Skeptophilia (skep-to-fil-i-a) (n.) - the love of logical thought, skepticism, and thinking critically. Being an exploration of the applications of skeptical thinking to the world at large, with periodic excursions into linguistics, music, politics, cryptozoology, and why people keep seeing the face of Jesus on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Friday, October 28, 2016

A trio of straw men

I had three interactions in the last 24 hours that left me wanting to bang my forehead against the wall.

I was going to call them "conversations," but "conversation" implies "exchange of ideas," which is not what this was.  This was more "one person ranting at the other, followed by the target of this rant trying unsuccessfully to find some way of responding other than shouting 'Are you a moron?  Or what?'"

The common thread in all of them was the straw-man fallacy -- mischaracterizing an argument, and then arguing against that mischaracterization.  Honestly, it's a way of saying "ha ha, I win" without doing the hard work of finding out what your opponent actually believes.

The first of these interactions was over a piece I posted here at Skeptophilia a while back on the evolution of bills designed to block the teaching of evolution.  I thought the academic paper I was writing about was absolutely brilliant, but evidently not everyone does, because I received the following comment:
I don't understand how anyone can believe in the fairy tale of evolution.  You honestly expect us to believe that one animal can just morph into another by magic?  It's so easy for you to believe that a chihuahua would become a race of large sea creatures?
 So against my better judgment, I actually responded.  The whole time, my brain was shouting at me, "You doofus.  Why are you bothering?  What do you think you're going to accomplish?"  But I wouldn't listen to me.  So I wrote:
Of course evolutionists don't think chihuahuas turned into orcas.  The very fact that you can't come up with an actual example of what evolutionists are saying indicates that you're not really all that interested in the discussion, you're just looking for an opportunity to make foolish statements and then pretend you've won the argument.
He then did something kind of sneaky; he set out bait for me.
Okay, then, tell me something evolutionists do believe.
And like an idiot, I fell for it.

I responded:
Here's just one example.  Birds are clearly descended from dinosaurs, especially the deinonychid dinosaurs (including the famous Velociraptor).  They show a lot of homologous bone structure -- and in fact, some members of this dinosaur group had feathers.  Recent protein sequencing of soft tissue preserved in dinosaur bones has also supported a close relationship to modern birds.
And he responded:
Oh, okay.  So it's not chihuahuas morphing into orcas, it's a T-rex morphing into a hummingbird.  That makes so much more sense.
So I gave up...

... only to get caught again shortly thereafter by someone who posted the following image on Twitter:

And not having learned from what had happened only two hours earlier, I responded:
So the fact that they were also both crazy homicidal dictators had nothing whatsoever to do with it?
At which point the original poster called me a "sheeple," which in my opinion is a word whose use should immediately disqualify you from rational discourse in a public forum for a year, unless in that time you can show evidence of your successful completion of a college-level logic course.

But since I never make the same mistake twice -- I make it five or six times, just to be sure -- I then got into a snarl with a Facebook friend who posted an article saying that all of the polls are wrong, that Donald Trump is going to win in a landslide.  By this time I was completely fed up with counterfactual nonsense, and I said, "How can making up reality as you go along be comforting to you?"

She immediately unfriended me, which I guess I deserved, if not for the message, for the snarky way I said it.

So apparently, I'll never learn.  Not only does engaging in arguments on the internet piss off all of the participants, it's completely futile.  And trying to reason with someone who didn't come to their conclusion using rational evidence is a losing proposition right from the get-go.  It reminds me of the quote -- attributed to several different sources -- "You can't logic yourself out of a position you didn't logic yourself into."  Or, as Thomas Paine put it, "To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead."

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Hiding from reality

I have never understood the inclination on the part of some folks to pretend that if you just don't talk about something it will go away.

This has been the approach of a lot of politicians vis-à-vis climate change (at least among those who actually acknowledge that it exists).  Let's not even talk about our role in wrecking the planet, nor (especially) what changes we'd have to make in our own cultures and lifestyles to have a prayer of a chance of altering what is now increasingly looking like the outcome.

Which is the adult equivalent of a little kid pulling his blanket over his head because that makes the monster go away.

The latest in the "la-la-la-la-la-la, not listening" department are the states wherein teachers are not allowed to discuss homosexuality in public school classes.  There are currently eight states that have such laws: Alabama, Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah.  The general attitude seems to be that if kids don't hear about homosexuality, it'll stop happening, as if there are 100% straight kids sitting around in high school health class one day, and the teacher mentions homosexuality, and all of a sudden the kids go, "Holy shit!  I never thought of that!  I think I'll go have sex with a member of my own gender right now!"

