# ly developed? +gt;Was it based on any experimental evidence or just someone's theory? +gt;



ly developed?

>Was it based on any experimental evidence or just someone's theory?

>Who started it?

I don't claim the difinitive answer, but from my reading, this is how I
understand that these things came about/etc.  This info is primarily
based upon the writings of those whom I understand were considered to
be well respeced, and knowlegeable in the fields of the mystical
sciences (yes folks, sciences'' is the right word), but I donot claim
More [Y]es,N)o,C)ont,A)bort? c                              them to be truth, just the opinions of those who know more about it than
I do, as interpreted by me (which leaves lots of room for misintrepreting
etc).

The original theory, as I understand it, works on two basic principles:
a) If two things have similar qualities, then they are in some very
basic way related (i.e. in some way that is related to the similar
qualities), and
b) As above, so below'', which means not so much what is in the
stars governs/is governed by what is on earth'', but rather every
living creature is a complete image of the universe (though not
necessasarily from the same perspective'').  Thus, that which we
see in the universe is reflected in the nature of all that lives.

Once you are given the above two postulates, then you have only to
classify everything by their qualities and the theory of astrology,
and most of the mystical siences fall out; assuming that you accept
the classification system.

As for who started it, I am not sure, I believe that it started about
the time of Christ, but I could easly be way off, in either direction.
I am inclined to believe the statements that the Qabala was attributed
to the Jewish Mystics, much earlier, and the two systems are quite
closely related, however I have seen no real hard evidence for the
Qabala's existing prior to a Jewis mystic that lived in either the
600s or the 1400s (AD; I don't remember the dates off hand, and I
don't have any references here).  The most believable claim that I
have heard for the the Taro (and again no hard evidence), is that
it was developed to pass on the Qabalistic tradition in a form that
would not be repressed by the (Christian) religious authorities; and
that is the basis for my claim of about the time of Christ.

Finally, as to my claim that it is a science (though I don't claim that
it is well developed in the same way that the quantitative sciences are
today, but those who are more involved with it tell me that it is at
least as well developed), I have heard of cases of fairly convincing
single blind experiments in the relm of the mystical siences (though
not in astrology as most people see it today).  I have also heard fairly
convincing arguments as to why such experiments are not well known,
however I have no hard proof for any of the claims that I have made
in this paragraph.  Asside from the secretiveness of those who
practice the Magickal sciences, probably the biggest problem
standing between today's science, and Magick is that Magick tends
to be a qualitative science, while today's sience tends to be
quantitative, and not only are the two quite different, but they
qualities tend to be quite hard to measure (look at the fun that
psychology has), and is thus often looked down upon by the button
pushers, and bottle washers that comprise a major portion of the
scientific comunity.

That said, I would also like to point out that in several of his books
(two that I know of Magick in Theory, and Practice'', and Magick
Without Tears''), Aleister Crowley (who was, dispite anything else
that anyone might have to say about it; one of the truly impressive
magicians of this century), points out that Magick is the Science
and Art of Living''.  To quote what I consider to be perhaps the best
page of Magick in Theory and Practice'' :

I. {\it DEFINITION}
\medskip

{\bf \centerline{MAGICK}
is the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformit with
Will.}

(Illustration: It is my Will to inform the World of certain facts
within my knowledge. I therefore take magical weapons', pen, ink,
and paper; I write incantations' --- these sentences --- in the
magical language' i.e. that which is understood by the people I
wish to instruct; I call forth spirits', such as printers,
publishers, booksellers, and so forth, and constrain them to convey
my message to those people.  The composition and distribution of
this book is thus an act of
\centerline{\bf MAGICK}
by which I cause Changes to take place in conformity with my Will)

\bigskip
II. POSTULATE
\medskip

{\bf ANY required Change may be effected by the application of the
proper kind and degree of Force in the proper manner through the
proper medium to the proper object.}

(Illustration: I wish to prepare an ounce of Chloride of Gold. I
must take the right kind of acit, nitro-hydrochloric and no other,
in sufficent quantity and of adequate strength, and place it, in a
vessel which will not break, leak, or corrode, in such a manner as
will not produce undesireable results, with the necessary quantity
of Gold: and so forth. Every Change has its own conditions.

In the present state of our knowledge and power some changes are
not possible in practice; we cannot cause eclipses, for instance,
or transform lead into tin, or create men from mushrooms.  But it
is theoretically possible to cause in any object any change of
which that object is cabable by nature; and the conditions are
covered by the above postulate.)

He then goes on a bit to develop the above thesis, and derives
several results which logically follow, and form the basis of the
sience of Magick.  I would recommend both of the above mentioned
books to anyone who is interested in the subject, however, bear in
mind when you read them (if you do), that Crowley had a perverse
sense of humor, and would often start out being quite serious, and
by the end of a given paragraph, be talking quite tounge in cheek,
and vice versa; thus unless he is read quite carfully, there are
numerous traps in all of his works for the unweary to fall into.

I hope that my digressions from the direct questions have not
agrivated anyone to much, but I think that they are relevent to the
discussion.  Also, to answer the questions asked by someone else,
on a different thread in this newsgroup (which I consider to be
relevent to any intelegent discussion), I accept most of the above
on faith, however I try not to let that interfear overly with any
discussion/evedence that may be presented to me on the subject.  I
like to think that I do a good job of preventing such
interfearence, however I am probably the least suited to judge that
objectively.

S. John Banner

sbanner1@sol.UVic.ca
sbanner1%sol.uvic.cdn@ubc.csnet
...!uw-beaver!uvicctr!sol!sbanner1
...!ubc-vision!uvicctr!sol!sbanner1
ccsjb@uvvm.bitnet  (Please avoid this address if possible)

Message too long.  Truncated to  150 lines!

Msg #:  880                       SKEP Subboard
From:  SML108@PSUVM.PSU.EDU      Sent: 02-28-90 03:28
To:  ALL                       Rcvd: 03-24-90 00:41
Re:  (R) NON-OPTICAL EM TRANSM

From: SML108@psuvm.psu.edu
Date: 27 Feb 90 16:24:59 GMT
Organization: Penn State University
Message-ID: <90058.112459SML108@psuvm.psu.edu>
Newsgroups: sci.skeptic

In general response to objections to my last post...

The burden of proof for the existence of ESP is not in the hands of
skeptics.
The burden of proof IS in the hands of those who claim it does.

When we say ESP does not exist, we are not contradicting any well
supported
scientific principle.  And we have scads of empirical evidence to back us
up.

There has yet to be a well designed ESP experiment with a positive result.

Until such incident occurs, ESP does not exist...

Charles Tart, Harold Puthoff, and the rest of the jujubee squad have been
thoroughly exposed as quacks in Flim Flam by James Randi, and in numerous
articles in The Skeptical Inquirer.

The Psychic Mafia by Lamar Keene will give you a nice insider view as to
what most of these psychics are really like, and why so many researchers
insist on believing in them.

Both of these books are over 10 years old.  When are you guys going to get
the message?

Scott Le Grand aka sml108@psuvm.psu.edu

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Msg #:  881                       SKEP Subboard
From:  MARY SHAFER (OFV          Sent: 02-28-90 04:36
To:  ALL                       Rcvd: 03-24-90 00:41
Re:  (R) SATANISM: MYTH AND TR

From: shafer@elxsi.dfrf.nasa.gov (Mary Shafer (OFV))
Date: 27 Feb 90 21:06:20 GMT
Organization: NASA Dryden, Edwards, Cal.
Message-ID:
Newsgroups: sci.skeptic

The only thing arousing skepticism in this posting is why it was
posted to sci.skeptic.

What made you post it here?  Could it be ... SATAN?

--

Mary Shafer  shafer@skipper.dfrf.nasa.gov or
ames!skipper.dfrf.nasa.gov!shafer
NASA Ames Dryden Flight Research Facility, Edwards, CA
Of course I don't speak for NASA

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Msg #:  882                       SKEP Subboard
From:  ARAN GUY                  Sent: 03-01-90 00:45
To:  ALL                       Rcvd: 03-24-90 00:41
Re:  (R) RE^2: ASTROLOGY: IS I

From: guy@bevsun.bev.lbl.gov (Aran Guy)
Date: 28 Feb 90 09:47:49 GMT
Organization: Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, Berkeley
Message-ID: <4968@helios.ee.lbl.gov>
Newsgroups: sci.skeptic

In article <925@uvicctr.UVic.CA.UUCP> sbanner1@uvicctr.UVic.CA.UUCP (S.
John Banner) writes:
>
>In the present state of our knowledge and power some changes are
>not possible in practice; we cannot cause eclipses, for instance,
>or transform lead into tin, or create men from mushrooms.  But it
-----------------------
>is theoretically possible to cause in any object any change of
>which that object is cabable by nature; and the conditions are
>covered by the above postulate.)
>

Such "impossible" changes are rather routine here, I'm afraid.
Indeed, a few years back, as a byproduct of another run, Glenn
Seaborg, Nobel Laureate, managed to transform a quantity of gold
into lead, at an extrapolated cost of only four quadrillion
dollars per ounce.
Artificial eclipses are also routine in solar studies; we just
don't bother with using the moon. Any old disc-like object will
do.
The poster's knowledge of modern science is about as thorough
as his knowledge of editors.

--
Aran Guy  guy@bevsun.bev.lbl.gov         LBL
Knobtwister and Buttonpusher           And me be me
SuperHeavy Ion Linear Accelerator         Our opinions
Accelerator and Fusion Research Division   Rarely agree.

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Msg #:  883                       SKEP Subboard
From:  TIM MARONEY               Sent: 03-01-90 04:42
To:  ALL                       Rcvd: 03-24-90 00:41
Re:  (R) SATANISM: MYTH AND TR

From: tim@hoptoad.uucp (Tim Maroney)
Date: 1 Mar 90 04:14:57 GMT
Organization: Eclectic Software, San Francisco
Message-ID: <10526@hoptoad.uucp>
Newsgroups: sci.skeptic

In article
shafer@elxsi.dfrf.nasa.gov (Mary Shafer (OFV)) writes:
>The only thing arousing skepticism in this posting is why it was
>posted to sci.skeptic.

What a strange question.  One week ago today, I was sitting in a very
crowded room at a meeting of the Bay Area Skeptics, a meeting devoted
to exposing the myth of Satanic crime.  I keep on my desk a book put
out by the BAS-related Committee for the Skeptical Examination of
Religion, entitled "Satanism in America", which details the myth and
the numerous problems with it.  The message itself was a skeptical
examination of claims made by people like Laurel Wilson, Mike Warnke,
and Sean Sellers.  This is one of the hottest fields of inquiry in the
skeptical community at present.  So my question would have to be: Why
do you ask?  Isn't the answer obvious?

>What made you post it here?  Could it be ... SATAN?

It seems that some of us are just a leeeetle superior to others....
--
Tim Maroney, Mac Software Consultant, sun!hoptoad!tim, tim@toad.com

FROM THE FOOL FILE:
"In any religion or form of worship, followers should be allowed to think
for themselves.  In every religion that has a god other than Jesus
Christ,
adherents are not allowed to think for themselves."
-- Lauren Stratford, "Satan's Underground"

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Msg #:  884                       SKEP Subboard
From:  RICH STREBENDT            Sent: 03-01-90 04:42
To:  ALL                       Rcvd: 03-27-90 00:15
Re:  (R) MR. KIYOTA AND SPOON

From: res@cbnewsc.ATT.COM (Rich Strebendt)
Date: 28 Feb 90 06:00:54 GMT
Organization: AT&T Bell Laboratories
Message-ID: <13982@cbnewsc.ATT.COM>
Newsgroups: sci.skeptic,sci.misc

In article <10494@hoptoad.uucp>, tim@hoptoad.uucp (Tim Maroney) writes:
| In article <1990Feb24.011349.18857@athena.mit.edu>
kiyoshi@athena.mit.edu
| (Kiyoshi Kurihara) writes:
| >There once was a guy
| >named Yuli Gueller (sp?) who did this magic. (though he rubbed spoon's
| >necks to bend). What was the general conclusion about his trick?
|
| Uri Geller has been extensively debunked.  Even his supporters admit
| that he has been caught cheating on several occassions.  He
| consistently fails to perform if the experiemntal conditions are
| designed by professional magicians.  For instance, Johnny Carson
| consulted James Randi about the design of Geller's "demonstration" on
| the Tonight Show, with the result that Geller was unable to perform
| even one of his feats.  The avenues for cheating had been removed.

Prior to another appearance of Geller on Johnny Carson's show, another
guest (I think it was Dr. Joyce Brothers, but I may be mistaken)
happened upon some bent nails being held by a prop man.  She replaced
the bent nails with straight ones.  Uri was strangely unable to bend
nails onstage that evening!

Rich Strebendt
...!att!ihlpb!res
r.strebendt@att.com

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Msg #:  885                       SKEP Subboard
From:  ROBERT HOPGOOD            Sent: 03-01-90 16:33
To:  ALL                       Rcvd: 03-27-90 00:16
Re:  (R) NON-OPTICAL EM TRANSM

From: RHOPGOOD@ucs.UAlberta.CA (Robert Hopgood)
Date: 28 Feb 90 19:57:18 GMT
Organization: University of Alberta VM/CMS
Message-ID: <855@ucs.UAlberta.CA>
Newsgroups: sci.skeptic

In article <90058.112459SML108@psuvm.psu.edu>, SML108@psuvm.psu.edu
writes:
>There has yet to be a well designed ESP experiment with a positive
result.
>
>Until such incident occurs, ESP does not exist...
>
>Scott Le Grand aka sml108@psuvm.psu.edu

Question -- did the atom not exist 400/500 years ago because "science"
could
not prove it?

I wonder what you would be saying "IF" the future allows ESP to be proven
to
your satisfaction

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Msg #:  886                       SKEP Subboard
From:  NICHAEL CRAMER            Sent: 03-01-90 16:33
To:  ALL                       Rcvd: 03-27-90 00:16
Re:  (R) NON-OPTICAL EM TRANSM

From: ncramer@bbn.com (Nichael Cramer)
Date: 1 Mar 90 00:51:17 GMT
Organization: Bolt Beranek and Newman Inc., Cambridge MA
Message-ID: <52798@bbn.COM>
Newsgroups: sci.skeptic

In article <855@ucs.UAlberta.CA> RHOPGOOD@ucs.UAlberta.CA writes:
>In article <90058.112459SML108@psuvm.psu.edu>, SML108@psuvm.psu.edu
writes:
>>There has yet to be a well designed ESP experiment with a positive
result.
>>
>>Until such incident occurs, ESP does not exist...
>Question -- did the atom not exist 400/500 years ago because "science"
could
>not prove it?

In a (somewhat techincal) sense, yes.  But perhaps a more accurate way of
saying this is that, at that time, it [the atom] had no place in Science
for the simple fact that there were no data that argued for it existence.
That is, someone in the 15th century had no more basis for believing in
the
atom than he had in believing in, say, Maxwell's Daemon as the basic
constituent of matter.  He would have been equally wrong --at that time--
to have believed in either.

>I wonder what you would be saying "IF" the future allows ESP to be proven
to
>your satisfaction

I would say that Science marches on.  There are plenty of examples of new
data overturning old models.

But the signal term here is "data".  At present there are no data that
argue for the existence of ESP (any more than there are for Maxwell's
Daemon above).  And it is for this reason that belief in ESP cannot be
considered Science.

NICHAEL

| Nichael Lynn Cramer  | The Corpse of the Sea is now calling me home. |
|  --  Nichael@BBN.Com | It is dead, but it calls with a mouth that is |
|  --  NCramer@BBN.Com |    alive.          -- Theognis of Megara.     |

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Msg #:  887                       SKEP Subboard
From:  DAVID GOLDFARB            Sent: 03-01-90 16:34
To:  ALL                       Rcvd: 03-27-90 00:16
Re:  (R) RE^2: ASTROLOGY: IS I

From: goldfarb@ocf.berkeley.edu (David Goldfarb)
Date: 1 Mar 90 02:24:55 GMT
Organization: ucb
Message-ID: <34611@ucbvax.BERKELEY.EDU>
Newsgroups: sci.skeptic

In article <4968@helios.ee.lbl.gov> guy@bevsun.bev.lbl.gov (Aran Guy)
writes:
)In article <925@uvicctr.UVic.CA.UUCP> sbanner1@uvicctr.UVic.CA.UUCP (S.
John Banner) writes:
)>
)>In the present state of our knowledge and power some changes are
)>not possible in practice; we cannot cause eclipses, for instance,
)>or transform lead into tin, or create men from mushrooms.  But it
)    -----------------------
)>is theoretically possible to cause in any object any change of
)>which that object is cabable by nature; and the conditions are
)>covered by the above postulate.)
)>
)
) Such "impossible" changes are rather routine here, I'm afraid.
) Indeed, a few years back, as a byproduct of another run, Glenn
)Seaborg, Nobel Laureate, managed to transform a quantity of gold
)into lead, at an extrapolated cost of only four quadrillion
)dollars per ounce.
) The poster's knowledge of modern science is about as thorough
)as his knowledge of editors.
)
)--
)  Aran Guy

Mr. Banner's knowledge of modern science is much more thorough than
your knowledge of reading. If you knew how to read, you would have
noticed that the passage you flamed was quoted from Aleister Crowley,
and was written quite early in this century. When it was written it
was true, as nuclear technology was not then so highly advanced as
it is now.
Mr. Banner's posting contained several typographical errors, none
of which interfered with comprension, and all of which may be excus-
able, for instence on grounds of its having been composed at a late
hour. What excuse is there for your carelessness and arrogance?

David Goldfarb    goldfarb@ocf.berkeley.edu   (Insert standard disclaimer)
"Mr. Spock, I...believe...I'm in love with Edith Keeler."
"Jim, Edith Keeler must die."

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Msg #:  888                       SKEP Subboard
From:  BRETT SLOCUM              Sent: 03-01-90 20:26
To:  ALL                       Rcvd: 03-27-90 00:16
Re:  (R) DEFINITION OF SATANIS

From: slocum@hi-csc.UUCP (Brett Slocum)
Date: 1 Mar 90 15:47:00 GMT
Organization: Honeywell Sensor and System Dev. Center, Golden Valley, MN
Message-ID: <48ef7b1b.805@hi-csc.UUCP>
Newsgroups: alt.pagan,sci.skeptic

In general I believe that the majority of Satanists are of the LeVey
school
of "we do it for personal ego-building" Satanism.  There are also those
individuals who commit crimes and then say Satan made them do it, either
out of mental illness (along the lines of "I heard Angelic voices"), or
an attempt to get off on an insanity plea.  I also believe that there
are Satanists who are performing ritual crimes and abuse for religious
reasons
(I'm sure Mr. Maroney will laugh at my naivete).  Then there is the group
who are committing crimes based on the media hype around Satanism, for
example, the Matamagorda (sp?) murders in Mexico, where ritual murders
were performed in order to cast spells to protect drug dealers.  These
people were heavily influenced by the film "The Believers" and created
their rituals based almost solely on this movie.  By far the largest
section
of Satanists is the first.

As far as the freedom of religion aspect of Satanism, I think that the
LeVey-style Satanists are just as deserving of protection from persecution
as anyone.  As for the rest, criminal activity is criminal activity
and should be treated as such.

As for Neo-pagan handling of the issue, I think that we should spend more
time developing a positive image.  Tell people what we are, not what we
aren't.
When people ask if we are Satanists, say something like "Oh, Satanism is
too
Christian for my tastes" or "Satan is a Christian deity" or "The roots of
my
religion predate both Christianity and Satanism." or simply "We do not
worship
Satan".  But try to avoid negative comments about Satanism.  If someone
says
"Do you do sacrifices?" or other stupidities, please avoid the temptation
to say
"Oh, we leave that to the Satanists".  Just say something like "My
religion
celebrates life, and stuff like that makes me sick."

Now can we please get on to other more interesting topics?
--
Brett Slocum  or
"I'm not a god; I've just been misquoted."  - Lister from Red Dwarf.

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Msg #:  889                       SKEP Subboard
From:  MIKE MORGAN IN COLORADO SPRINGS   Sent: 03-01-90 21:35
To:  ALL                       Rcvd: 03-27-90 00:16
Re:  (R) DEFINITION OF SATANIS

From: morgan@csc32.dec.com (Mike Morgan in Colorado Springs)
Date: 1 Mar 90 20:11:38 GMT
Organization: Digital Equipment Corporation
Message-ID: <1552@engage.enet.dec.com>
Newsgroups: alt.pagan,sci.skeptic

In article <48ef7b1b.805@hi-csc.UUCP>, slocum@hi-csc.UUCP (Brett Slocum)
writes...

>Then there is the group
>who are committing crimes based on the media hype around Satanism, for
>example, the Matamagorda (sp?) murders in Mexico, where ritual murders
>were performed in order to cast spells to protect drug dealers.  These
>people were heavily influenced by the film "The Believers" and created
>their rituals based almost solely on this movie.  By far the largest
section
>of Satanists is the first.

A minor correction...

I believe these criminals were practicing Palyo Mayombe (sp?), a
form of stick magik and deviant from its Cubian Santeria type forms.
Our culture is intersecting the Central and South American forms of
Santeria, Macumba and Locumi. They are different from neo-Paganism but
they are not Satanic, they are more pagan than neo-Pagan.

Of course the Metamoros killings were just bad aes being bad.

*** As always I speak for myself. ***

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Msg #:  890                       SKEP Subboard
From:  PAMELA TROY               Sent: 03-02-90 01:35
To:  ALL                       Rcvd: 03-27-90 00:16
Re:  (R) DEFINITION OF SATANIS

From: tim@hoptoad.uucp (Pamela Troy)
Date: 2 Mar 90 08:30:35 GMT
Organization: Locus Publications, Oakland CA
Message-ID: <10543@hoptoad.uucp>
Newsgroups: alt.pagan,sci.skeptic

(Quoted From Tim)
>> We continue to see messages repeating the popular falsehoods about
>> Satanism that are so widespread today within the religious right
>> and Neo-Paganism, especially that Satanists have come forward
>> and admitted to committing sacrifices. All these claims are false,
>> malicious, and damaging.
>>
>> [detailed discussion of cases deleted]
>>
>> Those responsible for spreading these malicious rumors share in
>> the responsibility for any crimes of any such group modeled on
>> media reports; those of us battling this irrationalism have it to
>> our credit that we tried to prevent it.

(Quoted From Gary)
> OK. It's obvious from the tone of your letter that you are either
> a Satanist or a Satanist wannabe. I've read in this newsgroup that
> there is a difference between a "real" Satanist (the ones who mutilate
> cows) and "adversarial" Satanists (the ones who are against the
> church)....If you are not a stereotypical Satanist, why do you call
> yourself one? I can only think of two reasons: 1: There is
> something fundamentally wrong with your mind. 2: It's a
> sophomoric bid for attention...Please give me a reasoned, rational
> answer to this question.

Uh... Excuse me, Gary, but I don't see any connection between the
section of Tim's article that you quote and your own reaction to it.
Tim has lucidly made a case for the current crop of stories about
Satanism being a crock, and he has backed up his case. You have
answered without responding to any of his points, indulging
instead in an ad hominem attack in which you imply that Tim
is either insane or immature. Your reaction, frankly, strikes me
as a rather desperate attempt to draw attention away from
the subject at hand, which is that Satanists are currently the victim
of the type of revolting propaganda once aimed at Jews, Catholics,
and Masons -- and that it is any rational person's responsibility to
fight these lies.

Insulting someone because you're incapable of responding to his
arguments impresses nobody, Gary. If you have any reasoned or
rational responses to the actual content of Tim's message, please
share them with us. Otherwise we'll have to assume that you don't
have a leg to stand on in this argument -- and that you know it.

As for those Satanists "who mutilate cows" -- there's precious little
evidence that any such Satanists exist. There has been no rise in
livestock mortality rates that cannot be attributed to natural causes
such as drought or bad weather, and investigations by experts of
so-called mutilations have shown that most of them can be explained
by natural predators -- insects, coyotes, and other carrion eaters.

People who promote the "cattle mutilation" myths feel compelled to
explain why there are never any footprints around the dead animals,
and this always leads them into absurdity.  We are asked to believe
that cattle stand still while helicopters hover overhead, or fifty-foot
platforms are extended from flatbed trucks. We are asked to believe
that somehow the owners of this remarkable equipment manage to
keep their helicopters and cranes discreetly hidden from the police;
that they are actually bringing these loud, enormous machines into play
so that they can evade notice!

(Gary)
> The people who read this newsgroup are, by and large, more
> intelligent than the "average American"....
> If we persist in siding with the Satanists, we *will* be next! The
> Christian culture (as a group) has, if not a stranglehold, at least
> a tight grip on our federal and local governments...If we are to
> worship in our own ways without the threat of persecution,
> it is *this* group, not the government, which we need to convince
> of our "goodness. We can not do this if we insist on defending the
> Satanists...if we are to gain acceptance and be *allowed* the
> religious freedom which should be guaranteed us, we cannot
> afford to align ourselves with the enemies of our opponents...
> Satanists should either find another name or stop calling themselves
> Witches, because when they call themselves Witches, it affects US.

Since you are one of those readers of this newsgroup who are "by and
large, more intelligent than the 'average' American", I don't suppose
I need to quote the Niemoller statement to you.  Or do I?  Ever hear
of Martin Niemoller, and what he had to say about your stance on this
subject?

I find your the attitudes expressed in your message a classic case of
"blaming the victim." Satanists are currently the subject of a brutal
attack, in which the vilest accusations are being thrown at them,
accusations calculated to ruin lives even if the accused is aquitted
in a court of law.  Children have been taken from their parents, people
have been thrown in jail, property has been confiscated, careers have
been ended, and reputations ruined by the authors of this hysteria --
so who do you blame?  The Satanists, apparently for committing the
unpardonable crime of sticking to their guns and stoutly insisting on
using the word "Witches", which you find so intolerable, rather than
meekly knuckling under and using some other word that won't offend
tender Pagan sensibilities.

Where in the name of the Great Mother have you picked up the
idea that denying you are a Satanist is somehow going to protect
you from such an all-out witchhunt?  Has it helped Raymond Buckey?
Or his mother?  Or his sister?  Did it help Gary Hambright?  Wake up!
If a Baptist minister can be accused of Satanic and Ritual Abuse,
if an Episcopal church can be forced to close down because of
similar accusations, then Wiccans can deny they are Satanists until
they turn blue -- it isn't going to do a damned bit of good.  The
smart response is the decent one.  Speak out against lies and religious
persecution, even when the subjects of the lies and persecution are
people you dislike.  Edging away from the victim and hoping that the
attacker will think you're a neat guy for it rarely works.  You're more
likely to end up not only as badly stomped as the people you refused
to defend, but with the shame of knowing your own moral failure.

> I have probably offended several people, Satanists, Pagans, and
> Christians combined. I'm sorry for that. But Satanism affects
> *me* directly. It has affected the way people percieve my religion
> and it has affected my family.

I am not a Satanist, nor a Pagan, nor a Christian, but you have
offended me deeply.  The fact that it has affected your family and
the way your religion is perceived does not arouse the slightest
sympathy in me, since your previous messages have made it clear
that you are willing to stand by silently and watch another religion
and other families being maligned and destroyed.  As far as I'm
concerned, you deserve no more compassion than you are willing to extend.

I have always been interested in witchhunts and propaganda campaigns.
Over the centuries, such attacks on minority groups have had a depressing
sameness, whether the victims have been Christians (in the Roman period),
Jews, Albigensians, Witches, Catholics, Mormons, or Satanists.  They
commit human sacrifice!  They kidnap and molest our children!  They have
wild sex-orgies!  They are out to take over the world!  Accusations like
this rarely stop with mere words: they almost always result in violence,
carried out by governments, mobs, or both.  And always...ALWAYS...there
are people who should know better who stand by and say nothing
because they don't want to make waves.  It's the people who don't speak
up that make pogroms, jihads, and other forms of religion-sanctioned
mayhem possible.

Welcome to the club.

[Posted for Pamela Troy by Tim Maroney]
--
Tim Maroney, Mac Software Consultant, sun!hoptoad!tim, tim@toad.com

FROM THE FOOL FILE:

Message too long.  Truncated to  150 lines!

Msg #:  891                       SKEP Subboard
From:  TIM MARONEY               Sent: 03-02-90 15:34
To:  ALL                       Rcvd: 03-27-90 00:17
Re:  (R) RE^2: ASTROLOGY: IS I

From: tim@hoptoad.uucp (Tim Maroney)
Date: 2 Mar 90 10:56:01 GMT
Organization: Eclectic Software, San Francisco
Message-ID: <10548@hoptoad.uucp>
Newsgroups: sci.skeptic

In article <925@uvicctr.UVic.CA.UUCP> sbanner1@uvicctr.UVic.CA.UUCP
(S. John Banner) writes:
>)>In the present state of our knowledge and power some changes are
>)>not possible in practice; we cannot cause eclipses, for instance,
>)>or transform lead into tin, or create men from mushrooms.  But it
>)    -----------------------
>)>is theoretically possible to cause in any object any change of
>)>which that object is cabable by nature; and the conditions are
>)>covered by the above postulate.)

>In article <4968@helios.ee.lbl.gov> guy@bevsun.bev.lbl.gov (Aran Guy)
writes:
>) Such "impossible" changes are rather routine here, I'm afraid.
>) Indeed, a few years back, as a byproduct of another run, Glenn
>)Seaborg, Nobel Laureate, managed to transform a quantity of gold
>)into lead, at an extrapolated cost of only four quadrillion
>)dollars per ounce.
>) The poster's knowledge of modern science is about as thorough
>)as his knowledge of editors.

In article <34611@ucbvax.BERKELEY.EDU> goldfarb@ocf.Berkeley.EDU
(David Goldfarb) writes:
>  Mr. Banner's knowledge of modern science is much more thorough than
>your knowledge of reading. If you knew how to read, you would have
>noticed that the passage you flamed was quoted from Aleister Crowley,
>and was written quite early in this century. When it was written it
>was true, as nuclear technology was not then so highly advanced as
>it is now.

Indeed.  In fact, the sequence is rather amusing.  Crowley's passage
actually is a prediction that at some future "state of our knowledge
and power" it *would* be possible to transform lead into tin, which we
can do now at great expense some decades later (though there is little
reason to do so), and to turn men into mushrooms, which would clearly
be within the scope of genetic engineering within another century at
most (though again, there is little reason we would want to, except for
John Mathon).  Guy's careless reading has led him to misrepresent a
statement which, without too much stretching, could be considered
prophetic, and even to denounce its accurate prediction as "behind the
times", a truly lunatic statement.

(Incidentally, whatever Crowley's other flaws may have been [and there
were many], he was anything but ignorant of science.  He was trained as
an organic chemist, and the book which Guy has attacked contains
correct references to the contemporary theory of general relativity and
related subjects.  In fact, his scientific references were considerably
more careful and accurate than today's crop of "quantum physics proves
psychic powers" books; Crowley felt the concepts in themselves were
mythic enough without spurious applications to "explaining" paranormal
powers.  [Not to let him completely off the hook -- he did believe in
such powers, he just didn't warp physics to explain them....])

>  Mr. Banner's posting contained several typographical errors, none
>of which interfered with comprension, and all of which may be excus-
>able, for instence on grounds of its having been composed at a late
>hour. What excuse is there for your carelessness and arrogance?

Well said, David.  But I hesitate to think what you would have reported
to our mutual friend, had I written the selfsame paragraph....
--
Tim Maroney, Mac Software Consultant, sun!hoptoad!tim, tim@toad.com

"Starting in a hollowed log of wood -- some thousand miles up a river,
with an
infinitesimal prospect of returning!  I ask myself 'Why?' and the only
echo
is 'damned fool! ... the Devil drives!"
-- Sir Richard Francis Burton in correspondence to Monckton Miles,
1863

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Msg #:  892                       SKEP Subboard
From:  TIM MARONEY               Sent: 03-02-90 16:28
To:  ALL                       Rcvd: 03-27-90 00:19
Re:  (R) DEFINITION OF SATANIS

From: tim@hoptoad.uucp (Tim Maroney)
Date: 2 Mar 90 23:27:23 GMT
Organization: Eclectic Software, San Francisco
Message-ID: <10550@hoptoad.uucp>
Newsgroups: alt.pagan,sci.skeptic

In article <8695@shlump.nac.dec.com> piatt@apache.dec.com
(Garison Ellsworth Piatt) writes:
>>>[A lot of IMO foolish - and short sighted - stuff about not defending
>>> religions beliefs we don't like (i.e. Satanism) because we'll get
>>> called Satanists.]  -- summary by phoenix@ms.uky.edu

In article <10484@hoptoad.uucp> tim@hoptoad.UUCP (Tim Maroney) writes:
>>Here is the Satanic form of the McCarthy-era liberal argument in its
>>purest form.  Let us throw the (Satanists,Communists) to the wolves so
>>that we may be spared.  I thank Piatt for validating my claim that this
>                         ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>>argument is common in Neo-Paganism...
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

In article <14349@s.ms.uky.edu> phoenix@ms.uky.edu (R'ykandar Korra'ti)
writes:
>Hah?
>
>Tim -
>     I know that you are not what could be called friendly to the
existance
>of the alt.pagan newsgroup.

Why do you say that?  I supported the creation of such a newsgroup; I
did prefer a more inclusive name, but that doesn't make me hostile to
the group as it was formed.

>I know that you also have personal objections to
>neopaganism as a whole.

I do?  Again, I am unsure where you are getting this from.  All
political and religious groups have problems, and Neo-Paganism is no
exception.  But pointing out its prejudice against Satanists and
other problems such as widespread historical inaccuracy doesn't make
me an enemy of "neopaganism as a whole" any more than pointing out
institutionalized misogyny in Orthodox Judaism makes me an
anti-Semite.  Of course, both Orthodox Jews and Neo-Pagans find it
easier to tar me with this brush than to respond substantially
to my criticisms.

>That's fine; personally, I don't care (which is why
>I've never responded to any of your posts before.)

*Which* is why?  You've never responded to my posts because of beliefs
you ascribe to me which I do not in fact hold?

>     But why the hell do you insist upon taking one or two twits and
holding
>them up as examples of the REST of us? I find your statement here to not
only
>be unfounded but insulting. Are all Mormans like the twits in Ohio which
>participated in the ritual murders? No. Are all conservatives really
fascists
>in democratic clothing? No. Are all liberals commies? No. So why do you
insist
>upon calling all neopagans names based upon the opinions of what in my
>experience has been a _very small_ minority of people? At best it's a
double
>standard; at worst it's vindicitive and mean-spirited.

First of all, please keep your Red-bashing to yourself.  The word
"commie" is a nasty political slur which has been used to ruin
thousands of lives in the United States and to kill millions of foreign
nationals.  It has no more place in civilized discourse than does the
word "nigger".  If you have objections to Communism, please state them
as such.

Second, once again you are putting words in my mouth which I did not in
fact say, and do not agree with.  Read my lips -- I said the
McCarthyite "argument is common in Neo-Paganism".  I did not do
anything remotely like "calling all neopagans names".  In fact, several
days before you posted this, I told John Obendorfer (right here in
alt.pagan) how gratified I was by the Neo-Pagans who went out of their
way to oppose this specious and immoral argument.

The fact is, the argument *is* common in Neo-Paganism.  I've heard it
time and again, from BNP's like Judy Harrow and Diana Paxson all the
way down to nobodies like Garison Piatt, Ammond Shadowcraft (Mike
Morgan), and John Halbig.  It is definitely the consensus in
Neo-Paganism that "We are NOT Satanists" is a perfectly adequate
response to the persecution of Satanists.  I am glad for the handful,
like Don Frew, John Obendorfer, Leigh Ann Hussey, and others, who
oppose this disgusting practice, but it is hardly any less a
characteristic problem of Neo-Paganism for all that.

Your repeated misinterpretations and exagerrations of my remarks make
it clear that you're locked into a rather common religious mindset; all
criticism from without the community is by nature unjustified and
offensive, and proves bias against the community.  This regardless of
how true the criticism may happen to be, or how carefully it is
expressed.  Wake up; no group is all-good, and yours is no exception.
You can either shriek and moan when someone points out the problems --
in which case you're part of them -- or you can accept well-reasoned
and accurate criticism for what it is -- in which case you're part of
the solution.

>     Please, Tim; you've made some decent points in the past. Don't screw
>it up by going off on these antagonistic, unfounded tangents.

It's clear that to you, it is "antagnistic and unfounded" to point out
*any* characteristic problem of Neo-Paganism.  Sorry, but I'm not going
to stop just to gratify your myth of Neo-Pagan perfection.

>Everybody else -
>     On this whole business:
>     We only have as much liberty as those who are enjoy the least. If we
>allow any - no matter how much we may dislike them - to be persecuted,
then
>we, too, shall eventually be persecuted. We allow Nazis to exist; we
allow
>the Communist Party of the United States to exist (just to name a couple
of
>popular bugaboos); why should we stop when it comes to religion? We don't
>have to _like_ them - but we cannot _oppress_ them because of that, lest
>we become that which we despise.
>     Think about it; do we _really_ want to adopt the "One Way Only"
theory
>of the (in particular) fundamentalist Christians?
>     I don't.

Well said, except for the continuation of gratuitous Red-bashing.
There is a rather insulting assumption that all your readers will
find left-wing politics distasteful.
--
Tim Maroney, Mac Software Consultant, sun!hoptoad!tim, tim@toad.com

"I am convinced that cross-posting is an evil Satanic plot."
-- Eugene Miya on soc.net-people, misc.headlines, misc.kids,
misc.misc,
news.misc, and soc.misc

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Msg #:  893                       SKEP Subboard
From:  TIM MARONEY               Sent: 03-02-90 16:28
To:  ALL                       Rcvd: 03-27-90 00:20
Re:  (R) SATANISM: MYTH AND TR

From: tim@hoptoad.uucp (Tim Maroney)
Date: 2 Mar 90 23:48:25 GMT
Organization: Eclectic Software, San Francisco
Message-ID: <10551@hoptoad.uucp>
Newsgroups: alt.pagan,sci.skeptic

From article <10483@hoptoad.uucp>, by tim@hoptoad.uucp (Tim Maroney):
>> Given that these factors added up to simple fraud in the case of Lauren
>> Stratford (Laurel Wilson), it is plain that the similar stories by such
>> people as Mike Warnke, John Todd Collins, Stormie Omartian, and
>> Michelle Smith must be considered presumptively false until they come
>> up to certain minimum standards of evidence.

In article <1990Feb28.015030.17923@sun.soe.clarkson.edu>
schmidea@clutx.clarkson.edu writes:
>       No, it is not plain.  That one twerp has been proven false does
not
>immediatly prove the other's false or true.  Each case must be evaluated
on
>its' own merits.

That's what I said.  What do you think it means to hold a case "up to
certain minimum standards of evidence"?  It means to judge the case
on its merits.  If the cases are incredible, lack any substantiating
evidence, are used for personal gain, are insulting to a religious
group, and are not used to try to bring the malefactors to justice,
then we are perfectly justified in considering them false.  If they
come up to a minimum standard of evidence, however, we should take
them seriously, and ivestigate them in hopes of proving their truth
or falsehood.  The fact is that none of these lecture-circuit books
*does* come up to a minimum standard of evidence, so I have no hesitation
in calling them all as false as "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion".

>> respects.  None shows any connection to any "Satanic conspiracy" like
>> the one ballyhooed by prejudiced members of the religious right and
>> Neo-Paganism, and none is likely to in the future.
>
>       I don't think there is any "Satanic conspiracy", I think that
there
>are some seriously twisted people that have chosen to identify with a
deity
>that is historicly known as evil.

I take it that you mean "witches", historically seen as evil?  I have
to say I find your statement rather offensive.  I have known many
witches, and few if any of them were "seriously twisted".  Their
motives in identifying themselves with an historical symbol of evil are
first, to identify their sympathies more with the victims of Christian
intolerance than with the perpetrators (much the same can be said of
Templars and Satanists, of course), and second, to express personal
sympathy for those mythological structures that Christianity opposed
and demonized.  They are intelligent adversaries of the evils of the
Christian Church for the most part, not "seriously twisted people" as
per your stereotype.

>I'm not saying that there is any
>organizational ties between the incidents.

Well, that's big of you.  It would be even bigger if there were any
incidents to explain.  The drug dealers in Matamoros didn't call
themselves Satanists, and they got their ritual out of a disgusting
parody of the Palo Moyembe tradition that appeared in a horror movie.
Sean Sellers said he blew off the head of the 7-11 Clerk for flirting
with his girlfriend when he was arrested; he called it Satanic only
after his "conversion" to Christianity in jail, and there was nothing
ritual about the killing.  Pete Roland told the person who he and two
friends beat to death with baseball bats that they were doing it
"because it's fun"; again, the "Satanism" was something he added later
while in jail, and the killing was not in any way ritual.  Not only is
there not any organized Satanic group behind these things, the killings
were not at all "Satanic" -- that's something that was added later,
either by the press or by people seeking to displace responsibility to
Satan and evade the worst consequences of their criminality.

(Note that I am *not* arguing that "they weren't real Satanists,
because real Satanists wouldn't do that", the way many Christians do
when faced with examples of the historical intolerance of their
religion.  I'm saying the acts were not Satanically inspired because
the perpetrators initially said they weren't Satanically inspired, and
changed their stories only when it became convenient to displace
responsibility; and because the supposed "sacrifices" were not ritual
killings.)
--
Tim Maroney, Mac Software Consultant, sun!hoptoad!tim, tim@toad.com

"The Diabolonian position is new to the London playgoer of today, but not
to
lovers of serious literature.  From Prometheus to the Wagnerian
Siegfried,
some enemy of the gods, unterrified champion of those oppressed by them,
has
always towered among the heroes of the loftiest poetry."
- Shaw, "On Diabolonian Ethics"

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Msg #:  894                       SKEP Subboard
From:  JAN WILLEM NIENHUYS       Sent: 03-03-90 09:39
To:  ALL                       Rcvd: 03-27-90 00:20
Re:  (R) NON-OPTICAL EM TRANSM

From: wsadjw@eutws1.win.tue.nl (Jan Willem Nienhuys)
Date: 1 Mar 90 13:33:28 GMT
Organization: Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands
Message-ID: <1565@tuegate.tue.nl>
Newsgroups: sci.skeptic

In article <52798@bbn.COM> ncramer@labs-n.bbn.com (Nichael Cramer) writes:
>
>for the simple fact that there were no data that argued for it existence.
>That is, someone in the 15th century had no more basis for believing in
the
>atom than he had in believing in, say, Maxwell's Daemon as the basic
>constituent
>
Lucretius (96 BCE-55 BCE) argued that there are atoms. His reasons (data?)
were those of simplicity, and we might not find them compelling. He
mentions
however the incessant whirling of dust motes that you can see if a ray of
sunlight shines in an otherwise dark room: he explains this by saying that
they are buffeted by the invisible atoms, kind of Brownian motion
hypothesis
avant la lettre.
This brings me to another question: if you hold that things do not exist
unless science has proven their existence, would that imply that things
(like the roundness of the earth or atoms) stop existing when the relevant
science is forgotten?
J.W. Nienhuys,
Research Group Discrete Mathematics, Dept. of Mathematics and Computing
Science
Eindhoven University of Technology, P.O. BOX 513, 5600 MB Eindhoven
The Netherlands

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Msg #:  895                       SKEP Subboard
From:  SML108@PSUVM.PSU.EDU      Sent: 03-03-90 09:40
To:  ALL                       Rcvd: 03-27-90 00:20
Re:  (R) NON-OPTICAL EM TRANSM

From: SML108@psuvm.psu.edu
Date: 1 Mar 90 13:51:43 GMT
Organization: Penn State University
Message-ID: <90060.085143SML108@psuvm.psu.edu>
Newsgroups: sci.skeptic

In article <855@ucs.UAlberta.CA>, RHOPGOOD@ucs.UAlberta.CA (Robert
Hopgood)
says:
>Question -- did the atom not exist 400/500 years ago because "science"
could
>not prove it?
>
>I wonder what you would be saying "IF" the future allows ESP to be proven
to
>your satisfaction

Thank you for answering with typical bad parapsychology response to
disbelief in PK #124.

Your argument, like most of what the most vocal parapsychologists attempt
to babble as science, is irrelevant.  400-500 years ago, we lacked the
ability to detect atoms, but we did know cheap parlor tricks when we
saw them (at least some of the time).
It is blissfully simple to test the powers of any so called psychic.
Whenever they are tested under conditions in which cheating is not
possible, they fail.  I do not believe parapsychologists who have
reported positive results KNOW what controlled conditions are.

If James Randi ever gives out his money, I'll change my mind.  I
consider him an expert.  I consider Puthoff, Targ, Schmidt, Hasted,
and the rest of the jujubee sqaud loonies, no better than those
who attempt to patent perpetual motion machines.

But since you appear to consider me narrow minded, how much would
you like to bet that James Randi won't be giving out his money in
the next ten years?  If the profound discovery of PK is just around
the corner, it's easy money for you.

Scott

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Msg #:  896                       SKEP Subboard
From:  HOWARD STEEL              Sent: 03-03-90 10:25
To:  ALL                       Rcvd: 03-27-90 00:20
Re:  (R) MR. KIYOTA AND SPOON

From: howard@53iss6.Waterloo.NCR.COM (Howard Steel)
Date: 1 Mar 90 13:36:54 GMT
Organization: NCR Canada Ltd, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.
Message-ID: <233@53iss6.Waterloo.NCR.COM>
Newsgroups: sci.skeptic,sci.misc

In article <13982@cbnewsc.ATT.COM> res@cbnewsc.ATT.COM (Rich Strebendt)
writes:
>In article <10494@hoptoad.uucp>, tim@hoptoad.uucp (Tim Maroney) writes:
>| In article <1990Feb24.011349.18857@athena.mit.edu>
kiyoshi@athena.mit.edu
>| (Kiyoshi Kurihara) writes:
>| >What was the general conclusion about his trick?

>| Uri Geller has been extensively debunked.

>Prior to another appearance of Geller on Johnny Carson's show, another
>guest (I think it was Dr. Joyce Brothers, but I may be mistaken)
>happened upon some bent nails being held by a prop man.  She replaced
>the bent nails with straight ones.  Uri was strangely unable to bend
>nails onstage that evening!

Not to open a debate on Geller, (who needs it), but the above story sounds
rather suspicious in and of itself. Dr. Bros. just happened upon some prop
man, who just happened to be holding some bent nails, and just happened to
have a load of straight nails with her (as any good psychologist would),
and
just happened to either convince the prop man to go along with her
(hypnosis?)
or without his knowledge removed and replaced the nails the prop man was
holding. Enough.

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Msg #:  897                       SKEP Subboard
From:  SULLIVAN                  Sent: 03-03-90 13:22
To:  ALL                       Rcvd: 03-27-90 00:20
Re:  (R) NON-OPTICAL EM TRANSM

From: sullivan@csl-sun3.dcrt.nih.gov (Sullivan)
Date: 2 Mar 90 15:22:05 GMT
Organization: dcrt
Message-ID: <1385@nih-csl.UUCP>
Newsgroups: sci.skeptic

In article <855@ucs.UAlberta.CA>, RHOPGOOD@ucs.UAlberta.CA (Robert
Hopgood) writes:

> Question -- did the atom not exist 400/500 years ago because "science"
could
> not prove it?

Of course not.  This has nothing to do with the arguement either,
unless
you wish to say that science does not have the tools to detect a
phenomenon
that many people say the experience.  Science does have the tools,
it
is called
STATISTICS and the statistical tests run come up empty.  Why
should such
a phenomenon stop working when being tested by scientists?

> I wonder what you would be saying "IF" the future allows ESP to be
proven to
> your satisfaction.

Well, if anyone came up with some real repeatable statistical
evidence
I would be swayed.  Lots of work has been done by
parapsychologists
and most has been shown to be full of errors and others have not
been repeatable.  How can you explain a phenomenon that is widely
experienced yet, when tested, is not detected?  How can so many
claim the abilities of predicting the future, knowing what has
just
happened far away, etc... when experiments, which try to show that
these
things are more than just chance, result in nothing more than
chance?

Science, while being skeptical of anything new, will not ignore
evidence
that is solid and repeatable.  I have said this before.  The
researcher that
shows solid evidence for ESP will be up for a Nobel prize.  But,
when
nothing is there, it is hard for researchers to go chasing after
something
that has no real evidence after many many years of testing and has
its
roots in mysticism.

Scientists are not closed minded... they just do not waste their
time
on research which has shown no positive results and has no basis
in
reality.  I know people who have said that earthquakes and bad
weather were caused by the Apollo astronauts walking on the moon.
But
I know of no one who began running an experiment to show it to be
true.
People tend to make connections between two events
(syncronicity???)
and thinking about someone, then learning they were in an accident
at that
time draws one to make the connection, even though the person
thinks about
the other person every day.  ESP, in my opinion, is a
manifestation of the
way the human mind interprets events, and not a reality.

Jim Sullivan

sullivan@alw.nih.gov

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Msg #:  898                       SKEP Subboard
From:  GEORGE WILLIAM HERBERT    Sent: 03-03-90 18:23
To:  ALL                       Rcvd: 03-27-90 00:21
Re:  PAGANISM AND SATANISM

From: gwh@bigbang.Berkeley.EDU (George William Herbert)
Date: 3 Mar 90 04:55:06 GMT
Organization: ucb
Message-ID: <1990Mar3.045506.6775@agate.berkeley.edu>
Newsgroups: sci.skeptic

Much as i find the discussions on paganism and satanism
interesting,
they have gone beyond any reasonable connection with skepticism.  Could we
please move them to email and/or other
newsgroups?

Thanks.
-George

*******************************************************************************
George William Herbert     JOAT For Hire: Anything, Anywhere: My Price
UCB Naval Architecture undergrad: Engineering with a Bouyant Attitude
:-)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
gwh@ocf.berkeley.edu      ||||||||||| "What do I have to do to convince
you?"-Q
gwh@soda.berkeley.edu     |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||
"Die."-Worf
maniac@garnet.berkeley.edu||"Very good, Worf. Eaten any good books
recently?"-Q

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Msg #:  899                       SKEP Subboard
From:  MIKE L HARVEY             Sent: 03-03-90 18:23
To:  ALL                       Rcvd: 03-27-90 00:21
Re:  NEWS FLASH

From: mlh@flash.bellcore.com (Mike L Harvey)
Date: 3 Mar 90 05:40:36 GMT
Organization: The Heart of Darkness
Message-ID: <20552@bellcore.bellcore.com>
Newsgroups: talk.bizarre,sci.skeptic

Well, there has been another mysterious
disappearance off the coast of Bermuda,
scene of many strange incidents over the
years.

Today the Bermuda Triangle disappeared
without a trace...

"There's just *no* sign of it.  It's
as though it never existed at all," is
how one eyewitness described the scene.

What I gave up for Lent:  All hope for Hi Ho Silver.

Mike Harvey   Internet: mlh@mookie.bellcore.com   uucp:
bellcore!thumper!mlh

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Msg #:  900                       SKEP Subboard
From:  TIM MARONEY               Sent: 03-03-90 18:23
To:  ALL                       Rcvd: 03-27-90 00:21
Re:  (R) PAGANISM AND SATANISM

From: tim@hoptoad.uucp (Tim Maroney)
Date: 4 Mar 90 00:34:52 GMT
Organization: Eclectic Software, San Francisco
Message-ID: <10564@hoptoad.uucp>
Newsgroups: sci.skeptic

In article <1990Mar3.045506.6775@agate.berkeley.edu> gwh@OCF.Berkeley.EDU
(George William Herbert) writes:
>       Much as i find the discussions on paganism and satanism
interesting,
>they have gone beyond any reasonable connection with skepticism.  Could
we
>please move them to email and/or other newsgroups?

Golly, George, you'd better inform the Bay Area Skeptics and the
Committee for Skeptical Examination of Religion right away!
--
Tim Maroney, Mac Software Consultant, sun!hoptoad!tim, tim@toad.com

"The time is gone, the song is over.
Thought I'd something more to say." - Roger Waters, Time

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Msg #:  901                       SKEP Subboard
From:  PAUL JOHNSON              Sent: 03-03-90 18:23
To:  ALL                       Rcvd: 03-27-90 00:22
Re:  (R) BRITISH FIELD CIRCLES

From: paj@mrcu (Paul Johnson)
Date: 2 Mar 90 09:32:11 GMT
Organization: GEC-Marconi Research Centre, Great Baddow, UK
Message-ID: <455@argus.mrcu>
Newsgroups: sci.skeptic

>In article <2166@rodan.acs.syr.edu>, clallen@rodan.acs.syr.edu (Charles
>L Allen) writes:
>>
>>      A couple of weeks ago I saw a segement on TV(UNSOLVED MYSTERIES),
>> about a recurring phenomenon in England called 'field circles'.
>
>       I just saw this... I think it was National Geographic Magazine or
>       Air and Space Magazine... Anyway, the explanation was that the
circles
>       were caused by ancient burial mounds.  The mounds have long been
worn
>       down or leveled by farmers but the disturbance in the ground
causes
>       water to not be distributed evenly in the ground.  Thus you get
>       some crops being brown along the edges.  The magazine showed an
arial
>       view and there are many rings, some overlapping each other.

This is true, but it is not what we are talking about.  The crop
"ancient burial mounds" and other archeological features are irregular
shapes which can be spotted ba ariel photography.  Last summer was
long and dry in the UK, so the archeologists had a lot of success.

(UK readers: during the summer, have a look at fields you pass in cars
or trains.  Chances are some of them will have long strips of uneven
growth.  These are the remains of medieval strip farms when every
peasant had his own little patch)

However, the field circles mentioned on TV and in the book "Circular
Evidence" are not of this sort.  They are stands of wheat or corn
which have large circular areas flattened in a very strange way.  The
odd points are:

A: The areas are perfectly circular (to within a 1 or 2 % I think).

B: The corn has been flattened by bending each stem near ground level
so that it lies pointing around the circle.

C: A common configuration is one large circle and 2 or 4 smaller
circles at angles of 180, 90 or 60 degrees (like there should have
been more to make up a regular hexagon)

D: No footprints or marks through the corn to get to the circles.

E: Diameter varies, but can be up to 10-20 meters.  These things are
big.

Various explanations have been proposed: freak wind conditions (seems
rather regular behaviour for wind),  peculiar hoaxers (would need to
be very ingenious and careful: flattening corn in this way manually is
difficult) , flying saucers landing (why only on standing corn?  why
don't they get out?  If they want to be known, why not make themselves
obvious and if they do not, why leave such noticable clues?)

