I'm linking seven excellent Skeptiko shows on the topic of UFOs. It sorta blows my mind that I'm a guest on one of these episodes.
- Dr. David Jacobs (part one)
- Dr. David Jacobs (part two)
- Mary Rodwell (part one)
- Mary Rodwell (part two)
- Dr. Janet Colli
- Mike Clelland
- Grant Cameron (on consciousness)
- Stanton Friedman (on consciousness)
There have been some questions that arose out of the David Jacobs episodes. I have to say that he comes across sounding quite intolerant of the larger pool of data that has been amassed by people other than himself. This two-part interview is worth listen to just to hear his point of view.
He also made some statements about the late Dr. John Mack that don't seem to ring true. I've included a particular quote from Jacobs (transcribed from part one) and a response from Will Bueche, this text was lifted from the Skeptiko forums. Will worked with Dr. Mack and continues to this day as part of the John E. Mack Institute.
read more below
Dr. David Jacobs is quoted:
"This is not consciousness-raising; this is like consciousness denying. This is consciousness-lowering in a sense. So I don’t have any stake in this. It would be wonderful if it is. I think that John Mack was just dead wrong in his analysis of this. In fact, he tried and tried and tried to ram the abduction phenomenon into his preconceived ideas about consciousness and never could. Most people don’t realize that he gave up. He said, “That’s it. I don’t want to do it anymore,” because it could never conform to his ideas. Two years before he died he stopped doing abduction research altogether, closed up his peer group at Harvard, and told Budd Hopkins that maybe he’d been a little too gullible in this situation of abductions. He could never fit it into what he wanted it to be."
Reply from Will Bueche of JEMI:
Jacobs has made these statements about Dr. John Mack before, notably in a documentary film by David Cherniak, and he remains wrong.
[ this excellent documentary is linked HERE ]
But in particular to your inquiry, Jacobs' repeated claim that Dr. Mack gave up his interest in alien encounters is simply false. Jacobs made that same claim earlier in the Cherniak documentary.
In fact, Dr. Mack had wrapped up the research branch of his organization (PEER - the Program for Extraordinary Experience Research) a few years before his death, and this was reported in a press release from PEER to MUFON (I wrote that press release myself), but he continued to speak and write on the subject as well as to consult with the experiencers who saw him long-term until his death in 2004.
Three factors were involved in Dr. Mack's decision to end PEER and to limit his speaking appearances. One was simply practical: The decision to end PEER as an active research project with a full staff of assistants and therapist consultants was partly a result of the economy turning downward after 9/11, which saw an end to many 501c3 organizations, or at least saw a major curtailing of activity due to the lack of funding from finacially-strapped donors.
A second factor was that Mack felt that he had amassed enough information from the many years of interviews with experiencers to establish without much question that the alien encounter experience is a deeply significant entry of an intelligence into the lives of people that transforms them into a larger sense of self. With his 1999 book Passport to the Cosmos, Mack felt he had presented everything that he knew about the subject. It was, as John said, a better book than Abduction (1994), but saw less attention from the press and public.
A third factor was that Mack recognized that the audience that he hoped to reach was narrowing - what had once reached the larger culture (from the late 1980s before Mack was involved and through the 1990s when he was most active) was now reaching only those who were already interested in the subject. "Preaching to the converted" was not in Mack's opinion of any use, and he therefore curtailed his public appearances on the subject. (I don't need to mention that by this time John was in his seventies and that such appearances were physically arduous for him).
Jacobs assertion that John "gave up" "because it could never conform to his ideas" or "he could never fit it into what he wanted it to be" is pure bull. Jacobs likely heard what he wanted to hear when John shared his regrets. John has indeed said that he had regrets about how he approached the subject of alien encounters - most notably, he felt he may have erred in presenting such personal, transformational material to the public in such a direct way as a major book. His friend, philosopher Thomas Kuhn had discouraged him from using a book to present such revolutionary material as well, but John did not listen to him.
I could also imagine that Jacobs may be mishearing John's perpetual questioning about whether aliens were in fact simply aliens whose arrival is "revelatory" to people's lives in the most deeply personal - even spiritual - sense, or if the aliens were not what we saw them to be, but rather could be some kind of intelligence from a higher level of reality - closer to "Source" as John often dubbed this concept - which appeared to us in technological, futuristic guise that we saw as "aliens". Mack made sure not to come to a firm conclusion on that. He did not have enough evidence of the latter possibility to make a firm stance on it one way or another, and I'm sure he may have expressed that to both Jacobs and Hopkins - and Jacobs would heard it as a defeat rather than as a strength (this was not a failing, that he kept the possibilities open). If Jacobs were to simply say that John may have privately wished for the latter to be the case, I might agree - but ultimately it does not matter. If the aliens are simply aliens in the traditional sense, or if they are from some higher level of reality (and the reality may be a bit of both!), what matters is how they transform people, and that is what fascinated John, and what he wrote about - human transformation from alien encounters.
Simply said, Jacobs claim that Mack gave up is false, and if I were to speak freely, I feel it is a claim that feeds into Jacobs' narcissism - Jacobs opinion that he alone has the discernment to learn the truth about alien encounters. And what has Jacobs' discernment brought forth? A paranoid, limited view of the alien encounter phenomenon, in which he strips away all elements that do not match his 1950s style preconceptions about what alien encounters would be like (he explains in the Cherniak documentary that when experiencers report to him elements that do not match his narrow view of reality, he dismisses them as "confabulations", and I understand he does the same in this podcast).
This dismissal of elements he does not agree with is characteristic of Jacobs' work. Who can forget his attempt to marginalize the insights of non-threatened researchers by dubbing them "positivists" in his book, The Threat? This style is what he will be remembered for - and it remains offensive and disappointing to those who take what experiencers report seriously, without preconceptions.
Please feel free to share this widely. Perhaps Jacobs will see it and appreciate that his efforts to twist the alien encounter phenomenon into his own mold, and his efforts to twist the reality of John's career into his own mold, are symptomatic of a need to appear superior that is, frankly, egotistical.
Currently on the JEMI Board of Directors, and former PEER member, 1999-2004