Some states go even farther than that. Take, for example, Alabama State Code § 16-40A-2(c)(8):
Classes must emphasize, in a factual manner and from a public health perspective, that homosexuality is not a lifestyle acceptable to the general public and that homosexual conduct is a criminal offense under the laws of the state.
And South Carolina State Code Statute § 59-32-30(5):
[T]he program of instruction provided for in this section may not include a discussion of alternate sexual lifestyles from heterosexual relationships including, but not limited to, homosexual relationships except in the context of instruction concerning sexually transmitted diseases.
And Arizona AZ Revised Statute § 15-716(c):
[N]o district shall include in its course of study instruction which…(1) promotes a homosexual life-style…(2) portrays homosexuality as a positive alternative life-style…(3) suggests that some methods of sex are safe methods of homosexual sex.
So yet another way that LGBT kids are systematically marginalized and stigmatized. Is it any wonder the suicide rate among LGBT teens is so high?

In Utah, however, we may be seeing the first sign of a sea change.  Last week, Equality Utah sued the state over its so-called "No Promo Homo" law.  Troy Williams, president of Equality Utah, said that the law "sends a message that our lives are something shameful, something that must be censored and erased... the time has come to end the stigma."  The lawsuit itself states that such laws "create a culture of silence and nonacceptance of LGBT students and teachers... They  leave LGBT students at risk for isolation, harassment and long-term negative impacts on their health and well-being."

Which is it exactly.  It also, of course, is a fine example of ideologues pretending that if they only close their eyes tight enough, everything they don't like in the world will vanish.  The evidence is incontrovertible at this point that homosexuality is not a choice -- it is either inborn or else wired in so early that it may as well be.  (You straight readers, when did you decide to be attracted to members of the opposite sex?  And if you say, "Well, I didn't decide to, it just happened that way," why in the hell do you think it would be different for homosexuals or bisexuals?)

So what this amounts to is institutional discrimination against people for something over which they have absolutely no control.  Explain to me again how this is fair?

[image courtesy of the Wikimedia Commons]

Most appalling of all is the fact that the majority of the people of this stripe justify their beliefs using religion.  Isn't there also something in the bible about "judge not lest ye be judged" and "love thy neighbor as thyself" and "do unto others as you would have them do unto you?"  I seem to remember those were pretty important parts.

In any case, it's heartening that people in Utah may be taking the first steps toward repealing these idiotic laws.  It can only be hoped that this will spread to other states that have similar statutes.  And that the supporters of such legislation are forced to take their hands from over their eyes and look squarely at reality -- not only that LGBT individuals exist, but what the years of bigotry, intolerance, bullying, and systemic marginalization has done to them.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Clickbait directory

Coming hard on the heels of a story about how hexagonal cloud formations in the south Atlantic proves the existence of the Bermuda Triangle, we have: a story about a guy in an evil clown mask who, after scaring people for weeks in rural Cambodia, died by accidentally stepping on a land mine.

This is one of those stories that those of us with a twisted sense of humor just would love to be true.  Much to the annoyance of most of us, the whole clown thing has (as I mentioned in a previous post) exploded recently.

Wait, that was a poor choice of words.  Let's just say that clown sightings have skyrocketed.  This of course leads to false sightings, not to mention copycats, and my guess is that the legacy of the evil clowns will be with us long after Halloween has come and gone.

[image courtesy of the Wikimedia Commons]

The problem with the story about the clown stepping on a land mine is, it's fake.  And that's why I'm writing about it.  Not only is the story false, the source of the story -- the Times of Cambodia -- is a recently-created bogus news site.  In other words, the Times of Cambodia appears to have been put online specifically to give visibility to this story.

And the problem is, it worked.  The story has progressed its way up the credibility ladder, and has (thus far) appeared in the Evening Standard, the Mirror, and the Daily Star, to name three.  Not that any of these is above posting a dubious news story to get readers' attention.  But these are at least approaching mainstream media -- in other words, a cut above such unadulterated baloney as InfoWars, Before It's News, and Area 51.

