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Conspiracies taking over where religion left off - Comments

Zeuglodon's Avatar Comment 1 by Zeuglodon

It's tempting to think that as established religion fades away, it is being gradually replaced by clear, rational, thinking and the adoption of scientific values.

True. And you are right, of course; religions are a subset of a more general tendency to believe things on faith, or rather to jump to conclusions based on minimal information. The paradox is that the brain is built to jump to conclusions based on minimal information. This is the cost of having brains capable of induction, but whose ancestors had to make inductions in a specific habitat where certain built-in assumptions would be more valuable than others. Say, the assumption that there's something or someone, somewhere, out to get you.

Unfortunately, you're right to worry. By their very nature, it's guaranteed that there will always be people who believe in nonsense, because it's easier to trust your gut instincts than to actively think them through in light of other information coming in, and it's easier to default to the gut than to align it with what you learn. So the bad news is some of us are most probably stuck with the superstitious rest.

The best we can do at present is what we're already doing with religions - whittle them down in general, both by attacking specifics and by trying to reach the core assumptions and thinking styles behind them all, and all variations of superstitious thinking. I think we're just going to have to accept that a statistical victory gained while sticking to scientific principles is all we're ever going to get for the next few years or decades.

Fri, 20 Jul 2012 13:45:36 UTC | #949630

Zeuglodon's Avatar Comment 2 by Zeuglodon

So the bad news is some of us are most probably stuck with the superstitious rest.

Sorry, that should read

So the bad news is some of us are most probably stuck with the superstitions of the rest.

Fri, 20 Jul 2012 14:02:01 UTC | #949631

Premiseless's Avatar Comment 3 by Premiseless

Credulity seems an infectious and dominant meme. Human brains can't get enough of it! Size is everything to the credulous!

Fri, 20 Jul 2012 15:44:41 UTC | #949637

DavidXanaos's Avatar Comment 4 by DavidXanaos

I think bullshit woo ich 100x better than organized religion, I mean all this stuff is mostly non exclusive and does not in its current state coagulate into any coherent power system.

I mean the worst thing about religion is the control it tries to exert over 3rd parties, this woo stuff is so versatile that it is unlikely it will have any organized influence on the society.

David X.

Fri, 20 Jul 2012 18:17:19 UTC | #949646

All About Meme's Avatar Comment 5 by All About Meme

I have it on good authority that the proper response to conspiratorialists and their ilk is the following:

Science is interesting, and if you don't agree, you can fuck off.

It's astonishing to think there are people out there who remain unconvinced by this line of reasoning.

Another big factor may be that other eminently rational people such as our thread author Schrodinger's Cat continually play it "coy" when it comes to discussions on the existence of UFOs, for instance:

There is little in the way of decisive evidence for extraterrestrials....but there is absolutely conclusive scientific evidence that something unknown is going on.

Can you hear the eerie X-Files theme playing in the background? If audio files were allowed in posts on rd.net, I'm quite certain he would have included it.

Not content merely to muddy our pristine scientific nebulas with more hot gas, the clever Cat follows up his Fox Mulder-ism with this gem:

I don't support the 'extraterrestrial' hypothesis. UFOs are 'real'.....but almost certainly some unknown type of atmospheric plasma energy.

For shame, Sir, for shame.

/ parody

P.S. If anyone is bored and has a free hour or so, this thread on UFOs is one of the more hilarious discussions on extraterrestrials in recent memory, including a post from Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson himself.

Fri, 20 Jul 2012 18:57:25 UTC | #949648

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 6 by Schrodinger's Cat

Comment 5 by All About Meme

Another big factor may be that other eminently rational people such as our thread author Schrodinger's Cat continually play it "coy" when it comes to discussions on the existence of UFOs, for instance:

Lol, an even bigger factor is when people are oblivious of genuine scientific studies such as those carried out for earthquake lights and for phenomenon such as the Hessdalen lights ( the latter confirmed the phenomenon as real ).

Fri, 20 Jul 2012 19:12:12 UTC | #949653

All About Meme's Avatar Comment 7 by All About Meme

phenomenon such as the Hessdalen lights...

