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Ufology Today: Professionalism and Respect

Having spent most of my lifetime as a ufologist, I have had the pleasure of working with so many incredible ufologists over five decades. My admiration of these people who have dedicated an extraordinary amount of personal time, finances, and more towards the UFO subject is endless.  Even more, there are many people who do the hard work and go unrecognized. To them and others, I extend a big thank you.

Ufology is a very rewarding venture. Not only can it propel you in many directions that you would not have previously decided to venture into, but these ventures are life altering and create a new reality that you personally adopt about the world around you. As we all know, there are many ufologists who do not share the same beliefs and notions about the UFOs and the occupants that many claim to have seen or experienced personally. To some, a UFO or related event may have brought you into this field of study in the first place while some of us, have never seen a UFO, either believe or do not believe or are highly skeptical of the claims around this subject.

For me personally, I am saddened by recently ever increasing trends on social media to see interested parties splinter into groups that are like-minded and help perpetuate divisions within ufology. I also continue to see more aggressive behaviors such as bullying come into play. It seems that the current anger being mentioned in the Political spectrum is exhibiting itself in our world. I also see a lack of tolerance towards those who express a reality different to our own. While I may not readily believe for example, that contactees are communicating with aliens, I do not see a need to bash or bully them for this. I can express my belief civilly, which may be counter to theirs.

A big trend is to label people. Recently I am seeing more and more the need to declare people “debunkers” just because they express a counter position to yours or present facts that call into question yours. Just because you may have an education or experience with the subject, you are a debunker. I saw an object in 2012 that later turned out to be a secret Google Balloon (aka Project Loon) and identified it to be such after it had crossed multiple states and witnessed and photographed by a few dozen, I was now a “debunker.”

There is a need for a more unified ufology movement. One that recognizes that courteous behavior is important; that diversity of opinions is a good thing; that one’s experience may differ from another and this does not make them a “bad” person or an enemy to our group think we have fostered on our Facebook or other social media forums.

Recently I gave a presentation to an honors college class at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. The professor asked me to help him teach these students critical thinking skills. I was at one point in my career an Assistant Regional Director for the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD). We had completed a study and found that this skill is diminishing at an alarming rate in our younger generations and that should we not address this, problems could arise in the future. Today, it is ever present. We see many who knowingly accept at face value everything that is on the internet, on TV and every news story out there. There is no investigation or inquiry whatsoever. It is all fact. We see the rapid acceptance that the YouTube video showing a mothership over the White House as being yet another event that the government is covering up.

If ufology is every going to solve the many questions that remain unanswered about this phenomena, it has to come together through appropriate behavioral modeling by its leaders, meaning, that discipline is needed along with the things I mentioned above. How many of us see inappropriate behavior on our sites? How many of us divide the people around us into camps? How many of us are skeptical to an excess and turn conversations into a debate that ends up with further divisions and yes, how many of us are hell bent on “it’s either my way, or the highway?”

It is my hope that before I pass, that ufology can become a respectable and professionally-based movement. I believe that more can be achieved and accomplished when people and organizations work together. It’s time to bury hatchets and certainly no time to be building walls. I prefer the bridges and people are the ones to build them and enjoy the walk over them. Thanks for all of your dedication to ufology, regardless of your label, beliefs and reality.

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About Richard Hoffman

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Richard Hoffman is an IT professional who has researched the UFO phenomenon since 1964, when he was in the eighth grade. Formerly the Alabama and Mississippi state director for the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON), as well as their Director for Strategic Projects, Rich is now a researcher with the Scientific Coalition for Ufology.

11 comments

  1. avatar

    The first step is to disallow the “explanation” of a UFO by anyone who was NOT there to see it.

  2. avatar

    I agree that society could use a lot more “critical thinking skills”. This is certainly needed for scientific inquiry and for productive studies of UFOs.

    Example from “Beyond Einstein: Non-local physics” by Brian Fraser (2015):

    “You have no doubt heard people say things like “according to Einstein, nothing can travel faster than light”. But the existence of aberration free forces which appear to have instantaneous effects (“faster than light”) even over large distances, was simply not recognized in 1905 when Special Relativity was introduced. Einstein himself noticed some problems in this regard in a 1935 paper which is now referred to as the EPR paradox. In the following decades more and more experiments revealed more and more problems. But these “faster than light” problems are simply outside the scope of SR and GR; a “local” theory cannot treat truly non-local phenomena in a satisfactory manner.”

