Dialogue with a Skeptic
The following is the response from Tom Quinn to the information presented in Will Humanity Wake Up…in Time?, interspersed with my comments to him.
Tom accepted this “assignment” enthusiastically, as can be seen. It should be noted that Tom is the author of What Do You Do with a Chocolate Jesus, and a very bright, fun guy, who I’ve also interviewed on my radio show.
Tom has, wittingly or otherwise, helped to underscore what I perceive as a significant challenge in presenting the Meier material to the world, i.e. he has shown the difficulty that even very smart people have in critically – but objectively – researching and examining the Meier material. And the world is not mostly made up of people as smart as Tom, to put it bluntly.
Please note, when you get to my Summary Evaluation, that we may all be “students” and “professors” at various times in our lives.
TQ: Dear Michael:
Well, you certainly gave me a lot of homework, but I did look over the material you send, and did some digging besides. Much of it I’m familiar with, some of it was new, and all of it was very entertaining. I think the best thing to do is to just lay out how I see this entire thing and let that be my statement. You’ll certainly know where I’m coming from in the event you’d ever like to chat about this stuff on your show. It would be a hoot. So, here goes.
MH: Dear Tom,
Thanks, I’ll insert my comments following my initials, in bold to clearly separate them for the reader.
TQ: First, let’s see if have the story straight:
A race of aliens from a star system too young, hot and unstable for life has come to Earth to warn us to stop destroying our planet and ourselves.
MH: Not a good start scholarship wise! Aliens from another star system is not the topic of discussion.
TQ: They have the psychic ability to see the future. One of them was the real Jesus Christ (even though they are also involved with 2012, which has nothing to do with Christianity). And, rather than make themselves obvious to the world so we’d listen to them, they’ve remained in hiding and reveal themselves only through patterns of squished wheat, fuzzy photos, and telepathic messages to a ranting writer who predicts every imaginable calamity of man and nature—but who has been ignored because he’s been discredited by the CIA after they slipped phony UFO photos in with the “real” ones that proved his claims. Is that about right?
MH: Again, you’re off topic and, no, that isn’t “about right”. Being exact is a good idea when we wish to critically examine something, no? To clarify a few things, which may or may not make them more relevant, etc. in your perspective: Regarding seeing the future, while the “how” of the attainment of the information is not the issue here, one of the means is said to be through technological/computer calculations. We already have various “prophets” with varying degrees of accuracy: weathermen, stock analysts, sports analysts, engineers, astronomers, physicists…and many others.
They take known data and crunch it, making projections of probable outcomes to varying degrees of accuracy. Fortunately, those who also specialize in things like launching rockets to distant planets, even designing conventional aircraft, mining, building buildings, etc. do so with pretty high degrees of accuracy.
Next, Meier isn’t really “one of them” (“aliens”) and there was no Jesus Christ, as we both agree. Meier has only ever been Meier but yes, they speak of reincarnation of something called the human spirit, as a fact of life. We simply don’t know if this is true or not, we have no way to prove or disprove it and, for now, it’s not important.
I’m a little surprised at this rather unfounded assumption pertaining to our listening to them if they made themselves known to us. It wouldn’t be hard to argue against the idea that people are always willing to listen to strangers, let alone ones that would come out of spaceships. But the point you missed is that your very assumption about their not being “seen” indicates a rather narrow idea of what “showing oneself”, or giving evidence of one’s existence in this case, could be.
I detect here, and in this first brief scan of the letter, that you have conflated things absolutely not related to this specific article/compilation, and even to the overall case and its evidence, perhaps out of prejudgment or prejudice. For instance, where did you see anything pertaining to crop circles in the article I referred you to? If it’s not there, why have you inserted it?
As far as “fuzzy photos”, we’re certainly not talking about Meier’s, since they’re the absolutely clearest evidence to date…and well tested as well. Since you brought them into the discussion, did you not read the Photo Analysis? Naughty fellow!