UFO = Unidentified Flying Object.

Do lights fly? Do electromagnetic waves or photons zoom through the air like fighter jets?

Um... no:

Flying: Moving or able to move through the air with wings: "a flying ant".

I also know this because my recent paper "On the Aerodynamics of Photons" was rejected out-of-hand by Aviation Weekly.

;)

Fri, 20 Jul 2012 20:16:43 UTC | #949658

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 8 by Schrodinger's Cat

Comment 7 by All About Meme

I'm not clear what the problem is. The key factor for all claims is evidence.....not how laughable the claim may sound. The planet Nibiru is nonsense because there is zero evidence, not because rogue planets are inherently implausible. This thread is not about sniggering at silly ideas, it is about sniggering at silly ideas that have zero evidence to support them. When I come across something such as the scientific investigation into the Hessdalen lights, all fully documented ( and there are even some superb photos ) then I stop the sniggering....because here is that crucial factor, scientific evidence, that is what science is all about. I couldn't care less whether ( some ) people have called it UFOs........there is as yet no scientific explanation for the Hessdalen lights, though most of the possible candidates involve plasma and not little green men !

There is equally no full explanation for earthquake lights......a scientifically well documented phenomenon and yet another one that has led to reports of 'UFOs'. The best candidate for earthquake lights is the piezoelectric effect, though the energies generated by that should be considerably less than what is observed.

The point being, as was my original statement that you (mis)quoted, that scientists are providing scientific explanations for 'strange lights in the sky' having found that in some cases the strange lights do actually exist.

That is how science works.

Fri, 20 Jul 2012 23:08:14 UTC | #949686

QuestioningKat's Avatar Comment 9 by QuestioningKat

I hear where you're coming from, however new age stuff and conspiracies are really different subjects. There is some overlap, but someone involved in New Age may not be into conspiracies while a Christian could have an elaborate view about some government conspiracy. A have also met some atheists that think that religion was a mass conspiracy by a select few to control the masses. (yeah yeah yeah - no comments needed about this.)

New Age is a term that is applied with a broad brush for many situations and beliefs. Although it is diverse, I disagree that New Age beliefs cannot be properly challenged. I attended a New Thought church which is considered a form of New Age and now that I have challenged the beliefs, I realize many of their flaws just need some help to be unraveled.

I have found that people who are into UFO and other conspiracies tend to be young or a bit "off" in some way. New Agers on the other hand, are a much wider audience. If you would like to focus in on a particular aspect of New Age, I can give you some ideas. If you want to continue discussing people who are into conspiracy theories...I'm not too worried about them in general. Most people, religious or not, think that they are nuts.

Fri, 20 Jul 2012 23:31:20 UTC | #949688

All About Meme's Avatar Comment 10 by All About Meme

I couldn't care less whether ( some ) people have called it UFOs...

I'll happily accept this statement. It's the only one that addressed my point, by the way.

If memory serves, your participation in that UFO thread was, as in many of your posts, an attempt to "straddle" the higher intellectual ground at the expense of others, by in this case scolding all who dismissed UFOs as mere fantasy -- due to the existence of real yet unknown plasma-related phenomenon such as the Hessdalen lights.

Yes, unexplained phenomena certainly exist. But to argue that these examples (you provided them!) fit the category of Unidentified FLYING Objects is a tad disingenuous. Because they aren't flying. Not even close.

Now if you can come up with something "unidentified" that IS actually flying through our atmosphere, or stratosphere, or even ionosphere, I'll shut my gob.

Fri, 20 Jul 2012 23:57:41 UTC | #949693

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 11 by Schrodinger's Cat

Comment 9 by QuestioningKat

I hear where you're coming from, however new age stuff and conspiracies are really different subjects. There is some overlap, but someone involved in New Age may not be into conspiracies....