I personally favour the wind theory.  First, these circles seem to
appear in very particular locations (downwind of small isolated hills)
during particular weather conditions (light breeze, certain
temperature conditions).  Secondly, I fly hang gliders, and so spend a
large amount of time in fields watching the wind.  I once saw a small
(1 metre) circle of grass being flattened in exactly the same way, and
have heard another pilot report of a big area of flattened grass in
the middle of the field (he was flying over it at the time: those of
us on the ground saw nothing: the circle was gone by the time the next
pilot (me) went over).  I do not know about the large circle, but the
small one was stationary and lasted about a minute after it was
noticed.  Of course, being green grass, it disappeared after the wind
that caused it stopped.

As I recall, there was no wind and a high pressure area was over the
UK causing an inversion with occasional thermals punching through it.
There are no hills in the area (we get towed up) but there were hedges
and farm buildings nearby.  This was a year or two ago.

I seem to recall seing in the New Scientist a theory involving
cylindrical vortices rolling off the hills, turning vertical and then
standing in one place.  Sorry I can't recall the details.

Paul.
--
Paul Johnson                               UUCP:
!mcvax!ukc!gec-mrc!paj
--------------------------------!-------------------------|-------------------
GEC-Marconi Research is not     | Telex: 995016 GECRES G  | Tel: +44 245
73331
responsible for my opinions.    | Inet: paj@uk.co.gec-mrc | Fax: +44 245
75244

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Msg #:  902                       SKEP Subboard
From:  R'YKANDAR KORRA'TI        Sent: 03-05-90 12:47
To:  ALL                       Rcvd: 03-27-90 00:23
Re:  (R) DEFINITION OF SATANIS

From: phoenix@ms.uky.edu (R'ykandar Korra'ti)
Date: 3 Mar 90 19:06:33 GMT
Organization: El'n'tk National Spaceport, Mission Control
Message-ID: <14411@s.ms.uky.edu>
Newsgroups: alt.pagan,sci.skeptic

In article <10550@hoptoad.uucp> tim@hoptoad.UUCP (Tim Maroney) writes:
>In some article, phoenix@ms.uky.edu (R'ykandar Korra'ti) (me) wrote:
>>Tim -
>>     I know that you are not what could be called friendly to the
existance
>>of the alt.pagan newsgroup.
>Why do you say that?  I supported the creation of such a newsgroup; I
>did prefer a more inclusive name, but that doesn't make me hostile to
>the group as it was formed.
All I saw were posts opposing the creation of a neopaganism
newsgroups, and your repeated claims that the vote/poll showing support
for it was fraudulant, and your attacks upon the person trying to get
it started. From this, I made my opinion statement.
>>I know that you also have personal objections to
>>neopaganism as a whole.
>I do?  Again, I am unsure where you are getting this from.  All
>political and religious groups have problems, and Neo-Paganism is no
>exception.  But pointing out its prejudice against Satanists and
>other problems such as widespread historical inaccuracy doesn't make
>me an enemy of "neopaganism as a whole" any more than pointing out
>institutionalized misogyny in Orthodox Judaism makes me an
>anti-Semite.  Of course, both Orthodox Jews and Neo-Pagans find it
>easier to tar me with this brush than to respond substantially
>to my criticisms.
My opinions and impressions have been based entirely upon the
contents of _your_ messages. I've tried to ignore the responses to
your messages when justifying this opinion to myself before I posted
my message containing these comments. Also, I didn't call you an "enemy"
of Neopaganism (which implies that I think you are trying to eliminate
it); simply that you have objections, from what I've seen, to a _lot_
of it. There's a big difference.
Also, you imply - whether you intend to or not - that I prefer
to "tar you with some brush" which I, from my following statement,
clearly don't consider a "brush." I really _don't_ care whether or not
you "like" the neopagan movements.
>>     But why the hell do you insist upon taking one or two twits and
holding
>>them up as examples of the REST of us? I find your statement here to not
only
>>be unfounded but insulting. Are all Mormans like the twits in Ohio which
>>participated in the ritual murders? No. Are all conservatives really
fascists
>>in democratic clothing? No. Are all liberals commies? No. So why do you
insist
>>upon calling all neopagans names based upon the opinions of what in my
>>experience has been a _very small_ minority of people? At best it's a
double
>>standard; at worst it's vindicitive and mean-spirited.
>First of all, please keep your Red-bashing to yourself. The word
>"commie" is a nasty political slur which has been used to ruin
>thousands of lives in the United States and to kill millions of foreign
>nationals.  It has no more place in civilized discourse than does the
>word "nigger".  If you have objections to Communism, please state them
>as such.
I was using the word for effect. As a former member of the radical
left wing (and now all over the board politically, as it occurred to me
that dogma on one side is no better than dogma on the other), would think
that I'd have the right (no pun intended). I still have sympathy for
the ideals of the left wing - I simply think that proper execution is
not possible in this world.
I also find it interesting that you have no objections to my
"slandering" the right wing by associating it with fascism. Why didn't
you? It's been used just as often for just the same goals. It has been
used to ruin thousands of lives all over the globe, and has resulted in
the death of millions of foreign nationals.
>Your repeated misinterpretations and exagerrations of my remarks make
>it clear that you're locked into a rather common religious mindset; all
>criticism from without the community is by nature unjustified and
>offensive, and proves bias against the community.
And you call _me_ guilty of making blanket assumptions about
individuals? I at least studied _several_ of your posts (for the last
few months); you read one and make an opinion about me that I find
highly opinionated and insulting - not to mention entirely inaccurate.
I regularlly discuss neopaganism on predominantly Christian
networks. I listen to what they have to say because I know that virtually
_everybody_ can contribute, by what I consider to be the very _definition_
of neopagan beliefs. (Not everyone believes this, fine, I doubt you can
find _anything_ that _everybody_ believes...)
>Wake up; no group is all-good, and yours is no exception.
"Wake up." Clever.
"No group is all-good." No kidding, guy. Again, you're the one
ascribing beliefs and sentements without basis. I'm fully aware of
problems in neopaganism; I've commented upon them in the past, in
other forums (knowledge of which I do not expect you to have); but
somehow, I've just managed to piss fewer people off than you have.
While being effective. Perhaps there are method other than the 4x4
blow.
I think that _every_ group I'm in has problems; that is simply
the nature of things. To believe otherwise would be silly.
>It's clear that to you, it is "antagnistic and unfounded" to point out
>*any* characteristic problem of Neo-Paganism.
I make one statement stating that I think you're off base (because
in my experience, your statements _have_ been off base) and you make
such a blanket statement? Please! Follow your own rules!
>>[My statement on religious liberties]
>Well said, except for the continuation of gratuitous Red-bashing.
>There is a rather insulting assumption that all your readers will
>find left-wing politics distasteful.
This is the United States of America. In general, this is a
correct assumption. I know from personal experience. It's called
"playing to your audience." In other circles (no pun intended) I
would have picked the bugaboo of that group. (Note the use of the
word "bugaboo" both here AND in my previous post. It's used similarly
to "boogeyman" - which screams that I have no appreciation for their fear
of the group in mention. Pay attention to the subtile points if
you want to get the entire message.)
I didn't _do_ any "red bashing" here; you read it into the
message. If I've done that to yours, my apologies; but what I still
consider to be the mean and vindictive tone of your reply makes it
more, not less, likely.
The point still stands. You strongly implied that all neopagans
have a belief that in my personal experience (_as I stated in my
original message) is simply _not_ _true_. You didn't _state_ this,
no, but you _did_ strongly imply it. I responded to this; you reply
with a list of opinions about me that seem formed entirely from
one source:
The fact that I disagreed with you.
I can repect a lot of things. I can't respect that.
- R'ykandar.
--
| R'ykandar Korra'ti | Editor, LOW ORBIT | PLink: Skywise | CIS 72406,370
|
| Elfinkind, Unite! | phoenix@ms.uky.edu | phoenix%ms.uky.edu@ukcc.bitnet
|

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Msg #:  903                       SKEP Subboard
From:  THE JADE PIPER,,,         Sent: 03-05-90 12:47
To:  ALL                       Rcvd: 03-27-90 00:23
Re:  (R) SATANISM: MYTH AND TR

From: schmidea@clutx.clarkson.edu (The Jade Piper,,,)
Date: 4 Mar 90 02:48:35 GMT
Organization: Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY
Message-ID: <1990Mar4.024835.6086@sun.soe.clarkson.edu>
Newsgroups: alt.pagan,sci.skeptic

From article <10551@hoptoad.uucp>, by tim@hoptoad.uucp (Tim Maroney):
> From article <10483@hoptoad.uucp>, by tim@hoptoad.uucp (Tim Maroney):
>>> Given that these factors added up to simple fraud in the case of
Lauren
>>> Stratford (Laurel Wilson), it is plain that the similar stories by
such
>>> people as Mike Warnke, John Todd Collins, Stormie Omartian, and
>>> Michelle Smith must be considered presumptively false until they come
>>> up to certain minimum standards of evidence.
>

[ I said it wasn't plain, Tim pointed out the last sentence. ]

Point.  Either I misread it or missed it entirely.  I don't feel
that
they should be considered automaticaly false, but there must be some form
of
corroberating evidence.

>
>>      I don't think there is any "Satanic conspiracy", I think that
there
>>are some seriously twisted people that have chosen to identify with a
deity
>>that is historicly known as evil.
>
> I take it that you mean "witches", historically seen as evil?  I have
> to say I find your statement rather offensive.  I have known many
> witches, and few if any of them were "seriously twisted".  Their
> motives in identifying themselves with an historical symbol of evil are
> first, to identify their sympathies more with the victims of Christian
> intolerance than with the perpetrators (much the same can be said of
> Templars and Satanists, of course), and second, to express personal
> sympathy for those mythological structures that Christianity opposed
> and demonized.  They are intelligent adversaries of the evils of the
> Christian Church for the most part, not "seriously twisted people" as
> per your stereotype.
>

Stunned disbelief and amazement.

I have no CLUE on how you derived the meaning of witch from that
sentence.  Well, perhaps that some Satanists call themselves witches, but
other
than that, I'm shocked at your reply.  The "real" witches, in my mind, are
the
followers of Wicca, of which my girlfriend is.  As far as I know, the
Earth
Goddess has never been identifyed as evil.  What I'm talking about, since
you *obviously* missed it, is that there are people who are mentally
unstable
that have chosen to follow the worship of some historicly evil deities.
The
deities I had in mind, since I must spell it out for you, are Satan, Set,
and
Kali.  Of all the witches that *I* know, none had ever identified
themselves
with that group or any other gods of a similar nature.

You read points into my article that were nowhere *near* what I
meant, and.... I just stunned on how far you missed the point.  And the
tone of your article implys a strong anti-establishment Xian attitude.
Etiher
you got spanked with a bible once to often in your youth, or something.
Wow.
You have my deepest symphathies, I hope you were able to find some
healing.

>>I'm not saying that there is any
>>organizational ties between the incidents.
>
> Well, that's big of you.  It would be even bigger if there were any
> incidents to explain.  The drug dealers in Matamoros didn't call

[ stuff deleted ]

>
> (Note that I am *not* arguing that "they weren't real Satanists,
> because real Satanists wouldn't do that", the way many Christians do
> when faced with examples of the historical intolerance of their
> religion.  I'm saying the acts were not Satanically inspired because
> the perpetrators initially said they weren't Satanically inspired, and
> changed their stories only when it became convenient to displace
> responsibility; and because the supposed "sacrifices" were not ritual
> killings.)
> --
> Tim Maroney, Mac Software Consultant, sun!hoptoad!tim, tim@toad.com

I'm not saying they were either.  I agree that they probably
changed
their stories too.  What I'm talking about, and always have been, about
the
lone wolf or 3 to 6 man group that would kidnap a runaway or prostitute
and
use them as a sacrifice.  If you've never encountered that type in your
travels
then They have blessed you (Pop Sky & Mom Earth).  The cult of Kali was
very
hard for the english to find, and they were huge.  Those lone
practitioners
will be damn hard to find.

Tim, you missed the point of about 80% of what I was saying.  If I
didn't communicate properly, than I'm sorry.  But I'm pretty sure I made
myself as clear as possible.

Wow.

Jade -- the man who would be king (of the East).
schmidea@clutx.clarkson.edu

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Msg #:  904                       SKEP Subboard
From:  MIKE VAN PELT             Sent: 03-05-90 12:47
To:  ALL                       Rcvd: 03-27-90 00:24
Re:  (R) NEWS FLASH!  BERMUDA

From: mvp@v7fs1.UUCP (Mike Van Pelt)
Date: 3 Mar 90 10:43:12 GMT
Organization: Video 7 + G2 = Headland Technology
Message-ID: <1793@v7fs1.UUCP>
Newsgroups: talk.bizarre,sci.skeptic

In article <20552@bellcore.bellcore.com> mlh@flash.UUCP (Mike L Harvey)
writes:
>  Today the Bermuda Triangle disappeared without a trace...

That's true, I haven't heard anything about the Deadly Bermuda Triangle
in years.  I had wondered what had happened to it.

Has anyone read Lawrence Kusche's book, _The Bermuda Triangle Mystery,
Solved_?  It's must reading for anyone interested in the BT stories.
Where the research for most BT books only goes as far as the previous
BT book (and improves on all it's stories!)  Kusche went back to the
original newspaper accounts, _Lloyd's Registry of Shipping_, and the
original Coast Guard and Weather Service reports.  It's amazing how
many of those 'mysterious disapperances' are not so mysterious after
all.

Oops, this is crossposted to talk.bizarre... I need some bizarreness.
Well, maybe my .signature will do...
--
Mike Van Pelt            Paradimethylaminobenzaldehyde,
Headland Technology      Go soak your head in a good strong insecticide,
(Was: Video 7)           Slosh it around and impregnate your brain
...ames!vsi1!v7fs1!mvp   With dichlordiphenyltrichloroethane.

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Msg #:  905                       SKEP Subboard
From:  TOBY@R1.CS.MAN.AC.UK      Sent: 03-05-90 12:48
To:  ALL                       Rcvd: 03-27-90 00:24
Re:  SKEPTICAL MAGAZINE: GOOD

From: toby@r1.cs.man.ac.uk
Date: 3 Mar 90 13:53:39 GMT
Organization: University of Manchester, UK
Message-ID: <1029@m1.cs.man.ac.uk>
Newsgroups: sci.skeptic

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SEND FOR A SAMPLE ISSUE NOW! -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Toby Howard Computer Science Department, University of Manchester, Lecturer Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PL, U.K. janet: toby@uk.ac.man.cs.p1 internet: toby%p1.cs.man.ac.uk@nsfnet-relay.ac.uk earn/bitnet: toby%uk.ac.man.cs.p1@UKACRL uucp: ...!ukc!mup1!toby voice: +44 61-275-6274 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Toby Howard Computer Science Department, University of Manchester, Lecturer Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PL, U.K. janet: toby@uk.ac.man.cs.p1 internet: toby%p1.cs.man.ac.uk@nsfnet-relay.ac.uk earn/bitnet: toby%uk.ac.man.cs.p1@UKACRL uucp: ...!ukc!mup1!toby voice: +44 61-275-6274 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 906 SKEP Subboard From: DON STEINY Sent: 03-05-90 12:49 To: ALL Rcvd: 03-27-90 00:24 Re: COLD FUSION STILL WARM From: steiny@hpcupt1.HP.COM (Don Steiny) Date: 3 Mar 90 17:53:52 GMT Organization: Don Steiny Software Message-ID: <-284609993@hpcupt1.HP.COM> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic The Wall Street Journal, March 2, 1990 has an article titled "'Cold Fusion' Research Dispels Some Doubts." The article basically says that several groups have reproduced two of the results claimed by Pons and Fleischmann, especially exess tritum and excess heat. According to the the WSJ, a "growing number of experiments suggest that the phenomenon can't be written off as scientific error." Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico have detected significant production of tritium, which can be the byproduct of nuclear reactions, in several of their latest cold fusion experiments. Large amounts of tritum also have been detected in cold fusion experiments at the Bhabha Atomic Research Center near Bombay India, and at the Texas A&M University at College Station. Small amounts of excess tritum in cold fusion experimental "cells" have been reported by scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee and at Case-Western Reserve University in Cleveland. The article goes on to say that the results are not reproducable at will. The scientists have been setting up several cells and monitoring them. Suddenly, for reasons not yet understood, some cells will begin to produce heat and excess tritium. In india, at the Bhabha Atomic Research Center, the Indian scientists have worked for 25 years with Canadian-designed atomic reactors which require careful monitoring of the tritium levels of the water and the air surrounding them. Because of the the article says, they have become the world's leading experts at monitoring tritium. They have found tritium levels of 20,000 times normal in their experiments. At Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Charles Scott says: "we feel that we have incontrovertible evidence that we've detected excess energy" in the form of heat. Mr. Scott says that he is gettin 5% to 10% more energy from the experiments than is being put into the cells. Don Steiny --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 907 SKEP Subboard From: RICH STREBENDT Sent: 03-05-90 12:49 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:38 Re: (R) MR. KIYOTA AND SPOON From: res@cbnewsc.ATT.COM (Rich Strebendt) Date: 4 Mar 90 05:06:07 GMT Organization: AT&T Bell Laboratories Message-ID: <14098@cbnewsc.ATT.COM> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic,sci.misc In article <233@53iss6.Waterloo.NCR.COM>, howard@53iss6.Waterloo.NCR.COM (Howard Steel) writes: > In article <13982@cbnewsc.ATT.COM> res@cbnewsc.ATT.COM (Rich Strebendt) writes: > >Prior to another appearance of Geller on Johnny Carson's show, another > >guest (I think it was Dr. Joyce Brothers, but I may be mistaken) > >happened upon some bent nails being held by a prop man. She replaced > >the bent nails with straight ones. Uri was strangely unable to bend > >nails onstage that evening! > > Not to open a debate on Geller, (who needs it), but the above story sounds > rather suspicious in and of itself. Dr. Bros. just happened upon some prop > man, who just happened to be holding some bent nails, and just happened to > have a load of straight nails with her (as any good psychologist would), and > just happened to either convince the prop man to go along with her (hypnosis?) > or without his knowledge removed and replaced the nails the prop man was > holding. Enough. Sorry, it was late when I posted the story above, and I simplified it a bit. Also, I am giving the story from memory, so some of the particulars may not be correct. My recollection of the story is that the guest (Dr. Brothers?) found some bent nails in an area in which props are held prior to their use on the show. There was a prop man watching over all of the props for that evening. She obtained some similar, unbent, nails (from a carpenter working backstage?) and replaced the "damaged" nails with new ones, as a "favor" to her "friend" Mr. Geller (as she told the prop man). Uri's attempt to "bend" nails on the show that night flopped. Rich Strebendt ...!att!ihlpb!res r.strebendt@att.com --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 908 SKEP Subboard From: MIKE L HARVEY Sent: 03-05-90 12:49 To: ALL Rcvd: 03-27-90 00:26 Re: (R) NEWS FLASH! BERMUDA From: mlh@flash.bellcore.com (Mike L Harvey) Date: 4 Mar 90 07:58:51 GMT Organization: The Heart of Darkness Message-ID: <20564@bellcore.bellcore.com> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <1793@v7fs1.UUCP> mvp@v7fs1.UUCP (Mike Van Pelt) writes: >In article <20552@bellcore.bellcore.com> mlh@flash.UUCP (Mike L Harvey) writes: >> Today the Bermuda Triangle disappeared without a trace... > >That's true, I haven't heard anything about the Deadly Bermuda Triangle >in years. I had wondered what had happened to it. > >Has anyone read Lawrence Kusche's book, _The Bermuda Triangle Mystery, >Solved_? It's must reading for anyone interested in the BT stories. YES! Great Book! I had read the book by Charles Berlitz (was that the guy's name?) and seen him on tv telling about some of the supposed things that had happened. I had also gotten some other books on the topic, but after I read TBTMS, I chucked the others out, and gave up on the whole thing... After all, you can't argue with the facts (which Berlitz and co. had conveniently forgotten or misrepresented.) >Where the research for most BT books only goes as far as the previous >BT book (and improves on all it's stories!) Kusche went back to the >original newspaper accounts, _Lloyd's Registry of Shipping_, and the >original Coast Guard and Weather Service reports. It's amazing how >many of those 'mysterious disapperances' are not so mysterious after >all. I liked the part about Flight 19. To compare the BT enthusiasts' version of events, and the debunkers' version is pretty hilarious. The enthusiasts make the disappearance sound mysterious, solely by leaving out most of the known facts. > >Oops, this is crossposted to talk.bizarre... I moved it back. Not that there's really much to discuss on the subject of the BT (maybe that's why it's disappeared) except the willingness of the public to believe anything that's in print or on tv. What I gave up for Lent: All hope for Hi Ho Silver. Mike Harvey Internet: mlh@mookie.bellcore.com uucp: bellcore!thumper!mlh --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 909 SKEP Subboard From: RANJAN MUTTIAH Sent: 03-05-90 12:50 To: ALL Rcvd: 03-27-90 00:26 Re: (R) NEWS FLASH! BERMUDA From: g2g@mentor.cc.purdue.edu (Ranjan Muttiah) Date: 4 Mar 90 16:48:57 GMT Organization: Purdue University Message-ID: <8109@mentor.cc.purdue.edu> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <20564@bellcore.bellcore.com> mlh@flash.UUCP (Mike L Harvey) writes: > I moved it back. Not that there's really much to discuss > on the subject of the BT (maybe that's why it's disappeared) What about Atlantis ? It was confirmed by Plato I believe. --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 910 SKEP Subboard From: L.A. MORAN Sent: 03-05-90 12:50 To: ALL Rcvd: 03-27-90 00:26 Re: BERMUDA TRIANGLE From: lamoran@gpu.utcs.utoronto.ca (L.A. Moran) Date: 4 Mar 90 20:27:20 GMT Organization: UTCS Public Access Message-ID: <1990Mar4.202720.20799@gpu.utcs.utoronto.ca> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic What an amazing coincidence that the topic of the Bermuda Triangle should come up today! In the Toronto Star (circulation 520,000) on this day (Sunday, March 4, 1990) there is a major article on the Bermuda Triangle. It is written by the paper's leading "science writer" and covers almost two full pages complete with maps and excellent drawings. The headline is: "BERMUDA TRIANGLE Unlocking Secrets of Deadly Puzzle Canadian scientist's theory was rejected but now his explanation of undersea gas hydrates gains credence as cause of spooky disappearances." The article highlights the Cyclops sinking, the disappearance of Flight 19, the sinking of the Ithaca Island and the Milton Iatrides, and the downing of a USAF Phantom II in 1971 as examples of mysteries. ("These are some of the better-known mysteries of the triangle, which has taken the lives of some 1,000 people, most of them gone in a flash, without a cry or a trace.") The author, one Jack Miller who claims to be a science writer, talks of "...the spooky 110-year history of The Bermuda Triangle..." and the "...more than 150 ships and planes that vanished in the stretch of water between Bermuda, Puerto Rico and the Florida coast...". He claims that scientists at the recent AAAS meeting in New Orleans have shown that giant bubbles of methane rising from the ocean floor are responsible for the ship sinkings and aircraft crashes! Of significant interest to the readers of this newsgroup is the following paragraph which is imbedded in the article: "Over the years, many serious scientists have scoffed at at the idea of a mystery, blaming the incidents on a mixture of sudden storms, sloppy navigation, mechanical failures, sensational and irresponsible reporting. When colorful theorists put the blame on everything from space aliens to death rays coming up from the lost continent of Atlantis, the scoffers grew fiercer and sounded all the more convincing." If the reporter believes this then why look for kooky explanations of non- mysteries? I have written a letter to the editor to complain about this "sensational and irresponsible" reporting. It seems that even when a myth is thoroughly debunked there are still those who cling to irrationality. -Larry Moran P.S. The Toronto Star is usually a reputable newspaper. It is embarassing that such a ridiculous article would appear in this city's leading newspaper. --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 911 SKEP Subboard From: LARRY SNYDER Sent: 03-06-90 21:25 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:17 Re: (R) WHAT'S THE LATEST VER From: larry@nstar.UUCP (Larry Snyder) Date: 5 Mar 90 17:31:17 GMT Organization: Northern Star Communications, Notre Dame, IN USA Message-ID: Newsgroups: sci.skeptic test tet --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 912 SKEP Subboard From: PAUL GILLINGWATER Sent: 03-06-90 21:25 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:17 Re: GENUINE EARTHQUAKE PREDIC From: paul@actrix.co.nz (Paul Gillingwater) Date: 3 Mar 90 21:56:21 GMT Organization: Actrix Public Access UNIX, Wellington, New Zealand Message-ID: <1990Mar3.215621.26104@actrix.co.nz> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic,nz.general Hi, Here in New Zealand we are quite used to earthquakes. We have them fairly regularly, and our scientists are getting pretty good at the science of seismology. However even they say that no-one, not even them, can predict earthquakes on a short-term basis. Until now, or so it seems. Dr Thomas Baker (a medical practitioner) claims to have predicted an earthquake. Recently in NZ we had a force 5.5 (Richter scale) quake, which rattled a few dishes and broke a few windows. In a public notice published in a Wellington newspaper some nine days before the quake, Dr Baker predicted successfully the time and magnitude of the quake, to within a few hours. And now he says an even bigger one is on the way.... His latest prediction, which he has gone public with because "it disturbed me so much I had to speak out", is that there will be a major earthquake in New Zealand on March 10th, 1990. That's in just under a week. He says it will be around force eight on the Richter scale, and will be centred in Lower Hutt (a small satellite city of Wellington, at the southern tip of the North Island of New Zealand. He predicts it will strike at around 1 a.m., New Zealand time (we're 12 hours ahead of GMT). I guess this falls into the category of a testable proposition, huh guys? If there *is* a force 8 in Wellington, this will upset a LOT of people (and crockery), so I guess even the usually insular US news gathering media will sit up and take notice if it happens. Stay tuned... -- Paul Gillingwater, paul@actrix.co.nz --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 913 SKEP Subboard From: PAUL GILLINGWATER Sent: 03-06-90 21:25 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:39 Re: (R) BRITISH FIELD CIRCLES From: paul@actrix.co.nz (Paul Gillingwater) Date: 3 Mar 90 22:00:07 GMT Organization: Actrix Public Access UNIX, Wellington, New Zealand Message-ID: <1990Mar3.220007.26173@actrix.co.nz> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <1370@nih-csl.UUCP> sullivan@csl-sun3.dcrt.nih.gov (Sullivan) writes: >I found the article on these circles. It was in the February/March 1990 >issue of the Smithsonian's "Air and Space" magazine. A picture showed >a green field of crops with brown circles everywhere. The explanation >was that they were caused by bronze age burial mounds once being there. Hmmm... we've had similar occurences here in NZ, with mysterious circules appearing in fields. However, NZ was only settled this millenium... and certainly never had any bronze-age burial mounds... -- Paul Gillingwater, paul@actrix.co.nz --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 914 SKEP Subboard From: BXR307@CSC.ANU.OZ Sent: 03-06-90 21:26 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:18 Re: (R) GENUINE EARTHQUAKE PR From: bxr307@csc.anu.oz Date: 6 Mar 90 14:36:57 GMT Organization: Computer Services, Australian National University Message-ID: <1661.25f3cb09@csc.anu.oz> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <1990Mar3.215621.26104@actrix.co.nz>, paul@actrix.co.nz (Paul Gillingwater) writes: > Hi, > > Here in New Zealand we are quite used to earthquakes. We have them > fairly regularly, and our scientists are getting pretty good at the > science of seismology. However even they say that no-one, not even > them, can predict earthquakes on a short-term basis. > > Until now, or so it seems. Dr Thomas Baker (a medical practitioner) > claims to have predicted an earthquake. Recently in NZ we had a force > 5.5 (Richter scale) quake, which rattled a few dishes and broke a few > windows. In a public notice published in a Wellington newspaper some > nine days before the quake, Dr Baker predicted successfully the time and > magnitude of the quake, to within a few hours. And now he says an even > bigger one is on the way.... > > His latest prediction, which he has gone public with because "it > disturbed me so much I had to speak out", is that there will be a major > earthquake in New Zealand on March 10th, 1990. That's in just under a > week. He says it will be around force eight on the Richter scale, and > will be centred in Lower Hutt (a small satellite city of Wellington, at > the southern tip of the North Island of New Zealand. He predicts it > will strike at around 1 a.m., New Zealand time (we're 12 hours ahead of > GMT). > > I guess this falls into the category of a testable proposition, huh > guys? If there *is* a force 8 in Wellington, this will upset a LOT of > people (and crockery), so I guess even the usually insular US news > gathering media will sit up and take notice if it happens. Stay > tuned... > -- This of course all depends on whether or not Dr.Baker is making this prediction as a qualified seismologist or a fringe crackpot. If its the former then I presume he has some valid scientific method to back up his prediction. If its the later then I'll give 10:1 odds against him being accurate with his prediction. :-) Brian Ross --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 915 SKEP Subboard From: DR. SANIO Sent: 03-07-90 02:06 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:18 Re: (R) NON-OPTICAL EM TRANSM From: es@sinix.UUCP (Dr. Sanio) Date: 5 Mar 90 20:06:48 GMT Organization: Siemens AG, DI ST SP4, Munich Message-ID: <1040@athen.sinix.UUCP> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <855@ucs.UAlberta.CA> RHOPGOOD@ucs.UAlberta.CA writes: >In article <90058.112459SML108@psuvm.psu.edu>, SML108@psuvm.psu.edu writes: >>There has yet to be a well designed ESP experiment with a positive result. >> >>Until such incident occurs, ESP does not exist... >> >>Scott Le Grand aka sml108@psuvm.psu.edu > >Question -- did the atom not exist 400/500 years ago because "science" could >not prove it? > The atom was postulated long before it was "proven". The postulate was that there would be something which couldn't be split furthermore (atom, greek: the unsplittable). With growing knowledge, that was modified in the way "not to be split be chemical measures", long before nuclear fission. The postulate was stated from evidence (matter can be split mechanically/chemi- cally etc), knowledge (about elements) and hypotheses. Belief didn't play a role, as far as I know. With ESP, I see belief, lots of hypotheses, but no evidence. >I wonder what you would be saying "IF" the future allows ESP to be proven to >your satisfaction Personally, I would be faszinated by a new field of knowledge. regards, es --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 916 SKEP Subboard From: MICHAEL O'CONNOR Sent: 03-07-90 14:41 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:18 Re: (R) MR. KIYOTA AND SPOON From: moconnor@vela.acs.oakland.edu (Michael O'Connor) Date: 2 Mar 90 16:50:15 GMT Organization: Oakland University, Rochester MI Message-ID: <189@vela.acs.oakland.edu> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic,sci.misc I would not necessarily doubt the claims of Dr. Joyce Brothers with regard to fraud. In light of her game show antics, when she cheated to win (at the time) large sums of money, I could easily see her looking for a scam - especially in Uri Geller. --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 917 SKEP Subboard From: PETER SCOTT Sent: 03-07-90 14:43 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:18 Re: (R) NON-OPTICAL EM TRANSM From: pjs@plato.JPL.NASA.gov (Peter Scott) Date: 7 Mar 90 01:34:00 GMT Organization: Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA/Caltech Message-ID: <7310@jpl-devvax.JPL.NASA.GOV> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <1040@athen.sinix.UUCP>, es@sinix.UUCP (Dr. Sanio) writes: > >>There has yet to be a well designed ESP experiment with a positive result. > >> > >>Until such incident occurs, ESP does not exist... > >> > >Question -- did the atom not exist 400/500 years ago because "science" could > >not prove it? > > > The atom was postulated long before it was "proven". The postulate was that > there would be something which couldn't be split furthermore (atom, greek: the > unsplittable). With growing knowledge, that was modified in the way "not to > be split be chemical measures", long before nuclear fission. Not sure how this addresses the poster's point. Phlogiston and the ether were postulated for a long time. More recent examples would be N-rays, tidal-locking of Mercury's rotation, canals on Mars and cold nuclear fusion. (Actually some of those are just false observations compounded over many researchers, but still close.) How does the fact that the atom was postulated for such a long time make it respectable? Peter Scott (pjs@aristotle.jpl.nasa.gov) --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 918 SKEP Subboard From: ZEV SERO Sent: 03-07-90 14:43 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:19 Re: (R) GENUINE EARTHQUAKE PR From: zvs@bby.oz.au (Zev Sero) Date: 6 Mar 90 23:07:14 GMT Organization: Burdett, Buckeridge and Young Ltd. Message-ID: <1990Mar6.230714.2867@melba.bby.oz.au> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic Anyone remember some guy in South Australia about 10 years ago who predicted an earthquake in Adelaide at a particular date and time? Made a big fuss about it, and some people took him seriously and sold houses or bought insurance or whatever. When the time came and nothing happened, the whole thing seemed to fade away. I have a vague recollection that the State government was looking into ways of prosecuting him, but I've no idea whether anything came of it. Does anyone know what happened? -- Zev Sero - zvs@bby.oz.au Megalomaniacs are simply people who know damn well they can run the universe better then God or the present governors. - Abner Doon (Orson S. Card) -- Zev Sero - zvs@bby.oz.au Megalomaniacs are simply people who know damn well they can run the universe better then God or the present governors. - Abner Doon (Orson S. Card) --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 919 SKEP Subboard From: PAUL D. CROWLEY Sent: 03-07-90 14:44 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:19 Re: (R) MR. KIYOTA AND SPOON From: aipdc@castle.ed.ac.uk (Paul D. Crowley) Date: 4 Mar 90 15:37:31 GMT Organization: Edinburgh University Computing Service Message-ID: <2586@castle.ed.ac.uk> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic,sci.misc In article <233@53iss6.Waterloo.NCR.COM> howard@53iss6.Waterloo.NCR.COM (Howard Steel) writes: >In article <13982@cbnewsc.ATT.COM> res@cbnewsc.ATT.COM (Rich Strebendt) writes: > >>Prior to another appearance of Geller on Johnny Carson's show, another >>guest (I think it was Dr. Joyce Brothers, but I may be mistaken) >>happened upon some bent nails being held by a prop man. She replaced >>the bent nails with straight ones. Uri was strangely unable to bend >>nails onstage that evening! > >Not to open a debate on Geller, (who needs it), but the above story sounds >rather suspicious in and of itself. Dr. Bros. just happened upon some prop >man, who just happened to be holding some bent nails, and just happened to >have a load of straight nails with her (as any good psychologist would), and >just happened to either convince the prop man to go along with her (hypnosis?) >or without his knowledge removed and replaced the nails the prop man was >holding. Enough. I don't know what happened, but I can imagine... Dr Brothers arrived an hour early, because the traffic wasn't as heavy as she had expected it to be. She wanders around backstage for a bit and sees a prop man put some bent nails in a velvet-lined box. Next to the box is a box of straight nails. The prop man goes away. She thinks "Hmmm...", opens the box, and replaces the bent nails with straight ones. She pockets the bent nails and waits for the show. That night, Geller is strangely unable to bend nails. H e l l o , i n e w s . -- \/ o\ "I say we grease this rat-fuck son-of-a-bitch Paul D Crowley /\__/ right now. No offense." - Aliens. aipdc@uk.ac.ed.castle --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 920 SKEP Subboard From: TORKIL HAMMER Sent: 03-07-90 14:44 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:19 Re: (R) MR. KIYOTA AND SPOON From: torkil@psivax.UUCP (Torkil Hammer) Date: 7 Mar 90 03:13:03 GMT Organization: Pacesetter Systems Inc., Sylmar, CA Message-ID: <3325@psivax.UUCP> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic,sci.misc There is something funny about these telekinesers. a. If a guy is in it for idealistic reasons, then why doesn't he find a better audience than TV talk shows, which is about as slimy as it can get? b. If he is in it for money, then why is he risking his livelihood on those talk shows instead of quietly making the gold in Fort Knox dance over to him when nobody is watching it? The logical conclusion is that he is a swindler trying for some fast money. If he makes it past the talk show he might collect on the lecture circuit. If not, he lost no money. There was a king in Denmark who got it straight. He was approached by a goldmaker who wanted the king to hire him. The king told him to make his own gold for a much more profitable living instead. --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 921 SKEP Subboard From: DOUG PALMER Sent: 03-07-90 14:44 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:39 Re: (R) BRITISH FIELD CIRCLES From: dfp@munnari (Doug Palmer) Date: 7 Mar 90 05:33:40 GMT Message-ID: <3290@munnari.oz.au> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <1370@nih-csl.UUCP> sullivan@csl-sun3.dcrt.nih.gov (Sullivan) writes: >I found the article on these circles. It was in the February/March 1990 >issue of the Smithsonian's "Air and Space" magazine. A picture showed >a green field of crops with brown circles everywhere. The explanation >was that they were caused by bronze age burial mounds once being there. What happens with these things is that the stuff buried under the ground denies nutrients to the crops, so you get shorter, less healthy stuff. It's still standing up though. - Dug --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 922 SKEP Subboard From: ERIC PEPKE Sent: 03-07-90 22:41 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:39 Re: (R) MR. KIYOTA AND SPOON From: pepke@gw.scri.fsu.edu (Eric Pepke) Date: 7 Mar 90 15:07:52 GMT Organization: Florida State University, but I don't speak for them Message-ID: <536@fsu.scri.fsu.edu> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic,sci.misc In article <3325@psivax.UUCP> torkil@psivax.UUCP (Torkil Hammer) writes: > The logical conclusion is that he is a swindler trying for some > fast money. If he makes it past the talk show he might collect > on the lecture circuit. If not, he lost no money. The usual MO is to establish one's reputation and then go into "consulting" for large, rich companies. Uri Geller pretends to help oil companies look for oil. They have money to burn, and he helps them burn it. A lot of it. One of Targ and Puthoff, I think, went into silver futures for a while, although I may misremember this. Eric Pepke INTERNET: pepke@gw.scri.fsu.edu Supercomputer Computations Research Institute MFENET: pepke@fsu Florida State University SPAN: scri::pepke Tallahassee, FL 32306-4052 BITNET: pepke@fsu Disclaimer: My employers seldom even LISTEN to my opinions. Meta-disclaimer: Any society that needs disclaimers has too many lawyers. --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 923 SKEP Subboard From: ALEKSANDER MILEWSKI Sent: 03-07-90 22:41 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:20 Re: BRITISH FIELD CIRCLES From: mlevski@svcs1.UUCP (Aleksander Milewski) Date: 7 Mar 90 03:01:45 GMT Organization: Silicon Valley Computer Society, Sunnyvale, Ca. Message-ID: <394@svcs1.UUCP> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic Does it strike anyone as unusual that the circles have only been seen in what is or was the UK? (I say "was" to include New Zealand) I would think that the wind effects (my favorite theory) would occur in other areas as well. (Canada is more like England than New Zealand, and if NZ then why not Australia?) --Zandr Milewski - An open-minded skeptic. -- Aleksandr Milewski = uunet!svcs1!mlevski = N6MOD = GEnie: ALEKSANDR "I think there is a world market for about five computers" --Thomas J. Watson, 1943 --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 924 SKEP Subboard From: RANJAN MUTTIAH Sent: 03-07-90 22:41 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:20 Re: DID LEONARDO PRECEDE NEWT From: g2g@mentor.cc.purdue.edu (Ranjan Muttiah) Date: 7 Mar 90 17:27:54 GMT Organization: Purdue University Message-ID: <8209@mentor.cc.purdue.edu> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic Any of you Leonardo watchers out there ? There is a most interesting drawing in which he sketches out his studio. Then next to that drawing is a rather strange addition. Remember that Leonardo used to be rather erratic. He would draw anatomy and right next to it he would do mathematics or convey his physical principles. The mystrious drawing goes as follows: + \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ | \ \ . \.... | ----------------- a b c However, ab # bc and so on. leonardo doesn't have anything more on it. It just could be that he was trying to illustrate something in his studio or not! (That's why I posted in .skeptic :). Now Newton in his proof of Kepler's second law used this same very argument but instead ab was equal to bc and of course he introduced an impetus so that the straight deviated into a curvature. Newton came almost a century and a half after Leonardo. So was Leonardo onto something ? --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 925 SKEP Subboard From: CUP/ASG, MLO3-6/C9 16B, 223-328 Sent: 03-08-90 12:40 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:20 Re: MYSTERY CIRCLES - ANCIENT From: klaes@wrksys.enet.dec.com (CUP/ASG, MLO3-6/C9 16B, 223-3283 07-Mar-1990 1340) Date: 7 Mar 90 18:37:22 GMT Organization: Digital Equipment Corporation Message-ID: <9003071836.AA17856@decwrl.dec.com> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In the February/March 1990 issue of SMITHSONIAN AIR & SPACE magazine, there is a short article on aerial photographs of ancient burial mounds in England. In the air photo shown, the mounds appear as circles. The mounds themselves have long since worn away, leaving only their circular form. The circles are the remains of ditches dug around the mounds, plowed flat over the centuries (since 1500 B.C.). The ditches were apparently filled with less richer (less prone to retain water) soil, causing brown areas in the greenery. According to the article, there are thousands of such burial sites all over Great Britain and Ireland. It is my opinion that the "mystery circles" may be caused by these burial mounds. I do feel that they are of human origin of some sort, though I will certainly not rule out natural phenomenon. Larry Klaes klaes@wrksys.dec.com or - ...!decwrl!wrksys.dec.com!klaes or - klaes%wrksys.dec@decwrl.dec.com or - klaes@wrksys.enet.dec.com or - klaes%wrksys.enet.dec.com@uunet.uu.net N = R*fgfpneflfifaL --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 926 SKEP Subboard From: BETSY PERRY Sent: 03-08-90 14:42 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:20 Re: (R) MR. KIYOTA AND SPOON From: betsyp@apollo.HP.COM (Betsy Perry) Date: 7 Mar 90 19:05:00 GMT Organization: Hewlett-Packard Company, Apollo Division; Chelmsford, MA Message-ID: <490e57b0.19080@apollo.HP.COM> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic,sci.misc In article <189@vela.acs.oakland.edu> moconnor@argo.acs.oakland.edu (Michael O'Connor) writes: >I would not necessarily doubt the claims of Dr. Joyce Brothers with regard to >fraud. In light of her game show antics, when she cheated to win (at the >time) large sums of money, I could easily see her looking for a scam - >especially in Uri Geller. Dr. Brothers did *not* cheat in the 1950's game-show scandal; she was explicitly exonerated, I believe. Not all contestants on the tainted shows were given answers in advance. -- Betsy Perry betsyp@apollo.hp.com Apollo Division, Hewlett-Packard, Inc. (her opinion doesn't matter, matter, matter, matter...) --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 927 SKEP Subboard From: PAUL JOHNSON Sent: 03-08-90 14:42 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:20 Re: NEW AGE THINKERS (WAS RE: From: paj@mrcu (Paul Johnson) Date: 5 Mar 90 09:53:09 GMT Organization: GEC-Marconi Research Centre, Great Baddow, UK Message-ID: <456@argus.mrcu> Newsgroups: sci.psychology,sci.skeptic,sci.misc,sci.physics >In article <13857@cbnewsc.ATT.COM> tan@cbnewsc.ATT.COM (william.m.tanenbaum) writes: >#By the way, this "hundredth monkey" discussion has spawned a new >#oxymoron: ># ># "new age thinker" > >I beg to differ. New Age thinking is self consistent and (happens to be) >for intuition and against knowledge. It is based on the notion that science >or rather technology has screwed up to a point where they want to go >back to the Middle Ages and burn anybody who tries to understand nature. > >It is populist and dangerous. > >Torkil Hammer OK. I have heard a few bits and pieces of philosophy labled "new age" on TV, and have seen the label thrown around on this group, mainly as a term of abuse or implying unsound thinking. Can anyone out there explain what "new age thinkers" think? Any definitive books? Any testable hypotheses? From what I have heard so far, it seems to be a "myth mash" (to borrow Terry Pratchet's fine phrase from "Strata"): a base of Eastern Mystisism leavened with Astrology and spiced with Psi, Flying Sorcery, Tarot, the I Ching and Green Politics (small note: the last should not be judged by the company it sometimes keeps). To comment on the note I quoted above, New Age Thinking may be self consistent, but is is consistent with reality? This is where most religions fall down (I don't know if NAT considers itself to be a religion or a philosophy or what, but the point is the same). Christianity is fairly self consitent (as long arguments with Christians have shown me), but has had to change a great deal to be able to claim reasonable consistency with the world. If "science or rather technology has screwed up" then what are you proposing in its place? (I asked this in an earlier note). Is intuition a reliable guide to actions? If (as would seem probable) people in authority who claimed divine guidance for their acts in the past were in fact using intuition, then intuition seems to have a rather poor record. A classic example is the 1st World War, where thousands of muddy ghosts bear witness to the "inspiration" of their generals and the "last big push" that was all that was needed for a breakthrough. Another example is the Collectivisation of Farms in various communist countries. The leaders claimed to be using science, but it seems more likely they were working on dogmatic (hence intuitionistic) grounds. They certainly refused to acknowledge that collectivisation was not increasing production. To throw out knowledge based approaches to the world simply because they are not always right (and I admit there are sometimes mistakes, sometimes big ones) seems to me to be throwing out the baby with the bathwater. I very much doubt that intuition can do better, and would expect it to do a lot worse, to the point of major collapse of society should it ever be widely adopted. Of course, I may be attacking a straw man here. If so, can anyone put me right? Paul -- Paul Johnson UUCP: !mcvax!ukc!gec-mrc!paj --------------------------------!-------------------------|------------------- GEC-Marconi Research is not | Telex: 995016 GECRES G | Tel: +44 245 73331 responsible for my opinions. | Inet: paj@uk.co.gec-mrc | Fax: +44 245 75244 --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 928 SKEP Subboard From: JIM MERITT Sent: 03-08-90 14:42 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:21 Re: (R) NEW AGE THINKERS (WAS From: jwm@stdb.jhuapl.edu (Jim Meritt) Date: 7 Mar 90 21:28:01 GMT Organization: JHU-Applied Physics Laboratory Message-ID: <4859@aplcen.apl.jhu.edu> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic If you really wanna know, why not subscribe to the newage news group? (talk.religion.newage) Opinions expressed are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily represent those opinions of this or any other organization. The facts, however, simply are and do not "belong" to anyone. jwm@aplcen.apl.jhu.edu - or - jwm@aplvax.uucp - or - meritt%aplvm.BITNET --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 929 SKEP Subboard From: TIM MARONEY Sent: 03-08-90 19:38 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:21 Re: (R) BRITISH FIELD CIRCLES From: tim@hoptoad.uucp (Tim Maroney) Date: 9 Mar 90 02:05:44 GMT Organization: Eclectic Software, San Francisco Message-ID: <10695@hoptoad.uucp> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic The evidence is also consistent with a secretive ritual magic group doing circle rituals outside at night (which is a common enough practice among Neo-Pagans). Contrary to a number of claims, skeptics *have* been able to reproduce the circles by foot. The rise in the number of circles over the last decade would be due to the common phenomenon of "hiving", where a group undergoes a friendly divorce when the size becomes unmanageable. This is not an established fact, but I thought it was worth kicking in. Many people use the term "hoaxers" to describe the people who may be doing this; it seems never to have crossed their minds that someone might actually have a *reason* to go walking around in circles in fields in the dead of night. If so, the circles they leave in the crops might be epiphenomenal, and they are not "hoaxers". -- Tim Maroney, Mac Software Consultant, sun!hoptoad!tim, tim@toad.com "Because there is something in you that I respect, and that makes me desire to have you for my enemy." "On those terms, sir, I will accept your enmity or any man's." - Shaw, "The Devil's Disciple" --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 930 SKEP Subboard From: BRUCE MACKEY Sent: 03-09-90 03:56 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:21 Re: BIGFOOT BIG MYTH? From: brucem@hpindda.HP.COM (Bruce Mackey) Date: 7 Mar 90 23:13:26 GMT Organization: HP Information Networks, Cupertino, CA Message-ID: <44240002@hpindda.HP.COM> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic I haven't heard anything recently about BIGFOOT (sasquach sp?) and was reminded of it by some pick-up truck comercial the other night. What is the current status of this Mountain Myth? Have there been any more people claiming to have seen, slept with, or been kidnapped by Bigfoot? --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 931 SKEP Subboard From: HARRY LAUFMAN Sent: 03-09-90 07:47 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:21 Re: (R) MR. KIYOTA AND SPOON From: LAUFMAN-H@osu-20.ircc.ohio-state.edu (Harry Laufman) Date: 8 Mar 90 17:49:21 GMT Organization: The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio Message-ID: <12572096622011@osu-20.ircc.ohio-state.edu> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic,sci.misc Just what were Dr. Joyce Brothers "game show antics"? She won choosing the topic professional boxing I believe, because she considered it a finite topic, therefore readily memorizable. I was not aware of any cheating, beyond theatrics. --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 932 SKEP Subboard From: TIM MARONEY Sent: 03-09-90 09:30 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:21 Re: (R) BIGFOOT BIG MYTH? From: tim@hoptoad.uucp (Tim Maroney) Date: 9 Mar 90 15:10:29 GMT Organization: Eclectic Software, San Francisco Message-ID: <10722@hoptoad.uucp> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <44240002@hpindda.HP.COM> brucem@hpindda.HP.COM (Bruce Mackey) writes: >What is the current status of this Mountain Myth? Have there been any more >people claiming to have seen, slept with, or been kidnapped by Bigfoot? Yes, I believe Jessica Hahn has claimed this. -- Tim Maroney, Mac Software Consultant, sun!hoptoad!tim, tim@toad.com "When errors are found in old research, the relevant theories are re-examined. When facts contradict theory, theory gets dumped. Is that why the NLP people are unwilling to research their facts?" -- Jerry Hollombe on sci.psychology --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 933 SKEP Subboard From: STEPHEN D CARTER Sent: 03-09-90 15:36 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:22 Re: (R) BRITISH FIELD CIRCLES From: stevedc@syma.sussex.ac.uk (Stephen D Carter) Date: 8 Mar 90 08:36:48 GMT Organization: University of Sussex Message-ID: <2327@syma.sussex.ac.uk> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic From article <3290@munnari.oz.au>, by dfp@munnari (Doug Palmer): > > In article <1370@nih-csl.UUCP> sullivan@csl-sun3.dcrt.nih.gov (Sullivan) writes: >>I found the article on these circles. It was in the February/March 1990 >>issue of the Smithsonian's "Air and Space" magazine. A picture showed >>a green field of crops with brown circles everywhere. The explanation >>was that they were caused by bronze age burial mounds once being there. > > What happens with these things is that the stuff buried under the ground > denies nutrients to the crops, so you get shorter, less healthy stuff. It's > still standing up though. > > - Dug May I point out to Doug, and some other respondents, that a CLEAR difference is percieved between that 'Field Circles' and the effect of old underground ruins. The latter are as Doug indeed describes, well proven, and not an issue. The former are, as an earlier note describes, flattened crops. To re-introduce this point is to set the discusison back. Not helpful. Stephen Carter, Systems Manager, The Administration, The University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton BN1 9RH, UK Tel: +44 273 678203 Fax: +44 273 678335 JANET: stevedc@uk.ac.sussex.syma EARN/BITNET : stevedc@syma.sussex.ac.uk UUCP: stevedc@syma.uucp ARPA/INTERNET: stevedc%syma.sussex.ac.uk@nsfnet-relay.ac.uk --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 934 SKEP Subboard From: PAUL GILLINGWATER Sent: 03-09-90 19:45 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:22 Re: (R) GENUINE EARTHQUAKE PR From: paul@actrix.co.nz (Paul Gillingwater) Date: 8 Mar 90 20:19:58 GMT Organization: Actrix Public Access UNIX, Wellington, New Zealand Message-ID: <1990Mar8.201958.8527@actrix.co.nz> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <1661.25f3cb09@csc.anu.oz> bxr307@csc.anu.oz writes: >> Until now, or so it seems. Dr Thomas Baker (a medical practitioner) >> claims to have predicted an earthquake. > > This of course all depends on whether or not Dr.Baker is making this >prediction as a qualified seismologist or a fringe crackpot. If its the former >then I presume he has some valid scientific method to back up his prediction. >If its the later then I'll give 10:1 odds against him being accurate with his >prediction. :-) 1 in 10? That's pretty good odds. I'd say more like 1 in 10,000. How do you come up with those figure? No, he's not a seismologist. His degree is in medicine. I think he's a very good doctor. But i've seen no evidence to show his expertise in earth sciences. His method is certainly not scientific. From the vague media descriptions i have seen of them, it is something to do with listening to the rumbles... i wonder if he uses a stethoscope? :-) -- Paul Gillingwater, paul@actrix.co.nz --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 935 SKEP Subboard From: ROBERT FIRTH Sent: 03-10-90 15:40 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:22 Re: (R) BRITISH FIELD CIRCLES From: firth@sei.cmu.edu (Robert Firth) Date: 9 Mar 90 13:36:57 GMT Organization: Software Engineering Institute, Pittsburgh, PA Message-ID: <6391@bd.sei.cmu.edu> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic The answer is obvious: the circles are made by hedgehogs. This explains why they are found in Britain, which has a high population of the prickly critters, and also in New Zealand, where the british hedgehog was introduced in the nineteenth century. The normal courting behaviour of the hedgehog, insofar as anything the creature does can be said to be normal, is for the male to spiral in on the female by walking around her in ever-decreasing circles until contact occurs, at which point we fade out to the sound of Wagner... Britain, bu the way, is the only country with a hedgehog hospital. It is called 'St Tiggywinkles', and people send sick or injured hedgehogs to it from all over the country. British Rail has a special delivery van that brings them from the local railway station, packed in British standard hedgehog boxes. --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 936 SKEP Subboard From: SANDY ZINN Sent: 03-10-90 16:40 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:22 Re: (R) NEW AGE THINKERS (WAS From: sandyz@ntpdvp1.UUCP (Sandy Zinn) Date: 9 Mar 90 23:46:21 GMT Organization: Northern Telecom DMS-10 Div., Raleigh, NC Message-ID: <347@ntpdvp1.UUCP> Newsgroups: sci.psychology,sci.skeptic,sci.misc,sci.physics > ># a new oxymoron: > ># "new age thinker" > > > >I beg to differ. New Age thinking is self consistent and (happens to be) > >for intuition and against knowledge. It is based on the notion that science > >or rather technology has screwed up to a point where they want to go > >back to the Middle Ages and burn anybody who tries to understand nature. > > > >It is populist and dangerous. > > > >Torkil Hammer > > OK. I have heard a few bits and pieces of philosophy labled "new > age" on TV, and have seen the label thrown around on this group, > mainly as a term of abuse or implying unsound thinking. > > Can anyone out there explain what "new age thinkers" think? Any > definitive books? Any testable hypotheses? > > To throw out knowledge based approaches to the world simply because > they are not always right (and I admit there are sometimes mistakes, > sometimes big ones) seems to me to be throwing out the baby with the > bathwater. In response to Paul Johnson's query for some substance about New Agers: When I hear the term NEW AGE, I think of the book by Marilyn Ferguson, _The Aquarian Conspiracy_. She summarizes several scientific/social/ philosophical phenomena which she feels are headed in a common direction. This "movement" is very much concerned with a reformation of science as well as society. Some of the scientific work she discusses is quite legitimate and well respected (such as Nobel laureate Ilya Prigogine), and some of it legitimate but not widely accepted (such as Pribram's holographic-mind theories). The new approach to science which she & others advocate is not anti-technology but rather "pro-guided-technology". Advances in scientific research are definitely promoted in this book; because many of those advances are radical, simply new, or on the fringe of theoretical knowledge, they generate a lot of controversy. Ferguson is, incidentally, an editor of the _Brain/Mind Bulletin_, devoted to "avant-garde"(?) neurophysiological/psychological news. In my own terms I would say that the technocrats (i.e., those in charge of technological applications, not usually the scientists) need a greater *awareness* of the impact of technology on the world community. There is stuff in Ferguson's book about "alternative relationships" and "transcendant realities", and certainly the book is intended for a broad audience, but I would hardly call it "dangerous". What has happened is that a large segment of the population has latched onto some of these ideas and popularized them to fit their needs. An interesting question from my point of view is what are the needs these people are trying to fill, and in what way do doctrines of self-healing, extraordinary experiences, "human networking", personal myth-making, etc., meet those needs? Understanding of this phenomenon would provide information about our society that could be put to intelligent use. What are the beliefs of these people telling us about our world? If the purpose of knowledge and reason is understanding and intelligent management, then attaching reactionary labels to separate these folks from our pristine stronghold would seem to be UNreasonable. @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ Sandra Zinn | "The squirming facts (yep these are my ideas | exceed the squamous mind" they only own my kybd) | -- Wallace Stevens --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 937 SKEP Subboard From: LIAM WICKHAM Sent: 03-11-90 16:55 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:23 Re: (R) MR. KIYOTA AND SPOON From: ljgw@ukc.ac.uk (Liam Wickham) Date: 10 Mar 90 15:14:28 GMT Organization: Computing Lab, University of Kent at Canterbury, UK. Message-ID: <2443@raven.ukc.ac.uk> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <536@fsu.scri.fsu.edu> pepke@gw.scri.fsu.edu (Eric Pepke) writes: >In article <3325@psivax.UUCP> torkil@psivax.UUCP (Torkil Hammer) writes: >> The logical conclusion is that he is a swindler trying for some >> fast money. If he makes it past the talk show he might collect >> on the lecture circuit. If not, he lost no money. > >The usual MO is to establish one's reputation and then go into >"consulting" for large, rich companies. Uri Geller pretends to help oil >companies look for oil. They have money to burn, and he helps them burn >it. A lot of it. One of Targ and Puthoff, I think, went into silver >futures for a while, although I may misremember this. > OK, this has gone far enough. To slag off a person in jest is all very well, but some of the people on this net are attacking Uri Geller most unfairly and cruelly, as he has no chance to argue with you. Perhaps the more vocal supporters of the We Hate Uri Geller Campaign would answer the following queries for me: 1. If Uri Geller is a fraud, then why do companies hire him? 2. I read (in 'Intangible Evidence') that Uri Geller was actually a multi-millionaire, not because he had swindled companies, but because he had repeatedly made them vast amounts of money by finding the deposits for them. And he was not paid a fixed sum, he was paid a percentage of the profits the company made. Thus, can we simply call Uri Geller a fraud? 3. If Uri Geller is making so much money, isn't this exactly what you would expect a genuine psychic to do (as argued in earlier skeptic posts)? But, if Uri Geller is just lucky, perhaps this would explain his wealth? Does anyone actually have hard FACTS on how successful Uri Geller is? I believe that he mentioned an accuracy figure well above 80% in the book. Does anyone know if this book is actually correct? 4. Is it possible to be a psychic AND a trickster? If, as some of you have argued, psychism is possible but not always available to use (perhaps due to lack of skill), would it not be sensible to be able to fool audiences through conventional means? And why do objects fly around Uri Geller's room, hotel corridor etc in front of parapsychologists? Is this all a set-up to fool everyone? If so, do you have proof? If not, do you have proof? 5. It has been said that whenever Uri Geller was in test conditions he failed to perform adequately. In the book this is disputed. Could those who argue otherwise please give references to their sources? It should be remembered that 'Intangible Evidence' is a 1988 book, so may be more uptodate than your books. >Eric Pepke INTERNET: pepke@gw.scri.fsu.edu >Supercomputer Computations Research Institute MFENET: pepke@fsu >Florida State University SPAN: scri::pepke >Tallahassee, FL 32306-4052 BITNET: pepke@fsu > >Disclaimer: My employers seldom even LISTEN to my opinions. >Meta-disclaimer: Any society that needs disclaimers has too many lawyers. Many thanks, Liam. -- Gimmee a break, I'm only 19 years old! But I'm wise enough to worship Kate Bush. [ljgw.ukc.ac.uk]: I'm studying Psychology with Computing at Kent University, UK. --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 938 SKEP Subboard From: GREG LEE Sent: 03-11-90 16:55 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:23 Re: (R) POSITIVISM AS A METHO From: lee@uhccux.uhcc.hawaii.edu (Greg Lee) Date: 10 Mar 90 18:24:14 GMT Organization: University of Hawaii Message-ID: <6908@uhccux.uhcc.hawaii.edu> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic From article <994@tahoma.UUCP>, by jpg3196@tahoma.UUCP (Jim Galasyn): >... I am skeptical about the Scientific Method. ... To help you through your crisis, maybe you could think of the Method as being essentially skeptical rather than positivist. Instead of supposing that it is deducible from assumptions about the nature of things, suppose it to be just a check on human fallibility. Sometimes people just make up reasons after the fact to "explain" things -- prediction is required in the Method to help exclude this possibility. Sometimes people engage in circular reasoning, taking the things they expect to be true as evidence for the theories they have that lead to their expectations -- objective experiment is required to help exclude this possibility. If there is some very slippery, hard to detect thing going on, perhaps fallibility can be excluded in other ways. But if it can't, we can never be sure it's really happening. Too bad for us, but we were never promised a universe we could understand. Greg, lee@uhccux.uhcc.hawaii.edu --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 939 SKEP Subboard From: ROBERT M DERRICK Sent: 03-11-90 16:55 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:24 Re: (R) MR. KIYOTA AND SPOON From: rxxd@lanl.gov (Robert M Derrick) Date: 10 Mar 90 20:07:15 GMT Organization: Los Alamos Natl. Labs, Los Alamos, NM Message-ID: <45615@lanl.gov> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <2443@raven.ukc.ac.uk> ljgw@ukc.ac.uk (Liam Wickham) writes: > [Stuff re Uri Geller, the renowned Psychic] > OK, this has gone far enough. To slag off a person in jest is all >very well, but some of the people on this net are attacking Uri Geller most >unfairly and cruelly, as he has no chance to argue with you. Perhaps the more >vocal supporters of the We Hate Uri Geller Campaign would answer the following >queries for me: > > 1. If Uri Geller is a fraud, then why do companies hire him? Ever heard the expression, "There's a sucker born every minute". Before you hit the roof, read on. (And as a note, Just who has hired him???) > 2. I read (in 'Intangible Evidence') that Uri Geller was actually > a multi-millionaire, not because he had swindled companies, > but because he had repeatedly made them vast amounts of money > by finding the deposits for them. And he was not paid a fixed > sum, he was paid a percentage of the profits the company made. > Thus, can we simply call Uri Geller a fraud? > OK. Let's quote that hoary institution, The Skeptical Inquirer, Vol. XII No. 1/Fall 1987. "Catching Geller in the Act" by C. Eugene Emery, Jr., science writer for the Providence Journal-Bulliten, and the article originally appeared in the Providence Sunday Journal. Seems that Geller had been out of the act for about 10 years. He got bored with talk show stuff, he said. (By the way, he may just have been waiting for the statute of limitations on fraud in Israel to run out, but I'm sure he's not as high on their list as Nazi war criminals). Anyway, he says he charges$1.6 Million nonrefundable consulting fee.  But "he can't name
a single company that has successfully used his services. 'They're afraid
of ridicule,' he said."  Why ridicule?  See answer to number one above.

