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 It's easy to believe in bull, when you don't know what bull is.

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Male Number of posts : 346
Age : 47
Location : Ireland.
Job/hobbies : Combatives, Skepticism, Design.
Registration date : 2008-06-20

PostSubject: It's easy to believe in bull, when you don't know what bull is.   Thu Aug 21, 2008 2:20 pm

When I was a kid growing up I honestly took most of these wacky beliefs very seriously, and automatically assumed that they were for real. Phenomenon such as Big Foot, UFOs, Bermuda Triangle, etc. At that age I was even more fantasy prone than I am now Smile. And at that stage I had no reason to disbelieve - I was regularly watching these "paranormal" programs which had eye witnesses accounts and physical evidence (well, it looked legit at the time). Real planes just disappearing over the Bermuda triangle. How could I fault the evidence? But I was only around 11 years of age.

As I grew up, I became very skeptical. Even more so when I actually started to study skepticism. But before that in my late teens, I was getting very frustrated with the "pseudo evidence" that I was being forced to eat every time I'd turn on the TV. I also became equally frustrated at the average believer who would say, "well I saw a light in the sky therefore it must be an Alien". I started thinking to myself, why the hell would you assume it's an Alien - could there be a more mundane answer, even if it's not as much fun to believe.

I couldn't help myself wondering why these people would just fabricate these stories, and fake the evidence. But then the answer came to me. I started to see that there are big big bucks to be made in selling beliefs, and dreams to people. I've heard that a few of these famous ufologists get a thousand dollars for a lecture. Not bad for two hours work. Not to mention how much money they make on book sales, and various TV appearances. Plus, they become famous in there own little way. So if one person sees sees that another is getting famous, and wealthy from selling yarns and fantasy's - well guess what... They all suddenly start to come out of the wood work. Remember Roswell? After the first book was written - then we had a torrent of "real" eyewitnesses that seemingly came out of no where. It seems strange to me that it took them nearly 30 years to do so. And yet, there isn't a single shed of testable evidence. It's all hearsay and anecdotal. So what do the UFO nuts say to this? It's all been covered up by the government. The most convenient evidence crusher of all time, that and other great arguments like, "oh yeah!". Smile

Back to my original point, I was becoming highly frustrated with the lack of evidence. However, people don't really need evidence do they? They seem to be quite happy to accept an eye witness account. Take Bob Lazaar for example, he came out of nowhere and claimed that he had worked on a "gravity drive" in Area 51. Where he also saw 9 other UFO craft. He came out to the public in order to keep himself safe after receiving death threats from the government (there's that safety conspiracy blanket again). Well, he created something a kin to a firestorm at the time and many people took him at his word. He became a bit of a star amongst the UFO community too. Could he prove anything that he was saying? Not one bit. But what he could do was come up with some cool sounding technical jargon
and looking honest. After making such claims he was destroyed by a number of good skeptics who looked into his background. He is now widely considered to be a complete hoaxer - even by most of the UFO nuts.

I wondered to myself why people would believe such rubbish just on someone's word. And it seems that people are just "hardwired" to readily believe and want to believe, in such nonsense (having a fantasy prone personality). Coupled with the fact we have a powerful imagination where we can see anything is possible. Which obviously is a double sided sword for us humans.

Well, I was still eagerly watching the crap TV for the real evidence to arrive. Well, it never came. Although, on the surface most evidence looks quite convincing (to a non critical thinker anyway). Surface evidence will nearly always saticfy someone who wants to believe. I remember seeing a program some years ago where a surgeon pulled out a piece of "alien technology", AKA a tracking devise. You saw him in the operating theater pulling something out under the skin. He then sent it off to Los Alamos to be analyzed. He had received a reply saying that there were certain material that they couldn't identify therefore it was not of terrestrial origin. Sounds cool and all above board right? Well, not really... It turns out or Doctor friend has been in trouble with the medical board before. He could have easily filmed one of his regular operations and said afterwards he was removing the device. Then just use oddly shaped piece of metal for the camera, who knows what an alien tracking device actually looks like (especially when it's covered in blood) . Finally, what about the ironclad letter from Los Alomos? Well, it could be a fake letter, or he could have sent them a bit of any old meteorite, and they would have reached the same conclusion. In fact, there letter was very vague, it never mentioned anything about an operation or piece of metal.

One of the big problems with the paranormal crowd is that they rarely conduct a proper investigation. They are all ready predisposed or receptive to the phenomenon in question. So they go in at the back end, and have already formed a conclusion without doing proper research. Unlike a proper investigation that should remain neutral, and let the evidence coalesce then finally come together giving you the correct answer. Look at the phoenix lights for example. A huge amount witnesses saw a massive UFO. In other words they started back to front, or at the conclusion. As opposed to seeing lights in the sky, then looking at how they were behaving, and then going through a deductive process to examine what they actually were. It turns out that they were just military flares (this is provable).

Often the believers minds are too open. I'll always remember an interview with Joe Nikell (famous paranormal investigator). He was asked to investigate "glowing statues" at a church. Guess what, he proved they it was just the gold leaf on the statues reflecting the ambient light. However, there was one believer after he had talked to her and she simply said... "well, I choose not to believe that". And that's really th problem here. People want, and need to believe (as I keep saying). How many people have you seen, even in the face of definitive proof still can't open their eyes and accept the truth. People often say skeptics are just debunker's, and are completely closed minded. In all honesty I don't agree with that at all.... I feel a true skeptic will easily change his or her mind if the evidence is presented. But the same said cannot be said for the "true believer" in my opinion.

Ironically, my art career has given me some great tools to weed out the fakery. I started out as a classical animator. However, to do this effectively you need to study anatomy quite extensively (human and animal). You've got to understand how the bones, skin and muscles behave in order to make people believe that the animation is convincing. So when I'd see dubious casts of "big foot" I'd immediately know that a foot couldn't work like that, or leave that type of imprint in the wet soil (the weight distribution would be anatomically incorrect, etc.). Unfortunately for my Ghost Buster friends - I moved into Design and photo manipulation. So I knew only full well what Photo Shop and other 3d packages can do, and how powerful they are.

So my own attitude to this slew of paranormal bombardment is simply this. If it can be faked then it probably is.

Last edited by Rob on Thu Aug 21, 2008 4:23 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Male Number of posts : 520
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Registration date : 2008-06-18

PostSubject: Re: It's easy to believe in bull, when you don't know what bull is.   Thu Aug 21, 2008 2:52 pm

Quote :
I've heard that a few of these famous ufologists get a thousand dollars for a lecture.

Ive heard an NLP master can charge 1200 for a class affraid

Im in the wrong profession Laughing



Skepticism is the agent of reason against organized irrationalism - and is therefore one of the keys to human social and civic decency.
Stephen J Gould

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It's easy to believe in bull, when you don't know what bull is.
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