I think there's a good deal more overlap than people realise. One of the aspects of new age thinking is that of 'hidden knowledge', for example such stuff as 'The Secret'. Or there's our secret and hidden space brothers who are going to rescue us from environmental folly and share their technology. One could even extend this to the extent to which parapsychology researchers invented the concept of 'sheep' and 'goats', signifying that those who believe in psi are more likely to experience it....and it will thus be 'hidden' from those nasty disbelievers. Throughout all such examples, the aspect of the phenomena being 'hidden' from sceptics is undoubtedly conspiratorial.

There's a clever marketting psychology behind all this, and its how some make millions from all the new age material. Make people believe that rather than being a complete idiot for believing a load of bollocks, they are actually special people to whom hidden truths not fit for mere mortals are being revealed. The thing I notice on many conspiracy and new age type sites is just how clever the advocates think they are....and sceptics are dimwits who simply have not understood things.

By the way, about 10 years ago I actually personally exposed a conspiracy myth myself ( on a site long since gone )...that of the alleged 'woman' standing in the hole left by a plane at the WTC. I clearly showed that the 'woman' in the photographs is an illusion generated by wreckage material....even to the point of showing that one of the woman's 'legs' was clearly a piece of exterior cladding of the WTC. What astonished me was the sheer number of people who refused to believe this even when shown the evidence. So certain had they become of their conspiracy ( bear in mind that this alleged lady was part of the argument that the heat could not have been so intense as to melt steel ) that even when conclusively shown that the lady's 'leg' is part of the cladding that goes right down to the floor below....their eyes refused to believe it. To this day, there are still millions who believe there was a woman there. I cannot think of a better example of how a religious type belief can start, and prevail, all based on an illusion. Those who believe a certain stone was rolled 2000 years ago should take note.

Sat, 21 Jul 2012 01:06:41 UTC | #949701

urn's Avatar Comment 12 by urn

Oddly enough, it was a conspiracy site (that I frequented for laughs) where I first heard of Richard Dawkins, wound up purchasing The God Delusion, and ultimately led me to this site some six years or so ago... Funny that.

Sat, 21 Jul 2012 02:46:08 UTC | #949709

All About Meme's Avatar Comment 13 by All About Meme

Comment 12 by urn

Ah, the knockdown argument finally emerges for why conspiracy websites should in fact be encouraged to proliferate. (Just kidding, of course!)

It's great news, actually. And I, too, was led to Richard's doorstep via active (and regrettable) participation on a completely ridiculous website.

Sat, 21 Jul 2012 02:56:31 UTC | #949710

QuestioningKat's Avatar Comment 14 by QuestioningKat

One of the aspects of new age thinking is that of 'hidden knowledge', for example such stuff as 'The Secret'.

There's a clever marketing psychology behind all this, and its how some make millions from all the new age material.

I understand this point. You are correct that there is a marketing technique going on here. Conspiracy? Not convinced yet. Actually, I am quite familiar with the actual (not watered down New Age view of) the "Law of Attraction" and it is actually hard work and nearly impossible to achieve completely. If I went into the details of what this concept actually entails, even a skeptic wouldn't want to do all the work required. Essentially your entire life - relationships, mindset, education, personal psychology, health, well-being, ability to be proactive and take action, your ability to appropriately respond to a situation, etc. etc. needs to be in tip top shape. The actual view is about taking total responsibility for yourself. But then there is a catch; they throw in woo stating that what you put out into the world is drawn to you. Well, yeah after all that work, something is bound to happen.

The actual big secret is that you are One with God (some actually use the statement that "I am God.") but you simply have forgotten who you really are. So this God who is supposedly helping you is really yourself in alignment with Divine principles that govern the Universe. AKA - your doing what is within the realm of possibilities and what is socially acceptable, so cause and effect come into play. When something does happens, then you thank your lucky stars that you did your spiritual work. (aka -did the effort and found the right people to help out.) It all goes back to that "ghost in the machine" idea except it is called Consciousness.

The "Law of Attraction" is actually a New Thought belief adopted by the New Agers. They packaged the video as the "secret" that successful people have known throughout the ages as an attempt to attract people to "the special elixir." People seem to be drawn to quick fixes, diet pills, and shortcuts. "How did you lose so much weight? What's your secret." They are drawn to the quick,lazy approaches that offer the "five steps to XX" or "keys to better XX."

