Part 1 can be found here.
Part 2 can be found here.
The final post in regards to this topic. I hope you have enjoyed it and I hope it was successful in answering the big question; are the general sciences truly more valid than Ufology?
Feel free to leave comments or shoot me a message.
The Lunatic Fringe and Why It Matters...
We need to question the ideological motivations that push science to dismiss the UFO/UAP phenomenon as a whole. Good ufologists worth their salt do not “cry aliens” when a well documented/credible UFO sighting occurs. Rather, they cry “what the hell was that, we probably should look into it…”
It is interesting that the same cry was the basis for the birth of the general sciences. People witness an event and say something to the effect of, “what the hell was that, we probably should look into it…”. We learned that lightning wasn’t an angry god, but rather a natural electrostatic discharge. We learned that the stars weren’t angels, but massive balls of burning hydrogen held together by gravity. We see something, and we want to figure out what it is.
Ufology must move in this direction, and it needs good science behind it. The general sciences have had significant time to develop. Over science’s long history, it has made as many errors as it has had successful breakthroughs. Ufology is young, inexperienced, and at times, bat shit crazy. That’s fine though, as science has made some wild claims itself during its younger days. Ufology is bound up in the ideological constructs that have developed around it. It is being tempered and tested during the age of television, the internet, and social media; a whole smattering of mass media and communication, which is not limited to an elite intelligentsia, but accessible by the everyday person; something that science did not have to face until well after it had developed a strong sense of its method and purpose. The fact that science belonged to the educated wealthy privileged few during its developing years is, in itself, very ideologically interesting.
I think we need to question the dogma of science, and understand that the ideological principles of science are founded upon the same social ideologies every other field of human study is founded upon, our daily experiences, cultural practices, and social consciousness. I do not question or criticize the validity of science; it is essential to our survival and thriving on this planet. What I do question is the reason for science to dismiss Ufological events, or the field of Ufology, as nothing more than foolishness and hokum. Science, like Ufology, has many ideological skeletons in its closet. To then turn around and write off Ufology for those same reasons is a wonderful example of hubris and hypocrisy.
Ufology will be unable to develop itself in the same way science has; modern science was, and to a point, still is, very much established by a small social group ideologically bent on protecting itself from the masses via control of information and ideas. Ufology, on the other hand, is very much a field made up of people from a variety of backgrounds, classes, educations, and cultures. It stands to reason that the Ufological field is highly democratic and diverse in nature; a melting pot of views, ideas, and thoughts churning around during an era of mass media and communication with no established governing body to regulate it.
If Ufology is to be taken seriously, to get out of the ideological “catch 22” it is currently in, it must get into bed with the general sciences. Ufologists must work to develop measurable and consistent methods that allow for peer review by members of the scientific community. It must also be open to philosophers and cultural theorists, as many of the questions proposed by Ufology exist within the realm of culture, history, metaphysics and epistemology.
The scientific community must also challenge its current ideological state, it must, to quote the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek, “look awry” upon its current reality. Scientists are people who, just like us, need to pay their bills and put food on the table. They work for governments, corporations, and universities who pay their salaries and fund their research. Almost no science is done independently of a specific agenda, whether it is economic, political, or military. Few scientists have freedom to work on whatever they wish. One major shift in thinking must come from the privileged few scientists who are able to carry the study of UFOs beyond their daily work.
It is improbable that ufologists would be able to establish an academic body to govern the field. The democratization is too far gone for it to be reeled in, and too many movements and groups are too well established to kneel before a throne in some university. The shift towards rigorous scientific Ufology exists within the grass roots. If it happens, it will be UFO investigators, theorists, philosophers and scientists, unafraid of the fringe, who work together. There will be no big revolution to alter the ideological walls put up by the general sciences, rather, it will be a slow evolution over time as more good, skeptical, and honest minds work to establish a field still in its infancy.
Ideologically, Ufology is on the outskirts, a small player in a very big game. No one can control the mechanism of ideology, but it can be gradually swayed by people with significant power (ie: corporate leaders, investors/lobbyists, and governments). The value of controlling ideas and thoughts is infinite, and the study of UFOs isn’t worth anyone’s time (assuming you do not buy into conspiracy theories, black project ARVs, etc.). That being said, there is hope. All ideological shifts occur from the fringe, the powerless, and never from those in power. Perhaps a literal band of ragtag scientists, thinkers, and UFO investigators will rescue Ufology from its current state.
To answer the question as to whether one ideology is more valuable than another, I would say yes. The ideology that strives for the truth, to make humanity better and more equitable, is more valuable. If there truly is something to the UFO phenomenon, something beyond ourselves, then seeking out the answer is in our best interest, both “real” and ideological.