by Michael E. Salla, PhD
December 15, 2004

 

The study of the UFO phenomenon has long been dominated by researchers whose primary backgrounds have been in the natural sciences such as Astronomy, Physics, Engineering, Aviation, etc. Donald Keyhoe, Allen Hynek, Edward Ruppelt, and Stanton Friedman are some examples of distinguished UFOlogists whose competence in these fields have been a chief characteristic of their careers and have won the admiration of many in the field of Ufology. The methodologies used by íUfologistsí in general has been to rigorously use their professional training to work through UFO reports, photographic evidence, FOIA documents, witness testimonies, archival records, etc., to reach some agreement as to what can be known with reasonable certainty regarding UFO related evidence and the extraterrestrial hypothesis (ETH).

Ufologists view their research as consistent with natural scientific standards which they aggressively defend against the skepticism and dismissive attitudes thrown towards them by the scientific community in general. Winning the respect of mainstream scientists by using methodologies appropriated from the natural sciences to produce top quality research that stands the scrutiny of critics and skeptics has been an important goal of Ufologists. In adhering to this high standard of natural science methodology, Ufologists tend to be parsimonious and in turn are dismissive of controversial sources of evidentiary material, or evidence that canít be substantiated using the scientific standards promoted by Ufologists. This can be lauded since gaining scientific acceptance for the rigorous research of anomalous phenomena that substantiates the ETH is a desirable goal. Yet on the other hand one can question what is the cost of maintaining a rigorous natural sciences methodology that is very parsimonious in its approach to various evidentiary sources that allegedly substantiate the ETH? There is also a bias here as to what is scientific and what isnít.

The cost in my view is unnecessarily large which is why Iím appealing to Ufologists to move beyond the myopic focus of gaining acceptance from scientific colleagues by using methodologies appropriated from the natural sciences, and to more seriously consider an exopolitical approach to the ETH. There are many reasons that can be cited for why an exopolitical approach is warranted in dealing with the UFO phenomenon and the ETH.

One, the ETH behind the UFO phenomenon was never an exclusively technical problem that required a natural scientific methodology in addressing. There was also a very clear political and national security dimension behind the UFO phenomenon and the ETH. This is made very clear in events such as General Voyt Vandenberg rejecting the initial Estimate of the Situation presented by the Project Sign team in 1948 on grounds that were political and national security related rather than technical (see HERE). This and many other examples drawn from the national security dimensions of the UFO phenomenon merits political analysis of the ETH by researchers using methodologies derived from political science. This necessarily requires breaking free of an exclusive technical analysis by Ufologists using natural science methodologies, and moving into the arena of exopolitics. Thus exopolitics focuses on the study of the key actors, institutions and processes behind the UFO phenomenon and the ETH.

Two, the general public overwhelming believe that the ETH is true and that a political cover-up is underway. A 2002 Roper poll confirmed that almost 70% of the US public support the ETH and believe that a government cover up is underway (http://www.scifi.com/ufo/roper/04.html). While it is legitimate to point out the science is not conducted by public opinion polls, it is equally legitimate to point out that public policy/national security policies are influenced by public opinion. So while the natural sciences may dismiss the relevance of public opinion in conducting pure science, this approach is not shared by political science where public opinion is any important factor in the formulation and implementation of public policy and national security policy.

Three, the testimony of numerous whistleblowers that has been compiled by the Disclosure Project points to the extensive national security cover up of evidence validating the ETH. Steven Greerís work in gaining the testimony and/or commitment of up to 400 whistleblowers for possible disclosure before a US congressional committee has brought into the public arena a wealth of information that has great exopolitical significance.

Finally, the evidence provided by UFO sightings, alleged extraterrestrial abductions/contacts, remote viewers, and other evidentiary sources is overwhelming in scope and details concerning the ETH. These reasons all contribute to the central premise of exopolitics that evidence supporting the ETH is overwhelming and we need to start thinking about the political implications of the cover-up that has been underway for more than five decades.

