Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Illuminations: Book “reviews”

There are, so far, two published “reviews” on my book Illuminations, one in the Magonia blog by Peter Rogerson, and another one in the Fortean Times by Jerome Clark. I put the word “review” in quotation marks because they are not really book reviews. They are rather what I would consider “denunciations” of someone thinking differently than them.

The key argument of my book is about presenting a hypothesis, based on parapsychology, to propose an explanation about some, but not necessarily all, UFO events. As well, faithful to the notion of hypothesis I do not claim having the “Truth”. It seems pretty clear that the notion of “hypothesis” has escaped these two reviewers, because in the end their “reviews” were simply promoting their beliefs that either the psycho-social hypothesis (PSH) can explain (implicitly ALL) UFO sightings, or the extra-terrestrial hypothesis (ETH) is (also implicitly) the only valid explanation for ALL truly unexplained UFO sightings. In the end, they are both proving by their very own writing what I wrote in my Introduction: when it comes to UFOs people are stuck between the “nil hypothesis” (in its more sophisticated version through the PSH) and the ETH. This doctrinarian situation is at the very core of the UFO studies problem. The letter “H” for “Hypothesis” in “PSH” and in “ETH” is absolutely not deserved.

It is fascinating to read people making grandiloquent claims about the superior scientific value of the PSH, while none of their writings quote the sociological literature or used accepted operational models from sociology and psychology. For instance, highly relevant approaches like Berger and Luckmann’s social construction of reality, Serge Moscovici’s social psychology of social representation, or Maurice Halbwachs’ notions of collective memory, or even Durkheim’s concepts of collective consciousness, are not even mentioned in their “analysis”, let alone actually used in a scientific way. Why? Because sociologists know the limits of their science, and therefore the PSHers would have to admit the same…a believer can’t admit having his “truth” limited.

For the ETH, and the focus on the physical traces (CE-2) mentioned many times by Clark, I can only say that the greatest expert of CE-2, Ted Philips, is now agreeing that the UFO phenomenon is at its core a paranormal event. What more could one say about analyzing CE-2 evidence?

Finally, both Rogerson and Clark wrote about my approach being a rehashing of the 1970s. First, I have been clear in my book that I picked up where it was left off, because not much of worth has been produced (with the exception of people like Vallée, Randles and a few others who persevered) since the collective delirium caused by the Roswell / Majestic-12 non sense. Indeed, that period was a lot ado about nothing. I integrate a number of new ideas and concepts that did not exist in the 1970s. Science is not about fashion, it is about research and incremental improvement. The PSH and especially the ETH have been going nowhere for a long time now, so it is time to resume doing serious research, based on hypotheses.