Throughout all such examples, the aspect of the phenomena being 'hidden' from sceptics is undoubtedly conspiratorial.

Actually they view themselves as being at a spiritually higher level than others. They think they have knowledge that you do not. All religions do this, this is why you need to FIND God or have God revealed to you. Eventually you will "get it." Obviously, it isn't your time and they will try to be non-judgmental and patient with you because you are a newbie and that is the spiritually evolved thing to do.

I actually personally exposed a conspiracy myth myself ...What astonished me was the sheer number of people who refused to believe this even when shown the evidence.

This happens all the time and is not unique to New Age. I recently watched a video about a product that caused a very large group of people to protest the manufacturer because it supposedly said something "inappropriate." The entire group claimed that it said something in particular, but when I listened several times to the sound (before I even read what the group considered offensive,) It clearly said what the manufacturer stated. The manufacturer provided a written statement, yet they heard it incorrectly. It's like the time Dan Dennett or maybe Sam Harris played a garbled recording, then told people what to hear and you could actually hear "sweet Satan..." People tend to fill in the gaps.

Perhaps conspiracy is a bit of a jump for me. I still don't see it as a conspiracy, but then again I bet I have a different definition of New Age.

Sat, 21 Jul 2012 03:10:15 UTC | #949712

VrijVlinder's Avatar Comment 15 by VrijVlinder

It is hard to believe in conspiracy theories as much as believing in ghosts or gods. Conspiracy means a collusion to hide something . From what I have seen religions like the RCC conspired to get rid of or hide knowledge that would discredit them.

What this knowledge is , matter for speculation but my guess is some kind of scientific explanation which defied the existence of their god . Not good for business and therefore providing motivation to conspire. To find the conspiracy there must be motivation to conspire.

I think imagination is wild and paranoia susceptible humans come up with crazy stores. Like the image of jesus on toast which sold for 60 thousand dollars or something.

People do tend to fill in the gaps. To connect the dots.

Check this out, One general approach to making sense of the world starts with the presumption that order and patterns are fundamental,and treats disorganization as something secondary: an inherent noisiness in the world that to varying degrees degrades the patterns or imperfections in our perceptual abilities that obscure the patterns, or an indication that some future ideal state of order has yet to be achieved. The task of the inquirer, in all cases, is to try to correct for the source of apparent disorganization so as to discern the underlying fundamental patterns (either Platonic "reality" or "teleological reality", the ideal end state to which everything is moving). The figure below provides an illustration of a primal pattern approach to making sense of the world. One's impression is of a pattern, "Serendip", that is only vaguely visible because of obscuring disorganization. The impression of "Serendip" can be strengthened by adjusting the two sliders. One's inclination is to move the sliders until the pattern becomes clearest, i.e. to presume the "reality" of a pattern and treat other aspects of what one observes (the disorganization) as obscuring noise that should be reduced as much as possible.

Sat, 21 Jul 2012 05:07:14 UTC | #949724

VrijVlinder's Avatar Comment 16 by VrijVlinder

Well maybe Schrodinger's "What is life" is not the easiest read.... determinism and all that randomness and chaotic pattern resulting paradox, but it illustrates how we end up perceiving the world , reality or not.

In doing some research on this topic, I found that conspiracy is not new. The biggest obvious one is the one about jesus being a roman soldier's son, mr. pantera christos biological father of jesus christos pantera . This is more believable than the one about jesus being his own grand daddy however.

Religion it appears IS conspiracy . It needs conspiracy to exist. Possibly that is the attribution of the name "cult" to those who believe in ufo's and that there is a conspiracy to hide them.

Apparently conspiracy can work in a pro or against manner. It just depends where the perspective is from.

