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Budd Hopkins Responds to His Critics


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Gene Steinberg

Forum Super Hero
Staff member
Since Budd Hopkins' ex-wife, Carol Rainey, wrote an article viciously attacking him and his research methods, there's been a lot of discussion here and in other forums, and also on certain podcasts.

Hopkins has now responded to that article, available from the following link:

Deconstructing The Debunkers, Budd Hopkins

Now I am not going to pretend to know all the ins and outs of this debate. I am concerned, however, about the timing. Ms. Rainey, whom I do not know, beyond two hate letters she wrote me recently, is well aware of the state of Hopkins' health. She could have written her piece years ago if she truly had concerns she felt she needed to express.

Hopkins says in his article:

The reason I'm writing this article at this point in my life has to do with both health and age. I am about to celebrate (?) my 80th birthday, and am currently suffering from two almost certainly fatal diseases, so I've decided, while I still have the time and energy, to do a bit of deconstruction of the nature and habits of the debunking mindset.
I don't want to understate the severity of those two sentences. Hopkins is very, very ill, and probably wrote that article with great difficulty. We're dealing here with an elderly man with an uncertain prognosis. For no other reason, he ought to be shown respect in light of this situation.

In saying that, I want to, again, refute those lies that have arisen about my position regarding the research and conclusions published by both David Jacobs and Budd Hopkins. I do not believe in hybrid aliens. I have concerns over hypnotizing via telephone, and I am persuaded by some of the criticisms voiced about the value of hypnotic regression in recovering "lost" memories. What's more, neither Jacobs nor Hopkins are therapists, and thus they may have gotten themselves in over their heads in some cases, particularly the episode involving "Emma Woods."

This doesn't mean that they aren't serious about their research. Both Jacobs and Hopkins appear to be absolutely sincere, and they are deeply committed to their work. They also state, over and over again, that they routinely consult with mental health professionals in the course of their work. Feel free to agree or disagree with their respective approaches and conclusions.

I realize this is the sort of discussion that will never end. Even now, Jacobs is busy expanding the response to the "Emma Woods" case that was posted on his site:

International Center for Abduction Research

Jacobs hopes to refute the charges against him in expanded detail.

I am not going to tell you what to believe. Before you do reach a conclusion, however, please consider both sides.
 

ArchieBedford

Partly experienced
Thanks Gene. You beat me to it: I looked on Kate's website a couple of hours ago and Budd's piece was not yet online!

Forum members might like to read "Deconstructing the Debunkers" as a general essay on the debunker-mindset, which as Budd points out proceeds fundamentally from ideology. Debunkers believe as an example that the alien abduction phenomenon cannot be real with near-identical fervor as the Taliban believe girls should not be taught to read. Rainey followed the standard pattern she learned from others, easily seen through when you understand the techniques employed.

Please read also the long list of pieces in appreciation of Budd's work published on Kay's site, and linked from the article (Peter Robbins' piece is longer than most and printed on a separate page: he knows a lot more about the cases Rainey attacked in her hit-piece, as he was intimately involved in their investigation).
 

Kandinsky

Curious Cat
The opening comments of his rebuttal seek to dismiss his detractors as 'debunkers.' In this subject, the tag of 'debunker' suggests a defensive agenda or knee-jerk refusal to entertain the evidence. Hopkins spends some time persuading us that Rainey and others are 'debunkers.' Indeed, it's halfway past part 4 in the rebuttal before he begins to get to the point.

The 'Cortile' case (Napolitano) isn't a good foundation to defend his position. http://www.tricksterbook.com/ArticlesOnline/LindaNapolitanoCase.htm


I interviewed the three people I've described above, face-to-face, as well as all of the other witnesses to various later aspects of the case; the two security agents in the account are the only two witnesses I've never met face to face, yet I have received from them many letters and I have,
as well, both their voices on audiotape. (Neither was willing to come forward, due to security issues involving their positions.) And in yet another important interview with one of the most central figures in the case I spoke at length to the so-called Third Man, (Chapter 32 in Witnessed) in a VIP lounge at O'Hare airport.
It's hearsay. Two primary witnesses have only corresponded by letters and how much weight does anonymous audio carry? If we accept his word that their anonymous audio is good evidence, we should give equal weight to the Project Camelot interviews. Notwithstanding the pen-pal credence he gives to this case, it happened over twenty years ago. If the Napolitano case remains his 'best evidence' example, it isn't very persuasive.

The next paragraph is an appeal to authority without substance. How many other guys in the field have cited all these 'sources?'

