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Podcast > Sunday, 13 November 2011 01:28:05 EST

Dumbass Podcast 9: The Psychic Detective

Keywords: paranormal, aliens, ancient alien theory, historical


In this episode, I announce my new Invisible Sky Monster podcast, examine the case of a so-called Psychic Detective from the 30's, and answer some listener comments.

Links/Topics Mentioned In The Show
The Invisible Sky Monster Podcast
The Skeprechauns Podcast
The Planet Japan YouTube Channel
The Cognitive Dissonance Podcast
The Everyone's A Critic Podcast
Contemporary Newspaper Articles Of The Bombings
Information On The Milwaukee News
Invisible Sky Monster Show Page With Mac Spoof Videos
The Evidence For Ancient Stone Cutting
Audible Free Trial Deal
Theme Music By Jonathan Coulton
Sexy Music Was Pink Fuzz By The Protagonist
Other Music By Danosongs.com

Images Referenced
Cover Of Strange People By Frank Edwards
Comparing Antarctica To Ancient Depictions
Other Golden Figures Claimed To Be Jets, But Clearly Animals
Medieval Depiction Of A Sea Monster, Probably Based On Description Of A Whale

Rant

Enjoy the show!  Here's the transcript:

Welcome to the 9th episode of The Dumbasses Guide To Knowledge.  Iím the Dumbass, and this is my show.  Iíll wait while those of you whoíve just realized that youíve made a horrible mistake and clicked on the wrong thing quietly press the stop button and delete the file.

Okay, now that theyíre gone Iím left with my core audience!  My people!  You guys are awesome!  I question your tasteÖ but nonetheless, youíre awesome!  Five Stars!

There, now Iíve given you a great review. The least you can do is return the favour.  Iím on iTunes, and you can also comment on the blog at dumbassguide.info, or send me an email at *EMAIL*. Let me know how much you love me, and feed my ravenous ego!  

Youíll be emotionally supporting my efforts, but more importantly, youíll be annoying my wife.  The lady Dumbass doesnít like me getting too big for my britches.  When I get praise I start walking around like Iím the supreme emperor of the apartment.  But itís not long before she puts me in my place again by ordering me around like the lackey that I am.

So please, I beg of you, write in and at least let me feel important for a small amount of time!

Ö.. Okay, letís seeÖ. shameless grovelling for approval, check!

Anyway, I want to start off today with a story of something that happened to me a few years ago.  I got thinking about it recently and it seems to me that itís a good metaphor of what Iím trying to accomplish here.  And itís a story that only works in audio format, so itís a good thing that Iíve got a podcast!  I figured it would be in interesting story to tell here.

This story happens on a bus.  I was travelling down to my local mall when I started to notice something odd.  People were getting off the bus at different stops along the way, which of course is what you expect to happen.  But as people got off the bus, the bus driver would wish each and every one of them a nice day.

Now in and of itself, thatís not an odd thing.  It was a nice touch.  Thereís no faulting this guy for his intentions.  But there was something a little strange going on with how he was wishing people a nice day.  You see, every time somebody got off the bus, he would open the doors and loudly say ďhaveaniceday NOWwww!Ē

This went on for the whole trip.  Some people just ignored it.  Other people shared glances.  I saw a couple of people visibly holding back laughter each time it happened.  And it continued to happen every time somebody left the bus.  ďhaveaniceday NOWwww!Ē ďhaveaniceday NOWwww!Ē

Itís the kind of thing that gets you thinking.  How has this person grown up and become a functional adult human being in this world without knowing the proper pitch and cadence to use when wishing somebody a nice day?  Has he somehow never heard the phrase said before in his life?  

Perhaps he was reading some sort of self help material that suggested he should try to end all his interactions on a pleasant note by wishing people well as they leave, and heís trying to put that into practice but heís never had any friends and his parents were emotionally distant so he just doesnít have any frame of reference for how to do it.

Or maybe English is this guyís second language.  He didnít sound like he had an accent, but maybe heíd been practicing those words for the previous month to make sure that he could pronounce them perfectly.  If so, he did a great job! He got the pronunciation perfect! He should have just consulted with somebody about using the proper pitch.

I donít know what the story was here.  And the thing is, thatís life.  A lot of the time you donít know what the story is with people.  Like when youíre trying to make a point in a discussion and you can see that itís just going over peopleís heads no matter how you try to explain it.  You know that thereís some crucial bit of understanding that theyíre missing, so how do you deal with that?

I thought about this question as I was setting up the blog.  How should I approach this?  Should I make this into almost a Critical Thinking 101 course where I teach the concepts and focus on educating?  I was starting to put some stuff together towards that end, but I realized that I wanted the website to be about more than that.

But letís get back to the bus. When my stop was finally coming up I pulled the cord, and waited for the bus to stop.  As I approached the driver to make my leave, I beat him to the punch and said in as cheerful a voice as I could muster ďHave a nice day now!Ē

I think showing by example is one of the best methods for getting your point across.  I donít know if I managed to get through to the bus driver that day, and I donít know if I ever manage to get my point across to people who disagree with me here.  But there are people out there who I know are just doing it wrong Ė and by ďitĒ I mean the act of reasoning.

What I try to do is demonstrate how reasoning is done properly, and make it entertaining in the process.  You can decide whether Iíve succeeded in these goals, but either way I wanted to talk about it because it seems like an important topic.  Thereís lots of talk about how to properly advance the cause of critical thinking, and I want to put my own thoughts in on the subject.  I think itís important that your goal be to represent yourself and your thoughts with as much integrity as possible.

I have been overwhelmed by many comments on the blog since my last episode, and Iím going to try to handle the most interesting ones later in the email segment.  Iím afraid that time these days doesnít permit me to answer all of them, though I would very much like to.  But I hope that the answers I am able to give demonstrate my belief in demonstrating by example the kind of thinking that we need to encourage.

But letís move on now to other things.  First of all, those of you who listened to my last episode will remember that I offered a prize for nonsense quotes to make fun of.  Unfortunately, I havenít gotten three submissions yet, so as much as I want to I canít give away the prizes.  I got a nice message from a user named Pscheptyck though, who said he was willing to help me look for quotes.  I havenít heard back from him though, so I assume that he hasnít found the time to look.  But Pscheptyck, if youíre listening, youíre awesome and you deserve a prize just for coming up with the initials DG2K to refer to the podcast!