As far as a “ranting writer”, where did you find rants in the article that I asked you to discuss? I hope that you provide some substantiation for your statements and claims. But even more I hope that you will have actually addressed the task at hand. So far, I detect more about some beliefs that you hold than anything pertaining to the actual information under discussion.
TQ: So… we’ve got aliens, psychics, Jesus Christ, the Mayan calendar, global warming, UFO photos, telepathy, and a CIA cover-up—all in the one big story. Wow. It’s kind of a tabloid disaster fest.
MH: Again, you’re completely off topic. And we’ve covered your (not exactly well presented) comments on the first few items but I’d have to ask, exactly what about the comments on the Mayan calendar would you take issue with, that it’s simply a pretty good astronomical picture of what the sky will look like on a certain date? More importantly, Meier’s information about the cause of the extinction of the Mayan – published by him in 1989 – was corroborated in 2003. It’s the corroboration of Meier’s previously published scientific information that is under discussion here…or is supposed to be.
And is it really outside the realm of possibility that the CIA just may have an interest in this case…even when we have the testimony of a respected military man and two top-level (skeptical) private investigators corroborating it? So, it may be a good idea when posing questions to…pose questions, or just come out and say, “I find this all to be ridiculous for the following reasons.” In which case it would be prudent to read in excess of 1,200 pages of investigative reporting on the case, spanning eight years, just so you don’t discredit your own argument by being ignorant of some long established facts.
But the real question is, will you ever get on topic?
TQ: Well, it won’t surprise you that for me, Billy Meier’s writing comes off as classic conspiracy theory stuff. It has all the trademarks:
1) The lone maverick with a Truth that is being suppressed by the CIA, the media, NASA, the military, and…well, you fill in the blank.
MH: Off topic again. It’s not important how Meier’s writing “comes off”? Is it factually correct, did he publish it first, etc.? And where is the “conspiracy theory stuff” in the article under discussion?
2) The almost evidence—Meier was given a metal alloy that was made by “cold fusion” (a concept shown to be a hoax), but naturally, it mysteriously disappeared so it can’t be tested. Oooo…so close! Betty and Barney Hill were given an alien book in their encounter, but the visitors took it back. Damn, if only… These bits of alien tech routinely disappear after the whistle-blower gets a look at them.
MH: I’m beginning to think that you did everything but read the document I referred you to. I will answer some of the erroneous statements, assumptions and claims that you make, since you’ve provided so little actual response to the matter under discussion.
I’m wondering why you got this wrong too. To be clear, the metal samples were tested, most notably by Marcel Vogel at IBM. His videotaped analysis is still available and the summary of his findings is freely posted on my site. But not a word about this is anywhere in the document I referred you to. Maybe you’re spending too much time with the hapless guys at IIG, who have tripped all over themselves in trying to attack the case. This has nothing to do with the Hill claims; why is it even brought up here if not, most likely, as an unconscious response on your part to try to attack the case?
Remember, I pointed you to one document, which I’m sure you’ll get to at some point. But right now…I would have an unfair advantage over you in a radio broadcast, or onstage debate, and I’m not looking for that, easy as you are making it here.
3) Mountains of hysterical writings that predict every calamity that man and nature could produce—a virtual guarantee that plenty of it will come about.
MH: Inaccurate, non-specific, and non-responsive to the matter at hand.
4) A lot of unremarkable predictions that were hardly unique to Meier—like his 1987 prediction that millions of new organisms would be found in the deep oceans.
MH: Well at least here you’re kind of citing something. But you left out an interesting little detail…like how the contemporary scientific estimates match so closely, numerically, with what Meier published a couple of decades ago. Coincidence, one of a kind? We’ll see.
5) Wild mischaracterizations of cherry-picked events as evidence of prophecy—like the tremor caused by the China dam. Sorry, but that one local event is not proof that there is an epidemic of earthquake activity caused by man. Not happening.
MH: I think you’ve just cherry picked, and you may not have done a very wise thing in doing so. We’ll come back to this one too.