Clearly she wants to present me as an incompetent investigator, so she makes no mention of my contacts with the NYPD, the US Secret Service, the State Department, the UN Police Force, the British and Russian delegations to the UN, and so on.
Are these contacts also by mail and phone-calls?

Part V is a deflection. Hopkins had no involvement in the Pascagoula Case. It's a credible case and has no bearing by detail or theme with the matter.

Part VI is the same again. Deflection. The existence of UFOs doesn't imply abductions.

He later criticises Rainey for emotive adverbs. We all use them on forums, in letters and in emails. It's a day-to-day use of language. He also lapses into emotive language at times.... 'berates' is subjective and 'woman of her age' is suggestive...'vicious tactics' is clearly indicative of an emotional response.

Whatever the intention/motivation of his rebuttal, the guy hasn't really addressed the points in Rainey's article.
 

Gene Steinberg

Forum Super Hero
Staff member
You mean other than her claims that he didn't meet abductees and other witnesses in some cases when, in fact, he did? Or the claim that he works alone, when it makes it extremely clear he does extensive consulting with outside therapists? Just curious.

This isn't to say that Hopkins is right and Rainey is wrong, but it's worth considering what he says fairly.
 

ArchieBedford

Partly experienced
Part V is a deflection. Hopkins had no involvement in the Pascagoula Case. It's a credible case and has no bearing by detail or theme with the matter.
Kandinsky - have you even bothered to read the piece at all? Hopkins is using the example of the guy down the river in the hut by the bridge, who allegedly didn't witness the abduction, as a prima facae case of debunker tactics (actually used by the late Philip Klass) - of the tail-wagging-the-dog. It's a textbook example, and slam-dunk relevant to the argument. It has absolute, 100% total bearing by both detail and theme, on the matter.

---------- Post added at 11:14 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:10 PM ----------

the guy hasn't really addressed the points in Rainey's article.
You mean those points expressed as hearsay, and those unsupported by anyone else? Well then, they would obviously carry more weight than 20 independent witnesses, wouldn't they?

I can't believe I'm reading your arguments. Please re-read them and see how they look. They're utterly ridiculous.
 

The Pair of Cats

a.k.a Philip Deane
It's hearsay. Two primary witnesses have only corresponded by letters and how much weight does anonymous audio carry? If we accept his word that their anonymous audio is good evidence, we should give equal weight to the Project Camelot interviews.
And yet we are asked to accept the audio from a person who attacks Jacobs and Hopkins but seems unable to give us her real name.
 

Gene Steinberg

Forum Super Hero
Staff member
And yet we are asked to accept the audio from a person who attacks Jacobs and Hopkins but seems unable to give us her real name.
This is why she lost her invitation to post here. She has no legitimate reason to hide her name unless, of course, her life is in danger, or she's afraid the paparazzi will come to her door. She posts photos of herself from years back, from childhood to much older. Clearly her friends and family know who she is, and she has, reportedly, given her name to a few others beyond Jacobs.

She may be right in at least some of what she says (I don't pretend to have the final answers), but attacking a public person, whose name and work affiliation is well known, pretty much destroys her claim to anonymity. And I haven't begun to consider her very public fake persona, someone who has a Web site, has written hundreds (or thousands) of letters to people, posted on message boards under multiple names, writes magazine articles, and appears on podcasts.

In the world of show business, using a stage name is perfectly fine. Maybe a certain actress whose real name is Jee Un Park decided her career would go farther under her stage name, Grace Park, and fans of "Battlestar Galactica" and "Hawaii 5-0" would agree.

It's also fine if you're writing fiction, but when someone is writing factual material and hopes to be taken seriously, you expect to know their real name, unless disclosing that name proves risky. Once again, I assume "Emma Woods" life is not in danger.
 

stephen dedalus

Skilled Investigator
Rainey’s most significant accusation was that Hopkins at some point became so credulous that he lost his ability to differentiate between hoaxers and authentic experiencers. Something happened to change a man who once (supposedly) knew when Linda Cortile was telephoning him “pretending to be her cousin Connie” into a man who could be taken in by Mortellaro. To his credit, Hopkins helpfully concedes that he was too quick to trust Mortellaro. Less helpfully, he refers obscurely to an “original misunderstanding of an incident with Linda and her cousin Connie,” which I assume is meant to function as a revision of Rainey’s account of the telephone call. Hopkins advises interested parties to “ask [him] about it.”

Rainey’s suggestion seems to be that any researcher who can fall victim to a hoax should have his or her entire body of work questioned or even dismissed entirely. Hopkins admits in his rebuttal to having fallen victim to Mortellaro’s hoax, at least for a time. It is no longer arguable that Hopkins can and did “get hoaxed.” (So did John Mack.) The question for us then becomes whether we accept the proposition that “getting hoaxed” once inevitably leads to getting hoaxed again and again. Do we assume that all of Hopkins’s research is tainted?