Anyway, Iím still going to try and cut down the amount of work that goes into this podcast, so what Iím going to be doing is reusing quotes that Iíve done in past episodes. Whenever I get enough submitted quotes Iíll give out the prizes, so the offer still stands.  Send me in a quote, and get something for your efforts!

But moving on, Iíve got some news, Iíve created another podcast.  Yes, right now youíre listening to a man with two podcasts under his belt!  I think that means Iím now the qualified owner of a media empire!  But then, I also think the fact that I own several bookcases qualifies me as a librarian.  Iím sticking firm on both claims, so quiet please, and welcome to a Dumbass Media Empire production!

My other podcast is called the Invisible Sky Monster Podcast.  Those of you whoíve listened to my past episodes will remember that Iíve been looking for something to do with my invisibleskymonster.com website.  Well, after a lot of consideration, Iíve figured out exactly what I want to do!  This new podcast is very different from the podcast that youíre listening to right now.  Itís unscripted, and it involves guests!  Each episode I make arrangements to talk with two friends from the skeptical community about any issue that happens to strike our fancy.  

Itís a lot of fun, and a lot less work for me, which means that I can put out episodes much more frequently.  So if you want to hear more Dumbass, and who doesnít, visit invisibleskymonster.com and download all the episodes, or look it up in iTunes.

And remember from last episode when I said that I made some plans with Doug Delong?  Well, he was one of the guests on my very first episode, and he also joined in for my third episode when, on Harold Campingís ďItís Really Going To Happen This Time Guys I SwearĒ doomsday, we got together to make fun of crazy religious beliefs.

Iíve also had on Doctor Stuart Robbins, AKA Astrostu, who you might remember is on my enemies list.  He said, though, that heís apologized on his show.  What he actually said on his show was that now that heís gotten reviews of his own, he knows how I feel.  Not technically an apology, but Iíll take it that he feels apologetic so Stu, youíre off my enemies list!

Also, in a fit of magnanimity fuelled by the certain end of the world as predicted by Harold Camping, I forgave the Conspiracy Skeptic Karl Mamer.  Probably a mistake, but I canít go back on it now.  So Karl, youíre also off the list!  But Iím watching youÖ

My guests have also included Karyn Wittmeyer from the SGU message boards, and Rebecca OíNeill from the Skeprechauns podcast.

So listen to the Invisible Sky Monster podcast, and if you like it give me a 5 star review on iTunes.

By the way, I mentioned Doug Delong a minute ago.  For those of you who found my show through Planet Japan, you might be interested to know that Dougís started up his Planet Japan activities in a new format.  Heís using YouTube and some cartooning software and creating shorter episodes.  So he hasnít completely given up on Planet Japan after all. Heís regrouped and reformatted things to make it easier on himself, and hopefully the new shorter episodes will appeal to many people.  Iíll put a link on the show page.

And on the subject of other peopleís podcasts, you might remember from my last episode that I recommended the Cognitive Dissonance podcast featuring Cecil and Tom.  Iíve listened to all their episodes and have even spent a few weeks going through their catalogue of episodes for their other, longer running podcast Everyoneís A Critic, and pestering them with emails like a fan boy whenever some topic came up that I had some thoughts on.

Anyway, they took notice that I mentioned them a few weeks back, and returned the favour.  And they specifically mentioned that they were plugging the Dumbasses Guide because of the fact that I recommended them.

Hereís the thing though: theyíd already recommended this podcast before in an even earlier episode.  Granted, I would have recommended them anyway, but the fact remains that they recommended me once, and I recommended them once.  There was a balance, no more need to return the favour.

But they did anyway, and now I feel like maybe itís incumbent upon me to once again throw it back at them.  But do I dare?  This could easily snowball out of control as they throw it back at me and I return the serve, and it goes back and forth, back and forth, and it turns into a major self iterating egomaniacal back-and-forth mutual love fest with no way to stop or even get a handle on it!

Do I dare?Ö Oh, who am I kidding!  There was never any choice in the matter here, Iíve got to be me!  Itís love fest all the way baby!

Cecil, TomÖ I know that we havenít known each other very long, but if you feel anything like I do then I think itís pretty obvious that when two podcasts like ours meet thereís magic in the air.  And I donít know where this is going or how weíll feel about each other tomorrow, but I do know that right here, right now what we have is something special. And just right now in this special moment when magic is in the air Iím going to throw all my caution and inhibitions to the wind, and Iím gonna plug you.

Now, I know that the size of myÖ audience is nothing to brag about.  Iím sure itís average for a podcast like mine but I think youíll find that it makes little difference, because thereís no way you can tell me that youíve ever been plugged like this before.  So you just sit back and let daddy Dumbass stroke yourÖ ego.

To everybody within the range of my voice, I encourage you to download and listen to every episode of Cognitive Dissonance at dissonancepod.com.  Theyíre funny, irreverent, and they cover current events like nobodyís business!

And take the time to listen to their other podcast Everyoneís A Critic, where they savage movies they hate, gush over movies they love, and bicker over movies they disagree on.  And theyíre such a pod-tease! Seriously, last episode of the Critics podcast took over a month to come out, who the hell does that?  But they leave you waiting and longing until finally they bring you releaseÖ of a new episode, and you know what?  The release is just as sweet as youíve been longing for.

So look them up at everyonesacritic.org, you wonít be sorry that you did!

So Cecil, TomÖ. Was that as good for you as it was for me?  YeahÖ I know it was!

Ö. This just in from the Internets: my creepiness factor has gone through the roof!  HUZZAH!


And now a quote from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Wicca and Witchcraft:

Everybody has the ability within him or her to do magick.  Everybody does magick every day of their lives without even realizing it.

Have you ever....

 - Said a little chant to find a parking place and then, voila, a space appeared right in front of the building you had to visit?

- Made soup for a sick friend or relative to help make that person feel better?

- Worn a lucky outfit for a job interview or a sports competition?

