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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1997 > Nov > Nov 3

Re: Solved Abduction Cases?

From: DevereuxP <DevereuxP@aol.com> [Paul Devereux]
Date: Mon, 3 Nov 1997 19:55:04 EST
Fwd Date: Mon, 03 Nov 1997 20:57:30 -0500
Subject: Re: Solved Abduction Cases?

>From: clark@canby.mn.frontiercomm.net [Jerome Clark]
>Date: Sat, 18 Oct 1997 22:22:53 PDT
>To: updates@globalserve.net
>Subject: RE: UFO UpDate: Re: Solved abduction cases?

>> From: DevereuxP@aol.com [Paul Devereux]
>> Date: Fri, 17 Oct 1997 02:15:28 -0400 (EDT)
>> To: updates@globalserve.net
>> Subject: Solved abduction cases?

<mega-snip in the interests of sanity>

>> Well, Jerry, I'm positively amazed that my gentle and brief
>> comments should provoke such a screed from you! Forgive me
>> for thinking that you are being a little over-defensive. But,
>> well, if that's the way you want it ....

>Paul, I am "positively amazed" at your positive amazement. Why
>wouldn't someone be "a little over-defensive" if somebody else
>were to speculate in his presence, as you did in mine
>(cyberspacially speaking), about his inability to think for
>himself owing to a deep need to follow fashion?

I never,ever, said that. My point was much more subtle. And
accurate.

>I can imagine you going ballistic under the circumstances, and
>I wouldn't blame you.  Who the hell needs that? Try to be a tad
>more sensitive in the future, please.

And there was I thinking I was treating you so gently. You are
truly a sensitive soul, Jerry. Indeed, it becomes increasingly
noticeable that you take any challenge to the ETH quite
personally (hardly the action of an agnostic), and prefer to deal
with inter-personal minutiae rather than substantive matters.
Also, your double standards: if you challenge someone it is
scholarship, but if your views are questioned, or if a simple
fact such as your general adherence to the ET motif governing
mainstream ufology is pointed out, it is "bullying".

>> PD: I don't need to be a mind-reader, just a reader, to see
>>you getting narky. And I know you well enough to have seen you
>>in one of your little paddies, so I know enough as far as this
>> particular matter is concerned.

>You're pretty hot-tempered yourself, Paul, and have a reputation
>for same. It's just part of your charm.  So is mine.

I wouldn't for moment deny that I do not suffer fools,
foolishness or intellectual dishonesty lightly, but that isn't
the issue right here and now, is it? You claimed I had to be a
mind-reader to see your snottiness, and I was just pointing out
why that wasn't so.

>> PD: It's getting very "old", Jerry, the way you always wheel
>>old Eddie out. Eddie's OK, but he isn't God, and he hasn't
>>refuted anything worth mentioning... <snip>

>It's a tad strange for you to charge somebody else with using
>an "old" argument (why the scare quotes, by the way?)...

It's a term used here in NY (at least) meaning boringly
repetitious

>...since you've been beating the same drum for years and years,
>in book after book, lecture after lecture. And why the hell not?
>You think you've found something important, and you want
>to be heard, and ultimately to prevail, in the debate.
>Personally,I think you're interesting, dead wrong, and (dare I
>say it?) a trifle arrogant from time to time.  So you're human.
>And keep speaking up.

>Bullard's work is, in my judgment, the most important yet done
>on the abduction phenomenon, and it is fundamental to any
>understanding and discussion of same. I know it pains you to
>hear that.  Sorry.  For the rest of you who haven't already done
>so, go out and read Bullard and find out why he so pains the
>abduction/abductionist-bashers.  Reason one: he is an
>empiricist,not content with making broad, sweeping
>pronouncements but formulating and testing hypotheses -- few of
>which validate critics' favorite beliefs. At the end of it,
>Bullard ends up an agnostic, and so do I.

We will have to agree to disagree about the quality of  your
judgement in this matter, Jerry. It is not because he's good that
Bullard pains me. He can be seriously, indeed fatally,  faulted
on methodological and logic grounds, and I'm sure someone will do
so before too long. If they don't, I will when I reach retirement
age and have perhaps a little more time on my hands than I do
now.