6) A laughable knowledge of basic science. Earthquakes are caused by humans “robbing the earth of its life energy?” Really? In what units is “life energy” measured? Who discovered life energy? Newton? James Watt? What technology can detect this life energy? How does this energy cause tectonic shifts? Where’s the data?
MH: Well, let’s see. I think that the information given to Meier, in 1976, said a wee bit more than that, didn’t it? Didn’t it say that as a result of our mining, extracting of petroleum, etc. that the “earth collapses from within”? Now, apart from a little article written by Paul Siegal, a scientist at Stanford University in the 1990s, titled something like Earthquakes Oil Interact, in which he spelled out the same causal relationship, has it not occurred to you, just on the basis of logic/physics/geology, that when natural secretions of the earth that appear to act as a buffer or support for the tectonic plates are emptied out, that this will imbalance and make it more vulnerable to collapsing from within, to plate slippage or sudden, unsupported movements that we call earthquakes?
If such hasn’t occurred to you, then maybe you should have designed the planet, or at the very least explain how such obvious causal relationships actually don’t exist. So if the words “life energy” bother you, focus on the clear, logical explanation of the obvious mechanical components.
7) A bail-out excuse for missed predictions so you can never claim The Prophet got it wrong. Example: Meier predicted World War III would take place in 2003, 2006, 2008, 2010 or 2011—but he notes that these are “prophecies” (which may or may not come true) rather than “predictions” (which do come true). Sorry, but if a statement may or may not come true, it’s not a prophecy—it’s a guess. And by labeling every bad call a mere “prophecy,” you’re not working with fair or scientific standards. You’ve built in an escape hatch.
MH: There is a distinction made between the two, and I dare say that we also make such distinctions, sometimes without the need for any credentials or “special powers”. It comes down, again to the laws of cause and effect, or the law of the pendulum as I often refer to it. The WW III prophecy is, and always has been, just that. The 9.0 earthquake that will hit off the Oregon coast, and the next big San Francisco earthquake, are predictions…and there are more of both.
8) You’re trying to prove an incredible claim (aliens visiting Earth) with an equally incredible claim (psychic visions of the future). It’s like claiming you have proof that the Loch Ness monster exists because an angel told you about it. A miracle explains a miracle.
MH: Not at all. I’m using corroborated documentation, very little of which you’ve yet mentioned (and look how far into this we are!). You’ve mainly resorted to a form of cynicism and ridicule, which is the least scientific approach I can think of. You’ve also misrepresented most of the information you were trying to discredit.
I will, from here, direct you to my *Summary Evaluation of your comments that continue below, as well as to your entire submission.
TQ: Most fascinating to me, however, is the pseudo-science:
Ex: Man has lost his magnetic sensitivity and animals are also losing it due industrial ravaging of the earth.
Nowhere in classic literature or history do great explorers talk about this skill. Columbus, Stanley and Livingston, Magellan, Lewis and Clark, the Donner Party… Somehow they all got lost long well before industry interfered with our magnetic sensitivity. As for animals losing this power, there is no doubt human technology can screw up animal communication—like the noise of ships drowning out whale songs. But there is no proof that whales beach themselves due to magnetic disorientation, and birds are not having any noticeable problem flying their usual migration routes. Global warming may change their migrations, but human interference with earth’s magnetic field? Are you kidding? That field is created by the spinning molten core of our planet. We couldn’t fuck that up if we tried.
Ex: Darwin got his ideas about evolution from Tibetan monks, who taught that men were descended from apes.
Darwin specifically noted that man was not descended from apes; he taught that apes and man have a common ancestor. And he didn’t invent the idea of evolution; he figured out how evolution actually worked—through natural selection. Speculations about evolution were around at least 50 years before Darwin’s time. Tibetan monks didn’t come up with that, nor did Meier’s aliens. There are documented places across South America where Darwin got each puzzle piece of his theory, and wrote about it. All the parts were there for assembly back in England. He also cited earlier works that suggested evolution but offer no mechanism for how it worked. None of his citations are of Tibetans.