- Thrown salt over your shoulder or knocked on wood to prevent a bad thing from happening?

Every time you ask for that parking place and get it, every time you make your special chicken soup to help cure someone, you perform magick.  When you make that soup you ad your own special ingredients.  (We know you've got your own trademarked recipe!) And you put your own loving energy into the soup's preparation, your hope that your friend or child or uncle will feel better.  The sick person eats the soup and feels better.  That is magick.

Absolutely correct!  Magick isn't anything special, it's just ordinary stuff that happens!  I see it all the time.  You know, I just stuck my finger up my nose, and when I pulled it out, voila!  A magical gift from the universe! .... I would have preferred money... but I guess this is alright... in it's own way...


There have been two themes running through my latest episodes.  The first has been my popular analyses of the Ancient Aliens show.  The other has been my analyses of stories I found in the book Nightmare Island by Jim Razzi.  So far Iíve looked at the title story of the book, and a story about a ghost cavalry that fought in World War One.  So today I thought it would be a good idea to tackle another story from the book, the tale of the Psychic Detective!

This case is kind of different from the others though.  The other stories had facts that I could easily either verify or show to be baseless.  Facts about events during World War One, or the dates of articles printed in the Boston Globe.  This story had almost nothing that I was able to grab hold of, and it left me feeling kind of unsatisfied.  But I think itís a really good illustration of how these kinds of stories can be reported and believed as true fact without ever requiring any form of verification.

The story opens with the following teaser:

There have been many cases of psychics who have helped solve crimes.  None were more publicized or authenticated than the man they called ďThe Psychic DetectiveĒ

It's a very strange thing. You'd think that for the most publicized and authenticated case of a psychic detective available, it would be easy to find..... well, publications or authentications.

But before we get into that, let's review this story of a psychic detective named Arthur Price Roberts, and what he is supposed to have accomplished:

We start out with the tale of how Mr. Roberts made some predictions to the Milwaukee Police regarding some bombings in 1935.  Roberts predicted the bombings of a couple of banks, city hall, and police stations.  And he predicted that there would be one last bombing south of the river.  According to the story, his predictions came true.

We're then told that Roberts was illiterate, and he believed that learning to read would cause him to lose his psychic abilities.  And then the story goes into the details of 3 more examples of Mr. Roberts' psychic feats.

The first case is of a woman, Mrs. McGregor, who had contacted Roberts for his help in locating her missing husband.    Roberts told her that her husband's body was at the bottom of the Menominee River, stuck on some logs.  With Mr. Roberts' help, the police dredged the body from the river, and found that his legs were indeed tangled in sunken logs.

The second case is of a taxi driver, Fred Kores, who was mugged and car-jacked.  Warren Boucher, owner of the cab company, contacted Roberts for his help in locating the car.  The next day, Roberts took Kores and Boucher on a fast chase through the city, shouting out directions as though he were consulting some internal GPS tracking system.  Soon, they came across the stolen cab being driven by the thief.  They forced him off the road and captured him right there.

The third case involves Mr. Roberts' own death.  At a dinner party in his honor in 1939, Roberts is quoted as saying "You know how I enjoy these meetings of ours, but I am afraid I won't be present at the next one you are talking about.  As much as I would like to remain, I won't be with you beyond January 2, 1940."

As good as his word, on January 2, 1940, Roberts "died quietly in his home, surrounded by file cabinets containing records of his remarkable achievements".


So, what can we say about this tale?  Well, regarding the first example, we can verify that there indeed was a series of bombings in Milwaukee in 1935 which seem to have happened in a manner resembling this account.  This is the first and last instance in which I was able to verify any fact about these stories, however. I've located several scans of historic documents, newspaper clippings reporting the bombings, and Iíll put a link in the show notes.  However, I've yet to find any verification of the involvement of an Arthur Price Roberts in the case.  Where did this story come from?

The last example involving Mr. Roberts' death is particularly strange.  It appears that this was a group that met regularly, and was planning on future meetings that Mr. Roberts was not going to be able to attend.  Why aren't we told the name of this group?

And if Mr. Roberts was illiterate, why did he keep file cabinets full of records of his achievements?

Questions, questions, questions.

I don't expect a book written for young readers to be fastidious about keeping endnotes and sourcing its stories, so it's no surprise that Nightmare Island has none.  The original source for this story appears to be the 1961 book "Strange People" by Frank Edwards.  Edwards was a prolific writer on the occult, and heís the earliest recorded source for many supernatural stories floating out there.  Being the semi-dedicated dumbass researcher that I am, I located and bought myself a copy.

Edwards is described on the cover as ďThe world famous author and authority on the occultĒ, and the bookís subtitle reads ďIncredible yet absolutely true stories of men and women with powers that dumbfound scienceĒ.

I flipped through the yellowed pages and found the story of Mr. Roberts as told by Frank Edwards.  It was a bit of a disappointment.  There wasn't a whole lot of extra detail regarding the cases from Nightmare Island.  

One extra piece of information mentioned was that the story of Roberts' involvement with the bombings came from the November 6, 1935 issue of the Milwaukee News.  That's nice, because here we have at least one source to go on.

So I looked up this newspaper, and discovered that the Milwaukee News was in business from 1918 - 1939.  There doesn't appear to be any online searchable archive.  I imagine that in order to locate any information about this source I would have to do some traveling to archive sites and digging through old records.  That's a little bit above and beyond what I'm willing to do for the purpose of this podcast

What would be nice for verifying this kind of premonition is some kind of record of the premonition from before the events described.  Unfortunately, even if I were to locate this article, it was written 2 days after the last bombing.  And without having the article available for study, I can only wonder about who was interviewed in the article.  Was the account given solely by Roberts himself?  Or was there a police source that verified these claims?

Edwards also mentions that due to Roberts' warning, a "small army" of police sharpshooters were sent into the Menomonee district, the area south of the river where Roberts predicted the last explosion.  Their efforts ended up accomplishing nothing... but if it was the case that they went to such an effort, I've got to wonder why this case wasn't more well known.  Certainly none of the newspaper articles I mentioned anything about Roberts, and he's not mentioned in any other historical record of the incident that I could find.  Shouldn't this aspect have made bigger news than it did?

