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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 04/10/2006 :  23:35:36  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message
I've just returned from a trip to San Diego county along with my adult daughter, to attend my Dad's 90th birthday party. The party was a weekend-long event, taking place at Warner Springs Ranch, in the foothills near Palomar.

Warner was a former Native American settlement, and now consists of a group of rental adobe "casitas," several larger buildings, a hot spring spa, and many other sports and entertainment venues. The Cantina there is an old Butterfield Stage station. One of the casitas was once Kit Carson's residence. Nearby was fought a battle in which charging Californio lancers defeated General Fremont's American troops, due to the lucky circumstance of a drizzling rain that prevented Fremont's men from firing their flintlocks. This battle was the Californio's only victory.

Anyway, my Dad is still going strong after alll these years, and is in much better shape than I am, both mentally and physically. Twenty-eight people came from all over the West for the weekend, to celebrate his life thus far.

In my very first posting on this site, I mentioned my brother's friend (Stan), who is a certifiable conspiracy nut. My brother is not nearly so much a crackpot, but it now appears my brother has subscribed to the "911 Al Qaeda Denier" way of thinking. For instance, he now swears no airliner hit the Pentagon. It has always been a mystery to me as to how and especially why some people can come up with such strange "theories" to explain events like 911. But a small event Saturday evening at Warner Springs finally gave me an insight into this matter.

The spa area at Warner Springs has two roughly "Olympic-sized" pools, one filled with hot, sulfrous water piped in from the nearby hot spring, the other with cool water. Each night while I was there, the hot pool was filled with a couple dozen people. Late Saturday, a terrible, inhuman roaring sound came from just outside the spa's fence. People lookd at one another and openly speculated as to whether the noise was from a prowling mountain lion (or cougar, catmount, puma, jaguar; you choose your favorite name for the beast). I personally thought it might be a real mountain cat, and said as much. My brother immediately said it certainly was a mountain lion. (For you non-Americans, the mountian lion is a sizable wild feline, common in that area, and quite capable of killing humans for food.) After several screaching roars, two of the Warner staff and myself walked over near the fence to investigate. From the darkness of the area where the sound originated came one more screech, followed by a juvenile voice shouting, "Don't shoot!" and laughter from several teen-aged voices.

Okay, I figured, mystery solved. Yet my brother, the 911 Al Qaeda denier, was telling everyone he met the next day that the mountain lion screech sound was "obviously impossible" for a human to vocalize. When I pointed out that saying "don't shoot" and laughter were impossible sounds for a mountain lion to make, he reluctantly admitted having heard the words and the laughter, but came up with several odd theories that somehow allowed for both a mountain lion and laughing kids at the same location. But I noticed that every time he told the story to someone new, he'd leave out the teenager part, until I interjected it.

So my longstanding mystery about why people create such bizarre theories is solved, in at least in my own mind: Some people just prefer the spectacular to the truth. To them, it's more fun. Facts are just annoyances, to be ignore unless they absolutely have to be brushed aside. Lying comes into the mix, but the lying starts with these people lying to themselves.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.

dv82matt
SFN Regular

760 Posts

Posted - 04/10/2006 :  23:58:52   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send dv82matt a Private Message
I suppose it has to do with having a story worth telling. I find this kind of deception so annoying. It seem like such a pointless thing to do. Ah well, I suppose I shouldn't let it bother me so much. He's probably more fun at parties than I am so maybe I'm just jealous.
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Ricky
SFN Die Hard

USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 04/11/2006 :  07:15:51   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message
I think it's a pretty good story, even with the kids in it.

Maybe Al Qaeda was paying the kids to laugh so you thought it wasn't a mountain lion.

Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
- Isaac Asimov
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13457 Posts

Posted - 04/11/2006 :  08:46:47   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message
You're not alone HalfMooner.

Perhaps every family has one or two of those who find the extraordinary to be more fun than us skeptics do. (Actually, I do find the extraordinary fun but as a skeptic, I approach my consideration of it from a different direction than my believing relatives do.)

My mother believes that our family is strong in psychic ability.

I have a cousin who believes that we faked the moon landings.

My brother is in active in pursuit of “god consciousness”. He hangs with a "living god".

Here is an excerpt from Evil Skeptic and a Visit to Awareness 2000, a Kil Report from several years ago.

quote:

From my brother's point of view, my love of science is leading me away from the real truth of things, and therefore, into darkness. While my brother has opened himself up to a spiritual awakening that would have made George Harrison envious, I have taken the low road. I like to ask questions.

Critical thinking has no place in my brother's world. Doubting, according to my brother, prevents me from experiencing the world as it really is. He says that I experience the world as I believe it to be, but unlike him, I am unable to control the world. He controls the world by controlling his beliefs about it. My brother's world is void and formless until belief gives it shape and substance. Belief is everything.