Ex: Earthquakes, volcanoes, and tsunamis are on the rise due to human activity.
The experts keep count of this stuff and there has been no dramatic increase earthquakes, volcanoes, or tsunamis since Meier starting writing. We like to think there is; it makes for good “end of the world” specials on Discovery network. But there is no statistical increase in any of these phenomena, and even if there were, none of them are caused by human activity. Sorry, but a quake that “some believe might have been stronger due to the world’s largest dam in China” is not proof that seismic catastrophes are the product of human industry. No credible scientist blames any of the major quakes, volcanoes or tsunamis of recent history on human activity.
Ex: The moon landing was faked.
Sigh… This one really wins the stupid award. First, if we faked it, the Russians had both the technology and the motivation to expose that—and they still do. So far, we haven’t heard from them. Second, if it was faked, we still had to build and launch dozens of giant, expensive rockets in front of thousands of spectators—which is the most costly part of the process. If you’re going to do that, why not go all the way? Further, I was an amateur radio freak as a kid and I could hear the astronauts on their way to the moon on my radio. And amateurs around the world could triangulate the direction of the signal from their various locations—which not only proved it was coming from space but could determine how far they were from Earth at any moment. And if you go to a good observatory tonight and look at the moon, you can actually see the bottom half of the lunar landers sitting on the surface.
Meier’s harrowing visions are in good company with The Book of Revelation, Nostradamus, Martin Luther, William Miller, Edgar Cayce, Jean Dixon, Hal Lindsey, Paul Ehrlich and other pop prognosticators who were certain The End, or some series of catastrophes, was coming soon to the planet near you. All were wrong. Their fans now do what you are doing—cherry-picking the stuff they can still salvage ignoring or spinning the boo-boos.
The only parts of Meier’s work I found truly fascinating were the few instances where Meier got very specific, like when he predicted in 1958 that the Soviet Union will dissolve before 1991 and that America would got to war with Iraq and it would involve a father-son pair of presidents. I’d like to see a physical book, bound and printed before 1980 (a book, not a report) with those exact predictions in it. That would be interesting.
Until then, might I recommend a podcast on my website: TRQuinn.com.
Click on Podcasts, then click on the one entitled “Eight Rules to Successful Prophecy.” You’ll like it!
The Alien Problem:
For me, the overall problem with Meier is the idea of alien visitation itself, never mind telepathy or psychic visions of the future.
The whole idea that a race of humanoid beings has been visiting us for a least half a century, concealing their presence but still making enough of an impression that we know they are here, works like most legends. The evidence is always just over the hill, or just around the corner, and known only to a fated few. The rest of us only get their stories, which could be dead accurate or entirely delusional. The Bible works the same way with the same kind of incredible stories. The fact that these aliens have the concerns and sensibilities of 1970s New Age eco-activists—the very kind of folks prone to believing in psychics and supernatural powers—seems to be no small coincidence.
Here’s my problem. A distant planet with an alien environment, biochemistry, and evolutionary history produced creatures that look more like us than any of the life forms on Earth do (even though they share our DNA and evolutionary history). They evolved to their present form at the same brief moment in galactic history as we did (add or subtract a million years and at least one us will look different). They arrived on our planet at just the right time when such ideas would have popular credibility (the dawn of spaceflight). And they communicate using sacred geometric symbols pressed into wheat fields at just the time when sacred geometry became popular with New Age baby boomers (the 1970s). But they are also in league with the CIA (though God knows why), or they are being thwarted by the CIA (which can apparently stifle the secret of their presence better than the aliens can advertise it).