More and more questions....

Frank Edwards lists three extra stories that don't appear in Nightmare Island.  Just like the others, none of them are verifiable. Apparently Roberts' even worked on highly confidential cases, and one case mentioned was so secret that it wasn't part of Roberts' records.  The obvious question here is, if the case was so confidential, how do we know about it?

And I'd really like to know how Frank Edwards knew about any of these cases, because apart from the article from the Milwaukee News, he gives no sources for any of them.

There's just no substance here, very little that I can actually pin down.

And that's just the problem with a lot of the paranormal claims that are out there.  There's nothing to grasp on to.  The average reader has a choice between accepting the story wholesale, or dismissing it out of hand.

It's this lack of attention to the details that can back up a story that's missing from these accounts.  Who's telling us that this happened?  Was that person there?  Are there any other eyewitnesses?

Basically, the question is on what basis are we supposed to accept that these events actually happened?  I could go all night telling you about things that happened to "a friend of a friend" of mine, but if you're writing a book claiming to have confirmed real life examples, it would be nice to be given some sources.

You see this kind of lack of attention to the evidence all over from issues like conspiracy theories to the latest pop nutrition.  People tend to be more credulous than not about the things that they read, and that's kind of understandable.  Especially in the days before the Internet, looking up information was a time consuming task.  

People had better stuff to do, and they still do.  At least nowadays you can do a quick Google search if you're uncertain about a source.  But if you're just reading a book, you're probably not at your computer, and you're probably not going to run to your computer just to look up some fact that you're uncertain about.

So people can write things in a book that they've pulled completely out of thin air, and few will question them on it.  It's possible that Frank Edwards completely made up this story on the spot.  But I don't think he did.  People claiming to have psychic powers are all over the place, and Iím perfectly willing to accept that this guy probably did exist and make these kinds of claims about his abilities.  But even if I were to find evidence that Mr. Roberts actually did exist, his claims still require evidence to support them.

But without any handle on what Edwardsí sources are, I've got nothing to go on.  So what reason is there to believe that thereís anything to this story of a psychic detective?  Itís not that I donít want to believe this story, itís just that thereís absolutely no evidence for it. And nothing about this story suggests to me that any good evidence even exists.


And now, a quote from the book "Numerology, Your Character And Future Revealed In Numbers" by Norman Shine:

By using the simple and easy-to-learn techniques presented in this book, you can start to interpret your relationship with your inner self.  Having acknowledged the way you are, you can go on to check the way you have believed yourself to be.  If there is a difference between this personal self-image and what the numbers tell you, then consider whether you have been guilty of wishful thinking.  Most likely, the numbers will reveal the more accurate description.

You know, that's really good advice!  If it doesn't look like the results fit with what you already know, don't question the results!  It's more likely that what you thought you knew was false, than that a methodology just made up out of thin air could possibly be wrong!  How dare you question something made up out of thin air?  Air is is important!  It's necessary for life!  What?  You got something against breathing?


Email and comments time!  I want to start out today with a comment I received on the invisibleskymonster.com blog.  I donít have a comments segment on the Invisible Sky Monster podcast, so I figure I might as well let DG2K do double duty.

This is my favourite comment of the past month, perhaps even my favourite among all the comments Iíve ever gotten.  Thatís not because itís a positive comment, though.  In fact, the commenter was quite angry with me.  But I really like it because, for one thing, Iím enjoying attracting anger over something other than Ancient Aliens (not that I donít really appreciate the Ancient Aliens comments, itís just nice to have a change).  The other reason that I like this comment is because the anger is over something so silly and ridiculous that I couldnít help but laugh about it.  It really made my day.

Hereís what happened: In my second episode of the Invisible Sky Monster podcast, part of the discussion had to do with the death of Steve Jobs.  We went off on a little bit of a tangent, and I briefly mentioned that I loved those Mac versus PC commercials, and that there were also some really good parodies of those commercials that I enjoyed.

So in the show notes I pasted a few videos of my favourite Mac ad spoofs.  Well, I got a comment from a user calling himself ďFYourPCĒ Ė where he actually spelled out the full word instead of just using the letter F.  FYourPC writes:

Just like those horrible Apple commercials were directly responsible for me not buying a Mac for years so too your posting of unfunny anti-Mac parodies from 1998 have just stopped me from even bothering to listen to your stupid podcast.

If the parodies had at least been funny I wouldn't have cared but they're just more idiotic PC fanboi bulls*** from people that have never actually used a Mac. Way to drive away your audience.

Youíre absolutely hilarious FYourPC!  The anti-Mac parody from 1998 he referred is a video I included of a man ranting about his Mac done in the style of the popular Mac commercials of the time.  I personally found it very funny, but then thatís my sense of humor.  I love seeing people go on a major rant.  Thereís this little emoticon Iíve got saved to file where the little smiley is ranting up a storm.  It makes both me and my wife laugh whenever we see it.   Iíll post it on the show page.

Anyway, a couple of the parodies do rag on Mac a little bit, perhaps in some ways a little unfairly.  Doesnít stop them from being funny though.  I thought the original Mac versus PC commercials were funny too, even though they were often inaccurate and unfair to PCís.

Come to think of it, I should include some of those original ads in the show notes as well as the parodies.  

In any case, the thing is that I donít really have a large stake in this game.  I own a PC, but I learned how to use Macs both in high school and college.  Theyíre perfectly good computers, and if you prefer them, I have no argument against that.  There are good reasons to prefer a Mac, and good reasons to prefer a PC.  But this rabid partisan hatred that argues that one is somehow monumentally superior to the other is just ridiculousÖ not to mention hilarious!

Letís be clear, for most of the things that most people do on their computers, technology hasnít really improved your ability to do those things for over a decade.  Email, Web Browsing, Word Processing, Casual Gaming, the equipment from my college days over a decade ago was perfectly capable of doing these things just as well as todayís computers.  In college I learned to use Photoshop in the Mac lab and also used it on PCís, there was no difference in performance.  Same for video editing software, there was no advantage I could detect from using one platform over the other.

