News Briefs 30-03-2011

Kat's back online! Her cats, feeling guilty for chewing the cables of her old PC, built her a new supercomputer. The answer is 43, apparently the mice are wrong.

Thanks Greg & Kat.

Quote of the Day:

In all fields of science there is a residue of anomalies unexplained by the dominant theory. That does not mean the prevailing theory is wrong or that alternative theories are right. It just means that more work needs to be done to bring those anomalies into the accepted paradigm.

Michael Shermer

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jupiter.enteract's picture
Member since:
21 January 2005
Last activity:
3 weeks 1 day

Michael Shermer: "In all fields of science there is a residue of anomalies unexplained by the dominant theory. That does not mean the prevailing theory is wrong or that alternative theories are right. It just means that more work needs to be done to bring those anomalies into the accepted paradigm."

On the other hand, Michael--yes, it *could* mean the prevailing theory is wrong. One can't prejudge such things until all the evidence is in.

Rick MG's picture
Member since:
2 May 2004
Last activity:
7 hours 3 min

Great quote isn't it? It sums up everything that is wrong with Shermer's skepticism. "It just means that more work needs to be done to bring those anomalies into the accepted paradigm" -- yup, it's a round peg but it has to fit his square hole. It's essentially ANTI-science.

What amazes me is this "review" made it past the SciAm editors. Not one editor raised an eyebrow when Shermer submitted his piece and asked, "is that it?" If it's that easy to get pubished by SciAm, maybe a few Darklore contributors should send their manuscripts. Compare Shermer's "review" to the research by Leslie Kean, or the National Press Club conference organised by James Fox -- it makes Shermer seem very small and insignificant. He's not a skeptic, he's a defender of dogmatism, a missionary for the Church of La-La-La-La-I-Can't-Hear-You. The irony is UFO researchers like Kean are the real skeptics.

However, we're talking about the guy who played with toy aliens during a UFO debate on national television -- in front of Buzz Aldrin, no less. ;-)

~ * ~

@levitatingcat

Georgehants's picture
Member since:
28 November 2010
Last activity:
14 hours 24 min

Should we not be fair to this Michael Shermer, who ever he is and assume this quote somehow escaped from a script he was writing for some scientific meeting, as an example of how stupid some scientists can be.
It could only be a joke gone wrong, or could anybody be that daft.

georgehants

emlong's picture
Member since:
18 September 2007
Last activity:
4 hours 48 min

Shermer's response is not in the least surprising. He is part of the gatekeeping squad erstwhile manned by Penn and Teller and The Anazing Randi. They have been at this job for years. I knew The Scientific American and Popular Mechanics had been editorially raped after 911 when they started running all the articles by the likes of Shermer and in the case of Popular Mechanics Benjamin Chertoff (Michael's cousin though at first that was obfuscated by Michael who was head of DHS) attempting to debunk all the information that started to come out which indicated that 911 had been an inside job. Hearst Corp cleared out the old editorial board of PM right after 911 and filled it with Chertoff and other cointelpro types and then proceeded to use the magazine as a mouthpiece for the officially sanctioned conspiracy about 911. Scientific American joined in shortly after that. It is now impossible for Shermer to use his brain properly since being hired to gatekeep 911 which necessitated that he invent a style and approach that consisted of jumping through logical hoops until he couldn't even see the hoops anymore. The total impact of 911 has gone far beyond the faux terrorism war, and ruinous military budgets - it has also created a generation of scientific scam artists and talking heads who have boxed themselves into a rhetorical corner. Shermer is their mascot.

The Cancer Man's picture
Member since:
16 March 2010
Last activity:
1 year 40 weeks

When I read the last few sentences of the Shermer article, I couldn't help but be a little put off, to say the least, so I was going to post an extended Rant here about it. However, it seems I wasn't the only one taken aback. You can always count on Grail readers!

"I get a kick out of being an outsider constantly. It allows me to be creative." - Bill Hicks

red pill junkie's picture
Member since:
12 April 2007
Last activity:
13 hours 32 min

Well, I guess I can't resist myself either:

For example, Kean opens her exploration “on very solid ground, with a Major General’s firsthand chronicle of one of the most vivid and well-documented UFO cases ever”—the UFO wave over Belgium in 1989–1990. Here is Major General Wilfried De Brouwer’s recounting of the first night of sightings: “Hundreds of people saw a majestic triangular craft with a span of approximately a hundred and twenty feet and powerful beaming spotlights, mov­ing very slowly without making any significant noise but, in several cases, accelerating to very high speeds.” Even seemingly unexplainable sightings such as De Brouwer’s, however, could simply have been an early experimental model of a stealth bomber (U.S., Soviet, or otherwise) that secret-keeping military agencies were understandably loath to reveal.

Oh, isn't nice when you're allowed to obviate annoying facts to reinforce a straw-man point? like the fact that there is an actual radar reading on the night when several NATO F-16s were deployed to try to approach the unknown object, and it performed such type of fantastic maneuvers that it completely outperformed the fighter jets —engaging in dramatic accelerations and decelerations that would have been impossible for any human pilot.

See video

Not to mention that neither the F-117A nor the B-2 bomber are capable of, you know, HOVERING*?

In fact, the Belgian journalist who first came up with that asinine 'explanation' (that the triangles were secret stealth aircraft) later claimed that he never bothered to make ANY type of investigation on the UFO sightings. He just happened to read an article about the American stealth fighter and thought it made "a good answer at the time". Yeah, 'good' as in 'lazy' —same as Shermer devastating arguments...

(*)Or rather "moving very slowly". Kind of hilarious how skeptics demand Ufologists to maintain a level of accuracy in the most trivial of minutiae, while they are allowed to skip or downplay significant elements of any case.

It's not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me...
It's all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

Red Pill Junkie
_______________
@red_pill_junkie

jupiter.enteract's picture
Member since:
21 January 2005
Last activity:
3 weeks 1 day

Very good points. There's definitely a double standard when it comes to these subjects. (And how much would you like to bet that Kean will write a rebuttal letter to SciAm--and it will never get published?)