Mar 15 2011

I Can Fly

That’s right – I can fly, just like Superman (although not as fast – let’s be realistic). I can take off from a standing start and simply defy gravity by lifting off into the air. I can then soar through the air with perfect control and land gently on the ground at will.

You might ask how I can perform this amazing feat. Well, I don’t know how it works. I just know that I can do it. To those skeptics out there who say that this is impossible, I ask them to have an open mind. After all, science does not know everything. Look at Galileo, or that guy who claimed that ulcers were caused by bacteria. You cannot prove that human flight is impossible. What about quantum mechanics?

The inability to explain how something works does not mean that it does not work.

Scientists are taking levitation and flight seriously. Remember that picture of the levitating frog on the cover of Nature?  I think personal flying comes from the ability to harmonize the intentionality wave function with the quantum gravity field.

In any case, I suppose you want some actual evidence. Well – here’s the thing. When other people are looking I get nervous and that short-circuits my flying ability. So I can only fly when not being observed, or filmed in any way. But I have the experience of flying, and you can’t argue with that. I think I would know if I were flying through the air or not.

But I do have some representative evidence of other people flying. Here is a still photo of a man effortlessly lifting off the ground. You can see that he is about two feet off the ground, if not more, without any visible supports. Now, skeptics have dismissed this sort of evidence (so-called yogic flying) by saying that he is simply leaping into the air, but I find it highly implausible that someone could leap that high in the air from a seated position with their legs crossed, therefore actual flying is more likely.

If that picture does not convince you, here is another one.  In this picture you can clearly see that this person is high off the ground. Nothing but sky.

Once again skeptics have pointed out to me that the photo also has nothing in it that can provide a reference, but how picky can you get. First skeptics say that the person is too close to the ground, then they complain that they can’t see the ground in the photo. Will any evidence convince them?

Here is another picture – this person is clearly not jumping, they are high off the ground, and there is a background for reference. This addresses all of the objections of skeptics. She is not using the wires to fly – they are only there as a safety precaution for insurance purposes.

And, for those who are still skeptical, here is a photo without wires. This guy is clearly high off the ground, which you can see for reference, and there are no support wires or anything else. This man is flying.

There are not many photos or videos of myself flying, for the reasons I stated above. I cannot take a picture of myself while flying, for technical reasons. Plus flying requires my full concentration. But occasionally someone on the ground will capture a photo of me flying, like this picture. You have some trees for reference, there are no support wires or anything, I am clearly high off the ground. The picture is a bit out of focus, but that’s because I am moving so fast.

The above evidence is absolutely compelling, and only a closed-minded hardcore skeptic would deny the reality of my flying ability. Perhaps they are just jealous. They are clearly deniers. They say there is no evidence, but they ignore the copious evidence, like that above. They demand nothing short of in focus video showing clear flying without the possibility of wires or other support, with context and visual references, that cannot be explained by free fall or jumping.  These demands are unrealistic, and frankly mean spirited.

They offer separate implausible explanations for each piece of evidence presented, but refuse to even consider the simple and elegant explanation for all this evidence – that I (and others) can fly.

The same, of course, is true of many claims that the skeptics dismiss. Let’s take homeopathy, for example. The notion that substances diluted out of existence can still transfer their essence to water, and then to a sugar pill, and then to the body when the pill is dissolved in stomach acid, and the sugars broken down to simple sugars, and then absorbed into the blood stream – is as implausible as the claim that I can fly like superman. But that does not mean that homeopathy does not work. Science doesn’t know everything.

Sure – under their precious “double-blind placebo controlled” trials, homeopathy doesn’t work, but perhaps science simply isn’t up to the task of proving that homeopathy works, or that I can fly. Many people believe that homeopathy works, and their subjective anecdotes should not be dismissed. There is also all kinds of evidence for homeopathy – as good as my pictures above. They may not be well-controlled, or large, or properly randomized, and the results may not be unambiguous (well, not all of those things at the same time) – but they are some of those things some of the time, and are still evidence.

Sure, placebo effects cannot be ruled out – but perhaps homeopathy works through placebo effects, just like some people can fly by jumping out of an airplane (and that, of course, proves that I can fly without jumping out of a plane). What’s the definition of “flying”, anyway, and who’s to say that my definition is not the correct one.

Skeptics who refuse to accept this evidence, for flight or homeopathy, are just negative people who kill the human spirit. They would have been there with those priests throwing Galileo in prison for looking through a telescope and challenging their dogma. Some of them are clearly on the take, also. That’s the only explanation for their opinions. I think most of them work for “Big Airline” and want to keep the truth of personal flying from the public to protect the profits of the airline industry.

Here’s the best part – anyone can fly. Personal flying is an innate ability we all have, it just needs to be set free. You have to first unburden yourself of any doubt or critical thinking. I can teach you how, through my seminar and practice sessions.

I am even trying to get licensed, but the state does not currently recognize personal flying instructor as a legitimate profession. It’s just a matter of time, however. I am tirelessly lobbying the state government to recognize and license personal flying instructors. This way, the state can earn money from the fees, and the public will be protected from unqualified instructors. You don’t want just anyone teaching you how to fly.

Remember – if you keep an open mind, there is no telling what might find its way in there. Happy flying.

______________________________

BTW:  For any journalists without a science background, or TV producers out there – the above is satire.

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91 responses so far

91 Responses to “I Can Fly”

  1. sirrealon 15 Mar 2011 at 8:19 am

    Hi Steve, I needed a smile.

    I always knew your message would take off someday.

    And I know just the people I’m going to send this to.

    Thanks.

  2. Draalon 15 Mar 2011 at 8:21 am

    My favorite way to fly is to fall without hitting the ground.

    Apathy ans Strife >:-{

  3. SteveAon 15 Mar 2011 at 8:30 am

    Dare I ask what the method of propulsion is?