Computers have gotten speedier, hard drives have become bigger, CPUís now come with multiple cores, but none of this has made a lot of difference in the kinds of things most people do most of the time.  To be sure, software has become more sophisticated.  We didnít have tabbed browsing when I was in college, and I now wonder how I ever managed without it.  But as far as the equipment is concerned, for most of the things that people do on their computer, todayís systems donít hold all that much of an advantage over those from a decade ago.

If youíre a serious gamer or do a lot of high end graphic processing, you absolutely do need the latest equipment.  And if you do a lot of downloading, then the bigger your hard drive the better.  So donít mistake me, Iím not saying that the newer systems donít have advantages over old systems.  And I do know that Cable and DSL modems are a huge improvement over dial-up.  But for the main equipment, doing the most common tasks, the computers of a decade ago performed just as adequately for the end user as the computers of today.

My point is this: anybody who argues that the hardware difference between a Mac and a PC is a gaping chasm and that one is significantly better than the other is completely full of it!  Thereís a much, much wider gap between the technology of today and that of a decade ago, and even that makes very little difference to the average user.  Whatever technological gap there is between a current generation Macintosh and PC is completely irrelevant to the vast majority of people.

As far as operating systems go, I havenít used the current Mac OS.  In high school and college I used Macs all the time, and never saw much of an advantage to them.  But Iíve heard that the current OS is the best ever, and I would be perfectly willing to try it out sometime.  If you prefer it over Windows, then good for you!  Choose the one that you like best!  Iím not going to complain about your choice.

I would personally like to see the Mac OS become available for PCís.  Now that Macís are based on Intel chips, theyíve become capable of running Windows.  That means that it would be possible for Apple to allow their operating systems to run on PCs.  If they did that, I just might use it.  But theyíre not about to do something like that, it would make a Macintosh a lot less special if just any computer was able to run the operating system.

So in the end it all comes down to preference.  If you prefer the benefits of the Mac OS, you choose the Mac.  And if you prefer the benefits of a PC, you choose the PC.  And if youíre a rabid computer platform partisan, you send me angry messages about how Iím such a jerk for not recognizing that your preferred platform is obviously the best.

And please do send me an angry rant on this topic if you disagree with me.  I could use more laughter to brighten up my days!  Not finding a video I posted funny because itís critical of your favoured platform is the most hilarious reason ever for not wanting to listen to my podcast.  And it gives me something different to talk about here, so lay it on me!

But now on to the main course, Ancient Aliens!  I got two very long comments that I want to address here.  And I want to say that I very much appreciate these comments, because they are polite and detailed and they challenge me on things that Iíve actually said.  

Of course, I will be arguing here that theyíre wrong.  But that doesnít mean that I donít appreciate the comments.  Itís wonderful to receive thoughtful and civilized comments that respectfully disagree with what Iíve said, and I think they deserve a thorough response.

The first comes from a user that Iíve mentioned before, the one who called himself Chris Fellow Skeptic.  Chris Fellow Skeptic surprised me by actually responding when I mentioned him, I wasnít expecting him to be a repeat listener.  So I took the opportunity to ask Chris Fellow Skeptic to elaborate on what he meant when he said I was being too hard on the Ancient Aliens show.  He gave me a long response, so I will handle it in segments:

As a disclaimer, I want to say that my personal belief is that our ancestors probably did have some advanced technology that we don't know they had. Jumping to aliens is a stretch but is still possible. I, along with everyone, just don't know, just making assumptions and leaps with everyone else. Obviously there is little proof of either ancient tech or lack of ancient tech, so we are debating over feelings and hunchesÖwhich is not going to provide a definitive answer, but I enjoy the debate none the less. Many of your debunking statements deal with the how loosely someone interpreted ancient texts. I think you underestimate the evolution of language over time. In ancient texts, different words are changed and interpreted differently over time (such as how the fruit of adam and eve has become apple over time, this is not entirely accurate, the oldest version I know of just said 'red fruit' and apple was the word for red. So over time it became apple). History is written by the winners of wars...it doesnít seem like too much of a stretch to think that some overzealous king or emperor won a war, got his hands on an ancient text and edited it to fit his needs.


Okay.  Chris, if I understand your argument here, what youíre saying is that itís entirely possible that the original version of any text described alien technology but that we donít know because itís changed since the original version.

Thatís certainly a possibility, but thereís one important thing that youíre wrong about here.  You say that nobody really knows, and that we are just debating over feelings and hunches.  WellÖ thatís just not true.

There are people who spend their lives studying ancient languages and figuring out what meant what and how it all changed over time.  This area of study is not a black hole to science.  Not a single one of these experts has come out and made the case that any ancient texts contain indications that strongly point to alien technology in ancient times.

You can argue and say that well maybe there are some lost documents that they donít know about and maybe if we change this wording slightly here or there changing things to be more consistent with our pet theory we might just be revealing a truth more consistent with the original forms of the documents!

You can say all those things, but in the end itís all based on pure speculation and nothing else.  I can sit here and speculate about things all day, but without any evidence my speculations arenít worth squat.  Sure thereís some entertainment value in it all, but itís not a valid method for arriving at any form of verifiable truth.

And we do have evidence from ancient times to piece together how they lived and what they meant when they wrote their documents.  One claim is not as good as the next, random speculation based on wishful thinking is not as good as historical knowledge based on solid evidence.

Chris continues:

That idea coupled with the idea that When we see something that we have never seen before, We donít have the language to describe it, So we use metaphors to explain it. Itís the same point ancient astronaut theorists make about angels in the bible. All the wings really are just the ancient laymanís way to say these people fly. The only thing they know that flies is birds, which have wings...so they add wings to the people as a kind of metaphorical image. When in reality, maybe they had flying ships? Who is to say? I personally feel that we should make broad interpretations of these texts. Who knows what they said originally. I feel that your point on the magic carpet is kind of closed minded...You are taking these ancient description too literally. There is really no way to know what the writers of these ancient texts meant.


Once again Chris, I feel like you just donít understand that there are people who spend their lives studying ancient societies and ancient languages and who understand the context of the lives of people living in these ancient times.  