And please give up on this claim to be agnostic. You may be
deluding yourself, but not others. It is getting a thinner claim
all the time.

>> We aren't talking Hansel and Gretel here, y'know. Folklore is
>>a dynamic that is always being generated. The whole of ufology
>>can genuinely be considered as folklore, and that goes double
>>for the abduction scene.

>The "whole of ufology"?  Such wild hyperbole will get you
>nowhere, my friend, though I'm sure it will make you feel
>better. If you want to be taken seriously, or even listened to,
>can that sort of rhetorical excess.

Nonsense. Ufology is a human phenomenon. It is full of beliefs,
assumptions, gossip,and *storytellers*. What fragments of
objective information do circulate are contextualised according
to prevailing assumptions. The very stuff of folklore.  Ufology
is not extra-terrestrial. It is the all-too-human finger pointing
at the moon.

>> You seem to think the good Duke and I are somehow
>> saying the UFO experience in general, and the UFO abduction
>> experience in particular, is untrue, absurd, etc etc. This is
>>not the case. I'll speak for myself: what I am saying is that
>>the response to and treatment of such experiences is folklore.
>>It's  not the experients, its the goddam investigators and the
>>milieu they operate in, Jerry. You've got what we are saying
>>ass backwards. I DO think there is hoax, lying and crass
>>self-delusion in ufology and abduction accounts, but I think
>>there are also people who have experienced something unusual
>>that demands explanation. My concern is that experients are all
>>too often TOLD what it is they have experienced, and/or that
>>the folkloric milieu they are introduced to will inculcate that
>> explanation in them.

>Let's see the evidence.  Bullard, in The Sympathetic Ear (1995)
>and his paper on hypnosis and abduction reports (JUFOS 1, 1989),
>found that whatever the investigator's predisposition, abduction
>reports end up sounding pretty much the same.  If you have
>empirical evidence to the contrary, let's see it.

Use your brains and your eyes, man. You have just proved my point
about you being so immersed in the prevailing ufological milieu
that you can't see what's happening from an objective viewpoint.
Stop repeating Bullard, Bullard, Bull....It is getting you
nowhere. It is not that I have anything personally against Eddie
Bullard, but your constant holding him up as some sort of St
Michael of factual objectivity is a dangerous game for you to be
playing.

>> PD: You aren't thinking clearly, Jerry. I am not North America
>> bashing at all. (And how dare you lump Canada in with the USA?
>> The fact that Chris RutKowski lives in Canada shouldn't malign
>> a whole nation.)....

>Say what?  Are you joking, Paul?  <snip>

Yes, Jerry. <sigh>

>> I am being highly critical of the dominant, ET-literalist
>>paradigm that infects nearly all of US ufology.

>Absolutely false.  By this time I do not mean there is anything
>wrong with the ETH, a perfectly sensible reading (whether
>ultimately validated or not) of the most evidential UFO cases.
>In reality, however, American ufology exists in a pluralistic
>universe in which all sorts of views are held and debated, from
>the neoskeptical to the paranormalist; there has even been
>something of a revival of secret-weaponism in recent years.
>There is a demonologist school.  There are New Agers and other
>dimensionalists.  Stop arguing in caricature.  The ETH lost its
>dominance in American ufology in the late 1960s, with the
>appearance of Keel and Vallee.  I think what you object to is
>that it continues to exist at all.

You've got a lot of balls to try to maintain that the ETH is not
the dominant ruling paradigm of mainstream ufology. Of course
there are 1001 other beliefs that wax and wane within ufology (it
is folkore, after all), who is arguing otherwise? And there are a
few major American ufologists who do not subscribe automatically
to the ETH. It is the dominance of the ETH in American ufological
thinking that I refer to.

Let's look a bit more carefully at what I'm trying to draw
attention to.