    Please don’t tell me you’re jet powered. That’s one contrail I’d rather avoid.

  4. Skeptical Atheiston 15 Mar 2011 at 8:42 am

    HAHAHA, funny post, but it seems like you are attacking a straw man, who could be so gullible as to believe people can levitate?
    We are spiritual beings in a human body, while in the physical body we are bound by the rules of the Physical world.
    Let me make it clear, the spiritual fact that we are beings beyond the physical world has nothing to do with astrology or tarrot card reading, or crystals or a book written by desert people who hate gays and require us to pray to a wall five times a day.
    There is overwhelming evidence that Life does not end at death.
    We are here to grow into love and oneness ( http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Home-with-God/Neale-Donald-Walsch/e/9780743267168).
    Death is not the end, Death is merely the movement from one plane of existence to another where we will meet all our loved ones again.

    It is important to understand that You came here (to the earth, I mean) to undertake a particular mission. You are not here by chance, nor are the circumstances of your birth or any aspect of your life as it proceeds the product of chance. Rather, the Universe and every element in it (including every element experiencing Life as an adventure here on earth) is a constant expression of All That Is in All The Ways There Are in All The Moments That Exist in the Always of Forevermore. We are Divinity, expressing. We are Singularizations of the Singularity, knowing our Selves in our own experience.

    Love and Peace :)

  5. Steven Novellaon 15 Mar 2011 at 8:49 am

    SA – You missed the point. The claims of homeopathy, and countless other pseudosciences, are no more plausible than the claim that I can fly. And the evidence is not better, and the special pleading is essentially the same.

    And – hijacking every blog post, regardless of the topic, to make the same unfounded assertions (which is essentially proselytizing for your faith) is abuse of the comments. Consider this a second warning.

  6. tfkon 15 Mar 2011 at 8:55 am

    I hope your seminar teaches how to fly without having my shirttails fly up like the guy in the picture-I hate sit ups.

  7. Skeptical Atheiston 15 Mar 2011 at 8:59 am

    I’m sorry please don’t remove me, I don’t subscribe to any faith, I just go to where the evidence leads me, and there is overwhelming evidence that we are not merely a bag of blood and bones, we are spiritual non-material beings that come here for a reason, to grow into love and oneness.
    Love and Peace :)

  8. Steven Novellaon 15 Mar 2011 at 9:02 am

    And when I blog about that topic, feel free to offer whatever evidence you think exists. But derailing every comment discussion so that you can talk about your topic is consider trolling.

    Why not start your own blog – then you can write about whatever you want?

  9. eiskrystalon 15 Mar 2011 at 9:11 am

    –HAHAHA, funny post, but it seems like you are attacking a straw man, who could be so gullible as to believe people can levitate?–

    Oh if only!

    The term “Poe” exists for a reason i’m afraid. I believe there was a whole 70′s yoga thing going on with people hopping about and bouncing on trampolines while claiming that they were in the “first stages of levitation”. Unfortunately i’m having difficulty finding a good link to videos at the moment.

    Can anyone fill in with more details (or correct me). I think it’s time SA had a little lesson in “some people will believe anything-osity”.

  10. Skeptical Atheiston 15 Mar 2011 at 9:12 am

    @Dr.Novella, I’m sorry I shall zip it.

    @eiskrystal, why do you keep making fun of me?

  11. eiskrystalon 15 Mar 2011 at 9:36 am

    Actually i’m just correcting your belief that people aren’t completely bonkers and will believe anything.

    Read this link?

    http://www.sellingsalesmanship.com/chap13a.html

    I’m sure you can probably work out what their “flying experience” really involved. You will also notice the way they talk about “related” items that are real to bolster their claim.

    Compare this website to Steve’s blog article and you will see the basic similarities. Comparison to the wright brothers’ early attempts, talk of advanced physics, photos for “evidence”.

    Steve was making a joke, but I had no difficulty finding an almost perfect “real” version of his blog post.

  12. sowellfanon 15 Mar 2011 at 10:01 am

    Thanks for that link, eiskrystal. I remember hearing about Yogic Flying in a podcast.

  13. Skeptical Atheiston 15 Mar 2011 at 10:05 am

    eiskrystal, thanks for sharing that, I must admit I am surprised, but I still have a deep amount of respect for TM meditation and their guru, he did have good intentions and levitating was not what they were about, please don’t associate them with people like Sylvia Browne,Their purpose was to create individual and world peace. there is such a thing as spirituality, it is an important part of being human, Spirituality is about interconnectedness and love and realizing that because love is eternal death need not be fearful, we begin to let go of our fear of death when we truly realize that what is real never changes and that Love is always present.

  14. eiskrystalon 15 Mar 2011 at 10:05 am

    I think it was Randi on the skeptics guide waaaay back. I remember he brought it up because a stage magician that he knew got suckered into it. The underlying message being that anyone could be fooled. Even professional tricksters (as it were).

  15. FormerComposeron 15 Mar 2011 at 10:07 am

    An “approved” video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFfQuCGU0ZQ

  16. Happy Camperon 15 Mar 2011 at 10:44 am

    Good post Steve.

    A photograph is not evidence of anything, it only captures a moment in time (and easy to photoshop). As for the explanation for what I see I tend to look for the most probable explanation.
    The first photograph the subject appears to be falling because of the “unnatural” way his shirt appears as tfk pointed out. The second photograph I can easily replicate with a trampoline. The third photograph/claim is easily dismissed due to the apparent tension on the wires and prior experience (as faulty as that can be). The fourth photograph is a skydiver wearing a squirrel suit. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wingsuit_flying ) The fifth photograph is too out of focus to make any judgement of the accuracy of your explanation. That said the first thing I thought of was it is a photograph of an airliner or maybe a bird but the more I looked at it the more it appeared to be the space shuttle on its 747 transporter.

    Replication of the photos would not mean that the original explanations are wrong just that it would bring into doubt the explanations of those claims.