>       3. If Uri Geller is making so much money, isn't this exactly what
you
>          would expect a genuine psychic to do (as argued in earlier
skeptic
>          posts)? But, if Uri Geller is just lucky, perhaps this would
explain
>          his wealth? Does anyone actually have hard FACTS on how
successful
>          Uri Geller is? I believe that he mentioned an accuracy figure
well
>          above 80% in the book. Does anyone know if this book is
actually
>          correct?
A claim of wealth does not constitute wealth.  But for sake of argument,
let's
say he's filthy rich.  Now if you had made a fortune through FRAUD, and
the statute of lim had not yet run out on those puppies, would you write
a book that detailed your fraudulent activities.  Not if you wanted to
make some quick bucks on the talk show circuit as a Renowned Psychic, and
stay clear of the hoosegow.  They used to tar-and-feather these guys in
the old days.

(As an aside, one of the reasons for his disappearence 10 years ago may
have been the result of some of his closest supporters finally throwing
in the towel and admitting that he was a fraud)
But just like the Poltergeist, Uri's Baaaaack.  Anyway, not wanting to
copy a page of description (get the issue or go to a library), Uri's
first test with Mister Emery turns out to be a classic mind-reading
trick with a classic case of misdirection.

"The psychic apparently was hoping I wouldn't remember the proper sequence
of events.  Without a sharp eye and a tape recording, I would have missed
the deception.  'What you see here is real,' he insisted.  'It's just
not a trick'."

