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Far and Away, the Biggest Problem for Ufology is its Supporters

In the wake of the ABC Ufo special, a lot of Ufologists, Ufo buffs, and people just plainly interested in all things strange and absurd are wondering, and rather anxiously so, just what the future holds for Ufology. Like waking up naked next to a stranger after a harsh night of drinking, the morning after was a full blown blitz to figure out what happened, how it happened, and what to do. The world's most renowned Ufologist, Stanton Friedman, was meticulous disparaged, his reputation literally assassinated. For a moment, we were all, for better or worse, with volition or not, standing atop the carcass of Friedman.

Since then, just over a week ago at the time I write this, if you believe in Ufos, if you believe there is a distinct phenomenon traceable for the last sixty years, you've , if you've a level head, undoubtedly done a fair bit of introspection. Fair enough, ABC may have done some severe editing and the whole special may well have been slanted with the intent of mocking the Ufo phenomenon, however, after the initial bouts of fresh faced wrath, one invariably has to calm down and ask oneself why? Why debunk Ufology in the first place? Yes, we know all about allegations of conspiracy and government interests behind the network, though, one has to admit, outside of the furor over Peter Jennings' reporting, Ufology hasn't done much to give itself an air of credibility; for every Budd Hopkins or Steven Greer, two very dynamic investigators embroiled in both the tenuous subject of abductions and disclosure respectively, there's ten or twenty others recycling old information, parading blatant disinformation, or just plain parading. Stanton Friedman does him self no favors attending these Roswell Fests with all sorts of fans parading as aliens or in sci-fi space suites. And I will spare mentioning details of certain accounts of alien "changeling", though I admit accounts of an elder alien summoned to one's bedroom wearing a cloak and cape is substantially hilarious, until one realizes some sap somewhere is avidedly-wide eyed and bludged eyed-lapping it up like dogs at water. Plainly, whether Ufologists intended it or not, Ufology has spawned its own worst enemy, the Ufo fanatic.

Ufo fanaticism and its utter irreverence for common sense and reserve at best serves as a dancing circus of sorts, at worst it deflects any sort of credibility Ufology can hope to maintain with the public at large. Most painfully, Ufo fanatics often clog the lines of certain radio shows, ones that will remain nameless for the time being. It will suffice to say that men and women calling on the line and charging all sorts of theories, or, should I say, rambling statements avoidant of the topic at hand and geared to propose his or her own personal Ufo theory (usually Ufos are our gods/enlightened beings or Ufos are demons/fallen angels). Again, portions of the program typically dedicated to asking the guest a question turn into most every caller's own personal Ufo experience or stumping for a theory. Give a ufo fanatic a phone and a phone line and all standards of rationality, common sense and decency are tossed out the window. This total display of folly is most antagonistic towards individuals perceived as "debunkers" thought more appropriately defined as skeptics. It seems if a Ufo fanatic cannot expound his privately upheld belief he will dogmatically recite a litany of accredited sightings, charges of conspiracy and cover-up, often times degenerating into inane ramblings. Rather than address an individual they deem hostile to Ufology, Ufo fanatics often devolve into sputtering an amalgamation of new ageism's (geo-magnetic crystal power, etc.), ufo theory (they are beings of light from the constellation such and such), various paranormal psychic science mumbo-jumbo, and raving cries is debunkers would only open their eyes to all of the evidence, most of which, even us believers in ufos must candidly admit, is, together or piecemeal inferred evidence as opposed to a solid body of confirmed evidence.

Ufologists fail to fair much better than skeptics from the Ufo fanatics, often having to pander towards the very same ramblings while their own researched material is summarily ignored. Only Richard Dolan, who doubtless has ired a few heads, refuses to entertain Ufo fanaticism, out rightly disagreeing with any Ufo theory purporting the interested objects as being divine, enlightened, evil, demonic, or otherwise. Richard Dolan, however, is a rare example; Dolan is blatant about the nature of the evidence pertaining to the existence of Ufos: it is inferred and involves much qualifying on the individual researcher's part. When all is said and done and a researcher turns of his or her word processor for the day and stores away whatever files he or she might have, Ufology is, above all, qualifying your evidence, acknowledge you may have received a purposeful mislead, and candidly admitting conclusions are, as always, speculation. Yet, Dolan is, sadly, an exception. While there are many honest and stouthearted individual's in the field of Ufology, they seldom take the staunch stance of Richard Dolan, often entertaining much along the lines of rambling bunk or sensationalization. Friedman, earnest researcher though he may be, hasn't done himself any favors by some of the company he keeps. Steven Greer, though being at the forefront of disclosure, has painted himself silly by offering Ufo retreats in which he and the retreatents attempt to communicate with the Ufo occupants, furthermore, his idealized utopian vision of our future and how glorious it will be if we have full disclosure and communication with the Ufo occupants is a complete flight of fancy.

