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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1999 > Feb > Feb 3

Re: Abduction - The Issue Of Reality

From: Greg Sandow <gsandow@prodigy.net>
Date: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 12:16:02 -0500
Fwd Date: Wed, 03 Feb 1999 20:06:18 -0500
Subject: Re: Abduction - The Issue Of Reality

>Date: Tue, 2 Feb 1999 15:33:56 -0500
>From: Peter Brookesmith Mendoza <DarkSecretPB@compuserve.com>
>Subject: Re: Abduction - The Issue Of Reality
>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <updates@globalserve.net>

>Nonetheless. When the most vocal, and certainly most
>widely-read, proponents of the reality of abduction--Hopkins,
>Mack, Jacobs, Sprinkle, B_y!?n, Fowler--_all_ use hypnosis
>freely, and claim that it's indispensible, and base their most
>celebratedly outlandish cases on it, and furthermore produce a
>lot of spurious logic and transparent sophistry to avoid dealing
>with the objection that its potential pitfalls far outweigh its
>potential merits, and furthermore _don't_ tell us sometimes
>highly salient facts about their subjects that would put the
>hypnotic material in a very different light than the one they
>shine on it, then they deserve all the kicking they get.

>Four of the above-named are demonstrably intellectually
>dishonest at worst and self-deceiving at best. If some clown now
>complains from their cave or wormhole that skeptics can be less
>than perfect too, that is as it may be; but it does not donate
>any integrity, objectivity or self-knowledge to the mountebanks.
>Rant over. Deep breath.

Take a _very_deep breath, Peter, my friend, and now tell us
where you draw the line between intellectual dishonesty and the
rather less serious crime of merely disagreeing with you.

I'd fault the people you cite -- and have faulted them in print,
in an essay upcoming in the next issue of Dennis Stacy's The
Anomalist -- for not stating the objections to hypnosis
currently found in psychological literature. (Except John Mack,
who addressed these problems in the paperback edition of his
abduction book, though, as I also said in my essay, he should
have done so in the first edition.)

On the other hand, you're now overstating the unanimity of
objections to hypnosis among psychological professionals,
failing to note the context-specific nature of the debate (it's
an understandable reaction to flagrant misuse of hypnosis by
therapists looking for sexual abuse), and generally bending
things your way.

Which of course is your right. But if we're to cry "intellectual
dishonesty" every time a  polemicist (or even a milder advocate
of any position) shapes the universe to fit his or her views,
hardly any of us would remain unscathed. You yourself knew
exactly what conclusion you'd come to when you began work on
your book, and repeatedly, here on UpDates and elsewhere, have
(a) favored lines of inquiry that would support your
conclusions, avoiding some that might not, and (b) aimed your
critical artillery at pro-abduction arguments, while giving some
of those on the other side a free pass.

Which _again_ is your right. Let me once again make a point that
I've made before. If we read the New York Review of Books (or,
I'm sure, other publications in which intellectuals address each
others' work), we'll find the world's top scholars and academics
strongly disagreeing with each other, pointing out supposed
holes in each others' work, and suggesting that their
intellectual opponents have made factual and logical errors.
They also suggest, just as Peter does, that their opponents have
in effect loaded the dice, paying attention only to the facts
and arguments that support their own side.

They do this, however, without accusing each other of
intellectual dishonesty. Your rant, Peter, is excessive, to put
it mildly, and exposes you -- and nearly any strong advocate of
a controversial position in any field -- to the same ugly
charges you're hurling at your opponents.

Greg Sandow (who doesn't think his own abduction writing is as
objective as Eddie Bullard's, or Stuart Appelle's)

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