>       4. Is it possible to be a psychic AND a trickster? If, as some of
>          you have argued, psychism is possible but not always available
>          to use (perhaps due to lack of skill), would it not be sensible
>          to be able to fool audiences through conventional means? And
why
>          do objects fly around Uri Geller's room, hotel corridor etc in
>          front of parapsychologists? Is this all a set-up to fool
everyone?
>          If so, do you have proof? If not, do you have proof?
Be serious!  You are trying to say that a person who is attempting to
convince
the world of their honesty and truthfulness would be justified is telling
bald-faced lies when the truth is inconvenient!  Would you like to go to
a doctor who found it inconvenient to fix you up today, so they pretend
to fix you up, and then send you a bill?  Do you want your mechanic to
spend half a day watching soaps and then give you a bill for 300 for the following list of repairs: ....!!! Did you, I'm sorry really, but did you just fall off the potato truck? No, It is not possible to be truthful and a liar at the same time. And a persistent liar, like Geller, has got a lot of penance to do before any reasonable person should take anything he says seriously. Also, "why do objects fly around the room?". Because Uri throws them. One of the reasons a close supporter peached on him a decade ago. And if you can't see how he could do it and not get caught, ask any magician. > 5. It has been said that whenever Uri Geller was in test conditions > he failed to perform adequately. In the book this is disputed. Could > those who argue otherwise please give references to their sources? > It should be remembered that 'Intangible Evidence' is a 1988 book, > so may be more uptodate than your books. > Intangible Evidence is a follow-up to The Geller Effect, FYI. In Emery's next test, Uri Bends Spoons! He actually bends the spoon before he Bends the Spoon. How's That?? Oh, he gets the person watching him to look away for a moment, bends the spoon, hides the bend, then through the power of the trained psychic mind, Bends the Spoon. Hard to fool that camera, though. Tough break Uri. Two tests, two Cheats, batting 0.0. "It wasn't until 13 seconds after I took the photograph showing a dramatically deformed spoon that Geller reported that the spoon was definitely bending." "Geller won't even appear on the same program as [James] Randi." "To test his claim that he uses his mental powers to find natural resources, the British newspaper 'The Mail on Sunday' gave Geller 84 matchboxes and asked him to find the one containing a diamond, gold, silver, oil, and coal? Geller refused." And, why go on? He failed the next test. No cheating this time. Just no results. Why? "I'm not interested," he said. Three tests. All ones he claims he can do. Cheating, lying, refusing to cooperate. Absolute Zero Average. Unsupported claims of, well you name it. Nothing he claims is supported anywhere. And if you intend to use his own books as support of his claims, then you will become a National Treasure. We do not denigrate Uri Geller just to be giving some Message too long. Truncated to 150 lines! Msg #: 940 SKEP Subboard From: EDWARD SURANYI Sent: 03-11-90 16:55 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:25 Re: (R) MR. KIYOTA AND SPOON From: ed@das.llnl.gov (Edward Suranyi) Date: 10 Mar 90 21:56:39 GMT Organization: Dept. of Applied Science, UC Davis at LLNL Message-ID: <51761@lll-winken.LLNL.GOV> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <2443@raven.ukc.ac.uk> ljgw@ukc.ac.uk (Liam Wickham) writes: > > 1. If Uri Geller is a fraud, then why do companies hire him? I don't believe any reputable companies have ever hired him, and gotten results. Geller claims this in his writings, but I wouldn't trust anything he said. Various psychics have claimed that they were hired by the CIA; the CIA categorically denies ever using psychics. I'd like you to find one company that admits having used Geller, and having gotten results. > 3. If Uri Geller is making so much money, isn't this exactly what you > would expect a genuine psychic to do (as argued in earlier skeptic > posts)? But, if Uri Geller is just lucky, perhaps this would explain > his wealth? Does anyone actually have hard FACTS on how successful > Uri Geller is? I believe that he mentioned an accuracy figure well > above 80% in the book. Does anyone know if this book is actually > correct? I really don't know how wealthy Geller is, but as I said above, I doubt his money comes from being hired by companies. Also, I don't believe he's lucky -- I believe he cheats. Isn't it funny how he never succeeds whenever there's someone watching who's KNOWLEDGABLE about similar magic? No demonstration of psychic phenomena is valid without such a person present. It would be like assuming a supernatural force was keeping the raindrops off someone without checking to see if his umbrella was open. > 4. Is it possible to be a psychic AND a trickster? If, as some of > you have argued, psychism is possible but not always available > to use (perhaps due to lack of skill), would it not be sensible > to be able to fool audiences through conventional means? And why > do objects fly around Uri Geller's room, hotel corridor etc in > front of parapsychologists? Is this all a set-up to fool everyone? > If so, do you have proof? If not, do you have proof? Nobody can prove that Geller is a fraud. Fortunately, that's not our problem. Geller has to prove that he *isn't* a fraud. And every one of his psychic experiences that has been analyzed by KNOWLEDGEABLE people has been found wanting. Isn't it possible that when he's not so analyzed, he really is a psychic? Sure, it's possible, but it's much simpler to assume that he's cheating. Since these experiments weren't watched carefully enough, they can't prove anything. Incidentally, scientists are not necessarily knowledgeable in this field, unless they are also trained magicians. Any magician can tell you that scientists are the easiest people in the world to fool, mostly because they always expect nature to play fair. Many of Geller's endorsements are given great weight because they come from scientists; all this shows is that scientists can be as gullible as anybody else. > 5. It has been said that whenever Uri Geller was in test conditions > he failed to perform adequately. In the book this is disputed. Could > those who argue otherwise please give references to their sources? Of course, there's James Randi's famous book _The Magic of Uri Geller_ (reprinted as _The Truth About Uri Geller_). There's also Martin Gardner's book _Science: Good, Bad, and Bogus_, which has several chapters about Geller. Both books are very detailed, and explain in particular why competent observers are always necessary. They also give many examples of places in Geller's writings where he is lying. >Gimmee a break, I'm only 19 years old! But I'm wise enough to worship Kate Bush. The one decent thing you've said. Ed Suranyi ed@das.llnl.gov --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 941 SKEP Subboard From: SIR SIX Sent: 03-11-90 16:56 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:25 Re: (R) GENUINE EARTHQUAKE PR From: ph600fji@sdcc3.ucsd.edu (Sir Six) Date: 10 Mar 90 20:10:54 GMT Organization: University of California, San Diego Message-ID: <8510@sdcc6.ucsd.edu> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic March 10th has come and (in New Zeland) gone, and no news of any earthquake has reached San Diego... Oh well. --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 942 SKEP Subboard From: DONALD LINDSAY Sent: 03-11-90 16:56 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:25 Re: (R) MR. KIYOTA AND SPOON From: lindsay@MATHOM.GANDALF.CS.CMU.EDU (Donald Lindsay) Date: 11 Mar 90 03:51:30 GMT Organization: Carnegie-Mellon University, CS/RI Message-ID: <8380@pt.cs.cmu.edu> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <51761@lll-winken.LLNL.GOV> ed@das.UUCP (Edward Suranyi) writes: >In article <2443@raven.ukc.ac.uk> ljgw@ukc.ac.uk (Liam Wickham) writes: >> 1. If Uri Geller is a fraud, then why do companies hire him? >I don't believe any reputable companies have ever hired him, and >gotten results. Unfortunately, that isn't true. At least one company hired him. The last I heard, the stockholders were suing the corporate officers for mismanagement, specifically, for giving money to Geller. Apparently he had been advising them where to search for mineral deposits. And, _according to Geller_, his results were best when he got to examine the geologists' field maps, and discuss the situation with the geologists!!! Hey, I could get results that way too!! >>4. Is it possible to be a psychic AND a trickster? If, as some of >> you have argued, psychism is possible but not always available >> to use (perhaps due to lack of skill), would it not be sensible >> to be able to fool audiences through conventional means? And why >> do objects fly around Uri Geller's room, hotel corridor etc in >> front of parapsychologists? Is this all a set-up to fool everyone? >> If so, do you have proof? If not, do you have proof? I've heard this said before, and I would really like to understand what makes people say it. Seriously, if you could expand on this point, I would be fascinated. The man has been caught lying and cheating, not once, but many times. Not by the same person, either! And not on the same trick! Instantly, I conclude that anything that Geller does, that a stage magician can also do, is of no interest. You felt otherwise: why? >>5. It has been said that whenever Uri Geller was in test conditions >> he failed to perform adequately. In the book this is disputed. Well, Geller's opinion just might be part of the act. I saw him on TV recently, and he made a compass needle move. Then he said that skeptics claim he has a magnet hidden in his shirt. He took his shirt off at this point. Sounds good - but look carefully. He did the trick **first**. He did **not** do the trick again after taking his shirt off. Nor did he wave the shirt past the compass to show its innocence. -- Don D.C.Lindsay Carnegie Mellon Computer Science --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 943 SKEP Subboard From: ENT@UXH.CSO.UIUC.EDU Sent: 03-11-90 16:58 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:26 Re: (R) GENUINE EARTHQUAKE PR From: ent@uxh.cso.uiuc.edu Date: 11 Mar 90 00:37:00 GMT Message-ID: <86300004@uxh.cso.uiuc.edu> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic /* Written 3:56 pm Mar 3, 1990 by paul@actrix.co.nz in sci.skeptic */ /* ---------- "Genuine earthquake prediction" ---------- */ /*His latest prediction, which he has gone public with because "it /*disturbed me so much I had to speak out", is that there will be a major /*earthquake in New Zealand on March 10th, 1990. That's in just under a It's now March 11th in New Zealand. Did the quake occur? --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 944 SKEP Subboard From: CCB104@PSUVM.PSU.EDU Sent: 03-12-90 04:43 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:26 Re: 73+ K DOCUMENT ON *MJ-12* From: CCB104@psuvm.psu.edu Date: 12 Mar 90 05:39:34 GMT Organization: Penn State University Message-ID: <90071.003934CCB104@psuvm.psu.edu> Newsgroups: alt.conspiracy,sci.skeptic Could/would someone please send me a copy of that 73+ k file on Project Majestic? Thanks in advance!! Carey CCB104@psuvm.psu.edu --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 945 SKEP Subboard From: PAUL GILLINGWATER Sent: 03-12-90 08:39 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:26 Re: (R) NEW AGE THINKERS From: paul@actrix.co.nz (Paul Gillingwater) Date: 12 Mar 90 05:21:10 GMT Organization: Actrix Public Access UNIX, Wellington, New Zealand Message-ID: <1990Mar12.052110.19499@actrix.co.nz> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <456@argus.mrcu> paj@uk.co.gec-mrc (Paul Johnson) writes: >Can anyone out there explain what "new age thinkers" think? Any >definitive books? Any testable hypotheses? This is quite a big issue. I'm not sure that sci.skeptic is the right place for this, but i'm willing to give it a go. First, I deem myself as a "New Age thinker". This means that i read new age type books, and i talk to others with "new age" ideas, and i think about those ideas and try to build an understanding or model of reality from those ideas. The New Age is anything _but_ new, according to many thinkers. A useful reference is "The Occult Conspiracy", by Michael Howard (Rider, 1989). He traces many "New Age" ideas as deriving from Masonic, Rosicrucian and Gnostic societies of the previous centuries. What has occured is that these old "occult" ideas have been updated, and reformulated in terms more consistent with the so-called "scientific thinking" popularised through recent educational advances. One quite influential group who helped to popularise these occult ideas was the Theosophical Society. They spawned a wide variety of ideas, and lead to various other movements, e.g. Anthroposophical Society (Rudolph Steiner), J. Krishnamurti, Alice Bailey. The New Age is a very real threat, according to fundamentalist Christian writers such as Texe Marrs, in "Mystery Mark of the New Age". This surpisingly well-researched book gives a good factual coverage of many trends in "new age" thought, despite its rather heavy bias, e.g: "Satan is well on the way to success in his goal of enslaving the world. To accomplish his dark objectives, he has reestablished his Church, Mystery Babylon. Popularly called the New Age Movement, it is a perverse and diabolical institution founded on a web of lies and deceit." (Mystery Mark of the New Age, p. 13) A further leavening of the new age pudding comes from the misunderstanding of some of the stranger ideas from physics, e.g. a good work is "Wholeness and the Implicate Order", by D. Bohm, or the "Tao of Physics" (F. Capra) or "Looking Glass Universe" (J. Briggs & D. Peat) for the more populist views. Many of the ideas expressed as a result of ways of trying to understand the universe seem to have parallels in the "Ageless Wisdom" (Gupta Vidya) of Indian philosophy. A very interesting New Age thinker is Morris Berman. His "The Reenchantment of the World" proposes a radical new way (sorry for the cliche) of thinking about our world, which to me epitomises much of the more positive aspects of the New Age. >From what I have heard so far, it seems to be a "myth mash" (to borrow >Terry Pratchet's fine phrase from "Strata"): a base of Eastern >Mystisism leavened with Astrology and spiced with Psi, Flying Sorcery, >Tarot, the I Ching and Green Politics (small note: the last should not >be judged by the company it sometimes keeps). It is true that unfortunately, many New Age commentators (not thinkers) have tended to adopt a lot of strange ideas holus-bolus, simply because they are strange. (BTW, I *love* Terry Pratchett!). And there is a very real link between "eastern" thinking and Green politics, through "depth ecology" -- which proposes the ideas that all life is one, linked in subtle ways, and that we have to change to survive. >To comment on the note I quoted above, New Age Thinking may be self >consistent, but is is consistent with reality? This is where most >religions fall down (I don't know if NAT considers itself to be a >religion or a philosophy or what, but the point is the same). Texe Marrs argues that it is a religion. I'm not so sure. Certainly portions can demonstrate a certain internal consistency, but there's a lot of ground to cover. I think that a basic premise of New Age thinking is that current (mechanistic, materialistic, selfish) modes of thinking are incapable of ensuring continuing survival -- and that other modes are being tried, based on older principles. >Christianity is fairly self consitent (as long arguments with >Christians have shown me), but has had to change a great deal to be >able to claim reasonable consistency with the world. I think you didn't try hard enough. :-) Certainly many fundamentalist Christians find it hard to sustain a Bible-is-truth position. >If "science or rather technology has screwed up" then what are you >proposing in its place? (I asked this in an earlier note). I think it's not science or technology per se. It's rather the old bug-bear, basic human nature. Selfishness, greed, suspicion, fear, cruelty. I think what is being proposed is a way of "humanising" technology (although selfishness is pretty human! :-), in the best sense of the word. A more humane approach, that recognises the basic "unity" of life (a fundamental tenet of "correct" New Age thinking). >Is intuition a reliable guide to actions? If (as would seem probable) >people in authority who claimed divine guidance for their acts in the >past were in fact using intuition, then intuition seems to have a >rather poor record. Hmmm... tough question. No, i don't think intuition is reliable for all people in all cases. But, if you watch enough Star Trek re-runs, you'll realise that pure logic has its own limitations. :-) >Of course, I may be attacking a straw man here. If so, can anyone put >me right? Feel free. Let's get the debate going. But is this the right place? >Paul Paul Gillingwater -- Paul Gillingwater, paul@actrix.co.nz --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 946 SKEP Subboard From: PAUL GILLINGWATER Sent: 03-12-90 08:39 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:27 Re: (R) GENUINE EARTHQUAKE PR From: paul@actrix.co.nz (Paul Gillingwater) Date: 12 Mar 90 19:56:51 GMT Organization: Actrix Public Access UNIX, Wellington, New Zealand Message-ID: <1990Mar12.195651.25104@actrix.co.nz> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <8510@sdcc6.ucsd.edu> ph600fji@sdcc3.ucsd.edu (Sir Six) writes: > > March 10th has come and (in New Zeland) gone, and no news of >any earthquake has reached San Diego... Oh well. Yup. Pretty much as expected... however we did have some rather severe flooding over the weekend ... in one place in one day there fell 13 INCHES of rain!!! No, i didn't believe the weather report either. 13cm maybe... -- Paul Gillingwater, paul@actrix.co.nz --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 947 SKEP Subboard From: PAVLOS PAPAGEORGIOU Sent: 03-12-90 08:39 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:27 Re: (R) GENUINE (??? :-) EART From: aipp@castle.ed.ac.uk (Pavlos Papageorgiou) Date: 11 Mar 90 20:06:22 GMT Organization: student / Edinburgh University Message-ID: <2766@castle.ed.ac.uk> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic A very large earthquake prediction system has been deployed in Greece some years ago. It is known as "VAN" from the initials of the three inventors. I think the attribute being monitored is the conductivity of the ground, but I could be wrong in this. The system is deeply immersed in the murky waters of controversy, disbelief by the rest of the scientific community and some very un-scientific conduct by one of the inventors, who is utterly convinced of the accuracy of the machine's predictions. (A bit like cold fusion! :-) Every time there is an earthquake, (very common in Greece), said inventor claims he HAD cabled the appropriate authorities with a prediction, and the authorities claim otherwise. The cost of the [state-funded] system, the dillema of wether to release a prediction to the public and cause mass panic, and points of proper scientific conduct are very sensitive issues on the subject. I don't know enough to form an opinion on wether the system is a breakthrough or a fraud - I honestly hope it's a breakthrough (like cold fusion :-). If the net is interested in this, I can dig up some references over the holidays and present a more thorough posting after easter. Pavlos ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Universe always gets the last laugh! --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 948 SKEP Subboard From: DR. SANIO Sent: 03-12-90 12:51 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:27 Re: (R) SATANISM: MYTH AND TR From: es@sinix.UUCP (Dr. Sanio) Date: 6 Mar 90 16:24:36 GMT Organization: Siemens AG, DI ST SP4, Munich Message-ID: <1042@athen.sinix.UUCP> Newsgroups: alt.pagan,sci.skeptic Though I absolutely agree to Tim's and Pam's point, I believe it's time to abandon that thread of discussion in sci.skeptic. Not that I regard the topic irrelevant, on contrary. But the arguments exchanged deal with rights of humans, religion, philosophy etc and should be dicussed in the appropriate groups (alt.pagan is one, sure). The starting point, as I remember, was the question whether there is crime committed under the devotion to a particular religion (satanism). Tim already perfectly refuted those assertions, IMHO. If somebody insists, the burden of proof is on her/him. Facts or evidence are still welcome in that group, sure. regards, es --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 949 SKEP Subboard From: JOHN SPARKS Sent: 03-12-90 12:51 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:27 Re: UFO CONSPIRACY From: sparks@corpane.UUCP (John Sparks) Date: 6 Mar 90 13:35:09 GMT Organization: Corpane Industries, Inc., Louisville Ky Message-ID: <1560@corpane.UUCP> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic Someone just posted a HUGE file on a UFO conspiracy, the Majestic crap and a bunch more, in alt.conspiracy. Seems like just the stuff for sci.skeptic to de-bunk, as it makes a bunch of pseudo-scientific claims, such as aliens are implanting little metal spheres in humans to control them. I thought you all would like to know. If you are interested we can do two things: 1> invade alt.conspiracy 2> I can go get the posting and repost it here in sci.skeptic Let me know if you want me to do 2> -- John Sparks | D.I.S.K. 24hrs 1200bps. Accessable via Starlink (Louisville KY) sparks@corpane.UUCP <><><><><><><><><><><> D.I.S.K. ph:502/968-5401 thru -5406 Help fight continental drift. --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 950 SKEP Subboard From: BRAD J. CASTER Sent: 03-12-90 12:51 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:27 Re: (R) BRITISH FIELD CIRCLES From: caster@psueea.uucp (Brad J. Caster) Date: 6 Mar 90 05:54:33 GMT Organization: Dept. of Computer Science, Portland State University; Portland OR Message-ID: <2474@psueea.UUCP> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic Did anyone catch Inside Edition, Monday Night? They had a spot on field circles. I missed it, so I don't have anymore information. They must have come to some conclusion, though. If anyone did see it or hear about it, please post. Thanks. :_ fill in the blank. :) --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 951 SKEP Subboard From: GEORGE MICHAELSON Sent: 03-12-90 12:52 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:28 Re: (R) BRITISH FIELD CIRCLES From: ggm@brolga.cc.uq.oz (George Michaelson) Date: 7 Mar 90 04:15:44 GMT Message-ID: <2318@bunyip.cc.uq.oz> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic What happened the the microburst wind theory? Last I heard, that was being blamed for the U.K. circles, and if plausible also extends to any other locality human-settled or not. How about circles in the snow down by McMurdo sound? caused by extry-terrestrial spacecraft dumping their used aerosol cans I s'pose... -george G.Michaelson Internet: G.Michaelson@cc.uq.oz.au Phone: +61 7 377 4079 Postal: George Michaelson, Prentice Computer Centre Queensland University, St Lucia, QLD Australia 4067. --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 953 SKEP Subboard From: SIX O'CLOCK NEWS Sent: 03-13-90 01:20 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:28 Re: CANCEL <22949@PASTEUR.BER From: news@pasteur.Berkeley.EDU (Six o'clock News) Date: 12 Mar 90 20:01:46 GMT Organization: University of California, Berkeley Message-ID: <22958@pasteur.Berkeley.EDU> Newsgroups: ba.general,ucb.general,sci.skeptic --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 954 SKEP Subboard From: LOREN PETRICH Sent: 03-13-90 01:20 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:28 Re: (R) POSITIVISM AS A METHO From: loren@sunlight.llnl.gov (Loren Petrich) Date: 12 Mar 90 20:37:50 GMT Organization: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Message-ID: <51980@lll-winken.LLNL.GOV> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <994@tahoma.UUCP> jpg3196@tahoma.UUCP (Jim Galasyn) writes: > > >This is a question I've wanted to post for some time, but it is by nature >a flame-inducing one. I have tried to couch it in language as >non-inflammatory as possible, and I hope it'll get some high-quality >discussion going. Here goes: > > [the possibility that some things exist that cannot be described > or located by the scientific method...] > >This last statement is a kind of heresy. The dominant paradigm it >challenges is demonstrated clearly by Scott Le Grand's analysis of ESP-type >events: > >>The burden of proof for the existence of ESP is not in the hands of skeptics. >>The burden of proof IS in the hands of those who claim it does. >> >>When we say ESP does not exist, we are not contradicting any well supported >>scientific principle. And we have scads of empirical evidence to back us up. >> >>There has yet to be a well designed ESP experiment with a positive result. >> >>Until such incident occurs, ESP does not exist... I think that Scott LeGrand's analysis is essentially correct. His conditions, if satisfied for any purported ESP events would successfully demonstrate that the purported ESP events are true ESP events and not something else that only gives the _appearance_ of ESP. Don't knock the scientific method too quickly. I have a feeling that James Galasyn and like-minded thinkers bellyache about "positivism" and "rationalism" because their pet beliefs just don't hold up under critical scrutiny. When they see that they are losing, they change the rules of the game. I don't think that they would be bitching like this if mental telepathy (let us say) was a commonplace and readily verifiable occurrence. > [The "scientific method" as a paradigm...] > [That is supposedly posits a reality that is independent of > whatever we choose to believe about it...] > [That quantum mechanics, Godel's theorem, and classical chaos > form counterexamples...] I think that there is an all too common misunderstanding of quantum mechanics here. It is well known that some measurements tend to alter the entity being measured. Just consider putting a thermometer in some water; as the water and thermometer reach thermal equilibrium, the water's temperature is slightly altered. In classical physics, one ought to be able to get the "observer influence" down to zero. But in quantum mechanics, according to the uncertainty principle, that is not possible. Efforts to observe a system will inevitably alter it. I think that this "standpoint of the observer" has been misunderstood. It really refers to the act of observation. Some things are still independent of observation, such as probability distributions for (say) radioactive decay. Wishing will not make it so, some interpreters of QM to the contrary. Godel's theorem is simple. It states that in any formal system of axioms in which a statement can refer to itself, it will always be possible to construct a true statement that cannot be shown to be true inside the system. This statement, which I will call G, states that "G is not a theorem" in the language of the system. It is simply a fancy version of the liar paradox; a circumstance which demonstrates our minds are not mysteriously exempt from any logical constraints, which is what some people seemingly believe. The liar paradox goes "I am telling a lie". If I am telling the truth, then I am lying. If I am lying, then I'm telling the truth. Get it? Classical chaos is only a generalization of the "Butterfly Effect". A butterfly flapping its wings in the Rockies may possibly generate a storm in Europe. In some systems, like our atmosphere, a slight alteration in the values of the system variables at one point in time may be magnified to significant size at some later time. In a purely classical Universe, and having infinite measurement and computational precision available, one could calculate all past and future states from its state at one time. Alas! The Universe is quantum-mechanical, which implies a certain degree of irreducible randomness. And randomness means only one thing -- if something can't be predicted, it can't be predicted. Period. No mystic intuition can get one out of this situation. > [On how "positivism" allegedly teaches ignoring what goes on > inside people's minds...] That is a legitimate criticism of schools of thought about such schools of thought as behaviorism. But in the absence of reliable (and I repeat, _reliable_) mental telepathy, one only knows about other people's minds from the way that they act, in the most general sense of the word. For those of you that are sure that you have minds, I pose the question of how can one be sure that other people have minds. Sooner or later, every proposed test, with the possible exception of telepathic contact, falls back to a behavioral test, of which the classic example is the Turing Test. One ends up concluding that the entity in question _acts_ like it has a mind. But once one comes to that conclusion, it is certainly legitimate to try to work out what goes on inside the other person's mind. Personally, I wonder if James Galasyn is making a straw man out of behavorism. >Quite clearly, any research which aims to discover mechanisms occurring >within the "black box" of the mind (ESP, precognition, UFO contacts) must be >necessarily emic in nature. Etic research (the kind to which Scott refers) >is severely limited by the subjective nature of the human mind, and the >validity of claims made by such inquiry (e.g. ESP does not exist) are gravely >questionable. That strikes me as pure special pleading. You see it, therefore it's there. But all we have access to are ideas in our minds, our perceptions, which we _conclude_ are caused by outside entities. It is just a conclusion that we reach that there exists anything outside our thoughts. And may I point that enthusiasts for such phenomena as ESP and UFO's often insist that these alleged capabilities and entities leave _physical_ effects. So the defense that these effects are totally subjective is, in my mind, inadequate. >The upshot of all this pedantry is this: skeptical inquiry is best >approached from a naturalistic point of view. The positivistic paradigm, >by its very nature, is unable to handle the inherent subjectivities >of the act of inquiry. In other words, these "other fields of inquiry" are based on will to believe, so one can safely suspend rational thought. That sounds, to me, like confusing fantasy and reality, which I think is a very bad habit. I have nothing against fantasy, provided that it is recognized as such. And I think that anyone who mixes fantasy and Message too long. Truncated to 150 lines! Msg #: 955 SKEP Subboard From: RANJAN MUTTIAH Sent: 03-13-90 01:20 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:29 Re: (R) DID LEONARDO PRECEDE From: g2g@mentor.cc.purdue.edu (Ranjan Muttiah) Date: 12 Mar 90 18:08:51 GMT Organization: Purdue University Message-ID: <8317@mentor.cc.purdue.edu> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <8209@mentor.cc.purdue.edu> g2g@mentor.cc.purdue.edu (Ranjan Muttiah) writes: > > + > \ \ > \ \ \ > \ \ \ > \ \ \ | > \ \ . \.... | > ----------------- > a b c > >However, ab # bc and so on. leonardo doesn't have anything more on >it. It just could be that he was trying to illustrate something in >his studio or not! (That's why I posted in .skeptic :). Now Newton >in his proof of Kepler's second law used this same very argument but >instead ab was equal to bc and of course he introduced an impetus so >that the straight deviated into a curvature. Newton came almost a >century and a half after Leonardo. So was Leonardo onto something ? Sorry Mr. Muttiah, he was just illustrating how light rays diverge from a source, the rays being at equal angles to each other...good try though! --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 956 SKEP Subboard From: CHARLIE J CHURCH Sent: 03-13-90 01:21 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:29 Re: (R) MR. KIYOTA AND SPOON From: charlie@uokmax.uucp (Charlie J Church) Date: 12 Mar 90 15:47:51 GMT Organization: Engineering Computer Network, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK Message-ID: <1990Mar12.154751.18884@uokmax.uucp> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <2443@raven.ukc.ac.uk> ljgw@ukc.ac.uk (Liam Wickham) writes: >In article <536@fsu.scri.fsu.edu> pepke@gw.scri.fsu.edu (Eric Pepke) writes: >>In article <3325@psivax.UUCP> torkil@psivax.UUCP (Torkil Hammer) writes: >>> The logical conclusion is that he is a swindler trying for some >>> fast money. If he makes it past the talk show he might collect >>> on the lecture circuit. If not, he lost no money. >> >>The usual MO is to establish one's reputation and then go into >>"consulting" for large, rich companies. Uri Geller pretends to help oil >>companies look for oil. They have money to burn, and he helps them burn >>it. A lot of it. One of Targ and Puthoff, I think, went into silver >>futures for a while, although I may misremember this. >> Complete nonsense!!!!!! You, obvisously do not know any oil men or the oil business. I worked in oil exploration for nearly seventeen years. I have worked for all the major oil companies, Exxon, Texaco, Phillips, Dutch Shell, etc.. I worked in twenty two countries around the world. I never once heard of or met a psychic working for an oil company. I did work with everything from an atheist to an american nazi but never with a psychic. > > OK, this has gone far enough. To slag off a person in jest is all >very well, but some of the people on this net are attacking Uri Geller most >unfairly and cruelly, as he has no chance to argue with you. Perhaps the more >vocal supporters of the We Hate Uri Geller Campaign would answer the following >queries for me: > > > 1. If Uri Geller is a fraud, then why do companies hire him? > > 2. I read (in 'Intangible Evidence') that Uri Geller was actually > a multi-millionaire, not because he had swindled companies, > but because he had repeatedly made them vast amounts of money > by finding the deposits for them. And he was not paid a fixed > sum, he was paid a percentage of the profits the company made. > Thus, can we simply call Uri Geller a fraud? > > 3. If Uri Geller is making so much money, isn't this exactly what you > would expect a genuine psychic to do (as argued in earlier skeptic > posts)? But, if Uri Geller is just lucky, perhaps this would explain > his wealth? Does anyone actually have hard FACTS on how successful > Uri Geller is? I believe that he mentioned an accuracy figure well > above 80% in the book. Does anyone know if this book is actually > correct? > > 4. Is it possible to be a psychic AND a trickster? If, as some of > you have argued, psychism is possible but not always available > to use (perhaps due to lack of skill), would it not be sensible > to be able to fool audiences through conventional means? And why > do objects fly around Uri Geller's room, hotel corridor etc in > front of parapsychologists? Is this all a set-up to fool everyone? > If so, do you have proof? If not, do you have proof? > > 5. It has been said that whenever Uri Geller was in test conditions > he failed to perform adequately. In the book this is disputed. Could > those who argue otherwise please give references to their sources? > It should be remembered that 'Intangible Evidence' is a 1988 book, > so may be more uptodate than your books. > > >>Eric Pepke INTERNET: pepke@gw.scri.fsu.edu >>Supercomputer Computations Research Institute MFENET: pepke@fsu >>Florida State University SPAN: scri::pepke >>Tallahassee, FL 32306-4052 BITNET: pepke@fsu >> >>Disclaimer: My employers seldom even LISTEN to my opinions. >>Meta-disclaimer: Any society that needs disclaimers has too many lawyers. > > Many thanks, > > > Liam. >-- >Gimmee a break, I'm only 19 years old! But I'm wise enough to worship Kate Bush. >[ljgw.ukc.ac.uk]: I'm studying Psychology with Computing at Kent University, UK. --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 957 SKEP Subboard From: MIKE L HARVEY Sent: 03-13-90 12:41 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:30 Re: THIS WHOLE FIELD CIRCLE T From: mlh@flash.bellcore.com (Mike L Harvey) Date: 12 Mar 90 22:47:42 GMT Organization: Stumblin' in the Neon Groves... Message-ID: <20862@bellcore.bellcore.com> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic I don't have any pictures of these field circles, so I can only guess what they look like. But so far I have heard that: they have only been around for 11 years they only occur at night lights reported seen in sky there are no footprints leading to/from the circles different sizes found mainly in England's Southwest It seems to me that burial mounds would have to be ruled out, for why would this phenomenom occur only within the past 11 years? Similarly, why would a wind condition only exist within the past 11 years? If it were people from another planet, why would they come all the way here, and sit in a wheat field in Southern England, and not get out? Basically, this leaves People as the culprit. "Hoaxers?" Surely some were made by people out for a good time. But really, who could keep a hoax up for that long, in such a widespread area, and maintain complete secrecy? The only group I could think of that would be secretive would be the military. I also know the R.A.F. uses VTOL craft. What would be the effect of a jet engine fired straight down into a wheat field for a burst? Does anybody know? Also, the height of the craft, and dispersion of the engine, might change the circle size. Of course, if the circle got too big, it might leave a circle of wheat standing in the center. Does this happen? I would also expect the smaller circles to be completely flattened. Some of these craft use pivoting engines, so if the craft was low when the engine pivoted, you might expect to see lines also. Do these occur? Is there anyway I can get some pictures mailed to me? Then again, Kevin Costner could have built them. BTW, isn't Britain a Pioneer in VTOL ? " " -----Marcel Marceau Mike Harvey Internet: mlh@mookie.bellcore.com uucp: bellcore!thumper!mlh --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 958 SKEP Subboard From: SBISHOP@DESIRE.WRIGHT.EDU Sent: 03-13-90 13:58 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:30 Re: (R) WORLD POPULATION WAS From: sbishop@desire.wright.edu Date: 12 Mar 90 16:04:58 GMT Message-ID: <10.25fb825a@desire.wright.edu> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <3507@odin.SGI.COM>, thant@horus.esd.sgi.com (Thant Tessman) writes: > In article <35366@mips.mips.COM>, vaso@mips.COM (Vaso Bovan) writes: >> The following exchange occurred in private E-mail. I have permission to >> post the exchange. The question is: what percentage of all people ever alive, >> are alive today ? If I remember correctly, it is a popular myth that > ~50% of >> all people who ever existed, exist today. I think I remember a careful >> calculation came up with a figure of 3-5%, with up to 7% possible. Does >> anyone know ? > > > I think that the 50% refers to *lawers*. And the way I heard it, > there are more people in school becoming lawers than there have > been lawers in the history of the world. > > thant > > P.S. The fall of the Roman Empire was preceeded by a marked increase > in the percentage of lawers. > Perhaps you might mean lawYers? --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 959 SKEP Subboard From: JAMES PRESTON Sent: 03-13-90 18:41 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:30 Re: (R) MR. KIYOTA AND SPOON From: jsp@key.COM (James Preston) Date: 12 Mar 90 19:11:18 GMT Organization: Key Computer Laboratories, Fremont Message-ID: <1533@key.COM> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <2443@raven.ukc.ac.uk> ljgw@ukc.ac.uk (Liam Wickham) writes: } 1. If Uri Geller is a fraud, then why do companies hire him? Because there are fools everywhere, even at high levels in big companies. } 2. I read (in 'Intangible Evidence') that Uri Geller was actually } a multi-millionaire, not because he had swindled companies, } but because he had repeatedly made them vast amounts of money } by finding the deposits for them. And he was not paid a fixed } sum, he was paid a percentage of the profits the company made. } Thus, can we simply call Uri Geller a fraud? I don't know about you, but I can. Show me some proof that he's found "deposits" for "companies". Tell me the names of the "companies", the names of the people at the companies, the dates, the methods used, etc. In short, show me some hard documentation. } 4. Is it possible to be a psychic AND a trickster? The easy answer is no, because it's not possible to be a psychic. } If, as some of } you have argued, psychism is possible but not always available } to use (perhaps due to lack of skill), would it not be sensible } to be able to fool audiences through conventional means? And why } do objects fly around Uri Geller's room, hotel corridor etc in } front of parapsychologists? Is this all a set-up to fool everyone? } If so, do you have proof? If not, do you have proof? No, no, no; YOU show ME some proof of "objects flying around" his room. The word of "parapsychologists" who have seen it isn't worth the paper it's written on. --James Preston --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 960 SKEP Subboard From: MARK ISAAK Sent: 03-13-90 18:42 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:31 Re: (R) POSITIVISM AS A METHO From: isaak@imagen.UUCP (Mark Isaak) Date: 12 Mar 90 22:23:47 GMT Organization: Imagen Corp., Santa Clara CA Message-ID: <9501@imagen.UUCP> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic in article <994@tahoma.UUCP>, jpg3196@tahoma.UUCP (Jim Galasyn) says: > I am skeptical about the Scientific Method. Good. A true skeptic is skeptical about everything, even skepticism itself. > Positivist Paradigm Naturalist Paradigm > ******************************************************** > Reality is single, tan- Realities are multiple, > gible and fragmentable. constructed and holistic. > > Knower and known are Knower and known are > independent, a dualism. interactive, inseparable. > > Time- and context-free Only time- and context- > generalizations (nomo- bound working hypotheses > thetic statements) are (idiographic statements) > possible. are possible. > > There are real causes, All entities are in a > temporally precedent to state of mutual simul- > or simultaneous with taneous shaping, so that > their effects. it is impossible to dis- > tinguish causes from > effects. > > Inquiry is value-free. Inquiry is value-bound. This summary gives the two extremes of a continuum. I think most people, positivists and naturalists alike, recognize that reality is somewhere in the middle. For instance, the physicists tell us that some events are uncaused, but everyone intuitively sees that most events in their experience do have causes. (You yourself recognized this when you said that your posting would likely cause people to flame.) As I see it, the key is utility. The scientific method has developed into its current form not because it is "true" in some absolute sense, but because it is useful. Consider each of the above points in this regard. Holistic reality: Yes, the dynamics of locust populations depend to a huge extent on the quantum mechanical interactions of the materials which make up them and their environment, but if you tried to approach the problem from this level, you'd be overwhelmed and never make any progress. Fragmented reality is an approximation we make because we don't have the brain capacity to understand everthing in the universe simultaneously. Independent observer: It's well known that there's no such thing as a perfectly independent observer. In fact, the "experimenter effect" is an explanation used to debunk some experiments on psychic abilities. But without observations, we've got nothing. The best we can do is to seek to understand exactly how the observer and the observed interact. Repeatablilty: Like causality, this is accepted because it's observed so often; I know the traffic will be bad around 5pm because I have seen it bad then so often before. We can't know, however, that the physical laws will be consistent throughout time. But what can we do if they aren't? If a phenomenon isn't in some sense repeatable, it will be of no use in the future. Causality: This principle doesn't much affect the utility of the scientific method, but then I don't think it's a necessary part of science. It just happens to show up a lot. Value-free inquiry: The assumption which the scientific method makes isn't that inquiry is value-free, but that it should be. That, in part, is what peer-reviewed publication is for. This ideal has broken down in the past, giving us things like Lysenko and IQ tests "proving" white supremacy. Perhaps there are naturalistic explanations to unrepeatable, unfalsifiable, unquantifiable supernatural phenomena, but that doesn't address the issue of why I should waste my time on such explanations if they exist. -- Mark Isaak {decwrl,sun}!imagen!isaak or imagen!isaak@decwrl.dec.com "What luck for rulers that men do not think." - Adolf Hitler --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 961 SKEP Subboard From: ALAN FILIPSKI Sent: 03-13-90 18:42 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:31 Re: (R) MR. KIYOTA AND SPOON From: al@gtx.com (Alan Filipski) Date: 12 Mar 90 21:14:50 GMT Organization: GTX Corporation, Phoenix Message-ID: <1180@gtx.com> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <2443@raven.ukc.ac.uk> ljgw@ukc.ac.uk (Liam Wickham) writes: > 4. Is it possible to be a psychic AND a trickster? If, as some of > you have argued, psychism is possible but not always available > to use (perhaps due to lack of skill), would it not be sensible > to be able to fool audiences through conventional means? No, it would be very stupid, and I don't think anyone has accused Geller of being stupid. Put yourself in his place. If you had a real effect, would you risk discrediting it by "sometimes" choosing to employ trickery instead? If you were a good weight-lifter, say, would it be in your best interest to occasionally try to sneak fake weights into competitions to give yourself an extra edge, knowing that the referees are very suspicious? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ( Alan Filipski, GTX Corp, 8836 N. 23rd Avenue, Phoenix, Arizona 85021, USA ) ( {decvax,hplabs,uunet!amdahl,nsc}!sun!sunburn!gtx!al (602)870-1696 ) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 962 SKEP Subboard From: SBISHOP@DESIRE.WRIGHT.EDU Sent: 03-13-90 18:42 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:31 Re: (R) PROOF THE HARD WAY . From: sbishop@desire.wright.edu Date: 12 Mar 90 19:23:46 GMT Message-ID: <12.25fbb0f2@desire.wright.edu> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <33184@pbhya.PacBell.COM>, whh@PacBell.COM (Wilson Heydt) writes: > The following message appeared on rec.arts.sf-lovers, which will > probably get the author lots of interesting advice--but I'm sure > It'll get him a usable answer. The limitations on how to answer > it are intriguing, and as I really can't come up with any reasonably > bullet-resistant (let alone bullt-proof) answers given the constraints, > I curious to see what this community can do with it . . . > > ---------------- > From pacbell!ames!apple!rutgers!nac.no!rune.johansen%odin.re.nta.uninett Mon Feb 12 14:46:42 PST 1990 > Article 36904 of rec.arts.sf-lovers: > Path: pbhya!pacbell!ames!apple!rutgers!nac.no!rune.johansen%odin.re.nta.uninett >>From: rune.johansen%odin.re.nta.uninett@NAC.NO (Rune Henning Johansen) > Newsgroups: rec.arts.sf-lovers > Subject: Astronomy & arch{ology. > Message-ID: <568*rune.johansen@odin.re.nta.uninett> > Date: 11 Feb 90 17:06:00 GMT > Sender: nobody@rutgers.rutgers.edu > Lines: 14 > > > This is a question someone would say does not belong here. But I think > I have greatest chance of success here, so please forgive me... > > I would like to prove without using biology, geology or carbon-14 that > man has been on earth more than a little over 6000 years. (Yes, I have > been talking with the Jehova's witnesses.) > > I remember I once saw on the TV a picture of a rockcarving where you > could see the Charles's wain as it was for ?? years ago. (It might > have been Cosmos with Carl Sagan.) Can anybody give me more informa- > tion about this? > > > Just curious, why NOT use biology, geology, etc? Many of the proofs come from those fields. There are many other methods of dating materials. Potassium-argon dating comes to mind. Dr. Johansen used it in dating fossils found in Africa. It is used on volcanic tufts found on the same strata as the huminoid fossils. Read his new book, _Lucy's Child_. It covers the topic quite thoroughly as to how dating is done. You can also talk about bio-molecular engineering which has shown that human and ape genes are around 98% compatible, even more so than horses and donkeys which are able to produce mules when crossed. It is conceiveable (sorry, could not resist) that a man/ape hybrid could be produced. This has not yet been put to the test but it is interesting to speculate. BTW, unless you are a masochist, you might as well not get into an argument with the Je-Wits. They are, at best, fanatics, and NOTHING you can show them will change their minds. I try to avoid creationists. They have minds closed tight as a locked safe. They seem afraid to even consider opening their minds to a little knowledge. It is also interesting to note that the vast majority of them have very little or NO scientific knowledge. --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 963 SKEP Subboard From: SIX O'CLOCK NEWS Sent: 03-13-90 18:43 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:32 Re: CANCEL <22959@PASTEUR.BER From: news@pasteur.Berkeley.EDU (Six o'clock News) Date: 13 Mar 90 16:09:07 GMT Organization: University of California, Berkeley Message-ID: <22991@pasteur.Berkeley.EDU> Newsgroups: ba.general,ucb.general,sci.skeptic --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 964 SKEP Subboard From: WILSON HEYDT Sent: 03-13-90 18:43 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:32 Re: (R) PROOF THE HARD WAY . From: whh@PacBell.COM (Wilson Heydt) Date: 13 Mar 90 19:29:36 GMT Organization: Pacific * Bell, San Ramon, CA Message-ID: <34306@pbhya.PacBell.COM> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <12.25fbb0f2@desire.wright.edu> sbishop@desire.wright.edu writes: >In article <33184@pbhya.PacBell.COM>, whh@PacBell.COM (Wilson Heydt) writes: >> The following message appeared on rec.arts.sf-lovers, which will >>>From: rune.johansen%odin.re.nta.uninett@NAC.NO (Rune Henning Johansen) >> >> I would like to prove without using biology, geology or carbon-14 that >> man has been on earth more than a little over 6000 years. (Yes, I have >> been talking with the Jehova's witnesses.) >Just curious, why NOT use biology, geology, etc? Many of the proofs come from >those fields. >There are many other methods >of dating materials. Potassium-argon dating comes to mind. Dr. Johansen used >it in dating fossils found in Africa. It is used on volcanic tufts found on >the same strata as the huminoid fossils. Read his new book, _Lucy's Child_. >It covers the topic quite thoroughly as to how dating is done. > >BTW, unless you are a masochist, you might as well not get into an argument >with the Je-Wits. They are, at best, fanatics, and NOTHING you can show them >will change their minds. I think that is just the gentleman's point. He wants to counter their arguments without appealing to disciplines they reject out of hand. (Sort of getting down in the gutter with them to argue right of way . . .) The crux of this is that the creationists--among others--reject out of hand anything that will falsify their beleifs. Radioisotope dating clearly shows an "old" Earth? Just assert that the method is inaccurate or depends on unproven hypotheses (i.e. that half-lives are costant over long periods of time . . .). Fossils in rocks--that can be shown (by geological methods) to be old--of animals that don't exist? They're just God's way of testing your faith . . . All of these arguments are designed to dispose of inconvenient data and methods. --Hal ======================================================================= Hal Heydt |Surely the end of the world is at hand: Analyst, Pacific*Bell | Children no longer obey their parents 415-823-5447 | and *everyone* wants to write a book. whh@pbhya.PacBell.COM | --from a Babylonian clay tablet --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 965 SKEP Subboard From: ALEX LEAVENS Sent: 03-13-90 20:41 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:32 Re: (R) THIS WHOLE FIELD CIRC From: alex@athertn.Atherton.COM (Alex Leavens) Date: 13 Mar 90 16:48:00 GMT Organization: Atherton Technology, Sunnyvale, CA Message-ID: <19880@laurel.athertn.Atherton.COM> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic On the subject of field circles, one thing that I haven't seen mentioned so far is that for a fairly large percentage of the circles, the grass (or wheat, etc.) is actually braided together in a counterclockwise pattern; this braiding turns out to be fairly difficult to do. Also, field circles have been around quite a bit longer than 11 years, I can remember back in the early and mid 60's photos of 'saucer nests' which have exactly the same charecteristics as the current field circles. (This does not, of course, mean that they were caused by UFO's :-) -- |-------------------------------------------------------------------------| |--alex | alex@Atherton.COM | Caution! Falling Opinions, next 6 miles | | New Net Address!!: UUCP: {uunet,ucbvax}!unisoft!bdt!dsdeng!alex | | "Mmmm...Ooo, say...Yummm......Blewuechh! Tiggers _don't_ like honey." | --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 967 SKEP Subboard From: BRUCE S. WOODCOCK Sent: 03-14-90 15:39 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:32 Re: (R) MR. KIYOTA AND SPOON From: sterling@maxwell.physics.purdue.edu (Bruce S. Woodcock) Date: 13 Mar 90 22:54:01 GMT Organization: Purdue Univ. Physics Dept., W. Lafayette, IN Message-ID: <3270@pur-phy> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <1533@key.COM> jsp@penguin.key.COM (James Preston) writes: > >No, no, no; YOU show ME some proof of "objects flying around" his room. >The word of "parapsychologists" who have seen it isn't worth the paper >it's written on. > >--James Preston OK, everyone, head for the hills! Mr. Preston rears his bias once again. Personally, I am not qualified to speak for or against Uri Geller; my "best guess" is that he is a fraud. What I object to is Mr. Prestons comment (quoted above) in response to proofs. Mr. Preston, it seems you will not believe in parapsychological phenomena unless you see the proof yourself. I assume that you are a fair man, and as such apply your standards equally to all scientific enquiries. Therefore, unless have done some heavy physics work, you probably dont believe in: Most sub-atomic particles Particles that can exhibit wave properties, and vice-versa The fact that the pinpoints of light in the night sky are really stars Relativity You also probably dont believe The Earth is round The Earth revolves around the sun The existence of galaxies, quasars, pulsars, etc. That man went to the moon That the South Pole exists That DNA contains the genetic information for protein production Why do you not believe these things? Because they have not been proven to you. What constitutes proof for you? Obviously not pictures, for they can be faked. Even those pictures that experts conclude they dont know whether or not they are faked are unreliable. You have never seen these things with your own senses. And even if you did, you might be misinterpretating other phenomena or hallucinating entirely. After all, the words of "physicists" and "scientists" who have seen it isnt worth the paper its printed on. Now, either Mr. Preston believes in very little, or he is not applying his standards of belief uniformly across all phenomena. And we wouldnt want to be accused of that, would we Mr. Preston? The Point: Evidence is evidence regardless of what is being claimed. The use of the idea that "extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof" is purely subjective. If we use objective, scientific means for determining the existence of a given phenomena, then these standards must apply to all phenomena. If belief in the South Pole for you only requires a picture, some articles written about it, and a large number of people who believe in it (so chances of it being wrong is slim), why dont you believe in parapsychological phenomena? We have pictures of parapsychological events which cannot be proven to be faked (there are ways such a photo could be faked, but it is impossible given that photo whether or not it was faked), articles have been written about them, more people have claimed to have observed psychic phenomena than have seen the South Pole. And over 50% of the U.S. population believe in it. Im not advocated proof by majority rule or anything. What Im trying to get at is this: Mr. Preston (and others who feel the same way), I challenge you to provide a system of evidence which you want to see that would prove that these parapsychological phenomena exist, while still allowing you to believe all of the other facts you currently believe in. The system of evidence required must be logical, objective, and scientifically verifiable. If you can do this, I believe I can present evidence for the existence of these phenomena. If you cannot do this, then I suggest you either change your requirements for belief, change what it is you believe in, or get out of science altogether. -Bruce Woodcock- -Physics Major- --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 968 SKEP Subboard From: CHUCK HENKEL Sent: 03-14-90 15:39 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:33 Re: (R) THIS WHOLE FIELD CIRC From: henkel%nefx4@ncsuvx.ncsu.edu (Chuck Henkel) Date: 14 Mar 90 03:29:37 GMT Organization: North Carolina State University, Raleigh Message-ID: Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <19880@laurel.athertn.Atherton.COM> (Alex Leavens) writes: > On the subject of field circles, one thing that I haven't seen > mentioned so far is that for a fairly large percentage of the > circles, the grass (or wheat, etc.) is actually braided together > in a counterclockwise pattern; this braiding turns out to be fairly > difficult to do. How do you know this? What's your source? How can the braiding be "difficult to do" and yet be described by a simple concept like "counterclockwise"? Hell, how can "counterclockwise" even be used to describe a braiding pattern. (If I look from the other side, it becomes "clockwise," no?) Doesn't it seem more likely that this statement was just *MADE UP* somewhere along the line? Doesn't it fit some sort of canonical pattern for the types of "proof" offered for supernatural hooey? [General discussion follows, may no longer apply to Alex Leavens...] I offer this as the canonical pattern, though I admit it needs to be polished up: "Scientists are baffled by so maybe there is something to this after all." But does anybody follow the basic idea here? I often see the most dubious information passed off as "unexplained" evidence for the latest supernatural phenomena, yet while skeptics immediately pounce on it trying to explain it away (like I did above with my objections to "counterclockwise"), the most likely explanation is that the evidence *isn't true to begin with*. Now it may well turn out that these grasses are indeed braided in some weird fashion, but the point is that that fact must be substantiated *first*. Even then the skeptic is faced with the exasperating negative argument of the proponent: "There's no scientific explanation for , so the supernatural interpretation must be true." This argument is used to justify every scrap of supernatural garbage I've ever heard. I've already mentioned that almost invariably never happened, or is exaggerated or otherwise distorted (e.g., the "Hundredth Monkey" controversy). Next, the assertion that there is no scientific explanation (or at least the implication: "difficult to do" in the above) is tossed out with little or no justification ("Scientists baffled" in above and in any issue of National Enquirer). Finally, the negative part of the argument is the most insidious -- the proof by elimination: "Since there's no logical explanation, the particular chain of ridiculous supernatural contingencies which I advocate must be true." (For an example, pick the religion of your choice.) -- | Chuck Henkel | Curious about evolution? | | Dep't. of Nuclear Engineering | Read Stephen J. Gould. | | North Carolina State University | Support Nuclear Power | | henkel%nefx4@ncsuvx.ncsu.edu | Who is John Galt? | --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 969 SKEP Subboard From: AXGREE01@ULKYVX.BITNET Sent: 03-14-90 15:40 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:34 Re: A PERSONAL MIRACLE From: AXGREE01@ULKYVX.BITNET Date: 14 Mar 90 03:15:00 GMT Organization: University of Louisville Message-ID: <9003140546.AA13529@jade.berkeley.edu> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In the following paragraphs I will present my personal case for a belief in psychic phenomena. A better way of saying this is that it would be a good personal case for belief IF I HAD NOT FIGURED IT OUT. However, this pertains also to those people who feel they have had experiences that cannot be explained without calling upon a supernatural creator. Most people who are believers in psychic phenomena or who just feel that 'there must be something out there' are well meaning, honest, reasonably intelligent people who offer personal anecdotal experiences as personal evidence to support their beliefs. These people will insist that they have had experiences for which no rational explanation exists. In most cases the believer will go so far as to insist that no rational explanation could be made. The first part of this message tells of a personal anecdote of my own. This is a true story as the universe is my witness. And this true story is truly amazing. The second part of this message tells how I figured out, quite by luck, the solution to this miracle. The solution, while mundane, will illustrate, I hope, how simple it is for even the most well- intentioned and self-avowed skeptic to fool himself. The final part will show how this instance justifies my conclusion - that personal anecdote should not, and if we are honest, must not, be accepted into the general store of scientific knowledge. A MIRACLE! ---------- Friday morning, 9 Mar 90, I had a bad accident on my way to work. My car was totalled by a land cruiser (a big car about the size of a lincoln). No one was hurt (all wore seat belts) but I did bump my head and an ambulance was called to the scene. I went home and sulked the rest of the day. The following morning I got a call from my grandmother. She was almost in tears and said that my grandfather (who is close to the end of his years and may not be alive in a few months) wanted to see me badly. This is strange. They have never done this before and I was worried that maybe he had another heart attack. I finished feeding the baby and drove my wife's car to see my grandpa. "How are you, grampa?" (I always tried to be cheerful around him.) I said to him as he lay on his bed (he is very weak these days). "But I was very worried about you, son." "I'm fine, grampa. See I'm standin' right here." "So I see. But I've been having some bad dreams about you and I was so worried. I just had to see you and be sure you were alright." "Well, all is well, grampa. What kind of bad dream did you have?" "I dreamed you were in a bad car wreck and were hurt." Miracle? haha! Mere Coincidence? YES! And I'll explain HOW shortly. But please, take a moment, relax, believers, and ask what you would do if you had been in my sneakers. Can you honestly say that you wouldn't have instantly said to him, "IT'S A MIRACLE!" and sent your money off to Jim and Tammy's replacements? Or gone out to buy Shirley Mclean's latest book? Or done to the local crystal shop to focus some energy? Analysis of a MIRACLE! ---------------------- The entire time my grandfather was telling me about his dream, I thought perhaps he knew something he was not telling me. At the accident the guy who hit me knew the police officer at the scene AND the guy driving the wrecker! Since the accident was only a few miles (say 5 miles) from my grandparents apartment, it is not unlikely that this fellow knew them and had called them after the accident. (My grandparents always brag about me to their friends!) I thought this explanation unlikely, though, because my grandmother would have known about the call and thus would be aware of the situation (she obviously was not). Though this would be in character for my grandfather who loves to keep information from you if he thinks it will make him look omniscient. There HAD to be a good explanation of this and MERE coincidence just didn't seem to be a good one. But then things came together! My grandfather told me that in his dream I was driving drunk when I got into the accident. My grandmother confirmed this and said that my grandfather had been troubled ever since the previous weekend when I had told him that I have been drinking alcohol since I was 24 years old! The coincidence was NOT that my grandpa happened to have such a dream when I had the accident! The coincident was that I had an accident so soon after I had told my grandfather about the fact that I drink alcohol. (I come from a very manipulative family. My grandfather would have had his dreams regardless of any accident I had had, so he would have the opportunity to ask me not to drink.) A lesson learned. It would be entirely natural for anyone having experienced the sort of event that I have described to account for it by assuming that some sort of magical forces were at work. Human beings have a long tradition of dealing with the unexplained in this fashion. Had I not discovered the explanation for this miracle, I would honestly use this in debate with 'true believers' as an example of an event for which I had no explanation, but which I felt was explainable without invoking the supernatural. In many, many cases believers are so convinced that they won't find anything that they don't see the obvious. In others the cause truly is a mystery. But mystery does not imply miracle! Quantum mechanics is a mystery to me! That doesn't make it magic! To worsen matters, these believers invariably tie their reputations (their egos) to their claims. They don't say, "I couldn't think of any explanation." But "There simply WAS NO explanation." The implication - I can't be fooled! I'm too smart! I'm too honest! I'm too religious! But history tells us that the guy who says, "I can't possibly have been fooled!" is usually the biggest pushover. I hope that believers who have read this message will take it to heart and really question their own claims to having witnessed miracles. Ever Fallible, Keith Green Small doubts; Little wisdom. Great doubts; Deep wisdom. - A Chinese Proverb --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 970 SKEP Subboard From: JIM MERITT Sent: 03-14-90 22:34 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:34 Re: (R) MR. KIYOTA AND SPOON From: jwm@stdb.jhuapl.edu (Jim Meritt) Date: 14 Mar 90 11:07:27 GMT Organization: JHU-Applied Physics Laboratory Message-ID: <4894@aplcen.apl.jhu.edu> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <3270@pur-phy> sterling@maxwell.physics.purdue.edu.UUCP (Bruce S. Woodcock) writes: }Im not advocated proof by majority rule or anything. What Im trying to get }at is this: Mr. Preston (and others who feel the same way), I challenge you }to provide a system of evidence which you want to see that would prove that }these parapsychological phenomena exist, while still allowing you to believe }all of the other facts you currently believe in. The system of evidence }required must be logical, objective, and scientifically verifiable. I believe that I would add that the data must be verifiable by an objective disinterested (hostile would be preferred) observer. The conclusion reached by ssomeone with personal stakes in the outcome is supect. }If you can do this, I believe I can present evidence for the existence of these }phenomena. If you cannot do this, then I suggest you either change your }requirements for belief, change what it is you believe in, or get out of }science altogether. How much of the parapsychological data is verified by a qualified scientific without a personal take in the outcome? A stage performer will say whatever he is performing is true REGARDLESS. As we have seen numerous times, even scientists have a tendency to decide in favor of their personal goals in spite of the data. Check the arguments on the greenhouse effect, the SCSC, the Challenger,.... If you cannot convince someone who has nothing to gain, or better yet something to lose, there is a possibility that the dreams have overriden the observation. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily represent those opinions of this or any other organization. The facts, however, simply are and do not "belong" to anyone. jwm@aplcen.apl.jhu.edu - or - jwm@aplvax.uucp - or - meritt%aplvm.BITNET --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 971 SKEP Subboard From: CHRIS STUART Sent: 03-15-90 15:29 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:35 Re: (R) MR. KIYOTA AND SPOON From: cjs@bruce.cc.monash.oz (Chris Stuart) Date: 14 Mar 90 11:13:29 GMT Organization: Monash Uni. Computer Centre, Australia Message-ID: <1918@bruce.cc.monash.oz> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic From article <3270@pur-phy>, by sterling@maxwell.physics.purdue.edu (Bruce S. Woodcock): > In article <1533@key.COM> jsp@penguin.key.COM (James Preston) writes: >> >>No, no, no; YOU show ME some proof of "objects flying around" his room. .... >>--James Preston .... > unless you see the proof yourself. I assume that you are a fair man, and as > such apply your standards equally to all scientific enquiries. Therefore, > unless have done some heavy physics work, you probably dont believe in: > > Most sub-atomic particles > Particles that can exhibit wave properties, and vice-versa > The fact that the pinpoints of light in the night sky are really stars .... > -Bruce Woodcock- I think you overstate your case.... I think there is a genuine difference between the evidence for these phenomena and for the parapsychological phenomena which is, in a word, repeatability. Parapsychological phenomena are better compared with cold fusion. In both cases, there are some experiments which would seem to indicate that the phenomena exists, but others have had trouble repeating them. I am skeptical about claims, but the matter remains open. I will not believe in cold fusion until YOU (or someone) presents proof. I will be quite satisfied with a proof by appeal to authority, if the authority is based on experiments which have been reliably repeated by a large body of people who work in hard physics, to the extent that I could reasonably believe more exeriments by hard physicists will get the same results. Until then, I remain skeptical, and the degree of my skepticism depends on the progress of attempts to achieve a reliable result. Likewise I am skeptical about parapsychological phenomena -- and VERY skeptical about claims of objects flying around rooms. I have to agree with James. In the case of phenomena which cannot be reliably repeated, the onus really is on you, or someone else, to give the evidence. A small number of reports from individuals who claim to have seen a phenomena for which no reasonable theory exists is not enough. Cheers -- Christopher Stuart --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 972 SKEP Subboard From: ALEX LEAVENS Sent: 03-15-90 15:30 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:35 Re: (R) THIS WHOLE FIELD CIRC From: alex@athertn.Atherton.COM (Alex Leavens) Date: 14 Mar 90 17:11:28 GMT Organization: Atherton Technology, Sunnyvale, CA Message-ID: <19922@laurel.athertn.Atherton.COM> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic Chuck Henkel writes about my comments about braiding and field circles... Sorry, my first posting was too brief (I tend to write in shorthand :-), and led to the confusion of two issues; what I really should have said was: 1) Many of the field circles exhibit a counter-clockwise rotational pattern (I believe it's counter-clockwise; I don't have the ref in front of me); ie, roughly 80% of the circles are cc, and only 20% are clockwise. This doesn't imply anything paranormal, or otherwise--it's just an interesting fact that I hadn't seen mentioned before. 2) Many of the field circles also exhibit a 'braiding' of the grass, wheat, etc.; this braiding is apparently difficult to do. The reason for this statement is that the braiding is apparently more than a simple 'over and under' pattern. It isn't all that hard to reproduce, actually; it's more of a serious pain, especially when trying to do it in the context of the circle (you can do it if you're not worried about reproducing the field circle...) I saw a tv special on this subject a while back; one of the half hour science magazine type shows. I've also seen references to it in a number of books, including 'An Alien Harvest' by Linda Moulton Howe. (Interesting book, by the way.) -- |-------------------------------------------------------------------------| |--alex | alex@Atherton.COM | Caution! Falling Opinions, next 6 miles | | New Net Address!!: UUCP: {uunet,ucbvax}!unisoft!bdt!dsdeng!alex | | "Mmmm...Ooo, say...Yummm......Blewuechh! Tiggers _don't_ like honey." | --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 973 SKEP Subboard From: SULLIVAN Sent: 03-15-90 15:30 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:35 Re: (R) MR. KIYOTA AND SPOON From: sullivan@csl-sun3.dcrt.nih.gov (Sullivan) Date: 14 Mar 90 15:09:28 GMT Message-ID: <1398@nih-csl.UUCP> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <3270@pur-phy>, sterling@maxwell.physics.purdue.edu (Bruce S. Woodcock) writes: > In article <1533@key.COM> jsp@penguin.key.COM (James Preston) writes: > > > >No, no, no; YOU show ME some proof of "objects flying around" his room. > >The word of "parapsychologists" who have seen it isn't worth the paper > >it's written on. > > Mr. Preston, it seems you will not believe in parapsychological phenomena > unless you see the proof yourself. I assume that you are a fair man, and as > such apply your standards equally to all scientific enquiries. Therefore, > unless have done some heavy physics work, you probably dont believe in: > > Most sub-atomic particles > Particles that can exhibit wave properties, and vice-versa > The fact that the pinpoints of light in the night sky are really stars [additional examples of common knowlege deleted] I think this response to Mr. Preston is a bit unfair. To compare a parapsychologist saying he saw something flying around a room to rigorous scientific testing of the various phenomenon you meantion is not a good comparison. > Why do you not believe these things? Because they have not been proven to you. > What constitutes proof for you? Obviously not pictures, for they can be faked. > Even those pictures that experts conclude they dont know whether or not they > are faked are unreliable. I would guess that most people believe things when a large body of people either see the thing first hand, or it is rigourously tested and the results published for peer review and verification. A picture of objects flying around a room or the word of those predisposed to accept such an event as real is not very rigourous. > You have never seen these things with your own senses. And even if you did, > you might be misinterpretating other phenomena or hallucinating entirely. I think therefore I am... I think! Maybe you should apply your arguement to those events that many say they experience but can never reproduce in a scientific laboratory. > After all, the words of "physicists" and "scientists" who have seen it isnt > worth the paper its printed on. Take the cold fusion announcement that happened a year ago. At first, many thought it was someone playing as hoax or possibly trying to grab some shortlived fame. But when it turned out to be Pons and Fleishman, people took it seriously BECAUSE their words ARE worth more than the paper they are written on. > Now, either Mr. Preston believes in very little, or he is not applying his > standards of belief uniformly across all phenomena. And we wouldnt want to > be accused of that, would we Mr. Preston? Belief is not a yes or no thing. I believe there is life on other planets not because I want to or I am 100% sure, but because statistically, I don't see how there could not be. Mr. Preston is basically saying that you do the following before believing the reality of something. 1) You consider the source of the information. 2) You consider the possibility of the whether the thing's reality violates known physical laws. 3) You look to see whether others who you consider credible consider the reality of the thing possible. This list is not complete but begins to show how someone comes to believe that the thing is probably real. I find the cold fusion phenomenon to be an excellent example of this and it is still up in the air, with many comming down on all sides of whether it is real or not. One thing about cold fusion however, some labs have reported repeating the phenomenon... a phenomenon that, if it is real, is very sporadic and not easy to repeat. This has been done within a year. ESP, etc... has been around for centuries and, to my knowlege, has not been repeated under scientific testing. > The Point: Evidence is evidence regardless of what is being claimed. The use > of the idea that "extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof" is purely > subjective. If we use objective, scientific means for determining the > existence of a given phenomena, then these standards must apply to all > phenomena. If belief in the South Pole for you only requires a picture, some > articles written about it, and a large number of people who believe in it (so > chances of it being wrong is slim), why dont you believe in parapsychological > phenomena? We have pictures of parapsychological events which cannot be proven > to be faked (there are ways such a photo could be faked, but it is impossible > given that photo whether or not it was faked), articles have been written about > them, more people have claimed to have observed psychic phenomena than have > seen the South Pole. And over 50% of the U.S. population believe in it. Pictures can be faked. Parapsychologists haven't been able to repeat their observations under scientific scrutiny. Some have been caught cheating to produce the event. I agree that evidence is evidence IF it is obtained in a scientific manner. When I was in the seventh grade I took a trash can lid and threw it across the yard and took a picture of it. It looked like a UFO. I took it into class and no one questioned that the picture might have been faked. The fact that everyone believed the picture to be a real UFO DID NOT MAKE IT SO! Scientific testing is the only way to prove something that is not considered to be real. So why is it that psychic phenomenon only occurs outside the laboratory? > Im not advocated proof by majority rule or anything. What Im trying to get > at is this: Mr. Preston (and others who feel the same way), I challenge you > to provide a system of evidence which you want to see that would prove that > these parapsychological phenomena exist, while still allowing you to believe > all of the other facts you currently believe in. The system of evidence > required must be logical, objective, and scientifically verifiable. OK, I want to see a psychic event repeated many times in many laboratories. I want to see papers in Journals. I want to see respected scientific professionals be swayed Message too long. Truncated to 150 lines! Msg #: 974 SKEP Subboard From: CLIFF WHITE Sent: 03-15-90 16:26 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:36 Re: (R) PROOF THE HARD WAY . From: cliffw@sequent.UUCP (Cliff White) Date: 14 Mar 90 19:20:20 GMT Organization: Sequent Computer Systems, Inc Message-ID: <31225@sequent.UUCP> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <34306@pbhya.PacBell.COM> whh@PacBell.COM (Wilson Heydt) writes: %In article <12.25fbb0f2@desire.wright.edu> sbishop@desire.wright.edu writes: %>In article <33184@pbhya.PacBell.COM>, whh@PacBell.COM (Wilson Heydt) writes: %>> The following message appeared on rec.arts.sf-lovers, which will %>>>From: rune.johansen%odin.re.nta.uninett@NAC.NO (Rune Henning Johansen) %>> %>> I would like to prove without using biology, geology or carbon-14 that %>> man has been on earth more than a little over 6000 years. (Yes, I have %>> been talking with the Jehova's witnesses.) % Try Chinese history - i know they have records of astronomical observations that go back +3000 yrs - and they have other records dating back 5000 yrs (i do believe) -- cliffw 'If we can't fix it- we'll fix it so nobody can'- B. Gibbons --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 975 SKEP Subboard From: PETER NELSON Sent: 03-15-90 19:42 To: ALL Rcvd: 03-27-90 21:34 Re: POSITIVISM AS A METHOD OF From: nelson_p@apollo.HP.COM (Peter Nelson) Date: 14 Mar 90 23:04:00 GMT Organization: Hewlett-Packard Apollo Division - Chelmsford, MA Message-ID: <49326302.c9b9@apollo.HP.COM> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic jpg3196@tahoma.UUCP (Jim Galasyn) posts... >I am skeptical about the Scientific Method. This is a painful admission to >make, as I was raised and educated in the strictest of rational >environments (atheist hardware engineer father, MIT EE degree). What >makes us think that events arbitrarily labelled "supernatural" are >open to scientific-method style inquiry? My understanding, such as it is, >indicates that the scientific method only applies to repeatable events and >is inappropriate for singular events. > Maybe it is the very nature of things like ESP, precognition, >UFOs, etc. to be unrepeatable, unfalsifiable, unquantifiable. But what would constitute a "non repeatable" event that would still fall among the kind of topics we discuss in this newsgroup? If someone says that they "have ESP" they usually don't mean that they had it once in their life. They are usually claiming that it happens to them often, or at least, more often than "average". Somethimes they are claiming that they can make it happen, i.e., they can "read somebody's mind" if so inclined or in the right frame of mind themselves. UFO enthusiasts likewise claim that UFO's frequently appear and that these appearances are often associated with some interaction with terrestrial reality (showing up on radar, leaving impressions or burnt marks in the ground, etc.) They don't claim that a UFO appeared once but does not represent some sort of pattern or phenomenon. UFO organizations wouldn't exist if that were the case. Astrology enthusiasts similarly claim some kind of repeatability for their art. TM enthusiasts claim that anyone in their siddhis program with right attitude can fly or become invisible. Theists claim that prayer and faith actually work to produce tangible results. Et Cetera, et cetera. Thus the claims of repeatability come from the enthusiasts of these practices not from the scientific community. We employ the scientific method because it works. No other form of inquiry has its track record. The scientific method has the advantage of producing steady progress in the precision of our descriptions of the subject matter within its domain and the reliability of our predictions about those topics over the centuries. It has the further advantage that it includes a built-in method to resolve disputes. Moreover, the effects of applying scientific knowledge are not believer-dependent. For instance, smallpox vaccine works whether the recipient believes in viruses or not. Contrast this with religion (to choose an alternate method of inquiry). Religious inquiry makes *no* progress in the precision of its descriptions of the deity (-ies), the reliability of its predictions, or the development of consensus. Jews, Christians, and Islamics, for instance, have not resolved any of their basic theological disputes over the centuries because there is nothing in the nature of religious inquiry to yield such resolution. Of course, one might argue that verifiability, predictablity, real-world applicability, or belief-independence are arbitrary criteria for choosing a method of inquiry. Perhaps there are other criteria which one might use and which might suggest the use of some other method (e.g., "naturalistic inquiry" -- I'm not familiar with this term, perheps you could define it). But what might these criteria be? And how do you suggest we choose them? If you had an inquiry method which assumed multiple realities and no causation how would you USE this approach in everyday life? How would it influence the design in engineering projects like commercial aircraft or computers? Indeed, what would constitute "inquiry" in such a system and would there be any way to build up a base of knowledge? What, if anything, would "true" and "false" mean in such a system? I think that the success of the scientific method is that it produces practical results with reasonable consistency. It is hard to imagine a "non repeatable" phenomenon which would be of any benefit to anybody since if it's truly non-repeatable then you can't count on it even in an AVERAGE sense. Pointing out limitations in science's descriptive or even theoretical basis (e.g., the Uncertainty Principle) doesn't change the nature of science or suggest that it is flawed. After all, no other method of inquiry has been shown to overcome these limitations either. ---Peter --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 976 SKEP Subboard From: NICHAEL CRAMER Sent: 03-15-90 19:42 To: ALL Rcvd: 03-27-90 21:35 Re: HOW MANY PEOPLE? 100BILL From: ncramer@bbn.com (Nichael Cramer) Date: 14 Mar 90 22:42:06 GMT Message-ID: <53522@bbn.COM> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <35366@mips.mips.COM>, vaso@mips.COM (Vaso Bovan) writes: > ... The question is: what percentage of all people ever alive, > are alive today ?... [Since nobody else seems to have taken a crack at this...] OK gang, let's get out the backs of our envelopes... The question was asked "How many people have ever lived/what fraction of them are alive now?". My copy of "World Almanac and Book of Facts" gives the following table (unfortunately they don't give a reference, but the values seem reasonable): Date Number of People Alive 10000BCE : 10Million 1 CE : 300M 1650 " : 570M 1700 " : 625M 1750 " : 710M 1850 " : 1,130M 1900 " : 1,600M 1950 " : 2,510M 1970 " : 3,575M 1990 " : 5,200M Now, for sake of simplicity, let us assume that the rate of population growth over any one of the periods is linear. Therefore, the number of people whose lives are represented during any period is just the average number of people alive at any given time during the period, times the length of the period divided by the average human lifetime (for this last value, I'll assume a nice, round figure of 50yr/life). [Note that this linear interpolation really gives us an upper bound.] So, during the first period above (10000BCE-1CE) we have: [Average number of people] [ alive at a given time ] X [Length of the Period] --------------------------------------------------------- [Average Lifetime of a human] (145*10^6) * (10*10^4) = -------------------------- 50 = 3.1X10^10 So, ~30 Billion lives were lived between 10000BCE (very roughly, the start of agriculture) and 1CE. Continuing in the way, we get: From To Million Lives 10,000BCE - 1CE -> 31,003 1CE - 1650CE -> 14,346 1650CE - 1700CE -> 597 1700CE - 1750CE -> 667 1750CE - 1850CE -> 1,840 1850CE - 1900CE -> 1,365 1900CE - 1950CE -> 2,055 1950CE - 1970CE -> 1,217 1970CE - 1990CE -> 1,755 ------ 54,845 Now the (another?) big uncertainty is when to begin this calculation; i.e. what about the number of people before 10,000BCE. Although the genus Homo has existed for a few million years, the standard figure I've seen quoted for how long modern man has been around is "between 50,000 and 500,000 years". Using these two extremes, we get the following additional number of lives: from to 50,000BCE - 10,000BCE -> 4,000,000,000 500,000BCE - 10,000BCE -> 49,000,000,000 So, so far, we have a total of from approximately 59 - 104 Billion people. Finally, we should note that we have concerned ourselves only with people who have lived adult lives. In many primitive societies it's not unusual for 1/2 of all children born to die in infancy or early childhood, so if factor in these (assuming [1] that this represents a good model for most of humankind over its history and [2] that we want the total number of people who ever lived) we could probably fold in another factor of two or so. So taking the extremes we get a value of from about 55 to 200 Billion people, or, roughly a Hundred Billion give or take a factor of 2. Consequently, somewhere between 2.5 and 8.8 percent of all people who ever lived are alive right now. (Someone else quoted "3 to 5 percent"; I remember reading [somewhere] "one in thirty"; given the uncertainties in the above, this seems like reasonable agreement.) N --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 977 SKEP Subboard From: ERIC IVERSON Sent: 03-15-90 19:43 To: ALL Rcvd: 03-27-90 21:35 Re: (R) POSITIVISM AS A METHO From: eiverson@nmsu.edu (Eric Iverson) Date: 15 Mar 90 02:29:00 GMT Organization: NMSU Computer Science Message-ID: Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <49326302.c9b9@apollo.HP.COM> nelson_p@apollo.HP.COM (Peter Nelson) writes: I think that the success of the scientific method is that it produces practical results with reasonable consistency. It is hard to imagine a "non repeatable" phenomenon which would be of any benefit to anybody since if it's truly non-repeatable then you can't count on it even in an AVERAGE sense. Pointing out limitations in science's descriptive or even theoretical basis (e.g., the Uncertainty Principle) doesn't change the nature of science or suggest that it is flawed. After all, no other method of inquiry has been shown to overcome these limitations either. I don't think that what we call non-repeatable happens sporadically, I just think we don't yet know how to reliably make it happen. A good analogy can be taken from behavioral experiments where rats were given rewards at random. The rats developed elaborate rituals in the hopes of getting another reward when the rituals in fact did nothing. I think that's the stage where we're at now. People have a paranormal experience of some kind and then try to come up with an explanation for why it occurred. Unfortunately, the set of data is limited enough that these explanations are often flawed. In fact, much like a rat can't conceive of his reward as being part of an experiment, we may not be able to understand the true causation of paranormal phenomena. Just because something isn't repeatable does not in any way mean that it didn't occur. So often it seems that when someone reports something like this it is automatically assumed that they are either a fool or a liar. In fact, the general tone of many of you in this discussion seems to be to sarcastically dismiss a topic a priori or to hold it to irrationally higher standards than you would a more "conventional" subject. I once met the most successful dowser in Minnesota. He said to me, "I initially went into this a skeptic, but I've been doing it for a living for 25 years and I've only come up dry once." He seemed to be a relatively honest, clear-headed guy. However, when I told my friend about this he started asking questions like "how do you know he wasn't lying?" (knowledgable friends at the party vouched for him) "did you get to see documentation?" (no, I don't usually bring that to a party, do you?" The point is, had I told him I'd met a quantum physicist or a surgeon, he would of said "oh, that's nice." It's precisely this kind of ignorance of raw data and irrationally high standards to protect one's preconceptions that infuriates me. The guy hasn't come up dry more than once in 25 years! He must be doing something right! Just because not everyone isn't a good douser doesn't mean it doesn't (in some way) work. This is just one example. I also have friends who regularly see ghosts and have out of body experiences. They're not making it up and they're not stupid. However, I defy you to prove with conventional scientific methods that what happens to them is real. You can't, so it must be false. Isn't black and white logic a wonderful thing? Hell, I might be lying to you all right now. That's right, it was all just a big joke. You can go back to sleep now.... -- ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Another Gruntpig production, in association with the Rat Lab Steamworks. Eric Iverson, president. Eric IVerson, emperor. ERiC IVerSoN, DeMIgOd!!! eiverson@nmsu.edu "I want to kill everyone here with a cute Computing Research Lab colorful Hydrogen Bomb!!" New Mexico State University -Zippy the Pinhead --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 978 SKEP Subboard From: EDWARD SURANYI Sent: 03-16-90 08:29 To: ALL Rcvd: 03-27-90 21:37 Re: (R) POSITIVISM AS A METHO From: ed@das.llnl.gov (Edward Suranyi) Date: 15 Mar 90 22:47:26 GMT Organization: Dept. of Applied Science, UC Davis at LLNL Message-ID: <52452@lll-winken.LLNL.GOV> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <1400@nih-csl.UUCP> sullivan@csl-sun3.dcrt.nih.gov (Sullivan) writes: >In article , eiverson@nmsu.edu >(Eric Iverson) writes: >> I once met the most successful dowser in Minnesota. He said to me, "I >> initially went into this a skeptic, but I've been doing it for a >> living for 25 years and I've only come up dry once." > Your friends point was that you took his word because he > was a clear headed guy. Your point (that the dowser's words were believed without evidence), and the point of another writer (that the mind can learn to recognize surface features that lead to underground water) are both correct. But nobody has brought up the most interesting fact, which I came across while reading about dowsers. It's simply hard to find a place in this country where you will *not* find water if you dig deep enough. Certainly, I expect water to be easily found throughout Minnesota. The only really good test of dowsing that I know of is described by James Randi in his book _Flim-Flam_. He laid water pipes in three paths, with a common source and drain. Then he covered the pipes with soil, but left the source and drain showing. There were valves so that only one of the three invisible paths would be open at a time. He asked the contenders (there were five, I think) if they would have any trouble detecting water in lead pipes. They said they wouldn't. Now the experiment started. First, with the water off, each contender was asked to go over the experimental area and determine if there were any natural underground sources of water. This was to make sure they couldn't claim later that they were confused by such natural sources. Next, the water was turned on, and one of the valves was opened at random. The contender could see the water flowing at the source and drain; he or she had to figure out the path it took under the soil. Each contender would pound a stake into the earth about every half meter, to indicate where he thought the pipe was. The trial was considered a success if the stakes were within a half-foot of the real path. Each contender had three tries, with the water path chosen randomly for each try. He or she needed two out of three successes to be declared real. This was all agreed to beforehand by the contenders. Well, guess what? None of the contenders came even close! They even disagreed about the presence or absence of natural water sources! Of course, this doesn't prove that dowsing isn't real. But these contenders had been narrowed down from a list of hundreds as being the most successful. And it *is*, as far as I'm concerned, the only legitimate test of dowsing. Ed ed@das.llnl.gov --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 979 SKEP Subboard From: ERIC PEPKE Sent: 03-16-90 08:29 To: ALL Rcvd: 03-27-90 21:37 Re: (R) POSITIVISM AS A METHO From: pepke@gw.scri.fsu.edu (Eric Pepke) Date: 15 Mar 90 18:03:39 GMT Organization: Florida State University, but I don't speak for them Message-ID: <572@fsu.scri.fsu.edu> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article eiverson@nmsu.edu (Eric Iverson) writes: > I don't think that what we call non-repeatable happens sporadically, I > just think we don't yet know how to reliably make it happen. A good > analogy can be taken from behavioral experiments where rats were given > rewards at random. The rats developed elaborate rituals in the hopes > of getting another reward when the rituals in fact did nothing. This says something different to me. It says that it is very easy for rats to be fooled into deriving causal relationships where none exist. People are a bit like that, too. This is why the scientific method is so needed. It is easy to come up with an explanation which fits the facts and satisfies the desire to know, but that does not automatically mean that it is accurate. It may be a good place to start, but to be sure it is correct you still have to investigate it. This is where the scientific method comes in handy. > People have a paranormal > experience of some kind and then try to come up with an explanation > for why it occurred. Unfortunately, the set of data is limited > enough that these explanations are often flawed. In fact, much like a > rat can't conceive of his reward as being part of an experiment, we > may not be able to understand the true causation of paranormal > phenomena. But even labeling an experience "paranormal" means deciding on a whole set of explanations and causal relationships, which set exclude some of the commonest reasons for such experiences. A skeptical view would be that, before you decide something is paranormal, you must rule out the possibility that it is normal. The only way I know to do that is to search for normal explanations and see if they fit. There is a big difference between "unexplained" and "unexplainable," and the difference is the natural realm of scientific enquiry. > Just because something isn't repeatable does not in any way mean that > it didn't occur. So often it seems that when someone reports > something like this it is automatically assumed that they are either a > fool or a liar. Well, sometimes this happens, but most of the time it's something else. There is a problem in that people sometimes feel shame when they make errors or when they are fooled. Unfortunately, this shame gets in the way. The ability to make errors and learn from them is a strength, not a weakness. The vulnerability because one can be fooled is also natural, and being aware of and admitting one's vulnerability is likewise a great strength. Sadly, this does not come easily, especially for survivors of many of the common educational methods. So, when person A says to person B, "You have been fooled," person B often automatically translates it into "You are a fool." This often results in an inference of insult to intelligence where none is meant, and the angry response of B, by diverting the discussion into the realm of the emotions, often elicits a response from A which seems to confirm the translation. This is one of the reasons that magic shows are so good for the sprit. It is enlightening to know that one can be fooled in an pleasant way, and that it does not mean an insult to intelligence. Quite to the contrary, the more intelligent and knowledgable a person becomes, the more ways that person can be fooled. Often scientists, especially experts in certain fields, can easily be fooled simply because they acquire a certain set of assumptions about that field which limit their ability to apply the general scientific method to other fields. I have no idea how David Copperfield made the Statue of Liberty appear to vanish. This does not mean that it really vanished by paranormal means or that I am stupid; it just means that Mr. Copperfield is a master of his profession with consummate skill. Unfortunately, if you go to a magic show there's usually one person in the party who will brag about how he or she could see through every trick and get celebrity points for being blase' about the whole thing. > I once met the most successful dowser in Minnesota. He said to me, "I > initially went into this a skeptic, but I've been doing it for a > living for 25 years and I've only come up dry once." He seemed to be > a relatively honest, clear-headed guy. However, when I told my friend > about this he started asking questions like "how do you know he wasn't > lying?" > ... > The guy > hasn't come up dry more than once in 25 years! He must be doing > something right! Just because not everyone isn't a good douser > doesn't mean it doesn't (in some way) work. Asking whether he was lying is not the best question to ask first, especially as it tends to turn the discussion into one of integrity. Also, it's not very likely that he was lying. Let us assume, without documentation, that everything the man said was true. It is a quite reasonable assumption. Such amazing abilities certainly do exist. However, calling it "dowsing" automatically suggests a general explanation: This stick or branch or coat hanger plays a causal role in his ability to find water. Here's an alternate explanation. Groundwater has a massive effect on everything. It affects patterns of plant growth, even when growth is very sparse. It is strongly correlated with the shape and lay of the land. In fact, it is often possible to drill and find water in a desert just by observing the pattern of the dunes. It affects the color and texture of the soil. All these changes may be subtle to a casual observer, but to an experienced observer may be as clear as a billboard. Say your dowser wants to learn dowsing. He goes through a period of training or experimentation in how to use the stick. He feels good when he finds water and bad when he doesn't. While he is learning, he is also learning to pick up cues from his environment. He does this without knowing what he is learning. Most of the things we know we pick up without being explicitly aware of them. When he has a success, however, there is an obvious explanation. It's the stick! The success gives him more confidence, and this, in turn, makes his mind work better to the task at hand. Maybe at the same time there are other people learning dowsing, and maybe they don't have quite as good observational powers or memory as he does. So, maybe they drop out of training and become farmers and doctors and lawyers. But this one dowser sticks with it, and after many, many years of experience, he becomes the finest dowser in Minnesota! Now, what is more likely, the dowsing hypothesis, where the stick through unknown paranormal forces helps the dowser find water? Or is it more likely that the skill lies in the most mysterious and marvelous unexplained force, the human mind, and that the stick merely responds to the movements of the fingers which merely respond to a vast array of indescribably judgements of probability, based on years of experience that cannot be articulated? Is it not more likely that the dowser's stick plays the same role as Babe Ruth's bat or Saul Bellow's typewriter, that of a tool used, in perhaps a somewhat arbitrary way to experess a great skill? You can test this hypothesis using the scientific method. First of all, if a stick works, then anything else should work--a dried rutabaga, a copy Message too long. Truncated to 150 lines! Msg #: 980 SKEP Subboard From: KENNETH MARK MAXHAM Sent: 03-17-90 01:50 To: ALL Rcvd: 03-27-90 21:38 Re: (R) PROOF THE HARD WAY . From: max@rice.edu (Kenneth Mark Maxham) Date: 16 Mar 90 05:22:07 GMT Organization: Rice University, Houston, Texas Message-ID: <5811@brazos.Rice.edu> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic With regard to trying to convince Witnesses, I heartily recommend not wasting your time. They came to my door some years ago, and ignoring the advice of my mother ("Get rid of them!") I engaged one of their versions of a biology text. I sat down with a pad and pen and dissected the misleading and misinformed arguments. I gave up after page 50: I had nearly as many handwritten pages of dispute. I touched on carbon dating, Darwinism, the earth's cooling rate, solar evolution, and mutation theory (among other things.) When they came back, I had my notes at the ready. When I tried to go down my list and explain where their book was in error, I got blank stares. The middle aged lady and young guy with her were totally scientifically illiterate. They had no answer save "the truth is to be found in the scriptures, in the word of Our Lord and Savior." I suppose I could have guessed as much. BTW, if you want to get rid of them easily, just say you've "been witnessed." If you didn't already know, their big thing is to give everyone, and I do mean EVERYONE, a shot at their version of heaven, so if you've had your chance and blown it they're off the hook. --max --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 981 SKEP Subboard From: ROBIN DALE HANSON Sent: 03-17-90 01:50 To: ALL Rcvd: 03-27-90 21:38 Re: (R) POSITIVISM AS A METHO From: hanson@ptolemy.arc.nasa.gov (Robin Dale Hanson) Date: 16 Mar 90 05:24:03 GMT Organization: NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA Message-ID: <4471@bayes.ptolemy.arc.nasa.gov> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In <49326302.c9b9@apollo.HP.COM> nelson_p@apollo.HP.COM (Peter Nelson) writes: >We employ the scientific method because it works. No other form of inquiry >has its track record. The scientific method has the advantage of producing >steady progress in the precision of our descriptions of the subject matter >within its domain and the reliability of our predictions about those topics >over the centuries. It has the further advantage that it includes a >built-in method to resolve disputes. Moreover, the effects of applying >scientific knowledge are not believer-dependent. For instance, smallpox >vaccine works whether the recipient believes in viruses or not. I tire of these rah-rah defenses of "THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD". Let us be skeptics for a moment, shall we? What evidence do we have that there is such a thing? I mean, at various times in history various groups of people have found it suited their fancy to use the word "science" to label their studies. But is there really anything important in common in the way these groups go a about their business? That distinguishes them from other people going about their business? Even if there are some general tendencies that happen to correlate with labeling oneself a "scientist", such as wearing a white coat, I presume not all of them are to be considered part of "the method". A method should be something more like a recipe or algorithm, something one can follow. Something EXPLICIT. But where is it? Saying things like "science is verifiable, predictable, applicable, objective, repeatable, and has consensus" is of little help. This is just a wish list of features you would like your method to have, features that most people like, scientists or not, all else being equal. And saying things like "Do try to make your theories consistent, and try to check them out from various angles" is also not much help. This is just plain common sense, that I bet most any human any time in the last 3000 years would agree to. Peter writes further: >Contrast this with religion (to choose an alternate method of inquiry). >Religious inquiry makes *no* progress in the precision of its descriptions >of the deity (-ies), the reliability of its predictions, or the development >of consensus. Contrasting with "the religious method" does not help unless we know what that is. And these claims of performance seem suspect. How much progress has the scientific method made on descriptions of deities? And it is not at all obvious that we should credit the smallpox vaccine to the wearing of white coats, or whatever it is that the scientific method is supposed to be, rather than just plain hard work on many people's part. Were other methods tried at a comparable level of effort? Robin Hanson hanson@ptolemy.arc.nasa.gov (or hanson@charon.arc.nasa.gov) 415-604-3361 MS244-17, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA 94035 415-651-7483 47164 Male Terrace, Fremont, CA 94539-7921 --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 982 SKEP Subboard From: PETER NELSON Sent: 03-19-90 02:03 To: ALL Rcvd: 03-27-90 21:39 Re: : RE: POSITIVISM AS A MET From: nelson_p@apollo.HP.COM (Peter Nelson) Date: 18 Mar 90 19:56:00 GMT Organization: Hewlett-Packard Apollo Division - Chelmsford, MA Message-ID: <4945d85e.20b6d@apollo.HP.COM> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic From: eiverson@nmsu.edu (Eric Iverson) >Just because something isn't repeatable does not in any way mean that >it didn't occur. So often it seems that when someone reports >something like this it is automatically assumed that they are either a >fool or a liar. In fact, the general tone of many of you in this >discussion seems to be to sarcastically dismiss a topic a priori or to >hold it to irrationally higher standards than you would a more >"conventional" subject. From a logical positivist standpoint this is perfectly reasonable. If someone reported that they spent last night in a town called Middletown, Massachusetts, where half the houses are made of brick I might be a little skeptical because I've never heard of Middletown and wood-frame construction is by far the most common type of construction in New England. But there's nothing SO implausible in the story that I would start demanding proof. But this fellow added that all those brick houses mysteriously hover 10 feet off the grounf then I might get a little suspicious and ask for higher standards of proof. What's wrong with this, from a positivist standpoint? >This is just one example. I also have friends who regularly see >ghosts and have out of body experiences. They're not making it up and >they're not stupid. However, I defy you to prove with conventional >scientific methods that what happens to them is real. I don't know about ghosts, but out-of-body experiences are pretty easy to test for. You simply have the subject describe some object that they would have no way of seeing from "within" their body asleep on the bed. ---Peter --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 983 SKEP Subboard From: ERIC IVERSON Sent: 03-19-90 02:03 To: ALL Rcvd: 03-27-90 21:39 Re: (R): RE: POSITIVISM AS A From: eiverson@nmsu.edu (Eric Iverson) Date: 18 Mar 90 22:58:31 GMT Organization: NMSU Computer Science Message-ID: Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <4945d85e.20b6d@apollo.HP.COM> nelson_p@apollo.HP.COM (Peter Nelson) writes: > >This is just one example. I also have friends who regularly see > >ghosts and have out of body experiences. They're not making it up and > >they're not stupid. However, I defy you to prove with conventional > >scientific methods that what happens to them is real. > > I don't know about ghosts, but out-of-body experiences are pretty > easy to test for. You simply have the subject describe some object > that they would have no way of seeing from "within" their body > asleep on the bed. You take me too literally. When I say "out of body experience", I am refering to the physiological and psychological aspects. By this I mean that most OBE's are accompanied by a state of physical paralysis as well as a number of other symptoms. These have been well documented in the literature. My friend Paul began having these symptoms at age 12 (before even knowing what an OBE was) and thought that he had some sort of nervous disorder or something. However, after reading the literature, it "all fell into place" and he realized he was having OBEs. Now whether he can actually see through walls is (to my mind) incidental. This may only be an advanced stage of lucid dreaming or connected to NDEs in some way. But just because he can't see through walls doesn't mean he's making up the symptoms. Another friend of mine, Tom, had an OBE where his "astral body" sat up in bed and looked in the mirror. However, instead of seeing himself in the mirror, he saw one of the greys. Not being familiar with ufo's and aliens, he told a friend who showed him a picture of a grey that an abductee had drawn. Tom's mouth dropped open and he said "my god, that's it..." and proceeded to keep looking at the pictures over and over again. Now I'm not going to say he actually saw an alien. But if that was a dream, it was a hell of a lot more realistic than anything I've ever had. Collective unconscious? Subconscious memories? I'm not qualified to say. All I know is that he experienced *something* and he wasn't "just fooling himself." Yet another friend, Steve, woke up in the middle of the night to find the outer room of his dorm pitch black save for what looked like stars. At the foot of his bed sat a shadowy figure who was wearing some type of luminous lace. The figure "said" (no actual words were exchanged) "come on, it's time to go" to which Steve replied "No, I want to stay" and closed his eyes tightly. When he opened his eyes again, the figure was gone, the outer room was back to normal, and all three of his roommates turned over in their beds simultaneously. My friend Jeanie was laying in bed half asleep while her father was seriously ill down the hall. At the foot of her bed she heard the following conversation: Man1: Will the father be all right? Man2: Yeah, he'll be ok. Man1: What about her? Man2: She'll be fine. Again, all these cases may just be some advanced form of hypnogogia. However, if so, it ain't like anything I've ever experienced. And no, I don't think there's a lab test in existance that could prove whether they actually saw/heard something or just thought they did. But even if they did imagine it, it would seem to me that the human brain must be a lot more complex and powerful than we've previously thought. It would seem like we could dismiss this if it were only limited to a few cases. But there's so damn many of them! Either humans are the most gullible species on the planet, or something seriously weird is going on. Either way, I think it's fascinating. -- ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Another Gruntpig production, in association with the Rat Lab Steamworks. Eric Iverson, president. Eric IVerson, emperor. ERiC IVerSoN, DeMIgOd!!! eiverson@nmsu.edu "I want to kill everyone here with a cute Computing Research Lab colorful Hydrogen Bomb!!" New Mexico State University -Zippy the Pinhead --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 984 SKEP Subboard From: RONALD AMUNDSON Sent: 03-19-90 05:35 To: ALL Rcvd: 03-27-90 21:41 Re: MAGIC CRYSTALS, MAGIC RAT From: ronald@uhccux.uhcc.hawaii.edu (Ronald Amundson) Date: 19 Mar 90 03:51:21 GMT Organization: University of Hawaii Message-ID: <6997@uhccux.uhcc.hawaii.edu> Newsgroups: sci.misc,sci.physics,sci.psychology,sci.skeptic I only recently came across the net discussions of the "Hundredth Monkey Phenonenon" (HMP), and was flattered that several people cited my debunking of the myth in the _Skeptical Inquirer_ (reprinted in _Fringes of Reason_ and elsewhere). Sorry about this late posting, but I'll add a few comments on peripheral issues which came up in the discussions. Several people mentioned the two other most popular "scientific" cases of formative causation: miracles involving growth in crystals and rats in mazes. Here's some background on them: Crystals: Lyall Watson in "Lifetides" reported a case in which two scientists who had been unable to crystalize glycerine purchased some crystals from a supplier and found "that soon after their first crystals arrived in the mail and were used successfuly for inducing crystallization in an experiment on one sample of glycerine, all the other glycerine in their laboratory began to crystallize spontaneously, despite the fact that some was sealed in airtight containers." (p. 47) The reference is to a fairly obscure 1923 paper in a chemical journal. There are several minor distortions in Watson's report, but the main question is whether airtight containers of glycerine spontaneously crystalized as a result of glycerine crystals showing up in the same room. [The envelope please....] The answer is: There is no reason to think so. The report of the complex experimental procedures is completely ambiguous on the sequence of the sealing, mail delivery, etc. I thought I might be missing something in the paper, so I asked A. G. Cairns-Smith, a rather prominent crystal specialist, to comment on it. He simply couldn't tell from the 1923 report exactly how the experiment had been conducted. He did offer two or three more plausible hypotheses than "mind seeds," however. The 1923 paper was Watson's only source on the miraculousness of this event. Neither Cairns-Smith nor I were led to interpret the same paper in Watson's creative way. In other words, a creative interpretation of an ambiguous and obscure experimental report done by scientists who are now dead. Psychic Rats: Rupert Sheldrake reported that an experiment on rats' maze learning showed that the more rats learned a maze, the easier it was for _later_ rats to learn it. Even when the rats were unrelated and lived thousands of miles apart. ("Towards a New Theory of Life" pp. 186 ff.) Here's the poop. The experiments were run by William MacDougall, a prominent spiritualistic (he said "animistic") psychologist, and a vitalist Lamarckian in biology. They began in 1920 at Harvard, but continued when MacDougall moved to Duke. The last results were published in 1938. MacDougall's collaborator at first was the (in)famous J. B. Rhine, the founder of the Duke center for ESP research. (Hmmmmm.) Rhine was coauthor of the first paper (of four), but left the project because he had bigger fish to fry. The experiments were intended to show that the offspring of rats who learned a particular "maze" would "inherit" the wisdom of their ancestors. The "maze" was a simple choice between a lighted and an unlighted exit from a water tank. The experiments were ASTONISHLY poorly designed. One example (of many) is that MacDougall didn't even bother to keep pedigrees of the rats, an amazing oversight in a Lamarckian experiment. (For all we know, the entire 1938 colony were the 20th generation descendants of the two brightest 1920 beginners.) Later replicators had rats which learned the maze very quickly even without the breeding histories. This, Sheldrake says, supports his "formative causation" theory. He doesn't mention that the replicators' apparatus was discovered to be significantly different from MacDougall's as a result of the crudeness of MacDougall's published description. Sheldrake, unlike Watson, is a genuine student of the history of science -- specifically of vitalist and spiritualist biology. But he twists and jams the data into a preconceived New Age metaphysics just as much as Watson. With these cases, unlike the Hundredth Monkey Phenomenon, there's no smoking gun. But there's no real evidence either. If you're wishful enough and you squint a little you can see dragons dancing in the campfire. If we all clap our hands, Tinkerbell will live. Ron Amundson Dept. of Philosophy University of Hawaii at Hilo ronald@uhccux.bitnet --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 985 SKEP Subboard From: PAUL JOHNSON Sent: 03-19-90 09:26 To: ALL Rcvd: 03-27-90 21:41 Re: (R)BRITISH FIELD CIRCLES From: paj@mrcu (Paul Johnson) Date: 16 Mar 90 09:24:45 GMT Organization: GEC-Marconi Research Centre, Great Baddow, UK Message-ID: <466@argus.mrcu> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic >The evidence is also consistent with a secretive ritual magic group >doing circle rituals outside at night.... Contrary to a number of >claims, skeptics *have* been able to reproduce the circles by foot. Who, when, where and how? References please. The photographs I have seen of the circles (mainly in "Circular Evidence") show otherwise undamaged stems bent over near ground level. It does not seem consistent with your theory. They also show circles with and without footprints leading to them. Where footprints are present they are alledged to be made by discoverers walking over to look. They show how impossible it is to walk through a field of waist high corn without leaving a clear trail. How do your pagans get to their ritual sites without leaving trails? >The rise in the number of circles over the last decade would be due >to the common phenomenon of "hiving", where a group undergoes a >friendly divorce when the size becomes unmanageable. If there has been a rise, it would seem reasonable to expect a human cause of the phenomenon. On the other hand, perhaps there has only been a rise in reports due to publicity. >...someone might actually have a *reason* to go walking around in >circles in fields in the dead of night. If so, the circles they >leave in the crops might be epiphenomenal, and they are not >"hoaxers". Fair enough. >Tim Maroney, Mac Software Consultant, sun!hoptoad!tim, tim@toad.com -- Paul Johnson UUCP: !mcvax!ukc!gec-mrc!paj --------------------------------!