Respectful Insolence

One of the most common aspects of any good conspiracy theory is that “they” know about it but are covering it up, “they” usually being the government. Usually, the “evidence” that “they” know consists third- or fourth-hand unverifiable stories from a “friend of a friend of a friend” who, very conveniently, just so happened to be in just the right place at just the right time to overhear just the right tidbit of information that shows that “they” know all about “it.” The exact conspiracy theory is almost irrelevant. Be it alien abductions, the “9/11 Truth” movement, Bigfoot sightings, or whatever, believers always claim that “they” know all about it but are either doing nothing or even actively suppressing their special information, usually for some dark and nefarious purpose.

Add the antivaccination movement to this list of conspiracy theorists. Its favored “they” rumor these days seems to be the claim that the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Mike Leavitt, has supposedly “admitted” that “we know” that mercury (or vaccines in general; pick one) causes autism. Naturally, the creduloids at Age of Autism can’t help but keep repeating this rumor once again as though a “friend of a friend of a friend”-type story has any more credibility than any other urban legend:

On June 2nd, my wife, our son, our younger daughter and I were in D.C. for the Green Our Vaccines Rally. While there, we went out to dinner with an old friend and his family. While his neurotypical son patiently tried to communicate with our non-verbal son, my wife and I explained the purpose of our visit.

We detailed to them, again, that the vaccines and the toxic bouillabaisse brewed into them caused our son’s autism, and there is indeed an epidemic of autism in the world, caused in large part by toxic vaccines. We told them the current CDC schedule is 37 injections before the age of five, and that one of one hundred and fifty kids gets autism and that one out of six children has some form of neurological damage. I said the government had to know and must be covering it up.

Guess what his response was: “Yeah, they know. Leavitt knows the vaccines are responsible.”

I wasn’t shocked. I have to admit that this was the second time he’d told us that higher ups in HHS know that vaccines are causing a lot of damage to our kids, including the epidemic of autism. So why should I believe him? Here’s two reasons.

First, I’ve known him for a long time. He’s as honorable a person as I have ever known. I trust what he tells me. Second; he works at HHS and he hears, and knows things. Plus, he told us essentially the same thing last year on a trip to D.C.

Just to remind you; HHS is the department that oversees the FDA, and our friends at the CDC. They are the department that acknowledged Hannah Poling and other children were injured by their vaccines.

So, Dan Olmsted hears the story over lunch from a friend, and I hear essentially the same story from a source inside HHS. But it’s all hearsay evidence, and I’m as certain that Mike Leavitt would deny he said anything of the kind as I am the sun will rise in the East tomorrow morning.

Amazing. Shocking. “They” knew all along! (I will give some props to the author for the term “toxic bouillabaisse,” though. It’s way more creative a term than the usual dullards at AoA can come up with.) Maybe Dan Olmsted was right two months ago, when he first published an identical rumor! The Illuminati want your children to be vaccinated and get autism! (Or maybe it’s the alien lizards who really rule the world.) Naturally, to any good conspiracy theorist, the very fact that the person who supposedly “admitted” that the government “knew” in private would deny it when questioned about this admission must be slam-dunk evidence that there really is a conspiracy.

Of course, it’s not enough that Leavitt “knows.” Oh, no. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the physician group whose recommendations for the vaccination schedule are followed by many pediatricians, has to “know” as well! See:

While taking our circuitous route back to Chicago, via Appomattox Courthouse, my wife reminded me of what she had heard from another friend back home, the mother of an autistic boy. When we returned to Chicago, I called our friend and asked her to tell me the story.

It seems that a neighbor of hers, Ms. Carolyn Kolbaba, is the former head of Public Information at the American Academy of Pediatrics. Back in the fall of 2005, while doing PTO stuff in our friend’s living room, they began discussing her son; she told her fellow parent Carolyn that she believes vaccines and mercury caused his autism. Ms. Kolbaba replied that the AAP knows vaccines are causing autism, but they will never make a public statement admitting that, “…because most parents wouldn’t understand and they’ll stop vaccinating and children will get sick and die.”

I wonder what Ms. Kolbaba, if she exists, would say about this rumor.