It has occurred to me that this is the perfect belief system for a criminal. For example, a person could hypothetically create a belief that it's okay to rob a bank. Doubting is for, well, we less evolved skeptical types. Science only exists to describe what scientists, and those of us who listen to them, already believe. We create our observations.

“I can make cold water hot by changing my belief about it,” he said to me. “I have done that.”

“Can you do that for me?” I ask. “I mean, make cold water hot? Without touching it? No tricks?”

“Something doesn't feel right about doing that,” he answered.

“Aww, come on now. You tell me these stories. Why should I believe you if you aren't willing to demonstrate your ability?”

“You're not ready.”

“Geez, not ready? Wouldn't it be better to show that stuff to a skeptic? If you want to change the world wouldn't it be best to let the world in on what you can do? Over a million dollars is waiting for anyone who can demonstrate the kind of ability that you claim to have. All you would have to do is make the cold water hot!”

“Hmm, it just doesn't feel right. People have to come to this on their own.”

“Why don't you create a belief that we are ready?”

I learned later that the water he caused to turn hot was running from a shower faucet in a hotel he was visiting. In my brother's world, a shower that takes a while to heat up becomes a supernatural event. Honest!


Not for a second do I believe that my brother is lying. In his world, the fact that the water turned hot when he created the belief that it would is all that matters. A logical explanation is not important to him. It doesn't matter. With that mindset, any numbers of miracles are possible throughout the coarse of a day. He has lots of stories.

Is he fooling himself? I think so. Perhaps some of us have a need to be more in control of our surroundings than we actually are. So some create the illusion that they are the creators of their world. (And to some lesser extent, we all should be doing that, if by that we mean taking some responsibility for how we live our lives.) When things go wrong for my brother, he works very hard at figuring out how he created that too, so he can change it. Being the sole creator of your world is a double-edged sword and at least my brother has the integrity to see that

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 04/11/2006 :  09:01:19   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message
Hey Half, long time no see! That was an excellent story. What I find most interesting about the story is your brothers' reaction because then I like to reflect on human nature and the diversity of individual ways of thinking, how easy people decieve themselves and others, yadda yadda. But I think most people don't find that all that interesting at all. Hell, there are people who would hear this story and say to you, "But maybe your brother really knows something about mountain lion roars and knows what he's talking about" because to them the lion being real is so much more interesting.

We had a bunch of teens in the chat room Sunday, and one of them called us boring. Of course we're not boring, but maybe what skeptically-minded people tend to find interesting simply is just too dull for most people.

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

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pleco
SFN Addict

USA
2996 Posts

Posted - 04/11/2006 :  09:13:00   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit pleco's Homepage Send pleco a Private Message
Interesting reaction when you challenged your brother, Kil, especially in light of the "It's about control" statement.

by Filthy
The neo-con methane machine will soon be running at full fart.
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BigPapaSmurf
SFN Die Hard

3192 Posts

Posted - 04/11/2006 :  09:42:56   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send BigPapaSmurf a Private Message
So much for coming out of that crushing depression I was in about the fate of humanity, thanks a lot!

Just kidding.

"...things I have neither seen nor experienced nor heard tell of from anybody else; things, what is more, that do not in fact exist and could not ever exist at all. So my readers must not believe a word I say." -Lucian on his book True History

"...They accept such things on faith alone, without any evidence. So if a fraudulent and cunning person who knows how to take advantage of a situation comes among them, he can make himself rich in a short time." -Lucian critical of early Christians c.166 AD From his book, De Morte Peregrini
Edited by - BigPapaSmurf on 04/11/2006 09:43:16
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 04/11/2006 :  11:45:01   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message
Thanks for your replies, folks. I haven't been my former compulsive self in posting here, mainly because I've been compulsively playing City of Villains instead.

Kil, your brother indeed does sound like mine in many ways. Making cold water hot; that's a classic. One thing about his godlike outlook: At least he takes full responsibility for his life. It's taking responsibility for everyone else that would get on my nerves. My brother seems to be motivated mainly by seeking perceived wonders. Me, I find enough of real wonders in tiny and huge sizes throughout the universe.

Marf, thanks for the welcome back. One thing you wrote about the mountain lion sound and my brother's perception of it: Indeed, he should know the sound -- he has worked in the San Diego Zoo for many decades, though he handles people rather than animals. Until I'd heard the words, "Don't shoot," and the laughter, I'd taken his conviction that it was a real mountain lion very seriously. But it seems his desire that the sound came from a cat trumped his greater experience with the real thing.

By the way, I thought then, and still think, that the kids' prank itself was pretty cool.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9666 Posts

Posted - 04/11/2006 :  12:06:58   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by HalfMooner
So my longstanding mystery about why people create such bizarre theories is solved, in at least in my own mind: Some people just prefer the spectacular to the truth. To them, it's more fun. Facts are just annoyances, to be ignore unless they absolutely have to be brushed aside. Lying comes into the mix, but the lying starts with these people lying to themselves.

