Listener Feedback X
Another dip into the listener feedback files for Skeptoid.
As I sit here at my desk, it's a beautiful fall morning, sunny and clear. What better way to brighten it even further, than to open my inbox, and hear what some of my detractors have to say. People often ask me if all my email is really this bad. The fact is that very little negative feedback ever comes through email; it's almost always posted to the web comment form. I guess the people who hate me don't want the comparatively personal confrontation of email. In fact I welcome it, so bring it on! But for today, here is a selection of a few more interesting snippets of feedback.
The first comes from Rob in Burbank, CA, regarding my episode on The Rendlesham Forest UFO. In 1980, some new young recruits to an airfield in the UK chased a blinking light through the forest, unaware it was merely the beam of a nearby lighthouse. Later some of them embellished the story to turn it into a fullblown UFO encounter. Like many people who watch the cable networks, Rob seems to prefer the supernatural explanation:
I have no idea whether a shield may have since been installed, but if you've been "studying the case for years", you've no doubt seen the video of the lighthouse taken from the base, and read the police reports taken on that night where the local constables stated the airmen were following the lighthouse. So there certainly was no shield in 1980. I find this assertion bizarre. You also ask about Col. Halt's report and the statement from Ministry of Defense. For time constraints I summarized their contents in the episode, because they don't really contain anything particularly interesting. But if you'd like to see them for yourself, here are links to them: Col. Halt's memo, statement from the Ministry of Defense. Col. Halt simply reported the stories given by the men, which I gave in detail; and the Ministry of Defense simply said that as far as they're concerned it's a non-incident. If this is your best evidence that "I'm a flake" and I cherrypicked evidence, I hope your profession is not in research.
On a lighter note, here's a profound and insightful thought from "Mr. Nook" on the "East Coast" of the USA, on my episode about shadow people:
If that's really the way I am, why do you want to be like me? Oh well, I guess we all have our aspirations.
Here's a good one. My episode on multilevel marketing, predictably, drew in all sorts of multilevel marketers, who used the comment form as a stump from which to pitch their miracle business plan. "Team Acai Chico" from Chico, CA, posted the following:
Take a look at that document. After the $2K minimum required purchases, it shows that 85% lost money, and 97% made less than $7K/yr. How reliable is that? All the data is self-reported ON THE ORDERING FORM!!!! But even crazier, a sharp reader pointed out that to even be included on that statement, you have to have recruited at least one person and received at least one bonus. MonaVie reported to Newsweek that fewer than 1% of their distributors who make these required purchases ever qualified for any commission at all, so the remaining 99% who never recovered a dime are all excluded from the "averages" reported on this statement. So, in effect, this document (produced for marketing purposes) boasts that 99% of all MonaVie participants, plus 85% of the top 1%, lose money. This is the best that Team Acai Chico can come up with to try to impress me?? Like I said in the episode: Victims like Team Acai Chico are susceptible to these plans for two reasons — (a) lack of business acumen, and (b) poor math skills.
"PJ" from "DK" had this to say on my episode about the safety of food cooked in a microwave oven:
Let me just ask you a question, PJ. What happens to the average normal human being as they age? They feel worse, their memory and concentration seems to go. These are called "symptoms of life". They're the things that happen to most people as they get older. But let me ask you another question: Over that entire decade where you've eaten microwaved food, have you ever done anything else that might affect your health? Have you aged? Are you obese? Do you smoke, drink, exercise, swim in toxic waste, take good care of yourself? Do you have any congenital conditions? Is it really likely that eating microwaved food is the only risk factor you've been exposed to? Why single it out?
Do you feel you're not as young as you used to be? Yes. Do you eat microwaved food? Yes. Omigod, a correlation!!! Let me ask you one more question: Do you use toothpaste? Yes? Omigod!!! It must be poison!
I did an episode called Screwed, a musical parody of a meeting of a secret society of Illuminati planning their takeover of the world through conspiracy and deceit. I waited curiously to see what people this one would draw from the woodwork, and was not disappointed in the person of Joe from Hanover, ON. Interestingly, Joe was, for a while, one of the most prolific posters of pro-Christian commentary on the website, preaching Biblical literalism and Young Earth creation. When he heard Screwed, Joe said:
It's funny. Of course everyone (or almost everyone) agrees that unreasonable invasion of our privacy is detrimental in many ways. I don't like it that everything I buy with my debit card can be tracked. I don't like it that phones and emails can be tapped, even though I don't have any particular reason to care. What I do is my business. To that point, I think most of us would agree with Joe. And I'll agree with Joe on one other point: There is almost certainly something out there that most of us don't know about that would allow the goverment to track some aspect of what we do. I don't care for that. But tracing your point-of-sale purchases and archiving your Gmail are not really the driving evils of the type of secret society I was parodying in Screwed.
Where Joe leaves the realm of rationality is in his belief that such tracking is not only pervasive and malevolent, it extends to far more than just surveillance and constitutes control. He believes his life is being controlled by a secret power. He believes that anyone who does not embrace a belief in this secret power has had the wool pulled over their eyes. Secret, Joe, means secret. That means you don't know about it. That means there is no evidence. There's nothing secret or mysterious about ATM transactions. The secret overlords manipulating Joe are really just one more expression of his faith. Well Joe, I don't choose to live and make my decisions outside the realm of what's real. I don't put entities whose very existence requires faith in charge of my life. If you prefer to do so, then there's a secret alien entity out there that wants you to make large contributions to Skeptoid.
I like to always close with a particularly fun one. I did a joke episode about homeopathy. It was ten minutes of silence, which I thought was a fun way to make the point. Tom from Dusseldorf had this to say:
Even, apparently, when I spew nothing at all.
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