Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

Extraterrestrial Space Ships to Rescue us out of the Energy Crisis?

Posted in News by Skepdude on May 19, 2009

READ THE FULL ENTRY AT “CONSUMER ENERGY”

To most of us, UFO’s solving our energy problem will sound, at best, like wishful thinking, and most likely will be dismissed as insane.

A solution to our energy problems from out of this world, or is it just insane?

A solution to our energy problems from out of this world, or is it just insane?

But if energy lobbyist Stephen Bassett has his way, President Barack Obama will release information that the government is secretly hiding on “extraterrestrial vehicles” –according to Mr. Bassett’s claims– which can be used to solve the nation’s energy problem and limit climate change in one fell swoop.

The power source, he said, chronicled in a report Greenwire did on the subject, behind a flying saucer the weight of a tractor-trailer which hurtles through galaxies at 20,000 miles per hour is astronomical.

“What is the energy system operating that craft?” Bassett said. “They’re not burning kerosene. It eliminates oil. It eliminates coal. If it’s as good as we think it is, it transforms everything.”

Mr. Bassett is the founder of the Paradigm Research Group (PRG), which launched the “Million Fax on Washington” campaign, calling for the President to release all files, call for congressional hearings, and make available extraterrestrial (ET) derived technologies to the public domain.

Bassett claims that the government has flying saucers in its possession.

He is a firm believer in the cause, and is even working free of charge to lobby on behalf of the Exopolitics Institute, an educational organization which describes itself as “dedicated to studying the key actors, institutions and political processes associated with extraterrestrial life.”

READ THE FULL ENTRY AT “CONSUMER ENERGY”

Alien skull still not found in Mars!!!!!

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on May 1, 2009

Even though some people will undoubtedly claim the exact opposite, based on the picture below.

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Ok, so before panic seizes your heart let me ease your concern. It’s just a damn rock. There, you can go to sleep now, and rest assured that no aliens will come to probe your butt tonight, not from Mars anyway!

Loony tunes of the day

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on January 29, 2009

So what do a 93 year old dead guy with a huge unpaid utility bill, Al Gore and the U.S. Patent office have in common? Alien (as in extraterrestrial)  “clean” energy conspiracies of course! Did you know that there is, currently on this Earth, knowledge and possibly reverse-engineered technology for cleaner energy than solar and wind? I did not know nuclear energy science had advanced that much!

Homeopath decides to move to Tanzania to use his craft to “cure as many people as possible” in an effort to convince skeptics that he’s not full of it. So let me get this straight, he can’t make the science work as it should so the solution is to go out in a third world country and experiment with god knows how many people’s lifes under no supervision whatsoever, because this guy thinks scientists have it in for him? A bit conceited, not to mention extremely unethical, no? I have a suggestion for him. He may want to take his “medicine” not in pill form but in its liquid form. At least let these people get some clean drinking water out of this.

And in closing don’t forget to always evaluate alternative medicine as it relates to God’s commandments following the “four R” plan. I’m just finding it a bit hard to find out God’s stance on homeopathy and UFOs? Could have been on the dropped Gospels. Anyone has any insights on this matter?

Intellectual arrogance

Posted in Rationally Speaking, Uncategorized by Skepdude on September 4, 2008

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE ORIGINAL ENTRY AT “RATIONALLY SPEAKING”

Since my recent post on VP nominee Sarah Palin I have been struck by a number of intemperate comments posted on this blog, on “Uncommon Descent” (the Discovery Institute blog, which reprinted a few lines of my original post), and even via private emails. Now, you might say, what do you expect? You decided to enter the blogosphere, so vitriolic attacks on what you write are to be expected as part and parcel of the “job” (for which, of course, I’m not paid).