    Some discernment and critical thinking on this point would give us some insight into the UFO problem.

    Here is another one from the same paper:
    “there are two kinds of position and two kinds of velocity. Remember those two terms in the non-local form of gamma? We are using only one of them for propulsion—the spatial velocity one that depends on Newtonian mechanics. The other possibility, that of non-local motion, has been left unexplored. Using that, an aircraft could move from one position in the sky to another without traversing the intervening space. It would appear at one location, then disappear, then re-appear at another location. It could move at extremely high speeds without generating a sonic boom. It would use “field propulsion” based on the non-local characteristics of electric and magnetic fields. It would be completely self-contained because there is no action/reaction (exhaust) as in conventional propulsion (in this case, the reaction forces are radial, and cancel out within the structure of the aircraft, making the preferred shape one of something with radial symmetry, like a saucer or cigar).”

    Two different kinds of non-local physics are discussed. One of these can be used for non-local propulsion (going to the stars without traversing the intervening space, which also avoids the energy problem). Again, this would give us some insights into what kind of physics and propulsion systems are used by UFOs.

    The paper can be downloaded from: http://scripturalphysics.org/4v4a/BeyondEinstein.html The .html file gives a link to the .pdf file but the former has additional information, and many more links and insights.

    MUFON’s mission statement is “the scientific study of UFOs for the benefit of humanity”. I really don’t know what they mean by this. They are NOT studying UFOs per se, but reports and sightings of UFOs. And if they were really into “science” they would commission the building of model T versions of these things and then be doing actual studies on actual hardware to gain SCIENTIFIC understanding of UFOs themselves, not just their photographs. Some congruence and clarity here would greatly improve credibility.

  3. avatar

    Dear Richard,
    Though we do not know each other before but I am delighted to have friend like you who expertise the field of Ufology. When you think put of the box or speak, majority of people don’t accept your ideas and thoughts because they are not open minded, creative and research oriented. I am innovator, though not in scientific field, I enjoy new ideas and thoughts. There are lots to learn from you to really be able to comment. Looking forward for some of your interesting experiences. In India,, I don’t think much has been done in this field.
    Regards,
    Dr BK Pandey

  4. avatar

    Professionalism and respect for some, but for others, it’s a game of fame, popularity and all the glitter that goes with it. I live in Utah and our last MUFON State director let her head become swelled with pride, totally ignoring the very people who wanted to be a helpful part of MUFON. Please don’t take my comment the wrong way, as I like MUFON, but after my experiences and others like myself, I’m not sure if I want to renew or not.

  5. avatar

    There are to many people talking about what they don’t know and making money with that, and because of that the credibility of this issue come very low in the public opinion, to many “fashion in vogue” pseudo-researchers. That is my opinion

  6. avatar

    Hi. … The word ufologists….means to me ..skeptic historian …if you never made it to ETs table.. then your not a ufologists … all I hear is repeated history over and over ..I even join mufon and became a field investigator…cause I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with them.. ..well it was what I expected a waste of money….

  7. avatar

    Ufology today, as opposed to yesterday, with respect to human behavior? Absolutely no difference whatsoever, apart from internet based mass communications which has indeed effected all fields of specific interest. Both positively and negatively. In many ways it’s become a grotesque perspective as evidenced by a feedback driven noise to signal ratio.

    The problem with Ufology is the fact that it doesn’t knowingly exist. In order for something to be lent to a logy, or a field of study, that something must in fact be a legitimate definite. By precise definition UFOs are representative of a multifaceted phenomenon. A phenomenon for which the internet has become a furthering catalyst breaking down into a myriad of belief systems destined to become little more than dogmatically enriched institutions. We see much of this varied in social sectors now ranging from new age religions to mainstream politics. It’s embarrassing isn’t it? Just as mankind cannot both prepare for, and prevent warfare simultaneously, one cannot embrace what is little more than the embryonic essential ingredients of a cult, and hope to walk away with a refined and definite understanding of a phenomenon. Especially one wherein the process of becoming a transitional known from which legitimate studies can in fact be made is so crucial to our growth as a species.