Flat EarthIn 1956, Samuel Shenton set up the International Flat Earth Research Society, better known as the Flat Earth Society, as a direct descendant of the Universal Zetetic Society, just before the Soviet Union launched the first artificial satellite, Sputnik. He responded to this event "Would sailing round the Isle of Wight prove that it were spherical? It is just the same for those satellites." His primary aim was to reach children before they were convinced about a spherical Earth. Despite plenty of publicity, the space race eroded Shenton's support in Britain until 1967 when he started to become famous due to the Apollo program. His postbag was full but his health suffered as his operation remained essentially a one-man show until he died in 1971.[138]

Final Frontier Voyager or Flat Earth Society, by George Grie. Shenton's role was taken over by one of his correspondents, Charles K. Johnson, as he retired in 1972 to the Mojave Desert in California. He incorporated the IFERS and steadily built up the membership to about 3,000. He spent years examining the studies of flat and round Earth theories and proposed evidence of a conspiracy against flat-Earth: "The idea of a spinning globe is only a conspiracy of error that Moses, Columbus, and FDR all fought…" His article was published in the magazine Science Digest, 1980. It goes on to state,

"If it is a sphere, the surface of a large body of water must be curved. The Johnsons have checked the surfaces of Lake Tahoe and the Salton Sea without detecting any curvature."[145] The Society declined in the 1990s following a fire at its headquarters in California and the death of Charles K. Johnson in 2001.[146] It was revived as a website in 2004.

See "Flat Earth Society"... this one is for laughs uses science to prove ...not the flat earth propositions.

Sat, 21 Jul 2012 06:55:48 UTC | #949726

nick keighley's Avatar Comment 17 by nick keighley

          [Comment 7](/discussions/646552-conspiracies-taking-over-where-religion-left-off/comments?page=1#comment_949658) by  [All About Meme](/profiles/175962)          :


                 > phenomenon such as the Hessdalen lights...UFO = Unidentified **Flying** Object.Do lights *fly*?  Do electromagnetic waves or photons zoom through the air like fighter jets?Um... no:> *Flying*: Moving or able to move **through the air** with wings: "a flying ant".I also know this because my recent paper "*On the Aerodynamics of Photons*" was rejected out-of-hand by Aviation Weekly.;)

see "ball lightning"

Sat, 21 Jul 2012 08:47:11 UTC | #949733

All About Meme's Avatar Comment 18 by All About Meme

Ball lightning doesn't "fly" either, nor is its cause unidentified by science. But thanks?

Sat, 21 Jul 2012 08:55:20 UTC | #949734

VrijVlinder's Avatar Comment 19 by VrijVlinder

@Meme: Do electromagnetic waves or photons zoom through the air like fighter jets? Um... no:

Is aviation concerned with photons I was not aware of that? Will photon's energy be exactly same after million years? This content suggests photons have trajectory. That they are zooming through space. Not sure if like fighter jets but they happen to be in motion. If from only momentum created in it's initial ejection at the very least.

Ephoton=hv

At the beginning of the 20th century everyone thought light was a wave. For most purposes physicists still think of light as an electromagnetic wave traveling at 186,282 miles per second! The different colors are just waves of different frequencies (most frequencies are invisible to our eyes).

In any case photons are not UFO's but do fly and do cause visual phenomenon when they interact with something else even other photons.

Sat, 21 Jul 2012 09:40:04 UTC | #949739

All About Meme's Avatar Comment 20 by All About Meme

Photons are not a factor in aerodynamics. They don't "fly" like jets. They're also massless. and travel at the speed of light.

My tongue-in-cheek jibe at Schrodinger's Cat had a semi-serious point. The term "UFO" has clearly been contaminated and spoiled beyond all repair from its original military definition, mostly by pulp-fiction and Hollywood.

Thus, unequivocally stating that "UFOs are real" is an open invitation to serious misunderstanding from the average lay-person. We don't need to shoot ourselves in the foot like this, when the confusion is so easily dispelled by employing a few extra English words for scientific clarity.

Good night.