Never mind those nasty skeptical thoughts, though. Remember instead: It ain’t just the guv’mint! It’s them damned doctors too! (No doubt all in the pockets of big pharma.) They’re all in on the conspiracy, along with the Masons, the Illumnati, George Bush, alien lizards (I know, it’s hard to tell them apart from George Bush), the Mossad, the CIA, and the Cigarette-Smoking Man. Next, they’ll be saying that vaccination was a Nazi plot developed by Dr. Mengele and continued after American and Soviet troops discovered Nazi secrets after the fall of the Third Reich, and that the Crystal Skull is somehow involved, not to mention space aliens. Either that, or they’ll be saying that alien black oil is in vaccines–put there by the Syndicate, no doubt, because aliens want to turn the whole human race autistic.

Or something.

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Comments

  1. #1 Liesl
    June 12, 2008

    And don’t forget, it was all dreamed up by Charles Darwin.

  2. #2 Shygetz
    June 12, 2008

    Ooooo, the “anonymous yet reliable source”. Hey, I can be one of those. I am the most honorable person on the planet, and I worked for the DHHS actually on vaccines. And I’m telling you that the DHHS does not think vaccines cause autism.

    There, that should end this vaccination causes autism nonsense. After all, I’ve given them information from an “anonymous yet reliable source”; what more can they ask for?

  3. #3 Joseph
    June 12, 2008

    I’m curious; if they know, how do they know? I guess they are supposed to have access to some secret evidence that is nevertheless of high quality, at least as high quality as Thompson et al. (2007).

  4. #4 Mary Parsons
    June 12, 2008

    Well, Carolyn Kolbaba was the Director of Public Information of the AAP according to this newsletter (don’t know about now). None of which confirms that there was ever any such conversation, or that the content was as reported.

  5. #5 Helena
    June 12, 2008

    Since you’re blogging this, and Kolbaba seems to be a real person with lots of hits on Google and even contact information availalbe, you ought to take the initiative to contact her. I am betting she knows nothing about it, and, if infomred, might want to take legal action.

  6. #6 wfjag
    June 12, 2008

    “I am the most honorable person on the planet, and I worked for the DHHS actually on vaccines. And I’m telling you that the DHHS does not think vaccines cause autism.”

    Obviously, Shygetz, you’re an alien lizardman — identifying yourself as “honorable” was the give away. If you were human, you’d have identified yourself as “bottom-feeding, money-grubbing, pond-slim” (or, as a lawyer).

    You understand that stupid humans don’t understand the profit motive. Vaccines cost only a few dollars and preventive medicine is inexpensive. The real money in pediatrics is in in-patient hospital care. But, the humans running “Big Pharma” are just too dumb to figure that out:

    “During 2003, an estimated 286739 infectious disease hospitalizations occurred among infants in the United States and accounted for 42.8% of all infant hospitalizations. The national infectious disease hospitalization rate was 7010.8 hospitalizations per 100000 live births, or 1 infectious disease hospitalization for every 14 infants. The median length of stay was 3 days, and stays totaled >1 million hospital days for infants. Infectious disease hospitalization rates were highest among boys and nonwhite infants. The most commonly listed diagnoses among the infant infectious disease hospitalizations included lower respiratory tract infections (59.0%), kidney, urinary tract, and bladder infections (7.6%), upper respiratory tract infections (6.5%), and septicemia (6.5%). The median cost of an infectious disease hospitalization was $2235, with total annual hospital costs of approximately $690 million, among infants in the United States.”

    Yorita, et al, Infectious Disease Hospitalizations Among Infants in the United States, PEDIATRICS Vol. 121 No. 2 February 2008, pp. 244-252 (doi:10.1542/peds.2007-1392), on-line at http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/short/121/2/244

    But, keeping trying. With enough GOV converts, soon the hospitalization rates will start climbing and Big Pharma will start making real money.

  7. #7 RJ
    June 12, 2008

    As for the suspicion and conspiracies that these discussion ALWAYS come back to…never once do they address the basic questions in this regard: 1) are the millions of doctors, scientists, and public health specialists, as well as those in public and private regulatory and monitoring services all in on this conspiracy? 2) do these people not vaccinate their children? Do they use some different vaccines that are supposedly safer from those that have been given to you? 3) why would pharma, who’s motives would be making money, prevent millions of cases of several diseases with vaccines that cost dollars per dose rather than let these kids catch the diseases and have them pay thousands or tens of thousands to treat them with medications and support equipment? 4) and why is the advent of modern medicine leading to longer lives? Why has our life-span continued to increase in the developed world while it remains pathetically short in the non-developed world?

  8. #8 Liz Ditz
    June 12, 2008

    According to LinkedIn, Kolbaba is still at the AAP, in a different position. I only have the free version of LinkedIn, so I can’t send email (InMail) — maybe one of your other readers will ask her to verify or refute Hofherr’s assertion.