-------------------------|------------ ------ GEC-Marconi Research is not | Telex: 995016 GECRES G | Tel: +44 245 73331 responsible for my opinions. | Inet: paj@uk.co.gec-mrc | Fax: +44 245 75244 --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 986 SKEP Subboard From: PAUL M. KOLOC Sent: 03-19-90 13:33 To: ALL Rcvd: 03-27-90 21:42 Re: (R)HOW MANY PEOPLE? 100B From: pmk@prometheus.UUCP (Paul M. Koloc) Date: 18 Mar 90 22:41:33 GMT Organization: Prometheus II, Ltd. Message-ID: <1990Mar18.224133.26465@prometheus.UUCP> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <53633@bbn.COM> ncramer@labs-n.bbn.com (Nichael Cramer) writes: >This doesn't make sense either. The real reasons for explosive population >growth have been technological (e.g. the development of agriculture). >There have *always* been enough people around --and mates easy enough to >find-- to fuel growth. >Granted, once a carrying capacity has been reached, a population may stay >at a fixed value for a long time, but if it does so for a *long* time (and >we're talking tens of thousands of years) it will still add up. What is critical is the total bio mass! It is DECREASING because carbon dioxide has been sucked out of the atmosphere by trillions of tiny ocean born creatures, forming carbonates, that have been building up chalk beds. The process has been recently spurred on by river apes whose agricultural efforts add nutrients to the seas. Consequently, plants are no longer able to grow at rates any where near their optimal rates and can not hold their own against climate or man as before. What is needed is huge additions of pure carbon dioxide into the atmosphere to help increase cloud cover and provide the tera tons of carbon necessary if plant life is to cover the world's substantial desert areas. A cool world is covered in flora. THEN we can talk about 'carrying capacity'. >Maybe what the show meant was that there are more people alive now than >have ever been alive at any given time. What's in being a member of the LAST great population? Let's really be Greenies and NOT BROWNIES. Support PLANT rights +---------------------------------------------------------+**********+ + +Commercial* | Paul M. Koloc, President (301) 445-1075 ***FUSION*** | Prometheus II, Ltd.; College Park, MD 20740-0222 ****this**** | mimsy!prometheus!pmk; pmk@prometheus.UUCP ***decade*** +---------------------------------------------------------************ NOTE: "COMMERCIAL" --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 987 SKEP Subboard From: DENNIS.F.MEYER Sent: 03-19-90 14:38 To: ALL Rcvd: 03-27-90 21:42 Re: (R)POSITIVISM AS A METHOD From: dfmeyer@cbnewsc.ATT.COM (dennis.f.meyer) Date: 19 Mar 90 15:08:40 GMT Organization: AT&T Bell Laboratories Message-ID: <14495@cbnewsc.ATT.COM> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <9501@imagen.UUCP> isaak@imagen.UUCP (Mark Isaak) writes: >in article <994@tahoma.UUCP>, jpg3196@tahoma.UUCP (Jim Galasyn) says: >> I am skeptical about the Scientific Method. > >Good. A true skeptic is skeptical about everything, even skepticism itself. > Are you sure about that? -- Dennis F. Meyer att!ihlpl!dfm |"Most folks are just about as happy as they AT&T Network Systems 708/510-2277 | make up their minds to be." -- Abe Lincoln --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 988 SKEP Subboard From: JAN WILLEM NIENHUYS Sent: 03-19-90 14:38 To: ALL Rcvd: 03-27-90 21:42 Re: BROWNOUT AND BABIES From: wsadjw@eutws1.win.tue.nl (Jan Willem Nienhuys) Date: 19 Mar 90 13:34:55 GMT Organization: Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands Message-ID: <1633@tuegate.tue.nl> Newsgroups: sci.misc,sci.skeptic Some years ago (10?) there was a power failure in New York, I believe in the summer, maybe caused by lightning or overload. I forgot. It lasted quite long. Nine months later it was said that there was a small birth explosion. I remember people not believing that, contradicting that, or claiming that the rise in birth rate was altogether within the bounds of normal statistical fluctuations. But wherever I read about it, I have forgotten. My question: when was this? Does anyone have or know written sources on this subject? Please e-mail your responses to me. Quite possibly the Am. Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology had something about it, but we don't have that in our Math. Library. J.W. Nienhuys, Research Group Discrete Mathematics, Dept. of Mathematics and Computing Science Eindhoven University of Technology, P.O. BOX 513, 5600 MB Eindhoven The Netherlands --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 989 SKEP Subboard From: PETER NELSON Sent: 03-19-90 14:38 To: ALL Rcvd: 03-27-90 21:42 Re: (R)POSITIVISM AS A METHOD From: nelson_p@apollo.HP.COM (Peter Nelson) Date: 18 Mar 90 20:45:00 GMT Organization: Hewlett-Packard Apollo Division - Chelmsford, MA Message-ID: <494603ef.20b6d@apollo.HP.COM> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic hanson@ptolemy.arc.nasa.gov (Robin Dale Hanson) posts... >In <49326302.c9b9@apollo.HP.COM> nelson_p@apollo.HP.COM (Peter Nelson) writes: >>We employ the scientific method because it works. No other form of inquiry >>has its track record. The scientific method has the advantage of producing >>steady progress in the precision of our descriptions of the subject matter >>within its domain and the reliability of our predictions about those topics >>over the centuries. It has the further advantage that it includes a >>built-in method to resolve disputes. Moreover, the effects of applying >>scientific knowledge are not believer-dependent. For instance, smallpox >>vaccine works whether the recipient believes in viruses or not. > >I tire of these rah-rah defenses of "THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD". So? > I mean, at various times in history various groups of >people have found it suited their fancy to use the word "science" to >label their studies. But is there really anything important in common >in the way these groups go a about their business? That distinguishes >them from other people going about their business? Yes. In a word, "skepicism". A result is not considered "true" unless it is replicated at different laboratories and by different researchers. Notice the emphasis on trying to replicate the results of Ponds and Fleischman or of the recent claims by some Japanese concerning alleged changes in mass of a spinning gyroscope. Elaborate efforts are made to ensure that experimental bias and other sources of error are excluded in tests. Skepticism is what's absent in the religious and "new age" paradigms. If a channel announces that she's just had a conversation with the "Zar", a wood-stain god from 15,000 BC, then that's good enough for many new-agers. If God comes to a faithful follower in a dream and tells him to kill his son, this is good enough for the true believer. Moreover, the story of this event in the Bible is unskeptically accepted as true by most fundamentalist Christians and Jews. >A method should be something more like a recipe or algorithm, something >one can follow. Something EXPLICIT. But where is it? It's common knowledge among researchers and is taught in every college in the country. Where did you go to school??! What science classes did you take? Among its major features are: Use of a control. Use of a large enough set of cases or subjects to produce statistically significant results. Specification of what your level of significance is (e.g., .01, .05, etc). When possible use of blind techniques so the person performing the experiment does not know which is the control and which is the experimental case (or subject). In the case of human test subjects, they shouldn't know either. A sufficiently precise description of the experimental design so other researchers elsewhere can replicate the test (and hopefully the results). Other posters may wish to add or expand upon these items. >Saying things like "science is verifiable, predictable, applicable, >objective, repeatable, and has consensus" is of little help. This is just >a wish list of features you would like your method to have, features that >most people like, scientists or not, all else being equal. > >And saying things like "Do try to make your theories consistent, and >try to check them out from various angles" is also not much help. >This is just plain common sense, that I bet most any human any time >in the last 3000 years would agree to. This is ca-ca! I have friends and relatives who believe in channeling, TM (I'm referring to the part about levitation, etc), various religions, and astrology who don't do ANY of the things you said. The scientific method is definitely NOT common sense and in some ways violates many common sense notions. For instance, the use of placebos and double-blind design (where neither the subject nor the researcher knows whether he is getting the experimental drug or the placebo) violates many people's ideas of common sense. The need for replicability also rubs people the wrong way because they don't like to think they could be wrong or imperfect observers. ("I KNOW what I saw!") Some day I'll recount here a fascinating UFO that I saw. It took me a week of hard work to find out what it was; I was convinced I had seen something truly remarkable and I had the photographs to prove it. >Peter writes further: >>Contrast this with religion (to choose an alternate method of inquiry). >>Religious inquiry makes *no* progress in the precision of its descriptions >>of the deity (-ies), the reliability of its predictions, or the development >>of consensus. > >Contrasting with "the religious method" does not help unless we know >what that is. And these claims of performance seem suspect. How much >progress has the scientific method made on descriptions of deities? Perhaps this is because there are no such things. >it is not at all obvious that we should credit the smallpox vaccine to >the wearing of white coats, or whatever it is that the scientific method >is supposed to be, I can't believe that someone working at "NASA Ames Research Center" (.sig) is not familiar with the scientific method!! What do you DO there? > rather than just plain hard work on many people's >part. Were other methods tried at a comparable level of effort? Well, in most parts of the world, religion. Smallpox used to be one of the most deadly and feared diseases in the world and enormous numbers of temples, sacrifices, offerings, and prayers were devoted to trying to prevent it. Similar massive efforts may be seen in looking at Europe of the middle ages trying to cope with the bubonic plague. ---Peter --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Message too long. Truncated to 150 lines! Msg #: 990 SKEP Subboard From: PERRY THE CYNIC Sent: 03-21-90 01:48 To: ALL Rcvd: 03-27-90 21:43 Re: (R)MR. KIYOTA AND SPOON B From: jsp@uts.amdahl.com (Perry The Cynic) Date: 19 Mar 90 21:36:54 GMT Organization: Amdahl Corporation, Sunnyvale CA Message-ID: Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <3270@pur-phy> sterling@maxwell.physics.purdue.edu.UUCP (Bruce S. Woodcock) writes: > In article <1533@key.COM> jsp@penguin.key.COM (James Preston) writes: > > > >No, no, no; YOU show ME some proof of "objects flying around" his room. > >The word of "parapsychologists" who have seen it isn't worth the paper > >it's written on. > > Mr. Preston, it seems you will not believe in parapsychological phenomena > unless you see the proof yourself. I assume that you are a fair man, and as > such apply your standards equally to all scientific enquiries. Therefore, > unless have done some heavy physics work, you probably dont believe in: > > Most sub-atomic particles > Particles that can exhibit wave properties, and vice-versa > The fact that the pinpoints of light in the night sky are really stars > Relativity > [ etc., etc., etc., ] > Well, others have already done an admirable job of pointing out to you the rather obvious difference between a "proof" which consists of a parapsychologist saying, "I saw things flying around the room", and a rigorous scientific proof, done under tightly controlled conditions, and repeated by many, many reputable scientists, so I won't belabor that point. I would, however, like to point out that I am a scrupulously fair man when it comes to "scientific enquiries". I can easily rise to your childish little challenge. I was a university physics major myself once upon a time. I had many opportunities to verify with my own senses many of the phenomena you cite. I have seen, with my own eyes, effects of sub-atomic particles; I have seen the "particles" called electrons produce wave-like interference patterns, and the "waves" of electro-magnetic radiation behave in a discrete particle-like manner. > Why do you not believe these things? Because they have not been proven to you. > What constitutes proof for you? Obviously not pictures, for they can be faked. I have a fair and consistent standard of proof. The examples you gave from physics easily and consistently meet that standard. "parapsychological" phenomena have yet to accomplish that. If they do, I will have no trouble believing. > After all, the words of "physicists" and "scientists" who have seen it isnt > worth the paper its printed on. No, the words of scientists are worth much more than that. Why? Because they perform tests under controlled conditions; tests which are repeatable; tests which have been repeated many times. Because scientists seek to explain what they observe, and to form hypotheses which can successfully explain what will happen under other circumstances. Someone who says he saw things flying around a room--once--doesn't really fit in the same category. But if you continue as a physics major, I'm sure you'll come to appreciate the difference some day, just stick with it. > The Point: Evidence is evidence regardless of what is being claimed. Of course, so long as the evidence meets the criteria for what is considered hard evidence. The mere word of someone saying, "I saw it" hardly qualifies. A scientific research project, with published, verified data to back it up is an entirely different matter. --James Preston --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 991 SKEP Subboard From: PETER NELSON Sent: 03-21-90 01:49 To: ALL Rcvd: 03-27-90 21:43 Re: (R)POSITIVISM AS A METHOD From: nelson_p@apollo.HP.COM (Peter Nelson) Date: 19 Mar 90 22:12:00 GMT Organization: Hewlett-Packard Apollo Division - Chelmsford, MA Message-ID: <494b59ae.20b6d@apollo.HP.COM> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic eiverson@nmsu.edu (Eric Iverson) posts... >> I don't know about ghosts, but out-of-body experiences are pretty >> easy to test for. You simply have the subject describe some object >> that they would have no way of seeing from "within" their body >> asleep on the bed. > >You take me too literally. When I say "out of body experience", I am >refering to the physiological and psychological aspects. By this I >mean that most OBE's are accompanied by a state of physical paralysis >as well as a number of other symptoms. So are dreams. Motor functions are inhibited in dreams (perhaps so people don't thrash about or hurt themselves if they happen to be dreaming about doing some physically active activity). > My friend Paul began having these >symptoms at age 12 (before even knowing what an OBE was) and thought >that he had some sort of nervous disorder or something. But how do you know he doesn't? >Another friend of mine, Tom, had an OBE where his "astral body" sat up >in bed and looked in the mirror. However, instead of seeing himself >in the mirror, he saw one of the greys. > [ ... ] >Yet another friend, Steve, woke up in the middle of the night to find >the outer room of his dorm pitch black save for what looked like >stars. At the foot of his bed sat a shadowy figure who was wearing >some type of luminous lace. . [ ... ] >Again, all these cases may just be some advanced form of hypnogogia. >However, if so, it ain't like anything I've ever experienced. And no, Given that we KNOW that the human nervous system, which is one of the most complex naturally ocurring phenomena known, malfunctions and misbehaves in various poorly understood ways then isn't it more parsimonius to account for these events in this manner than in some mystical way? That is, if the phenomenon can be accounted for by something we *know* exists (and you haven't presented any reason why these could not) then isn't it simpler to account for it on that basis then to try to make up something new? Say I'm watching the sky one evening and I see a light moving in a smooth eastward path and then suddenly disappear near zenith. The light was steady up to that point and there was no sound. It COULD be an alien spaceship and I can't prove it isn't. But it is just as easy to say that it was a satellite which disappeared into the Earth's shadow and I don't have to invoke any unknown phenomenon to do so. Now if it did something inconsistent with that model, like suddenly reversing course, I might have to rethink things. >It would seem like we could dismiss this if it were only limited to a >few cases. But there's so damn many of them! Either humans are the >most gullible species on the planet, or something seriously weird is >going on. Either way, I think it's fascinating. Fascinating, no doubt, but that doesn't mean there's anything going on that's inconsistent with current science. NDE's aften report a "tunnel with a light at the end". This sort of tunnel-vision is not consistent with the way the brain responds to anoxia and is often experienced by fighter pilots in high-G manuevers. We all have similar brains so it's not surprising that they should respond similarly to the same deficits. I've experienced things in my life which were positively weird and I love the eerie, spooky feeling it gives me when that happens. Science's explanations are positively prosaic by comparison and often not nearly as much fun. Moreover I can understand the appeal of anything that suggests that there's *more* to our existence than a collection of organic chemistry which disintegrates after 70 years or so, taking our consciousness with it. But I've never seen any good reason to think that there is more to it. I'd love it if somebody could show me where I'm wrong. ---Peter --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 992 SKEP Subboard From: SULLIVAN Sent: 03-21-90 01:49 To: ALL Rcvd: 03-27-90 21:45 Re: (R)POSITIVISM AS A METHOD From: sullivan@csl-sun3.dcrt.nih.gov (Sullivan) Date: 19 Mar 90 14:41:40 GMT Message-ID: <1406@nih-csl.UUCP> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article , eiverson@nmsu.edu (Eric Iverson) writes: > In article <1400@nih-csl.UUCP> sullivan@csl-sun3.dcrt.nih.gov (Sullivan) writes: > > > But we can. Many examples exist of people who thought they > > saw something, something they misinterpreted as something > > else (like a UFO), but cling to their interpretation. This > > has been seen to happen. People can fool themselves and this > > can happen to anyone so it doesn't make them crazies, just > > human. One question to answer would be why people are so > > ready to accept flying saucers and ghosts and ESP at the > > slightest meantion of their possible existance? > > I don't necessarily jump to ESP as my first explanation. However, sometimes > other explanations just seem hopelessly lame. An example: Back in '86 > I started noticing that every time I glanced at my watch it was within > +/- 1 second of changing minutes. To further confuse things, it > seemed that it would only do this when I stared at my watch > inadvertantly and not when I was trying to make it happen. Even given > this constraint, I was able to get it to happen 7 out of 10 times over > the course of an evening. I believe the odds of this happening are > rather high. I might also add that this happened in March, eventually > faded out, then started happening again in September. The following > year I had lesser success during the same time periods and now no > longer have any success at all. Now of course the obvious explanation > is that is was "just coincidence" but it seems like the raw data is > a bit too correlated for that. I especially think it's interesting > that March and September both have equinoxes, which may or may not > have had a bearing on this. Just Coincidence? No. > ESP? Probably not. But definitely not my imagination either. Not your imagination, but maybe you are misinterpreting the data. By that I mean that when you look at your watch inadvertently you may have been actually unconsciously have been viewing the watch, but, like most things we see, we ignore those things that do not move. Once the minute changed, you saw it. Now, I'm not saying that this is the only possibility, but you should consider rational explanations before calling upon the supernatural for an explanation. If I had to come up with a rational explanation, assuming no bias as mentioned above, I'd say that taking all your observations together, they avarage out to chance and the 7 out of 10 event was the result of a small experimental number (i.e. Getting 7 out of 10 heads when tossing a coin is not unusual but getting 700 out of 1000 is). > I also have a friend who sees ghosts while in a hypnogogic state (i.e. > just waking up) Not only does she invariably see the same individual ghosts in > the same physical locations (an indication that she's not just > imagining things) she's also had independent verification of sorts. > While staying at a friend's apartment, they put her on a cot in the > living room rather than have her sleep on the couch. No mention was > made why they did this. That night she awoke to see the spectre of a > man angrily glowering at her on the couch. When she told her hosts > the next morning, they said that they put people on a cot because when > people had slept on the couch they had reported dreaming that a man > was sitting on them and that they couldn't get up. Just coincidence? > I don't think so. Scientifically admissible? Hardly. But at the > same time I don't think that she's lying or misperceiving things. In > fact, as a young child it was thought that she was going to die soon > as she had a tendency to see and talk to Jesus and the Virgin Mary. > This I believe is indication of a person who can see things that we > can't, whether we want to believe in those things or not. Well, I must be skeptical here. You are right that it is not scientifically admissable. Your friends set up an experiment without proper controls. I find it hard to believe that in the setting up of the experiment, no information was passed to the girl who then dreamed about the man. BTW, why does such a spectre have to be a ghost? Couldn't it be something else? Like extraterresterials or beings living in a parallel dimension? Your labeling of these events as visits from ghosts shows that you believe ghosts to exist and when something occurs that fits your idea of a ghost, it must be a ghost. This is bad science and shows a bias. Just like those who believe flying saucers exist and when an unusual light appears in the sky, it must be an alien spacecraft. Believe what you will but try to be much more skeptical of random events and more importantly, know you own biases. > What I'm trying to say is that sometimes we are confronted with things > that may not stand up to lab testing due to their volatility and > sporadic nature. A person's mental state may be a lot more important > than we realize, and a cold clinical lab hardly seems to be the place > to induce this state. Additionally, pressure to perform (as in my > case) may eliminate success altogether. But that doesn't mean that > this stuff doesn't happen to a lot of people with no reason to lie > about it. Solutions? Don't ask me. I just find these reports interesting. I don't think that many of these people, you friend included, are lying of playing a hoax. The mind can process information in many ways as best it can. It does not like to leave an event uninterpreted. When a strange event occurs, it trys to resolve it as best it can. Your bias will make it that much easier for you mind to come up with a supernatural explanation rather that searching deeper for the real cause. Remember the horse that could do mathematics? Seems there was this guy with a horse that, when given a math problem, would give the correct answer by tapping the number with his hoof. This was repeated in front of people. The owner was convinced that the horse could do math. It wasn't until an experiment was set up and the horse could no longer take a clue from the owner's face as to when to stop tapping that the real cause of this event was determined. No one blames the owner for playing a hoax. He was just fooled as many of us are by an, at first, unexplanable event. Events that are sporadic or volatile in nature do stand up to lab testing. Once the event is determined to be this way, the experiment is set up to observe it. Such experiments usually use large numbers or long observation times to observe the event. Jim Sullivan sullivan@alw.nih.gov --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 993 SKEP Subboard From: DAVE DECOT Sent: 03-21-90 01:50 To: ALL Rcvd: 03-27-90 21:45 Re: (R)OUT OF BODY EXPERIMENT From: decot@hpisod2.HP.COM (Dave Decot) Date: 19 Mar 90 22:20:54 GMT Organization: Hewlett Packard, Cupertino Message-ID: <23180015@hpisod2.HP.COM> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic Adherents to Scientology believe that some of their members (everyone, potentially) are able to "exteriorize" their spirits/personalities from their bodies without harming the bodies or stopping their hearts. In fact, in "What is Scientology?" L. Ron Hubbard claims that this experience is actually nothing extraordinary for persons undergoing Scientology processing. Perhaps one of those persons will volunteer for such an experiment. Dave Scientology is a trademark owned by the Religious Technology Center and is used with its permission. --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 994 SKEP Subboard From: ERIC IVERSON Sent: 03-21-90 01:50 To: ALL Rcvd: 03-27-90 21:45 Re: (R)POSITIVISM AS A METHOD From: eiverson@nmsu.edu (Eric Iverson) Date: 20 Mar 90 07:44:26 GMT Organization: NMSU Computer Science Message-ID: Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <1406@nih-csl.UUCP> sullivan@csl-sun3.dcrt.nih.gov (Sullivan) writes: In article , eiverson@nmsu.edu (Eric Iverson) writes: > I started noticing that every time I glanced at my watch it was within > +/- 1 second of changing minutes. > Just Coincidence? No. > ESP? Probably not. But definitely not my imagination either. Not your imagination, but maybe you are misinterpreting the data. By that I mean that when you look at your watch inadvertently you may have been actually unconsciously have been viewing the watch, but, like most things we see, we ignore those things that do not move. Once the minute changed, you saw it. This is a completely inadequate explanation. For one thing, the watch in question is a digital one, which means that it doesn't "move" at all. Admittedly, when the minute changes there is a slight bit more activity on the watch face. However, I hardly feel this additional activity would be sufficient to trigger any sort of reaction. Even if it were sufficient, I would have to raise my arm virtually instantaneously in order to witness the change of minutes which triggered the reaction in the first place. This does not even take into account that my watch is normally out of my field of vision with the watch face pointing away from my eyes. Even if it were in my field of vision, it would most likely have to fall within a 5% arc in my vision field in order to even be legible. Outside of this arc, motion can be perceived, but only gross motions; certainly not the smaller changes of a digital watch at arm's length. In short, your solution won't work. I'm willing to posit some form of internal time sense analogous to circadian rhythms to account for the data. However, I don't feel that mechanical cause and effect solutions work well. Especially since they don't account for the fact that the phenomena only happened during specific times of the year and doesn't happen anymore. Now, I'm not saying that this is the only possibility, but you should consider rational explanations before calling upon the supernatural for an explanation. If I had to come up with a rational explanation, assuming no bias as mentioned above, I'd say that taking all your observations together, they avarage out to chance and the 7 out of 10 event was the result of a small experimental number (i.e. Getting 7 out of 10 heads when tossing a coin is not unusual but getting 700 out of 1000 is). To equate the odds of seeing a watch change minutes to coming up heads is fallacious. The odds of coming up heads are 1/2. The odds of seeing a watch within +/- 1 sec. of :00 are 1/20. Over the course of 10 trials this difference becomes even more pronounced. Yes, the experimental number is low, but I hardly feel that this means it's solely the result of chance. > I also have a friend who sees ghosts while in a hypnogogic state (i.e. > just waking up) Not only does she invariably see the same individual ghosts in > the same physical locations (an indication that she's not just > imagining things) she's also had independent verification of sorts. Well, I must be skeptical here. You are right that it is not scientifically admissable. Your friends set up an experiment without proper controls. I find it hard to believe that in the setting up of the experiment, no information was passed to the girl who then dreamed about the man. BTW, why does such a spectre have to be a ghost? Couldn't it be something else? Like extraterresterials or beings living in a parallel dimension? Your labeling of these events as visits from ghosts shows that you believe ghosts to exist and when something occurs that fits your idea of a ghost, it must be a ghost. Oh please! Fine, it's not a ghost. It's a non-corporeal ethereal visual manifestation in the form of a human male. Satisfied? I don't see how information being passed would cause her to see the same ghosts (substitute your own term here) in the same physical locations and none in others. It's especially hard for people to pass her information, considering that often she's the only one who sees what's there. If this were some form of suggestion, a recurrent dream or a hallucination, you would expect the same "ghosts" to follow her from apartment to apartment. This does not happen. There is a distinct geographical component to the experience. At the same time, we have nothing but her word on which to base the validity of the experience. Historical records? Too easy for her to get access. Virtually any test I can think of would be susceptible to trickery. Oh well, it must all just be trickery then...my mistake. This is bad science and shows a bias. Just like those who believe flying saucers exist and when an unusual light appears in the sky, it must be an alien spacecraft. Believe what you will but try to be much more skeptical of random events and more importantly, know you own biases. I believe I've taken elaborate pains throughout my postings not to jump to conclusions about the causes of anomalous phenomena. I am open to maximally simple explanations that don't rely on presuppositions that I find implausible or contrived. All I'm trying to do is to present (albeit somewhat anecdotal) data that I have personally encountered. To accuse me of bias over the use of a linguistic shorthand does me a disservice. I don't feel I have a deep seated need to believe in the paranormal. At the same time I don't have a need to reject it either (unlike some people I know.) Instead, I am constantly trying to label and work around my biases, but not at the expense of ignoring what I see around me. If I see a bit more as a result, so much the better. -- ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Another Gruntpig production, in association with the Rat Lab Steamworks. Eric Iverson, president. Eric IVerson, emperor. ERiC IVerSoN, DeMIgOd!!! eiverson@nmsu.edu "I want to kill everyone here with a cute Computing Research Lab colorful Hydrogen Bomb!!" New Mexico State University -Zippy the Pinhead --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 995 SKEP Subboard From: NICHAEL CRAMER Sent: 03-21-90 12:48 To: ALL Rcvd: 03-27-90 21:46 Re: SCI.SKEPTIC.URBAN.MYTH? From: ncramer@bbn.com (Nichael Cramer) Date: 21 Mar 90 05:57:55 GMT Message-ID: <53855@bbn.COM> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic Is there any interest here in (seriously) discussing Urban Myths? Some of the questions/topics might be: o Are there specific facts that disprove (or support!) a given legend? o Are there interesting/significant variations on a given legend? What do they tell us about the story? o *Why* are there Urban Legends? What function do they serve? o Posting (Warning? ;) about new legends making the rounds. As a practical matter, such a forum might actually serve a concrete useful purpose. The same features that make the .net a (potentially) good mechanism for the desemination of fact and useful information have also meant that it is a powerful means for propagating misinformation: those who read Misc.Kids know that not six months go by without someone posting the "Blue Star Acid" story; many accounts of the Little Timmy/Postcard legend specifically cite Internet's role in helping spread the story worldwide; bboards like rec.humor are particularly prone to this sort of thing (e.g. a month or so back a lot of bandwidth was spent on endless variations of the "Johnny and the Golfer's Wife" myth). A place for such a discussion could (again, potentially) serve as a good counterweight. So a few questions: 1] Is this .net an appropriate place for such a discussion? 2] Is there a more appropriate .net/place elsewhere? 3] If "no" to both the above, might it be more appropriate/is there enough interest to start up something like Sci.Skeptic.Urban.Myth? 4] Finally, is there any real hope that if we do this that it won't deteriorate into rec.humor.junior with endless rounds of "Well, the way *I* heard it...."? ;-)/2 (More seriously, this danger might be a good argument for spinning off a separate net.) Comments? NICHAEL --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 996 SKEP Subboard From: ERIC IVERSON Sent: 03-21-90 18:32 To: ALL Rcvd: 03-27-90 21:46 Re: (R)POSITIVISM AS A METHOD From: eiverson@nmsu.edu (Eric Iverson) Date: 21 Mar 90 01:37:30 GMT Organization: NMSU Computer Science Message-ID: Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <46372@lanl.gov> rxxd@lanl.gov (Robert M Derrick) writes: > As for your "Couch Ghost", it seems that you have an excellant > oppurtunity to conduct a real "ghost hunt" experiment. I assume > the couch is still there, the people are still there. Go > there. Offer to sleep on the couch. Conduct a real experiment. > I am sure that many here would be willing to suggest much in > order to help make your experiment tight and scientifically > acceptable. If you/they are not willing to try, then the > weight of the anecdote drops off to almost absolute zero. I don't see how sleeping on the couch would be a real experiment considering that I would be expecting a male ghost to sit on me. As a result of this a priori expectation I could easily dream the whole thing. This is analogous to young kids going to a haunted house expecting to be scared. If they're already expecting to see shadowy figures, they often do. The point with my friend is that she didn't know in advance that something had been seen, and wasn't looking for anything out of the ordinary. Besides, I can't do the experiment, the couple in question have moved to Norway. -- ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Another Gruntpig production, in association with the Rat Lab Steamworks. Eric Iverson, president. Eric IVerson, emperor. ERiC IVerSoN, DeMIgOd!!! eiverson@nmsu.edu "I want to kill everyone here with a cute Computing Research Lab colorful Hydrogen Bomb!!" New Mexico State University -Zippy the Pinhead --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 997 SKEP Subboard From: DAVID GEISER Sent: 03-21-90 18:32 To: ALL Rcvd: 03-27-90 21:46 Re: (R)HOW MANY PEOPLE? 100B From: dag@hp-lsd.COS.HP.COM (David Geiser) Date: 19 Mar 90 20:47:30 GMT Organization: HP Logic Systems Division - ColoSpgs, CO Message-ID: <17040001@hp-lsd.COS.HP.COM> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic Found in rec.humor.funny, Re: one liners I saw this in hanging in our system manager's office: /EARTH is 98% full. Please delete anybody you can. --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 998 SKEP Subboard From: ROBERT M DERRICK Sent: 03-21-90 18:32 To: ALL Rcvd: 03-27-90 21:46 Re: (R)POSITIVISM AS A METHOD From: rxxd@lanl.gov (Robert M Derrick) Date: 20 Mar 90 21:44:08 GMT Organization: Los Alamos Natl. Labs, Los Alamos, NM Message-ID: <46372@lanl.gov> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article eiverson@nmsu.edu (Eric Iverson) writes: >In article <1406@nih-csl.UUCP> sullivan@csl-sun3.dcrt.nih.gov (Sullivan) writes: > > In article , eiverson@nmsu.edu > (Eric Iverson) writes: > > I started noticing that every time I glanced at my watch it was within > > +/- 1 second of changing minutes. > > Just Coincidence? No. > > ESP? Probably not. But definitely not my imagination either. > > Not your imagination, but maybe you are misinterpreting the data. > By that I mean that when you look at your watch inadvertently > you may have been actually unconsciously have been viewing... >This is a completely inadequate explanation. For one thing, the watch >in question is a digital one, which means that it doesn't "move" at >all. Pete and Peggy Seeger used to play banjo, and they used to practice their timing by starting to play a song together, and then to walk away from each other, out of eyesight and hearing, in a great circle, until they met up again, hopefully still in time. They were suprisingly successful. There are also stories of those people who can make themselves wake up at appointed times. So it would seem that the simplest explanation is that the body has an internal clock that can be calibrated with the artificial clock of the externel world. Why yours quit working? I might guess overcompensation. I do it often. I can often function best when my mind is clear and empty, when I'm not trying. The harder I try, the worse I get. My best golf shots/arrow shots/ax throws/etc have been when I tried least. It was very much like "Feel the Force, Luke". But the Force is to let your body/mind synergism do what it knows best without excessive thinkery/tinkering. Anyway, it seems to me to be a reasonably simply, though in reality, currently unexplainable, reason. As for your "Couch Ghost", it seems that you have an excellant oppurtunity to conduct a real "ghost hunt" experiment. I assume the couch is still there, the people are still there. Go there. Offer to sleep on the couch. Conduct a real experiment. I am sure that many here would be willing to suggest much in order to help make your experiment tight and scientifically acceptable. If you/they are not willing to try, then the weight of the anecdote drops off to almost absolute zero. "It is not enough to have the courage of your convictions, but you must have the strength to challenge them" F.N. doctor boB --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 999 SKEP Subboard From: NICHAEL CRAMER Sent: 03-21-90 18:33 To: ALL Rcvd: 03-27-90 21:47 Re: (R)HOW MANY PEOPLE? 100B From: ncramer@bbn.com (Nichael Cramer) Date: 21 Mar 90 04:56:42 GMT Message-ID: <53853@bbn.COM> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic pmk@promethe.UUCP (0000-Admin(0000)) writes: >Nichael Cramer writes: >>... The real reasons for explosive population >>growth have been technological (e.g. the development of agriculture). >>There have *always* been enough people around --and mates easy enough to >>find-- to fuel growth. >>Granted, once a carrying capacity has been reached, a population may stay >>at a fixed value for a long time, but if it does so for a *long* time (and >>we're talking tens of thousands of years) it will still add up. >What is critical is the total bio mass!... Well, uh, yes in a global sense total life on a planet is going to be limited by the amount of material available, but the total mass of humans (which is what this discussion is about) is nowhere near this limit. (As a simple example, there are 10^9 humans at ~10^5 gm. There are about 10^15 insects at, let us say, an average of 1gm. So the mass of insects is at least an order of magnitude larger than that of humans. The total mass represented by both is insignificant to that of plant life.) >... It is DECREASING because carbon >dioxide has been sucked out of the atmosphere by trillions of tiny ocean >born creatures, forming carbonates, that have been building up chalk beds. Well, yes. But (ignoring that "trillions" is low by *several* orders of magnitude) this has been going on for as almost long as there has been life on earth --this, of course, being where limestone comes from. But the amount by which this has has changed during the short period of time during which there have been humans on the planet is insignificant. >The process has been recently spurred on by river apes whose agricultural >efforts add nutrients to the seas... 1] This isn't really a very large effect and 2] I doubt it has any specific effect on the relevant lifeforms (e.g. coral). >...Consequently, plants are no longer able >to grow at rates any where near their optimal rates and can not hold their >own against climate or man as before. We could argue about the extent to which plants are able to "hold their own", but to suggest they are being limited by carbon-binding is nonsense. >... What is needed is huge additions >of pure carbon dioxide into the atmosphere to help increase cloud cover and >provide the tera tons of carbon necessary if plant life is to cover the >world's substantial desert areas. A cool world is covered in flora. "Huge additions of pure carbon dioxide"!!!!! "COOL"!!!!!!!!!!!! Can you say "greenhouse"??? N --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1000 SKEP Subboard From: NICHAEL CRAMER Sent: 03-21-90 18:33 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:40 Re: SCI.SKEPTIC.URBAN.MYTH? From: ncramer@bbn.com (Nichael Cramer) Date: 21 Mar 90 05:57:55 GMT Message-ID: <53855@bbn.COM> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic Is there any interest here in (seriously) discussing Urban Myths? Some of the questions/topics might be: o Are there specific facts that disprove (or support!) a given legend? o Are there interesting/significant variations on a given legend? What do they tell us about the story? o *Why* are there Urban Legends? What function do they serve? o Posting (Warning? ;) about new legends making the rounds. As a practical matter, such a forum might actually serve a concrete useful purpose. The same features that make the .net a (potentially) good mechanism for the desemination of fact and useful information have also meant that it is a powerful means for propagating misinformation: those who read Misc.Kids know that not six months go by without someone posting the "Blue Star Acid" story; many accounts of the Little Timmy/Postcard legend specifically cite Internet's role in helping spread the story worldwide; bboards like rec.humor are particularly prone to this sort of thing (e.g. a month or so back a lot of bandwidth was spent on endless variations of the "Johnny and the Golfer's Wife" myth). A place for such a discussion could (again, potentially) serve as a good counterweight. So a few questions: 1] Is this .net an appropriate place for such a discussion? 2] Is there a more appropriate .net/place elsewhere? 3] If "no" to both the above, might it be more appropriate/is there enough interest to start up something like Sci.Skeptic.Urban.Myth? 4] Finally, is there any real hope that if we do this that it won't deteriorate into rec.humor.junior with endless rounds of "Well, the way *I* heard it...."? ;-)/2 (More seriously, this danger might be a good argument for spinning off a separate net.) Comments? NICHAEL --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1001 SKEP Subboard From: TIM MARONEY Sent: 03-21-90 18:34 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:40 Re: (R)HUNDREDTH MONKEY PHENO From: tim@hoptoad.uucp (Tim Maroney) Date: 21 Mar 90 19:35:09 GMT Organization: Eclectic Software, San Francisco Message-ID: <10888@hoptoad.uucp> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <2524@ultb.isc.rit.edu> map9107@ultb.isc.rit.edu (M.A. Piekarz) writes: > I hate to be annoying, but could someone e-mail me or re-post >the Hundredth Monkey Phenomenon description. I missed the original >posting, and it drives me crazy every time someone refers to it and >I am totally clueless as to what it refers to. If a few dozen more people had referred to it, you wouldn't have to be told. -- Tim Maroney, Mac Software Consultant, sun!hoptoad!tim, tim@toad.com "Mere opinion without supporting argument is no more than the American Bandstand school of literary evaluation." -- Tom Maddox --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1002 SKEP Subboard From: TAD COOK Sent: 03-21-90 18:35 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:40 Re: SCEPTICAL PERIODICALS From: tad@ssc.UUCP (Tad Cook) Date: 21 Mar 90 02:39:20 GMT Organization: very little Message-ID: <570@ssc.UUCP> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic Can anyone post some information on "skeptical" periodicals? I have run into two, and wonder if they were the same publication. Last fall I found a small magazine about the size of TV Guide, and I think it was called The Sceptical Inquirer, but I am not sure. It had many interesting articles, including one on "Bigfoot". The other one I saw a couple of years ago, I think. It was larger size (8.5 by 11?) and had a great article about Randi and his debunking of Peter Popof (sp?), who was the faith healer that used lo-band VHF to prompt him during his "miracles". Anyone have addresses/subscription info on these? Tad Cook Seattle, WA Packet: KT7H @ N7HFZ.WA.USA.NA Phone: 206/527-4089 MCI Mail: 3288544 Telex: 6503288544 MCI UW USENET:...uw-beaver!sumax!amc-gw!ssc!tad or, tad@ssc.UUCP --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1003 SKEP Subboard From: PETER NELSON Sent: 03-21-90 18:35 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-05-90 11:40 Re: (R)SCI.SKEPTIC.URBAN.MYTH From: nelson_p@apollo.HP.COM (Peter Nelson) Date: 21 Mar 90 14:08:00 GMT Organization: Hewlett-Packard Apollo Division - Chelmsford, MA Message-ID: <4953b7df.20b6d@apollo.HP.COM> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic ncramer@bbn.com (Nichael Cramer) posts... >Is there any interest here in (seriously) discussing Urban Myths? I've always wanted to try to *start* an urban myth and monitor how (and *if*) it propagated. After designing a suitable one we could "seed" it in some select locations and then maintain a map of where it travels and how it changes along the way. Perhaps we could enlist the help of Brunvand's group to help us track it. ---Peter --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1004 SKEP Subboard From: PAUL HAGER Sent: 03-22-90 01:04 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-06-90 11:58 Re: (R)THIS WHOLE FIELD CIRCL From: hagerp@iuvax.cs.indiana.edu (Paul Hager) Date: 21 Mar 90 20:45:12 GMT Organization: Indiana University, Bloomington Message-ID: <39216@iuvax.cs.indiana.edu> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic I have followed this thread with interest. I and some confederates are intending to make some of these things somewhere in Hoosierland for a documentary/satire we are making called "Mysteries of the Wabash". We hope to interview some participants in a UFO Abductee's support group also. Keep watching the skies. -- paul hager hagerp@iuvax.cs.indiana.edu *** Combat global warming -- build nuclear power plants *** --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1005 SKEP Subboard From: ROBERT M DERRICK Sent: 03-22-90 01:05 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-06-90 11:58 Re: (R)POSITIVISM AS A METHOD From: rxxd@lanl.gov (Robert M Derrick) Date: 21 Mar 90 23:54:52 GMT Organization: Los Alamos Natl. Labs, Los Alamos, NM Message-ID: <46486@lanl.gov> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article you write: >In article <46372@lanl.gov> rxxd@lanl.gov (Robert M Derrick) writes: > >> As for your "Couch Ghost", it seems that you have an excellant >> oppurtunity to conduct a real "ghost hunt" experiment. I assume >> the couch is still there, the people are still there. Go > >I don't see how sleeping on the couch would be a real experiment >considering that I would be expecting a male ghost to sit on me. As a [stuf] > .... Besides, I can't do the experiment, the couple >in question have moved to Norway. I tend to use too light a touch when composing these things and so sometimes I might be taken too literally. What I meant was that there existed in your story an element which made it ripe for study. I.e. a repeating anomolous phenomena where non-collaborating individuals seemed to agree as to the details. If so, then it would be a great testing ground. I didn't mean that you personally should be the couch sleeper, but that an unbiased uncoached observer could be brought to this place to conduct a real experiment. Since they are in Norway, the couch and house who knows where, the whole thing is a moot point, save this: if you or anyone else you know ever stumbles across a goldmine like this again, and the trail is still warm, or even better hot, and it is repeatable, take it to the wall! Conduct a test that will make everybody proud. If you get multiple independant verifications with controlled testings, wow! If not, then you will be praised for you're careful attention to detail. Anyway, I wish someone would give me one of these puppies. Sounds like a chuckalicious time. Doctor boB --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1006 SKEP Subboard From: ROBERT M DERRICK Sent: 03-22-90 01:05 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-06-90 11:58 Re: (R)SCI.SKEPTIC.URBAN.MYTH From: rxxd@lanl.gov (Robert M Derrick) Date: 22 Mar 90 00:01:20 GMT Organization: Los Alamos Natl. Labs, Los Alamos, NM Message-ID: <46488@lanl.gov> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <53855@bbn.COM> ncramer@BBN.COM (Nichael Cramer) writes: > >Is there any interest here in (seriously) discussing Urban Myths? >1] Is this .net an appropriate place for such a discussion? >2] Is there a more appropriate .net/place elsewhere? >3] If "no" to both the above, might it be more appropriate/is there > enough interest to start up something like Sci.Skeptic.Urban.Myth? >4] Finally, is there any real hope that if we do this that it > won't deteriorate into rec.humor.junior with endless rounds of > "Well, the way *I* heard it...."? ;-)/2 Nichael, I would say Yes; I think so; don't know; Sci.Folklore if not here; and we can only hope. Anyway, I think that much of what goes on in the world of Urban Myth will resound in the world of Sci.Skeptic anyway, and it would be a nice variation for the group. And you really write nice stuff! Doctor boB - Dancing madly backwards --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1007 SKEP Subboard From: ROBERT M DERRICK Sent: 03-22-90 01:05 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-06-90 11:58 Re: (R)SCI.SKEPTIC.URBAN.MYTH From: rxxd@lanl.gov (Robert M Derrick) Date: 22 Mar 90 00:12:55 GMT Organization: Los Alamos Natl. Labs, Los Alamos, NM Message-ID: <46489@lanl.gov> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <4953b7df.20b6d@apollo.HP.COM> nelson_p@apollo.HP.COM (Peter Nelson) writes: > > ncramer@bbn.com (Nichael Cramer) posts... > >>Is there any interest here in (seriously) discussing Urban Myths? > > I've always wanted to try to *start* an urban myth and monitor > how (and *if*) it propagated. After designing a suitable one we > could "seed" it in some select locations and then maintain a map > of where it travels and how it changes along the way. Perhaps > we could enlist the help of Brunvand's group to help us track it. Neat idea Peter, but I think you might find this to be a harder task than it seems at first. What fuels an Urban Myth is much the same as the mana that fuels advertising, fads, and all those other things that spell Riches for the first to actualize the idea. What we're talking about here are memes. A Meme is an idea that has a life of its own. No one seems to be able to guess ahead of time which ones will live and which will wither. They propagate and survive by implanting themselves into the psyche's of human beings. They are like symbiotic parasites and we are their host organisms. I would say that your best bet would be to find an ancient urban myth that has not seen light of day for a while (lying dormant), dust it off, update it with details that make it traceable by you, and let 'er rip. And while you're at it, make up a totally new myth as well, for a control. I suggest you run your new myth by a Certified Folklorist first to make sure you are not awakening a dormant meme unknowingly. Let us know your progress. I'll be glad to distribute both. Good luck. doctor boB - a mythical character --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1008 SKEP Subboard From: BOB DAINAUSKI Sent: 03-22-90 01:05 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-06-90 11:58 Re: (R)POSITIVISM AS A METHOD From: RAD101@psuvm.psu.edu (Bob Dainauski) Date: 20 Mar 90 16:35:19 GMT Organization: Penn State University Message-ID: <90079.113519RAD101@psuvm.psu.edu> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article , eiverson@nmsu.edu (Eric Iverson) says: > >I don't necessarily jump to ESP as my first explanation. However, sometimes >other explanations just seem hopelessly lame. An example: Back in '86 >I started noticing that every time I glanced at my watch it was within >+/- 1 second of changing minutes. To further confuse things, it >seemed that it would only do this when I stared at my watch >inadvertantly and not when I was trying to make it happen. Even given >this constraint, I was able to get it to happen 7 out of 10 times over >the course of an evening. I believe the odds of this happening are >rather high. I might also add that this happened in March, eventually >faded out, then started happening again in September. The following >year I had lesser success during the same time periods and now no >longer have any success at all. Now of course the obvious explanation >is that is was "just coincidence" but it seems like the raw data is >a bit too correlated for that. Wait a sec. Let me see if I have this straight........ In the past four years you've had all of _two_ isolated periods of time where you experienced a reasonably common event about 7 out of 10 trials. Also, the possibility exists that you made a mental note of only the "hits" since you didn't say anything about recording data. Yes, you're right, this could not possibly be a coincidence. Surely there are heretofore unexplained forces at work in the universe which, for reasons known only to themselves, compell you to look at you watch as it is about to change minutes - once in a while. Semi :-) Please forgive the sarcasm, but stop and take a look at what you are suggesting. It's one thing to talk about predicting disasters or the lotto numbers but you're talking about something (to be honest) ludicrous. *Think*, think hard about this. Even if ESP, PK, whatever existed what possible reason would there be for causing you to look at your watch as it is about to change minutes??????? I could not come up with a single reason. You, however, offer: > I especially think it's interesting >that March and September both have equinoxes, which may or may not >have had a bearing on this. Just Coincidence? No. > Why didn't I think of that? Maybe it happened in March and September because my sister was born one month before March and my brother was born one month after September? What I'm getting at here is that you can't just throw out "equinoxes" and make ABSOLUTELY NO CONNECTION, even in hypothesis. Why do you think that's "especially interesting"? Because equinoxes are "neat"? Tell us! >What I'm trying to say is that sometimes we are confronted with things >that may not stand up to lab testing due to their volatility and >sporadic nature. Sporadic nature? Hey, I think you're finally on to something......... Any possible explainations for this? Coincidence? Nah, the raw data is a bit to correlated for that. And now, a quick flashback: > I don't necessarily jump to ESP as my first explanation. However, sometimes > other explanations seem hopelessly lame. Stop it, please, you're killing me. Still irate, Bob Dainauski RAD101@psuvm.psu.edu (717) 948-6426 --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1009 SKEP Subboard From: KEN SHIRRIFF Sent: 03-22-90 01:05 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-06-90 11:59 Re: (R)SCI.SKEPTIC.URBAN.MYTH From: shirriff@sprite.berkeley.edu (Ken Shirriff) Date: 22 Mar 90 01:11:38 GMT Organization: University of California, Berkeley Message-ID: <23323@pasteur.Berkeley.EDU> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <4953b7df.20b6d@apollo.HP.COM> nelson_p@apollo.HP.COM (Peter Nelson) writes: > I've always wanted to try to *start* an urban myth and monitor > how (and *if*) it propagated. A friend of a friend of mine tried this and the urban myth spread all over the United States. Ken Shirriff shirriff@sprite.Berkeley.EDU --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1010 SKEP Subboard From: ERIC IVERSON Sent: 03-23-90 01:26 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-06-90 11:59 Re: (R)POSITIVISM AS A METHOD From: eiverson@nmsu.edu (Eric Iverson) Date: 22 Mar 90 03:38:24 GMT Organization: NMSU Computer Science Message-ID: Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <90079.113519RAD101@psuvm.psu.edu> RAD101@psuvm.psu.edu (Bob Dainauski) writes: > ... Yes, you're right, this could not possibly > be a coincidence. Surely there are heretofore unexplained forces > at work in the universe which, for reasons known only to themselves, > compell you to look at you watch as it is about to change > minutes - once in a while. Semi :-) > > Please forgive the sarcasm, but stop and take a look at what > you are suggesting. It's one thing to talk about predicting > disasters or the lotto numbers but you're talking about something > (to be honest) ludicrous. *Think*, think hard about this. Even if > ESP, PK, whatever existed what possible reason would there be for > causing you to look at your watch as it is about to change > minutes??????? I could not come up with a single reason. You, however, > offer: > > > I especially think it's interesting > >that March and September both have equinoxes, which may or may not > >have had a bearing on this. Just Coincidence? No. > > > Why didn't I think of that? Maybe it happened in March and September > because my sister was born one month before March and my brother > was born one month after September? > > What I'm getting at here is that you can't just throw out "equinoxes" > and make ABSOLUTELY NO CONNECTION, even in hypothesis. Why do you > think that's "especially interesting"? Because equinoxes are "neat"? > Tell us! I do not believe that I have ever said anything about "heretofore unexplained forces at work in the universe." I also don't think I've ever made any claims about having ESP or PK abilities. Instead I think my experience was a manifestation of human being's inate time sense. There does seem to be precedent for this. As other people have pointed out, it is possible to "will" yourself to wake up at a certain time with training. This is probably not due to ESP, but more likely due to an unconcious perception of the body's circadian rhythms, or to ambient light levels within the room. Since the body's cycles are somewhat linked to lunar cycles (i.e. menstral cycles, increased crime rates during a full moon, etc.) I do not see why the earth's cycles might not have some sort of effect as well. As a result I did not "throw out" equinoxes just because they were "neat." It is quite possible given our knowledge of lunar effects that the earth's position in its orbit may have a bearing on the phenomena. There is a whole new discipline called Chronobiology which is trying to study the effects of time of day and time of season on the functions of the body. While 1 minute intervals may seem a bit small and artificial to have much of an effect, I still don't see why there couldn't be some biological/unconcious way to perceive them over a series of trials. I'd point out that this all started after I had become intensely emotionally involved with someone, but I'm sure you'd all tell me that my endocrine levels only made me less objective. I might also add that your posting lived up to the level of scholarship and objectivity that I have come to expect from PSU..... -- ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Another Gruntpig production, in association with the Rat Lab Steamworks. Eric Iverson, president. Eric IVerson, emperor. ERiC IVerSoN, DeMIgOd!!! eiverson@nmsu.edu "I want to kill everyone here with a cute Computing Research Lab colorful Hydrogen Bomb!!" New Mexico State University -Zippy the Pinhead --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1011 SKEP Subboard From: BOB DAINAUSKI Sent: 03-23-90 01:27 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-06-90 11:59 Re: (R)SCI.SKEPTIC.URBAN.MYTH From: RAD101@psuvm.psu.edu (Bob Dainauski) Date: 22 Mar 90 02:01:39 GMT Organization: Penn State University Message-ID: <90080.210139RAD101@psuvm.psu.edu> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <23323@pasteur.Berkeley.EDU>, shirriff@sprite.berkeley.edu (Ken Shirriff) says: > >In article <4953b7df.20b6d@apollo.HP.COM> nelson_p@apollo.HP.COM (Peter >Nelson) >writes: >> I've always wanted to try to *start* an urban myth and monitor >> how (and *if*) it propagated. > >A friend of a friend of mine tried this and the urban myth spread >all over the United States. > Well ??? Don't just tease us like that! What was the urban myth started by your friend? Bob Bob Dainauski RAD101@psuvm.psu.edu (717) 948-6426 --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1012 SKEP Subboard From: NICHAEL CRAMER Sent: 03-23-90 01:28 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-06-90 12:00 Re: (R)SCI.SKEPTIC.URBAN.MYTH From: ncramer@bbn.com (Nichael Cramer) Date: 22 Mar 90 02:51:57 GMT Organization: Bolt Beranek and Newman Inc., Cambridge MA Message-ID: <53921@bbn.COM> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <23323@pasteur.Berkeley.EDU> shirriff@sprite.berkeley.edu (Ken Shirriff) writes: >In article <4953b7df.20b6d@apollo.HP.COM> nelson_p@apollo.HP.COM (Peter Nelson) writes: >> I've always wanted to try to *start* an urban myth and monitor >> how (and *if*) it propagated. > >A friend of a friend of mine tried this and the urban myth spread >all over the United States. Alright, I'll ask the obvious... Which one? --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1013 SKEP Subboard From: RODNEY KENT MADSEN Sent: 03-23-90 01:28 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-06-90 12:00 Re: (R)SCI.SKEPTIC.URBAN.MYTH From: madsen@ics.uci.edu (Rodney Kent Madsen) Date: 22 Mar 90 09:54:25 GMT Message-ID: <2608A0D1.7948@paris.ics.uci.edu> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic shirriff@sprite.berkeley.edu (Ken Shirriff) writes: >A friend of a friend of mine tried this and the urban myth spread >all over the United States. Aha! Is this the start of an urban myth about "a guy who started an urban myth that spread throughout the country," or am I recursing too deeply? >Ken Shirriff shirriff@sprite.Berkeley.EDU -- R. Kent Madsen Department of Information and Computer Science, UC Irvine madsen@ics.uci.edu (ARPA) --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1014 SKEP Subboard From: ERIC PEPKE Sent: 03-23-90 01:29 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-06-90 12:00 Re: (R)THIS WHOLE FIELD CIRCL From: pepke@gw.scri.fsu.edu (Eric Pepke) Date: 22 Mar 90 14:27:32 GMT Organization: Florida State University, but I don't speak for them Message-ID: <590@fsu.scri.fsu.edu> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <1955@naucse.UUCP> sbw@naucse.UUCP (Steve Wampler) writes: > Wait a minute. I'm pretty certain (having done it when younger) that > it isn't all *that* hard to walk through a wheat field without leaving > a trail - you just have to be careful. In Britain there are public footpaths which go over miles and miles of countryside. They go through private property, but the paths are so old that they are protected by law. In these benighted days, the laws aren't really enforced very well (how could one enforce them anyway?) and the owners of the land sometimes don't have much respect for the tradition. So some farmers plant crops where the paths are. There are active societies whose members walk those paths regularly. Even so, it is sometimes impossible to see where the paths are. There was one I saw that went through a field of wheat. It was so bad that I couldn't tell where the path was and thought I made a wrong turn somewhere. Instead, I went straight forward, looking for footprints on the ground. I could see none. However, when I emerged from the field, the path continued from the exact point I left the field. So, it's pretty easy to walk though some British wheat fields without leaving obvious marks. I wasn't even trying to be careful, but I could see no disturbance looking back. Eric Pepke INTERNET: pepke@gw.scri.fsu.edu Supercomputer Computations Research Institute MFENET: pepke@fsu Florida State University SPAN: scri::pepke Tallahassee, FL 32306-4052 BITNET: pepke@fsu Disclaimer: My employers seldom even LISTEN to my opinions. Meta-disclaimer: Any society that needs disclaimers has too many lawyers. --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1015 SKEP Subboard From: BILL JEFFERYS Sent: 03-23-90 01:29 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-06-90 12:00 Re: (R)SCI.SKEPTIC.URBAN.MYTH From: bill@ut-emx.UUCP (Bill Jefferys) Date: 22 Mar 90 14:54:25 GMT Organization: UTexas Computation Center, Austin, Texas Message-ID: <26648@ut-emx.UUCP> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <90080.210139RAD101@psuvm.psu.edu> RAD101@psuvm.psu.edu (Bob Dainauski) writes: # #In article <23323@pasteur.Berkeley.EDU>, shirriff@sprite.berkeley.edu (Ken #Shirriff) says: #> #>In article <4953b7df.20b6d@apollo.HP.COM> nelson_p@apollo.HP.COM (Peter #>Nelson) #>writes: #>> I've always wanted to try to *start* an urban myth and monitor #>> how (and *if*) it propagated. #> #>A friend of a friend of mine tried this and the urban myth spread #>all over the United States. #> # Well ??? Don't just tease us like that! What was the #urban myth started by your friend? He didn't say 'a friend'. He said 'a friend of a friend'. 'Nuff said :-) Bill Jefferys -- If you meet the Buddha on the net, put him in your kill file --Robert Firth --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1016 SKEP Subboard From: ROBERT M DERRICK Sent: 03-23-90 01:29 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-06-90 12:00 Re: (R)SCI.SKEPTIC.URBAN.MYTH From: rxxd@lanl.gov (Robert M Derrick) Date: 22 Mar 90 16:33:23 GMT Organization: Los Alamos Natl. Labs, Los Alamos, NM Message-ID: <46537@lanl.gov> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <23323@pasteur.Berkeley.EDU> shirriff@sprite.berkeley.edu (Ken Shirriff) writes: >In article <4953b7df.20b6d@apollo.HP.COM> nelson_p@apollo.HP.COM (Peter Nelson) writes: >> I've always wanted to try to *start* an urban myth and monitor >> how (and *if*) it propagated. > >A friend of a friend of mine tried this and the urban myth spread >all over the United States. > >Ken Shirriff shirriff@sprite.Berkeley.EDU You scared me for a moment! I thot you might be serious, but the FEOF is a dead giveaway now, isn't it. Actually, we might try a contest to see if anybody can start a UM from scratch. But do you have any idea of the fierce battle for UM niches? There are hundreds, nay thousands, of potential UM's out there competing for their very existence. Some UM's are so established that I doubt that even Stalin or Mao could have eradicated them, even if they put the whole of their power into the task. Question: how can you tell a UM from a true yet obscure story? E.g. the following: (this is slightly salacious, so if you are easily offended, please stop now) In a certain Government installation they have these huge vaults that have very thick doors, but the doors are easily opened and closed. Inside the vault they have a flashing red light whenever the vault is unlocked, even if the door is closed. Now a certain supervisor was known for sexual extortion, and although he had been accused several times, nothing had been done about it because of his influence in the organization. So he used to coerce young ladies into providing sexual favors in order to keep their jobs, and a favorite place to take them was one of these vaults. Well, he had one young lady in there, and as I understand it, he was standing and she was kneeling (trying to be delicate with an indelicate situation). And that was when, with the help of the red light, he suddenly found out that she was epileptic. His screams were heard outside the vault with the door closed! I have it on good authority that she did not unclench until they had them in the ambulance and had given her a muscle relaxant. He was mangled but to the best of my knowledge, did not lose the item, although its future usefulness was in doubt. Anyway, they were both fired, but she filed suit and won. So, skeptical friends: Is it a UM or is it true? Cast your votes now. doc boB - "Anyone who tells a bigger story than this will have to tell a lie" --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1017 SKEP Subboard From: BOB DAINAUSKI Sent: 03-24-90 03:53 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-06-90 12:01 Re: (R)SCI.SKEPTIC.URBAN.MYTH From: RAD101@psuvm.psu.edu (Bob Dainauski) Date: 22 Mar 90 21:26:03 GMT Organization: Penn State University Message-ID: <90081.162603RAD101@psuvm.psu.edu> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <2608A0D1.7948@paris.ics.uci.edu>, madsen@ics.uci.edu (Rodney Kent Madsen) says: > >shirriff@sprite.berkeley.edu (Ken Shirriff) writes: > >>A friend of a friend of mine tried this and the urban myth spread >>all over the United States. > >Aha! Is this the start of an urban myth about "a guy who started an urban >myth that spread throughout the country," or am I recursing too deeply? > Ooooooohhhhhhhhhhhh. Now I get it. Sorry, I read the original too quickly and without my sarcasm detector. Nicely done Ken. Bob Bob Dainauski RAD101@psuvm.psu.edu (717) 948-6426 --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1018 SKEP Subboard From: LOREN PETRICH Sent: 03-24-90 03:53 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-06-90 12:01 Re: (R)HUGE UFO DOC FROM ORIG From: loren@sunlight.llnl.gov (Loren Petrich) Date: 23 Mar 90 02:34:58 GMT Organization: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Message-ID: <53402@lll-winken.LLNL.GOV> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic This posting is CUTE. Our government knows all about these extraterrestrial visitors but is covering it all up. Isn't that simple? But considering the fate of numerous other potentially embarrassing secrets, I suspect that there is no cover-up at all. Just consider expose's on the Vietnam War, Watergate, the CIA, the Iran-Contra scandal, etc. etc. If there was a UFO cover-up, it would have been exposed in full glory long ago, like all these other scandals. ^ Loren Petrich, the Master Blaster \ ^ / loren@sunlight.llnl.gov \ ^ / One may need to route through any of: \^/ <<<<<<<<+>>>>>>>> lll-lcc.llnl.gov /v\ lll-crg.llnl.gov / v \ star.stanford.edu / v \ v "Eliminate the ninnies and the twits!" -- Devo --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1019 SKEP Subboard From: N = R*FGFPNEFLFIFAL 22-MAR-1990 Sent: 03-24-90 03:53 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-06-90 12:01 Re: THE SKEPTICAL INQUIRER - From: klaes@25.923.enet (N = R*fgfpneflfifaL 22-Mar-1990 0902) Date: 22 Mar 90 14:27:00 GMT Organization: Digital Equipment Corporation Message-ID: <9003221426.AA00129@decwrl.dec.com> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic THE SKEPTICAL INQUIRER magazine is published by CSICOP (Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims Of the Paranormal). Among CSICOP's members are Isaac Asimov, F. H. C. Crick, L. Sprague de Camp, Stephen Jay Gould, Philip J. Klass, Edwin C. Krupp, James Oberg, Carl Sagan, and B. F. Skinner. The occupations range from writers to psychologists, along with professors, astronomers, professional magicians, and even a film producer. Their address is: THE SKEPTICAL INQUIRER Post Office Box 229 Central Park Station Buffalo, New York 14215-0229 U.S.A. Telephone: (716) 834-3222 I am not associated with CSICOP in any form. --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1020 SKEP Subboard From: C.E.T.L. JONES Sent: 03-24-90 06:48 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-06-90 12:01 Re: (R)SCI.SKEPTIC.URBAN.MYTH From: cej@ll1a.ATT.COM (C.E.T.L. Jones) Date: 23 Mar 90 03:21:05 GMT Organization: AT&T, Lisle, Il. Message-ID: <7303@ll1a.ATT.COM> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <90080.210139RAD101@psuvm.psu.edu> (Bob Dainauski) writes: >In article <23323@pasteur.Berkeley.EDU>, (Ken Shirriff) says: >> >>A friend of a friend of mine tried this and the urban myth spread >>all over the United States. >> > Well ??? Don't just tease us like that! What was the >urban myth started by your friend? No, no, it's a FoF story. Note the "friend of a friend," the sure mark of an urban myth. Just some subtle meta-humor. (It's okay Ken, I laughed.) -- Charles Evan Thomas Llewellyn Jones ...att!ll1a!cej [Just me, not AT&T] cej@ll1a.att.com --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1021 SKEP Subboard From: ERIC PEPKE Sent: 03-24-90 06:48 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-06-90 12:01 Re: (R)POSITIVISM AS A METHOD From: pepke@gw.scri.fsu.edu (Eric Pepke) Date: 23 Mar 90 05:15:38 GMT Organization: Florida State University, but I don't speak for them Message-ID: <591@fsu.scri.fsu.edu> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article eiverson@nmsu.edu (Eric Iverson) writes: > Let's say for example > that I wanted to fool you into thinking I drove through your > cornfield. Given adequate technical skills, this could be > accomplished without the use of a car. But this does not mean that I > couldn't have done the same thing with a car as well. What's the point? Let's say I wanted to convince you that everything in the world is being controlled by Big Eyed Beans from Venus. If I had enough creativity, I might be able to do it, but that wouldn't prove that the world *wasn't* being controlled by Big Eyed Beans from Venus. All you have said that it is impossible to prove a negative in the most general case. This is true regardless of science or skepticism or whatever. Someone interested in thwarting the proof of impossibility will always push the discussion to the most general case, and that person can always succeed, regardless of anything real. General proofs of impossibility, once you omit things which clearly violate natural laws that really cannot be broken, are usually inductive. Who is to say that all the Bahia grass plants in the world won't spontaneously uproot themselves and form into a 6000 Km apparition of Gumby dancing the polka? There is a finite probability that that will occur. The fact that it didn't occur yesterday doesn't demonstrate anything, especially to people who want to believe that it will happen tomorrow. The probablility is really quite small, but that difference between very small and zero is something that people have time and time again shown a willingness to die over. > I refuse to > believe that every person who reports a paranormal phenomenon is a > hoaxster just because their photographs or physical evidence can be > replicated by trickery. I could say again, for about the tenth time, that not everybody is trying to make you believe that, but you could ignore or refuse to understand that statement, as you have done for about the previous nine. I refuse to acquiesce to your attempt to polarize any questioning of labeling something as "paranormal" as an accusation of being a hoaxter. I gave an alternate (and to me more likely) description of self-delusion, which I presented without blame or implication of dishonesty. The psychology of belief is fascinating and complex and does not automatically reduce to hoaxing and trickery. If you choose not to understand that, that is your decision. I discussed tricks only as a mechanism of explication, which mechanism apparantly failed miserably. There is no point trying to clarify it; I am sure you will win. > My point was not that dowsing sticks work. My point was that when I > told my friend that the guy was having success, he wouldn't even > believe me. This is a good example of what I mean be rejecting raw > data. Again, what's the point? Maybe you need to get more friends, or maybe you just need to listen a little better to the other things that people are saying instead of only that which supports your thesis of people "rejecting raw data." Maybe you might try listening to your own criticisms. In any event, I bet you did not present this to your friend as "raw data." I bet that you used either the word "dowsing" or "paranormal" in what you said to him. You presented to him a neat little paranormal package, using words which he associated with ready-made explanations and preconcieved ideas. Maybe he responded defensively. I bet he had five fingers on each hand, too--another characteristic of being human. So what? This is a very good adversarial tactic for putting people on the defensive, and I'm sure if you continue to use it, you will get much success. But what does it mean, if anything? By your standards, do skeptics have to be entirely devoid of any human failings in order to be saying anything of importance? Again, the skeptical view is this: Defining something as paranormal is tantamount to saying that it cannot in any way be normal. To disprove assumptions of the paranormal nature of something, it is sufficient to show that it can be normal. That does not and cannot prove that it cannot be paranormal; that is not possible. All it shows is that a paranormal label is not required. In other words: EXTRAORDINARY CLAIMS REQUIRE EXTRAORDINARY PROOF. > However, he said he didn't practice it as it had a tendency to freak > out the customers. He emphatically told me "It can't work, it > shouldn't work, but it does work." I realize this is all anecdotal, > but I'm sure he has a lot of happy customers who would back me up. Your statement of the "map dowsing," if *well documented* would indeed be valid criticism of my speculations about the mechanism. However, that is of only secondary importance. Maybe I'm just not inventive enough to devise a plausible explanation. The controlled experiments I suggested would still show whether what he did had anything to do with cues or not. Why not try them rather than pile probabilities and plausibilities to try to get a value of truth or falsehood? I have to reiterate that such experiments have been done, with experienced, professional dowsers with various numbers of years of never having come up dry, and that at least one such experiment has been done on national television, and that none of those experiments has ever shown that there is anything to dowsing. Your anecdotes and surety of the lots of happy customers doesn't stand up to that. If you have better evidence, present it. If you want to believe what you want to believe based on your anecdotes, that's fine, too, but I'll believe well-designed controlled experiments over hearsay of self-description. I'm sure your famous dowser could get ten grand if he could manage to prove his talent to Randi, and I'm sure the ensuing one-year contract would make him more money and fame than a year of pointing at well sites. Maybe you might try to get word to him, after all, if what he does is so reliable, he may be missing out on a very lucrative opportunity. Aside: Is there any place in Minnesota where you cannot find water no matter how deep you drill? Could a "dowser" find this place? Eric Pepke INTERNET:pepke@gw.scri.fsu.edu Supercomputer Computations Research Institute MFENET: pepke@fsu Message too long. Truncated to 150 lines! Msg #: 1022 SKEP Subboard From: TORKIL HAMMER Sent: 03-24-90 06:49 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-06-90 12:02 Re: (R)NEW AGE THINKERS (WAS From: torkil@psivax.UUCP (Torkil Hammer) Date: 20 Mar 90 00:48:18 GMT Organization: Pacesetter Systems Inc., Sylmar, CA Message-ID: <3340@psivax.UUCP> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <456@argus.mrcu> paj@uk.co.gec-mrc (Paul Johnson) writes: # #OK. I have heard a few bits and pieces of philosophy labled "new #age" on TV, and have seen the label thrown around on this group, #mainly as a term of abuse or implying unsound thinking. # #Can anyone out there explain what "new age thinkers" think? Any #definitive books? Any testable hypotheses? New Age refers to the Age of Aquarius, an astrological term derived from the astronomical observation of the precession of the equinoxes. An 'Age' lasts about 2000 years, and the next is just about to go. The current is Age of Pisces. The 'Age of Aquarius' theme came out in the open with 'Hair', a musical about the dreamers of the 1960's [see below]. The 'New Age' name became common at the 'harmonic convergence', which was a rare, but not mysterious, astronomical occurrance of approximate alignment of many planets. The harmonic convergence, true believers said, would end all man-made ills on earth. ('Man', specifically 'male'. See below). In terms of hypotheses: The cold war following WW2 carried with it a widespread fear of a nuclear war to end all human life. 'Angst', as psyks call it. A few years later Europe saw a grassroot movement made from philosophers, ecologists and dreamers who dreamed that by going back to a time before 'science' gave the world nuclear fallout, insecticides, acid rain, oil shortage, environment pollution and some more ills, percieved as end results of male dominance - these problems would disappear. You close your eyes and it is gone, right? The 'Roots' movement became immensely popular. Commercial music was out, folk music in. Business, engineering, automobiles was out, home dyeing, bicycles and feeling was in. Technology became the most popular target, as it was the symbol of above problems plus alienation from a simpler life plus male dominance. Eventually: Laundry machines and electric razors were out, water tubs and soap shave was in. If it is awkward it must be good for the environment, right? Never mind that those inventions actually save energy, water and pollution. At this point the better educated and more rational individuals had left the movement in disgust. It still carries a legacy of green politics [ecology], wicca [feminism], socialism [antiestablishment] and astrology [antiscience], but serious minded greens etc have disowned New Age. # #If "science or rather technology has screwed up" then what are you #proposing in its place? (I asked this in an earlier note). Is I don't think science or technology screwed up, but I am not a New Ager anyway, just a curious observer. I don't think unmitigated intuition leads to any good, either. Just one example: Intuition is what tells us that when we focus close up, we strain a focusing muscle in the eye. Science is what tells us that it is the other way around. But I maintain that New Age is dangerous, because it is populist. Populist means political clout which can be funneled by right wingers into fund cuts for science and science education, Creation Science [there's your oxymoron, finally] and monkey trials. Torkil --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1023 SKEP Subboard From: NICHAEL CRAMER Sent: 03-24-90 06:49 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-07-90 00:14 Re: WHY URBAN MYTHS? [WAS: SC From: ncramer@bbn.com (Nichael Cramer) Date: 23 Mar 90 03:13:34 GMT Message-ID: <53980@bbn.COM> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic Robert M Derrick writes: >Peter Nelson writes: >> I've always wanted to try to *start* an urban myth and monitor >> how (and *if*) it propagated.... > ... What fuels an Urban Myth is much the same >as the mana that fuels advertising, fads, and all those other things >that spell Riches for the first to actualize the idea. ...[It] has a life of >its own. No one seems to be able to guess ahead of time which ones >will live and which will wither. This feature of having an apparent life of its own is one of the aspects of UMs that has always interested me. While Doctor boB is right that the art of predicting which legend will catch fire is probably closer to witchcraft than to science, it still seems that we can ask reasonable questions about how --and why-- they propogate. In the first place in our society (and I assume in most others) such stories are basically self-propagating: on the one hand, since we can assume that most people who tell them assume them to be true (and the stories have to be "true" --see below) these people have no reason not to pass the story along. On the other hand, if you know a story to be false, there's no nice way of pointing this fact out to the teller: ultimately what it comes down to is that you are calling the teller either a dupe or a liar. If you're lucky (and the other person knows what an UL is) you may get an embarrassed giggle about "being caught again", but you more typically get a reaction along the lines of "Oh yeah; well *prove* it's not true!" [NOTE1] (There are also cases of people who pass along these stories deliberately. A friend of my parents culls old stories out of Reader's Digest and then retells them as having happened to her.) As to the question of why legends like these exist, it's always seemed to me that they serve a very real social function. With a very few, highly limited exceptions, in our society there is no real mechanism for a non- proffessional to tell a fictional story simply because it's a "neat story". Now, as I say, there are some exceptions to this. One case is a joke; but a joke has a very strict form that it has to follow (it has to be "funny"; it has to build up to a specific, well defined punch line at the end, etc.) and most UM don't really fit this mold. Similarly there are stories like fairy tales to be told to children. And obviously there are *professional* story-tellers who can do this (that, after all, is what theater and literature are). But by and large there is no convenient means for an adult in our society to simply tell another adult an interesting story in a social setting that they both know to be fictional. As I pointed out above, these stories really *have* to be "true" in order to work; as an experiment, try telling such a story --particularly a non- humorous one-- to a co-worker, but preface it with "this is not true, it's not a joke, but it's a neat story". The story is really no less "amusing" because it is fiction, but it will more likely simply fall flat on its face. [NOTE1: One doesn't have to do this in a rude way to get a strong reaction. At a recent departmental cookout, a wife of a co-worker was telling the "Mexican Pet"[NOTE2] story as having happened to the mother of a school-friend of her daughter (relocated to the Charles river in Boston). It was amazing; she was telling the story virtually verbatim, straight out of Brunvand's book. Anyway, when she finished, I pointed out --as politely as I could-- that this was an old legend, that it was in this book, etc. Her reaction was basically to puff up and tell me that, well, it may be in that book, but also happened again, two weeks ago! I don't think she spoke to me again the rest of the afternoon! ;) ] [NOTE2: A woman goes goes walking near a river and finds what seems to be a severly undernourished small dog which capturers her heart. For some reason (typically to get past customs) she hides the dog under her (typically fur-) coat. When she gets home, she takes the poor sickly creature to the vet, who after examining the "dog" tells the woman that it is fact an enourmous rat. ] NICHAEL | Nichael Lynn Cramer | The way of the fussbudget | | -- Nichael@BBN.Com | is not easy. | | -- NCramer@BBN.Com | -- Lucy Van Pelt | --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1024 SKEP Subboard From: ALLEN.J.TINO Sent: 03-24-90 06:52 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-07-90 00:14 Re: (R)SKEPTICAL PERIODICALS From: tino@cbnewsh.ATT.COM (allen.j.tino) Date: 23 Mar 90 14:08:48 GMT Organization: AT&T Bell Laboratories Message-ID: <9117@cbnewsh.ATT.COM> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic Tad Cook asks: >Can anyone post some information on "skeptical" periodicals? I have >run into two, and wonder if they were the same publication. Last >fall I found a small magazine about the size of TV Guide, and I think >it was called The Sceptical Inquirer, but I am not sure. It had >many interesting articles, including one on "Bigfoot". The Skeptical Inquirer is the official publication of CSICOP (Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal): The Skeptical Inquirer Box 229 Buffalo, NY 14215-0229 800-634-1610 (Outside NYS) 716-834-3222 (In NYS) >The other one I saw a couple of years ago, I think. It was larger size >(8.5 by 11?) and had a great article about Randi and his debunking of >Peter Popof (sp?), who was the faith healer that used lo-band VHF >to prompt him during his "miracles". Your thinking of Free Inquiry, published by CODESH (Committee for Democratic and Secular Humanism). These folks take a skeptical view of religion. Free Inquiry Box 5 Buffalo, NY 14215-0005 800-458-1366 (Outside NYS) 716-834-2921 (In NYS) While we're at it, let me mention a great source of skeptical books: Prometheus Books 700 East Amherst St. Buffalo, NY 14215 800-421-0351 (Outside NYS) 716-837-2475 (In NYS) Looks like Buffalo is the place to be! _______ Al Tino --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1025 SKEP Subboard From: JIM GALASYN Sent: 03-24-90 06:53 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-07-90 00:14 Re: A DIVERSION FROM "SERIOUS From: jpg3196@tahoma.UUCP (Jim Galasyn) Date: 21 Mar 90 21:54:58 GMT Organization: The Boeing Co., BCA FSL, Seattle, WA Message-ID: <1012@tahoma.UUCP> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic Since I'm sort of responsible for this skepticism-about-skepticism thread, here's some McTruth from the SubGenius Foundation, communionicated to me during eroto-tantritrance while I was 'Fropped out of my mind on Jehovah-1's corporate sin galaxy. It is lifted from THREE-FISTED TALES OF "BOB" and written by (Rev.) Michael Peppe. Here "God" interviews the one true Slack- master and High Epopt of the Church of SubGenius, J.R. "Bob" Dobbs... 60660660660660660660660660660660660660660660660660660660660660660660660 606606 "But enough chitchat about trivialities," said "God," getting up. "I've got a lot more important things to do than shoot the shit with you about My wild and crazy youth. Like take My eternal break, for example, which is too short as it is." He clasped His hands behind Him and began to slowly pace. "You asked Me why I called you here today." Here He wheeled and skewered "Bob" with a very grave, if slightly bloodshot, look. "You're Prophet's License is up for renewal." "Bob's" jaw dropped. "Already?" "Time flies, eternity waits." "Does this mean I have to reapply all over again?" "No. You just have to take the oral. And we better jam on it: I've gotta run off a whole buncha these today." He gestured towards the window to the outer office. Through it "Bob" could see Christ, Mohammed, Gautama Buddha, Zoroaster, Ramakrishna, Gurdjieff, Werner Erhard, Edgar Cayce, Mary Baker Eddy, L. Ron Hubbard, Dr. Gene Scott and several others in a kind of waiting room, flipping through old READER'S DIGESTs. "There's a possible twenty-one points in all," began "God." "Twenty questions, and the last one counts double. They start out easy and get harder. Question number one: What is freedom?" "Oh, that's easy. Slavery of choice." "Very good. Two: What is science?" "Everyone's personal religion." "And religion?" "Somebody's else's science: speculation." "I see you've been doing your homework. Four: What is insanity?" "The state of being insufficiently neurotic." "And neurosis?" "Personality." "And why is that?" "Because consciousness always needs to have a style." "Seven. This one's a little tougher. A fish is to water as the mind is to...?" "Um...information?" "No. Falsehood. One wrong. What do all the evils in the world have in common?" "They're all necessary ones." "Correct. And who commits them?" "Everyone?" "No. Everyone else. Two wrong. What are the two great keys to lifelong happiness and what great modern thinker discovered them?" "Oh that's easy. Good health and a bad memory. Ingrid Bergman." "To whom is all religious, moral, political, scientific and artistic preaching directed?" "The converted." "And what is the most important information in any message?" "The name of the messenger." "What did you, cram for this? Thirteen: Why do some people believe in Me?" "Because You exist?" "Of course not, silly. Personally I think I definitely might, but that's not relevant. Because they're afraid not to. And why do other people NOT believe in Me?" "Hmm. Because they're afraid to?" "No. Trick question. Everyone believes in God. They just don't believe in someone ELSE'S God." "But...what about atheists?" Hell, they need more faith than ANYONE: They gotta believe in EVERYTHING! Anyway, I should know: Who d'ya think invented faith in the first place, for God's sakes, Oral Roberts? And I did it long before I shrink-wrapped HOMO SAPIENS to fit AROUND it, believe Me." "But what about scientists, who--" "SCIENTISTS? All those guys do is make us new names for Me. For example, their latest one is 'the Big Bang,' by using which they actually think they're believing in something else--just by changing the name! But you notice they're always very careful to capitalize it....Speaking of which, let's move on to the next section: cosmology. Which is greater: the number of stars or the number of universes?" "Um...neither. They're exactly the same." "Actually, not exactly, but close enough. At any given time, the number of universes exceeds the number of stars by an average of 1,341: close enough to be negligible. Here's another easy one: What's a black hole?" "The house arrest of the four dimensions?" "No. My empty grave. Seventeen: Is the universe composed of waves or particles?" "Both." "Wrong. Neither. The universe consists of infinitesimal looped strings vibrating in ten dimensions." "What happened to the other six?" "Fell down and got lost in the cracks between the first four in the first moment of creation. In fact, you should have gotten that one: It was just discovered recently by a human physicist at Princeton named Edward Witten. Can you name the OTHER two of the only three humans in history whose theories on the nature of reality were correct?" "Umm...Einstein, and...Buddha?" "Both wrong. One was the Cabalist sage Isaac ben Solomon Luria, who in the sixteenth century correctly surmised, in his theory of ZIMZUM, or contraction, that My first act of creation was to retract Myself from exis- tence, in order to make room for the world. In fact," He murmured confi- dentially, "what the physicists AND the Cabalists don't realize is, I AM the other six dimensions!" Message too long. Truncated to 150 lines! Msg #: 1026 SKEP Subboard From: PETER NELSON Sent: 03-24-90 06:53 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-07-90 00:15 Re: HUGE UFO DOC FROM ORIGINA From: nelson_p@apollo.HP.COM (Peter Nelson) Date: 23 Mar 90 16:40:00 GMT Organization: Hewlett-Packard Apollo Division - Chelmsford, MA Message-ID: <495e4e88.20b6d@apollo.HP.COM> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic This is GREAT!! I love this kind of stuff. Thank you for posting it. Does anyone know if Factsheet Five is still in publication? Of course the whole flying saucer thing is a government conspiracy. Leaks of other government secrets (Watergate, Iranscam, bombing of Cambodia, etc, were no doubt done ON PURPOSE so we would think they can't keep a secret. A few detailed comments: > I wish to make it absolutely clear that I do not consider >myself a hero. Oh..... OK, I'll agree. > MJ-12 is responsible only to the President. > MJ-12 runs most of the world's illegal drug trade. But....but what about Queen Elizabeth and Henry Kissinger? > AQUARIUS is a project which compiled the history of alien >presence and their interaction with Homo Sapiens upon this planet >for the last 25,000 years and culminating with the Basque people >who live in the mountainous country on the border of France and >Spain and the Syrians. The Basques and the Syrians??? Of course, why not?! I love it! Personally, I always thought the Finns were the aliens; I mean their language is nothing like the neighboring Scandinavians or Russians. Where did they come from? I guess this shows how gullible I am. > The aliens claim to have created Homo Sapiens through hy- >bridization. You mean the Church of the Subgenius is RIGHT?? Praise Bob!!! > Martial law would be declared and all persons with implants >would be rounded up along with all dissidents and would be placed >into concentration camps. No doubt "persons with implants" will turn out to be Jews, blacks, gun-owners, members of the ACLU, etc. > And later he states: "Because of reports like these [UFOs], >airline pilots became subject to military restrictions contained >in a Joint Army-Navy-Air Force Publication (JANAP), drawn up by >the Joint Communications-Electronics Committee, and promulgated >by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and could thus find themselves li- >able to a prison term of up to 10 years and/or a fine of10,000
>if they  discussed their  sightings with  the  media  or  public"

