Organizational Conformity and the Distortion of Truth:A Case Study of the Atacama Humanoid
Updated: Jan 11, 2019
“Dogmatic ideology, fear based conformity and institutional inertia are inhibiting scientific creativity”----Rupert Sheldrake
In a previous video, Common Distortions of Truth, we looked at errors of methodology in the field of Human Origins. One type of error we looked at was Professional Motives and stated this occurs in all groups. As discussed, there is pressure to adhere to the central viewpoints of a group (conformity) that has certain positive and negative consequences ---i.e., Positively, cohesion among members but also, negatively, homogeneity of opinion that stifles creativity. In considering conformity in more detail, we find that there are 3 basic types. Below we break these 3 types down and look at the implications of each with regard to methodological considerations and the dynamics of group change. We will then look at a case study that highlights the distortion of truth.
3 types of Conformity
a) Volitional Conformity—One Contemporary Scientist who has dealt with the issue of Conformity in Academia is Rupert Sheldrake. In his book The Science Delusionhe writes: “With Scientific colleagues, I have been struck over and over again by the contrast between public and private discussions. In public, Scientists are very aware of the powerful taboos that restrict the range of permissible topics; in private they are often more adventurous”.
Likewise, concerning the discovery of the 6-inch humanoid specimen, the so called “Atacama Humanoid,” Dr. Garry Nolan of Stanford University remarked that everyone he has shown the specimen to in private has expressed an extreme degree of interest. It is only, he states, “when you want to talk about it slightly openly, that suddenly everybody shuts down.”
Scientists, who engage in these more daring private discussions and then exhibit a public display of disinterest in “fringe” topics, are practicing what I would refer to as “Volitional Conformity”. This is essentially a willful, self-protective feigned adherence to the prevailing positions of the group. These actions may have the appearance of full conformity, but because of the awareness of existing unreceptive ideological conditions in the group, these individuals can be expected only to speak freely in Private with someone they trust.
It is easy to criticize these individuals as lacking courage. But this is naïve. They maintain their jobs in Universities and Museums enjoy the benefits of the existing system and, ultimately, form the vanguard when the opportunity for change presents itself. Should the opportunity arise, and if they wouldn’t suffer adverse consequences, they may be the first to jump ship. Sociologists have looked at the phenomena of “unanimity” and its effect on conformity to group norms. Any failure in unanimity, they found, makes it easier for additional members to break with group norms. The literature on political rebellion is also informative in this regard.
b) Normative Conformity—Conversely, man’s tendency to conform when in a group context is also innate and normal. By doing so he acquires the esteem of the herd, a place for himself in the larger order, and the safety and security of the group. His life also takes on a larger meaning: as we invest and participate in the group, we take on its mission and purpose as part of our own. In his seminal work The Denial of Death, Existentialist Ernest Becker has posited that the desire to Conform may be brought about from staving off the Anxiety that emerges from an underlying fear of Death. This is achieved by what Becker calls a “striving for the heroic”…. i.e., attaching ourselves to a purpose, which we believe, will outlive our physical existence.
But in the world of Academia, conformity, whether Volitional or Normative comes with a high price. The unique abilities of diverse thinkers to contribute with creativity are sacrificed for a place in inert Academic institutions.
c) Compelled Conformity—Leaders of any organization or ideological movement play an active role in engineering the consent of their members. There are two basic Methods: 1) Achieving conformity by punishment or threat; 2) Conformity by inducement (offer of Reward). While this phenomenon speaks for itself, specific examples highlight the degree of the assault on truth in the field of Human origins.
In one of the most obvious examples of induced conformity I have come across, Dr. Steven Greer recounts his ordeal, in trying to acquire a determination from the scientific community as to whether the specimen called the “Atacama Humanoid” was homo sapiens or a new species
There are allegedly at least 3 of these small-mummified humanoid specimens that exist in the world. Local residents in the Atacama Desert region of Chile, however, state that they have seen these creatures moving about the Desert.
In a short version of events, Dr. Steven Greer headed a team that brought the specimen to Stanford University to make a definitive determination. The Specimen was examined by Dr. Garry Nolan and a Dr. Lachman, an expert in bone dysplasia’s. In an interview Dr. Nolan called the specimen “real”—meaning at one time it was a living being. The specimen was determined by Dr. Lachman to be not an infant but about 6 to 8 years old. In brief, it contains a number of anomalies including an only 91% match with humans on its DNA. In the same interview Dr. Nolan said,” if this is human, it has a constellation of mutations that have not been seen before.” And yet other Scientists of note, in an exercise of extreme group conformity, contended that the remains are that of a deformed human fetus. The Internet is flooded with such claims from individuals who have not examined the Specimen.
What happened next can only be described as induced conformity The validation of this specimen as a unique species came to a halt at Stanford when, coincidently, Dr. Nolan was awarded an over 3 million Dollar grant from the Department of Defense. Dr. Nolan then reversed his opinion and dropped his support of the verification of the Humanoid as a new species. The incident is the subject of several documentaries.
Group conformity in the academic based historical and Archeological sciences is particularly evident. We found that there are 3 basic types of conformity.
The systematic suppression of evidence in the sciences leads to skewed findings and is tantamount to pseudoscientific method. The ability of the existing Academic system to compel obedience (conformity) among members is achieved by the use of inducements and punishments. Managerial members of this system successfully discourage exploration, which might lend credence to alternative explanations outside of the boundaries of the Paradigm. Non-compliance is often punished by banishment from the professional benefits of the system.
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