First, there is no ETH at all - no single hypothesis, I mean. It
has changed with the fads and fashions of the decades, as you
well know. I would prefer to call it the ET Motif (ETM), or ET
literalism. In that guise, it *does* rule most thinking within
mainstream ufology. That's not an opinion, but an observable
fact. And it is insidious. Even those ufologists who do not
openly promote the ETM, and perhaps genuinely think themselves
free of it, unconsciously (to a greater or lesser extent) use it
as the yardstick by which they judge all other approaches.
Indeed, the other approaches are unconsciously viewed as
"alternative" approaches. Alternative to what? To the ETM because
that is considered the "logical" or "most likely" explanation -
you have effectively said that yourself. It is as if other
approaches somehow have to measure up to the ETM as though it was
a fact, when, in truth, it is a shadowy mirage that has never
been pinned down.

This has serious knock-on effects. It skews the contextualisation
of objective information to which I referred above. So any
physical effects- injury to witnesses or damage to vegetation,
for examples - are considered in the light of whether or not they
can fit in with the presence of a physcial ET craft. No matter
how objective the study of that physical evidence may be, it is
already compromised by the conceptual context it has
automatically been placed in. Another, and far more dangerous,
example is the way UFO abductees are investigated. Because there
is an assumption, tacit or otherwise, that there has been a
literal, physical ET encounter, vital information is not
gathered. By this I mean there are certain factors about a
reported abductee's physical nature that needs determining in any
abduction enquiry. Its collection might well yield a body of
information leading to conclusions startlingly different to an ET
answer. But it isn't done. (What this information is, I will be
prepared to go into with serious investigators within private
discussion in due course.) The shifting of prioritisation caused
by the unconscious (-ish) effect of the ETM on the conceptual
approach to the alien abduction scenario was shown up in the
example of Mark Rodeghier's Santa Fe lecture I mentioned in my
last posting. Very important information was left out simply
because, from an ETM point of view, it was more or less
inconsequential. It simply didn't register.

These are serious matters, Jerry.

As far as objective skyborne phenomena go, I think the ETM should
stay on the table, but it should not be accorded any greater
weight than any other approach.

As far as "alien abductions" go, as they are a different matter
entirely I make no bones in saying it should be thrown out
forthwith. I say that because the nature of the "alien abduction"
experience can readily be determined by anyone who bothers to
study both within AND OUTSIDE of the "alien abduction"
literature. It then becomes a matter of scholarly observation and
knowledge, not opinion.

It is because I have done this that I can, in effect, "abduct the
aliens". An ET literalist approach, on the contrary, forces us to
be passive, awaiting the actions of the ETs. The ET literalist
approach reverses the true situation, and fills many people with
fear.

Let me put it this way: no ET will ever abduct me.

The skew the unconscious wielding of the ETM yardstick causes is
also evident in your total failure, Jerry,  to respond to my
comments on the significance of lucid dream research in my
previous posting. I think you think I'm kidding, or off the wall
or whatever. Not so. I am talking about serious scientific
research.

The hovering, virtually all-pervading presence of the ETM *does*
seriously compromise the objectivity of ufological research. Fact.

>In all due respect, Paul, I simply know a hell of a lot more
>about the intellectual history of American ufology than you do.

I know enough to study it sensibly. In your case, I think you
have looked at so many trees you have become lost in the wood.


>> And yes, indeed, I spend at least half my time here in the
>>States - we have a home on both sides of the Atlantic. You make
>>my point for me. THAT IS PRECISELY WHY I AM IN A UNIQUE
>>POSITION TO OFFER MY CRITICISMS. It is a fact, plain and simple
>>yet again, that in British ufology, and I'm sure in the ufology
>>of many other West European countries, the literalist view is
>>balanced more effectively by alternative approaches than it is
>>in the US. It is a healthier research climate in British
>>ufology, notwithstanding that at the tabloid pop end of the
>>business (and business it is) it is still  literalism based on
>>imported Americana.

>Healthier, of course, because more people there agree with you.
>I find the same: the healthier the person, the more he or she is
>likely to agree with me. Strange how that works.

No, healthier because there is more interchange of opinion, and
a better balancing of an overbearing paradigm.