You suggest that we need to interpret these texts as broadly as possible.  Why?  Like I said, this is not a case where we have absolutely no knowledge and any one theory is just as valid as another.  Anything most certainly does not go.  We have historical evidence, we know how these people lived and how they wrote.  We know that when people described angels, that they were picturing heavenly beings with wings.  Thatís just how they were described.  

If they wanted to say that these people flew without the aid of wings, they would have just said so.  They had the words for it. They most certainly wouldnít have had any need to talk about ďmetaphorical wingsĒ, and thereís no evidence that they ever engaged in any such silliness.

And we know that when ancient text mention magic carpets, that their writers were envisioning cloth carpets that were imbued with the magical power of flight.

What reason is there, other than wishful thinking, to suspect that thereís anything more to the story?

Anyway, Chris continues:

Try to be open minded. Is it not possible that flying carpet could have been a description by a person who does not have the words to explain what he saw? The Birds that shield from the sun, could be just how a layman of that time describes something (force field?) he saw but does not have the words to explain.

Well, anythingís possible.  But once again youíre only speculating.  And it seems very unlikely that an ancient person would describe some sort of force field as a flock of birds.  You seem to be of the mindset that ancient people who had no idea of what theyíre looking at would just reach for convenient substitutions.  They wouldnít.  Thatís just not something anybody would do.  

If an ancient man wanted to say that something looked kind of like a flock of birds, he would have just said, ďit looked kind of like a flock of birdsĒ.  He would have had the words to say it, and thatís what would have come most naturally.  What he would have been extremely unlikely to say is ďÖ and then I saw a flock of birds!Ē

Speculating that an ancient writer meant something different than what he said without having any understanding of the historical context of the document, the language it was being written in, or the ancient society in which the document writer was raised is not the way to generate historical knowledge.

I know Iíve tried to explain this concept before, and maybe Iím just not explaining myself adequately, but let me try to say it again as clearly as possible.  This idea that we donít know what ancient writers really meant and that they habitually made the wildest substitutions out of some sort of weird confusion, is wrong.  

Thatís not just my opinion, itís the conclusion of historians who actually understand ancient languages and genres of writing and historical context.  Take a listen through the email and comment section of episode 6 where I played a section of a lecture by the historian Michael Heisser.

Speculating about what ancient people really meant and ignoring what they actually said may be a fun exercise, but it has no bearing on reality.

Letís continue with Chrisí comment:

As far as the Antarctica maps, Why couldnít it just be an ancient civilization that lived some 10,000+ years ago when that land mass was not covered in ice? Any metals or advanced technologies (that do not use gold) from that long ago would be long gone...nothing would be left. Your idea to simply discredit the Antarctica on ancient maps for the simple reason that people always thought there was a land mass there to balance the earth, so it must be phooey? What if Ptolemy got that info from his grandparents, who got it from theirs and so on and so forth...We can't know for sure that it wasnít based on some actual knowledge. No way to prove it was just an ancient map makers guess.

This is kind of a strange argument to make.  What do you mean thereís no way to prove it was just Ptolemyís guess?  Ptolemy himself said that this was his deduction. Nobody at the time ever said ďHey Ptolemy!  Thatís an old theory, everybody knows it!  Donít go presenting it as your own idea!Ē  Thereís never been any contention that this idea predates Ptolemy.  

Or do you think that maybe this knowledge was passed down as a family secret generation after generation until Ptolemy said ďScrew it!  Iím telling people and Iím passing it off as my own idea!Ē

What reason would anybody have to keep that a secret over generations?  ďSon, itís time you learned the family secret.Ē  ďOh father, I am so happy that you think Iím ready!Ē  ďYes my son.  Youíve made me so proud, and I feel itís time you knew.  The family secretÖ is that thereís a continent at the south pole that nobody knows about.Ē ďÖ. And?Ē  ďAnd what?  Thatís the end of the secret.  Be a good boy and donít tell anybody now!Ē

What reason, other than wishful thinking, is there to suspect that Ptolemy was passing on some secret ancient knowledge?

Chris continues:

It seems like a pretty large coincidenceÖthe old map and the actual land mass are very similar.

Iíve actually had this argument with somebody else before.  The answer here is no, the old maps and the actual land mass are not similar.  

Iíve been shown a graphic that compares the ancient speculations of the shape of Antarctica to the actual landmass, and at first glance you might notice some general similarities, the same way you might find random similarities between other general landmasses.  Just look at Africa and South America Ė theyíve got kind of similar shapes.  But one could not stand in for the other on a map.

This is the same kind of resemblance you see with these ancient maps and the actual continent of Antarctica.  Theyíve each got a kind of a bend in them at a certain point, and a bulge at one end.  But the scale is way off, and theyíre twisted around the wrong way.  So what youíve got to do in order to make them match at all is drastically change the scale of the image, and twist it all around.  Then, if you look at the images side by side you might be able to convince yourself that thereís a kind of sort of similarityÖ if you squint hard enough.  Iíll put an image of this on the show page.

But the similarity isnít even as striking as that between Africa and South America.  I can illustrate this clearly by overlaying the drawings on top of each other.  You can see quite clearly that nothing really matches.  In fact, you can get a better match by taking the continent of Australia, resizing it, and twisting it around to the right position.  Iíve done that overlay as well, and Iím including the images on the show page.

Chris, when you say that this is a large coincidence, that the map is very similar to the actual landmass, youíre just wrong.  Itís clear that thereís no similarity, and to argue otherwise is to just blatantly ignore reality.

Iíll finish the final segment of Chrisí comment in one go:

The bird makes the point that they understood aerodynamics, the wooden bird-plane may have been a childís toy, but the gold figures would not be a toy as it is too heavy to fly. Plus letting a toddler hurl gold across the room can be a dangerous undertaking. But the Upright tail is curious. As far as we know, no bird has an upright tail. And who is to say there wasn't a two finned shark? Yes, it is a leap to say anything more than it is a toy, but isn't the fact that they had an aerodynamic childís toy make you think that a full sized glider was at least possible? I look forward to your response. Cheers

Okay Chris, if you say that the wooden bird proves that they understood aerodynamics, then you must also admit that a bow and arrow proves an understanding of aerodynamics.  I donít see anything particularly compelling about this line of reasoning.