Elsewhere in these forums I’ve argued that Hopkins’s and Jacobs’s explanation of the abduction phenomenon constitutes an interpretive paradigm. I’ve also argued that, as such, it should be subject to the same scrutiny, refinement, and modification as any other research paradigm in any other discipline. After having read Rainey’s attack and Hopkins’s rebuttal, I maintain that position. It’s time to look back critically at the major cases, not necessarily to debunk them in their entirety, but to determine to what extent Hopkins’s credulity may have led to questionable elements being granted access into an otherwise legitimate body of work. Perhaps some of the Cortile case consists of credible and useful information and testimony, but maybe some of it is fiction that bypassed Hopkins’s filters. What the ratio of truth to fiction is, I’m in no position to say. But I’m not ready to pencil in a zero under “truth,” not yet anyway. Maybe there’s not as much to the case as some seem to think, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing there.

Now, I’m not the one to start making the calls about what should be kept and what should be thrown out. I’m not the arbiter of legitimacy here. But making that call seems to be one possible path that abduction research could follow. We’ve had, in Hopkins, one of the originators of a paradigm. But it’s honorable work to try to refine and improve a paradigm, too. We can’t expect our researchers to be perfect. No other discipline does. Errors are to be expected. Mistakes get made. But advancing an inquiry often means finding the inevitable errors and correcting them without assuming the entire inquiry is bankrupt. And that work often gets done by someone other than the originator of a paradigm. Hopkins has done all he can. Others will now have to step in to determine which of his contributions to this inquiry deserve to become canon and which do not.
 

stephen dedalus

Skilled Investigator
Who, exactly? Be specific.
Who's going to determine which parts of Hopkins's research we hang onto and which parts we get rid of? That would be those who take up the task of further developing the paradigm he originated. I can't be specific in this case, Archie. The fundamentally unpredictable nature of research may preclude specificity here. There's no formal panel that's going to convene to judge Hopkins's work, or to anoint his heir. Maybe it will be Peter Robbins or someone else who's worked closely with Hopkins. If so, it would mirror the mainstream academic mentor / protégé dynamic, and we could reasonably predict that the alterations to the paradigm would be undertaken conservatively, with great respect for the work it's tasked with improving through constructive critique. Or maybe some iconoclastic figure will emerge, bankrolled by a Bigelow, ready to erase much--but not all--of what Hopkins has done. Or perhaps another John Mack will emerge from the academic establishment and admit a serious interest in this topic; I can't predict what such a figure would do with Hopkins's body of work.

But for all we know, the person(s) qualified to take up the task of further articulating Hopkins's paradigm might not have been born yet. Sometimes inquiries get put on hold for decades or centuries until the right person turns up to continue the work. Perhaps abduction study will fade into obscurity for a very long time, until someone rediscovers and revives it. That's not a scenario that's likely to make any of us very comfortable, because we want answers now. But this phenomenon could very well appear no less enigmatic centuries from now than it does today. The truth owes us nothing, and it will remain elusive as long as it can. Circumstance will produce the right person when it is inclined to do so. Who could predict who that person will be? Not I, certainly.
 

ArchieBedford

Partly experienced
Who's going to determine which parts of Hopkins's research we hang onto and which parts we get rid of? That would be those who take up the task of further developing the paradigm he originated. I can't be specific in this case, Archie. The fundamentally unpredictable nature of research may preclude specificity here. There's no formal panel that's going to convene to judge Hopkins's work, or to anoint his heir. Maybe it will be Peter Robbins or someone else who's worked closely with Hopkins. If so, it would mirror the mainstream academic mentor / protégé dynamic, and we could reasonably predict that the alterations to the paradigm would be undertaken conservatively, with great respect for the work it's tasked with improving through constructive critique. Or maybe some iconoclastic figure will emerge, bankrolled by a Bigelow, ready to erase much--but not all--of what Hopkins has done. Or perhaps another John Mack will emerge from the academic establishment and admit a serious interest in this topic; I can't predict what such a figure would do with Hopkins's body of work. But for all we know, the person(s) qualified to take up the task of further articulating Hopkins's paradigm might not have been born yet. Sometimes inquiries get put on hold for decades or centuries until the right person turns up to continue the work. Perhaps abduction study will fade into obscurity for a very long time, until someone rediscovers and revives it. That's not a scenario that's likely to make any of us very comfortable, because we want answers now. But this phenomenon could very well appear no less enigmatic centuries from now than it does today. The truth owes us nothing, and it will remain elusive as long as it can. Circumstance will produce the right person when it is inclined to do so. Who could predict who that person will be? Not I, certainly.
OK I kinda get your point. There's a number of people actively engaged (many full-time) in working with new abductees around the world: some of the best ones in the USA like John Carpenter, Yvonne Smith, Jed Turnbull know BH and have learned about the phenomenon with him. But there are many around the world who don't know him but nevertheless uncover broadly the same patterns and narratives - in the UK for example there are several, but they are all professional, full-time, qualified therapists of one kind or another, they don'd generally write books on their findings, and naturally they charge by the hour.