Whoever created the story (not to mention the Times of Cambodia) has also benefited greatly from social media.  I've now seen this story at least a half-dozen times on Twitter and Facebook, usually from people who apparently think that it's true.  So we're back to "check your sources, dammit," a theme I've rung the changes on so many times that I've lost count.

So I thought it might be a good idea to post a list of unreliable news sources.  This is not my own list (although I agree with it 100%) -- to give credit where credit is due, this comes from Sharon Hill's wonderful site Doubtful News.  But I'm hoping that since she and I are entirely on the same page about this, she won't mind my swiping her list and reposting it here.

Starting with the nearly always unreliable, not-even-once sites. Some of these are deliberate spoof sites (e.g. Topeka's News), others are claiming they're telling you the straight scoop but are so wildly biased that I'd automatically discount any claim they make (e.g. Natural News).  Here are the top offenders:
  • Natural News (Mike Adams, “Health Ranger”)
  • Pat Robertson (700 Club)
  • Before It’s News
  • Info Wars / Prison Planet (Alex Jones)
  • (Joe Mercola)
  • News-hound
  • The Canadian (
  • All News Web
  • World News Daily Report
  • World Net Daily (
  • Empire News (
Then, there are the ones that are such ad-revenue-seeking clickbait that they tend to pick up any story that sounds sensational (like the killer clown story), so what they post is a complete hash of actual news, biased political grandstanding, and outright nonsense.  Anything from them falls into the "check another source" department:
  • Daily Mail (U.K.)
  • The Sun (U.K.)
  • Bubblews
  • European Union Times
  • Siberian Times
  • Buzzfeed
  • Gawker network of sites
  • Mother Nature News
  • Epoch Times
  • The Blaze
  • Drudge Report
  • Mirror (U.K.)
  • Breitbart
  • IFLS (I Fucking Love Science)
So there you have it.  Some news sources to avoid.  Of course, that doesn't mean that what you find elsewhere is reliable; as always, use your brain and double check your sources.  Especially if you're considering forwarding a story about exploding clowns in Cambodia.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The hexagons of doom

New from the Woo-Woo Bullshit That Would Not Die department, we have: stories popping up all over the place claiming that the discovery of hexagonal clouds "solves the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle."

There are dozens of these articles all over the place, many at clickbait sites like the Daily Mail Fail, so I will only post one link -- to a dubiously-less-clickbaitish site called the Mother News Network.  In it, we find that a meteorologist named Randy Cerveny has been studying atmospheric turbulence patterns, and found that a phenomenon that creates hexagonal-shaped clouds is also likely to create the proper conditions for a microburst -- a sudden downdraft that can reach hurricane-speed in a matter of seconds (and usually dissipates just as fast).  "These types of hexagonal shapes over the ocean are in essence air bombs," Cerveny said.  "They are formed by what are called microbursts, blasts of air that come down out of the bottom of a cloud and then hit the ocean and then create waves that can sometimes be massive in size as they start to interact with each other."

Which is all well and good, and of obvious interest to weather nerds like myself.  I'm fascinated by weather, which is why I'm always updating my poor long-suffering wife about the status of low-pressure systems in Saskatchewan.  So I think the discovery is cool.


You may want to back slowly away from your screen, 'cuz I'm gonna yell.


I dealt with this in a post way back in 2011.  Let me quote for you the relevant paragraph:
[T]he whole preposterous idea [of the Bermuda Triangle] was brought to the public's attention by a fellow named Charles Berlitz, who wrote a bestselling book on the subject in 1974.  Berlitz's book, upon examination, turns out to be full of sensationalized hype, reports taken out of context, omitted information, and outright lies.  Larry Kusche, whose painstaking collection of data finally proved once and for all that there were proportionally no more ships and planes going down there than anywhere else in the world, said about Berlitz, "If Berlitz were to report that a ship was red, the chances of it being some other color is almost a certainty."
So the Bermuda Triangle Mystery is actually the Bermuda Triangle Ordinary Patch Of Ocean.  But far be it from the woo-woos of the world to say, "Well, I guess we were wrong after all.  There's nothing to see here, folks."  No.  We have to keep hearing about how ancient aliens built the Pyramids, that ley lines determined the siting of Stonehenge, how you can heal yourself with crystals, and that homeopathy works.

And, heaven help us all, that there's a mysterious "Bermuda Triangle" where ships and airplanes vanish regularly, never to be seen again.