  9. #9 DLC
    June 12, 2008

    And they know that Wakefield knows the truuf, so they used Alien Mind Control Lasers™ to make him turn out the pile of pseudoscientific garbage he later managed to get into the Lancet, a publication frequently used by them for propaganda!!!1!
    Or maybe Wakefield is in on the whole thing, and is acting as an agent of disinformation . . . (cue X-files music)

  10. #10 RJ
    June 12, 2008

    Oh yes! 5) what about all the other countries in the world (western, socialist, dictatorships, even communist) have similar schedules and policies? Are they in on the conspiracy to give kids autism too?

  11. #11 mike stanton
    June 12, 2008

    Age of Autism claims to be a newspaper. It even boasts a managing editor and an editor. Seeing as Ms Kolbaba is real and can confirm or deny the story, did anyone at this “newspaper” ring her to confirm the facts before publishing?

  12. #12 Regan
    June 12, 2008

    “Are they in on the conspiracy to give kids autism too?”

    Interestingly enough, there was a blog comment on Autismvox that demonstrated that, yes, there could be folks out there who do believe that this is a global conspiracy involving any organization using an acronym. I’ve read a lot of weird stuff and listen to some conspiracy theorist radio late at night for laughs, but this was an over-the-top stunner.

    I agree, give the people “cited” (Kolbaba, etc.) as “knowing” a heads-up about the article. Since the AOA folk already have determined that “of course” they’d deny it, I don’t know if it would make a difference to those readers, but at least those “quoted” would be aware that this is out in print.

  13. #13 D. C. Sessions
    June 12, 2008

    Oh yes! 5) what about all the other countries in the world (western, socialist, dictatorships, even communist) have similar schedules and policies? Are they in on the conspiracy to give kids autism too?

    Or maybe the USA is leaning on them with either bribes or threats (remember all the pressure to adopt US-style copyright/patent regimes).

    Never underestimate the power of a conspiracy theorist to apply Occam’s Duct Tape (Obligatory Randi reference.)

  14. #14 T. Bruce McNeely
    June 12, 2008

    Are “they” the same “they” that Kevin Trudeau refers to in his book: Natural Cures “They” Don’t Want You to Know About?

    T. Bruce McNeely
    Card-Carrying “They”

  15. #15 Mariah
    June 12, 2008

    You know, I was in a conversation the other day that could easily be mis-represented by someone.

    My nutty sister-in-law was telling me about this show she watched on Larry King, and how they cured their kid’s autism…well, you know…

    For family peace I did not launch into an assault on said sister-in-law. We have a tenuous relationship at best, and she is in no danger of actually harming any children with this knowledge (her kids are now all 20+). So I mumbled a few dismissive things and put the ratatouille on the table.

    In the same conversation she told me about a new diet she was on, all sciency-based on something about blood type. In the same paragraph as she complained about how all the other diets hadn’t worked (which were also sciency). Sigh….

    But I can just imagine an anti-vax nutter relaying that story as if I agreed with it.

  16. #16 DLC
    June 12, 2008

    Of course, the anonymous source may have actually said:
    “Yes, they know about your antivax lunacy.”
    Selective hearing can do that.

  17. #17 Ms. Clark
    June 12, 2008

    Well, Bill Gates is working with the part-reptilian Illuminati overlords to decrease the population via vaccines. I’m still not clear on why the aliens reptilian overlords would want to decrease earth’s population….

    Anyone who knows anything knows that the HHS is in the USVICTMS Ultra Sneaky Vast International Conspiracy to Thimerosal Manufacturers Shield. A few years ago THEY must have known it was all mercury and all thimerosal. Now THEY know it’s about the aluminum and the greasy grimy gopher guts extract they are poisoning our babies with.

    And come on, anyone could tell that Kolbaba is an alien reptilian Illuminati family name. If one of the Illuminati says something then we know the opposite is true… because… THE TRUTH IS THAT IT’S NOT THE VACCINES, IT’S THE PET FLEA COLLARS and THEY knew it ALL ALONG!!!!.

    Dan Olmsted and Kim Skagliano are part of the conspirary to protect Hartz Mountain and the international veterinarian cabal – out to rid this world of excess humans!!!!!

