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I find your lack of Skepticism disturbing

We recently received the following email in response to SGU episode #303 where we discussed the Bin Laden shooting:

Subject: Your lack of skepticism

Message: I wrote the words below elsewhere, but thought of you, the so-called “skeptics” who bought the whole bin Laden episode like gullible WalMart shoppers. True, he is dead, but your refusal to question official truth and use of ridicule to denigrate real skeptics led me to suspect that your are not skeptical when it comes to our own government. That is the one place where we really need skeptics. You failed miserably.

You’re not skeptical enough for me. I quit listening around that time.

Mark,

After reading the prevailing alternate theories of Bin Ladens shooting I didn’t find any of them probable enough to take seriously.  I’m not saying that any of these are not true because that statement would of course require evidence. From researching these ideas I find that there is no significant evidence to back up the claims.  I think it’s a fairly safe assumption that some details are being held back by the US government for purposes of national security and keeping under cover agents..under cover.

Here is a list of theories we researched before the show:

  1. It wasn’t Bin Laden who was killed and he’s not dead
  2. He was actually killed months or years earlier
  3. He tried to surrender but was killed anyway
  4. Pakistan knew where he was all along
  5. The date of the announcement is suspicious

During the segment you refer to in your email we discussed how people believe that the timing of events surrounding the Bin Laden shooting can be seen as benefiting President Obama.  We specifically talked about the theory that President Obama launched the attack to counteract Donald Trumps recent media blitz against the president.

Rebecca said on the show

“there are no coincidences when it comes to conspiracy theories…we know by now that they[conspiracy theorists] specifically seek out evidence to support their theory that they’ve already formulated in their heads”

meaning that coincidences are typically used as evidence to support conspiracy theories.  Do you agree with this statement?

We then discussed how the Military buried Bin Laden at sea within 24 hours of his death according to Muslim custom.  Other officially released reasons Bin Laden was buried at sea was to avoid terrorists trying to retrieve his body and eliminating the possibility of creating a shrine at his burial site.

Some conspiracy theorists claim that the burial at sea eliminates Bin Laden’s body from being used as evidence against the story the US government told the world.   There is no evidence to support this.

Another point we brought up on the show was that no photos were released of Bin Laden’s corpse.  Conspiracy theorists claim this is another way of the US to avoid presenting evidence.   Again there is no evidence to support this.

Finally we discussed how the US military had confirmed the corpse they buried at sea was Bin Ladens using DNA testing. Rebecca references a scientist who confirms that DNA testing can be done within 5 hours and finished the segment stating that in regards to DNA testing, we ultimately have to trust the US government stating that the DNA testing proved it was Bin Laden.  There is no evidence to counter this claim.

You wrote that we “bought the whole bin Laden episode like gullible WalMart shoppers.“  What did we specifically buy into that you disagree with? What evidence do you have that counters the claims made by the US government?  What do you think the real story is?

You continue:

”True, he is dead, but your refusal to question official truth and use of ridicule to denigrate real skeptics led me to suspect that your are not skeptical when it comes to our own government. That is the one place where we really need skeptics. You failed miserably.”

Going along with your logic, how do you know Bin Laden is dead if the government can’t be trusted?  The vast majority of the world didn’t see his body or pictures of his corpse.  Why do you believe he is dead?

We are not refusing to question the US government or any institution for that matter. We are not questioning the statements made by the US government regarding this story because there is no legitimate evidence to the contrary.  We are using the same exact standards for this story as any other.  I do not give the US government any special consideration because they happen to be my government.  If anything I hold them to a higher standard than all other governments because I simply expect more from my own government.

We absolutely were joking about these conspiracy theories and the people who believe them.  The fact that this upsets you smacks of this topic being your sacred cow.  Have you ever heard the saying the beliefs you hold most dear are the ones you should be the most suspect of?  We make light of almost everything we talk about on the show from homeopaths to selling magical human legs.  Conspiracy theories and those who believe them do not get a pass because you happen to be one of them…sorry.  If we gave you a pass then we would have to extend this courtesy to everyone and we wouldn’t be left with much of a show.

You conclude your email with:

“You’re not skeptical enough for me. I quit listening around that time.”

I’m curious if you wrote to us to start a conversation or to try and push back because you feel slighted.  Instead of throwing Wal-Mart insults(by the way I did think that was funny) we should honestly have a discussion about this.  Tell me your points and present the evidence you have and let me respond.  Show me where my skepticism is lacking and I will seriously and respectfully consider.

 

-Jay

5 comments to I find your lack of Skepticism disturbing

  • Nineteen

    I thought this was a very courteous response to the listener’s (ex-listener’s?) email. Very classy of you Jay. I wish more people on the internet handled themselves this way. Kudos!

  • gr8googlymoogly

    Excellent post, Jay. And I don’t care what Rebecca says – you are NOT the slowest Rogue… ;-)

  • Skepticism is like vitamins: too little can harm you; more is better; but too much (in this case resulting in conspiracy theories) can also harm you. If “Mark” is indeed a skeptic and not just a vanilla conspiracy theorist (who as a group have hijacked the word skeptic to make themselves sound less nutty), he seems well into the megavitamin-dose range.

    As a libertarian, I do not exactly take what gov’t tells me as gospel truth. Politicians are notorious and habitual liars. That said, most of the ill effects on society that come from gov’t are typically the result of gross incompetence and faulty ideologies, rather than outright malevolence. In situations like this it’s helpful to keep in mind Carl Sagan’s statement that claims require evidence, and extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. And with regards to evidence, what the conspiracy theorists have offered up is nothing more than empty speculation.

  • Locutusbrg

    I once thought even was the most even tempered Rogue, but now I have new data and must reconsider that evaluation. Love the discussion and the clarity your argument provided.

  • pasulj

    Sorry jay but the US government has obviously faked binladen’s death so that they can use him in another attack on their own country again. An no-one will suspect that’s it’s binladen!

    I’m off to make myself a new aluminum hat :)

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