>> You simply cannot take the cultural influence out of this
>>thing, Jerry. I stick absolutely to my claim that you have
>>been affected by the cultural milieu in which you live, move,
>>think and have your being.

>And you haven't?  Get off the high horse, Paul.  This sort of
>argument doesn't get any of us anywhere.

Of course I have been so affected. But I have taken steps to
minimise it. You haven't. Spending three years in the UK and its
intellectual climate in these matters might do you good.

This is not an irrelevant argument. People trapped in cultural
bubbles do experience a narrowing of viewpoint, and this is
reflected in their opinions and this in turn affects how they
perceive information and evidence. And they do experience peer
pressure in many ways, obvious and subtle. To deny that is to
deceive yourself.

>> You can't see it, because you are in it. I can see
>> it. You may play fancier footwork than most, but you are still
>>in the ET-literalist ballpark of US ufology. Let me mix
>>metaphors: the dominance of the ET-literalist paradigm within
>>'mainstream' ufology turns it into a conceptual ghetto. Mixing
>>on, I'd say that the ET-literalist approach is a sort of rest
>>home for the intellectually lazy. You may be the librarian at
>>the rest home, Jerry, and look out of the windows more often
>>than most, but you are still an inmate.

>Thanks, Paul.

I am not being insulting. Your own words and attitudes have made
this situation apparent. It is your refusal to even entertain the
problem that shows the problem.

>> Mainstream ufology as we know it is rooted in 1940s and 1950s
>> Americana. It is American folklore. And you are coloured by
>>it, and would find it exceptionally difficult to break free
>>from it -- even though it is long past its shelf life. Ufology
>>needs reinventing because there is, indeed, something to be
>>understood within it, at the level of some experiences had by
>>some people. If we are to understand it, we will have to break
>>out of the ghetto, the ballpark, the rest home, the tatty
>>conceptual museum of Americana. The fact that you and others
>>get so defensive on  the handful of occasions anyone suggests
>>another approach, tells me that you haven't escaped yet.

>Coming from one of the most emotional critics of the ETH I have
>ever encountered, I find these remarks ... well ... remarkable.
>And a lazy excuse not to deal with substantive issues.

That you apparently cannot see the strands I point out within
modern ufology tells me that perhaps you are not so well up on
the intellectual history of the subject as you like to think.

And for you to complain about anyone else beign emotional and not
dealing with substantive issues is a bit rich, to put it mildly.
Anyway, fear not, in UFOs and ufology, I am forensic, not
emotional. But you won't like that, either.

>> Nor have many ufologists on your  side of the Atlantic (there
>>are notable exceptions). You demand evidence for this or that.
>>just demand that you think a bit harder. The ET-literalist
>>approach is treated as if it were  somehow a proven fact. It is
>>not.

>>Yet when Dennis Stacy published my "Meeting with the
>>Alien" in the MUFON journal, I understand he was told that he
>>shouldn't be publishing such material.

>There's no accounting for idiots.  The inclination to squelch
>what one does not want to hear, however, is not a uniquely
>American phenomenon.

I quite agree. But nevertheless, more "alternative" ufological
discussion is enabled in other cultural bubbles.

>Dennis stood up to the morons, and God bless him.

Hear, hear.

>All viewpoints, including yours, should be heard and debated
>everywhere in the world.

This sentiment justifies my kind words re IUR in UFOs and ufology.

>>Shouldn't! There you have it. Alternative views cannot even
>>be discussed rationally in US ufology. Anyone who promotes them
>>is to be treated like a dolt, an imbecile, a criminal, a con-man,or
>>whatever. Should be attacked or ignored.

>Stop acting the martyr, Paul.

Just trying to point out the problems that exist in the field
over here in the States, Jerry. That's all.

>> If I may invoke a bit more of Dylan - for pity's sake, will
>>you please lay down your weary tune, if just for a while. See
>>what else you might think off if you were not always leaning on
>>your ET-literalist crutch. (I direct that at ETH US ufolologists
>>in general.)

>As a player of weary tunes yourself, you really ought not to
>pointing and shouting at other musicians.  Of course what you're
>really saying is: shut up.  Ironic indeed after the complaints
>you expressed just above.