So poor Randy Cerveny has joined the rank of scientists who have had their legitimate (and interesting) research co-opted by wingnuts who then use it to support a loony claim.  I don't know how he feels about this.  Maybe he's just laughing it off.  Me, I'd be pissed.

In fact, I'm pissed enough just reading about it.  I better go check the weather forecast for Quito, Ecuador and calm down a little.  It'll also give me something to tell my wife about over dinner tonight.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Wish upon a star

If I had one wish for something that I will live long enough to see, it'd be incontrovertible evidence of intelligent life on other planets.

I know, when it comes to human problems, feeling alone in the galaxy isn't one of the more pressing ones.  Finding a cure for cancer, finding ways to prevent or treat dementia, developing a universal vaccine for flu and colds and malaria -- those should be up there somewhere.

Oh, and eliminating poverty and ignorance, and having peace on Earth.  Those, too.

But man.  Aliens, you know?  There's something magnetic about the idea of an intelligence that (in C. S. Lewis's words) "floats on a different blood."  So whenever there's a new development in SETI -- the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence -- I always read it with great enthusiasm.

And just last week, astronomers found what might be the best candidate yet.

According to a paper published last week at the pre-print site arXiv, Emmano F. Borra and Éric Trottier, two astronomers at Laval University (Québec City), have found 234 stars (out of 2.5 million studied) whose spectra show "peculiar periodic modulations."  The authors write:
A Fourier transform analysis of 2.5 million spectra in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey was carried out to detect periodic spectral modulations.  Signals having the same period were found in only 234 stars overwhelmingly in the F2 to K1 spectral range.  The signals cannot be caused by instrumental or data analysis effects because they are present in only a very small fraction of stars within a narrow spectral range and because signal to noise ratio considerations predict that the signal should mostly be detected in the brightest objects, while this is not the case.  We consider several possibilities, such as rotational transitions in molecules, rapid pulsations, Fourier transform of spectral lines and signals generated by Extraterrestrial Intelligence (ETI).  They cannot be generated by molecules or rapid pulsations.  It is highly unlikely that they come from the Fourier transform of spectral lines because too many strong lines located at nearly periodic frequencies are needed.  Finally we consider the possibility, predicted in a previous published paper, that the signals are caused by light pulses generated by Extraterrestrial Intelligence to makes us aware of their existence.  We find that the detected signals have exactly the shape of an ETI signal predicted in the previous publication and are therefore in agreement with this hypothesis.  The fact that they are only found in a very small fraction of stars within a narrow spectral range centered near the spectral type of the sun is also in agreement with the ETI hypothesis.
When I read this, I said, and I quote, "Holy shit."

That two reputable research astronomers would go out on a limb like this and say, "Yeah, this pretty much looks like ETI" is stunning.  Hell, they didn't even do that with "Tabby's Star" -- the star discovered by Tabetha Boyajian whose brightness profile over time showed some really weird fluctuations.  Boyajian and others said that the change in brightness was strange, and could be consistent with an alien civilization constructing a huge Dyson sphere around the star, but that it was way premature to conclude that this was what was happening.  Further studies have left astronomers still saying "We don't know" -- which is exactly the stance a good scientific skeptic should take when the evidence is insufficient to come to a conclusion.

Here, though, they appear to have eliminated all of the other likely possibilities.  Borra and Trottier are seriously considering the possibility that these odd signals might be signals from extraterrestrial beacons -- and that a civilization who could create pulses this powerful would be significantly beyond us technologically.

It behooves us to recall, however, that when Jocelyn Bell first discovered pulsars, they were nicknamed LGM (Little Green Men) until it turned out that there was a perfectly natural, and non-ETI, explanation for them.  So caution is recommended.  But to me -- and I'm admitting up front I'm not an astronomer, so my opinion probably doesn't count for much -- this seems like the most promising candidate for ETI yet.

So I hope that other astronomers follow up Borra and Trottier's study, because what we need now is more information.  And of course, if it does turn out to be ETI, the question then becomes, "What do we do now?"  Do we signal back "Hey, we're over here?"  The level of terrestrial intelligence sometimes seems to me to be so low that you have to wonder if the aliens would just say, "Oh, man.  This planet is just not worth the trouble."  And in any case, the distances are so great that a two-way conversation wouldn't be possible.

But even so.  Just the idea that we might be looking at the first real evidence of intelligent life beyond our solar system is amazingly cool.  Once in arXiv the paper goes into peer review, and so far it appears to be "generating interest" -- science-ese for "it hasn't been dismissed out of hand."  So we'll watch and wait.