Further, I am unimpressed by these “advanced” beings. They act and think too much like us. Their technology is not all that advanced (after all, one of their ships supposedly crashed, and now they can’t get it away from the humans). Their level of intelligence isn’t that much greater than ours (would we bother to teach ants to live in harmony with one another or fret about how cruel they are to the Earth and each other?). They have to kidnap people to study them (as if performing anal probes on a spaceship is going to elicit normal human behavior. Couldn’t they use the internet, watch TV, or just show up for a nice conversation?) They seem to want to deliver a message, but they contact us through midnight visits in the woods, cryptic symbols in remote fields, and psychic revelations to people of no significance. (Just what does Meier do for a living? He doesn’t look very employable. And why didn’t these future-seeing aliens warn him about the Turkish bus that took off his arm? That would have been a useful prophecy.)
I’m sorry Michael, but it all reads like a 50s version of little green men who want us to take them to our leader. It’s a very thin sandwich considering the enormity of what Meier is claiming to be true. It has the same elusive flavor as Bible literalists trying to prove Noah’s flood or find where Eden was. I wish it were all true, and I spent much of youth believing it was. It was because I kept learning about this stuff, and kept seeing the same “mirage” process over and over (the closer you get, the more the evidence fades), that I came to dismiss it. Proof of such an astounding claim needs more than doomsday talk and fuzzy photos to be taken seriously.
Hope I haven’t offended, but I’m kind of in the business of not mincing words. Anyway, it’s all fun stuff to kick around, and I think it all says interesting things about people and their natural desire for leadership and wisdom and a vision of something better.
Thanks for indulging me!
From: Michael Horn [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, August 26, 2010 2:41 PM
To: thomas quinn
I trust that all is going well since last we spoke.
I've got an idea for you. I'd like you to go through this article and then see if you have a credible skeptical argument against the information being made available to Meier by extraterrestrials.
So that you know, we have a lot - but not all - of the information in copyrighted, dated books and documents, published well before "official discovery". By that I mean anywhere from a few months to over 50 years before.
As much as I agree with busting the illogical, choking religions, I also want to bust through the idea that Meier hoaxed his evidence. Of course to do so would mean that the Meier case really is the most important story in human history...and that the guys at IIG are going to have some big headaches.
Let me know.
It can be clearly seen that the assignment pertained to the information contained in one specific article, a compilation of numerous, verifiably corroborated scientific information previously published by Mr. Meier, prior to the “official discovery”, or occurrence of the facts specified. Unfortunately, the student went far a field from the outset, revealing in the process not only a lack of understanding of the assignment but immediately, i.e. from the very beginning, overlaying it with his own belief system about what could or couldn’t be true and also almost immediately “tabloidizing” the entire matter under discussion.
That was, as the above email shows, not the assignment.
Further, the student set a tone from the outset that was condescending, i.e. making sure to inform that he found the matter “entertaining”, which is actually irrelevant to the discussion and, considering how inadequate his responses and arguments were, something that may well have been more of an indicator of his lack of understanding of the task, and inability to perform it according to reasonable scientific and/or academic standards.
Instead of using such objective standards for addressing the material, and even though the professor tacitly allowed a less than rigorous scientific approach by himself inviting a “credible skeptical argument”, the nature of skepticism itself being a belief based school of thought, the student effectively presented no argument or explanation for Mr. Meier’s preemptive publication of the information but rather only offered cynical dismissals of any and everything connected to Mr. Meier. However, from the beginning, the student operated under his own expressed belief system, whether consciously or not; his opening line was: “First, let’s see if I have the story straight…”
Clearly he didn’t.
There was no “story” under discussion, only published, factual information and the assignment was to present a credible argument against it. Nowhere in the assignment, it must be emphasized, was there any mention of Jesus Christ, aliens, the CIA, or anything to do with UFOs. As a matter of fact, the term UFO only appears four times in the compilation under discussion and never is it connected to any of the scientific information. Nothing whatsoever rests on UFOs. So how did the student manage to drag all this – and more – into the discussion?
He tells us right in the beginning:
“Well, you certainly gave me a lot of homework, but I did look over the material you send, and did some digging besides. Much of it I’m familiar with, some of it was new, and all of it was very entertaining.”