  17. superdaveon 15 Mar 2011 at 10:54 am

    damn, i was hoping to be the first fall without hit the ground comment but with your readership i knew i would be too late.

  18. SARAon 15 Mar 2011 at 11:01 am

    And the moral of today’s story comes from yesterday’s post.
    “…believers generally operate under the paradigm of seeing is believing, while skeptics operate under the paradigm that often believing is seeing.”

  19. Ashon 15 Mar 2011 at 11:08 am

    eiskrystal – the yoga-trampoline thing lasted way past the 70′s. In the 1990′s there was actually a national political party in Canada (and several other countries) called the “Natural Law” party who were trying to convince people that yogic flying would solve all our problems. Not many people took them seriously though.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_Law_Party_of_Canada

  20. Happy Camperon 15 Mar 2011 at 11:15 am

    FormerComposer

    LMAO Thanks for the video. Looks like the same thing we used to do as kids on the bed. No yoga, TM, or any meditation whatsoever. What I would find impressive is if they lifted off the padding without moving a muscle and hoovered.

    Gravity is a bitch.

  21. eiskrystalon 15 Mar 2011 at 11:21 am

    Let’s not forget the Transcendental Meditation world peace effect!

    Apparently TM has the “Maharishi Effect”. Where people meditate (not pray…that’s completely different ;) and crime and sickness go down, peace negotiations go better etc…

    Scientists say so apparently. I suppose it makes a change from them being baffled.

    SA, though yoga is good for you. TM yoga is I think something to be avoided. It’s too woo-infected.

  22. mikerattlesnakeon 15 Mar 2011 at 11:38 am

    @Skeptical Atheist

    Seriously, who are you trying to convince at this point? It’s been made clear to you that the readers here think you’re a deluded, repetitive dullard so is it that you yourself find your drivel unconvincing? Does repeating your silly mantra in every thread make you feel warm and fuzzy? Is it impossible for you to just shut the hell up? Notice that not all of us comment on every thread.

    @Steve

    You are more patient than most. Why SA isn’t banned yet I can’t fathom.

  23. Skeptical Atheiston 15 Mar 2011 at 11:49 am

    LOL Happy Camper is annoyed again.
    LOL, thanks for your advice eiskrystal, I really don’t think TM is that bad, their meditation is wonderful, they are quit rational people, and I am more interested in what they have to say about Life After Death than flying and magic.

    I really don’t care about Homeopathy, it has nothing to do with Spirituality and the loving light and meeting all our loved ones again. But I am curious, if Homeopathy is really as bad as Grandpa Randi would like us to believe why does my loving government still approve it. Are you skeptics trying to accuse my government of sloppy, lazy thinking, if so shame on you. We rely on our government for everything, from medicine to food. If our government approves anything it has obviously gone through rigorous studies, and you don’t have to waste your time being skeptical of the government, a bad government can’t survive, look at Zimbabwe, look at North Korea. Our Government has been doing quit well, why? Because corruption is not tolerated, the government has our best interest in mind, so anything that they approve is most likely quit alright for us.
    So please go back to picking fights with Psychics and stop questioning the judgement and critical thinking of the United States Government.
    Love and Peace :)

  24. Calli Arcaleon 15 Mar 2011 at 11:53 am

    SA:

    HAHAHA, funny post, but it seems like you are attacking a straw man, who could be so gullible as to believe people can levitate?

    I hate to say it, but there are actually people who DO believe people can levitate. “Yogic flying” is one example (though the videos are rather sad; you actually feel slightly embarrassed for them when you see the much-touted “flight” is actually very awkward leaping while cross-legged — yogic fliers look ridiculous, and seem not to be aware of the fact).

    BTW, about the guy in the wingsuit, well, technically he *is* flying. Not powered flight, but flight all the same — the suit is providing lift. (Well, at least by some definitions this is flight. There is an amazing amount of argument about what “counts” as flight, even before asking the woo-woo contingent for their opinions.) Wingsuits are dangerous, but it’s amazing what people can do in them, and they say it’s a giddy feeling to fly in one. There is one particularly insane wingsuit user who is planning to attempt the first ever landing using a wingsuit alone and no parachute….

  25. bayviewon 15 Mar 2011 at 12:04 pm

    I live in Canada and attended a local candidates debate for a federal election a few years ago where a Yogic Flyer was running for the Natural Law Party. That was bad enough, but what made it worse was when the debate moderator instructed the audience to keep an open mind and respect all views presented during the debate, including the Yogic Flying part. Suddenly gravity defiance was part of an equally valid value system. Sigh!

  26. jbcon 15 Mar 2011 at 12:05 pm

    Daniel Gordon can do this flight thing as well, and has accumulated a large body of photographic evidence. See:

    https://copelandcommunications.wordpress.com/tag/daniel-gordons-flying-pictures/

  27. eiskrystalon 15 Mar 2011 at 12:05 pm

    –We rely on our government for everything, from medicine to food. If our government approves anything it has obviously gone through rigorous studies, and you don’t have to waste your time being skeptical of the government–

    Ok, NOW I call Poe.

  28. Happy Camperon 15 Mar 2011 at 12:15 pm

    @Calli

    I wouldn’t call the parachutist in the wing suit “flying” but rather gliding. Although it would indeed be impressive if said person could climb or even gain altitude I think levitation would not be a probable explanation.

  29. Happy Camperon 15 Mar 2011 at 12:20 pm

    That should be hold altitude not gain.

  30. Adam_Yon 15 Mar 2011 at 12:39 pm

    I think it was Randi on the skeptics guide waaaay back. I remember he brought it up because a stage magician that he knew got suckered into it. The underlying message being that anyone could be fooled. Even professional tricksters (as it were).

