Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Damn You Facebook!!!

My time for political discourse has been limited and fragmented and has mostly occurred on Facebook.  I hope to copy and paste a few of those "discussions" to this blog and then spending more time writing cohesive, long pieces.  Trying to debate with believers is like beating your head against the wall.  I won't stop so I guess I'm insane, but every once in a while someone says, "You changed my mind" about something and that means there's one person out there armed with the facts.  One person who understands the argument and maybe a little how to make the argument stick.  It's a nice feeling.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Shhhhh... Be Vewy Quiet...

I'm hunting wabbits.

Not really.  My life become an unexpected trainwreck a few weeks ago but I promise to post some amazing content in the next few days!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Death Party! March 1, 2013!

Ding dong this worthless piece of shit is dead.  Fuck him and fuck everyone that loved him.  Big party next year to celebrate a year on earth much improved by his absence from it.

[updated 3/3/2012]  By "everyone that loved him" I was referring to his fans, not his family or friends. -AM

Sunday, January 22, 2012

9/11 Was Not an Inside Job

Recently a friend of mine and sporadic co-host of my podcast, Dr. David Overbey, saw a “9/11 inside job” “documentary” and was swayed by it, not knowing that he was being sold a rather old bag of bullshit.  Now I’m not saying the Bush administration is not to blame for the disaster that 9/11 was, nor am I saying that it wasn’t allowed to happen by the craven and evil bastards that made up that bunch.  But these wild theories of controlled demolition and missiles instead of airplanes are just that:  wild theories proposed and propagated by unqualified conspiracy theorists in opposition to real world data and eye witness accounts.  They are malicious fiction.

I have a lot of problems with conspiracy theories, mostly that they impugn hundreds (or even millions in the case of climate change denial) of scientists and enormous amounts of hard data.  The very idea that all the scientists, technicians, investigators, assistants, secretaries, law officers, attorneys, and everyone else involved in the examination of 9/11 and the World Trade Center collapses are lying about not only the conclusions of all the thousands of different tests and analyses but the accusation that they falsified data and altered evidence across the board makes me absolutely furious.  The people that make these conspiracy movies and blogs are not scientists and they are preying on the American public’s ignorance of how science functions to make sure they get paid to speak at conventions, their books are purchased, websites are visited, and tickets to their movies are purchased.  They are leeches and charlatans no better than the nineteenth century snake oil salesmen.  Science is a meritocracy.  You don’t become the head of a scientific organization because you bought some cameras with your mom’s credit card and made a movie.  You start learning the basics in elementary and high school, then you learn more detail and methodology in college, and start to put that knowledge into practice in post graduate education and as a professional. 

Scientists are not perfect and they are not immune to the influence of fame and money, any more than normal people are, and I would argue that for most scientists the very idea of falsifying data or conclusions is the ultimate sin.  But conspiracists are all frauds to some degree.  They may believe what they’re saying but what they believe is wrong and by a) not using rigorous methodology to test their hypotheses and b) continuing to spread their lies as if they were proven they make themselves frauds.  For the most part scientists are specialists in a particular subject or field, not general, uneducated theorists like conspiracists.  The people that make movies like this have done nothing other than come up with a theory and then forced facts to fit that theory.  Science exams the facts and data and sees what that tells them, testing hypotheses with the goal of causing them to fail if they will.  Real scientists do everything they can to test how strong their theories are and, if they have extraordinary conclusions they actively look to other scientists to further test these conclusions, often in the hopes that they made a mistake they couldn’t catch.  That’s science.  None of these movie makers/bloggers are metallurgists with a lifetime of experience looking at the molecular structure of materials and how they react to conditions like occurred after the collisions and fires.  None of them are experts in fluid dynamics or combustible materials or architecture or design.  But using still frames from blurry movies, tenuous logical leaps, and ominous music, they are so bold as to deny and contradict what these expert scientists have concluded after extensive study of the data returned from extensive lab tests of the materials from the sites, data recorded in black boxes, radar stations, radio logs, data from examination of the site itself, and data contained on entire videos, not a single frame of a window blowing out that is then called the result of an explosive rather than the massively compressing air in the buildings.