The pity may be that he didn’t do the “digging” in the voluminous documentation that was under discussion. And, based on his performance, his inability to address the topic, the “look over” of the material doesn’t indicate any familiarity with it and neither does the body of his own work reveal much more than that he was consistently trying to fit the material to his beliefs. As previously mentioned, this is consistent with a religious approach to information that is outside of one’s belief systems.
Let’s revisit some of the specifics to which preliminary comments were made by me above. In the student’s item 2) he states:
“The almost evidence—Meier was given a metal alloy that was made by “cold fusion” (a concept shown to be a hoax), but naturally, it mysteriously disappeared so it can’t be tested. Oooo…so close! Betty and Barney Hill were given an alien book in their encounter, but the visitors took it back. Damn, if only… These bits of alien tech routinely disappear after the whistle-blower gets a look at them.”
Since the student himself emphasizes “almost”, further commentary is called for here. Couple with the fact that the student didn’t trouble himself to obtain, or even inquire about, the video recording of Marcel Vogel’s examination of the physical evidence, the use of the word almost only reinforces his clear prejudice and close mindedness. He misrepresents the entire facts of the matter with every following word.
Now, since the student himself is the author of a book that relies heavily on “almost evidence”, i.e. references to past historical personages whose existence cannot be proven by the standards expressed and implied by the author, his completely pervasive, condescending tone only encapsulates his argument in an aura of amateurism and incompetence. Since the student decided to bring the metal sample issue into the equation – though it’s nowhere to be found within the compilation under discussion – it is appropriate to point out that, unlike the student in regards to his own book, Mr. Meier’s experiences have not only highly credible scientists like Marcel Vogel, and defense industry astrophysicist David Froning, and NASA scientist Michael Malin attesting to the credibility and authenticity of his evidence and information, but also dozens of eyewitnesses, including a now retired UN diplomat with sufficiently detailed witness accounts and the fact that some 17 of these witnesses took lie detector tests attesting to the genuineness of Mr. Meier’s experiences, etc., which they all passed as 100% truthful.
Indeed, this departure is merely for the purpose of showing that the student has embarked on irrelevant pathways of discussion for which he is also ill prepared. To cynically call into question the fact that there is an audio-visual recording of the analysis of the metal evidence, simply because the student was neither present at the actual event nor is the evidence any longer available is to discredit…most of accepted history and even science as we know it. The student himself has to rely on the best available knowledge, for instance, as it pertains to the stars and other heavenly bodies since he can actually see few of them in detail himself (let alone hold them in his hands) and has to take the word of others as to what they are composed of, etc.
But more to the point, all that he and most of the world may take for granted as being historically accurate is based on no longer available evidence. Yes, we can find the ruins of a referred to ancient city but does that prove that someone named Aristotle existed and lived there? Only if we take the writings ascribed to, and about, him as factually correct. And who more than the student himself takes great issue with the existence of Jesus Christ, whose reality is accepted by billions of people? While that seemingly rhetorical question can be answered with “Billy Meier and his associates”, the point is that the palpable prejudice – and absolutely appalling lack of knowledge about the facts that he would ridicule instead of research – destroy any slight sense of objectivity or logic in addressing this entire matter.
And should the student actually wish to take issue with the validity of eyewitness accounts, which would be destructive to his own book, it must be pointed out that what is uniquely compelling in this matter is that the eyewitnesses (in the Meier case) not only now surpass 100 in number but that so many of them were witness to numerous, repeated events in broad daylight and that at least five of them also captured the phenomena on film.
So let this diversion into the specifics of the matter not under discussion simply illustrate how over one’s head the student is by attempting to use that which he truly knows nothing about to bolster his argument…while avoiding the matter at hand.
In his point number 3) above, the student states:
“Mountains of hysterical writings that predict every calamity that man and nature could produce—a virtual guarantee that plenty of it will come about.”
Once again, of course, the student fails to give any specific examples, especially of the “hysterical writings” contained within the piece he was assigned to argue against. Tellingly, the student’s own rhetoric is in itself a bit hysterical.
