I’m coming to you from Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, the new home of Skeptical Humanities. I’m teaching at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire this fall, where I am a Visiting Assistant Professor. It will be an exciting, cheese-filled odyssey, to be sure.
But just because we’ve traded in the hustle and bustle of Atlanta for lethargic moo-cows doesn’t mean we’ve slowed down here. Oh, no. As a matter of fact, Eve and I, along with Tim Farley of whatstheharm.net and skeptools.com, and Sharon Hill of doubtfulnews.com, have started a google+ On Air Hangout skeptical news show that is hosted and produced by Brian Gregory, who started the Virtual Drinking Skeptically franchise. Brian has long wanted a panel discussion show, and this is it. We are going through a test run, mastering the technology and getting our shtick down at undisclosed times and places, but I can tell you the name of the show is The Virtual Skeptics (#virtualskeptics). Last night we had our first run through, and there were some rocky bits, but overall I was quite pleased with what we came up with. We’re taking inspiration from Fraser Cain’s work with the Weekly Space Hangout and The Universe Today. I know that Brian has been in touch with Fraser about the project.
So stay tuned.
But we have conspiracies to get to–before they get to us!
As you would have seen on our pilot episode, I thought that the conspiracy theories related to the shootings in Aurora and Milwaukee were the big stories this week. As the Aurora story has developed, conspiracists have fixated on the news that a university psychiatrist was attending to James Holmes. In a very Scientological type of move, they make the post hoc fallacy, imagining that because the shooting happened after Holmes saw a psychiatrist, that somehow the psychiatrist made the guy pull the trigger. Vigilant Citizen sees it as a ritual killing, but probably should just stick to analyzing pictures of 2nd rate pop stars. One guy has found a way to, through a Byzantine tangle of distant “connections”, tie the President to the shootings. No wait! It was by bank fraudsters who wanted to silence Holmes’s DARPA daddy! And finally despite the really rather tepid response to the mass shootings by government, at least as far as gun control has been discussed, people have been afeared that the gummint’s comin to take away their guns. This is an old narrative, and every mass shooting can be and has been THE event that was finally going to let the NWO swoop in and disarm the “real” patriots(tm).
Oh, also an Illuminati card game predicted the Colorado shooting. Or at least some nitwit is willing to entertain the idea.
The other mass shooting, of course, is the shooting at the Sikh Temple here in Wisconsin, where all the flags remain at half-mast. This one has a couple of different facets. First is the revelation that the shooter, Wade Michael Page, who it seems killed himself at the scene, was a white supremacist in a hate metal band. (The Southern Poverty Law Center, I believe, broke this story and had followed him.) On the face of it, it seems to be yet another example of something we’ve seen before: a racist white veteran who kills a lot of people. The most prominent example of this was, of course, Tim McVeigh. An interesting angle on his hate metal bands seems to be an attempt to incite action on the part of other dipshit subnorms. It seems possible that the shooter, like McVeigh, Breivik and other derps thought that a violent act might lead to a race war or something, like in The Turner Diaries. If nothing else, it seems to be a reoccurring theme on the part of the racist right.
But others have other, dumber theories.
Take Alex Jones, for instance, who reported: “Speaking with the Associated Press, an eyewitness stated, ‘Between ten and ten-thirty, four white males who were dressed darkly, dressed in all black clothing, came in and opened fire on our congregation.'” I simply can not find this in print in any AP story. But at least this unverified quote is substantiated by someone who is unnamed and was apparently not there: “UPDATE: A separate source has corroborated the other eyewitness claim – a family member whose parents were victims of the shooting said his parents told him there were ‘multiple shooters’ involved in a ‘coordinated’ attack.” I’m going to say that this is just a manufactured load of bull-droppings.
There is also the view of Pete Santilli, which incorporates Jones’s made up story but takes it one step farther, placing it in the same category as the plot of Enemies Foreign and Domestic, which you should never read:
[Santilli describes] the narrative of the alleged Sikh shooter developed by the main stream media as being staged and he calls it a ‘rookie mistake’ by their demonizing white, military veteran, racist, gun-toting, 9-11 truthers as the enemy of our society. Pete essentially quashes their attempts to conceal the facts communicated by eyewitnesses who observed 4 men in black clothing commit a well organized attack. The secret government motive for demonizing white, veteran, 9-11 truthers is fully exposed, especially in the second hour.
But a decidedly more whimsical conspiracy theory has emerged, one which I suspect will become decidedly more irritating in the weeks to come. It turns out that one of the victims was the father of someone working with Steven Greer about a movie about the Disclosure Project. Part of Greer’s schtick is that he wants to raise a metric assload of money to build a research facility to develop free energy technologies that he claims he already has. He needs the money, he says, to protect his scientists. So when this came across my twitter feed, I thought, “Oh, hell.”
Godlike Productions @glptweets
Sirius Film-maker’s Father SHOT in PROFESSIONAL WISCONSIN HIT!
Here is an ad fundraising for the documentary. Of course, the sad fact is that even crime victims have gullible children, and one needs not posit that the shooting was a “message” being sent to alien disclosure filmmakers.
It was a bad week for religious hate in this country, as @ChrisDStedman pointed out:
This week in the U.S. a mosque was burned down, another was shot at, at least 2 others were vandalized & 7 people were killed in a gurdwara.
I live in Florida. I am looking now at the sunset. I have done this many times but I haven’t looked in a while. It setting too far north. I wish I had a compass to measure it. Anyone else noticing this? Anyone interested who has a compass handy if you can record your position and the position of the sun maybe we can figure this out?The sun isn’t supposed to move. Therefore, I can only assume (if I am not crazy or disoriented) that the rotation of the earth is changing. I have read that the ice caps in Greenland have melted a significant amount in the last few days. Some say it is global warming or climate change. If the earth’s rotation changes then the climate in many areas definitely would change. Essentially think about the equator… It is the hottest place on the planet because that is the middle. Directly east to west or vice versa. If the poles shift a little bit then the equator could begin to run through some other direction.
The Watch, a new movie, satirizes American paranoia. Unfortunately, it’s a Ben Stiller movie, and I’d rather choke on my own eyeball than see it.
“The Major Media Remains Silent On The Death of Prince Bandar Bush” Perhaps because he is still alive? Or he’s dead and has been replaced with Billy al-Shepherd.
Are chemtrails hiding the Nibiru flyby as they brainwash us and depopulate the planet? Boy, our overlords sure can multitask!
Little nepotist #RandPaul exposed as police state thug! Calls cops on #WeAreChange and #AbbyMartin of #RT #RonPaul http://t.co/6ryEheXf — WebsterGTarpley (@WebsterGTarpley)
My cup runneth over this week:
- NASA pic showing all spacecraft parts. Hey, that looks like Death Valley. Um…I feel a conspiracy theory coming on… http://t.co/P6dEemkk — Michael Shermer (@michaelshermer)
- Happy “birthday,” “President” Obama! — Michael Ian Black (@michaelianblack)
- Today is not Obama’s birthday. We know that birth certificate was part of a 50-year conspiracy to put America under Romneycare. — Top Conservative Cat (@TeaPartyCat)
- Now remember, climate change is a conspiracy. Clearly, all these drought zones are in on it. http://t.co/XUw5yoBw — The Justicar (@Integralmathyt)