the ETH but this was suppressed for national security reasons. Second, that a crash occurred at Roswell in 1947 and was subsequently covered up due to the conclusive hard evidence it provided in favor of the ETH. Third, a number of leaked Majestic documents describe the various committees, projects and processes set up to secretly deal with the UFO phenomenon in the context of a possible national security threat. Fourth, a parallel 'national security' system has been created to deal with the UFO phenomenon using funds not subject to oversight from Congressional/Legislative bodies.
The corollary of the above premises is the following. If top secret committees set up a parallel infrastructure to deal with a national security 'threat' deemed too sensitive to be disclosed to the general public or congressional officials who exercise budgetary oversight; then the security system would be sure to eliminate, remove or taint hard evidence, and intimidate/discredit witnesses and whistleblowers. That this has happened can be identified in key documents such as JANAP 146 and the work of researchers such as Donald Keyhoe who was one of the first to rigorously explore the political cover up in his "Flying Saucer Conspiracy'. Numerous whistleblowers who have emerged in the Dr Greer's Disclosure Project assert that they indeed were instructed to lie about, and/or remove hard evidence.
When one examines historical processes and documents associated with the above four premises the inescapable conclusion is that seeking 'hard evidence' in the present national security system set up in response to visitation of ET races is really an act of faith. Those researchers who assert the need to appropriate rigorous scientific methods based on 'hard evidence' are really promoting a faith based approach to UFO Research.
The correct premise to begin framing research into the UFO phenomenon is that a national security system has been set up to keep the truth about the ET presence secret and to punish/intimidate/discredit those who break ranks to reveal what they had seen/done or provided any kind of hard evidence. Essentially, we need to factor in the distorting role played by national security agencies if we are to make sense of the entire UFO phenomenon and to better appreciate how to deal with testimonies from whistleblowers and witnesses of ETVs and/or EBEs.
If we begin with the correct premises about the national security system set up back in the 1940s and 50s, we can better work out what's happening currently. To continue with the search for hard evidence is really a faith based approach that appropriates scientific methodology as a mask for some fallacious reasoning over what can be conclusively determined about UFOs and the ETH. Science uses deductive reasoning from premises that are based on an accurate appraisal of the environment in which research is conducted. This applies both to the physical and social sciences. The current national security system prevents the kind of rigorous scientific method advocated by many UFO researchers, yet these researchers stubbornly advocate a process that does not make logical sense in the present national security system.
We need to go beyond the myopic faith based approach to UFO research, and unravel the nature of the national security system that contextualizes all UFO research, and that distorts/removes hard evidence and discredits/intimidates witnesses and whistleblowers.
© Michael E. Salla, PhD
April 11, 2005
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