No, I am *not* saying "shut up". I am calling for greater balance,
that's all. You really can't admit that there is a problem, can
you?

>> I do agree with you, however, in being cautious about both
>> extremes. I have also had my differences with the over-zealous
>> "new ufologists". You cannot treat all of us a monolithic
>>whole. The extreme at the *other* end, however, the ET-
>>literalist end, now reaches to the centre - nay, the core - of
>>American ufology. That is the point of my criticism.

>Paul, I have no doubt you're a good guy.  You just need to
>refine your debating style -- and maybe, though I know it's
>asking much of anybody, consider, if even for a second, that you
>could be wrong.  I freely acknowledge my capacity to be wrong.

To be honest, that last point is not much in evidence.  I do note
that you use the word "wrong" quite a bit with regard to others
though. You have repeatedly directed it at both Mendoza and
myself in your recent replies, and, indeed, in this one.

That brings up a point in itself: if people like Mendoza and I
are "wrong", "dead wrong", etc., as you claim, where does that
leave your supposed agnosticism?

As for debating style, I have been perfectly straightforward and
non-abusive. Of course,  I am trying to make a point - one that I
think deserves more attention than it is being given, and I
defend myself against your personal attacks. Moreover, I only
engaged with you on this List because you were saying Mendoza was
wrong, and I disagreed with you.  Unfortunately, you take
everything at a personal level. What is it you think you are
defending, Jerry?

>That's what keeps me intellectually cautious.  You might try
>a little humility from time to time.  I've earned mine the hard
>way: honestly.

Now you are being pompous. I do not arrive at my working
conclusions in any less a way. And if you were truly being
intellectually cautious why are you so casually dismissive of the
the important issues I keep trying to bring to your attention?
What you claim and what you do seem very different things.

>> PD: Well of course I read it, Jerry.(Reprise.) May I ask you
>>to read outside the UFO literature much more than you do?

>I read outside the UFO literature all the time, Paul...

But not in the areas that count as far as this debate goes, quite
obviously.

>..possibly even more than you do,

How the hell would you know that?

>... and I have many other intellectual interests, as anybody
>who knows me knows well.

I am sure you do, and that is not in question.

>I'll show you my library sometime.

I'd enjoy that, and I reciprocate the invitation.

>In some circles in which I move, people know little or nothing
>of my interest in the UFO phenomenon. My closest friends, who
>share many of my intellectual passions, are not ufologists.

I'm sure that's true, and I would not for one moment put it in
question. Same here, too.

>One of my interests, as Duke will tell you, is a very serious
>one in folklore and folk music -- actually more profound than
>my interest in UFOs.  What's annoying about your remark, though,
>is its bombastic presumption that only an ignoramus, or a cowed
>conformist, or an inmate in an insane asylum, could possibly
>hold views different from yours.  A kind of staggering arrogance
>lurks behind your words.  You seem not to understand why -- or
>even that -- you're offending people by condescending to them in
>this rude and blatant manner.

No, I was talking about reading outside the literature with
regard to the matter in question (alien abduction experience),
which you clearly have not done. I did not accuse you of these
other things at all. That's just your paranoia. .

>> JC: "...hallucinations generated by immersion in obscure
>>folklore texts."

>That was a JOKE.  See what I told Duke about it in my recent
>posting responding to him.

Yes, I read that. There is nothing about the phrasing or context
that remotely suggests a joke. I am beginning to wonder if you
have been labouring under false assumptions about what we have
been saying, and how deep such incomprehension goes.

>>As to this little "obscure texts" chestnut you roll out
>>frequently: the sources people like Hilary Evans and others
>>point to are not all *that* obscure, but in any case even if a
>>text  is obscure, it only takes one person to make it less so.
>>You never know where you pick up information. But I don't
>>consider mass-media sources, even if old, all that obscure,to
>>be honest.

>Read my critique of the psychosocial hypothesis in my just-
>published (shameless plug here) The UFO Book, pp. 492-504.
>Hilary Evans, whom I like very much and always enjoy reading, is
>discussed in detail.  I mean to say, of course, that his work
>is. Hilary and I disagree fundamentally but have never had an
>uncordial moment.