Sat, 21 Jul 2012 10:11:50 UTC | #949743

QuestioningKat's Avatar Comment 21 by QuestioningKat

SC, I thought a little more about this, and I think that much of what you are seeing is what might be called --- expertitis or a know-it-all person. People without a true knowledge base that stand up in front of a group need to have something to say. Frequently, they make up a story and convince themselves that it is true. They may even adopt or adapt an existing story. Doing this is much easier that studying four to eight years of a subject or many subjects and then continuing to educate themselves. Reading and learning one book is easier than studying an entire library. They actually like being in a position of authority, enjoy the power and acknowledgement that they get from others. It's an easy path compared to others that require study. As a result certain "crazy" ideas are perpetuated because there is always and audience.

Sat, 21 Jul 2012 15:08:40 UTC | #949758

Bipedal Primate's Avatar Comment 22 by Bipedal Primate

I'm not particularly fond of G. K. Chesterton's "When people stop believing in God, they don't believe in nothing -- they believe in anything.", because it's simply an appeal to "belief in belief", but it's still probably true, though.

But of all dumb replacements for religion the worst one is not a conspiracy theory, but simply political correctness. Also known as 'The Matrix", for those who took some time to analyze the film by the same name. That one is the true mind killer. The consensus which thinks for you. And if people aren't simply dumb, they're either hysterical or dogmatic. There's no pill against that.

Sat, 21 Jul 2012 17:47:10 UTC | #949764

QuestioningKat's Avatar Comment 23 by QuestioningKat

Comment 22 by Bipedal Primate :

I'm not particularly fond of G. K. Chesterton's "When people stop believing in God, they don't believe in nothing -- they believe in anything.", because it's simply an appeal to "belief in belief", but it's still probably true, though.

But of all dumb replacements for religion the worst one is not a conspiracy theory, but simply political correctness. Also known as 'The Matrix", for those who took some time to analyze the film by the same name. That one is the true mind killer. The consensus which thinks for you. And if people aren't simply dumb, they're either hysterical or dogmatic. There's no pill against that.

...and I assume you are aware of the group of people who think this world is actually the Matrix? Rather than the movie's view of us being slaves, we are in a dream in which we think this world is actually real. In "reality" we are One with God and have simply forgotten this. We live lives of strife and lack because we feel that God is somewhere out there and not within. This is a New Age view, but all religions have this concept of another realm in one form or another.

Sat, 21 Jul 2012 20:59:49 UTC | #949772

VrijVlinder's Avatar Comment 24 by VrijVlinder

@Q and I assume you are aware of the group of people who think this world is actually the Matrix?

That would suck big time. Unless you get the abilities they got in the movie while in the Matrix.

I love the concept of the movie. But I see the Matrix as a place filled with indoctrinated people who think there are gods etc. Getting exploited by corporate religion .

To take this and believe this is how it really is, well that pretty much says everything about the levels of stupidity humans can actually reach.

Sat, 21 Jul 2012 21:47:38 UTC | #949776

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Comment 25 by Cook@Tahiti

The reason why there's no evidence to all this stuff (e.g. reptilian overlords, chemtrails, 9-11, fake moon landings, face on Mars, Bilderberg Group, Alex Jones, Glenn Beck, Trilateral Commission, Rothschilds controlling world banking, Area 51, ancient aliens, Atlantis, etc) is that it's been covered up.

You're either a sheep (wake up sheeple!!) or you're in on it.

Remember, you only see what they want to you see. Everything happens is for a reason.

There's no evidence because they control the media, the government, the internet... everything.

Sure, it's unfalsifiable, but how else are you going to explain what's REALLY happening?

Sun, 22 Jul 2012 16:37:20 UTC | #949849

thebaldgit's Avatar Comment 26 by thebaldgit

I suppose as long as the human race exists some of its species will always try to find irrational explinations for rational occurances and that if something that cannot be instantly accounted for rationally now will attract all sorts of superstitious reasoning instead of the old god does it to test you bollocks.

Mon, 23 Jul 2012 12:08:36 UTC | #949883

veggiemanuk's Avatar Comment 27 by veggiemanuk

I think the problem runs deeper than the OP realises, those who fall into conspirocey circles come from both religious and non religoius backgrounds, one does not need to fall from religion into this circle and having or once having religion does not make one more suseptable.

