Blue Flower

ICAR, the International Community for Alien Research, just published some preliminary findings on research that focused on the blood types of contactees and abductees. These can be found at: http://www.icar1.com/Contactee-Blood-types.html. Let me start by saying that such initiatives should be applauded. I think it is vitally important that such research happens as it can increase our understanding of the contactee and abduction phenomena. At the same time, however, it is important that such research be done properly, and in this case, there are some problems.


A first problem has to do with the likelihood of contaminated data sets because of overlaps. The page mentioned above explains: “the finding[s] come from 4 different questionnaire[s] from 5 different facebook pages, from myspace page, from 2 different contactee reports for icar abductees, from the mufon forum and from people writing to answer the blood type question on the UFO Paranormal radio network site www.paranormalradionetwork.com and the UFO Undercover site www.ufoundercover.com. As well as checking our findings against 10 other Internet sites. We find similarities to prove this is by far the largest and most in depth study of this kind done, to date, by any organization. Our conclusions come from a total of 20 different sources and more [than] 1400 contactees who took part in this study.”

With research like this, you want a ratio of one reply per respondent in order for it to be reliable. Here we have 20 different sources that provide 1400 answers. We have 4 questionnaires from 5 Facebook pages. Typically, there is a huge overlap in membership of Facebook groups that target similar audiences. Hence the chances are big that there is an overlap for the questionnaires as well: the same person may have replied to several, if not all questionnaires. The same goes for the reports for ICAR abductees, and the questionnaires on Paranormal Radio and the UFO undercover site which all have Joe Montaldo in common, which again increases the chances of the same people replying to the different questionnaires, since they target the same audience. In other words, here, too, it is per­fectly possible that the same respondent took part in multiple questionnaires. In fact, it is likely that this happened. So we have a situation where one person may have answered the question 8 times, or even 20 times. Theoretically, if each respondent took part in all questionnaires, you’d have 70 people in 20 sources providing 1400 replies, where they should be counted as only 70, not as 1400. Add to that that it is not clear whether any measures were taken within each questionnaire to avoid the same person replying more than once. If that was not the case, then the situation may be even worse.

A second problem is that the numbers for the contactees don’t add up correctly. They add up to 99%, not 100%.

 

Blood Type

Population

Contactees

A+

36.0

12.5

A-

6.0

4.5

B+

9.0

3.0

B-

1.0

3.0

AB+

3.0

3.0

AB-

1.0

10.0

O+

37.0

27.0

O-

7.0

36.0

 

100.0

99.0


In itself, this doesn’t have to be a problem yet, as it could be the result of a rounding error. If you divide 100 by 3, e.g., you get 3 times 33.3333… If you round each of those to the nearest integer, you get 3 times 33, which adds up to 99 instead of 100. It is possible that the 99% is the result of a similar rounding inconsistency. It might also be that 1% of answers didn’t specify… Still, a sum of percentages that does not add up to 100% without explanation is often not a good sign. Working with the actual numbers would have been preferable.

A third problem has to do with the numbers for the population at large. It is indeed important that those be included. That 3% of abductees are AB+ is not relevant if it turns out that that is the normal number in the overall population. In other words, if blood type does not play a role, then you expect the same percentages in the overall population that you would find in the contactees. So you need those statistics in order to measure the relevance of the findings. It is important in that context that both sets of statistics pertain to the same demographic. The problem here, though, is that it’s not clear what the numbers apply to. The report specifically mentions “Distribution of Blood Types World Wide.” It is abundantly clear that this, however, is not the case. An amount of 42% of the people having A as their blood type is what you expect in the UK or the US, but not worldwide where the number is close to 32%. Even though the report explicitly mentions ‘worldwide,’ upon further investigation, it would seem that the percentages given apply to the US.

A fourth problem is related to this. When dealing with blood types and rhesus factors, ethnicity and geography are important factors. Blood types are not distributed equally geographically, or ethnically. See, e.g., the following three articles:

  • http://www.bloodbook.com/world-abo.html,
  • http://www.blood.co.uk/about-blood/blood-around-the-world/
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ABO_blood_group_system

There are locations and ethnic groups that have very specific ratios / distributions. In Brazil, e.g., the percentage of people that have a blood group O is far higher than in the US. So the ‘normal’ percentage that you’d expect to find among contactees who have blood type O, is also far higher in Brazil than it is in the States. In other words, in order to say anything relevant about the distribution of the blood types, you have to take ethnicity and location into account. Not only do you need to know the ethnicity and location of both your target group and the control group, ethnicity and location have to belong to match. In the research that has been conducted, these relevant factors of ethnicity and location do not seem to have been taken into account, which heavily reduces the usefulness of the information.

A fifth problem is more of a missed opportunity than an actual problem. Contactees and abductees have mentioned several different species that they have been in contact with. It could have been interesting to see whether there was a correlation between blood types and the species that were encountered.

In summary, from a methodological point of view, the research is severely flawed. Some of this does not have to be fatal: the 20 different sources all seem to pertain to a US based data set, as do the numbers of the control group (i.e. the population). So it is possible that the target set and the control group are matched. The apparently incomplete data set for contactees (i.e. the 99%) could be the result of rounding. Other flaws, however, are more detrimental: the probable overlap between the sources undermines how representative the data set is. Not taking ethnicity and location into account when discussing blood types and rhesus factors may render the whole exercise futile.

Keeping all that in mind, let’s have a cursory glance again at the actual results of the investigation.

Blood Type

Population

Contactees

A+

36.0

12.5

A-

6.0

4.5

B+

9.0

3.0

B-

1.0

3.0

AB+

3.0

3.0

AB-

1.0

10.0

O+

37.0

27.0

O-

7.0

36.0


Graphically, this could be represented as follows:


blood type distribution US
Graph 1: blood type distribution US

blood type distribution contactees

Graph 2: blood type distribtion contactees

Now let me repeat what I mentioned before: if blood type would not be a factor, then you’d expect similar amounts in both sets, which clearly is not the case. The graph below illustrates the same point again: if blood type would not be relevant, you’d expect the lines for both sets to be similar. Since they are not, blood type does seem to be a relevant factor.

Comparison

 

Let’s have a closer look at the contactee / population ratio.

 

Blood Type

Population

Abductees

Ratio

A+

36.0

12.5

0.35

A-

6.0

4.5

0.75

B+

9.0

3.0

0.33

B-

1.0

3.0

3.00

AB+

3.0

3.0

1.00

AB-

1.0

10.0

10.00

O+

37.0

27.0

0.73

O-

7.0

36.0

5.14


A number higher than one means the group is over-represented, while a number lower than one means a group is under-represented.

What is striking is that, with the exception of A negative, the negative blood groups are far more represented among abductees / contactees than they are within the overall population. Blood types AB- and O- are ten and five times more frequent, respectively, among contactees than they are among the overall population.

If this can be confirmed, it would be an astounding discovery.

Conclusion: research like this is important. In this case, however, the attempt, honourable as it may have been, was methodologically flawed to the point that the validity is questionable. The findings could be significant, but for that they have to be confirmed by research that is not methodologically flawed.

This article was originally published on 14 September 2010, at http://news.exopoliticssouthafrica.org/index.php/component/content/article/36-exo-comments/55-contactee-blood-type-research.