Special Interviews
Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Difficult Problem: The Hopkins-Jacobs Controversies

In recent months, serious questions have been raised about the validity of the abduction research of
David Jacobs and Budd Hopkins. Jeremy Vaeni has been following this controversy, and here Whitley Strieber asks him just what has happened to raise questions about their research methods and conclusions. For anyone interested in the close encounter and abduction phenomena, this is a very important and informative interview. How real is it all? Has the research been done correctly? If not, are we to dismiss the very idea of abduction, or is there another way of looking at the whole phenomenon that is, perhaps, closer to the truth?

This is a provocative, insightful look into a very thorny and controversial subject.

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I have read all of Budd Hopkins and two books by David Jacobs. I think it is important to recognised that Budd is an artist and was not trained as a scientific researcher. That having been said, I think he applied scientific principles to his evaluations of alleged abductees. Except for a few clumsily constructed questions he asked of hypnotised subjects, his work is of a very high standard for a non-scientist. And let's be honest here: his critics' methods are leave a great to be desired in terms of their objectivity. I find it telling that 'de-bunkers' want to be known whilst most abductees are so fearful of ridicule or worse that they almost never reveal their identities or only do so on condition of anonymity with regard to the press. These are not attention-seeking nutters. They are from every walk of life and from all over the planet.

I felt the Mr. Hopkins' book "Sight Unseen" written with his then-wife, Carol Rainey, was
superbly done despite the tendency of Ms. Rainey to overdo the sceptical partner role. (She has since written a so-called "expose" on Budd Hopkins. The book goes to absurd lengths to undermine his credibility and comes off more as an "I Was Married To The Mafia" melodrama than a professional analysis of Hopkin's work. Read it only if you have salt to spare in the pantry.)

For me, the current attempt to smear Hopkins is an example to do what Gary Schwartz has observed about critics of his research: they do not hold him (or Hopkins, or other serious researchers in 'edge science') to normal scientific standards. Rather they are heid to an impossible standard that completely ignores overwhielming statistical evidence. This not a case of 'extreme assertions requiring extreme proof". This is a case of no 'proof' ever being sufficient to open the closed minds of supposed 'scientists'. Serious UFO researchers are today's Listers, Pasteurs, and Curies--dismissed until the truth can no longer be denied.

When such distinguished astronauts/scientists as Dr. Edgar White, Dr. Brian O' Leary, and Gordon Cooper have publicly acknowledged witnessing the presence of UFOs, I think we should weight their statements far above the uninformed denials coming from the debunker community.

Correction: "...it is important to recognise..." "I found he consistently applied scientific methods..."
"...the current attempt to smear Hopkins is an example of what Dr. Gary Schwartz"

And typos: held, overwhelming

Sorry about those.

This a difficult topic and thank you for bringing it up. I have not had abduction/visitation experience but have had an up-close experience with a pathological liar (www.stopkaz.com) when she introduced herself on my suburban bus in Australa. I knew her for a year before someone in our community discovered the website which had been set up in the USA to disclose her activities there. It was certainly an amazing experience and i won't go into the ins and outs of it now - but it allowed me to experience intimately the difficulties of determining if someone is lying or not. I never felt the same confidence in her stories as i did in other peoples', but at the same time also could not reject what she said on the basis that they were unlikely(she had toned them down a lot from the stories she told about 9/11 by the way, and never mentioned Jesus once). How much more difficult is it when the stories are already totally unlikely - there is no ordinary yardstick to measure abduction stories by, except as Whitley says, a combination of gut instinct and a familiarity with many, many abduction stories. The Hall of Mirrors compounded. Thanks for the interview.