Dr. Greer, as much as Stanton Friedman and numerous other notables in the field of Ufology, entertain if not readily believe one of the Ufo fanatics' popular polemics: the "aliens" are an advanced and enlightened species who have offered our government technology which if freely given to the public would end all war over economic necessity and bring humanity into a utopian age. Aside from the numerous economic flaws in such fancy, three very obvious counter arguments never seem to occur to proponents of this theory. 1) It is equally possible for a malevolent, totalitarian species to come to such great strides of technological achievement. 2) Whatever is behind the Ufo phenomenon, it is more than likely probable they do not wish humanity at large to be knowledgeable of their presence; had they earnestly any desire to impart knowledge to mankind or communicate with us, they would do so. The apparent silence of governments over the issue may have as much to do with the Ufo's own indifference towards us as it does anything else. 3) As we just alluded to, they may be broadly indifferent to the human species. Scarcely concerned with communicating with us, anything but our biological and spiritual progenitors, they are here exclusively for scientific purpose and little else.

Of course, everything has its opposite. If there were some who would say utopia is just around the corner, there are others who maintain Armageddon is three stones throws from a flying saucer. Though the 1980's marked the deluge of "information" regarding the positive side to ET, the 1990s and the beginning of this new decade have played host to the opposite fervor developing among Ufo researchers and fans. For reasons still unclear, though Millennial expectation probably has some factor involved, the concept of the aliens as demons or fallen angels of the coming apocalypse has grown in popularity. The recent Ufo activity is then seen as a precursor to apocalyptic expectation.

Regardless which side one considers, one would find it difficult to avoid the spiritual/religious dimensions which these two major views take. The positive, based on no evidence, would maintain "they" have created us, "they" are intelligent and enlightened beings offering us the way to a new level of civilization in our own day, and the government maliciously hides this new utopia from the public. The negative, meanwhile, would maintain they are a threat, "they" are of Biblical significance, and the government does not ell us because they are controlled by the aliens and sacrifice our safety for promises of new technology, and, while they're at it, the Vatican has evidence of these Ufos-as well as giants apparently-and dispenses secret papal storm troopers around the world to remove the evidence and keep Christians in the dark, thereby harbingering the reign of the antichrist. In either case, there is the promise of salvation for humanity and a utopia/paradise to come and an evil agent thwarting or attempting to thwart the coming golden age.

The Ufo fanatics uphold whatever theory they subscribe to with fervor, displayed in a manner akin to religious zealotry. This is not merely a matter of possible visitation or some otherwise unknown phenomenon, for the Ufo fanatic, profound religious/spiritual, however said or unsaid they might be, are at play, as such, the Ufo fanatic engages in a polemic notable of any religious fundamentalist. Indeed, Ufology devolves from a para-science, to a religion on the fringe. The memorized and recited litanies and mantras of evidence, cover-up and conspiracy, the rabidity with which they defend the Ufo presence among us and viciously deride any skepticism of alien existence, and the fanatical adhesion they've placed into whatever spiritual dimension they subscribe to, most often a garbled new-ageism in which the aliens are our avatars, such rabidity so as to concoct a universal religious conspiracy against the aliens (the Vatican being a leading culprit)-and of course, expressed in a disjointed and rambling mode-bears the hallmarks of a religious belief, albeit one on the very fringes of sanity, hence the comparison to fundamentalism.

Though it is common place to mock Christianity's decision to establish orthodoxy and define heresy, it was actually a very keen move on the young Church's part; some ideas were just too absent of logic, intelligence and reason to be professed with any credulity. Ufology would do well to pilot a similar course; a field teaming with charlatans, gullibility and absurd zealotry has little chance of ever garnering the respect certain investigators have merited for the field as a whole. The time has come wherein Ufology must define what is and is not acceptable prognostication, Specifically, the utopian schematics and religious conflagration of Ufology must be disavowed entirely. The evidence, if qualified, does not reveal the intent of the phenomenon and any speculation of the intent is purely fantasy. Ufology, presently, can only hope to prove two theories. Theory the first: UFO's are indeed here. Theory the second: total disclosure. Anything else is well beyond the evidence and properly belongs to the religious fantasies of desperate minds. Until then, maybe we need a little more Peter Jennings investigations.