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The Origins of the Species : Skepticus Humanus

Iíve been erring on the side of caution lately. Seems there is a conspiracy afoot. Lately people of a certain variety (ahem, Skepticus Humanus) have been lurking about and theyíve started picking fights. Mind you, skeptics are not mindless automatons, as we would LOVE to believe. No, some of them are pretty fascinating thinkers. Believe it or not, there is a small band of skeptics who choose to disbelieve until proven wrong. They donít see any convincing evidence, and what they canít see, they canít believe and what they do see, they donít believe, because everyoneís got a computer and Microsoft Paint these days.

I have had the misfortune, however, of meeting the uninformed variety. The kind that lurk on message boards and myspace pages, looking to start a fight. A topic is posted, something of the esoteric variety. People post. Some express their opinions in favor of the idea of the existence of said topic, and then, out of the blue, like a freak wave in a placid sea, the Skepticus Humanus cometh.

Before you know it, someone has denounced your entire existence on the basis of your opinion/hypothesis/belief. You canít shake them after that, because they know your name (or whatever name youíve chosen for yourself in leiu of), and they know where you hang---they are watching you.

From that day forth, you canít say ANYTHING without being pummelled with insults to your intelligence, and sometimes, no one comes to your aid, because itís guilt by association.

This is the UFO / esoteric world on the internet. Seriously. Itís sad, and it is pandemic and really, there is nothing to be done, short of contacting admin, but little good that does, because they just come back under another name.

Sometimes I picture Skepticus Humanus, sitting at his/her computer, bug-eyed and leery; perhaps in their mid-twenties, a bit on the chubby side, smart but neurotic, interested in all things odd, but not ready to accept anyone elseís lame attempt to explain the universe, because that just leaves nothing for them to do.

They donít work, in fact, they sit in front of the computer allÖdayÖlong. They have an "I WANT TO BELIEVE" poster rolled up in the corner somewhere. They may even have experienced something of the paranormal variety but once they opened their mouths, they were ridiculed and so, the abused becomes the abuser.

This is the Skepticus Humanus, the new (or oldÖdepending on the time of your initiation to the www), skeptic on the block. The one who never listens; Never pauses to even think about the probability of listening. Whatever you say is wrong. That is all you need to know and that is all they want to tell you.

Thatís fine and dandy if itís coming from a leech behind a keyboard, but it is damaging if it is coming from someone in the pit of the UFO / esoteric community. Should anyone like that move from the desktop to the UFO conventions, to the place where the ma(j)ic happens---conferences, well then we might all bow out now while theyíre still getting their fingers sweaty typing away at faux hypocrisy.

Because, the day we stop listening or accepting the ideas and opinions of others is the day we devolve into an ugly sub-group, and I see the root of it starting now. When Ufologists start getting marred by skepticism, then there is nothing left to do but take everyone else down with them.

Itís a hard job to stand up for Ufology; to put your best ideas forward and hope someone is listening. Itís even harder when people do start listening, because you make just as many enemies as you do friends. But there have been many people whoíve succeeded in this endeavor. They are in the Pantheon of Esoterica: Charles Fort, Jacques Vallee, John E. Mack and now Mac Tonnies.

Disenchantment can be costly to the entire field, and it breeds skepticism. Should a person decide to switch sides, well then, that is fine because there is still a voice on the topic, for or against doesnít matter so long as the respect is intact.

I fear the day when Ufologists are outnumbered and Ufology itself is hindered much like one person on a message board, in the wake of a biased attack. Ufology is not for the weak of heart, and itís not for the weak of spirit either.

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