Regarding the gold figures, itís kind of strange that youíre arguing about them being too heavy to be a childís flying toy.  Nobodyís claimed that they were childís toys.  The golden figures arenít even aerodynamic.  They were only barely able to make one of them aerodynamic by making serious modifications to its design.  Iíve argued, I think quite compellingly, that the ďGolden FlyerĒ was most probably meant to represent an aquatic animal of some sort.

Chris, you might like to go through my email and comments section from past episodes.  In episode 5 I demonstrated quite clearly that all of the other ďgolden flyerĒ candidates put forward by Ancient Aliens proponents are clearly meant to be aquatic animals, you can tell just by looking at them that theyíre not aerodynamic, and theyíre clearly meant to represent fanciful sea creatures.  Iíll put the image on this showís transcript page as well.

And itís not like fanciful depictions of sea creatures are anything strange that we would have to go to great lengths to explain.  Iíve got a cool medieval drawing of a sea monster that was probably based on an exaggerated description of a whale.  Iíll post the picture to the show page.  The monster never existed, but that didnít stop people from making artwork about it.

And to your last question, that doesnít the existence of an aerodynamic toy make me think that a full sized glider was at least possible?  Well, let me just say this Ė anythingís *possible*.  Iím sure somebody somewhere could work out a method by which ancient people could have made a working full sized glider with materials available at the time, and that would be pretty cool.  But in the end thereís just no evidence that any ancient society made such a device, so once again all you have is pure speculation.

Anyway, I really appreciate the comment Chris, and I hope Iíve adequately responded to your criticisms.

My next email comes from a user named Jack, who takes me to task for some of the things that Iíve said.  I like Jack.  Like Chris, he seems like he actually paid attention to what I said.  And he goes one better and actually quotes me.  Jack, I really appreciate it!  This means, though, that Iíll have to do a quote within a quote here.  Iíll try to arrange it to avoid as much confusion as possible.  When jack is quoting something I said, Iíll make my voice echo slightly.  Jack writes:

I'm going to take a few your own words and try to debunk what you're saying.
1. "If people were flying around in Vimanas, wouldn't you expect to find most of the evidence for ancient airports near to major cities? Certainly there may be some locations that are remote today that would have been more important in the ancient past. But there are so many more cities today that are in the same location as their ancient counterparts. Wouldn't you expect to find more evidence of ancient airports close to modern cities, rather than out in remote locations?"
I would agree with you that many major cities from ancient times are still in the same place today, but you missed something here. Major cities are constantly being upgraded. Old buildings get knocked down and new buildings get out in their place. Open land is cleared out in order to expand urban areas. When populations grow, the area that the cities take up gets larger. So it's possible that ancient airports did exist near larger ancient cities, but over centuries of rebuilding and expanding, were probably destroyed without somebody realizing what it was. Take New York City for example. I understand that New York hasn't been around for as long as cities in India, and probably did not contain an ancient airport, but I'm just using it to prove my point.A few hundred years ago, it was one of the most lush forests in North America. Now, it's mostly concrete and steel. If there had been an ancient airport there, there would be no evidence of it now that all that land has been cleared out and a city build in its place. I see no reason why this could not be the same with other cities around the world. If you look at Mumbai, India today, you don't see it how it was hundreds of years ago. It has been rebuilt with more modern structures. So I would not expect to find an ancient airport there. I would look to locations that modern technology has yet to invade. The more remote areas that have not changed for hundreds or thousands of years would be the best place to search for ancient structures.

Well, this seems like a minor point to quibble over, but letís briefly look at it.  The fact is that ruins do generally exist around ancient cities that are still in use, so itís not the case that everythingís been demolished and built over.  But perhaps youíre right, perhaps there is good reason to examine abandoned ancient cities for signs of an airport.  That really doesnít change anything because the fact remains that thereís absolutely no evidence of an ancient airport from any ancient city.  So it seems like this is a non-issue no matter how you slice or dice it.

Jack continues:

2. "...and if I think of the term "discarded scrap paper" as representing hundred dollar bills, I could raid my waste basket right now and instantly become incredibly rich!
Since when is making convenient substitutions just because you feel like it a valid practice in biblical scholarship? Mr. Young has made no attempt to understand the book of Ezekiel in it's own context. Instead, he's forcing it into his own context and ideas without any cause for doing so."
Your statements here leads me to believe one thing: you find that angels are more believable than aliens. Your substitution of scrap paper for hundred dollar bills doesn't really apply. Scrap paper is real and has no monetary value, so you can't substitute it for money. The show must dismiss angels as divine beings, so if the chariot was powered by angels, it could not mean literal angels. Therefor, to substitute angels for something more realistic is the correct thing to do. When I think of angels, I think of either flying beings or glowing entities that may or may not have shape. This leads me to believe that either extraterrestrials could fly and literally carried the chariot, or some sort of glowing substance allowed the chariots to fly. Well the second suggestion of mine sounds a lot like fire shooting out of a jet. I see no problem with Jonathan Young's suggestion. He doesn't force it onto the audience either, as you say he does. He says "if" we change angels to glowing like fire, then I it sounds like some kind of plane. He never said that's what really happened, but simply offers the idea.

Well, first of all I never said that Mr. Young forced his idea onto the audience.  I said that he forced the story of Ezekiel into his artificial context rather than looking at the story in itís own context.

And you say that heís not saying heís right, heís just offering the idea.  Well, okay.  But thereís a time and place for coming up with wild ideas that have no basis in fact, and on a documentary thatís supposed to be about evidence is not that time or place.

Letís break this down.  Your argument is that ďaliensĒ is a valid substitution for ďangelsĒ because aliens are more believable.  I think thatís the essence of your argument, if Iíve mischaracterized it Iíll be more than happy to correct myself.

Anyway, the problem with your argument is thatÖ wellÖ itís just wrong.  Certainly you can make the case that aliens are more consistent with our understanding of the universe than are magical beings from some unknowable heavenly realm, but that makes absolutely no difference to this argument.