  18. #18 nanoAl
    June 12, 2008

    Maybe this antivaccinationist nonsense is really just a big Pharma grassroots conspiracy to overthrow vaccines, so they can make money by treating disease epidemics…

  19. #19 thinking
    June 12, 2008

    and maybe it’s not so crazy to think that a cabal of personal injury lawyers are paying dan olmsted and the rest to keep the vaccines cause autism belief alive so that the jury pool will be contaminated with this anti-vaccine thinking. both dan olmsted and david kirby are ex-reporters now reduced to blogging. who is supporting them now? what would it take for them to regain enough credibility for a newspaper to hire them to report on a mall opening in pawtucket?

  20. #20 TsuDhoNimh
    June 13, 2008

    http://www.popline.org/docs/0983/079343.html
    In April 1990, the Centre for Tropical Disease Research (CIET) at the Universidad Autonoma de Guerrero in Acapulco, Mexico, conducted an epidemiologic study of the September 1989-March 1990 measles epidemic and analyzed its cost in 43 representative communities to quantify all costs of the epidemic in order to estimate the full social benefit of immunization. The researchers examined loss of human life, physical and mental effects on the survivors, future earnings foregone due to death, monetary costs, and loss of household reserve capital.

    Results: The health services’ cost and the cost to the communities were greater than the cost of an annual measles immunization program which would vaccinate all children less than 5 years old in Mexico for 5 years.

    So if Big Pharma wanted to maximize profits, vaccination is not the way to do it.

  21. #21 natural cynic
    June 13, 2008

    Somebody needs to look for the secret graveyard for straying epidemiologists. After all, there must be a real pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for the guy or gal that knows enough about the conspiracy. Spilling the beans to a hotshot medical tort lawyer could make a lot of money – enough to tempt at least a few intrepid, but foolish scientists and administrators. Therefore, there must be a secret place where they disappear so no one notices. And then our sleuth will have to look at the Swiss bank accounts of the relatives of the disappeared to find the hush money.

  22. #22 Alan Kellogg
    June 13, 2008

    Orac,

    There’s one thing wrong with your list of woo. There are first hand accounts of bigfoot sightings, and a number of those sightings were accompanied by physical evidence. Verified physical evidence.

    People have gotten it wrong. People have manufactured fraudulent material. Neither explains away all the evidence, all the sightings. To say one fake footprint debunks the sasquatch is like saying Piltdown Man debunks human evolution.

    Then you have the matter of reaching by the debunkers. Saying that bears are responsible for patches of manhandled undergrowth, though the bear is an animal incapable of manipulating objects in the manner necessary (no grip to speak of) is a rationalization of the worst sort. It’s kind of like saying invisible pixies are responsible for the damage done by flesh eating bacteria, with the exception that bears do exist.

    When evidence is presented that contradicts what you know to be true, even when it is presented by amateurs, it is incumbent upon you to evaluate that evidence honestly. Should someone present to you a litter of hyena cubs he captured in the mountains of western Montana — cubs, in addition, that look nothing like hyena cubs from Africa or southern Asia — then honesty compels you to consider the very real possibility that the United States has its own native hyena.

    My point is, always be mindful of the possibility you could be wrong on a subject. Furthermore, don’t dismiss any claim out of hand, unless you can show that things don’t work that way. Recent work in autism shows that the condition starts developing before most vaccinations are given to children. It may even be present before birth. From what we know of fetal, post natal, and infant brain development it is very unlikely that mercury at any dosage as anything to do with developing autism. On the other hand, there is nothing that forbids the presence of a large,bipedal ape in North America, and testable evidence that point to it.

    Finally, beware of acting in any manner that would remind others of parties you oppose. When you say that body impressions, hair, fecal material, calls, and twisted and mangled plants do not constitute valid proof you are engaged in the same sort of behavior as that engaged in by creationists when they declare evidence for evolution invalid.

    I hate to be so mean about this, but the prudent scientist does not refuse to consider any possibility simply because a subject makes him uncomfortable. Indeed, any subject that makes the scientist uncomfortable calls for especial care when investigating it. To use a recent case from the province of Alberta Canada, when genetic testing says the hairs you found in the middle of the night are bison hairs, then it’s a safe bet you found some bison hairs. (Yes, there are people who insist the hairs in question are actually bigfoot hairs, and that certain parties are suppressing the truth. Think of it as the bigfoot research community’s version of Galileo’s insistence on circular planetary orbits.)

    Science is all about learning you were wrong, and correcting your error. Don’t let the shrill, the adamant, and the obstinate dictate how you must approach a matter.