But your point (correct me if I misunderstand) is that BH is somehow unique, occupies a kind of leadership and pioneering position, and the field needs someone like that so therefore he will need to be "replaced." If I have understood you right, then I would agree with some of that, though perhaps for different reasons.
 

stephen dedalus

Skilled Investigator
But your point (correct me if I misunderstand) is that BH is somehow unique, occupies a kind of leadership and pioneering position, and the field needs someone like that so therefore he will need to be "replaced." If I have understood you right, then I would agree with some of that, though perhaps for different reasons.
Yeah, that's generally what I'm trying to convey. Sure, there were people doing abduction research before Hopkins (Raymond Fowler, etc.), so in that sense I suppose Hopkins isn't a "pioneer" in the strictest sense of the term, but Hopkins appears to be the first researcher whose work has resulted in the establishment of a bona fide interpretive paradigm (as Thomas Kuhn would employ the term): a collection of theoretical models that a) produces answers convincing enough to attract a significant number of other researchers who adopt those models as baseline assumptions for their own research, and b) leaves enough questions unanswered so that others must eventually try to tweak those theoretical models to make them more applicable to the data. It's not so much that someone has to "replace" Hopkins: if that were the case, what we might see is the emergence of another paradigm altogether (which is certainly a possibility, but not the one I'm exploring here). Instead, what I'm assuming will happen is the refinement of the extant paradigm: someone, or perhaps several someones, come(s) along to critique Hopkins's body of work constructively, looking for the instances in which he inevitably went wrong, excising them from the body of legitimate findings of which the paradigm is comprised, and further adjusting the theory as the need presents itself.
 

ArchieBedford

Partly experienced
Instead, what I'm assuming will happen is the refinement of the extant paradigm: someone, or perhaps several someones, come(s) along to critique Hopkins's body of work constructively, looking for the instances in which he inevitably went wrong, excising them from the body of legitimate findings of which the paradigm is comprised, and further adjusting the theory as the need presents itself.
You need to understand a couple of things (maybe you already do). First of all, though Hopkins has authored four books on the abduction subject (one co-authored with Rainey, in those days honest enough to embrace the phenomenon as real, having done a bit of genuine investigation with Budd) but he rarely if ever works alone. The IF committee was always involved with the investigation of case material, fact checking, interviewing, reviewing data etc. Some of these people were accredited psychiatrists or therapists. So the work has always been peer-reviewed and tested against other case material. These are people who of course had before them the primary data: i.e. the abductees themselves and their testimonies and supporting evidence. Maybe you could explain how you see some other person in the future, distanced from the primary evidence by a number of years, might be able to critique the findings in any meaningful way, let alone offer new insights?
 

stephen dedalus

Skilled Investigator
Maybe you could explain how you see some other person in the future, distanced from the primary evidence by a number of years, might be able to critique the findings in any meaningful way, let alone offer new insights?
I don't know, Archie. I'm not prepared to prescribe a protocol for the further articulation of this or any other disciplinary paradigm that could be associated with abduction study. I can speculate, but it will be uninformed speculation and therefore not worth much. I suppose it depends on what kinds of critiques you would find meaningful. Here's one scenario: Hopkins's paradigm predicts that abduction experiences run in families. Maybe some hypothetical researcher in the near (but not immediate) future could track down the descendants of some of the abductees Hopkins worked with on his major cases (Cortile, Jamerson/Collins, etc.). Based on how many (if any) of these descendants report anything suggestive of anomalous experience, one could begin to determine to what extent this prediction proves valid. If nobody reports anything suggestive, then perhaps that particular facet of Hopkins's paradigm--the hereditary nature of the experience, or its tendency to follow, or even produce, bloodlines--would need to be thrown out. If some but not all of the descendants report something suggestive, then the claim that abductions run in families would need to be qualified and refined until we knew precisely how it runs in families. Is there one gene, or one set of genes, that is the determining factor? Does it follow a family for a finite period of time but then stop after a certain number of generations? Are there certain combinations of genes that appear to lessen the likelihood of abduction? If everyone reports suggestive experiences, then Hopkins's initial claim gets vindicated, strengthened, and canonized. In any of these three cases, we emerge from the new research with a clearer understanding of how well the paradigm describes the data.

