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.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Sorry, you get an "F"

Tomorrow is the start of a new school year for me, and that probably explains why I had the reaction I did to a flyer that some friends of mine picked up.

They were in their car in downtown Ithaca, and a very earnest-looking woman came up and shoved a piece of glossy paper through their open window.  Nearby were several people with picket signs.  Resisting the impulse to roll the window up, my friend's daughter took the piece of paper, which was apparently a joint effort of two groups called GeoEngineering Watch and Global Skywatch.

A brief glance at the flyer was enough to elicit some hearty guffaws from my friends, and the daughter, riding in the passenger seat, read the contents to her dad as he drove.  Several times, he reported afterwards, he almost had to pull over because he was laughing so hard.  And the consensus was, "Oh, we have to keep this and give it to Gordon," with the probable reasoning being that my blood pressure is far too low.

So anyhow, over dinner a few days later, I was presented with the flyer.  I won't quote the whole thing, because the back is covered with fine print and it would be as tedious for me to type it out as it would be for you to read it, so I will simply present you with the high points, along with some parenthetical comments that I would have scribbled in, in red pen, if this had been a paper that one of my Environmental Science students had submitted to me.
Illegal government-controlled chemical weather modification programs are taking place over our heads right now day after day!  [Source?  This is clearly an overgeneralization.]

It's called, [misplaced comma] GeoEngineering [but you need a comma here] AKA Chemtrails, Stratospheric Aerosols or Solar Radiation Management.  [Geoengineering and stratospheric aerosols aren't the same thing, and chemtrails and "solar radiation management" appear to be made up.]  We are being sprayed with tiny particles of Aluminum, Barium, Strontium, and other highly toxic chemicals that go right into our red blood cells.  [No, we aren't, and no, they don't.]

These chemicals spread across the sky and block out the sun.  [Yesterday was nice and sunny, but thanks for asking.]  The lack of sunlight and the nano size particles are poisoning everything and making us sick.  [Strangely enough, I feel fine.]  Respiratory and brain disorders have risen off the charts.  [Source?]  The aluminum is poisoning our farms so only Monsanto's aluminum resistant GMO seeds will grow.  [Odd that my vegetable garden is doing so well this year, isn't it?]

See through the lies!  Do your own research!  [Oh, I do.]

Save the planet!  [Doing my best.  The first thing I'd choose to save it from is "stupidity," but at the moment I'm thinking this is a losing battle.]

Governments and corporations are deliberately manipulating and altering Earth's climate, endangering the lives of people all over the world.  [Source?]  Two of the most extreme cases of geo-engineering are chemtrails -- the release of toxic chemicals into the air that are poisoning people and the planet [please review the definition of "geoengineering"] -- and HAARP -- an electromagnetic antenna array in Alaska that can send radio frequency radiation over large geographical areas [so do television station transmitters] and manipulate weather patterns causing earthquakes, tsunamis, and more.  [Earthquakes and tsunamis are not "weather patterns"]  These projects represent some of the worst crimes in history, yet most people are unaware of them.  [Perhaps because you're making this up as you go along?]

For over ten years, observers have been noticing white aerosol trails being dispersed in the skies that don't behave like usual condensing jet exhaust.  When seeking explanation, investigators are told by the government that these are just the normal "contrails" that we see coming from commercial jets and that they are perfectly safe.  [Seems right to me.]  However, they don't dissipate the way regular condensation trails do.  [Yes, they do.  The evaporation time of a contrail is dependent on the weather conditions in the upper atmosphere -- temperature, windspeed, and humidity -- but they all eventually evaporate.  Water does that, you know.]  They linger for hours, spreading across the sky, and are often laid out in cross hatch patterns.  [Check out maps of common air traffic flight paths in your area for an explanation of this.]  The government has refused to test samples collected underneath the trails.  [Better things to do, I would imagine.]  Now a TV news report from Germany has confirmed that their military is in fact doing aerial spraying of chemtrails.  [Oh!  A TV news report from Germany!  Well, then!  All the proof I need!]

An article from the NIH, the National Institutes of Health, confirms that not only are chemtrails real, [Bull.  Shit.]  but they are suspected to be responsible for a variety of neurotoxic conditions including MS, Alzheimer's, dementia, Parkinson's, and Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS).  [All of these conditions are caused by different things.  Have you ever passed a biology class in your life?]

Intense spraying of dangerous chemicals from planes has been reported in, at least, the US, Canada, Germany, England, Australia, Mexico, South Africa, Bahamas, Puerto Rico, and Croatia.  [Source?]  A nasty mixture of parasites, pathogens, toxic heavy metals, and nano-engineered particles have been found falling to earth from the trails of certain planes.  [Living parasites and pathogens somehow survive the combustion process in the jet engine?  Really?  Do you have even the vaguest understanding of how jet engines work?]  Aluminum, barium, bacillus spores, radioactive thorium, cadmium, chromium, nickel, dessicated blood, mold spores, yellow mycototoxins, ethylene dibromide and synthetic nano-fibers are among the ingredients found in collected samples.  [Wasn't this the recipe for a magic spell by the witches in Macbeth?  Oh, and I think you mean "mycotoxin."  Are the yellow ones really bad?]  As these fill the atmosphere and lodge in our lungs and blood streams through the air we breathe and the food we eat, it represents the most unavoidable toxic pollution in history!  [Odd, then, that you aren't wearing a filter mask right now.  Why is that, I wonder?]
And so forth and so on.

So, yes, the chemtrail people have come to very close to my home town, and they are pissed.  Which they should be, because I would definitely give them an "F" for this report.  I might even call home and talk to their parents, perhaps recommending that they drop my class and sign up for some remedial-level science courses. 

Because it sure as hell sounds like they need them.


  1. Are you really allowed to write 'Bull. Shit.' on essays from your students? 'Cuz if so, that's almost enough that I want to teach at your school ;)

    1. No, not supposed to. I have SAID it once or twice, though...

  2. I bet those chemtrails are why we get such bad electrical storms now too. Obama's way of punishing Ithaca for being so free-thinking.

  3. I have a friend who is a strong believer (you have to "believe" since there's no evidence) of chemtrails. Yesterday I had a conversation with him trying to get him to admit that some cloud formations (E.g. altocumulus) are not caused by chemtrails. I use this approach because I know that a direct assault on his "evidence" would close him up to the point where I'd become part of the conspiracy.
    This line of thinking didn't work either.

  4. Well if our kids are getting dumber and can no longer build a coherent case for their position, you know who's to blame right?
    It's the chem-trails clogging their brains with pathogens and parasites impervious to combustion.
    There's no reasoning like circular reasoning.