Now, how come this rings so familliar?
oh, yes... I recently spent time reading the Astronomy-folder.



Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

Support American Troops in Iraq:
Send them unarmed civilians for target practice..
Collateralmurder.
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trogdor
Skeptic Friend

198 Posts

Posted - 04/11/2006 :  18:53:13   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send trogdor a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by HalfMooner

Thanks for your replies, folks. I haven't been my former compulsive self in posting here, mainly because I've been compulsively playing City of Villains instead.




ahh it's gotten you too. God (or whatever) save us all.

all eyes were on Ford Prefect. some of them were on stalks.
-Douglas Adams
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Snake
SFN Addict

USA
2511 Posts

Posted - 04/11/2006 :  23:42:39   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Snake's Homepage  Send Snake an ICQ Message  Send Snake a Yahoo! Message Send Snake a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by HalfMooner

I've just returned from a trip to San Diego county along with my adult daughter, to attend my Dad's 90th birthday party. The party was a weekend-long event, taking place at Warner Springs Ranch, in the foothills near Palomar.



PLEASE, Please Halfmooner. VERY Important, will you email me privately, at nlm@CuriousCreations.com, so I can ask you about something you've said in your post.
If you don't want to send your personal email address then I guess you can send to this site but not sure I'll get it. But anyway you'd like, I'd appreciate if you would. Thank you.

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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 04/12/2006 :  13:54:25   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message
Snake spoke:
quote:
PLEASE, Please Halfmooner. VERY Important, will you email me privately, at nlm@CuriousCreations.com, so I can ask you about something you've said in your post.
If you don't want to send your personal email address then I guess you can send to this site but not sure I'll get it. But anyway you'd like, I'd appreciate if you would. Thank you.

Okay, now I'm curious as Hell, and sent you an email as requested last night. Hope to hear from you.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 04/12/2006 :  18:28:02   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message
BTW, while at Warner Springs, I was able to attend part of a lecture given there by Dr. Ken Atkins, retired NASA Project Manager for Project Stardust, which recently returned comet dust samples to earth, caught in aerogel like ants in amber. Atkins had headed the project since before its launch on February 7, 1999, but had retired from NASA prior to the return capsule's fiery homecoming. I was able to hear the beginning of Atkins' talk, but then had to scurry to my Dad's "official" birthday dinner party. Returning later, I found Atkins was with a group of local stargazers, looking at Saturn through a nice Cassegraine telescope.

In the darkness of the location, I asked the good doctor a couple of questions that were on my mind.

My first question was, "Were any organic materials collected by Stardust?" Atkins, unfortunately, didn't know the answer to this. He did tell me that bits of gem-quality minerals were recovered, including olivine and minerals that had to have formed in very high temperature environments, radically different from our present understanding of conditions in the Oort Cloud, from whence comets are thought to originate. According to Atkins, the jury is still out on how these "exotic" minerals may have formed, where they formed, etc. Clearly, some kind of rethinking needs doing about the origin of the solar systems, but this seems to have become commonplace in solar system science, with ten new questions arising for every answer found.

My second question to Dr. Atkins was about the origin of the use of "gravity assist" in the trajectory that the Stardust craft (many other interplanetary spacecraft have also used the "gravity assist" technique in recent decades) in its years-long voyage to its cometary rendezvous with Wild 2. I told him that I felt the fuel-saving maneuver, which uses the gravity of planets or moons to provide a "slingshot" effect, came from Robert A. Heinlein's 1952 novel, The Rolling Stones. Atkins seemed unfamiliar with the Heinlein novel, and instead gave credit to one or two JPL scientists whose name(s) I now can't recall.

I still think Heinlein thought of it first.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
Edited by - HalfMooner on 04/12/2006 18:29:59
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Snake
SFN Addict

USA
2511 Posts

Posted - 04/13/2006 :  01:42:04   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Snake's Homepage  Send Snake an ICQ Message  Send Snake a Yahoo! Message Send Snake a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by HalfMooner
"Were any organic materials collected by Stardust?" Atkins, unfortunately, didn't know the answer to this. He did tell me that bits of gem-quality minerals were recovered, including olivine and minerals that had to have formed in very high temperature environments, radically different from our present understanding of conditions in the Oort Cloud, from whence comets are thought to originate.


1st of all HalfMooner, I'd like to publicly thank you for contacting me, it meant so much, as you know. That was kind of you.

Next, I use just such minerals and compounds in my work. How cool to think we could get them from outer space too. I've often thought about how inside a kiln is a mini universe and everything that went on and is going on outside of Earth, 'out there' is going on in a place on Earth too everytime the fire is lit. An explosion of chemicals coming together to create something of wonder.
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