The essential thing here is that you canít solve an unknown by replacing it with another unknown.  Iíll be making this point more extensively in my next Ancient Aliens episode, if youíd like a preview you can read my fifth article on the subject, ďThe Evidence For Ancient Stone CuttingĒ

Replacing one unknown with another unknown solves absolutely nothing.  And if weíre going to play this game of substations, we could come up dozens of other situations that we could say are more likely than angels.  Itís entirely possible that Ezekielís friends concocted some impressive looking chariot, dressed up in costumes, got him drunk so that he would be more likely to get the details confused, and played a giant prank on him.  Thatís a more believable scenario than either angels or aliens.  But that situation is still just another unknown without any evidence to support it, and is therefore just as logically invalid an explanation as aliens or angels.

The point of my discarded scrap paper analogy was that you canít just make substitutions just because you feel like it.  No matter how much more likely you think your scenario is, itís still just complete guesswork.  Historians donít work by just guessing what they think might have happened, they need actual evidence.

But thatís not even the major reason why youíre wrong about this.  The thing is that this entire argument that says that we need to find some sort of explanation for Ezekielís experience other than a visit from God, assumes that there was ever any experience to explain.  The most likely explanation is that this never happened.  Itís just a story.  Ancient people wrote a lot of them, many of which, like the book of Ezekiel, were intended to illustrate some theological point.  

Thereís nothing to explain here.  You might as well be theorizing on why Humpty Dumpty was sitting on that wall in the first place.  Maybe aliens put him up to itÖ.

Anyway, Jack continues

Shortly after that last part you again suggest that the existence of God is somehow more appropriate than believing in extra-terrestrials. Scientist generally agree that intelligent life does exist outside of Earth. In 2008, the Catholic Church even said that alien life is possible. Yet nobody I've ever asked can provide any evidence that supports the idea of an almighty God.

I strongly deny the allegation that I ever suggested that a belief in God is any more valid or appropriate than a belief in aliens.  I have never said anything to that effect, and I defy you to locate any single instance where I have said anything of the sort.  Everything Iíve written and said is a matter of public record on my blog, and if by some chance you do come across something that that gave this impression then please quote it for me.  I will be happy to clarify myself if Iíve ever chosen my wording so poorly that it sounded like I was suggesting that a belief in God was more appropriate than a belief in aliens.

But aside from that, thereís something else Iíve got to correct you on.  Scientists donít agree that life does exist outside of Earth.  Most scientists may be of the opinion that life exists somewhere out there, but weíve got to be clear that thatís not a belief thatís based in any way on evidence.  There isnít one shred of evidence for the existence of any life outside of our planet.

In terms of evidence to support their existence, both God and aliens are in exactly the same boat.  Aliens have the advantage that their existence would be more consistent with what we know about the universe.  But thatís not evidence that they exist, so logically theyíre itís just as invalid to invoke their existence as an argument for anything as it is to invoke the existence of God.

Jack finishes up with

I apologize for this being so long, but I felt I must point out some flaws in your arguments.

No need to apologise Jack, I really appreciated hearing from both you and Chris.  You guys wrote me very polite and well thought out comments that it was a pleasure for me to answer.  I encourage people to hold my feet to the fire, make me defend my arguments.

I know Iíve been strongly insisting throughout my rebuttal that you are both wrong, but that doesnít mean that I hold any resentment towards you.  This is how the discussion works.  You say Iím wrong, I say no youíre wrong, we make our best arguments and the audience can decide who made the best case.  And when youíre dealing with a multi faceted issue like this, you canít really make a proper argument if you donít make it long and explain yourself thoroughly.

So I want to make it clear.  Chris and Jack, you two have done me a service by arguing against me, and it was my pleasure to give you a response as detailed as I think you deserve.

Next, Iíve got a minor correction to make.  Stuart Robbins, AKA Astrostu, sent me a quick note to let me know that the last name of the man Iíve been pronouncing as David Child-ress, is actually pronounced Chil-dress.  You just got off my enemies list Stu! You should try to avoid pushing your luck!  I pronuncificate things just fine thank you very much!  Pedant!

Anyway, letís move on to a couple of iTunes reviews.  I got the following five star review from a user in Great Britain named Mark Kelly:

Sparks interest in some very disturbing "research" and claims. Usage of humour is fantastic, sarcasm fits perfectly for this growing podcast. Keep up the good work! Perfect for the idiot skeptic like myself.

Thanks Mark!  This podcast is for Dumbasses everywhere, so Iím very happy to see other people actually enjoying and learning from what I have to say.

Jeffrey Thomas from the US gives me five stars and writes:

Good show.  I wrote more before, but some how iTunes lost it.  Maybe Iíll write more later.

Thanks Jeffrey.  Good review!  I wrote more of a response before, but somehow my word processor lost it.  Maybe Iíll write more later.


And now a quote from the book "Healing From The Heart" by Doctor Mehmet Oz.  In this quote, Doctor Oz talks about the "Grandmother Cell Theory", which is a tentative hypothesis stating that everything you know and feel about a person, such as your grandmother, is contained within a single neuron in your brain.  Doctor Oz writes:

For me the grandmother-cell theory undermined the entire Western-based allopathic system of medicine because it didnít answer the main question: How do you truly recognize Grandma? If you push the understanding of the physiological basis of medicine far enough, you'll usually come to a point that you can no longer defend it scientifically, that you must take it on faith. I couldnít.

Wonderfully put, Mehmet!  The fact that there are things that medical science doesn't know absolutely undermines the entire Western-based allpathic system of medicine!  When you understand that you just can't accept what it tells you on faith, the only logical solution is, of course, to turn to a medical modality that requires you to accept all it's premises completely on faith!  It's just common sense! Those western allopaths, thinking that they know things with their focus on "evidence" and "science".  Who the hell do they think they are?  Always refusing to prescribe me the good stuff on the basis that I "don't have any medical need!" PFFFT!!


Iím going to skip the Dumbass Book Club today, but I still encourage people to sign up with Audible by going to audibletrial.com/dumbassguide.  And that brings us to the end of this episode of the Dumbasses Guide To Knowledge.  If you enjoyed it, check out my other Dumbass Media Empire production, the Invisible Sky Monster podcast at invisibleskymonster.com, or look


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