To punctuate my past semi-editorials about one group making us all look bad, I have recently been privy to an issue in the world of UFO and Alien research which brings the point painfully home.
A well read and well distributed newsletter which is more or less an information clearing house respected and used by paranormal researchers as well as the public at large reported a story about a NASA news release saying that "The Seeds of Life are Everywhere". No doubt, this is a VERY correct statement.
Unfortunately, this newsletter began it's editorial comment about this by saying that this scientific finding now more or less trashes Darwin's theory of evolution. (The EXACT words were, in my view, a bit harsher.)
One very respected researcher and doctor of biology who sees himself as not only a scientist but as one of those rare people who add much needed credibility to paranormal research (but not by extension of his educational background but by dint of his work,) Dr. Charles Lietzau of the University of Michigan basically replied to this statement in terms of how those of us (paranormal researchers) already facing some problems being taken seriously by the mainstream scientific and educational community will no doubt face even greater problems when statements like this are put forward as "fact" and conclusions rather than as untested hypothesis.
In his judgement (and I'm sure the judgement of many others) this type of statement (even if cautiously "backed out of" in the newsletter later on in the article) will make the person who is straddling the fence in the belief of the validity of paranormal research stop in their tracks and discount not just this newsletter but those who contribute to it and the study of the unknown in general. It was a statement not qualified by verifiable fact.
Although this site (Torontoghosts/Ontarioghosts/GHRS) and the other GHRS's are NOT claiming to be purely "scientific", we take our research and the ability to present information VERY seriously and hope that our work is appreciated on all levels including the scientific.
The statement (regardless of it's presentation) that Darwin is wrong is a serious and very controversial issue and will undoubtedly cost the people who do their best with their own research and presentations trying to add much needed credence to all our work. It goes without saying that even in "ghost research", if I was to stand in front of a panel of legitimate researchers and say that "All Orbs and Mists are GHOSTS" or, inversely, "All Orbs and Mists are NOT ghosts", I would be quickly taken to task and as we're all painfully aware, certain folks would not argue the statement based on my findings but will also bring up other seemingly unrelated aspects that have been proven issues as far as the phenomena being proven or debunked.
I wish I personally had a nickle for everytime I'm speaking about ghostly phenomena when somebody brings up the Amittyville Horror, some of those late-night TV psychics or worse yet, some of the more seedy TV programs based on supposed hauntings even though it has NO relevance to what I'm speaking about. People pass judgement very quickly on what they see and understand and nine times out of ten, it's not based on much more than one source. We all do truly suffer when one person, like the said newsletter, makes a blanket statement of fact based on conjecture.
Trust me on this, folks, I personally have been attacked by people both in person and via e-mail for other group's shakey findings. When someone feels that the ghost site that they visited had "bad data" or was perpetrating a hoax or at least bad findings, we all must be bad. Trust me... more often than not, I'm responding to e-mail telling people to read my own editorial on orbs when it's quite obvious they have not bothered and assume that like many other groups, I must be an advocate of this type of phenomena without study.
The only thing true about this site, the GHRS or anything we do is that we never discount any data nor do we jump on the bandwagon and agree with all data. Paranormal research and psychical research is not an exact science and honestly, almost nothing has been proven and it's unlikely anything ever truly will to everyone's satisfaction. Being opened minded is important and making sure that before you pass judgement you've taken the time to read and learn all aspects of a type of phenomena in my eyes is vital. Unfortunately, the majority of the populace is truly not willing to learn and will simply take the easiest and most digestible aspect of anything and run with it to make their decisions on any topic of life. In essence, the majority of people are not willing to "waste their time" on things and those people, I'm sure will sadly never read this.
Therefore, in closing, how many people will read the Darwin reference in this newsletter and stop reading, toss it out and never go back to this source again based on this one line at the top of a paragraph? Sadly, more than a few. Isn't it too bad that most folks won't take the time to ensure that when they are presenting themselves as an "expert" of paranormal research, they won't look into all avenues and couch their words more carefully and sadder yet that unintentionally reckless items like this newsletter will "turn off" those that may be able to assist us in our endeavours.
Oh well, yet another hurdle.