Dr. Michael S. Heiser holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible and Semitic Languages. He also earned an M.A. in Ancient History, majoring in the fields of Ancient Israel and Egyptology. Dr. Heiser is the author of the novel, 'The Facade', reviewed in Part One of this post.
He is an expert on such topics as Israelite religion, biblical theology and biblical languages, among other areas of study. He maintains three blogs, 'The Naked Bible', 'PaleoBabble' and 'UFO Religions'.
Below are my questions posed to Dr. Heiser, followed by his replies:
Would you please share some of your thoughts on the possible existence of a physical, non-human advanced intelligence on this planet?
I don't see hard evidence for it. First, I'd need to see hard evidence that there are intelligent ETs anywhere. With that in hand, the idea that they could have visited here gets on the table. Whether they stayed or came back, so as to be here now, is a separate but related question. So my approach to this and questions like it are to go back to the fundamentally necessary item -- we need hard evidence for an intelligent ET reality.
Anecdotes from people who have had anomalous experiences with entities they are parsing as ETs aren't hard evidence. They are what they are: stories. That doesn't mean the people who tell them are lying; it means what they say lacks the kind of verification needed for a high degree of certitude that real ETs are involved. How do we know that is the correct parsing?
Alternatives to some sort of interplanetary ET (e.g., the sort of "inter-dimensional" entities described in religious texts such as the Bible, but many others as well) are actually on better footing here for those who accept modern cosmological discussion about other dimensions and consciousness(es). While that ultimately falls under the label "physical" since all matter is, well, material (even if invisible), what most people think of with respect to a "physical ET" is typically an inter-planetary (or inter-galactic) being that requires technology to travel, must sustain its own existence through some form of nutrition, has to perpetuate its species, etc. That's more of a reach, at least at this point.
In what ways do you suspect the powers that be have exploited the UFO phenomenon?
I have to be a bit careful here since this question is central to the sequel to 'The Facade' (which will be entitled, 'The Portent'). I consider the "powers that be" to be both human and non-human (on the latter, see my response to the previous question).
In my view, there is no single goal and hence no single agenda. If what we think of as UFOs are mostly (or exclusively) human technologies, I think those powers would perpetuate an ET mythology to accomplish some very old goals, such as utopian empire and racial cleansing (eugenics), along with "legitimizing human evolution" in terms of things like nanotechnology and transhumanism. Belief in an ET myth is useful for convincing the masses that these things are our destiny. It redefines humanity and human existence. I'm not opposed to the idea of evolution; I am opposed to redefining the nature and purpose of humanity. That just wouldn't turn out very well for most people.
On a spiritual scale, a sinister non-human intelligence would act in its own interest or against its own greater enemy. That camp would be after things like redefining theism and, specific to Christianity, redefining Christology. Those two items undergird the whole of Christianity. The first of course undergirds other "book" religions like Judaism and Islam. Ufology is about the biggest questions: Is there a God? If so, what is he like? How did we get here? Why are we here? What is our relationship to this God? Consequently, when it comes to a paradigm-shifting force like the question of intelligent ET life and its interaction with humanity, those who control the vocabulary and dispensing of information ("truth" - real or not) are in a profoundly powerful position on a global scale.
I read your paper, 'The Majestic Documents: A Forensic Linguistic Report', describing professionally conducted tests that indicated alleged MJ-12 documents were in all likelihood not authentic. Would you please comment on what happened when you tried to facilitate further conclusive testing?
There was no interest. I went on 'Coast to Coast AM' to raise money for more testing (via sale of the first report) and made less than $100. So, I made the initial report available for free. It taught me that most people aren't interested in the truth when it comes to these documents and perhaps the bigger issues. They are content believing what they find most interesting or titillating.
Your publisher wrote, “Mike could tell you stories that you wouldn't believe that are just too weird and almost 'spooky' about things that have happened on the way to getting this book to press. Let's just say it is 'strange' how certain influential people have reacted to this book.” Would you care to share any of those stories?
I would tend to downplay that a bit. While there have been unusual congruences (Providences in my view), there's nothing that would lend itself to a clever 'X-Files' episode. Several items in the book have gotten real-life confirmations in the news since it was published (e.g., developments in nanotechnology that make certain plot elements all the more plausible). I've also had some interesting casual conversations with individuals at UFO conferences since the book was written that confirmed for me that the "faction" of the book was on target.
I've had one person intimately familiar with ufology who worked at a very high political level in DC in the nineties tell me that he thought the book's explanation for Roswell was on target. He had some personal reasons for that, which lent weight to his thoughts for me.
Nick Redfern's work ('Body Snatchers in the Desert') also produced some documentary threads to support the thesis. I had one completely random conversation at a theology conference that became coherent years later when, in another book, Redfern related stories about the "Collins Elite." A woman who heard me lecture on religious implications of UFOs and alien abduction in pop culture told me in passing that she had a relative who was a physicist attached to U.S. intelligence who was in a (Christian) group in Washington that "talked about that stuff a lot." While I don't put much credence in the views of the Collins Elite, and don't view this brief comment as proof of their existence, the statement is suggestive, particularly since it occurred years before any such "Christian UFO insider group" was widely known in ufology. One of the speakers at that theology conference was a friend of a friend of Ingo Swann, so I got to hear a fascinating UFO story apparently experienced by Swann (interesting how those sorts of folks seem to always get tied into ufology).
Lastly, I've also had several interesting email exchanges with military personnel who have read the book or heard me on the radio. They've been interesting, but nothing sustained.
What do you think is most important about your experience in your fields of expertise as it relates to your research of the UFO phenomenon?
Expertise in ancient languages, ancient history, biblical studies, and theology helps in two fundamental ways. First, it helps filter out wackiness created and perpetuated by amateur researchers who have more imagination than content knowledge - and in some case, even less integrity - when it comes to "explaining" UFOs and ETs. Second, since the UFO subject matter lends itself to big picture thinking usually addressed by religion and religious studies, it's useful for helping people think about the worldview implications of the phenomenon.