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, December 28, 2023

The train to CrazyTown

It always astonishes me how much it takes for people to say to some nonsense-spouting pseudo-pundit, "You are nuttier than squirrel shit, and I am no longer listening to anything you say."

Or, more accurately, I don't know how much it takes, because it almost never happens.  Once people have decided they like someone's views, it seems like it's damn near impossible to get them to change their minds.  Said pundit could go on national television and say, "Scientists have found that the mantle of the Earth is not made of molten magma, it's made of my Grandma Betty's Special Tasty Banana Pudding," and I swear, 95% of the followers would just nod along as if this was a revelation from the Lord Almighty Himself.

It may come as a significant surprise that for once, I'm not talking about Donald Trump.  No, this time the person who has given strong evidence that he's been doing sit-ups underneath parked cars is Tucker Carlson, disgraced ex-Fox News commentator, who despite being too obnoxiously racist even for Fox, is still somehow finding venues for his insane vitriol.  (One of them, unsurprisingly, is The Social Media Platform Formerly Known As Twitter, because Elon Musk appears to be as much of a bigot as Carlson, if arguably a bit saner.)

The latest missive from Tucker Carlson, though, amazingly has nothing to do with how brown-skinned immigrants are coming for all of us white people.  It concerns UFOs (or UAPs, as I guess we're now all supposed to call them), and springboards off the kerfuffle the last few months about government cover-ups of what David Grusch elliptically referred to as "non-human biological entities."  (Fer cryin' in the sink, if you mean the A-word, say the A-word.  And yes, I'm being deliberately ironic by not saying the A-word myself.)

[Image is in the Public Domain]

Carlson, though, has no such sense of delicacy, but he thinks they're not extraterrestrial species -- at least in the conventional sense.  Here's what he said, as part of a two-hour interview which I made it through about fifteen minutes of, before my forehead hurt so much from faceplanting that I decided discretion is the better part of valor and gave up:

It’s my personal belief based on a fair amount of evidence that they’re not aliens.  They’ve always been here, and I do think it’s spiritual,  There are forces that aren’t human that do exist in a spiritual realm of some kind, that we cannot see, and that when you think about it, will sorta make you think we live in an ant farm...  I do know that informed people have said that the U.S. government has an agreement with these entities.

The whole thing smacks of the "prison planet" hypothesis, whose most vocal supporter is Ellis Silver, about whom I wrote here at Skeptophilia a while back.  The idea is that humans evolved elsewhere in the universe, and our ancestors were transported to Earth because we're so violent, and we're stuck here until we learn our lesson.  (Given recent world events, we don't seem to be catching on very quickly.)

In any case, Carlson takes it a step further, hybridizing Silver's ideas with the Book of Enoch and various episodes of The X Files to create a new brand of batshittery all his own.  In short, he seems to have taken on a job as conductor of the Express Train to CrazyTown, and a significant slice of Americans are just thrilled to hop on board.

So I encourage you to watch the interview (linked above), if you've got the stomach for it.  Myself, I have a hard time watching Tucker Carlson even with the sound turned off, because in my opinion he's only beaten out narrowly by Ted Cruz in the contest for the World's Most Punchable Face.  But given that Carlson has been floated seriously as a contender for the vice presidential choice for whomever the Republican nominee is for president in 2024, and a possible candidate for president in his own right in 2028, it behooves us all to be aware that he appears to be a few fries short of a Happy Meal.  To quote skeptic Jason Colavito, "That a leading contender for high office and one of the most influential figures on the right believes in some variation of Nephilim Theory is depressing.  That a powerful network of advocates has infiltrated both political parties to spread ancient mythology as though it were scientific revelation, and government and media cheer them on, is terrifying."


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