  23. #23 Oregon Grape
    June 13, 2008

    So, I was in the health food store last week looking for some goldenseal and who do I overhear but the clerk, Myrta, talking on the phone to her sister, Hazel, and she says yeah, JB Handley had been in there looking for a natural cure for gynecomastia. She said that he had this problem from eating too many soy based snack bars and getting too many Lupron injections. Why would anyone make something like that up?

  24. #24 Christophe Thill
    June 13, 2008

    Pssst : Bigfoot “sightings”, not “sitings”.
    Feel free to delete this post after use.

  25. #25 Orac
    June 13, 2008

    There are first hand accounts of bigfoot sightings, and a number of those sightings were accompanied by physical evidence. Verified physical evidence.

    First hand accounts, OK. But which sightings were ever accompanied with “verified physical evidence”?

  26. #26 Marcus Ranum
    June 13, 2008

    I wish our government was competent enough to actually conspire, and accomplish something, for under $1billion.

  27. #27 Marcus Ranum
    June 13, 2008

    There are first hand accounts of bigfoot sightings, and a number of those sightings were accompanied by physical evidence.

    Accounts from the hoaxer holding the camera don’t count. :D

    Didn’t the guys who did the famous bigfoot movie finally come out about how they did it?

  28. #28 Liesele
    June 13, 2008

    Bigfoot causes autism? See, I knew it was a conspiracy!

  29. #29 Shygetz
    June 13, 2008

    Orac, I hope you realize what a valuable community service you provide here. Where else in the world can anti-vaxers, homeopaths, New Age healers, and now cryptozoologists all get together in one place and tell you how much you suck?

    Bravo, sir.

  30. #30 evans
    June 13, 2008

    Orac:

    Your understanding of conspiracy theores is… poor.

    The utter lack of evidence is EVIDENCE of just how deep the conspiracy goes!

    Really good conspiracies have totally anonymous proponents.
    Any conspiracy that has some mouthpiece filling the internet with
    diatribes is, by definition, third rate…. i.e. the autism cranks.

    A REAL conspiracy has no evidence, and anonymous proponents, too.
    That’s what proves the diabolical nature of [whoever is behind this!]

    truly great conspiracies have a constantly shifting reason for the conspiracy.
    so you have to give the autism cranks some credit there….

    oops, time for my sarcasm medication…..

  31. #31 MR.P
    June 13, 2008

    I wish our government was competent enough to actually conspire, and accomplish something, for under $1billion.

    Posted by: Marcus Ranum | June 13, 2008 8:50 AM
    Let me fix that statement:
    I wish our government was competent enough to actually accomplish something, for under $1billion.
    Now apply that same logic to the government vaccination program, and you see the opposition may have a point.

  32. #32 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    June 13, 2008

    Bigfoot causes autism? See, I knew it was a conspiracy!

    Well that ruined me for the day.

  33. #33 Interrobang
    June 13, 2008

    I wish our government was competent enough to actually conspire, and accomplish something, for under $1billion.

    I think our government can.

    Therefore, the Canadians are, in fact out to get you. You heard it here first. :)

  34. #34 notmercury
    June 13, 2008

    “Bigfoot causes autism? See, I knew it was a conspiracy!”

    Bigfoot IS autistic!
    Just try to prove me worng.

  35. #35 Karl Withakay
    June 13, 2008

    There are first hand accounts of bigfoot sightings, and a number of those sightings were accompanied by physical evidence. Verified physical evidence.

    Human observation is perhaps the weakest support for any claim. There are plenty of first hand accounts of the miracles of Christ, the translation of the plates of Moroni, acts of witchcraft from the middle ages, UFO’s, etc. Of course, they’re only first hand accounts if you’re talking to the observer; if you’re telling someone else, you’re giving a first hand account of a first hand account (a second hand account).

    Verified physical evidence of Bigfoot, yet somehow it didn’t make National Geographic. Define verified please. Verified by whom? A cryptozoologist who specializes in the search for Bigfoot, a credible major lab or university, a guy named Vern?

  36. #36 Alan Kellogg
    June 14, 2008

    First hand accounts, OK. But which sightings were ever accompanied with “verified physical evidence”?

    Orac,

    More than you would think. But finding this out requires doing research. Actually going out and looking. Admittedly the bigfoot community does not make it easy — too many occasions when evidence has been summarily dismissed after only a brief glance, but if you show that you are serious, and that you will do a proper job, you can gain access.

    People have tested the evidence. People with the proper training, experience, and expertise. There are cases where these experts have looked at the available evidence and said of some of that evidence, this is the real thing. Only to have bigfoot deniers — who have no training in the relevant field, no experience in the relevant field, and no exposure to the evidence in question — declare them wrong at best, and liars at worst. This is creationist behavior and it stinks.