    The problem with attempting to define a phenomenon based solely on experiential reporting is that it becomes veritably impossible to distinguish between the causal and the symptomatic. All linearity is lost due to the post tense nature of reporting what is classifiable as solely being a phenomenon.

    Therefore I suggest that we stop attempting to study that which by definition cannot be known, and begin to study the very intersection of the known with the unknown. This is called consciousness. A thorough and working understanding of what is consciousness will in fact yield all manner of principle knowing with respect to the real environment of the paranormal. As well as our first true peerings into what is the big picture of a reality yet unknown. An environment that is constituted by both our localized temporal physical existence, as well the non localized instantaneous realm of the purely informational.

    UFOs like all memes before them are a natural beckoning, a contextually derived call of the wild, if you will, of this informationally driven quantum environment of consciousness in which we all exist.

  8. avatar

    Richard,
    I enjoyed the positive thread in your article and especially the title “Professionalism and Respect” I would however like to clarify, at least from my perspective, (and Leslie Keans) the difference between a Skeptic and a Debunker. While the former term suggests an analytical approach to a subject, the former does not. In other words I see the skeptic as science based, and the debunker as faith based. The debunker is so certain of their position they see no need to provide a logical, methodical assessment of whatever theory they don’t agree with. They provide no counter evidence, and rarely, if ever, do research or any field investigation. On the topic of UAP,s (UFOs) debunkers go for the low hanging fruit; secure in their wager that ET will never show up to prove them wrong. It’s a win win without any investment. Their technique is ridicule and their constituency are the same low brows who enjoy watching a bully on a playground. (I cover this unfortunate aspect of Ufology in my website: UFOxhound.simdif.com)
    I do share your hope that within our lifetime we break through whatever force is cloaking the truth.
    A sincere thanks for all your work.
    Dr. M. A. De Francis

  9. avatar

    ufology will soon be respected. There are good ufo researchers and investigators. Investigating and researching ufos is never a waste of time or money. I am studying ufology myself and I am planning to become a certified ufo investigator.

  10. avatar

    I am part of a new and growing group and we are called Skywatchers and in most cases we have have either seen something we can’t explain or have an open mind and want to learn and witness something extraordinary, its human curiosity , same emotion and behaviour that took us to the moon. No matter their reasons, this grassroots well intentioned group are motivated and using state of the art technology never seen in Ufology . We are seeing way to many researchers and or investigators who have never had the pleasure of doing any field work whatsoever , don’t believe in anomalous objects in our skies ,commenting, demeaning and in most cases slander these people to no end. My question why are these apparent researchers in the field anyways because they do not have an open mind, nor do they want to believe as they are only set on destroying the reputations, credibility of ethical , hard working and in many cases people who are sacrificing a lot in the pursuit of the truth. I believe some of these poeple who believe they are providing a service to to Ufology ,should ask themselves this question and let the new grassroots skywatchers, who are researching and investigating the floor as we are here , out in the field collecting the data for you. This is the new UFO community and we are growing, if you want to work with us, then please respect what we are doing and understand what we are sacrificing on a daily basis. Thank you Richard , your words mean a lot to many of us who have been affected by inappropriate and unprofessional people in this field. We are all in this for the same reason are we not?

  11. avatar

    First. I appreciate the points made by those who have commented on this site. I respect your comments, to include those who both validated or rejected some terms that I may have misapplied. It is indeed true that the debunker is quite different from a skeptic. When I have asked debunkers what they like to be called, they often choose the term Skeptic over Debunker. They often state that in their world view, there are no UFOs and never have been. They can provide many counter arguments for these positions. We have to all be cautious in that as many of you suggested, some people in this field have strong “egos”. I have seen this all too often over my 50 plus years in this subject. I can understand the allure it must bring, especially having been pulled into TV, radio and other forums. I found myself in a push pull relationship with media and sought instead to remain close to witnesses.

    There are even people who claim to be ufologists and yet have little experience or knowledge of the actual subject. For those of us who investigate cases, our experience is quite different than the armchair speculationists who merely read about this subject. I respect the ones who actually do the hard work, spend many hours analyzing the data, getting out into the Field and research the knowns versus the unknowns with an equal amount of effort.

    Thanks again for the kind words! My hope for a better tomorrow with regards to this subject remains the same.

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