Skeptiko – Alex Tsakiris – Dr. David Jacobs Dismisses Spiritual Alien Abduction Stories

Join Skeptiko host Alex Tsakiris for part two of his interview with Dr. David Jacobs. During the interview Jacobs talks about abductions and spiritually transformative experiences:

Alex Tsakiris: I keep getting this sense—are you skeptical of all spiritual experiences? Do you think there’s any legitimacy to people who claim to have spiritual experiences, be they alien-induced or not?

Dr. David Jacobs: People react to this phenomenon in a variety of ways.

Alex Tsakiris: No, take the abduction phenomena out of it. I get the sense that when I listen to you and old interview with Budd Hopkins, I think, “There’s a Humanist. There’s a guy who’s dedicated to an Atheistic view of things.” I’m not a religious person and I’m certainly not pushing any kind of religion or any kind of specific spiritual tradition. I just come at it from the data and I think there’s a reality to these unity-consciousness experiences.

Dr. David Jacobs: Well, you’ve asked me a personal question that has nothing to do with the abduction phenomenon.

Alex Tsakiris: Why do you think that?

Dr. David Jacobs: Because all I know is when I started doing abduction research I really didn’t know what I was doing and I didn’t know what I was going to hear. If this turned out to be a spiritually enlightening phenomenon, that would have been fine. That’s okay with me. That’s great. I’d like to be spiritual enlightened. That would be terrific. But I just never hear this. It’s just not part of this phenomenon.

I didn’t have any dog in the fight, as Clinton used to say, when I first began this. I was a neophyte. I didn’t know what to expect. It was just a few years before when I thought the abduction phenomena was really basically a psychologically-induced phenomenon. So you’re asking me to answer a question that does not relate to my research. If people were having spiritual experiences from this, fine.

Alex Tsakiris: I have to push back. I think it’s relevant in the sense that we’re talking about these two camps and one camp says that they’re these spiritually transformative experiences. I think it’s relevant to ask if the evidence that you’ve amassed through not only your abduction research but your overall life experience convinced you in the reality of spiritual experiences. That seems to me to be extremely relevant because we all have our worldview.

Dr. David Jacobs: It’s not so much relevant for me. Other people have had spiritually transformative experiences and I can agree with that. That’s fine. In other words, you’re not going to pin me down here because the way I look at it is through a social scientist’s eyes. That is to say I’m trying to find out exactly what’s happening and why. So far people have not told me about spiritually transformative experiences given the fact that they’ve been abducted since they were children, over and over and over again.

Published on December 2, 2013