    The hypothesis that bigfoot does not exist depends on all evidence supporting the hypothesis bigfoot does exist being wrong or fraudulent. As soon as one single bit of evidence pointing to the existence of the sasquatch is found, the no bigfoot hypothesis fails. And so the bigfoot denier has a vested interest in debunking any and all evidence found regardless of merit. Much as an antivaccinationist has a vested interest in debunking evidence that vaccines are safe and effective when used properly.

    On this score I must aver that the bigfoot community as a whole has acted with more honesty than bigfoot deniers. The bigfoot community as a whole works diligently to expose fraud, because they know their opposition will take unwarranted advantage of such to promote their no bigfoot message. Not everyone in the bigfoot community, for every community has its fringe elements, but the great majority.

    I can’t persuade you, so I won’t try. All I can do is ask that you do some research of your own, and that you assess what evidence you find honestly. You will find fraud, for sasquatch research has more than its share of hoaxsters. But you will also find honest, substantial research being done in this field.

    Back in 1959 the scientific community had a violent reaction to stories about bigfoot published in a major men’s magazine of the time. As it turned out, the stories were lies. The scientists who declared bigfoot a fraud were correct at the time, because there was no reasonably way a large, bipedal ape could get to North America from Asia, so far as we knew. But we’ve learned more since then. We know about about the evolution of apes and the history of the intermittent connection between Asia and North America. The North American great ape scenario has become plausible. There is evidence that it is true.

    So look, consider the evidence honestly, and don’t let those engaged in angry denial dissaude you. And always remember that science is never about confirming your beliefs, but about learning what’s going on.

  37. #37 Alan Kellogg
    June 14, 2008

    Didn’t the guys who did the famous bigfoot movie finally come out about how they did it?

    Marcus Ranum,

    You’ve been lied to. The purported confession has been debunked by people who know the story. You can find leads on the matter in the archives in this forum. Or you can ask (registration required).

    For Karl Withakay,

    People are not as incompetent as you may think. The information you get from them also depends on how you ask them, how they relate their information, and on what they think you want to hear. Interrogation is a skill and can be biased by expectations and desires.

    And for Shygetz,

    What an amazing talent for mind reading you possess. Looks like I’ll have to watch what I’m thinking (Did Tim Russert poop his pants when he croaked?) or you’ll find something you can use to your advantage (Eighteen year old girls are hot. I’m not supposed to notice that eighteen year old girls are hot?).

  38. #38 Orac
    June 14, 2008

    More than you would think. But finding this out requires doing research. Actually going out and looking. Admittedly the bigfoot community does not make it easy — too many occasions when evidence has been summarily dismissed after only a brief glance, but if you show that you are serious, and that you will do a proper job, you can gain access.

    People have tested the evidence. People with the proper training, experience, and expertise. There are cases where these experts have looked at the available evidence and said of some of that evidence, this is the real thing. Only to have bigfoot deniers — who have no training in the relevant field, no experience in the relevant field, and no exposure to the evidence in question — declare them wrong at best, and liars at worst. This is creationist behavior and it stinks.

    One can’t help but notice that, for all your verbiage, you have not answered my question: which sightings were ever accompanied with “verified physical evidence”?

  39. #39 Graculus
    June 14, 2008

    Therefore, the Canadians are, in fact out to get you. You heard it here first.

    Dammit, that was supposed to be a secret!

    Now I’ll have to tell the Musical Ride to disappear you.

  40. #40 Karl Withakay
    June 14, 2008

    Alan Kellogg: “people are not as incompetent as you may think. The information you get from them also depends on how you ask them, how they relate their information, and on what they think you want to hear. Interrogation is a skill and can be biased by expectations and desires.”

    The problem there is that people are not nearly as good observers as you may think. Inquiry and interrogation skill can’t compensate much for poor observation and recall/recollection.

  41. #41 Anne
    June 15, 2008

    “Can you prove that it didn’t happen?”
    -Criswell, Plan 9 from Outer Space

  42. #42 Lexin
    June 16, 2008

    Trust me, if the British government ‘knew’ any of this stuff, someone would have left a top secret document containing it on a commuter train by now.

    Not least because they’ve been cutting government so much that the staff they have left are too tired to think.

  43. #43 Richard Eis
    June 16, 2008

    If this were true, then the “Govinmint” wouldn’t vaccinate their own kids.

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