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.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Gulag Earth

As I've mentioned before, teaching a class in Critical Thinking means that I have a perpetual source of weird stories to write about.  Properly trained and motivated, high school students are outstanding at ferreting out bizarre news, crazy websites, and insane YouTube videos -- and (which should be cheering) are quite good at recognizing nonsensical beliefs for what they are.

It was an alert student who found a site two days ago entitled, "Is the Earth a Prison For Your Soul?"  Just from the title, I guessed that it was going to be a Christian website, and the "prison" idea would be a metaphor for our being stuck here because of Adam and Eve believing the talking snake and eating the Evil Apple of Doom and all, and how we can be paroled if we just accept Jesus as our personal savior.  I've seen lots of those sorts of websites before, and if that's all it had been, I wouldn't have thought it merited a post.

It turns out I was wrong.  The originator of this post thinks that the Earth is a prison.  Literally.
Are we condemned to a sentence of solitary confinement within our own cell like body's [sic]?

Condemned, not only to be trapped here on earth, but to never know our true nature,or even our alleged crime. To know nothing from start to finish...

We are all as surprised to be alive as the next person, not knowing death, it is as if we have all found ourselves here and no-one really has any experience of anything other than being alive here on earth. No real knowledge of a 'before' or an 'after'.

It is like a global case of amnesia. If we only know life what do we really know of death?...

It is interesting to think that the Van Allen belt provides an excellent barbed wire enclosure to us on earth, a planetary force field keeping us in... Our moon is a handy guard house.

Perhaps 'aliens' exist as a kind of 'drone maintenance crew' keeping our prison functioning and making sure we can't escape. Perhaps that explains their 'lack of empathy' perceived by many alleged insiders like 'Mad man across the water' and others.

My first reaction is that if you spent your entire life in Newark, you might be justified in concluding that we live in a penal colony; but if not, you have to admit that there are lots of nice places down here.  Cozumel, for example, has way too high a proportion of bikini-clad women and fruity drinks with umbrellas to qualify for "gulag" status.  And if the Van Allen belt is a "barbed wire fence," it's a pretty flimsy one, given that satellites pass across it on a daily basis, and every space mission that's gone more than 60,000 kilometers from the Earth's surface has successfully gone right through it.  And that includes the ones that landed on the "guard house" moon, and found that there were no security guards, or even night custodians, up there.

So, okay, he got a few details wrong, but let's give him a chance.  Maybe he can tell us why we got sent to prison in the first place.  After all, there has to be a reason that our souls have been exiled here, right?  Well, it turns out that it's because we're kind of... dumb:
If aliens exist then is their 'not contacting' us a kind of cruelty ? After all these alleged sightings and contacts, the fact that we have been treated with such contemptible disdain perhaps points to our guilt in their eyes ?... They don't save us from our hellish ignorance because that is what they think we truly deserve ? Perhaps our lesson is 'cooperation'...

Is communicating with 'off world entities' really communicating with the 'before and after' ? If we truly got to talk with an off world entity wouldn't we then know who we were and what we are doing here... Perhaps we will never communicate off world until we have worked out these things for ourselves ? Perhaps no communication to and from our prison is allowed.
So... the reason that the aliens won't get a hold of us is because they're giving us the silent treatment?  That explains so much!  All the absence of evidence in the woo-woo world is deliberate!  The ghosts are refusing to show up whenever skeptics are around in order to make laughingstocks of true believers; Bigfoot runs away shouting "neener-neener-neener" every time someone brings out a camera that is not set on "blur;" the Loch Ness Monster dons a Harry Potter-style invisibility cloak every time the underwater sonar is turned on.  It's all a deliberate campaign to frustrate the absolute hell out of humans, to teach them a lesson!

The writer ends with the following chilling thought:
 Perhaps if we really knew who we are and where we are we'd be more cooperative with each other less inclined to follow the bankers usury system of citizen slavery. Perhaps we are all still just mining gold for the Annunaki.
Ah, those damn Annunaki.  I shoulda known they'd be behind all this.

So, anyhow, there you are.  You are actually an alien convict, in a world where everything is set up to be as frustrating as possible in order to teach you a lesson.  I guess this does explain a few earthly phenomena, such as the IRS, tailgaters, slow internet connections, the DMV, spam email, Justin Bieber, annoying commercial jingles, and people who read over your shoulder.  There are some holes in the theory, which include pleasant things like chocolate, red wine,  mid-afternoon naps, and sex, and why if this is a prison colony no one ever gets time off for good behavior.  But I guess that not even the best model ever explains everything.


  1. Clearly, you are part of the woo believers' planned tribulations.

  2. We can't get time off for good behavior. Since we have no knowledge of the "here and after" we don't know what constitutes "good" in the eyes (do they have eyes?) of our captors. And since they're not providing us with any guidance, I guess it'll just have to be something we stumble upon in our stupidity.

    Side note: I think the author had recently watched "The Day The Earth Stood Still" and ran to the hills with it.

  3. Ignorance always amazes me. Has the author ever seen Star Trek? What about the Prime Directive?