“The proper relationship between any researcher and his or her audience is one of equality.” — Richard Dolan

The cottage industry that is UFO cultism — as described by a leading UFO researcher:

The issue, at base, is that the biggest, perhaps fastest-growing religion in our time is whorled around UFOs.

Richard Dolan is a researcher, one of the most respected researchers in the field, and one way to critique his stance (which I generally support) is to note that he is attacking his competitors in occult knowledge. That would be a sneaky and invidious interpretation, but it is worth laying on the table. Against that I take sides with Dolan, and readily admit that I see no reason to abandon good investigation techniques, accumulation of data, and the falsifiability criterion (where it can be applied). UFOs may be weird, but they are no reason to abandon reason.

I insist, however, in the spirit of Jacques Vallee, that we take this approach and apply it also to the investigation of the religious foment that is associated with the UFO/ancient alien biz.

Indeed, I am most interested in this subject as a religion — in part because I think religions should be studied on a scientific basis as well as from a more generally philosophical standpoint. In some of his later books, such as Messengers of Deception and Revelation, Vallee goes part way to that very study.

And the various UFO cults out there, with their usual list of prophets, priests, maximum leaders, secret gnosis, esoteric/exoteric teachings, political agendas, and the like, are indeed fascinating. We must go beyond Vallee’s and Dolan’s cult-bashing, though. The full panoply of sociology, economics, social psychology, and related disciplines must be marshaled to try to comprehend the social flux of our time. And in all of this, Dolan’s strictures must apply: evidence and source sharing — and general data transparency — between the field’s consumers and the purveyors of purported information. Secret knowledge if for conspiracies and cults.

It is worth mentioning that Gaia.com began as a yoga and meditation channel, and has slowly morphed into a ufology speculation channel hosting extensive discussions of myth and history. While scientific rigor is uncommon there, it is not without a voice; still, much more prominent is “spirituality.” While I do not dismiss any of these data and theories out of hand, most must be filed under Epoché — at best.

But we should ask ourselves:

Why is it growing out of hand?

Well, the evidence I know most about does not directly pertain to UFOs, but to government involvement in spreading confusion about UFOs, as testified since the beginning of the public UFO craze in 1947, by figures as diverse Major Donald Keyhoe and Carl Gustav Jung. Government incoherence — or seeming incoherence — on the issue is spreading irrationality. And thus a religious attitude of dogma and lack of interest in hard evidence.
Now, I have to state: this might ALL be a psy-op; SOME of it undoubtedly is. The CIA has been involved in the UFO issue since its inception. Indeed, the CIA was legislatively created one month after the Mt. Rainier “flying saucer” sighting by Kenneth Arnold.

To what extent some people within the Deep State know a whole lot more about the subject than anyone on the outside, and to what extent a subset of those people are actively spreading disinformation about UFOs, including faked encounters, I do not know. But I think the evidence shows that these are factors.

And that gives us this to ponder: no matter what the UFO issue is really about, whether multiform or singular in explanation, our government is involved to an astounding degree, and it is behaving in ways that are inimical to the principles that we associate with republican governance, specifically the sub-ordinance of military to civil government, and civil government to citizen control.

Thoughtful researchers like Richard Dolan are on board with this perspective. Indeed, I know of no non-political interest group with more skepticism about government than the UFO enthusiast and research community. It is a pity that so many of them fall prey to wild flights of fantasy unhinged from evidence, as Richard Dolan decries. But this is in a sense understandable: for on this subject, the proverbial “elephant in the room” is not the UFOs themselves, but the United States’ Deep State.