Right, but my issue is not with the personal attacks on me. My skin is think enough, I assure you, or I wouldn’t have been able to survive for a quarter century in academia. (Before you laugh, think of how much rejection is built into the job: most of your job applications will be turned down, most of your papers will be harshly criticized by at least some anonymous reviewer, and most of your grant proposals will be returned unfunded, again anonymously and often rather harshly. If you don’t have an ego big enough to sustain the bruises year after year, you better get out of the game.)

No, my problem is with the all too common accusation of intellectual arrogance being hurled at myself and most of my colleagues who defend science from pseudoscience, be that creationism, intelligent design, UFO claims, psychic powers, astrology or “alternative” medicine. The reasoning, such as it is, goes like this: how dare you, Dr. X (put here any name of any scientist who dares to write for the public), claim that so many people are wrong and you and a small number of other egg-headed intellectuals are right? Who are you to declare the truth of evolution and the falsity of intelligent design? What makes you the arbiter in deciding what is science and what is bunk?

The answer is simple: I am an expert. You shouldn’t trust me on car mechanics, or on civil engineering, or on market analysis. But what I have to say about science counts more than what most people have to say about it because I am a scientist and they are not. The reason I don’t feel any qualms declaring evolution a sound scientific theory and intelligent design as not even junk science is because I am a professional organismal biologist, and pretty much everyone who accepts ID is not. By comparison, imagine how foolishlyou would feel if a thousand car mechanics tell you that you need to change the carburetor in your car and you keep insisting that they don’t know what they are talking about, elitist auto-experts that they are, because carburetors obviously don’t exist!

Intellectual arrogance, in the utmost degree, is being displayed by those who dismiss out of hand the considerate opinion of someone who has studied a field for 25 years only because they cherish a particular religious worldview that has no independent foundation in reality. Arrogance, according to my dictionary, is “having an exaggerated sense of one’s own importance or abilities,” and it seems to me to fit perfectly someone who has no technical background in a given field and yet pontificates endlessly about what is True and what is not.

The idea that someone who has not bothered to study a highly technical area of knowledge turns around and accuses experts in those areas of being arrogant is both ridiculous and a common strategy in certain political quarters. Consider the Obama-McCain contrast of this electoral cycle, or the Kerry-Bush of the last cycle. I don’t know whether Obama or Kerry are “elitist” in any meaningful sense of the word, although as Jon Stewart aptly put it, I want the guy who is running for the most powerful job on the planet to be better than me! But the idea that McCain — who is so rich that he doesn’t know how many houses he owns, or Bush — with a degree from ivy league Yale and a career propelled by his father’s money and connections, are “common folks” who really feel the pain of the people is astoundingly ludicrous. And yet millions of people buy straight into it without a second thought (thought, or lack thereof, being the key word here).

Our national discourse has gotten so bad that demagogues can get away with throwing any amount of mud at their opponents while claiming to have their hands as clean as snow, just like people who have no knowledge or understanding of the matters at hand can gingerly accuse serious professionals of being intellectually arrogant — and feel very much self-righteous about it too. Al Gore, in his most recent book, put it in terms of an assault on reason. To reason, again going by the dictionary, is the ability to “think, understand, and form judgments by a process of logic.” The right wing-fundamentalist axis that has gained so much prominence and political power in the United States over the past several years has truly thrown reason out the window. Now they would like to finish the job by accusing intellectuals of being un-reasonable, obtuse, and conceited.

It is time to reverse the tide and take a stand. If you reject the theory of evolution, or think that there is such a thing as alternative (as opposed to evidence-based) medicine, or claim without evidence that aliens are visiting the planet, or think that the stars influence human destiny, and so on, you are anti-science and live in a dream world with no connection to reality. More damning, you are engaging in the ultimate act of arrogance: to declare something true or untrue not because you have reason or evidence, but only because it makes you feel better. May I suggest that you need a good dose of humility, and that one way to get it is to admit that the universe is not about you, and that some people out there really know more than you do, as unpleasant a thought as this may be?

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE ORIGINAL ENTRY AT “RATIONALLY SPEAKING”