The people that buy these ridiculous conspiracy theories don’t seem to understand that it’s not just one guy or two or a couple dozen that are coming to the conclusions that show what actually happened.  In the case of the WTC collapses there are literally thousands of people involved in the investigations.  Thousands.  Most of them are simple lab technicians who were doing the grunt work of examining and analysing samples of material from the sites.  Hundreds were men on the ground, looking for sections of the building’s frames that were relevant to the collapses (while dealing with the horror of the pulverized remains of thousands of their fellow citizens).  Hundreds of different scientists in different locations were going over the data provided and testing every possible hypothesis.  They all wanted to know how such an awful thing could have happened and, again, the idea that they all lied and continue to lie to all of us is so incredibly insulting to all those people that it makes me taste bile in anger.  The evidence shows, plain and simple, that the fires weakened the structures and caused them to collapse.  Building 7 got help from tons of debris on the roof and the violence of the two big buildings coming down right next to it but it was mostly the fire.  End of story.  The conspiracists know that it’s easy to tell people that They are “covering it up” because most people envision one scientist in a white lab coat who has done everything and has just made everything up and lied to us not seeing how many people would have to be participating in this vast invention of fact.  If the data were being falsified the people who actually did the work would be coming out of the woodwork in droves to disclaim the results.  They’re not because it didn’t happened.

I am not about to argue the myriad lies told by the 9/11 nuts.  It has been done in depth and at great length and can easily be found by Googling “9/11 debunked.”  Popular Mechanics has an excellent series of articles that condenses the conclusions of scientists and, surprise surprise, they are not the wild theories of these crackpots and snake oil salesmen that make their living off lying to you.  Impact and fire explain the WTC collapses.  A jet hit the Pentagon (there really are pictures of it going in) and a fourth jet did a nose dive after the passengers attacked the hijackers.  The 9/11 conspiracists are in the same league with the vaccination deniers, holocaust deniers, climate change deniers, moon landing deniers, alien abduction promoters, chemtrails believers, big foot believers, psychics, fluoride fear mongers, and the like and the main thing they do is muddy the waters with their bullshit and extract money from the pockets of true believers.  They distract intelligent people from what is really happening, causing them to waste their time and energy worrying about the wrong stuff. 

There are questions about 9/11 that need to be answered, but the ones the conspiracists harp on have been answered but by their circular logic if you deny what they say is true you are part of the conspiracy that’s covering it up.  Any proof you give to the conspiracists and Believers will be countered by the “cover up” claim because there’s this conspiracy to lie to everyone in the world about what “really” happened.  Again, the insult to the investigators is just horrendous.  The incredible incompetence and arrogance embodied by the Bush administration is squarely to blame for the 9/11 disaster.  They were told Al Qaeda was planning an attack like this, they even ran a drill loosely based on the scenario.  They had shut down Clinton’s anti-terrorism efforts, not to allow this to happen necessarily, but because they were a bunch of stupid assholes that had decided that anything Clinton had started must go without a moment’s thought to the program’s value.  I have my suspicions that Cheney and Rumsfeld and the rest of the criminals that made up that administration secretly were hoping for an attack, but I’m pretty sure they never imagined the attacks would be so incredibly deadly and disastrous and I don’t think they knew it was going to happen that day.  They did not hesitate on taking us into the wars they had been thirsting for for a decade or more and immediately began destroying our rights in the name of security, there is no doubt of this, but there is enormous doubt as to whether they planned and executed these attacks themselves.  By going that extra step the Believers negate their entire argument against these crooks and they all go free in the end because millions of intelligent people around the world are barking up the conspiracy tree instead of the incompetence tree.  The conspiracists were muddying the water from 9/12/2001 onwards.  I really wonder how many of them were/are on Cheney’s payroll.  There’s a conspiracy I can believe in.

Overbey used a phrase the conspiracists like to plant in people’s minds, that he was trying to “think for himself.”  But when you are accepting weak and bogus arguments filled with logical fallacies and in complete opposition to facts you are letting the conspiracists think for you. 

Alan Miller

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Two Misplaced Posts

I'm not sure how this happened but these two short pieces ended up on my art blog and I never noticed.  Here they are, in their rightful place:

November 24, 2011
Bat Shit Crazy Report: Bachmann Leaves Me Speechless

November 20,2011
Bat Shit Crazy Report: She's Baaaack!!!

Birther queen Orly Taitz is back and she's as batshit crazy as ever.  Yes, having her law license revoked and being fined for wasting the time of California courts means nothing to this lunatic.  She filed a suit to have President Obama removed from the ballot in New Hampshire which was summarily and unanimously thrown out by the Ballot Law Commission.