    Actually, Randi is really pissed off at those people because they essentially told Doug Henning to forgo cancer treatment.
    http://www.examiner.com/underground-in-boston/transcendental-meditation-schools-the-david-lynch-program

  31. canadiaon 15 Mar 2011 at 12:55 pm

    I love that the “real” blog post on Yogic flying is is large, ugly, blue on white text. Why is it that crackpots have no taste?

    There’s a similar type of annoying belief in certain martial arts communities. I was part of a club that was very flexible and “results-oriented,” in which we did a lot of sparring and were constantly choosing the effective over the traditional.

    We had some people come in who claimed that they could channel their chi and kill or disable with a single strike. We broke up into groups to spar, and their members were terrible fighters. They claimed however, that they were holding back (and thus losing) because they didn’t want to injure us with their powerful chi. It was very aggravating. I’m sure you can get a great post of the topic – there are some instructors in the united states that have convinced their students they can render people unconscious with a touch, and it turns out that it works on a certain group of people – their students!

    Great post Steve. Delicious satire.

  32. Happy Camperon 15 Mar 2011 at 1:02 pm

    @canadia

    This is what happens when a fighter doesn’t believe in your Ki BS.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEDaCIDvj6I

  33. eiskrystalon 15 Mar 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Anyone remember the youtube guy who demonstrated how he was sword proof!

    …wonder if he’s healed yet.

  34. lizditzon 15 Mar 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Dear Dr. Novella,

    My morning was both grim & tedious and I read the post above on my lunch break. Thank you. I think that satire and humor can make points that reasoned exposition cannot.

    I will add “Big Airline Shill” to my science scout badges, along with the “pharma shill” badge I proudly wear.

  35. Nick88on 15 Mar 2011 at 4:52 pm

    If a fundamentalist christian chooses to go to church every sunday and cite gospel to his children, that’s okay. I will tell mine about the great achievements of modern medicine, and I will spend every hour of my spare time trying to explain quantum mechanics in simple, yet relatable terms so that they might wish to explore the topic themselves one day. Perhaps they can inspire their friends, classmates and teachers to do the same. I have to devote all the time I can to that goal, nothing can come in between.

    Even the most devout believer has to seek proper medical care within a science-based institution in case he develops a malignant carcinoma. If he does not, he will be unlikely to survive. The more he is taught not to accept and reflect upon scientific principles as a child, the less likely that he will lead a long and healthy life. This is natural selection, taken somewhat far but still applicable in my opinion (please disprove me).

    I simply choose not to waste my time on opposing different beliefs, neither my own nor anyone elses. In this I have found confidence in myself, and have gained the ability to be a mediator for those prepared to surrender arms. Or just a bit of spare time used to propagate my own beliefs, selfish as I am.

  36. Marshallon 15 Mar 2011 at 5:15 pm

    SA:

    You laugh at people who think they can fly, yet you also constantly talk about this “interconnectedness.” There is zero evidence for both. You’ve been yelled at by Steve twice now for flitting this nonsense (and yes, it is nonsense) about spiritual interconnectedness for which there is no evidence, and you continue to do so. It’s rather annoying. We are not trying to be mean, but we have asked you to tone down your proselytizing to no avail.

  37. tmac57on 15 Mar 2011 at 6:04 pm

    I found this post very uplifting!
    Here is a another good example of humans who possess the ability of flight:
    http://hoopedia.nba.com/index.php?title=Image:Spud_webb.jpg

  38. Happy Camperon 15 Mar 2011 at 6:36 pm

    @Marshall

    Don’t forget the time SA was caught quote mining Steve Novellas colleagues by Steve himself. Personally I think SA should change his/her moniker ti Sargent Schultz. See nothing, hear nothing and know nothing.

  39. jreon 15 Mar 2011 at 6:38 pm

    Any discussion of yogic flying would be incomplete without reference to its economics. As described by insightful observer Greg Brown in Fairfield:

    There’s a whole lotta money in Fairfield, Fairfield, Fairfield, Whole lotta money in Fairfield, I’m gonna get me some.

    Them floaters they come down here, down here, down here, Them floaters they come down here, Fix the whole town up.

    If the floaters come to your town, your town, your town, Floaters come to your town, You might wanna stick around.

    They meditate and get focused, focused, focused, They do a little hocus pocus, And the money just rolls in.

  40. Skeptical Atheiston 15 Mar 2011 at 8:39 pm

    @ Marshal and Happy Camper: Yes we are all inteconnected, this has nothing to do with Quantum Physics, I don’t know why is everyone excited about Quantum Physics, Quantum Physics is in its infancy and it could all very well turn out to be wrong.
    No, I am talking about a Spiritual Connection between all of us and the planet and the animals, a connection that goes beyond death.
    By the way, many Physicsts that I have spoken to are deeply spiritual and all of them know about a force of love that goes beyond death. All of them are open to Spirituality unlike arrogant Biologist. Some of them to my disappointment are even evangelical Christians ( my teacher Don Page).
    Biology is an easy subject that anyone can do, try to roll your sleeves up and learn physics.

    Anyway, lets see how you skeptics score in this test, I got a 19/20:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/mind/surveys/smiles/

  41. jreon 15 Mar 2011 at 9:24 pm

    OK; I realize I just got here and probably need to learn the norms of the group, but from even a brief look-over it seems clear that Skeptical Atheist has that happy troll dynamic going on. So it is with some awareness of being on thin ice that I cite

    Quantum Physics is in its infancy and it could all very well turn out to be wrong.

    and ask

    Did someone miss the sign saying Check your steaming bag of horse-hockey with the bartender?

    following that with the suggestion

    When you have been around for 110 years, given rise to the most successful expansion of physical theory in the history of science, and made predictions experimentally confirmed to an accuracy of better than 10-8, then you may suggest that someone else’s theory may “turn out to be wrong” and not before, me boyo.

  42. cwfongon 15 Mar 2011 at 10:35 pm

    SA wrote here earlier: “I am old enough that I have a degree in Theoretical Physicst, I study Black Holes for a living.” Taught by that Evangelical Christian nutcase Don Page? Case closed.