If one of the consequences of the above scenario is that inheritability becomes, inarguably, a defining feature of the abduction phenomenon, then a lack of any descendants who report anomalous experience could be used to retroactively remove a case from the body of useful evidence. If all of Jamerson's and Collins's descendants, no matter how insulated they remain from abduction lore or ufo imagery, consistently report strange experiences, but none of Cortile's descendants report anything, then that might be grounds for questioning whether she experienced anything genuinely anomalous (these examples are just arbitrary and not meant to suggest any actual value judgments for or against these specific abductees or their claims).

I'm afraid that's the best I can do here. I suspect that something unforeseeable, like the accidental discovery of a new technology or advances in cognitive/traumatic psychology, will be what sets people on the path to refining this paradigm.
 

ArchieBedford

Partly experienced
"Deconstructing the Debunkers" is now posted on the IF website:

http://www.intrudersfoundation.org/Deconstruct.html


Also, Peter Robbins' article which Kay Wilson has published on her site is poignant and thought-provoking:

http://www.alienjigsaw.com/Articles/Thoughts0nBudd.html

It's a great shame for Carol that her vindictiveness and dishonesty have now caused the few friends she ever had in this field, like Peter who made great efforts to maintain contact and cordial relations with her these past years despite her antics, have now deserted her. But as ye sow so shall ye reap, as the saying goes.
 

trainedobserver

Paranormally Disenchanted
One thing that comes to my mind this morning when considering all of this is the fact that we are talking about therapists and investigative methods that are primarily psychological in nature. It just seems strange doesn't it, that for abduction or abuse cases that we would not be talking about criminal investigators, police forensics labs, medical records, and physical evidence instead?

Are there abductee accounts that have the victims reporting the apparent kidnapping and physical abuse to the police? I can't recall running into any but my memory isn't what it used to be.
 

ArchieBedford

Partly experienced
Hopkins admits in his rebuttal to having fallen victim to Mortellaro’s hoax, at least for a time. It is no longer arguable that Hopkins can and did “get hoaxed.” (So did John Mack.)
Stephen - to be fair and accurate, the term "hoax" as applied to Jim Mortellaro is not entirely true in a simple, literal sense. If you read Hopkins' article carefully, he restates what I've heard him say a dozen times before in person, and what I've heard from other members of the IF Commitee: that Mortellaro had some mental problems, maybe even a delusional psychosis, was dishonest and lied about a number of things. But at the end of the day, almost everyone involved in investigating his case (Hopkins plus several other people) believed he was almost certainly an abductee, as there were so many markers - including the narrative his parents both gave about what used to happen to their son as a child, which was related in Jim's absence, and recorded. Unfortunately, and Hopkins makes the point forcefully, abductees are a representative section of the population, so contain the normal percentage of people with psychological problems and delusions. It's the job of the skilled investigator to weed these out - one reason Hopkins has never worked alone, has always insisted on supervision and consultation to minimise the risks in such a rocky landscape. So liar and fantasist Mortellaro may have been, but almost certainly had genuine abduction experiences. It happens.
 

mike

Paranormal Adept
Stephen - to be fair and accurate, the term "hoax" as applied to Jim Mortellaro is not entirely true in a simple, literal sense. If you read Hopkins' article carefully, he restates what I've heard him say a dozen times before in person, and what I've heard from other members of the IF Commitee: that Mortellaro had some mental problems, maybe even a delusional psychosis, was dishonest and lied about a number of things. But at the end of the day, almost everyone involved in investigating his case (Hopkins plus several other people) believed he was almost certainly an abductee, as there were so many markers - including the narrative his parents both gave about what used to happen to their son as a child, which was related in Jim's absence, and recorded. Unfortunately, and Hopkins makes the point forcefully, abductees are a representative section of the population, so contain the normal percentage of people with psychological problems and delusions. It's the job of the skilled investigator to weed these out - one reason Hopkins has never worked alone, has always insisted on supervision and consultation to minimise the risks in such a rocky landscape. So liar and fantasist Mortellaro may have been, but almost certainly had genuine abduction experiences. It happens.
I can only speak for the handfull of local UFO events ive attended, but the common factor is a small percentage of people that appear to be of the lunatic fringe variety. But then the same could be said of a busy night at the local supermarket.
It doesnt in of itself preclude this segment of society from having had an experience.
One could even make a case it could cause the unbalance, that the experience might cause the psychological problems in some cases
 
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