Questioning Alien Abduction Research Methodology – The UFO Trail

Dr. Ellen Tarr, an Associate Professor at Midwestern University, has recently studied the results provided by FREE, the Foundation for Research into Extraterrestrial Encounters, from its online survey of “those who have experienced unexplained phenomena,” and Jack Brewer’s The UFO Trail discusses and provides a link to that excoriating review. Brewer also touches upon some of the weaknesses in the 1991 Roper Poll and in Budd Hopkins’ approach to the matter of symbols reportedly seen by abductees during their experiences. Now, ufology and its subset abduction studies share with the historical development of other nascent fields methodological errors that get recognized as faulty during the maturation of the study. The problem with ufology is that the witnesses are not subatomic particles nor even hieroglyph-writing humans dead for millennia, but most often living, breathing people who are trying to integrate consciousness-shattering experiences into their continuing lives. Those who care enough to work with the humans involved in these matters deserve credit for their commitment, but the time has passed for methodological errors, especially those stemming from an ideological viewpoint, to be accepted or, even worse, used as excuses to negate the reality of the phenomenon itself. (WM)

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