  43. Skeptical Atheiston 16 Mar 2011 at 12:33 am

    cwfong you are beyond arrogant, I am disgusted that you called such an honorable person a nutcase, keep in mind your hero James Randi doesn’t even have a college degree, Don Page is a million times better than you or any of your skeptic friends can ever be, he is a black hole expert and was Stephen Hawkings graduate student.

  44. cwfongon 16 Mar 2011 at 1:03 am

    He also believes that information in the cosmos may be lost forever when it is absorbed by biological life forms.
    And your inane commentary here as his academic protege will make him more of a laughing stock than ever.

  45. madsenscon 16 Mar 2011 at 1:07 am

    I wonder how the ability to fly would really help? It seems like a lot of groups saying that they can fly or teach you how to fly(magically) say this ability is beneficial. Maybe just the fact that you believe that you can fly will change your “consciousness” It just seems silly. I mean are we, as a people, having problems getting around? Flying to the grocery store still means I have to carry my groceries home by hand. That seems annoying. How about to work? Flying to work would be convenient, I guess, unless I dropped my briefcase/ travel mug/ house keys/ paperwork or my wallet fell out of my pocket doing a barrel roll into the parking garage of the office. (Gotta impress the interns!)
    And you know birds would be pissed off, if humans starting hogging all the good perches!
    Perry would be thrilled!
    I don’t’ even want to think about one of these yoga flying guys perched over my freshly washed car! Talk about a mess!

  46. cwfongon 16 Mar 2011 at 2:05 am

    don[at]phys.ualberta.ca

  47. ChrisHon 16 Mar 2011 at 3:04 am

    I can also fly! It is usually when I am asleep in something like a dreamship (see the cartoon “Rose is Rose”, and the little boy, Pasquale and his dreamship). I have a ship that includes my bed, sometimes enclosed in a translucent bubble. With it I soar over the neighborhood and nearby lake, and sometimes off towards Jupiter and beyond.

    Actually, when I have trouble sleeping I use that type of imagery to help me get to sleep. It beats thinking about what bills need to be paid, what chores need to be done and what appointments need to be made. What was cool was several years ago when my younger son was 8 years old we wandered around an outdoor art exhibit. There was a collection of beds in a field, just like I use when I try to fly to sleep:

    Some of the best installations this year are clustered near the south end of the former Naval base and Magnuson Park. Helen Gamble’s “Building 244″ is a grouping of 12 old single beds with weather-beaten headboards arranged around a cavernous beige hangar. The beds all have their feet pointed toward the huge building. The white sheets are drawn tautly and neatly across the mattresses, hospital style; the pillows in their pristine white cases have been plumped. Like all HorseHead installations, this one is expected to be changed by the vicissitudes of the weather.

    (by the way, taking a child with an incredible attention span and curiosity to an outdoor art exhibit is a wonderful adventure… there are things that need to be touched, felt and heard)

  48. Shaneon 16 Mar 2011 at 3:50 am

    Its not flying.

    Its falling with style………

  49. eiskrystalon 16 Mar 2011 at 4:56 am

    -Biology is an easy subject that anyone can do, try to roll your sleeves up and learn physics. -

    Who knew the study of the most complex and infuriatingly random objects in the known universe was “easy”.

  50. Happy Camperon 16 Mar 2011 at 8:34 am

    @SA er….. I mean Sargent Schultz

    You are a poe. You forget that you left a slime trail of incoherent posts for over two weeks as evidence starting at 21 Feb.

    “So I think people are not as gullible as we skeptics would like to believe” [you are a skeptic?]

    “I took a class in Neuropharmacology last semester and not once was the topic of Materialism brought up”

    “As a Neuroscientist I want to understand how the brain works…” [one class doesn't make you a neuroscientist]

    “I am a Theoretical Physicist Graduate Student” [I thought you were a neuroscientist?]

    “I promise this is the last time I am commenting here” [that's a lie]

    “Believing in an afterlife is healthy” [evidence?]

    “John Edwards ( The Psychic) is a good man…” [a cold reading fraud]

    “George Bush a man with so much compassion and love in his heart” [Do you mean water-boarding George?]

    “Please don’t fear death my fellow Atheists” [ FYI. not all skeptics are atheists just as not all atheists are skeptics and it is insulting for you to assume that they are!]

    “In my experience with Atheists, most of them get angry very fast and most are quit mean spirited people” [did you ever consider that the problem may lie with you?]

    “I choose the name Skeptical Atheist because I am skeptical about the Atheistic Dogma that Death is the End.” [no, you choose the name to be provocative or you have some kind of grudge against The Skeptical Atheist]

    “I get the impression that in your mind, people with ‘Faith Based Thinkery’ can’t think critically” [you are proof of that]

    “My mind is open to alternative treatments, while Accupuncture, Chiropractice and all the other wonderful alternative treatments might not have solid Scientific backing it doesn’t meant that it is harmful [ http://whatstheharm.net/ ]

    “If done properly alternative treatment can complement mainstream treatment” [tell that to Dr Gorski]

    “maybe in the future Scientists would be able to invent cell phones that help us stay in touch with other realities” [what other realities are there? do you have ANY evidence at all?]

    “AttacusAtlas I am honored that you associated me with the lovely Deepak Chopra. I love and adore Dr.Chopra, he spreads love and peace and teaches us that the Universe is fundamentally loving.” [the father of quantum woo]

    “Love is the fabric of the cosmos” [Carl Sagan is spinning in his grave]

    “In my humble opinion Christopher Hitchens is a highly evolved Soul that choose to come to planet earth to teach us critical thinking and to break down barriers, he is amazing.” [came to planet earth from where?]