Another shameless plug: read my analysis of the debate between
the psychosocial and literalist viewpoints in UFOs and UFOLOGY,
when it comes out from Facts on File in, I think, January in the
US.

>>> JC: "...I feel perfectly comfortable as an agnostic here...No
>>> effort to bully -- or caricature -- me, or any of the rest of
>>> us who remain open-minded about this most difficult and
>>>contentious of subjects,into submission is going to do the
>>>job."

>I have the feeling that any disagreement with you, Paul, is seen
>by you as "knee-jerk," when it is not driven by comformity,
>ignorance, or madness. You would do well to understand that
>where UFOs (and, for that matter, a whole lot of other things)
>are concerned, reasonable people can reasonably disagree.  I
>have seldom if ever seen that simple reality acknowledged by
>you.  If I'm wrong, please correct me. There's certainly
>no evidence of it in this posting.

There is certainly no acknowldgement from you on this list that
what I an trying to draw attention to is important enough for you
to take notice of, instead of this perpetual, tedious bellyaching
about how badly and rudely you think you are being treated, and
the endless personalisation of issues. The day it becomes
possible to discuss anything directly with you will be red letter
stuff. You perhaps do not perceive how you talk down to people,
as you have been doing to me throughout this "debate". You are
too busy projecting your own mannerisms onto others, and in this
case, onto me, to even notice that, I suppose.

Bear in mind that the quotes of mine you are using are in
themselves responses to your input.

>> PD: Oh come on now, Jerry! That's your "reasonable face" you
>>like to think you wear all the time. Your knee-jerk reaction
>>to Mendoza, and your notable - shall we say - reticence regarding
>> other views outside the ET-literalist paradigm, give the lie
>>to your self-delusion.

>As I've said, you need a more productive rhetorical style. And
>I'm supposed to be the hot-tempered one?  Has it ever occurred
>to you that I simply find your views unconvincing? Or am I just
>another self-deluded dissenter from the Higher Wisdom of Paul
>Devereux?

Your belligerent side is showing, Jerry.

>> I'm not trying to bully anyone - just trying to get heard.
>> And then listened to. That's the difficult bit. You didn't even
>> refer to my statement that we are researching lucid dreaming,
>> for instance. Did you think it didn't matter? Because I really
>> do care what the UFO abduction thing is about, I'll add the
>> following outline of what we are doing. <snip>

>> I would like to publish a book preparing people for this area,
>> but so far US publishers have declined, apparently fearing
>> that it might adversely affect their literalist UFO titles (ie.
>> it might interfere with the prevailing folklore, which is proving
>> commercially gratifying.) But I will eventually get
>> some introductory material out on all this.

>I look forward to reading the results of your work.  I'm sure
>you'll find a publisher.  UFO books, pro or con, are moving
>slowly these days, I'm told.  I've had a slow year, too.

My books are all pro UFO. They are just not pro ETM.

>Anyway, you acknowledge that when you wrote the above, you
>were tired.  Like you, I can be tired and cranky.  So let's
>end on a positive note and agree to disagree...

On what, exactly? You disagree with me that there are problems in
alien abduction investigation, that there are other approaches to
the alien abduction question than the ETM, that there is no
element of folklore in ufology, that the ETM is not a driving
paradigm in mainstream ufology? Really? You really believe that
these are non-issues?

>...while maintaining respect and mutual good feeling.
>Meanwhile, I promise not to speculate about the psychosocial
>reasons you reject the ETH if you'll promise to  refrain from
>comparable guesswork about me and my views.

I am only going on what you have written. If that is guesswork,
then state clearly and exactly what you do believe in. And don't
insult me with "agnosticism".... please.

>Let us assume each other's intelligence...

If only you would.

>... sanity, sincerity, and integrity and go from there.  Okay?
>Cheers,
>Jerry Clark

Fine. Now, will you please address the points I have made in my
previous posting and in this one.

Best wishes,
Paul



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