As far as criticisms of my own exopolitics research is concerned, let me set the record straight by saying that I donít consider myself to be a UFO researcher or Ufologist in search of evidence proving the existence of the UFO phenomenon, but a political scientist using qualitative analysis of the various sources of evidence pertaining to non-disclosure of an extraterrestrial presence. I rely heavily on the testimonies of a variety of whistleblowers in drawing my exopolitical analyses of various issues relevant to the ETH. The criteria I have used in assembling these sources for my exopolitical analysis in have included the following:

  • Coherence - testimony is marked by absence of conflicting statements and internal contradictions

  • Consistency - testimony is consistent with two or more independent sources

  • Motivation - individual is motivated to disseminate information for legitimate purposes rather than out of a desire for recognition, monetary compensation, or political advantage

  • Integrity - individual displays high degree of principle in responding to intimidation, harassment or other negative behavior

  • Independence - individual is not unduly influenced by government intelligence agencies and/or extraterrestrial race

  • Evidence - is there physical evidence to substantiate the claims of witness/whistleblower/remote viewer

The above criteria are helpful guides for any competent researcher in determining the validity of a particular category of testimony or evidence concerning the ETH. Due to these criteria having a mix of objective and subjective features, there is a need for the competent researchers to deal with the available material using an inclusive or broad multi-disciplinary approach. A parsimonious approach as to what constitutes credible evidence/testimony for extraterrestrial researchers is untenable due to the inherent difficult of making conclusive statements about the range of testimonies that witnesses/contactees/whistleblowers make available. The subject matter is often so exotic and government interference with evidence, witnesses and whistleblowers is so pervasive that excluding some categories of evidence is untenable and methodologically unsound. While the above criteria may not satisfy the parsimonious researcher seeking a restricted pool of data from which to draw reliable conclusions that might impress colleagues in the natural sciences, the above criteria provide a safety net for ensuring reliable and accurate information for research into the ETH.

Furthermore, there has also been criticism of my exopolitics research in terms of my using "material from the internet" rather than presumably reports, interviews and analysis gained from field research, laboratory analysis and archival research favored by 'serious Ufologistsí. This is what was actually said in a Washington Post interview by Peter Carlson where I referred to my use of the internet to support my exopolitics research on the alleged Eisenhower-extraterrestrial meeting:

'he [Salla] says, he found evidence of ET visitations -- including the Ike encounter -- on the Internet. "Thereís a lot of stuff on the Internet," he says, "and I just went around and pieced it together"í

(http://www.exopolitics.org/Wash-Post-Ike and ETs.htm).

Now the quote refers primarily to extraterrestrial visitations and the Eisenhower-Extraterrestrial encounter where most of the material for that meeting was found using sources available on the internet. It should be pretty clear that evidence of an Eisenhower-extraterrestrial meeting is not going to be readily available using FOIA requests, archival research, and involves citing some of controversial whistleblower sources whose work is freely available on the internet. In addition, I conducted a number of interviews with various individuals with information on the alleged Eisenhower meeting which I did not disclose in the Washington Post article. While I see no problem in using internet sources for building a case for an undisclosed extraterrestrial visitation that resulted in a series of secret agreements with the U.S. government, I was never claiming that this was exclusive and sufficient for exopolitics research, and I did use additional sources of information such as confidential interviews to support this research.

The sources of evidence for the exopolitics research I conduct are wide ranging and the internet is an acceptable though not exclusive source of evidence for exopolitics. Part of the problem with internet research is that there is an inherent bias in Ufology which uses primarily methodologies appropriate to the natural sciences, rather social sciences. The qualitative methodologies I use involve analyzing the credibility, coherence, consistency and clarity of whistleblowers whom I cite and who I have interviewed in a number of cases. Ufologists would instead focus on the credentials and empirical evidence that can be validated which in the case of controversial whistleblowers is often not possible.

The justification I use for the different exopolitical sources I cite is found in an online study paper I published in January 2003 (see HERE), which was revised for the first chapter of my book, Exopolitics (Dandelion Books, 2004). Many sources of whistleblower, abductees/contactees, remote viewing and other information are found on the internet. Some of the whistleblowers I cited gave lectures/interviews or released material that is widely available and in some cases ONLY available on the internet. While the internet is an important source for gaining evidence of the extraterrestrial visitations, this does not make it exclusive, nor does it obviate the need for field work, interviews, archival research and laboratory analysis when appropriate. There is some sort of balance in qualitative and quantitative methodologies required here and while elusive, this is something worth exploring when it comes to the ETH.

Exopolitics is gaining popularity because the general public have tired of Ufologists debating ad nauseum technical information validating the ETH. The public are seeking objective political analysis of the ETH which is substantiated by an overwhelming body of evidence that validates the ETH, and how and why government authorities are not disclosing information. I hope that Ufologists give exopolitics research more serious attention rather than simply promoting Ufology as a discipline that is based on the methodological biases drawn from the natural science backgrounds of most Ufologists.

 

The cost for not taking exopolitics more seriously is that Ufology risks losing touch with what most concerns the general public about what evidence overwhelmingly points to as an undisclosed extraterrestrial presence. The long term cost to Ufology for not taking exopolitics seriously is Ufology risks becoming a politically irrelevant hobby, or at worst, a complicit actor in suppressing evidence supporting the ETH.