Of course, me, I'm already preparing for the reception committee when they land in my back yard.  I'm not nearly as cool as Zefram Cochrane, but I hope that the Vulcans will still find me an acceptable proxy.

Saturday, October 22, 2016


As a teacher, I've developed a pretty sensitive bullshit detector.

It's a necessary skill.  Kids who have not taken the time to understand the topic being studied are notorious for bullshitting answers on essay questions, often padding their writing with vague but sciency-sounding words.  An example is the following, which is verbatim (near as I can recall) from an essay on how photosynthesis is, and is not, the reverse of aerobic cellular respiration:
From analyzing photosynthesis and the process of aerobic cellular respiration, you can see that certain features are reversed between the two reactions and certain things are not.  Aerobic respiration has the Krebs Cycle and photosynthesis has the Calvin Cycle, which are also opposites in some senses and not in others.  Therefore, the steps are not the same.  So if you ran them in reverse, those would not be the same, either.
I returned this essay with one comment:  "What does this even mean?"  The student in question at least had the gumption to admit he'd gotten caught.  He grinned sheepishly and said, "You figured out that I had no idea what I was talking about, then?"  I said, "Yup."  He said, "Guess I better study next time."

I said, "Yup."

Developing a sensitive nose for bullshit is critical not only for teachers, because there's a lot of it out there, and not just in academic circles.  Writer Scott Berkun addressed this in his wonderful piece, "How to Detect Bullshit," which gives some concrete suggestions about how to figure out what is USDA grade-A prime beef, and what is the cow's other, less pleasant output.  One of the best is simply to ask the questions, "How do you know that?", "Who else has this opinion?", and "What is the counter-argument?"

You say your research will revolutionize the field?

Says who?  Based on what evidence?

He also says to be very careful whenever anyone says, "Studies show," because usually if studies did show what the writer claims, (s)he'd be specific about what those studies were.  Vague statements like "studies show" are often a red flag that the claim doesn't have much in its favor.

Using ten-dollar buzzwords is also a good way to cover up the fact that you're sailing pretty close to the wind.  Berkun recommends asking, "Can you explain this in simpler terms?"  If the speaker can't give you a good idea of what (s)he's talking about without resorting to jargon, the fancy verbiage is fairly likely to be there to mislead.

This is the idea behind BlaBlaMeter, a website I found out about from a student of mine, into which you can cut-and-paste text and get a score (from 0 to 1.0) for how much bullshit it contains.  I'm not sure what the algorithm does besides detecting vague filler words, but it's a clever idea.  It'd certainly be nice to have a rigorous way to detect it when you're being bamboozled with words.

The importance of being able to detect fancy-sounding nonsense was highlighted just this week by the acceptance of a paper for the International Conference on Atomic and Nuclear Physics -- when it turned out that the paper had been created by hitting iOS Autocomplete over and over.  The paper, written (sort of) by Christoph Bartneck, associate professor at the Human Interface Technology laboratory at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, was titled "Atomic Energy Will Have Been Made Available to a Single Source" (the title was also generated by autocomplete), and contained passages such as:
The atoms of a better universe will have the right for the same as you are the way we shall have to be a great place for a great time to enjoy the day you are a wonderful person to your great time to take the fun and take a great time and enjoy the great day you will be a wonderful time for your parents and kids.
Which, of course, makes no sense at all.  In this case, I wonder if the reviewers simply didn't bother to read the paper -- or read a few sample sentences and found that they (unlike the above) made reasonable sense, and said, "Looks fine to me."

Although I'd like to think that even considering my lack of expert status on atomic and nuclear physics, I'd have figured out that what I was looking at was ridiculous.

On a more serious note, there's a much more pressing reason that we all need to arm ourselves against bullshit, because so much of what's on the internet is outright false.  A team of political fact-checkers was hired by Buzzfeed News to sift through claims on politically partisan Facebook pages, and found that on average, a third of the claims made by partisan sites were outright false.  And lest you think one side was better than the other, the study found that both right and left were making a great many unsubstantiated, misleading, or wrong claims.  And we're not talking about fringe-y wingnut sites here; these were sites that if you're on Facebook you see reposts from on a daily basis -- Occupy Democrats, Eagle Rising, Freedom Daily, The Other 98%, Addicting Info, Right Wing News, and U.S. Uncut.

