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5.0 out of 5 stars Not an exercise in debunking but an investigation into the machinations of the US intelligence agencies, 21 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Mirage Men: A Journey into Disinformation, Paranoia and UFOs: The Weird Truth Behind UFOs (Paperback)
A fantastically entertaining and thought provoking book that looks at the US Intelligence(!) Agencies' manipulation of UFOlogy. Written as a charming 'on the road' journey into paranoia and perception management. Mark Pilkington is a regular contributor to the Fortean Times and brings his knowledge and Fortean method along for the ride. Its written in a personable and engaging manner that weaves UFOlogical history into his personal journey.

Several of the reviewers above have offered fallacious arguments in regards to this being a debunking exercise, drawing the conclusion that Mr Pilkington is inferring that the whole UFO phenomenon is one big cloud of disinformation generated by clandestine forces within Ufological circles. Actually, the book investigates those clandestine forces manipulating an existing culture (which has now developed into a whole industry) for their own ends, and how they may be responsible for some of the more famous chapters in its mythology.There is a massive difference. It is not a demolition of a field of study, rather it essays how it has been hijacked by people who use it as a convenient hobby horse. The canard of bringing up other examples of incidents where the intelligence services were not involved (or involved in contradictory ways) or in other countries is not to omit them because they conflict with his worldview, rather they do not fit with the remit of exposing the US intelligence agencies involvement. That is the trust of the book - not a hatchet job on UFOlogy itself. Mr Pilkington is a good Fortean, he may have an opinion on the matter, but he does not attempt to debunk a whole field of study on ideological grounds.

One reviewer claims that Mr Pilkington is seemingly unaware that he himself a victim of Richard Doty's trickster ways, perhaps wilfully ignoring the fact that the author refers to his suspicions on that front many times throughout. Richard Doty doesnt seem like the most trustworthy of people and Mr Pilkington often remarks how he feels like he is being played like a Stratovarius throughout. The idea of conflating the fact that Mr Pilkington was a Crop Circle prankster with being an untrustworthy debunker is so fallacious, it barely deems mentioning. It in fact highlights the confirmation bias of the wowed audience at UFO conference, eager to spend money on anything that confirms their suspicions. Also, crucially, if Mr Pilkington was there to debunk the whole notion of UFOs being anything other than a confection of the Intelligence, why would he even include the interview where he is given the most tantalising piece of information? It's clear that Skeptics and debunkers tend to to obfuscate or even omit information that doesnt fit into their narrative.

Of course, it is worth looking at the people who are writing these reviews and drawing an inference to the confirmation bias of the conference attendees. If you are so invested in a belief in something, you are likely to be hostile to something that suggests that you may have been fooled. Its interesting to see cries of confirmation bias by people who seem to lack the same level of objectivity they demand from others.

In conclusion, the book is not about UFOs or UFOlolgy per se, but an investigation into the hall of mirrors conspiracy culture attached to UFOlogy and how this was incredibly useful for certain agencies. Id highly recommend it to anybody interested in the subject, but not prickly enough to explode into frothing invective if their personal beliefs are challenged.
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