How is it possible to have a secret law?   Such a case would
still have to be able to come to trial so the cat would be out
of the bag.  Besides some airline pilots HAVE discussed UFO
sightings
with the public and didn't go to jail for it.

Finally, if the Southwest is dotted with the wreckage of alien
spaceships how come nobody else has found pieces of them?  The
"lack of physical evidence" problem has always bedeviled the UFO
conspiracy fans, but if Cooper is right then there should really
be tons of physical evidence all over the place.   Also, does
Ralph Nader realize how unsafe these UFO's are, what with them
crashing all over the place?

---Peter

--- ConfMail V3.3
* Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777)

Msg #:  1027                      SKEP Subboard
From:  BRAD PIERCE               Sent: 03-24-90 06:53
To:  ALL                       Rcvd: 04-07-90 00:15
Re:  METHOD TO COOPER'S MADNES

From: pierce@lanai.cs.ucla.edu (Brad Pierce)
Date: 24 Mar 90 06:57:29 GMT
Organization: UCLA Computer Science Department
Message-ID: <33456@shemp.CS.UCLA.EDU>
Newsgroups: alt.conspiracy,sci.skeptic

Here are two relevant postings about Cooper culled from alt.conspiracy.
The
first is message <32526@shemp.CS.UCLA.EDU> by me
. The second (and better) one is message
<1990Mar5.005150.12536@sun.soe.clarkson.edu> by Mike de Mare

------------------ <32526@shemp.CS.UCLA.EDU>  -------------------------
------------------     pierce@cs.ucla.edu  ----------------------------

Not long ago (Jan 4, 1990) in alt.conspiracy, Tad Cook
wrote in article <356@ssc.UUCP>:

** Thanks for the interesting piece on William Cooper.  I read the whole
** thing.  At first I was only a bit sceptical, but as I read on about
** various conspiracies, including a tie-in between aliens and the JFK
** assasination, I realized how delusional Mr. Cooper must be.

I disagreed with him on this point, writing in article
<30415@shemp.CS.UCLA.EDU>:

** Obviously (to me) his info is totally bogus. On the other hand, I
** most seriously doubt that Mr. Cooper is delusional. Occam's Razor
** provides a much simpler explanation for why a "former" intelligence
** officer would spread such disinformation. Very few of the bogus
** UFO "experts" are crackpots, some are just charlatans, but most
** merely serve to distract people who are interested in finding out
** the truth and to associate various conspiracies (such as the JFK
** assassination) and the very idea of a conspiracy with crackpotism.
**
** The cult of UFO's is the most classical example of disinformation
** I am aware of. Just reread Mr. Cooper's comments with that thought
** in mind and this should become obvious. Mr. Cooper doesn't mention
** them, but many "experts" are currently talking about a race of
** blond blue-eyed aliens with names like Thor that advise our leaders,
** some even claim to have talked to them.

Paladin  also had grave reservations about
Cooper's veracity, writing in article :

** Mr. Cooper is false.  He could not possibly have had access to these
** supposed "Top Secrets" because his description of how one gets to
see the
** highest of classified material is patently false.  I am not claiming
to
** have those sorts of clearances, but I am the son of one who does, so
I
** do know a little about how it's done.  And the "Cult of Alienality"?
** Well.. that was mildly entertaining.  I wonder if he ever took part
in
** the Army LSD tests of the 60's??

Of course, I doubt that Mr. Cooper's story was invented while on
LSD or that it was invented by him personally. As I wrote more
recently in article <32485@shemp.CS.UCLA.EDU>:

** Innocent until proven guilty, of course, but I think that all
** conspiracy lovers should strongly consider the possibility that
** Milton Cooper is an intelligence operative involved in "active
** measures", i.e., spreading disinformation. He was discussed
** earlier on this newsgroup, including one of his speeches, and
** I got very bad "vibes" about him. The purpose of such a possible
** disinformation campaign would be to smear people inquiring into
** the JFK assassination conspiracy as conspiracy "nuts" or "buffs"
** and to distract attention (like a magician) from what's really
** going on. Good and intelligent people will disagree, but I think
** that there is no solid evidence for any non-Earth origins of
** UFO incidents, and that the issue has been and is being exploited
** for political ends.

A great book on the subject of the JFK assassination is _Crossfire:
The Plot That Killed Kennedy_" by Jim Marrs, (c) 1989, 608 pages,
$25.95, Carroll & Graf, hardback. [I have no connection with Jim Marrs or Carroll & Graf publishers and this posting is for non-commer- cial informational purposes only.] This book is a comprehensive reference to the facts surrounding the "Crime of the Century". "Conspiracy" has been made into a word associated with paranoia, but it is a legal term, a crime which people and companies are convicted of regularly, whether it was the conspiracy to remove electric trollies from LA or the conspiracy by baseball owners not to bid on baseball free agents. -- Brad --------- <1990Mar5.005150.12536@sun.soe.clarkson.edu> ------------------ ----------------- demarem@clutx.clarkson.edu --------------------------- A few points. First EXCALIBUR, whatever it is, is owned by the Navy which makes it highly unlikely that it is intended for use as an inland weapon. Second, I think that the idea of Cooper as being an intelligence agent is credible. After examining his document, I find several things that seem to be calculated to damage his credibilty and that of all people investigating UFO phenomina. o Kennedy Assasination link - this has already been discussed and I will not worry greatly about it. o That aliens created human beings. This is not only preposturous, it seems calculated to offend. That is to say, people who might give credence to UFO sightings will be turned off by this. o Aliens created four major religions. Same as above. o Aliens created Jesus. This will obviously offend the majority of people in this country and make them feel it is their reli- gous duty to disbeleive ANY reports of Extraterrestrial Biological Entities visting this planet. o Implants in brain. This goes against the basic belief of people in free will. This will also turn many people off to all reports of EBE activity. o One-world government by 1992. This is obviously false. o Close ties with USSR since WWII. This also is designed to stretch credibility. Also we must observe the following facts about Mr Cooper personally: o He was an intelligence officer. This, I am afraid to say, tends to damage his credibility. It is not as bad as if he had worked for the CIA but it is still not good karma. o He is (apparently) still alive. If the the conspiracy he was discussing actually exists he would most likely have been term- inated. Message too long. Truncated to 150 lines! Msg #: 1028 SKEP Subboard From: CHUCK PHILLIPS Sent: 03-24-90 11:29 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-07-90 00:15 Re: (R)WORLD POPULATION IS DE From: chuckp@ncr-fc.FtCollins.NCR.com (Chuck Phillips) Date: 23 Mar 90 16:00:26 GMT Organization: NCR Microelectronics, Ft. Collins, CO Message-ID: Newsgroups: sci.skeptic,rec.humor On a related note (pun intended): It has been established that sterility _is_ inherited. Further, it is a dominant trait. PROOF: If your parents don't have children, it is certain that that you won't either. Where's my Nobel? :-) -- Chuck Phillips -- chuckp%ncr-fc.FtCollins.NCR.COM uunet!ncrlnk!ncr-sd!chuckp%ncr-fc --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1029 SKEP Subboard From: FRANK TREDEAU Sent: 03-24-90 11:29 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-07-90 00:15 Re: (R)SCI.SKEPTIC.URBAN.MYTH From: frank@masscomp.ccur.com (Frank Tredeau) Date: 23 Mar 90 17:39:41 GMT Organization: Concurrent Computer Corp. - Westford, Ma Message-ID: <26877@masscomp.ccur.com> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <23323@pasteur.Berkeley.EDU> shirriff@sprite.berkeley.edu (Ken Shirriff) writes: nelson_p@apollo.HP.COM (Peter Nelson) writes: <> I've always wanted to try to *start* an urban myth and monitor <> how (and *if*) it propagated. < Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <3340@psivax.UUCP> torkil@psivax.UUCP (Torkil Hammer) writes: > A few years later Europe saw a grassroot movement made from > philosophers, ecologists and dreamers who dreamed that by going back to > a time before 'science' gave the world nuclear fallout, insecticides, > acid rain, oil shortage, environment pollution and some more ills, > percieved as end results of male dominance - these problems would > disappear. You close your eyes and it is gone, right? Well, I think you do them a bit of a disservice. I too believe that most New Agers are dunderheads, but I think their motivations are genuine. If you look around today, it is quite clear that there is a lot of alienation and potential environmental hazzard that is largely due to our abuse of technology. However, unlike the New Agers I don't think that we should go back to our ignorant past. Instead, I feel we should take a complex systems approach to things, where we realize the fragile interdependent nature of systems rather than the Cartesian/Mechanistic approach in which components of a system can be altered exclusive of their context. This would be consistent with work being done in non-linear dynamics and is, in some sense, a more "intuitive" non-deterministic approach. In this way it is most likely consistent with many New Age beliefs. However, it requires greater knowledge of science, not less, which is where it splits off from conventional New Age thought. I might add though that there are New Agers like Fritjof Capra and others that do advocate this approach. The Bantam New Age Coffee Book series has a number of books on this topic. Though I doubt that most crystal worshipers can understand them. > The 'Roots' movement became immensely popular. Commercial music was out, > folk music in. Business, engineering, automobiles was out, > home dyeing, bicycles and feeling was in. Technology became the > most popular target, as it was the symbol of above problems plus > alienation from a simpler life plus male dominance. Again, living simply is not necessarily bad. Living stupidly and inefficiently is what is bad. When people were more closely tied to the land, they were also more likely to respect it and use it efficiently in order to ensure personal survival. However, they were also more vulnerable, which is why we had "progress" in the first place, in order to create some sort of support structure. But as a result this original spirit of respect for the land is now appallingly lacking in our disposable, over-packaged, consumer society. However, there's no reason that back to the land has to mean backing away from science. > Eventually: Laundry machines and electric razors were out, water > tubs and soap shave was in. If it is awkward it must be good for > the environment, right? Never mind that those inventions actually > save energy, water and pollution. You're right that electric razors are not necessarily bad things. However, in certain contexts they may not be the best solution (i.e. living where no replacement parts are available) Sometimes simpler solutions work better for some situations. However, you are right to point out the ignorance of people who think that somehow using a straight razor doesn't use any resources. That is unless shaving cream can be proven to appear out of thin air....:-) > But I maintain that New Age is dangerous, because it is populist. > Populist means political clout which can be funneled by right wingers > into fund cuts for science and science education, Creation Science > [there's your oxymoron, finally] and monkey trials. Right wing New Age....now there's a concept. The only right wing new ager I know of is Elizabeth Claire Prophet, and she certainly isn't typical of the mainstream. It's true that ignorance of science can leave us vulnerable to monkey trials. But as long as right wing creationists are trying to stamp out the devil inspired new agers, you won't see a coalition coming from those two camps. -- ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Another Gruntpig production, in association with the Rat Lab Steamworks. Eric Iverson, president. Eric IVerson, emperor. ERiC IVerSoN, DeMIgOd!!! eiverson@nmsu.edu "I want to kill everyone here with a cute Computing Research Lab colorful Hydrogen Bomb!!" New Mexico State University -Zippy the Pinhead --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1031 SKEP Subboard From: GEORGE NELAN Sent: 03-24-90 11:30 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-07-90 00:18 Re: (R)HUGE UFO DOC FROM ORIG From: nelan@enuxha.eas.asu.edu (George Nelan) Date: 23 Mar 90 20:53:07 GMT Organization: Arizona State Univ, Tempe Message-ID: <609@enuxha.eas.asu.edu> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic I come from Jupiter, where everyone's stupider. Ok, Ok, just a joke. -- George Nelan, ERC 207, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, USA, 85287 INET: nelan@enuxha.eas.asu.edu UUCP: ...{allegra,{ames,husc6,rutgers}!ncar}!noao!asuvax!nelan What, me worry? Nyah! --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1032 SKEP Subboard From: BRUCE S. WOODCOCK Sent: 03-24-90 13:13 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-07-90 00:18 Re: (R)HUGE UFO DOC FROM ORIG From: sterling@maxwell.physics.purdue.edu (Bruce S. Woodcock) Date: 24 Mar 90 06:13:35 GMT Organization: Purdue Univ. Physics Dept., W. Lafayette, IN Message-ID: <3361@newton.physics.purdue.edu> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <609@enuxha.eas.asu.edu> nelan@enuxha.eas.asu.edu (George Nelan) writes: >I come from Jupiter, where everyone's stupider. >Ok, Ok, just a joke. >-- I come from Mars, where we make candy bars. My girlfriends from Venus, you outta come and meet us. (Anyone else have anything to add?) | Actually, life IS a bed of roses, but somebody| Of course Im a romantic! | | forgot to remove the thorns... | Why do you think Ive never | | Life IS fair, but most people arent... | had a girlfriend? | | Internet: sterling@maxwell.physics.purdue.edu| Sir Bruce Sterling, Paladin | --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1033 SKEP Subboard From: JOHN SPARKS Sent: 03-24-90 17:25 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-07-90 00:18 Re: (R)SCI.SKEPTIC.URBAN.MYTH From: sparks@corpane.UUCP (John Sparks) Date: 23 Mar 90 17:11:19 GMT Organization: Corpane Industries, Inc., Louisville Ky Message-ID: <1632@corpane.UUCP> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic shirriff@sprite.berkeley.edu (Ken Shirriff) writes: |In article <4953b7df.20b6d@apollo.HP.COM> nelson_p@apollo.HP.COM (Peter Nelson) writes: |> I've always wanted to try to *start* an urban myth and monitor |> how (and *if*) it propagated. |A friend of a friend of mine tried this and the urban myth spread |all over the United States. This sounds like an Urban myth to me. sorry, I couldn't resist :-) -- John Sparks | D.I.S.K. 24hrs 1200bps. Accessable via Starlink (Louisville KY) sparks@corpane.UUCP <><><><><><><><><><><> D.I.S.K. ph:502/968-5401 thru -5406 Death is nature's way of telling you to slow down. --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1034 SKEP Subboard From: CRAIG PRESSON Sent: 03-24-90 17:25 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-07-90 00:18 Re: (R)SCI.SKEPTIC.URBAN.MYTH From: craig@b11.ingr.com (Craig Presson) Date: 24 Mar 90 11:43:18 GMT Organization: Intergraph Corp. Huntsville, AL Message-ID: <7714@b11.ingr.com> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <90081.162603RAD101@psuvm.psu.edu> RAD101@psuvm.psu.edu (Bob Dainauski) writes: >In article <2608A0D1.7948@paris.ics.uci.edu>, madsen@ics.uci.edu (Rodney Kent >Madsen) says: >> >>shirriff@sprite.berkeley.edu (Ken Shirriff) writes: >> >>>A friend of a friend of mine tried this and the urban myth spread >>>all over the United States. >> >>Aha! Is this the start of an urban myth about "a guy who started an urban >>myth that spread throughout the country," or am I recursing too deeply? >> >Ooooooohhhhhhhhhhhh. Now I get it. Sorry, I read the original >too quickly and without my sarcasm detector. Nicely done Ken. > >Bob > >Bob Dainauski >RAD101@psuvm.psu.edu >(717) 948-6426 We can all learn from Bob: never read News without your sarcasm detector! From misc.forsale: Used F-systems 202 sarcasm detector for Sun/4.$320.00 or
best offer. Reason: I had to buy a model 404 after I started reading
the alt.* groups.
c
o
u
n
t

T
H
I
S
\
\  *
\/
------
"The undefined operation trap is taken before the instruction is
executed."
-- CLIPPER User's Manual
** Craig Presson, Intergraph Corporation, Huntsville, Alabama
...!uunet!ingr!b11!craig  **

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Msg #:  1035                      SKEP Subboard
From:  ERIC IVERSON              Sent: 03-24-90 21:35
To:  ALL                       Rcvd: 04-07-90 00:18
Re:  (R)HUGE UFO DOC FROM ORIG

From: eiverson@nmsu.edu (Eric Iverson)
Date: 24 Mar 90 22:17:25 GMT
Organization: NMSU Computer Science
Message-ID:
Newsgroups: sci.skeptic

In article <3361@newton.physics.purdue.edu>
sterling@maxwell.physics.purdue.edu (Bruce S. Woodcock) writes:

In article <609@enuxha.eas.asu.edu> nelan@enuxha.eas.asu.edu (George
Nelan) writes:
>I come from Jupiter, where everyone's stupider.
>Ok, Ok, just a joke.
>--

I come from Mars, where we make candy bars.
My girlfriends from Venus, you outta come and meet us.

(Anyone else have anything to add?)

I only come from earth, for what that's worth....

--
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Another Gruntpig production, in association with the Rat Lab Steamworks.
Eric Iverson, president.  Eric IVerson, emperor.  ERiC IVerSoN,
DeMIgOd!!!

eiverson@nmsu.edu               "I want to kill everyone here with a
cute
Computing Research Lab          colorful Hydrogen Bomb!!"
New Mexico State University     -Zippy the Pinhead

--- ConfMail V3.3
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Msg #:  1036                      SKEP Subboard
From:  MARK ROBERT THORSON       Sent: 03-25-90 01:30
To:  ALL                       Rcvd: 04-16-90 07:15
Re:  (R)THE FOAF CONSPIRACY

From: mmm@cup.portal.com (Mark Robert Thorson)
Date: 25 Mar 90 01:00:08 GMT
Organization: The Portal System (TM)
Message-ID: <28244@cup.portal.com>
Newsgroups: sci.skeptic

Would this UM be strictly a benign UM, or should it have some kind of
edge to it?  For example, an anti-nuclear power UM might try to convince
people that there was some residual radioactivity in electricity
generated
from nuclear power.  An anti-Catholic UM might convince people that
the RC church was covering up thousands of AIDS cases transmitted by
Communion cups.

Non-benign UM's have the advantage of a constituency to help propagate
the myth.  Witness the McDonalds and Proctor & Gamble myths which
connected those corporations with Satanism.  (Of course, P&G was just
asking for it with the man-in-the-moon logo of theirs, now replaced in
most products by the CP logo of Colgate-Palmolive [or does that actually
stand for "Communist Party" :-] )  These myths found fertile ground in
some Christian churches, of the Bible-thumping ilk, who believe in a
literal
devil and that a significant segment of the population worships the
devil.

I think a successful UM is one which catches the imagination of the
public,
usually because it hijacks some other successful memes.  It is as though
the UM provides a missing piece of the puzzle.  For example, the
receptionist
where I work firmly believes that green potatoes contain arsenic,
something
she was told by a teacher in elementary school.  This fits, because of
two
successful memes which happen to be true:  things which contain arsenic
are
often green, and green potatoes are poisonous.  Ergo, green potatoes
contain
arsenic.  Pointing out that arsenic is an element, hence a potato cannot
manufacture arsenic, had no effect on this person.  I suppose she
doesn't
really understand what an element is.

A successful "designer meme" would therefore fit with some simple,
obvious,
and well known existing memes.  For example, smart people more often
wear
glasses than dumb people.  The designer meme which fits with this is
that
glasses block UV light which kills brain cells.  As another example, why
doesn't Wesson oil soak through food?  Maybe they dissolve Saran wrap in
it.  The latter could even be backed up by a do-at-home experiment.
Spread a thin layer of oil on a pie plate, and let it sit exposed to the
air for a long time, and it will form into something which resembles
plastic.
(I can just imagine some 3rd grade school teacher doing this experiment
to
"prove" to her pupils that salad oil has plastic added to it.)

I think the most powerful UM's are actually slight corruptions of the
truth.
For example, it is true that living tissue from aborted fetuses is being
used in scientific experiments.  That is a very controversial topic
these
days, it has been covered extensively on the evening network news, and
so a subtrate meme has been planted in the collective unconscious
of the public mind.  It is also true that fertilized eggs have been
raised
in vitro to a very early embryo stage, and that these embryos have been
implanted in women and babies have been delivered by this method.  Also,
there are many adopted orphans who are seeking to find their parents,
and
this topic has been covered several times by popular TV shows like the
Donohue show.  These three fact-memes provide the ideal substrate-memes
for a
factoid-meme which describes an aborted fetus, raised to a baby by
scientists,
who then seeks to find its mother.

The notion that a woman who had an abortion could someday answer a knock
at the door and find her aborted offspring is the sort of vivid and
gripping
image which could really catch the public imagination.  And, of course,
there
would be a powerful constituency to help propagate this meme.  (The only
real question is whether it would be a month, a week, or a
day-and-a-half
before this story shows up on the 700 Club.)

As to the original proposition that we create a UM strictly for
scientific
purposes, to observe its spread, seems unscientific to me.  Was the
invention
of the atomic bomb a scientific experiment?  You are talking about a
very
analogous sort of action.  Nevertheless, it does have some scientific
aspects.
Perhaps if we were to create 10 or 100 memes, launch them all, and see
what
the results were, we would actually learn something.  We would then
actually
get at the root of the UM phenomenon.  We would learn what makes a meme
successful.  This is not so much science as it is engineering, but then,
what's wrong with that?

Copyright 1990 Mark Thorson.  Propagation of this text without the
disclaimer
is expressly forbidden.

Disclaimer:  McDonalds and Proctor & Gample have no connection with
either
Satan, satanism, or the Communist Party.  The CP logo represents the
Colgate
and Palmolive brand names.  Wesson oil does not contain Saran wrap, or
any
other plastic.  McDonalds, Proctor & Gamble, Colgate, Palmolive, Wesson,
and Saran are all trademarks of the companies which own them.

--- ConfMail V3.3
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Msg #:  1037                      SKEP Subboard
From:  SCOTT A. BEASLEY          Sent: 03-25-90 01:30
To:  ALL                       Rcvd: 04-07-90 00:19
Re:  (R)HUGE UFO DOC FROM ORIG

From: beez@humu.NOSC.MIL (Scott A. Beasley)
Date: 25 Mar 90 01:31:35 GMT
Organization: Naval Ocean Systems Center, San Diego
Message-ID: <544@humu.NOSC.MIL>
Newsgroups: sci.skeptic

In article <3361@newton.physics.purdue.edu>
sterling@maxwell.physics.purdue.edu.UUCP (Bruce S. Woodcock) writes:
>In article <609@enuxha.eas.asu.edu> nelan@enuxha.eas.asu.edu (George
Nelan) writes:
>>I come from Jupiter, where everyone's stupider.
>>Ok, Ok, just a joke.
>I come from Mars, where we make candy bars.
>My girlfriends from Venus, you outta come and meet us.
>(Anyone else have anything to add?)

We're little brown aliens - we come from Uranus.
We don't smell very good and it's a bitch to potty-train us -----

ENOUGH!! Before we get people trying to write about 'CYGNUS X-1'in
iambic pentameter with rhyming couplets...

from a man who thinks Einstein's first wife indeed introduced
him to relativity -
"Albie, I'd like you to meet my mother..."