But when he tries to get specific, in number 4), for which some credit is deserved:
“A lot of unremarkable predictions that were hardly unique to Meier—like his 1987 prediction that millions of new organisms would be found in the deep oceans.”
…the student displays remarkably poor scholarship, even in light of how clearly the accurate information is presented in both Mr. Meier’s information:
“some 12,000,000 undiscovered types and kinds of living creatures”
…and in the scientific report:
“10 million species in the sea”
The fact that there may, or would, be millions or more of each of the types/species is not the coinciding factor, it’s how closely the estimates of the number of those types/species were. Seemingly, the student chose to ignore the essence of the similarities in order to diminish Mr. Meier’s credibility, and only diminishes his own with his continued adjectival use, solely employed to insert his own prejudices into the argument.
In points number 5) and 6), the student states:
“Wild mischaracterizations of cherry-picked events as evidence of prophecy—like the tremor caused by the China dam. Sorry, but that one local event is not proof that there is an epidemic of earthquake activity caused by man. Not happening.”
“A laughable knowledge of basic science. Earthquakes are caused by humans “robbing the earth of its life energy?” Really? In what units is “life energy” measured? Who discovered life energy? Newton? James Watt? What technology can detect this life energy? How does this energy cause tectonic shifts? Where’s the data?”
Considering how many events are referred to in the article, it appears that the student is the one who has “cherry-picked” the ones he wishes to address, which is fine, though he tackles so few of them and does so superficially at best.
However, he uses hyperbole, “an epidemic of earthquakes caused by man”, and asks, “Where’s the data?”, to attempt to dismiss the now scientifically correlated causal connection, earlier evidence for which I referred to above. Had the student reviewed, and commented on, the specific information contained within the actual news stories about earthquakes in the compilation, and in the article about sink holes also linked from within the compilation, he may have been able to at least attempt to present some argument against the causal corollary but he shows his inadequacy in not only failing to do so but in his abrupt, unsubstantiated conclusion: “Not happening.”
It must be pointed out that no matter the student’s high intelligence, a certain indisputable lack of intellectual honesty is pervasive. Such blatant affronts to logic and objectivity as the attempted overlay of a skeptical context rather than a scientific one, the implication that all items characterized in a tabloid manner by the student are, therefore, exactly the superstitious, silly, stuff that he makes them out to be, the condescending tone invoking the “entertainment” value, etc. are all indicative of an undisciplined, failed thought process that substitutes haughtiness and ridicule for even the tiniest bit of objectivity.
Again, in addition to comments that were quickly inserted above at the first reading, in number 7) the student states:
“A bail-out excuse for missed predictions so you can never claim The Prophet got it wrong. Example: Meier predicted World War III would take place in 2003, 2006, 2008, 2010 or 2011—but he notes that these are “prophecies” (which may or may not come true) rather than ‘predictions’ (which do come true). Sorry, but if a statement may or may not come true, it’s not a prophecy—it’s a guess. And by labeling every bad call a mere ‘prophecy,’ you’re not working with fair or scientific standards. You’ve built in an escape hatch.”
I would only add to my original comments by saying that WW III is indeed only referred to as a prophecy and not a prediction, as the student again wrongly states. But I will certainly allow the student’s dissatisfaction with the numerous dates provided and refrain from any comments on the positive implications of none of those possible dates as having yet manifested. However, I will point out that to state that “if one does thus and so, then this will occur”, is not a guess. It is effectively a prophecy, for it doesn’t say that such and such will occur with certainty but only if certain steps are taken, or missed. Of course we use this type of warning in virtually all areas of life, even in the earliest stages of parenting. Stating cause and effect is hardly a fault.
And when he says, “And by labeling every bad call a mere ‘prophecy,’ you’re not working with fair or scientific standards. You’ve built in an escape hatch.” he once again oversteps the issue, and his own credibility. Where is “every bad call” that he refers to? Certainly by tasking the student with critiquing the article, a compilation of many dozens of examples Mr. Meier’s specific information, the student should have delved into it in order to substantiate his generalizations. In fact, the Meier material is unique because of its impeccable record of proven accuracy. And the student does absolutely nothing to challenge – let alone refute – that record.