What this means is that when you see posts from these sites, there is (overall) about a 2/3 chance that what you're seeing is true.  So if you frequent those pages -- or, more importantly, if you're in the habit of clicking "share" on every story that you find mildly appealing -- you damn well better be able to figure out which third is wrong.

The upshot of it is, we all need better bullshit filters.  Given that we are bombarded daily by hundreds of claims from the well-substantiated to the outrageous, it behooves us to find a way to determine which is which.

And, if you're curious, a 275-word passage from this Skeotphilia post was rated by BlaBlaMeter as having a bullshit rating of 0.13.  Which I find reassuring.  Not bad, considering the topic I was discussing.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Death in Warsaw

What frustrates me most about woo-woos isn't that I disagree with them on their conclusions.  Heaven knows there are lots of people who disagree with me on a lot of things, and if I disliked them all, I wouldn't have any friends.

What bothers me is their tendency -- and I know I'm overgeneralizing a bit -- to accept a claim despite (or even because of) a complete lack of evidence.  That "because of" bit becomes especially powerful with conspiracy theorists; they seem to consider "zero evidence" a badge of honor.  "Of course there's no evidence," they seem to say.  "Do you think the Illuminati would leave around stuff like evidence?"

As a good example of this, take the case of the death of Max Spiers, prominent British ufologist, supernaturalist, and conspiracy theorist, this past July.  I found out about it over at Sharon Hill's wonderful site Doubtful News, and it certainly is a little on the peculiar side.  You can learn more of the details (such as they are) in Hill's article, but the bare-bones of the case seem to be as follows:

Spiers died in Warsaw in mid-July; the date isn't certain but was probably the 15th or 16th.  He had made a video three days earlier in which he seemed to be either ill or on drugs.  His speech was slurred and at some points unintelligible, and what he was saying devolved into an incoherent ramble.  Spiers is known to have had problems with misuse of opiate drugs in the past, and those symptoms are certainly consistent with being on a narcotic.

Max Spiers [image courtesy of the Wikimedia Commons]

Spiers's body was flown back to the UK and presumably autopsied, but the results of the toxicology and post mortem have not been made public.  "An inquest is expected," but the authorities have not been forthcoming with further details.

Then we have a claim by his mother, Vanessa Bates -- unsubstantiated as yet -- that Spiers had texted her shortly before his death with a cryptic and sinister warning: "Your boy’s in trouble.  If anything happens to me, investigate."

And that's it, as far as the facts go.

I'll admit that the circumstances are strange, especially if the text to Vanessa Bates turns out to be authentic.  Certainly worth an investigation.  But the woo-woos have taken this extremely slim bunch of information, and come to...

... well, conclusions.  Lots of conclusions.  Here are just a few that have been circulating on conspiracy and UFO websites:
  • Spiers was the victim of a group of neo-Nazis running a government mind-control program.
  • Spiers was a "supersoldier" who was being controlled by an implant.  When his superiors saw that he was getting out of control and preparing to blow the whistle on him, the killed him by turning off the implant.
  • Spiers was fighting against "Energy Vampires," beings who "feed on negative energy" (whatever the fuck that is).  The Energy Vampires caught up with him and killed him by draining him dry.
  • Spiers was about to go public with a claim that the world is being run by a circle of politicians and celebrities who do what they do by "black magic."  So they killed him.
  • UFO researchers around the world, including Spiers, are being targeted for assassination because the Illuminati don't want information on aliens getting out to the rest of us slobs.
  • Spiers was killed because he didn't like Hillary Clinton, because, you know, she does that to people she doesn't like.
And so on, and so forth.

Now let's go back to the facts here.  A guy died under fairly mysterious circumstances.  We don't have any information on why or how.  The guy himself had some pretty odd ideas.  There may or may not have been a sinister text from him to his mother shortly before he died.

And that's all.  I'm sorry, you can't take that and add it together and get computer-controlled supersoldiers and evil Energy Vampires.  It's all very well to be suspicious of official reports, but the lack of an official report doesn't prove a damn thing.

Anyhow.  I hope that there's more information coming down the pipeline on this story, although you know that if it comes out that Spiers died of an opiate overdose none of the aforementioned woo-woos will believe it.  As we've seen all too many times before, once conspiracy theorists decide on something, not only is a lack of evidence considered evidence for, but evidence against is considered evidence for as well.

You can't win.