    “There is no place in the world for Islam, Islam divides and encourages hatred” [bigoted statement]

    “…there is no place here for divisive ideologies like Islam, I have nothing against Arab-Americans, but they have to give up their bogus religion” [again bigoted]

    “If Islam has it’s way in America they will ban all New Age Spiritual books and poor Psychics that help us connect with the Spiritual world would be beaten up and degraded by them” [best argument FOR Islam I have ever heard]

    “There are higher realms where the great White Tiger watches over us and Black Unicorns neigh in love as the planets revolve around the sun.
    There are worlds where unicorns live in large flowers as homes, they are beings of pure love.” [pure comedic gold]

    “This is not a joke, I have a degree in Physics.
    I swear I am not joking, please trust me.” [poe]

    ““Please don’t get me wrong I love and respect Black people” [
    bigoted and condescending]

    “I am not 14 years old, I am old enough that I have a degree in Theoretical Physicst, I study Black Holes for a living” [IMO the only black hole you should concern yourself with is the one between your ears! It's gravitational field has sucked in so much woo that the woo has formed an accretion disk of nonsense inside your head.]

    “Diane, you are making me look very bad” [you did that without anyone's help all on your own]

    “I respect African-Americans, my neighbour is a wonderful Black family, what are you trying to say?” [you are a racist]

    “I might have to leave this great blog soon, my intuition tells me to go to Pharyngula to assure my bitter and angry Atheist Brothers and Sisters over there that Death is not the end” [so you ARE proselytizing.]

    “I want and need all of you to close your eyes and
    see infinite love and light streaming in to the area, working miracles and saving lives” [magic]

    And that is just scratching the surface. You have made many assertions devoid of any evidence whatsoever. You have been repeatedly been asked for evidence but provide none. That shows a total lack of respect for others. I find your postings here juvenile and disjointed to the point of being incoherent. First you were amusing, then you were annoying and now you are just pathetic.
    You have proven yourself to be nothing more than a poe and a troll!

    My apologies to Steve and all the readers of this blog.

  51. Skeptical Atheiston 16 Mar 2011 at 8:41 am

    LOL Happy Camper, stop stalking me. And I am not leaving, I am here to stay, if you Atheists can put stupid billboards up and complain for the slightest thing and ruin everyones Christmas than you must be prepared when someone else challenges all of you.
    You Atheists are bitter people because you don’t have any holidays. Most holidays are related to some Religious festival, that’s why all of you are so bitter.
    Love and Peace :)

  52. mikerattlesnakeon 16 Mar 2011 at 8:53 am

    @Nick88

    Your Certificate of Superiority is in the mail.

    As for SA, I don’t know how long I can hang out on a blog that doesn’t ban such an obvious troll who derails every single thread. C’mon Steve.

  53. Happy Camperon 16 Mar 2011 at 8:53 am

    Sargent Schultz

    I am not stalking you and please stop trolling this blog. Again you are making assumptions that are insulting.

  54. Draalon 16 Mar 2011 at 8:55 am

    Wow. There’s a non sequitur if I ever saw one.

  55. Draalon 16 Mar 2011 at 8:57 am

    that’s was in reference to atheists and holidays.

  56. Skeptical Atheiston 16 Mar 2011 at 9:13 am

    Shut up Happy Camper and mikerattlesnake, the two of you along with nybgrus have been trying to get me out of this blog for a long time now, and Happy Camper can’t even take a joke.

  57. eiskrystalon 16 Mar 2011 at 10:36 am

    Well, SA is off MY wintermass card-list.

  58. tmac57on 16 Mar 2011 at 11:02 am

    You know when you get a scab,and it’s kind of ugly,and distracting to others,and boy does that thing really itch! Now,you know you shouldn’t pick at it,or scratch it,because it might get infected,and if you can resist,it will heal and go away,but damn it it’s hard not to just go after that thing you know what I mean?!
    Trolls are like that.

  59. Steven Novellaon 16 Mar 2011 at 11:38 am

    FYI – Skeptical Atheist is now banned. I think she has exhausted her entertainment value. I try to welcome commenters with a different point of view (it keeps things interesting) but her comments became absurd trolling.

  60. Karl Withakayon 16 Mar 2011 at 11:42 am

    For me, the biggest problem with ignoring trolls/poes is that non-regular readers (first time visitors, etc) may be unaware that a commenter is a troll or poe and take them seriously. Some trolls/ poes, however, become so over the top as to be absurdly obvious.

    “And I am not leaving, I am here to stay,”

    As long as you behave and Steven tolerates you. You have been warned twice already.

    “…than you must be prepared when someone else challenges all of you.”

    We’re still waiting for an actual intellectual challenge. The only this SA is challenging so far is people’s patience:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQFKtI6gn9Y

  61. Karl Withakayon 16 Mar 2011 at 11:46 am

    That’s what I get for not hitting refresh before posting.

  62. Truffleson 16 Mar 2011 at 12:14 pm

    R.I.P. Skeptical Atheist.
    You choose a contradictory name.
    Your idiocy made you rise to fame.
    Despite attempts to tame.
    You always acted the same.
    No one other than you, should take the blame.

    P.S. Sorry about my first post ever on this blog being about Skeptical Atheist, however I think (s)he was entertaining enough to be sent off with a farewell.

  63. makeon 16 Mar 2011 at 12:24 pm

    Karl Withakay, I wouldn’t worry about that too much. This is the very first article I’ve ever read on Neurologica. I enjoyed the satired post but it wasn’t until I read through the comment chain that I got a better feel for the place. Not only do I applaud how this troll was handled, by Happy Camper & Steve Novella specifically, but I will certainly be a consistent reader from this point on, if not an enthusiastic participant in discussions.

    Well met, gentlepersons.

  64. elmer mccurdyon 16 Mar 2011 at 12:49 pm

    Well, I guess it’s up to me to take up the job of thread derailment then. To wit, here is a good blog post on some bad science reporting:
    http://www.tinyrevolution.com/mt/archives/003464.html

    And it’s a nice example of an alternative to repeating the same points about the same incredibly trivial topics again and again and again and again and again.

