Monday, April 25, 2016

"Star children" & "star seeds" - a "reality check" (DNA based) is needed

Keith Basterfield gives a interesting commentary on a recent "star seed" claim here in Australia:
http://ufos-scientificresearch.blogspot.com.au/…/new-human-…

As I had devoted a chapter to this theme in my 2005 book "Hair of the Alien" I thought it was worthwhile to restate "the reality check" such claims require.
In the chapter - “An Early Abduction Odyssey” in my 2005 book “Hair of the Alien” – on the curious and fascinating story of Vicki Klein I discussed the complexity and validity of some abduction narratives and claims and closed the chapter with the following cautionary note. Given the recent publicity to recent “star child”, “star seed” claims I think it is useful to restate my views. Moreover claims of “hybrid DNA” should be validated with DNA testing. My book was focused on a case study – Peter Khoury’s 1992 experience which yielded a biological sample – a hair sample which was subject to detailed DNA analyses, headed by a leading DNA researcher Dr. Horace Drew (who worked at the CSIRO’s biochemical division as a senior research scientist). Claims of “hybrid DNA” should be examined in a more scientific way. My book was a template for such an approach, and given the techniques available today, belief in such claims is not enough. Techniques are available that take such claims beyond uncritical belief to greater certainty on whether they are the stuff of wild belief or something strange and worth investigation. If the numerous claimants and advocates continue to only described unsubstantiated claims, such experiences will remain just that – “claims”, “stories” from the wilder shores of UFO belief. A reality fix anchored in DNA studies and hard science is needed.
My 2005 comments:
“More uncertain and very much more provocative is the so-called “star children” phenomenon that has long been a part of the UFO abduction phenomenon. The belief argues that some “special children” with enhanced abilities, are the product of human/alien unions or other exotic means and they represent a transformational step in mankind’s artificially accelerated evolutionary path. Stories like those from Cynthia Appleton and Vicki Klein might suggest it, but these are far from the kind of proofs for the extraordinary implications that the “star children” saga implies. A somewhat uncritical fusion with new age perspectives has crept into the unravelling of such claims. While some of the advocates of the “star children” connection may mean well, and are perhaps only seeking to assist those people who have this sense of “alien origin” to realise what they perceive as their fuller potential, it is a veritable mind field for the uncritical and alienated within society. Such activities need to be rigorously linked with critical and objective assessments. As much of it centres around children such precautions are absolutely paramount. And yet the opposite seems to be happening. Parents of “special children” are often attracted to these belief systems, perhaps because to them it might somehow reconcile their sense of alienation. It is one thing for adults to embrace these things. It is entirely another thing for them to foist that belief system onto their children. Equally the researchers that advocate this “star children” belief need to tread extremely carefully before integrating children into this alien web. The soundness of their belief systems needs to be objectively tested. Advocates need to allow a critical assessment of their methodologies. If they don’t they will continue to wallow in the margins of the fringe belief systems from which it has emerge, and worse still run the risk of being seen as exploiting or endangering children.
“Numerous strands of reality and unreality run through the alien abduction story. Some either invigorate or endanger the serious investigation of alien abduction claims. Researchers and investigators in this controversial area of human experience need to tread carefully and purposefully, seeking frequent reality checks, as they try to work towards answers.”
In a footnote to those paragraphs in my book I elaborated:
"The “star children” belief has emerged from the “star people” concept popularised by writers such as Brad Steiger (see “The Star People” (1981) & “The Seed” (1983). Steiger dwelt on aspects of this milieu in his 1976 book “Gods of Aquarius – UFOs and the Transformation of Man”, specifically chapter 7 “The Star Maidens and the worldwide production of “little Uri Gellers”). Dr. Richard Boylan has emerged as a controversial advocate of “star children” (see “The Abduction Enigma” by Kevin Randle, et.al., for some background on the controversy surrounding Richard Boylan). Jenny Randles provides intriguing material in her 1994 book “Star Children”. Whitley Strieber touches on this theme in some of his books, in particular “The Secret School – Preparation for contact” (1997). “Awakening – How Extraterrestrial contact can transform your life” (2002) by Mary Rodwell provides a somewhat uncritical and new age “bible” for experiencers. See in particular her Chapter 9 “Star Children – ‘Homo Noeticus’, The New Humans, or ‘New Kids on the block’. Colin Wilson in “Alien Dawn- an investigation into the contact experience” (1998) concludes with a similar focus. Some of the directions this belief system are leading to are described in such books as “From Elsewhere – Being E.T. in America” by Scott Mandelker, Ph.D (1996) and “Aliens Among us” by Ruth Montgomery (1985). An interesting journey through some of this territory can be found in “Soul Samples” by Leo Sprinkle Ph.D (1999). Researchers and travellers in this controversial area of “star children” claims would do well to take onboard the lessons of such books as “Hystories – Hysterical Epidemics and Modern Culture (1997) by Elaine Showalter and “Sleeping with Extra-terrestrials – The Rise of Irrationalism and Perils of Piety” (1999) by Wendy Kaminer. “In Advance of the Landing: Folk Concepts of Outer Space” by Douglas Curran (1985) provides a poignant “road trip” on this highway to the “alien-r-us” or the “alienated”."
In Keith Basterfield's commentary he refers to Mary Rodwell's book "Awakening" and the claims of 
Dr Berrenda Fox – amazing DNA cellular changes; some people developed new strands of DNA. (page 156). I actually highlighted years ago to Mary Rodwell that this claim was very dubious, as were many of Mary's "enhanced DNA" stories - none were validated in a scientific and documented way. This link highlighted the less than impressive background to "Dr. Fox's" story: http://jlnavarro.blogspot.com.au/2010/07/dr-berrenda-fox-is-still-fraud.html 
While my journey through Vicki Klein's story and other complex cases I have examined cautions me not to dismiss these stories, it cautioned me to try available scientifically based techniques, such as DNA testing, to anchor such claims in fact or fancy.  I suggest the advocates of such claims try the same approach, otherwise they will be fodder for further marginalisation to "the wilder shores" of uncritical UFO belief.

2 Comments:

Blogger Rev James Jones said...

Are you currently taking samples or know someone who is? I have questions i need answered myself about the subject.

2:41 PM  
Blogger barasits said...

I think you place too much hope in DNA testing (at least for the present) as the arbiter of claims of hybridization. First, the human genome project used a very small sample of human beings for sequencing--far too small to adequately represent genetic variation in the world's human population. Second, naturally occurring genetic mutations are commonplace and it's not as easy to detect the products of genetic engineering as one might suppose. At the moment the sequence of a hypothetical transgene must be known in advance in order to detect it. Third, we do not yet know the function of an extremely large proportion of the human DNA sequence. Fourth, epigenetic effects and genetic interactions add an additional layer of complexity to genetic interpretation. Finally, until and unless we discover, sample, and sequence the genes of non-terrestrial life forms (assuming they possess genetic content comparable to our own), we have very little to go on in determining what is or isn't strictly terrestrial. For these reasons, I suspect that the DNA testing you propose will be unable to make a definitive determination.

Re your admonitions about "fringe belief systems" and the requirement that "the soundness of their [parents and researchers] belief systems needs to be objectively tested", I trust you are aware that these could be applied to any religion or religious sect. A lot of dereistic thinking is accepted as normal and reasonable in every culture. The tricky bit is to develop a way of sorting it all out that isn't simply a validation of one's own beliefs--and that includes the belief that science is the royal road to truth. Science happens to be my preferred approach, but I'm well aware that the methods and concepts of orthodox science are only useful for generating provisional answers to certain kinds of questions.

10:28 PM  

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