15 Credibility Street #5: UFOs over Turkey and I ain’t too surprised

We’re back with another news chat episode. The news is weird, as usual. Strange days indeed…

Mothman reappears close to the 50th anniversary. Howard suspects pecuniary interests might be involved in the promotion of these local legends. The same can be suggested for the many YouTubers and websites that promote “weird news” like anomalies, natural disasters, and UFO sightings as something to panic over. But not all these use ads or appear to make money off their notoriety. Is there something more basic involved? Are they just high on the attention they get? Addicted to “going viral”? It’s a new world out there since the Internet totally blew the National Enquirer and Weekly World News out of the air.
mothman_monsterquest

Is it fair to judge kids on their lack of critical thinking about news stories when we never teach them how to do that? What would it take to increase the value of critical thinking skills in our society? Should the US Skeptical organizations make this a focus? We mull over these questions. Here is my post about it: American society ignores learning how to think critically – it’s hardly surprising where we ended upHoward mentions Steven Novella also holds this view: NeuroLogica Blog » Civic Online Reasoning

ufocaughtontapeA not insignificant number of people subscribe to and actively promote the idea that aliens are visiting earth. When anyone speaks out against these views, they attack those people. It didn’t matter that DN produced a story about an admitted HOAX about UFOs attacking Turkey, the particular point of the story was lost in the storm of outrage that anyone could be so stupid as to not believe the earth is already taken over by nefarious forces, like Google. According to Scott (UFOofInterest), the followers of SecureTeam and those that are deeply invested in this belief and all the conspiratorial threads used to support it, regularly attack the messenger. From either side of this issue, it appears to be cognitive dissonance at its finest. From my personal blog:  Response to UFO stories are predictably rude and ironic

Make sure to read the comments for my pieces, they contain some worthwhile contributions to understanding the bigger picture.

We also touch on the formation of sinkholes. This event in Fukuoku Japan looks horrendous but through the eyes of a geologist or geotechnical engineer, it looks a bit different.
Japanese road reopens one week after vast sinkhole appeared | World news | The Guardian

We did discuss if anyone was hurt. The event was reported at 5AM on November 8. In our discussion, we touch a bit on the problem of language barriers preventing us from obtaining details on the story, but I did translate this page that suggests that initial subsidence was noticed, traffic was blocked, and people were evacuated before the mass collapse occurred.

It’s not surprising at all that the sinkhole repair area is subsiding, they are very difficult to fix entirely and maintenance and observation will be required for a while as settling and any further movement occurs.

Howard recommends episode 152 of the Exposing Pseudoastronomy that discusses Young Earth Creationists versus flat-earthers.

Is there any redeeming value in Drunk History on Comedy Central? Maybe, we’re still divided on this one. They cover the Fox Sisters in the episode called “Siblings”. It’s sorta, kinda skeptical…
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You may be able to get the episode through signing in with your TV provider service on the CC website or view it on Hulu with a subscription. I’m not finding it publicly available to link to the clip here, sorry.

Please subscribe and share this. If you value rational discussion about these zany topics, you must spread the word. Listener means everything and what we want most is to add more listeners, to bring people in to see what we have to say. If you don’t like it, send a respectful, civil email outlining your points of contention (preferably with references to support your claims) to credibilitypodcast(at)gmail.com. And if you do like it, say so on social media. If that blasted worldwide network can promote a wave of nonexistent UFOs, it can also demonstrate that there is some down-to-earth people speaking out too!

Download the episode or listen here:

  7 comments for “15 Credibility Street #5: UFOs over Turkey and I ain’t too surprised

  1. Randall Krippner
    December 6, 2016 at 8:02 AM

    Your question about why people do this even when they don’t seem to be gaining anything tangible from these hoaxes and false stories is really the key here. I can understand the hoaxers who do this for financial reasons or some other type of personal gain, but that doesn’t explain the ones who don’t. Nor does it explain why people who really should know better willingly spread this material.

    I think your suspicion that they derive some kind of high from it may be correct. Or at least it fulfills some kind of psychological need. There are a lot of people who want almost desperately to be important, or at least to have others believe they are, and this may give them that opportunity.

  2. David Group
    December 6, 2016 at 9:32 AM

    Based on my experience, the people who believe conspiracies and other nonsense beliefs generally want to feel superior or more “in the know” than others. Some have a general distrust of all things mainstream, but do not use critical analysis to vet their own alternative beliefs. And then there are some who are truly delusional.

  3. December 6, 2016 at 10:29 AM

    Thanks for the shoutout (Howard). I have one piece of advice for your show: Smaller file sizes. I got this as feedback early on so I try for 1MB/1min. Better bitrate usually isn’t justified by the average person’s speakers or your recording setup, and my iPod is usually pushed to the limit for storage space so I have to manually toggle some things on and off; downloading your back-catalog of “just” 5 episodes is several hundred MB.

  4. Chris
    December 6, 2016 at 5:26 PM

    Thanks, Stuart. I don’t have a storage space problem on my mp3 player, but the 85+ MB file for less than an hour made it less responsive when rewinding to hear missed bits (like when I am interrupted). For my earbuds and spoken word I am fine with 96 kbps.

    Going through my files I just noticed Point of Inquiry today is 77 MB for a half hour at 320 kbps!

  5. Miles C
    December 13, 2016 at 1:00 PM

    Have you added this word to your skeptical vocab: pareidolia

  6. December 13, 2016 at 1:24 PM

    Many of us are well aware of what pareidolia is. To what are you referring?

  7. Chris
    December 13, 2016 at 1:56 PM

    Well known to most of us. An example, take note of the date:
    http://www.badastronomy.com/bad/misc/lenin.html

Comments are closed.