A “Reflection” by me, as appeared in Liberty, June 1993, p. 7.

My interest in UFOs is very recent, and was sparked as much by my disillusionment with dominant intellectual paradigms as it was by compelling accounts of evidence of UFOs. What I had suspected for a long time became painfully obvious a few years ago: cultism is not just deplorable behavior from marginal groups — from the “basket of Deplorables” — for dominant groups can behave just as cultic. The differences are real, but mainly our appraisals of cultic behavior depend upon our group affiliation. We get one of those Russellian conjugations: I am a scientist or philosopher; you are a religious believer; that person over their is a cultic nut.

My UFO interest grew out of my research into the end of the Ice Age, actually. I found out, about five years ago or so, while researching Denisovans and (from another direction) global climate change, that the truths of the Younger Dryas have not been assimilated into academic thought, and that academics have been resisting the cataclysmic nature of the Ice Age’s cessation for over a century, and have often done so in horrifically ideological and cultish ways, treating their findings as dogmas and their dogmas as religion.

I’d known for decades that academic disciplines could be dominated by in-group cultism, and that Science The Procedure did not necessarily track Science The Institution. But to learn that it was almost more common than not? Quite a blow.

The classic case of a familiar academic cult is Keynesianism, which is based on a lie by Keynes himself — his politic pretense that British labour union refusal to allow nominal price drops after World War I and the pegging of gold at parity was the cause of the post-war depression there. Every decent economist knew this. But politically the unions were thought to be impregnable, and economists did not have the courage to simply drive the message home to the public. I regard this as an outright lie (following accounts by F.A. Hayek and W.H. Hutt), and the whole edifice of Keynesianism built on that Great Evasion of a Bedrock Truth. What a crock.

Quite a few other disciplines have been infected with the cultic bug, too, and I was aware of some of them. But my discovery that geology was corrupt in a similar manner was sort of the last straw for me. I gave up on my last bit of ridiculing “weird theories.” And then the AATIP revelations came out, and all bets were off. I repented of my former cultism and am now a full-blown “nut” who does not care what snobs think. I know them mainly to be frauds.

How in-group cultism can infect academia is interesting to watch. My latest excursion into this area has been revisionist history of Judaism and Christianity — the history of which I have been reading about, on and off, for three decades. In a few hours I talk to Ralph Ellis, whose books on the Hyksos-as-Hebrew-patriarchs and the historical Jesus are mind-blowing and ultra-plausible — but which no academic will touch with a ten-foot pole. I am merely curious and eager to learn more. If it is a scorned “heresy” matters not one whit to me.

One way to defeat the human propensity to treat intellectual matters in cultic fashion might be simply as Ray Scott Percival, a philosopher in the Popperian tradition, has written about in his recent Medium essays on “Fake News and the Manifest Truth Delusion”: “The biggest gain in the control of error would be through the separation of science and the corrupting influences of politics (e.g. state funding, licensing etc.) and the chilling effect of political correctness on open discussion.”

Which, amusingly enough, anti-Popperian philosopher Feyerabend proposed when we were young.

I am more than willing to revise my beliefs and manage my suspicions about UFOs based on evidence and competent speculation about possibilities. But we are still afflicted with a paucity of data that has not been, in the words of Charles Fort, “damned.”

A very cultic word, that. And apt for how governments and academics have publicly treated the subject.

It is time for academics to forswear their cultism and their willingness to serve as intellectual priest and pope, catechist or Grand Inquisitor.


The latest interesting YouTube video on UFOs.