Seemingly dedicated to an agenda that precluded not only any objective and intellectual honesty but even a hint of scholarship, the student states the following in number 8):
“You’re trying to prove an incredible claim (aliens visiting Earth) with an equally incredible claim (psychic visions of the future). It’s like claiming you have proof that the Loch Ness monster exists because an angel told you about it. A miracle explains a miracle.”
A quick glance at the original assignment reveals that there is nothing of the sort contained, or even implied, in it. There is no mention of aliens, psychic visions, the Loch Ness monster, angels or miracles anywhere in it.
Another huge problem for the student is made evident again in his comment, i.e. he is attempting to categorically dismiss the information because he has assumed that it must be connected to presumably “paranormal” claims. The “how” of the obtaining of the information is not at all the issue. That can be wrestled with, if needs be, once there is a recognition of the factually correct nature of Mr. Meier’s information, or not, should that be the case. But it appears that the student has squandered the opportunity to even begin that discussion, having pretty well mangled the task at hand.
As I did not above, I won’t go into the specifics of the four examples (Ex:) but to state that the student uses anecdotal, non-specific statements in place of actual substantiated rebuttals, as none are presented. I have also addressed some of his comments both in the body of the text above and in this Evaluation.
In regards to:
Meier’s harrowing visions are in good company with The Book of Revelation, Nostradamus, Martin Luther, William Miller, Edgar Cayce, Jean Dixon, Hal Lindsey, Paul Ehrlich and other pop prognosticators who were certain The End, or some series of catastrophes, was coming soon to the planet near you. All were wrong. Their fans now do what you are doing—cherry-picking the stuff they can still salvage ignoring or spinning the boo-boos.”
“The Alien Problem:
For me, the overall problem with Meier is the idea of alien visitation itself, never mind telepathy or psychic visions of the future.”
I’m sure that anyone can now easily understand how irrelevant and non-responsive to the task at hand these two unrelated commentaries are. Like the previous ones, it doesn’t apply to, nor belong in, any reference or examination of the compilation under discussion. And, of course, the so-called – but non-existent – “boo-boos”, solely imagined to exist by the student, are never substantiated factually.
Since the student himself states, in his concluding comments:
“Hope I haven’t offended, but I’m kind of in the business of not mincing words. Anyway, it’s all fun stuff to kick around, and I think it all says interesting things about people and their natural desire for leadership and wisdom and a vision of something better.
Thanks for indulging me!”
…I know that he will appreciate my own directness as well. And it is therefore also appropriate to show that pointing out his condescension, skeptical religiosity, prejudices, intellectual dishonesty, lack of seriousness, etc. – and apparent inability to attend to the specific task at hand – is the only honest response possible for me.
Knowing that the student is indeed a highly intelligent, capable person, while I am disappointed in his performance, I don’t preclude the possibility that he will be able to perform such a task using objective, scientific and academically respectable methods of thinking and examination of evidence. But to do so will most likely require that he comes to terms with what is, effectively, a religious obstacle, that being the kind of belief based thinking, which has its mind already made up beforehand, and that is typical of the movement of skepticism to which he freely attaches himself.
He is always welcome, of course, to resubmit a more sober, detailed, substantiated response, based on the same quality of factual evidence and documentation as is contained within the compilation.
In regards to the student’s
offer, in his opening paragraph:
“You’ll certainly know where I’m coming from in the event you’d ever like to chat about this stuff on your show. It would be a hoot. “
Since I have no desire to humiliate him in such an interaction as he is demonstrably so ill prepared for, I would graciously decline his offer, for now. I do think that making this exchange available can serve as an example of the challenges inherent in presenting thoroughly well documented information to highly intelligent people, for whom the entire context lies well beyond their personal belief systems, and thereby – despite even their conscious efforts – trumps the application of their intellectual abilities.
September 1, 2010