--- ConfMail V3.3
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Msg #:  1038                      SKEP Subboard
From:  N = R*FGFPNEFLFIFAL 21-MAR-1990   Sent: 03-25-90 06:24
To:  ALL                       Rcvd: 04-18-90 08:01
Re:  CSICOP'S THE SKEPTICAL IN

From: klaes@wrksys.enet.dec.com (N = R*fgfpneflfifaL 21-Mar-1990 1117)
Date: 22 Mar 90 10:51:32 GMT
Organization: Digital Equipment Corporation
Message-ID: <9003221051.AA20762@decwrl.dec.com>
Newsgroups: sci.skeptic

THE SKEPTICAL INQUIRER is a magazine published by CSICOP, the
Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the
Paranormal.

The list of CSICOP members is most impressive:  Among them are
Isaac Asimov, F. H. C. Crick, L. Sprague de Camp, Stephen Jay Gould,
Philip J. Klass, Edwin C. Krupp, James Oberg, Carl Sagan, and B. F.
Skinner.  Their occupations range from writers to psychologists,
along
with professors, astronomers, professional magicians, and even a
film
producer.

Their address is:

THE SKEPTICAL INQUIRER
Post Office Box 229
Central Park Station
Buffalo, New York  14215-0229
USA

Telephone:  (716) 834-3222

I am not associated with CSICOP in any form.

--- ConfMail V3.3
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Msg #:  1039                      SKEP Subboard
From:  TAD COOK                  Sent: 03-25-90 06:25
To:  ALL                       Rcvd: 04-18-90 08:02
Re:  (R)SCI.SKEPTIC.URBAN.MYTH

From: tad@ssc.UUCP (Tad Cook)
Date: 24 Mar 90 22:00:15 GMT
Organization: very little
Message-ID: <580@ssc.UUCP>
Newsgroups: sci.skeptic

i
YES!  I would LOVE to see discussions of Urban Legends, if not
here, then perhaps in a new newsgroup.  I had hoped to find
data on this stuff in alt.rumor, but most of the postings there
are tongue in cheek stuff made up by the posters to display
their cleverness.

Any other Brunvand fans out there who were excited by Nicael
Cramer's proposal?

Tad Cook
Seattle, WA
Packet: KT7H @ N7HFZ.WA.USA.NA
Phone: 206/527-4089
MCI Mail: 3288544
Telex: 6503288544 MCI UW
USENET:...uw-beaver!sumax!amc-gw!ssc!tad
or, tad@ssc.UUCP

--- ConfMail V3.3
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Msg #:  1040                      SKEP Subboard
From:  KENNETH NG                Sent: 04-12-90 11:59
To:  ALL                       Rcvd: 04-19-90 11:34
Re:  (R)THE FOAF CONSPIRACY

From: ken@argus.UUCP (Kenneth Ng)
Date: 25 Mar 90 09:45:23 GMT
Organization: NJ Instit. of Tech: TEIES Project
Message-ID: <1657@argus.UUCP>
Newsgroups: sci.skeptic

In article <28244@cup.portal.com>, mmm@cup.portal.com (Mark Robert Thorson)
writes:
: Would this UM be strictly a benign UM, or should it have some kind of
: edge to it?  For example, an anti-nuclear power UM might try to convince
: people that there was some residual radioactivity in electricity generated
: from nuclear power.

Might?  I spent a couple of hours many years ago trying to convince a couple
people that electricity generated from a nuclear power plant was no more
radioactive than that from a coal or oil poweer plant.  Trying to overcome
fear is incrdibly difficult.

--
Kenneth Ng: Post office: NJIT - CCCC, Newark New Jersey  07102
uucp !andromeda!galaxy!argus!ken *** NOT ken@bellcore.uucp ***
bitnet(prefered) ken@orion.bitnet  or ken@orion.njit.edu

--- ConfMail V3.3
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Msg #:  1041                      SKEP Subboard
From:  GREG LEE                  Sent: 04-12-90 11:59
To:  ALL                       Rcvd: 04-19-90 11:35
Re:  (R)THE FOAF CONSPIRACY

From: lee@uhccux.uhcc.hawaii.edu (Greg Lee)
Date: 25 Mar 90 14:20:06 GMT
Organization: University of Hawaii
Message-ID: <7080@uhccux.uhcc.hawaii.edu>
Newsgroups: sci.skeptic

From article <28244@cup.portal.com>, by mmm@cup.portal.com (Mark Robert
Thorson):
\...  Ergo, green potatoes contain
\arsenic.  Pointing out that arsenic is an element, hence a potato cannot
\manufacture arsenic, had no effect on this person. ...

It has an effect on me, but not a persuasive one.  Potatoes cannot
contain elements -- this is carrying memes to extremes.

Greg, lee@uhccux.uhcc.hawaii.edu

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Msg #:  1042                      SKEP Subboard
From:  PETER NELSON              Sent: 04-12-90 11:59
To:  ALL                       Rcvd: 04-19-90 11:35
Re:  (R)THE FOAF CONSPIRACY

From: nelson_p@apollo.HP.COM (Peter Nelson)
Date: 25 Mar 90 22:53:00 GMT
Organization: Hewlett-Packard Apollo Division - Chelmsford, MA
Message-ID: <4969aa98.20b6d@apollo.HP.COM>
Newsgroups: alt.conspiracy,sci.skeptic

pierce@ariane.cs.ucla.edu (Brad Pierce) posts...
:In article <495e705b.20b6d@apollo.HP.COM> nelson_p@apollo.HP.COM (Peter
Nelson) writes:
:
:>  Those of you who believe conspiracy theories should take this lesson
:>  to heart.
:
:I would appreciate a clarification on this last sentence. Does this
:mean "you who will believe any conspiracy theory", "you who believe
:that conspiracies exist", or ...
:
:The sentence seems to imply that you don't believe conspiracies exist
:(even though individuals and corporations are regularly convicted on
:charges of conspiracy) and that anyone who takes speculation about
:conspiracies seriously is paranoid and gullible.

My comments were directed at the gullible in order to show them
how easily one can construct a "conspiracy" out of a few suggestive
data points and thin air.

I think that many of the more persistent and popular conspiracy
theories are maintained by the gullible.  Individuals and corporations
sometimes conspire to fix prices or trade on insider information,
or defraud the DoD or similar illegal things.  But many of the more
popular conspiracies involve massive international or government
operations
which would require the silence of hundreds or thousands of people for
a very long time.   I'm not convinced that conspiracies on that scale
can be kept secret for very long.

---Peter

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Msg #:  1043                      SKEP Subboard
From:  BARRY SHEIN               Sent: 04-12-90 11:59
To:  ALL                       Rcvd: 04-19-90 11:36
Re:  (R)THE FOAF CONSPIRACY

From: bzs@world.std.com (Barry Shein)
Date: 26 Mar 90 05:02:17 GMT
Organization: The World @ Software Tool & Die
Message-ID: <1990Mar26.050217.18074@world.std.com>
Newsgroups: alt.conspiracy,sci.skeptic

I personally think the supposed power of urban myths is an urban myth.

No one ever believes them personally, it's always a friend, or a
friend of a friend.

I'm not even sure any urban myths have ever existed, maybe they all
just originate from Brunvend's books. Has anyone ever verified his
supposed research into these?
--
-Barry Shein

Software Tool & Die    | {xylogics,uunet}!world!bzs | bzs@world.std.com
Purveyors to the Trade | Voice: 617-739-0202        | Login: 617-739-WRLD

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Msg #:  1044                      SKEP Subboard
From:  JAMES PRESTON             Sent: 04-12-90 12:00
To:  ALL                       Rcvd: 04-19-90 11:37
Re:  (R)POSITIVISM AS A METHOD

From: jsp@key.COM (James Preston)
Date: 25 Mar 90 23:31:59 GMT
Organization: Key Computer Laboratories, Fremont
Message-ID: <1555@key.COM>
Newsgroups: sci.skeptic

In article <591@fsu.scri.fsu.edu> pepke@gw.scri.fsu.edu (Eric Pepke) writes:
}In article  eiverson@nmsu.edu (Eric
}Iverson) writes:
}> Let's say for example
}> that I wanted to fool you into thinking I drove through your
}> cornfield.  Given adequate technical skills, this could be
}> accomplished without the use of a car.  But this does not mean that I
}> couldn't have done the same thing with a car as well.
}
}What's the point?  Let's say I wanted to convince you that everything in
}the world is being controlled by Big Eyed Beans from Venus.  If I had
}enough creativity, I might be able to do it, but that wouldn't prove that
}the world *wasn't* being controlled by Big Eyed Beans from Venus.

Yeah, that reminds me of the comedian (whose name escapes me at the moment,
but let's not have 2 dozen postings reminding me, ok?) who says that he woke
up this morning to discover that someone had stolen everything he owned.  And
replaced them with exact duplicates.  You can't prove that it didn't happen,
now can you?

--James Preston

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Msg #:  1045                      SKEP Subboard
From:  MARK ROBERT THORSON       Sent: 04-12-90 12:00
To:  ALL                       Rcvd: 04-19-90 11:39
Re:  (R)THE FOAF CONSPIRACY

From: mmm@cup.portal.com (Mark Robert Thorson)
Date: 25 Mar 90 23:00:04 GMT
Organization: The Portal System (TM)
Message-ID: <28280@cup.portal.com>
Newsgroups: sci.skeptic

Potatoes turn green when exposed to light.  If the green were caused
by arsenic, the arsenic would also have to be present before the potato
turned green, because arsenic is an element.  Chlorophyll is not an
element, hence chlorophyll can be manufactured by the potato when it
is exposed to light.  (BTW, chlorophyll is not what makes the potato
poisonous.)

This is the full explanation I gave to the person who thought potatoes
were poisonous because of arsenic.  I hadn't thought it necessary to
go into such detail on the net.  My apologies for your confusion.

--- ConfMail V3.3
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Msg #:  1046                      SKEP Subboard
From:  ERIC IVERSON              Sent: 04-12-90 12:00
To:  ALL                       Rcvd: 04-19-90 11:39
Re:  (R)POSITIVISM AS A METHOD

From: eiverson@nmsu.edu (Eric Iverson)
Date: 26 Mar 90 03:48:27 GMT
Organization: NMSU Computer Science
Message-ID:
Newsgroups: sci.skeptic

In article <1555@key.COM> jsp@key.COM (James Preston) writes:

> In article <591@fsu.scri.fsu.edu> pepke@gw.scri.fsu.edu (Eric Pepke)
writes:
> }In article  eiverson@nmsu.edu
(Eric
> }Iverson) writes:
> }> Let's say for example
> }> that I wanted to fool you into thinking I drove through your
> }> cornfield.  Given adequate technical skills, this could be
> }> accomplished without the use of a car.  But this does not mean that I
> }> couldn't have done the same thing with a car as well.
> }
> }What's the point?  Let's say I wanted to convince you that everything in
> }the world is being controlled by Big Eyed Beans from Venus.  If I had
> }enough creativity, I might be able to do it, but that wouldn't prove that
> }the world *wasn't* being controlled by Big Eyed Beans from Venus.
>
> Yeah, that reminds me of the comedian (whose name escapes me at the moment,
> but let's not have 2 dozen postings reminding me, ok?) who says that he
woke
> up this morning to discover that someone had stolen everything he owned.
And
> replaced them with exact duplicates.  You can't prove that it didn't
happen,
> now can you?

It was Steven Wright.  To further clarify my above posting, I was
trying to point out that this is the kind of proof that James Randi
seems to generate all the time.  To my mind this kind of proof is
inadequate in that it only shows that there is a conventional way to
produce a certain event, not that no unconventional ways exist as
well.  Face it, our technology is getting so advanced that the number
of things we *can't* simulate is getting smaller and smaller every
day.  Video proof of a ride on a spaceship?  Hell, I can watch star
trek for that.  If Randi style proof is what we use to debunk things,
it's no wonder so many things are so easily debunked.

--
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Another Gruntpig production, in association with the Rat Lab Steamworks.
Eric Iverson, president.  Eric IVerson, emperor.  ERiC IVerSoN, DeMIgOd!!!

eiverson@nmsu.edu               "I want to kill everyone here with a cute
Computing Research Lab          colorful Hydrogen Bomb!!"
New Mexico State University     -Zippy the Pinhead

--- ConfMail V3.3
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Msg #:  1047                      SKEP Subboard
From:  ROBERT M DERRICK          Sent: 04-12-90 12:01
To:  ALL                       Rcvd: 04-19-90 11:41
Re:  (R)THE FOAF CONSPIRACY

From: rxxd@lanl.gov (Robert M Derrick)
Date: 26 Mar 90 06:05:21 GMT
Organization: Los Alamos Natl. Labs, Los Alamos, NM
Message-ID: <46775@lanl.gov>
Newsgroups: sci.skeptic

In article <28244@cup.portal.com> mmm@cup.portal.com (Mark Robert Thorson)
writes:
[ very good discussion re Urban Legend stuff deleted ]

>                                                For example, the
receptionist
>where I work firmly believes that green potatoes contain arsenic, something
>she was told by a teacher in elementary school.  This fits, because of two
>successful memes which happen to be true:  things which contain arsenic are
>often green, and green potatoes are poisonous.  Ergo, green potatoes contain
>arsenic.

Just a note on them ol' green potatoes.  The green on potatoes (you've seen
a bit of green on a potato chip, haven't you?) is sometimes known as
sun scald, and contains chlorophyll, which is green, but not poison.  But
it also contains solanine, a glycoalkaloid.  This is a poison, but is
in such a small quantity in that little green bit as to be homeopathic.
Now there's more of it in the leaves of the potato, a member of the
nightshade family, and if you really wanna get sick...

Doc B.

--- ConfMail V3.3
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Msg #:  1048                      SKEP Subboard
From:  ROBERT M DERRICK          Sent: 04-12-90 12:02
To:  ALL                       Rcvd: 04-19-90 11:42
Re:  (R)THE FOAF CONSPIRACY

From: rxxd@lanl.gov (Robert M Derrick)
Date: 26 Mar 90 17:13:43 GMT
Organization: Los Alamos Natl. Labs, Los Alamos, NM
Message-ID: <46805@lanl.gov>
Newsgroups: alt.conspiracy,sci.skeptic

In article <1990Mar26.050217.18074@world.std.com> bzs@world.std.com (Barry
Shein) writes:
>
>I personally think the supposed power of urban myths is an urban myth.
>
>No one ever believes them personally, it's always a friend, or a
>friend of a friend.
>
>I'm not even sure any urban myths have ever existed, maybe they all
>just originate from Brunvend's books. Has anyone ever verified his
>supposed research into these?

S'matter o' fact, I first encountered Urban Myth before it was called
Urban Myth.  It was in 'motifs in folklore', and the one I remember
best is the ghostly girl hitchhiker on killed on prom night, and which,
this ol' book stated, had been repeated as a 'true' story in nearly every
state in the Union.  As to real Urban Myth, I had the 'poisonous snake
in the dept. store dressing room' repeated to me as a 'true' story,
and it was sworn to have happened at the K-Mart in Asheville NC.  And,
the Proctor & Gamble Satan Connection was repeated to me with enough
detail that I could track down the story and refute its source, on
the spot (they named names, forgetting for a moment the reason for
the FEOF, and I tracked down the Named people, who looked at me
quizically).  Even with evidence in hand, I had trouble convincing
the story tellers that it was all a fake.  Such is the power of the
myth.  In point of fact, most of us know the Myth's from the Truth's.
But I have also, many times, found myself repeating a story which
has just too many shades of UMosity about it.  Just about anybody
who ever repeats an unverified, interesting story is in danger of
helping to spread a UM.

On the other hand, there is the story of the Preacher
who heard about a man so full of sin that he coughed up three crows,
and so the Preacher decided to track the story back to the source.
After the usual (about three or four) iterations of story relators,
each time getting a little less remarkable, he reaches the wife
of the coughing sinner, who says, "Well, he did cough up something
that was as black as a crow".  Gotta admire a skeptical Preacher!

Doctor boB.

PS. I have three votes on the story of the Epileptic Fellatrix:

2 - It's a myth
1 - Probably a myth but suspicious

Well, if it helps, I will certify that to the best of my knowledge,
it is a true story.  Although there may have been some embellishments
of familiarity, in its essence, it is solid gold truth.  So now,
what say you?  How can you tell the difference 'tween UM and truth?
The polls are still open.

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Msg #:  1049                      SKEP Subboard
From:  THE FLOYDIAN SLIP         Sent: 04-12-90 12:02
To:  ALL                       Rcvd: 04-19-90 11:44
Re:  THOSE BLEEDIN' FIELD CIRC

From: pfloyd@wpi.wpi.edu (The Floydian Slip)
Date: 26 Mar 90 15:34:39 GMT
Organization: Old Pink, Care of the Funny Farm
Message-ID: <10214@wpi.wpi.edu>
Newsgroups: sci.skeptic

First off, a word to anyone who thinks that those field circles in south-
western Britain were made by a VTOL aircraft, such as a helicopter or even
a GR3 / AV-8B Harrier:
bull$#!+ The patterns are too intricate for a downward-directed jetwash to create. Here is my theory: England is always rumoured to be the place where magic abounds, hence Stonhenge, Silbury Hill, and all the other stone circles in England, Scotland, Wales, and (I think) Ireland. Most to all of these circles and barrows are located in a pattern. Most of them, such as Stonehenge and others on or near the Salisbury Plains are believed to be located on leyline intersections. A leyline is a line of power in the earth's body, and where two or more of them meet is called a leyline nexus. This nexus is a point where great power lies. The more leylines at a nexus, the greater the power. Where do the circles come into play? If they did some investigating, they could probably find the true pattern of these circles, and compare the pattern to that of the layout of the leylines. The circles could lie on unknown nexi (is that the plural for nexus?), and be created by a surge of leyline power. This is just my theory. ************************************************************** * * * Pfloyd * "Ein, zwei, drei, uggah" * * * "Big man, pig man...." * * wpi.wpi.edu * "And if the band you're in * * * starts playing different * * ---/\+++ * tunes * * * I'll see you on the * * WPI: * dark side of the moon" * * Where men are men * "in the bottom of our * * Women are scarce * hearts we felt the * * And sheep are nervous * final cut" * * * ************************************************************** --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1050 SKEP Subboard From: JIM GALASYN Sent: 04-12-90 12:02 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-19-90 11:46 Re: ARE YOU YETI? (WAS RE: P From: jpg3196@tahoma.UUCP (Jim Galasyn) Date: 23 Mar 90 17:21:54 GMT Organization: The Boeing Co., BCA FSL, Seattle, WA Message-ID: <1013@tahoma.UUCP> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic Doctor BoB writes: >And interestingly enough, now that I think about it, it was >old flawed Science that came up with the Uncertainty Principle, >Godel's Theorem, and so on. Hmmmn? Science looks at itself, >finds its own shortcomings, and moves forward. And it does >so with and without the help of the mass of scientists, techs, >theorists, arm-chair inventors, and entrepaneurs. The only >time it seems to fail miserably is when it is put into the >hands of government and legislated. Science does not like >being tied down. Now Doctor BoB, no self-disrespecting SubG would interpret the Uncertainty Principle and Godel's Theorem to be indications that we know anything; quite the opposite, in fact-no-fact. Perhaps you've not actually WHIFF-READ the word of the Dobbs. If you had, then you would know for uncertain that "forward" is an entirely arbitrary direction, defined by the culture of sci- entists and the forces that manipulate them, e.g. the econo-political forces you mention, who are in turn controlled by the Con. A skeptic must question the utility of a method of inquiry that spends 400 years going "forward" only to "discover": "Hey, we don't know anything for sure, and we can't prove everything." Any half-decent mystical tradition starts with these as AXIOMS, for "Bob's" sake. By "God's" Third Leg, you'd think these humans didn't know what religion was FOR. You'll find that if you believe everything and nothing SIMULTANEOUSLY, you'll be thrilled by the sheer terror of it all! Hang ten on the rifts of spacetime! > "A fool and his money were lucky to get together in the first place" True, but recall that "Bob" is the luckiest fool alive, and money just flows toward him because of his "deal" with JHVH-1. He's dumber than you and yet wealthy beyond any mere human's imagination. This can work for you, too. Quit your job! Slack off! . DEATH . .. . . . You'll PAY to know what you really . . . . think. . .. . . . . -"Bob" . . . . . .. . . . . . . . --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1051 SKEP Subboard From: PETER NELSON Sent: 04-12-90 12:03 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-19-90 11:47 Re: RE FORTEANA SURVEY From: nelson_p@apollo.HP.COM (Peter Nelson) Date: 26 Mar 90 14:45:00 GMT Organization: Hewlett-Packard Apollo Division - Chelmsford, MA Message-ID: <496cfe49.20b6d@apollo.HP.COM> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic eiverson@nmsu.edu (Eric Iverson) posts... > OK skeptics, quiz time. Who believes in Forteana? Cryptozoology? >Ooparts? Not that your belief either prooves or disproves, I just >wanna know. Terms defined below: What do you mean "believe in"? Do you mean do I believe crypto- zoology exists or do you mean do I believe that the subject matter it studies exists? >Forteana: Anomolous natural phenomena associated with the late >Charles Forte. Includes: fish falls, blood red rain, ice falls, live frogs >embedded in rocks and other such things Not familiar with this. >Cryptozoology: The search for animals such as Nessie and the >Abominable Snowman. Also includes dinosaurs in Africa and Bigfoot. Well, new species of insects, marine animals, and small mammals are being discovered all the time. But the kinds of things you are talking about here are large and different enough from anything else to suggest to me that they or their remains would have been discovered long ago if they actually existed. So I think that these things are mainly the product of the local tourist industries. >Ooparts: Technology and ancient civilization shouldn't have had, but >did. You can include Mayan temples, Easter Island, and the Nazca >lines in here as well. Did the ancients have alien help? I haven't seen any evidence that any of these cultures had technology they "shouldn't have had" so I'm not sure what the issue is here. ---Peter --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1052 SKEP Subboard From: GREG LEE Sent: 04-12-90 12:03 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-19-90 11:49 Re: (R)THE FOAF CONSPIRACY From: lee@uhccux.uhcc.hawaii.edu (Greg Lee) Date: 26 Mar 90 15:24:17 GMT Organization: University of Hawaii Message-ID: <7084@uhccux.uhcc.hawaii.edu> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic From article <28280@cup.portal.com>, by mmm@cup.portal.com (Mark Robert Thorson): >Potatoes turn green when exposed to light. If the green were caused >by arsenic, the arsenic would also have to be present before the potato >turned green, because arsenic is an element. ... But it wouldn't have to be poisonous before the potato turned green, because elements have different effects on us depending on how they are compounded. >This is the full explanation I gave to the person who thought potatoes >were poisonous because of arsenic. And good for her if she wasn't convinced. Your explanation is just as good an example of reasoning by memic association as the others you mentioned. Greg, lee@uhccux.uhcc.hawaii.edu --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1053 SKEP Subboard From: ROBERT M DERRICK Sent: 04-12-90 12:03 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-19-90 11:49 Re: (R)ARE YOU YETI? (WAS RE From: rxxd@lanl.gov (Robert M Derrick) Date: 26 Mar 90 17:41:16 GMT Organization: Los Alamos Natl. Labs, Los Alamos, NM Message-ID: <46809@lanl.gov> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <1013@tahoma.UUCP> jpg3196@tahoma.UUCP (Jim Galasyn) writes: > >Doctor BoB writes: First, that's boB - > >>old flawed Science that came up with the Uncertainty Principle, >>Godel's Theorem, and so on. Hmmmn? Science looks at itself, >>finds its own shortcomings, and moves forward. And it does ^^^^^^^ > > .... you would know for uncertain that >"forward" is an entirely arbitrary direction, defined by the culture of sci- >entists and the forces that manipulate them, e.g. the econo-political forces >you mention ... No, forward is not a direction at all, or at least a particular direction. At least as I use it here. It "moves forward" means that it doesn't sit there admiring itself and how well it has explained Simply Everything. When a 1890's scientist stood up and said that we had reached the ultimate pool of knowledge in physics, and were not likely to learn anything new, and that the job of future "physicists" would be only to mop up the little details, science did not quit. If all the governments in the world had attempted to suppress it, science would not quit. And even when the great scientists say we have arrived, science does not quit. It moves forward. Or maybe I should simply say, It Moves. > >A skeptic must question the utility of a method of inquiry that spends >400 years going "forward" only to "discover": "Hey, we don't know anything >for sure, and we can't prove everything." Any half-decent mystical tradition >starts with these as AXIOMS, for "Bob's" sake. An axiom is a dogma, and a proof is, well, a proof. And isn't it much more comforting to Know, to Really Know, that we can't prove everything, rather than just have the village witchdoctor say, "Trust me, I know what I'm talking about." Besides which, Godel's Theorem doesn't say that we can't prove everything; mathematically speaking at least. It says that we can't prove all true things, which is just a little different. It is actually a little stronger than that. It says we can prove ALL true things if we are willing to prove a few false things as well. I.E. whaddyawant? Consistency or Completeness. It is only the small minded, short sighted pencil pushers who decided that the only way to go was Consistencey and Incompleteness, rather than Inconsistency and Completeness. > >> "A fool and his money were lucky to get together in the first place" > >True, but recall that "Bob" is the luckiest fool alive, and money just True also, but your Bob is just a fulsome settling, and so his fables are indeed, full of sound and fury, but signify ......? El boBerto - Vayo con Queso, mis amigos --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1054 SKEP Subboard From: ROBERT M DERRICK Sent: 04-12-90 12:44 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-19-90 11:51 Re: (R)THE FOAF CONSPIRACY From: rxxd@lanl.gov (Robert M Derrick) Date: 26 Mar 90 17:13:43 GMT Organization: Los Alamos Natl. Labs, Los Alamos, NM Message-ID: <46805@lanl.gov> Newsgroups: alt.conspiracy,sci.skeptic In article <1990Mar26.050217.18074@world.std.com> bzs@world.std.com (Barry Shein) writes: > >I personally think the supposed power of urban myths is an urban myth. > >No one ever believes them personally, it's always a friend, or a >friend of a friend. > >I'm not even sure any urban myths have ever existed, maybe they all >just originate from Brunvend's books. Has anyone ever verified his >supposed research into these? S'matter o' fact, I first encountered Urban Myth before it was called Urban Myth. It was in 'motifs in folklore', and the one I remember best is the ghostly girl hitchhiker on killed on prom night, and which, this ol' book stated, had been repeated as a 'true' story in nearly every state in the Union. As to real Urban Myth, I had the 'poisonous snake in the dept. store dressing room' repeated to me as a 'true' story, and it was sworn to have happened at the K-Mart in Asheville NC. And, the Proctor & Gamble Satan Connection was repeated to me with enough detail that I could track down the story and refute its source, on the spot (they named names, forgetting for a moment the reason for the FEOF, and I tracked down the Named people, who looked at me quizically). Even with evidence in hand, I had trouble convincing the story tellers that it was all a fake. Such is the power of the myth. In point of fact, most of us know the Myth's from the Truth's. But I have also, many times, found myself repeating a story which has just too many shades of UMosity about it. Just about anybody who ever repeats an unverified, interesting story is in danger of helping to spread a UM. On the other hand, there is the story of the Preacher who heard about a man so full of sin that he coughed up three crows, and so the Preacher decided to track the story back to the source. After the usual (about three or four) iterations of story relators, each time getting a little less remarkable, he reaches the wife of the coughing sinner, who says, "Well, he did cough up something that was as black as a crow". Gotta admire a skeptical Preacher! Doctor boB. PS. I have three votes on the story of the Epileptic Fellatrix: 2 - It's a myth 1 - Probably a myth but suspicious Well, if it helps, I will certify that to the best of my knowledge, it is a true story. Although there may have been some embellishments of familiarity, in its essence, it is solid gold truth. So now, what say you? How can you tell the difference 'tween UM and truth? The polls are still open. --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1055 SKEP Subboard From: PETER NELSON Sent: 04-12-90 12:44 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-19-90 22:57 Re: RE FORTEANA SURVEY From: nelson_p@apollo.HP.COM (Peter Nelson) Date: 26 Mar 90 14:45:00 GMT Organization: Hewlett-Packard Apollo Division - Chelmsford, MA Message-ID: <496cfe49.20b6d@apollo.HP.COM> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic eiverson@nmsu.edu (Eric Iverson) posts... > OK skeptics, quiz time. Who believes in Forteana? Cryptozoology? >Ooparts? Not that your belief either prooves or disproves, I just >wanna know. Terms defined below: What do you mean "believe in"? Do you mean do I believe crypto- zoology exists or do you mean do I believe that the subject matter it studies exists? >Forteana: Anomolous natural phenomena associated with the late >Charles Forte. Includes: fish falls, blood red rain, ice falls, live frogs >embedded in rocks and other such things Not familiar with this. >Cryptozoology: The search for animals such as Nessie and the >Abominable Snowman. Also includes dinosaurs in Africa and Bigfoot. Well, new species of insects, marine animals, and small mammals are being discovered all the time. But the kinds of things you are talking about here are large and different enough from anything else to suggest to me that they or their remains would have been discovered long ago if they actually existed. So I think that these things are mainly the product of the local tourist industries. >Ooparts: Technology and ancient civilization shouldn't have had, but >did. You can include Mayan temples, Easter Island, and the Nazca >lines in here as well. Did the ancients have alien help? I haven't seen any evidence that any of these cultures had technology they "shouldn't have had" so I'm not sure what the issue is here. ---Peter --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1056 SKEP Subboard From: GREG LEE Sent: 04-12-90 12:44 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-16-90 18:55 Re: (R)THE FOAF CONSPIRACY From: lee@uhccux.uhcc.hawaii.edu (Greg Lee) Date: 26 Mar 90 15:24:17 GMT Organization: University of Hawaii Message-ID: <7084@uhccux.uhcc.hawaii.edu> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic From article <28280@cup.portal.com>, by mmm@cup.portal.com (Mark Robert Thorson): >Potatoes turn green when exposed to light. If the green were caused >by arsenic, the arsenic would also have to be present before the potato >turned green, because arsenic is an element. ... But it wouldn't have to be poisonous before the potato turned green, because elements have different effects on us depending on how they are compounded. >This is the full explanation I gave to the person who thought potatoes >were poisonous because of arsenic. And good for her if she wasn't convinced. Your explanation is just as good an example of reasoning by memic association as the others you mentioned. Greg, lee@uhccux.uhcc.hawaii.edu --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1057 SKEP Subboard From: ROBERT M DERRICK Sent: 04-12-90 12:44 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-16-90 18:56 Re: (R)ARE YOU YETI? (WAS RE From: rxxd@lanl.gov (Robert M Derrick) Date: 26 Mar 90 17:41:16 GMT Organization: Los Alamos Natl. Labs, Los Alamos, NM Message-ID: <46809@lanl.gov> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <1013@tahoma.UUCP> jpg3196@tahoma.UUCP (Jim Galasyn) writes: > >Doctor BoB writes: First, that's boB - > >>old flawed Science that came up with the Uncertainty Principle, >>Godel's Theorem, and so on. Hmmmn? Science looks at itself, >>finds its own shortcomings, and moves forward. And it does ^^^^^^^ > > .... you would know for uncertain that >"forward" is an entirely arbitrary direction, defined by the culture of sci- >entists and the forces that manipulate them, e.g. the econo-political forces >you mention ... No, forward is not a direction at all, or at least a particular direction. At least as I use it here. It "moves forward" means that it doesn't sit there admiring itself and how well it has explained Simply Everything. When a 1890's scientist stood up and said that we had reached the ultimate pool of knowledge in physics, and were not likely to learn anything new, and that the job of future "physicists" would be only to mop up the little details, science did not quit. If all the governments in the world had attempted to suppress it, science would not quit. And even when the great scientists say we have arrived, science does not quit. It moves forward. Or maybe I should simply say, It Moves. > >A skeptic must question the utility of a method of inquiry that spends >400 years going "forward" only to "discover": "Hey, we don't know anything >for sure, and we can't prove everything." Any half-decent mystical tradition >starts with these as AXIOMS, for "Bob's" sake. An axiom is a dogma, and a proof is, well, a proof. And isn't it much more comforting to Know, to Really Know, that we can't prove everything, rather than just have the village witchdoctor say, "Trust me, I know what I'm talking about." Besides which, Godel's Theorem doesn't say that we can't prove everything; mathematically speaking at least. It says that we can't prove all true things, which is just a little different. It is actually a little stronger than that. It says we can prove ALL true things if we are willing to prove a few false things as well. I.E. whaddyawant? Consistency or Completeness. It is only the small minded, short sighted pencil pushers who decided that the only way to go was Consistencey and Incompleteness, rather than Inconsistency and Completeness. > >> "A fool and his money were lucky to get together in the first place" > >True, but recall that "Bob" is the luckiest fool alive, and money just True also, but your Bob is just a fulsome settling, and so his fables are indeed, full of sound and fury, but signify ......? El boBerto - Vayo con Queso, mis amigos --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1058 SKEP Subboard From: ERIC IVERSON Sent: 04-12-90 12:45 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-16-90 18:56 Re: (R)THE FOAF CONSPIRACY From: eiverson@nmsu.edu (Eric Iverson) Date: 26 Mar 90 18:43:49 GMT Organization: NMSU Computer Science Message-ID: Newsgroups: alt.conspiracy,sci.skeptic In article <1990Mar26.050217.18074@world.std.com> bzs@world.std.com (Barry Shein) writes: > I'm not even sure any urban myths have ever existed, maybe they all > just originate from Brunvend's books. Has anyone ever verified his > supposed research into these? Why is it *supposed* research? You've already stacked the deck by putting his work in a derrogatory context. Just because he's "only" a folklore expert doesn't mean he can't do research. The fact is that urban legends can be well documented in this country well before Brundvand became interested in them. If you're suggesting that he either made them up or somehow coached his subjects, then you are nothing but a paranoid fool....or an anal retentive skeptic (take your pick.) -- ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Another Gruntpig production, in association with the Rat Lab Steamworks. Eric Iverson, president. Eric IVerson, emperor. ERiC IVerSoN, DeMIgOd!!! eiverson@nmsu.edu "I want to kill everyone here with a cute Computing Research Lab colorful Hydrogen Bomb!!" New Mexico State University -Zippy the Pinhead --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1059 SKEP Subboard From: MARY SHAFER (OFV Sent: 04-12-90 12:45 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-20-90 17:43 Re: (R)THE FOAF CONSPIRACY From: shafer@skipper.dfrf.nasa.gov (Mary Shafer (OFV)) Date: 26 Mar 90 18:41:57 GMT Organization: NASA Dryden, Edwards, Cal. Message-ID: Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <7080@uhccux.uhcc.hawaii.edu> lee@uhccux.uhcc.hawaii.edu (Greg Lee) writes: From article <28244@cup.portal.com>, by mmm@cup.portal.com (Mark Robert Thorson): \... Ergo, green potatoes contain \arsenic. Pointing out that arsenic is an element, hence a potato cannot \manufacture arsenic, had no effect on this person. ... It has an effect on me, but not a persuasive one. Potatoes cannot contain elements -- this is carrying memes to extremes. What? Eveything contains elements. What do you think things are made of? The four humors? Potatoes contain molecules. Molecules are made of elements. Potatoes contain elements. Perhaps you meant something different? -- Mary Shafer shafer@skipper.dfrf.nasa.gov or ames!skipper.dfrf.nasa.gov!shafer NASA Ames Dryden Flight Research Facility, Edwards, CA Of course I don't speak for NASA --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1060 SKEP Subboard From: ERIC IVERSON Sent: 04-12-90 12:45 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-20-90 17:44 Re: (R)RE FORTEANA SURVEY From: eiverson@nmsu.edu (Eric Iverson) Date: 26 Mar 90 19:11:10 GMT Organization: NMSU Computer Science Message-ID: Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <496cfe49.20b6d@apollo.HP.COM> nelson_p@apollo.HP.COM (Peter Nelson) writes: > > OK skeptics, quiz time. Who believes in Forteana? Cryptozoology? > >Ooparts? Not that your belief either prooves or disproves, I just > >wanna know. Terms defined below: > > What do you mean "believe in"? Do you mean do I believe crypto- > zoology exists or do you mean do I believe that the subject matter > it studies exists? Of course I don't mean "do you believe the discipline cryptozoology exists." I'm taking about the subject matter it studies. This is analogous to asking "do you believe in dowsing" or "do you believe in numerology." Obviously the discipline exists. But does it get results? God, you people can be so literal! > >Ooparts: Technology and ancient civilization shouldn't have had, but > >did. You can include Mayan temples, Easter Island, and the Nazca > >lines in here as well. Did the ancients have alien help? > > I haven't seen any evidence that any of these cultures had technology > they "shouldn't have had" so I'm not sure what the issue is here. One example is archeological evidence that the early Tigris and Euphrates civilization in what is now Iran had electroplating. Nobody knows how they got it, as civilizations at their level were'nt "supposed" to have that level of technology. It proceeded to disappear, only to be "discovered" centuries later by somebody else. You can also include myths that seem to have a technological origin, like Ezekial's (sp.) wheel. Another story along these lines is the Hindu one about the group of people who came down from the sky and set up a camp. Later there was a big explosion and crops would not grow where it occured. Evidence of an atomic explosion? If not, why would they tell such a story? There is also evidence of south sea islands with primitive roads or perhaps landing strips. What's especially weird is one road that stops at the edge of one island and directly picks up at the edge of another island hundreds of miles away, but in the path of where the road pointed. Why would primitve cultures do such things? Why do so many similar legends spring up in otherwise widely disparate cultures? What do you think? -- ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Another Gruntpig production, in association with the Rat Lab Steamworks. Eric Iverson, president. Eric IVerson, emperor. ERiC IVerSoN, DeMIgOd!!! eiverson@nmsu.edu "I want to kill everyone here with a cute Computing Research Lab colorful Hydrogen Bomb!!" New Mexico State University -Zippy the Pinhead --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1061 SKEP Subboard From: BOBMR. WONDERFUL DAINAUSKI Sent: 04-12-90 12:51 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-20-90 17:45 Re: SOVIET PSYCHIC :-) From: RAD101@psuvm.psu.edu (BobMr. Wonderful Dainauski) Date: 27 Mar 90 03:04:00 GMT Organization: Penn State University Message-ID: <90085.220400RAD101@psuvm.psu.edu> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic,rec.humor The following item ran in Newsday: E. FRENKEL, A SOVIET "psychic healer and mentalist," felt he had gathered the "psychic-biological power" to stop a speeding train, so he stepped in front of one to prove it. "First I stopped a bicycle, cars, and a streetcar," wrote Frenkel. "Now I'm going to stop a train. Only in extraordinary conditions of a direct threat to my organism will all my reserves be called into action." Frenkel jumped in front of a train near the city of Astrakhan "with his arms raised, his head lowered, and his body tensed." The train ran over and killed him. Bob Dainauski RAD101@psuvm.psu.edu (717) 948-6426 --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1062 SKEP Subboard From: T R HALL Sent: 04-12-90 12:52 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-20-90 17:46 Re: (R)POSITIVISM AS A METHOD From: trh@atari.UUCP (T R Hall) Date: 27 Mar 90 01:51:39 GMT Organization: Atari Corp., Sunnyvale, CA Message-ID: <2092@atari.UUCP> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic > ------------------------------------------------------------------------ > Another Gruntpig production, in association with the Rat Lab Steamworks. > Eric Iverson, president. Eric IVerson, emperor. ERiC IVerSoN, DeMIgOd!!! > > eiverson@nmsu.edu "I want to kill everyone here with a cute > Computing Research Lab colorful Hydrogen Bomb!!" > New Mexico State University -Zippy the Pinhead Fine, you just don't _want_ to hear that there are perfectly normal, mundane and _boring_ reasons for the effects you see. I admit that the "para/super-normal" explantations are a lot more fun, but that doesn't mean that they have any objective reality. If it's *subjective* reality you want, study psychology. If you insist that the "paranormal" is a _possible_ explanation, I can agree with you. _Anything_ can be a _*possible*_ explanation. But don't try to say the it is _the_ explanation without a bit more solid, reproducible evidence. trh --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1063 SKEP Subboard From: MARK ISAAK Sent: 04-12-90 12:52 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-20-90 17:47 Re: LOOKING AT A WATCH (WAS: From: isaak@imagen.UUCP (Mark Isaak) Date: 26 Mar 90 21:19:15 GMT Organization: Imagen Corp., Santa Clara CA Message-ID: <9677@imagen.UUCP> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic I had an experience similar to Eric Iverson's. When I first got my watch, it seemed that the display would quite often have "interesting" patterns (like 11:11:11, 12:34:56, or 3:23:23) when I glanced at it. I seldom notice such patterns now. The likely explanation is this: I looked at my watch a lot more when it was new because it was unfamiliar. This means I saw the interesting patterns more often. I saw plenty of uninteresting patterns, too, but I didn't pay as much attention to them and so quicky forgot them, making the interesting ones seem disproportional. -- Mark Isaak {decwrl,sun}!imagen!isaak or imagen!isaak@decwrl.dec.com "Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies." - Nietzsche --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1064 SKEP Subboard From: EDECK@AV80R.DEC.COM Sent: 04-12-90 12:53 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-20-90 17:48 Re: (R)RE FORTEANA SURVEY From: edeck@av80r.dec.com Date: 27 Mar 90 13:48:35 GMT Organization: Digital Equipment Corporation Message-ID: <9645@shlump.nac.dec.com> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <496cfe49.20b6d@apollo.HP.COM> nelson_p@apollo.HP.COM (Peter Nelson) writes: In article , eiverson@nmsu.edu (Eric Iverson) writes... (I _think_ the attribution is right...) >> > OK skeptics, quiz time. Who believes in Forteana? Cryptozoology? >> >Ooparts? Not that your belief either prooves or disproves, I just >> >wanna know. Terms defined below: >> >Ooparts: Technology and ancient civilization shouldn't have had, but >> >did. You can include Mayan temples, Easter Island, and the Nazca >> >lines in here as well. Did the ancients have alien help? >> >> I haven't seen any evidence that any of these cultures had technology >> they "shouldn't have had" so I'm not sure what the issue is here. > >One example is archeological evidence that the early Tigris and >Euphrates civilization in what is now Iran had electroplating. Nobody >knows how they got it, as civilizations at their level were'nt >"supposed" to have that level of technology. It proceeded to >disappear, only to be "discovered" centuries later by somebody else. Hell, the Mayans had "electroplating"--archeologists have recovered plated objects from a well, according to a _Scientific American_ article a few years ago. They used a combination of dipping and selective etching to deposit a gold coating. 'Course, it was _electrochemical_ plating, and didn't imply that the Mayans had electicity. I am told that there are Near Eastern objects that consist of a huge jar with dissimilar metals that _could_ generate electricity if they were filled with seawater... I'd have to see one, or a reference to a writeup in an refereed journal before I'd believe it. L I N E E A T E R F O O D >------------------------------------------------------------------------ >Another Gruntpig production, in association with the Rat Lab Steamworks. >Eric Iverson, president. Eric IVerson, emperor. ERiC IVerSoN, DeMIgOd!!! > >eiverson@nmsu.edu "I want to kill everyone here with a cute >Computing Research Lab colorful Hydrogen Bomb!!" >New Mexico State University -Zippy the Pinhead Ed Eck edeck@av8or.dec.com --or--...!decwrl!est.dec.com!edeck --or--edeck%est.dec@decwrl.dec.com --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1065 SKEP Subboard From: CHRIS STASSEN Sent: 04-12-90 12:53 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-20-90 17:50 Re: "OOPARTS": BATTERIES AND From: stassen@netcom.UUCP (Chris Stassen) Date: 27 Mar 90 15:50:10 GMT Organization: The Lion's Den, San Jose Message-ID: <10037@netcom.UUCP> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic The "Baghdad batteries" do exist. Their use is unknown, but such crude objects were only capable of generating about 1/2 volt. (See Story, Ronald, _The Space-Gods Revealed: A Close Look at the Theories of Erich von Daniken_, New York: Harper & Row, 1976, p. 96.) This is sufficient to electroplate silver to copper, which is their suspected use. [Remember, we don't even know for sure that they _were_ used as batteries!] This is most likely simply a "discovery before its time" - similar to the Greek discovery of the principles behind the steam engine. I'd expect friendly aliens to clue the natives in to a lot more about the utility of electricity than how to construct crude, weak batteries suitable only for electroplating. Easter Island is less mysterious yet. Descendants of the people that lived on the island when the statues were erected perpetuate an oral tradition which describes how the statues were made, transported, and erected - even knowing the songs and dances accompanying these acts. Space men are not mentioned in the traditions. The statues were constructed continually from about 400 to 1700 AD - much too late for Von Daniken's proposed space visit timetable. Thor Heyerdahl had a crew of six men cut most of the coutours of a medium-sized (15') statue in three days (but it would have taken about a year to complete it). They used only stone picks (which are found by the thousands in the soft volcanic rock quarries where the statues originated). Another medium-sized statue was moved by 180 natives (the island's population probably peaked at about three thousand). The statue was placed on a sledge made from a split tree trunk, and simply dragged from the quarry to its platform (some of the larger statues show signs of being rolled on logs). Twelve men erected a thirty-ton statue in eighteen days, using only rocks, wood poles, and ropes - onto a twelve-foot-high platform. Von Daniken claims that no trees grow on Easter Island - which is currently true. But there were trees growing there when the Europeans discovered the island in the 1700s, and pollen counts of sediments on the island show that it was once heavily forested. Rocks, ropes, and wood are the only tools and technology required to account for the Easter Island statues. Actually, I'm surprised Eric didn't mention the Piri Re'is map. It is one of Von D.'s favorites, and the one that always intrigued me the most (until I did some research, that is). Reference of interest: Stiebing, William H.: _Ancient Astronauts, Cosmic Collisions, and Other Popular Theories About Man's Past_, New York: Prometheus, 1984. -- Chris Stassen stassen@netcom.UUCP --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1066 SKEP Subboard From: SULLIVAN Sent: 04-12-90 12:53 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-20-90 17:51 Re: (R)POSITIVISM AS A METHOD From: sullivan@csl-sun3.dcrt.nih.gov (Sullivan) Date: 26 Mar 90 14:39:17 GMT Message-ID: <1414@nih-csl.UUCP> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article , eiverson@nmsu.edu (Eric Iverson) writes: |>OK, this is getting tiresome, but here goes. I never said that |>equinoxes caused heightened time sensitivity. I merely said that it |>was "interesting" that the two occured together for me. When somebody |>asked *why* it was interesting, I ventured a guess. Regarding how the |>body would know where the earth was in its orbit: try the seasons, |>time of sunrise, slight differences in gravitation, day length. Geez, |>not much to go on. Again, I'm just looking for correlations at this |>point. Not causality. Just because women's skirt lengths are an |>indicator of stock market prices doesn't mean one causes the other. |>However, it is an interesting correlation that may tell us something. Ok, but, so what... I can throw a heads on a coin ten times in a row, then not be able to repeat it for some time. It is interesting that it occured but is not outside the normal possibility. Now, if I looked around at the time it happened and noticed my dog eating his food would there be a reason to draw a correlation? But, if every time he ate his food I noticed I could predictably throw a heads on every coin flip, then I'd have a correlation. What I see in you observations was to see a rare event (seeing you watch change +/- 1 second) and then looked around for a correlation, something to connect to the rare event. I guess I'm wondering why you would look for something, anything to correlate with the rare event. [me] |>> What I see you doing with your observations is what many people |>> do every day, take two unusual events and make a connection. I've |>> seen people who blamed hurricanes and tornados on the Apollo |>> astronauts walking on the moon! Now, isn't it quite possible, |>> given our knowlege of physics, that the change in the moon's |>> gravitational field caused by additional mass on the moon |>> could cause the strange weather we have been seeing? |> |>Well, given that weather is a non-linear unpredictable phenomenon, very |>slight anomalies like the one you mentioned may have much larger |>impact on it than we may think. However, it is difficult to isolate the |>ones that do and don't have an effect. So, to answer your question, |>maybe. In addition, I'm guessing the brain is somewhat non-linear as |>well. So any number of things could have be partially responsible for |>my experiences. Unfortunately, just because I can't find a concrete |>cause-and-effect relationship, people like you seem to think I'm |>talking about the paranormal or, worse yet, ESP. I defy you to find a |>strict cause-and-effect for why it rained at X o'clock and not 5 |>minutes earlier. Non-linear systems don't easily lend themselves to |>that sort of thing. Exactly... Maybe I'm missing something or reading more into your postings than is there but I could have sworn that you were making connections between your unusual ability to see your watch change with in a second, and the equinox that was occuring at the time of the event. Of course I cannot find a strict cause and effect realltionship for why it rained at X o'clock. That has been the reason for my responses. Two rare or unusual events do not have to be related. I see you however at the least noting the two occurances and saying that it was interesting that they occured together, and at most drawing a direct connection (dousing). |>Chronobiology pointing to the supernatural? Predicting the future? |>This is just another example of *your* fixation on this subject. I've |>said from the beginning that I'll except any solution that fits the |>facts in a maximally simple, plausible manner. To me, the paranormal |>is just something that hasn't been explained yet. It doesn't |>necessarily have to violate physical laws. Besides, can you honestly |>say we know all the physical laws in the universe? I'll admit, things |>are pretty well explained....except of course for the unified field |>theory and fusion and Bell's Theorem effects and any other number of |>things. How about a little humility for God's sake? We don't know |>all the answers..... No we don't, but we are not completely ignorant as well. We know enough to test such cause and effect occurances in a scientific way before making a connection. When they are shown to be unconnected and random relative to each other, we take it for being unconnected. [me] |>> BTW, I didn't respond to the response you gave me a week |>> ago because I didn't want to get into diagnosing a health problem |>> over the net, especially when I am not an MD or a specialist |>> in the health field. But, if a friend of mine was seeing ghosts |>> and apparitions frequently, I would put supernatural phenomenon |>> last on my list of possibilities and the persons health first. |>> Just as you cannot absolutely rule out unknown phenomenon, you |>> certainly cannot ignore the other more likely possibilities that |>> have a basis in reality. |> |>Oh, and I suppose you have case histories of otherwise healthy, |>rational people who nonetheless had a medical basis for their visions? |>Your's is just a variation of the response throughout history whenever |>people saw something that didn't "fit in": they must be sick or crazy. |>Well this person is neither. No ear infections, no psychological |>problems, no particular stake in seeing these things in the first |>place. Really, I expected more from you. I might understand if you |>said she had mistakenly seen something else, but to infer that she may |>be ill is pathetic. Again, for those of you who've only heard this 20 |>or so times: The apparations are site specific. If this |>were delusion or auto-suggestion or illness, there most likely would |>not be a geographical component to the experience. It would seem to |>me that if you see the same set of strangers in the same set of |>places, while other places remain uninhabited, that something other |>than delusion is going on. What's your next explanation? Hidden |>slide projectors? Interesting response. To suggest a medical reason for seeing ghosts is "pathetic" but suggesting that what she saw was real in some paranormal way is not. My point was not to diagnose the person, it was to show that you show a bias to accept random events occuring together as evidence for a connection. I and others have suggested ways your friend could get information to form a dream from unconscious suggestion or clues within the house itself. I find your friends experiences interesting, but there are many natural reason that your observations were seen. As I said, the paranormal, though not absent from my list, is way down there. Why, when you cannot come up with a rational explanation for an unusual event, do you not consider that maybe you are not privi to all the information involved with the event? Jim Sullivan sullivan@alw.nih.gov --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1067 SKEP Subboard From: MITCH WAGNER Sent: 04-12-90 12:54 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-20-90 17:56 Re: (R)THE FOAF CONSPIRACY From: wagner@utoday.UUCP (Mitch Wagner) Date: 27 Mar 90 14:01:15 GMT Organization: UNIX Today!, Manhasset, NY Message-ID: <1396@utoday.UUCP> Newsgroups: alt.conspiracy,sci.skeptic In article <1990Mar26.050217.18074@world.std.com> bzs@world.std.com (Barry Shein) writes: > >I personally think the supposed power of urban myths is an urban myth. > >No one ever believes them personally, it's always a friend, or a >friend of a friend. > >I'm not even sure any urban myths have ever existed, maybe they all >just originate from Brunvend's books. Has anyone ever verified his >supposed research into these? Oh, I've read one or two of Brunvend's books, and I'd heard one or two of the myths in them, and friends of mine have heard one or two others. I'm pretty confident that his research is legit; that these really are stories that are going around. As to how much power the stories have to affect people's behavior, that I don't know. -- Mitch wagner@utoday.UUCP --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1068 SKEP Subboard From: ERIC IVERSON Sent: 04-12-90 12:54 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-20-90 17:57 Re: (R)POSITIVISM AS A METHOD From: eiverson@nmsu.edu (Eric Iverson) Date: 27 Mar 90 16:15:33 GMT Organization: NMSU Computer Science Message-ID: Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <2092@atari.UUCP> trh@atari.UUCP (T R Hall) writes: > Fine, you just don't _want_ to hear that there are perfectly normal, > mundane and _boring_ reasons for the effects you see. > > I admit that the "para/super-normal" explantations are a lot more > fun, but that doesn't mean that they have any objective reality. If it's > *subjective* reality you want, study psychology. > > If you insist that the "paranormal" is a _possible_ explanation, > I can agree with you. _Anything_ can be a _*possible*_ explanation. But > don't try to say the it is _the_ explanation without a bit more solid, > reproducible evidence. OK, now I'm *really* getting tired of this. All I've been trying to point out is that we just *might* not know everything there is to know about the universe. Is this such a great leap of logic? As a result, anything that falls outside of our current model of reality can be called paranormal due to the fact that we have yet to incorporate it into our understanding. Contrary to popular belief, this does not mean that we are only left with things that happen regularly but just can't be explained. It is entirely possible that we don't even know how to make these "paranormal" occurences happen in the first place. The history of science has shown that new ideas normally take about 70 years to be adopted. This is because it takes that long for all the old scientists to die off. Imagine explaining Bell's Theorem to Newton. He'd probably look at you like you were insane. Even if you had proof, he'd probably find a way to reject it since "the universe doesn't work that way." Remember Einstein's "God doesn't play dice with the universe"? Well turns out God does. Unlike some of you out there, I try to have a bit of humility and realize that my current level of understanding most likely will not adequately explain everything that I encounter (even given infinite time to explain it.) Likewise, I feel that most current explanations of paranormal phenomena reflect our limited level of understanding and are most likely only partially true (if at all). I've gotten pretty sick of how some of you rationalize, prejudge, and sometimes outright ignore an anomaly all in the service of "objectivity." By sweeping the problem under the rug through intolerance and derision, you do solve it in a manner of speaking. But I don't see how this gains you anything other than a more safe secure cocoon in which your brain can slumber. -- ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Another Gruntpig production, in association with the Rat Lab Steamworks. Eric Iverson, president. Eric IVerson, emperor. ERiC IVerSoN, DeMIgOd!!! eiverson@nmsu.edu "I want to kill everyone here with a cute Computing Research Lab colorful Hydrogen Bomb!!" New Mexico State University -Zippy the Pinhead --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1069 SKEP Subboard From: BILL JEFFERYS Sent: 04-12-90 12:54 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-20-90 17:59 Re: (R)THE FOAF CONSPIRACY From: bill@ut-emx.UUCP (Bill Jefferys) Date: 27 Mar 90 17:53:55 GMT Organization: UTexas Computation Center, Austin, Texas Message-ID: <26998@ut-emx.UUCP> Newsgroups: alt.conspiracy,sci.skeptic In article <1990Mar26.050217.18074@world.std.com> bzs@world.std.com (Barry Shein) writes: # #I personally think the supposed power of urban myths is an urban myth. # #No one ever believes them personally, it's always a friend, or a #friend of a friend. # #I'm not even sure any urban myths have ever existed, maybe they all #just originate from Brunvend's books. Has anyone ever verified his #supposed research into these? I can personally testify that I heard the one about the lady with the roach nest in her hair in the 1950s, long before Brunvand wrote it up. Beehive hairdos were the rage then. My sister thought it was gross. I cannot testify as to whether the story ever happened in fact. My sister said she heard it from a friend :-) Bill Jefferys -- If you meet the Buddha on the net, put him in your kill file --Robert Firth --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1070 SKEP Subboard From: ERIC IVERSON Sent: 04-12-90 12:56 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-20-90 18:00 Re: (R)POSITIVISM AS A METHOD From: eiverson@nmsu.edu (Eric Iverson) Date: 27 Mar 90 18:48:58 GMT Organization: NMSU Computer Science Message-ID: Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <1414@nih-csl.UUCP> sullivan@csl-sun3.dcrt.nih.gov (Sullivan) writes: Ok, but, so what... I can throw a heads on a coin ten times in a row, then not be able to repeat it for some time. It is interesting that it occured but is not outside the normal possibility. Now, if I looked around at the time it happened and noticed my dog eating his food would there be a reason to draw a correlation? But, if every time he ate his food I noticed I could predictably throw a heads on every coin flip, then I'd have a correlation. What I see in you observations was to see a rare event (seeing you watch change +/- 1 second) and then looked around for a correlation, something to connect to the rare event. I guess I'm wondering why you would look for something, anything to correlate with the rare event. Fine, you win. Now shut up about my watch already.... I'm sure it's all my imagination, and even if it isn't I don't have the data to support it. Case closed. *stuff about ghosts being a medical problem* |>Oh, and I suppose you have case histories of otherwise healthy, |>rational people who nonetheless had a medical basis for their visions? |>Your's is just a variation of the response throughout history whenever |>people saw something that didn't "fit in": they must be sick or crazy. |>Well this person is neither. No ear infections, no psychological |>problems, no particular stake in seeing these things in the first |>place. Really, I expected more from you. I might understand if you |>said she had mistakenly seen something else, but to infer that she may |>be ill is pathetic. Again, for those of you who've only heard this 20 |>or so times: The apparations are site specific. If this |>were delusion or auto-suggestion or illness, there most likely would |>not be a geographical component to the experience. It would seem to |>me that if you see the same set of strangers in the same set of |>places, while other places remain uninhabited, that something other |>than delusion is going on. What's your next explanation? Hidden |>slide projectors? Interesting response. To suggest a medical reason for seeing ghosts is "pathetic" but suggesting that what she saw was real in some paranormal way is not. My point was not to diagnose the person, it was to show that you show a bias to accept random events occuring together as evidence for a connection. Hmmm.... seeing the same apparition over and over again is a random event. I suppose you only "just happen" to wake up every morning too. If so, you have a peculiar definition of what constitutes randomness. It's really amazing to see you try to squirm out of this one. You can't seem to accept the fact that this a regularly occuring, geographically specific, replicatable phenomena. The only problem is that we have to take her word that she actually see's what she claims to. It even has a physical component of sorts as it never seems to happen when she has a glass of water at bedside. (this is apparantly an old folk remedy) After she started keeping a glass nearby, it only happened when she forgot to fill it or it tipped over. Mind you, she noticed the glass was empty *after* an incident, not before. Therefore it hardly seems likely that the empty glass was somehow "causing" her to see apparations. I and others have suggested ways your friend could get information to form a dream from unconscious suggestion or clues within the house itself. I find your friends experiences interesting, but there are many natural reason that your observations were seen. As I said, the paranormal, though not absent from my list, is way down there. Why, when you cannot come up with a rational explanation for an unusual event, do you not consider that maybe you are not privi to all the information involved with the event? Oh, now it's clues from the house is it? Well, that certainly is novel. I can't remember the last time a Bungalow gave me hallucinations, but I suppose there's always a first time. You seem to have a fundamental resistance to the idea that non-corporeal entities may exist on earth. I assume that that means you don't believe in life after death either, and chock it all up to anoxia or something like that. Why is this? Bad religious experience? Might I detect some kind of *bias* perhaps? Really, I'd like to know where your information on this topic comes from. I'd type more but I'm already late for class..... -- ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Another Gruntpig production, in association with the Rat Lab Steamworks. Eric Iverson, president. Eric IVerson, emperor. ERiC IVerSoN, DeMIgOd!!! eiverson@nmsu.edu "I want to kill everyone here with a cute Computing Research Lab colorful Hydrogen Bomb!!" New Mexico State University -Zippy the Pinhead --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1071 SKEP Subboard From: DRLL@UNIVERSE.NER.WAY.OUT.SOMEW Sent: 04-12-90 12:57 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-20-90 18:01 Re: (R)HUGE UFO DOC FROM ORIG From: drll@universe.ner.way.out.somewhere.wormhole Date: 28 Mar 90 14:23:16 GMT Organization: Home for lost aliens. Message-ID: <274957367463849534632625E152@@universe.ner.way.out.somewhere.wormhole> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic It's true...It's true...It's all true. I should know, I am krll's half brother-semi-cousin. I have copies of all the documents signed by the Earth governments. If you would like copies, send a self addressed envelope and postage sufficient for the trip from the outer rim (about 1.414E16 US dollars) to: Non-Serious Cybernetics Corp (The first against the wall) Attention: Zaphod Bebelbrox 123,452,87766,45566,343233 West by South-East Boondogal Street. Betelgeuse, Universe 76509-2877-29384-0094823-03948-928775-00e92 -- I bet you didn't know Usenet got way out here. Well...someone had to do it. From the fun folks at Forgeries-R-Us --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1072 SKEP Subboard From: DRLL@UNIVERSE.NER.WAY.OUT.SOMEW Sent: 04-12-90 13:16 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-20-90 18:01 Re: (R)HUGE UFO DOC FROM ORIG From: drll@universe.ner.way.out.somewhere.wormhole Date: 28 Mar 90 14:23:16 GMT Organization: Home for lost aliens. Message-ID: <274957367463849534632625E152@@universe.ner.way.out.somewhere.wormhole> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic It's true...It's true...It's all true. I should know, I am krll's half brother-semi-cousin. I have copies of all the documents signed by the Earth governments. If you would like copies, send a self addressed envelope and postage sufficient for the trip from the outer rim (about 1.414E16 US dollars) to: Non-Serious Cybernetics Corp (The first against the wall) Attention: Zaphod Bebelbrox 123,452,87766,45566,343233 West by South-East Boondogal Street. Betelgeuse, Universe 76509-2877-29384-0094823-03948-928775-00e92 -- I bet you didn't know Usenet got way out here. Well...someone had to do it. From the fun folks at Forgeries-R-Us --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1073 SKEP Subboard From: TIM MARONEY Sent: 04-12-90 13:17 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-20-90 18:02 Re: (R)PROCTER & GAMBLE MYTH From: tim@hoptoad.uucp (Tim Maroney) Date: 29 Mar 90 16:43:38 GMT Organization: Eclectic Software, San Francisco Message-ID: <10958@hoptoad.uucp> Newsgroups: alt.conspiracy,sci.skeptic In article <33604@shemp.CS.UCLA.EDU> pierce@cs.ucla.edu () writes: >Who are Procter & Gamble's main competitors? The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit! Seriously, after being bombarded by the more pinheaded elements of Christianity, certain people in Proctor & Gamble may wind up deciding there's something to this Satanism business after all! Chalk up another self-fulfilling prophecy.... -- Tim Maroney, Mac Software Consultant, sun!hoptoad!tim, tim@toad.com "Those Jesus freaks, well, they're friendly but the shit they believe has got their minds all shut." -- Frank Zappa, "The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing" --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1074 SKEP Subboard From: ALAN HEPBURN Sent: 04-12-90 13:18 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-20-90 18:03 Re: (R)HUGE UFO DOC FROM ORIG From: alan@dtg.nsc.com (Alan Hepburn) Date: 28 Mar 90 18:23:03 GMT Organization: National Semiconductor, Santa Clara Message-ID: <814@hurricane.nsc.com> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <274957367463849534632625E152@@universe.ner.way.out.somewhere.wormhole> drll@universe.ner.way.out.somewhere.wormhole writes: > >Non-Serious Cybernetics Corp (The first against the wall) >Attention: Zaphod Bebelbrox ---------------- >123,452,87766,45566,343233 West by South-East Boondogal Street. >Betelgeuse, Universe 76509-2877-29384-0094823-03948-928775-00e92 >-- >I bet you didn't know Usenet got way out here. >Well...someone had to do it. >From the fun folks at Forgeries-R-Us You must be distantly related to Zaphod Beeblebrox, who, as we all know, is an acquaintance if Ford Prefect. (now where did I put my danger glasses?) -- ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- -- Alan Hepburn Omne ignotum pro magnifico mail: alan@blenheim.nsc.com My opinions are just that: opinions ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- -- --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1075 SKEP Subboard From: ROBERT M DERRICK Sent: 04-12-90 17:04 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-20-90 18:03 Re: (R)HELP! MY GRANDMOTHER From: rxxd@lanl.gov (Robert M Derrick) Date: 2 Apr 90 21:03:47 GMT Organization: Los Alamos Natl. Labs, Los Alamos, NM Message-ID: <47489@lanl.gov> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article eiverson@nmsu.edu (Eric Iverson) writes: >In article <28475@cup.portal.com> mmm@cup.portal.com (Mark Robert Thorson) writes: > >> It's recently been discovered that my grandmother, who is 91, has been >> regularly sending large checks to the TV preacher Dr. Kennedy. The largest >> check so far seems to have been one for$1000.

