By Steve Hammons
(A version of this article appears in the April-June edition of EdgeScience magazine on the website of the Society for Scientific Exploration.)
"Weird science" and "weird science journalism" may reconfigure how science is explored, communicated and understood.
The field of journalism is going through significant changes as print and broadcast media are transformed by electronic media of various kinds.
Science journalism is no exception. Online and e-journalism, including citizen journalism, are changing not only media platforms but also content and focus.
Sometimes, this is perceived as, and generally acknowledged to be, a trend that has some negative aspects. However, parts of these changes are related to more vigorous coverage of topics that science journalists may have been covering inadequately.
Often sticking with safe and conventional science topics, some science journalists might have missed very interesting emerging developments in a range of scientific areas.
Journalist Clark Kent
Certain topics deemed unconventional, anomalous, metaphysical, fringe or even paranormal may, in fact, be very legitimate subjects that science journalists can cover. In the area of emerging discoveries, the public may be ahead of some science journalists in recognizing coming trends.
Where to begin? Interesting discoveries have been made in the fields of human psychology and consciousness, quantum physics and anomalous flying objects, to name a few.
Granted, some of the normal scientific inquiry and scientific journalism coverage over past decades may have been stifled by national security restrictions on these topics. However, the times are a changing and topics that previously were kept under tight security may now be more appropriate for public education and acclimation.
For example, the U.S. defense and intelligence communities' research and operational activities often referred to as Project STAR GATE were top secret for over two decades.
However, since the mid-1990s, information on the rigorous scientific protocols involved has been declassified and released. These activities made highly significant discoveries about the nature and capabilities of human consciousness.
What has been called "anomalous cognition" might actually be just alternative cognition, complementary cognition or integrative cognition.
This research also led to the innovative concept of "transcendent warfare," a term coined by a Navy SEAL officer.
Related to these consciousness studies, quantum physics research has uncovered further anomalous indications that seem to point toward revised views of the nature of the Universe. Some researchers now refer to the Universe as a multiverse where various dimensions interact and intersect.
And then there is the topic of what are generally referred to as unidentified flying objects (UFOs). This terminology could now be somewhat obsolete – at least in the cases of some UFOs. According to many respectable and reliable researchers, some UFOs that appear to be solid craft are, in fact, identified.
Some may be U.S. advanced aircraft or spacecraft. Some may be spacecraft of a more exotic origin. Some may be various kinds of phenomena we do not fully understand, but should try to.
When considering these and other unconventional scientific topics, it might be useful for science journalists to abandon the term paranormal and think about aspects of them that may be normal and natural, and therefore worthy of normal journalistic inquiry.
Again, science journalism can possibly be excused over past decades of inattention to certain unconventional topics because of security measures that discouraged legitimate coverage of them.
This excuse may no longer be valid.
If science journalists want to attract readers, viewers and audiences who are interested in relevant and meaningful topics, the integration of conventional and more unconventional journalistic coverage is probably appropriate.
In this sense, integrative journalism may be similar to the concept of integrative medicine or integrative cognition – taking the best of both conventional and emerging science to create more useful perspectives and understanding.
To avoid responsible and thorough coverage of important scientific subjects, including the unconventional, may diminish the perceived relevance of science journalism to millions of Americans and people worldwide.
More important than the fate of establishment science journalists, the human race may be affected by the lack of open-minded inquiry about vitally important emerging phenomena and developments.