Thursday, July 12, 2007

Melting Steel

The Kennedy assassination conspiracy, and the 9/11 conspiracy (not the islamist one -- the US government one) -- these things are believed in by a large if not respectable percentage of the population. Then there are UFOs, and Loch Nessie, and Bigfoot, and crop circles. Rule number one with me is, never argue with reality. But I'm the guy who thinks that Evolution is a pseudo-science creation myth. So the definition of "reality" needs to be honed. We narrow it down to "evidence." But we can argue with evidence. We can try to discredit it, or reinterpret it, and so on.

In my work on Evolutionism, then, I looked at the evidence. Quarter of a million words, as I recall. Several thousand endnotes citing peer reviewed journals. I won't rehash it. Enough to say that some evidence is discredited. Piltdown Man was an outright fraud, as is well known but still reported in children's picture/text books. Peking and Java Man have their own very serious problems, of which you will be uninformed -- the upshot being that they are resoundingly disqualified as evidence. The ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny doctrine or tenet or prayer originated in an actual fraud of a charlatan by the name of Haeckel. We still read it in college texts. It is received dogma, that is manifestly wrong. If, that is, one bothers to check the evidence in conjunction with the principles of logic. Some evidence is reinterpreted. Vestigial organs: there are none. Silent genes: not noise in the DNA signal, not junk genes, not obsolescent and useless material that's somehow been endlessly copied and preserved unto this very day -- rather, the planned, the engineered blueprints for useful if unknown potentialities. The geologic column -- competent analysis demonstrates that it is not arranged in the neat onion-like layers that textbook illustrations indicate. Rather, it's a painter's dropcloth, splattered here and there by fossil groups, which give the layers their names and diagnose the "age". Sometimes they're in the right order. Proof positive! Sometimes they're in the wrong order. How embarrassing. And so on. It isn't my purpose to exhaust the subject.

The point is that on matters of importance, we must exercise a reasonable level of responsibility when our beliefs are challenged. That's how I became Christian when I was in my thirties. I was challenged. I checked it out. I was convinced. By reason and evidence. Yes, there is undeniably a significant component of emotion, in belief. But we must be larger than our beliefs. We must love truth more than tradition. Or so I see it. That's rule number one.

So, the Kennedy assassination? It wasn't the right that killed him. Oswald was a communist. He'd lived in the USSR for three years. He killed Kennedy because of Cuba and Castro. Well, no, not entirely -- he killed Kennedy because he was a very stupid man who wanted to do something important. He said he was a "patsy" because pretending to be innocent would get him more attention and more sympathy than admitting guilt. Nobody claims that he is not a killer. He killed Officer Tibbet. Undisputed. But the mythology sprang up, the very next day, that Kennedy had been killed for his liberalism and his civil rights policy. He was killed by the forces of intolerance, it was supposed. (Fascinating.) Well, who is it who's intolerant? Yes. Those right-wingers. Those conservatives. Them -- those many powerful conspirators. The CIA and the war-mongers and the oil millionaires and whatnot. In any case, it had to be a conspiracy. Otherwise it would be Oswald, a communist. Communism, as you know, is a leftist philosophy. The left are the good guys. See?

Or take 9/11. I simply don't get this one. Bush did it? To get us into a war with Afghanistan and later Iraq? So we could take their oil (Iraq's, of course, since Afghanistan has none)? But, um, we didn't take their oil -- the same way we didn't take Kuwait's, 12 years before. Some other motive, then. Uh, revenge against Saddam cuz he tried to kill Bush Sr? Um, but why bring on a two-year recession that almost cost Bush his re-election? Why not blow up a mall, or Disneyland? Just leave a lot of evidence, like a note that says, "I did it. Hahaha. Signed, President Saddam Hussein of Iraq -- PS, death to the West. Allah rules, America drools!" Much simpler, non?

Again, it comes down to evidence. I recall hearing sound bites of Rosie O'Donnell stating the undeniable fact that jet fuel doesn't burn hot enough to melt steel. Which proves that the Towers were brought down not by the jets, but by government-planted explosives. Jet fuel burns no hotter than 1500°F. Steel melts at 2750°F. Rosie must be right. Except for the fact that the steel of the Towers did not melt. It bent and twisted and sagged and warped, as happens in burning buildings.

Steel loses over 90% of its strength at 1800°F. The jet fuel acted as a catalyst for the fires, and the plywood flooring, and the curtains and rugs and furniture, and the paintings in the halls and the posters in the offices, and the rubber of electrical cords and the plastic of cell phones, and the photos of wives and children and dogs, and the paper in desks and in wallets, and the human bodies and all such sundry combustible materials inside the buildings raised the temperature in some locales to a calculated 1832°F.

That Rosie is an obese lesbian is a matter of fact, but that fact is irrelevant to this discussion. That she thinks she is informed when she is not -- this is a fact which can be easily demonstrated by reviewing, um, the facts.

UFOs? Perhaps there actually are some inexplicable phenomena, and it isn't all just swamp gas and weather balloons and experimental aircraft and sloppy observation skills, or hoax and drugs and psychosis, or a yearning for attention. Maybe something is really going on. I don't know. I do know that space aliens are but one possible explanation. It could be sentient civilized dinosaurs from the center of the Earth. It could be human time travelers from the future. It could be extra-dimensional intellects who enjoy slumming in the lower, more material plains of existence. It could be a Satanic conspiracy. Take your pick. I don't know.

Nessie? Bigfoot? I suppose it's possible. Crytozoology is an interest of mine. We must recall the coelacanth, after all, and the okapi. But hoax and fraud have muddied the waters ... er, have kicked up so much dust ... uh, have so confused the issue that not a lot of credible data remain to be found. Our philosophy has a lot of room for dreams, but heaven and earth are measurable, and that's where we should start. Such is my belief. It's rule number one.

As for crop circles, it's just stupid. Don't waste my time.

Opinion, y'see, should be informed by fact. Sure, we can have uninformed opinions. This would be called "ignorance". But we are allowed to be ignorant. I'm ignorant about many things. Almost every professional sport. I'm totally ignorant. Most contemporary music -- and some not so contemporary music. Uninformed. Yet I do have opinions about these things. They're boring, or ugly, or stupid. I would never argue for such opinions. I am, after all, uninformed, and my opinions amount only to personal tastes. "Ice cream is better than cookies!" "No! Cookies! Cookies are better!" "You're such a fool! Everyone knows it's ice cream!" "I can't believe I used to like you. Only an idiot would think that." And then there are things that can be tested.

My point? Well, I am, fundamentally, a moralist. The moral of the story is, then: Be skeptical. Be responsibly skeptical. It's rule number one.

Or else the CIA will have Bigfoot come in his UFO and assassinate Bush by blowing up the White House. Ah. It all fits. Quick, call up Rosie!


No comments: