Friday, June 08, 2007

The Fringe

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Scientists – real scientists – rightfully eschew the fringe phenomena that afflicts some of humanity: UFOs, alien abduction, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster, parapsychology, ghosts, et cetera.

It’s not that the phenomena isn’t worthy of a look-see by bona fide professionals (as physicist Michio Kaku suggests); it’s that the phenomena has been corrupted by the madness, the insanity as it were, of those who’ve adopted some phenomenon or other to flesh out their morbidly dull lives.

Any scrutiny of a fringe topic, say UFOs, for example, will show that the strangeness of the thing(s) is offset by the even stranger reaction to it by a diverse group of sociopaths, expert-wannabes, narcissists, and just plain crazy people.

(Hoaxers are also a ubiquitous bane.)

Admittedly there are some serious, somewhat credentialed persons seeking answers to the phenomenon that interests them, but they dilute that seriousness by popping up in various milieux where the crazies reside.

These serious quasi-investigators can’t help but appear in and at venues where every wacko has admittance and is granted a kind of respected credibility, no matter how ridiculous their position may be.

Why would a serious scientist invest time and besmirch his or her career by associating with those who have little (if any) training or expertise about the subject matter at hand?

Jacques Vallee, a scientist with expertise in computer matters mostly, has withdrawn from the UFO debate, to study, privately, the phenomenon within what he calls The Invisible College.

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But even that hasn’t tarnished his reputation as a serious scientist. The phenomenon Vallee studies subliminally is rife with baggage that doesn’t allow it to be taken seriously by anyone, other than him.

The sasquatch (bigfoot) appearances are also avoided by primate specialists. The sightings (and alleged evidence: footprints, hair, and feces) are without substance.

Even the (in)famous Patterson film has become too controversial, with accusations of fraud or hoaxing, for any primatologist to weigh in on.

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And Loch Ness, which already has a plethora of admitted hoax sightings and photos, can’t be researched by marine biologists, unless they desire a short-circuited career.

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But a raft of true mental defectives can best be found in the vast, and it is vast, UFO community.

A perusal of UFO books, web-sites, blogs, and other flying saucer venues (such as the Roswell “museum” in Roswell, New Mexico) will convince anyone with a smidgen of psychological acumen that the phenomenon has been encrusted by a patina of psychopathology.

Scientists with any academic respectability are wise to avoid getting down and dirty with the UFO crowd. By sinking to the mire of “ufology” – the made-up term to imbue UFOs with a false credibility – a scientist would ruin (not could ruin but would ruin) their professional lives inexorably and definitively, as was the case with Dr. James McDonald and Harvard professor John Mack (both deceased) who were castigated unmercifully by their peers.

This doesn’t mean that UFOs, Bigfoot, and Nessie are without curious elements.

It just means that they, as phenomena worthy of study, have been tainted by the maniacs who’ve glommed on to them for various reasons, which are suspect, nefarious, or psychotically induced.

So science is wise to stay away. Why would anyone with personal integrity get involved with the fringe? It just doesn’t make sense….

2 comments:

Bruce Duensing said...

You identified an important dynamic that reminds me of the old axiom wherein fools rush in where angels fear to tread. In the absence of the substantial amount of courage it would take to seriously tackle this subject on a professional, scientific basis, we have a very public sideshow tent in the media full of channeling mediums, acrobatic photo manipulations, contortionist conspiracy theories, professional hypnotists as rumor mongers... the whole spectrum inside the marketplace of a human carnival. Any scientists lingering at the entrance hearing.."Step Right Up!" is wise to quietly turn away if they value their daily bread. The only hope against hope in this that I can imagine is a situation wherein events over run reluctance. I did a post where I examined the territorial imperitive that is evident if the UFO situation was actually a scientific ecological investigation. "a disturbing set of paradigms appeared that although counterintuitive to their culture, became another set of psychological barriers to direct communication. Some of our subjects thought our intent is to control them, some thought of us as a rival tribe, some thought of us as demons, some as angels, some as new creatures from another part of their world, etc. If we appeared to them, these pre-existing suppositions would create an instantaneous cultural uproar."

Round and round we go, when the other shoe drops nobody knows.

RRRGroup said...

And Bruce,

Those who seek the fringe answers would do well to heed Dante:

Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.