[Wants info to prove to Granny that Dr. K is a crook, if so]
>
>Why does your grandmother need any evidence to convince her?  It
>certainly didn't take any evidence to convince you.  Or does the fact
>that the guy appears on TV automatically mean he's a con artist?  I
>suggest you check your facts *before* you jump to any conclusions
>about this guy.

It's called a rule of thumb.  Like don't eat wild mushrooms; there
are many edible 'shrooms, but who wants the risk.  Don't buy a Rolex
for $25 bucks from a guy at the airport. Come on Eric, some TV preacher regularly taking checks up to a grand from Little Old Ladies! Examining my own secular humanist situationally ethical morality, I find that TV Evangelists are much like wild mushrooms; mostly poisonous. Now before jumping on the guy for using a little Occamic Common Sense, how about disabusing him of what a nasty-bad he thinks Dr. K is. Give us some light about what a wonderkind of a al shweitzer Dr. K really is. And how LoL's who give all their money to Dr. K are doing it of their own free will. But don't come back with some lame "until you know better, give the boy a chance" crappola. Based on personal experience, a TV preacher who sent letters requesting money that were just this side of legal extortion and terrorism, and an LoL who wound up dying in a state nursing home after giving a life savings to this bastard, I will tend to side with the grandson. If Dr. K's a nice guy, tell us. >Now if your grandmother can't afford to pay out that kind of money, >that's another matter entirely.... Immaterial, your honor. Theft is not predicated on whether the victim can afford it or not. (And yes, fraud is theft, and the United States of A. have determined that a TV EV can be found guilty of fraud, even if the people gave their money willingly, and still think Smiley is a GodSend.) So, I understand your feeling that he should be innocent until proven guilty. But that credo has not yet stopped the gov'mint from locking 'em up, and looking for the prove. At least Thorson didn't ask for a lynching. All he asked for was some evidence, and I'm sure if all that forthcomes is pro, he will understand that Dr. K ain't so bad. On the other hand, don't eat that 'shroom! Doc boB - SoreSpots Incorporated --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1076 SKEP Subboard From: DAVID WEINGART Sent: 04-12-90 17:05 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-20-90 18:05 Re: (R)URBAN MYTHS From: dweingar@ic.sunysb.edu (David Weingart) Date: 3 Apr 90 01:04:38 GMT Organization: State University of New York at Stony Brook Message-ID: <7244@sbcs.sunysb.edu> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <62.26135551@desire.wright.edu> sbishop@desire.wright.edu writes: >I had heard the story but didn't know it was considered an urban myth. >I also heard one about Johnny saying something to some other actress/singer >because she was lesbian. Supposedly he said what a waste and she stormed off. >Now if I could just remember who the singer was.... If I'm not too bady mistaken, I heard the same tale told. I believe that the singer in question was Olivia Newton-John. Now, whether or not she really *is* (or was) a lesbian is something that I can't vouch for. Come to think of it, I can't say that I much care, either! ]) /\ \/ [- -- David Weingart dweingar@csserv2.ic.sunysb.edu "Portions of this person have been pre-recorded before a studio audience." --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1077 SKEP Subboard From: NICHAEL CRAMER Sent: 04-12-90 17:06 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-20-90 18:06 Re: (R)HOW MANY PEOPLE? 100B From: ncramer@bbn.com (Nichael Cramer) Date: 3 Apr 90 01:52:31 GMT Organization: Bolt Beranek and Newman Inc., Cambridge MA Message-ID: <54413@bbn.COM> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic [[Response to postings by James Dolan and Ken Greer]] > == James D Dolan writes: >| == Nichael Cramer (me) writes... >|> == Ken Greer writes: >|> A couple of years ago, so I don't recall the source, I heard that >|>there are(were) as many people alive now as have ever lived. So I >|>guess that would mean instead of 2.5 - 8.8 %, it would be ~50%. >.. >|> The explanation given was that in early times, the "critical mass" >|>just wasn't there in sufficient locations to really start up the >|>growth process - so the population just hovered around the same total >|>without the relatively high growth rate we have today. The total >|>population eventually was dense enough that people could more >|>efficiently find mates. >| >|This doesn't make sense either. The real reasons for explosive population >|growth have been technological (e.g. the development of agriculture). >|There have *always* been enough people around --and mates easy enough to >|find-- to fuel growth. >| >|Granted, once a carrying capacity has been reached, a population may stay >|at a fixed value for a long time, but if it does so for a *long* time (and >|we're talking tens of thousands of years) it will still add up. >I'M NOT SURE EXACTLY WHAT YOUR MAIN POINT IS, BUT IN ANY CASE I THINK YOU'RE >UNDERSTATING THE NONSENSICALNESS OF THE ORIGINAL POST. WITH HUMAN POPULATION >ABLE TO DOUBLE IN WELL UNDER AN AVERAGE LIFETIME, BASICALLY THE _ONLY_ WAY TO >AVOID HAVING THE CURRENT POPULATION BE MORE THAN 50% OF THOSE WHO EVER LIVED >IS TO HAVE HAD LONG PERIODS IN THE PAST WHEN GROWTH WAS RELATIVELY STAGNANT. >GREER'S "EXPLANATION" OF HOW TO ACHIEVE THE 50% LEVEL IN FACT EXPLAINS >PRACTICALLY THE ONLY WAY TO AVOID THE 50% LEVEL. Well, I think mainly we're in violent agreement except on this last point. The first point in my posting was that the claim that 50% of all people who ever lived are alive now is not correct (I gave arguments and presented data as to why this can't be the case). I believe(?) that you and I, in any case, are in agreement about that. Second, there was the implicit point that the current rate of population growth can not have been the true over long periods of history. (For instance, the current rate is about 1.7% per year[*] --leading to a doubling time of about 41 years. Extrapolating backwards leads to a population of zero at about AD 700, a datum even Bishop of Usher would have trouble swallowing ;). Consequently there had to have been long periods when, as you say, "growth was relatively stagnant". Again, I think we're in agreement on this point. The third point (the one above) however, was that I find it hard to see how the scarcity/difficult of finding an appropriate mate could have been the main limiting factor. Perhaps it was a major consideration *very* early on, but surely this restriction was lifted by, say, the time of Christ. Given that, and if we assume the current population growth rate[**], even if we start with only two people at AD 1 there should now be ~10^14 people. So clearly there must be other, more important forces at work (e.g. carry capacity/overall scarcity of food). The *real* main point, in any event, was that neither this mechanism --nor any other-- kept the population so low for so long a time that half of all people to currently be alive. [*] _1990 World Almanac and Book of Facts_. [**] This is actually a lower bound as the current rate is somewhat lower than it has been in the past. Ken Greer writes: > BTW - If all the flamers will go back and read my original post, the >numbers/statements I gave were from my recollection of a TV show a couple of >years ago. I presented them as such, in my opinion - my _recollection_. I >never endorssed them; I never said they were correct. I never said they >"made sense". Upon hearing every so often that the world population might >be expected to double in the next 15-20 years (again - I hear these numbers >bantered about from time to time and don't have references available upon >request), to me its not such a preposterous notion. > > To the flamers re: "mate finding" --- I'll say it again: The original post >was my recollection from something a couple of years ago. [...] As I'm the only one --so far as I know-- who responded (publicly) to the message in question, I am presumably the "flamers" in this case. So I guess I should probably be the one to respond. I understand that you were only presenting an opinion which was not necessarily yours; this is why I took especial caution in my original posting to address the validity of this line of argument and not direct my criticism at you. Certainly I disagreed with you --or rather the arguments that you raised-- and I pointed out why. Perhaps I did so emphatically; but I don't think I did so unfairly. It appears that you understood my disagreement with the points you raise as a personal flame --as opposed to, say, an invitation to discuss the issues further. I'm sorry that you chose to see them this way, but I really don't see how there is anything in my original message from which you could draw this conclusion. N --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1078 SKEP Subboard From: ERIC IVERSON Sent: 04-12-90 17:08 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-20-90 18:08 Re: (R)HELP! MY GRANDMOTHER From: eiverson@nmsu.edu (Eric Iverson) Date: 3 Apr 90 16:10:50 GMT Organization: NMSU Computer Science Message-ID: Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <47489@lanl.gov> rxxd@lanl.gov (Robert M Derrick) writes: > In article eiverson@nmsu.edu (Eric Iverson) writes: > >In article <28475@cup.portal.com> mmm@cup.portal.com (Mark Robert Thorson) writes: > > > >> It's recently been discovered that my grandmother, who is 91, has been > >> regularly sending large checks to the TV preacher Dr. Kennedy. The largest > >> check so far seems to have been one for$1000.
>
>     [Wants info to prove to Granny that Dr. K is a crook, if so]
> >
> >Why does your grandmother need any evidence to convince her?  It
> >certainly didn't take any evidence to convince you.  Or does the fact
> >that the guy appears on TV automatically mean he's a con artist?  I
> >suggest you check your facts *before* you jump to any conclusions
> >about this guy.
>
>   It's called a rule of thumb.  Like don't eat wild mushrooms; there
> are many edible 'shrooms, but who wants the risk.  Don't buy a Rolex
> for $25 bucks from a guy at the airport. Come on Eric, some TV > preacher regularly taking checks up to a grand from Little Old Ladies! Oh, rule of thumb is it? Here's some other "rules of thumb": If you see a black man, assume he's a thief. If you see a Palestinian, assume he's a terrorist. Never trust a Jew in a business deal. Until proven otherwise, assume a TV evangelist is a con man. The point is, these aren't "rules of thumb", they're potentially damaging racial and social stereotypes. Your example of the mushrooms is a good one. Not only is the danger of poisonous mushrooms exagerated, it can be avoided with a little knowledge and common sense. To automatically exclude all wild mushrooms due to fear and ignorance is to miss out on what might actually be a worthwhile experience. Similarly, to reject all TV evangelists is to let some possibly worthwhile charities go unfunded. Admitedly, it is difficult to distinguish between the good and the bad sometimes. This is why we have brains to help us. Now you can either not use your brain and just automatically run away from everything, or you can use your brain and maximize your opportunities. > Examining my own secular humanist situationally ethical morality, > I find that TV Evangelists are much like wild mushrooms; mostly > poisonous. Now before jumping on the guy for using a little > Occamic Common Sense, how about disabusing him of what a nasty-bad > he thinks Dr. K is. Give us some light about what a wonderkind of > a al shweitzer Dr. K really is. And how LoL's who give all their > money to Dr. K are doing it of their own free will. But don't > come back with some lame "until you know better, give the boy a > chance" crappola. Based on personal experience, a TV preacher > who sent letters requesting money that were just this side of > legal extortion and terrorism, and an LoL who wound up dying in > a state nursing home after giving a life savings to this bastard, > I will tend to side with the grandson. If Dr. K's a nice guy, > tell us. Well, there's the clear voice of objective rationality speaking. I can understand how your past experiences may have poisoned you against giving money to TV ministers. Clearly there are some sleazy characters out there. But I still say this is analogous to assuming all black men are theives just because you got mugged by one once. It just doesn't hold up to scrutiny. Similarly, I am amused at your requests for me to tell you what Dr. K is "really like." Why not find out for yourself? Even if I did have an opinion on the subject (I don't) I wouldn't expect you to accept it as gospel truth. My idea of acceptable behavior may be your idea of extortion. However, I don't have to know anything about the guy to know that it's a mistake to jump to conclusions about him without a little hard evidence. > > >Now if your grandmother can't afford to pay out that kind of money, > >that's another matter entirely.... > > Immaterial, your honor. Theft is not predicated on whether the > victim can afford it or not. (And yes, fraud is theft, and > the United States of A. have determined that a TV EV can be > found guilty of fraud, even if the people gave their money > willingly, and still think Smiley is a GodSend.) Hmmmmm....I think it's only "theft" when someone other than the Catholics or Protestants are doing it. That is to say, it's a pretty subjective definition based on a myriad of socio-religious biases. I think it's more important to look at what a religious group is doing rather than who signs their checks. The point is, you can find evidence of immorality in virtually every sect if you look hard enough. But because of the established nature of some of these sects, people rationalize it, or just choose to look the other way. This may be justified if the church as a whole does a lot of good for the community. But it sure doesn't bode well for the black and white view of religion that you seem to be advocating. Religion is a subjective experience. As a result our reactions to it can be potentially subjective as well. It is only by examining these biases within ourselves that we can see what's really going on. -- ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Another Gruntpig production, in association with the Rat Lab Steamworks. Eric Iverson, president. Eric IVerson, emperor. ERiC IVerSoN, DeMIgOd!!! eiverson@nmsu.edu "I want to kill everyone here with a cute Computing Research Lab colorful Hydrogen Bomb!!" New Mexico State University -Zippy the Pinhead --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1079 SKEP Subboard From: PETER NELSON Sent: 04-12-90 17:09 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-20-90 18:11 Re: RE MEN IN BLACK From: nelson_p@apollo.HP.COM (Peter Nelson) Date: 3 Apr 90 20:31:00 GMT Organization: Hewlett-Packard Apollo Division - Chelmsford, MA Message-ID: <49966f36.20b6d@apollo.HP.COM> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic >My question about this is why does anybody take this stuff seriously >(besides the reasons they take all UFO nonsense seriously)? This seems >like one of the sillier stories going around. Emotionally unstable people >frightened by people who look and behave normally (except for their taste >in clothes). Someone should study these victims. Actually it's worth asking IF anybody takes this seriously. I posted a request to hear from people who genuinely believe in the UFO/CIA conspiracy stories of the sort recounted here on the net recently and although several people reported knowing OF such individuals nobody actually admitted to believing it themselves. I subscribe to all kinds of weird publications as a result of getting a copy of Factsheet Five a few years ago. [ Are they still around? Same address? Cost? ] It is hard to believe that ANYBODY really believes a lot of these things and it's often ocurred to me that what keeps people and groups like that going are people like ME, i.e., those who are fascinated by the truly weird but who always recognize it as weird, i.e., colorful, bizarre, sometimes dangerous, nonsense. I have heard of the Men In Black, probably from a Church of the Subgenius publication a while back, but I didn't really know what the folklore associated with them was. But recently someone on the net made a reference to "Grays" (or Greys sp?), which I have not heard of. What are they and is there any alleged connection to MIB's? ---Peter --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1080 SKEP Subboard From: PHIL GUSTAFSON Sent: 04-12-90 17:10 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-20-90 18:12 Re: (R)URBAN MYTHS From: phil@zorch.SF-Bay.ORG (Phil Gustafson) Date: 3 Apr 90 18:54:10 GMT Organization: SF Bay Public-Access Unix Message-ID: <1107@zorch.SF-Bay.ORG> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <1427@utoday.UUCP> wagner@.UUCP (Mitch Wagner) writes: >My favorite urban myths are the ones about the Tonight Show, wherein >Johnny Carson supposedly makes some double-entendre to a sexy female >guest, and she storms off in a huff and usually sues. >.... At first blush, it would appear that >it could be easily verified or disproven, but when you take a second >look ... who in God's name catches *every* tonight show. > > > Mitch But that's not how you prove or disprove it. The issue isn't whether Johnny insulted someone, or whether the someone stomped off the set -- I'm sure both of those have happened. The issue is about the lawsuit. Since: Lawsuits are on the public record. and Reporters read the public record. and Reporters LOVE stuff like this, and would plaster the media with it if it happened. Not to mention, suing bimbettes also LOVE stuff like this, and would go out of their way to be sure that it got all the media coverage possible. and I read two papers a day, and haven't heard a word about it. My conclusion is: It didn't happen. This conclusion is, like any other, subject to change if and when new information is brought to bear. BTW, the reasoning above applies to many other UM's. phil --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1081 SKEP Subboard From: CHRIS STASSEN Sent: 04-12-90 17:10 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-20-90 18:13 Re: IN SEARCH OF ... BOOKS (L From: stassen@netcom.UUCP (Chris Stassen) Date: 4 Apr 90 02:31:45 GMT Organization: The Lion's Den, San Jose Message-ID: <10463@netcom.UUCP> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic I set out this weekend looking for books on a number of topics which have come up here recently (specifically, Forteana, cryptozoology, and ooparts, from Eric's "Forteana Survey"). I was checking both skeptical and non-skeptical books, and ended up visiting two public libraries and several bookstores. I didn't find much - especially in the bookstores. These topics seem to be "out". UFOs are definitely "in". Here are the notes I took: ----------------------------- San Jose Public Library: To find topics of this sort, go straight to 001.94. They only had one title on UFOs (_Incident at Exeter_). About half of the titles were on cryptozoology, and most of the rest were generic "unexplained mystery" collections. There was only one skeptical title in this section, _Scientists Confront Velikovsky_. I found it odd that they didn't have anything by Velikovsky to go with it. There was nothing by Von Daniken in that section (though I later found two of his titles in Archaeology - gag). The best neutral title on cryptozoology that they had was Daniel Cohen's _Encyclopedia Of Monsters_. I recommend it as a relatively even- handed presentation of the evidence. The library had a collection of all four of Fort's books (in one large volume). ----------------------------- Waldenbooks: Both Von Daniken and Velikovsky had disappeared from the shelves (both had titles on display a few years ago). The "Astrology" section is now called "New Age". They had no titles related to topics from the "Forteana Survey", but did have several UFO titles. Waldenbooks gets one point for being the only bookstore that had a skeptical work on display (_Science and the Paranormal_, Abell & Singer editors, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1981). It was in the "Science" section. I find it frightening to have encountered hundreds of titles written with uncritical acceptance, perhaps ten written with relative neutrality, and exactly two written skeptically. ----------------------------- Bretano's: This is a somewhat "upscale" bookstore chain. The prices are higher, and they stock a higher ratio of hardbacks-to-paperbacks than the other chain stores I visited. Bretano's also had no titles germane to the topics in the Forteana Survey. The "New Age" section was half the size of the ones in the other chain stores, but had the same set of UFO titles. ----------------------------- B. Dalton's: Just like Waldenbooks, the "Astrology and the Occult" section had been replaced by a "New Age" section. It also included roughly the same selection of UFO titles that all of the other book stores had. Right on the bottom shelf, though, they had four Frank Edwards titles (_Stranger than Science_, _Strange People_, _Strange World_, and _Strangest of All_). Velikovsky and Von Daniken may have been passing fads, but Forteana is still alive. The thing that has struck me the most about B. Dalton's is the decay of their "Science" section. Six years ago, the local store had a "Science" section that spanned five sets of shelving. Now, it spans two. Years ago, I bought several of my talk.origins references there; now skeptical materials are not to be found. ----------------------------- The Milpitas Community Library: My second library stop was The Milpitas Community Libary. While a good deal smaller than the main San Jose branch, their selection under 001.94 was about as large and much better. About half of their titles in that section were on cryptozoology, but most of the rest were on UFOs. They had a copy of Klass's skeptical work, _UFOs: The Public Deceived_ (which was the only skeptical work I had seen on UFOs all weekend). They had the same two of Von Daniken's works as the other library had (_Chariots_ and _Gold_), but at least they were in the right place. As a side note, the Milpitas Community Library has an excellent collection of creation/evolution works. These works are found in 213-215 and 575-577. ----------------------------- I'm curious to hear the situation in other parts of the country. Are there any skeptics out there willing to perform similar library/bookstore surveys? -- Chris Stassen stassen@netcom.UUCP --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1082 SKEP Subboard From: ROBIN DALE HANSON Sent: 04-12-90 17:10 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-20-90 18:16 Re: WHAT SCIENTIFIC METHOD? From: hanson@ptolemy.arc.nasa.gov (Robin Dale Hanson) Date: 4 Apr 90 03:14:36 GMT Organization: NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA Message-ID: <4685@einstein.ptolemy.arc.nasa.gov> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In <4471@bayes.ptolemy.arc.nasa.gov> I wrote: >>I tire of these rah-rah defenses of "THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD". Let us be >>skeptics for a moment, shall we? What evidence do we have that there is >>such a thing? I mean, at various times in history various groups of >>people have found it suited their fancy to use the word "science" to >>label their studies. But is there really anything important in common >>in the way these groups go about their business? That distinguishes >>them from other people going about their business? ... In <950.2612201e@ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu>, Bob writes: >So, what are you saying? Are you saying that you are skeptical of the method >that has enabled you to use a computer to type in your reply in the first >place? Your line of thought seems to follow a subtle form of paradox -- as if >you would go out of your way to convince someone that THEY should not believe >in the presence of other minds. If there was any doubt, let me state clearly that I am not proposing that we be skeptical about computers, other minds, logic, telephones, or floors under beds. Obviously, many things seem so obvious that it is not interesting to be skeptical about them, unless one is in a particularly philosophical state of mind. But it should be legitimate to ask "is there any evidence that ...?" about most anything widely accepted. If people can't come back with a few pieces of at least suggestive evidence, you have reason to worry. So I ask "Is there any evidence that there is a scientific method?". >I don't know -- I thought that some sort of empirical criterion was at the >least a "good idea." And when this empirical "stuff" seems to follow some sort >of pattern -- having the ability to be repeated under certain conditions -- it >would seem as though one could be onto something. Yes, of course, theories that seem to be supported by some sort of experience are nicer that ones that don't, all else being equal. And the more frequent and controllable that experience, the better. But I take the claim of a scientific method to be something much stronger that this. I think the standard myth goes something like the following: "Long ago people lived in darkness, believing foolish things, and not owning VCRs. Then men of wisdom discovered THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD, the secret to knowledge and understanding. They passed this secret on to their disciples, who faithfully applied it and passed it on. Kings who retained these wizards prospered, the others did not. Today these wizards train their select few in academia, and woe be to the government who does not fund them as amply as they request, or to the nation who will not believe all their official pronouncements." It is this that I am skeptical of. >>A method should be something more like a recipe or algorithm, something >>one can follow. Something EXPLICIT. But where is it? >No pun intended, but could you explain your question? Let me take the example of making a concrete bridge. If I pay you$10000 for the secret method of making them, I expect to get more than
"It should not fall down when you're done" or "the less concrete you
can use to support a given amount of traffic, the better".  I want
something like "Create an outline of the bridge from wood panels, mix
3 parts lime with 1 part water, ..."

>>And it is not at all obvious that we should credit the smallpox vaccine to
>>...  the scientific method ..., rather than just plain hard work on many
>>people's part. Were other methods tried at a comparable level of effort?
>Mr. Skeptic, pray tell exactly what you mean by "hard work"?

If you said I should hire you as leader of my army, because you have
destroyed your enemy in every battle, and I were to find out that you
always had a 10-1 numerical advantage, should I not be skeptical that
you had discovered the fundamental secret of warfare?

Similarly, it seems simplest to explain the great success of scientists
by the fact that they are so well funded, and that they put in a lot of
elbow grease.  Why invoke the idea of a magic scientific method?

Robin Hanson  hanson@ptolemy.arc.nasa.gov (or hanson@charon.arc.nasa.gov)
415-604-3361  MS244-17, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA 94035
415-651-7483  47164 Male Terrace, Fremont, CA  94539-7921

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Msg #:  1083                      SKEP Subboard
From:  CHARLES FORSYTHE          Sent: 04-12-90 17:11
To:  ALL                       Rcvd: 04-19-90 07:59
Re:  (R)HELP!  MY GRANDMOTHER

From: forsythe@convex.com (Charles Forsythe)
Date: 3 Apr 90 20:45:06 GMT
Message-ID: <101095@convex.convex.com>
Newsgroups: sci.skeptic

eiverson@nmsu.edu (Eric Iverson) writes:
>>   It's called a rule of thumb...  Come on Eric, some TV
>> preacher regularly taking checks up to a grand from Little Old Ladies!

>Oh, rule of thumb is it?  Here's some other "rules of thumb":  If you
>see a black man, assume he's a thief.  If you see a Palestinian,
>assume he's a terrorist.  Never trust a Jew in a business deal.

The significant difference between these "rules" and the one about TV
preachers is that the ones you mention to not hold up under scrutiny.

It is actually harder to meet a Palestinian who is a terrorist than one
who is a refugee.  I have yet to meet a Jew who was more materialistic
than any other human.  While our jails are overflowing with a
disproportionate
number of blacks, it obvious that free from the cycles of poverty, they
are just as honest, hardworking and trustworthy as people of other races.
(Also, just as boring e.g. Bill Cosby :-).

If you follow your "rules of thumb" you will be embarassingly incorrect most
of the time.

This is not the case with TV preachers.  The more scrutiny they seem to get,
the uglier a picture is drawn.  Their sleaziness increases with their wealth.
I imagine that after this Dr. K. has reaped enough bucks from enough
pensioners, he, too will end up on the front page of the Enquirer.

>Until proven otherwise, assume a TV evangelist is a con man.

Have you ever heard or been taught,"If you see a gun, assume it's loaded?"
This is because the consquences of assuming it's unloaded when it is are
much
worse, typically, than the consequences of assuming it's loaded when it's
not.

This is all, typically, the case for people who ask for your money.  It's
better to make sure they're honest first!

For a scathing expose of the cult business, send $1 to: The Church of the Subgenius PO Box 140306 Dallas, TX 75214 -- *Convex does not filter outgoing posts and is not responsible for their content send comments/flames to: forsythe@convex.com "I got a Wire in my head and I like how it feels" -"Wirehead Conspiracy" by Buck and the Tow Trucks --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1084 SKEP Subboard From: RICHARD A. SCHUMACHER Sent: 04-12-90 17:11 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-19-90 08:02 Re: (R)HELP! MY GRANDMOTHER From: schumach@convex.com (Richard A. Schumacher) Date: 4 Apr 90 00:17:59 GMT Message-ID: <101111@convex.convex.com> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic eiverson@nmsu.edu (Eric Iverson) writes: >experience. Similarly, to reject all TV evangelists is to let some >possibly worthwhile charities go unfunded. Admitedly, it is difficult Great! Prove us wrong about the absence of worthwhile charities among TV evangelists: name two. Thanks. --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1085 SKEP Subboard From: ERIC IVERSON Sent: 04-12-90 17:11 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-18-90 08:10 Re: (R)RE MEN IN BLACK From: eiverson@nmsu.edu (Eric Iverson) Date: 4 Apr 90 04:48:32 GMT Organization: NMSU Computer Science Message-ID: Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <49966f36.20b6d@apollo.HP.COM> nelson_p@apollo.HP.COM (Peter Nelson) writes: > I have heard of the Men In Black, probably from a Church of the > Subgenius publication a while back, but I didn't really know what > the folklore associated with them was. But recently someone on > the net made a reference to "Grays" (or Greys sp?), which I have > not heard of. What are they and is there any alleged connection > to MIB's? The Greys are those shortish, insect eyed grey aliens who seem to persist in abducting humans for testing purposes. There have been numerous sketches by witnesses which bear striking resemblence to each other. There is also apparantly a group/race called the Nordics. This group is too weird to even think about, as they all seem to resemble Norse Gods and have names like Thor. I can't possibly believe that they're really Norse Gods. Although I suppose it would explain a lot of my ancestor's mythology...... -- ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Another Gruntpig production, in association with the Rat Lab Steamworks. Eric Iverson, president. Eric IVerson, emperor. ERiC IVerSoN, DeMIgOd!!! eiverson@nmsu.edu "I want to kill everyone here with a cute Computing Research Lab colorful Hydrogen Bomb!!" New Mexico State University -Zippy the Pinhead --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1086 SKEP Subboard From: MATT VISSER Sent: 04-12-90 17:11 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-18-90 08:11 Re: (R)MEN IN BLACK From: visser@wuphys.wustl.edu (Matt Visser) Date: 4 Apr 90 05:15:32 GMT Organization: Physics Dept, Washington U. in St Louis Message-ID: <1990Apr4.051532.19493@wuphys.wustl.edu> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <2494@elric.elric.Sp.Unisys.COM> hblask@elric.elric.Sp.Unisys.COM (Henry E. Blaskowski) writes: > >There was an article in the paper here in Minneapolis this past weekend >discussing a phenomenon I have never heard of before. It is called the >men in black (MIB). **** Lots of good clean paranoid fun deleted **** >Usually the Star-Tribune is a fairly serious paper, not a >national enquirer clone. What is this all about? Has anyone else heard of >this? > Unfortunately, the Men in Black myth is not just the result of your local newspaper editor having a bad day. The MIB mythos has been an aspect of UFO lore for at least twenty years. The old guard UFO-ologists could never quite decide whether the MIBs were part of the government coverup or whether the MIBs were the ailens themselves. For more information you will just have to wade through stacks of UFO literature. Have fun! :) -- ############################################################################ Matt Visser, Physics Department, Washington University, St. Louis 63130-4899 visser@wuphys.wustl.edu ############################################################################ --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1087 SKEP Subboard From: KEN SHIRRIFF Sent: 04-12-90 17:11 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-18-90 08:12 Re: (R)MEN IN BLACK From: shirriff@sprite.berkeley.edu (Ken Shirriff) Date: 4 Apr 90 05:39:55 GMT Organization: University of California, Berkeley Message-ID: <23651@pasteur.Berkeley.EDU> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <2494@elric.elric.Sp.Unisys.COM> hblask@elric.elric.Sp.Unisys.COM (Henry E. Blaskowski) writes: >There was an article in the paper here in Minneapolis this past weekend >discussing a phenomenon I have never heard of before. It is called the >men in black (MIB). Are these men any relation to the People In Black (PIB's), who dress in black, hang around cafes, and listen to bands like New Order, The Smiths, and The Cure? These people usually have pale skin, makeup, and unnaturally black or red hair. Do you suppose they're aliens? Ken Shirriff shirriff@sprite.Berkeley.EDU "He has always been so strange, I often thought he was deranged." --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1088 SKEP Subboard From: KENNETH ARROMDEE Sent: 04-12-90 17:12 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-20-90 06:47 Re: (R)TWO URBAN MYTHS? From: arromdee@crabcake.cs.jhu.edu (Kenneth Arromdee) Date: 4 Apr 90 05:06:00 GMT Organization: Johns Hopkins University CS Dept. Message-ID: <1125@crabcake> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <53932@microsoft.UUCP> scottsc@microsoft.UUCP (Scott SCHULTZ) writes: >It's been done already. I remember reading a newspaper article several >year ago (see, it already sounds like an urban myth!) about a bunch of >talking dolls that were recalled because of a defect in the recording that >made "I like talking to you" or (some such thing) come out as "I like >fucking you". I don't remember the manufacturer. It has to be True! I read >it in the newspaper! ;-) I recall something vaguely similar about the dolls which said "kill mama". (It was allegedly Spanish, "quiero mama", 'I want mommy', and just sounded a bit like that when heard by people who don't know Spanish.) -- "And they shall be cast out where there is no outlet for their evil doings..." -- the Book of Ubizmo, on sinful uses of electricity Kenneth Arromdee (UUCP: ....!jhunix!arromdee; BITNET: arromdee@jhuvm; INTERNET: arromdee@crabcake.cs.jhu.edu) --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1089 SKEP Subboard From: FSMJM2@ACAD3.FAI.ALASKA.EDU Sent: 04-12-90 17:12 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-18-90 08:13 Re: (R)MEN IN BLACK From: fsmjm2@acad3.fai.alaska.edu Date: 4 Apr 90 10:18:20 GMT Organization: University of Alaska Fairbanks Message-ID: <1990Apr4.112030.6452@hayes.fai.alaska.edu> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <1990Apr4.051532.19493@wuphys.wustl.edu>, visser@wuphys.wustl.edu (Matt Visser) writes... >coverup or whether the MIBs were the ailens themselves. For more >information you will just have to wade through stacks of UFO literature. The very best book on the MIB Phenomenon has to be _The Mothman Prophecies_ by John Keel. --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1090 SKEP Subboard From: JON LIVESEY Sent: 04-12-90 17:14 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-16-90 19:01 Re: (R)POSITIVISM AS A METHOD From: livesey@solntze.Sun.COM (Jon Livesey) Date: 31 Mar 90 01:40:35 GMT Organization: Sun Microsystems, Mountain View Message-ID: <133759@sun.Eng.Sun.COM> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <1421@nih-csl.UUCP> sullivan@csl-sun3.dcrt.nih.gov (Sullivan) writes: > > I've seen > those who claim to be able to predict the future who have predicted > over and over again that the world will end, yet no one predicted > the USSR and eastern europe openning up. Better yet, I predicted this event years ago, to many people, and even pointed to a key event in the process - the Moscow Olympics - but make absolutely no claims to being a seer or to any spooky powers. It was just common sense. jon. --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1091 SKEP Subboard From: RANJAN MUTTIAH Sent: 04-12-90 17:14 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-16-90 19:02 Re: (R)POSITIVISM AS A METHOD From: g2g@mentor.cc.purdue.edu (Ranjan Muttiah) Date: 31 Mar 90 05:29:56 GMT Organization: Purdue University Message-ID: <9089@mentor.cc.purdue.edu> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <133759@sun.Eng.Sun.COM> livesey@sun.UUCP (Jon Livesey) writes: >In article <1421@nih-csl.UUCP> sullivan@csl-sun3.dcrt.nih.gov (Sullivan) writes: >> >> I've seen >> those who claim to be able to predict the future who have predicted >> over and over again that the world will end, yet no one predicted >> the USSR and eastern europe openning up. > >Better yet, I predicted this event years ago, to many people, >and even pointed to a key event in the process - the Moscow >Olympics - but make absolutely no claims to being a seer >or to any spooky powers. It was just common sense. >jon. You were able to predict 10 years down the road just by the Moscow olympics ? Oh please, I implore you, please tell us how you did it ? It couldn't be could it ? That YOU were controlling the strings all along! :-). --- ConfMail V3.3 * Origin: NCFCC SF, CA / fidogate.fidonet.org (1:125/777) Msg #: 1092 SKEP Subboard From: MARK ROBERT THORSON Sent: 04-12-90 17:16 To: ALL Rcvd: 04-19-90 07:48 Re: HELP! MY GRANDMOTHER IS From: mmm@cup.portal.com (Mark Robert Thorson) Date: 31 Mar 90 17:51:25 GMT Organization: The Portal System (TM) Message-ID: <28475@cup.portal.com> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic It's recently been discovered that my grandmother, who is 91, has been regularly sending large checks to the TV preacher Dr. Kennedy. The largest check so far seems to have been one for$1000.

I know almost nothing about this guy, other than that he is based in Coral
Gables, FL, and appears on TV throughout the U.S.  Can anybody supply me
with any critical information about him, something that might help convince
my grandmother that her money is best spent elsewhere.

Reference to a book or magazine article would be appreciated.

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Msg #:  1093                      SKEP Subboard
From:  JIM GALASYN               Sent: 04-12-90 17:16
To:  ALL                       Rcvd: 04-16-90 19:02
Re:  THE CON (WAS RE: HUGE UFO

From: jpg3196@tahoma.UUCP (Jim Galasyn)
Date: 28 Mar 90 20:00:43 GMT
Organization: The Boeing Co., BCA FSL, Seattle, WA
Message-ID: <1020@tahoma.UUCP>
Newsgroups: sci.skeptic

Peter writes:

>   I'd like to know if there are people on the net who actually believe
>   that UFO's *are* from outer space; that the government *is* in
>   regular contact with the space aliens; and that there *is* a giant
>   conspiracy to cover it up.

>   If so, would you be willing to come forward on the net and post
>   your reasons for believing it, what you consider to be evidence
>   of this and why you believe that a conspiracy of such breadth
>   and magnitude could be kept secret for so long.   I promise not
>   to laugh (seriously).

You'll laugh all the way to the fully equipped survival shelter when "Bob"
lets you in on the joke.

Peter, the Con is SO REAL it would melt your brain to see it all at once.
At this moment YOU ARE SURROUNDED by the "aliens".  They are IN THE ROOM
with you.  They are watching you.  Can't you feel, even now, the weight of
their collective gaze?  They are OBVIOUS AS HELL if you only have eyes to
SEE.  THEY are in "regular contact" WITH YOU right now;  your mind fits
quite nicely in their skeletal clawed hands.  They control you more
effectively than any little sphere planted near your optic nerve could.
McGovernment sold you down the river to them before you were born, and the
only way to buy yourself back is to get right with "Bob".  They have you
so separated from what you're REALLY SEEING that you don't even know what
SLACK is.  Your nervous system is SO DAMAGED by their "treatments" that
you can't even SEE them anymore --

THIS IS A WARNING, ***DANGER DANGER*** you poor
devils, things are more mixed up than you ever
DREAMED, what was up IS down, the priorities
are all screwy, you're fretting if your hair
looks okay while some new kind of bladder cancer
is busting out the front of your designer jeans,
YES this is "bad talk", nobody will LISTEN to
anything else, you won't LOOK at TV unless
body parts or cars are jiggling or crashing on
it, you won't TASTE your food unless it has some
nerve drug in it, you haven't used your other
senses since you were five, and you sure as hell
won't STOP WHAT YOU'RE DOING until someone much
bigger, much stronger and MUCH more self-assured
MAKES you stop, and you'll thank him for it, and
then just before you fry in a flash of radio-
active hindsight you'll realize he stopped you
from doing the WRONG THING, GOOD GOD!!  What in
the name of Sweet Screaming Jesus is this world
COMING to?  People bitch, people gripe, "THIS is
a sign of the End Times," "THAT'S a sign of the
End Times," when you should all be hollering,
"IT'S **ALL** A SIGN OF THE END TIMES!!!"
- Prescriptures, 6:6

The evidence is literally ALL AROUND YOU.  Look at the hocus-pocus
peddled in SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN and they're behind those words.  Look
in the ever-mutating "HOLY" BIBLE and they're behind it.  They're behind
HIGHLIGHTS for "Bob's" sake.  EARTH IS THEIR THIRD WORLD.

You think I'm kidding, or crazy, or both.  I *AM* crazy, and I *AM*
kidding.  Uranium dust in the air over Ohio HA HA!  Citizens abducted
by CIA for horrible mind-control experiments YUK YUK!  Psychotic NAZIs
running the State Department HO HO!

FINAL NOTICE BEFORE DISCONNECTION

Ever wonder why the Pentagon is shaped like that?

Notice the funny weather lately?

.
DEATH       .  ..                   You eat a lot of acid, Miller,
.     . .                 back in the hippie days?
.     .        .  .                               - Otto Maddox
.  .. .           .   .   .
.     . .            .    .  ..
.        .  .           .     . . .

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Msg #:  1094                      SKEP Subboard
From:  JIM GALASYN               Sent: 04-12-90 17:16
To:  ALL                       Rcvd: 04-18-90 08:03
Re:  THIS IS SKEPTICISM? (WAS

From: jpg3196@tahoma.UUCP (Jim Galasyn)
Date: 28 Mar 90 22:22:59 GMT
Organization: The Boeing Co., BCA FSL, Seattle, WA
Message-ID: <1021@tahoma.UUCP>
Newsgroups: sci.skeptic

James Preston writes:

>I had many opportunities to verify with my own senses many of the phenomena
>you cite.  I have seen, with my own eyes, effects of sub-atomic particles;
>I have seen the "particles" called electrons produce wave-like interference
>patterns, and the "waves" of electro-magnetic radiation behave in a
discrete
>particle-like manner.

Allow me to rephrase this skeptically:  You BELIEVE you saw interference
patterns from which you deduce that such things as wave-particle electrons
"exist".  This is dubious epistemology.  Hume is spinning is his grave.

>Of course, so long as the evidence meets the criteria for what is considered
>hard evidence.  The mere word of someone saying, "I saw it" hardly
qualifies.
>A scientific research project, with published, verified data to back it up
>is an entirely different matter.

The mere word of hundreds, of THOUSANDS, of n-as-n-approaches-infinity people
hardly qualifies as "hard" evidence.  Why should I believe in the
perceptions
of many people if I don't believe in the perceptions of a single person?  If
I
don't even believe in MY OWN perceptions?  Where do we draw the line between
a priori and empirical knowledge?

Lotta fair-weather skeptics in this group...

.                     "You don't have many suspects who
DEATH       .  ..                   are innocent of a crime.  That's
.     . .                 contradictory.  If a person is innocent
.     .        .  .               of a crime, then he is not a suspect."
.  .. .           .   .   .                              - Edwin Meese III
.     . .            .    .  ..
.        .  .           .     . . .

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Msg #:  1095                      SKEP Subboard
From:  ERIC IVERSON              Sent: 04-12-90 17:16
To:  ALL                       Rcvd: 04-19-90 08:03
Re:  (R)HELP!  MY GRANDMOTHER

From: eiverson@nmsu.edu (Eric Iverson)
Date: 31 Mar 90 20:54:09 GMT
Organization: NMSU Computer Science
Message-ID:
Newsgroups: sci.skeptic

In article <28475@cup.portal.com> mmm@cup.portal.com (Mark Robert Thorson)
writes:

> It's recently been discovered that my grandmother, who is 91, has been
> regularly sending large checks to the TV preacher Dr. Kennedy.  The largest
> check so far seems to have been one for \$1000.
>
> I know almost nothing about this guy, other than that he is based in Coral
> Gables, FL, and appears on TV throughout the U.S.  Can anybody supply me
> with any critical information about him, something that might help convince
> my grandmother that her money is best spent elsewhere.

Why does your grandmother need any evidence to convince her?  It
certainly didn't take any evidence to convince you.  Or does the fact
that the guy appears on TV automatically mean he's a con artist?  I
suggest you check your facts *before* you jump to any conclusions
about this guy.

Now if your grandmother can't afford to pay out that kind of money,
that's another matter entirely....
--
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Another Gruntpig production, in association with the Rat Lab Steamworks.
Eric Iverson, president.  Eric IVerson, emperor.  ERiC IVerSoN, DeMIgOd!!!

eiverson@nmsu.edu               "I want to kill everyone here with a cute
Computing Research Lab          colorful Hydrogen Bomb!!"
New Mexico State University     -Zippy the Pinhead

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Msg #:  1096                      SKEP Subboard
From:  JAMES D DOLAN             Sent: 04-12-90 17:17
To:  ALL                       Rcvd: 04-16-90 19:02
Re:  (R)HOW MANY PEOPLE?  100B

From: v088kj6a@ubvmsd.cc.buffalo.edu (James D Dolan)
Date: 31 Mar 90 18:27:21 GMT
Organization: University at Buffalo
Message-ID: <20372@eerie.acsu.Buffalo.EDU>
Newsgroups: sci.skeptic

In article <53633@bbn.COM>, ncramer@bbn.com (Nichael Cramer) writes...
|In article <1778@speedy.mcnc.org> kgreer@mcnc.org.UUCP (Ken Greer) writes:
..
|>  A couple of years ago, so I don't recall the source, I heard that
|>there are(were) as many people alive now as have ever lived.  So I
|>guess that would mean instead of 2.5 - 8.8 %, it would be ~50%.
..
|>  The explanation given was that in early times, the "critical mass"
|>just wasn't there in sufficient locations to really start up the
|>growth process - so the population just hovered around the same total
|>without the relatively high growth rate we have today.  The total
|>population eventually was dense enough that people could more
|>efficiently find mates.
|
|This doesn't make sense either.  The real reasons for explosive population
|growth have been technological (e.g. the development of agriculture).
|There have *always* been enough people around --and mates easy enough to
|find-- to fuel growth.
|
|Granted, once a carrying capacity has been reached, a population may stay
|at a fixed value for a long time, but if it does so for a *long* time (and
|we're talking tens of thousands of years) it will still add up.

I'M NOT SURE EXACTLY WHAT YOUR MAIN POINT IS, BUT IN ANY CASE I THINK YOU'RE
UNDERSTATING THE NONSENSICALNESS OF THE ORIGINAL POST. WITH HUMAN POPULATION
ABLE TO DOUBLE IN WELL UNDER AN AVERAGE LIFETIME, BASICALLY THE _ONLY_ WAY TO
AVOID HAVING THE CURRENT POPULATION BE MORE THAN 50% OF THOSE WHO EVER LIVED
IS
TO HAVE HAD LONG PERIODS IN THE PAST WHEN GROWTH WAS RELATIVELY STAGNANT.
GREER'S "EXPLANATION" OF HOW TO ACHIEVE THE 50% LEVEL IN FACT EXPLAINS
PRACTICALLY THE ONLY WAY TO AVOID THE 50% LEVEL.

JAMES DOLAN, MATH DEPT., SUNY AT BUFFALO

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