  65. meiguizion 16 Mar 2011 at 3:13 pm

    Great post, saved me a trip to the Onion for my satire fix.

    Also, any bets on how long before a new user name appears and starts spouting off spiritualism nonsense?

  66. Karl Withakayon 16 Mar 2011 at 3:32 pm

    meiguizi,

    Ont-da ive-ga the oll-tray any-way ideas-way.

  67. nwtk2007on 16 Mar 2011 at 5:14 pm

    To me, one of the truly scary things about the likes of SA and others who can be so swayed to “believe” in whatever, is that they are some of the very “civic minded” souls who also get chosen for jury duty and get to use their vast ability to decern between fact and fiction; to determine guilt or liability when presented with the “facts” in a court room.

    If some one can believe in a great tiger watching over us and black unicorns neighing love all over us, or any of the other such nonsense that people believe, then you certainly can see them being just a mere toss-up as to whether they would believe the truth or the fiction in a courtroom.

  68. Happy Camperon 16 Mar 2011 at 5:18 pm

    @nwtk2007

    Can you imagine them in congress?

  69. meiguizion 16 Mar 2011 at 5:53 pm

    @Happy Camper

    no, what would that be like?

  70. tmac57on 16 Mar 2011 at 5:55 pm

    @nwtk2007-Anecdotally,I’ve heard that one of the easiest ways to get out of jury duty,is to tell them that you are an atheist,and part of the skeptical movement. (Of course,being a congressman,would probably get you tossed right out as well,so there’s that…)

  71. nwtk2007on 16 Mar 2011 at 5:59 pm

    Its just a twist of that up there now and down here as well in the Texas legislature, where black unicorns neigh not love but money, down upon them, thus influencing their “beliefs” directly.

    Just an aside, I never believe that most people “believe” what they claim they “believe”. So not matter what they say they believe, in my mind I’m saying, “I doubt it”.

  72. cwfongon 16 Mar 2011 at 6:09 pm

    I can imagine SA and Don Page in congress.

  73. nwtk2007on 16 Mar 2011 at 6:11 pm

    Good point tmac. I guess its six of one and half dozen of the other, either way.

  74. Happy Camperon 16 Mar 2011 at 7:03 pm

    tmac57

    When I went to jury duty they gave one oath and then they gave me a separate oath all by myself. The looks I got from the others you would have thought I crapped in the middle of the room.

    I liked the scab comment. I just couldn’t resist feeding SA/Sargent Schultz more rope and normally I usually just lurk.

  75. Truffleson 16 Mar 2011 at 7:24 pm

    Happy Camper

    If you don’t mind, what kind of oath was it?

  76. Zacharyon 16 Mar 2011 at 7:29 pm

    Wait, flying equals tax-exempt status right? that’s how L. Ron got it isn’t it?

    Sign me up!

  77. nybgruson 16 Mar 2011 at 10:06 pm

    Thank you Dr. Novella. I was about to finally chime in that SA should be banned as well.

    There are indeed limits to trollery.

  78. Deboakon 16 Mar 2011 at 10:41 pm

    As a frequent reader who has, until now, never made a comment, it seems to me that SA has managed to engage most of you in her bid to repeat her philosophy. After several attempts to appeal to her more logical side without successful meaningful dialogue, wouldn’t it seem the smarter move to merely disengage from commenting on her submissions?

    You all can quite easily carry on with your more relevant comments regarding the thread topic and just not bother yourselves with the comments of the likes of SA. Realizing this is a moot point now with Steve banning her from further entry to the thread, I suggest that in the future, you disregard a bothersome contributer when it seems there is no hope of meaningful conversation and just concentrate on the sharing of ideas and information that is so much more stimulating and enjoyable.

  79. VRAlbanyon 16 Mar 2011 at 11:40 pm

    THANK YOU, DR. NOVELLA!! I was really saddened to see that the normal, informative conversations and debates that go on here were being buried in BS as of late.
    Please keep the 3 strikes rule against empty proselytizing and trolling in mind for the future, and keep up the good work!

  80. norrisLon 17 Mar 2011 at 2:17 am

    Steven, I truly believe that you can fly. Thanks to the Wright brothers that is.
    I have written to my Federal Member of Parliament today regarding medical quacks; you know, the usual suspects. maybe I should have sent a copy of my letetr to you before I sent it to my MP just in case you could have helped me to word it better etc

    Anyway, here is a copy of what i wrote. My MP is an ophthalmologist, so I am kinda hoping he’s on my side, although given what Dr Oz does these days, who knows.

    Andrew Laming MP

    Andrew

    Stuart Scanlan here from Wellington Point Veterinary Surgery.

    I draw your attention to the following website. This woman is certainly not the only person in Australia to conduct a veterinary practice along the lines that she does.

    http://pawstoheal.com.au/

    This person is a “holistic veterinarian”. Holistic is a word that quacks have hijacked when actually, as you would well know, all good doctors and veterinarians will practice holistic medicine (using the word holistic in its real meaning, not the hijacked meaning).

    If you care to read into her website (don’t waste too much time there) you may be shocked to see what she espouses. In particular, if you look at her recommendations regarding euthanasia of dogs and cats, you will see that her suggestion is to stop all drugs (i.e. pain relief for severely arthritic dogs etc) and allow them to die a natural death. This natural death will allow the soul to depart the body smoothly. She does not perform euthanasia. Why is it that the Qld Board of Veterinary Surgeons would slay me if a client brought a severely injured dog in to my surgery in need of urgent euthanasia and I said, Oh, sorry, I seem to have run out of lethabarb.” And yet the state boards will not touch these alternative practitioners; they can do what they like.

    She uses all sorts of pseudoscientific and thoroughly discredited practices from homeopathy to energy therapy and so on.