Conspiracies are different though to religion in that those who have fallen for them are as intelligent as the rest of society, there is no trend like we see in religion where intelligens drops as religion rises.

Mon, 23 Jul 2012 12:19:22 UTC | #949885

raytoman's Avatar Comment 28 by raytoman

Practically Nobody studies Science these days, except maybe the Chinese. The brightest and best who used to study Science are now all leaving the top Universities and heading for Wall Street where they can expect to be multimillionaires in a few years. They can achieve this goal quicker as a TV Evangalist but that is more competitive.

Since few know anything about science, they know even less about being critical and in fact "know" CO2 is good for you, trees and flowers need it and it makes things grow. Coke is good for you, lots of energy. KFC and McDonalds provide well balanced meals, their gutbuster sextuple watsit has lettuce and tomato which is good for you.

Advertising wins all of the time. Mystery is fun, peer pressure is what counts and life is all about money and things and how best to get them. Some like the things that god gives them so (at least when they are living with their parents, they toe the religious line - that way mum and dad give them more things).

Those who are illiterate, ignorant, poor or starving have little choice. They wait for god to free them from this life and take comfort in the fact that all of those rich people will go to hell.

The Skeptical Inquirer has debunked most of the irrational crap (at least once) but the same old crap keeps regenerating in each new generation. Eric Von Daniken still lives, Roswell is still here, the Scientists (the few that still live) are hiding the truth which is "out there".

Maybe Richard shouyld make his next book a video game and manage to slip in the wonder and awe of Science, include evidence based clues than enable progress in the game and have religion and myth and superstition as the "enemy".

Maybe we also need a few atheist apps for smart phones - even if it's only a thought of the day which focuses on the current interest and points people to further rational content.

It's probably too late ahnyweay. There were about a billion religious people (out of the human population of 2 billion - lots of commies in those days) in teh late fifties. Over 6 billion religious now. Only 140 million atheists (The World Atlas of Religions) and I suspect that the atheist number is exaggerated.

Peopel need education, knowledge and facts. In the absence of these they will settle for the latest hyped nonsense. They will not look for the truth, it needs to seek them out.

There are only a few million Jehovas Witnesses (well, fewer than there are atheists) but I bet people don't complain about atheists always knocking on their door.

You will still find Bibles in many Hotel rooms - I have yet to find The God Delusion.

I have seen ball lightning, a ghost and a UFO.

I know it was ball lightning. I know it wasn't a ghost (they don't exist) but still cannot explain it other than maybe some sort of illusion and as for the UFO - I suspect it was a part of an aircraft in sunlight being reflected over the horizon (it was at night).

No religion or hysteria here.

Mon, 23 Jul 2012 23:10:12 UTC | #949935

OHooligan's Avatar Comment 29 by OHooligan

Established religions at least have specific creeds that one can cite as irrational nonsense.

At last, praise for religion!!! Who'd have thought it?

Tue, 24 Jul 2012 02:39:02 UTC | #949961

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 30 by Schrodinger's Cat

Comment 28 by raytoman

The Skeptical Inquirer has debunked most of the irrational crap (at least once) but the same old crap keeps regenerating in each new generation. Eric Von Daniken still lives, Roswell is still here, the Scientists (the few that still live) are hiding the truth which is "out there".

One of my favourites is Ian Ridpath's demolition of the infamous Rendlesham Forest UFO incident. To watch the many documentaries on the matter, one would think that so many 'trained observers' ( a term I find increasingly dubious ) could not get things so wrong.

Ridpath shows pretty conclusively that the 'UFO' seen in the forest was the Orford Ness lighthouse. The real clincher, and it is what demolishes the story of Colonel Charles Holt, is where Ridpath shows that Holt mistook which of the two bases he was at, and when the object bearing is amended for that....it exactly matches that of the lighthouse. Case closed.

Frankly, the fact that American servicemen with nuclear missiles could not distinguish a freakin lighthouse is scarier than extraterrestrial visitors !

Thu, 26 Jul 2012 03:01:26 UTC | #950090