    Surely this kind of thing rates as medical fraud. Surely the Federal Government should be doing something to stop these shysters from sucking in their clients and stealing their money I return for little vials of water which apparently remembers that it used to contain some supposedly active ingredient, although successive dilutions have long since gone past the point where even a single molecule could possibly remain. OK, I know that sometimes the treatments I use on my patients fail to work for various reasons. But at least I have science and genuine evidence on my side. But medical frauds like this “veterinarian”, as well as people like psychics and, dare I say, even astrologers, who accept money for the garbage that they sell, should be charged with fraud.

    These people not only fraudulently accept money, but more importantly deprive people who really need medical treatment for serious illnesses from receiving proper medical treatment

    Is the Government not prepared to develop a spine and stand up to these numerous quacks and take firm action. Make it illegal to profit financially from selling medical treatments that have absolutely no basis in science and that have, many times over, been shown to be completely ineffectual as medical treatments.

    Sorry if I ranted a little there Andrew, but I am passionate about quacks!

    Steven , make sure you have a look at the website of the so called veterinarian. You’ll need a bucket though! Don’t waste too much time on her though.

    Stuart Scanlan
    Science based veterinarian in Australia

  81. DrNociceptoron 17 Mar 2011 at 3:32 am

    That’s hilarious, but you know what, Steve, I know someone who believes that he COULD fly, but that he hasn’t figured it out yet. It almost makes it not funny!!

    Last time I heard, he couldn’t figure out if he has to have more than half the people in the ROOM or half the people in the WORLD believe that he can fly, and something about whether the room needs to be completely sealed or not.

    PS I’m here on your blog because I just had a discussion with someone who thinks cold fusion is real….

  82. eiskrystalon 17 Mar 2011 at 5:04 am

    @Meiguizi – short, sweet and sarcastic, just how i like it :)

  83. ChrisHon 17 Mar 2011 at 2:10 pm

    Deboak:

    I suggest that in the future, you disregard a bothersome contributer when it seems there is no hope of meaningful conversation and just concentrate on the sharing of ideas and information that is so much more stimulating and enjoyable.

    I did.

  84. B Hitton 17 Mar 2011 at 3:33 pm

    Firstly: This post is awesome, it hits pretty much every hallmark of the pseudoscientist. Satire at it’s best.

    A brief note on @SA: I’m not a mental health professional, but I feel like there are some obvious warning signs that SA is seriously hurting and perhaps warrants a bit of empathy. Don’t get me wrong, this was the wrong place for her to seek therapy and I agree with her being banned (perhaps it should have happened sooner).

    Her comments on this post and over the past weeks demonstrate that she is obsessively fixated on the notion that she will see her loved ones after death, and that she desperately needs to believe this. She seems to regard a skeptical treatment of any subject as a direct threat to this belief. If anything, this indicates that she realizes the irrationality of her assertions, and argues with us as a way of reassuring herself. A less intelligent person would simply disregard the skepticism. Instead, she creates an elaborate story to fight against critical thinking in general. Seriously, you’d expect someone with the extensive educational background required to have a degree in theoretical physics (as well as somehow being a neuroscientist ???) to have at least a 5th grade mastery of proper spelling and grammar.

    This seems like a person who has been deeply scarred by the loss of a loved one/loved ones and is terrified of mortality. I agree with @Deboak that it’s in nobody’s interest to engage commenters like this directly. Perhaps just ignore them or suggest that they seek help from an appropriate professional. Just don’t ridicule them, I’d like to think that my fellow skeptics are more empathetic than that.

  85. cwfongon 17 Mar 2011 at 5:13 pm

    Actually in spite of her spelling errors, etc., there’s good reason to believe that SA actually did study under Don Page at the
    Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Canada, and works there now in some capacity as well. Their religious views are quite similar and if we are to refrain from ridicule of the religious on the likelihood that these views are evidence of mental stress, we’d likely never get around to showing anyone that religion is the cause of stress as much as it is then used as a panacea.

  86. tmac57on 17 Mar 2011 at 8:20 pm

    B Hitt-I think it is more likely that SA was probably an intelligent but misguided person,who enjoyed posting things on a blog that would intentionally disrupt the normal exchange of ideas for the fulfillment of some unknown goal,be it attention,vendetta for some past slight,or whatever.SA was very successful in that goal,and that should be a lesson learned,but experience tells me it will be ignored.

  87. ChrisHon 17 Mar 2011 at 9:45 pm

    SA posted on Pharyngula today, and got banned with just five posts and in less than an hour.

  88. norrisLon 17 Mar 2011 at 11:55 pm

    “SA posted on Pharyngula today, and got banned with just five posts and in less than an hour.”

    obviously a very effective BS radar in operation over there at Pharyngula

  89. BillyJoe7on 18 Mar 2011 at 5:55 am

    cwfong,

    “…if we are to refrain from ridicule of the religious on the likelihood that these views are evidence of mental stress, we’d likely never get around to showing anyone that religion is the cause of stress as much as it is then used as a panacea.”

    I never thought I’d agree with you. :)

    ———————–

    Chris,

    “SA posted on Pharyngula today, and got banned with just five posts and in less than an hour.”

    It’s amazing how very different Steve Novella and PZ Myers are in their approach and yet I can’t decide whose approach I like more.

    ———————–

    deboak,

    “You all can quite easily carry on with your more relevant comments regarding the thread topic and just not bother yourselves with the comments of the likes of SA. ”

    That doesn’t work though. There’s always someone who cannot resist. And then others can’t resist joining in the fun.

  90. kloxon 20 Mar 2011 at 6:08 pm

    Entertaining post and it was just icing on the cake to see you finally ban SA in the comments. It was well deserved. Keep up the good posts! I’ve been thoroughly enjoying your blog.

  91. hippiehunteron 20 Mar 2011 at 10:42 pm

    “There is an art, it says, or rather, a knack to flying.
    The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.”

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